Replying to my pro-gun friends

gun_control_rally_sm.jpegThis was originally published on December 16, 2012. It's gone through several edits, most recently on February 2, 2013.

Dear friends who can't tolerate anyone bringing up gun control: You're not going to intimidate me with your !!!!s, ????s, WORDS IN ALL CAPS, namecalling, and threats to unfriend. I am going to speak my mind regardless of your protestations.

I just wish you loved the First Amendment as much as your reading of the Second Amendment. Instead trying to bully people into submission, let us speak freely. Most people aren't calling for a ban on guns contrary to your knee-jerk reactions. We want better regulations on something that is already regulated. We just want improvements. To quote my friend Jim Sanches, there's a difference between regulating and banning. 

In fact, I am pro-non-assault-style-guns-with-high-magazine-capacity for civilians for self defense after thorough background checks, training, and if responsibly maintained.

Respect that America needs to talk about this massacre considering many factors and nuances. So, stop making wild accusations, calling people morons, and trying to shut down discussion.

Dear friends who say that calling for better gun laws is like calling for a ban on cars: First of all, cars are not designed to kill people. Deaths arise from accidents. Secondly, car ownership and driving are highly regulated activities including an elaborate licensing system, insurance mandate, penalties and terms for getting licenses revoked. What we are saying, to quote my friend Mike Stafford, is like calling for seat belt laws after a car crash, not banning cars.

Jim Sanches writes, "If they're going to use the car analogy, fine, let's regulate them as well as we do cars then. We mandate seat belts, headlights, the licensing of every car yearly and liability insurance on every car for starters. Not to mention all the rules of the road, traffic lights, stops signs, etc we all must obey even if we've never violated any of them."

Dear friends who say that Newtown is about mental illness and we should only discuss improving healthcare for the mentally ill: This is like saying drinking and driving is about alcoholism and we should only discuss treatment for alcoholism and not discuss how to prevent drinking and driving. 

Dear friends who say that guns don't kill people, people kill people: People with guns kill people. Guns are dangerous like poison is dangerous, especially guns designed for combat. It's not something we want readily available and in every home and public building. Even if people try to be responsible about its storage and usage, accidents and terrible destruction will occur, especially with children and mentally unstable people around. This is a public safety issue.  If we can accept restrictions on smoking for public health reasons, why not accept restrictions on gun purchases for public safety reasons?

In general, I think gun control is a public safety issue just like people flying planes or driving cars without proper training is a public safety issue.

Dear friends who say we need guns to protect ourselves from the government: To beat the US government, you're gonna need bigger and better weapons than guns. Would you be in favor of legalizing civilians owning tanks, bombs, fighter planes, chemical, biological and nuclear weapons? Also, if you really believe the government is out to get you, it's likely that you suffer from a mental illness.

In general, I have a problem with you thinking it's patriotic to shoot government employees with your guns.

Dear friends who treat the Constitution as some holy scripture from God and who think they have divined the correct, original, literal, interpretation of it: News Flash! The founding fathers were not psychics who could predict the future. They didn't think of everything. The Constitution doesn't mention online identity theft. Does that mean we shouldn't protect ourselves from it? The genius of the framers of the Constitution is that they wrote a living document that was designed to be amended as we go. There are limits to the Second Amendment as there is to the First Amendment. For instance, you can't yell "fire" in a crowded theater because it endangers the public.

There are ongoing debates about how to interpret the Second Amendment. Jeffrey Toobin writes in the New Yorker:

Before the nineteen-seventies, the N.R.A. had been devoted mostly to non-political issues, like gun safety. But a coup d’état at the group’s annual convention in 1977 brought a group of committed political conservatives to power—as part of the leading edge of the new, more rightward-leaning Republican Party. The new group pushed for a novel interpretation of the Second Amendment, one that gave individuals, not just militias, the right to bear arms. It was an uphill struggle. At first, their views were widely scorned. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, who was no liberal, mocked the individual-rights theory of the amendment as “a fraud.”

Dear friends who think we need more God in the classroom: Our country is founded on the the principle of the separation of church and state because it is dangerous to mix power and religion. Historically, it's led to tyranny. No, we do not need more religion in classrooms. We need more common sense and respect for the give-and-take of our democratic process. We need to insist on fact-based, civil dialogue.

Dear friends who think we need more guns in the classroom to protect our children: Why stop at arming teachers? Why not arm children? How far will you go in thinking that easy access to guns is the solution to the problem of gun violence in our society? Do you want any regulation at all? Do you want buying assault rifles to be as easy as getting a Slurpee from 7-11? Would you allow children to purchase guns? Do you really think easy access to combat weapons is about personal freedom? Do you really think that's what founding fathers had in mind when they made enormous sacrifices to build America? I can't understand how you're thinking about this.

Dear friends who fear that your guns will be confiscated: NRA seems to enjoy inciting fears among gun owners that guns will be banned and their weapons confiscated. This is just a fear tactic. I don't see anyone on the national stage calling for this, certainly not on Capitol Hill. 

There is a big difference between NRA members and NRA leadership by the way. There are ideas for better regulations that the majority of NRA members agree on, but the NRA leadership does not advocate for them or are fiercely opposed to them. For example, the majority of NRA members support closing the gun show loophole, reporting lost and stolen guns, and states sharing records with the National Instant Background Check System.

Instead of encouraging discussion and real information, NRA spreads fear and misinformation. Please listen to what we are actually saying instead of what you fear we are saying.

Dear friends who say I can't talk about gun control because I've never handled or owned a gun before: Have you ever taken crack and heroin? Do you have a position on what our laws should be regarding those drugs? Perhaps I should shoot up heroin, become an undocumented immigrant, and go to prison before I can call for ending the war on drugs, revising immigration policies and reforming the criminal justice system.

Dear friends who say that Hitler confiscated guns so don't confiscate gunsFirst of all, the vast majority of people are not calling confiscating guns. I'm certainly not. Secondly, this is just historically false. Hitler relaxed gun control laws of the Weimar Republic. Thirdly, Hitler loved dogs and used the bathroom. It's not a great argument to say Hitler did x so therefore don't do x.

Dear friends who say Sandy Hook is a hoax: I question the state of your mental health. If you really believe this, I think you suffer from severe paranoia and should be disqualified from buying guns. 

Dear friends who say "Second Amendment shall not be infringed!" no matter who is speaking, under what conditions, and which specific suggestions are made to try to keep guns away from homicidal people: I've listened to your arguments and frankly, you guys don't sound like freedom-loving, Constitution-protecting individuals. You just sound brainwashed. There are only so many ways a person can say that I don't give a crap about anyone else but myself and guns make me feel powerful and that is all that matters

[This is not directed at all gun owners. Just the ones who don't want to engage in any policy discussions involving stricter guns laws and try to shout people down invoking the Second Amendment.]

Dear all friends: I'm finding that it's very hard to engage in a constructive dialogue with people hellbent on bullying you until you give up or repeating gun lobby propaganda ad nauseum. Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade in the way Joseph Welch called out Senator McCarthy during Army-McCarthy hearings. I want to direct the same lines said by Welch in 1954 to Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the NRA, who testified at the Senate committee hearing on January 30, 2013 and shamelessly uses fear-mongering to boost gun sales: Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?

Check out The Gun Debate - Special 2-hr show hosted by Annabel Park on Sunday, 1/13, 3:30pm ET.

Annabel is a filmmaker and the founder of the Coffee Party. Her new documentary project is Story of America: A Nation Divided. You can follow her on Twitter @annabelpark and subscribe to her Facebook updates.

 

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Showing 1466 reactions

commented 2013-02-02 02:27:40 -0500 · Flag
To everyone: This thread has turned into Edward’s blog with long comments that very few people can possibly take the time to read. There are many complaints from people who are getting notifications in their emails. Let’s find another way to have dialogue. Commenting on a blog post is very limiting. I’m closing the comments.

Thanks for participating! I’ve learned a lot from you all.
commented 2013-02-02 01:30:47 -0500 · Flag
Excellent piece. This gun owner would like a calm discussion about guns. I remember the calm conversations last fall in the UK about gins after the tragic ambushing of two police women. Is it any wonder I am working toward moving permanently to that civilized country?
commented 2013-02-02 01:19:46 -0500 · Flag
Brian, check out David Frum’s commentary:

Yet it remains most fundamentally true: people in that room interpreted their gun advocacy as license to shout at a grieving father. Whether you call it “heckling” or something else, it’s just wrong. And the impulse to parse, excuse, condone that we saw in blogs and on Twitter afterward was very nearly equally wrong: a substitution of ideology for basic human sympathy.
http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/30/the-newtown-heckling-controversy.html
commented 2013-02-02 01:12:45 -0500 · Flag
Annabel,

Mr. Heslin asked a question. When no one responded he stated that he interpreted their silence as agreement, and that is when they spoke up. The people in the audience tried to show respect but would not allow him to twist that respect. Had no one said anything the news would have said something along the lines of “No one can answer grieving father as to why they need assault weapons”.

As for what Edward said, you may start off talking about what happened at those hearings in Connecticut, but you don’t end there. I also notice the position has changed and I wonder if the wording and included link have changed as well, maybe to clarify your statement. I know I questioned what I was doing commenting here when I saw your initial posting of the update.
commented 2013-02-02 01:10:00 -0500 · Flag
Edward, you need to take a break from this thread.
commented 2013-02-02 01:07:08 -0500 · Flag
No idea why that posted twice, sorry about that.
commented 2013-02-02 01:05:22 -0500 · Flag
Annabel Park “I was referring to people who’d behave like this: ”http://www.upi.com/blog/2013/01/29/Newtown-father-interrupted-by-activists-at-Connecticut-gun-control-hearing-VIDEO/8531359494325/">http://www.upi.com/blog/2013/01/29/Newtown-father-interrupted-by-activists-at-Connecticut-gun-control-hearing-VIDEO/8531359494325/ "

Then complain about inconsiderate jerk-wads. That sort of behavior has nothing to do with gun control.

Also, I just watched the part of that video at 14:40 on to the comments from the peanut gallery. He stated a question to “anyone here”. Which got zero response. The then started to use the silence (since they were quiet like they were supposed to) to assert that there was no reason anyone needed such weapons, so he got the response they didn’t give the first time.

And it was short, not in the least unrestrained, and they quieted down immediately.
commented 2013-02-02 01:05:22 -0500 · Flag
Annabel Park “I was referring to people who’d behave like this: ”http://www.upi.com/blog/2013/01/29/Newtown-father-interrupted-by-activists-at-Connecticut-gun-control-hearing-VIDEO/8531359494325/">http://www.upi.com/blog/2013/01/29/Newtown-father-interrupted-by-activists-at-Connecticut-gun-control-hearing-VIDEO/8531359494325/ "

Then complain about inconsiderate jerk-wads. That sort of behavior has nothing to do with gun control.

Also, I just watched the part of that video at 14:40 on to the comments from the peanut gallery. He stated a question to “anyone here”. Which got zero response. The then started to use the silence (since they were quiet like they were supposed to) to assert that there was no reason anyone needed such weapons, so he got the response they didn’t give the first time.

And it was short, not in the least unrestrained, and they quieted down immediately.
commented 2013-02-02 00:35:41 -0500 · Flag
commented 2013-02-02 00:32:36 -0500 · Flag
Edward Crowell, I was not referring to you. Do you really think you fit this description? Dear friends who say “Second Amendment shall not be infringed!” no matter who is speaking, under what conditions, and which specific suggestions are made to try to keep guns away from homicidal people:

If you’re going to continue to say “screw you” to me or anyone else, you’d better find another place for your comments.
commented 2013-02-02 00:27:28 -0500 · Flag
Steve Benson “It isn’t difficult to manufactur firearms—they’re a fairly simple technology, easier than making LSD for certain.”

For a pretty funny write up of just how easy it can be:
http://www.northeastshooters.com/vbulletin/build-yourself/179192-diy-shovel-ak-photo-tsunami-warning.html

That’s right, a functioning AK receiver and stock from a used shovel. One guy, by hand, in his garage.

“Simply banning guns doesn’t solve the problem.”

And, variations in US law and gun ownership rates don’t show any relation to murder or even firearm specific murder either. I used FBI Uniform Crime Reports for 2011 (I looked at 2002 and 2003 as well, but it didn’t show anything different), the Brady Campaign rank as a measure of gun control laws (their scorecard is actually pretty objective in itself based on what laws a state does or doesn’t have), and gun ownership from Pediatrics (Jouirnal fo the American Academy of Pediatrics).

No statistically reliable relationship exists between those measures. Not even gun control laws and firearm murder rates. I even took a look at accidental firearm injuries and deaths. No relations.

Full writeup:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/122317415/Cover-Letter-to-the-Firearm-Data-Analysis
http://www.scribd.com/doc/122317285/Firearm-Data-Analysis

It’s long. It’s cited. It has footnotes. Get coffee.

“So the question becomes whether gun control will reduce gun crime. I take the position that it will not.”

And that data above supports the conclusion.
commented 2013-02-02 00:05:26 -0500 · Flag
Annabel Park "Dear friends who say ""Second Amendment shall not be infringed!" no matter who is speaking, under what conditions, and which specific suggestions are made to try to keep guns away from homicidal people: I’ve listened to your arguments and frankly, you guys don’t sound like freedom-loving, Constitution-protecting individuals. You just sound brainwashed."

I’d expected better commentary by now, Annabel. If I didn’t make so much time I’m for on this, I could summarize, quite accurately, my position with “Shall not be infringed!” They’ve taken a firm, bright line stance on the matter. Doesn’t mean they’re brainwashed, might just mean they’ve come to the conclusion that “shall not be infringed” should mean exactly what it says.

“There are only so many ways a person can say that I don’t give a crap about anyone else but myself and guns make me feel powerful and that is all that matters. "

I’d also expect you to know better on this as well. Rights have zero to do with how you and I interact. Rights are against the actions of the state. You can advocate whatever you want, but the government is limited.

I do give a crap. Professionally I do the vast majority of my work for people who cannot afford an attorney in cases that are trying to put families back together or keep them together. The pay is crap, the hours stink, and it’s far from glorious. Despite that, i spend my own time and money helping people as well, going so far as to have two more children not my own in my home while their mom tried to get on her feet and away from a violent ex. I’m not even sure what that process cost, I didn’t bother to track it, but somewhere north of ten thousand dollars of my own money was spent helping that family out.

Since the sperm donor for those kids had serious impulse control problems, major violent tendencies (having beat mom in front of and while holding one child more than once), poor decision making ability beyond even that, AND our home address because someone wasn’t paying attention, I’m not just putting money on the line. There was a very real chance of this nitwit would be as stupid as we knew he could be and come to our home to try something.

In which case, putting my family (including those two children) at risk, I was prepared to shoot the bastard. At all times, since we couldn’t know when he’d be stupid.

So, much more politely than I want to be:

Screw you for even remotely claiming I don’t give a crap about anyone else.

You don’t know me, do NOT make assertions about me in general based on my stance on a single topic.

Guns do not make me feel powerful. I’ll keep trying to be polite here, but it’s hard. Guns were, and are, the only way that idiot would be stopped. If someone managed to call 911 and if a cop was nearby, maybe he’d only have a few minutes to wreak whatever havoc he wanted on my home.

NO.

With my gun, he would have seconds. And you wouldn’t need all your fingers to count how many.

And THAT is all that matters.\

Mama bear is mean, but this Papa bear thinks ahead, plans, and is fully ready to deliver as much force as needed, including more than ten rounds to center mass in case that’s what it takes, immediately to anyone threatening the cubs. I practice regularly, I read, I think, I plan, so I maximize my chances if that ever happens.

So, I get a bit touchy if anyone wants to mess with my ability to do that, especially when they are so hypocritical as to claim it is for “safety”.

And even more so when they can’t present a rational basis for gun control by defining the problem they want to address, stating the goal to be achieved, providing the method they propose, and supporting that proposition with citation to sources and data plus a detailed logical argument of how the proposition goes from here to there.

So kindly knock off the name calling and insults based on what has to be a deliberate mis-statement of the opposing viewpoint (if you’ve read much of anything I’ve posted) and pretend to actually foster a rational dialogue on the matter, okay?
commented 2013-02-01 22:46:15 -0500 · Flag
Issues are about power, is you agree with an issue someone profits. Remember that when dealing with activists. Real altruism is rare.
commented 2013-02-01 22:43:11 -0500 · Flag
You might be interested in knowing, that according to FBI crime statistics, the most dangerous weapon on the streets today, is the baseball bat. The obvious difference, there has never been a “mass” killing done with a baseball bat; however, according to the FBI, more people have been bludgeoned to death with a bat in almost every annual violent crime statistic for the past 10 years!
commented 2013-02-01 22:31:13 -0500 · Flag
I don’t think I will change your mind, however, I tend to look at gun control in the same terms I see drug laws—if you make them illegal, you will simply create a black market where criminals will still be able to get them. It isn’t difficult to manufactur firearms—they’re a fairly simple technology, easier than making LSD for certain.

I don’t like seeing children shot and I think that taking steps to prevent shootings is important. But I think that logic and evidence shows that we need to fix the social problems involved if we really want to stop this sort of thing. Keep in mind that while Japan has strict gun control and almost no gun violence, Brazil also has strict gun control and they have the highest gun related fatalities in the world. Simply banning guns doesn’t solve the problem. If I could make a perfectworld where people didn’t shoot each other, I would. Instead, I’d like to live in a world where people are interested in seriously tackling difficult issues. Gun control is amazingly easy. Too easy.

I don’t like any law that limits freedom without good cause. Now, you could argue that murder is illegal and yet people still committ it. True. But in my mind, locking a murderer up is more about keeping that person from harming more people. Making murder a crime may stop some people from committing murder, but I suspect that most decent people don’t really feel like going out and killing their fellow citizens. So the question becomes whether gun control will reduce gun crime. I take the position that it will not. The crimes that people commit using guns will still allow us to incarcerate them regardless of whether or not their weapons were illegal.

If, as I suggest, gun control will not limit the number of guns nor gun violence, then all gun control will achieve is putting weapons in the hands of criminals without leaving people the choice to own one for self-defense. I think it is very important to make certain that one limits one’s freedoms for the right reasons.

I can sympathize with pro-gun control advocates. I’m not an angry zealot who wants to scream in capitals on the internet. I believe in rational debate, and I’d ban all the guns in the world if I thought that it would work.

I would like to finish by stating that the pro-gun control side is equally guilty of ad-hominem attacks, rhetoric, reductio ad absurdum, begging the question, and red herrings as the pro-gun side. Let’s stop with this sort of thing and try and find real solutions. I say that to everyone, regardless of what side of this debate you support.
commented 2013-02-01 22:29:57 -0500 · Flag
What many people don’t realize, though, is that a ban is where government will eventually try to take this. And thanks to effective propaganda put out by politicians – and the media – many people are not fully informed about the guns they want regulated.

http://www.assaultweapon.info/
commented 2013-02-01 22:29:21 -0500 · Flag
ok look at the clinton ban first what was it? a restriction on cosmetic improvments to guns of a certain type. it did nothing significant. and while it was in effect gun violence went up. two of the major countries that have publicly owned and train w gun owners have the least amount of gun violence. Switzerland and israel. Any law that they pass will target law abiding citizens not the criminals. Also if states and the government would have a comprehensive list of criminals and mental ill citizen’s that could be used to restrict those that have gun and access to them it would greatly reduce the amount of gun violence. now i’m not saying either side is right or wrong. What i am saying is we have these rights for a reason and history has shown that when these rights are taken away citizen’s become the victims not the criminals.
commented 2013-02-01 22:28:56 -0500 · Flag
It’s still one portion of America, trying to bend another portion of America to it’s will. It’s not about safety.
commented 2013-02-01 22:28:23 -0500 · Flag
Annabel, I commend you for always having a voice of reason.
commented 2013-02-01 22:14:07 -0500 · Flag
The NRA and their power is a symptom of massive public politics support. The last time the dems went for guns they were eaten alive in the midterms. My guess is that this is going on in the hopes that the benefit dems get from republicans behaving like republicans will off set the pounding they will get from the millions of single issue voters that is the gun culture. My guess is that this is about retaining the White House. Gun violence is less than it was, the mass shooting rates are unchanged since the early 70’s. so this is about power, a show for power standing on the backs of dead children, crying for compassion while pointing accusing fingers at their opponents. Personally I’m disgusted.
commented 2013-02-01 22:12:42 -0500 · Flag
See now I’m not progun. I just think that there are numerous law abiding citizens who are getting the shaft here. They’ve done nothing wrong and yet for some reason it’s okay to restrict their rights. I do wonder of state governments issued laws which checked your freedom of speech would you honestly not be upset?

I also see this as a rural v urban issue. Most people who live in urban communities don’t see guns as a practical tool. They see them as a tool of violence and well I guess when criminals are the only people with guns then I kind of get that point of view. Rural communities are not immune to gun crime but they’re far more likely to use their weapons as practical tools. They see their guns as part of what makes them what they are. Given that urban environments will typically have greater population density and thus more voting power the rural folks will lose the political argument which is why they are so steadfast in their constitutional principles.
commented 2013-02-01 21:58:35 -0500 · Flag
The NRA has had a tumultuous effect onm most citizens in the past century. Very rarely do they hold meetings on their gun use. I think localized reunions take place, but the fact is that they pose a sginificant threat when dealt with the recollection of participants’ appearance or contribution. If the NRA is questioned with the documentation of the organization’s recordkeeping, the dire answer that is being sought can be released to messengers of isolated authority. Personally, I haven’t experienced any NRA members practice their accuracy with dartboards, but members usually keep their weapons to themselves unless they are faced with the decision to sell them.
commented 2013-02-01 20:54:43 -0500 · Flag
John Doelman "Edward, we have laws for conspiring to commit a crime, and many of the armed resistance groups are skinheads or KKK or Aryan Army etc. "

And until they cross the line into a crime (like conspiracy) they are exercising their rights. That’s why there’s a defined crime for it.

“While they have a right to speak they don’t have a right to conspire against the government or specific people in the populace.”

Up to a point, actually, they do. When they don’t is when they’ve now committed the crime. Crimes are often not protected.

“The reason you are having a problem getting data that contradicts your position is the fact that the best minds that were working on this data were shut down by NRA influence when it seemed the data was going to contradict their rhetoric. Reports like the 43 to 1 Kellerman report from the 80’s in Washington State do not forward the NRA agenda. "

Exactly how is the NRA supposed to have completely cut this out? I don’t get the all power attribution of all things pro gun to the NRA. Congress did it, they passed the legislation (and if the elected oficialls are corrupt and not representing the people, then we’ve got a bigger problem). All they did was cut fed funding. Bloomburg alone could fund more than enough research to support his plans if he were so inclined.

Which doesn’t explain how the correlation doesn’t even remotely show up.

There’s blocking detailed research, and there’s hiding the relation in data that is available. Seriously, how do you explain that the data shows no relation between gun ownership, gun laws (as measured by brady rank), and murder rates (or firearm murder rates for that matter).

How, even hypothectically, if gun control had ANY relation to murder, would the brady rank NOT have any relation to even firearm murder rates?

Claiming that the lack of boundaries doesn’t help gun control. The states do show wide variation in their murder rates. Something is causing that variation. If passable boundaries mean gun control can’t be effective (what I believe you’r saying) that just agrees that variations in gun law have zero relation to why some states have more murder than others.

The cause (and thus the cure) of murder is not related to guns. By extension, if not even firearm murder is related to gun control, then it would make no sense for any other measure of violence to be affected either.

“When talking crime you have one thing, when talking accidents you have another, when talking going insane you have another. Without looking at all incidents of gun violence you might miss the reason we need preventative measures in place. "

Might. Might not. Rather than supposing, why not propose in what way I have missed something? What is the reason we need preventative measures? Which I still say mostly prevents law abiding citizens.

“We aren’t going to solve them all but if we can put a man on the moon or turn a machine that fills a building to do simple mathematics into an 8 ounce phone that gives you the world on demand, we can improve it. People are people.”

Well, if you consider trading liberty for a feeling of safety an improvement. I sure don’t.

And, just be cause we can doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

“What won’t work is imaginary lines in the sand.”

Very real line. I will oppose all gun control.

" Sounds too much like religion to me and religious righteousness never ends up well for significant numbers of honest people."

the primary difference between religion and science is that religion never questions the base assumptions (like existence of a divine being) while science allows for the questioning of even base assumptions (but people being people, it’s not easy).

Both otherwise propose to explain the world and provide guidelines for getting what you want.

My problem is, I can provide, from start to finish, a logical explaination of my fundamental right to arms and why abridging my right to self defense is a bad thing. I can provide logical counterpoint to gun control possibly being effective.

What I can’t get is a similar basic outline from the gun control side. What is the problem? What is the goal? How is gun control supposed to get from here to there? What is the mechanism? Cite sources and data, detail logical arguments.

What stikes me as religion-like is the utter failure to consider that the base assumption (gun control good) may be wrong.

As an aside, I have considered that I may be wrong and gun control may decrease crime, save lives, whatever. And it makes zero difference to my position because the right to arms is an individual, pre-existing, inalienable right, not subject to notions of collective utility or the social good (just like speech and religion).

I just argue this to try to figure out gun control and, maybe, eventually, push this back to wherever the real dividing point is.

Oh, and even if it is religious, I have freedom of religion and you CAN debate religion, so that doesn’t change anything.
commented 2013-02-01 20:42:53 -0500 · Flag
Just added this: Dear friends who say ""Second Amendment shall not be infringed!" no matter who is speaking, under what conditions, and which specific suggestions are made to try to keep guns away from homicidal people: I’ve listened to your arguments and frankly, you guys don’t sound like freedom-loving, Constitution-protecting individuals. You just sound brainwashed. There are only so many ways a person can say that I don’t give a crap about anyone else but myself and guns make me feel powerful and that is all that matters.
commented 2013-02-01 17:02:00 -0500 · Flag
Edward, we have laws for conspiring to commit a crime, and many of the armed resistance groups are skinheads or KKK or Aryan Army etc. While they have a right to speak they don’t have a right to conspire against the government or specific people in the populace.

The reason you are having a problem getting data that contradicts your position is the fact that the best minds that were working on this data were shut down by NRA influence when it seemed the data was going to contradict their rhetoric. Reports like the 43 to 1 Kellerman report from the 80’s in Washington State do not forward the NRA agenda.

You may know many people that feel the way you do because maybe that is your association. I know a few people that feel the way you do, 2 or 3, but know many that feel, at the least, we need to manage every gun transfer with a viable background check on the recipient. Again, patchwork gun laws across the states cannot be viable.

When talking crime you have one thing, when talking accidents you have another, when talking going insane you have another. Without looking at all incidents of gun violence you might miss the reason we need preventative measures in place. We aren’t going to solve them all but if we can put a man on the moon or turn a machine that fills a building to do simple mathematics into an 8 ounce phone that gives you the world on demand, we can improve it. People are people. What won’t work is imaginary lines in the sand. Sounds too much like religion to me and religious righteousness never ends up well for significant numbers of honest people.
commented 2013-01-31 09:01:17 -0500 · Flag
John Doelman “It really is simple. Crimes are committed by criminals or people who have a temporary or permanent psychological impairment, including those who hole up and form armed resistance groups. Can we at least agree on that?”

No, we can’t. People who commit crimes are criminals, by definition. People who have a temporary or permanent psychological impairment who are capable of realizing that their actions are wrong are criminals, those who can’t realize it’s wrong are not criminals (badly paraphrased insanity defense)..

Those who hole up and form armed resistance groups have nothing to do with anything and I’m really unsure why that even comes up. Armed would be second amendment, resistance would be freedom of expression, groups would be freedom of association. Nothing inherently wrong there.

Armed reistance was what made the USA after all.

" We do not have to reduce the number of guns. We need to take those guns out of the hands of the aforementioned in order to reduce the gun violence rate."

You have three statement here that are not necessarilly linked. It looks like you first assert that removing guns is not needed. While I happen to agree I’m not sure what bearing it has to the rest of what you say. The second mentions “aforementioned” which includes armed resistance groups for some reason (and there’s nothing inherently wrong with armed resistance groups…in a way, the whole armed citizenry is one).

Then you assert that would reduced the gun violence rate, and there you hit a huge problem. Where’s your support for removing guns from those classes would reduce gun violence rates? Because even a cursory examination of firearms murder rates compared to gun ownership or gun laws across the fifty states shows zero relation between gun murder and legal guns. Zip. Nada. So what makes you think it will do any good?

“Tell me your brilliant idea of how we are going to do that?”

I would, but it would be a distraction. You still haven’t justified your own position for change. The proponent of a position bears the burden of showing the supporting information or argument for the proposition. Because I see so little of that being done, I take the time to explain my opposition to the idea of gun control.

You haven’t even established there’s an actual problem, what your intended solution is, and how gun control gets there with appropriate citation to sources, data, and detailed logical arguments.

I don’t have to justify a thing until you can actually provide a coherent position with rational supports. Until then gun control is about as relevant as me calling banning sports cars because I don’t like jerks that drive sports cars. I think it’s a real fine idea. Lousy law.
commented 2013-01-31 08:43:01 -0500 · Flag
John Doelman “For the vast majority of people the idea that if there are fewer guns there will be less violence is real.”

It is only an idea. It’s not even a theory, because it does not account for large amounts of data. Notably, the basic comparisons I have done with publicly available data. It can’t even tell the difference between “guns cause violence” and “violence causes people to buy guns”. I can’t even say it is a hypothesis, since it’s not an argument apparently supported by data, citation to authority, or a detailed logical argument.

Sorry, if it is valid just because you feel so, that’s an opinion. And opinions make lousy law.

“It is only in YOUR imagination that less guns equals more gun crime.”

Not mine. I find no relation between the two. Zero. Zip. With any data I’ve looked at. Even the (specifically) firearm murder rate shows no relation to gun control laws or gun ownership. If you can’t even see variations in gun murder across the 50 states relating to gun laws and accessibility, then guns do NOT cause gun murder. If guns are not related to gun murder, it would be ridiculous to assume reducing guns would reduce crime.

Of course, the data I have shows no relation in either direction and it would be just as ridiculous to claim more guns equals less crime. The causes of crime lie elsewhere.

“This is EXACTLY why we need licensing”

What is?

" What Gabbie Giffords husband said today is exactly correct. "

And what is that? I stopped watching TV years ago, stopped watching news years before that. What I can find quickly (http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/OTUS/gabrielle-giffords-emotional-plea-senate-courage-gun-control/story?id=18348682) just makes a statement: gun violence problem, gun control solution. No support why. If I’m remembering right, the Giffords shooter wouldn’t have been stopped by gun control anyway. He was stopped by a permit holder.

Responsibility comes from being held responsible. That means recieving the consequenes of your own actions. It comes AFTER the act and comes to the actor. Not to everyone before they’ve done anything.

“Your not agreeing with that in principle puts you in the extreme minority. "

One, based on what do you think it’s an extreme minority? Define extreme. If I use my own heavilly biased personal sample it’s gun control that’s a minority. Not that it makes a bit of difference.

Two, the majority can jump in a lake. Rights exist to protect the minority from majority rule and oppression through government. Homosexuals are a minority, doesn’t mean squat to the validity of their rights. The wesborough baptist church is an extreme minority, doesn’t mean a thing to the validity of their rights. The right to keep and bear arms is an INDIVIDUAL right, the collective can piss off. Just like the individual right to speech, religion, ect.

“Believe me, every gun crime in the paper or on TV, and they WILL put them there, weakens the “do nothing” position.”

Biased reporting will be biased. And it seems to be causing rather the upswing in gun purchases, even without the reaction to screaming for gun control, gun purchasing has been at record highs month after month. And just keeps going UP.

However, if you would please explain, logically, how every crime being reported weakens the do nothing position? And, what is the do nothing position? Both sides want to do something. Gun control wants restrictions, most pro gun people seem to argue for fewer restrictions (especially eliminate gun free zones), and then there’s me who wants zero restrictions from the government (non-government restrictions aren’t second amendment problems).

And how does someone else’s crime (by definition, an intentional (aka on purpose, knowing it wrong) justify restricting everyone.

And even if it did, how does law (which cannot logically affect criminals prepared to commit murder or idiots who don’t see that they’re doing something wrong) fix that?

And even if it did (and here’s where my own argument lies) how can it possibly be supported to reduce my own individual ability to defend myself from assault because there is so much violence? I need to have the best availalble tools because there’s so much violence. The gun control position makes so little sense I can hardly come up with a comparison. Perhaps like banning sports cars because of drunk driving.

So, anybody going to bother taking up actually supporting gun control as a logical proposition rather than an emotional plea?
commented 2013-01-31 02:19:26 -0500 · Flag
Kevin: "And Edward…..no disrespect, but, as an attorney, it’s your job, as well as, well….habit I guess, to muddle things up….you know….create doubt, and “grey” areas."

My job and my habit is to make whatever argument advances my client’s interests (withing ethical / legal bounds). Often that is simply making things unclear. What seems to slip past people (and makes lawyers really frustrating to deal with) is that to really argue against the other side, you need to KNOW the other side as well as your own. I can argue both sides of most anything. I may have a client suing someone for money they are owed in one case and the next be defending someone getting sued. I have no stake in that, my job is to know both sides well enough to handle both cases.

As a consequence, I can frequently see both sides, see where they do and don’t overlap, and see the consequences. Sometimes, that helps make agreements. Sometimes that helps make the other side less sure.

I don’t have to create gray areas. They are there. I just point.

" Unless of course, you’re a patent attorney or something like that….."

Family law and juvenile court. Patents are boring. Pays well. But boring.

“One, i don’t trust doctors to make that call reliably.” Well, I do. Of course you don’t….you’re an attorney. You could also make a convicted felon look very trustworthy if you wanted to. I don’t trust attorneys."

Good. The only attorney you should trust is the one working for you. The whole set up is designed so your lawyer is a zealous advocate for YOU, and that’s it.

“Furthermore, if the fact of someone being declared a danger, or too mentally unstable, is enough to keep them from, as I said earlier, driving a car, taking care of themselves by themselves….ie…living alone unsupervised, mingling normally with society, being able to stay in a regular school…and all kinds of other things….it sure as hell is enough of a diagnosis to keep them away from guns.”

Okay, but let’s be organized here. Who declared it? On what evidence? What is their expertise and experience? What studies or data support their conclusions? What information did they have to make the decision? What information didn’t they have? Is that a good decision, a reliable method, accepted by other professionals? Or are they off doing their own thing because it sounds good to them?

We’re talking taking away fundamental civil liberties here, like making your own decisions (commitments and guardianships) freely being in public (civil liberty, commitments, hospitalizations, residential committment, assisted living, and incarceration). May just be me, but I want some really serious standards and actually useful reviews on that sort of thing.

Like, oh, full due legal process before imposition of legal penalties.

“What’s the difference between you wanting to lock the person up, vs me wanting to have the guns locked up? "

People who have committed a crime or pose a sufficient risk to themselves or others, we already lock up. I don’t propose a change to that. I just say keep them locked up until they can be allowed in public without supervision. If they can’t be trusted with a weapon, they can’t be unsupervised.

The thing is, every single person who gets this consequence has been found guilty / adjudicated under full due process to have actually done bad things.

Locking up guns regulates an object which cannot act or have any intent. It’s a lump. Absent a person, it rusts. But the person is still out and about to do harm. It misses the point to me.

Also, locking up the guns locks ups guns from people who were never a risk, would never be a risk, and maybe would need them to defend themselves from the people who should have been locked up rather than the guns.

To put it another way: locking up guns misses locking up dangerous people (underinclusive) and restricts a whole bunch of people who don’t need restricted (overinclusive). It’s not well selected to acheive the goal. Even without legal principles on the matter, it would offend my logical and science / engeneer nature to have a solution so poorly fitted to the problem.

“I understand who you want to have locked up….but….that’s not really fair either….they haven’t actually committed a crime….we don’t really allow preemptive strikes on that kind of thing here either. "

Correct. No pre-emptive strikes. That’s very much not allowed. You have to wait until they do bad things. I’m not proposing one single solitary increase in who gets convicted or incarcerated, I’m not adding any laws at all. The people we lock up now are the people I propose locking up, I just think it needs to be more seriously considered how long and how that’s handled. We know the system releases people who are still dangerous (or you wouldn’t have so many repeat violent offenders). There needs to be a better filter. Or, acceptance that this will happen. I’m okay with either of those. Get better at finding and restricting the violent ones or accept that the guilty go free and the dangerous may still be dangerous a the end of the process (and act accordingly).

But all of it HAS to be AFTER a proper legal determination. Not just a “nobody gets these military looking guns”. That pre-emptively restricts everyone.

I’m not a fan of mental hospitals because they were handled poorly, but in a way that’s pretty much human nature. Once you define and “us” and “them” there are going to be problems between the groups. Check out the Stanford Prison Experiment for what I’m talking about.

Systems suck at working with people. Systems are selective filters, filling categories and then dictating results. It’s like badly defined computer programming. You end up with a series of yes/no determinations that then dictate a result. People are way more variable than that and require individual consideration. And a lot of real thought. Thinking is hard and makes a lot of people’s brains hurt, so they don’t want to, so they apply a system so they don’t have to, so we get results that don’t match the actual need.

Just to be clear, as a lawyer my lack of respect for systems, including the legal system, is matched only by other lawyers and exceeded only by those seriously screwed by the system. Because systems suck at people.

But sometimes there’s just no better idea. That’s why juries are such an important part (and often messed up). Juries stick people back in the system. Then the rules don’t let us tell the juries they can override the law when it’s a good idea (jury nullification).

That had a point…Oh. I’m not proposing anything new for finding criminals and idiots. Just that we need to consider what it really means when people are unsupervised and if that’s a good idea. Restricting everyone is not a good idea.
commented 2013-01-31 01:45:17 -0500 · Flag
Beverly Shields "I also remember the words of the Second Amendment, “…a well REGULATED militia”."

Regulated, at that time, meant well functioning, not controlled by laws. This is similar to the current mechanical or electircal refrence, like a voltage regulator. At the time, mechanical clocks contained a “regulator” which was a mechanism to keep the clock accuate and properly functioning. Thus, a well regulated militia is one that is properly functioning and prepared, not one which is overseen by an abundance of laws. Over time, lingual drift confused “regulated” and “controlled”.

Or so my understanding goes.

“I also know that guns very often don’t help because we can’t grab them as quickly as The Waco Kid in “Blazing Saddles”.

Know how? On the basis of what data? Cite your sources or explain your logical chain.

Because what I know is that guns save lives, that’s why cops and soldiers carry them. If it very often didn’t help, why do they bother?

“I believe in background checks, closing the loopholes, doing what we can to keep the arms out of the hands of children and the mentally unstable. "

Background checks haven’t worked to stop what everyone’s complaining about and can’t stop anyone who hasn’t already been bad. Loopholes are unintentional lacks of coverage in the execution of the law. What some people complain about are not loopholes, but things deliberately left out. It’s not an oversight, it’s a feature.

And, doing what we can won’t stop this, may not even slow it down, and if what we can do is infringe on basic pre-existing rights, is that a good idea?

I say no.

“Please remember, the victims have rights too. They have rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness like everyone else.”

Those rights exist against government actors. Between individuals rights do not apply. Murderers do not infringe in your right to life. They’re murderers. They would be criminals and morally wrong even without a single written law.

And that’s a one on one determination, not a reason to regulate everyone, everywhere.

" Don’t let these gun victims death’s be for naught. And please, for your own sake and the sake of the world, don’t live your life based on fear."

Please stop using a tragedy as an excuse for action to salve emotions. It makes bad law. It is an emotional response, and law should not be emotional. If you want to feel better, go help someone. Limiting my access to the tools of self defense may make you feel better (though I honestly can’t comprehend how) but it cannot be expected to have any real beneficial effect. The link between guns and murder just isn’t there, it’s not in the data which is readily available and easily seen by anyone who cares to take the time.

And when did the macho BS of fear always, automatically, being bad invade everyone’s use of the word? Fear is an apprehension of a threat or danger. Knowing, recognizing, and reacting to danger is a big part of staying alive. The things that are why I carry a gun are real, actual threats. Low probability, but so are tornadoes, and I prepare for those too. I also wear a seatbelt, drive carefully, pay attention, keep my car in good working order, and otherwise take all kinds of steps to avoid needing a seatbelt in the first place. And carry a lot of insurance just in case all that fails.

I’m no longer worried or aprehensive about car accidents. I’ve done what I can to avoid and prepare. I do not fear tornadoes, I have prepared and have a plan. Having a gun is no different.

Unreasonable fear is unreasonable, and thus something else entirely..
commented 2013-01-31 01:05:25 -0500 · Flag
Beverly,

I know you said you wouldn’t reply, but I wanted to respond to some things you said.

The first is that while I own multiple firearms and carry when I have the opportunity to do so, I do not want, nor have I ever wanted, to use that firearm against a living creature (I have never even hunted). There are many reasons for this. The first is that I would never want to take the life of another person, whether justified or not. I believe I would forever be haunted by that and would always question “what if”. The second is that no matter the circumstances, I know I would have to deal with the legal system and would probably expend quite a bit of money defending myself in the courts. I do not want to jeopardize my families financial future in that way.

All that being said, I still carry. You may wonder why. There is a simple answer. My life, my wife’s life, the lives of my two sons, and the life that is growing inside my wife.

I know and understand that the chances of my being in a situation where I am required to use a firearm for self defense are decidedly rare, especially since I attempt to use good judgement and avoid “stupid people in stupid places doing stupid things”. However, I also use the same risk management while driving my car, and yet I still always wear my seat belt. It is the fact that I am unable to predict what others will do that causes me to wear a seat belt and carry a firearm.

I understand that my carrying a firearm comes with responsibilities and to that end I try and improve myself. I go regularly to a range, I have taken many courses and will continue to take courses (I do believe they should be voluntary, but that is another conversation). I also understand the safety of my children is paramount and to that end my firearms are either on my person or locked away. I will, however, teach my children firearms safety and how to shoot when they are ready. I have already started safety lessons with my seven year old, not with real firearms as he is not ready yet, but with a semi realistic looking toy gun.

I guess what it all comes down to is that just because I love my family and am willing to protect them doesn’t mean that I want to hurt others. Just because I believe in the Second Amendment and believe in my right to own a modern sporting rifle, no matter how “evil” it looks doesn’t mean I am irresponsible. I am a husband, a father, a hard worker. I am a veteran and a supporter of marriage equality. The fact that I am a gun owner does not define me, but it is part of who I am.

Thank you for listening.
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