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. Paul says:

    Guns are not “evil” they are just guns? People when unconstrained by a civilized society are both good and bad by nature. Just look at what happens when the society breaks down. People do whatever they feel like doing and lots of it is bad and lots of it hurts or kills other people. We set laws to constrain the society they way we think it should function. If that means we want a law that prohibits murder or if we want a law that prohibits large capacity clips it is the same difference.

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  2. The Original Larry says:

    We live in a culture that relentlessly discourages spirituality and religion, and trivializes sex, violence and death. We sanction over a million abortions annually and then wonder why some people adopt a “life is cheap” mentality. It’s called nihilism and it’s at the root of our problems. Focus on guns, drugs, alcohol or high-calorie soft drinks all you want but it won’t change the essential truth: a culture that believes nothing matters values nothing, not even life.

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  3. Kathy says:

    Paul, in the beginning hours of the shooting, the word “evil” was used. Days later, the word is now buried under mental illness, gun control, drug use and/or drug withdrawal.

    These things do have an influence. Yet, if evil is no longer part of the discussion, the core problem is not addressed and labels are placed on the problem – bandaids – which will control the bleeding or keep the dirt out, but we become tolerant.

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  4. Kathy says:

    PNElba, I don’t have to speak for God. I just acknowledge what he has already spoken.

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  5. Mervel says:

    Well that is partially our fault as Christians then.

    One thing we can do is re-emphasize the radical non-violence that is part of walking with Christ.

    But yes the culture of death, life is cheap is an issue, but part of that is also cheaply waging wars that we don’t have to wage; because life is cheap and why not. Rambo is not a Christian concept.

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  6. Mervel says:

    Look at how these assault guns advertise themselves, its all about being tough, being a man, not taking crap from anyone. I think we can play a part by affirming that those are not Christian concepts, Christ told us that if someone demanded something from us, we should not defend ourselves but give it to them, that if someone hit us in the face we should not hit back, but let them hit us in the stomach.

    This is very far indeed from wanting a automatic weapon so I can be sure nobody can mess with me.

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  7. Paul says:

    Kathy, sorry I still don’t get what to do about the “evil” thing? Are you just saying that some folks are evil and there is nothing we can do about it, and that is the heart of the matter? If that were the case then the only thing we could do is totally ban all guns with the exception of the military and law enforcement. That would be one of the only ways to prevent this type of violence? If behavior cannot be changed, cannot be influenced and it is all predetermined than we have no choice. I prefer the idea (taught by many religions) that we have been given by god a free will and have the ability to do both good and bad things. Obviously this guy chose the bad. I think that in this case and others we could have changed the outcome. There are many opinions on what could be done but most folks think that there are things that can be done.

    Maybe I am missing your point entirely?

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  8. Paul says:

    Mervel, I get your point. We have to do a better job of raising our kids and religion can be a very important way to help with that task.

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  9. Walker says:

    Kathy, postmodernism is so last millenium. We’ve moved on to Post-postmodernism.

    In any case, it may surprise you to find that many of us atheists believe in evil. You don’t have to believe in God to recognize evil. All you need is the golden rule. Personally, I suspect that what is behind the NRA is the evil of greed: the hunger of gun manufacturers to sell ever more weapons to the world.

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  10. Mervel says:

    Paul,

    Yes, but I wasn’t trying to say that kids raised in a non-Christian family are going to be violent or have more problems. I was more addressing Christians to simply act like Christians. I mean our God when He walked on the earth was a person who never used violence on another human being, who Himself submitted to violence, who told us in general to not resist violence and pray for those who hate us.

    I just don’t see that combining with getting my man card by buying my Bushmaster (I would rather by a Bushmill).

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  11. Paul says:

    “Yes, but I wasn’t trying to say that kids raised in a non-Christian family are going to be violent or have more problems.”

    Yes, I understand. I did not think that you meant that at all.

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  12. Walker says:

    You’re right, Mervel. Gun ownership for personal protection doesn’t square with “Turn the other cheek.”

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  13. PNElba says:

    Mervel – don’t forget that little incident in the Temple with the money changers and dove sellers.

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  14. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    My apologies for confusing satire and sarcasm Knuckle, I’ll try to do better.

    Once again I must become the history teacher. Do you Mervel or Knuckle, have any knowledge of the history of the Swiss people? Think for a second Mervel, I believe you’re a Catholic. Who guards the Pope? The Swiss Guards. No, Switzerland doesn’t have a history involving figures like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, but they do have a history of serving as mercenaries and professional soldiers. Meekness, kindness and humility are not Swiss national traits. Quite the opposite. In fact the Swiss military has a reputation for killing it’s own citizens when they act up and do things like strike or have anti-fascist demonstrations. In Switzerland every able bodied citizen is part of the Federal Army.

    Walker, the point is we’re encouraging more stoned people. Marihuana is the introductory drug to the harder stuff which leads to more violence and mental illness. Dark street or not, more intoxication isn’t going to make things better.

    If you or Mervel can find a kit that converts a semi auto AK or anything else to full auto, then by all means please provide the link or address. Then I can notify the ATF because such a kit is patently illegal in the US except for those few people with what I think are called Class 3 licenses, a license to posses a full auto firearm. That requires an extensive background investigation and a lot of money.Not many people have them. So once again more misinformation is being spread. You claim you try to post accurate info and yet you post completely inaccurate info like this. Please, please, PLEASE stop repeating the garbage you hear on MSNBC, CNN, etc until you actually check out the claims. These people are spreading misinformation, no, actually what they are doing is LYING about a great deal of things related to gun issues. I can hope it’s out of sheer ignorance, but I imagine it’s more agenda driven than ignorance.

    PNElba, could you advise me how many USBP officers were killed by guns related to Wide Receiver? (None) Could you advise me of how many ICE officers were killed by guns related to Wide receiver? (none) Could you tell me how many times Bush AG (Mucasik?) denied any knowledge of Wide Receiver only to be embarrassed later when records showed he did indeed know about it and is on tape saying so? (none) Can you advise me how many confirmed deaths resulted form Wide Receiver guns? (none) Can you tell me how many RFID chips were implanted in Fast and Furious guns to help with tracking them? (none) Can you tell me how many Mexican Law enforcement officials were advised of F&F? (none unlike with WR). Can you tell me how many WR guns were found at crime scenes in Mexico and the US? (none reported, OTOH at least 179 F&F guns found at crime scenes in Mexico and 130 at crime scenes in the US as of July 2010) The most important distinction between WR and F&F is that when it was shown WR wasn’t working out it was shut down, it was well under 2 years start to finish. But after Obama took office, despite the failure of WR, they went ahead with F&F, made no attempts to track the guns with RFID chips, stopped ATF agents from making arrests and sent thousands guns over the border. WR was a little over 450 guns. I’m no fan of Bush, but the 2 programs and how they were run and their effects are as different as night and day.

    I’m probably going to PO some people, some more, when I say this, but I think most of you are dead wrong on the “God thing”. I would never advocate putting religious instruction in public schools, but the basic ideals of most of the worlds religions tend to be similar when it comes to reverence for life, not stealing, not killing people or hurting them. If nothing else, at the least numbers 3-10 of the 10 Commandments are pretty good rules for people to live by- don’t talk dirty, take Sunday for your faith and family, honor your parents and do what they say and your life will go a lot smoother, DON’T MURDER/HURT PEOPLE, if you’re married don’t screw around, don’t steal stuff, don’t lie, don’t get all wrapped up in consumerism and keeping up with the Joneses. Yeah, my interpretation, but I fail to see anything wrong with any of that. Most other religions I’m familiar with hold similar values. Instead we’ve taught our kids pretty much the opposite of all that. We have people killing each other for sneakers!! We have an entertainment industry that depends on filth and making kids parents out to be morons. And our own President said he didn’t want his daughters “punished with a baby” so killing the baby was okay by him. What value do we expect our kids to place on life when abortion is considered the normal option for unplanned pregnancy? I mean, really, beyond the Roe v Wade/it’s my body/etc., just from the standpoint of what it tells our kids about our value for life….what does that really say?

    Paul is right, it’s our problem, we have free will and we exercise that right by screwing up all the time!

    Kathy, I get your point, but people hate the whole personal responsibility thing. It’s the person doing the harm, not the gun or the car or the snowmobile or the chainsaw or the knife. Already people are saying we shouldn’t get hung up on the fact so many kids are on prescription drugs or are declared mentally ill. We need to focus on the guns. That’s easier. It doesn’t do squat for the 12 year old that bashes the brains of a 4 year old out with a rock or the nut that spends his off time torturing small animals or his kids and it darn sure won’t help the poor bullied kid that’s at the end of his rope and decides to hang himself or drive his Moms minivan into a group of the kids that torture him.

    But hey, it’s easier.

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  15. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    I don’t believe that Christ said we have to be victims. Look at the “turn the other cheek” reference- “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. ”

    If you take that literally it means simply submit to evil. If someone comes to rape your daughter, let them? I don’t think he meant that, put it in context. In Luke 3:14 John the Baptist didn’t tell the soldiers to leave military service. They weren’t submitting as soldiers. In John 18:36 Jesus said that if he was of this world “then My servants would be fighting, that I might not be delivered up to the Jews”. That’s not submissive. In the end you have to put His words into context. When advising people to “turn the other cheek” what He was saying was “not [to] be overcome by evil, but [to] overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21) Put things in context, Jesus didn’t mean for us to actually gouge out our eyes if we looked at a hot chick and had some not so nice thoughts, ya know? What use would a world full of blind people be?

    Self defense of yourself, your family or property isn’t that same as murder either. I find it laughable when people who scoff at religion try to use religion to support their argument.

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  16. Walker says:

    Arlo, if you Google “convert ar15 to full automatic” you’ll get over 14,000 hits. I’m sure some of them are bogus, but a lot appear to know whereof they speak.

    And as to Jesus, no matter how you spin it, you can’t tell me He would approve of handguns.

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  17. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    I’m betting Arlo never got a degree in history.

    I wonder if the Ohio National Guard at Kent State were Swiss?

    My long dead great-grandmother thanks you for setting me straight.

    That was all sarcasm.

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  18. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    But onward to postmodernism and post-post modernism. and evil. I’m a pretty post-modern type but I can chronicle evil all day and all night. Let’s start with the evil of the people who allow weapons with no purpose except to kill humans to be sold. What about the evil of the politicians who support manufacturers of such weapons in their bid to make them legal knowing full well that many of those weapons would be used illegally and in ways that would kill perfectly innocent people? How about the evil of people who voted for those politicians with full knowledge, not just knowledge but support for the ability to kill?

    What would Jesus do? Would Jesus arm himself because he was felt in danger?

    None of the above is either sarcasm or satire.

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  19. Zeke says:

    Let us not forget the evil among us who shoot people in the face while hunting quail and are not punished. Another irresponsible gun owner goes free.

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  20. mervel says:

    Arlo,

    No where does Jesus say don’t keep your family safe. This may mean for some people who live in a dangerous area to have an alarm system or possibly have a handgun for this reason, maybe. Self defense means remove yourself from the situation if you can, it does not mean kill the person hurting you. Jesus was pretty specific, I think we must take Him at His word on the issue of non-violence.

    But you confuse being submissive with non-violence. Was Martin Luther King submissive or strong? I would say he was a very very strong man, yet he was non-violent; he did not carry weapons in the face of great danger, conflict and evil against him.

    Jesus was the same, certainly as the Son of God He could have easily ordered His angels to kill everyone threatening Him, but His model was radically different from that and from what had come before Him, He didn’t have to let Himself be killed, as He stated Himself to Pilot.

    My point is who are we as Christians? I do not believe if you believe that scripture is true, that we are people who are obsessed with guns that have no hunting purpose or that we are considered “dangerous” that no one should mes with us and so forth. As scripture says we are to be “blameless and harmless, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” Harmless? How does that fit with our tough guy stance on guns?

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  21. Walker says:

    “I find it laughable when people who scoff at religion try to use religion to support their argument.”

    I’m sorry, Arlo, but that’s foolish. I don’t believe in God, but I recognize in Jesus an exceptionally wise teacher. I think many Christians admire aspects of Buddhism, but that doesn’t make them Buddhists.

    And when you’re arguing with people who profess to be Christians, what better case can you make than to point out where their statements diverge from their professed beliefs.

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  22. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    It is a really good passage that Arlo quotes, and a good insight into how someone can completely mis-read and mis-represent something that has been said or written. It bears repeating:

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. “

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  23. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Walker, I just looked at the first 20 of the hits and they all cover the same ground- LEGAL kits for Class 3 holders, the fact no commercial AR platform can be converted without extensive reworking/machining of the lower receiver, how long you will spend in prison if you get caught even trying to convert one, etc. What was claimed was that there is an easy to assemble kit to build an AK47. Such a “kit” does not exist according to anything I’ve ever seen or found via internet searches. I grew up in a gun shop and made a career out of working with firearms. I’m sorry, but your understanding of the way things work is sadly lacking. And as far as the garage type conversions that at least used to be found on some of the kookier internet sites, even attempting to make one is already ILLEGAL! But, since the courts have ruled that discussing the possibility or fictional representation of an illegal act is not illegal in itself, some of those “plans” remain I imagine. Of course you can find any number of websites with instructions on how to do any number of illegal things- they are still illegal.

    Knucklel, I never said I had a degree in history, but it seems I have to teach you since you won’t educate yourself. The claim was the Swiss enjoyed a low crime rate while having full auto weapons in most every household because they were meek, passive and humble. Not true. End of story.

    And, as I’ve pointed out several times already, there are many other uses for semi auto military style rifles besides “killing humans”. Apparently you are not interested in any fact that does not support your argument. A true modern liberal.

    Zeke, how about the man that rapes a woman and tells her to put some ice on her swollen eye where he hit her? He not only went free, the press ignored the story and even today he’s treated like royalty. Another guilty President goes free.

    So Jesus meant for us to be slaughtered? We shouldn’t have the means to protect ourselves? We should meekly submit and die? I’m sorry, I don’t believe that’s what he meant. And I don’t believe that any of you would meekly submit to a criminal intent on harming you or your family. If you were faced with someone intent on harming your family for instance, would you submit or would you grab the best tool at your disposal to protect them? I will clearly state my belief that if you say you’d submit you are either a fool or a liar.

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  24. Walker says:

    “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

    So, Arlo, what do you think He meant? Seems to me it’s a pretty difficult passage to spin.

    Love your enemy after you shoot him?

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  25. Paul says:

    When you look at how this comment string has evolved I think it is safe to assume that politicians will also get sidetracked on this issue as the always do as time passes and little or nothing will be accomplished.

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  26. Walker says:

    Big surprise that the Assault Weapon Ban of 1994-2004 had little effect on gun violence:

    …The federal ban also yielded mixed results in its decade of existence. A 2004 study by the University of Pennsylvania, financed by the Justice Department, found that the measure, which included a ban on ammunition magazines that could hold more than 10 rounds, had only a limited impact on gun crime.

    The study explained that part of the issue was all the exceptions to the law. Assault weapons and large-capacity magazines manufactured before 1994 were exempted from the ban, meaning that more than 1.5 million assault weapons remained in circulation. In addition, the country’s stock of large-capacity magazines actually continued to grow after the ban, because it remained legal to import them as long as they had been made before the ban.

    Another challenge for lawmakers was defining precisely what an assault weapon is, which allowed the industry to continue manufacturing guns similar to those that had been banned.

    Connecticut, in fact, has an assault weapons ban, similar to the old federal law. But law enforcement officials have said that they believe the guns that Adam Lanza used in the Newtown shooting — including a .223 Bushmaster semiautomatic carbine, which is often described as a military-style assault weapon — were legally acquired and registered.

    Connecticut’s law adheres to the old federal standard, defining an assault weapon as one able to accept a detachable magazine and that includes at least two other combat-type features. In the case of a rifle, these might include a pistol grip, a flash suppressor, or a grenade launcher. Guns that have just one of these additional accessories can comply with the law… (NY Times: Lessons in Politics and Fine Print in Assault Weapons Ban of ’90s)

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  27. PNElba says:

    Arlo – you sure can write some missives.

    Marihuana is the introductory drug to the harder stuff which leads to more violence and mental illness

    As the original Larry would say, that is your opinion. Correlation is not causation. There are plenty of studies showing marijuana use does not lead to harder drug usage.

    http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB6010/index1.html

    http://www.amazon.com/Marijuana-Myths-Facts-Scientific-Evidence/dp/0964156849#reader_0964156849

    http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/article.aspx?articleID=97496

    I can get my non-gun owning brother-in-law to purchase a “drop in auto sear” that fits my AR15. As long as I don’t own both, it appears to be legal.

    http://www.quarterbore.com/nfa/dias.html

    If Holder knew about Fast and Furious it might be good to email the car thief Darrell Issa (two arrests, one conviction; http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/Recall-chief-held-twice-on-illegal-weapons-2605978.php) with that news. At least Issa should be familiar with the issue of illegal gun possession since he’s been convicted of that crime.

    During the inception and the participation through the death of Brian Terry, we have no evidence nor do we currently have strong suspicion” that Holder knew of the tactics, Issa said during testimony before the House Rules Committee on Wednesday.

    As for all the other questions you ask about wide receiver, I’m pretty sure Rush Limbaugh has the answers to those questions. But with 450 weapons sold under wide receiver, it’s likely someone was injured or killed by at least one of them.

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  28. Paul says:

    Walker this true but I also think we have to keep in mind that an assault weapons ban will probably not move the needle much on “gun crime”. Hopefully an effective one would move the needle on “mass shootings” that is really what is at issue here right? Sadly the numbers from “mass shootings” is pretty insignificant part of total gun related crime statistics. This morning on NPR the president was listing all the different gun deaths that have occurred since last week (or maybe just a sampling of them). Most were probably not facilitated by an assault weapon or a high capacity clip. Doesn’t mean they should not be restricted, I think they should. But if anyone thinks this is a panacea (even if the ban is done correctly) they will be very disappointed.

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  29. Paul says:

    Is there going to be a program to confiscate assault style weapons as part of any new restrictions? These things are not like drugs or larger than 16 ounce sodas. They are going to be around pretty much forever. Two of the guns I use for hunting were manufactured in the 1920s.

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  30. PNElba says:

    They are going to be around pretty much forever.

    Guns are durable “tools”. When maintained they can last a long, long, time. I highly doubt there will be a program to confiscate assault style weapons. A voluntary buy back program perhaps?

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  31. Walker says:

    Yeah, “confiscation” is a word to make politicians gun-shy (pun intended).

    Maybe, if we hadn’t let the ’94 ban expire, maybe the ’94 ban would have made a difference over time, especially if we had closed that loophole for imported magazines. But when that ban sunsetted in 2004, I think it’s safe to say you’re looking at a hopeless case unless you’re ready to face confiscation measures. Good luck with that! Meanwhile, these weapons will continue to fly off the shelves every time anyone mentions a ban.

    So, how about mental health?

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  32. Paul says:

    “you’re looking at a hopeless case”

    Then I don’t understand your position? I was under the impression that you support a new ban?

    PNElba, a buy back might work. I know that some programs to get illegal guns off the street (with no threat of prosecution) can collect a bunch. It could make a difference. There are lots of crazy types for sure that will want to hunker in the bunker, but there are also lots of law abiding shooters out there that when faced with the choice will do what is legal.

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  33. The Original Larry says:

    Ahhhh, the “c” word , finally. You said that wasn’t your goal. Good thing no one believes you.

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  34. Walker says:

    “I was under the impression that you support a new ban?”

    Yes, I was. In thinking it through, though, it really looks like the odds of doing any good are slim to nil. These are $1000 weapons. You think we can fund a large-scale buy-back?

    It seems to me that the thing to focus on is the clips. You could possibly get somewhere making just the clips illegal. Though I’ve already seen arguments from people who hunt in grizzly country claiming that a small clip could prove fatal in some circumstances.

    I’m starting to lean toward “we’ve made our bed, now we’ll just have to lie in it.” I’m glad I live in the north country!

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  35. Walker says:

    Uh, Larry, do you see anyone here saying they want to take on confiscation? I know it will make your day when one of us says, “yeah, let’s grab ‘em all,” but it won’t be me. And I don’t see anyone else ready to do it. Sorry to disappoint you.

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  36. The Original Larry says:

    “I think it’s safe to say you’re looking at a hopeless case unless you’re ready to face confiscation measures.”

    You’re another one who says things then back-tracks. Sounds to me like you’re ready to consider confiscation.

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  37. Walker says:

    It may sound that way to you, but you have to stretch to read it that way. I am decidedly not ready to face confiscation measures, not the least because you’re right– these have become popular hunting weapons.

    I don’t really understand why you choose to believe that the left is out to get you.

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  38. The Original Larry says:

    It’s the high level of hatred, disgust and derision they exhibit for all things conservative.

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  39. Paul says:

    I don’t think confiscation is out of the question. Like I said most law abiding shooters would (grudgingly) turn in those weapons. We could afford a buy back. Let’s say there are 50 million guns we need to buy back probably a way high estimate. That is 50 billion. That is nothing. Then we can sell them to some banana republic and turn a profit.

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  40. Paul says:

    Also, if the case is hopeless than all we are left with are the ideas of arming the teachers and priests and rabbis…. These are bonkers.

    Look so far in the last 4 years our president has signed only 2 gun related laws. One to allow people to carry concealed hand guns in national parks, and one that allows people who work for Amtrack to pack heat. (As Michael Bloomberg said, I assume that one is to deal with the rash of train robberies that we have not had since the 1800s).

    It is going to take some real leadership. The president gave a very eloquent speech the other night in CT but does he really have what it takes to deal with these issues. I hope so.

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  41. PNElba says:

    The rubber band trick. I won’t post the link, but google bushmaster rubber band trick. It may still be semiautomatic but it sure sounds like a machine gun.

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  42. PNElba says:

    How about mandatory insurance to own a handgun or assault weapon?

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  43. Walker says:

    “I don’t think confiscation is out of the question.”

    If we had a strong national consensus to the effect that the existence of assault rifles was a significant factor in these kinds of tragedies, then maybe we could consider it. But it appears that Arlo’s right– a lot of people are using these things to hunt deer these days– they’ve become normal. Gallup has only 42% of the public in favor of a ban, and that appears not to have dealt with the confiscation issue.

    I think if it were up to me, I would be more worried about clip capacity, and I would be inclined to limit it for both handguns and rifles.

    I don’t know. We seem to be a nation of sheep. This event will push many of us in one direction for a few weeks, and then the countervailing ads will run and pretty soon we’ll be back to square one. Bah, humbug!

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  44. Paul says:

    Are we sure that “a lot” of these things are used for deer hunting? Many of them don’t even shoot a cartridge that is very popular with deer hunters. These usually shoot smaller high velocity bullets. Maybe I am living in the past. I have seen these around the range but I have yet to see one in the woods during deer season. “Varmint” hunters may find these type of guns popular, but that is nothing like the number of deer hunters out there. But I am sure Arlo probably has some good stats on this. Just find it surprising.

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  45. Paul says:

    PNELba, you raise a good point. Insurance companies seem to think of everything these days. If they could raise your rates based on this they probably would have already. They ask you if you have a dog? Woodstove? You name it?

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  46. Paul says:

    At 300, all the comments disappear and we are back to where we were before this shooting occurred!

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  47. Walker says:

    “Are we sure that ‘a lot’ of these things are used for deer hunting?”

    I don’t know, but I googled “popular deer rifles” and the second hit was this Outdoor Life page. But you could be right Paul– I just looked a bit further, and wasn’t seeing a lot of AWs at all. Maybe Arlo was just talking about varmint hunting. Who knows how many are out there.

    But almost any semi-automatic weapon that can take a high capacity clip could be used to take out a lot of people in a short time. I’m not sure that the styling makes that much difference, though a folding stock makes it easier to carry the thing without attracting a lot of attention.

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  48. knuckleheadedliberal says:

    Paul, the Maya have already set a limit to all blog posts. As of tomorrow it will all be gone.

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  49. Arlo T. Ledbetter says:

    Walker, as I asked you before, are you saying that if you or your family is attacked you would submit? I would not, I have not. If that makes me unChristian in your view based on your interpretation of Christian teachings, then I guess I’ll just have to deal with it and let the God you don’t believe in judge me and my actions. I don’t believe God or Jesus expects me to let someone hurt my family. If you’d like I can give you several dozens links where true biblical scholars discuss this issue.

    PNElba, after going through several google pages of links from marijuana advocacy groups studies showing that pot was not a gate way drug I started finding studies from medical researchers who say it is. They also say alcohol is a gateway drug. None of the sites I looked at said driving while stoned was a good idea.

    You would need a pretty good machine shop to make a DAIS, you can’t buy one through the mail or at Walmart. Also, a drop in auto sear BY ITSELF is considered a “machine gun” by the BATF which means that without a class 3 license it’s illegal for you to even possess one. Should you be in possession of a DIAS and specific fire control group parts, even without the AR rifle itself, you are in possession of a “machine gun” too. In short, it’s already illegal! http://www.atf.gov/publications/download/p/atf-p-5320-8/atf-p-5320-8-appendix-b.pdf As I said, no such “kit” to build an AK47 or easily convert any other gun to an auto exists that I’m aware of. As far as that doofus moron with his rubberbands, I can give you links to shooters using 1873 Colt single actions, like Roy Rogers and Gene Autry used that discharge 6 rounds in way less time that that clown did his 10. Google Bob Munden or Jerry Miculek. For that matter Jerry put’s 12 rounds out of a 6 shot revolver with a reload between cylinders full in under 3 seconds. So what?!!! The point is people are calling things machine guns that aren’t, are claiming anybody can get a kit to build a full auto AK, can buy flame throwers and bazookas and it’s NOT TRUE.

    On Holder and F&F-

    Eric Holder, Attorney General, had prior knowledge of the controversial Fast and Furious Operation, says CBS.

    Directly contradicting the statement Holder made to Congress, new documents obtained by CBS News reveal that Holder had knowledge of the Fast and Furious operation as far back as July 2010.

    The controversial program allowed weapons to be illegally purchased in the Phoenix area so that they could be tracked to gun traffickers and drug cartel leaders. However the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives lost track of these firearms. ATF agents allegedly allowed thousands of weapons to cross the border and fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, says Politico.

    The program remained unknown to the public until two guns from the Fast and Furious operation were found at the murder site of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry last December. ATF agent John Dodson then made the operation public, says CBS.

    On May 3, 2011, Holder told a Judiciary Committee hearing, “I’m not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

    Both CBS and CNN report that internal Justice Department documents show that Holder began receiving frequent memos discussing the operation at least ten months before the hearing.

    Believe what you want.

    Darrell Issa? Sorry, is he President? Huh, I just looked and the guy that’s President was a pot and coke user and reputed drug dealer, but I see his name isn’t Issa. I’m corn-fuzed. Pot and coke and dealing drugs in college is okay, but a misdemeanor conviction isn’t? Is that satire or sarcasm?

    Paul, yes, you are living in the past. Don’t feel bad, I’m 10 years behind myself. I didn’t say the popular deer rifle, I said most popular hunting rifle today. They took a design that’s been around since the late 50′s that had a rep as inaccurate and unreliable and turned it into a very accurate platform that still has a reputation as not so reliable. These days they come in a variety of calibers suitable for everything from deer to wild hogs to coyote to pure paper punching. But remember that at the same time these are so popular, so are lever action cowboy rifles and revolvers. There are whole new, very popular shooting sports dedicated to shooting off horse back and things like that. The safety records are far, far better than anything found at your local high school football field or basketball court.

    On the radio today I heard that Gallups latest survey showed more Americans thought increased police at schools and a focus on mental health would be most effective. Decreasing violence on tv and video games came in third and gun bans came in fourth with 1/3 of the respondents thinking gun bans would not be effective. I think most of the people in that survey have a pretty clear view of just what would actually be effective.

    Please, go ahead and start talking about outright confiscation. Gun rights organizations report record membership applications over the past few days. Start talking confiscation, registration, insurance, usurious taxes and things like that and you will see Americas gun owners dig in their heels like nothing you’ve ever seen before. People are not going to give up their rights easily.

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  50. Walker says:

    Arlo, I’m not a Christian. Nevertheless, I do not presently own a gun. I owned a hunting rifle for a dozen years. In my sixty-six years, I have never had occasion to wish I had a weapon for self-defense.

    Interesting piece in the NY Times: The N.R.A.’s Blockade on Science

    …In the years since the 2004 report ["Firearms and Violence"], research on firearms has, despite the panel’s recommendation, significantly decreased. According to a 2011 Times article, researchers in the field report that “the amount of money available today for studying the impact of firearms is a fraction of what it was in the mid-1990s, and the number of scientists toiling in the field has dwindled to just a handful as a result.”

    It’s not that scientists are uninterested in gun research or don’t know how to study guns’ connection to violence. It’s rather that the N.R.A. has blocked most efforts at serious gun research, going so far as to restrict access to the highly informative data available from Justice Department traces of guns used in crimes. As The Times reported, “Scientists in the field and former officials with the government agency that used to finance the great bulk of this research say the influence of the National Rife Association has all but choked off money for such work.”

    As a result, things still stand pretty much as they were in 2004. There is no scientific consensus on the best approach to limiting gun violence, and the N.R.A. is blocking work that might well lead to such a consensus…

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