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"I Knew Nobody Who Owned a Gun":

I've often heard this line in various forms, most recently in a WallStreet Journal article that's generally sympathetic to gun owners: "Growing up in Seattle, I knew nobody who owned a gun."

The striking thing is that this statement is almost certainly false: I strongly suspect that anyone growing up even in a very insular corner of Seattle did know people who owned guns. He just didn't know that he knew them, because they weren't telling, and one of the reasons they weren't telling was precisely the casual assumption that of course no-one in their circle would ever do such a thing.

This is a common phenomenon (labeled "preference falsification" by Timur Kuran when it has to do with attitudes rather than behavior). If a particular practice is socially frowned on by some, then the substantial minority -- or sometimes even a majority -- that engages in it may hide its behavior, leading everyone to dramatically underestimate the prevalence of the practice. So you can have 20% of the population owning guns (much less than the national average, but perhaps it was the average in the author's Seattle circle), but this 20% actual prevalence would look like a 2% prevalence or even a zero prevalence.

The quote reminds me of Justice Powell's famous line "I don't believe I've ever met a homosexual," said at the time Justice Powell was considering his vote in the Bowers v. Hardwick (1986) gay sex case. (See John C. Jeffries, Jr.'s biography.) Powell had by then had several gay clerks, and apparently said the statement to a clerk who was himself in fact gay. Powell's belief that he'd never met a homosexual was much like some people's belief that they didn't know anyone who owned a gun.

This also helps show the wisdom of many gay rights activists' view that coming out to friends and family is itself a potent political action. It's much harder to demonize that which your friends happily do than that which no-one you know would ever dream of doing. (Still possible to criticize it, of course, but harder to demonize it.) Gun owners in relatively non-gun-owning circles -- especially the well-liked and good-looking gun owners -- should do the same.

The article's bottom line, by the way, is that surveys report that gun owners aren't particularly likely to be "bitter," but are actually a little more likely to be happy than non-gun-owners; as I said, this is not an anti-gun article. Moreover, the author might even, on reflection, realize the error of his statement, especially given his consciousness of "how little some Americans know about their neighbors"; he might have actually meant to say "I knew nobody whom I knew to have owned a gun." But the way he put it still strikes me as telling.

Tennessean (mail):
Perhaps you're misunderstanding 'know'. How about 'Growing up in Seattle, I did not have sex with any gun owners.' or 'Growing up in Seattle, I never really understood any gun owners.'?
4.21.2008 9:49am
Donna B. (mail) (www):
Growing up in rural areas of Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas, I didn't know anyone who would admit to not owning a gun.

Not owning one, but everyone believing that you do gives a bit of protection itself.
4.21.2008 10:02am
M (mail):
I doubt that most people, even in the situation described above, "hide" their gun ownership in the way people hide (or hid) their sexual orientation. I owned a handgun for many years (a retired police service revolver given to my by my father when the police department he worked for switched to 9mm) but didn't tell many people about it, not because I was hiding it or was afraid of what people would think but just because I didn't have much reason to mention it most of the time. I rarely shot it and of course didn't brandish it about or make silly remarks about it so it just didn't come up. But, if there was reason to mention it I certainly didn't "hide" it, despite the fact that gun ownership was quite uncommon (as far as I knew) in the groups I spent time with. I suspect that this is more common than people being afraid to say they own a gun.

(What may, in some cases, be more common is not wanting to say that one hunts, when hunting is thought to be cruel, or to say that one thinks that he or she is likely to be able to protect his or her family with a gun since this is of dubious validity in most cases.)
4.21.2008 10:11am
rarango (mail):
My wife and I have two revolvers and two shotguns in the house--I don't mention them to people--absolutely none of their business. Perhaps there is some sort of perception that gun owners are fondling, brandishing, and otherwise flaunting their fire arms, around the non-gun owning public. Whatever. As Professor V notes, says more about the quoted indvidual than gun owners, I think.
4.21.2008 10:14am
chug (mail) (www):
another reason for not mentioning you own guns is that some parents of your children's friends make a point of letting you know that if you own guns they do not want their children visiting your children in your home - even if your guns are in a gun safe. I speak from personal experience.
4.21.2008 10:22am
S.C. Public Defender:
When I was growing up, my dad (who was a police officer, and therefore presumptively in possession of a gun) always told me not to talk about our guns to my friends/others. His worry, I think, being that people might try and either break in and steal them when we were not home or go looking for them when visiting. Of course, my dad's paranoid. :-)
4.21.2008 10:27am
Hoosier:
I don't believe I've ever met a homosexual who owned a gun.

But you never know:http://snltranscripts.jt.org/88/88cgunclub.phtml
4.21.2008 10:29am
Pub Editor:
Glenn Reynolds one told us (in Con Law class): when he was a law student at Yale (82-85), he told some classmates that he had used a firearm. He says that their reaction was similar to as if he had said that he'd eaten human flesh.
4.21.2008 10:33am
Iolo:
some parents of your children's friends make a point of letting you know that if you own guns they do not want their children visiting your children in your home - even if your guns are in a gun safe. I speak from personal experience.

Sweet! I'm definitely going to mention it to all of my son's friends' parents. I don't want their monstrous offspring in my house anyway.

But seriously, I don't want it generally known that there are guns in my house, not because I fear social stigma, but because of the possibility of theft.
4.21.2008 10:33am
Ben P (mail):
I think I can say the opposite

"Everyone I know owns a gun."

Is this also preference falsification? Because I'm reasonably sure I do know people who don't own guns, but growing up in Arkansas you rarely run into any of the "guns are evil" people.
4.21.2008 10:35am
hawkins:

Glenn Reynolds one told us (in Con Law class): when he was a law student at Yale (82-85), he told some classmates that he had used a firearm. He says that their reaction was similar to as if he had said that he'd eaten human flesh.


Sounds like somethings absurd enough for him to say.
4.21.2008 10:37am
some dude:
The quote reminds me of Justice Powell's famous line "I don't believe I've ever met a homosexual,"...

Ahhh, the good old days, when that kind of information wasn't everybody's business.

TMI
4.21.2008 10:39am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The article's bottom line, by the way, is that surveys report that gun owners aren't particularly likely to be "bitter," but are actually a little more likely to be happy than non-gun-owners

I don't know, Clayton seems awful bitter. And a good number of the gun owners who post on this site display an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers that seems just plain unhealthy.
4.21.2008 10:44am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Glenn Reynolds one told us (in Con Law class): when he was a law student at Yale (82-85), he told some classmates that he had used a firearm. He says that their reaction was similar to as if he had said that he'd eaten human flesh.

It's amazing the absurd statements, and obvious lies, law professors can get away with in class. No wonder when they become bloggers they get all bent out of shape when they are called on their bullshit.
4.21.2008 10:46am
mf24:
Can you say "Carl Rowan"? I knew you could.
4.21.2008 10:49am
Eugene Volokh (www):
Some dude: I wonder why you say so. I know my heterosexual friends' and acquaintances' sexual orientation because I often see their boyfriends/girlfriends and spouses, or hear talk about them (not sexually explicitly, of course, but in a "what did you do last week?" / "I went skiing with my girlfriend" way), or see their pictures on office desks. One would expect to know one's homosexual friends' and acquaintances' sexual orientation the same way -- unless they were trying to hide this very important part of their lives. That is in fact what happened in the "old days," but I don't see why that was "good."
4.21.2008 10:50am
rarango (mail):
Reynolds statement pales in light of this particular absurdity from JF Thomas: "And a good number of the gun owners who post on this site display an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers that seems just plain unhealthy."
4.21.2008 10:53am
josh:
poor, poor gun owners. the discirmination is unacceptable. let's make 'em a protected class!
4.21.2008 11:01am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
"And a good number of the gun owners who post on this site display an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers that seems just plain unhealthy."

Oh really? Clayton revealed he would feel uncomfortable going to DC for the SC hearing if he couldn't be armed. There are a number of people who post on this site who apparently think it is foolish and puts them at great personal risk to walk the streets of any major city without being armed. That kind of paranoia is ridiculous.
4.21.2008 11:03am
rarango (mail):
So JFThomas: you extrapolate from Clayton's comments (an n = 1) to "a number of people.... You obviously have the data about gun ownership among posters on this site, and know that these particular posters have "an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers." Perhaps you could post your research in some academic journal, but I would submit it is not the best research method I have seen. I don't think it would get by peer review.
4.21.2008 11:08am
Mikeyes (mail):
I only have anectodal evidence, but when I was involved with the US Shooting Team, there were athletes who would not reveal to their friends that they shot for sport due to the expected reaction of ostracizing them.

At that time there were only a few women who were competitive in pistol and this was a good way for an athlete to make an international team. I know of several women who eventually gave up the sport due to peer pressure or to having to live a double life. One woman told me she had to make sure that the NRA magazines were always out of sight - at that time you had to be a member of the NRA to compete on an international level.

On the other hand, I also know several women who gave up competition shooting because their husbands became upset when they did well. This was a completely different dynamic, of course.
4.21.2008 11:12am
Guest101:

But seriously, I don't want it generally known that there are guns in my house, not because I fear social stigma, but because of the possibility of theft.

I should go on the record first as saying that I'm both neutral and pretty apathetic on the gun question, but I have to note the irony in the apparently prevalent concern that owning a device a primary purpose of which is often cited as the deterrence of or protection against crime in the home may actually make one's home a target for crime. Isn't that a bit self-defeating?
4.21.2008 11:20am
Orson Buggeigh:
I don't find Cramer's concern about his safety in some urban areas to be irrational or off the wall. Mr. Thomas, there are parts of Seattle, that I would probably not visit in daylight if avoidable. Cramer should be able to take appropriate measures,and so should people who live in Washington DC. If you feel that the metropolitan police are sufficient protection, then by all means, suit yourself. some people would prefer to have a firearm. I don't find this unreasonable. Of course, I grew up in the rural southwest myself. Back in those ancient days, every boy from age six had a pocket knife. None of us would have thought of leaving the house without one. We took them to school. No knife fights, nothing more outre than sharpening pencils or the occasional game of mumblety-peg. Today,I suspect a kid found with a pocket knife in his pocket would be expelled. Are we really safer and better off? I don't think so. I also don't think the idea that my neighbors may own firearms or weapons should be of any concern, unless they are building a suitcase nuke or nerve gas. But pistols and the like? Come off it. I'm far more concerned about a suicide bomber. And the probability of a suicide bomber in much of the US is, at present, minute.
4.21.2008 11:22am
darelf:
Of my very close circle of friends, I am the only one who does not own a gun. And I don't mean the hunting variety, I mean handguns.

Only one of these people is training for a law enforcement position. The others just like having them around.

Carrying a gun makes one the opposite of paranoid ( or in my case being surrounded by friends who all carry ). It makes you comfortable and feel safe, even when in dangerous areas of the city.
4.21.2008 11:25am
Iolo:
I have to note the irony in the apparently prevalent concern that owning a device a primary purpose of which is often cited as the deterrence of or protection against crime in the home may actually make one's home a target for crime. Isn't that a bit self-defeating?

Oy vey. They protect me when I'm in the home, but I can't stay in my home 24/7, and I can't have all my guns on my person 24/7.

I don't widely advertise my ownership of any of my other expensive possessions, either. Is it "self-defeating" to own rare books and flat-screen TVs?
4.21.2008 11:27am
DaSarge (mail):
Wow!! Everyone thinking with their feelings again. I grew up and live in Seattle. I've owned a gun all my life, as do my brothers. I had dinner last night with a law school classmate; he, too, owns a gun. Gun owners are, in fact, all over Seattle. Just check attendance at the ranges.

Prof. Reynolds quote seems accurate to me. Just why "hawkins" thinks an accurate observation is "absurd" strikes me as, well, absurd. There are many people with a puerile and irrational fear of guns. They are a large part of the faculties and students in higher education. What is absurd is the irrational fear.

Thomas accuses Prof. Reynolds of being a liar on what evidence? Was he there? Why the ad hominem in the first place?

Clayton seems to me more rational than J.F. Thomas. The incidence of assault and murder in DC is sky high, especially when compared to where Clayton lives. It seems to me than Clayton is rationally assessing the risk.

In light of the tenor of the argument here, I will close with a quote attributed to Freud:

A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.
4.21.2008 11:28am
DaSarge (mail):
Wow!! Everyone thinking with their feelings again. I grew up and live in Seattle. I've owned a gun all my life, as do my brothers. I had dinner last night with a law school classmate; he, too, owns a gun. Gun owners are, in fact, all over Seattle. Just check attendance at the ranges.

Prof. Reynolds quote seems accurate to me. Just why "hawkins" thinks an accurate observation is "absurd" strikes me as, well, absurd. There are many people with a puerile and irrational fear of guns. They are a large part of the faculties and students in higher education. What is absurd is the irrational fear.

Thomas accuses Prof. Reynolds of being a liar on what evidence? Was he there? Why the ad hominem in the first place?

Clayton seems to me more rational than J.F. Thomas. The incidence of assault and murder in DC is sky high, especially when compared to where Clayton lives. It seems to me than Clayton is rationally assessing the risk.

In light of the tenor of the argument here, I will close with a quote attributed to Freud:

A fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity.
4.21.2008 11:28am
rarango (mail):
What Iolo said! We all know that the only reason there are illegal guns on the streets is that they have all been stolen from paranoid homeowners who fear strangers and crime. If gun ownership were made illegal, gun crimes would magically disappear. /sarcasm off
4.21.2008 11:31am
Hoosier:
EV--There's a ditinction: When I say to my coworkers that I took my wife on a date over the weekend, that's called "Being a caring husband."

On the other hand: If a gay person says the equivalent, it's called "Flaunting his sexual preference right in our faces."

See? So that's the distinction. Write it down.
4.21.2008 11:33am
30yearProf:
<blockquote>There are a number of people who post on this site who apparently think it is foolish and puts them at great personal risk to walk the streets of any major city without being armed. That kind of paranoia is ridiculous.</blockquote>

So is a persistent denial of reality.

<b>Deadly Weekend Sees 37 Shot, 2 stabbed, 7 Dead, in a single major city</b>

CHICAGO (CBS April 21, 2008) ― Five people were shot overnight in what capped off a very violent weekend here in Chicago.

In all, at least 37 people were shot, two were stabbed and at least seven people are dead.

CBS 2's Joanie Lum reports that Chicago police say that warmer weather means more opportunities for violent crime, so they are stepping up patrols and focusing their efforts on targeting gang leaders.

Most recently, A 25-year old man died after a gunman shot him in the chest as he stood with a friend in the 800 block of South Karlov at about 12:30 a.m. Monday. Police say the unidentified man was shot in the chest and the suspect ran away.

Also, two shooting victims drove themselves to Mount Sinai Hospital at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday. A 31-year-old man was critically injured and a 32-year-old woman was shot in the arm and stomach when a gunman walked up to their van and opened fire, in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side.

[Chicago has the <b>most restrictive ban</b> on handguns outside the District of Columbia. Cook county bans "assault weapons" and "zones-out" licensed gun shops. That is backed up by state laws requiring gun owner registration, waiting periods, background checks, a total prohibition on carrying firearms in public, etc. <b>None of it deters murderers or crime/drug gangs in the slightest.</b>]

Police admit that three dozen shootings in one weekend is a lot, but through the end of March in Chicago, violent crime was down.

On Friday, <b>15</b> people were shot — four fatally — between noon Friday and midnight Saturday, police said.

* * *

The violence continued Saturday, as <b>13</b> more people were shot — two fatally.

* * *

On Sunday, police reported <b>9</b> people were shot in six separate shootings — one of which was fatal — and a stabbing that critically injured two people.

* * *

No one has been charged in any of the shootings except for the police involved incident, where Teague was charged with murder and attempted murder, police said early Monday. Flournoy, of Des Plaines, was charged in the stabbing.

Detectives from all areas of the city, Harrison, Calumet, Wentworth and Grand Central are investigating the shootings and Belmont Area detectives probed the stabbings.

The STNG Wire contributed to this report.
(© MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
4.21.2008 11:34am
MDJD2B (mail):

Oh really? Clayton revealed he would feel uncomfortable going to DC for the SC hearing if he couldn't be armed.

Umm... maybe Cramer was saying that rhetorically, or hyperbolically? Like, I never even thought to take this literally. JFT, however, may assume that people like Cramer are loonies who think that you have to be armed to walk from Union Station past the Senate buildings to the Supreme Court, surrounded mostly by tourits and Senate staffers whom he considers putatively dangerous.

To propund this seriously (I grant that he may be saying this for argumentative or rhetorical effect) says more about him than about Cramer. To generalize to other gun owners says even more about him-- either about his contact with reality or about his honesty.
4.21.2008 11:38am
ithaqua (mail):

EV--There's a ditinction: When I say to my coworkers that I took my wife on a date over the weekend, that's called actually "Being a caring husband."

On the other hand: If a gay person says the equivalent, it's called actually "Flaunting his sexual preference right in our faces."

See? So that's the distinction. Write it down.

Fixed to remove liberal sarcasm.
4.21.2008 11:39am
Houston Lawyer:
When I was a child, we often saw rifles in racks behind the seats of pickup trucks. They were there for easy access. Now, in our more enlightened society, nobody keeps visable guns in their trucks anymore. There is so much more crime now and guns are a primary target for theives. If you know someone with a safe in his house, the primary purpose of that safe is most likely to protect his guns from thieves.

I'm still trying to organize a pistol shooting event for the summer clerks. The skeet shooting event for clients was a big success.
4.21.2008 11:52am
ChrisIowa (mail):

I have to note the irony in the apparently prevalent concern that owning a device a primary purpose of which is often cited as the deterrence of or protection against crime in the home may actually make one's home a target for crime. Isn't that a bit self-defeating?


Not every gun has a purpose of self defense. I have a valuable rifle that is very good for shooting at a piece of paper 200 yards away, but would not be very good for hunting, and would be a crummy tool for self defense.
4.21.2008 11:53am
Tony Tutins (mail):
I agree with EV. When I was a kid there was a concept entitled "That's none of your business." For example, "Growing up in Seattle, I knew nobody who had anal intercourse." Those who do, don't feel the need to broadcast it to their friends and acquaintances.
4.21.2008 11:56am
Q the Enchanter (mail) (www):
In re Glenn Reynolds: similarly, I remember when I told my conservative friends that I ate brie and drank pinot.
4.21.2008 12:01pm
CJColucci:
I own guns. I have no idea who among other people I know -- a few professionals aside -- owns them. It rarely comes up. When it has come up, here in NYC, the reaction is usually mild curiosity. Your results may vary.
4.21.2008 12:03pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Q.
Get back to us when the unit cost for your wine rises to the unit cost of your aftershave.
4.21.2008 12:06pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Chicago has the most restrictive ban on handguns outside the District of Columbia. Cook county bans "assault weapons" and "zones-out" licensed gun shops. That is backed up by state laws requiring gun owner registration, waiting periods, background checks, a total prohibition on carrying firearms in public, etc. None of it deters murderers or crime/drug gangs in the slightest.]

Are you trying to link the crime rate in Chicago to the inability of people to protect themselves. Here in New Orleans (with a population of about 1/10th that of Chicago), we had 5 murders (all shootings) between Thursday and Saturday night. Louisiana is a shall issue state yet New Orleans had, by far, the highest murder rate in the country last year, and we have had 57 murders so far this year. We also have had a rash of armed robberies (over 60 in the French Quarter alone).

Call me foolish that I wander the streets of New Orleans unarmed and don't even own a gun. But hey, that's me--just a reckless risk taker.

Thomas accuses Prof. Reynolds of being a liar on what evidence? Was he there? Why the ad hominem in the first place

Because although I am not the most anti-gun person around (in spite of what you may believe), I certainly now hardcore anti-gun people. And it is a ridiculous assertion that Yale law students are going to react in such a way to someone who says they have fired a gun. Maybe he got that reaction out of some tree-hugging granola girl as he recounted some hunting adventure. But to say that he told "some" students and their reaction was revulsion is just bullshit.

And I just love how you all impute that I am some kind of pathetic, scared wimp just because I don't see the need to own a gun.
4.21.2008 12:08pm
anonthu:
And a good number of the gun owners who post on this site display an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers that seems just plain unhealthy.

Thanks, J.F. Thomas! I had always wondered why I bought that gun. Now I know it was just my unhealthy paranoia. How absurd of me to think otherwise!
4.21.2008 12:13pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
I am some kind of pathetic, scared wimp just because I don't see the need to own a gun.

This is merely prudent. As I understand Dr. Kellermann's articles published by the New England Journal of Criminology Medicine, the mere possession of a firearm casts baleful rays upon the owner, forcing him to use it on a friend, family member, household pet, or himself.
4.21.2008 12:17pm
CDU (mail) (www):
This conversation reminds me of something Clint Smith said, "If you carry a gun, people call you paranoid. That's ridiculous. If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid about?"
4.21.2008 12:20pm
George Smith (mail):
I have never owned a firearm and don't intend to. I have never been hunting and don't intend to. My children aren't allowed to have toy guns. I eat quiche. My wuss credentials now having been firmly established, may I observe that hawkins and JF Thomas appear to be complete ninnies?
4.21.2008 12:21pm
rarango (mail):
Its "whack-a-mole" time starring JF Thomas as the mole--Renolds didn't say all yale law studenets reacted that way, now, did he. You have an uncanny ability to take a single sentence or phrase, and from that one expression create an entire alternate universe.
4.21.2008 12:23pm
anonthu:
well, we should probably take it easy on JF Thomas: he was just worried about our unhealthy fears, which are unhealthy, which to him, just seem unhealthy.
4.21.2008 12:31pm
The Unbeliever:
Clayton revealed he would feel uncomfortable going to DC for the SC hearing if he couldn't be armed.


I'd be wary about going to DC for any reason, armed or unarmed. Part of that is because of the ban in effect, which tells criminals they are free to accost law-abiding citizens without worrying about being met with superior force, and part of that is because of the crime rate said ban has failed to reduce.

Having said that, I would note there are a number of ways to be armed without carrying a gun. What is JF Thomas' view of carrying hunting knives? Collapsible batons? Stun guns? Is it OK to carry a baseball bat for self defense, or does that make me just as crazy and bitter as the guys who need to buy ammunition?
4.21.2008 12:33pm
loki13 (mail):
Amazingly enough, Ithaqua's fix did not work.

Which brings two lessons to mind:

1. The habit of striking out and 'fixing' other posters' texts is juvenile at best, obnoxiously self-defeating at worst.

2. Hard-core ideologues on the right (the left as well, they're just less prevalent here) clearly do not understand the concept of self-parody.

Here's the distinction that should be made:

1. Telling your co-workers you went on a date with your wife? Okay.
2. Telling your co-workers you went on a date with your partner? Okay.
3. Telling your co-workers about the anal/oral sex you had on that date with your wife OR partner?
Way too much information.
4.21.2008 12:37pm
hawkins:

Prof. Reynolds quote seems accurate to me. Just why "hawkins" thinks an accurate observation is "absurd" strikes me as, well, absurd. There are many people with a puerile and irrational fear of guns. They are a large part of the faculties and students in higher education. What is absurd is the irrational fear.


If you dont see anything absurd in claiming that others reacted as if he were a cannibal for simply admitting that he had fired a gun (not even a mention of ownership or a handgun for that matter), Im sorry but I am unable to explain it to you.


may I observe that hawkins and JF Thomas appear to be complete ninnies?


I have nothing against firing or owning a gun. What did I ever say that implied I did? And even if I did, how would that make me a "ninny"?
4.21.2008 12:44pm
HO (mail):
I believe it is wise not to advertise that a person has anything to do with guns. About 25 years ago, I had an engineering job that required a lot of travel. That was back when airline travel was reasonably nice. I had my luggage temporarily lost a number of times (maybe as many as 1/4 of the trips), but it always found its way back later that day or the next. Except once.

I kept having the nametag torn off through rough handling. I tried and lost a number of them so when I got a nametag for renewing my membership with the NRA, I put it on. It was suede said, “I’m the NRA” on the front. The VERY first time I used it, the luggage was “lost”. It was never found. That was the ONLY time the luggage was never found, before and after. Of course, it may have been a coincidence. Maybe.
4.21.2008 12:49pm
Jaypher (mail):
I agree with EV. When I was a kid there was a concept entitled "That's none of your business." For example, "Growing up in Seattle, I knew nobody who had anal intercourse." Those who do, don't feel the need to broadcast it to their friends and acquaintances.

I think you actually disagree with EV, then.
4.21.2008 12:50pm
rarango (mail):
I agree entirely with Loki13 about the "fixing" of others posts. I plan to mark this day on my calendar as I don't think I have ever agreed with Loki before. :)
4.21.2008 12:53pm
therut:
J.F. Thomas reminds me of "The Grizzley Man" Treadway( I think his name was). He calls those who are aware and prepared paranoid while he seems to be proud he walks the streets of a crime ridden city just daring anyone to harm him cause you know "I who am aganist firearms will not be harmed ie. hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil). It is called being childish and nieve. I hope he does not regret his silly prideful strutting. Pride always comes before the fall.
4.21.2008 12:56pm
KWC2000 (mail):
Something must be said about the psychology of gun owners. There has to be something going on in your head to make you want to own a device whose sole purpose is to inflict fatal injury (or threaten the infliction of fatal injury).

The fact that people cling to them like they are their most valued possession is alarming--your most valued possession is a murder weapon? Charlton Heston and "cold, dead hands" bumper stickers come to mind.
4.21.2008 12:58pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Has anybody asked Obama if he owns a gun? Maybe something he once purchased in a fit of bitterness at Washington's failure to listen to him?
4.21.2008 1:00pm
The Unbeliever:

He calls those who are aware and prepared paranoid while he seems to be proud he walks the streets of a crime ridden city just daring anyone to harm him cause you know "I who am aganist firearms will not be harmed ie. hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil).


I don't think he believes his lack of CCW permit is a magical barrier to harm. He may just feel he is incapable of defending himself with a firearm, should he be carrying one when the need arises. But that's a problem easily solved by a permit class and a few hours on the range.

Now if he has a moral objection to using deadly force in self defense, that's a different story. And I submit the alleged morality in that case is abhorrent (strong word intentionally used) and further away from rationality than that of most gun owners.
4.21.2008 1:02pm
hawkins:

Something must be said about the psychology of gun owners. There has to be something going on in your head to make you want to own a device whose sole purpose is to inflict fatal injury (or threaten the infliction of fatal injury).

The fact that people cling to them like they are their most valued possession is alarming--your most valued possession is a murder weapon? Charlton Heston and "cold, dead hands" bumper stickers come to mind.


I disagree. People have legitimate interests in owning a gun. Whether for self defense or sport, I dont think there has to be "something going on in your head."

I dont understand why some people place this above other important issues, but it is clearly an important right.
4.21.2008 1:03pm
BT:
Hey J.F. Thomas I happen to do an extensive amount of work on the south side of Chicago,(please see article posted above about this weekends killings, although the latest figuers are 7 dead) a city you would love becuase they disarm guys like me, you know--law abiding. Anyway, the next time you are in town, let me know and I will pick you up at Midway and I will use you as my protection. I am not black and I am not particularly big, so I can use all the help I can get.
4.21.2008 1:04pm
John Burgess (mail) (www):
Orson Buggeigh: Same experience growing up in urban Massachusetts, but clearly that was in a time far distant from today. If I had been carrying a switch-blade or 'gravity knife', it would have been a different story, though...
4.21.2008 1:06pm
anonthu:
your most valued possession is a murder weapon?

My gun isn't a murder weapon. It's a gun.

But glass houses: what about your assortment of murder weapons, next to the forks, in an unlocked drawer in your kitchen?
4.21.2008 1:09pm
The Unbeliever:
KWC2000: I actually own a sharpened battle-ready sword at home, and I though it's not my "most valued possession" I do value it quite a lot. I am trained in its use, it is designed to inflict fatal injury with great efficiency, and I would not give it up even if a law was passed to make ownership illegal. (I don't carry it in public, but that is mostly a matter of style and convenience.)

Is there something wrong with my psychology as well? Do your mind reading rays of morality detect something objectionable "going on in my head"? Is it the mere possession of a firearm that turns otherwise decent people into the crazed paranoids the (ironically paranoid) anti-gun crowd sees all around them, or does any instrument of self-defense provide proof of mental instability?
4.21.2008 1:11pm
Jiminy (mail):
Similar to pot smokers.
4.21.2008 1:13pm
Iolo:
There has to be something going on in your head to make you want to own a device whose sole purpose is to inflict fatal injury (or threaten the infliction of fatal injury).

I get it now! Self defense is not legitimate, and therefore preparation for self defense is not legitimate, and the ownership of an effective means of self defense is a sign of mental disorder.
4.21.2008 1:13pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
KWCwhatever.
That's the point. To have and possibly carry a device for inflicting serious or fatal harm on another.
There are reasons to do that. It isn't what goes on in somebody's head. It's what goes on around him.

As a matter of fact--hope this doesn't cause any cerebral asplosions--I carry two such devices with me at all times. They are attached to my arms by my wrists.
4.21.2008 1:14pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
Don't tell anyone you own a gun if you live or work in Berkeley CA. Owing a gun there is tantamount to possessing an atomic weapon. If you should admit it, then you run the risk of being shunned by your neighbors or coworkers. You can do a lot less than that and suffer. I know someone who worked for a small consulting firm in Berkeley. She had a good relationship with her boss until she declined to go on a peace march (this person was apolitical). After that he become somewhat nasty to her and she eventually quit. He would remarks to her coworkers like "she's a Republican." This of course is the ultimate insult in Berkeley. Better to admit being a child molester than a Republican in Berkeley.
4.21.2008 1:14pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
He calls those who are aware and prepared paranoid while he seems to be proud he walks the streets of a crime ridden city just daring anyone to harm him

Now where did I say that? I live in a city with a high crime rate but I don't let fear of crime rule my life. I enjoy myself but I am prudent, take precautions, and am aware of my surroundings. Break down murder statistics and you will find that once you factor out criminals killing other criminals and acquaintances killing eachother, getting murdered by a stranger is a pretty rare instance. The Times Picayune did a study of murders in New Orleans in 2004 and found that over 80% of the victims had felony arrests.

The muggings in N.O. do bother me though. But honestly, even if I went to the time, expense, and effort to buy a gun, learn to use it properly, and get licensed to carry it, its hard to conceive (even after reading all the "Armed Citizen" stories in those NRA magazines) of it actually doing much good in any but the most extraordinary circumstances (e.g. being confronted by an extremely inept and stupid criminal).
4.21.2008 1:14pm
Dave N (mail):
Which brings two lessons to mind:

1. The habit of striking out and 'fixing' other posters' texts is juvenile at best, obnoxiously self-defeating at worst.

2. Hard-core ideologues on the right (the left as well, they're just less prevalent here) clearly do not understand the concept of self-parody.

Here's the distinction that should be made:

1. Telling your co-workers you went on a date with your wife? Okay.
2. Telling your co-workers you went on a date with your partner? Okay.
3. Telling your co-workers about the anal/oral sex you had on that date with your wife OR partner?
Way too much information.
When I find myself agreeing with Loki13, I know that I need to do something constructive and get back to work.

But before I do, and on a slightly different tangent, but with respect to the phenomena and not EV's example, there is always Pauline Kael's aprocryphal statement regarding Richard Nixon's 1972 landslide, "I don't know how Nixon won. No one I know voted for him."

The phenomena is based on our personal projections and experiences--we each consider ourselves rational and intelligent, so people "like us" must really be "like us." We fill in the missing pieces about what we know of others by projecting either ourselves or our perceptions of what people in a particular group are like onto them.

That is all this phenomena is about--nothing more and nothing less.

For example, without knowing more, our experiences would be that an extremely rich person living in a solidly "red" state would probably be a Republican--though that description also describes Warren Buffett, who is not.

Our experience would be that a black person is likely to be a Democrat, though Clarence Thomas is not.

And if I see a white, middle aged attorney, I will project onto that person all things about myself (since I am a white middle aged attorney) until I find pieces of that person's puzzle that prove me wrong.
4.21.2008 1:14pm
rarango (mail):
It is the imperious arrogance of people like KWC2000 who seem to know all about a person because he or she owns a gun that turn bitter old me increasingly bitter. And for the record, there are other purposes for a gun (pistol, revolver, rifle or shotgun) other than "inflicting fatal injury."
4.21.2008 1:17pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Renolds didn't say all yale law studenets reacted that way, now, did he. You have an uncanny ability to take a single sentence or phrase, and from that one expression create an entire alternate universe.

No, but the way the anecdote was relayed implied that Reynolds was showing his salt of the earth UT Law Students (who probably bring their deer rifles to class) how out of touch, and what pansies, those elitist Yalies (like George Bush) are.
4.21.2008 1:18pm
eddiehaskel (mail):
Has the professor now added mind-reading to his set of pedagological tools.

Let's just do a little mind experiment that does not center around the politically charged area of 2nd Amendment rights (I only mention in passing that I know there is a personal right to bear arms precisely because the 2nd Amendment does not use the word individual or person but uses the word "people" which we all know really means individual and person, but I digress).

I do not know any serial killers. But I must know serial killers since serial killers exist. The only fault is that in the universe of people whom I know, none have admitted to their true nature.
4.21.2008 1:19pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
I can rather honestly say that there are more close acquaintances out there that know my bisexuality (n>30) than know that I own firearms (n=6). Every close acquaintance that knows I own firearms also owns firearms themselves (100%), while I've predominately discussed my sexuality to individuals who themselves are not bisexual or gay (6.7%). Leaving the field of close acquaintances and going to all individuals I interact with, I've only brought up gun ownership with individuals directly related to shooting, firearms training, gaining a CCW, or purchasing a firearm. Even of the close acquaintances, most people I discussed my sexuality with I was not particularly planning to do anything bisexual with.

There are just some very wildly different social pressures in place. I've lived in Massachusetts, where law-abiding gun owners are treated like felons-to-be. Revealing gun ownership there won't just get stares like you've committed cannibalism; it's enough to get you fired, have your car searched once a week, or have political pressure to get your ownership permit revoked suddenly appear.

It's been thirty-five years since gay people were being thrown at psychiatrists. It's been five days since a state governor suggested every gun owner be thrown to the shrinks. It's been more than twenty years since sexual orientation discrimination laws were first codified in state law. Individuals, like Chris Byrne, fired suspiciously close to the time a boss found out about their gun ownership, are in a fairly common situation with little legal recourse, and are opposed by folk whose particular brand of bigotry is not considered socially unacceptable.

That's just been my personal experience, but I think it's a non-trivial one.
4.21.2008 1:26pm
rarango (mail):
No, JFThomas--you inferred.
4.21.2008 1:26pm
hawkins:
Im still waiting to hear an explanation of why George Smith called me a "ninny."
4.21.2008 1:28pm
KWC2000 (mail):
The posts in response to mine demonstrate the following:

(1) Hypocrisy. I suspect that a large number of the gun-owning "how dare you impose your morality on me" types are the same people who vote against gay rights. I should support your right to carry a murder device, but somehow my brother's marriage to a man should be forbidden. We call that "hypocrisy."

(2) Paranoia. The whole "I need my gun because the world is out to get me" thing is a little paranoid, don't you think? When's the last time someone broke into your house and tried to kill you? How often does that happen? How often does that happen and gun ownership somehow prevents it? I don't think the numbers are in the gun owners' favor here.

(3) Denial. It's a murder weapon. Whether you use it for "sport" (I assume you mean killing animals) or otherwise, the "fun" of it is that it kills things. Even if you use non-live targets, that same end could be accomplished by paintguns or bb guns -- you choose the real gun for a reason, and therein lies the question of psychology.

And, yes, Unbeliever, something is wrong with you. It actually surpises me that your question seems phrased rhetorically to evoke the opposite answer. If you can't see that, I am not sure that I can do much to help you.
4.21.2008 1:40pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

But I must know serial killers since serial killers exist.

I do. Several years ago, I read a book discussing psychological profiling of criminals. To my shock, one of the criminals profiled was a guy I had grown up with, a couple years older than me. Like most serial killers, he used a knife. The second time he killed, he took the knife from the victim's kitchen drawer. He wasn't a very successful serial killer, though, he was put away after the second time.
4.21.2008 1:42pm
whit:
"Oh really? Clayton revealed he would feel uncomfortable going to DC for the SC hearing if he couldn't be armed. There are a number of people who post on this site who apparently think it is foolish and puts them at great personal risk to walk the streets of any major city without being armed. That kind of paranoia is ridiculous."

it is what is referred to in the threat matrix as "low frequency, high risk.". it's similar to homeowners insurance. your chance of your home being burned down, or otherwise rendered valueless (malibu residents excepted) is EXTREMELY small.

however. would YOU own a house without having insurance? assuming, you could (if you have a mortgage, they will make you hold it,,, but you get my point).

i've carried concealed for 20 years, and carried on the job for the same period of years. while i've certainly used it on the job numerous times, i've only used it (arguably) once while off duty, and that was just a quick display to a couple of thugs who were approaching me and my GF in a dark parking lot, with nobody around. they walked away, so it served its purpose.

regardless, it's not paranoid to want to take personal responsibility for yourself and/or your family.

if you offered me 10k to let my house insurance lapse for a week, i wouldn't do it. sure, my chance of loss is infinitessimally small, but if i did have a catastrophic incident, it would seriously hurt me to the extent i was not willing to take the risk, especially assuming that we discount for the sake of argument, bankruptcy protection. (i have more than enough capital to pay off my equity, but it would kill my trading account ) :(

it's not paranoid to want protection against an extremely unlikely but extremely devastating risk - specifically death.

i approach it from a game theory way, but that's cause of my background.

fwiw, i live outside seattle, and it's an extremely low risk city. iirc, in many crime categories (including many violent crimes), it's lower risk than vancouver canada.

i don't always carry, but i frequently do.

and i've had people that i have gone out with numerous times who have no idea i am carrying.
4.21.2008 1:45pm
hawkins:

(1) Hypocrisy. I suspect that a large number of the gun-owning "how dare you impose your morality on me" types are the same people who vote against gay rights. I should support your right to carry a murder device, but somehow my brother's marriage to a man should be forbidden. We call that "hypocrisy."


Maybe it would be best to inquire regarding everyone's views, rather than making uniformed blanket assertions.
4.21.2008 1:45pm
whit:
"(3) Denial. It's a murder weapon. Whether you use it for "sport" (I assume you mean killing animals) or otherwise, the "fun" of it is that it kills things. Even if you use non-live targets, that same end could be accomplished by paintguns or bb guns -- you choose the real gun for a reason, and therein lies the question of psychology. "

dumbest thing i've read in a while.

guns are not more a "murder weapon" than penises are a "rape weapon".

if MISUSED, they can be a murder weapon, much like the penis.

if used properly, they can prevent murder. and fwiw, they are designed for killing, not MURDERING.

there is a huge difference. to quote my favorite lawyer from "legally blonde" ... mens rea.
4.21.2008 1:48pm
hattio1:
It's always interesting to me when the discussion turns to guns. I am generally liberal, but probably to the right of most posters here in regards to guns (I figure if you're out of jail and not on probation, your gun rights should be restored). That being said there are those on both sides who act like complete morons when the subject comes up. Some say it reveals a problem with your morality to own a gun, because it is only capable of causing death...bullshit. Others say NOT owning a gun implies that you aren't willing to use lethal force in self-defense and that also implies a problem with your morality. Where do people come up with this??? Lots of people don't own guns because they don't believe the hassle is worth the low risk of being in a situation where its needed. If you disagree, great, own your guns. I'm one of those who doesnt' own a gun (this may change soon) but would absolutely defend your right to own one.
4.21.2008 1:49pm
rarango (mail):
Congratulations, KWS2000: I didnt think it was possible to string together three of the most uninformed, judgmental, and erroneous statements I have seen. But you did it! Well done.
4.21.2008 1:49pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
When does a fear of crime become irrational? That depends on the probability of becoming a victim. If the probability is very small then I would say the fear is irrational. But if it exceeds 10% then it’s rational to be fearful. When soldiers perceive that they stand greater than a 50% chance of getting killed they will mutiny or run.

So how dangerous are US inner city neighborhoods? Very dangerous— especially if you live there and are white. La Griffe du Lion provides the probabilities in his essay Crime in the Hood. He computes the probability that a white person will become the victim of a violent crime as a function of the neighborhood demographics. That magic 50% point occurs when the neighborhood is more than about 87% black. Of course that’s living there. The probability of becoming a victim with one trip into such a neighborhood would be about 0.14%, assuming living there is equivalent to 355 trips. That’s a pretty small number, so I conclude that there is no need to carry a gun if you plan a single trip into a dangerous inner city neighborhood. But if you live there, you better pack.
4.21.2008 1:51pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
(1) Hypocrisy. I see no hypocrisy here. People have owned firearms in America since Europeans first settled here. The right to keep and bear arms is enumerated in the Constitution. Same-sex marriage is a brand-new practice. At best it would be an emanation from a penumbra of rights, including the RKBA. I do support however your brother's right to stay with his "husband" till someone pries off his cold dead hands.

(2) Paranoia. The whole "I need my gun because the world is out to get me" thing is a little paranoid, don't you think? When's the last time someone broke into your house and tried to kill you?

Prudence dictates I don't wait till something bad happens to me to prepare for it. I have a fire extinguisher in my car and in my garage, even though I have never had a fire in either place. I don't assume that the presence of my extinguisher actively deters fire; why should this effect be necessary. I wear seat belts all the time, even though I have been in only two traffic accidents in 25 years (rear ended both times.)

(3) Denial.


The potential lethality of firearms requires the user to treat it with the proper respect, same as driving a car. Like the atom bomb, they do not have to be used to be effective; their effectiveness is chiefly as a deterrent.
4.21.2008 1:54pm
whit:
"I do not know any serial killers. But I must know serial killers since serial killers exist. The only fault is that in the universe of people whom I know, none have admitted to their true nature."

while you make a good point from a logical stance, let's remember that gun owners (in seattle area certainly) are very very very common. so, are concealed weapons holders.

serial killers, not so much. although we have our fair share :)

i can tell you there are a LOT of people carrying in the seattle area. using my "keen powers of observation" (20 yrs on the street), i can frequently make out the "telltale" bulge on people when i am downtown seattle. and of course far more carry than i can make out the bulge. i know from citizen contacts, that a fair %age of people are carrying. in terms of carrying legally, i almost never contact a SUSPECT (of any crime) who is legally carrying a firearm, that i am aware of. since i pat down a fair %age of suspects (and all of those i arrest), that stat is reasonably accurate. the last one i remember was a DUI driver about 5 years ago. i fairly frequently encounter witnesses and victims who let me know they are carrying (since you rarely have reason to pat down a victim/witness, you aren't gonna know unless you tell them).

my point is it is quite easy for the average seattleite to walk around assuming that they are surrounded by people similarly unarmed as they are. the reality is that a pretty fair %age of people are carrying. moreso in the unincorporated rural areas of course. but plenty in the city.

much as the average new yorker can go many years if not their entire life on average, and never see a NYPD cop with their gun drawn, it does not follow that NYPD cops don't fairly frequently have to draw down on suspects.

a seattleite can walk around for 20 years and never see a single civilian with a gun, yet they encounter hundreds if not thousands.
4.21.2008 1:56pm
KWC2000 (mail):
Rarango: Disprove; don't rant.

Hawkins: Do I need to, really? I don't think it's that controversial that gun owners are more often than not Republican and that Republicans are heavily engaged in the practice of moral regulation (especially most and most recently against gays). Of course there are many many many cases where this is not true -- I am saying the majority (at least) would fit in this category.
4.21.2008 1:56pm
whit:
fwiw, i don't carry concealed because i FEAR crime. i carry because i want to be prepared.

similarly, i don't fear my house being burned down. but i carry insurance for the same reason.
4.21.2008 1:58pm
MXE (mail):
KWC2000: Peter Jackson called; they're missing a troll on the set of The Hobbit.

Back to the actual topic at hand. In a way, I'm surprised by how many people have taken the "nobody's business" angle on their gun ownership. I can understand this if your gun(s) are only for home defense, but for those of us who really enjoy the shooting sports, it seems like a shame to keep a hobby secret.

I mean, knowing that I have a shotgun is just as much my friends' "business" as knowing that I have a pair of skiis; trap shooting is a fun sport -- why would I keep it a secret unless I were being cowed by others' (perceived) anti-gun attitudes, just like EV's post describes?
4.21.2008 2:05pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
gun owners are more often than not Republican and that Republicans...

believe in the virtue of self-reliance and self-sufficiency. They don't expect a government agency to bail them out in a crisis. Further, it is settled law (see, e.g. Bowers v. DeVito) that the state generally does not have an affirmative duty to protect citizens from private acts of violence.
4.21.2008 2:07pm
MXE (mail):
The fact that people cling to them like they are their most valued possession is alarming--your most valued possession is a murder weapon?

Cling? Is that you, Barack? I didn't know you read VC!
4.21.2008 2:10pm
Iolo:
I don't think it's that controversial that gun owners are more often than not Republican and that Republicans are heavily engaged in the practice of moral regulation (especially most and most recently against gays).

Oh please. What else is the entire panoply of liberal dogma - from gay "rights" to gun control to the environment to affirmative action to "economic justice" - but a system of moral regulation that liberals are aggressively, and successfully, promoting, most often under the aegis of the Democrats?
4.21.2008 2:13pm
The Unbeliever:
Thanks for the response, KWC2000. I wasn't sure whether to write you off as a loon or not, but you have provided ample reason for doing so. To borrow a phrase, the fool has opened his mouth and removed all doubt.

And the sword question was not rhetorical: I actually do own a sword, because I practice martial arts and some of the routines involve how to defend against archaic weapons as well as how to use them. I have no illusions that it will protect me from a home invader or a mugger, and in those situations I would not use a sword. I asked the question mainly to demonstrate that your position is poorly conceived and leads to ludicrious conclusions, and your hysteria is not limited to firearms.

You basically admitted you do not want anyone to have any means of potential self defense, except maybe dialing 911 and begging the cops to save you. (Good luck getting the criminal to stand idly by while you fumble for your cell phone.) You equated the mere possession of a single-use instrument with mental instability; either you are against self-defense, or you are against doing defending yourself effectively. Either way, your ideals violate aspects of morality more basic than anything even approaching the arena of gay marriage. Do you really want to envision a world where gays are allowed to get a marriage license but are forbidden to defend themselves against hate crimes?

Save your "help" for some unfortunate soul who has the bad luck to ask you for it. The day people take your line of thought seriously is we turn our back on thousands of years of human history and drive a knife into the heart of civilized society. Or are we taking away all the kitchen knives too?
4.21.2008 2:17pm
genob:
Similar to A. Zarkov's comment about Berkeley....I live in Seattle and in the course of discussing my frustration that the ABA had used my dues to file a brief in the Heller case, it came out that I owned a gun. Now the reaction hasn't been quite as bad as the time that I suggested that it was possible that Bush didn't actually lie about WMD (perhaps he actually believed exactly what Bill and Hillary believed at the time, however wrong it was), but I am now considered that "crazy gun guy." The extreme reaction of many really has surprised me.
4.21.2008 2:19pm
whit:
"Hawkins: Do I need to, really? I don't think it's that controversial that gun owners are more often than not Republican and that Republicans are heavily engaged in the practice of moral regulat"ion (especially most and most recently against gays)"

repubs and dems BOTH are heavily engaged in the practice of moral regulation.

that's what makes libertarianism a SUPERIOR (imo) political philosophy.

while i do think govt. should enforce some "morality laws"... incest comes to mind, generally speaking im pretty friggin libertarian.

only a dem/leftwinger could argue that repubs are the ones engaged in moral regulation, when its pretty clear both parties do it so frequently they should get a 1/2 price soda with all their posing.
4.21.2008 2:19pm
Pub Editor:

the way the anecdote was relayed implied that Reynolds was showing his salt of the earth UT Law Students (who probably bring their deer rifles to class) how out of touch, and what pansies, those elitist Yalies (like George Bush) are.


Mr. Thomas, please check your facts before posting and making balnket assumptions/stereotypes. UT students are not allowed to bring firearms on campus.
4.21.2008 2:25pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"I see no hypocrisy here. People have owned firearms in America since Europeans first settled here. The right to keep and bear arms is enumerated in the Constitution. Same-sex marriage is a brand-new practice. At best it would be an emanation from a penumbra of rights, including the RKBA. I do support however your brother's right to stay with his "husband" till someone pries off his cold dead hands."

Though I disagree with the original commenter's broad assertions, actually, your attitude *is* at least morally hypocritical, if you think restrictions on personal liberty are generally odious. If you don't think that and your claim is only that deeply historically rooted rights are worthy of legal protection, I expect you to advocate bringing back the right to own other human beings posthaste.
4.21.2008 2:25pm
rarango (mail):
rarango posts: Congratulations, KWS2000: I didnt think it was possible to string together three of the most uninformed, judgmental, and erroneous statements I have seen. But you did it! Well done. (my note: thats a rant?--nahh, snarky, but not a rant)

KWC200 posts: Rarango: Disprove; don't rant.

OK--Show me your data for: "I suspect that gun types are homophobic" not your words, but i think my paraphrase is accurate...

(2) You ASSUME that gun owners are paranoid: show me the evidence that says they are before you make the assertion

(3) Whit demolishes your argument about the sole purpose of guns being to take lives (and as a shooter of sporting clays, I can assure you those clays feel no pain).

When you provide some evidence for your assertions, I will assume you arguing in good faith; until then, I will just assume you rendered your opinions on the readership as some sort of brilliant argument. Not nearly as brilliant as you seem to think it is.
4.21.2008 2:35pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
(3) Denial. It's a murder weapon. Whether you use it for "sport" (I assume you mean killing animals) or otherwise, the "fun" of it is that it kills things. Even if you use non-live targets, that same end could be accomplished by paintguns or bb guns -- you choose the real gun for a reason, and therein lies the question of psychology.

And every time I use a pocket knife to open a sealed box, would I be denying that it's a 'murder weapon'. After all, I could have used a key or some not-sharp-enough-to-kill device.

Might make steak night a bit problematic, from your viewpoint, though.

As, for those with more than three functioning brain cells, I'll point out that the average paintball gun, BB gun, and Airsoft gun are not really capable of many, many things that a similarly priced real metal gun is. BBs and paintballs just aren't aerodynamic at long ranges, and electrical power or compressed gas just isn't a good energy storage mechanism. I can pretty easily put a couple dozen .22LR bullets within one ragged hole at 75 feet with a 90 USD gun. An airsoft gun capable of that size of grouping would cost several times the amount of money, and paintballs can not do so reliably.

(1) Hypocrisy. I suspect that a large number of the gun-owning "how dare you impose your morality on me" types are the same people who vote against gay rights. I should support your right to carry a murder device, but somehow my brother's marriage to a man should be forbidden. We call that "hypocrisy."


It's a great thing that your suspicions alone are not exactly useful evidence. It's another great thing that what I do myself on my own time with my own property is rather dramatically different than a government license for government recognition.

(2) Paranoia. The whole "I need my gun because the world is out to get me" thing is a little paranoid, don't you think? When's the last time someone broke into your house and tried to kill you? How often does that happen? How often does that happen and gun ownership somehow prevents it? I don't think the numbers are in the gun owners' favor here.


The statistical, per capita, odds for being the victim of a violent crime are roughly one third that of the odds of being in an automobile accident, using 2003 numbers. We legally mandate safety features for the latter, regardless of the odds of a specific individual being in a crash. I do not consider it paranoid to prepare for the former.
4.21.2008 2:40pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Mr. Thomas, please check your facts before posting and making balnket assumptions/stereotypes. UT students are not allowed to bring firearms on campus.

Not true. I have been to UT football games, and there are always armed students (or at least one student) at every game. (You will find that this is a true, if completely deceptive, statement).

Obviously you don't appreciate sarcasm.
4.21.2008 2:47pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And every time I use a pocket knife to open a sealed box, would I be denying that it's a 'murder weapon'

You know it is really ridiculous that you keep insisting that a pocket knife (that you could—and I regularly did—carry on airplanes pre-9/11) is an effective self defense or offensive weapon. Especially if it doesn't have a locking blade, you are much more likely to hurt yourself than anyone else if you get in a knife fight with a pocket knife.
4.21.2008 2:53pm
ejo:
The fine citizens of Hyde Park, home to BO, are similarly dismissive of guns (and the evil police) until someone from the nearby ghettos come into the neighborhood for the easy pickings offered, be it some poor grad student from an African nation or other limousine lib. as to guns and this past weekend in Chicago, the simple fact is that we have lots of gangs who like to shoot their rivals. I, in all honesty, don't particularly care if gangbangers shoot one another. Of course, the actions of the politicians and the good reverends is directed at guns and not the moral failings of their constituents and flocks, leading me to believe they don't much care either.
4.21.2008 2:53pm
Hoosier:
Note Well: ithaqua "fixed" my post to remove "liberal sarcasm". Someone accusing me of liberal bias is not something one sees every day.

Or perhaps he means I'm liberal with my sarcasm?
4.21.2008 2:55pm
Hoosier:
"I suspect that gun types are homophobic"

Like THIS?

youtube.com/watch?v=ixnYHSYzHtk
4.21.2008 2:57pm
Aultimer:
Has anyone noticed the irony in the reports of gun-owners' fears of ostracism in a post on "preference falsification"?

Maybe the NRA needs its own version of ACT UP (but "Shoot Up" seems ill-advised).

Disclaimer: I'm pro 2A (and "out" about it).
4.21.2008 2:58pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The statistical, per capita, odds for being the victim of a violent crime are roughly one third that of the odds of being in an automobile accident, using 2003 numbers.

But the chances of being a victim of violent crime are much lower if you don't hang out with or around criminals and bad people. Most victims of crime know their attacker and most murder victims are not very nice people to begin with. And even when fine upstanding citizens are killed it is usually because of some domestic dispute. Ordinary people being killed for no reason in random violence or even during the commission of another crime are truly outliers. Crime occurs in clusters, while auto accidents are well-distributed across the population.
4.21.2008 3:00pm
pdan (mail):

And a good number of the gun owners who post on this site display an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers that seems just plain unhealthy.



J.F. Thomas, judging by all the responses, you forgot to add "touchy" and "overly-defensive" to the list of descriptors.
4.21.2008 3:00pm
Brett:
(1) Hypocrisy...

(2) Paranoia...

(3) Denial...


That's some fine trolling. Does your mommy know you're using the computer?
4.21.2008 3:05pm
Fub:
KWC2000 wrote at 4.21.2008 11:58am:
The fact that people cling to them like they are their most valued possession is alarming--your most valued possession is a murder weapon? Charlton Heston and "cold, dead hands" bumper stickers come to mind.
I have two feet, and two hands consisting of two palms, eight fingers and two thumbs. I know how to use them to disable, blind, deafen, and kill, and quite quickly if performed properly. If I am assaulted and apprehend impending great bodily injury, I will use them for one or more of those purposes when possible to do so.

The government can have my hands, feet and other weaponized body parts when they pry them from my cold dead corpse.

If that alarms you, consult a reputable psychiatrist.
4.21.2008 3:06pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I carry a firearm for self-protection. I also keep a fire extinguisher the car. Does that mean I'm paranoid of fires?
4.21.2008 3:06pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The fine citizens of Hyde Park, home to BO, are similarly dismissive of guns (and the evil police) until someone from the nearby ghettos come into the neighborhood for the easy pickings offered, be it some poor grad student

Actually a friend of mine, while in grad school at UC in Social Work, was "mugged" in the Hyde Park neighborhood. I put mugged in quotes because she negotiated with her assailant and got him to agree to take only five dollars.
4.21.2008 3:07pm
A.C.:
I don't have any guns, but my father has several and taught me to shoot when I was growing up. In Massachusetts. Sounds like things have changed.

What I do have is archery equipment, which is stored in a way that makes it absolutely useless for self-defense. But I suppose I could use it on the offense if I took it out and put it together in advance. People have used bows to rob convenience stores in the past, and of course there's always the precedent of the Battle of Agincourt.

But if I really wanted to kill someone, I have lots of other options. Cooking knives. Golf clubs. Heavy brass lamps. A significant percentage of the things in my toolbox. And a few of the bottles under my kitchen sink, if it comes to that.

What's with the fixation on guns? Is it some Darkover novel thing, where people should only be able to inflict force if they come within range of having it inflicted right back? Or is it part of a cultural aversion to 19th Century industrial technology, with all the ugly dark metal? I'm not sure I get it. Stuff is stuff, and the reason I don't go around braining people with my golf clubs isn't that they come equipped with a locking mechanism. It isn't even that the people in Berkeley might disapprove, odd as that might sound to them.
4.21.2008 3:07pm
Dave N (mail):
Hoosier,

I think this is turning into a very weird thread. You are being accused of being a liberal. Meanwhile, Rarango and I both agreed with Loki13.

If CrazyTrain posts on this thread today and I also agree with him, I am going to be very scared.

Is there a full moon or something?
4.21.2008 3:07pm
Brett:
Ordinary people being killed for no reason in random violence or even during the commission of another crime are truly outliers.


Yes, and because the risk of being mugged or killed is small, it's unhealthy to carry a weapon as a precaution. It would be much more healthy to just hope that you never end up a statistic, and if you do, well, them's the breaks.
4.21.2008 3:09pm
ejo:
it's the new "bedwetter" argument offered on terrorism concerns in recent months being applied to the issue of guns. if you think you might need to protect yourself and can't afford a bodyguard, you are now a bedwetter. unlike the brave urban liberal going fearlessly into any neighborhood in (fill in the blank with major urban area).
4.21.2008 3:09pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
You know it is really ridiculous that you keep insisting that a pocket knife (that you could—and I regularly did—carry on airplanes pre-9/11) is an effective self defense or offensive weapon. Especially if it doesn't have a locking blade, you are much more likely to hurt yourself than anyone else if you get in a knife fight with a pocket knife.


My current pocketknives are a CRKT M16-10KZ and a Taylor Cutlery (aka Smith and Wesson branded) SW990TA. Neither of them are ideal weapons, but they'd be fairly good in a knife fight; they're long enough to cut the important tendons in an individual's arms, are a locking and straight blade respectively, and are light enough weight to be easily handled.

I'd prefer a real gun, a >50kv taser, several cans of mace, and a pair of long butterfly knives, respectively, but the pocket knives are a lot easier and more legal to carry in more places.
4.21.2008 3:10pm
Dave N (mail):
But the chances of being a victim of violent crime are much lower if you don't hang out with or around criminals and bad people. Most victims of crime know their attacker and most murder victims are not very nice people to begin with. And even when fine upstanding citizens are killed it is usually because of some domestic dispute. Ordinary people being killed for no reason in random violence or even during the commission of another crime are truly outliers. Crime occurs in clusters, while auto accidents are well-distributed across the population.
Oh my gosh, now I am agreeing with J.F. Thomas. I am scared. Really, really, scared.
4.21.2008 3:10pm
The Unbeliever:
Fub: don't forget your elbows, knees, and forearms. But thanks for making the point, I was waiting on KWC2000 to try extending his ridiculous philosophy further down his train of "thought" before raising the issue.
4.21.2008 3:11pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
If you don't think that and your claim is only that deeply historically rooted rights are worthy of legal protection

Same-sex marriage may be worthy of legal protection, but it is still a subject of debate. For example, none of the remaining Presidential candidates favor SSM; even "the most liberal Senators" are throwing their LGBT constituents under the proverbial bus. In contrast, after a century and a half, the right not to be enslaved is fairly well established. The recognition of the right to individual self-defense goes back millennia (Grotius wrote about it, as Fred Thompson reminded us) and its basis in natural law is obvious (if you kill me, I will cease to exist).
4.21.2008 3:13pm
whit:
"But the chances of being a victim of violent crime are much lower if you don't hang out with or around criminals and bad people."

true. although many people can't choose their neighborhood (at least $$$ wise), or their neighbors.

" Most victims of crime know their attacker and most murder victims are not very nice people to begin with. And even when fine upstanding citizens are killed it is usually because of some domestic dispute. Ordinary people being killed for no reason in random violence or even during the commission of another crime are truly outliers. Crime occurs in clusters, while auto accidents are well-distributed across the population."

again, true. but auto accidents are much like violent crimes in that in many cases the victim did at least something to contribute to them becoming a victim.

in the case of auto accidents, at a minimum - not driving defensively, etc.

you can certainly decrease your chances of being in a collision OR being a victim of violent crime.

other factors are more out of your control (where you live, what roads you need to travel to get to work). another factor often out of control is WHEN you drive. there are far more drunk drivers, etc. (dangerous drivers) after 10pm on a friday night, then on a sunday at 1pm. but if you gotta be at work at 1030 pm, you are more likely to be a victim in your commute, then somebody who drives in stop and go traffic at 900 am.

etc. etc

i think we can both agree there are affirmative steps you can take to minimize your chance of victimhood - while driving, and while walking around (violent crime violence). people should drive defensively. people should also not do generally stupid stuff (like stumble drunk through a dark alley at 3 am while wearing an expensive watch and muttering about how much money you have in your wallet ) :)
4.21.2008 3:14pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Yes, and because the risk of being mugged or killed is small, it's unhealthy to carry a weapon as a precaution. It would be much more healthy to just hope that you never end up a statistic, and if you do, well, them's the breaks.

Well yes, I am much more likely to get killed slipping and falling in my bathroom. Yet it is unhealthy for me not to take a bath.

It is unhealthy to say or think "I am not going to go to dinner in New Orleans or Chicago because I won't be able to carry my gun (in the former case because I might have a couple drinks and it would be irresponsible) and I am afraid I might get assaulted."
4.21.2008 3:17pm
Ben P (mail):

Disclaimer: I'm pro 2A (and "out" about it).


I consider myself that way too, yet comments on Gun Rights Threads here never fail to make me a little bit nervous, or at a minimum feeling the need to argue against some of the things said here.
4.21.2008 3:17pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Crime occurs in clusters, while auto accidents are well-distributed across the population.


Not really.

I, for example, do not drink, do not drugs, and do not get distracted while driving. I drive only when well-rested, and while I drive fairly long distances, I do not drive through any major population centers. My car has a fairly good turning radius, is kept in good condition, and is highly visible. My odds of being in a car accident are rather significantly lower than the odds of someone who inverts these.

If auto accidents were well-distributed throughout the population, you wouldn't see car companies being able to accurately determine and distinguish which individuals are good risks and which are bad.
4.21.2008 3:19pm
Brett:
Well yes, I am much more likely to get killed slipping and falling in my bathroom. Yet it is unhealthy for me not to take a bath.


Sarcasm, J. F. Thomas; J. F. Thomas, sarcasm. Do you work at being this obtuse, or does it come naturally?
4.21.2008 3:19pm
The Unbeliever:
gattsuru: when JF Thomas said "pocketknife", he was probably thinking more along the lines of a penknife or a boxcutter instead of a tactical knife. There have been several articles bemoaning the "weaponization" of pocket knives, as manufacturers moved away from the smaller folders into selling tac knives; I suspect the gear you carry runs close to being accused of the mindset JF Thomas and KWC2000 suspect gun holders to have.

For my money, tac knives are a Good Thing(tm). The first pocket knife I ever carried was my grandfather's WWII era penknife. I still have it for sentimental reasons, but I upgraded to a tactical folder shortly after once I tried cutting anything tougher than a taped box.

And for the really paranoid, we can get into flexible weapons and the weaponized bandana. But I don't want KWC2000 to drop his pants once he realizes that belt around his waist is a potential murder weapon.
4.21.2008 3:23pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
I don't actually believe the Glenn Reynolds story; it seems far too close to an actual documented quote of Scalia's:
This is such a minority position in modern academia and in modern legal circles that on occasion I’m asked when I’ve given a talk like this a question from the back of the room — “Justice Scalia, when did you first become an originalist?” — as though it is some kind of weird affliction that seizes some people — “When did you first start eating human flesh?”
But the notion that this story is absurd makes no sense. Lots of urban liberals really do react that way to guns. There are hysterical parents who won't let their kids play with kids whose parents own guns. Etc.
4.21.2008 3:24pm
David Friedman (mail) (www):
Almost all of the comments are on the gun issue, but I would like to pick up on the more general point—that if some belief or behavior is disapproved of people tend to conceal it, and doing so makes it look as though the disapproval is much more nearly unanimous than it in fact is.

I was an undergraduate at Harvard in 1964, when a poll found that about 20% of the undergraduates supported Goldwater in the election. I was astonished. I would have said that there were about twenty Goldwater supporters in the student body, and I knew all of them.

I suspect this pattern may help explain an interesting conversation I had at the time with a stranger in the Harvard area. He wanted to know how I could support Goldwater. We went through lots of issues, on each of which I had arguments in favor of Goldwater's position which he pretty clearly had not heard and had no immediate rebuttal to.

It was a friendly conversation. At the end of it he asked me, somewhat hesitantly, if perhaps I was taking all of these positions as a joke. Pretty clearly it was the equivalent of "what's a nice girl like you doing in a place like this?" How could I be smart enough to offer such clever arguments for what was obviously the wrong side, and yet stupid enough to support that side?
4.21.2008 3:27pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
I suspect the gear you carry runs close to being accused of the mindset JF Thomas and KWC2000 suspect gun holders to have.


The funny thing is that I got into these sort of tools back when I was pretty heavily antigun. I don't like the 'tacticool' nature, but unlike those cruddy SAKs, you can get them out quickly and do a lot of useful stuff with them.

I was more than a little willing to give up the awl, corkscrew, and nail file out of place in exchange for something that could actually cut cardboard.
4.21.2008 3:28pm
EKGlen (mail):
I read through the comments and I don't get it. I live in San Francisco and own several guns and have never received a horrified reaction when this fact came up with people.

In fact, people are generally interested and ask lots of questions. I've taken several people trap and clay shooting who had never before fired a gun and wanted to try.
4.21.2008 3:29pm
whit:
"Well yes, I am much more likely to get killed slipping and falling in my bathroom. Yet it is unhealthy for me not to take a bath. "

but it is entirely prudent for you to get some cheap grippie things for the surface of your bathtub. that's a nice safety measure.

i used to be a lifeguard (D000000d!). the chances of somebody drowning at the beaches is very very small even w/o a lifeguard (realizing that some poor swimmers might only select lifeguarded beaches thus skewing the stats). yet we hire lifeguards with taxpayer money!!!

what it comes down to is that it's a good thing to be proactive and take personal responsibility for one's actions, and one's safety. we take calculated risks every time we drive, every time we step out the door, etc. that's life.

nobody should live cowering in fear. but it's cool to be reasonable about protecting oneself- wearing a seatbelt, not driving drunk, carrying a gun, having homeowner insurance, setting stop losses on your latest futures trade.

and when i engage in risky behavior (i used to surf alone all the time in massachusetts. not a lot of surfers where i was, so hard to arrange for company at times). is that risky? yes. but it's a personal choice.

if you don't want to carry a gun, that's your choice. and if i want to carry one, that's mine.
4.21.2008 3:29pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Clayton went to DC, though. So do I, regularly. I don't fear for my life or worry too much when I'm forced by law to go about unarmed. But I've run into enough people of questionable mental stability on the streets of both DC and my home town of Philadelphia to feel more comfortable being armed, but I don't sweat it too much when I'm not.

Statistics are not very comforting when its your number that comes up. That's why I wear my seat belt, keep a fire extinguisher in my house and vehicle, have smoke alarms, keep a battery powered radio handy in the house. I wear my seat belt in an airplane too, even though the chances of it saving my life are considerably less than my gun doing the same.

But yeah, I guess I'm just paranoid.
4.21.2008 3:33pm
JKB:
The reason most gun owners do not openly tell others they own guns is that it is the easiest way to get a visit from the police. Sure you might just be ostracized by your so called friends but often the anti-gun person will report you, especially if your carrying. So you get a visit where you have to explain your carrying a weapon as all the police get is a report of someone with a gun. Often this is as far as it goes once you show your permit but some aren't above lying which might cause the officer to have to sort out a claim of brandishing.
4.21.2008 3:34pm
Brett:
I read through the comments and I don't get it. I live in San Francisco and own several guns and have never received a horrified reaction when this fact came up with people.


I live an hour south of you in San Jose, and virtually every time I share with someone that I own guns, I get a reaction like unto I've confessed to worshipping Nyarlathotep underneath the full moon while naked and covered in pudding.
4.21.2008 3:34pm
Derrick (mail):
But the notion that this story is absurd makes no sense. Lots of urban liberals really do react that way to guns. There are hysterical parents who won't let their kids play with kids whose parents own guns.


Reynold's equated their reaction to someone speaking on the having my arm for a meal. Obviously there is a bit of hyperbole in that statement, but still I doubt that people were aghast in horror. I know some of these urban liberals, and while they might make that decision about their children and guns, firing a gun isn't some alien concept that would elicit shrieks and disgust. None of us have proof on this anecdote, but it sounds like complete shenanigans to me.
4.21.2008 3:38pm
whit:
"Almost all of the comments are on the gun issue, but I would like to pick up on the more general point—that if some belief or behavior is disapproved of people tend to conceal it, and doing so makes it look as though the disapproval is much more nearly unanimous than it in fact is. "

and the media tends to underrepresent it (especially in sitcoms, dramas, etc.).

for example. who was the last character on a sitcom or drama that was a citizen who routinely carried concealed? i can't recall one. yet, a pretty fair %age of the population does.

heck, even magnum PI didn't (except rarely!).

since the media obviously has a bias against guns, they create the impression that only cops, criminals, and normal people put in extraordinary circumstances would carry a gun. no "normal" person would strap on a gun for a trip to the store. travis bickle otoh...

look at the show frasier. his dad was a retired SPD cop, nu? in seattle. did he ever carry a gun?

of course not. because NORMAL people don't do that. that's what the media wants us to believe.
4.21.2008 3:38pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
But I've run into enough people of questionable mental stability on the streets of both DC and my home town of Philadelphia to feel more comfortable being armed

I hope you are not implying that you would be justified in shooting a mentally ill person. Because that is exactly the one of the reasons I oppose CCW. It may encourage people who should retreat to stand their ground, leading to tragic deaths of people who are not responsible for their actions.
4.21.2008 3:39pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
i can't recall one. yet, a pretty fair %age of the population does.

Has anyone actually figured out how many people actually carry. We know that CCW laws have very little effect on crime rates (in spite of what John Lott would have us believe).
4.21.2008 3:42pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I get a reaction like unto I've confessed to worshipping Nyarlathotep underneath the full moon while naked and covered in pudding.

So no reaction at all? It is California after all.
4.21.2008 3:46pm
Brett:
So no reaction at all? It is California after all.


Cute. Predictably idiotic, but cute.
4.21.2008 3:47pm
ejo:
can you present us any evidene that CCW laws adversely affect the homicide rate (by making it go up, despite the fact I don't particularly care about the gang population destroying itself). if John Lott is having you believe something, you should have reams of data showing us how the homicide rate explodes.
4.21.2008 3:49pm
rarango (mail):
JF Thomas: I hate to break this to you, but I just happen to feel that I am justified in killing anyone who attacks me attempting to use deadly force on me, irrespective of that person's mental state.
4.21.2008 3:51pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I hope you are not implying that you would be justified in shooting a mentally ill person. Because that is exactly the one of the reasons I oppose CCW. It may encourage people who should retreat to stand their ground, leading to tragic deaths of people who are not responsible for their actions.

Except that that doesn't seem to happen in states that have passed it, and I certainly don't advocate people running around executing the mentally ill. Most of us are more than aware of when you can and can't use deadly force. Mentally ill person in your face and scaring you, move away... fast. Mentally ill person in your face and threatening you with a weapon, you're justified in using deadly force. Most people who aren't psychopaths are going to be very reluctant to kill another human people. People with concealed weapons licenses are no exception to that.
4.21.2008 3:51pm
countertop (mail):

But to say that he told "some" students and their reaction was revulsion is just bullshit.



I'm just going to assume that JF hasn't spent much time hanging around with urban, "upper class" New Englanders
4.21.2008 3:52pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
can you present us any evidene that CCW laws adversely affect the homicide rate

Is this directed at me? If so, you need to reread what I wrote. As far as I know, and I would love to know if any such surveys exist, nobody has ever done a survey to find out if concealed carry goes up when such laws are loosened (i.e., just because people get CCW permits, do they actually use them, or do those who get permits and actually carry just legitimize what they were doing illegally).
4.21.2008 3:54pm
hawkins:

There are hysterical parents who won't let their kids play with kids whose parents own guns.


I dont think its any more fair to label such parents "hysterical" than it is to label the people who feel the need to exercise their constitutional rights "paranoid."

I for one do not own a gun and dont generally feel the need to carry one for protection in DC. however, I would have to give serious thought before allowing my child (which I dont have) to go over to friend's home in which I knew there to be guns. I certainly would not allow it without knowing the parents myself.
4.21.2008 3:57pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I'm just going to assume that JF hasn't spent much time hanging around with urban, "upper class" New Englanders

True, grew up in the midwest, so even the anti-gun people aren't shocked by the existence of such.

But both John Kerry and George Bush are "upper class" New Englanders (and they went to Yale). They spent the entire 2004 election trying to prove who loved guns more.
4.21.2008 4:00pm
whit:
"JF Thomas: I hate to break this to you, but I just happen to feel that I am justified in killing anyone who attacks me attempting to use deadly force on me, irrespective of that person's mental state."

exactly.

people don't use deadly force to "punish". sure, mentally ill people may not be legally responsible for their actions. groovy. that has zero relevance as to whether a citizen (or a cop) is justified in shooting them given what they are doing. knowing a person is mentally ill, and specifically what their condition is may help you negotiate, depending on your level of expertise and/or whether you have the ability to negotiate FROM COVER hopefully. but...

self defense is self defense.

a coworker of mine was shot and killed by a mentally ill naked guy. didn't prevent him from grabbing the cop's gun, chasing him down the street, shooting him in the back, then emptying his gun into his head.

this kind of stuff happens all the time.

again, people get this ishy squishy tendency to say "why did they have to shoot the guy. he's ill? he didn't MEAN to hurt anybody.?" etc.

great. but self defense is self defense and the sad fact is there always will be plenty of EDP's who get shot and killed in justified shootings who may have had no nefarious intent whatsoever. that's sad. but it has no bearing on the justification.

if YOU want to decide not to shoot because you think the guy attacking you is mentally ill, and thus not responsible for his actions, great. but no citizen should have that duty. nor do they.
4.21.2008 4:00pm
zippypinhead:
I suspect KWC2000 may be related to the nice lady who once upon a time checked my security clearance renewal paperwork for completeness and physically recoiled when she noticed that I held a Curio &Relics Federal Firearms License (obviously this particular petty contract bureaucrat wasn't a DoD or LE employee). A nice, boring legal professional and family man might actually collect vintage guns? Oh, my... better schedule him for a psychological evaluation!

Irrational fear of firearms is, unfortunately, rampant in certain segments of society. In my "other career" as a Scout leader in a fairly well-off suburb of a major city, I've had several discussions with mothers (but seldom fathers for some reason) of Scouts, where mom was somewhere on the spectrum between concerned and hysterical over the prospect that her child might actually have an opportunity to learn to fire a single-shot bolt action .22 rifle at Boy Scout summer camp. Only once was I unable to assuage parental fear by explaining (1) the safety emphasis in Boy Scout shooting sports, (2) the benefit of having their son carefully educated to respect and understand the dangers and capabilities of firearms, should they ever find themselves in a situation where they got access to one (e.g., at a friend's house), and (3) if all else fails, reminding them that it's the BOY SCOUTS, for crying out loud, not an apocalyptic right-wing militia (let's not go off-topic and relitigate BSA v. Dale, folks -- keep in mind that families who willingly enroll their sons in Scouting generally have already decided BSA isn't a Nazi front organization).

Incidentally, the one parent who never gave permission for their son to use the Boy Scouts' rifle range? Had no problem with him spending his time with a compound bow on the archery range next door. Go figure...
4.21.2008 4:01pm
Iolo:
I hate to break this to you, but I just happen to feel that I am justified in killing anyone who attacks me attempting to use deadly force on me, irrespective of that person's mental state.

Yup. Not to mention that a nut is just the person who will keep coming after you regardless of whether you "stand your ground" or back off.
4.21.2008 4:13pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Has anyone actually figured out how many people actually carry.

Not every permittee carries; last December California State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata was carjacked at gunpoint in north Oakland. Perata, who received his CCW permit fifteen years ago, was not packing at the time.

In February, Perata gave his gun to a gun buyback program he helped arrange at a church in Oakland. However, he turned in a .357 magnum (according to the Oakland Tribune) while back in 1999 he owned a 9mm Beretta (according to a 1999 story in the SF Chronicle).
4.21.2008 4:13pm
ejo:
it is directed at you as you were attempting to bring some actual evidence into the debate, with the misfortune of not having any evidence handy. CCW up, homicide rate up would be a good place to start. CCW up, rate static or going down would be another.
4.21.2008 4:21pm
Curious Passerby (mail):
My children aren't allowed to have toy guns

My wife's cousin forbid his children to have toy guns. One day he noticed his son ate his breaded veal into the shape of a gun and was shooting at another child with it.
4.21.2008 4:27pm
whit:
VEAL?!?!?

he can't have toy guns but he can eat tortured baby cows?!?!?!?!

oh, the horror!
4.21.2008 4:31pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
One experience I had in this area was in Con law in LS. The prof asked a feminist to take the anti-abortion side of Roe v. Wade. All hell broke loose. A number of the students signed a petition condemning him for this, and the general consensus seemed to be that there was no anti-abortion side to this case. Never mind the flimsy support that the case had at the time it was decided. It was only as it played out, and in private, that I discovered that a number of the students were in reality pro-life, or, like me, ambivalent (I am a guy, after all), and were offended that this case could not be discussed rationally in a Con law class. My guess is that maybe 1/2 of the class was strongly pro-choice, maybe 1/4 ambivalent, and 1/4 pro-life. But you would never have known that from what happened in class and in the attempt to sanction to prof (who turned out to be pro-choice, but IMHO doing his job). Absolutely no one stood up to defend him in class or to take the anti-abortion side of the case.
4.21.2008 4:33pm
EKGlen (mail):
Brett - really?

We must have a different set of acquaintances or something. (But I know a fair number of people who are left/artists, too - including one sculptor that I took down to Coyote Valley Clays in your neck of the woods in Morgan Hill)

Strange.
4.21.2008 4:33pm
bpuharic (mail):
As an atheist who thinks the 2nd amendment should be repealed, Obama's recent comments were the gospel truth.

When I read the stuff from gun owners, it makes me wonder, 'what the HELL are they thinking'? Gun ownership seems to be a fetish that gun owners simply can not explain. It's risible when gun owners say they don't talk about guns for fear of being ostracized, when, in fact, if you question gun ownership, they look at you as if you just got off a spaceship.

There is no justification for gun ownership at all. Gun ownership has no logic and the 2nd, which was written over 200 years ago, is in desperate need of being repealed.
4.21.2008 4:35pm
exception:
Aggravated Assault D-09219-08



Our victim, W/M, stated that on Tuesday, April, 8, 2008, at 12:30am, he was walking in the 500 block of Burgundy when he was approached by an unknown black male who produced a pistol and pointed it at the victim. Our victim pulled his concealed handgun and the subject dropped his pistol and fled on foot, but was apprehended a short distance away.



The arrested subject is:

Bruce Jones Black male 2-17-82 5’06” 140lbs
4.21.2008 4:36pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"There is no justification for gun ownership at all. Gun ownership has no logic and the 2nd, which was written over 200 years ago, is in desperate need of being repealed."

Would you say there's no justification for the other Amendents as they were written a long time ago as well?
4.21.2008 4:41pm
whit:
"When I read the stuff from gun owners, it makes me wonder, 'what the HELL are they thinking'? Gun ownership seems to be a fetish that gun owners simply can not explain"

one does not have to be a GUN OWNER to support CCW/2a. i supported them long before i ever bought a gun.

i have yet to have an abortion, but i support that right too.

know your audience.
4.21.2008 4:42pm
rightwingprof (mail) (www):
I read that article. Interestingly, the only person in Seattle I know is a gun nut.
4.21.2008 4:43pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
J.F.Thomas wrote

But both John Kerry and George Bush are "upper class" New Englanders (and they went to Yale). They spent the entire 2004 election trying to prove who loved guns more.


And you actually thought that was anything more than political pandering to a powerful special interest? Huh!
4.21.2008 4:46pm
30yearProf:
I live in Seattle and in the course of discussing my frustration that the ABA had used my dues to file a brief in the Heller case, it came out that I owned a gun * * * but I am now considered that "crazy gun guy." The extreme reaction of many really has surprised me.


Do your associates know that there are over 300,000 untrained, untested, carry permit holders in Washington state? That the law has allowed this for almost fifty years? That those permit holders, that they've never heard of, commit an infinitesimal number of crimes (of any type)? And that, when they go out for dinner tonight, there is a one-in-twenty chance that a fellow diner is carrying.
4.21.2008 4:50pm
Brett:
There is no justification for gun ownership at all.


I love it when the hoplophobe mask slips.
4.21.2008 4:50pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
Our victim, W/M, stated that on Tuesday, April, 8, 2008, at 12:30am, he was walking in the 500 block of Burgundy when he was approached by an unknown black male who produced a pistol and pointed it at the victim.

I'm assuming this was in New Orleans. Obviously our victim was lucky his assailant apparently didn't intend to use the gun he pointed at the victim. He's lucky he didn't get shot while drawing his gun.
4.21.2008 4:54pm
Brett:
EKGlen -- Scout's honor.

Granted, my social circle consists of an inordinate number of gay men, and I've managed to pry a couple of them loose of their preconceptions and actually get them out onto the range. When that happens, the reaction moves towards, "This is pretty cool," and they start seeing the "God made men, but Sam Colt made men equal" possibilities in their personal lives (where notwithstanding the Bay Area's reputation, being gay can still occasion violence).

But, yeah: in the main, when I admit to being a gun owner, the reaction is not curiosity, but an overwrought, "EW, COOTIES!" for the most part.
4.21.2008 4:55pm
zippypinhead:
bpuharic wrote:
As an atheist who thinks the 2nd amendment should be repealed, Obama's recent comments were the gospel truth. . . .

There is no justification for gun ownership at all. Gun ownership has no logic and the 2nd, which was written over 200 years ago, is in desperate need of being repealed.
With the caveat that I've previously been accused of missing intented sarcasm in posts and may well be guilty again --

I'm sure we all wholeheartedly support your Constitutional right to express this view, no matter how wrongheaded. If you really believe this, Article V of the Constitution provides your remedy. Good luck getting the Second Amendment repealed... you'll need it...
4.21.2008 4:58pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
And that, when they go out for dinner tonight, there is a one-in-twenty chance that a fellow diner is carrying.

That assumes that every CCW permit holder always carries a concealed weapon--a highly dubious assumption. Furthermore, it assumes that such permit holders are carrying even when they know they may be consuming alcohol. I thought that was something no responsible gun owner would do.
4.21.2008 4:59pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
bpuharic wrote:

When I read the stuff from gun owners, it makes me wonder, 'what the HELL are they thinking'? Gun ownership seems to be a fetish that gun owners simply can not explain. It's risible when gun owners say they don't talk about guns for fear of being ostracized, when, in fact, if you question gun ownership, they look at you as if you just got off a spaceship.


This is just begging for someone to rewrite it, substituting "gun banners" for "gun owners", etc... how do you do that strikout trick?


There is no justification for gun ownership at all. Gun ownership has no logic and the 2nd, which was written over 200 years ago, is in desperate need of being repealed.


Now let's all just sit in a circle, join hands, and sing Kumbayah! Seems to me that this rabid irrational desire to disarm me provides sufficient logic to refuse to be disarmed. Kind of a self-fullfilling prophecy. Fortunately, those who want it repealed are heavily outgunned by those of us who are totally unwilling to even consider the possibility.
4.21.2008 4:59pm
MXE (mail):
There is no justification for gun ownership at all.

Trap shooting. That's a justification. I dare you to disagree.

I live an hour south of you in San Jose, and virtually every time I share with someone that I own guns, I get a reaction like unto I've confessed to worshipping Nyarlathotep underneath the full moon while naked and covered in pudding.

Yog Sothoth!!!
4.21.2008 5:03pm
bpuharic (mail):
As I said, no gun owner's ever been able to explain why guns are needed. And so far in this forum, that statement remains true. Diversions and non sequiturs are offered in place of explanations.

And that's pretty much the entire argument.
4.21.2008 5:07pm
ClosetLibertarian (mail):
Regarding the Supreme Court and Union Station being safe areas, they are safer than other parts of DC but two violent muggings in that area in the last two years come to mind. One involved a man with a hammer sneaking up behind people near the metro, the other involved a group of three youths who targeted dinner goers (couples).

As an observation, I probably don't discuss guns with new friends until I have known them for 6 months or until they bring it up.
4.21.2008 5:07pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
Furthermore, it assumes that such permit holders are carrying even when they know they may be consuming alcohol. I thought that was something no responsible gun owner would do.

You have a drink every time you go out to dinner? Does one beer make you lose complete self-control? Even for driving a car, which is far far more hazardous than carrying a firearm, the legal limit is 0.08. I actually have no problem with regulations prohibiting CCW holders from consuming alcohol while armed, but it seems to me that it would make about as much sense to do the same for drivers.
4.21.2008 5:08pm
exception:

Furthermore, it assumes that such permit holders are carrying even when they know they may be consuming alcohol. I thought that was something no responsible gun owner would do.


The same way licensed drivers drive their cars to restaurants.
4.21.2008 5:09pm
The Ace (mail):
And it is a ridiculous assertion that Yale law students are going to react in such a way to someone who says they have fired a gun. Maybe he got that reaction out of some tree-hugging granola girl as he recounted some hunting adventure. But to say that he told "some" students and their reaction was revulsion is just bullshit

Because you say so, right?

Persuasive.
4.21.2008 5:09pm
The Ace (mail):
There is no justification for gun ownership at all. Gun ownership has no logic and the 2nd, which was written over 200 years ago

Wow!

I guess you apply that "logic" to all the Amendments, right?
4.21.2008 5:12pm
Ben P (mail):

When I read the stuff from gun owners, it makes me wonder, 'what the HELL are they thinking'? Gun ownership seems to be a fetish that gun owners simply can not explain. It's risible when gun owners say they don't talk about guns for fear of being ostracized, when, in fact, if you question gun ownership, they look at you as if you just got off a spaceship.

There is no justification for gun ownership at all. Gun ownership has no logic and the 2nd, which was written over 200 years ago, is in desperate need of being repealed.


Let's start simple.

I enjoy target shooting. For that purpose I own a rifle. (the same rifle is used for hunting, but that's not my point)

I can verify with absolute 100% certainty that my rifle has never been used to harm a human being.

I am just as sure, although the future can never be verified, that it will never be used for that purpose, given that it's securely kept unloaded and inside a gun safe except when it's being used.

Can you prove to any reasonable degree, that prohibiting me from owning this firearm will provide a benefit to society?

As someone who follows the gun debate quite closely as a completely seperate academic interest, I'll venture that you can't do so without cherry picking evidence. There are studies out there that show a small correlation between gun control legislation and reductions in crime. But there are just about as many studies that show the opposite.


Just starting with this simple proposition. The least controversial (and possibly least important) of any potential use a gun might have, and assuming the smallest potential burden for justifying the legislation. In my opinion, this can't be proven.
4.21.2008 5:13pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
As I said, no gun owner's ever been able to explain why guns are needed.

Because this is not a situation I ever care to find myself in.
4.21.2008 5:13pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
bpuharic wrote:

As I said, no gun owner's ever been able to explain why guns are needed. And so far in this forum, that statement remains true. Diversions and non sequiturs are offered in place of explanations.

And that's pretty much the entire argument.


Because that's pretty much all you provided. Conclusions, no substance.

Actually, they gave plenty of explanations, you just refuse to acknowledge them because they are so far removed from your own reality. Works both ways.
4.21.2008 5:14pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
You have a drink every time you go out to dinner? Does one beer make you lose complete self-control? Even for driving a car, which is far far more hazardous than carrying a firearm, the legal limit is 0.08.

So perhaps we should institute designated shooter programs.
4.21.2008 5:15pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas

So perhaps we should institute designated shooter programs.


Those are called bodyguards.
4.21.2008 5:20pm
The Ace (mail):
Hypocrisy. I suspect that a large number of the gun-owning "how dare you impose your morality on me" types are the same people who vote against gay rights. I should support your right to carry a murder device, but somehow my brother's marriage to a man should be forbidden. We call that "hypocrisy."

And I call you an "idiot."

Can you point me to the text of the constitution talking about gay rights?

Thanks.

It's amazing to watch you "civil libertarians" in action.
4.21.2008 5:21pm
bpuharic (mail):
Now let's see...11,000 dead from gunfire last year. And the justification for gun ownership?

Uh...trap shooting. I'm sure the 11,000 former human beings who are now corpses would agree.

As to "Kumbayah"...another diversion and non sequitur from the gun crowd. You're proving my point.

Thanks.
4.21.2008 5:22pm
VictoriaB (www):
"But both John Kerry and George Bush are "upper class" New Englanders (and they went to Yale). They spent the entire 2004 election trying to prove who loved guns more."

Which reminds me, when are we going to see Senator Obama during the inevitable duck-hunting photo-ops?

If it wasn't believable with Kerry, it's going to be downright laughable with Obama.

Cheers,
Victoria
4.21.2008 5:23pm
The Ace (mail):
As I said, no gun owner's ever been able to explain why guns are needed.

As I said, no homosexual has ever been able to explain why gay marriage is needed.

You are simply beclowing yourself.

Wow.
4.21.2008 5:24pm
The Ace (mail):
Now let's see...11,000 dead from gunfire last year

Source?

You're against cars, right? Because even if that number you cited were true, 5 times as many people die in auto accidents.

Your idiocy is growing by leaps &bounds here...
4.21.2008 5:25pm
Ben P (mail):

Because this is not a situation I ever care to find myself in.


Here's the problem.

Some people, likely including the one you're responding to, see the alternative headline to the one you're giving to be "Man shoots three teens in self defense, wounds innocent bystander."

Some might well read this story and see such a man as a champion of the right of self defense. Others will see him as an overly nervous gun owner who overreacted to a situation.

I might well lean toward the former group, but EVERYONE can admit that this is a controversial situation.

That's why I started simpler. I firmly believe that it's not the job of the government to prohibit private ownership and or use of anything unless it can be proven to a pretty significant degree that the prohibition will benefit society. The added protection the second amendment provides , which in my opinion ought to be Strict Scrutiny, and the right of self defense only heighten this burden.

Emotional responses aside, I don't think a "ban" on guns can even meet this rational basis (not the legal term because I'm talking about going behind the rationale for a policy). Some other regulations might and I might be willing to consider those, but I want to see evidence.
4.21.2008 5:25pm
common sense (www):
bpuharic

Reason 1: entertainment. Whether its hunting or trap shooting, that is a justification, although maybe it doesn't meet your personal standard.

Reason 2: Self Defense. The police cannot, will not, and are not required to provide defense. They merely have to apprehend criminals after the act. Thus, many responsible people feel that having a weapon for self defense is required, although most hope they never have to use it.

Reason 3: Although this is far fetched, anyone who believes in the legitimacy of the United States must acknowledge a right of revolution, although the grounds for that right are of considerable debate. The only way to affect that right is to be armed.

I don't think those are diversions. Although you may personally disagree with any of them, sufficient people in this country agree with at least one, and thus the law stands as it is. That's the price of living in a republic.
4.21.2008 5:27pm
The Ace (mail):
And the justification for gun ownership?

Uh, it's actually appalling to watch you pretend to care that anyone has died from firearms. You're simply a fascist.

End of discussion.
4.21.2008 5:27pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):

As to "Kumbayah"...another diversion and non sequitur from the gun crowd. You're proving my point.
Thanks.


Declare victory and retreat now, before you embarass yourself any further. Good plan.
4.21.2008 5:27pm
The Ace (mail):
Some people, likely including the one you're responding to, see the alternative headline to the one you're giving to be "Man shoots three teens in self defense, wounds innocent bystander."

Care to link us to some articles where "innoncent bystanders" are shot in the course of another person using a firearm for self defense?
4.21.2008 5:28pm
hawkins:

And I call you an "idiot."

Can you point me to the text of the constitution talking about gay rights?

Thanks.

It's amazing to watch you "civil libertarians" in action.


You are speaking past each other. He's making a moral argument. You're making a constitutional argument. The two have nothing to do with one another.
4.21.2008 5:29pm
bpuharic (mail):
"Let's start simple.

I can verify with absolute 100% certainty that my rifle has never been used to harm a human being. "

That's true. Today. Tomorrow? Maybe not. Why should my life be in your hands without my having a say so?


"Can you prove to any reasonable degree, that prohibiting me from owning this firearm will provide a benefit to society? "

If we banned ALL firearms, 11,000 people would be alive today who are not...killed by firearms last year.



"As someone who follows the gun debate quite closely as a completely seperate academic interest, I'll venture that you can't do so without cherry picking evidence. There are studies out there that show a small correlation between gun control legislation and reductions in crime. But there are just about as many studies that show the opposite. "

Trying to control guns in this country, without banning them, is like trying to control the ocean from a liferaft.
4.21.2008 5:29pm
Ben P (mail):

Now let's see...11,000 dead from gunfire last year. And the justification for gun ownership?

Uh...trap shooting. I'm sure the 11,000 former human beings who are now corpses would agree.


and the proof that banning guns outright will reduce this number? or alternatively not simply replace it with 11,000 dead from illegal guns or from stabbing?

If you examine the evidence carefully, it just isn't there. Gun laws just don't have a statistically significant effect on crime rates either way. Stephen Levitt has more convincing arguments about Abortion reducing crime rates, and I've seen some pretty convincing data on average temperatures too.
4.21.2008 5:30pm
exception:

He's making a moral argument.


Against gay rights or for gun rights?
4.21.2008 5:32pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
bpuharic wrote:

If we banned ALL firearms, 11,000 people would be alive today who are not...killed by firearms last year.


Oh this is going to be fun. Shall we get into the details about who all these people are, what they were doing, and who shot them? I'll wager all 11,000 were not innocent bystanders.

Just because you were shot doesn't mean you were an innocent party, or didn't deserve to be shot.

So, how long will it take for some hysterical soul to accuse me of being barbaric, or pointing out that some of these 11,000 WERE innocent?
4.21.2008 5:35pm
The Ace (mail):
He's making a moral argument

Really?

It doesn't appear to be the case.
4.21.2008 5:36pm
The Ace (mail):
If we banned ALL firearms, 11,000 people would be alive today who are not...killed by firearms last year.

What is your source for this 11,000 figure?

I'm not going to bother with this idiotic "logic" at work.
4.21.2008 5:37pm
Ben P (mail):

That's true. Today. Tomorrow? Maybe not. Why should my life be in your hands without my having a say so?


How is my rifle going to endanger your life given that (in it's current state) it's nothing more than a strangely shaped piece of metal locked up in a safe in my basement?

To use my rifle to endanger anyone's life, a criminal would have to first break into my house. Second, break into a solidly constructed steel safe, which is no minor undertaking. Third, go find ammunition from a different source. Fourth, actually use it to harm someone.

I also happen to have a tank of propane on my porch to fuel my grill. Sitting out in the open. If a criminal were to steal that, they would have the materials to make a very significantly sized explosive device. Not to mention a powerful tool for arson.

Even with the understated assumption that I have the same right to grill as I do to own and use a rifle for personal enjoyment. Can you logically argue that there's more risk from the unloaded rifle in a safe in my basement than there is from the thousands of BTU's of contained energy sitting freely available on my porch?
4.21.2008 5:38pm
The Unbeliever:
Against gay rights or for gun rights?


I took it to be an argument against gay guns. But then I'm usually facetious about people who demand argumentation against their bald assertions.
4.21.2008 5:39pm
The Ace (mail):
If we banned ALL firearms

Would you like me to link you to figures regarding the increasing crime rate in Great Britain after their gun ban?

Australia?

I bet you believe nobody drank during prohibition.

You good little fascist you...
4.21.2008 5:40pm
hawkins:

Against gay rights or for gun rights?


The argument made was that its hypocritical to interfere in people's lives in regards to homosexual marriage while maintaining a person's right to own a gun. I assume they realize that - unlike gay marriage - the right to bear arms is constitutionally protected.
4.21.2008 5:43pm
Extraneus (mail):
Does anyone truly think that otherwise law-abiding citizens who carry are more likely to commit a crime than they are to deter one?
4.21.2008 5:44pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
bphuaric wrote:

Trying to control guns in this country, without banning them, is like trying to control the ocean from a liferaft.


I suspect even if you did ban them. Quite a few of us would consider that a serious breach of the social contract between ourselves and the Federal gov't.

You'd just have created another 100 million "bitter" American criminals, a lot of hidden weapons, and a situation where no one will ever report another stolen firearm again. Good luck with that...
4.21.2008 5:45pm
bpuharic (mail):
Ace writes:

"As I said, no gun owner's ever been able to explain why guns are needed.

As I said, no homosexual has ever been able to explain why gay marriage is needed.

You are simply beclowing yourself."

The same argument applies to straight folks, I guess. Such logic! (And what does freedom have to do with guns anyhow?)

He also writes that cars kill more people than gun owners do. So? Cars have a use. Guns do not. If we banned guns, nothing would happen except a lot of people would still be alive. If we banned cars our economy would collapse.

Common sense makes the best attempt to provide a reason for gun ownership:

"Reason 1: entertainment. Whether its hunting or trap shooting, that is a justification, although maybe it doesn't meet your personal standard. "

Unfortunately, there are 11,000 corpses who aren't in a position to assert their 'personal standards' either...those folks having been killed last year by gunfire.


"Reason 2: Self Defense. The police cannot, will not, and are not required to provide defense. They merely have to apprehend criminals after the act. Thus, many responsible people feel that having a weapon for self defense is required, although most hope they never have to use it."

And if there were no guns in our society, those who use guns in crimes would be fire less likely to use them in an attack.

"Reason 3: Although this is far fetched, anyone who believes in the legitimacy of the United States must acknowledge a right of revolution, although the grounds for that right are of considerable debate. The only way to affect that right is to be armed. "

That may have been true 200 years ago. The outcome of such an event today is more likely to resemble Lidice than the American revolution.


"I don't think those are diversions. Although you may personally disagree with any of them, sufficient people in this country agree with at least one, and thus the law stands as it is. That's the price of living in a republic"

That's true. Just as, at one time, most people opposed integration.





"and the proof that banning guns outright will reduce this number? or alternatively not simply replace it with 11,000 dead from illegal guns or from stabbing?

If you examine the evidence carefully, it just isn't there. Gun laws just don't have a statistically significant effect on crime rates either way."

Tell it to the Japanese, the British, the French, the Canadians, etc. etc. all of whom have lower incidences of gun related deaths than we do.


The Ace writes:

"And the justification for gun ownership?

Uh, it's actually appalling to watch you pretend to care that anyone has died from firearms. You're simply a fascist.

End of discussion."

ANOTHER non argument!
4.21.2008 5:45pm
Conservative Activist Judge:
Gun owners cannot be homophobic because guns are phallic symbols of patriarchal oppression.

If you know someone who doesn't like guns, get them a copy of Brasco Buddies. Otherwise, they may never know the fun of a gun.

F is for FIREARMS can be FUN
When you follow the rules of firearm safety, shooting at targets or hunting with an adult can be fun. Brasco™ and his father are careful to point the muzzles of their rifles in a safe direction at all times.

http://www.jpfo.org/pdf/brasco1.pdf
4.21.2008 5:46pm
exception:

The argument made was that its hypocritical to interfere in people's lives...



Indeed, but the person making that argument was the one indulging in that hypocrisy unless they support gun rights as well.
4.21.2008 5:48pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
JF Thomas:

Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome want to hear more about your "outlier" theory. They're waiting.
4.21.2008 5:48pm
GatoRat:
"Unfortunately, there are 11,000 corpses who aren't in a position to assert their 'personal standards' either...those folks having been killed last year by gunfire."

How do you know many of these people wouldn't have died by other violent means (all would have died eventually.) I daresay it would have been a measurable number.
4.21.2008 5:51pm
bpuharic (mail):
Ben P writes:

"Even with the understated assumption that I have the same right to grill as I do to own and use a rifle for personal enjoyment. Can you logically argue that there's more risk from the unloaded rifle in a safe in my basement than there is from the thousands of BTU's of contained energy sitting freely available on my porch?"

Yes. Because no one uses C3H8 to commit murder. They routinely use guns for murder. And, with 200,000,000 guns in this country, and many of them stolen each year, it's obvious there's little difference between a legal and an illegal gun. If a crook wants a gun, he just steals a legal one...fairly easy to do, it seems.

When 32 kids were killed at VA Tech last year, their families shouldered the burden, both emotionally, and financially, for that crime. Most states have laws to force car owners to pay into a fund for uninsured motorists. But those who own guns get an economic free ride. They kill, wound, and the rest of us pay for it in higher hospital bills, funeral costs, loss of income, etc.
4.21.2008 5:52pm
common sense (www):
bpuharic

As far as self-defense, a gun isn't required for a crime. However, it is a great equalizer for someone who is frail to assert their right to self defense. Nothing, not mace or tazers, equalizes a woman to a rapist like a gun.

As far as revolution- I would argue about the ability to successfully revolt today (as would the Iraqis), but the same arguments were made in the 1700's. For the time, the British's technology far out did our own, especially at sea. Just because people don't think that a right has any use means that we should eliminate the right. I don't think anyone would argue that the conditions required for a revolution are applicable today, but that doesn't mean we should forego our means for executing that right.

Finally, you isolate gun deaths without looking at deaths as a whole. If gun deaths increase, but the violent death rate as a whole declines, isn't society better off? Earlier commenters posted evidence indicating this might be the case.
4.21.2008 5:53pm
zippypinhead:
My children aren't allowed to have toy guns
OK, that's your right, and I hope it achieves whatever goal you have. Reminds me of the time many years ago when my oldest son's t-ball team (all kindergarten aged boys) had their end-of-season picnic at a coach's home. One mother was especially 'militant' about toy guns, and even went out of her way to make sure the host family wouldn't have such Nyarlathotepian objects available for the boys to play with.

About 20 minutes into the event, the boys began running around "shooting" at each other with sticks. Mom was not amused, and intervened to put a stop to that horrid behavior. Lo and behold, not more than 10 minutes later several of the boys started singing a variant of the "I Love You" Barney the Dinosaur theme song that described the benefits of capping Barney in the head with a 9 millimeter bullet. Singing led by -- her son. I thought I was going to have to use my CPR training on mom...

Even after mom's wake-up call and/or coronary thrombosis, I suspect this young man never got the opportunity to learn anything about responsible gun safety when he got to be a little older. IMHO, about as logical a position to take as refusing to discuss sex with one's teenagers for fear it will make them run right out and get pregnant.

And now everyone can go back to de-trolling bpuharic...
4.21.2008 5:54pm
Ben P (mail):

Care to link us to some articles where "innoncent bystanders" are shot in the course of another person using a firearm for self defense?


You know that wasn't my point.

My point was that people think that way. You can't convince someone of anything if you can't figure out where they're coming from in the first place.

The secondary point was that, whether rightfully or not, the actual use of lethal force in self defense is a controversial subject. One need go no farther than the story of Bernard Goetz to see that. Totally regardless of whether or not he was justified, a great many people were concerned by his acts. Which is just an explanation of why I started my argument the way I did. It was a way of isolating the relevant issue, the only thing controversial about target shooting is the gun ownership itself. Beyond that, you get more and more areas a person can potentially find to disagree with.
4.21.2008 5:54pm
GatoRat:
Second point: "Tell it to the Japanese, the British, the French, the Canadians, etc. etc. all of whom have lower incidences of gun related deaths than we do."

Be careful with that "we". Residents of my home county have a significantly lower incidence of gun related death than any first world country (and there are a lot of guns in said county.)
4.21.2008 5:55pm
Michael Lomker (mail):
I've been a member of a gay gun club for quite a few years now. It isn't the mainstream middle-aged white guy that is in dire need of self-protection, it's the women, minorities, and otherwise downtrodden that benefit the most.

There is a severe social stigma about firearms ownership within the gay community. It took years before people stopped spitting in our direction at the Pride weekend events.

http://www.pinkpistols.org/
4.21.2008 5:57pm
Elliot Reed (mail):
I think Eugene makes a pretty good point here. I don't have a gun, have no desire to have one, and feel uncomfortable at ranges, but my sense as a gay effete urban liberal is that a lot of support for gun control is actually driven by cultural bias. If you're from an urban area, your stereotype about gun owners is likely to be that they're paranoids, rednecks, or scary black people, so meeting actual gun owners would help to dispel that stereotype.

FWIW, I don't find the evidence on either side particularly convincing, and therefore don't care about the issue one way or the other.
4.21.2008 5:57pm
The Unbeliever:
He also writes that cars kill more people than gun owners do. So? Cars have a use. Guns do not.


Cars get you from point A to point B. Guns sling projectiles at high speeds. Both functions can be undertaken by other instruments, and the fact that you prefer the former's functions over the latter's is not an argument that makes a speck of difference to any debate, anywhere.

If we banned guns, nothing would happen except a lot of people would still be alive.


Another bald assertion, and I'll note that attempting to enforce such a ban would likely spark a civil war by the people who understand the purpose of firearms much better than you.

If we banned cars our economy would collapse.


If we banned cars a lot more people would still be alive than if we banned guns, unless there is some high incidence of horse-related deaths I'm unaware of. Why should one result be preferred over the other? For economic reasons--which implies you have some specific value per human life in mind when you make these judgement calls?

The rest of your comments are self-evidently ludicrous, and at the risk of you screeching yet again about a lack of argumentations against your own unsupported assertions, I will decline to rip them apart individually.
4.21.2008 5:58pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
GatoRat:

Swiss I take it?
4.21.2008 6:00pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
And if there were no guns in our society, those who use guns in crimes would be fire less likely to use them in an attack.

I don't really have the time to become an expert swordsman. Or do you really think if you could somehow take all the guns out of society and completely forget the technology, which you can't, all the violent psychopaths in the world would suddenly love kittens and hug puppies?
4.21.2008 6:00pm
anonthu:
JF Thomas wrote (emphasis mine)
You know it is really ridiculous that you keep insisting that a pocket knife (that you could—and I regularly did—carry on airplanes pre-9/11) is an effective self defense or offensive weapon.

a pocket knife...on airplanes...9/11...effective...offensive weapon

Ridiculous!
4.21.2008 6:01pm
Ben P (mail):

Tell it to the Japanese, the British, the French, the Canadians, etc. etc. all of whom have lower incidences of gun related deaths than we do.


What about the swiss? What about Washington DC Crime rates? What about the fact that Japanese Communities within the US have gun related deaths closer to those in Japan than those in other parts of the US?

If you're going to assert evidence you have to be fair and look at all the evidence. And again, when you look at all the evidence, you just can't make that assertion.



When 32 kids were killed at VA Tech last year, their families shouldered the burden, both emotionally, and financially, for that crime. Most states have laws to force car owners to pay into a fund for uninsured motorists. But those who own guns get an economic free ride. They kill, wound, and the rest of us pay for it in higher hospital bills, funeral costs, loss of income, etc.


That's a bit of a non sequitur don't you think?

Some here might be opposed to such a thing in principle, but I would at least be open minded about a tax on the sale of guns to mitigate the negative effects of the presence of guns brings. The second amendment might have an effect on this, but given that it's not been conclusively decided, I can't say what it might be.
4.21.2008 6:02pm
ruralcounsel (mail) (www):
bpuharic:

But those who own guns get an economic free ride.


Or is the inherently lower crime rate you all enjoy is partially a function of criminals fearing gun owners, and factoring that in to the risk/reward of assaults, robberies, and home invasions? Perhaps you are the "free rider" on others shouldering the expense and risks associated with firearm ownership?

And I'll repeat my earlier comment in more explicit form, since you've chosen to ignore it ... I don't see any negative to gangbangers and drug dealers shooting eachother. Nor do I see anything wrong with victims shooting perps. The only ones I worry about are bad guys shooting good guys. (And I always wonder if the good guys would have come off better if they were armed.) So, what number are we down to now from the original 11,000?
4.21.2008 6:05pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
I say ban breathing, it's a sure ticket to certain death.
4.21.2008 6:05pm
exception:

One need go no farther than the story of Bernard Goetz to see that.


But that was controversial because it appeared he went beyond defense.

I agree with your point about how people think about this. In most cases that happen like that the assailants stop when the victim is armed, but that isn't the way people think about it. In the case I stated at 3:36 I know that the defender could have killed the attacker if he had been so inclined. But like the rest of us non-criminals, he doesn't want to kill anyone. The attacker was arrested, so it's all good. Except he's only facing 6 months, and bonded out the next day.
4.21.2008 6:05pm
Ben P (mail):

Yes. Because no one uses C3H8 to commit murder. They routinely use guns for murder.


Also, just as a sideshow

Story of an attempted murder using a propane cannister

Stories of many crimes and serious accidents involving propane
4.21.2008 6:10pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Japanese, the British, the French, the Canadians, etc. etc. all of whom have lower incidences of gun related deaths than we do.

Is there a guns101 site we can direct bpuharic to? Because his assertions have been addressed over and over again, by Mr. Kopel among others. The most egregious error is assigning responsibility to the tool and not the user -- that's magical thinking, like the Cargo Cultists. Then one must realize that Americans are violent by nature -- the US hands and feet homicide rate exceeds the "all weapons" rates of many other countries. Further, countries with higher rates of gun ownership, like Finland and Switzerland, have lower murder rates than the US. And our southern neighbor, the source of some 12 million of our immigrants, has a much higher murder rate than we do, despite gun control so strict that US border residents who forget to disarm before running over for lunch can spend months and months in one of their prisons.
4.21.2008 6:11pm
KWC2000 (mail):
I find it quite humorous that so many of you take this "gotcha" tone with your weak, weak arguments. For instance, the whole whole "I have my hands and those are deadly weapons" argument is so incredibly flawed. Amnong other clear flaws, the fact that you are insisting with the same breath that you need your gun for self-defense (or the best self-defense)undermines your point that you are so deft with your hands.

While half of you are arguing that I have no "proof" that the guntoters are homophobes and thus hypocritical regarding their "how dare you impose morality stance", the other half is making homophobic anti-gay comments and trying to distinguish gay rights and gun rights. It's absolutely hilarious.

Hoosier's video provides insteresting insight re: the homophobes. See youtube.com/watch?v=ixnYHSYzHtk
4.21.2008 6:14pm
LarryA (mail) (www):
I don't believe I've ever met a homosexual who owned a gun.
Pink Pistols
And a good number of the gun owners who post on this site display an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers that seems just plain unhealthy.
Actually, most of my students in gun classes are no more afraid of criminals or strangers than they are of fire or being injured. But they do tend to keep fire extinguishers and first aid kits handy.
I have to note the irony in the apparently prevalent concern that owning a device a primary purpose of which is often cited as the deterrence of or protection against crime in the home may actually make one's home a target for crime. Isn't that a bit self-defeating?
Not really. Firearms can be replaced. I have a gun to protect the lives of myself and my family. If the possibility of getting shot encourages criminals intending to burglarize my home to make sure none of us are there then my gun has served its purpose. Burglary statistics in the U.S. and Britain indicate that the strategy works spectacularly well.
I suspect that a large number of the gun-owning "how dare you impose your morality on me" types are the same people who vote against gay rights.
True. Given 80 million gun owners even a small percentage would be a “large number.” It’s also true that the Pink Pistols regularly report being much more welcome at gun rights conferences (For instance, they are invited to the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference and always have a table.) than they are at gay rights conferences, where they are routinely asked to leave.
The whole "I need my gun because the world is out to get me" thing is a little paranoid, don't you think? When's the last time someone broke into your house and tried to kill you?
Never. But in the twelve years Texas has had concealed carry I’ve been in three situations where I was glad I was carrying. I’ve also heard a number of more serious stories from my students. Violence does happen.

Are you “paranoid” enough about auto accidents that you wear a seatbelt?
Denial. It's a murder weapon.
Given the number of gun owners and firearms, and the relative infrequency that legally-owned guns are used in murder, they are remarkably ineffective.
I don't think it's that controversial that gun owners are more often than not Republican
There’s a new survey of Pennsylvania Democrats on the Pittsburgh Post_gazette showing which candidate various groups are voting for. 38% of the sample of Democrats said they are gun owners.
I hope you are not implying that you would be justified in shooting a mentally ill person.
Depends on the mental condition. If someone like Charles Manson came to your home would you shoot him, or let him butcher your family? If you don’t have a gun, you’ve already made that choice.
It may encourage people who should retreat to stand their ground, leading to tragic deaths of people who are not responsible for their actions.
In my experience people carrying are more likely to retreat, since they don’t want the situation to escalate.
My children aren't allowed to have toy guns
Mine never wanted any. It was a lot more fun to go to the range for some quality time with the real thing.
There is no justification for gun ownership at all.
So we should do away with police and security guards? Oh. You’re unwilling to protect yourself and your property, but you’ll hire someone to do it for you.
As I said, no gun owner's ever been able to explain why guns are needed.
I need a gun because I can’t carry a whole cop. Just like I know CPR because I can’t carry a whole EMT.
So perhaps we should institute designated shooter programs.
We have. Concealed handgun licenses.
Some people, likely including the one you're responding to, see the alternative headline to the one you're giving to be "Man shoots three teens in self defense, wounds innocent bystander."
A much more likely headline, if news media printed such, would be, “Man pulls gun, gangbangers run, innocent bystander spared her own beating.”
If we banned ALL firearms, 11,000 people would be alive today who are not...killed by firearms last year.
Britain banned guns. Crime went way up. Gun crime went way up. Gun murders went up.
4.21.2008 6:19pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
What about the fact that Japanese Communities within the US have gun related deaths closer to those in Japan than those in other parts of the US?

And where exactly are these Japantowns that are large enough to make a statistically meaningful comparison? Except perhaps Hawaii, which has the strictest statewide gun control regs in the country.
4.21.2008 6:20pm
bpuharic (mail):
Common Sense writes:

"Nothing, not mace or tazers, equalizes a woman to a rapist like a gun."

Nothing stops women from carrying guns today. Yet women still get raped..and murdered. How many women were murdered by guns last year? How many were shot by their ex lovers, jilted boyfriends, etc.?

"As far as revolution- I would argue about the ability to successfully revolt today (as would the Iraqis)"

You DO realize that, until the Americans came, there was NO gun control at ALL in Iraq, don't you?

"Just because people don't think that a right has any use means that we should eliminate the right."

It does if it's dangerous, has no use, and is impossible to implement.

"Finally, you isolate gun deaths without looking at deaths as a whole. If gun deaths increase, but the violent death rate as a whole declines, isn't society better off? Earlier commenters posted evidence indicating this might be the case."

Gun violence is, by far and away, the most popular way to kill someone in the US.

Ruralcounsel says that guns cause a lower incidence of violence. He offers no proof of that whatsoever. None at all.

As to his argument that murder is generally justifiable homicide, that's another statement offered w/o proof.

Ben P offers the Swiss as a counter argument. This is inverting premise and conclusion. The presence of guns in the US leads to slaughter. People aren't using pitchforks...they're using guns. Not every gun is used for murder.

Sebastian thinks I'm saying that the absence of guns would reduce violence. I have never argued that. It would reduce the murder rate, but not all violence is murder.

"Unbeliever" seems to think I'm a Jain and believe that ANY danger to life must be eliminated. That's simply wrong. Cars have a use. Something like 25% of our GDP centers around cars. Banning them WOULD have an effect on our economy.
4.21.2008 6:25pm
exception:

and thus hypocritical


No, you are hypocritical regardless of what gunowners (who are all het?) think about gay rights. You're the one who wants to restrict the rights of innocent people.

It would be interesting if there were evidence showing what correlations there are between gun ownership and support for gay rights, and gun ownership and sexual orientation. There does seem to be a common bias to blind stereotypes to the point that people think they never met a gun owner or homosexual (or evangelical or drug legalization proponent.)
4.21.2008 6:27pm
hattio1:
bpuharic;
I live in an area with lots of hiking and lots of bears. Would carrying while hiking count as a legitimate use? Or would that still be an instrument of death because it is used for killing bears?
4.21.2008 6:29pm
Cornellian (mail):
In an urban office environment, talking about gun ownership isn't typically something that would come up in casual conversation. I don't think that's because gun ownership is viewed all that negatively, it's just people want to be careful about what they say in the workplace, much like you don't ask co-workers about their religion or political views.
4.21.2008 6:31pm
exception:

And where exactly are these Japantowns that are large enough to make a statistically meaningful comparison?


Correct, too few. But what about the white American population? How does their murder rate compare to that of other countries?
4.21.2008 6:32pm
bpuharic (mail):
Tony Tutins says I'm engaged in magical thinking because I think guns should be banned in the US. He admits this is a violent society. I guess he thinks matches and gasoline have no relationship to explosions, either.

As to his reference to Mexico...it seems he's never been there. Mexico is a 3rd world country. America isn't. There's a big difference.

As to gays and guns, I read the "American Rifleman"...and distinctly remember Charleton Heston's tirades against gays in that magazine.
4.21.2008 6:32pm
The Unbeliever:
Amnong other clear flaws, the fact that you are insisting with the same breath that you need your gun for self-defense (or the best self-defense)undermines your point that you are so deft with your hands.

So having one method of self-defense available precludes having others? Are you going to ban karate instructors from carrying pepper spray? How many years of martial arts instruction can one take before they are ineligible to carry any other weapons?

No, the point of bringing up martial arts is to address your bizarre contention that owning a gun is evidence of mental imbalance. First, you ignore the legitimate sport shooting reasons for owning a gun. Second, you ignore the need for utilizing it as a tool for self-defense. I chose martial arts for the purpose; others may choose mace; yet others may choose a gun. Who are you to judge which of the three is the superior choice?

You do realize that if use of weapons are beyond the pale, you are forcing citizens into choosing between years of training, and helplessness in the face of danger? For all your bleatings about regulating morality, you seem unduly eager to force everyone to act the same way you do.

While half of you are arguing that I have no "proof" that the guntoters are homophobes

...which you don't

the other half is making homophobic anti-gay comments and trying to distinguish gay rights and gun rights.

Uh, they are different rights. Last I check gun ownership was not a precondition nor a barrier to being gay (but maybe I'm just not up on current sexual trends in the alternatively oriented community).

The argument which keeps sailing over your head is the fact that the right to self defense arises from a much different area of natural law--specifically a much more basic area--than does any proposed right to gay marriage. You cannot make a coherent argument that discards the former right and somehow retains the latter.
4.21.2008 6:34pm
exception:

Yet women still get raped..and murdered. How many women were murdered by guns last year? How many were shot by their ex lovers, jilted boyfriends, etc.?


Are armed women over- or under-represented in the victims?
4.21.2008 6:34pm
Brett:
As I said, no gun owner's ever been able to explain why guns are needed.


Fortunately rights aren't conditioned on what hoplophobes think the rest of us "need".
4.21.2008 6:39pm
genob:
30yearprof:

My associates probably assume that all of those 300,000 live east of the Cascade Mountains. :)
4.21.2008 6:40pm
Ben P (mail):

Ben P offers the Swiss as a counter argument. This is inverting premise and conclusion. The presence of guns in the US leads to slaughter. People aren't using pitchforks...they're using guns. Not every gun is used for murder.


Let's take a step back again.

How is this inverting premise and conclusion?

You assert that the low number of Murders in the UK, Japan Et Al is directly correlated to their relatively strict gun control laws and correspondingly low gun ownership rates.

To which, I introduce, for the purpose of proving that gun ownership doesn't correlate to crime, the counter example of the swiss, who, by virtue of their militia have very large gun ownership, and retain similarly low crime rates.

To which you respond "The presence of guns in the US leads to slaughter, ...People aren't using pitchforks."

From any perspective I can try to approach this argument, your statement is simply non responsive to the point that Gun ownership rates simply don't correlate to crime rates in any statistically significant way (unless you cherry pick evidence to produce the result.)

I'm not going to assert that guns are the solution to everything, or that gun ownership ought to be totally unrestricted. All I'm arguing is that support for prohibiting or even severely regulating the possession of guns should require some minimum burden of evidence supporting the reduction of crime rates. This would be a vital part of any anti-crime policy, and I think we can say that the presence of the second amendment asks this at a very minimum.
4.21.2008 6:45pm
David Schwartz (mail):
I once had an interesting experience in a diner. I was with about 10 people who I had known for about three years. One of the women asked me to get something from her purse because it was close to me. I happened to notice that she had a gun in there, and I kind of unconsciously mumbled something in pure surprise like, "You have a gun?!".

Five people at the table, all of whom I assumed did not have guns, remarked that they too were carrying guns at that time. The gun owners outnumbered the non-gun owners. These are all people I had known for years and had assumed were not carrying guns.
4.21.2008 6:48pm
EIDE_Interface (mail):
One doesn't need the 2nd amendment to know that self-defense is a natural right.
4.21.2008 6:49pm
Ben P (mail):

As to his reference to Mexico...it seems he's never been there. Mexico is a 3rd world country. America isn't. There's a big difference.


So you openly admit that there are other factors that affect violent crime rates, but insist that the only significant reason America has higher crime rates than some other countries is because we lack gun control?
4.21.2008 6:49pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
The real accomplishment of this post is the EV has managed to combine 2 controversial topic --gun control/gun ownership with gay rights-- and a topical political reference (the "bitter" comment to the Obama "bittergate" issue). Well done.

As for the issues he raises, I think gun owners should let others know they have them, for two reasons: 1. deterrence doesn't work if the deterred don't know about the threat and 2. widely publicizing one's gun ownership would help dispel some of the stereotypes about who own guns. Owning a gun, but keeping it a secret, is like having a burglar alarm system without the sign in front of your house telling others you have it.
4.21.2008 6:49pm
MXE (mail):
He also writes that cars kill more people than gun owners do. So? Cars have a use. Guns do not. If we banned guns, nothing would happen except a lot of people would still be alive. If we banned cars our economy would collapse.

Guns do have uses. I offered trap shooting as one example. Hunting is another, self-defense is another, and civilian training for armed conflict is another.

Is this really that hard?
4.21.2008 6:52pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I guess he thinks matches and gasoline have no relationship to explosions, either.

Fire maybe, if you set a match to gasoline, it just burns. Don't believe everything you see in movies :)
4.21.2008 6:54pm
exception:

2. widely publicizing one's gun ownership would help dispel some of the stereotypes about who own guns.


Indeed. As gays coming out of the closet was mentioned. All gays aren't drag queens or bathhouse, um, bathers. Most gun owners aren't like what some think, nor are those who carry.
4.21.2008 6:54pm
RowerinVa (mail):
Very nice post, Eugene. And wow, what a lot of comments that have nothing to do with the post!

What's interesting about the trolling on the comments is it (the trolling) exposes part of the reason that most gun owners don't mention they own guns. There is a significant but very vocal minority that appears to equate ownership of one gun, any gun, with being some type of nut. Judging by the comments here, that nut would be, what? Someone who can't fight with "his" hands, has a small -----, and is a paranoid sociopath?

Speaking as someone who does own a gun, and just last night ate a goose I shot this January with that gun, I can tell you that I don't mention gun ownership often. Who needs the hassle from the anti-gun nuts, or even from the pro-gun nuts? But occasionally it does come up, and I've discovered that a large percentage of the people I know do, quietly, own them. A few even own them in Washington, DC -- VERY quietly.

As an aside, I wonder if the trolls here would think it OK in other contexts to pillory a person who actual DID have trouble fighting with his hands, or had a small -----, or suffered from paranoia!
4.21.2008 6:55pm
KWC2000 (mail):
Unbeliever: I will not engage your sophistry; it has become quite tedious.
4.21.2008 6:57pm
exception:

or had a small -----,


I assume you are refering to rape devices?
4.21.2008 6:59pm
MXE (mail):
What's interesting about the trolling on the comments is it (the trolling) exposes part of the reason that most gun owners don't mention they own guns. There is a significant but very vocal minority that appears to equate ownership of one gun, any gun, with being some type of nut.

This is true. Most people are actually just fine with it, even if they aren't actively pro-2A, but often there are one or two busybodies who are more than happy to be the turd in everybody else's punch bowl.
4.21.2008 7:00pm
The Unbeliever:
KWC2000: Such a high-handed dismissal from someone who can't even keep his random assertions coherent. I do hope you'll come back when you have an actual argument to offer.
4.21.2008 7:00pm
exception:

an actual argument to offer.


I take it that he thinks rejecting gun rights is as immoral as rejecting the rights of gays. This has merit.
4.21.2008 7:02pm
Sebastian (mail) (www):
I've generally not had a problem with it. Coworkers who have a real problem with gun control usually just avoid the topic with me. I've actually found in this small biotech of less than 50 people in the Philadelphia suburbs had two other people other than myself with licenses to carry. We gun nuts are everywhere :)
4.21.2008 7:03pm
MXE (mail):
I assume you are refering to rape devices?

Of course. Hegemonic troglodytes with underdeveloped rape devices feel the need to collect murder devices to compensate. It's all starting to make sense to me....I feel more enlightened already.
4.21.2008 7:05pm
RowerinVa (mail):
Here's a plea to bring a little useful experience into this debate. If you haven't ever fired a handgun, shotgun, or rifle, go do so -- there are gun ranges within easy distance of nearly everywhere. Yes, even NYC.

If you haven't fired each of these -- handgun, rifle, shotgun -- or at least been near them as they were explained to you and fired, then, with due respect, you are too ill-informed to be commenting much about them. The way guns appear to function in the movies and on TV usually bears little relation to how they function in real life.
4.21.2008 7:23pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas has a remarkable capacity for not understanding. I prefer not being disarmed in a big, crime-ridden city like D.C. Why? Because it has a horrendous murder problem. Not so much around the Supreme Court--but you do have to drive through neighborhoods that aren't quite that safe. The risk is relatively tiny that you will be a victim of a serious crime is small--but the consequences are horrendous. I know way too many victims from growing up in Los Angeles.

If J.F. Thomas was arguing that gun ownership is bad because there is a horrifying high crime problem, and banning guns would reduce this problem, this would be at least a logical argument. But his argument against being armed, and against gun ownership, is that there is really no significant risk of being a violent crime victim. This makes no sense.

Thomas thinks that because a mentally ill person is not responsible for their actions, using a gun in self-defense is wrong. Here, Thomas demonstrates that he is completely out of touch with reality. There are large numbers of incidents in which mentally ill people, often with guns, but also with knives, swords, and personal weapons, commit murder. The victims have a perfect right to prevent being murdered, maimed, or badly injured REGARDLESS of whether the attacker is sane or not. Only a deranged liberal would argue that you don't have the right to defend yourself from a violent attack.

For a liberal to whine about conservatives trying to impose their moral values through the law is hilarious. When, ever, have liberals attempted to persuade people to their position, instead of using the power of the government to force people (often a majority of the people) to follow their wishes?

The difference between J.F. Thomas and me is this: while such laws are certainly constitutional, I do not support sodomy laws. What consenting adults do in private should not be the government's business, and it doesn't matter if it is sodomy, employment, or photography. Liberalism of the J.F. Thomas variety is a form of totalitarianism in Birkenstocks.
4.21.2008 7:31pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

As to gays and guns, I read the "American Rifleman"...and distinctly remember Charleton Heston's tirades against gays in that magazine.
Citation, please. I remember seeing a few articles or columns by Heston, and I can't recall seeing any such tirades. Remember that Heston was actually something of a liberal, supportive of federal funding of the arts--certainly not a doctrinaire social conservative by any stretch, and generally more libertarian than conservative.
4.21.2008 7:38pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

There is a severe social stigma about firearms ownership within the gay community. It took years before people stopped spitting in our direction at the Pride weekend events.
Think of that as a statement that those spitting at you knew that you weren't prone to flying off the handle and shooting at people for no good reason.
4.21.2008 7:43pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):
J.F. Thomas writes:

I don't know, Clayton seems awful bitter.
Bitter? Just because I don't want the government telling consenting adults what they can do in private, that's makes me bitter?


And a good number of the gun owners who post on this site display an unhealthy fear of crime and strangers that seems just plain unhealthy.
You are right. There's so little crime that there's no reason for anyone to own a gun--and thus no reason to ban them, either.
4.21.2008 7:45pm
K Parker (mail):
JKB, where exactly do you live? Because I can think of few things less likely than a visit from the police at my home because somebody reported to them that I was carrying a gun. (Like whit, I live in WA, just a little south of him.)

J.F., the reason he mentioned the mentally ill is that they commit a fair amount of the street crime (as well as being victims of it, of course.) For example, remember the Westlake shooting in Seattle? This was considered a completly justifiable shooting by the prosecutor and absolutely no charges were filed against the shooter. The subject of the shooting, who was carrying out an assault against the shooter, was quite possibly mentally ill, and had spent a fair amount of time in prison after trying to burn down his mother's day-care center. He started that day's spree by a bunch of loud public ranting quite near my son's apartment on Boren Ave, then wound his way down to Westlake--arguably Seattle's highest-end shopping district--where he picked the wrong person to randomly assault.

30yearprof,
there is a one-in-twenty chance that a fellow diner is carrying.
That seems to be pressing the raw stats into saying something they don't actually say. First of all, the fact that someone holds a permit doesn't say whether they're carrying at any given moment. Secondly, in the opposite direction, there will doubtless be some who carry even though they don't have a permit. I'm not aware of any surveys that try to measure the actual percentage of the population carrying at any given moment (though some of us do our best to keep the figures up!)

Ace, I'm sure there are some incidents where innocent bystanders are hurt during an instance of lawful self-defense, but my guess is that they are fairly rare. If it were not so, I'm sure my friends the Bradys would have informed me by now. :-(
4.21.2008 7:45pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And that, when they go out for dinner tonight, there is a one-in-twenty chance that a fellow diner is carrying.

That assumes that every CCW permit holder always carries a concealed weapon--a highly dubious assumption.
I generally carry a gun when I go almost anywhere--except to work. (They have a rule about the parking lot.)

Furthermore, it assumes that such permit holders are carrying even when they know they may be consuming alcohol. I thought that was something no responsible gun owner would do.
Why do you assume that someone going out to dinner is drinking alcohol? That says a lot more about your addiction than anything else.

I drink about one to two glasses of wine per year, and always at home. (Sniffing the wine cork is usually enough to impair me.) If I am at dinner out somewhere, there's a good chance that I am armed.
4.21.2008 7:50pm
RKV (mail):
"Most gun owners aren't like what some think, nor are those who carry." Yep. Understatement of the year. Short example from last week at the trap range. I sat down to lunch mid-day, and was across the table from a plastic surgeon and sitting next door to a tile-setter, retired teacher down the way chatting with a college girl. It takes all kinds folks. I'm sure the same is true with CCWs. Shooting sports are great social levelers - redneck golf as it were.
4.21.2008 8:02pm
Curious Passerby (mail):
We shouldn't feed the trolls but the simple answer is that the purpose and reason we need guns is to prevent people from killing, raping and putting us in concentration camps. This makes guns much more important than cars.

And to prove it to you, if you take my guns away from me I'm going to come kill you with my machete. It's a lot messier than a gun.
4.21.2008 8:10pm
Lonely Capitalist (mail):
What the leftists can't see is that the prupose of a gun is not to kill people. The purpose is to stop people from killing people. A gun can be used very successfully without being fired.

But leftists only see the rare cases when a gun needs to be used or when it is misused.
4.21.2008 8:23pm
Elliot123 (mail):
As always, guns make for an interesting discussion. But it appears the people of about 40 states have chosen to allow their citizens to carry a concealed gun, and no state has found found reason to repeal such laws. This is remarkable progress, and a very valuable set of empirical data.

When Missouri was contemplating a concealed carry law, the Kansas City Star was quite vocal in predicting carnage on the streets if the measure passed. It did pass, there was no carnage, and when Kansas was contemplating a simlar law a few years later, the Star meekly put its tail between its legs and virtually ignored the measure. (Kansas City is on the border and the Star serves both Kansas and Missouri.)
4.21.2008 8:33pm
KWC2000 (mail):
Lonely Capitalist: (1) I don't think this is a leftist/capitalist issue. Plenty of leftist regimes in latin america rely on militia power; (2) prove that gun misuse is rarer than its positive use.

Unbeliever:

The fact that you seriously uttered the phrase "sharpened battle-ready sword" makes you a total tool. Sorry. You are probably 5-5 and 200 pounds. I just can't take you seriously.

The whole "gun for sports" thing makes no sense as does the "everything can be used as a weapon mantra". What the heck does that prove? Nothing.

THe point is that guns are NOT for sports. They are for killing. The "sport" part is just a rehearsal for the real thing. You people switch to whichever gun use makes your point, all the while offering disingenuous pro-gun arguments. Is it for self-defense? To shoot clay discs? NO. It's to supplement your weak and frail egos. To make you feel like a man because you don't feel like one otherwise.

That something can have multiple uses doesn't prove anything. When banning obscenity, people look to pornographic materials, not to shoes -- eventhough to some shoes are the ultimate turn on. This is because porn is designed to be evoke a prurient interest, as are guns designed to kill.

When the disingenousness ends, the conversation can really begin.
4.21.2008 8:45pm
exception:
That was weak.
4.21.2008 8:58pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
"THe point is that guns are NOT for sports. They are for killing. The "sport" part is just a rehearsal for the real thing."

This statement demonstrates that you have little knowledge of firearms or the people who use them for sport and defense. Skeet shooting is pretty poor practice for the defensive use of firearms. Go to a gun range if you want to see how people practice for the combat use of guns.

"It's to supplement your weak and frail egos. To make you feel like a man because you don't feel like one otherwise."

Your statement here is a good example of psychological projection. You see in others what you feel yourself. It also shows you have no substantive arguments to advance. Like Thomas you just start name calling because that's all you can muster.
4.21.2008 9:03pm
hattio1:
Have to disagree with those saying the anti-gun crowd is a small minority. I wish it were true...but it ain't.
4.21.2008 9:06pm
Uthaw:
Why should my life be in your hands without my having a say so?

You put your life in the hands of total strangers without having a say so every time you get in a car - and on any given day, your chance of being killed by an irresponsible stranger with a car is far higher than your chance of being killed by an irresponsible stranger with a gun.
4.21.2008 9:29pm
RowerinVa (mail):
KWC2000 writes, "prove that gun misuse is rarer than its positive use." Easy! There are between 15 million (US government estimate) and 20 million (hunting industry estimate) licensed hunters in the US in any given year (http://www.nssf.org/IndustryResearch/
FAQ-ans.cfm?Qno=02&AoI=generic). Let's apply the (ridiculously) conservative assumption that each hunter fires once per year. That's at least 15 million positive uses per year. How many "misuse" episodes are there per year? And of course, in reality, the average hunter fires well over than 100 times per year (target practice plus actual hunting), so the figures are much higher in favor of positive use, versus misuse.

If your view is that all hunting is "misuse," then I suppose we just have an intractable disagreement as to premises.
4.21.2008 9:31pm
Uthaw:
THe point is that guns are NOT for sports. They are for killing.

Even if one accepts this... so what? Sometimes killing is both just and necessary, and in such cases, it is entirely correct to have the proper tool to do so (a gun).
4.21.2008 9:33pm
MattCB (mail):
Wow. KWC pulls out the "gun owners are compensating for something". We have now covered all of the standard anti gun arguments.

Name calling and argument based purely on emotion instead of logic seem to be the anti gunner calling card.
4.21.2008 9:33pm
MattCB (mail):
Have to disagree with those saying the anti-gun crowd is a small minority. I wish it were true...but it ain't.

I do believe people who may have some anti gun tendencies are not a small minority. However I believe that the portion of the population that has views like bpuharic; supporting a complete and utter ban on all firearms/repealing the 2AM is thankfully a small minority.
4.21.2008 9:40pm
hattio1:
MattCB,
Hmmm. I agree that the ones who are as rabid as bpuharic, in regards to questioning the sanity of anyone who owns a gun, are probably a minority. But I think most of those with "some anti-gun tendencies" would happily outlaw all guns and repeal the 2A. I remember a conversation in law school about hunting. A fellow student just couldn't understand how someone who claimed to love nature could want to go out and kill it for their own pleasure (his words, not mine. And to him, it didnt' matter if you were hunting for meat or trophies). Then, later it came out that he practices catch and release fishing for fun. Personally, that seems like a completely cruel and inhumane practice to me, but YMMV
4.21.2008 9:50pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
KWC.
Ref talking about hands and so forth:
Thing is, I can kill you with my hands. You can't kill me.
The lack of guns means the big ugly guys get to do pretty much what they want.
4.21.2008 9:50pm
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

The way guns appear to function in the movies and on TV usually bears little relation to how they function in real life.
Oh please. Next you will tell me that Perry Mason wasn't a realistic depiction of criminal law, and that there are no hobbits in the Shire.
4.21.2008 9:59pm
Elliot123 (mail):
Who favors submitting to an attack without offering resistance while waiing for the police to answer a 911 call? If it's OK to resist, is it OK for a 100 pound woman to use a gun to resist a 200 pound man? Or should she slug it out rather than keep a gun in the house?
4.21.2008 10:05pm
Waldo (mail):
Christopher Cooke:

I agree EV certainly did a good job combining controversial topics. But this comparison has been made before by Prof Reynolds here:
4.21.2008 10:10pm
Waldo (mail):
Here's the link:

http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1030769
4.21.2008 10:10pm
The Unbeliever:

The fact that you seriously uttered the phrase "sharpened battle-ready sword" makes you a total tool. Sorry.

Actually that was a technical term. There are state laws covering possession of a sharpened versus unsharpened sword, and their transport across state lines. The phrase "battle ready" is used in reference to sharpened swords that can actually be used for cutting practice (as opposed to display swords, which are often much shinier but flimsy and are unable to cut through the traditional bamboo bundles). I included the adjectives since I felt they were relevant in a thread on weapons, to distinguish functional pieces vs display pieces.

Your apology is not necessary, had I known at the time of comment that I was dealing with a duller tool than myself, I would have included the definitions in my original comment as well.

You are probably 5-5 and 200 pounds. I just can't take you seriously.

And you are probably a reddish-brown Gila monster who lives under a rock. Isn't the "I can magically see you over the Internet" game fun?

I can see you continue to ignore the points sailing past you, so here's the recap: contra your original comment that gun owners are not quite right in the head, I brought up the question of weapons in general to see if you have a problem with guns specifically, or if your same lunacy label applies to any kind of weapon at all. Since owning a non-firearm weapon apparently puts me beyond any "help" you could offer, it looks like the latter is the case.

I could go on down the list of lesser weapons--knives, clubs, baseball bats, a board with a nail in it--and check your psychiatric diagnosis with each one to see if they should be confiscated. At the very "low" end it comes down to your fists, your feet, and your training in using them--and as we already pointed out, if you're so convinced the possession of dangerous weapons is the hallmark of a disturbed individual, we're going to need a lot of preventive amputations.

It all boils down to you have a twisted view of self defense and the inalienable human right to engage in it. The non-sequitir you threw in about homophobia is base canard, and as I repeatedly pointed out, you can't build up to an argument for "gay rights" if you deny the primary right of self defense.

The rest of your comments were a series of ad hominems, bald assertions, and demands that everyone else respond to the same. There's a word for that, and I suggest you take a basic logic course before trying your hand at arrogant commenting again.
4.21.2008 10:18pm
SenatorX (mail):
It IS a leftist issue. The socialist countries you mention are only ok with guns when they are in the hands of the authorities. Those that are completely against guns are really just against private ownership. The root mentality of the leftists/socialist/fascist is hatred of the individual. The individual’s right to defend himself (or worse revolt) is something to be debased, slandered, and weakened when possible. This is not a ban on violence it is a ban on individual power and a transfer of all power to herd control. The leftist hatred for "gun nuts" is the hatred of the herd member for the non-herd member.
4.21.2008 10:53pm
exception:

hatred of the herd member for the non-herd member.


I only worry about weapons in the hands of maybe 1% of people, give or take. I'm not scared of my neighbors being armed. Others are scared of a much larger percentage of their neighbors, approaching unity, and want them disarmed. There is something deeply misanthropic about this.
4.21.2008 11:17pm
TLove (mail):
My experience is the gun debate is a more practical, if subliminal, debate over the rapidity of the availability of firearms if needed. It's not a debate over guns, just how quickly they can come to your defense. To illustrate.

1. I live in a blue state. I have never owned a gun, although I have a minor amount of experience firing them and have no moral or practical problem with them. My estimate of danger is a balance of x (likelihood of needing one), y (the personal cost and hassle of owning one, including staying current, keeping it safe etc, likelihood of children in the house, etc) and z (speed with which local police would arrive carrying their guns), and I thought the balance favored the police. Note this is not a pro or anti gun argument, it's just a practical calculation. My view is that most anti gun people unconsciously make the same calculation, and live in areas where they believe the police are nearby and the hassle of owning a gun (largely imposed by the invasive state) are quite high. They may cast this calculation in moral tones (gun owners are evil and I am not) or psych tones (gun owners are crazy and I am not) but what they are really doing is in fact relying on their estimate of the likelihood that policemen armed with guns will arrive quickly enough to make their personal gun ownership unnecessary. They in fact have no problems with guns, they just want to outsource their use.

2. My wife's family, also entirely from blue states, owns a farm in s. dakota (oddly, as a place to go on vacation - they are all gentlemen farmers). The place is an arsenal. None of her family, not one, owns a gun in their respective blue states. But you could start a decent insurrection with what is present in their farm (and they are all pretty good shots). Why? Their farm is 40 miles from the nearest town (in the black hills) down an unpaved road the whole way. There are no cops. However, there are black bears, rabid racoons, nasty coyotes and lately, rabid cougars (one of which was recently shot under another farmer's pickup truck, where it had apparently gone to die), leaving aside the occasional dubious human (the sturgis bike rally being an annual nearby event). If you are out hiking, fishing, or even driving your car, whatever, you are completely, utterly on your own. There you bring a big noisy dog (you learn to appreciate other animals' fear of big noisy dogs, truly man's best friend when you have no other) and a gun (in case the dog dies in your defense). Again, an utterly rational, if somewhat subconscious calculation.

3. The big city anti gun folks, in my estimation, argue for gun restrictions because they think they can tip the balance further in the favor of the police, NOT because they think guns are in fact evil. They just want to outsource, if possible, the necessary violence involved in their personal self defense. Not irrational, although subject to debate as any practical calculation is. The situation in Wash DC and Chicago seem to indicate that this tipping calculation is probably wrong, and that they might be better off if many of their fellow law abiding citizens were armed, but whatever.

But in the black hills, the calculation is so far in the other direction that it would probably be clear even to the most ardent anti gun person. Come out to the farm with me, hear something snuffing around the house at two in the morning, see the big noisy dog go ballistic next to your bed, and you will understand without further reflection why the guns hung on the wall actually work and why the ammo is not locked up.

3. Is this contradictory? Not at all, in both cases, my nice suburban blue state, and sodak, guns are readily available for my defense. In my suburban town, I outsource the job to the cops, and in sodak, I insource the job to me.

4. Recently, an event occurred in my blue state that should make all the anti-gun folks think twice. Typical hollywood scenario, nice suburban family (doctor, blah blah) killed by rampaging crack-heads, tortured all night long, etc. with all the hollywood extras, recently released on parole etc. The cops? Surrounded the house early in the morning while waiting for backup, and apparently, a sign from god. Evidence is the family was still alive when the police arrived. They were not once the event ended. Cops arrested the crackheads because they crashed their getaway car during their getaway. Found the dead family later. Very nice town, high taxes, nice family.

Conclusion? The policeman's first job is to keep himself alive, not you. He's armed, but job 1 is still job 1. Secondly, police are paramilitary organizations that follow rules. Rules that say things like surround the building and observe to determine a course of action. Now a crackhead may be raping your daughters and killing your wife while you watch, but until the sun comes up, you are probably, under their rules of engagement, on your own, while they watch from across the street. So the anti-gun folks who rationally estimated that armed police are close at hand may have to re-evaluate.

I and my wife have re-evaluated. We are now armed. No big deal, and no different that sodak. Only at our house, and our children are grown and gone. I understand the limitations of the police (better than a few months ago) and don't fault them for it. I also don't perceive the same risks in my car or at work, so I didn't bother to get a CCW, although it isn't too difficult in my state. But I was wrong when I estimated that the fact that the cops are 9 minutes away meant that armed men would be inside my house in 9 minutes defending me. Try four or five hours. So ok, I was wrong, and I have changed my estimate. The scenario that occurred in the nearby town would result in my visitors being on the wrong end of a brand new Remington 870 (which if it did nothing else, would render them permanently deaf - did I mention that next to the ammo are hearing protectors? - I intend to still be able to listen to Bach after blowing large bloody holes in my visitors). And we just acquired a very friendly, but big, noisy rescue dog. He seems very very grateful. Just like the one the neighboring farmer keeps for my wife's family in sodak. No big deal, no moral whinging one way or the other, just a practical estimate of the risks. If the dog can't scare them off (which actually is quite likely - nobody likes big angry dogs, not humans, bears or cougars), and can't disable them, then everyone on my team will need hearing therapy and the dog will probably need that and some paxil. Oh well, you live, you learn. Or is it, you learn, you live?
4.22.2008 12:14am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

There are state laws covering possession of a sharpened versus unsharpened sword, and their transport across state lines.
There are? Do they also regulate possession of sharpening stones, too?
4.22.2008 12:57am
Clayton E. Cramer (mail) (www):

And to prove it to you, if you take my guns away from me I'm going to come kill you with my machete. It's a lot messier than a gun.
I am inclined to believe that J.F. Thomas and most other antigun fanatics aren't motivated by a desire to set up concentration camps or other forms of totalitarianism. My problem is that once they have concentrated power in the hands of the state, what prevents people who have those sort of ambitions from acting on those desires?
4.22.2008 1:02am
Uthaw:
Who favors submitting to an attack without offering resistance while waiing for the police to answer a 911 call?

You'll wish you didn't ask this... the anti-gun zealots will say "yes" and "the bad guy will take the gun away from you and use it on you" and all the usual blah blah blah.
4.22.2008 1:08am
Mark Robinson (mail):
There is no reason for anyone to get "touchy" about guns. The only part that I am touchy about, it is in my opinion a protected right that is before the court now. What bothers me more is the willingness of some to dismiss a constitutional right simply "because". If you don't like a constitutional provision, there is always article V, and that is really the issue. The anti 2nd folks simply do not have the political capitol to change the constitution. The base of this argument will become clearer (I hope) near the end of June.

What some seem to forget, is that one protected right dismissed by less than constitutional methods lays open others to be dismissed by less than constitutional methods. In other words, do it right or do not do it at all.
4.22.2008 1:21am
Kevin P. (mail):

bpuharic:
As to gays and guns, I read the "American Rifleman"...and distinctly remember Charleton Heston's tirades against gays in that magazine.


I call BS on you. I have read the American Rifleman for 14 years and there haven't been any Charlton Heston tirades against gays. You are making stuff up.

Sorry, guys, just another troll full of BS. For some reason, threads about guns just bring them out.
4.22.2008 1:24am
K Parker (mail):
TLove,
I thought the balance favored the police.
I assume you've never been the victim of an assault? Oh, I see as read further down the page--it is a long post, after all (not that there's anything wrong with that!)--you're one of that rare breed that can learn from other's misfortunes, rather than having to experience them for yourself. Good call on your part.

As for your #3, your interpretation sounds good, but one thing that's missing is an explanation of why we should consider your take on it over the actual words that the big-city anti-gun types actually use.
4.22.2008 2:01am
Semper Why (mail):
TLove,

While I applaud your theory, I don't think it is borne out by the examples we have right here on this board. Do you really think bpuharic would change his opinions just because he hears a noise when you two are out a-walking in the wilderness? I'd be even money that bpuharic has gone camping at one point or another and never felt threatened by the local wildlife, despite the real danger of something with big teeth coming after him. Even if he did encounter something for which he was not prepared, I fully expect him to curl up in a ball and die nobly for his anti-gun ways.

Based on many conversations with people just like bpuharic, I don't think you'll ever get him admit that guns aren't a bane on society that should be magically removed by the Tooth Fairy. Even if they were (heaven forbid) assaulted or raped, they would still insist that the solution to future situations is to outsource their protection to men in uniform (with guns, but they'll try to ignore that bit). It's just a mental block. They're so afraid of those evil black pieces of metal &plastic that they can't overcome it. Perhaps I missed it, but I don't recall bpuharic ever saying that guns could serve a useful purpose, even in the hands of the police. That takes a special kind of mental process and... well, you've read the thread. It's not pretty.

You're projecting a rational decision process onto non-rational actors. Other than that, I liked your post. :)
4.22.2008 2:09am
A. Zarkov (mail):
Tlove:

Welcome to the real world. Not only are the police fettered by rules of engagement, they might not even come. I made a call to the Oakland Police at the highest priority. I told the operator that my life was in immediate danger. The police didn't come. I called back. The operator said that they didn't intend to come because they were too busy. You also have to understand that there is a political component to this story. I lived in a largely white neighborhood in a majority black city with a black government. My neighborhood didn't get much in the way of police services as a matter of policy. Neighbors with friends in the police department were told to "get guns" because protecting my neighborhood was not a priority. The primary function of my neighborhood was to pay taxes and shut up. Being mostly good liberals they did just that.
4.22.2008 2:14am
Elmer:
People are being unfair to bpuharic. He or she offered a solution to the problem of gun violence: a total gun ban. Shouldn't experiment determine the effectiveness of that solution? Of course, for many here the 2nd prohibits the experiment. As a compromise, let's perform a related experiment. Heroin causes many deaths, and is not constitutionally protected, so let's ban it. If it becomes unavailable, bpupharic and others will have an easier time convincing people to try a gun ban.
4.22.2008 2:25am
LarryA (mail) (www):
The point is that guns are NOT for sports. They are for killing.
Then why are most firearms manufactured today designed to be more useful in sport shooting than in killing? For instance, single shot target guns, black powder firearms, obsolete (for self defense) single action revolvers, large heavy target rifles, long skeet and trap shotguns, and so forth.
To make you feel like a man because you don't feel like one otherwise.
Right. Come on down and tell my women students that. Let me get out of the way first.
(2) prove that gun misuse is rarer than its positive use.
Depending on which study is cited (and some of the studies come from anti-gun sources) between 500,000 and 3,500,000 people use firearms to defend themselves annually, most without having to injure anyone. Firearms are the only method of self defense that will deter a violent person enough to make him cease an attack, and are therefore the least violent means of resisting. Justice department statistics show that people attacked by criminals are most likely to be injured if they resist without a firearm, less likely to be injured if they don’t resist, and least likely to be injured if they resist with a firearm.
The way guns appear to function in the movies and on TV usually bears little relation to how they function in real life.
I really believe there is a school in Hollywood that teaches actors the wrong way to handle firearms. They can’t all be that bad by accident.
But I was wrong when I estimated that the fact that the cops are 9 minutes away meant that armed men would be inside my house in 9 minutes defending me.
I work for an agency that helps sexual assault survivors. Part of the training involves 911 tapes. Three minutes is a hell of a long time to listen to someone scream. You made a good decision, and I hope you never need to implement it.
4.22.2008 3:20am
theobromophile (www):
"It's to supplement your weak and frail egos. To make you feel like a man because you don't feel like one otherwise."

Damn straight. I don't feel like a man because I'm not a man. In hand-to-hand combat, I'm probably going to lose. I'm tough, strong, and well-trained, and almost equal to the average male in height, but I'm going to get my butt kicked. That might be rape, assault, torture, or death.

As I see it, there are four scenarios when my unmanly self is attacked:
1) Neither one of us is armed. Unless he's weak for a man, I lose.
2) Assailant is armed; I'm not. I lose.
3) Assailant is unarmed; I'm armed. I win.
4) Assailant is armed; I'm armed. I might win.

Notice that to not be raped, tortured, or killed, I need a gun. I guess, though, I should just have a big strong mahnly man around to protect me.
4.22.2008 4:16am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Nothing stops women from carrying guns today.
Except the laws of many states, plus loony attitudes like yours.
Yet women still get raped..and murdered. How many women were murdered by guns last year?
Zero.
How many were shot by their ex lovers, jilted boyfriends, etc.?
You tell us. Don't forget to also include, for comparison's sake, the number killed or seriously injured by their ex lovers, jilted boyfriends, etc., without guns.

Ruralcounsel says that guns cause a lower incidence of violence. He offers no proof of that whatsoever. None at all.
Even if one rejects John Lott's work, his critics, in attempting to rebut him, showed that guns had no effect on violence.
4.22.2008 5:14am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Lott's critics were reduced to saying there must have been other reasons crime went down.
4.22.2008 8:54am
bpuharic (mail):
Brett says our rights aren't dependent on hoplophobes. Unfortunately, our right to life, it seems is dependent on gun owners...they can take it away at will!

Ben P thinks there's no correlation between the level of violence in a society, the presence of guns, and murder. Guess he doesn't know who's buried in Grant's tomb.

MXE thinks that, no matter HOW dangerous, anything should be permitted in society if someone wants it.

As to Heston's homophobic bigotry, see:

vpc.org/nrainfo/statements
vpc.org/nrainfo/excerpts
celebritywonder.com/html/charltonheston_trivia1

(note '.html is needed at the end of each URL. this site does not allow long URL descriptions)

he also appeared in a photo with the head of the racist group "Council of Conservative Citizens":

netglimse.com/celebs/pages/charlton_heston/index
(needs .shtml at end)

(although Heston was not a racist)

Uthaw says that we put our lives in the hands of strangers every time we use a car. Fine. If gun owners agree to the licensing and testing and taxing, etc. associated with owning a car, that's a good start.

Semper's irrational response to an imaginary 'bpuharic', in whose mouth he puts imaginary words, merely proves my point. He has no use for the fact that 11,000 people were killed last year by guns so he makes up whatever he needs to demonstrate his case.

Elmer tries a not very subtle comparison to outlawing drugs...ignoring, of course, that drugs are an addiction. While guns do seem to have similar effects on many of their owners, causing them to suspend rational judgement, gun ownership isn't an addiction.

As to Nieporent's view of Lott's work, all murders are violent, but not all violence is murder. Murder is quite easy with a gun.
4.22.2008 9:33am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
bpuharic thinks banning guns will mean guns disappear.
Has he been in this universe for more than a week?
4.22.2008 10:55am
Semper Why (mail):
Semper's irrational response to an imaginary 'bpuharic', in whose mouth he puts imaginary words, merely proves my point.

Dude, if I were you, I would be the last person to be complaining about imaginary words in imaginary mouths.

You fit a pattern. In my personal history of being involved with the shooting sports, I've encountered dozens of people both online and in person with your attitude. You bring nothing to the discussion I (and others) have not seen dozens of times over. You cannot be reasoned with, because reason isn't what drives you.

He has no use for the fact that 11,000 people were killed last year by guns so he makes up whatever he needs to demonstrate his case.

I'm very aware of the number people killed by firearms last year. I keep track of it year to year, it comes with the territory. Here's a quick quiz: Was 2007 higher or lower than that 11,000 figure you keep spouting off without a link to your source? (speaking of which... The FBI disagrees with your 11,000 figure). Where did you get that 11,000 number again?
4.22.2008 11:13am
The Ace's Queen:

@Clayton E. Cramer

I drink about one to two glasses of wine per year, and always at home. (Sniffing the wine cork is usually enough to impair me.)

That explains a lot.
4.22.2008 11:13am
J. F. Thomas (mail):
The difference between J.F. Thomas and me is this: while such laws are certainly constitutional, I do not support sodomy laws.

Actually Clayton, the difference between you and me is I respect the rule of law. You apparently believe that sodomy laws are constitutional, when the Supreme Court has ruled that they are not. Obviously you think you are the ultimate arbiter of what is or is not constitutional, not the pesky government.
4.22.2008 11:48am
David M. Nieporent (www):
Uthaw says that we put our lives in the hands of strangers every time we use a car. Fine. If gun owners agree to the licensing and testing and taxing, etc. associated with owning a car, that's a good start.
As has been pointed out repeatedly by people who know what they're talking about, gun owners would be thrilled if the gun laws were as lax as laws related to automobiles.

(Start with this hint: there are no laws associated with "owning" a car, but only with operating a car on the public roads.)
4.24.2008 1:55am
The Voice Of Nyarlathotep (mail):
Folks, did y'all notice when the comments on this thread disappeared for a time? Given the number of craven violations of this blog's quite reasonable comment policy (see below the comment box), I'm sort of surprised the thread actually came back, or at least came back without the comment function locked out. Professor Volokh, you obviously have much better things to do than police comments, but in extreme cases I think most users and visitors will understand the occasional need for thread euthanasia. Even those of us who fervently believe that free and unfettered expression of opinions is almost always a societal good. This thread struck me as an appropriate candidate for application of what my criminal law professor long ago described as the "Texas defense" to homicide: "the snake needed killin'."

In the meantime, a thought for all: "Please Don't Feed The Trolls."

Let's just let this thread quietly bleed out on the sidewalk, OK?
4.24.2008 4:15pm