“Your right to bear arms ends where my right to life begins.”

This is a comment by Kevin on the post “I Grew Up With Guns, Then I Was Held Hostage With One“.

Kevin said:

“I love this essay. I love they way you told your story. And, truth be told, I’m not a fan of guns. I’m a firm believer that your right to bear arms ends where my right to life begins. I’ve lived in areas where gun violence has led to a minimum average of a murder a day. When I moved into a cool downtown loft in Hartford, while I was setting up my furniture, multiple people were shot just two floors down in street outside my apartment. And as an elementary teacher who grew up and taught in Connecticut (and has many friends who still do), the events at Sandy Hook have caused me to be very vocal about my feelings on gun control.

“You expose some important realities in gun ownership and use. Some guns are unnecessary for citizens. Some forms of ammunition are inappropriate. People can be responsible, law abiding gun owners, while also being somewhat (or completely) disassociated from what that gun does. And you do all of this while owning and appreciating your own firearm.

“I was for stricter gun control before Sandy Hook, before Aurora, before Tucson, and even before the assault weapons ban expired. I’m not going to try to pretend that I’m an undecided, middle of the road person here. A part of me thinks you’re crazy for still having a gun after being held at gunpoint. But I love that your essay is a middle of the road opinion. Despite what some commenters have suggested, I think your point is clear. If you’re going to sit there and say that there doesn’t need to be some form of gun control in this country, then you need to think about all of the people, not just liberal, bleeding heart, tree-hugging teachers like me, but everyone who has a reason to advocate for stricter gun control. You have to think about all of them and their reasons before you dismiss them. I get it and I love it.” 

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    There is stringent gun control in this country. Just not what you would wish.
    Do you have any ideas which would have practical value? That is to say, would not grossly infringe the second amendment? Would have a better chance of being effective than, say, the drug laws? Keep in mind that, if the border with Mexico is porous to US government guns going south, it is certainly porous to a return of the favor. The crimes you mention were committed with guns outside of gun laws, as was the act of murder. It’s illegal.
    Presuming I own a gun, it is not a threat to your life. Any more than my owning a fist is a threat to your nose, until you require it. Which, I presume, you will not.

    • I’m shocked that my comment was named “comment of the day”. Moreover, I’m shocked that people care enough to reply to little ole me!

      In response to Richard Aubrey’s question, I have several ideas about gun control laws that I think are some level of reasonable or enforceable without infringing on the second amendment. For example, I’d love to see gun insurance. We have car insurance just in case we have an accident. Actually, we HAVE to have car insurance to drive legally. And if we get caught driving without it, we get in trouble. Why not require gun insurance? You want a gun? Fine. You’re a 45 year old male with a shotgun and a rifle and you live on a farm with your wife? You’re gun insurance premium is low, since the risk that would might accidentally shoot someone is low. You’re a 28 year old female with 2 kids living in the inner city and you want a handgun? Your insurance is higher because the likelihood that you’re going to shoot someone by accident is significantly higher. You’re a 45 year old woman with a 17 year old son and you want an assault rifle? Your gun insurance is through the roof, because the chance that your gun might shoot someone is the highest of the scenarios listed so far. You can still buy and own a gun. You can buy and own as many guns as you want. But there’s more accountability.

      Also, I think there should be a MUCH stronger registry. If you fail to report a lost or stolen gun, you’re liable for whatever happens with it. You have guns and you don’t register them? Then if/when you get caught with them, there should be stiff penalties. I think the government should be able to track how much ammunition a person buys and should investigate when someone buys large quantities, especially if they are buying them from different places. And I think all of that should combine with a national database of criminals and people with a history mental illness or depression.

      I also think that things like assault rifles and hollow-point bullets should be illegal. People say that making them illegal won’t change anything. Crazy people will still find a way to hurt innocent people if they really want to hurt them. Why punish the law-abiding people? Well, I refuse to accept the idea that I have to live my life looking over my shoulder in case someone wants to shoot me for no reason. I shouldn’t have to walk into my classroom or to the cashier at the gas station or through the mall wondering whether or not I’ll have to dive to avoid a bullet. Why punish them? How about we stop letting assault rifle owners call themselves victims and do what we all know makes sense? Why don’t we start asking the real questions like “Why does a person need an assault rifle?” or “Are hollow point bullets what Thomas Jefferson had in mind?”

      There’s this idea that any person who mentions any sort of gun control is uneducated about the Constitution or just doesn’t care about it. That’s just not true. We just think that lives are more important than your right to do WHATEVER you want with a gun. Listen, like I said, I’ll make no qualms about saying I’m a complete left wing nut who wants to take away your guns. But I realize that A) that’s no feasible, and B) it’s not fair. So let’s all agree that no one, even the most liberal people, are not coming to take away your guns. But let’s also agree to some more rational discussion when it comes to gun control. You don’t want any restrictions? Ok, fine, but what restrictions do you think could be put into place without seriously infringing on your right to own the guns you currently have?

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        kevin
        The accountability for what happens with stolen guns would founder when the concept is applied to, say, money. Or a car taken for a joy ride.
        One insurance company discovered that a third of their clients’ accidents were caused by uninsured motorists. IOW, being irresponsible in one way tracked with being irresponsible in another. Not likely that the insured ratio with guns would be much higher.
        Ammunition tracking wouldn’t help much, either. The shooters of note didn’t carry all that much. Couple of hundred rounds maybe. As one commenter on another blog said, ammo in bulk is “trust”. As in, we don’t trust…the government to protect me. The government not to raid my house for grins–see Ruby Ridge and Waco and various wrong addresses.
        Assault rifles are already illegal. Assault weapons are whatever weapon an ignorant gungrabber thinks is icky. “barrel shrouds”, as if the left hand on a rifle has ever rested on the bare barrel of any weapon designed in the last four hundred years. Bayonet lugs??? Flash hider. Like the mass shooters were trying to hide in the dark?
        I can’t think of any restrictions which would not be used to grossly restrict guns. See Bloomberg’s NYC regs, or Cuomo’s remark about confiscation. No, “reasonable” is transparent.
        Nobody says we should be able to do “WHATEVER” we want with a gun. Find a cite, please. It would mean you’re reasonable. Find a cite.
        Owning, and carrying concealed after training is about the max we wish for.
        Article in PJM. by a cop. Cops call people who depend on the government to protect them “victims”.
        If you’re looking over your shoulder, you’re looking for nutcases, not honest citizens. And nutcases don’t care.
        “need” assault rifles? They’re illegal. As said before, “assault weapons” are a bogus definition.
        Jefferson lived in the time of fat, soft lead slugs which functioned like hollow points. He also lived in a time of lead–neat coincidence–hand-set type for newspapers. Should we restrict freedom of the press to whatever reproduction tech was available in the mid eighteenth century?
        The M1 carbine–I know, I know, knowing this stuff is icky and discreditable–would suit as an assault weapon and there were millions and millions of them available shortly after WW II. In the early Sixties, the NRA would sell you one for $20 if you signed up as a new member. For Korea, the Army devised the M2 carbine, with full auto selector and a thirty round mag…which fit the M1, which was semi-auto. IOW, we had millions of semi-auto, small rifles with high-cap mags and the ammo a drug on the market. And we didn’t have mass shootings.
        Now, the millions of M1Garands that got loose after the Army went to the M14–I know, I know, knowing this stuff is icky–didn’t qualify as assault weapons because, despite being semi-auto, the only way to load them was with an eight round clip. But I learned to load them pretty fast, anyway, and so did millions of US soldiers for WW II and Korea and thereafter.
        And we didn’t have mass shootings.
        But, if you don’t like semi-auto weapons, which it appears is about the only thing you have left, we could find somebody with a couple of pistols shooting fifty people. See Luby’s, or Ft. Hood.

  2. Gun control is one thing but how about a major presidential push to change WHY people commit crime?

    • Archy

      @ Getting people the help they need before they go about harming themselves and others ?
      Now that’s just crazy talk.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    Archy. Presidents can do that? Why wasn’t I told? Hell, why weren’t presidents told?
    Jeez. What an opportunity we’ve missed all these centuries.

    To be more serious, see “The Titticut Follies”–good explanation in Wiki. Deinstitutionalization of the demented is one reason. Attempts to avoid stigmatizing the mentally ill, and see Rosenhan lead to looking the other way at questionable behavior.

    • By that I mean the president to push for things to reduce mental illness, abuse, etc vs just similar knee-jerking away the type of guns that are probably the extreme minority of gun deaths in the U.S compared to other weapons like pistols.

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Archy.
    I don’t like to pull age on you, but about forty years ago, professionals who should have known better claimed schizophrenia was a lifestyle choice. IOW, no meds, no hospitals, no looking askance. The non-professionals are even more liberal, until somebody starts crapping on the sidewalk in front of their home. Not so bad if it’s somebody else’s home, of course.
    The last presidential initiative that had any results was Ladybird Johnson’s attempt to get junk yards to, in effect, cover themselves in the view from the highway. Or maybe it was to reduce billboards. Other initiatives have been less successful. Even if the First Lady of the day were not involved.
    It’s a personal/local thing.
    I was studying psychology about the time that it was becoming painfully clear to the pros that much of what they thought could be managed by what was known as talk therapy was actually a physical problem. Either neuro circuitry screwed up, or brain chemistry out of whack. Not so much before that, psychology and philosophy were, in some colleges, in the same department. Dept of…etc. Save on a department chairman, but also indicate the view that the view of things was the problem, not having your herpelsnerz backwards in the snitnozzle was making you a murderer.

  5. I'm just a Bill says:

    How about this… LOOK UP THE DEFINITION OF AN ASSAULT RIFLE! geez… if you’re gonna have an opinion, at least get educated on the subject. NONE of the school shootings used an assault rifle!… An assault rifle isn’t legal in the USA unless you are military, law enforcement, or have a VERY special permit. An assault rifle will cost you about $20k minimum! Yes, everyone has a right to his/her opinion guaranteed by the one amendment to the Constitution that precedes ‘keep and bear arms’… but an opinion based on ignorance is not an opinion, it’s just perpetual ignorance.
    “The recipe for perpetual ignorance is: Be satisfied with your opinions and content with your knowledge.” Elbert Hubbard
    If someone is going to kill people, they will do it. If not with a semi automatic rifle, then with a bolt or lever action rifle, or a revolver, or a pump action shot gun, or … maybe someone will get the bright idea to use fuel oil and fertilizer… and that brings up my point, how many people had the opinion to outlaw fuel oil or fertilizer after Timothy McVeay killed 168 people (including 19 children) Oklahoma City bombing? The Good Men Project has been about men being “smart, compassionate, curious, and open-minded;”… ” good fathers and husbands, citizens and friends, to lead by example at home and in the workplace”, as such we have an obligation to our fellow Americans NOT to jump to a hysterical conclusion based on emotion. We must look at large complex situations with a critical eye, learn all we can, and then after much thoughtful consideration, come to a rational conclusion that will actually SOLVE the problem. Banning weapons that “look scary” (because by now you’ve looked up the definition of an Assault Weapon) to solve what might be a systemic problem in our society only changes the method of the killings, it won’t prevent the killings themselves.

    • Sorry, Bill. I forgot that the makers of the Bushmaster made the minimum modifications to make sure that their weapons weren’t considered “assault rifles”.

      Yes, crazy people, when allowed to slip through the cracks, will find a way to hurt people. Like the one in China who went into an elementary school on the same day as the Newtown shooting and attacked 22 children with a knife. The difference? No one died. So yes, I think the availability of guns in this country should be looked at very closely and greater restrictions should be put into place.

      Why did so few people call for the ban of fertilizer after the Oklahoma city bombing? For starters, fertilizer has a use outside of killing. A bushmaster does not. Secondly, we don’t have a bombing epidemic in our society. We don’t have a bombing a day. We don’t qualify the types of bombings we have as school bombing or mall bombing or the biggest or second biggest. If we did, you might here more people calling for that type of ban.

      Banning AR-15’s and AK-47’s has nothing to do with what they “look like” and everything to do with what they are intended to do. There is no reason a citizen needs a weapon that exists solely to kill people. And don’t tell me it’s for hunting, because those weapons would destroy the game being shot.

      • “because those weapons would destroy the game being shot.”
        Ummm no they wouldn’t. .223 is regularly used for hunting, so is a .308 for larger game. Some idiot firing 20 rounds into an animal will destroy it. You can argue that you don’t or shouldn’t need follow up shots so quickly. You’re also ignoring something, recreational sport shooting, target shooting and shooting car doors on abandoned junk cars etc. They’re legitimate uses that don’t involve killing. If I had more cash I’d have guns solely to shoot paper and water bottles at long ranges, I’d love to shoot a .50cal rifle, hell I’d love to shoot a “minigun” too except for the ammo cost. Doesn’t mean I am violent n want to harm people, but I’ll tear the hell out of some water bottles and try to become very accurate at long range for sport.

        And if hunting is the only thing worthy of a gun then you might as well ban handguns for people and stick to HIGH powered rifles (to ensure the animal get’s a speedy death instead of a wound that may not take em down). But if you say handguns are ok for home defense, then why isn’t an ar-15?

        • I’m sorry, but if you think that I’m going to believe that an AR-15 wouldn’t destroy a duck if you hunted with it, you’re sorely mistaken. You can continue to say it, and maybe even believe it, but everything I’ve seen, read, watched, and been told tells me otherwise. It doesn’t matter what type of bullet you use, an AR-15 isn’t a hunting gun.

          If you’re going to tell me that I need to accept your want to shoot abandoned car doors, I’m going to laugh at you. If the choice is between protecting the rights of innocent people to live their lives and protecting your right to shoot water bottles, I’m going to side with the right of innocent people to live. I’m sorry if you don’t become a great shot. I’d rather not have to get a call that my mom or my brother or my niece or anyone else got shot at a mall. Call me crazy.

          If you want to have a gun for home protection, fine. I think it should be locked up and/or the ammunition should be in a separate place. I also think that all gun owners should have to buy gun insurance, so that if your gun shoots someone, that person or their family will be compensated. I think there needs to be accountability.

          • Richard Aubrey says:

            “I’m sorry, but if you think that I’m going to believe that an AR-15 wouldn’t destroy a duck if ”

            Kevin. You shouldn’t have gone there, as the saying goes. An AR15 for a duck? A duck is hunted with a shotgun. Not a rifle. And AR15 is a rifle. Nobody would use a rifle on a duck, even a sitting duck. Do you think as many as one person is going to buy your argument? After this?

          • My cousin uses .223 remington ammunition regularly to hunt kangaroo, the same type that a civilian AR-15 uses. You use shotguns to hunt duck, and will destroy targets at close range. Do you actually know anything about weapons? You use a .223 for midsized prey such as kangaroo, if it is bigger or has a tougher hide like boar then you probably use a .308 or greater.

            What is it that an ar-15 does that makes it bad for hunting? It fires a projectile in semi-auto fashion, just the same as “hunting rifles” do. It’s not even an assault rifle for the civilian. So many people think of semi-auto rifles as assault rifles because they have a militarized look to them.

            ” I’d rather not have to get a call that my mom or my brother or my niece or anyone else got shot at a mall. Call me crazy.”
            So why not call to ban handguns, which are the most likely weapon to hurt your family?? semi-auto’s are involved in very few shootings compared to other weapons.

            • So this is a hunting rifle?

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1u2ZFzaEeA

              You need this to hunt kangaroos?

              I don’t care what it looks like. It could be rainbow colored with a snuggie attached to it. It has no practical use except to shoot a target multiple times in a row. What are people shooting that many times in such a short amount of time? Car doors? Water bottles? If you can’t hit your deer or boar or kangaroo until that last shot, you have no business shooting that weapon. I don’t care what bullet you’re using.

            • Yes because people can’t control themselves when they use a semi-auto rifle. Why do people need a semi-auto pistol?

              The sheer level if ignorance displayed in these discussions by anti-gun people is insane. AR-15’s can be a home defense weapon used to hunt as well if you wish, people do live on farms you know and have multi-purpose weapons. And semi auto probably comes in handy if you are doing pest control and need fast follow up shots, sometimes animals do get into numbers so great that they exhaust the food and end up ALL starving so population control is needed. At that point the ar-15 is similar to typical semi-auto hunting rifles except for tactical looks and magazine size (which can be reduced by law if needs be). The only people in Australia who could own one are law enforcement, military reenactment (converted to blank firing), collectors (weapon must be made unable to fire), and professional hunters.

              Still doesn’t change the fact you’re far more likely to be killed by pistol if this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States is legit. 75% of homicides by pistol, again I ask why focus on a semi-auto rifle? Is it simply because one can lay down a lot of carnage quick? Pistols are far far far more likely to kill you, your family, than a semi-auto expensive ar-15. Consider that it’s pretty hard to conceal an ar-15 so the only homicides by that will probably be involved in gang warfare or massacres (which are quite rare) yet a pistol can be carried concealed from view, unknown to you that the person is armed. They can fired, easily hidden away and walk off into a crowd vs someone with a 1m+ long rifle, they can be thrown into more hiding places after the crime is committed too and are extremely easy to conceal in a car.

              Yet still, ZOMG the ar-15’s will kill us all!!11!111 whilst ignoring the pistols. That is what I don’t get, pistols have limited use for hunting, they’re mainly for self-protection or offensive use. Why do people need them?

              High capacity magazines are probably more dangerous than anything, changing a magazine can take a few seconds but even a bolt-action rifle with a high capacity magazine could throw down quite a few rounds fairly quickly. A pump-action shotgun can throw down ammo quite fast too, and semi-auto pistols can be really fast especially if you’re proficient at high speed magazine changes. Hell sit yourself in a tower with a bolt action hunting rifle with good vision and you can probably drop 20 people+ in some areas if you’re really that keen, plenty of opportunities with high rise apartments looking over music festivals.

              Btw, I am completely happy paying some cash to a secured gun range to do my shooting of random semi-auto’s, etc, I’d just like the opportunity to shoot a wide variety of rifles. I am considering doing sport/target shooting one day shooting paper at distance trying to be as accurate as possible, I’d be happy if the guns were kept at the range under lock n key until the day if needs be.

              I understand the fear of assault rifles, semi autos etc but I also understand statistics and they suggest pistols should be banned before anything else.

            • Archy, everything you’ve said just strengthens my idea that all guns need to be more regulated.

              The reason I often focus on assault rifles (or whatever name you want to give them) is because they are so clearly unnecessary. Pest control? You think they’re useful for pest control? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1u2ZFzaEeA If this is the most useful way you can think of to take care of a mouse problem, you have a problem.

              I’m all for much greater limits on all gun sales. More thorough background checks, longer waiting periods, a national registry, a tracking system so the government will notice and investigate mass purchases, and greater accountability in the form of gun insurance and strict punishments if your gun is stolen and you never report it are ALL things that I think make sense.

              I’m sorry I’m not sympathetic to sport shooters. I don’t think the sport shooting justifies the widespread sale and ownership of weapons that shoot first graders 11 times before they hit the ground. I think that if you really want to hunt, you can get something else.

              I’d love to talk about handguns and their lack of practical usefulness in modern America. I’d love to talk about the fact that handguns are responsible for most of the gun deaths in the US. Most of the time, though, usually leads to a bunch of angry anti-gun control people shouting at me and not listening.

            • “If this is the most useful way you can think of to take care of a mouse problem, you have a problem.”
              Now you’re just trolling or being wilfully ignorant. KANGAROO’S reach population numbers that are so high they STARVE TO DEATH and require culling so they don’t exhaust a food supply in an ecosystem, so yes a semi-auto rifle can come in handy there. Cmon, think a bit about why someone would need such a rifle. Linking to that video so many times makes me think you’re simply replying from a knee-jerk reaction instead of thinking with LOGIC and reasoning. Multiple people have already proven you wrong here especially in regards to ammo, and “how the ar-15 destroys the animal”.

              “and greater accountability in the form of gun insurance and strict punishments if your gun is stolen and you never report it are ALL things that I think make sense.”
              If you report it, do you still get punished? And insurance for guns? What about your knife being used to kill someone, your car? Do we take out knife and car insurance on the off-chance it’s used to kill someone? It’s estimated there are what, 200million firearms or more in the U.S? 12000 homicides a year which means veryroughestimate 0.00006% of firearms are involved in a killing. Is that really high enough to justify the need for insurance? 199 MILLION + guns do not kill people in the U.S.

              “I’m sorry I’m not sympathetic to sport shooters. I don’t think the sport shooting justifies the widespread sale and ownership of weapons that shoot first graders 11 times before they hit the ground. I think that if you really want to hunt, you can get something else.”
              How about special licenses for semi-auto’s like Australia has? Not sure if sport shooters can use semi-auto rifles here but that is one avenue to consider vs outright ban. The professional shooters (cullers) here get special licenses to hold them. Hell they had the army help reduce the number of kangaroo’s once or more and they probably had full auto Austeyrs (most likely single shot to instantly kill though).

            • Kangaroos? I didn’t take into account kangaroo infestations? Shocking, seeing as I’m talking about the US and kangaroos don’t exist in the wild here. Name a pest in the US that require a gun the size of an AR-15 to hunt it.

              In the US we have to have car insurance for exactly that reason, so thank you.

              A special license that requires updating and more than just a one-time application? I’d be willing to accept that.

            • Likelihood of getting into a car accident is most likely a hell of a lot higher than your firearm being used for murder. If you want liability for guns then why not knives?

              Dunno about pest species in the U.S, maybe deer? But from what I gather they are in the woods mostly which makes it hard to spot multiple at a time to cull quickly. Here they often use helicopters to shoot from and big spotlights at night

            • From what I remember of gun licensing in Australia they check your police history for violent crime, I remember needing one to get a license and you can’t own guns without a license. Buying guys at the mall sounds completely bizarre to me and especially when they’re given out by banks (if that movie was true).

            • “Pest control” in the US doesn’t refer to mice or cockroaches for this discussion. While we don’t have kangaroos, we have invasive species every bit as destructive and problematic, for farmers and ranchers in particular. Wild hogs, groundhogs, and coyotes are three examples of animals that often require “pest control”because of the damage they do to property and livestock. The .223 round and AR platform are excellent for this application. Kevin, I’m really trying to take you seriously. Please tell me that you realize that was the type of animal being referred to.

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    Kevin. It’s not a minor modification. What remains is…semi auto and a scary look. As for hunting. The conventional deer-hunting round has been much closer to the standard Infantry round, such as the American 30.06, followed by the NATO 7.62 mm and their counterparts in other countries. Considerably more powerful than assault weapon ammo. The military gave up power and long-range effectiveness for weight.
    Now, as it happens, this is a big day. Chicago racked up its 500th homicide, mostly without assault weapons, which, as it happens, are responsible for a very small proportion of gun homicides anyway.
    Then there’s Luby’s and Ft. Hood which were pistol only, right?
    You need to back up and look at the broader picture.
    Why didn’t this stuff happen fifty years ago when assault weapons, surplus M1 carbines for example, were available in the millions?

    • Richard, it’s not for hunting. What animal are you hunting with an AR-15? A deer? If you can’t hit a deer in 15 shots of a semi-automatic weapon, you have no business owning or shooting one. Any person with basic critical thinking knows that that kind of weapon combined with the kind of bullets that are currently available for sale in mass quantities will destroy a deer and make it’s meat and fur unusable. The only type of hunting it may be used for is a sadistic type of hunting that I’m not interested in protecting.

      Why didn’t this stuff happen 50 years ago? You mean before the NRA had lobbied for more relaxed gun control and convinced half the country that they need a gun? I don’t know, I wasn’t around back then.

      Keep in mind, my ideas about assault weapons go beyond the type of weapon. I’m for banning high-capacity magazines, since I can think of no reasonable justification for needing them except to kill a large number of people. Why else does a person need 30 bullets in a handgun?

      I also think there needs to be a national registry along with background checks and a tracking system for people who buy mass quantities of ammunition. I think gun owners should have to pay for gun owner’s insurance, so that if a gun owner shoots someone, they’re accountable. If you’re low risk, your insurance will be less. I’m not just focusing on AK-47, which are only slightly modified versions of military weapons so that companies like the ones that sell the bushmaster can market them to citizens.

      And for the record, yes, I also think we need to fix out mental health system. I think we need to stop cutting public health services and other social programs that could catch these people sooner. I think we need to fund more mental health hospitals so that they are not overwhelmed and forced to leave some patients out because they simply don’t have room. You know, we know the three types of mental illness that are most common among mass shooters: people who do not understand what they are doing, people who want to hurt others, and people who are deeply depressed. Since we know that, let’s strengthen our mental health and gun control policies so that those people don’t get guns.

      This is far beyond what looks scary, Richard. This is about facts and reality. This is about not accepting the death of children as unavoidable. And this is about making changes to improve the quality of life in what is supposed to be the best country on Earth.

      • Richard Aubrey says:

        Kevin.
        Couple of points. As I mentioned, fifty years ago at least one item which would qualify as an assault weapon was all over the place. NRA would sell you one for $20 if you signed up as a new member. That was the M1 carbine, a military item made by the millions for WW II and Korea. It had a small round compared to the standard Infantry round, like assault weapons, and was semi-auto. For Korea, the Army built the M2 carbine on the M1 chassis, if you like, including a full-auto capacity. For the M2, the Army got a thirty-round mag instead of the ten-round the M1 had up to that time. But the larger one fit the M1. You could go to the rifle range and see any number of guys with M1 carbines with the big mag. IOW, an assault weapon. I hungered for one, but my allowance wouldn’t stretch that far.
        I don’t know about loosening up gun laws. I bought a pre-war Enfield for $14 and nobody ever said I had to report it to anybody. That was when I was in high school.
        To refer to hunting implies that only hunting is a valid reason to have a weapon. Not true, thus irrelevant.
        I think if you shoot someone, you’re likely to have trouble, including both fines and civil settlements. Having insurance would incentivize shooting people, since you won’t have to pay as much. I kid. Point is, irrelevant.
        Also, the likelihood of shooting somebody with an AK is not related to the fact that it’s an AK.
        More likely to shoot somebody with a pistol, and, as it happens, it’s pistols which have racked up most of Chicago’s 500 homicides this year. Maybe we should ban democratic mayors. There’s about as much connection. Maybe more.
        Big mags by themselves don’t hurt anybody. Columbine, Va Tech, and Newtown did not feature large mags. It’s said that both Holmes at Aurora and Loughner had jams due to the oversize mag. That happens with larger mags which is why the military usually doesn’t go bigger than thirty rounds without using belt feed. When I was in the Army, we got twenty-round mags issued for the M14 and M16. Thirty-round mags were available for the latter, but the pros would put maybe twenty-five or twenty-eight in them. The mechanical inefficiencies in a mag–friction, etc.–couldn’t be overcome by the spring a satisfactory number of times–like all of them–at much bigger than twenty.
        In any case, big mags don’t kill people. Besides, you can–or I can or could–swap out twenty-round mags in about two seconds. So the point is irrelevant.
        Mass quantities of ammo? The big shooters, so to speak, used a hundred rounds, carrying more than that. That’s an afternoon’s time at the range for a lot of guys. You can buy a couple of thousand rounds, but you can only carry a couple of hundred to the nearest nobody-will-shoot-back zone. Also irrelevant.
        A couple of terrible mass shootings that I can think of were done with pistols; Luby’s in Texas and the Ft. Hood shooting. Half the folks at Columbine were killed with a shotgun after the assault rifle jammed.
        Problem with nutcases is a combination of two factors. Discerning the potential shooter amongst the thousand similar nutcases is a crap shoot. See the Rosenhan experiment on Wiki. The other issue is that our no-judgment society isn’t going to appreciate ratting out every nerd with the odd behavior and forcing him into some kind of evaluation which, as with Rosenhan, probably won’t get it right.. And then there are civil liberties. See Titticut Follies. Wiki’s good with that one, legal challenges and everything.
        As LaPierre said, you need a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun. That’s why they call the cops. At least, I think they do. Don’t they? Good guys with guns. The angst involved in having a good guy with a gun on site instead of a quarter of an hour away is puzzling.

  7. I created a great reply with a boat load of facts but unfortunately for SOME REASON, I don’t’ know if someone is filtering the replies, it never made it. Long and short, Kevin, you REALLY don’ t know what your talking about when it comes to rifles and ballistics… I will be surprised if this make it to the post… unfortunately it may be because some people don’t want to learn the truth.

  8. My Kevin, you certainly have strong opinons and I respect that, but I certainly hope you’re teaching the children in your charge to display a little more intellectual curiosity than you’ve so far demonstrated. Before you type another word about the “devastating” .223 round, please spend some time with Google. if you do, you’ll find that the energy from a .223 round is on the order of 60% of a 30.06 round, arguably the most popular hunting cartridge in the US. Look up other popular calibers, you’ll find very few rifle rounds with less energy than the .223. The military doesn’t use it for it’s overwhelming power, they use it because it’s a reasonable compromise between weight, capacity, and power, which of course means it doesn’t excel at fulfilling any of those criteria.

    I realize that gun control advocates, such as yourself, often wonder why there can’t be a meaningful dialogue relative to guns in America. I also realize that the standard response, amoungst gun control advocates at least, is that it’s because gun owners are nuts, that the NRA is out of control, but I have another possibility i’d like for you to consider with an example with which I think you’ll be able to relate. How do you feel about NCLB? I can imagine your answer because my wife is a teacher as well. i imagine that you hate it, noneducators who don’t understand and make no effort to understand, dictating policy to you. Policy, furthermore, that actual worsens education in America by instituting feel good, but meaningless metrics. Sucks doesn’t it. That’s how gun owners feel about you. And you don’t help yourself by saying off the wall things like, “223 destroys game,” or has “no legitimate hunting role,” that gun owners know to be untrue. Spend some time educating yourself from sources outside your comfort zone, hell, actually shoot a gun. Develop some perspective instead of talking points that you can’t defend, then we’ll have a real conversation.

    • BC, there’s no need to be condescending.

      Why do I think that an AK-47 or AR-15 would destroy any animal that a hunter kills with it? It has nothing to do with the type of ammunition. It has everything to do with things like this:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1u2ZFzaEeA

      You can tell me all about the different types of bullets all you want. If you’re using the gun in that video, you’re destroying whatever you’re shooting.

      You can tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about because I don’t own guns all day long. You can insult my intelligence, teaching ability, or anything else. I don’t care. I can see with my two eyes. I can read. I know what happens when we let anyone buy and own whatever weapons they want. I can see videos of assault weapons shooting bullets faster than 1/second. And I have decent enough reasoning ability to know that if it takes you that many shots to hit your prey, you aren’t a good hunter and shouldn’t have that gun.

      Is NCLB frustrating? Absolutely. But it exists, and I have to follow it. When gun control exists and you have to conform to laws you think are unfair and downright stupid, you might have a more legitimate comparison.

      • Kevin, you’re right about the tone and I apologize, it’s unproductive and unnecessary. The intent of my post, however, wasn’t to minimize you or your opinions, rather, I wanted to point out that the superficial understanding that most gun control advocates have of firearms is a major impediment to any productive dialogue between the sides. Your video is a great example. Is the type of shooting that individual demonstrates appropriate for hunting applications? Of course not. But the assumption you seem to have made is that people who select an AR platform rifle for a hunting application are choosing it specifically for it’s potential rapid fire capability. That’s just not true. AR’s are popular because they are extremely user friendly from a modification stand point. Mounting a scope doesn’t require a gunsmith, for example. They are very modular, allowing a single rifle purchase to fulfill the role of multiple guns.

        My point in referencing NCLB was to demonstrate just how disasterous it can be to legislate a topic without an adequate understanding. Clearly you and other gun control advocates feel that your level of understanding of the topic is adequate. That’s fine, but wouldn’t it be reasonable to seek out a deeper understanding, if for no other reason than to facilitate conversations with people who hold opinions divergent from yours?

        • If people don’t use it to shoot that way, why is it able to do so? If people only want it because it’s easy to mount a scope to it or because it’s extremely accurate, why does is it capable of shooting at such speed? If legal gun owners don’t care about that, why not take that aspect out of it?

          I don’t need to be a gun owner or a regular at the shooting range to be able to see what guns can do. I don’t assume that all gun owners want to go out to an empty quarry and shoot rocks 21 times. I do assume that responsible gun owners could live with the loss of AR-15’s when it comes to hunting or home protection. What I can’t understand is the complete objection to any form of gun control. I don’t like NCLB, but I certainly see the need for educational standards. I may not like that specific set of rules, but I understand that rules are necessary. Can’t you understand that rules are necessary? Isn’t it clear that the ones we have are not adequate?

          • Kevin, many things in this world have a potential functionality that isn’t appropriate for every situation. I’m sure that you don’t drive 55mph through your neighborhood, that wouldn’t be appropriate, but that fact wouldn’t prevent you from driving 55mph on the highway. Even more to the point, why is your car capable of driving in excess of 100mph? When is that appropriate? Certainly never, but the overall functionality that it allows may be. The rapid fire capability is not particularly appropriate for hunting, but many people use AR platform rifles for sport and competitive shooting events. There’s often a rapid fire component to these events. It wasn’t my statement that legal gun owners don’t care about any one aspect of the AR platform, just that rapid fire isn’t what makes them appealing to some hunters. That gun issues aren’t surface deep.

            I think a major bone of contention between pro and anti gun segments right now is the whole concept of “needs based rights.” It isn’t unreasonable for you to say that gun owners don’t “need” and AR-15 for hunting or protection, from a practical standpoint. Their are many other options for both applications, many superior to the AR-15 in my opinion, but I think that people are alarmed by the idea of legislating the need for something that most feel Americans have a right to own. I certainly hope we never discuss the “need” for the 5th ammendment if you’re innocent. I understand your point about the necessity for educational standards and the correlation to guns, but NCLB wasn’t created by people who despise education. It was created by well intentioned, but uneducated politicians. Can you not understand why gun owners would be reluctant to join a conversation about gun control with well intentioned, but poorly educated people who already despise them and their beliefs?

            • BC, I get your point about cars. I’m guilty of often driving too fast. But if there was an argument to make sure cars couldn’t drive faster than the highest speed limit in the country, I wouldn’t be able to say much in response.

              The problem is that people put more value in the second amendment than in any other. Repealing an amendment is not unprecedented. The right to free speech does have some limits on it. There are things we can do to make people safer that gun enthusiasts might not like, but would still allow people to buy and own firearms. The difference between things like the right to worship freely and the right bear arms, is that the right to worship doesn’t defend the right of criminals to have access to weapons. I’m not for arbitrarily repealing rights, but I am for keeping people safe. Restricting access to assault weapons, high capacity clips, and hollow point bullets will keep people safe. If people who intend to do harm can’t get them, they can’t use them.

          • So why aren’t you advocating for banning pistols which are involved in 75% of homicides in the U.S???????

            And you don’t sit there firing round after round into an animal, semi-auto is mainly good for professional shooters doing culling so they can drop many animals quickly + also for home-defense if needs be though a pistol is probably better for that. A bullet that tumbles inside the body also does a hell of a lot of damage. a .308 or higher will do a hell of a lot more damage than a .223 as well.

            My camera can burst fire 6frames per second, but 99% of the time I use it at about 1 frame per second, the feature is there because sometimes it’s useful. People at sport shooting that do semi-auto fire need it, pro hunters doing culling need quick shots to get enough animals down to manage the population. Semi-auto has uses but whether they are worth keeping them around is a different story, in Australia semi-auto’s are restricted, but semi-auto pistols aren’t as restricted.

  9. Kevin
    Semi auto firing rifles have been popular and widely available in the US since 1907. Since you have never fired one, why be so willing to pontificate about the subject?
    They have less punishing recoil for the same power.
    They can be very accurate.
    Magazines can be changed in 2-3 seconds so it makes little difference what their individual capacity is.
    Until specialized bullets were developed fairly recently, a .223 was not really adequate for deer hunting. It was not legal in most states because it was below the legal and humane minimum impact force. IOWs, it was not powerful enough to take down the average deer, much less “destroy” it.
    Kevin, I get that you have a visceral dislike of guns. I feel the same way about violas. The problem is, folks with a visceral dislike of something seem to have extreme difficulty learning much about it.
    You keep revealing that everything you think you know about guns came from 1. Youtube exhibitionism 2. Anti-gun activists, 3. Ad campaigns by gun sellers. It seems like you are not on the same planet as folks who have first hand experience. Your cause is not helped thereby.
    Any scheme that requires total registration(prior to confiscation) like insurance will be ignored by criminals and very, very actively resisted by law abiding gun owners who will never trust authorities who plainly are capable of tyrannical gun seizures.. They did precisely that in N.O. post Katrina. Yeah, we are so paranoid…
    What part of NO! don’t you understand?

  10. And you want to ban hollow point bullets? Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Hollow points are the only type that will not pass thru 4-5 people in a row. I get that you hate thinking about this kind of thing, but there is this thing called reality.
    In a CCW class, a Cop will stand in front of the room and tell everybody, “Never use anything but hollow-points!!!”
    And Kevin wants to ban them?
    Do you see why deep ignorance can be a problem?

  11. Richard Aubrey says:

    Kevin’s work has, imo, two pieces to it.
    One is that he either believes what he says, in which case he has a problem, not least with whomever miseducated him, most likely on purpose, and which makes him look bad in open discussion. Or he doesn’t believe it and is finding out an awful lot of people, more than he expected, know better.

    The other is that he thinks his view of what somebody “needs” is grounds for policymaking.

    • For a man that is either balding or has white hair, you have a lot of growing up to do. Your response to legitimate problems is to attack the person who points them out. Do we not have more mass shootings than any other country in the civilized world? Do we not have more gun deaths per year than any other country in the civilized world? Do we not have a problem with gun violence in this country? Because any person with a basic level of common sense can see that we do.

      • Maybe we should restrict peoples right to have sex due to STDs. See how well that goes over with liberals. Sorry but AIDS kills, you have to get a marriage liscense and wear a govt issued chastity belt with a camera on it that requires you to get permission before you have sex.

        Guns aren’t just for hunting, or home defense, they are to fight organized armies. In Afghaninstan they have the right to own full auto AK47s for crying out loud. We are less free than them. If anything LESS gun laws should be allowed since the technology of govt armies has increased, meaning civillians need to be able to match that, not the other way around.

  12. There is a guy named Massad Ayoob who posts on Youtube and is the most widely respected self defense/self defense shooting expert in the US. He is respected by everyone as the Go To Expert witness for trial. Invest the 45 minutes it takes to listen to his 8 part series. It will be time very well spent. Listen carefully when he talks about the documented penetration effects of a .45 Colt in Full Medal Jacket -which happens to be the standard type sold in this country since 1917.
    See, most cops are no more interested in the technical aspects of guns than you are. And very few of them read military history as a hobby and could tell you why the cheap Military surplus 6.5mm rifle that killed JFK was so popular with Elephant hunters earlier that century.

  13. “Your right to bear arms ends where my right to life begins.”

    This is so backwards I can’t even believe it was written.

    If you didn’t know, the purpose, and reason for, the right to bear arms, is in order to protect life and liberty. How do you think someone legally owning weapons infringes on your right to life is just beyond me. In fact it is accurate to say:

    “Your right to freedom of stupidity ends where my right of freedom to bear arms begins”.

    I’m obviously not against you expressing your opinion, aka violating your rights, but the only rights you are infringing on is law abiding citizens and punishing them.

    The point of gun rights is to protect self home and liberty, how can you defend your rights if you can’t fight a dictator or invading army? It is horrible what happened to those children, but if anything you would think mental health services would be fought for as a right to all people instead of trying to strip away the guns from good men and women. Instead of using an opportunity to do some good and help the mentally ill, all people want to do is take rights away from people. Its disgusting. I guess the only thing I can do is pray for you.

    Cum Catapultae Proscriptae Erunt Tum Soli Proscripti Catapultas Habebunt

  14. I’m having to resort to replies to everyone. I don’t have enough time to address everyone individually. Sorry.

    Anon, you are not helpful in this conversation. For the record, unless you have an army of tanks and a few nukes, if the government turns on you, you’re in trouble with or without your AK-47. You shoot at the remote controlled drones with your handgun and let me know who wins. And really, the Afghan people have more freedom because they can have whatever gun they want without limitation? Well with that attitude, why have laws at all? Why have a government? You know, there’s actually a place that doesn’t have any rules where you can do ANYTHING you want and have COMPLETE freedom. It’s called Somalia. Go try that out and tell me what you think. You might even have the freedom to create your own power grid! How free!

    Archy, thanks for your responses. They were clearly without attitude. At this point, that’s very appreciated. The reason I suggest gun insurance is because we have it for cars, homes, businesses, ATV’s and just about everything else. It leads to accountability. I have to buy car insurance. If I drive without it, I can be in pretty big trouble. If I get a speeding ticket, my car insurance goes up. If I have a brand new car or a sports car, my insurance is higher than if I have an older car or a slower car. Depending on insurance, there may be cars that I couldn’t afford. I need a car to get to work and to go to the grocery store and, for me, to get home to see my family. I can still have a car. But I need to be careful about which car and how I drive. My parents have homeowners’ insurance (I rent). If someone gets hurt at their house, their insurance pays that person. If my parents have things on their property that make them more likely to hurt someone, their insurance premium is higher. I think guns should be the same way. You live on a farm and own a shotgun? Your gun insurance premium is very low. You live in the inner city and you own a handgun? your insurance premium is much higher. You live in the suburbs with your 16 year old son with a history of mental illness and you own an AR-15? Your insurance premium is off the charts. If you have to pay monthly for your gun and your payment will go up if there’s some sort of accident, you’re going to be much more careful about what you do with it and where you keep it. You can still have your guns. But if your husband takes your semi-automatic pistol and shoots me at the mall while trying to kill his boss, A) my family will be compensated, and B) your insurance will go way up and you’ll have to evaluate whether or not you should still have a gun in your house. I think that makes complete sense.

    BC, legitimately, no, I did not think that “pests” referred to coyotes. I’ve always lived in places where “pests” consists of things like mice, rats, cockroaches, spiders, and maybe snakes. An AR-15 would not be appropriate for any of those. I’ve seen coyotes in my yard (though never a wild hog), but I would never have considered them “pests”. Even so, I can’t imagine that an AR-15 is the only option. Maybe it’s a good one, maybe even the best, but is there no other suitable solution? If semi-automatic assault rifles were banned, would people not have a suitable alternative? I get that people have found a use for them, but I can’t get past the idea that this is a military weapon designed to shoot maximum amounts of human beings that has been slightly modified to make it legal to sell to citizens. I’m sure people do use it to hunt or for target practice. It’s designed to mow down people. The same goes for hollow point bullets in my book. People may have a legal use for them. Responsible people don’t shoot people with them. But they’re designed to do maximum flesh damage. That’s why they exist. That’s inappropriate to me. It’s not just about necessity, it’s about it being wrong for people to be given that ability.

    • Hollow points have the benefit of not penetrating through multiple people usually from what I hear which is a good thing, especially if you’re defending yourself around others such as your family. Someone mentioned that police advised concealed carry people to use hollow points to avoid the bullet going through the target into a few more people.

      I saw a tv show about Yukon men, they had an ar-15 I believe and I wondered why until they mentioned bears. Where they live I’d have an AR-15 and a very powerful side-arm, hopefully not having to use it much and when hunting game you’d use 1 shot usually but if a bear comes for you then semi-auto will be very welcome. In that situation it’s like a safely belt, hopefully you never need it but you’re glad you have it when it’s needed. For kangaroo hunting I believe they have a limited amount of time to get shots off since they’re pretty damn fast and if you’re culling them then you have a lot of targets to shoot. I’d say it’s also handy incase you miss which you shouldn’t but may happen, you can do a follow up shot quickly after but this should be a rare case. A typical hunter though tracking 1 animal probably doesn’t need a semi-auto at all, a high powered bolt action rifle and good aim is what’s needed. Licensing would work in that situation, live where bears have a likelihood to hunt you? You get a semi-auto license, professional hunter/culler? Same deal.

      You do realize there are semi-auto hunting rifles, that look like typical hunting rifles right that are exactly the same in mechanics as the ar-15’s. AR-15 has tactical looks with a bigger magazine, picatinny rails to attach accessories like a light, bipod, etc.

      • I realize there are other guns with the same capability. The problem is that most of the people on here jump all over me when I call them assault rifles, semi-automatic rifles, or anything else that categorizes them all together. Apparently, grouping guns into categories means I don’t know what I’m talking about. Same goes for the ammo.

        I can see your point about the bears and kangaroos, but aren’t those pretty remote instances? Does the whole public need unrestricted access so that people who run into bears can protect themselves? I would be ok with having a specific license for that type of gun for people who have a legitimate use for it. I just don’t think that if you’re a bored guy in an upper middle class suburb that you should be able to collect these things as a hobby. That strikes me as reckless abandonment of common sense. It’s not like we let everyone drive 120 mph and then say “well, race car drivers need to practice”. Does that idea really seem that outrageous?

        • Rare for many people yeah, not everyone needs it vitally like they do. For me I may want a gun, hell I want a full auto minigun to shoot old cars with but it’ll never ever happen (I am destructive to objects as you can probably tell, build it, break it, never people or animals though). Assault rifles are basically lighter than a light machine gun with full auto or burst fire capability, so calling a semi-auto an assault rifle would be wrong even if the same gun comes in full auto capability I believe. Semi-auto’s are considered an assault weapon, it’s weird but ht tp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assault_weapon explains it. When I hear assault rifle I picture a full auto or burst fire capable weapon. So it makes me wonder wtf the person is talking about because assault rifles are already illegal.

  15. Richard Aubrey says:

    See The Battle of Athens. Tennesee.

  16. I'm just a Bill says:

    Here is what I was going to send last week but couldn’t upload… lets see if it works this time…

    Don’t be sorry Kevin, just understand…. What you have learned about the subject is completely inaccurate, but as a “Good Man” I’m here to help…. And again. you still haven’t looked up the definition of Assault Rifle.
    I know the mantra is to push the Bushmaster chant, but honestly the AR-15s and AK-47s are not much different than a 30-30 or 30-06. In fact the 30-30 and 30-06 are more powerful. You can take ANY semi automatic “hunting” rifle and make it “look scary” by changing the stock or grips but when you come right down to it, it is all about the cartridge being fired. It is apparent you know very little about ballistics, so let me educate you. An AK-47 or AR-15 uses .223 / 5.56 NATO, 3.08 , and 9mm rounds… but .223 being the most common so lest go with that one. A .223 travels between 2,750 – 3,750 ft/s and has an impact of about 1,300 ft•lbf. Which probably means nothing to you so I will explain it this way… Remington makes the most common version of the .223 in the USA. This round is primarily used for…. And here comes the kicker VARMIT RIFLES. (psst… that means it’s a hunting round). No matter what the rifle looks like, or what the target is, the round still reacts the same when fired. The Remington
    So your claim that “And don’t tell me it’s for hunting, because those weapons would destroy the game being shot” is based in your ignorance of ammunition ballistics.

    Although you have a minor point that our society hasn’t incorporated “school bombing” into it vernacular…. yet, it might happen when all the “big scary guns” are taken away.
    Yes I did use fertilizer and fuel oil as an example, but any high school chemist can tell you how to make explosives with house hold chemicals. My point was, if someone wants to kill, they are going to kill; the “modus operandi” has little to do with it, and with the knowledge of the internet they can make anything out of nothing.
    Sorry Kevin, it is apparent you’ve drank the Kool-Aid… you are hearing fairytales of the big scary guns and you’re buying into it…. and THAT is my point. You’ve done little to no research on the subject, you are only regurgitating quotes that are completely inaccurate, and you won’t look for the root cause of the problem.
    I live about 3 hours north of Newtown, and as a custodial single father of 3 children, my heart broke when I heard of this shooting. But I want to know WHY! Not how… the how is insignificant because how can be changed to some other method… but preventing the why, that will make all the difference in the world.

  17. I'm just a Bill says:

    In addition … Anon has a point you’re missing Kevin… The 2nd amendment to the constitution identifies the right (not gives the right) to bear arms…
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
    We are the militia… like it or not it was added to the Constitution not only to protect us from foreign enemies but domestic…. including our own government

    Thomas Jefferson said “The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.”

    it sounds a little strange in our modern times, but you have to remember the times the Constitution was written… and are we really that far removed from where we were?

  18. Richard Aubrey says:

    Another theater shooting. Link is to Snopes.
    Note lack of coverage.
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/guns/sanantonio.asp

  19. Richard Aubrey says:

    Bill.
    Had a thought the other day. Compare Waco and Ruby Ridge, Kelo takings and civil asset forfeiture to the bill of particulars held against the king in the Declaration of Independence.

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