Gun policy in the USA

Gun policy in the USA

Daryl Rowland
on Dec 14, 2012

Gun policy is a divisive and difficult topic. But with automatic weapons often getting into the hands of the mentally ill, it seems important that we have a conversation about practical solutions -- ones that are not mired in the traditional political views that have clouded the subject for some time. What can be done to reduce the destructive impact of firearms, while preserving the rights of law-abiding gun enthusiasts?

Participants (11) See All

What do you think?

Anonymous
on 2017-10-21T12:11:04+00:00
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Recent Activity

Elias Nahhas
on Mar 17, 2013
"Hi Dan. I see the points you make about how having a gun is like having insurance basically and..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Mar 15, 2013
"Elias, you and Erik (above) both make some very strong points, particularly the fact that new..."
Elias Nahhas
on Mar 14, 2013
"I would like to start my comment but stating that I'm definitely more of a conserative 18 year..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Mar 10, 2013
"Erik, Thanks for the link - I won't pretend to have read it yet, it's very long! I will say..."
erik wade
on Mar 10, 2013
"Want the truth? This explains it all much better than most hear.    ..."
erik wade
on Mar 10, 2013
"Newtown originally dismissed hiring armed guards at their school. After the tragedy, they hired..."
erik wade
on Mar 10, 2013
"Thanks Ben, you prove yet again that its better to redirect our responsibility at the big bad gun..."
erik wade
on Mar 10, 2013
"While I understand and feel for all Americans in finding solutions to end the needless loss of..."
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 25, 2013
"As to your first question, Dan, the answer will largely be a matter of how the applicable law(s)..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 25, 2013
"Great coverage from Dave Scott at the ABJ about the nuances of the gun policy debate."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 25, 2013
"Noel--Thanks for being a part of this dialogue and raising these interesting points. I have two..."
Noel Reyes
on Feb 24, 2013
"The US Congress should leave the 2d Amendment alone.  Members of Congress need to stop their..."
Daryl Rowland
on Feb 20, 2013
"This is a Mother Jones rundow of facts about gun ownership and deaths. I don't know how accurate..."
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 19, 2013
"The plot thickens...the article has now been amended to note a cleansing of the legislative..."
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 19, 2013
"I have received a note from the author who says the bill (introduced on 2/13)  was changed in..."
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 19, 2013
"Here is an example of someof the least useful (which I hope will be changed before anyone follows..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 18, 2013
"Some of the most useful national and targeted local coverage I've seen, from the Washington Post...."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 18, 2013
"This would seem to bode well for safety advocates. "
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 17, 2013
"ProPublica recently pulled together some of the best infographics on gun violence, gun laws, and..."
Terrance Reynolds
on Feb 15, 2013
"Hey you guys I found some articles that summarizes Obama's gun control actions and plans:  ..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 15, 2013
"Writing for Bloomberg, Jonathan Alter says the "deserve a vote" line from the State of the Union..."
Daryl Rowland
on Jan 28, 2013
shared a link: "Selling a New Generation on Guns"
Kevin Cronin
on Jan 16, 2013
"The attention to gun ownership raises the prominance of the second amemndment and its passage...."
Dan Moulthrop
on Jan 08, 2013
"My favorite line, btw:  "This country is known for using its determination and ingenuity to..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Jan 08, 2013
"Rep Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have just launched a new project, Americans for..."
Nancy Reeves
on Jan 04, 2013
"It is interesting to note that on several days the numbers of gun deaths came close to those in..."
Jill Miller Zimon
on Jan 03, 2013
"Today, among a pile of vacation-held mail, I opened a holiday card from a college roommate of..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Jan 03, 2013
"NPR's Shankar Vedantum on the link between so called Stand Your Ground laws and increased..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Jan 02, 2013
"Slate is teaming up with @gundeaths for a simple, crowdsourced project documenting the gun deaths..."
Daryl Rowland
on Dec 20, 2012
"Alert from Buckeye Firearms Association: A Town Hall about Sandy Hook willl be held TONIGHT, ..."
Elias Nahhas
on Mar 14, 2013 - 5:03 pm

I would like to start my comment but stating that I'm definitely more of a conserative 18 year old rather than a liberal and so, many of my views are indeed on the conserative side. However, I'm always opened to being convinced of the contrary. For example, I'm all for the legalization of marajuana (a more liberal view) and not because I'm another 18 year old kid who loves to smoke it, but because I believe it would eliminate a lot of violence. My point is, I'm more of a conservative, but I can be swayed. In this case of gun control, I take the conservative side, but not because I am a conserative. I take the side that believes we as people should not only have the right to own guns, but every household should, yes SHOULD, have a gun.

Why do I say people should have guns? Easy answer. Protection. Now you might counter and say "What if someone felt like killing someone with that gun?" I'm going to answer that by saying 1) guns don't kill people, people kill people and 2) if someone really wanted to kill someone, they would do it with or without a gun. If people actually look at the statistics, guns have potentially saved more lives more than they've taken lives. The only reason people don't notice the lives saved is because America isn't interested in that. The media needs to make money. And so, the media needs good stories. Case in point, everytime a murder is committed, the man committing the murder becomes the most famous man in the U.S.A. Even someone who doesn't watch the news at all, knows the man and knows what he's done. (Morgan Freeman says it perfectly). However, do you ever hear about the man who saved a bunch of lives? How many of you know about the armed off duty sergeant who immediately shot and killed the man who tried opening fire in a movie theater just 3 days after the shooting in Newtown? How many of you even know that sergeant's name? Hell, I didn't even know his name until I actually looked him up. So why don't we know his name? Because the media feels like this isn't as good of a story as the shooting in Newtown. Not as many people know the sergeant and the incident he prevented compared to the amount of people who know the Newtown shooter and his name. If that sergeant wasn't there, many lives would've been taken. So let's say we prevent people from buying or carrying guns AKA "gun control", do you really think a crazy man or a killer wouldn't find a way to obtain a gun? I mean the killer is already planning on doing something illegal by planning on killing people, so why wouldn't he go as far as illegally obtaining a gun? The difference between having this gun control law or not is having a normal guy carrying a gun shooting the killer or the normal guy not having a gun because he's not allowed and the killer who's also not allowed to have a gun but has one anyways just opening fire on everyone and killing anyone he wants, including the powerless normal guy who abided by the rules of gun control. Essentially, the normal guy was punished for following the rules of gun control.

This is really all I have to say for now. Feel free to comment with your opinion. Specifically aimed to those who disagree. I would love to have a friendly deliberation. Thank You.

 

Responses(2)

Dan Moulthrop
on Mar 15, 2013

Elias, you and Erik (above) both make some very strong points, particularly the fact that new laws will do very little, if anything to control guns that are already in circulation. That fact troubles me a great deal. I have never really understood why people say they "need" guns. If the answer is for protection, I wonder how many gun owners ever use their gun for protection. In one sense, it's like insurance--something you have but hope never to use. In another sense, though, it's not so much something anyone needs, but just something people like having, because it provides them with a sense of safety (like insurance), right?

But what about the argument that guns in the home actually make those homes less safe (because many gun owners fail to properly secure their firearms)? If a gun was a household tool that I used with frequency, like a screwdriver, hammer or drill, I could understand that. And it wasn't that long ago that it played that role (for farmers protecting livestock, for instance). But for many households, it's like having a pool without a fence around it, or an electric socket without a protective cover. In other words, isn't it sometimes more of a danger than anything else?

 
Elias Nahhas
on Mar 17, 2013

Hi Dan. I see the points you make about how having a gun is like having insurance basically and how a gun can sometimes be more of a danger than anything else. I'm going to address your questions 1 by 1.

First, the question about a gun being kind of like insurance. I agree with that. If I said that people need guns, then I apologize. People don't necessarily need a gun to be protected. You made a very good correlate with a gun being kind of like insurance. However, the same goes for insurance, you don't necessarily NEED it, but it's still good and better to have insurance, isn't it? And so in that sense, don't you think it would be beneficial to have a gun?

Second, the question of a gun being more of a danger sometimes than anything else. Well, this depends on a few factors, in my opinion. One, whether or not the gun is in a safe place to keep away from children. Two, if the gun is loaded and where the bullets are in the house (easy access to the bullets by anyone or hidden). Three, whether or not everyone in the household who actually know how to use a gun have access to the gun or not. If the gun and the bullets are hidden from the children, and if the people in the household who know where the gun is and have access to it actually know how to use it, then I don't see it really being a danger. I know people who have never used power tools, and when they mess around with them, they get extremely hurt. But that's not the power tools' fault. That's the fault of the person using the power tool or the person who is in charge of the power tool. The same principle should be applicable for guns in the household.

 

 
Expand This Thread
erik wade
on Mar 10, 2013 - 4:05 pm

While I understand and feel for all Americans in finding solutions to end the needless loss of life that takes place at our schools and public areas, I find it strange that so many immediately want to outlaw the tool as opposed to identifying the people and preventing the people from having access to ANY tools. I am a subject matter expert and consultant for Higher Education and I interact with different governement agencies, local law enforcement, and special interest groups all the time. I am educated and studied on this topic so please know that when I say banning guns will have NO impact, I know a little something about it. We've had countless lives lost at schools since before our country declared it's independence with the Enoch Brown School Massacre where the teacher and most children where killed and scalped with 2 children who were scalped survived. Moving on to the late 20's, we had another horrible example of man's insanity with the Bath School Massacre where the killer used dynamite to blow up the school killing 38 children and teachers and injuring 2. Then more death and destruction was localized to specific incidents till the fateful day Charles Whitman used a 3 round bolt action rifle to kill 17 and wound another 32 before being killed himself. Fast forward a couple decades and you'll see numerous kids killing kids at school till the worst offense being Columbine High. There, the two shooters planned for a year to blow up the school using improvised explosives and gasoline and use guns to "pick off" the stragglers. The only thing that helped slow down the death rate was the Sheriff who was hired as the school safety officer who confronted and exchanged gun fire with one shooter till the shooters weapon malfunctioned and he ditched it and ran. Otherwise many more lives could have been lost had it not been for that single officer keeping the attention of 1 of the two shooters. 

So what's my point? The simle answer is like or hate guns is your choice as a person and American. However, whether or not they help to either stop or slow the death rate is a fact. The Oregon Mall shooting where the shooter started killing indescriminately, only stopped when a civilian who was armed and had a CCW confronted the shooter causing him to stop his rampage and commit suicide. No one hears about the civilian because it doesn't fit the agenda of anti-"Assault Rifle" rhetoric. The civilian didn't fire a single round because as any good gun owner will admit to, you don't fire unless you can ensure the area is clear including the area behind the target in case you miss or the round penetrates through. The civilian didn't fire because people were behind the shooter and he didn't want to accidentally hit someone. Everyone screams justice when things like Sandy Hook or Aurora Theater happen but even in those cases, the school considered armed guards and dismissed it as unnecessary until after the tragedy and now they have them. The theater made it policy to be a gun free zone and no concealed carry even by legal CCW holders. 

The real challenge isn't stopping the death, its slowing down the number of lives lost. Don't believe me, ask any Secret Service Agent how to stop someone from killing another. They will admit there is no way to stop a truly motivated person from getting off a shot, they just hope to take the round before it reaches its intended target. So why would anyone think otherwise with anything else? There are always going to be madmen who want to be famous. Our role as consultants is not to stop it, but to reduce the amount of lives lost and delay the shooter long enough till police arrive to stop them. THAT'S IT PEOPLE! We can't stop them, we can't reason with the insane, we can't plead with them, we have to delay them. How we do that is by employing multiple solutions like CCTV, access control, mass notification, and yes, even armed guards. The real question is, if facing an armed gunman and standing between him and the many school kids behind, would you rather be armed with a gun, or harsh words and pleas for mercy? Everyone is so focused on gun control but here is the harsh reality about gun control, there are 65 Million guns already in circulation in the USA already. ANY new gun law won't touch the existing guns. 3/4 of all school related shootings involve children too young to buy a gun or ammo, yet they got their hands on them from neighbors, family members, or friends. 3/4 of all school related shootings...children. Let that sink in. What are more bans, laws, and regulations going to stop that the existing laws don't already prevent? Its illegal to murder, kill, maim, assault already, yet no one cares about those laws when they opt to pick up a firearm and kill do they. The best answer is not to focus on the silly TYPE of firearm like the AR style but to implement changes that would make a difference. I am a gun owner, I own multiple firearms and all are registered. I use them only for target practice and I am a father. My firearms are all locked securely in a DOJ approved gun safe and ONLY I have the combination. They aren't intended for protection, neither I nor my wife need to use a gun for that since both are extremely able to use our extensive knowledge of Krav Maga to effortlessly stop anyone entering our home without waking our child. I own them for the pure enjoyment of firing them at a range with friends and family. I do own an AR style weapon and please understand, its as much an "Assault Rifle" as your clothes are Battle Dress Uniforms (BDU's). Meaning, just because the clothes you wear cover your body and keep you warm, they aren't the same as the military BDU any more than the single shot Semi-auto rifle I own is the same as a military M-16A4. Just like your clothes, my rifle fires a similar round but it doesn't shoot bursts, nor does it meet the criteria for military use. So please stop calling it an "Assault Rifle". The media has helped perpetuate the error and its time it stopped for real facts.

So what can you do to help miminize the death toll, simple...there are two things you all can do that WILL have a major impact on even the 65 million guns in circulation. Require all gun owners to securely store their firearms in a DOJ approved gun Safe and penalize all gun owners whose weapons aren't and are used in a crime by having them punished as an accessory to the crime. Gun owners would all go to great lengths to lock up their firearms and stop putting them on display or under their pillow or bed. They woud fear getting their weapons stolen or taken and they be put in jail. You'd see hundreds of thousands of people get rid of their weapons because they don't want to take the chance of being punished and those that do chose to keep their weapons like me, will go to great lengths to ensure they are secure. Obviously people who own guns and had them locked up can still have them stolen by a guy with a cutting torch, but police will be called and they will be excused. 

The bottom line is please stop thinking that gun control is the answer. The Department of Justice presented information that the previous gun ban that included "assault rifles" had ZERO impact on changing the death toll or slowing the murder rate for crimes that involve guns. THey claim that most gun related crimes happen with a small caliber handgun anyways, not a so called "assault rifle". Yet no legislation impacts hangun or even shotgun ownership. Remember, the OC Shooter who stole his parents shotgun and killed 3 before committing suicide? Maybe you'll remember the Taft High School where the young boy carried his father's chotgun to class and shot a classmate. Stop focusing on pointless laws and redirect your attention to laws that will have an impact. Whining about the AR style semi-auto rifles is like complaining that spoons make you fat or pencils helped you fail a test. Its about time that even my anti-gun American brothers and sisters stop to do a little research themselves and perform some Self Education  and stop relying on the media to make your decisions for you or at worst, let the media and politicians push your opinion. Look at the facts, look at the information, look at past laws and their failure. Stop being a sheep and start being an intelligent American voter. We ALL can help stop the loss of thousands of lives, and as for the insane losers who wish to bring death to make a name for themselves...they will always be present, but we have to find them and Identify them not take a tool out of their arsenal. Columbine, Bath, and even Aurora used explosives as a primary method of destruction, if we take guns away, they move to another like knives or home made explosives. Good choice...but I'd rather find them before they commit the act of terror and do something about them. Seems a far cry better than taking the guns away then wondering why they used explosives and killed so many innocent lives again.

Please, be smart...I'm not suggesting you change your views, just understand that armed security HAS proven time and again that they can slow or sometimes stop the loss of life until police arrive. Its not an opinion, its fact. You can chose to arm or not to arm but that's your choice. Guns can be used to help delay the loss of life and there is no refuting that unless you also think kicking a dead horse is productive. Be smart and think...to many of our country's people prefer to let the media and politicians think for them.

 

Erik

http://wadingtoodeep.blogspot.com/2013/03/can-we-protect-from-school-shootings.html

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 25, 2013 - 11:57 am

Great coverage from Dave Scott at the ABJ about the nuances of the gun policy debate.

 
Noel Reyes
on Feb 24, 2013 - 6:41 am

The US Congress should leave the 2d Amendment alone.  Members of Congress need to stop their knee-jerk reactions which do little to solve problems.  In order for a well regulated militia to exist, it is imperative for citizens to be able to own guns suited for that purpose.  Not only hunting rifles.  On the other hand, "assault rifle" is a term coined for those used by the military and law enforcement.  Resemblances aside, AR-15s and AK-47s are NOT assault rifles. The US Congress needs to focus on mandatory registrations, background checks and the social problems that promote violence.  More people die from legal drug overdoses than from guns but the media trend of sensationalism provide little discussion on this matter.  Why not? 

 

Responses(2)

Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 25, 2013

Noel--Thanks for being a part of this dialogue and raising these interesting points. I have two clarifying questions:

1. What is an "assault rifle" then? Is it a matter of the size of the clip or are we talking about a different kind of weapon entirely? and

2. I've always been confused by the phrase "well regulated militia" for these reasons: in modern vernacular, it sounds like an oxymoron. "Militia" seems to refer to loosely organized extra-governmental groups, often poorly regulated. On the other hand, "well regulated militia" sounds like the military, which we have. Also, most gun owners aren't part of a militia. Lastly, most people I've heard who would identify themselves as protectors of the second amendment don't often discuss what kind of regulation they would put under the heading of applying to that phrase (or am I misunderstanding the "regulated" part of all of this?)

 

 
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 25, 2013

As to your first question, Dan, the answer will largely be a matter of how the applicable law(s) are written.  The Washington State Bill I linked to in connection with another post in this thread spells out exactly what it means by assault weapon - starting in Section 20. 

Laws can pretty much define any term to mean anything the authors want.  It is only when the applicable laws don't define the terms they use that the lack of a recognized, or agreed on, real-world meaning is an issue (aside from the choice to use a particular choice of words to stir passion).

So - at whatever level of legislation the discussion is occuring, it will be important to come to a common understanding of what terms we want to use, and what we mean when we use the term "assault weapons" or "assault rifles," or "kumquats" (if that is less charged term we decide to use to refer to whatever it is is that is being regulated).

 
Expand This Thread
Daryl Rowland
on Feb 20, 2013 - 12:17 pm

This is a Mother Jones rundow of facts about gun ownership and deaths. I don't know how accurate or misleading the statistics may be, but it's thought-provoking none-the-less.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 18, 2013 - 8:17 pm

Some of the most useful national and targeted local coverage I've seen, from the Washington Post. I found particularly interesting a map of the Greater DC area mapping both the sources of crime guns and the most popular type of guns used in crimes. It's not an assault weapon. It's a semi-automatic handgun.

 

 

Responses(3)

Nancy Reeves
on Feb 19, 2013

Here is an example of someof the least useful (which I hope will be changed before anyone follows the link :) _)

"But then, with respect to the thousands of weapons like that already owned by Washington residents, the bill says this:

'In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person possessing shall ... safely and securely store the assault weapon. The sheriff of the county may, no more than once per year, conduct an inspection to ensure compliance with this subsection.'”The problem? Nothing after the ellipses is part of the bill.

Here is the full text of that section of the bill:

18 (5) In order to continue to possess an assault weapon that was19 legally possessed on the effective date of this section, the person20 possessing the assault weapon shall do all of the following:21 (a) Safely and securely store the assault weapon;22 (b) Possess the assault weapon only on property owned or23 immediately controlled by the person, or while engaged in the legal use24 of the assault weapon at a duly licensed firing range, or while25 traveling to or from either of these locations for the purpose of26 engaging in the legal use of the assault weapon, provided that the27 assault weapon is stored unloaded and in a separate locked container28 during transport.

Becaue the bill is a mark-up, it appears that the language was never part of the bill, as introduced.  I have added a comment, written the journalist, and requested a correction.  But even if the story is corrected it has spread widely because because it feeds the perception that the government is going to come grab guns from people's homes.  It is currently the top read story (three days after its publication), and has 1078 comments.  From the ones I skimmed, primarily "I told you so" kinds of comments from opponents of gun control.  In the ones I skimmed, I only found one other person who had followed the link in the article to actually read the bill and discovered that the quote is not accurate.

That kind of journalism makes having rational conversations about gun control harder because people who fear the government is coming for their guns now have another (otherwise reliable) source to support that fear, which must be addressed before any conversation about reasonable restrictions can proceed.

 

 

 
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 19, 2013

I have received a note from the author who says the bill (introduced on 2/13)  was changed in response to his article published at 6:22 PM on Saturday (2/16), prior to 8:00 AM today (2/19).

Since even a correction to a reference to an existing law in that same bill was tracked by strike-through and underlining in that same bill, that stretches my credibiilty a bit, but the Washington State legislature was in session yesterday (even though I find no trace of activity on this bill) so it is possible and I'm updating in the interest of transparency.

 
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 19, 2013

The plot thickens...the article has now been amended to note a cleansing of the legislative website with a link to the originally introduced bill.  I am grateful that the article now notes that the bill no longer includes the provision...and now off on a soapbox about rewriting public records (especially when the bill on the legislative website tracks several changes which were made, but not the deletion of this clause...)

 
Expand This Thread
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 18, 2013 - 6:41 pm

This would seem to bode well for safety advocates. 

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 17, 2013 - 11:09 am

ProPublica recently pulled together some of the best infographics on gun violence, gun laws, and the guns debate from around the country. Well worth checking out.