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January 23, 2008

Comments

If you wish to purchase my car, come to my house with the cash. I'll sign over the title (the only thing you can have that proves the car is yours) and you'll be on your way. No government involvement, no background checks.

Want a Marine Corps K-Bar? Won't even need a title.

Want my Russian Mosin Nagant M44? $120 and it's yours ($100 more and I'll throw in 600 rounds of ammo).

The problem is the "loophole" you speak of is nonexistent. And the only way to enforce the kinds of things you want are to implement a bigger police state where every transaction is monitored and recorded.

Maybe if we actually used common sense and blamed the criminals instead of the tools used, then we could actually stop the violence. Or, perhaps when enough criminals end up shot and or killed by their victims, they'll start thinking about a new line of less hazardous work.

Or are you suggesting that an inanimate object somehow mentally controls the person wielding it and, sans object, said person would not be a criminal?

Great post Brandon. And I would just like to say to Mr. Allen that this particular issue, the Virginia gun show loophole, is NOT about gun control or keeping guns out of the hands of law abiding, sane Ameicans. It's merely a simple step toward making it harder for criminals and mentally ill people to get them.

And, yes, a criminal can get a gun on the street illegally and a mental patient can kill someone with a knife instead.

Now, tell me, how does that justify not vetting would-be killers and making it harder for them to get a 9mm semi-automatic???

Gary, because it does no such thing. Again, if I wish to sell you a pistol all you have to do is give me cash. What is the difference if we do this transaction at my house, the parking lot of the local Denny's, or a building where there's a gun show going on?

That's the mythical "loophole" you're trying to close. You don't make it harder for the criminal to get a firearm, you make it harder for the legitimate citizen. The last time I checked, criminals don't usually follow laws.

The premise you are basing this on is that criminals are walking into gun shows and buying firearms without checks. This isn't reality. Have you ever even been to one of these shows? Most of the vendors are stores with FFL's or people selling goat jerky and bowie knives. Plus, the police presence is usually highly increased. Why would a criminal go to such a high visibility area to get a gun when he can just buy it off the street or steal it himself?

There are 270,000,000 firearms in the United States under private ownership. Only .000035% of them are used in crimes. It's not the gun, it's the criminal. It's sad that we waste so much effort on trying to keep guns out of criminals' hands rather than keeping the criminals out of society. It's sad because the laws you want to put into place do not affect the criminals (who won't follow them anyway) and only put a burden on law abiding citizens. And as you can plainly see from the drug war, doesn't do squat from stopping anything.

Great comments, thanks both of you. There's no question this is a complicated issue. For now, I'm still a fan of background checks though.

Robb, if I could press you a bit further... Why do background checks "put a burden on law abiding citizens?" I understand that most are instant. So what is the source of your concern here? It seems to me that if you are indeed a "law abiding citizen," then you wouldn't worry about a criminal background check.

And yes, of course criminals will be able to find a gun one way or another. But why should that be an excuse to make it easier for them? Should bars stop asking for ID just because teenagers can steal booze from their parents liquor cabinet anyway? That logic is flawed to me.

In fact, the whole unregulated market of private gun sales makes me uncomfortable, and I'm sure I will continue speaking out against it. I would rather it not be legal for you to sell my 14 year old cousin (or worse, a criminal) a gun out of your car's trunk "in the parking lot of a local Denny's," as you've suggested.

Brandon, it already *is* illegal to sell a 14 year old a handgun, just like it's already illegal to sell him booze. It's illegal to knowingly sell a felon a firearm already as well.

My biggest problem with the background checks is that as they are today, you are guilty until proven innocent. If you wonder why us gunnies have such issues with these things is because they were sold to us under false pretenses.

For an example. I'm a former Marine. I already own 6 firearms. I still have to fill out a 4473 and have a background check done each and every time *even though I have a firearm on my person already (I carry concealed)!!!!!!* Now, if the NCIS system is down I am NOT allowed to buy the firearm.

I'm guilty until the system says I'm innocent. You're condemning the majority because .0037% (and that's not a made up number by the way. 2004 had 10,100 firearm related crimes 10,100 / 270,000,000 is 0.0000374, or 0.00374%) of guns are used criminally?

Us gun owners have already put up with waiting periods, background checks, bans on weapons that look scary, etc. and none of it has done a bit of good in reducing violent crime. That's why we fight it.

You want to keep guns out of criminals' hands, I want to keep the criminals out of our society and, barring that, want the law abiding to have at their disposal the best tool possible to defend themselves with. My 100 pound, chemotherapy patient mother cannot defend herself against anyone, much less an attacker 3 times her size. With her .38, she can take on several linebackers. And she shouldn't have to prove to anyone why she needs it.

Let me try to put it in another light. Do you agree that the police should randomly stop people and search them, 4th amendment be damned, just so we can stop people from having pot? Now, ask yourself this - how hard would it be right now for you to go buy some weed? Even as illegal as it is, even if you made it even MORE illegal, you could *easily* purchase some pot right now. No matter how many laws you put in place, if a person wants something they can get it. It won't stop them from getting it, you can only punish them afterwards if you catch them with it. YOU CAN'T PREVENT IT, PERIOD.

I challenge you to show me how this will effectively stop a criminal from obtaining a firearm. What law will be the right law that a criminal will go "Oh, I dare not break THAT law", especially when you consider criminals with guns are already ready to break the top law of the land?

Thank you for giving me some space on this and for the opportunity to debate it.

Mr. Allen, first of all, as an active duty Marine, Semper Fi! I agree with you 100% on everything you say. It is amazing to me how people don't see what is really going on here. These are the people who want to take away our freedoms "for the greater good". You have stated all of my feelings 100%. I just wanted to say that regardless of what the media shows us, people like you and me are the majority not the minority. Keep on fightin.

The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms - Samuel Adams

Unfortunately, it seems to be coming to that.

I've really appreciated the chance to discuss this as well. I hope we can continue...

Justin, my aim is certainly not to "take away your freedom." Please just tell me how requiring simple background checks at gun shows prevents "the people of the United States who are peacable citizens from keeping their own arms." I'm still having a very hard time seeing that.

Robb, I'm starting to understand what you mean about "guilty until proven innocent." But I still think that's a stretch and a fairly weak argument upon which to abolish background checks. A gun is a dangerous weapon and, under law, it requires a certain amount of responsibility. Similar to other products like alcohol, porno, and hand grenades.

With that weed example, are you suggesting that we should legalize everything on the black market just because... you're able to find it? Because some people find ways to smoke pot, we should legalize it? Just because people die in automobile crashes, does that mean we should abolish seat belt laws?

There is no absolute law that would end gun crime. Just as drinking laws won't prevent teenagers from drinking altogether. Yet these laws do deter the crime.

If Virginia's background check had been in place (and working properly) last April, Seung Hui Cho, the Virginia Tech shooter, would not have been able to purchase his weapons where he did. He would have been forced to look elsewhere. That's all we know. To say he would have gone on to orchestrate the massacre is merely speculation. But I can tell you with confidence that he would not have used the guns he did last April.

That's what I'm making this fuss over. But I still can't see where your fuss is coming from. "The NCIS system is down" and you can't buy a gun for another 24 hours?? I won't lose sleep over that - you've already got six!

(PS - Robb, could you share the source of your statistics with me please? I want stats like that! Thanks :)

Brandon, my reply is too long to post here, so I'm cross-posting at my blog - http://blog.robballen.com/archive/2008/01/30/Real-Reasoned-Discourse.aspx

There you will find sources, statistics, and probably more information than you'd expect. I've also asked my readers to join in.

Thanks.

Brandon,

I applaud you for a broad mind and willingness to reconsider your position!It takes an individual of character and courage to do that-well done indeed!

On background checks,I would like to see those applied to the politicians,judiciary and legislatures that mandate these first,and see how they fare on their own background checks before they apply these things to the citizenry.I would be interested to see if they can pass criminal background/mental health checks.

Goodness knows we wouldn't want any unregulated politicians or political loopholes for campaign donations.Who knows what damage that would cause?

Blessings

Elle

> Justin, my aim is certainly not to
> "take away your freedom." Please
> just tell me how requiring simple
> background checks at gun shows
> prevents "the people of the United
> States who are peacable citizens
> from keeping their own arms." I'm
> still having a very hard time
> seeing that.

That might not be your aim - but it is what you'll end up hitting.

You still don't understand the problem.

In every state I'm aware of, private citizens *cannot* call for a "background check". You have to have an account, be a licenced dealer in order to do that check. (And the FFLs do that at gun shows. Every gun show. To every purchase. It's Federal Law. They'd lose their license, livlihood, and freedom.)

But what you're doing is keeping me, the non-dealer, from going to a gun show where lots of people are looking to buy a gun, and selling it to someone.

There is no "loophole". It's a soundbite meant to take advantage of people's ignorance and presumption that anything called a loophole is a bad thing to pass more restrictive legislation.

> "The NCIS system is down" and you
> can't buy a gun for another 24
> hours?? I won't lose sleep over
> that - you've already got six!

Tell you what, for your next post, do one on abortion and use an analogous situation.

You'll want a gun then, when the abortion crew rolls in. :) Or think of that flippancy if there's a battered woman trying to buy a gun since she found out her batterer just got released from jail.

But NICS is down, sorry, can't sell you a gun. Come back next week, and maybe it will be back up. Or maybe it won't. After all, if you can merely de-fund the NICS checks and therefore pass de-facto gun banning, do you think that would be out of the realm of possibility? (Several counties in Minn. tried something similar with not-funding their required concealed carry background checkers when concealed carry passed.)

But all of this really boils down to this:

The "Gun show loophole" is an attempt to outlaw private person-to-person sales.

Period.

Now, since that's what it does, regardless of your goals, the politician stated goals, or anything else - all it does is outlaw any private sale - do you still say that's not taking away freedom?

Howdy Brandon.

Let me say first that I am very thankful when I stumble across those who wish to debate the issue of gun-control in a respectful manner. Some people on both sides of the issue can and do react emotionly in an arena where logic should prevail.

I would like to share with you my own perspective on the right to keep and bear arms and in doing so, I will respond to your comments and would love the reciprocity.

First some background on me so you have a little insight to my perspective.

I'm 36 years old, have 36 firearms and have been shooting for 30 years. My worst firearms related accident to date is when a compressed internal spring came loose and hit me in the forhead while I was dissassembling one of my rifles. I have a concealed carry permit and use it. I do not like to hunt personally but will never interfere with those who do enjoy the sport. I would much rather shoot wild life with a camera than a firearm. My main reason for owning firearms is threefold:

1. Self defense
2. Collecting those which have some history behind them.
3. Target shooting in an informal competitive nature.

My main peeve with those who advocate for more gun-control laws is that those laws target inanimate lumps of wood, polymer and steel. The only way to reduce what you call gun violence is to reduse a living breathing person's desire to commit violence.

Within the law of supply and demand, you can not decrease the supply by limiting the supply. You must limit the demand. Take the war on drugs as an example. Limiting the supply may cause the price of illegal drugs to increase but if there is still a demand for those drugs, people will supply the pipe line.

This is a common ground I wish to see come to light. We both want to see the crime rate go down, I just don't care wether or not that those crimes are committed by a person with a gun or any other weapon, including bare hands and feet. My position is that criminals should be punished under the full extent of the law and that law abiding citizens should not have to have their rights trampled on because of the actions of our societies criminal element.

Do you have to prove that you've never had a DUI before you can buy a car?

Do you have to prove that you've never been convicted of arson before you buy gas or matches?

Do you have to prove you've never been convicted of rape before you buy condoms?

But I do have to prove that I've never committed a multitude of crimes before I buy a firearm. When I got my concealed carry licence, I was fingerprinted, photographed and had a background check performed at the local county level, the state level, the federal level and then run through Interpol and had an international check to make sure I had committed no crimes in any country on this earth. If I do commit a disqualifing crime, my licence will be revoked. Do you think I should be able to buy a firearm and simply display my licence in lieu of the background check?

Thanks for reading.

> Justin, my aim is certainly not to
> "take away your freedom." Please just
> tell me how requiring simple background
> checks at gun shows prevents "the
> people of the United States who are
> peacable citizens from keeping their
> own arms." I'm still having a very
> hard time seeing that.

How is a NCIS check supposed to be done by a private citizen? Sure, there are internet sites that do it - for a fee. Or, are the parties involved supposed to go to a dealer that will charge them (probably more) to do the check for them?

Similarly, if someone has a suspended or revoked drivers license, you still can sell them your car - even if you know that they only way they will take the car is if they drive it away. Because they might drive the car, should all private automobile sales have to take place at the local DMV (during DMV hours and waiting in DMV lines) to ensure that the purchaser can legally drive the vehicle? Would you bother asking if the guy asking you to buy your car has a non-revoked license?

No, they're not "the same thing." At the same time, no one is forcing a seller to sell to a buyer they are uncomfortable with.
Also, while I'm not about to offer anything I might have for sale to the general public, there's no way I would sell to someone I wasn't comfortable with, and had reasonable knowledge about.

I am in Virginia, and have been to gun shows in Virginia. What gun shows have to do with VT and Cho, I still haven't figured out. BUT, having also been in Australia during the time where they banned firearms (not just handguns), I saw that the criminal element either went more underground to procure weapons (or stole them); they did not go into a storefront dealer and buy them as you or I might (were you to buy one.)The result - tougher knife laws. I remember seeing warnings at CityRail station about carrying long shank screwdrivers. So, yes, when deprived of one *tool*, those with criminal propensities can reasonably be expected to seek out alternate *tools*, even if it's a flat-head screwdriver.

How is a 24 hour delay a concern? When you consider that a restraining (protective) order operates within the bounds the Supreme Court set for police response (that is, the police DO NOT have a duty to respond) how effective is the document in stopping what it is meant to? Those 24 hours may be all that is standing in the way of someone defending themselves - or at least giving themselves more immediate protection than calling 911 and hoping the police respond in time. No, that's not every situation - but neither is Robb's.

One point that has not been brought up (that I saw) is that last I heard, records of all background checks are being stored (illegally).
Requiring background checks on person-to-person sales will result in a de-facto gun registration.

Quick question Brandon...

You stated the following:

"And in Virginia, police also say that 22 percent to 35 percent of dealers at gun shows are unlicensed."

Have you ever been to a single gun show in your life?

Did you notice that the police didn't say that 22%-35% of GUN dealers are unlicenced?

Should the guy who sells nothing but beef jerky be required to have an FFL to sell his wares? How about the guy who sells nothing but books? Hamburgers and really bad coffee? Antique watches and collectable coins? Cutlery? Bumper stickers and T-shirts? How about beanie babies( don't laugh, this is true)?

Why should a vendor need a Federal Firearms license when they are not selling firearms???

Let's have some more fun...

I'll shrink this down so the math is easy. Let's assume that 30% of GUN sellers( wanting to sell or trade a gun does not a dealer make) do not posses an FFL and there are 10 sellers total. That means there are 7 FFL dealers and 3 individual people wishing to sell from their personal collection. The individuals must carry their guns on their person( why pay $500 for a table when you are trying to sell a $400 rifle?). The FFL dealers WITH tables have 100 guns or more for sale.

So, here we have 30% of sellers unlicensed and able to offer up 3 to 9 guns max. The remaining 70% of FFL dealers are offering an average of 100 guns apiece. Also keep in mind that private sellers are often times selling quite rare and valuable pieces that your local Blood or Crips member would NOT see as particularly appealing. Which do you think a gang member would prefer, a Kentucky flintlock for $15,000 or that compact little 9mm he can slip into his waist band for $500?

But please, whatever you do, be skeptical of everything I say AND everything you claim the police are saying.

GO TO THE NEXT SHOW IN YOUR AREA AND SEE FOR YOURSELF!

Then decide who is telling the truth.

I don't ask my car mechanic to perform my root canal. I don't ask my dentist to tune up my car.

If you're not willing to go to the next show for yourself, then at least listen to those who go to ALL the shows.


One more thing, you need not worry about prohibited persons buying guns at gun shows. Anyone prohibited from owning a firearm can not legally enter any establishment, gun store or gun show, which sells firearms.

And we all know that criminals obey THAT law.

Just a quick comment to all those involved in this discussion: Background checks are now being conducted on a very frequent basis by private citizens, from an application for employment to a credit application for an apartment rental. Background checks are employed in many circumstances which do not involve a serious threat, just a need for more information about the person across the table.

Although I am unhappy to go through these checks if there is a delay (and for many licensed gun dealers, it is instant), I understand the need for both private citizens and the US government to invoke them. Therefore, I find it hard to understand how a background check is somehow limiting to my rights as a US citizen unless the check itself reveals a legal reason not to provide me with a weapon.

I believe that a background check does not harm our constitutional rights, but does provide us with a level of safety. Any person who does want to defend themselves with a firearm can still purchase that weapon if there is no reason for legal precaution (i.e. a previous felony). That each person who has posted a comment here who owns a handgun, or even a concealed weapon, proves that even with a background check, safe and/or responsible citizens do not have any hindrance in accessibility.

And, in response to Robb's comment about "guilty before proven innocent," should I assume that anyone interviewing me for a job or considering renting an apartment to me is also assuming that I am guilty of something?

Lindsey, the difference between a job interview and renting an apartment is that it's a private transaction between individuals. The state doesn't require your landlord to run a background check. You don't have to have one to get a job.

And yes absolutely, you're employer is assuming you are not telling the truth on your application and your future landlord doesn't trust you to pay. If you were to buy a gun from me with a check, I'd ask to see your license because I wouldn't trust the funds to clear and would want some way of tracking you down.

I have no problems with actual dealers having to run a background check. I can write that off as a cost of doing business. But just like you do not have to run a check to sell me your car, I don't have to run a check to sell you a gun. That is the so called "loophole" you think you're closing. Just because I do it at a gun show doesn't make it less legal or any different than selling it to you from my house.

"That each person who has posted a comment here who owns a handgun, or even a concealed weapon, proves that even with a background check, safe and/or responsible citizens do not have any hindrance in accessibility."

That is patently false. I am an activist BECAUSE of the hassle I had to go through to get my concealed license. I didn't realize how hard the government made it for you and me to protect ourselves (from both criminals and the government).

It's not just the background checks, it's the 20,000 laws that supposedly "prevent" crime. As you can see, none of those 20,000 laws are having any effect and yet you're more than willing to add on even more. It's people thinking that there is a such thing as an "assault rifle" simply because it *looks* scary (an AR-15 is much less powerful than a 30.06, the standard hunting cartridge).

Twenty thousand laws on the books. Think about that. With that many laws and we still have crime. And you really think punishing the innocent (the only ones who will actually follow the new laws) will deter crime even more?

Lindsey,

To follow Robb's comment: a prospective employer who runs a credit/criminal history check on a job applicant is testing that applicant's propensity for honesty (who do you think would be hired *first*: someone who lied on their job application about a crime, or someone who disclosed it, when the crimes involved were the same? Or which would have been fired first? If the applicant discloses, depending on the offense and the employer, they might not get the job, but they are honest about it.) But, just because a check could be run doesn't mean there are no costs involved in running a check. When you apply for credit, there are "administrative costs" the borrower pays to the lender as part of the loan process: such costs cover the cost of the check. Same with employment: there are costs to the employer that arise simply from having another person employed. In that situation, the employer is hoping that the employed will be productive enough to cover the expense.

However, in a private sale, the only way to recoup the expense of the sale is to raise the price. If the cost of a search is $30.00, that could be anywhere from 10% of the purchase price to under 1%. When at the lower end of that range, sure, I cannot envisage the cost being a significant problem - but at the same time, a $3,000.00 firearm must likely would not be involved in a crime, not when $300.00 to $500.00 ones may be "available." If the weapon in question is a firearm worth, to a seller and willing buyer, over, for example, $8,000.00, that tells me the prospective buyer *has* $8,000.00 that he is ready and willing to spend on such a firearm, *not* that he's looking for a ready weapon to commit offenses with.

Likewise, at the "upper" end of that scale ($30.00 fee with $300.00 firearm), such a requirement will effectively price those of limited means out of being able to purchase a firearm for their own defense. Making the firearm more expensive does not remove legitimate reasons for wanting or needing a firearm, but it *does* limit the number of potential buyers. Especially where high-crime areas have a strong correlation with low-income areas, pricing a firearm out of their reach hurts only the legitimate buyers - the "black market" and illegal dealers aren't necessarily following the laws in the first place, so how can it be believed that they would follow a background check law as well?

Wow... this is amazing. Sincere thanks to everyone who has left comments so far. This is one of the most interesting conversations I have been involved with in a long time. I apologize for my brief hiatus away from the topic lately... but we lost web writer Matt Bowen recently and I've had to pick up slack in other departments. Robb, as soon as possible, I will also join the discussion on your blog as well. Thanks again.

I'd like to take a moment to remind everyone that my comments on this blog do not represent the opinions or the position of the National Crime Prevention Council. These comments are mine alone.

That said, I would like to go on and say that I have learned a tremendous amount from this conversation and I have a much greater appreciation for those of you who are gun rights proponents. At least, I understand much better where your arguments are coming from and the intentions behind them.

However, I haven't "switched sides" just yet. It seems to me that this debate boils down to a simpler matter of perception. Whereas I have been viewing this issue from a "public safety" standpoint, others are are approaching it as a "personal rights" issue. And now I understand that difference.

Admittedly, I am not a gun owner, though I will certianly make an effort to experience a gun show firsthand in the near future. I have fired rifles and handguns before, and I do enjoy target practice. I have also had a gun turned on me before. Possibly, I will own a gun later in life when I decide to have a family. But for now, I will continue to trust myself to stay out of trouble, and I will trust the local police to handle the shoot outs with "bad guys."

I'll try to keep the rest of my comments brief, but I am going to speak from the heart now: Where there are guns, there is a chance for gun crime to occur. And when you carry a gun, you feel a bit differently from when you are not carrying a gun. Holding a gun (a handgun in particular) gives you a sense of protection, but also a knowledge that you are able, without question, to take a human life. Perhaps that feeling is subtle. Perhaps it's even subconscious. But the notion is inescapable - please don't argue with that. Anyone who has held a gun and is honest with themselves should be able to admit that.

Now... the disconnect for me occurs when I stop to consider that the "Crips and Bloods" that you all seem so concerned about are not actually viable threats to me. Generally speaking, gang members are shooting it out with other gang members. I'm quoting government statistics again, but in cases where the relationship between victim and offender can be identified, the VAST majority of homicides are classified as "friend/acquaintance." I believe that gun violence occurs most wherever its convenient. When there is a dispute over a card game, and a gun is available... Where there is a cheating spouse, and a gun is available... Where there is an arguement in a bar or rage on the roadways, and a gun is available...

I believe that as a society, we are a lot safer than we like to tell ourselves. I believe that our nation's obsession with the gun culture is fueled largely by paranoia. Though now I feel that I'm drifting off-topic, I am simply trying to express more accurately where my motivation for gun control is coming from. Especially since you all have done such a great job explaining your positions.

So... currently, I seem unable to budge from my perception that the trade of firearms should be well-regulated. Background checks still don't seem like a big problem to me. I guess just in knowing the devastating effects of gun violence, I cannot convince myself that even easier access to arms would alleviate this problem. To me, it still seems worth it to try.

But I do hear you. I hope you hear me too. I really apologize for calling Virginia's actions "shameful" in my original blog post. It seems perfectly clear to me now, that this was simply democracy in action and I am in the minority. Hopefully we can continue this dialogue even further. (Sorry for the long post).

No need to apologize Brandon, you're at least keeping an open mind.

However, let me address some of your points. As much as you'd like to feel your way through this issue, I'm afraid reality isn't going to conform to your feelings. I'm afraid it's much more dangerous to other people to let your feelings dictate your actions than logic in this instance.

For example, the gun has nothing to do with being deadly. I am willing to kill another human being in defense. I was willing to do it when I was in the Marines, I'm just as willing to do it now. Having a weapon has no bearing on that fact, it simply makes the action more efficient. A weapon is simply a force multiplier. You want distance and leverage. A knife doesn't give you distance, but it does leverage. You can concentrate the force of your muscles into a sharp edge. A gun gives you both.

What a gun doesn't give you is a magical feeling of being more dangerous. That is exactly like saying "crystals" will give you inner calm. It's horse poop and in large amounts. No piece of metal and plastic is going to "give" you any thoughts. It's strictly your own brain that does that and I'm afraid that you're confusing your thoughts with everyone else's as if everyone thinks like you do.

Honestly, if you think that way, it would be better that you never own a gun. I have no such thoughts no matter how much you might think everyone else does.

This is not to say people don't abuse having a gun. But more people will die today from alcohol related incidents than the entire month from guns. Part of being free men and women is assuming responsibility for our lives and actions.

Crimes of passion? Rare. You only hear about them because of the sensationalism on TV. And I'm afraid you're not as safe as you think and my "paranoia" is actually based in fact. Were those students at VT safe? No, but I bet they "felt safe" (again, feeling can be deadlier than accepting reality). Were the kids at NIU safe? How about the children who's mother put them in a closet, doused them in gasoline, then set them on fire?

I just wrote about this today. There is evil out there and no amount of regulation or law making is going to rid us of it. Everything you worry about that you think you can solve through gun control only acerbates the problem. Instead, you need to allow people who are willing to defend themselves the ability to do so unfettered. Most people will choose not to do so and I'm all for allowing other people to make their own decisions, even if I consider them ill advised. The VAST, OVERWHELMING majority of gun owners are the most law abiding citizens. Take a trip to a gun range. Ask some people for help. Be amazed at how normal we are. Realize that .00374% is uncontrollable and don't waste time trying to because you only will affect the law abiding.

You and I want the same thing, but wasting effort on controlling the already controlled isn't going to help.

Brandon, I'd love to have a teleconference with you that we can record and put online because I think a lot of your fears can be allayed better in real time than the long distance between these comments.

Again, I am very thankful to have a legitimate conversation here.

Brandon,

I do agree that as a nation, we are pretty safe, and a lot of the hysteria over guns comes from the media sensationalizing crimes committed with firearms, while largely ignoring crimes committed with other weapons, or giving less attention to the reported uses of defensive firearm use. Even after the Colorado Church shooting, the lady who returned fire and stopped the shooter was at best called an armed guard (when she was an armed volunteer) and at worst was a disgraced former police officer. It was as if most of the media just did not want to acknowledge the heroics of a person who stopped a mass shooting.

This uneven reporting of actions performed with firearms presents a skewed view toward how firearms are used in this country. When all people see in the news are reports of dramatic crime with firearms, and defensive use is relegated to back page articles and rarely makes the TV news, how are people supposed to feel about firearms?

Those of us who have had training with firearms, either by growing up with them, or being military or police veterans, or just taking the time to learn about them, understand the responsibility a firearm represents, the power such a tool projects, and the limits, both physical and legal, that such a tool is restricted by.

In regard to homicides, how many friend/acquaintance murders happen every year with a firearm versus a knife, or blunt force, or strangulation (I ask out of curiosity, I don't have such statistics, but I thought you might)? I wonder if such numbers offer any insight?

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