In mass shootings, it’s all about the efficiency

The latest mass shooting in Connecticut follows in a long and despair-provoking line of murder-sprees that stretches from Columbine to Virginia Tech to the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, with many nightmarish detours along the way.

As we begin to process this latest event, I think it’s fair to say that it’s not human nature that has changed.

People in America have been committing despicable atrocities from the moment Europeans touched toe on Plymouth Rock.

What’s different is efficiency.

When the Founding Fathers were talking about the 2nd Amendment — stipulating that the the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed — a highly trained soldier could fire three rounds per minute.

These days, it’s an entirely different world.

Average citizens are able to purchase firearms that put many of the combat weapons used by the Greatest Generation during World War II to shame.  These guns fire faster, with larger magazines and more destructive rounds.

The translation is simple:  Scientists and engineers have produced new generations of extraordinarily well designed machines, which have the single function of killing other people, with fluid ease and simplicity.

Under our Constitutional rules, created during the age of the Minuteman, those machines are cheap and widely available.

Defenders of the status quo stand on what they view as principle.

Whatever the dangers and moral quandaries posed by these ubiquity of machines designed solely for the purpose of killing other humans, they view unfettered gun ownership as a fundamental American right.

I’m guessing that this principle will come under increasingly ferocious scrutiny, as the death toll mounts.

If nothing else, it seems reasonable to discuss whether the firearms sold in the US might not be designed intentionally to be less efficient.  Why not ban large clips for everyone except law enforcement?

Why not design clip and cartridge mechanisms so that they require a significant amount of time to reload?

It’s hard to imagine that a person defending their home in good faith needs more than five or six bullets, or the ability to discharge hundreds of rounds per minute.

The bottom line is that we regulate dangerous machines in many ways in our country, requiring that they be designed for public safety as well as efficiency and utility.

Those modern rules prevent many of the deadly horrors that once plagued our society, from factory fires in locked work areas to mass poisonings caused by contaminated food.

Regulating firearms in a coherent and logical way might accomplish much the same.  In the wake of the latest carnage, it’s time to have that conversation.

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325 Comments on “In mass shootings, it’s all about the efficiency”

  1. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Seems like when I was a kid lots of people still hunted with bolt action rifles. What the heck is wrong with that? If you’re any good you only need one shot anyway.

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  2. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Doolittle, really? “Mass killing machines”? Did you get that phrase from a video game? I told you earlier more than you obviously want to know about military type rifles. You don’t WANT to get the full picture. Typical liberal trash writer.

    So, as I understand it the people we entrust our children to are not trustworthy enough, smart enough, capable enough to even consider letting those that wish to be armed on school grounds? Right. And our police are apparently super human because a teacher could never pass a shooting course. Right. After you people get your feared weapons of mass destruction banned and some clown chains the doors shut on a school and pours 5 gallons of a mixture of gas and styrofoam peanuts down the hall and sets fire to it…what are you going to ban then? You people seem to forget George Weller who killed 10 and injured 63 in Santa Montica- with his car, and he wasn’t even trying. How about Priscilla Ford? Killed 7, injured 22- with her car, purposely this time. She was another nut job let loose by the mental health people. Robert Kabolowski killed 3, injured 20 in Wantaugh NY- with his car. Another psycho, but mental illness isn’t a problem? Or Stephen Ressa, killed 3, injured 11 in Las Vegas in 2005. Yup, another nut job psycho with a car. Daniel Young killed one, injured 54 with his car. Crazy too. Add Omeed Aziz Popal, Andrew Stack and Buddy Cochran to the list too. That’s just in the US mind you in a short search. Why aren’t we outlawing cars? Tim McVeigh didn’t use a gun, he used fertilizer and diesel. Of course the largest US school killing was done with dynamite, not a gun. Here’s another kindergarten killer- Bai Ningyang over in China, he killed 12 and injured 5. Used a knife and gasoline. Then there’s the other Chinese kindergarten killer who used a cleaver- Wu Huanming, 10 dead, 11 injured. Tore Hedin killed 9 and injured 10-20 with an axe and fire. Thaddeus Hyatt killed 8 and wounded 14 with a machete, knife and ice pick. Nickolas Sheley down in Ill. and Mo. killed at least 8, beat them to death. Charles Sears killed 2 and wounded 8 with a knife backs in the 80′s in NYC.

    Obviously guns alone aren’t the choice weapon for murder by everyone. But as someone else said, bannign guns is the “easy” way. Just do away with that stupid 2nd Amendment. Who needs a gun to defend themselves any way? And yes, Mervel, that’s the plan- confiscate ALL guns. You start with the ones that the media branded “assault weapons”. That’ll be a snapper. Then you go to semi auto pistols because those have no real use other than killing. Ten we get all those “sniper rifles”, you know “high powered scope sighted rifles”. Yeah, that means your deer rifle too. And then we get all those shotguns of pump or semi auto operation, why they’re practically “Street Sweepers”. Then we get the pump and lever rifles because they fire so fast. There goes your Winchester 30-30. And revolvers, why they’re the gun of choice of people like The Son of Sam, so they have to go. Double barreled shotguns? HAH! Everyone knows you can saw off the barrel and have a virtual 12 gauge pistol! Gone. By then you’re down to single shot rifles and shotguns and lets face it, they kill too. So we get them destroyed. By then the only people with guns are the police and military….and Mayor Bloombergs bodyguards and politicians and their bodyguards and of course certain VIPs and their bodyguards, like Oprah, Rosie O’Donnell, Jesse Jackson, Samuel L Jackson, Ice Cube, etc. Oh, and criminals. Criminals, they never did get around to turning in their guns. Funny, they must have forgot. It was just the law abiding people that tuned in their guns. Fixed that problem, eh? Of course the people will complain, but we can fix that by getting rid of that pesky 1st Amendment, and the3rd. 4th. 5th. 6th. 7th and 8th as long as we’re at it. What will the people do? Not much.

    I’m sorry. I will not give up my rights without a fight. I don’t mean a literal fight, I mean I will fight any legislation limiting my rights as they presently stand. Someone asked if giving up a little is such an egregious thing. How about you give up your freedom to free speech? It’s such a little thing. How’s that work for you?

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  3. Zeke says:

    How often are legal gun owners, who fail to use due diligence and have their guns stolen from them, prosecuted when the gun is used in a crime?

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  4. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Arlo, show me a piece of legislation where somebody has proposed confiscating handguns or shotguns from law-abiding citizens. Show me a politician who’s seriously advocating for that. It’s a right-wing doomsday fantasy. It’s not going to happen. After Heller, nobody’s even going to argue for handgun bans. If you look hard enough, you can probably find some liberal somewhere who said something sometime that you can make out to be your fears of gun confiscation, but that’s not what most people who want to see tighter gun laws are looking to do.

    What does the Second Amendment mean to you? Does it mean anybody should be allowed to own any gun, of any magazine size and any destructive power? Because that’s not what it’s meant historically, that’s not what it means to the courts now, and there are already restrictions in place. You need licenses for handguns in most states. There are background checks. Some places have waiting periods, or restrictions on magazine sizes. What’s wrong with those kind of limits? Do you think we should do away with them, let people buy any kind of gun they want as easily as you can buy a candy bar?

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  5. Marlo Stanfield says:

    We all know that people sometimes get killed by methods other than guns. But the large majority of murders in this country are committed with guns:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ushomicidesbyweapon.svg

    Should we just throw up our hands? Say there’s nothing more to be done, and that 10,000 shooting murders a year is the price of freedom?

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  6. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    On Friday we had a mass shooting of unarmed, defenseless people. Prey for wolves. 3 days before that , in Clackamas, Or., there was an attempted mass shooting. The difference- one armed man. He didn’t even fire a shot because he saw innocents behind the shooter and didn’t want to endanger them. But the shooter saw him and his gun and the shooter killed himself rather than resist. Google Clackamas Mall Shooter. Yesterday a man attempted to open fire in a movie theater in San Antonio and was shot down by an armed security officer. It could as well have been any armed citizen. Meanwhile, responsible, right thinking, compassionate, intelligent Democrats and liberals are calling for the EXECUTION OF ALL NRA MEMBERS. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/after-school-shooting-anti-gun-advocates-want-nra-president-members-to-be-shot/ What idiots. Sounds like a large group of people there that need to be locked up for metal evaluations.

    Marlo, if you’ll take the time to do some research, something some professional journalists posting here don’t bother to do, you’ll see statements from various politicians, many still serving, of exactly what you say isn’t happening. Gun rights advocates have spent decades trying to reverse laws that bar people from owning guns. You cite the Heller decision, yet even after that landmark case, owning a gun in DC and actually being able to carry it is still virtually impossible for the law abiding gun owner. Will you try and say the normal person can carry a gun in NYC? You can’t. Not without a special NYC permit that is only issued to “the right people”, those with political connections that is. There is no difference between confiscation and simply outlawing or making something so incredibly expensive that the normal person has no hope of ever acquiring and using an item.

    Have you ever really looked at the 2nd Marlo? To look at the 2nd, first look at the 1st Amendment. “Free speech” doesn’t mean yelling fire in a crowded theater. It means free political speech, that’s what it’s all about. It’s about not having gov’t force you to attend a certain church, bar you from meeting with like minded people to discuss changing gov’t or to petition gov’t for desired changes. It’s about basic freedoms FROM GOVERNMENT. These aren’t rights given to you BY gov’t, but basic rights that all people are endowed with from birth. Inalienable, look it up.

    The whole reason the 2nd Amendment is to guarantee the people have the means to protect themselves. Not just from criminals like burglars and murderers, but from corrupt government. Freedom from oppressive gov’t, from being defenseless against evil, that’s what it’s about. We’ve altered it, watered it down, morphed and aborted much of the meaning of many of our Rights, but this one gets it the most. No one, no one sane anyway, wants to shoot anyone. It’s a last resort before your life or property is taken. There is no difference between a criminal robber trying to take your money or property or life and a criminal gov’t trying to do the same thing. As unarmed individuals we either submit or die. Should we choose to be armed, we have a choice and a chance. The robber with the gun see’s we are armed and has to rethink the worth of his actions in the face of defiance. The gov’t is in the same position. The largest difference is that the robber is an individual and that we don’t have a court, elective and legislative system to appeal to with the robber. We do with the gov’t and that’s where the rest of the Amendments come into play. I have no illusions of fighting off gov’t with my 357 or SKS. I have a long and complex set of options and tools to use to fight wrongful gov’t. With a robber, thief, rapist, arsonist, coyote, etc. I don’t have those options. I either submit or fight. Denying me the tools to fight with is potentially denying me my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. It’s that simple.

    Now, as far as the so called “assault weapons” go to me that is a moot point. I don’t own any, mostly because I can’t possibly afford one. But I bet some of the cheap old guns I do own would be considered AW by some people, or more likely “sniper rifles”. My handguns tend to run a lot more towards 5 and 6 shot revolvers designed in the 1890s than high tech, polymer semi autos. That’s just me. How can I be intellectually honest and give you permission, through my inaction, to disarm someone else who’s obeying the laws as they stand now? A good friend of mine has several AR platform rifles like the Sandy Hook shooter used. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this man and his wife will never, ever misuse those guns. They’ve both dedicated their lives to the law. So why should I allow then to suffer deprivations based on your illogical fears? The criminals will still get the guns we outlaw. Heck, our own gov’t was supplying illegal arms to Mexican drug cartels and gangs. Where is your outrage over that? Have you seen the numbers of dead along the border? The Mexican people are essentially barred from owing guns. More defenseless prey. Obama and Holder have blood on their hands and the people and media say nothing.

    What’s to be done? Obviously the answer lays in changing the way we handle our mentally ill. It’s also obvious we need to change our culture. We need to let boys be boys and girls be girls and stop putting them in front of a TV or video game where they learn it’s okay to do whatever you want. We need to bring back reverence for life and for law. We need to have good examples for our kids and teens to look up to. We need a media, entertainment and news that doesn’t glorify outrageous behavior and anti-social actions. We need to stop making criminals into stars. No more splashing their names across the headlines, no more pictures and other star treatment. Treat them like the butchering animals they are. Stop making them martyrs. A few days ago we were talking about another subject and someone brought up Lou Dobbs refusal to refer to terrorists that blew themselves up and “suicide bombers”. He called the “homicidal bombers” because “suicide bomber” gave them too much credit for what they did in killing innocents. Calling them suicide bombers allowed them to be put int he same group as the Kamikazi Japanese pilots who, while desperate and misguided, were certainly brave and directed their attacks at military sailors, not shoppers in a crowded street.

    I have no doubt new bans are coming. And I have no doubt that one day America will not have a 2nd Amendment. I also have no doubt it will make no difference to our criminals and mentally ill and that many of our politicians will have one less thing to worry about.

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  7. dave says:

    Came across two wonderful articles this morning that address some of the sticking points in this discussion nicely.

    First, titled “In Gun Debate, a Misguided Focus on Mental Illness”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/health/a-misguided-focus-on-mental-illness-in-gun-control-debate.html

    Second, title “After a 1996 Mass Shooting, Australia Enacted Strict Gun Laws. It Hasn’t Had a Similar Massacre Since.”

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/crime/2012/12/16/gun_control_after_connecticut_shooting_could_australia_s_laws_provide_a.html

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  8. Walker says:

    Arlo, I don’t think there are many (or any?) on the left who seriously want to kill NRA members. I’d like to think the comments you link to are in the nature of rhetorical excess. And for what it’s worth, I totally repudiate such rhetoric.

    “With a robber, thief, rapist, arsonist, coyote, etc. I don’t have those options.”

    Look, one more time, I’m not hearing anyone here talking about taking away all guns. That’s not what it’s about. Hunting weapons are here to stay, period.

    “The whole reason the 2nd Amendment is to guarantee the people have the means to protect themselves. Not just from criminals like burglars and murderers, but from corrupt government. ”

    I don’t buy it, Arlo. You yourself say “I have no illusions of fighting off gov’t with my 357 or SKS,” so that’s really not what it’s about at all. That may or may not have been what the authors of the 2nd had in mind, but it clearly wouldn’t cut it today.

    Anyway, that’s beside the point until someone seriously proposes banning private possession of all weapons. That’s just not going to happen.

    I like your thoughts in “What’s to be done?” but I don’t see how we could make any of it happen. The 1st Amendment would prevent most efforts to control what the entertainment industry does, and news media even more. It strikes me as hopeless, short of the people themselves getting fed up with it, and I see no sign of that happening any time soon.

    And I completely disagree that one day we will have no 2nd Amendment. I can imagine the courts shifting on the question of how much regulation is constitutionally permitted, but an out and out across the board ban? Won’t happen.

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  9. Mervel says:

    We had a federal ban on assault weapons between 1994-2004.

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  10. Paul says:

    “And I completely disagree that one day we will have no 2nd Amendment. I can imagine the courts shifting on the question of how much regulation is constitutionally permitted, but an out and out across the board ban? Won’t happen.”

    Walker, I agree. But what I think we see here some with these reactions is a fear of what could come next. That is backed by some of the kinds of statements we see here. Things like “an absolute first step”, or we “can at least start with”…

    These all indicate that these are only a start. Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do them I can just see where some folks are coming from.

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  11. dave says:

    “We had a federal ban on assault weapons between 1994-2004.”

    Not really.

    What we had was a federal ban on the production of certain types of assault weapons.

    Production, not ownership.

    Assault weapons that were produced prior to that law (and there close to 2 million of them out there, if I recall) were still perfectly legal to have and sell. In addition, there were many well known and exploitable loopholes that allowed people to acquire them (such as the “gun show” loophole that lead to Columbine)

    It wasn’t a very powerful law, and even still the gun violence in those years dropped.

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  12. dave says:

    “But what I think we see here some with these reactions is a fear of what could come next. That is backed by some of the kinds of statements we see here. Things like “an absolute first step”, or we “can at least start with”… These all indicate that these are only a start.”

    You are either being deceptive, or paranoid, here – I can’t figure out which.

    For example, when I typed the phrase “An absolute first step…” it was when we (me and you) were engaging in a conversation about addressing the Mental Health System.

    I said something along the lines of “an absolute first step” is banning weapons of mass murder…

    As in, I think the priority is an assault weapon’s ban, and a second step might be addressing the deficiencies in the Mental Health System.

    I was NOT implying that there was a long line of steps aimed at taking guns away from people… and I certainly was not implying that some subsequent step might involve banning hunting rifles or getting rid of the second amendment.

    I have to imagine you know that, so stop with the misleading, dishonest comments.

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  13. Paul says:

    dave take it easy. I wasn’t trying to quote you. I was talking in general about the idea that some folks that see what are sensible steps being described as the first steps in what could be perceived as a progressive agenda to do lots of things they get worried about what the final motives are.

    It seems pretty clear from some folks looking at this issue that they are concerned that any steps will be perceived as baby steps toward an absolute ban of sorts. Why not. You can make the same arguments for the absolute steps as the “reasonable” ones.

    And again look at my comment more carefully. I was describing some reactions that others might be having, I harbor no such paranoia? These comments are not about you or anyone here. They are about the topic in general so take it easy.

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  14. Paul says:

    Let me state it more simply. Some people who favor very few restrictions on gun ownership are concerned that there are many folks out there (not you dave) that see restrictions on things like assault style weapons as simply a start to many restrictions they would like to see in place regarding guns. They think that things like an assault weapons ban is simply an attempt to start with the “low hanging fruit”. Until that fear (paranoia if you prefer) is dissuaded this the idea of passing these laws will continue to be a problem.

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  15. Paul says:

    Here is a quote from a description of the Brady Bill referring to Bill Clinton:

    “Clinton called the bill a “good beginning” for more gun control legislation.”

    My point is that to make sure that these things happen quickly you have to let “the other side” know what the END is. Then they may come along for the ride.

    Just a suggestion to persuade some of the more ardent folks out there.

    I don’t find it all “deceptive” to state that this is an issue.

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  16. Paul says:

    The other thing to consider is to have milestones of sorts in legislation. Just like we do in deals to make sure things work and are getting done. If after a set period of time of the restrictions are not getting the desired results they should be reconsidered. That always makes things more palatable for some that are skeptical. It doesn’t make any sense to have laws on the books that don’t work and cost money to enforce. We are seeing this with the war on some drugs now. The same could go for a war on gun violence. That seems like another area where divergent sides could find logic.

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  17. Mervel says:

    dave the research shows that gun violence overall didn’t drop significantly. It shows that assault weapon violence went down slightly at the margin. Which makes it worth doing in my opinion, but the core the guts of why we have such a high murder rate is not the availability of guns. We can never outlaw guns to keep them out of the reach of criminals, a criminal society will have a lot of guns.

    I agree about the loopholes and making the ban stronger however.

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  18. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Dave, Re the Australian issue- http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17847 Australian crimes rates rose significantly according to this report which is also what people I correspond with in Au. say has happened. So, yeah, they haven’t had another massacre but the violent crime rate rose over 42%!!!

    Even Australia’s Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research acknowledges that the gun ban had no significant impact on the amount of gun-involved crime:

    In 2006, assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
    Sexual assault — Australia’s equivalent term for rape — increased 29.9 percent.
    Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.

    Moreover, Australia and the United States — where no gun-ban exists — both experienced similar decreases in murder rates:

    Between 1995 and 2007, Australia saw a 31.9 percent decrease; without a gun ban, America’s rate dropped 31.7 percent.
    During the same time period, all other violent crime indices increased in Australia: assault rose 49.2 percent and robbery 6.2 percent.
    Sexual assault — Australia’s equivalent term for rape — increased 29.9 percent.
    Overall, Australia’s violent crime rate rose 42.2 percent.
    At the same time, U.S. violent crime decreased 31.8 percent: rape dropped 19.2 percent; robbery decreased 33.2 percent; aggravated assault dropped 32.2 percent.
    Australian women are now raped over three times as often as American women.

    Re the NYT piece- Brilliant. So it’s too hard to predict who will go off the deep end. Let’s take the easy way out and ban guns. Brilliant.

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  19. mervel says:

    Consider Switzerland.

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

    They should have horrible rates of murder, but they don’t. Why?

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  20. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Walker, you said, ” I’m not hearing anyone here talking about taking away all guns. That’s not what it’s about. Hunting weapons are here to stay, period.” But there are people talking about taking away all guns, they have been for years! And as far as hunting weapons, you say they are here to stay and yet the AR platform like the Sandy Hook shooter used is the most popular hunting rifle going today! You seriously think they “are here to stay, period”? Besides, there are politicians that want to ban hunting. Why would we need guns if we ban hunting?

    Apparently you miss my point on the 2nd Walker. No, I have no illusions about fighting off a corrupt gov’t by myself. If there were 20 or 50 or 100K other people willing to stand with me…that’s different. It’s a terrible thing to even think of, but that’s what the Founders considered since they’d just been through it. And remember- they had the “assault weapons” of the day. If such thinking is outdated and doesn’t mean what it says, then doesn’t that mean the rest of the Bill of Rights is also a bogus document? You sure you want to go there?

    As far a s whats to be done, well shoot man, you’re in favor of gutting the 2nd Amendment, might as well gut the 1st too. If one doesn’t mean what it says, if “reasonable restrictions” are okay with the 2nd, then why not with the 1st? Seriously, why not?

    Dave, you’re wrong. Ownership of certain types of “assault weapons” was illegal and still is in NY and across the nation. Many types of military weapons are only legal if they meet certain guidelines. The odd part is many of those guns date from shortly after WW2. Hardly high tech. And you need to do more research. In the period of the Clinton AWB HANDGUN homicides dropped from 95-03, other gun homicides remained at about normal levels. IOW, the terrible assault rifles apparently either weren’t affected or weren’t much of a problem to start with. And when you look at those stats you also have to be aware that police shootings of criminals are figured into the mix along with suicides, accidental shootings, etc. The overall violent crime rate dropped during the same period which has usually been attributed to the much improved economic conditions of the period.

    I also have to take issue with the way you present your argument- “… I think the priority is an assault weapon’s ban, and a second step might be addressing the deficiencies in the Mental Health System.” You MIGHT want to maybe, someday, if we’re not too busy with other stuff, sorta, kinda look into deficiencies int he MH system? So it’s not about stopping nut cases. It’s about taking away the guns- period. That’s not paranoid, that’s what you said.

    Paul has tried to sugar coat the whole “first step” business. Let me put it in clearer terms. The examples of gov’t saying one thing and doing another are legion. The examples of NY State saying one thing and doing another are legion. What possible reason can anyone give me that will make me believe that it wouldn’t happen with guns? There are any number of examples of the politicians in office today stating they wish to outlaw private ownership if firearms of one type or another and of any firearm in many cases! Diane Feinstein is a great example, here’s an excerpt-

    Feinstein said on CBS-TV’s 60 Minutes, February 5, 1995, “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren’t here.”[24]

    In July 2006, Feinstein voted against the Vitter Amendment to prohibit Federal funds being used for the confiscation of lawfully owned firearms during a disaster.[25] [26]

    Feinstein possessed a concealed handgun permit in the early 70′s “And, I know the sense of helplessness that people feel. I know the urge to arm yourself because that’s what I did. I was trained in firearms. I’d walk to the hospital when my husband was sick. I carried a concealed weapon. I made the determination that if somebody was going to try to take me out, I was going to take them with me.” — 27 April 1995

    See, it’s okay for Lady Di to have a gun and armed bodyguards, but not you and me. Same for other anti-gunners like Barbara Boxer who thinks handguns should be outlawed but has a California concealed carry permit for herself. So they think it’s okay for THEM, but not US, and you want me to believe the”first step” to”reasonable gun control” won’t be the first step to complete gun control? Yeah, I think Hitler said something like that too. It was “reasonable” to outlaw alcohol in the US once. It was “reasonable” to force banks to give loans to unqualified applicants and it was “reasonable” to bundle that bad debt into forms of equity. It was “reasonable” to label some institutions “too big to fail” and it was “reasonable” to mandate every person in the US have health insurance whether they wanted it or not.

    IMO we have “reasonable” gun laws now. Heck, we had reasonable gun laws back in 1920 too. What we didn’t have was a cancer in our society that creates madmen and large groups of people that refuse to even look at that problem. As I said before, it isn’t just guns. It’s people setting each other on fire, beating up wheel chair bound elderly people and other people walking by and doing nothing about it. It’s 8 year olds raping 6 year olds. It’s gangs and drugs and “in your face” and reality TV that teaches people that 15 seconds of fame is worth doing anything. We have a cancer that we’re ignoring. It isn’t going to get better on it’s own.

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  21. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Mervel, consider Vermont. No pistol permits, lots of guns, small problems. Huh, maybe it’s the whole urban thing?

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  22. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    I’ll give you another example of why I think the first step will be part of a larger plan-

    NYS has no “concealed carry” permit. Our permit system is just that, it’s a permit to carry a pistol or revolver, no thing states concealed or open or places restrictions on where that permit can be used as long as it’s outside the NYC area which has it’s own system. BUT, our County Judge who issues these permits has taken it upon himself to label the permits “CONCEALED CARRY”. Based on that, I’m theoretically not allowed to carry openly. My wifes permit is even more restricted- “For farm use and target shooting”. These restrictions are illegal. I’ve researched it and there is no actual basis in law for them to exist. Some Judges around the State took it upon themselves to do this. They set a precedent. I don’t have the money it would take to fight this and to be honest, I’m probably risking my permit even saying anything about it here. Freedom of speech, right? In a pigs eye.

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  23. Paul says:

    Arlo, saying something here will not risk anything. We appreciate your comments.

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  24. Paul says:

    Dale, you may want to consider putting the newest comment first. When you get a big string (this must be the largest) getting to the end is difficult.

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  25. Paul says:

    I am surprised. It looks like the WH’s opening salvo is looking for very small changes. They have started with what I figured they would have wanted as a minimum? That is never the way to start a negotiation. Thye will get less for sure.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324677204578187913302047262.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

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  26. mervel says:

    Arlo,

    I think it IS the culture first and foremost. We can’t really control that except maybe in the long run it is something to look at. I think people look at this gun control as the solution. But as the President said, this is a complex issue with no one solution. Certainly I think limits on some of these weapons may help. Murders using assault weapons were slightly less during the assault gun ban decade. Overall gun murders were not less however.

    Passing laws won’t change very much, that is the big illusion which is why I brought up drugs earlier. We have tried to stop the drug trade for 50 years now, the war on drugs has failed. The war on assault weapons will also likely fail. I mean you can make an AK-47 at home with a simple kit.

    So yes I would say limit these large magazines and assault weapons, but I think you and I know it won’t change very much until we as a people change.

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  27. mervel says:

    In the mean time it’s cathartic to have something to blame.

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  28. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Like I said, if you looked, you could find some liberal somewhere who said something that sounds like gun confiscation. You found someone who represents one of the most liberal districts on the planet, who made those comments in 1995. Feinstein’s views aren’t representative of Democrats outside of San Francisco, then or now, any more than Todd Akin’s understanding of the mechanics of pregnancy is representative of pro-life people everywhere. They’re not representative of the Democratic platform ever, of Obama, of Gillibrand, of Schumer, of Bill Owens, of me, of any Democrat I know, or of anybody who’s posting here.

    I know you don’t want to hear it, but there’s a middle ground between “everyone should be able to have any gun they want” and “nobody should have any guns.” It’s, “Maybe we should restrict assault weapons again and pass some laws to make it tougher for criminals and mentally ill people to get guns.” That’s where I’m at, and I think the next few months will demonstrate that’s where most of the country’s at, too.

    Nobody denies that guns aren’t the only factor. But you’re kidding yourself if you really don’t think the easy availability of guns to people who shouldn’t have them doesn’t play some role in the level of gun violence in our society.

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  29. Marlo Stanfield says:

    I do agree that the assault weapons angle is vastly overstressed, though. Crimes committed with assault rifles are a drop in the bucket in the tens of thousands of shootings a year in this country. Most of them are done with handguns, often ones obtained illegally. I wish more of the conversation was about ways to reduce the number of illegal handguns out there, which is where you’d actually make a difference in terms of crime rates.

    Thought you guys might enjoy this chart:

    http://www.tracetheguns.org/#/states/NY/imports/

    It shows the sources of illegal guns by state. For New York, unsurprisingly, it’s mostly southern states along the I-95 corridor. I was also reading this:

    http://www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org/downloads/pdf/blueprint_federal_action.pdf

    I wish there was more talk about these kind of proposals, although requiring background checks at gun shows, which Carney said today that Obama supports, could certainly be a good start. I’m still reading it, but from the summary, most of the stuff they’re talking about wouldn’t affect your right to get a gun, any kind of gun, in any state legally. It would just make it harder for criminals to work the gaps in the system.

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  30. mervel says:

    I agree with you Marlo.

    I think it is worth a shot to restrict these weapons. I guess I am just a little more pessimistic about our desire our demand for these weapons and the idea that laws will change the availability of these weapons for people who should not have them. HOWEVER I think it is worth it to restrict these weapons. I think most Americans feel the same.

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  31. Marlo Stanfield says:

    Oh yeah, I agree it won’t solve everything. But if you make it harder for people to get around their state’s gun laws by stocking up in other states where they’re not enforcing the laws, you’re going to reduce the number of illegal guns on the streets, and over time, the number of shootings will probably go down, since fewer people who want to buy guns on the black market will be able to. Take a look at this story:

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=7841676

    “Eyewitness News noticed at the Roanoke show, more than a-half dozen cars with New York plates, including one loaded with gun cases.”

    Multiply those half-dozen cars at one show by dozens, heck maybe even hundreds of shows, and you got an idea of the scope of the problem.

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  32. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Mervel, re Switzerland. They don’t have a national mythology of being a bunch of John Waynes and Clint Eastwoods.
    They pride themselves on being a clockwork-precision society.

    If we decided to change our culture to become one that prided itself on caring for our neighbor as we care for ourselves it would improve things dramatically. But that isn’t us. Our society is much more about me, me , me!
    Look at me I’m in a big ole Hummer drivin’ fast and burnin’ fuel. My main entertainment is watchin’ wrasslin’ an NASCAR. I love watchin’ them durn guys burnin gasoline goin round and round for hours with no purpose. My favorite was the INtimidator – nothin says all-America like bein the Intimidator. I do it on the highway myself, look for me in the rearview an get the hell outta my way or I’ll run yer ass down.

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  33. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Mervel, with all due respect guy, where are you getting you information on guns? So far you claim to be a gun owner, which theoretically should make you at least somewhat informed, but you’ve stated people can buy flame throwers, bazookas and machine guns and now you claim “…you can make an AK-47 at home with a simple kit. ” No Mervel, you can build Ikea furniture at home with a simple kit, but you can’t “build an AK47″ from a simple kit available at every drug store or through Ebay. I don’t have a clue what you are talking about and sadly, I don’t think you do either. You seem to be echoing the same lines I’ve heard on the radio and TV from equally misinformed people over the past few days. So please, stop with the strawmen, please.

    Something else you mentioned struck a chord- drugs. Here we are worried about guns and we’re passing laws to allow more drugs to be used in our country. This is what that type of thinking brings us- http://www.kptv.com/story/20368360/driver-charged-with-dui-marijuana-after-deadly-crash-in-vancouver Haven’t Colorado and Washington just passed new pot laws allowing more use? I’m sure it’s “reasonable” to have more stoned people driving, shooting, robbing people to support their habit.

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  34. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Marlo, Feinstein is a leader of the Democrats, same as Pelosi and Boxer and Schumer- all very, very, anti-gun. While you may not be as rabidly anti gun, your leaders are. When I say most conservatives aren”t interested in the total ban of abortion, do the libs here buy it? No, and no one else on the left does either even though most on the right are for “reasonable restrictions” regarding abortion. Does that make it any clearer? When we say the laws allowing abortion in minors without parental notification are wrong and we want it stopped the next thing I hear is how we want no abortion at all and women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen.

    We have the middle ground on guns already. No machine guns, no silencers (although in many so called “enlightened” European countries silencers are considered a public good as they reduce noise pollution), no shotguns with barrels less than 18″, no rifles with barrels less than 16″, no more mail order guns, no minors with guns w/o supervision, “gun free zones” (that are an abomination!), no sawed off guns, no this, no that. Prior to the 1930′s you could own your own Thompson machine gun. Prohibition created the gangs of Capone, etc. and a huge crime rate. So they outlawed private ownership of Thompsons and similar guns. That was supposed to fix the problem. It didn’t even scratch it. This is more of the same.

    And since you want to talk about where guns come from, using an advocate statistical source, let’s talk about Fast and Furious where Obama and Holder allowed guns to be sold illegally to straw purchasers who got them for the Mexicans drug gangs. They’ve just found another one at the site where a Mexican beauty queen was murdered. How many does that make? And Obama and Holder are completely clean on this?!!! If it was a Republican there would be Impeachment Hearings going on. Your President and his Administration and every single person that voted for him have blood on their hands. Fast and Furious was an attempt to link arms in Mexico with legal civilian gun sales in the US to further the anti-gun agenda. So the ATF, with the approval of Obama/Holder allowed ILLEGAL sales of thousands of guns. Dealers were calling the ATF notifying them of suspicious attempts to purchase and were ordered to make the sales. Anyone claiming Obama/Holder/the Democrat party is interested in “reasonable” anything related to guns is a hypocrite and either lying or delusional.

    As far as your Virginia story, that is not the “gunshow loophole”. The gunshow loophole was where Federally Licensed Firearms DEALERS did not have to do backgrounds at gunshows. That law is a Federal Law and was changed several years back. What you are talking about is a state law. It’s the same for long guns in most any state, private sales require no paperwork or background. In NY handguns cannot be sold like that legally. If those people buying in Va. are NY residents and intend to bring the gun to NY, then they are criminals. Simple as that. That’s up to Virginia to change. It’s not a Federal issue. If you make it Federal then you have a Constitutional issue to work around. The Federal gov’t has no right to meddle in intrastate commerce, only interstate commerce. If you do that you are into Federal registration and then you have a whole new issue. Better to leave it to Va. to decide. If you allow the Feds to push further into your states rights you’ll have them running your life for you, which is just what some want.

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  35. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Knuckle, your sarcastic approach to the issue is just exactly what IS needed- a change in our society. I’m not saying force people to obey, not at all. I’m saying bring us what we need- personal responsibility, and end to glorifying criminals, some “reasonable” controls on the various forms of media (yeah, well if it’s good for the goose…), a reverence for life, a better economy and some proactive work on the mentally ill. Will it cost more? Yeah, I imagine. Do we have a choice?

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  36. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Oh yeah, BTW, another right wing gun toting wannabe murder helped apprehend a bank robber without firing a shot yesterday. Funny how the gun didn’t jump up and shoot 5 or 6 innocents all by itself. http://www.theblaze.com/stories/gun-carrying-arizona-man-helps-nab-bank-robber-and-all-he-had-to-do-was-show-the-suspect-he-was-armed/

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  37. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Arlo, it isn’t sarcasm, it is satire. Here, from Wikipedia:

    “Satire is a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement.[1] Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon.”

    Sometimes when earnest effort fails satire is all were are left with. I’ve cried enough and it isn’t helping anything. I’ve pleaded with you and people like you for meaningful change in society to very little effect. Might as well laugh. Bitter laughter though it is.

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  38. Ken Hall says:

    Brian Mann, As the subject of this blog is obviously very important locally and nationally, is there not a mechanism by which it can be headlined in the “In Box” until it becomes apparent that the interest is waning rather than letting articles with significantly lesser interest e.g., “Invisibility cloaks and Christmas bird counting” push such an important article into the “more” category? Keeping this article on the front burner would likely induce additional comments of fresh opinions.

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  39. Mervel says:

    “Mervel, re Switzerland. They don’t have a national mythology of being a bunch of John Waynes and Clint Eastwoods.”

    Exactly Knukle! Our culture is one of violence, in how we speak and in what we seem to value. Meekness, Kindness and humility are virtues, except in the US where they are seen as vice.

    The Bushmill advertising says “You just re-upped your man card”.

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  40. Walker says:

    Gee, Arlo, that marijuana-crazed driver sure sounds like a menace to society! You did notice the part about the ped stepping into the road in front of him in an unlighted area, right?

    You remember Al Capone, Bugsy Siegel and all those guys, right? That was from our first experiment with prohibition. A whole lot of similar behavior comes from our second experiment with prohibition, presently causing bedlam along the Mexican border and in urban areas everywhere, and also causing huge expense to the nation’s taxpayers locking up millions of minor dealers.

    BTW, I think Mervel’s talking about a simple kit that allows one to convert a semi-automatic to full automatic. If you Google “convert a semi-automatic to full automatic” you’ll get 3 million hits.

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  41. PNElba says:

    How many does that make? And Obama and Holder are completely clean on this?!!! If it was a Republican there would be Impeachment Hearings going on.

    That’s odd. I read that Bush had a program similar to Fast and Furious called Operation Wide Receiver and it had problems similar to Fast and Furious. I don’t remember the topic of impeachment coming up on that issue.

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  42. Kathy says:

    There is evil in the world.

    Compassion acknowledges the truth. Mental illness surely played a part in the CT shooting. But we should be careful we don’t focus primarily on the mental illness and not on the evil.

    Our progressive leaning society over analyzes, trying to find answers because secularists take out the God factor; using human reasoning without absolute truth. I recently read an article that blames drug withdrawal and it’s part in mass shootings.

    Again, these are certainly factors to look at. But the bottom line is evil and the discussion should be “how is it that evil is on the increase?”

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  43. PNElba says:

    Kathy -

    So far we’ve been told our violence problems will end when we “let god back into our schools” and by arming our teachers (probably prohibiting same-sex marriage would also help).

    Maybe you can provide some “absolute truths” to help us out here.

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  44. Paul says:

    I think there is sometimes a positive aspect to being exposed to some “violence”. For example I think I have more respect for how dangerous a gun can be because as a hunter I have seen what it can do in a persons hands. The fact that kids now are exposed to a “fantasy” version of violence that goes way beyond playing cops and robbers with toy guns in the back yard. But even with the nastiest video games it isn’t what it is like in real life. If kids see what a gun can do (like many rural children did in the past growing up in a more agrarian society) they might change some of their thinking. This is no answer just an observation. I am not suggesting we take the kids down and show them the next firing squad. It just seems that there can be a very nonchalant attitude in some people I wonder where that comes from?

    OR. if they are just a total nut job I suppose it could make them even nuttier. I am no psychologist that is for sure. Just trying to guess what has changed. Access to certain guns is part of it but there are other weird things going on also.

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  45. Paul says:

    I am somewhat religious. But this isn’t gods problem this is our problem. You can pray for guidance but we have to take care of this ourselves. No one is suggesting that we can rid the world of all evil or whatever you want to call it but we can do things to make the world a better place.

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  46. Kathy says:

    PNElba, the statement “let God back into our schools” is an overused phrase that gets thrown around by too many people.

    The absolute truth can cut through alot of discussion and over analyzing and bring solutions. In the CT shooting, it’s clear to me that Lanza, while suffering from some form of mental illness, was influenced to do an evil act. When the media and others focus on mental illness, gun control, drugs, etc., as to the “why” of mass shootings, and does not discuss evil because it may not be politically correct, or set well with the secular progressives, it gets us no where. Relativism is the word of the day and it’s going to destroy us.

    Consider these words:

    Postmodernism tells us there’s no such thing as truth; no such thing as meaning;
    no such thing as certainty.

    I remember lecturing at Ohio State University, one of the largest universities in
    this country. I was minutes away from beginning my lecture, and my host was
    driving me past a new building called the Wexner Center for the Performing Arts.
    He said, “This is America’s first postmodern building.”

    I was startled for a moment and I said, “What is a postmodern building?” He said,
    “Well, the architect said that he designed this building with no design in mind.
    When the architect was asked, ‘Why?’ he said, ‘If life itself is capricious, why
    should our buildings have any design and any meaning?’ So he has pillars that have
    no purpose. He has stairways that go nowhere. He has a senseless building built
    and somebody has paid for it.”

    I said, “So his argument was that if life has no purpose and design, why should
    the building have any design?” He said, “That is correct.”

    I said, “Did he do the same with the foundation?” All of a sudden there was
    silence. You see, you and I can fool with the infrastructure as much as we would
    like, but we dare not fool with the foundation because it will call our bluff in a
    hurry.
    Ravi Zacharias; Christian Apologist

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  47. Kathy says:

    Paul, we cannot rid the world of evil. But we have to call it what it is in order to make the world a better place.

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  48. Kathy says:

    Because the focus is not on the evil, the solution becomes restricting or getting rid of the guns. If we make the guns evil, we are misdirecting our discussion.

    Using that measure, then 20 oz. sodas become evil because it’s unhealthy. Saturated fats become evil because of the obese. Sudafed becomes evil for the abuser.

    These are symptoms of a greater problem. The longer a society is drawn away with its own reasoning, that it’s all relative – words like conscience, self control, and self government become diluted until perhaps they are forgotten altogether.

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  49. Paul says:

    “Because the focus is not on the evil, the solution becomes restricting or getting rid of the guns. If we make the guns evil, we are misdirecting our discussion.”

    Sorry, I don’t get it?

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  50. PNElba says:

    I don’t get it either. All I read is blah, blah, blah, absolute truth. Postmodernist’s on the far left are just as wrong as those who claim to be speaking for their god.

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