The Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

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197 Responses

  1. greginak says:

    I think you have expressed the “pro-gun” side well. I think your suggestions on what could be effectively done have a lot of merit and we would be well served to head in many of the directions you suggest.

    But, and there always is a but, it is just as important to want the good will of people on the “gun control” side. You are correct plenty of people who are for gun control don’t seem to know much about guns and would be well served by learning more before speaking out. Of course I can certainly trot out a zillion dumb or violent statements made by gun owners but that shouldn’t disqualify there views from discussion. Why should gun control folks give an inch? Its their country too, their safety at issue and, really importantly and often over looked is, plenty of gun owners want better gun laws. This isn’t actually an arguments between gun owners and non gun owners. Sadly this discussion gets framed by NRA vs the generally least knowledgeable gun control folks. Plenty of us aren’t afraid of guns and are fine with you owning them but are looking for better laws. My good will and trust is just as much a part of this as yours, so the “pro-gun” side needs to see themselves as one of but not the only stake holder here.

    PS The “Something must be done” trope is so often true and mocking it is just as tired a trope.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to greginak says:

      What I propose is better gun laws. Encourage training, encourage safe storage, stop treating gun owners like people who are just one bad day away from being murdering criminals, stop treating guns like they have evil mind control powers (how often is some six year old in trouble at school because he drew a gun, or made a gun with his hand).

      It gets ridiculous at times how hysterical people can be about guns (on both sides).Report

      • Annelid Gustator in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        And don’t even get me started on the violent rhetoric of many in the gun control crowd.

        It is also ridiculous at times how hysterical people can be about rhetoric that hurts their feefees.Report

      • M.A. in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        stop treating gun owners like people who are just one bad day away from being murdering criminals,

        Problem: a sizable enough portion of the gun-owning population ARE just one bad day away from being murdering criminals. Michelle Togut gave us a case study on it even.Report

        • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to M.A. says:

          Then everybody is one bad day away from being a criminal. Doesn’t mean we treat them as such.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

            Actually, in a lot of small ways, we do. Prescription medicine is behind a locked door at the pharmacy. We all lock our doors at night if we’re in any kind of urbanized area. The vast majority of people don’t pick up hitchhikers. If you’re a woman alone, avoid groups of drunk men. We work to limit risk in a variety of ways, big and small. Some of these ways assume the worse of people.

            To add on to this point, two months ago, if you had told the NRA or even a more moderate guns rights organization, “hey, I know this (single?) Mom in suburban Connecticut who has multiple high-powered weapons,” they’d want to throw her in a TV commercial to prove that ,”see, not all gun owners are hicks for Alabama!” She might have even described herself as a “responsible gun owner.”Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to M.A. says:


          You just turned a case study describing a single incident in a year of a person working with a collection of self-selected incidents into a very sweeping generalization regarding the gun-owning population.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to greginak says:

      “A conservative is someone who sits and thinks. Mainly sits.”-Woodrow WilsonReport

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to greginak says:

      Well, we’re seeing a lot of the “something must be done” here in the comment threads, and the symposium appears to be a pretty exceptional outlier in the national discussion on guns, so mocking it to some extent seems okay with me.

      As for the gun owner /gun control burden of trust, right now I have to cede the ground to the gun owners, because they’re the ones who are being asked to change. Yes, they should be more charitable, but that needs to be earned, as well.

      You want ’em to change, you kinda need to make ’em want it, too.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        I remember, some while back, when the Sandy Hook doo-doo hit the whirling blades o’ fate, something to the effect there would be much heat, little light — and nothing would be done. I stand by this assessment.

        I’ve also said we should defer this issue to the gun owners. In the weeks which have followed this latest massacre, I have come to believe the gun owners aren’t going to give an inch, under any circumstances. Instead, we shall have more of their usual maundering and glorification of their guns, generously larded with half-truths and paranoid speculations about how even something as innocuous as a gun owner registry is a great imposition on our civil liberties. Never mind my right to life and liberty and pursuit of happiness: it’s all about their rights and never their responsibilities.

        There is no dialogue. There never was any. Well, let them carry their guns about for Self Defence. They’ll need it. They’re the ones being killed by their own weapons. Darwin’s Revenge: let them shoot themselves and their family members in suicidal and drunken rages. If a few of the rest of us die in the process, in the immortal words of Picard “Make it so.”Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to BlaiseP says:

          Heh; now… there’s some fatalism.Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Nothing fatalistic about it. We could do something. We could at least tell the truth about Norway and Anders Breivik. We can’t even get that far.

            Let the onanistic and fetishistic stroking of weapons continue. Magna est vis consuetudinis.Report

        • SpeleoFool in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I disagree that nothing will be done. In fact, I see this symposium as doing something right now. You all have created an oasis of civil and mutually respectful discussion on an important and timely topic about which productive conversation seems to be largely lacking on the national stage. Thank you for that, and please don’t discount its importance simply because the discussion itself and any resulting influences it may have are not easily measurable “somethings.”

          I found this site a few days ago by accident while searching for news stories on the proposed “Assault Weapons Ban.” I am a firearm owner, and for the past year or so have been casually shopping for a particular model of gun that has consistently been in relatively short supply and, in my opinion at least, rather overpriced. After Sandy Hook I watched as the call for banning “assault weapons” quickly reached a fever pitch and panic buyers have grabbed up nearly every gun, magazine and box of ammo in sight. Asking price on the firearm I had hoped to purchase immediately shot up to 400% of retail. Honestly, I’m not certain whether this model would be considered an “assault weapon” or not based on the seemingly arbitrary criteria in Senator Feinstein’s proposed bill. I was hoping to discover whether or not it appears as one of the specifically named prohibited firearms, but instead I landed here.

          For the past few days I’ve been quietly devouring the articles and comments here, utterly relieved to see rational analyses take the place of the insane rallying cries to enact widespread bans or “water the tree.” I’ve learned quite a bit, calmed down a lot, and have endeavored to give serious thought to what it is that *I* can do to contribute to a safer America.

          One fault I see in the pursuit of “doing something” is that the “somethings” under consideration mostly seem to be solutions that would compel or require various “good” behaviors via legislation or regulations. Reasonable actions that may happen automatically or that would only require asking nicely tend to be overlooked or discounted.

          In early December I attended a local gun show with my wife who purchased her first handgun. There’s no law requiring her to have a license or training to own her firearm, but I found a deal for an “Intro to Handguns” class with a local shop and signed us both up anyway. It’s not only a sensible thing to do for safety and useful exposure to help her navigate the tangle of gun laws, but it’s also something fun for us to do together. While I was at it, I signed us both up for CCW training as well, even though we live in AZ where “constitutional carry” affords us the right to carry without any license. The total cost was about $120 for both of us.

          I didn’t sign up for safety training because of Sandy Hook–the money was already spent before that happened. Nor did I do so because anyone asked me to. Nor did I sign up for CCW because I intend to carry all the time. Frankly, I might like to carry once in a while on remote hikes where I could find myself alone and vulnerable or, more likely, bored and in the mood for target practice to pass some time. I shouldn’t have to worry about an unloaded handgun “concealed” in a backpack being misconstrued to represent nefarious intent. However, the primary reason I signed up for CCW training was because I saw it as a very rare opportunity to go above and beyond what is already demanded of me as a firearm owner to demonstrate my commitment to safe & responsible ownership.

          For what it’s worth, I don’t see a gun owner registry as innocuous or even particularly helpful. I’m sure my name is “on a list somewhere” by simple virtue of having been run through NCIS checks. Anyway, it certainly will be after getting a CCW. But what does that prove exactly? How does that information contribute to public safety? Mostly, I don’t like the implication that having the government looking over my shoulder in order to own a firearm should be compulsory. Can I not be trusted without also being tracked? I value my privacy and when I’m asked to give it up I like to understand why.

          Meanwhile, one thing I’ve realized that I can and should do (that no legislation could require of me and no statistic could track) is to engage my non-shooting friends in conversations about firearms. I will even invite some of them to the range to go shooting with me, if they’re interested. By contrasting what I’ve seen on the news with what I’ve seen on this site it’s abundantly clear to me that ignorance and blanket fear of firearms is a major impediment to a healthy discussion about gun violence. Furthermore, I have the patience and expertise to share that knowledge–it’s something that I, personally, can do. If that helps in some small way to steer the collective conversation away from talks of bans and regulations then that really would be “something,” not because it means I get to keep my toys but because I sincerely believe that the detection and treatment of mental illness is the better way to frame this conversation.Report

          • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to SpeleoFool says:

            Thank you!Report

          • BlaiseP in reply to SpeleoFool says:

            Which, if I read you aright, we may sum up your position in four words: “no legislation” and “no statistics”.

            Thank you for your input. Allow me to add my own four words.

            Much heat. No light.Report

            • SpeleoFool in reply to BlaiseP says:

              I wouldn’t say that my position is “no legislation.” That would be taking the narrow view, in my opinion. I have not made up my mind to oppose legislation although I have found myself opposed to or unconvinced by most of the specific suggestions for firearm-related legislation I’ve seen thus far. I remain open-minded, if generally skeptical.

              What’s the difference? Well, you could probably get me to agree to some kind of legislation related to background checks for private sales of firearms. The idea of using a FFL to broker private sales and ensure every buyer gets a NICS check seems entirely reasonable to me, and I can’t think of any reason I’d oppose a law requiring that. By all means, let’s discuss that idea some more if you agree it has more merit than cost.

              Meanwhile, my position is most decidedly not “no statistics.” I think statistics are great, and I’d assert my position is much better described as grateful for the efforts throughout the symposium to thoughtfully and thoroughly analyze statistics instead of cherry-picking them out of context to support simple arguments like I see in the press.

              Without discounting statistics in any way, I’m simply suggesting we not be limited by them. I’d also ask that you not limit yourself to the idea that “gun laws=something done” is the whole equation. You were quick to surmise that “nothing will be done,” which can only hold true if that’s also an admission that you yourself plan to do nothing. There will be some light, however dim, if you make it yourself.

              I keep finding myself returning to the notion that the best possible solution to atrocities like Sandy Hook would be to intervene somehow and prevent a troubled person from ever acting on violent impulses and harming others. So, how can I help to plant the idea that overcoming the urge to inflict misery on others is infinitely more rewarding than actually acting on it? I can donate money to mental health care, perhaps. I am willing to donate my time as well, although I profess I’m woefully ignorant about how I might do so to my desired effect. In the meantime I can endeavor to learn more about mental health.

              So, those are real things I can do to bring light. My ideas have nothing in particular to do with any laws, and will likely be different than the next person’s ideas about the best way to react. It’s unfeasible to roll everyone’s minute actions into coherent statistics if the actions themselves are not uniform and coherent. Hence, my position to not let statistics pigeon-hole my thinking.

              I’ve drifted off topic somewhat from the notion of Guns in America, but I hope that by sharing more details of my overall thought process I might have better communicated why relatively less of my interest is on gun legislation.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to SpeleoFool says:

                Respectfully, you have not proposed anything which might be construed as a meaningful response. I have repeatedly asked gun owners to propose reforms. I am grimly amused by this cheap talk about Open Mindedness. You betray yourself with the use of Skeptical.

                We are long beyond the questioning phase of this discussion. Fluffy thinking about “some sort” of background checks simply won’t do. Jawing this issue to death is not a solution. I repeat myself in saying nothing will be done, precisely because people like you want the rights, but not the responsibilities, of gun ownership.

                We have laws enough. What we do not have, especially not around here, is a righteous gun owner who is willing to admit we are locked into an arms race. Your feelings of Vulnerability are entirely justified in the short term. What you cannot or will not admit is this: confronted with the Sandy Hook tragedy, America’s idiotic gun owners responded by rushing out to buy the very weapon Adam Lanza used to commit his crimes, a semi-automatic rifle which is absolutely useless for hunting but perfect for shooting people, quickly and repeatedly.

                I really don’t expect an intelligent response to that statement. With nuclear weapons, we can see the wisdom of disarmament. But let anyone bring up the civilian arms race, all we shall ever see is gibbering and frothing and more of the usual nonsense from the very people most likely to die from the weapons they purchase. Case in point: Nancy Lanza. Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP says:


                So a bunch of people rushed out to buy ARs. How many of those do you think did not previously own a gun? And how many do you think will get into mischeif with those ARs? There IS an arms race, but this isn’t part of it. There IS an arms race, but it’s not legal purchases by moral citizens that drives the problem.

                Handguns, my friend. It’s all about handguns. Talk about anything else is simply poking at the edges of the problem.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                I’m sick of the excuses, Mike. I will not be told to “think”, not twice anyway, about America’s gun owners. For my money, most American gun owners are paranoid fucking idiots, if the current AR-15 craze is any indication of their mindsets.

                I want to know. I want America’s gun owners to behave responsibly. They aren’t behaving responsibly and I want to know why. They can’t even talk responsibly. Didn’t I warn everyone before this whole goddamn symposium / confabulation / excusefest started — much heat and no light? The gun crowd has disgraced itself beyond hope of redemption in my eyes.

                All those now-illegal weapons didn’t start out illegal. This country and the paranoid morons who control the debate have allowed millions of weapons to get into the hands of people who shouldn’t be trusted with anything sharper than a rubber ball and now they’re selling their weapons out of the trunks of cars in parking lots and gun shows. Not one word which might make me think they feel any accountability for many decades of murderous idiocy. Not so much as a single word of acknowledgement of their culpability in the ensuing madness.

                Nossir, gun control advocates are so routinely demonised we’re past believing the gun owners are ready to do anything except make more excuses and continue to damn us.

                Want BlaiseP’s Solution to Gun Control? I’d give everyone in this country a weapon — man woman and child. The stupids would then proceed to kill each other off. I’d offload truckloads of ammunition like some demonic Santa Claus, come one, come all, getcha sum. The resulting pandemonium and mayhem just might bring some sense to this debate, that and keep the undertakers in land office business for the next ten years. The gods answer the prayers of the stupid and never to their benefit. Want guns for personal protection, folks? BlaiseP thinks you need to live in a world where you NEED guns for personal protection, turn this Land of the Free into a goddamn war zone, just to validate your every paranoid fantasy.Report

              • Shazbot3 in reply to BlaiseP says:

                I share your sense of frustration about the tenor of the debate. It feels like debates over trutherism, the cosmological argument, global warming denialism, etc. Just round and round. I feel like a lot of red herrings are getting thrown out all over the place.

                And as much as I hate it when you come after me this way, I have to respect your rhetorical chops here. Your writing is so vivid: “demonic santa clause offloading ammunition” is such a picture.


              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Bingo. Nothing against MRS, but his entire post seemed like, “OK, if you give gun owners everything they want, we might acquiesce to a few cosmetic changes in the law that won’t actually make it any more difficult for anybody to acquire a gun.”Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP says:


                “For my money, most American gun owners are paranoid fucking idiots, if the current AR-15 craze is any indication of their mindsets.”

                I think this statement demonstrates a lot of hyperbole. You’re belly-aching about less than 2% of all gun crime. This has been a busy symposium and I haven’t read every comment but I don’t recall you saying much about handguns or gun trafficking before this comment. You are a former super-spy or whatever, don’t you have some suggestions on how to deal with trafficking? I’ll even help you: Thousands of handguns are bought every year at gunshows and about a hundred gun shops down south and transported mostly to the Northeast where they are sold to gang members and used in crimes. How do you fix it?

                You are complaining about the lack of seriousness on the part of the pro-gun crowd but every time you obfuscate the heart of the gun problem with talk about nutty gun owners and ARs that demonstrates to me an equal level of unseriousness.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Sandy Hook was a hyperbolic statement of the most direct sort, Mike. You and I both know the maniacs buying those AR-15s are not serious hunters.

                And now we’ve got some asshole ex-Marine saying he’s not going to register his weapons. His letter gone viral, he’s the new darling of the Gun Crowd. Ex-Cpl Joshua Boston needs to get a clue. His weapons were stored in an armoury while he was in the US Marine Corps.

                There are some interesting photographs of Cpl. Joshua Boston in action in Afghanistan, as he and his unit dig up hidden weapons, ammunition and grenades and comm gear.

                Now this turkey neck Gyrene comes back home and thinks he’s going to do the same thing here in the USA?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP says:

                The people buying ARs are not nuts and you know that. I’ve got several totally sane friends who are considering AR purchases simply because the AWB is being reconsidered. These guys aren’t worried about the UN taking over our country or the zombie apocolypse. They just like to shoot and an AR was on their wish list (mine too for the record). Now they are bumping up their timetable. Same reason my dad loaded up on 15-round mags for his 9mm before the last ban. Nothing more.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                You can say these Bushmaster Bozos aren’t crazy. I say they are. The data is on my side: two shootups in two weeks, with dead police officers in the mix in the second incident… and you’re seriously asking me to decouple these weapons from the crazies?Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise – you got very testy when you thought I was insulting you for being bipolar a couple of weeks ago. But then you call people crazy because they want to own a certain kind of gun? That seems hypocritical. There are thousands (millions?) of assault rifles in civillian hands. If the statistics are to be believed about 2% of those will be used in crimes. Hardly enough for you to base an offensive blanket statement on.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                How very right you are, Mike. You and I both know this gun control debate is so much farting in a hurricane. There are so many weapons out there in circulation there’s really no point to any meaningful discussion.

                America loves its guns. Love’s a funny thing. The French have a saying, “L’amour est aveugle mais les voisins…” Love is blind but the neighbours (aren’t). I hope your buddies go out and buy those AR-15s. My solution is simple: since there is no talking sense to people about guns, make everyone carry one. That way, when our soldiers come back from overseas, their PTSD will be indistinguishable from that of their civilian counterparts. I want this country to live in terror of knowing every fucking idiot out there has a weapon. Solves the gun debate completely.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Blaise – obviously I disagree with you deeply. I would simply say that if your thinking has reached that point, you are totally entitled to the opinion, but you’ve sort of lost a seat at the table.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Don’t tut-tut me, Mike. I never wanted a seat at the table. I have a solution. Arm everyone to the teeth. It solves two problems at once: it completely validates the proposition of arming civilians for self defence and it would bring the problem into everyone’s home.Report

              • SpeleoFool in reply to BlaiseP says:

                Hmm, I thought that FLL brokering of private sales was proposing a reform. That’s not meaningful or worthy of further examination? Also, I take the responsibility of gun ownership very seriously. Owning an item capable of taking a life is no joke.

                I feel you’re jumping to conjecture about my intentions and attacking the sincerity of my response. You don’t have to agree with me, but I assure you I mean well and am attempting to be both polite and constructive as I share my opinions. I don’t believe I’ve provoked you, and certainly not intentionally so, but I do apologize if you feel slighted by me.

                I honestly don’t feel locked into any kind of arms race, but then I don’t exactly understand who’s supposedly racing against me. Government? Police? My neighbors? Other gun owners?

                What I can offer is: confronted with loud cries for widespread gun bans in the wake of Sandy Hook, America’s gun owners (and perhaps some number who did not previously own guns) responded by rushing out to buy up anything and everything predicted to be outlawed by an imminent ban, including the same model weapon that Adam Lanza used and many, many others.

                If you think that exploring the differences between our two statements any further might be interesting or constructive, I’m certainly willing to continue. Or if you think we’ve exhausted meaningful dialogue then I’m happy to spare the readers of these comments from further volleys of disagreements.

                Thank you for taking the time to respond to my comments.Report

              • BlaiseP in reply to SpeleoFool says:

                (wry laughter) FFL dealers are the very jackasses now making fortunes selling AR-15s. They flew off the shelves within minutes of the Sandy Hook shooting.Report

          • Dexter in reply to SpeleoFool says:

            SpeleoFool, Nothing personal, but the last thing I want to hear while trekking through national forest is gunfire. The only things that scares me in the forest are bears and humans. I deal with the humans with kindness and the bears with mace.Report

            • SpeleoFool in reply to Dexter says:

              Dexter, thanks.

              There was a high degree of situational awareness buried behind my comment, and of course I didn’t really communicate that at all. I forget that most people don’t hike like I do, and most places are not like AZ [feel free to insert fun dig here!].

              We have a huge amount of open land in AZ, but a lot of different land owners (BLM, national forest, state trust land, reservations, private ranches, etc.). So even without firearms included these outings require some homework ahead of time to know who manages the land I’ll be tromping on and whether I’ll need any permits, etc. Carrying a firearm only complicates matters further, of course, because there are different rules for different lands. I’d be loathe to wander onto reservation land with a firearm!

              What I’m picturing is heading off into the wilderness, where a good portion of the approach is 4WD and there are no trails. I’m also picturing desert hiking, where you can see for miles, or there are mountains to provide a safe backstop for shooting. The terrain makes it exceptionally easy to verify that safe shooting is possible, and I can easily go a whole day without seeing another soul.

              Despite all that, you brought to mind another good point–I like being outdoors for the solitude, and noise pollution from mindless target practice certainly doesn’t afford that same courtesy to anyone else out near me.

              So, there are a lot of hoops to jump through, both legal and conscientious, before I might actually shoot in the desert. But it’s also really nice to live somewhere that doing so is possible.Report

  2. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    I hammer on the gun control folks because the discussions I hear are always, “Gun rights supports have to be willing to compromise!” A compromise entails a give & take, and for the past couple of decades, gun owners have been giving a lot &, except for the past couple of years, have gotten little in return.

    What I outline above is some of the ways gun control proponents can give in good faith to get something back. There will always be the “SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!” crowd who will fight everything as a camel nose or slippery slope, but right now, they are being heard by the majority of gun rights supporters specifically because gun control proponents never give anything in return.

    And the “Something Must Be Done”, along with the “If It Saves One Life” & the “It’s For The Children” tropes may be tired, but I constantly hear them, in some variation or another, so I mock them.

    PS I can mock my side of the debate too, the level of paranoia can be a bit much.Report

    • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      Now you have the Stand Your Ground nonsense. And thea bility to bring your own rifles onto national park land…Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kim says:

        I can bring my handgun or rifle onto National Forest land, always have been. What is the difference?Report

        • A national park is not the same thing as a national forest. Different missions, different usage instructions.Report

          • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Burt Likko says:

            The problem arises when the borders of one are not clearly marked. I can go hiking in the Olympic National Forest with a gun, but I can very easily walk into the Olympic National Park from the Forest without knowing it, & previously, that would be a felony.Report

            • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

              That’s fair enough. Perhaps there ought to be an “I was on foot and got lost” feature to the law (reduce penalties if nothing else). Because it’s fucking bullshit to be charged with something simply because you got lost. (now, if you were shooting there… I can see getting charged. Is this bad of me? It’s wrong to prosecute you for keeping your gun with you, but if you’re lost, you ought to know better than to be shooting things??).Report

              • Kim in reply to Kim says:

                also, this would feel a lot better if “I got lost” was in fact -provable- by having car XYZ distance off park land (five miles? Ten? Thirty?)Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Kim says:

                The big reason for the National Park push was actually because areas like Virgina have lots of tiny National Parks all around, parks that roads ran through, and people were breaking the law by transporting firearms through said parks in their cars. It expanded to cover the whole, some national parks are, you know, actually wild places & a gun can come in handy there. Still, local laws still rule, so a National Park in DC is still going to ban firearms.

                A smarter move might have been, guns are OK if you are just driving through, or if a given park is more than, say, 100 acres in size. I don’t know.Report

              • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                using a gun to shoot game is still illegal though. Particularly if it’s cougar stalking you.
                Yes, wild place. No, still can’t shoot the game, even if packing.Report

    • A compromise entails a give & take, and for the past couple of decades, gun owners have been giving a lot &, except for the past couple of years, have gotten little in return.

      What has been given up in the last couple years? Seems to me that GRA’s have been on a roll for the last decade or so.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

        Like I said, recently GRA’s won some things back (thanks in large part to Heller & McDonald). However, the operative term here is won. GCP always want GRA to back off & let them pass common sense gun control without a fight. I say you’ll get less of a fight if you give something back.

        A few months back there was a bill to permit National Concealed Carry reciprocity. Got shot down. GCPs just said no & pushed hard to make it so. No discussion as to what it would take that make that palatable, just no. Now we have the new AWB. No discussion about what can be granted to GRA to make such a thing palatable, just try to shove it into law.

        I’m tired of both sides being unwilling to give on anything. I feel the GRA spend a long time giving & are now taking some back, but I never see the GCP willing give something up.Report

        • greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

          I noted this below. What is your take on federalism?Report

          • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to greginak says:

            I think federalism is fine line to walk, & we, as a nation, are quite drunk.

            I know some folks want every state to be a little country in it’s own right, and I see the value in that, but I also see the harm. I think the commerce clause is used too often by the feds as a club over the states, but when it comes to rights, I think the feds do need to keep every thing equal.Report

    • greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

      The gun rights side has been winning for years. Not only with Supremes but pro gun rights regs all over the country. Concealed carry is common around the US. SYG, if that counts as pro-gun, is in many places. I can’t think of any new gun control law that has passed in years. The AWB faded away a few years ago.Report

      • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to greginak says:

        Federally, no, not much in the way of Gun Control. State & locally, there are court fights everyday.Report

        • greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

          What sort of local/state laws have passed or new GC has been put in place at that level. I’m curious and don’t know about this.

          I’d also note we have lots and lots people at this very site who talk about localism and federalism and think things should be kept out of the hands of the Feds. I don’t know if that is where you are at, but for those who are big on Federalims then this all part of the deal. Some places will have more restrictions than others.Report

          • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to greginak says:

            For something like home use & storage or registration, I don’t care what the states/localities do. I do care if their local laws will trip up a traveler who didn’t know (NY is notorious for this, as is NJ).

            As for new laws, a lot of that is the evolution of laws in the wake of the SCOTUS decisions. Places like NY, IL, DC trying to keep their gun control in place & get around the SCOTUS decisions. Why waste the time & money? Talk to your local gun owners/supporters, find a common ground. Instead it’s all about keeping the control in place at all costs.Report

            • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

              How about a “Post it” Law? Plus “there’s an app for that”?Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

              Isn’t part of being a “responsible” gun owner knowing the laws of where you’re going?Report

              • Easier said than done. It’s not just about knowing the laws of where you’re going to end up, but of every single jurisdiction in between. (There’s also the impossibility of going from a gun jurisdiction to a gun jurisdiction but not being allowed to have it in between.)Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Yep, right up there with being a responsible driver is knowing the laws of the places you drive through.

                If you do a road trip, do you check the local laws at every point on the journey?Report

              • M.A. in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                Traffic laws are mostly uniform.

                Speed limits are posted, as are no-passing zones.

                If you have differences in registration requirements or inspection requirements, those are governed by the state the car is registered and plated in; Full Faith and Credit clause. If one state certifies it roadworthy, you’re good for all 50.

                The same isn’t true for guns, which is a great argument for one uniform federal law to replace the stupid hodgepodge of individual state and county laws regarding guns. Yet every time that idea comes up, the NRA screams and godwins the conversation. All they want is anarchy, not sensible law.Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to M.A. says:

                Not being a member of the NRA or any other gun group, I have no idea if the NRA gums up the works on a uniform code or not. I know I would like to see something much more uniform, that permits freedom of movement, even if it carried stricter requirements.Report

              • M.A. in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                The NRA has consistently stood opposed to proposed federal, uniform gun laws. They have argued that it is the “domain of the states” on more than one occasion, despite the obvious cases of interstate travel and commerce we now see with startling regularity.

                The reasoning is simple: they can more easily control state legislatures with targeted bribes to sitting politicians or money dumped into the hands of primary challengers, and they also get to pass the anarchy-style irresponsible laws they want whenever the GOP entirely controls a state legislature and governorship.Report

              • The freedom of movement and consistency on transport law are a big part of it for me. I am not really hot on the idea of a uniform national policy. But I have less objection if Illinois wants to ban a particular gun. The tricky part is figuring out what the laws of transport are. If the gun is kept in the car and in a lockbox, or something. I’d also limit the local-ness of laws more-or-less to being statewide.Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:


                Don’t know enough to argue the point with you. I do know not everyone in the gun rights community is a big fan of the NRA, and often finds their actions idiotic. But they are the 800-lb gorilla.


                Supposedly there is a federal law that if you are transporting a firearm across a state & the weapon is secured, you can’t be prosecuted for it. It is also a law that places like NY & NJ ignore.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Jesse – I’m sure you knew that was nonsense when you typed it. As MRS points out, do you check the laws in every jurisdiction you drive through? Of course, ignorance of the law is no excuse but consistency from state to state would make it a lot easier.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

                If I was transporting something as deadly as a gun, I certainly would.Report

              • That’s a whole lot of jurisdictions. In a previous job, I passed 17 on my way to work that I could count (I was bored one day). That also leaves out the possibility that it can simply be impossible to take a gun from Point A to Point B.Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Not reasonable. If it was just state to state, maybe. There are even websites that will help. But some states allow localities to make their own rules, & not every small town or county has everything online.

                As M.A. points out somewhere up above, traffic laws are generally consistent from place to place, and there is copious signage to let you know what the rules are.

                Gun laws, not even close.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to greginak says:

        I think this is right, and despite whatever venom has been shot at the NRA over the past several weeks, the body politic seems to have well accepted the proposition that law-abiding people should have reasonable access to guns. Absolutists don’t like that word “reasonable” and would prefer “unrestricted,” but that’s where the pivot point of the discussion lies. Bans are effectively off the table and I think that’s going to be an enduring victory for gun rights advocates.Report

  3. M.A. says:

    The problem is that those who are demanding that “Something Must Be Done! (TM)” are either ignorant of the facts about guns and gun laws in general, or willfully deceptive.

    No, the problem is that those advocating like you are, the Moar Gunz Everywhere crowd, are are either ignorant of the facts about guns and gun laws in general, or willfully deceptive.

    I’ve heard more lies about guns from the NRA than any other source. And that includes when they decided to advocate destroying the first amendment and tried to blame everything but the ridiculously irresponsible gun culture that produces people who make the arguments you have made above.

    They stand in the service of misrepresenting the cancer-riddled, disaster-spewing inflamed appendix upon our democracy that is the second.

    Hyperbolic? Maybe. You went there first. I’ll be writing a guest post for later regarding the REAL history of what the whole “well regulated militia” clause was supposed to mean, by the actions of those who created it.Report

    • Burt Likko in reply to M.A. says:

      I’m prepping the Heller case for “Great Cases” treatment now, M.A. Lots of history in it. I’ll be interested in your take on the history.Report

      • M.A. in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I’ve sent Mr. Kain a submitted history regarding the actual relation of the militia in the time of the founders and the second amendment. It’s something I’m willing to bet few if any Americans actually understand today: when the amendment was written, in all 13 colonies there was compulsory membership in the militia for men over the age of 18, and it was codified as a uniform federal law just a couple years after the Constitution was fully ratified.

        That ought to have been rewritten significantly by 1816, when even James Madison had given up on the “call up the militia and have them bring their own guns” plan and signed the law creating the US’s standing peacetime army, something he had been fervently opposed to when arguing for the 2nd amendment in the first place.Report

  4. Kim says:

    “Strange that veterans, who often have far more weapons training and better weapons discipline than the police, are viewed as untrustworthy to carry as a civilian by many”

    You haven’t seen a vet try to pull a non-existent handgun at a car backfiring, before, have you?
    Or seen a vet actually target kids for shooting fireworks on his property? (sounded like a mortar, ya know. umm… because it is a mortar!)Report

    • BlaiseP in reply to Kim says:

      As an artilleryman who no longer attends fireworks shows, I resent this comment very deeply. Now I’ll tell you how we who suffer from PTSD behave around backfires: we drop flat on our stomachs and hug Mother Earth. Nor do we target kids who shoot fireworks on our property. You are so far out of line on this subject, I cannot adequately express my contempt for your positions.Report

      • Kim in reply to BlaiseP says:

        Note: my friend who tried to pull a handgun that wasn’t on his person? Had dropped to the ground. Was assessing the situation.
        I’m not saying that he’s a -normal- person. But, I am saying that there is perhaps a reason why someone who is a veteran is perhaps viewed as less trustworthy.

        I am certain that most people don’t realize what “combat trained” really means. How likely that person is to inflict damage on another person, if surprised.

        I trust my friend, I care about him a lot. He’s a good guy, though he wouldn’t say so himself (you know the type, I’m sure).

        But… he’s got slow reflexes. He doesn’t panic. I can’t say that about every vet I’ve known.

        I find it understandable that someone might view a combat vet as untrustworthy to have a gun. Perhaps still deplorable.Report

  5. BlaiseP says:

    Heh. Norway did respond to the Breivik massacre. Norway took its police and intelligence forces to task. Norwegian intelligence now closely monitors its online community and has expanded its data retention laws.

    Let’s try to stick to what facts we can summon up to this debate. To say the Norwegian people did not demand the Norwegian Patriot Act is simply wrong. They demanded tougher law enforcement and got it.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to BlaiseP says:

      Also Norway does not have the gun culture or an organization like the NRS. The call for discussion was a call for more peace and tolerance and a resistance to hate groups and hate thinkers like Anders Brevik.Report

      • BlaiseP in reply to NewDealer says:

        Norway went apeshit. They understood this was a failure of law enforcement. They had enough on Breivik to arrest him long before. Norway called for stricter law enforcement. I’m sick of this idea that Norway took the high ground.

        Norway already heavily regulates gun ownership. The subsequent government reporting made a recommendation to ban semi-automatic weapons.

        C’mon. Peace ‘n Tolerance. That’s just plain old bullshit, easily disproven.Report

        • NewDealer in reply to BlaiseP says:

          I know all of this. I was merely pointing out that Mad Rocket Scientist was being very misleading in his framing. I should have done this in an independent post and not as a reply to you. His post makes Norway look like a gun-friendly country. It is not.Report

          • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to NewDealer says:

            Sorry, my bad. I did not mean to imply Norway was gun friendly, only that they did not collectively lose their shit & demand even tougher laws. Maybe this is me painting American patterns of behavior onto the Norwegians, but a recommendation is not a new law/restriction. Here recommendations from commissions are ignored regularly, maybe Norway takes such things a little more seriously.Report

            • NewDealer in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

              This is where cultural homogeneous cultures help.

              I think multi-cultural societies can be good and offer lots of benefits but they tend to create lots of feelings of bad blood and bad faith. Our most divisive issues tend to be on stark lines and we are a nation of cultures divided. Rural Americans do not understand Urban Americans and vice-versa. Everyone assumes the worst about each other.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to NewDealer says:

        Also, people in Norway can probably assume that what happened was a once or twice in a lifetime action in their country, instead of something that has and will happened again guaranteed.Report

        • BlaiseP in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Norway has a disturbingly large population of Neo-Nazis and skinheads, a large group of them call themselves Vigrid. They are not nice people.Report

        • Its population is also roughly the same size as, or smaller than, Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee, but with more cultural homogeneity. You will note that none of these states has any mass shootings on Mother Jones’ map. To be fair, this is also true of New Jersey, which has almost twice the population of Norway.Report

          • Yeah, but it’s still New Jersey.Report

          • NewDealer in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            Most of the mass shootings we have seen in the United States have been very culutrally homogeneous. Do any of the big mass shooting stories from this year have racial violence as a possible motivator?Report

            • Patrick Cahalan in reply to NewDealer says:

              They all have racial violence as a “possible” motivator.

              You just have to stretch “possible” really, really far.

              The Fort Hood shooting and the Beltway sniper events were cross-racial, but I don’t know that there’s really anything credible to say that racial violence was a real motivating factor, really.Report

  6. Good post, MRS. I’ve got some disagreements, but more on the edges than anything else. One question though: the studies you cite on defensive uses of firearms are really hard for me to swallow – even the low end estimate of 800,000 defensive uses against humans per annum (in the early ’90s, no less) seems absurdly high. That equates to 2500 defensive uses per day on the low end to nearly 10,000 on the high end. Yet, not including suicides, no more than 60,000 people are deliberately shot (fatally or non-fatally) per year, with the overwhelming majority of those presumably being offensive shootings.

    My question is: (1) what are these studies defining as a “defensive use”; and (2) under what circumstances are most of these “defensive uses” occurring? If these are primarily situations where the user is stopping an actual crime in progress, then that is an important piece of evidence for the pro-gun side; but if they are primarily situations where the user is just pulling a gun on someone to determine if they’re friend or foe, then that strikes me as being part of the problem rather than the solution.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mark Thompson says:


      There are a couple of different studies of defensive use of guns.

      If I’m guessing correctly, the study MRS is probably talking about is based upon a particular survey result (have you used a gun as a deterrent) and gun ownership numbers. IIRC this one is the one cited most often by the NRA.

      There are methodological problems with it that make it a very soft number, in terms of reliability.

      The Brady Gun control people use a different methodology to come up with their number, which is 180,000 IIRC.

      I think there’s problems with their method, as well… fewer than the first cited study but enough that I think that 180k number is also pretty soft.

      The answer is most likely somewhere in-between, but we don’t have good mechanisms to illuminate this. We really should have some.Report

      • To be honest, even the 180,000 figure is surprisingly high to me, at least if “use” is an actual civilian weapons discharge or brandishment against a would-be criminal. If the majority of those uses actually stop a crime in progress rather than just involving a perceived threat, then that gives the self-defense rationale for gun ownership more credence than I had been giving it.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          “Never mind the dog, BEWARE OF OWNER!” or “This Property Protected By Smith & Wesson” signs strike me as weak examples, but examples nonetheless, of attempted gun deterrence.

          (Sadly, there’s no real way to measure burglaries that happened next door or burglars that saw those signs and said “hey, I can burgle a gun!” and weigh them against each other.)Report

          • Mark Thompson in reply to Jaybird says:

            Hmm…..I’d fully expect that the 2.5 million statistic the NRA relies on includes those examples. But I cannot imagine for a second that the Brady Campaign’s figures would consider something even in that ballpark to be a “use.” Basically, if the Brady Campaign is saying that “only” 180,000 crimes are stopped by defensive “uses” of a gun in a given year, however “use” is defined, I’d consider that to be a major statement against interest, as this would mean thrice as many crimes are stopped by defensive uses of a gun as wounds caused by criminal uses of a gun, and 20 times as many as people killed by criminal uses of a gun.

            My assumption had been that these statistics would be roughly in parity with each other.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          There are no reporting requirements.

          There really should be. If you brandish a gun in self-defense, you should report that incident. This in and of itself would have to be non-criminal behavior, of course.

          Our collection of gun data is really, really bad. The FBI should probably amend the UCR to collect a lot more gun data.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            I suspect they’re barred from such by law. The NRA has pulled a lot of strings over the years.

            I know the usual suspects in Government that would collect a lot of darn useful statistics right now aren’t allowed to. Government funding is barred from a whole host of studies on guns, gun violence, and deaths attributable to guns.Report

            • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Morat20 says:

              This is something I will absolutely agree is criminal mismanagement of public duty.Report

            • aaron david in reply to Morat20 says:

              Morat20, can you give me a rundown of what those laws are, who passed them and when? I would be real interested to see what was going on when they were passed, and what the circumstances where.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to aaron david says:

                Basically riders inserted into the CDC’s appropriations. Basically blocks all NIH grants on the subject of gun control.

                It really dried up the usual sources of funding — since the mid-90s.

                The language is fairly bland, something like “None of the funds may be used to advocate gun control” but the net affect is NIH grants for research can’t go to ANYONE who is studying guns because anything with a negative outcome could be used to advocate gun control by those studying it.Report

              • aaron david in reply to Morat20 says:

                So, universities cannot use private monies for research? And why would the CDC be engaging in research on gun control, or guns in general? One of the issues that has consistently come up in these discussions is bad faith, and having a gov’t agency advocate for political action is a very shinning example of that.

                That leads me to ask again, who voted for these laws, and was it before or after the last AWB?Report

              • James Hanley in reply to aaron david says:

                why would the CDC be engaging in research on gun control, or guns in general?

                Because the CDC is just about disease, but about public health in general. And the question of what effect a prevalence of guns has on public health is a legitimate one, regardless of what the answer turns out to be.Report

              • aaron david in reply to James Hanley says:

                If I remember correctly, at the time CDC was pushing for gun control, not just stating what various issues with guns were, or health concerns. As a gov’t body, I at least, don’t feel that they should be agitating for political action. I do realize that the director is a political appointee, and has the right to make the call on positions such as this. That said, there can be fallout from these decisions. Again, I feel that at that time, a lot of bad faith was going on around the AWB, and if appropriation riders such as these are inserted, well, elections have consequences.

                And, as you are a professor, I’ll ask you: what is stopping a research body from doing research on this topic using private monies?Report

              • James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                The CDC proposes policies that will enhance public health. That’s their job. That doesn’t mean we have to adopt their policies, or that we can’t point out that there are factors other than public health that have to be considered. But from a pure public health perspective, advocating gun control doesn’t necessarily differ much from advocating mandatory vaccination.

                As to the research, there’s no legal barrier to any research org researching the issue with private money. There may be a money barrier, since I doubt there’s big money flowing into gun control research in general.

                But there is the question of the legitimacy of saying “public monies can be used for all kinds of research projects, except this one that touches too close to my ideological concerns.” I mean, we’re not talking about funding research into eugenics here.Report

              • aaron david in reply to James Hanley says:

                I thin that my disagreement with you comes down to the fact that I don’t think that gun control is in any way a health issue, and in my eyes at least, not the job of the CDC. I do realize that other people, such as you, have a different opinion of that.

                Again, remembering that time, I do feel that there was a LOT of bad blood going around, and I am not surprised that there were repercussions. That said, maybe there are other agencies that would have a more appropriate (yes, in my eyes) reason for looking into gun control. This would be Justice in my opinion.

                As for “But there is the question of the legitimacy of saying “public monies can be used for all kinds of research projects, except this one that touches too close to my ideological concerns.” I mean, we’re not talking about funding research into eugenics here,” to a greater or lesser degree I do agree with you, but this is one of the problems of a representative democracy.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to James Hanley says:

                I thin that my disagreement with you comes down to the fact that I don’t think that gun control is in any way a health issue,

                Yes, I think that’s the point of disagreement. I’m not saying I know gun control is a health issue, but I am saying that the question of whether or not gun control would be beneficial in an aggregate sense to the public’s health is a legitimate question for our public health agencies to explore.

                As for “But there is the question of the legitimacy of saying “public monies ….. ” this is one of the problems of a representative democracy.

                Oh, absolutely! I think it’s a bad idea to start limiting research expenditures that way (on ideology generally, not just gun issues), but it’s certainly within Congress’s legitimate authority, and it’s certainly legitimate for Congress to respond to its constituents. The only real problem with representative democracy is that the demos doesn’t think exactly as I do. 😉Report

              • aaron david in reply to James Hanley says:

                Well, the problem is that there are more of them than there are of us ‘:)Report

        • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mark Thompson says:

          A “Defensive Gun Use” DGU is any use a firearm to the survey respondent felt prevented them from becoming a victim of a crime. Therefore, it ranges from brandishing all the way up to justifiable homicide. It is a squishy value, since many DGUs are probably of the sort, “I felt threatened by a person, I showed them my gun, they went away.” Was a crime prevented, or was somebody over-reacting? That’s where things get squishy.

          The amount of actual crime prevented by DGUs is probably somewhere between the 100K-800K mark.

          Ideally, if people were smart (this is something my CPL instructor taught us), once they felt the need to brandish a firearm, for whatever reason, their next move should be to call the police & file a report. If for no other reason than if some person brandished a firearm at me, my next move is going to be to call the police & report an idiot flashing a gun at people for no good reason.

          In essence, if you feel threatened enough to flash a gun, you should be calling the cops. Not only can it protect you, it also creates a data point that is useful in many ways.Report

      • Shannon's Mouse in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        It is striking just how terrible the science and scholarship surrounding gun ownership and gun usage is, on both sides of the debate. (See: Bellesiles, Michael and Lott, John)Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Shannon's Mouse says:

          To be fair, a result is a result. In a lot of cases, the problem isn’t with the underlying science, necessarily, it’s with people taking the results and saying that it says far more than it does.

          This is very common.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Shannon's Mouse says:

          Doesn’t help that Congress banned use of government funds for, you know, studying anything related to guns at all. (Except for ‘how awesome they are at killing things’ which is kinda necessary for the military).

          Although given how much Lott’s name STILL pops up, I gotta say the gun crowd has the shorter end of the stick. Bellesiles got dropped like a hot potato when his sins came out, but Lott’s ‘research’ never seemed to get fully relegated to the junk pile and he still gets quoted and referenced.

          Reminds me of that Barton guy. (The guy with the extremely strange and ahistorical views on the Constitution and the 10 Commandments).Report

  7. Tod Kelly says:

    A good post, and the whole “Suggestions for First Steps for the Other Side” is a good one.

    I have a few quibbles, which are lessened by your frank admission that you’re not claiming to have all the answers. Maybe the one I’ll note here is that I believe many of the suggestions you offer would find far more resistance among most of the “pro-gun” factions than the “Something Must Be Done” crowd.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Sadly, I agree. I think a lot of that would evaporate and become fringe attitudes if gun owners didn’t feel like the media was constantly editorializing against them. I know a lot of that is just hurt feeling hurt, etc., but it doesn’t help.

      IMHO, I really do think ratcheting down the number of non-violent felonies a gun owner can face, and putting a tighter leash (or doing away with) the BATFE, would let gun owners breathe a lot easier. That right there is a big source of anxiety for many gun owners who have no desire to hurt anyone, but who face felony charges because they failed to register a gun, or something silly.

      For example, in WA state, you can openly carry a firearm in a holster on your hip, no permit required. If, however, a LEO sees your shirt or your coat cover the firearm, he can arrest you for carrying a firearm concealed without a permit, a felony (I believe, according to what I make of the RCW, & what I had a LEO explain to me). Intent is not required. This is silly.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Tod Kelly says:

      Another thing that would help is if gun laws were applied evenly. I mentioned David Gregory in the OP, who clearly, on national TV, broke a silly gun law, and he is still a free man. Yet a non-famous person is arrested & charged (& pleads out).

      Silly, non-violent offenses should never net a person anything more than a fine & a reminder to not do it again.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        Oh God, not this right wing meme. Do you think President Bush the Elder should’ve been arrested by the DEA for holding up a bag of crack cocaine on TV? But I’ll make a deal with you. I think American’s should equally allowed to show any weapon on TV, providing they then return it to where they bought the weapon. 🙂Report

        • I don’t think Gregory should go to jail, but the whole thing does illustrate a problem. The law doesn’t care what his rationale was. The law doesn’t care that he was no threat to anybody. The law cares that he was in possession of this illegal thing (and knowing so).

          David Gregory isn’t the government and isn’t the president. He’s a citizen.

          This is a problem.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

            (Aw, man! My post gets into this issue!!!)Report

          • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Will Truman says:

            It’s even worse for Gregory. The guy I linked to claims he forgot the ammo was in his bag (which I can buy, I’ve found rounds in a bag before after a trip to range). NBC called DC police to ask permission first, didn’t get it, & did it anyway. So not only did they know the law, they knew they were going to violate it & willfully did so.Report

          • Jason M. in reply to Will Truman says:

            About this whole David Gregory thing; doesn’t prosecutorial discretion come into this? Is it really that big a reach to say “Yes, that was illegal, and, No, D.C. DA shouldn’t bother pressing charges”?Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Jason M. says:

              I’d be more sympathetic to this if it was an “oopsie” situation rather than a “I know that this is illegal, and you denied my request to do it, but I’m going to do it anyway because I can.”Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

                Will, weren’t you the one with the silly friend who yelled “oink” at a cop and got written up for every infraction? By the logic you’re using now, the cop should have written them all up regardless, because the law has no concept of “too trivial to worry about”.Report

            • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jason M. says:

              So a famous media figure gets prosecutorial discretion, but a returning vet doesn’t?

              How is that even remotely just or fair?

              Maybe the legal minds on the forum can correct me, but my understanding of prosecutorial discretion is that a DA is not required to chase a loser of a case, just because an arrest was made, & that a DA can plead a case to a lesser charge if the evidence is weak enough to make a conviction iffy, or it best serves the interests of justice.

              The DA has clear evidence of a violation. At the very least David Gregory should be discussing a plea deal with the DAs office, and Mr. Gregory should go on the DC list of gun offenders.Report

        • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          Was he President at the time? Then he falls into the same rules that allow Police chiefs to show contraband to the media (he is the chief executive, after all).

          Stop being obtuse, Jesse.Report

  8. Morat20 says:

    I’m curious: What is the CURRENT state of Norwegian gun laws?

    If I am not mistaken they are far more heavily regulated than the US. They ban a large number of weapons that are covered under the AWB, and many more besides. (I understand they have stringent regulations regarding handguns, mostly bullet size related).

    Gun storage is regulated and inspected by the state. Total number of guns that can be owned are highly limited, and you must apply (ie: ask for permission and recieve it) before getting a gun.

    It’s funny that America’s “knee-jerk reaction” would amount to far, far less gun regulation than Norway already has.

    Perhaps if America’s current gun regulation scheme was, shall we say, as comprehensive and sober as Norway’s, there would have been a far more sober response here. After all, Norway already insures — via the heavy hand of government — a certain minimal level of gun responsibility that the US does not.Report

    • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Morat20 says:

      Well, they allow silencers…

      Most of Norway’s gun regulation is actually different enough from the U.S. not to make a direct comparison very easy. here for more. The burdens to qualify for gun purchasing aren’t heavy; they have a very large private gun ownership percentage and my understanding is that this is rubberstamping equivalent to a U.S. background check for most things.

      Their storage laws, ammo limits, and weapon restrictions are similar to many states in the U.S. In addition, registered gun collectors can buy pretty much any old damn thing they want, IIRC, including automatic weapons, but they can’t necessarily fire it or have ammo for it… it’s roughly analogous to the amount of access that registered firearm manufacturers have here in the U.S. They don’t allow carry of loaded firearms, concealed or otherwise.

      On the other hand, they restrict handguns a lot more than the U.S.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

        They restrict carry, number of guns, regulate storage as well. Mandate training, it appears — and they’re all registered with the government. No automatic weapons at all (felony to be found with a converted weapon).

        Collectors seem to have to jump through a lot of hoops, and apparently there are a lot of restrictions on the number of guns you can own.

        Basically I’d be thrilled if America had that system.

        Totally happy. Ecstatic. How about we just knee jerk and say “Let’s use the Norwegian system”. Best of both worlds. We can use all that impetuous to solve the problem NOW and select a solution that is not only solid and sensible (adopted by folks not under pressure to fix problems) but has been endorsed by plenty of gun-loving Americans as a good system in general.Report

        • Mark Thompson in reply to Morat20 says:

          No automatic weapons at all (felony to be found with a converted weapon).

          Collectors seem to have to jump through a lot of hoops, and apparently there are a lot of restrictions on the number of guns you can own.

          With the exception of the restrictions on number of guns you can own, US law on these two points is basically the same – no automatics manufactured after 1986 at all, pre-1986 automatics only if you jump through the hoops necessary to get your SOT stamp or are an FFL. IIRC, getting an SOT stamp requires, amongst other things, a letter of approval from your local law enforcement agency. Also a lot of states fully prohibit even possession of pre-86 automatics.Report

        • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Morat20 says:

          Parts of America have that system, basically. You’re talking about California, more or less.

          Mandated training, restricted carry, regulated storage, mandatory gun registration, no autos. All that stuff.

          I’ll note again that even though I don’t find much of this terribly objectionable… this hasn’t apparently affected California’s accidental or intentional gun deaths, or crime, very much if at all.

          I’m curious as to why you’d be totally happy and ecstatic with something that doesn’t appear to do too much except make it more of a pain in the ass to be a gun owner.Report

          • Kim in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Sensible precautions for a dangerous tool?Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

            Of course, California can’t check every car, trucks, and vehicle at their border and search their person or vehicle.Report

            • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Also, in the Wiki that other people have pointed too, “By far the most common grounds for civilian ownership are hunting and sports shooting, in that order. Other needs can include special guard duties or self defence, but the first is rare unless the person shows identification confirming that he or she is a trained guard or member of a law-enforcement agency and the second is practically never accepted as a reason for gun ownership.”Report

            • For all relevant purposes, neither can Norway, since it’s an EU member state. See Article 20 of the linked document.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mark Thompson says:

                I bet if Norway was surrounded by Texas, Illinois, Virginia, and Georgia, they might have never agreed to join the EU in the first place.

                My general point stands. Somebody in California can head over to Arizona, Nevada, or Oregon and get a gun rather easily. In some place like Chicago or DC, to name two other big cities that prove ‘gun control’ doesn’t work, relatively easy access to guns is literally a hop over the city border.

                If you’re in Norway with bad intentions, how far do you have to go and how many hoops do you have to jump through compared to somebody with bad intentions in DC, Chicago, or LA?Report

        • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Morat20 says:

          Only problem is Norway is the US. Very different culture, very different attitudes.Report

          • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

            errr., NOT the USReport

          • Morat20 in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

            Well yes, but haven’t we all been smugly telling ourselves the problem isn’t guns, but culture?

            Indeedly do, that is true. For one, we treat guns like toys and status symbols.

            The gun owners I look up to are all hunters, serious life-long avid hunters. They treat guns like dangerous tools designed to kill. The gun owners I despite treat guns like a safety blanket, a badge of manliness, or a license to be Rambo.

            Since it’s become quite obvious that the latter are the problem, we have three basic choices: Let the idiots continue to be idiots, and write off the deaths. Determine the idiots from the smart, and take away the idiots guns. Or three, force the idiots to at least ACT smart even if they don’t wanna.

            I feel number 1 is not a viable option. So really, it’s down to how the heavy hand of government should come down — either cull the idiots of their guns, or give them powerful incentives to ape the smart ones.

            I think the latter is a lot better, insofar as that way no one has to actually determine who is smart and who is dumb. Just WHAT is smart and what is dumb, and then fine the snot out of (and confiscate guns from) people who do flagrantly dumb things.Report

            • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Morat20 says:

              For one, we treat guns like toys and status symbols.

              Agreed, which is a HUGE part of why my recommendations in the OP included encouraging, even requiring training. Training always helps to deflate the rambos & bring them back to earth with a helping of humble pie.

              When I was in the Navy & deployed with the Marines, the Marines decided it would be a good idea if the squids they had to work with actually had some basic knowledge of how to use the firearms we were issued. We had numerous range days with the Marines standing over our shoulders training us, but that first day was a doozy. Three of my team mates all got enjoy the humiliation of being gun-ho idiots in front of our instructors. Nothing burns that out of you like screwing up with a firearm & then having a gunny dress you down for it.

              I know a lot of gun owners, and I can always tell which ones have actually had training, because they don’t talk about how they can shoot it out with a half dozen thugs & leave them all dead while still having a round in the magazine. They know people like Dick Marchinko is a blowhard idiot. They know that even if they were that good at a range, or on a course, real life is not so easy.Report

              • A dear friend bought a Desert Eagle a few years back. Went to his garage for a poker game a month or so after he bought it and he had it out for one of us who wanted to see it. Well, of course, that turned into all of us having to take turns handling it but one of the interesting things I remember was that he checked to make sure that it was unloaded before he gave it to us, he checked to make sure it was unloaded when he got it back, when he put it on the poker table for a few minutes to let it sit there, he checked it every three minutes or so to make sure it was unloaded. Nothing dramatic or anything, just click, peek, click. He didn’t stop checking it to make sure it was unloaded until it was back in the drawer.Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jaybird says:

                Good gun handling, right there.Report

              • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                Good gun handling resembles OCD behaviour quite a bit, I’ve noticed.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I suprised the snot out of my father-in-law the first time I handled one of his guns, because I was paranoid about the safety, the loaded/unloaded status, and where the muzzle was pointed, but also snapped at someone ELSE who wasn’t being so careful. (Loaded or not, you do NOT point a barrel at me).

                He said he was surprised, given how seldom I handled guns, that I was so deeply conscientious. I pointed out that I’d personally seen the holes these things left in things, and that I didn’t want one of those things to be “me”.

                I respect the heck out of guns. I know what they’re made for, and I have a very good imagination when it comes to “what the bullet would do to me”.

                It’s the people who don’t that worry me. I know a guy that lost an eye to a 22 when he was in 19. Why? Two guys got into a fight. So one-eyed wonder there and his friend took away the two angry folk’s 22 pistols, because they didn’t want a fistfight turning into a gunfight.

                So why the two angry idiots were fighting, he — in his own words — “was playing around with it and stupidity happened”. He’s quite happy he only lost an eye.Report

              • Mike Dwyer in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:


                You’re exactly right. I compulsively check my safety and the chamber a gazillion times when out hunting. Most of my friends do the same. It’s a healthy sickness.Report

              • James Hanley in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                I think I’ve told this story before, but a few years back I was in the play Of Mice and Men, where in the penultimate scene we go out with guns looking for Lenny. One of the actors supplied the rifles, and I knew he checked them carefully. Nevertheless, checked them during intermission, and as I the first person off stage just before that scene, I always checked them right before we carried them on stage. But I still chewed out another guy for carelessly letting the muzzle of the gun he carried point at me one night. I don’t own guns, but I have a friend who’s a gun instructor and he taught me well.

                Also, one of the nice touches in the movie Tremors was when Michael Gross’s gun enthusiast character gets handed back one of his revolvers that he knew was empty, and that had just been proven to be empty, and while giving a short speech about how there’s no way he’d ever give that particular kid a loaded gun, he still flipped it open to check it. It’s a small moment that goes by quickly and isn’t emphasized, but it was the necessary and perfect action to demonstrate that his character wasn’t just an anarchistic gun nut, but a serious and well-trained gun owner.Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Patrick Cahalan says:

                With guns, you rarely get a second chance to make a first mistakeReport

  9. Mike Dwyer says:

    Great post MRS. You did a very thorough job of covering the pro-gun side of the policy debate.

    As a gun owner I respectfully disagree with the problems you have with a registry. There’s already a registry. I bought a new deer rifle last February and it’s registered because I bought it from a gun shop. There’s also a registry for lots of other products like medicine, cars, etc. Not to mention, with the internet and conservative-approved organizations like the NSA, we’re all being tracked.

    Of course as you also note many, many people would disregard a registry. I know I would be tempted, however since my guns travel a lot I also wouldn’t want to lose my gun(s) if I got caught without having them registered. Additionally, with a registration requirement we have a major tool in fighting trafficking which is the true source of gun crime.Report

  10. Pinky says:

    This article seems inconsistent. If registries of guns are bad, why are registries of gun-owners good? The article favors a national concealed-carry registry, easier background checks for private gun sales, and possibly standardized insurance. New gun owners are urged to check in at the local police station for training. All of these things would have the potential for being a registry. They’d all have the same security risks as a government registry of guns; they’d all be avoidable by those with illegal guns; they could all be used for future gun confiscation. Am I missing something?Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Pinky says:

      Registering a person just establishes that certain requirements are met, it says nothing about what guns may be possessed.

      Registering an object gives deeper data on what is owned where & by who, and, as Patrick explained before, CA has a habit of deciding guns that are legal today are illegal tomorrow, offers no grandfathering of existing weapons, and does not compensate owners for their losses (AFAIK).

      Also, See aboveReport

      • “Registering an object gives deeper data on what is owned where & by who, and, as Patrick explained before, CA has a habit of deciding guns that are legal today are illegal tomorrow, offers no grandfathering of existing weapons, and does not compensate owners for their losses (AFAIK).”

        Arguing against a registry because it would make it easier to keep (now) illegal guns off the street (or out of homes, etc.) isn’t that persuasive to me.Report

        • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Jonathan McLeod says:

          Show me how a registry stops illegal guns & I’ll buy it. If all it does is make it easier for a government to find a gun that was legal yesterday, but is not today, then I have trouble with it. People should not be deprived of their property because the government decided it didn’t like said property anymore.

          Runs right along with civil asset forfeiture.Report

          • Kim in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

            You sell a gun to a felon, you’re liable. Catches the gunrunners real quick.Report

          • greginak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

            At least as i think about gun registries are about stopping straw purchasing. If there are other ideas about stopping SP i’d love to hear them. I’ve read multiple places that Straw Purchasing in a big way gangs and felons get around background checks.

            My thought was that if someone buys a gun and its recorded someplace accessed only by a warrant then the cops can track how the gun got from the buyer to the criminal. If a guy buys 100 guns per year and has none of the guns and no bills of sale then where did the guns go. If a guy buys 100 guns per year and 50 end up being found a crime scenes then there might be an issue there. If a gun is stolen then it should be reported. Again if a guy buys 100 guns per year which are all stolen and up at crime scenes then there might be an issue. Thats my thought and am open to suggestions.Report

            • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to greginak says:

              See above – making the NICS public. Every FFL has to keep all their form 4473 on hand for law enforcement to inspect at any time. Cops suspect a dealer is experiencing a lot of straw purchases, they go over his 4473. They see names with a lot of guns, they go talk to said people. If that person can not produce the firearms, or the 4473 forms, then the police know to keep an eye on that person.

              If the system is public, the 4473 is my protection when I transfer a firearm. If I don’t have a 4473, and I can not point the police in the right direction as to who I transferred the firearm too, then I am suspect.

              I may even go so far as to suggest that if a private citizen transfers a firearm without a 4473, & that firearm is used in the commission of a crime, said owner could be in trouble (the 4473 being due diligence on your part). Not sure how that would work without being abused, but it is a possible avenue.Report

              • SpeleoFool in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                Would it be onerous to always use an FFL as a broker for private sales? Let them run the check, maintain the paperwork and make a buck for their troubles. One minor concern I have re: 4473’s between private parties is that the form contains the buyer’s address (and possibly SSN), which could provide an avenue for identity theft by unscrupulous private sellers. I’d see that as less of a risk for an FFL, though, because they’d be easy for both a buyer and seller to report.

                I personally wouldn’t have a problem using an FFL for a private sale transfer of anything I own, but that’s because finding an FFL has been convenient and inexpensive for me. I searched by zipcode on and got a fairly long list of nearby FFLs with locations and rates, which averaged about $20-30 per firearm. Even if rates were somewhat higher a seller could bake that into their asking price or split costs with the buyer or whatever makes the deal.

                I don’t want to assume that it would be that easy for everyone, though. Is there a significant downside to requiring an FFL to broker all private sales that I’m missing?Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to SpeleoFool says:

                Locally to me, the rates are $60-$100, mainly because the FFL does not want to run a NICS check for your sale to someone else, he wants that person to buy a gun from him, or for you to sell the gun through him on consignment.

                $20-$30 isn’t too much, $60-$100 is enough to make me not bother doing the check.Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to SpeleoFool says:

                Although maybe you could have FFLs who only run checks & maintain the forms, like a notary. They aren’t allowed to sell guns, so have no incentive to stiff you on the fee.Report

              • SpeleoFool in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                If all private sales required an FFL that might increase the “supply” of transfer fees enough to let market forces normalize pricing somewhat. Maybe. I do see the potential conflict with consignment sales, but I’d also be hard-pressed to name many easier ways of making money than to run a quick NICS check and file some paperwork. Frankly, an exclusively notary-like business model strikes me as a better idea than selling consignment as well because you’d never be stuck with a firearm that doesn’t sell.

                The last check I went through was all electronic; I typed in my info, the FFL typed in his and everything went through electronically. He printed a copy, and I signed it. All told it was maybe 60 seconds of actual work required on his part, and not more than 5 minutes or so total. I bet someone could make a bundle charging low prices to bring in a higher volume of customers.Report

          • Patrick Cahalan in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

            I’m not so sure that government, generally, shouldn’t be able to change its mind about what is permissible for citizens to own, on certain reasonably limited lists of stuff.

            However, the process should be fairly difficult to amend, and in certain cases should require the same level of scrutiny as the original legislation.

            In other words, if you want to ban a list of guns by referendum, and you want to amend that list, you need to go back to referendum. Not have the DOJ submit a PDF.Report

      • M.A. in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        and does not compensate owners for their losses

        So, sue under the 5th amendment to demand compensation.Report

  11. “** Gun battles are scary; so are home invasions. People defending their homes are not always the best shots while terrified for themselves and their loved ones…”

    I’m not sure how this can be used as part of a justification for more guns and more gun ownership.Report

  12. Mad Rocket Scientist says:

    I know the day is hardly over, and discussions are not yet done, but I really want to thank everyone who commented! This is my first post here, and I took something of an aggressive tone (on purpose), and for the most part everyone kept it very civil, even if (I could tell) you strenuously disagreed with me. That is one of the reasons I frequent the League, and I am glad even this issue can not break the civility everyone here displays.

    So again, thank you, all of you! (even BlaiseP, who, damnit man! you can run out into the weeds so fast… Seriously, how do you have so much data with well thought out opinion at your fingertips, I know you have a job?)Report

  13. Just Me says:

    People have asked why does it matter that legal gun owners had their addresses published. This might be one of the reasons for not doing so. I have to also wonder how many women who are in hiding from stalkers or ex’s were outed as well.Report

  14. zic says:

    The problem is that those who are demanding that “Something Must Be Done! (TM)” are either ignorant of the facts about guns and gun laws in general, or willfully deceptive. It is very hard, as a gun owner, to be willing to give ground to people who can not be bothered to learn or who lie about guns or gun laws.

    And it’s really hard to talk to people who blather on about the details instead of first stepping to the plate and admitting that every functional gun carries the potential of lethal force. And that the feeling of imbued threat — ‘to be willing to give ground.’ In all honesty, that talk fucking pisses me off. Give ground? Or what? You gonna pull your gun out?

    That’s the problem with talking to gun owners; too often, that implied threat comes up.

    As a woman, I recognize it when I hear it, do this, little honey, or else. Force does not make right.Report

    • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to zic says:

      Yes, every functional gun carries the potential of lethal force.

      Too often, with gun control folks, the threat is default assumed, when none is intended.

      Here’s a question (honest question, I’m not trying to be smarmy) – imagine yourself in a lively, maybe even heated discussion with a person.

      Now imagine that person is a gun owner with a gun on their hip. Do you feel threatened, if if the gun owner makes no move toward the holster?

      Now imagine that person is a cop. Do you still feel threatened?Report

      • zic in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

        One of the reason the cop has the gun on his/her hip is to make you feel threatened; to discourage your arguing with him/her.

        Really and truly, think of this from another perspective. You are having the same argument with someone; big dude, 6’8″, 230 lbs., all muscle. Does that make you feel intimidated? Most women I know have dealt with situations like this frequently, since most men are bigger and stronger. The implied threat is built it based on the size differential; and the same threat is built in with open carry. You may not like it, you may not feel it’s there, that you mean not threat. But just like the bigger guy typically has the threat advantage over the little guy, the armed person does over the unarmed.

        That’s very specifically why I came down so hard on your language here; ‘not going to give ground.’ Those are the very terms, the code, that alarms and frightens me. So you’re not going to give ground, what are you going to do? What enables you to stop giving ground?

        I’ve seen a lot of talk about what responsible gun ownership means thus far. So when there’s ground to be given, what does responsible gun ownership mean? When voters say, no, we don’t feel safe, we want registration or limitation or bans for certain actions, what happens?Report

        • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to zic says:

          Metaphorical ground. Politics these days really does seem more & more like a battle, and all sides tend to use terms of war in discussing it. Call it bleed over from the national dialogue.

          I can stop “giving ground” by making sure my elected officials know these things matter to me, and my vote may very well be contingent upon how they vote.

          As for giving ground, I’ve expressed a number of suggestions in the OP above, as well as in the comments here, and in other places. Please feel free to take a smack at them. What is good, what is bad, etc.Report

        • Just Me in reply to zic says:

          You seem to be leaving out the fact that gun owners are voters too. They have the right to vote against those who would pass legislation for more gun restrictions. That enables them to stop giving ground, the same as it stops you from giving ground. I wish “the code” was one of those phrases to be banned. It makes it so convenient to assign one’s own meaning to what someone else is feeling or saying.

          I don’t automatically think that someone is going to come blow me away because they say they are going to not give ground on gun control. As a woman I was amazed to see where you took that comment. As a human being I was appalled that you asked him if he was gonna pull out his gun because he said ” It is very hard, as a gun owner, to be willing to give ground to people who can not be bothered to learn or who lie about guns or gun laws”. I have to wonder if the reason that implied threat seems to come up for you is that you preconceive that they will threaten you.

          Oh, I also don’t feel threatened when I am having an argument with someone who is 6’8″, 230 lbs. Why, because I know people who fit that description who would never hurt a fly let alone hurt me. I don’t automatically assume they are scary because of how they look.

          If MRS had in the past threatened you or the hypothetical big guy had personally threatened you before I could see being scared when certain key words came up. Unless that has happened then no.Report

          • zic in reply to Just Me says:

            Yes, gun owners have voting rights, and I never suggested they didn’t.

            But I’m still waiting for what happens when gun-owners have their rights curtailed in some way by voters. If they’re not ‘going to give ground,’ yet that’s exactly what’s asked, what does a responsible gun owner do? Mad Rocket Scientist says he defers to the ballot box when pressed. But his rhetoric is like so much I hear from the gun lobby; infused with bullying of not giving ground, and there is an implied threat in that.

            I know lots of responsible gun owners; I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable if the didn’t buy into the ‘not giving ground’ rhetoric, and actually talked like the understand that this stuff matters — the talk and the implied threat hidden in the talk.Report

            • Just Me in reply to zic says:

              Then I guess there is nothing that someone who is a gun owner can say that will make you feel better. You see implied threats, they see conversation. It’s an impasse.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Just Me says:

                Well, it’s not that zic is pulling a type of implied threat out of thin air. Conservatives have made at least rhetorical gestures to “second amendment solutions” in the past, and often in the context of non-second amendment related issues. Some conservatives are very flippant about the rhetoric they throw out, and if it’s the same type of rhetoric employed in discussions about gun policy, it’s an easy enough conclusion to come to.

                So, sure, maybe zic is wrong to think MRS is implying anything like second amendment solutions to these types of policy disputes. But other people do talk that way, don’t they?Report

              • Just Me in reply to Stillwater says:

                What a bunch of bull! Some, who aren’t on this site, have said they believe in Second amendment solutions. Therefore, any who are on this site have their words looked upon with suspicion that they might be trying to threaten others. And we wonder why Washington is so dysfunctional, we need not look any farther than here to find out the reason.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Just Me says:

                What’s the part that’s bull? Not the part that some people talk that way, since you concede that much. Not the part that zic is perhaps mistaken that MRS is advocating second amendment solutions, since you think she’s mistaken about that.

                So there’s no bull at all, really. Just zic being potentially mistaken about MRS but not being mistaken that some people advocate second amendment solutions.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Remember when we were discussing the whole “nose of the camel” thing with regards to an AWB?

                Good times.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                You’ll have to expand on that for me to understand how it’s relevant.Report

              • Just Me in reply to Stillwater says:

                Maybe I took what you said the wrong way, if so then I apologize.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                And to repeat myself, I think you’re thinking I’m arguing something I’m not arguing. (Hint: my argument above was challenging Just Me’s conclusion that “there is nothing that someone who is a gun owner can say that will make you feel better.”)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                Just Me: I think everyone’s taking what I’m saying the wrong way, so no worries.

                My point, tho, was that zic has expressing a legitimate worry in her comment. That it didn’t apply to anything MRS said because it doesn’t apply to MRS means she was mistaken in attributing those views to him. (If it was a mistake, acourse, which I think it was.)

                But her worry is part of the debate, no? I mean, it’s not as if – like I said – she just pulled that out of thin air.Report

              • zic in reply to Stillwater says:


                The whole point was rhetorical; because I think the pro-gun side is so embedded in combative rhetoric– how often the response to any talk of gun rights devolves to bans, for instance — that individuals do not hear the bullying built in to the rhetoric. MRS’s ‘no more giving ground’ is exactly what I meant, too; he doesn’t want to follow through on that literally, but politically. Maybe when it comes to lethal force, it’s pretty important to be precise.

                A big part of a serious debate about guns in society is society’s ability, including the unarmed, trusting gun owners. It’s really imperative for them to hear and recognize the rhetoric that builds on the bullying of superior force; and to develop a sort of PC-esque reaction of saying, ‘no, that’s not how responsible gun owners act or talk.”Report

              • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes, and a large population of the Gun Rights community recognizes that such talk is stupid & not helpful, & if you frequent those forums & blogs, you’ll see such talk get slammed down pretty quick.

                Remember, most serious, responsible gun owners are middle to upper class white males. They are hardly stupid about politics & public image.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                The Republican Party is made up largely of middle class to upper middle class white males. It’s sort of their problem at the moment that the party isn’t much more than that. So yeah, they can be plenty stupid about public image.

                And before you retort, yes, there’s dumb liberals too who say silly things. Some people on this board might even count me among that number. But, there’s no race, color, creed, political ideology, or income level that isn’t stupid about politics and public image at times.Report

            • Mad Rocket Scientist in reply to zic says:

              What happened in 1994? Gun owners got organized & voted for change.

              I alluded up above to gun control proponents who enjoy employ violent rhetoric. I am hardly afraid of them, in any physical sense. They are just a vocal fringe enjoying their free speech. I tell you what, you go find those folks & tell them to cool the violent rhetoric, and I’ll find the 2nd amendment solution folks on my side & do the same. We’ll come back in a week & compare notes.

              Now, as for this whole implied threat business, give it up. No threat is implied or alluded to. It’s metaphorical ground, and everyone here seems to get that. Focusing on that one part of my rather lengthy post is a rather crappy way of avoiding any meaningful dialogue while trying to discredit me.

              And if you are truly, honestly, threatened by my choice of language, then I am sorry for you. I can not imagine how horrible it must be to see threats of violence in the casual turn of a phrase.

              Now I posited, both here & elsewhere in this symposium, a large number of suggestions in a good faith effort to zero in on meaningful suggestions for legislation that would respect gun owners rights, while alleviating the worries of those who want greater regulation. If you are not interested in addressing those points, then we are at an impasse & further discussion would seem unproductive.Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Mad Rocket Scientist says:

                Actually, what happened was that the standard losses a first-term President receives in Congress got compounded by shifting demographics, retiring incumbents, and bad (politically) policy decisions. Yeah, the AWB was part of that, but gun owners didn’t rise up. They were just along for a wave that was already cresting.Report