I Grew Up With Guns, Then I Was Held Hostage With One

Haley Elkins didn’t fight then, but she’s going to fight now. 

—-

I love guns. I’m from West Texas — very few of us do not at least respect guns, if not love them outright.

As a trap shooter, I range between the high sixties and the mid eighties, which is pretty damn good for a woman who only gets to shoot once a year or so. I keep about the same record as my father, a former homicide and narcotics detective, who shoots competitively about a half-dozen times each year.

My mother doesn’t care for shooting. It’s a lot of standing around, and her hips and knees can’t take it anymore. But for most of her life, she was just as good as, if not better than, my father.

She smiles knowingly every time I hit a sporting clay.

“It’s because you’re a woman,” is her theory. “You have a lower center of gravity than men, which gives you a more solid stance.”

◊♦◊

Early in my parents’ marriage, they lived in a bigger city than they do now—quite a move for both of them, but in the late 1970s, you went where the oilfield dictated you go.

My mother was often alone for weeks at a time. And at some point soon after they moved, the television in the den started turning itself on in the middle of the night.

My mother was delighted when I once killed a scorpion on our kitchen counter with a high-heeled shoe. I’ve seen her sweep tarantulas off our front porch with a broom.

Now, my mother is about one of the most fearless and sensible women I know. Most oilfield widows have to be.

I’ve seen her be cool, calm, and collected about rattlesnakes. She was delighted when I once killed a scorpion on our kitchen counter with a high-heeled shoe. I’ve seen her sweep tarantulas off our front porch with a broom.

And she was sensible about this, “Probably just someone’s garage door opener or something,” but it still unnerved her a bit.

“I want a gun,” she told my father. “I’m alone all the time; I want a gun.”

Three weeks later, he brought her a pistol and was damn proud of it. She didn’t feel the same way.

“What the hell is this?” she demanded. My mother has never been one to pussy-foot around. “I meant a shotgun. What the hell am I supposed to do with a pistol? Shoot myself in the foot? Do you know how hard this thing is to aim and actually hit something? Am I supposed to slink around the house in the dark with this thing? What if one of these bullets goes through a wall and kills Mrs. Gladyson next door? Get me a shotgun.”

He bought her a shotgun.

♦◊♦

Before Luke and I were married, we would have outrageous fights that were, essentially, us flexing our backgrounds and feeling out our differences, numerous between a Native American/Italian immigrant Texas woman and a decidedly WASP Ohioan who says “those are they” instead of “that’s them.”

One of the biggest arguments we ever had—which resulted in me sleeping in the guest room for two nights—was about guns.

I have a Winchester over-and-under that was a gift from my grandfather.

And I love that gun.

It’s a 12 gauge, which should make it heavier with bigger recoil than a 20 gauge, but somehow, magically, it isn’t—it’s lighter, with less recoil than most modern 20 gauge shotguns I’ve handled. Or maybe it’s just that this has always been my gun, and I’m most used to it.

But it did not travel with me to Ohio because, like many puzzling facts about living in the north, we were unsure about transporting even a shotgun across multiple states to occupy a small, highly urban apartment with me.

We will never, ever, ever have guns in this house. Ever.

Luke and I were discussing how, after living in Cincinnati a year, I now wanted my shotgun.

“We will never, ever, ever have guns in this house. Ever.”

I’m not going to say I was surprised, but I was mostly amused. He must have been thinking I was talking about a hand-gun or an assault weapon or something—I just called it a Winchester over-and-under, and he must not have really processed what that meant.

“It’s just a shotgun,” I explained carefully, thinking that would clear things up nicely.

“Never, ever, ever,” he repeated.

Well, okay. It was a gut-check reaction; that was obvious. He hadn’t grown up around guns, and he’d spent a lot of his time advocating for assault weapon bans. He wasn’t able to put this in perspective right away, so I’d just patiently explain it to him.

“Honey, it’s not a Glock. It’s just a shotgun. It’s the ideal home defense weapon, because it makes a loud sound when you load it, and the spread is—”

“What if you killed someone in our house?” he shot back, not letting me finish.

I blinked. Several times.

“Well. I mean. There’s a lot of ritual and meditation that goes into loading a shotgun, so it’s kind of hard to accidentally kill the postman…”

“I’m not talking about that; I’m talking about what if you killed some poor kid that broke in to steal our television? I’d never forgive you!”

Wow. What a sentence, right? Fraught, pregnant with meaning.

We don’t live in a traditionally “great” neighborhood. Our blue-collar working-class neighborhood is pretty low for violent crime, but it’s high for theft and such. And I was alone, a lot, both the year before and the year after we were married.

“Luke, I…well I’d have to assume…if someone did break into our house while I was here, I’d have to assume that they were there to do me harm. I mean, you just have to make that assumption. Would you rather me be dead or the kid that broke into our house?”

It was obvious by his silence who he’d prefer, and so I spent the next two nights in the guest room.

In six years of being together, it has been one of the most difficult arguments we’ve ever had.

◊♦◊

I did not share this conversation with my parents, for a couple of reasons.

I have never believed in running to my mother about every fight Luke and I have because it’s not fair to Luke. My mother’s job is to always take my side, even when she has no real idea what’s going on, and so I leave her out of anything that’s not a big enough argument that we might get divorced over it. This means I leave her out of everything.

Luke’s parents are dead and he doesn’t really have anyone to “take his side”. My parents have always been very thoughtful about treating him as a son, not a son-in-law.

And I also didn’t share this conversation with my parents because Luke and I had gotten engaged very quickly, and were getting married very quickly, and they were already a bit unsure about the situation. His being a self-professed giant commie liberal Yankee didn’t soothe matters.

So, when Luke met my parents for the first time that summer, they suggested with absolutely no ulterior motive that we go out shooting.

I am unashamed to tell you that my husband was afraid of that shotgun the first time he held it. He’d tell you the same thing.

The car ride to the shooting range was maybe the longest, quietest car ride I have ever been on.

I didn’t do the talking; I just shot. I let my Dad do the talking. He’s a more patient and thorough instructor than I am.

I am unashamed to tell you that my husband was afraid of that shotgun the first time he held it. He’d tell you the same thing, and I think that’s understandable for someone from an urban metropolis who has never held a gun, any gun, before. Guns = death, that’s a fact and hard to process.

I could tell he was afraid because he held it slightly away from his shoulder when he fired. In spite of the numerous corrections on how to sock it in against his padded vest, he couldn’t physically bring himself to do it until we were half-way through the day. The noise of it frightened him, made him unsure of himself; the recoil (made worse by his insistence on pulling it slightly away from himself) was uncomfortable and scary.

And I’m sure, in spite of how large and bulky a shotgun is, every news story about horrible accidents ran through his mind the whole time, unleashing mantras: Do not accidentally shoot your fiancee. Do not accidentally shoot her parents. Do not accidentally shoot that elderly gentlemen over there, or those teenagers practicing with their father. Do not kill anyone, do not kill anyone, do not kill anyone.

When he finally got the hang of it, when things finally clicked for him, he ended up shooting in the mid 30s—not half bad for someone’s first time to shoot any kind of gun, ever.

My Dad was pretty proud of this. Even now he’ll regale you with The Tale of the First (and Last) Time Luke Went Out Shooting.

“Shot in the thirties his first time out of the gate,” he’ll say proudly. “That’s pretty good for a Yankee, don’t you think?”

Then he’ll beam. It doesn’t matter to him that Luke has never been shooting with him again, or that he has virtually no desire to, ever—he tried it, in spite of being visibly nervous, and then he managed to overcome his nerves and become good at it, and these are the only components that matter to my father.

♦◊♦

After Luke went out shooting with my parents and me, the texture of our conversations about guns changed. His stances didn’t, but the fabric—what the conversations were made of—had altered.

This was increased by a bachelor weekend a year or so later, in which he and the groom’s party went to a handgun range. He now understood better what he was talking about when he advocated gun-control. He understood the innate difference between firing something like a shotgun, and a handgun, and an assault weapon, because he’d fired all of them at least once.

When he came home, I waited  patiently for him to explain his feelings.

“It was strange. You’re right, about it being very meditative and ritualistic, what you have to go through to load a shotgun just to fire two shots. And a handgun isn’t quite like that, but an assault weapon is the worst.”

We shot at human targets.

He’d fired an AK-47 that was modified to reduce recoil.

“It was exactly like playing Duck Hunt on Nintendo. It didn’t move. There was no kickback. It was this bizarre combination of being the deadliest thing I’ve ever held, and the most similar to holding a plastic video game gun. It was so easy to totally divorce myself from that gun and its effect. You can’t do that with something like a shotgun. It requires too much physical interaction on your part.”

“What did you shoot at?” I asked him casually, wondering if he’d make the connection.

That was uncomfortable too,” he said. “Because we shot at human targets—that is to say, those paper silhouette things. Like, literally, the intention was to shoot something standing in for a human being. It’s a completely different mental process than going out and shooting sporting clays with your father.”

I smiled at this. I’ll tell you a secret that my husband didn’t know at the time: I love my shotgun. But I loathe handguns and assault weapons. I loathe them even more than my husband does because I have more experience with them than he does.

♦◊♦

I was given a Jericho for my sixteenth birthday.

The Jericho is a semi-automatic. It’s sometimes called a “Baby Eagle”, although it has no real relationship to the much larger, more powerful (frankly, fucking terrifying) Desert Eagle, which had been perfected by the Israeli military to blend the gas-powered concept of rifles with a handgun in order to allow for much more powerful cartridges.

Regardless of this lack of relationship, I loathed it the first (and last) time I ever handled it.

It was far heavier than I’d expected it to be—it looked so small compared to my shotgun.

And earnestly? It looked evil.

It felt evil. This was a gun invented to do evil things.

And in spite of it being heavy, it was a lot less cumbersome to maneuver than my shotgun. This alone, that it was so easy to wave around, fucking terrified me. 

“I don’t like it, and I don’t want it. It makes me nervous. It’s not right. Someone like me should not own that gun.”

If my father was disappointed, he only let it creep around the very thin edges of the conversation. Mostly, he was understanding. Maybe he was even proud.

I have no idea where that gun is now. I only know that he took it back from me and that I don’t own it. Frankly, not knowing where it is also fucking terrifies me.

If I could have taken it apart myself and destroyed all the pieces, I would have, for reasons I didn’t even understand at the age of sixteen. I only understood that I loathed it, and something I had such a strong, immediate spiritual reaction to was not a good thing.

But I’d understand those feelings a lot more intimately after college.

♦◊♦

When I was in college, I spent several years with an abusive boyfriend.

I didn’t realize how truly terrified I was of my boyfriend until I left him, because my god, our ability as women to sweep so much under the rug is practically infinite.

He was smart, though, so it was a quiet kind of abuse—very few marks. Very few public displays of anger. Hard worker, upright citizen. A bit quiet, and a bit cold, but not the kind of man you’d expect to slam his girlfriend into kitchen cabinets.

I didn’t realize how truly terrified I was of him until I left him, because my god, our ability as women to sweep so much under the rug is practically infinite. Even as a feminist activist, as a woman who had participated in the Vagina Monologues three years running, as a woman who worked domestic violence hotlines, I was still able to rationalize so much about his actions for such a long time.

Nine months after I left him, he called me crying at ten o’clock in the morning. He was drunk. He was hurting. Life was hard. And I still loved him, and only wanted good things for him, so I rushed over to his apartment.

For the next hour, he held me hostage with a Glock pistol, a semi-automatic handgun. This has also been the gun of choice for Jeffrey Weise, James Holmes, Cho Seung-Hui, Jared Lee Loughner, and most recently, Adam Lanza.

In my case, it was a gift from my boyfriend’s father. For “home defense.”

It is perhaps the calmest I’ve ever been in my life. He moved from pressing it against me to pressing it against himself, changing constantly, threatening to kill us both.

Wait. Wait. Wait, said my mind. Be patient. Your chance will come. And if it doesn’t—or if it does and you don’t take it—you’re both going to die here. Be patient.

I was patient, and my chance did come—because he set it on the coffee table right before he fled to the bathroom to throw up.

I’m astonished he didn’t take it with him, but the same thing that perhaps made him most dangerous—being unbelievably drunk—also probably clouded his general understanding about just what the hell he was doing.

The second he made it through the bedroom doorway, on his way to the bathroom, I plucked it very carefully off the coffee table, picked up my purse in the other hand, and left.

You’re doing so good, honey, you’re so brave; I just need you to breathe for me right now, okay, we’ve got someone on the way. Stay on the line and just breathe with me.

I sat in my car at the very edge of the parking lot, with the doors locked and the engine running, for a minute or two. I was at a loss: while I knew I needed to call the police, what the hell should I do about this gun I now possessed? It was loaded, it doesn’t have a safety, and I didn’t even want to drive with it in the car.

So I executed  the slowest series of movements I ever have in my life. I mimicked what I’d seen my boyfriend do a dozen times: I pressed the magazine catch, removed the magazine, and set it in the large cup-holder of my truck. Then I pulled the slide back, which is maybe the scariest thing I’ve ever done: one round in the chamber.

The bullet looked strange to me, but I had a hard time processing why. I set it on the console of my car, studying it as I calmly dialed 911. Why did it look so strange?

But more importantly, who was going to take this gun? I asked myself this as I punched the three little numbers. I had to call someone, I couldn’t just keep this gun. That’s how fucked up my thinking was at the time: it was all about the gun.

When the 911 operator picked up, I was still so calm, so cool, so very collected. I stated my name. I stated my location. I stated the nature of what I was calling about.

“You see,” I said after I’d relayed a short two sentences about the situation, “I had to call—because I don’t know what to do with the gun. Someone has to come take this gun.”

And then, like flipping a light switch, I promptly lost my shit.

I’ve never cried that hard before or since. It was the hysterical kind of crying where your chest feels like someone is repeatedly stabbing an ice pick into it, where you lose all feeling in your hands, where you can’t even breathe, let alone speak. I tried for minute after minute just to talk, just to get out one word, but everything I tried resulted in a sickening screaming sound that I couldn’t believe was coming from my body.

God bless and keep you, 911 operators. That woman on the other end of the line was so wonderful.

“You’re doing so good, honey, you’re so brave; I just need you to breathe for me right now, okay, we’ve got someone on the way. Stay on the line and just breathe with me.”

I wanted to tell her okay, I’m going to, thank you so much.

I screamed instead.

“You’re doing so good! You’re so brave! Just breathe. Breathe for me, that’s all I need you to do.”

A male and female police officer showed up a few minutes later. The woman had to tap on my car window several times because I had locked myself in and couldn’t process that she either needed me to open the car door or roll down the window to talk to her.

We exchanged a lot of information in that very short time, but the thing that struck me the most was when I handed them the gun and the accompanying magazine.

“The fuck,” said the woman. That’s it. Just two short and seemingly very out-of-place words.

They were clarified a moment later by her partner, who had peered down to look at what she was seeing. “These are hollow-points,” the male officer exclaimed. “They’re meant for piercing armor.” I’d found out later that they weren’t, actually. They were meant to maximize flesh damage. None of that mattered at the time. I just understood why the round had looked so strange to me.

♦◊♦

After that, things moved very fast, as you can imagine. It wasn’t until a month later, when I had returned from my stint with my parents, making up my final exams, and walking the stage at graduation that I realized the single round I’d set on my console, the round in the chamber, had rolled off in my hysteria, to be lost in the dark space beside my seat.

My ex was calling me a lot. Two, three times a day. I hadn’t pressed charges, because I didn’t want him to lose his job, and although I had attempted to take out a restraining order, the local DA at the time was “cracking down” on “unnecessary” restraining orders, compounded by the fact that I hadn’t pressed charges and didn’t intend to.

I was leaving in a few short weeks anyway, moving halfway across the country.

It remains one of the biggest regrets in my life, that I didn’t press charges and fight. A couple of years later I found out that he was seeing a woman with three small children. I found out that he was considering applying for law enforcement.

Not pressing charges is something that has haunted me ever since.

But was young at the time. Scared. Confused. And sad. I found it difficult to get outside of myself, and I didn’t understand the potential echo effect, the repercussions, of what my own inaction might entail. We so seldom do.

So I did the only thing I knew to do: I kept that bullet, that tiny piece of deadly metal, and I looked at it whenever my ex left another voicemail on my phone.

“I wear an albatross around my neck for all I’ve done,” he said on one voicemail. Poetic. Sad. A reference to Coleridge.

Fuck you, said that bullet. You don’t get to reference Coleridge, and you don’t even get to be sorry.

That little, compact piece of death has traveled to Ohio with me.

You might expect that it rests someplace romantic, like my jewelry box, but you’d be wrong, because it’s not a thing that I romanticize.

It lives in a shot glass, on our kitchen counter, which is probably the last place it should live. You can see it if you come over to our house; it’s right there. I’ve noticed more than one person eye it without comment, but I can’t bring myself to put it anywhere else or to get rid of it.

I see it every day, and every day it reminds me.

A few months ago, I managed to see my best college girlfriend in Seattle. She’d spent two years with the Peace Corps, and we’d been apart a long time. She’s still had to travel several hours to see me, but she did it because I was on “her side” of the country.

“You know what’s always bothered me?” she said. We were sitting in a bar, alone, drinking gin. Several other friends, including my husband, sat in the hotel lobby away from us.

“Samantha told me awhile back that you kept that bullet. Is that true?”

I nodded.

“But…why would you do that?”

“Oh,” I said. “That’s simple. Because it reminds me. It reminds me that I am alive. It reminds me what I’ve gone through to be who I am. And it reminds me where I come from, and why I believe what I believe. And it reminds me to never, ever go back.”

◊♦◊

And I’ll tell you something else: this essay is long, and it’s taken a round-about road to my thesis, because it’s not really a thesis at all—it’s as essential to my soul as light and breath. We have enough “theses” and “theories” and “commentary” floating around right now, enough to drown in. It would be easy, in fact, to drown in it—to just choose never to come up for light or breath again.

I’ve taken the long way around because I want you to understand.

Not just read, not just “process,” I want you to physically, in your core, I want you to feel it, and to understand it, what it is that I feel, what it is that I know.

And when you talk about this, I want you to see me, and feel me. And when you begin to form an argument in your mind, I want you to have to consciously disregard me. I want you to have to emotionally set me aside. I want you to have to invalidate and rationalize me by choice.

You can advocate or rail against whatever you like, but I want you to have to push past me to do it. 

Because I didn’t fight then, but I will fight now.

Because reading the pro-gun lobby comments on Sandy Hook—not the well-reasoned, sensible ones, of which there are very few, but the outright insane ones, of which there are many, that openly advocate sacrificing the lives of our children for unfettered “freedom” of adults, the ones that suggest that all those teachers should have been armed to the teeth, that the Westboro Baptist Church will be there praising “God’s judgement,” and that even my mother—my own mother’s comment that crazy people are just going to do crazy shit, and that this has nothing to do with guns —as if it were just that simple—

Well. There is a time-warp, a black hole that blooms in my soul.

For each and every time, with every comment, with every outraged indigence about “trampling” on the second amendment, with every word and breath, I am that young woman again, sitting in her truck in a parking lot, alone except for a 911 operator.

And I am screaming. And screaming. And screaming.

 

This essay originally appeared, in slightly different form, on xoJane

Photo—kcdsTM/Flickr

About Haley B. Elkins

Haley is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. She holds a BA in English literature, women’s studies, and technical writing from the University of North Texas. She is also married with three wily rescue dogs. More at Haleyelkins.com

Comments

  1. This is what scares me. People who consider themselves “responsible” gun owners because they grew up around guns and take one out of a closet once a year to go play. They speak from a pedestal on the basis of how familiar they are with guns, but prove sentence by sentence they are not. I would be scared as hell, too, if I were your husband based on your cavalier attitude toward true gun safety and your pattern of poor choices and irrational thinking. You don’t coerce someone into using a gun who isn’t familiar with them. You educate them first. You take a gun safety course so you know what the real dangers are. You don’t hand them a 12 gauge and pretend it’s safer than a hand gun. That pistol your refer to as “evil” has an incredibly lousy accuracy when wielded by the inexperienced while your nice safe shotgun was developed with sole purpose of spreading a killing field as wide as possible. There are so many irrationalities in this article that it’s hard to even pick a single spot to begin. I’d start with a safety course though. If you’re going to spout your knowledge, it’s probably best you actually know what you’re talking about.

    By the way, that Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting or even owning a gun. It quotes a right to bare arms to defend oneself from tyranny. It’s about having a right to protect myself from irrational, uninformed people bent on exerting their control on my life. It’s about defending myself from people like you who think they actually know what they’re talking about and want to impose their fears on others.

  2. That was incredibly long-winded, and I still don’t know what the point was.

  3. Andrew Daigle says:

    I don’t want to agree with one side or the other in this argument, but Kevin H, you are being irrational, insulting to other people, and are very close minded. If you want to get your feelings, and your point across, have a polite discussion. You are making yourself sound less smart then I’m sure you are. You seem like an intelligent individual, please act accordingly.

  4. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get several emails
    with the same comment. Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Many thanks!

  5. Haley, this is a heck of an article, and it must have both torn up your soul and freed it to take us through your experience. Thank you for your generosity.

  6. Kevin H
    You seem to be saying that if the political leaders you admire say there is a valid category of things rightly labelled “assault weapon” that must be true. Like, Bill Clinton always told the truth about everything and so could be trusted about gun issues.
    You guys could find a lot of support for gun control among gun owners if you gave up on the quest for the ability to instantly seize all legally owned firearms. But you never will because that IS what you really want; apparently it is the only thing you really want because every proposal for GC from your side leads straight to this regardless of any other dimension..

  7. Kevin H
    I live in the US but I know about Gun Laws in Canada. I know that is a form of cheating a a debate thread where so many do not have that background knowledge.
    You keep changing the subject. You publicly lost the debate about cartridge power the second I pointed out the documentary trail of the FBI and the US military to obtain stronger rounds than the ones you said were too powerful for civilians to own because they would totally “destroy” something like deer. Apparently, YouTube told you this. Anyway, the end-users of the 9mm handgun and .223 rifles do not get their knowledge and experience that way and have been insisting for years to have something bigger – which is happening as we speak.
    I am going to cheat again and refer to knowledge that your sort has never been exposed to: Rapid fire controlled by trigger pull – ie one fire per trigger pull has never been regarded by end users as a formidable technique. Their were only two semiauto only ( IE without the spray option) military rifles made in the last century that were widely used and they were not copied. In other words, you are awed by and want to spend vast resourses to ban a firing capability/mechanism that the worlds military forces, after lots of experience regard as a dead end – no better than a mauser for most things and much less effective range.
    But Kevin H knows better than the German Army. He just knows, deep in his heart… and is all that matters.

    • Rum, I never change the subject, I always respond to your points.

      I’m sorry that disagreeing with you somehow equates to “emotional” in your book. Communicating with others must be awfully difficult.

      Me saying that I don’t care about the cartridge is not the same as “losing”. It means it’s irrelevant to my position or point.

      I do not appeal to emotions, I present logic. The US has significantly more gun violence than any other country. The US also has a very loud, very well-funded lobbying organization that spends lots of money convincing people that guns=freedom. The US also has very few restrictions on who can purchase what firearms or ammunition. The line seems to have been drawn at missile launchers. We had an “assault weapons ban” which banned many of the things that people like you insist are not assault weapons. Crazy that I would call them that when the US government called them that. The US also has a crumbling mental health system.

      The US, meanwhile, has the ability to track purchases and limit them. The US has the ability to create cross-referencing data bases. We require licensing for certain activities, like driving a car or boat, that require periodic updating. We regulate and ban certain items or activities that are deemed to be dangerous to public health.

      It seems to me, there’s a pretty logical connection here: regulate guns. Restrict access to certain ones. Require registries, licensing, and background checks.

      You can talk circles around me when it comes to specific cartridge ability. That’s nice. While you were doing that, someone else in this country was shot and killed. I don’t care what the specifics are when it comes to .223 bullets. I don’t care exactly which bullets killed the 20 kids in Newtown, or the 500th person in Chicago. I can see, as can anyone with basic levels of common sense, looking at the numbers and the patterns, that there is a problem and doing nothing or adding more guns is not going to help that problem. I’m sorry if logic seems emotional to you. I imagine that, actually, you just have no ability to discuss the possibility that maybe you shouldn’t have access to semi-automatic assault rifles. Maybe. Or you’re 12. I can’t tell.

  8. Kevin
    I have read several books on terminal (that is, impact) ballistics. I am very familiar with the FBI studies underlying their recent decision to go to a larger more powerful handgun round than the 9mm. I am very familiar with the efforts of the US military to find a stronger round than the .223 , which has developed a bad reputation for being seriously under-powered. The only AR I own has an up-graded load from a .223 because I am personally quite aware of the limitations of the standard round.
    Kevin H has watched guys on Youtube.
    FWIW, I do not think anybody needs a high capacity magazine – because they mal function way too much. The US fought WW2 with 8-10 round mags for the most part because that is how one makes a weapon the most deadly. The Brits never saw the need for a semiauto battle rifle because their guys could keep up a continuous high rate of fire feeding their Lee Enfields with 5 round stripper clips. Maybe we should ban Lee Enfields. Every gun-owner in Canada has one, btw.

    • Rum, I could read tons of books about firearms and ammunition written by people who want more people to have more access to firearms and ammunition. It’s not going to trump what I can see with my own two eyes. If a gun can shoot bullets faster than 1/second, that’s not appropriate for citizens to be able to buy without restriction.

      And you can do whatever you want in Canada as long as your laws allow it. The original article and all of my points are pretty specific to the US. If you don’t like the gun laws or the conversation we’re having down here, maybe don’t join us?

  9. Now you are talking nonsense and insulting people. Are you a troll? Were you put here to make inane comments to stir up comments?

    You admit you know little about the topic, but have lots to say.

    Who cares about hunting guns? Do you really think that is what the 2nd Amendment is about? If so, you are sillier than I thought.

  10. Rum is still making up half truths. Richard is still insulting me because I don’t know the differences between specific names of ammunition. At least Kevin N has stopped spouting nonsense? Is there anyone capable of reasonable conversation? Assault rifles (and as I’ve said before, whether you like the name or not, that’s what they are) are not hunting guns. They are not necessary for home protection or self-defense. You can hunt or protect yourself with plenty of other weapons. Why do you need it? Without referencing the second amendment, why should the government not ban them?

    Specifically, Rum, you’re full of BS. A gun has to to be capable of shooting through 4 to 5 people to be able to stop a bad guy? Do you live in a comic book world where bad guys have super powers? If it’ll stop one innocent person, it’ll stop one boogie man. You can’t scare me into thinking otherwise, even you’ve let the NRA scare you into thinking that.

  11. Guns that lacked the force to shoot several people in certain circumstances would also lack the ability to even slow down one bad guy in another. It would be exactly the same as mandating that no car have more horsepower than needed to go the speed limit on level ground and zero wind. A nearly useless car.iows. If car rules were made by folks who knew zip about them this is where we would end up.

  12. Low powered guns inflict death about as well as high powered ones. Just a lot more slowly. Therefore lowered guns should henceforth be called murder guns.

  13. Michael Singer says:

    The premise of the article heading is false.
    Did the gun hold you hostage ????
    How can a inanimate object hold a animate object hostage ?
    Should be a easy answer – it didn’t. The honest answer is a a person with a gun did.
    So, lets proceed forward.
    The title should read – “held hostage by a bad person with a gun”.
    One can be held hostage by a knife, bomb, baseball bat, or a “box cutter”.
    Remember 9/11 plane takeovers ?
    The planes that flew into the Trade towers were not held up by “guns” but by evil people with box cutters/plastic knives.
    Using the same exact argument – OUTLAW ALL BOX CUTTERS and PLASTIC KNIVES so one cant be taken hostage.
    Ad adsurdem

  14. I’m growing tired of the bulk of this debate. People like Kevin N throw insults and then when called on it, say that people like me can’t handle reality. I have no interest in continuing that type of conversation.

    Several more, like Richard Aubrey, insult me by saying that since I don’t own and know everything about guns, I cannot possibly form an educated opinion. So only people who shoot and know everything about guns can have an opinion? Perfect. I wonder what their opinion will be? Obviously I find all this to be “icky” and “scary” and that’s why I think there should be gun control. It has nothing to do with common sense.

    Let’s clarify a few things because nit pickers are trying to muddy the waters:

    1) At the mall shooting, the man with the concealed weapon did not fire at the shooter. He acted responsibly by not shooting his weapon. However, his concealed weapon made no difference in the situation.

    2) At Fort Hood, while not every person was armed, there were obviously armed people, such as the military police. Even with those people trained and most prepared to use their firearms, 42 people were shot, 13 of them killed. The presence of guns was not a deterrent. The presence of trained men and women with firearms did not stop the shooter from hitting 42 people. More guns didn’t help.

    3) I don’t care what caliber of bullet you like to use. One person has tried to say that hollow point bullets are best because other bullets would go through 4 to 5 people, whereas hollow point bullets stop. First of all, my friend who is a police officer says that’s BS. Bullets don’t go through 4 to 5 people. But let’s just accept that for a second. Let’s say that yes, some bullets can go through 4 to 5 people before stopping. That’s unacceptable. The type of gun that shoots that powerfully should not be available. The type of ammunition that goes through 4 to 5 people goes not need to be available to citizens. It’s not ok. It’s only dangerous. It’s not helpful.

    4) You can attack my use of the term “assault rifles” all day long. The fact that gun manufacturers have made the minimum changes necessary to qualify them as legal for citizens tells me that their primary purpose is still to assault living things. It’s not about anything other than calling a spade a spade. Those weapons exist for assault.

    5) You can hate me and attack me all you want. It doesn’t help you or your cause. It makes you seem unapproachable. It makes you seem rigid and makes people like me want to ignore you. It does nothing to continue a conversation.

    Of course I appreciate the people who are able to have calm, civil discourse. Sitting around with my friends who agree with me is no way to be any kind of productive. I like learning new things. I appreciate people who educate me about gun control so that I can make more informed opinions. However, the overwhelming level of disrespect from people is beyond frustrating. Just because you like guns, does not make me unintelligent. Acting like you’re better than me makes you seem immature.

    • Calm, civil discourse = you agree with me

      Kevin H is taking his marbles and going home, because he was getting picked on simply for missatating facts and repeating anti-gun talking points. And he still continues to repeat the same things. He is still mistating what happened at Ft Hood. He clearly knows little about guns, but wants us to believe he is engaging in “critical thinking”.

      It does help to know something about the subject matter if you are going to state an opinion, and lecture to us heathens that want to retain our Constitutional rights.

    • “The presence of guns was not a deterrent.”

      The motivations of the shooter are always a factor. Burglars, rapists, muggers, and rival drug dealers generally aren’t deliberately suicidal. They make up the bulk of killers, and they can and often are deterred by the would-be victims being armed.

      “More guns didn’t help.”

      No? Then why is it that Hasan didn’t stop until he was shot by someone else?

  15. Kevin H
    The problem is that you “cannot imagine” a lot of things that are part of the real world. Law Enforcement persons in many places are required to keep a loaded weapon with them nearly all the time. Do you think they have different DNA than the rest of us? Are they smarter? Are they different?
    In my world, every gun is loaded. They may or may not be; you treat them exactly the same. But in fact, they mostly are loaded at any given time. They are kinda useless otherwise.
    Where I live in Texas there have been zero gun mishaps in the last 30 years. Because we take guns seriously and look the thing in the eye and teach kids about it from a young age. About 14,000 souls live here. Apparently all of this is beyond your imagination.

  16. I think it matters a great deal whether someone would have a problem with a background check because 1. an address change 2. an armed robbery conviction.
    As a far as breaking the law is concerned, most of us commit about 3 felonies a day, if the scrutiny were to be fully applied. Very few of us could survive the extreme exposure to The Letter of the Law.
    As far as out of the blue shooting situations, cops do no better than civilians because no one is prepared for that. Recall the recent episode in NYC where like 12 bystanders were hit by Police fire to take down one crazy person at bayonet range.
    The world is not perfect. It never will be. Sometimes your only real choice is between one kind of mess vs another. But for me and my house, when the day comes,we shall fight it out rather than beg the bad guys for mercy.

    • Exactly. It matters. So the background check should always be run.

      I speed regularly. I make a choice to disobey that law. However, I;m also willing to accept the consequences for doing so. If you break the law, prepare to pay the price. If the price is that you cannot own a gun, sorry.

      I don’t think a gun is going to help you make that choice. if a team of robbers break into your house in the middle of the night, do you really think you’ll be able to wake up, prepare your gun, and calm your nerves so that you can shoot them without putting your family at risk? I can’t know for sure, nor could you, but I for one, doubt it.

      • You give an extreme example and say therefore a gun will do you no good. You don’t know anything about guns, so you are willing to say no one should have them. Of course, a gun you have to “prepare” will be of no use. Anyone familiar with guns for use in selfdefense knows it should be kept loaded and readily accessable. You don’t know that, so you speak from ignarance.
        If all you want to use for protection is your cell phone to call the police to come pick up the pieces of whatever is left of you and your loved ones, go ahead. I wont stop you. Stop trying to restrict my ability to defend myself.

        • Kevin N, You continue to be less than helpful.

          In my mind, “prepare” refers to loading or unlocking your gun. I can’t imagine that you sleep next to your significant other with a loaded gun under your pillow. I can’t imagine that a person with children in their house would leave a loaded gun on a bedside table.

          Your arrogance and aggression leads to your ignorance, other Kevin. Your lack of critical thinking has led you to make several comments that are not verifiable by fact or statistics. I do not need to be a gun owner to be able to form opinions about guns.

          • So anyone that disagrees with you is “less than helpful”? Lame.

            You can’t imagine sleeping with a loaded gun access able because you are not trained in the use of guns and have no familiarity with them, or the concept of self-defense. Of what use would an unloaded, locked gun be for self-defense? Please explain.
            You continue to mistate facts about shooting incidents, and guns, then get your panties in a wad when challenged. Please point out where you have done any “critical thinking” and not just repeated anti-gun talking points.

      • “if a team of robbers break into your house in the middle of the night, do you really think you’ll be able to wake up, prepare your gun, and calm your nerves so that you can shoot them without putting your family at risk?”

        This has been done, many many times, by men, women, and even children. Not everyone turns into a quivering mess a the first sight of a surprise threat. As a result, it is only a small percentage of home invasions in this country that occur while the occupants are home. Burglars genuinely fear being shot, and usually wait until home occupants are at work or on vacation.

  17. Kevin
    I am not saying that gun laws are always followed at all Gun Shows. But neither are they always followed at Gun Stores or in Parking lots. But I would argue that they are more likely to be followed at the typical GS than elsewhere because they are high profile. There is always a big LE presence. Heck, there are always uniformed cops checking out any item that someone intends to bring in and sell.
    One thing these “investigative journalists” love to do is to say to a seller aqt a GS, ” I might not be able to pass a background check” (with a hidden camera) as if that implies they are criminals with bad intent. But that is silliness because guys with bad intent would never, ever bother to say this. Only a basically honest person with innocuous issues like a recent address change or whatnot would ever bring it up. It is all a stupid gotcha gimmick.
    The guy in the Mall did the right thing under the circumstances. One should always retreat and never confront if possible. Taking a shot at a crazed mass killer might be the right thing to do under some circumstances but there are a million good reasons to think twice. Legitimate self defense is not the same as getting into a fight that can be avoided. The entire guilt for that crime lies with the shooter, not the guy who stayed out of it. The legitimate use of a weapon comes up only after one has retreated, tried to hide, etc. That is the first and last thing taught in every CCW/self defense course. Folks who have been there know this. No CCW permit holder would have been surprised or alarmed by this story.
    With very few exceptions, mass killings occur in gun-free Zones. Military bases are gun-free zones. No soldier present had guns or ammo to stop that guy.
    Armed Cops hardly ever use a weapon to stop violent crime in progress. Only crazy, suicidal people do stuff in front of an armed cop. 90% of the benefit of weapons on the side of good is in providing deterrence. That is why putting up a sign saying “Gun Free Zone” is so counter-productive.
    That crazy shooter in the Movie Theater in Arizona drove past about 6 or 7 places showing the same movie to get to the only place around that specifically banned concealed carry. That is not to say that he would have been cleanly shot by a quick thinking vigilantee if he had gone where CC is allowed.- he just would have gone somewhere else where he could have been more certain of his safety as he slaughtered defenseless people. Most schools, for example, are set up as ideal killing grounds.

    • Rum,
      Were you friends with the Aurora shooter? Did you see his plans? Do you know that he chose that theater because it was a gun free zone? No. That’s speculation. Furthermore, if he never had access to the weapons he used in the first place, whether or not it was a gun free zone would be irrelevant.

      I don’t blame the man at the mall for not taking out the shooter, my point is that his gun did nothing. He did the right thing. The right thing was to not shoot him. So what protection did his gun serve? How did his gun help? It didn’t. It obviously failed as s deterrent. In the case of Aurora, it also would have been irresponsible, probably more so, for a gun-carrying person to fire back, even if it had not been a gun-free zone. A dark crowded movie theater with tear gas in the air and people running everywhere is hardly a place for a person to try to responsibly shoot a target. So potential mass murderers would be deterred by the possible presence of other guns, even though other guns have been shown to make little to no difference?

      You know what really happens when people have guns during a mass shooting?
      http://abcnews.go.com/2020/video/defend-gun-7312540

      Adding more guns to gun violence will not reduce gun violence. That’s just anti-logic.

      As for your comments about gotcha moments at a gun show, I’m still not accepting that. “But that is silliness because guys with bad intent would never, ever bother to say this. Only a basically honest person with innocuous issues like a recent address change or whatnot would ever bring it up. It is all a stupid gotcha gimmick.” If they wouldn’t pass a background check, it doesn’t matter why. It’s ok that they break the law then because it’s probably an honest person? That is beyond ridiculous. It’s not a “gotcha” moment if the reporter says they intend to break the law, and the person selling the gun agrees to it. And again, if there’s another state where it’s not against the law, then it’s all moot because criminals can just go there and buy the guns they intend to use for illegal purposes. There needs to be national consistency, as well as a national registry and background check process. Just assuming that only honest people say they won’t pass a background check is not sufficient.

  18. Kevin
    Gun Shows are popular with dealers and buyers because it is so efficient for both. It is the how most people buy and sell guns these days. They have by far the largest inventory to select from and the most qualified buyers all in one place.. And yes, all sales by dealers require a background check. There are Cops everywhere, btw and undercover ATF guys. But shouldn’t you already know this? If you ever went to one of these, all this would become instantly obvious. Instead, you just take at face-value what some anti-gun person says about them no matter how implausible.
    There is such a thing as lawful self defense and it is the same whether you are a cop or civilian. Basically, it always comes down to there being an immediate danger to life or great bodily harm and force is needed to stop the progression of the danger. Stopping a bad action is much, much harder than merely shooting someone without stopping them such that they die eventually. The first can save a life, the latter is a complete waste.
    So, which scenario should righteous people prepare for? Get a weak gun with few bullets that can only cause death but not prevent harm to the innocent? Cops carry the most gun they can manage; for exactly this reason.
    In Canada, one can legally buy a semi auto rifle with a 10 round detachable magazine that can be reloaded in 2 or 3 seconds. It is easy to carry around a dozen such magazines inside your coat.
    If one is going to comment about this, shouldn’t one like, know something?

    • He knows anti-gun talking points; isn’t that enough?

      • Thanks Kevin N, once again you were very helpful.

        Rum, I’m not just taking at face value things that anti-gun people tell me. I’m talking about investigative reports by legitimate journalists. People who research the law and go to the gun shows with cameras and with hidden camera. You can tell me what the strictest laws are in the strictest places, but I know, because I’ve paid attention to this topic for years, that there are places where people can buy guns without background checks at gun shows. My pro-gun control attitude is not a knee jerk reaction to any of the recent shooting. I wouldn’t sit here and continue to make this point if I was unsure that it was possible.

        Again, I don’t understand this idea of righteousness. Do you think that because you have noble intent, that all gun owners do as well? Do you think that because some gun owners have noble intent that we should let everyone have whatever gun they want and hope that the noble people stop the bad ones? Did you see the story about the man at the recent mall shooting who had a concealed carry permit and had his weapon with him? Did you see that he didn’t fire at the shooter? There was also the incident at Fort Hood, where the shooter was able to hit how many people despite being surrounded by armed soldiers? Anti-gun control people also like to reference the assistant principal who held the student at gun point before he could leave the school. This was only after, though, the shooter shot and killed multiple students and he exited the school. So no, I don’t think we should give credit to gun owners with righteous intent.

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          Kevin H.
          You need to do your homework. The Ft. Hood shooter was not surrounded by armed soldiers. He was in a processing center where paperwork was being done. Everybody knows this. What’s going on?
          You didn’t have to say this. Nobody was talking about Ft. Hood.
          On military posts, weapons are locked up in arms rooms. When it’s time to do some training with weapons, the guys line up at the arms room, swap their weapon card for their weapon, go to the training area, draw the ammo. Then start training. The only folks on the main base with loaded weapons are the MPs, and, in recent years, civilian contract cops. In the Ft. Hood case, it was the latter who shot Hasan.

        • Revo Luzione says:

          KH,
          At Fort Hood, and every other military facilty, most soldiers aren’t allowed to carry guns on base. Only the Military Police are armed on base. Ironically, bases, outside of rifle ranges & live drill areas, are gun-free zones. That’s why that guy was able to kill so many soldiers–they were unarmed, sitting ducks.
          The Oregon mall shooter, once confronted by the permitted concealed carry holder, went to a stairwell & shot himself.
          You’re either ignorant, or twisting the facts to fit your biases. Looks like both, actually.

          • Revo, the military police were armed? So there were armed people on the base? And what did they do to help?

            And, by all account that I read, the man with the concealed carry permit hid behind a pillar because he couldn’t get a clear shot. crediting him with ending the shooting is twisting the facts to fit your narrative.

            • Kevin H, they shot and arrested the shooter. You could look it up, but like most anti-gun nuts, you find facts to be obstacles that get in the way of your narrative.

              • Richard Aubrey says:

                Problem with this pafticular Kevin piece is that there was never, not one, report that the troops were armed. He can’t point to any report to excuse it as a mistake.

                • No one ever had a gun on Fort Hood? There were no guns on the premises? There were no military police? No guns at all?

                  Do you have anything of substance to add?

                  • Revo Luzione says:

                    Fort Hood is a very large place, the size of a city, but with a much smaller police force, which are usually stationed at the entrances. They were very far from the shooter. All of the soldiers in the immediate vicinity were unarmed.
                    Do some research, brah. Google is your friend. But, a friendly reminder, it helps to have an open mind when you start to research things. It’s clear that you are unable to consider the opposing position. I am an effective advocate for firearms freedom precisely because I went through a time of questioning the logic of the 2nd amendment, and being somewhat anti-gun. Open-minded study of the issue led me to the truth. THe truth will set you free, quite literally.

                    • Bet you have not heard of this one…On Sunday, 2 days after the CT shooting, a man went to a restaurant in San Antonio to kill his X-girlfriend. After he shot her, most of the people in the restaurant fled next door to a theater. The gunman followed them and entered the theater so he could shoot more people. He started shooting and people in the theater started running and screaming. It’s like the Aurora, CO theater story plus a restaurant! Now aren’t you wondering why this isn’t a lead story in the national media along with the school shooting? There was an off duty county deputy at the theater. SHE pulled out her gun and shot the man 4 times before he had a chance to kill anyone. So since this story makes the point that the best thing to stop a bad person with a gun is a good person with a gun, the media is treating it like it never happened. Only the local media covered it. The city is giving her a medal next week. Just thought you’d like to know.

                    • Tom, an off duty deputy? You mean a person who is trained and regularly retrains to be able to use a firearm appropriately? Yes, I’m glad that person was there and that she was able to stop the shooter. That should be more publicized.

                      Does this prove that the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun? No. Partially because we should try to stop the bad guy from getting the gun in the first place. Also because we aren’t playing in the sandbox anymore, so we have more complicated issues that just “good guys and bad guys”. And let’s not forget, this wasn’t just an ordinary citizen, this was an officer of the law.

                      But yes, she should be regarded as a hero. In fact, assuming your story is accurate, she IS a hero.

  19. Kevin
    99.99% of sales at Gun Shows are from Licensed Dealers. Private individuals can sell their personally owned guns to others without a back ground just like they could on Craigs List. To prevent all private sales without background checks would eliminate ownership without government over-sight. If that is the goal, at least be up front about it.
    The only moral, ethical use of a weapon is to stop bad things from happening. Killing is never the point. It is much harder to stop a person or animal in its tracks than to merely cause them to die, eventually, from a gunshot. Murder requires only a pea-shooter. For righteous actions, the more gun the better.
    The crazy guy in Conn. could have done the same thing{murdering trapped, helpless women and children) with guns he could have legally obtained in Canada.

    • Revo Luzione says:

      Rum is spot-on here, except that Craig’s list has prohibited the sale of firearms & ammo. There are other local avenues, usually, but craig’s list is not one of them.

      Re: the “gun show loophole,” it’s mostly been closed.
      Most states require gun show purchases to run through the background check database just as if purchasing from a regular gun dealer. There is no difference in my state, and most states, from buying at a dealer or a

      • Revo: If certain state don’t require that, then the whole thing is useless.

        Rum: What righteous acts are committed with guns in this country? The more gun, the better? If we saw an increase in drunk driving, would we insist on stronger alcohol? Since the act of shooting a person or animal is inflicting pain upon them, there is nothing righteous about it. Shooting someone because they are trying to shoot you does not make you a more moral person in the same way that punching someone before they punch you does not make you a more moral person. It may mean that you have faster reaction times, but it doesn’t make you any more righteous than me.

  20. Kevin
    At Gun Shows, individual people sometimes show up to sell or trade a firearm that they already own. They are not gun dealers with a Federal Licence. 99.9999% of sales at any Gun Show are no different than at a Gun Store because the seller is a licensed dealer who must do the background check just as if it were happening at his store. For private sellers, Gun Shows are no different than selling stuff on Craigs list. Preventing private sales at Gun Shows would entail preventing private sales ANYWHERE. Without the background check. Which equals no private, unregistered gun ownership. That may be OK with you, but at least be up front about it.
    I am sorry to be the one to say this, but it is very easy to kill, eventually, a human or animal with any firearm, any gunshot. But just making them dead is hardly ever the point. The point is to stop them.Stopping a human or animal in its tracks is much, much harder. One needs a strong gun for that. Stopping is always the goal, for law enforcement, self defense, or hunting. So, for lawful, moral, legitimate purposes, the more gun the better.
    IOWs, criminals do not need semi autos with 30 round mags to kill helpless people. Only righteous acts are facilitated by such things.
    The crazy guy in Conn could have done his crime just as well with gun types freely available in Canada.

    • You mean to tell me that Adam Lanza could have shot first graders 11 times before they hit the ground with any gun? I doubt that.

      Do I think guns should only be bought from licensed dealers in stores that keep records of who buys whats? Um, yes. Why would I not want private citizens to sell them to each other? Because private citizens don’t do background checks on each other.

      You mean to tell me that a person who walks into a gun show and wants a gun has to wait for a a complete background check? I don’t think so. I’ll be honest, I’ve clearly never tried, since I have no want for a gun. However, I’ve read, watched, and listened to dozens of reports that say there are no background checks. Maybe each state has different laws. If that’s the case, the strictest laws in one state are completely moot, since a criminal could easily go to another state to buy them.

      • I doubt that the shooter (let’s not use his name and reward him, eh?) could have shot anyone 11 times before they hit the ground with any gun whatsoever. Who says he did?

        Oh, and the point of bullets that overpenetrate is that they have a certain range. To make them accurate (so you don’t accidentally shoot something else), you have to make them travel at a certain velocity. Well, FMJ rounds are far more likely simply to punch a hole through someone or some thing.

        Background checks are typically supposed to be instant, Kevin. You run someone through a database. It’s not a security-clearance-style background check, where they send out agents to interview all your friends and family about you. You’re checked against a database which is supposed to have all felons and people who are a danger to themselves or others. I’m almost positive that all FFLs are required to do this for every sale, in every state, but I could be mistaken. The problem is that the database is not well-maintained, and many states do not report to the database. You want to make a difference? How about we close the database loophole, instead of depriving law-abiding and responsible citizens of their rights?

  21. Laughing Girl
    Every point you made about civilian gun ownership applies equally well to Cops. I mean, what are they so afraid of? Isn’t it time for them to grow up? Can’t they learn some situational awareness?

    I can tell you guys exactly what gun owners are afraid of: Being put in the position of someone who has a Doctor forcing him to take Medicine that is actually the cause of the symptoms that require amelioration.
    Disarming the good guys = empowering the bad guys. Stricter gun laws lead to more gun crime which produces a cry for more strict gun laws until we end up like the UK with absolutely Draconian Gun Laws starting in 1997 and a doubling of gun crime.( more or less) since. Now do you get it?

    • again,
      guns here uk ,certainly since the 1950s, have not been used as defence weapons. there was no concealed carry permit, and the gun and ammmo had to be stored seperately in the home, in a safe

      • gun crime rose in the 90s because criminal gang(they mostly shoot each other, if they shoot at all. still not in the culture to freely use guns like usa gangs do) got their hand on cheaply imported guns from the balkans wars, i remember reading at the time

    • LaughingGirl says:

      Rum, I have no problem with police officers and members of the military and national security organizations having firearms. Why? Because they’re well trained and must maintain their proficiency. They practice-fire weapons until the proper way of using one is ingrained in their reflexes and muscle memory. They also have a reason to carry–our safety–and there is oversight of what they do with the weapons.

      I have a problem with the person who buys a Magnum because Dirty Harry shot one in the movies, goes to a range once or twice with some other fool who hardly knows how to handle a firearm who “teaches” them how to use it, then thinks they’re competent, safe, and law-abiding. They’re not.

      I live in Arizona–gun loon central. Going to a range here is dangerous because most of the people don’t know how to handle a gun–I mean the basics, like it should always be pointing downrange. And these people carry concealed because it makes them feel safe, or powerful, or because they think Arizona is still in the Wild West phase, or because they have some fantasy that they’ll be the hero in some ramdom shootout. There are responsible gun owners, but they’re becoming few and far between. And, as I’ve stated before, guns are never, never safe.

      Enough said.

  22. Kevin
    Issues in no particular order
    1. Gun laws are the same at shows as anywhere else. Closing the so-called exemption means mandatory registration of all legally owned guns. Confiscation later on is of course impossible because they will have promised not to.
    2. Bullets designed to not do maximum tissue damage will penetrate thru about 4 or 5 people in a row and ricochette off hard surfaces brillantly. Those are 2 reasons why Law Enforcement uses nothing but hollow points and it would be crazy for anybody not to do the same.
    3. The term “assault rifle” is like “Demon rum”. It is meaningless pejorative in the context of civilian guns. Machine guns are not legal, which is what a real AR must be. Almost every type of firearm has been used by the military, so almost every gun is “military style” I guess.
    4. Imaging that there is something magically different about a AR styled gun than any other civilian gun is like thinking beer is less intoxicating than wine. It is and it isn’t. Depending on intent. Magazine size is almost completely irrelevant if your victims are defenseless and you wish to harm them.
    5. Modern guns like a Bushmaster are among the most accurate rifles ever made. Their expensive qualities are irrelevant for close in crime work. So, you would ban guns that hit what you intend to hit and recommend other guns more likely to miss? Seriously.

    • 1. If gun laws are the same at shows as they are in shops, we need serious help in gun stores. I’ve watched plenty of reports from multiple different sources. Anyone can walk into a gun show and buy a gun. No background checks. No waiting period. Just immediate gun. Maybe they have to show an ID? Ok, that does a lot of good. So, are you suggesting that because we’ve already let it happen, to start changing that now would be pointless because of all the guns already sold that way? I don’t accept that response.

      2. Why do we sell guns and ammunition that can shoot through people? That seems unnecessary. What are hunters shooting that they need to be able to either shoot through their target or cause maximum flesh damage? I can’t imagine that those are the only two possible outcomes. I don’t accept that as a response, either.

      3. Would you prefer I call them semi-automatic rifles? I can. But let’s be honest, what are they used for if not to shoot and kill something? I’ve watched plenty of youtube videos of people shooting more than 1 bullet per second out of those types of guns. Maybe they aren’t technically machine guns, but they’re clearly meant to fire as many shot as possible in the shortest amount of time.

      4. There is something significantly different about a weapon that shoots 11 bullets in just a few seconds and a revolver. They are not the same thing. And once you attach a 30-round clip to a semi-automatic handgun, it become much more problematic for the victims than a revolver that shoots 6 bullets at a time. Ask the people in Tucson who disarmed the shooter when he was reloading his gun.

      5. I’m not concerned with their accuracy. I’m concerned with their availability. I would love for someone, anyone, to explain to me why a civilian needs a weapon capable of shooting bullets faster than a rate of 1/second and why they need access to unlimited amounts of ammunition without just saying that the Constitution allows it.
      As for the greater issue of gun violence in this country, like the 500 gun deaths in Chicago, I think we need to look at where those shooters are getting their weapons and hold those places accountable. A pawn shop? Sorry, you sold your guns to criminals, you’re shut down. You stole them and the person never reported it? Ok, you’re now liable for damages done with your weapon. They’re buying them completely legally? Then we need stricter rules.

      I will never understand the idea that the only way to solve the problem is to add more guns. It defies all logic, including the logic we’ve used to regulate other things that were causing issues in our country, like meth and cars. If we had a dynamite problem in this country, would we just tell people to start buying more dynamite? This is the only issue where this type of debate even exists.

  23. LaughingGirl says:

    Kevin H–thank you.

    I’ve lived alone in some not great places. I was a nurse and worked crazy shifts, getting off at 1 or 3 or 5 in the morning, or leaving home at those times. I’ve had my car break down in some bad areas. I worked home hospice and walked into some rough neighborhoods wearing a big name badge that read “Hospice.” (We never carried drugs, but not many people knew that.) I’ve driven across country–alone–five or six times, a 3 to 4 day trip.

    My point is that in all these situations, I never had a firearm. I never wanted a firearm. I never thought I needed one. And I never did. Common sense, quick wits, and awareness circumvent a lot of potentially dangerous situations. And I’ve seen what gunfire can do. I’ve comforted the families of victims of accidental shootings who had died. (Of course, the law-abiding gun owner “never thought it could happen” because s/he knew “how to handle a gun” so well.) I’ve taken care of those wounded accidentally in street fights, and others who sustained gunshot wounds. (Incidentally, doctors and nurses are killed by gunfire in hospitals every year.) It’s not pretty, it happens in an instant, and you can’t take it back.

    This is why I wonder what gun owners are really afraid of. I’ve seen a lot more of life’s ugliness than most, and what human beings can to to each other–and themselves–with a product meant only to wound or kill. But I have not, do not, and will not live my life in fear, clinging to a piece of metal that, if I kid myself, will falsely inflate my sense of power and security.

    By the way, a database of the mentally ill will not help. Since the hallmark of mental illness is lack of insight, a lot of really sick people don’t realize they need help, and they’re out there on the streets, on buses and subways, in stores. Those who are being helped by *responsible* professionals are probably less likely to commit violent crimes, although I do acknowledge the potential of psychoactive drugs to cause suicidal or homicidal thoughts.

    • You know, I don’t think they’re any more or less afraid than you or I. I think they’re just convinced that gun = freedom = America. They won’t outright say that, but that’s what they’ve been convinced. Notice the way they can’t justify assault weapons without the second amendment and if you suggest that it be repealed or that you forget about it for the sake of conversation, either they can’t do it, or they say you don’t care about the Constitution or the founding fathers or anything else that’s typically deemed “American”. And they’ve been convinced to value this false sense of patriotism over common sense and reality. It’s really frustrating. And as soon as we make one mistake, in our frustration, they take that as a sign that we don’t know what we’re talking about.

  24. What one be afraid of:
    A person should always maintain an active awareness of the situation around them, especially in public spaces. If something about it starts to inspire a few tingles of fear, own that and open your eyes and be honest about what you see. By all means, leave the area if the vibe persists. Never confront, never approach, just put distance between you and that which is causing concern. This is all no more than common sense. But sometimes it is not enough. Despite being aware and unprovakative sometimes the threat follows you and thinks it can get away with robbing you and leaving you with brain damage because you look small and happen to be acting like a prey animal and there are not really any other people around at that moment to stop them.
    Imagine what goes thru a persons mind as they await the next kick to the head that will turn them into a vegtable. They might want a weapon.
    There are many areas of the country with very high rates of guns in the home and near zero gun crimes. I live in a town with 14,000 souls and has had zero gun issues for the last 30 years. So lighten up with your scare statistics regarding gun risks.

    • Rum, it’s not really fair of you to accuse someone of using scare tactics when you describe a person being kicked in the head to the point of brain damage and needing a gun to protect his/herself.

      I lived in North Philadelphia for 4 years. I’ve been chased down the street by a gang, had my car and apartment building broken into, watched other cars get broken into, and had friends held at gunpoint. I never saw the need for me to have a gun. Although I’m sure you could make a case that in any one of those situations, a gun would have made YOU feel more comfortable.

  25. LaughingGirl says:

    Well-put comment (not mine) from another site:

    “Gun lovers are so much more afraid of life than normal people. They are cowards, chicken, sissies, scaredy-cats, babies… unless they have their security blanket aka gun. They put the lives of their children, spouse and guests at risk through their selfish obsession (love) of guns, and their abnormal fear of life.

    “If you are in a house with a gun, you are twelve times more likely to be killed by a gun.

    “Those selfish scaredy cats are setting their own children up to be killed by a gun. Child Protective Services should investigate every home with a gun and a child who lives there or visits there. Those children are in danger.

    “Don’t let the selfish gun lover put your household in danger. Get guns out of your house immediately!”

  26. laughingGirl, he explained quite clearly what he is concerned (not afraid) about. Didn’t you read it?

    As for “mildest forms of gun control”, we have passed that level awhile ago. Wanting to safeguard our rights is hardly a tantrum, your smug and condescending attitude notwithstanding.

    • You can still buy guns at gun shows with no background check. Training courses are a bare minimum. Citizens still have access to assault weapons and high capacity magazines, as well as bullets that are designed to do maximum flesh damage. There is no national registry. There is no tracking system to catch people who buy mass amounts of ammunition. There is no accountability for people who have their guns stolen or lose them.

      We have not surpassed the mildest forms of gun control. We are not even close.

    • LaughingGirl says:

      Kevin–so Reader is afraid of 1. someone breaking into his house, and 2. public places (a condition that could be called “paranoia”). And let me give him credit for more fears–I should be afraid of sexual assault, kidnapping, or “even more dreadful things (*snort*).”

      What I’m asking is what gun owners, especially those who carry concealed, are *really* afraid of. Inadequacy? Reality? Responsibility? Be honest. Tell me, please–I want to understand.

      And if you don’t call Wayne LaPierre’s speech and responses in recent public appearances a tantrum, please tell me the word you would use, Mr. Smug and Condescending.

      Thank you.

  27. LaughingGirl says:

    Folks, firearms are never safe. Ever. Ever. Ever. Even “law abiding, well-trained” gunowners are not safe. The mother of the Sandy Hook shooter kept her firearms locked up and taught her son “responsible, safe” gun handling. She’s dead. Get it? And “safe, responsible, law-abiding” firearm owners are killed with their own weapons every day, or kill someone else with them–often family members.

    What are you so afraid of that you feel a need to have a firearm? And what frightens you so that you throw tantrums at the merest mention of the mildest forms of gun control?

    Your feelings of safety are an illusion. An illusion, as in not real. Unless you practice every single week, keep all your weapons in tip-top condition, have them near at hand when you’re about to be assaulted (or whatever), and are in a perfect position to hold the evildoer at bay by the mere unveiling and brandishing of your omnipotent weapon, you’re going to be like Fredo in “The Godfather” handling the gun when his father was shot.

    Maybe we should pass a law requiring all potential perpetrators to call ahead to let you know the time, place, and intention of their actions. Then your illusion of safety might–might–become real. If not, well, get a teddy bear. It’ll make you feel equally safe and won’t hurt anyone.

    • I’ve heard the same issue in reverse… your wish to ban guns to create safety is an illusion. And then you’d need to ban crossbows and baseball bats after that and then you’d have to ban people. Because people are the most dangerous creatures on the planet. The uncertainty of attack as you’ve laid it out is actually a case for firearms.

      Firearms are as safe as person handling it, kinda like cars… and money.

      No, firearms do not guarantee safety. I do not know a single gun-owner who believes that. But the saying goes, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.” This applies to a great many things. As you said, “unless you have them near at hand when you are about to be assaulted…” Two scenarios that run through most gun-owners minds that do have their guns near at hand. Those who conceal carry who have their firearm on their person and those who are asleep at night with a home defense plan. This accounts for many scenarios with a firearm at hand. And conceal carry persons, with a little training, begin to learn about the safety of public spaces and how to navigate them, including checking behind bathroom doors before you push your whole body into one (that can avoid an assault and it’s usually firearm people who train and are aware of public dangers unless those who live in an illusion that everywhere they go is safe). The other scenarios, when someone may not have a firearm on them is, well, that’s a the scenario you get if your wish to ban guns comes true. Which means you are GUARANTEED to have no way to defend yourself from sexual assault, kidnapping (of yourself or your child) or even more dreadful things.

      Your view about practice and conditioning weapons is exaggerated. You should practice regularly, but weekly is extreme. And many conceal carry people practice regularly (though your comment assumes that people do not, which isn’t true… you may not practice but don’t take a right away from someone else because you don’t practice it. Maybe we can take away freedom of speech or of the press from those who don’t practice often enough?). And most firearms stay in tip-top condition for a long time if properly oiled. A Glock can be dropped in the ocean for a while and still come up as operable as the day it was dunked. A revolver requires hardly any maintenance at all.

      • LaughingGirl says:

        Um, reader, I take all your points (irrational though they are), but you dodged the big questions.

        1. What are you so afraid of that you feel a need to have a firearm?

        2. And what frightens you so that you throw tantrums at the merest mention of the mildest forms of gun control?

    • Revo Luzione says:

      Laughing Girl, you’ll not laugh when you read that gun bans actually increase gun violence, because criminals by very definitiion don’t obey laws, and once guns are banned, they know that most of society is easy prey.
      Viz and to wit: the UK’s gun violence rate increased 89% in the decade after their handgun ban in 1998:
      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html
      Australia has also seen an increase in violence since instituting a gun ban:
      http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=17847

      In just about every comment on this stor you’ve made, you’ve told one commenter after another that they have “an illusion of safety.” We can safely conclude that you yourself have some kind of illusion of safety provided by a gun ban. I at least have the stats to back it up–gun bans are AN ILLUSION OF SAFETY.

      You have also repeatedly asked commenters here what they’re so afraid of that they need a gun. How about criminals with guns? You’re clearly frightened out of your mind by guns so much that you need the long arm of the law to assuage your fears. You would benefit from an afternoon at the pistol range with a competent firearms instructor. Who knows, you might fall in love.

      Thanks for reading my comments,

      Luke Terry

      • guns here uk ,certainly since the 1950s, have not been used as defence weapons. there was no concealed carry permit, and the gun and ammmo had to be stored seperately in the home, in a safe

        • Revo Luzione says:

          Yes, I’ve read about how horrible the UK’s laws are for self-defense. If one gets attacked, you’re basically supposed to just take it. Self-defense has basically been banned in the UK since the 1950’s. Yet facts remain, criminals knew at least some people were willing to break the law and possibly shoot back. But after the gun ban in 1998, gun crime rose dramatically. The link speaks for itself–the UK has more violence than South Africa. Yeah. Way to go, Mother England. It gives new meaning to “lie down and think of the Queen.”

      • LaughingGirl says:

        Luke Terry, I can shoot a firearm well and with accuracy; however, I haven’t touched a gun in more than 20 years and won’t ever again if I can avoid it. Being able to operate a firearm safely doesn’t mean I’m not anti-gun. There’s nothing to love about a greasy piece of steel that kills people, nor a “competent firearms instructor.”

        Have you see this?

        Grieving father says he gave son, 8, permission to fire Uzi
        http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2008/10/police_identify_6.html

        “Trained professionals” my ass.

        • Revo Luzione says:

          If you haven’t touched a firearm in 20 years, there’s no way you can “shoot well and with accuracy,” for it is a perishable skill like many others.

          The boston uzi story is sad, and the father is an idiot, and they were shooting full-auto weapons, which are exceedingly expensive and rare. Nothing about that story is germane to the conversation. It is one incident. Eight year olds die when they get behind the wheels of automobiles, ATVs or heavy machinery. Whether it is a gun or an ATV, the child had no business operating it.

          Show me facts, hard data, reputable studies, that show that gun bans work. They do not. Gun bans in virtually every incidence, especially in America and the anglosphere–the UK, USA, and Australia, only serve to embolden criminals. These are facts that you cannot or will not face due to your own fear, and of course the demagogery of far left views.

          I am a moderate Democrat, but I am very, very glad that the Republicans, along with a few western Democrats, are unlikely to allow any extreme gun bans to pass the house of representatives, thought there may be some quackery that will pass the senate.

          Guns made this country what it is, for better or worse. If the UK antigun people had been 200 years earlier, if the colonists had been disarmed, we’d all be British subjects right now.

          And the name’s Revo.

          • For the record, correlation is not the same as causation.

            • Revo Luzione says:

              Your correllational claims are simply proof by assertion, and a non sequitur assertion at that. But, when the only other tools in your arsenal are appeals to emotion, your back is against the wall.

              The defense rests.

  28. There are places in the world with less gun violence than the US but they are the places that have never had gun violence even before they had was against guns. It is very hard to say gun laws are the factor. The semi-exception to this rule is Australia since 1997, but a place like Texas experienced a similar drop in crime while liberalizing gun laws.
    In a powerful way, this is all BS because if people anywhere feel unprotected they will look for ways… The impulse towards self-survival is stronger than law or custom. Anyone who claims they would let themselves be beaten to death rather than fight back with a weapon(if they had one or could get one) is just not being truthful and not adding anything useful to this conversation.

  29. I see most of the feminists here assuming that women will intrinsically have more noble intentions and more responsible use of guns than men. Being the victim of crime or domestic abuse also does not automatically transform one into a righteous angel. Many abusers come from a childhood of abuse, and criminals do not discriminate against their victims based on whether the victim is an awesome person or a shitty person.

  30. I keep remembering a story I read yrs ago written by a woman who watched her parents be shot by a loan gunman in a fast food place. Her regret was that her own fire arm was locked safely away in her pickup outside. Had she had it she could have saved her parents from being shot and probably many others, because she could have shot the gunman.

  31. LaughingGirl says:

    So you had to have a gun to your head–nearly literally–to get over your romance with/brainwashing about firearms. How sad. Do we need to do that with every gun freak in the country? And your willingness to remain in an abusive relationship undermines much of your credibility.

    BTW, if you’d taken the extraneous material out of this article, it would have made a bigger impact. Reading it is a tough slog. As it is, well …

    • “Your willingness to remain in an abusive relationship undermines much of your credibility.”

      Wow. That’s just disgusting.

  32. Hi
    This was long and thoughtful. I took an amount of time to read it but remain confused what you wanted to really say. There are a few mixed messages in there which leave me simply guessing what you wanted to say. Perhaps that was your intention?

  33. Mathew Reuther says:

    Powerful article.

    Disappointing comments, many of which which show a genuine lack of understanding or outright dismissal of the experiences.

    By the logic of some commentors most kids don’t get shot by guns therefore the fact that Sandy Hook happened is irrelevant.

    Grow up, kids. Most of the civilized world is far, far better off than we are in terms of violence and violent crime and has far more restrictive gun laws. Loving your weapons isn’t a reason to go all full ostrich.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I agree Mathew,

      What an embarrassing set of victim-shaming and victim-blaming attacks.

      • She posted the article, is she exempt from any criticism? Why? Because her feelings might get hurt? Disagreeing with her isn’t victim shaming, that line is a cop-out. You excusing her ramblings is embarrassing.

        • I doubt she was as concerned with the author’s feelings as she was with the lack of critical thinking in the responses.

  34. So this story seems to me to be instead of a great example on why I should destroy all of my guns a perfect example of how crazy people do bad things and are allowed to get away with it while we ban guns. They say hindsight is 20/20 I mean that must really suck for you knowing you let a psychopath wander free. So who is responsible if he kills someone with a gun in the future? The gun or you? I mean really, think about it. You say this guy wants to become a cop where he would have the power to terrorize people and that he’s dating a woman with kids and you still think guns are the problem here? Wake up people guns are not the problem. I’m a woman who shoots all sorts of guns and agree wholeheartedly with the previous statement that if you are afraid you’d shoot your foot off its probably not a good idea to own one but I along with millions of other women find lots of satisfaction and safety in knowing we can safely and effectively protect ourselves and our families. That being said a gun ban does nothing to solve gun crime. We need mental health reform and we need people like you to grow a backbone and report crime instead of selfishly thinking only of themselves and the lunatics they want to protect. I’ll also have you know I’m also a liberal democrat who voted for Obama. I have no problem with smaller clips or sensible waiting periods and background checks but I enjoy my guns very much and I don’t think I need to choose between owning them and my children’s safety. I think it goes hand in hand.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Have you been held at gunpoint, Jessica, by a person you care about?

      No?

      Then stop shaming this victim for making a choice that you, from your perch up above it, think you wouldn’t have made.

      This person was HONEST about what she went through, and she even admits great regret at having not pressed charges against him.

      What good are you doing coming in and making her feel like shit about something she already regrets and can’t change? Is it worth it to you in order to get your “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” point across?

      What many of you don’t seem to realize is that these are real people telling their stories. Would you say this to her face if you were at a dinner party? You would say, “You’re the one who let him go? Who’s fault is it if he kills someone now?”

      I doubt it. And if you did, you’d probably not be invited back. Heartless.

  35. 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 might 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.

    As a side note, I’m completely shocked to see women who call themselves feminists claim that they need a gun to even the playing field. I know zero feminists (and remember, I’m a crazy liberal surrounded by crazy liberals) who think that they need a gun or a man or anything else to even the playing field. No true feminist that I’ve ever met says “I’m weaker than a man, and therefore need this thing to be less weak.”

    • Kevin writes: I’m a firm believer that your right to bear arms ends where might right to life begins.

      I write: That’s why the 2nd Amendment was written. They were fans of guns because tyrants are stopped by them. Also, prolife lobby has been using that line for a long time and it hasn’t gone very far because the issue is far more complex. Most gun owners I know do not think it is about the “guns” but about the “goals” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

      As a gun owner, I greatly consider your point and have for years: “You need to think about all the people… who has a reason to advocate for stricter gun control… and their reasons before you dismiss them.” Absolutely. But what if you see a lot of uncritical thinking on the subject? Do we have to agree in order to be compassionate? That’s the rub for me. In an age of uncritical tolerance, the one who wins is the one who can sound the most sympathetic rather the one who sounds most reasonable. When emotions are untempered by reason, we all lose.

      As for feminists and guns, you need to so some more homework. There is a wide variety of feminists in America today… some definitions speak about “equality” and others speak about “ending oppression.” On both accounts, feminists and firearms logically go hand in hand. Equality means women have every right to own and train to use a firearm if they choose (it’s not just for me). Ending oppression means that women have always been the physically weaker sex in general and need laws and self-defense to prevent oppression. Women get raped by men, for example because the playing field, physically, isn’t level. So before you speak down to women and feminists, do some thinking about feminist values. Many women will be grateful for it.

      • reader, I have to say that I think the exact issue comes down to what you said: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t I have the right to live my life so long as it doesn’t interrupt that of anyone else? Didn’t the kids at Sandy Hook Elementary have the right to pursue their happiness? Was the right of Adam Lanza’s mother to own an assault rifle really worth their rights to life? I don’t think so.

        Furthermore, I think the pro-gun community is often the side of the conversation that needs to think more critically. Most immediately jump to the second amendment defense without any critical thinking about what the second amendment means or what the founding father had in mind. And let’s be honest: it’s not as if repealing an amendment is unprecedented. Just, for the sake of conversation, pretend the second amendment wasn’t there. Explain to me, without referencing the second amendment, why someone should be allowed to have unlimited amounts of bullets that only exist to inflict maximum damage. Without using the second amendment, tell me why people should be allowed to own assault rifles. That’s the sort of critical thinking that, to me, has been missing from this conversation.

        • For thinking more critically… the leftist publication, The Atlantic, has a smart article on how many gun control advocates are far more ideological than the stats allow. Here’s to critical-thinking gun owners: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/12/the-case-for-more-guns-and-more-gun-control/309161/3/?single_page=true

          Before we ask a reason for the 2nd Amendment, we should ask why the 1st Amendment is allowed and valued.

          And when you come up with that answer to the 1st Amendment, I can easily give you the answer to your question about the 2nd Amendment: The 2nd Amendment exists to protect the 1st Amendment.

          • No, reader, you don’t get to deflect like that. First of all, I wasn’t saying justify the amendment, I said justify the need for semi-automatic rifles with hollow point bullets in the hands of citizens without referencing the second amendment. Can you do that? I doubt it.

            As for thinking that there are too many guns out there already and so banning certain guns is pointless, I call BS. Guns and bullets are finite resources. Even if we couldn’t take back all of the guns that are currently out there, they couldn’t last forever. Moreover, I would think that if they were illegal, being caught with them in your possession would probably carry heavy consequences, so many people would turn them in to authorities. Even without all that, though, to say that “oh, it’s too late, the guns are already out there.” is not an acceptable response in my book.

  36. When Ms. Elkins posted this a couple of days ago over at xoJane, there were several obviously fictional elements that were identified in the comments. In this later version, she attempts to cover her tracks.

    First there is the officers’ gawking at the hollow point rounds. Hollow point rounds are standard issue for most police departments, are readily available, and are certainly not something that would stop and officer in their tracks. Second, armor-piercing rounds are the opposite basically of hollow points. In the second version of her story, posted here, she added some language about how she found out later that what she’d written was untrue. Strike one.

    Then there’s the magical recoil-less AK-47. In the first version of the story she just wrote: “There was no kickback.” Several commenters over at xoJane noted that that was BS. Now she added a sentence that the AK-47 “was modified to reduce recoil.” Oh really? Do tell. I guess it is theoretically possible to modify an AK-47 to reduce recoil, but that’s hardly the sort of thing that you’d find a gun-range bachelor party. And why was that crucial detail omitted from the original and only added after she was called on it? Strike two.

    Then there is the passage where she talks about her magic 12 gauge shotgun that “magically” is “lighter, with less recoil than most modern 20 gauge shotguns.” This wasn’t in the original and it is a truly odd thing. She has the qualified that “maybe it’s just that this has always been my gun, and I’m most used to it,” but as a rule a 12 gauge is going to have significantly more recoil than a 20 gauge. And one that is “lighter” than most 20 gauges is going to put a world of hurt on your shoulder. And it doesn’t matter how “used to it” you are. I have very light 12 gauge used for upland bird hunting and if you shoot just 25 rounds of trap with it, you are going to have some serious bruises on your shoulder. So, again, this just appears made up.

    On one hand, you can look at this and say – what does all of this matter? She has a compelling and harrowing account of what happened to her. On the other hand, you can read her piece and it sets off your built-in BS detector. She obviously just fabricated at least three things in that story. What else is made up?

    Here’s the thing, I looked at her bio. She is some self-identified Obama liberal that works for a theatre group. Not that there is anything wrong with that, as the saying goes. I’m an Obama supporter, too. But I am just guessing that she thought her opinions would carry a bit more punch, be a bit more publishable if she put the spin on it that “Hey, I luv me some shotguns, but …” That’s the hook, right there.

    I have written the editors and I hope they sit down and do a little digging. What was the name of that abusive guy who kidnapped you at gunpoint? When and where was that? What police department responded? And why didn’t you have this guy arrested and charged before, you know, he did this to someone else?

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      This is classic victim-blaming and victim-shaming.

      Terrible, cheap and embarrassing.

      • No it isnt. He is correct. I noticed those same things and thought they were BS. Especially the part about the cop. What is embarrassing is someone lying to try and validate her agenda.

    • They won’t. They don’t care if it is true or invented, just that it makes the point they want made. The end justifies the means for liberals.

      • Well that’s an unhelpful attitude, other Kevin. We liberals could say the same of conservatives. The point of this article is to call on people to have thoughtful discussion about gun control. I see liberals trying to do that. I see conservatives throwing the second amendment at us and crouching behind a rock. Why are gun owners so bent on finding any slight issue with her story? Why not respond to the issues at hand? Why is the assumption always that we are coming to take all your guns away and give them to criminals to come kill you and your family? Have a thoughtful discussion about the issues, don’t go through the article with a fin-toothed comb looking for a mistake.

  37. Revo Luzione says:

    This is a beautiful, well-crafted piece of prose. It’s raw, visceral, it is self-exposing. These are all admirable qualities, in a piece of prose.

    Yet this is simply one woman’s experience. One person’s experience, or a million, our nation was founded on the freedom of the second amendment. Hysteria is not a legal argument.

    By maintaining steadfast devotion to those freedoms, we do not disregard you, nor do we need to. We don’t need to consciously disregard you, nor invalidate you, nor any of those things, nor should we want or need to. Because, this article is about fear, primarily. It is about an experience, one that left a jagged imprint of fear upon the writer’s memory.

    Wiser persons than myself have said, that your freedom ends where your fear begins. Fear and freedom have a complex relationship. The US was founded on freedom, but that freedom comes from an older place, the collective memory of fear of tyranny. Two-hundred years is not all that long, and our freedoms could be threatened in the future in a way that would require us to take up arms against our oppressors. That means we’d have to own arms to begin with. That’s what the second amendment is all about. It is about freedom.

    Thankfully, there are cooler heads that will prevail. Hysteria is no way to run a country or guard freedoms.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Please stop using the word hysteria.

      Choose any other word. Hysteria has a root in women being called crazy and dismissed for many very legitimate reasons. It is a gendered word in this culture and it’s used as an insult and a way to make a woman seem incompetent or somehow less than you.

      If you mean “emotional arguments” then say that.

      • Revo Luzione says:

        She used the word ‘hysteria’ or a derivative, in her article, in self-reference, twice in the article. A word for me but not for thee? I don’t think so. Take it up with the author.

        • Joanna Schroeder says:

          But she’s not using the word “hysteria” to describe the time when she made the decision. There’s a HUGE distinction there.

          • Revo Luzione says:

            So she had a gun pointed at her, got hysterical, then, in the cold light of day, in the clear, rational space of “making decisions,” she decided she was OK with shotguns but “loathes” handguns and “assault rifles?”
            That is a ridiculous assertion on its face. Go back and the last paragraphs, from where she explains the lengthy, round-about thesis she’s gone on. She clearly is appealing to emotion, emotion which she self-labeled as hysteria several times. There is no distinction–she’s “screaming, screaming, screaming”-exhibit A of her self-described hysterical behavior.

            No matter how you spin it, you can’t fuse emotion into logic. They are not miscible, they are not components of one another. The Constitution, which she so gallantly is willing to “trample on”, (her words), is based on the founding father’s experience and sound logic. Fortunately, it does not appear that Senator Feinstein’s overreaching bill will pass the house. I too, like some commenters below, supported Obama and a host of other moderate democratic candidates and issues, but this bill, and this issue, have become too emotionally charged, to discuss logically with anyone, including an othewise very good editor at GMP.

  38. Kirsten (in MT) says:

    If someone is so incompetent with a handgun that they think they might accidentally shoot themselves instead of the target they are aiming at, I agree that it is a wise idea not to have one.

    If someone is so fearful of a handgun that they can’t handle it skillfully, I agree it is a wise idea not to have one.

    However, this does not describe my relationship with handguns, nor the relationship many other women have with handguns. I am also a feminist and a survivor of partner abuse (no gun involved at the time- he had a knife, and I wished I had a gun), and personally know women who successfully protected themselves against abusers with their handguns (no shooting needed-in both cases just pointing it sent the abusers retreating). We recognize that a handgun is a tool- a very equalizing tool for we women who are competent with them.

    I own a handgun, a shotgun, and a rifle. I bought the handgun after my former home out in a fairly remote desert area of southern Arizona in a high crime area was broken into. If someone breaks into my home with ill intentions toward me, they will be saying hello to the handgun. In the last four years, I have two incidents of someone walking into my home uninvited by mistake. I live next door to an inn and the innkeeper lives on the opposite side of my house to the inn so people sometimes mistakenly come over here to pay their bill or whatever. And since it’s a small town in Montana, some people feel free to just walk right in unannounced. Yet neither of them has ever seen my handgun let alone gotten shot. Why? Because I exercised basic common sense. Because I have a healthy respect for my fellow human beings and the sanctity of other innocent people’s lives as well as my own. Because I’m not trigger happy or feel like a gun makes a statement about my personal badassery. It’s a tool. Nothing more. It wasn’t appropriate in these situations. End of story.

    On the other hand, here’s a recent story of a beauty salon in Wyoming where a customer getting a manicure protected everyone in the shop from a 6′ 4″, 250 lb assailant simply by showing that she was armed. The gun was never even fired. He just retreated. He clearly had ill intent, it was appropriate to use the tool, and it was used effectively without anyone ever being harmed. End of story. http://trib.com/news/local/casper/casper-police-nail-salon-customer-packs-heat-gunman-leaves/article_e3236de2-6756-539a-92b0-ae3aaf64c900.html

    The handgun is with me a lot in the car on road trips as I often car camp by myself at rest stops or gas stations. The handgun is also often on me when I go hiking, for self-defense against bears in case bear spray isn’t sufficient. Maneuvering a shotgun inside my car would be pretty unwieldly, as it would be to carry while hiking. It’s not the best tool for these applications, and the handgun works well for me.

    I ended up purchasing my handgun after trying out a few different types at the range and taking a class. From the first shot I took, I never once missed the paper. I’m not saying I hit dead center from the beginning, but I always hit the paper and after the first couple of shots, I was hitting the silhouette consistently. If you’re missing so badly as to be off-paper, perhaps the problem is akin to firing a shotgun without snugging it up to your shoulder first. But I really can’t imagine how incompetent a person would have to be with a handgun to shoot themselves accidentally in the foot instead of what they were initially aiming at, but like I said, if that’s a concern, better for that person not to have one.

    That concern, however, is for the most part is hysteria. Screaming and screaming and screaming is again hysteria. Assigning the arbitrary value of “evil” to inanimate objects with multiple purposes, not all of which are evil, is hysteria. These are not arguments. And hysteria is notably and empiically a bad basis for public policy. Scream all you want, but don’t expect me to take your hysteria any more seriously than I take Wayne LaPierre’s hysteria. Anti-gun hysteria and pro-gun hysteria are two sides of the same coin.

    • Fantastic comment. I wish more feminists would speak up about the equalizing power of a gun. I sleep better at night knowing that my mother, a rape victim who currently lives alone in a fairly isolated area, is comfortable with and well-trained on her guns.

      • Fully agree. I’m surprised more feminists don’t realize that firearms level the playing field for women. Makes me wonder how many patriarchalists are actually behind the banning of firearms. It consolidates citizens powers to an oligarchy and keeps male physical strength at the top on the streets.

        • Richard Aubrey says:

          Segregationists were against blacks owning guns. I guess there’s a pattern there, except conservatives and NRA types applaud women owning guns.
          So maybe there’s not a pattern there.
          Confusing

        • LaughingGirl says:

          Yeah, equalizing. Right. The chances of a woman being disarmed and killed with her own weapon outweigh the possible advantages. And I don’t think feminism would sully itself by advocating gun possession for women, or for anyone.

          • Wow, I think you just tipped your hand that you dislike women more than you dislike firearms.

            A true feminist knows responsibility (including women soldiers and police officers. And she also knows that the 2nd Amendment protects your 1st Amendment to say such things.

            My wife and I are both feminists and we also believe a good feminist will want to be better educated and prepared on this issue.

      • Kirsten (in MT) says:

        It is a complete mystery to me why more don’t. I don’t understand how one can call oneself a feminist, but then tell me it’s my body, but it isn’t my choice how to protect it.

        I can’t understand how many feminists insist that I must submit to a class of permission slip-granting or withholding gatekeepers-a group of people that is predominantly male-such as government or law enforcement to legally protect myself how I see fit.

        I can’t see how so many feminist call themselves feminists, but then insist I be impeded from protecting myself with the tool of my choice from people who are bigger and stronger than me-a group of people who are mostly men-simply if that tool didn’t “feel good” or “look good” to them personally.

        How is this anything but disempowering?


      • Fully agree. I’m surprised more feminists don’t realize that firearms level the playing field for women. Makes me wonder how many patriarchalists are actually behind the banning of firearms. It consolidates citizens powers to an oligarchy and keeps male physical strength at the top on the streets.

        Mind you it’s not just feminists who don’t acknowledge this but I think I know why.

        Recognizing the power that firearms and weapons in general have when it comes to leveling the paying field requires recognition in both directions. Yes it levels the playing field in terms of women protecting themselves from men. But it also levels the playing field in terms of women commiting acts of violence against men.

        In order for people to recognize that firearms and weapons level the playing field in terms of who is bigger and stronger than who, they would have to surgically separate the “She used a weapon to defend herself from the attacker.” from the “She used a weapon to attack her victim.”.

        (Honestly I think this is related to why violence by proxy, getting someone else to carry out your violence for you, seems to be largely uncounted when talking about partner violence. So when the husband beats the wife to death it’s DV but when the wife hires someone to kill her husband suddenly its just murder and her desire to have him dead doesn’t even blip on the DV radar.)

        • Kirsten (in MT) says:

          they would have to surgically separate the “She used a weapon to defend herself from the attacker.” from the “She used a weapon to attack her victim.”.

          This was not terribly hard to separate in any of the specific cases I’ve referred to.

          In my own situation, many of my belongings were broken when he got angry, whereas nothing happened to any of his. I once walked around for a while with bruises in the shape of a hand where my partner had grabbed me when I chose to walk away instead of get sucked into another argument with him.

          At the height of it all, after physically blocking the one door to our apartment so I had no way out, and disconnecting my phone (back in the days of landlines) when I tried to call the police, he pulled a knife out and threatened me with it. My “offense”? I informed him that our relationship was over, and that when our lease was up at the end of the month, we would no longer be living together. That night he alternated between threatening me with the knife and threatening to kill himself with it. Once we were over, I made no attempt to contact him, but he ended up stalking and harassing me for a couple of months.

          It was VERY clear who was the abuser in this situation. One of us had been physically harmful to the other and the other’s belongings, went out of the relationship threatening to physically harm both of us, and kept trying to control the other once it was officially over. One of us did nothing of the kind.

          He was probably 75+ pounds heavier than I and 6 or 7 inches taller. For years after that I would only date shorter, really skinny guys who I could literally physically pick up so that I felt like I could throw them off of or away from me if I needed to. This was years before my first gun purchase.

          • There is no reason to doubt that your story is that clear cut and I’m sorry that you had to suffer through it.

            The problem is (and what I was getting at) is that not every situation is the same. It’s not like we can take your experiences and extrapolate that every history of partner violence is going to be a clear case of male abusing female. But that is exactly what happens.

            The fact that you were the attacked in your situation doesn’t mean that women are never abusive or that the partner violence can’t be mutual does it?

            • Kirsten (in MT) says:

              No, of course it doesn’t mean that women are never abusive or that partner violence isn’t mutual. My point is that *in the situation* it is very frequently easy for both parties involved to know who is responsible. Moreover, *in the situation* it is very frequently easy for the person being abused to know that she or he is being abused and needs to escape or fight back. And when the person being abused is at a disadvantage and in need of something to level the playing field, they are very likely to be aware of it.

          • LaughingGirl says:

            Kirsten, you need to seek help. You sound like you’re sufering from PTSD or a PTSD-like condition. If the only way you can feel safe is by having three firearms, you need a professional to help you get past those feelings. Bigger and stronger individuals can still overpower you, disarm you, and use your weapon(s) against you. Your feelings of safety are an illusion.

            • Lmao. And it sounds like you hate gun owners and will use an excuse to insult and belittle their opinions.

              You are not a therapist, and even if you are, you have had no face time with this individual. You have no right to go an diagnose them with anything, or to suggest any course of treatment. Your comment is nothing more than a personal insult couched in the language of concern.

            • Kirsten (in MT) says:

              Laughing Girl, Is that a professional opinion based on hours of us spending time together in your office talking about my mental state, or is that just your way of trying to dismiss and disempower me without actual discussion?

            • In the only study I ever saw of the issue, Laughing Girl, women who resisted rape with an edged or projectile weapon were raped at a rate which was statistically insignificant. Compare this to a rate of essentially 100% for women who do not resist at all, and you can see where your imagination of a woman being disarmed, while possible, is not terrible likely. And I’m sure you don’t realize this, but a smart defensive gun user also trains for firearm retention.

              • Revo Luzione says:

                Great comment, Rick. It would be interesting to see that study. It sounds as if it’s a study that needs more wide circulation.
                An anecdote: I remember reading an interview with a woman who had been the victim of an attempted rape in Florida in the 1970’s. She had a .25 caliber pistol in her purse that her father had given her for self-defense, and put it to its intended use by delivering a bullet to the would-be rapist’s head, ending the encounter. He did not die, but was incapacitated and became a ward of the state.
                In the interview, some 25 years later, her only regret was that she wished she had a larger caliber weapon, (specifically calling for at least a .380 if not a 9mm) capable of finishing the job, so that the rapist wouldn’t have suffered so much, and wouldn’t have become a burden to society. She was circumspect and in full responsibility, and had fully realized the gravity of the situation, but noted that the aggressor received due reward for his actions.

        • This is a cognitive dissonance at the heart of feminism.

          On the one hand there are feminists arguing that women are powerful and competent. They argue that women should have equal pay because they are equally good. In other words trying to get the power of women recognised.

          On the other hand there are victim feminists, talking about how women are especially weak and vulnerable to crimes like rape and domestic violence. They then try to get society to protect these women.

          These two views are mutually exclusive. Female gun owners throw a bright light on this issue. A woman with a gun is just as powerful as a man with a gun. Victim feminists don’t like this, because women can’t be victims by default any more…

          My understanding is that women are just like men, some are strong and powerful, and should be rewarded for their efforts. Some are dangerous and powerful, and should be in prison. Others are weak and vulnerable, and need protecting. The problem for victim feminists is that this view is not gendered, and removes their victim status. Also if you subscribe to this view, then female only centres for rape and domestic violence are blatantly sexist.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      Screaming after you’d been kidnapped and held at gunpoint isn’t “hysteria”. That term only refers to a physical reaction to an emotional stimulus. Any reaction to trauma, including PTSD, would be considered hysteria too, then. Are you going to dismiss PTSD, too?

      Your point about the handiness of a shotgun is well-made, but LaughingGirl is right, a woman is far more likely to be killed by a handgun than to protect herself with one.

      If you ask me, feminism should stay out of the discussion about firearms. This is ONE woman’s story, her perspective. And for those of you who minimize it or tell her she’s somehow wrong then shame on you. Seriously. Shame on you.

      • Could we get a source on that one? I really do not think it’s at all common for either men or women to be disarmed and then have their guns used on them. That sort of claim gets bandied about frequently, but I’ve never hear of a single instance of it happening.

        That said, you shouldn’t be pointing a gun at someone unless you are ready and able to pull the trigger if you have to. In a self-defense situation, hesitation can certainly kill.

        • In meta studies in this, in encounters where a firearm is taken by another party, 80% of the time it is the good guy taking from bad guy.

          If you are going to carry, you should be trained. If you are trained, this scenario is unlikely. Bad guys pull guns to pose a threat to get what they want. Good guys pull guns to stop a threat in progress with force. This puts odds in favor of good guy tremendously. And by “threat” I mean, in danger of life or limb or kidnapping, etc…

        • She has no source because she made it up, or is just repeating the anti-gun talking points she has been hearing most of her life. Liberals have no problem lying to prove a point. Facts can be inconvenient.

          • Again, other Kevin, your contribution is less than insightful or helpful.

            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2012/apr/16/joe-biden/biden-says-most-shootings-happen-victims-own-gun/
            “guns most often injure people in the gun owner’s household, not an intruder or stranger.”

            http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn17922-carrying-a-gun-increases-risk-of-getting-shot-and-killed.html
            “Overall, Branas’s study found that people who carried guns were 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to get killed compared with unarmed citizens. When the team looked at shootings in which victims had a chance to defend themselves, their odds of getting shot were even higher.”

            That was just a few seconds on google. Just because you don’t like it does not make it untrue.

            • Kirsten (in MT) says:

              Kevin H., let’s look at what your sources actually say.

              1. Let’s look at what your first source actually says:
              He [Biden] also threw out this claim about gun violence: “You know, the bulk of the people who are shot with a weapon — other than these drug gangs taking on one another — end up being shot with their own weapon.”

              We decided to check that out…

              David Hemenway, a public health professor at Harvard University, looked at 2009 specifically and noted that the CDC figures show 18,735 firearm suicides; 11,493 firearm homicides; and some 554 unintentional firearm deaths. “The large majority of firearm suicides use their own (or the family gun), while the large majority of firearm homicides are shot with someone else’s gun,” Hemenway said.

              So Biden’s statement, in Hemenway’s estimation, is “very likely true” if Biden was talking only about firearm deaths.

              Statistics that include non-fatal shootings paint a different picture, with more resulting from assaults than from suicides.

              “The estimates of non-fatal shootings are very rough (estimated from under 100 emergency departments), but the CDC estimates from 2009 are only 3,000 plus non-fatal suicide shootings, compared to over 44,000 assault shootings,” he said.

              Including non-fatal shootings in the study group, Hemenway said, makes Biden’s statement “very likely untrue” because people don’t typically become the victim of assaults with their own guns.

              Donald Braman, a law professor at George Washington University, also said the statement is “probably technically true but also misleading as most gun fatalities are suicides.”

              “Biden’s claim implies that people are having their weapons turned against them by someone else when, in fact, the modal gun death is probably a debt-ridden farmer,” Braman wrote in an email.

              In other words, the largest reason people are getting shot by their own gun in their own home has a great deal more to do with *choosing to kill themselves* rather than having their gun taken away from them. I’m not suicidal, nor are most people. Including suicides makes the data largely inapplicable to non-suicidal people.

            • Kirsten (in MT) says:

              2. Your second source identifies a correlation between people who carry guns and people who get shot by guns: “People who carry guns are far likelier to get shot – and killed – than those who are unarmed, a study of shooting victims in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has found.”

              What it does NOT identify is a cause, and the article states as much therein: “While it may be that the type of people who carry firearms are simply more likely to get shot, it may be that guns give a sense of empowerment that causes carriers to overreact in tense situations, or encourages them to visit neighbourhoods they probably shouldn’t, Branas speculates.”

              This is a basic blunder of using statistics– conflating a correlation with a cause: “One of the most common errors we find in the press is the confusion between correlation and causation in scientific and health-related studies. In theory, these are easy to distinguish — an action or occurrence can cause another (such as smoking causes lung cancer), or it can correlate with another (such as smoking is correlated with alcoholism). If one action causes another, then they are most certainly correlated. But just because two things occur together does not mean that one caused the other, even if it seems to make sense.”

              Like decently responsible journalism, the article actually states outright that it is reporting an observed correlation and that causes are still speculative. Unfortunately, you seem to have overlooked that part of the article and failed to report it here.

              It’s certainly quite possible that the reason more people who carry guns get shot by guns than people who don’t is because more people who carry guns happen to be involved in dangerous activities (such as illegal activities) that put them at greater risk of getting shot. Such data is not representative of the risks that those of us who live more conventional lives face.

              This also seems to suffer from the problem of folding in suicide statistics, which by your own first source’s statements account for the majority of firearms deaths. Again, suicide data doesn’t apply to non-suicidal people, and suicide isn’t caused by guns but by a desire to kill oneself.

              3. Furthermore, none of this supports the original statement that “a woman is far more likely to be killed by a handgun than to protect herself with one”. Since approximately 90% of gun owners are men, this data is almost certainly heavily skewed toward the aggregate of men’s experiences with guns which may be very different from women’s. So far as I can tell, the data in neither of these sources differentiates at all by gun type, so it doesn’t tell us anything specifically about handguns either.

              • Kristen,

                Thank you for engaging in an adult conversation. Given some of the comments I’ve received, it is very much appreciated.

                First of all, as noted, that was just spending a few seconds on google and finding reputable source to back up/refute a claim. I didn’t expect them to be great, but I’m glad someone took the time to read them.

                Also, for what it’s worth, I never said that a woman is far more likely to be killed by a handgun than to protect herself with one. I doubt it’s true let alone arguable. I do not think, however, that more guns is the solution to the gun problem in the US.

                The problem with looking for statistics is that the NRA pushed legislation to keep the CDC and ATF from collecting data on gun violence. It’s actually been in the earmarks that the republican party is so against. The part of the CDC that was collecting and researching that data got defunded a few years ago. The ATF has been kept from collecting that information every year as part of a rider on another bill. So even the first article relies on drawing conclusions based on data from less than 100 emergency rooms. It’s hard to prove either side’s case without that kind of official documentation. I suspect, seeing as the NRA had a hand in stopping the information from being collected, that it doesn’t favor guns, but that’s only a hunch. Obviously, I don’t know what those numbers would reveal.

                I completely understand and appreciate the difference between causation and correlation. Some of the anti-gun control people on here would do themselves a favor to reread that. They say that stricter gun laws lead to more gun violence. The only thing they can show, though, is a correlation. I’ve yet to see anyone prove causation.

                You’re right, though. Those weren’t the best sources to prove that guns or certain types of guns should be banned. It was just the first two data-backed reports that google showed. I’m sure that if I looked harder, I could find others. Thanks for taking the time to read them closely and have a thoughtful conversation about them.

                • Kirsten (in MT) says:

                  Also, for what it’s worth, I never said that a woman is far more likely to be killed by a handgun than to protect herself with one.

                  I agree, but if you follow this thread up, you will see that the request for data was in reference to Joanna’s unsubstantiated assertion that “a woman is far more likely to be killed by a handgun than to protect herself with one.” I’m just pointing out that this reply to that request for data does not do anything toward substantiating the original assertion.

      • Kirsten (in MT) says:

        hys·te·ri·a
        “[hi-ster-ee-uh, -steer-] Show IPA
        noun
        1.an uncontrollable outburst of emotion or fear, often characterized by irrationality, laughter, weeping, etc.”

        Screaming after you have been kidnapped is hysteria- understandable hysteria, sure, but still hysteria. Screaming that punitive public policy for EVERYONE should be based on your atypical, individual, personal experience is even more hysterical. This is how we get stupid, damaging laws like the Patriot Act.

      • Kirsten (in MT) says:

        “Your point about the handiness of a shotgun is well-made, but LaughingGirl is right, a woman is far more likely to be killed by a handgun than to protect herself with one.”

        By the way, this is debatable, but also irrelevant. Your body, your choice. MY body, MY choice.

      • Kirsten (in MT) says:

        Perhaps GMP should consider asking permission to reprint this article from another female victim of violence:

        Target Market: Black women with guns: frontier feminists or insurrectionists?

        A couple of the many interesting passages:
        “Many other women I spoke to while I was practicing shooting did not own guns and had no desire to pack heat. A few of them said aloud what I believe most of them were thinking whenever I talked about guns: Echoing the Violence Policy Center report, they worried I would become more powerless if I owned a weapon.

        For women, part of the tension around this topic is that female gun owners are marginalized in a feminist culture that promotes unarmed resistance and “clean” fighting techniques. These send the message that as long as a woman does not have a lethal means of protecting herself, she is still feminine and worthy of “real” protection—either from a man, or from the police. I grew up with the notion that self-defense achieved via martial arts, pepper spray, and the biggest keys on the key ring are how women combat sexual assault. Movies, media, and college self-defense classes reinforced the emphasis on clean fighting as the feminist way. And as I got older, my reporting on public safety in Texas led me to stories about pink personal Tasers and women involved in restorative justice—but never to women (rape survivors or not) who had decided to use more assertive means to protect themselves. To be a gun-owning feminist, to prepare to protect oneself against two of the most frightening enemies of female-identified people—rape and/or domestic violence—still strikes at the heart of what could be described as a feminist identity crisis, wherein women oppress each other with our inability to make room for alternative models of self-protection.”

        “Perhaps the most interesting response to the “Man Down” kerfuffle came from another black woman who had raised a gun in self-defense. Actor Gabrielle Union had written before about being raped as a teenager during a workplace robbery—but it was only after “Man Down” premiered that she elaborated on the story, noting that she had used the rapist’s own gun to shoot at him. (She missed.) Was a narrative in which a rape victim pulls the trigger just not appropriate for the likes of Teen Vogue or Oprah? Or did Union simply not want to complicate the narrative of “acceptable” self-defense by mentioning it herself?””

  39. Joanna Schroeder says:

    What an amazing story, Haley. Just… breathtaking. Thank you so much for sharing it.

    I’ve been through a trauma before, nothing as ominous, and I so relate to that sensation of calm calm calm calm FREAK THE FUCK OUT and not being able to speak and remembering SO well that sensation of the person who reaches through to tell you, “It’s okay. You’re going to be okay” and being able to think, “this person is reaching through all this pain right now and is making me able to survive” but not being able to say even thank you because of the trauma. I think a lot of people who’ve had a trauma will relate to that, and you’ve said it so clearly, so honestly, so plainly, it’s just the truth.

    What a great story.

    • Desi Bradley says:

      Yes, me too. Once. When I drove my car over a cliff and rolled 3 times end over end and coming to rest with the engine still running, hanging upside down from my seatbelt. I remember it all very calmly and in slow motion and only lost my shit after my girlfriend and I emerged, having kicked out a window and climbed out through the mud. I remember screaming and screaming and screaming, just as you’ve described. I can’t imagine compounding the sense of imminent mortality with the heartwrenching and terribly fearful fact of an assault from a loved one. Very powerful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank God for logical non emotional responses. The fact remains that a majority of people will never know gun violence. To enact laws based on fear and emotion is pointless.

      • A majority of people will never know gun violence? Did we not all know about what happened in Newtown? I mean, I realize most gun owners ignore gun violence rates in major cities, but I thought we were presenting a sense of unity to Newtown. I thought we were grieving with them.

        Did you mean to say that a majority of people will never be victims of gun violence? Again, I question that. What about people who are threatened with guns. What about people who work at banks and a robber lies and says he has a gun? Does that not count?

        Did you mean that a majority of people will never be shot? Probably. Let’s only enact gun control after 51% of the population is shot. Until then, the minority is just whining.

        • These statistics are readily available. The fact that they don’t support your argument means that you just ignore them, and continue on with an hysterical rant?

          We obviously are not presenting a sense of unity to Newton. Unity about what? That it sucked that that happened? OK. But beyond that there is no unity, as evidenced by the wide array of opinions here.

          No, a simulated or non-existent gun does not count as gun violence. And yes, you are whining.

          • Which statistics? If they are so readily available, do share.

            I’m asking important questions here and making points. Is it going to take 51% of the population being shot for gun owners to concede that MAYBE we need some stronger gun control? Because if so, start arming teachers now. The accidental shooting rate will skyrocket, especially in the inner city high schools.

            • Good idea, arm the teachers, at least the ones that want to be. This is already beind done in some states, and there have been no accidental shootings. You saying there will be doesn’t make it so.

              • Are people accidentally shot? Yes, that is an undeniable fact. People are accidentally shot every year. According to the politifact article I posted in another area of this thread, there were 554 accidental deaths in 2009. That doesn’t account for people who are accidentally shot and survive. So let’s just get out of the way that accidental shootings happen. In addition, let’s get out of the way that if accidents happen at home and at the park and in the car, it’s unreasonable to think that they won’t happen in a classroom. There’s no magic bubble that would protect classrooms from accidents. So, you can claim that the number would be small, but any number greater than 0 is unacceptable when talking about accidental shootings in classrooms.

                And just to clarify, Kevin N, just because they started doing it within the last month and there have yet to be any problems, does not mean that there never will be.

  40. I’m sorry that happened to you. Horrible. No lawnabiding gun owner wants that to happen. Anything in the hands of the intoxicated is bad news.

    But I’m not sure what your story suggests we should do regarding firearms. Semi-automatics make up every handgun made in the last 100 years. And the Glock is a every standard firearm (by the wa, the safety is on the trigger). Since the goal is “safety,” how can we be safe from firearms without an all out ban. For that’s what your article suggests. The shotgun is but a sliver in gun edication.

    What I fail to hear are realistic gun control proposals. I WANT to hear one. I hear “only ban “assault rifles” but your story doesn’t even include one (and “assault” rifle is a made up political term) and “high capacity magazines” of which your story again doesn’t have. So until gun control advocate are educated in firearms as well as how criminals use them, the proposals will be nothing more than helping people feel good for “doing something” which practically means doing nothing. When the focus is on firearms and not “safety” (the real goal) we lost a lot of time and unity in protecting innocent citizens.

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