A gun owner responds to Sandy Hook

“Hi, I’m Edwin, and I own firearms!”

Right now, in the shadow of the horrors of the Sandy Hook shooting, it feels as if every gun-owner is on edge.  Some are apologizing, distancing themselves from gun advocacy groups.  Some are saying all the right words, “well, my target gun is locked in a safe.”  Like telling your Baptist Preacher grandpa, “my whisky is in a cabinet and is only for medicinal purposes, of course.”  Some are saying, “well, I like guns, but nobody needs automatic guns that can be sprayed across a room.”

The thing is, we didn’t want to talk about this. We wanted to let people grieve, to try and find solutions to unpredictable events.  The gun control crowd politicized this first. They launched into the predictable tirades against the very people who, after all, didn’t commit the crime.  So we’ve responded.

The arguments and tirades go on and on.  But here’s the salient point.  I didn’t do it.  I hate that it happened.  I grieve for lost children and teachers, for hurting family members.  But I didn’t do it. My guns didn’t do it.  My friends didn’t do it, and neither did their guns.

I have my guns in a safe.  But they don’t stay there all the time.  I have nothing that qualifies in the minds of most progressives as an “assault weapon,” but if I could afford one I would.  They’re interesting, and enjoyable to shoot.  I have had friends who owned them, and I still do.  I knew people with fully automatic weapons; none of them killed anyone.  They were lawful, contributing citizens. Several were physicians.

So what I want to know is this:  what do you want us to do?  For those of you uninitiated into firearms, you don’t just walk into a store, pick one up and leave.  There’s paperwork, ID to show (it isn’t like voting, after all).  There’s either a background check or presentation of a concealed weapons permit in states, like mine, where they are available.

But what about those machine guns?  To belabor a point that should already be well understood by all, fully automatic weapons are not legal without further permits.  (You pull the trigger and it fires until empty.)  And they haven’t been since  1934.  Semi-automatic weapons (one round per trigger pull) are very common among various styles and purposes of rifles, pistols and shotguns.  And in fact, semi-automatic handguns may be safer to keep around than revolvers.  I know, too much detail, scary guns, etc.  But a semi-automatic handgun can have a magazine of ammunition loaded in it, without a round in the chamber to fire. Whereas a loaded revolver will fire whenever the trigger is pulled.  Of course, both are perfectly safe when treated safely and owned by lawful, responsible and trained individuals.

So which thing do we need to limit? Which part of the process do we need to tighten?  If you want to expand psychiatric background checks, I can get on board with that.  Depends, of course, on how you define mental illness.  If the desire for a gun is a sign of mental illness, we’ve made no progress.  But if you mean a history of suicidal or homicidal behavior or commitment for such, fair enough.

And if you say, “we need more mental health care,” I’ll say “Amen.”  You send me some more psychiatrists and I’ll forward to them all the patients that they can bear.  There just aren’t many of them around.  Furthermore, their work is frustrating, often thankless and populated with patients who are mentally ill, as well as with those who want mental illness rather than actually having it.  It’s hard to care for the sick while sifting through the lot.

So let me be clear.  I have a concealed weapons permit.  It took a background check, fingerprinting, a class and a test.  I have a gun safe.  I have taken extra training in the effective use of my weapon.

What would you like me to do differently?  What would you like to take from me?  If I threw open the safe and said, “come take what you want to make society safer,” what would you take?  Would the world be better?

The thing is, I’m representative of the vast majority of America’s gun owners.  Like it or not, we’re a boring, law-abiding bunch.

Of course, those are the ones it’s easiest to regulate, I suppose.

Even when it doesn’t help.

Edwin Leap is an emergency physician who blogs at edwinleap.com and is the author of The Practice Test.

email

Comments are moderated before they are published. Please read the comment policy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrea.m.light Andrea Miano Light

    It strikes me that the killer’s mother might have written this post…before she died of course.

    • AKMaineIac

      From the sounds of things… she had more than a passing familiarity with her son’s “quirks”. A phone call to the police before she was killed could have headed this off. The State Troopers are yet to release the findings of their investigation. When they do, if they say she was preparing committal papers and going to hearings to have him involuntarily committed, we’ll know the neighbor who said so was telling the truth. Because the neighbor said she was going to have him checked in. She couldn’t handle his oubursts anymore and he was becoming dangerous.

      Which leads us to the second issue… How come she did not secure those weapons so that he, living in the same house, did not have access to at least “those” guns? My ex-wife was crazy as hell. I took all my guns to my parents’ house. She didn’t shoot anybody. They don’t make laws that put common sense and decency into peoples’ heads and hearts. Coming after the ones with common sense and decency to try and change what the ones who don’t have any are doing doesn’t make any frigging sense.

      That’s why these discussions frequently turn a little heated.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

        Ms. Lanza, after proudly divorcing her son’s father 4 yrs ago, was just one of millions of loving mothers. She worried about civil unrest (as Obama 1st and now 2nd term is taking per Fox News and other “patriotic” sources of wisom all kinds of liberties from us) and like good patriot stacked-up good collection of sophisticated firearms. She undoubtedly “responsibly” used them practicing herself and teaching son Adam to fire them.What government bureaucrat would take those right and joys (neighbors etc. referring to her frequent pride in her firearm arsenal) from them? Not even Obama can do that!

        Patriots prefer that not a single – even increasingly troubled – American male is denying right to shoot firearms. Covered here (and in millions of other homes) with loving (single) moms (see especially urban areas where mayhem of deaths by firearms puts our country next to South Africa and so far ahead of any other civilized country) American boys are boys and men and … they love guns!

        Now excuse me: AS NRA argues that having really BIG magazine might save my life if I would have a gun with the BIG one (and no need to reload when intruder might break in) I have to think about that “wise advice”.

        BTW: Does NRA advise, alongside with “every school in the nation to train and pay at least 3 armed security guards” (they have to take turns, are sick, have vacation, thus 3 is minimum) advise that before FIREMEN arrive to ANY fire call, SWAT team arrives first and secures the perimeter (see NY guy killing 2 injuring other firemen)?

        • AKMaineIac

          I think I will wait for the CT State Troopers’ report on their investigation before I begin arguing the “facts” about this shooting. Your fantasies notwithstanding, most of the facts have not been released yet. Much misinformation and erroneous information was published by the media in the week following. Frankly, I don’t have much faith in any of it.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          Jan, this is the problem when we start having this “conversation about guns”. It’s rarely ever really about the guns, but about salving one’s personal prejudices. Is it any wonder gun owners are reluctant to engage?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

      According to “patriots” (i.e. NRA and Newton’s CT very own, National Shooting Sports Foundation and Fox News viewers) Ms. Lanza acted like patriot and responsibly, following NRA + NSSF guidelines:

      a) She believed that civil unrest is coming (to her deep coutry home on edge of Kettletown State park)

      b) thus felt that she she stocks up on guns and ammo

      c) herself and her son practice enough shooting them “to be able to defend their house”.

      She exercised her and her son G*d and Founding Fathers given right to have musket, sorry, semis. Not only 26 neighbors (survivors of the victims of the massacre she was instrumental in) have the distinct privilege to have such “normal” neighbor in her, but also one who proudly exercised her right to arm herself really well.

  • NormRx

    AMEN

  • PaulArkay

    Why are guns so important?

    • Edward Stevenson

      Ask the Holocaust Jews why gun ownership is important and you will get your answer.

      • sherri gast

        And furthermore, remember zero crime for 24 hours in Fl when open carry slipped through the cracks.

      • PaulArkay

        I’m not so interested in the historical uses of guns, but in our current societal context, our society doesn’t really need to have citizens armed. It is more difficult to get a drivers licence, than it is to get a gun.

        I have never owned a gun, I feel no need to own a gun. I’ve lived in some pretty violent places and lived through some fairly violent situations, and I have never said “Boy, if I had a gun, that would have turned out better”. I know, in the situations I have lived through, having a gun would not have helped. I have never met anyone, who has used a gun to diffuse a situation, who wasn’t a police officer or military personnel.

        I know two people who have been shot, both accidentally and intentionally. I can say without a doubt, if guns were more difficult to obtain, and if gun owners kept their guns unloaded and locked with non-functioning locks, that one more person that I care about would be alive and one more person that I care about would not have to deal with the lasting effects of a gunshot wound.

        • http://twitter.com/ChadCSines Chad Sines

          Sorry, but I received my driver’s license after a simple multiple choice test and a drive around the block. For my concealed carry, I had to obtain an FBI background check and fingerprinting. I chose to have additional training on the laws and marksmanship because it was important to me.

          Your point about the guns affecting your friends is really not accurate. Had someone wanted to do that person harm, a knife or other tool would have been used with the same results. Regarding an unintentional shooting, that is simply carelessness despite how callous that may sound.

          In over 17 years my guns (yes, I have more than one) have never went bang unless I pulled the trigger nor have I ever used it to harm someone. And yes, not too long ago I witnessed someone drawing their firearm to avoid an assault by multiple intoxicated assailants, so there is an argument that his life might have been saved because he had one.

          What people fail to realize is that if someone wants to do harm they will. Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer and kerosene. Some use pipe bombs, implements to start fire, vehicles, knives, etc. Duct tape, knives, and rope have been very common implements of murder and yet no one mentions them.

          We like to vilify a tool to feel as if we have control over evil. People want to feel safe so making the issue about an inanimate object as the reason for death is where they gravitate instead of understanding that the issue is much more complex. Take the time to read and you will find that many more have been saved than murdered by guns. Still that is not socially or politically acceptable to consider these days.

          • PaulArkay

            Yep, you and everyone had to demonstrate your proficiency to operate a motor vehicle safely, when you purchased your guns, you and everyone is not required to demonstrate your proficiency to operate a firearm safely. There is no re-licensing for gun ownership, there are no gun safety checkpoints, there are no checks for gun owners.

            No, actually, my statements were perfectly accurate. My first friend was shot after he fired at a police officer, he purchased the gun he used off the street for $50. He didn’t need your background check or fingerprinting, he walked into a guys house and threw down $50 and picked up a gun. Had he picked up a knife, it is very possible his night may have ended up much differently.

            And to be clear, it was not carelessness that led to my second friend being shot, it was incompetence. Carelessness is for using something that doesn’t kill. I want every person who owns a firearm to know how to use it, store it and transport it properly, and that knowledge needs to be verified before anyone ever owns a gun.

            I am not vilifying anything, I’m asking for a reason why anyone needs a gun in this day and age. Somebody justify that, because you’re not going to overpower US, state, or local forces. You’re more likely to shoot someone you know, than someone who’s trying to break into your house (security experts agree, guns are your last option for home defense). Does anyone really think that they will respond rightly with a firearm, if a gunman starts shooting up a movie theater? I suppose that drunks can be threatening, but really, you couldn’t get away just as easily.

            Cars, fertilizer, kerosene, duct tape, knives, and rope have primary uses to this society that don’t involve killing things. There are laws in place regulating the use of cars, fertilizer, and knives for the public safety. I would say that those laws are sufficient to protect society. There are not laws regulating firearms in place to protect society proportionate to the damage firearms can do.

          • NormRx

            Your friend fired at a police officer? Sorry he got what he deserved.

          • PaulArkay

            I am certainly not defending his behavior, as it is by nature indefensible. Sometimes we can learn from the mistakes of others, if we’re smart. Other times, others mistakes highlight our shortcomings as a society.

            I wanted to point out that people don’t necessarily live within the boundaries of law. That it is real easy to get a gun, and it is real easy to make mistakes.

            But you’re absolutely right, vengeance is the answer.

          • NormRx

            Yes you are defending his behavior Where did I say vengeance is the answer. If anything this is an example of justice. You think it would have been different if your friend had a knife? Many people have been shot that went after a police officer with a knife, club or trying to run over a police officer with a car. With your logic, if your friend purchased a car, drove it 100 mph, crashed and killed himself, you would blame the car.. Your friend tried to kill a police officer and got what he deserved.

          • AKMaineIac

            A “mistake”? WTH? He shot at a police officer. A “mistake”?

          • PaulArkay

            You can used whatever hate-filled language you want to describe his actions.

            I know that the differences between criminals and non-criminals are the choices made. If you made the same choices, the result would be the same. Criminals aren’t born criminals, and criminals aren’t any less of a human than you or I.

            I personally choose to accept what happened, realize I don’t have any power to change the outcome, and try to understand how to make the world better.

          • AKMaineIac

            Yes I can. When I was younger, I wanted to make the world a better place. I was a volunteer firefighter, and sought out training as an EMT, then worked in law enforcement and firefighting until I decided to return to school to become a physical therapist. I make the world a better place for the people around me. If I thought for a split second the world would be a better place without guns, I’d destroy my own first.

            Then we could have apple trees and honey bees, and snow white turtle doves.

            Want to make the world a better place? Lock criminals like your friend away until they’re too old to be a problem. Leave honest and law abiding people alone.

          • AKMaineIac

            ” Criminals aren’t born criminals, and criminals aren’t any less of a human than you or I.”

            Speak for yourself. If you don’t think you’re anymore of a human than that scum who went into a school and shot little kids and their teachers, you don’t think much of yourself at all. If you think you can say that about the rest of us and not have someone call you on it, think again buddy. You’re all wet.

          • PaulArkay

            So how do you tell the difference between the good among us and the bad among us? If there’s such a difference between criminals and non-criminals, please inform us how to identify them. We can then lock them up before they hurt anyone else.

          • AKMaineIac

            How do you tell the difference between someone who has high cholesterol and someone who doesn’t? How do you know which one will have the heart attack?

            You don’t, and can’t… until some evidence comes to light to indicate. A pretty good clue is who they associate with, what they do with their time and energy.

            In a free country, you don’t get to lock people up before they commit crimes. You don’t get to impair their rights, until they commit crimes. That’s why we’re here… today. ;)

          • PaulArkay

            “If you don’t think you’re anymore of a human than that scum who went into a school and shot little kids and their teachers, you don’t think much of yourself at all.”

            But the idea that criminals are fundamentally different from the non-criminals is what you argued, if they are different you should be able to tell me how they are different.

            And if we can tell the difference between criminals and non-criminals, would it not be better to segregate them from society before they act out criminally. Can we not try them for having the traits of a criminal and since we know those people with those traits are criminals, we should be able to lock them up? That is where your argument goes if you assume that criminals are different from you.

          • AKMaineIac

            In a free country, you’re “PRESUMED” to not be a criminal or lunatic until you act like one, and commit a crime or some other act that demonstrates your lunacy.

            Some people might consider the very idea that we might lock up or confine people who are physically different from us in order to prevent crimes, before a crime was committed… as “lunacy”… it’s certainly reprehensible. Coming from someone who wants gun control…

            Want to know why most of us don’t want to give up our guns? Look in the mirror… people like you, who get elected to public office or influence policy in some other way.

            You’re a scary individual. And I am thankful you’re not in a position to be imposing your view of the world on the rest of us.

          • PaulArkay

            My positions on control have been more than reasonable, prove you’re responsible and you can have guns, all the guns you want. But you have to prove it and continue to prove it throughout your life. The responsibility needs to be placed on the owners of guns, not the victims of guns. If that is unreasonable, I don’t want to be a part of that society.

            You seem to think that the statement above means you can’t have a gun anymore. If you can’t be responsible, I don’t want you to have a gun.

            My view for more gun control is shared by more of this nation than your view.

          • AKMaineIac

            No need to prove anything to you. Your positions are untenable and can lead to only more and more restrictions and laws. Because the premise that the gun is somehow at fault or responsible is illogical.

            Far as who shares what opinion goes… we sure as hell gonna find out. Aren’t we?

          • AKMaineIac

            ” My first friend was shot after he fired at a police officer, he
            purchased the gun he used off the street for $50. He didn’t need your
            background check or fingerprinting, he walked into a guys house and
            threw down $50 and picked up a gun. Had he picked up a knife, it is
            very possible his night may have ended up much differently”

            So, what law would have prevented your moron friend from getting the gun, that you’re willing to impose on us as law abiding people who don’t have any intention of shooting anyone.

            Read that one more time if you would.

            “WE HAVE NO INTENTION OF SHOOTING ANYONE!” Especially a police officer, I was one, I like them. As a rule I can’t stand people who shoot at police officers, and people who want to shoot little kids and their teachers in school are the problem. NOT THE GUNS.

          • PaulArkay

            I support a law establishing the identification and the tracking of firearms and ammunition tied to the purchaser.

            I would be more than willing to support a law that holds gun owners legally responsible for any crime committed with their firearms and/or ammunition, especially if the firearm is stolen.

            I would be more than willing to support a law that requires persons who want to own a firearm be required to demonstrate that he/she is competent to safely operated the firearm.

            I would support renewal of firearm licensing every 2 years, with continued demonstration of proficiency of the operation of a firearm and updated criminal and mental health background checks.

            I would support a law requiring gun owners to carry liability insurance to cover any financial liabilities that may arise from the use of a firearm.

            I don’t have a problem with responsible gun owners, but until we make gun owners prove they are responsible, we will continue to have problems. If you’re not willing to prove you are responsible, then I’m not willing to trust you.

          • Oakenheart

            Of course you do, just like Big Tim Sullivan (NY Sullivan law) If you restrict guns from the law abiding your criminal friends then have easy targets. I don’t have any friends that shot or would shoot at police. The company YOU keep says a lot about you, mr. crook coddler. How about NO. now go away.

          • PaulArkay

            Wow, name calling.

            None of the policy suggestions I have made restrict citizens from owning guns. Under my suggestions, you can own all of the guns you want, but you have to prove you’re responsible. We cannot trust you your word anymore.

            For your consideration, we have people in this thread who wants to use their guns to “protect democracy”, “to keep the government from becoming overly oppressive”. So, the threat of taking up arms against the government is fine, but not the police. For 147 years, the United States has functioned peaceably as a nation, exchanging leadership every few years without revolt or uprising. I don’t see a great threat to democracy.

          • NormRx

            Who cares if you trust me or not. I really don’t give a damn if you trust me. I neither seek or need your approval to purchase a firearm.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            You can walk into any gun show and buy a gun without any background check. So in the scenario above, he could have just as easily purchased the gun legally.

          • AKMaineIac

            I can walk up to another criminal in England or any other country with the most restrictive laws, and buy a gun illegally. In any scenario, criminals don’t follow laws. So the idea that one more law in addition to the 43 already on the books that that moron broke in that school shooting would have made any difference is nearly the height of stupidity.

            We stopped bleeding patients about a century ago.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            You are TWENTY times more likely to be killed by a gun than any other method in America. So yes, there are other ways. I guess you could eventually succeed with a spork if you were really determined, but guns are the way it usually happens-just watch the top three stories on your local news any day of the week.

        • Edward Stevenson

          1) guns are a way of protecting democracy. when the people have guns the government can not become overly oppressive. if you want to disarm the country the first place is the police. I will never give up my gun while a government servant has one in their hand.

          2) guns are to hunt, we keep animal populations in check by hunting, without hunting we would have dramatic increase in animal-car accidents and deaths, we would also have significant fluctuations in the ecosystem.

          3) how do you keep guns out of gangs and thugs. cops have guns because “bad guys” have guns. if our current society can’t stop human trafficking at the border how are you going to stop weapon trafficking.

        • AKMaineIac

          If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a Merry Christmas.

  • sherri gast

    I agree with your viewpoint. Mental health management does need improvements.

    • f. lusu

      i’m amazed that, for the most part, the issue of mental health reform is being pushed aside by the media right now. NAMI executive director Robin Peyson said “i feel like a broken record but i’ll say it as many times as i need to,people with mental illness that aren’t treated,show up in your emergency rooms and your jails.” “[mental illness] one of the biggest health issues that has a measurable cost.” i think we have seen just how high that cost can be.

      -in 2010 stats, the national average per capital for mental services was $120.56. -the nightmare is that while D.C. spent $360.57 per capita,Texas spent just $38.99- what now when deficits make even less funds available?

  • bmhay1

    Someone just broke into my yard, that is why a gun is important; they have no business, cutting a huge chain/lock on a back gate and bringing their huge dog to my property for their protection (guess they did not have a gun, or thought they would fight their dog against another) My dog is a 30 lb mobility service dog.

  • http://twitter.com/PorterOnSurg Chris Porter MD

    Dr Leap, do I read correctly? Your positions are:
    1) We cannot both grieve AND discuss solutions.
    2) There are no solutions.

    • http://womanfoodshinyobjects.wordpress.com/ Brian Stephens MD

      If you want a political response, how about this.
      Bless our Teachers!
      If any “major changes” should occur as a result of this, it should be how we treat our teachers and schools!
      Instead of “beefing up security” or “putting guns in schools” or “taking guns away from everyone”, why don’t we start with praising the amazing and selfless sacrifice, love, and passion that was shown by these amazing adults in the face or pure evil.
      Where are the politicians calling for a huge boost in education funding and teacher pay as a results of the remarkable job they do!?!?

      you want to honor the children, then let’s EDUCATE THEM!!!

      • http://twitter.com/PorterOnSurg Chris Porter MD

        Bless our teachers indeed.

      • JP

        Yes, bless the teachers, but shame on school administrators who are required by federal law (IDEA) to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth to 21, who are in need of early intervention or special education services, but who are not doing so. I have had personal experience with this type of lackadaisical attitude toward a child who was violent and for whom I was trying to get residential treatment, as not only did he have behavioral problems for which he was being treated, the school was not able to educate him due to these problems. Shame on former Governor Schwarzenegger for vetoing the very funds that provided services for these types of kids in California. Shame on anyone who thinks that we, as taxpayers, should not help pay for these types of programs. It is well documented that children can be rehabilitated and become productive members of society if their problems are discovered and dealt with early. It seems to me, from everything I have read about this shooting, that Nancy Lanza struggled to get the schools to help her get Adam some help. And yes, until the law is changed, it IS the school’s responsibility to help! When will we realize that we are all in this together?

    • AKMaineIac

      Seriously Doc. It’s the “low hanging fruit”, they began with in 1934, with the NFA. Then it was more of it in 1968, with the GCA, and then again in 1994… With the Brady Bill. And each time they show up, they ask for “reasonable debate”, and more “compromise”… But they don’t really want any substantive or reason based debate. Look at the responses here, and the outright lies they write.

      As far as the CDC goes. Really? The CDC? What “disease” is being studied by the CDC when they look at guns? Leave guns and crime to the specialists, over to the DOJ and the FBI… They don’t study cancer and heart disease, or render opinions on what to do about them. There is a good reason for that.

      • AmericanSue

        Drowning and death by fire are not diseases but the CDC has studied them and they found ways to reduce death by these methods. The CDC was studying death by firearms until (in 1996) gun rights congresspersons, at the urging of the NRA, took away their funding.

        • AKMaineIac

          They conducted “research” that didn’t even pretend to be “science based” or “fact based” when it came to guns. It was nothing more than activism against firearms owners and firearms generally, couched in quasi-science.

          Did they do research to suggest that nobody should go in the water? Did they do studies to demonstrate that matches and cigarette lighters should be banned? Was their approach an “inquiry” as science should be, or was it advocacy? Which science should never be.

          There is never any reason to fear facts and science. Unless science has gone off the rails, which it had at the CDC with regards to firearms.

          I’ve read most of the “research” done by the CDC regarding guns. It wasn’t impressive, most of it violated or completely ignored scientific reasoning. “Guns as pathogens” is a good example. Utter foolishness, and nothing tax-payer money should be funding.

          Their funding can remain “taken away” for my part. The “specialists” over to the Department of Justice, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have research arms that are quite capable.

          • AmericanSue

            Please post links to the CDC studies which you claim are not “science based” or “fact based”.

            I think my tax payer dollars would be better spent on some CDC studies than on “armed guards” for elementary schools.

          • AKMaineIac

            And, honestly. You go back over every post I have ever written here. Feel free to go back over my profile at Disqus, and find where I have ever advocated for “armed guards” for elementary schools. Then come back and quote the time and day and provide a link.

            I don’t want my tax dollars paying for either one. Once those dollars are spent on that, they can never be spent on anything of any use to anyone.

            You want to debate and discuss, let’s do so. I’ll handle my end of it, I don’t need any help from you.

          • AmericanSue

            I was quoting the NRA.

          • AKMaineIac

            Unlike some people. When I think something is a bad idea, or is groundless, I say so. I don’t care where the something originated. It doesn’t matter if I agree with the underlying principle. It’s what it is… groundless, a bad idea.

            I’ve provided the links you requested. Your responses are somewhat amusing, and predictable. Did you gush wildly over Michael Bellisile’s “groundbreaking” historical farce too? The one over which he lost the Bancroft Prize because he made up most of the “facts” he included in his work.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          So since they were studying firearms related deaths, why were they not able to definitively say that the presence of firearms increased crime? Surely if it’s that obvious, they could have proved before they were supposedly “prevented” from further study.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ed.mathes Ed Mathes

    The post is extremely well said. I agree completely, and I don’t own guns.

  • Megan R

    Edwin, a fellow emergency physician here…. I just wanted to point out that at least 40% of guns sold in the US do *not* currently require basic background checks (the “private seller” loophole). So a gun is easier to acquire, for many folks, than a voter ID or a driver’s license or even a bottle of alcohol. Moreover, we are currently forbidden (by federal law) from studying what common-sense precautions would decrease unintentional fatalities from guns. So I guess my reply would be: yes, I hear you, & god knows I’m not saying you’re responsible. BUT….there are some basic changes to our gun sale procedures that may help change our country’s ridiculosuly high homicide rate.

    • NormRx

      Where do you get your 40% figure? It is very difficult to sell a gun to another person in a private transaction, not because of regulations but because most newspapers, Ebay, etc. do not take gun listings. I have sold a few guns to private parties, however I have sold or traded in more guns to licensed gun or sporting goods stores

      • Megan R

        Norm, it actually isn’t all that tough – google “buy guns online” and you’ll be greeted with a list of internet merchants.

        The 40% figure comes from a number of sources, including Wintemute et al, (New England Journal of Medicine 2010 363:6).

        Unluckily due to the ban on federal research on guns (in place since 1996) we are unable to research evidence-based, non-political solutions. (Of note, firearm-related injuries are the ONLY type of injury which are banned from being researched. And many of our best injury prevention initiatives derive from research!)

        • NormRx

          Megan, I have researched buying guns online many times. One of the largest sites is Guns America. Of all the times I went to that site I did not find one person that would sell a gun directly to me. Every gun that was being sold would be sent to a person holding an FFL license in my area. The gun would then be sent to that person, I would then go to that person and fill out the required paperwork and after a call to the Feds and I was approved I could pick up the firearm. Rifles I could pick up immediately, pistol I had to wait, two or maybe it was three days. I am not aware of any ban on the research on firearm injuries, perhaps you can send me a link to I can further my research. Thanks, Norm

          • Megan R

            Norm, happy to share. There has been a clause in the CDC appropriations bill since 1996 stating ““None of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.” This is despite the fact that CDC employees and researchers are explicitly forbidden from lobbying/advocacy regardless of the cause. There are no other such restrictions on use of CDC research money.

            For further details, you can also cf: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/us/26guns.html?pagewanted=all

            or Art Kellermann’s articles in NEJM 1993, AJPH 1996, and Annals of Emergency Medicine 2004

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            So if there’s nothing actually stopping them from studying, they there’s no reason for them to have stopped studying, assuming they were to do so out of academic interest. Funny that they’ve not done so :)

        • Ambulance_Driver

          Except, buying guns online requires all the same regulation as a brick-and-mortar gun store.

          You may buy online, even from a private, non-licensed seller, but the shipments and pickup through these sites are invariably required to be routed through an FFL to do the actual pickup.

          Most FFL holders charge a nominal fee ($25 usually) to do the background check and paperwork when the buyer picks up the weapon.

        • AKMaineIac

          If Dr, Wintemute told me it was raining out, I’d call in the dog and feel his back.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          The vast majority of those purchases must go through an FFL. Just because you can Google “buy guns online” doesn’t mean it’s what you’re afraid it is. I can Google “hot Russian wives”, but the reality will likely fall short of the expectation! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steven-Reznick/100000549195050 Steven Reznick

    Most of us who view this tragedy are not holding responsible gun owners at fault for these tragedies. We simply do not understand why other nations with a proliferation of weapons do not have to routinely deal with these episodes. When 48,000 people a year are killed by guns we need to establish a dialogue at the local, state and national level to evaluate what we can do to prevent these episodes from occurring.
    I simply wonder if the founding fathers intended for private citizens to have better armor and fire power than the local elected and appointed police ? I can understand the fun of firing an automatic weapon but fail to understand why they should not be kept under lockdown at certified ranges where qualified shooters can use them without the risk of them getting into the hands of the mentally ill? Australia, a former penal colony composed of independent minded people restricted automatic style weapons and reloading ammunition clips after they suffered a massacre. They instituted longer waiting periods for background checks and required two people to vouch for the new gun owner and take legal and financial responsiblity for the mis use of that weapon. The problem can not only be solved by more efficient background checks and laws but requires individual owners to take responsibility for securing their weapons so that untrained and unwanted individuals can not use them. There is no question that mental health programs that advocate outpatient treatment of psychotics are ineffective without drug and behavior oversite and monitoring. Its a complex problem that will not be solved until gun control and gun rights advocates stop posturing on positions and start opening a dialogue to develop workable solutions

    • NormRx

      First of all it isn’t 48,000 people a year are killed by guns. The number is closer to 30,000. Of that number about 17,000 are suicides. Another 3,000 are lawful killings not murder. There are actually a little more than 9,000 murders a year. Since Australia instituted their draconian gun laws, the incidence of violent crime in Australia has increased dramatically.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

        It is 9-times lower than in the US. Those responsible (“draconian”? why you are scaring people with such vocab? Do you like our death by firearms better?) post Port Arthur 1999 Massacre laws and regs were introduced by CONSERVATIVE PM, Mr. Howard and his party.

        Imagine GOP and Republican President doing the same here :)

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          Australia’s gun death rate decreased at the same rate as the U.S. rate. This breaks the possible correlation between both lax and strict gun laws, which is consistent with what research the CDC has published in the past. Australia’s violent crime rate, however, has increased, even as it’s decreased here in the U.S.

    • AKMaineIac

      You mean like the drug laws have solved the problems with illegal drugs right? You have to go to a doctor and get a prescription to get drugs at the drug store. So, we don’t have any illegal drugs or problems with drugs abuse?

      Before you go off claiming we might as well not having ANY laws with that position. We HAVE GUN LAWS! There are laws that regulate whether you can have a gun, at what age, and under what conditions. If you’re not 18, you can NOT buy a gun legally. If you’re under 21 years old, you can NOT purchase a handgun or ammunition for one. If your a psych case and have been declared incompetent or ever been involuntarily committed to a facility you can NOT buy a gun. If you are a drug or alcohol addict you can NOT buy a gun legally. If you have an active protection from abuse order, or a past domestic violence conviction, you can NOT purchase a gun legally. The National Instant Check System (NICS) was put into place with the acquiescence and cooperation of the National Rifle Association in 1994. Since then, they claim they’ve stopped hundreds of thousands of felons and others prohibited from buying a gun. They did NOT. They stopped them from buying one legally. They didn’t stop squat, anymore than having prescriptions and scheduled drug laws stopped people who wanted it from getting drugs.

      There is absolutely NO WORKABLE SOLUTION to be found in the regulation of firearms owned by law abiding and sane people. It can never work. It can ONLY lead to progressively more and more and more of what does not work. Three times the federal government has written gun control laws to “prevent crime”. In 1934 with the NFA, 1968 with the GCA, and in 1993 with the Brady Bill. Each time, “This will prevent crime!” Each time it doesn’t prevent crap.

      It’s easier to look under the streetlight for your lost car keys isn’t it? That’s where the light is… right?

      Most jurisdictions these days have a legal pathway to carrying a concealed weapon. You people all moaned and cried and wailed, “They’ll be blood in the streets!” ?? Well? No blood? No kidding.

      • SBornfeld

        Can someone explain to me what the rest of the developed world is doing right that we don’t that explains why we have more gun-related deaths than any of our national peers? Are we crazier? Do they lock more mentally ill in institutions? Please tell me, if all these guns are owned by responsible gun owners, if (as Wayne LaPierre states, “the only thing that can protect us from a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun”, why haven’t we been protected, considering all you good guys with guns? So please, explain it to me in plain English. We know you’re not murderers, so, what’s the answer?

        And before you state that the answer is to post armed guards in schools, tell me which developed country follows that practice today?
        Thanks in advance.

        • AKMaineIac

          Actually, I don’t believe that anyone has ever developed any sort of evidence based explanation that can stand up to any scrutiny to explain that. I am quite confident that there are a variety of issues at work there, guns being a small part of the matter actually.

          If you’d care to review any of the evidence, published in peer reviewed journals and examine case reports from news media and law enforcement records, you would find that people do in fact use firearms much more frequently to protect themselves.

          The answer? If I were king for a day? Every last denial of purchase case through NICS or the state programs where they exist, would be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Anyone who is prohibited that was caught with firearm, or attempting to purchase a firearm, would spend a significant time in prison. There would be NO probation or parole, and a mandatory sentence associated with illegal possession by felons and others forbidden by law from that.

          Good place to start, right there. From there I would move to crimes committed with guns, increasing the penalties for anyone committing a crime with a firearm.

          In fact, I would make the penalties associated with committing a crime with a firearm so severe, criminals would run away at the mention of a gun.

          Now that won’t stop lunatics, and the seriously criminally intent. None of the programs or proposals I have seen or heard will either. If I thought they might, I’d be behind them myself. If you want perfection, you’re barking up the wrong tree. And I’d be a little surprised by anyone of your obvious intelligence seeking that anyway. And I am not being snide or a smartass either. We all know better than that. Don’t we?

          Frankly. I’m fairly unimpressed with wholesale restrictions and regulations, laws, all aimed at the 90 million firearms owners, that simply ignore and have no effect on the much smaller number of criminals. Crime is not a disease, and laws are certainly no vaccination against them. If it would only be so… we’d have no criminals left, the last time I looked at the body of law in this country.

          Everyone, here and in England or Wales, everywhere. Have a safe and Merry Christmas with your family and friends. Do the best that you can, and continue your discussion and debate with any who would care to do so with you. In that, maybe someone will actually develop something that will work for us all.

          • SBornfeld

            Just scanned my post again–can’t see where I stated that I wanted, or expected “perfection”.
            As far as “evidence-based scrutiny”–I don’t know if it’s out there (I’m not an epidemiologist, nor a criminologist). But it sounds to me as if it would be a good idea, as opposed to–what? Throwing up our hands in futility, waiting for the next massacre?
            I know, you’ve got guns. Hope it works out for you all.

          • AKMaineIac

            I appreciate your reply sir. I was unaware that we were so flush with resources and cash that we could devote hundred of millions of dollars, even billions by some estimates, to something that, “sounds like it would be a good idea to try”.

            I have spent my life since 1996 learning about science and research and “evidence based practice”. It appears that I may be quite alone in this forum in at least asking for some level of independent proof or evidence that something has some benefit before I go tearing off and consuming resources that would be better spent on other things.

            Where did I say to throw up our hands in futility? If, in disagreement with you regarding where our efforts should be directed is doing so, then I am guilty of that I suppose.

            This is a difficult conundrum you’re in and I wish you luck with it. I made some degree of effort to suggest something that would mainly affect the criminals and lunatics currently trying to purchase guns illegally. You brush it aside, because it has no effect on law abiding gun owners or their guns?

            But you don’t “have a problem with” us or our guns?

            Telling.

          • SBornfeld

            Just to be perfectly clear–I have a BIG problem with guns. I’m not going to waste another minute discussing this with you.
            Good luck

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          We have one of the largest markets for the illicit drug trades, sitting between Canada, our first world neighbor, and several nations to the south of us who have significant financial and political interests in the drug supply. Both supply and demand are present, making the drug trade inevitable.

          Over half the gun deaths are by suicide, which would not be affected by the lack of firearms, due to the substitution factor involved. The vast majority of suicides who did not have access to firearms would kill themselves by other means. You can see this when other nations placed strict limitations on gun ownership. Their gun suicide rates went down, but overall suicide rates stayed the same. Our suicide rate here in the U.S. is quite a bit lower than many other nations.

          The vast majority of the remainder of gun deaths are part of the above mentioned drug trade.

    • Shovel Driver

      You said: “I simply wonder if the founding fathers intended for private citizens to have better armor and fire power than the local elected and appointed police ?”
      I believe it was Jefferson who pointed out that the militia, composed of all the people, were to have the same arms as the military, so that they could oppose tyranny and thus protect the nation and themselves.
      Think about that. The same level of armament that the military has. And, in America, we had exactly that up until 1934. It was known to be constitutional before then, and the Constitution has not been changed. We never had mass shootings, nor a high level of gun-realted crime, until after the Executive and the Court started working on taking away our right of self-defense.
      Q.E.D. Need we spell it out for you?

    • http://twitter.com/DRGOSAF DRGO

      They’re not automatic weapons. And they are not military weapons.They are semiautomatic, which means they fire one round with each pull of the trigger.

    • SBornfeld

      this ^.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

      Like Piers Morgan, your absolutely relevant facts and arguments WILL NEVER fly in G*d’s country known as USA.

      “Patriots” in NRA, the Newtown’s own NSSF, Fox News viewership etc. will explain to you that Britons (35-times lower death by firearms rates), Australians you quoted (9-times lower) or even Canadians (3-times lower rate) are denied “liberty and freedom” by their “socialist” governments.

      We will never ever have anything with that (same with their twice as expensive same results delivering universal; health care system).

      Once you know that you are #1 facts or learning from other countries is out of a question, un-American.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      With respect Steve, please read Jan’s previous posts. It’s quite clear that many people are in fact blaming all gun owners.

      As for the number of deaths, suicides account for over half of them, and the majority of the remainder are related to the Drug War and the resulting gang/turf battles that result.

  • buzzkillersmith

    Wait a minute. You’re an ER doc and you can’t afford an assault rifle? The local yokels around here who do drywall buy them. (BTW, some are my best friends are drywall yokels. Much more fun than doctors.) Even I as a lowly family doc could easily buy one, if the local wildlife required it. Fortunately deer only require, uh, deer rifles. And that’s kind of the point here. Assault weapons are mainly good for killing other people, which is is illegal, at least in my state.

    I own a couple rifles, one for plinking and one for hunting. I live in the country, so I get where you’re coming from. But assault weapons and semi-automatic pistols are too much.

    People (mainly young men) fight and people kill. Testosterone and craziness and deadly weapons are a bad combo–somebody’s gonna get hurt, doc.

    • Shovel Driver

      You do know that most “deer rifles” are no different than so-called “sniper rifles”? That those “deer rilfes” are much more powerful, can reach out further and penetrate deeper than any so-called “assault rilfe”? In fact, further and deeper and almost as fast as the real assault rifle? Not to mention much more accurate? The weapon you have been tricked into seeing as an assault rifle is nothing more than a modernized .22. Semi-auto pistols? You do know that any decent marksman can shoot a revolver faster and more accurately than a self-loading single-shot pistol commonly called a “semi-auto”?
      You do think for yourself, right? You’re not a “tool” of left-leaning anti-Constitution, anti-freedom anti-American politicians and financiers? Right?

      • buzzkillersmith

        Shorter shovel: Personal nuclear weapons don’t kill people, people kill people.

        You do think for yourself, right? You’re not a “tool” of right-leaning pro-gun, survivalist, white-supremacist nuts? Right?

        • AKMaineIac

          Are you daft? Nobody here has suggested anything regarding ownership of nuclear weapons. If you can not discern the difference between a nuclear weapon and a firearm, I’m not sure your not a tool of the left wing whacko brigade of the Democrat Party. The one that will take “reasonable gun control” right now because it’s all they can get.

          • buzzkillersmith

            Uh, I’m a gun owner. I guess sarcasm confuses those who are easily confused.

          • buzzkillersmith

            Ah, I’ve read your comments below. Gun-nut troll. How many other websites are you infesting?

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          There goes that emotion again. Please let’s stick to the facts. Nuclear weapons are area-effect devices, not suitable for personal defense. Let’s move on please, this does not flatter the conversation.

    • http://twitter.com/DRGOSAF DRGO

      Buzz, you’re behind the times. The most popular rifles in the U.S. for the last eight years have been AR type rifles, or modern sporting rifles. A reassessment of ballistics of the hugely popular .223 round has resulted in modern sporting rifles becoming one of the best all-around firearms for home defense. And these rifles are chambered in .308 caliber and other calibers used for hunting, uh, deer. Millions of people now own these rifles for sport, self-defense, and hunting. You should get your facts from industry experts rather than believing the biased and deliberately misleading reports you read in the mainstream media.

      • buzzkillersmith

        Stop smoking the NRA stuff!! A semiautomatic to defend your family? What a joke. Get a stinkin’ shotgun. Are you expecting a platoon to attack your house? A shotgun will more than do the job, but it won’t let you go a school and kill a bunch of kids. If you can’t kill an intruder with a 12-gauge, you are lost.

        You’re right that millions of people own these weapons, and millions of people are gun-crazed idiots, children playing with matches, little men trying to be big men, pretending they’re gonna whip up on the gov’ment. And don’t give me that BS about semiautomatics with clips being necessary to kill deer. A musket from the 19th century can kill a deer just fine.

        Don’t get me wrong. I like guns. I shoot guns. But I realize that in a civilized society we have to take other people into account.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          Yes, in fact semi-automatics are very popular for “defending one’s family”. With one exception, the firearms I keep for personal and home defense all operate on the semi-automatic action.

          As for the shotgun, it seems the Columbine murderers would disagree with you. They both used pump-action shotguns as part of their rampage. It seems that, based on the facts, pump action shotguns do indeed allow you to “go (to) a school and kill a bunch of kids”.

          A point worth remembering when you think that the firearms you own would *never* be under scrutiny :)

          Again, let’s put aside the frenzied emotion and return to the facts.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      Most of those “deer rifles” fire a more lethal round than that typically used in the AR-15. Many of what you call “deer rifles” (at least the bolt action variants) derive directly from the military Mauser action, a battle proven design that also spawned the first true sniper rifles.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=602601772 Karen Michael

    Dr. Leap, your comments left me speechless. Apparently as a physician you believe that the powerful gun lobby’s all or nothing approach is just fine, and that because you are a law abiding gun owner there is no need for correcting lax regulations, even on military grade assault weapons.

    I agree that there is no simple solution for ending gun violence, and the vast majority of gun owners are law-respecting citizens. However, citizens throughout the US are being held hostage by the ammunition/gun industry, which is the most powerful lobby in the country.

    This is not about Second Amendment Rights. This issue is about protecting citizens. Even the most modest, sensible solutions to help prevent mentally unstable people from obtaining weapons are doomed, because grassroots advocates of gun control cannot compete with the massive amount of money and influence the NRA and similar groups have over lawmakers. The fact is that 80% of mass killers obtained their guns legally. Yes, if guns were more restricted evil-doers could still get them on the black market. But why do we need to make it so easy for anyone that walks into a Walmart to obtain weapons? Why do we need weapons equipped with large magazines and silencers?

    According to Dr Garen Wintemute, ER doctor and Director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, “Our gun laws in this country, with relatively rare exceptions make pretty much any type of firearms available to just about anybody for use under just about any circumstances.”

    Karen Michael, BSN, RN

    • NormRx

      So silencers (suppressors) make a gun more dangerous? One can buy a suppressor in this country, again with BATF approval and payment of a fee. Even in Europe where guns are heavily regulated, suppressors are allowed without additional licensing. Suppressors help prevent hearing loss and disturbing other people in the area, they do not make a firearm more dangerous.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

        They’re completely unregulated in many European countries. You’d think with our fixation on health and safety here in the U.S. we’d follow their example in this case! :)

    • Ambulance_Driver

      You lost me at Garen Wintemute.

      If you are going to post sources, at least make them reputable ones.

    • JD

      @Karen, you agree that “Yes, if guns were more restricted evil-doers could still get them on the black market”.

      However, law abiding citizens would not obtain guns illegally,only the evil doers would. In other words, restricting guns doesn’t stop evil doers from getting guns….it only stops the law abiding people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      Karen, we *don’t* make it “easy”. Access isn’t the issue. Access is at most an inconvenience for those set on this course of action. Making it *more* difficult doesn’t make it more difficult *for them*. It only makes it difficult for the rest of us. Not only does that limit us, it places no limitations on the criminal. Why pass a law to try to limit access, when it provably won’t limit access. The only reason is emotion, not rationality. It’s not *rational* to pass a law to achieve a specific aim, knowing full well it’s impossible for the law to achieve that specific aim. This is the primary reason we go round and round on this issue. And the reset for it happens every time the follow on statement of “well it would be better than nothing” is uttered. They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over in anticipation of a different result next time. That is the essence of most current, expired, or proposed gun laws. They simply don’t perform the function they were intended, because they cannot possibly limit the activity they’re intended to limit. I’m sorry, but reality and the facts will always have sway. We’ve done what you’re asking for. We’ve been doing what you’re asking for. It’s never worked.

  • american girl

    America existed for over 200 years with legal gun ownership before these school shootings began occurring. The problem is not our guns. The problem is our culture.

    • reddirtg

      years ago gun toting Americans did not have use magazines that could make swiss cheese out of the target. One of the 6 yr olds buried this week had 11 bullet holes in him.

      • AKMaineIac

        You’d be happier about this if there had been only one bullet hole? Weird.

        • reddirtg

          ^ Lame comment. No, but 1 bullet hole is potentially more survivable than 11. Why allow large number magazines… It’s a point to start for legislative changes.

          • AKMaineIac

            I happen to like them… gives me more shots before I have to reload. Learned when I went through the police academy that that’s an advantage when dealing with criminals who have guns.

            Wound survivability and viability can wait awhile before I consider discussing such things about 5-6 year old victims. I don’t need to go there.

            Plain fact is… this act was the act of a deranged individual. If he had not had guns, or that kind of gun, he’d have found something else.

          • civisisus

            What we can all agree on – “all” meaning “enough voters to outweigh the gun fetishists” – is that no civilian needs to possess a device capable of firing a large number of bullets designed to injure or kill creatures very quickly, easily and accurately. Not one. Quibble about “large number” and “very quickly…” all you like. Suffice to say we have enough gruesome examples of devices our definition should include.

            We won’t take away the ones that people for some twisted reason already have purchased. We simply won’t allow their further manufacture or sale.

            Once that is done, we can move on to other things “we can all agree on”.

          • AKMaineIac

            We could argue all day about whether enough people all agree black people shouldn’t drink out of the water fountains white people do. Plain fact is this, when it comes to peoples’ rights, what “the majority opinion” is means nothing. You don’t get a vote on such things.

            You, like most involved on the “nail the law abiding gun owners” team, don’t have the first clue as to what you seek to do. That’s the advantage of mine and the rest of the gun owners. Truth will vary, but you can’t fool facts.

            So-called assault weapons function the same as any other semi-automatic firearm. Most of the calibers are the same calibers many of us hunt with. You have nothing but emotion on your side of the argument. While “commendable” that you care to”do something”, I am most happy to not see you leaning over me in an emergency room. I want someone who cares, and knows what to do as well. “First, do no harm.”

          • civisisus

            “So-called assault weapons function the same as any other semi-automatic firearm.”

            oh, so they all have 30-round magazines?

            Idiot.

            Our best course of action is to ignore you and the rest of you reflexive gun fetishists. Happily the overwhelming majority of gun owners agree with this assessment. Have fun fondling your killing machines in your mom’s basement. Just keep the safety on, for the sake of those who, inexplicably, love you.

          • AKMaineIac

            You call me an idiot? The gun functions the same as any other semi-automatic firearm. Calling me names doesn’t change that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            Actually, yes they can have 30 round magazines. Many rifles can also accept the magazines used in AR-15s.

          • RealReaganite

            Ahhh…I get it. If we don’t agree with you, we’re a gun fetishist. Well, buddy, in my book, you’re a nanny-state fetishist because you don’t agree with me. So there. Take that.

            So, now that we’ve called each other names, would you care to start on a realistic, workable solution? We can agree on one thing right out of the gate – no twisted anti-freedom activist is going to take away the magazines which law abiding gun owners have purchased. And “civilians” have every right to purchase, own and use standard capacity magazines – i.e., those holding 20-30 rounds of ammunition. Why? Simple. To guard against government-sponsored tyranny, just as James Madison and Thomas Jefferson understood it. “What tyranny,” you ask? Simple – the tyranny of a nanny-staters bound and determined that those very guns and magazines should not exist.

            What is my solution, you ask? Again, simple. As Robert Heinlein said, “an armed society is a polite society.”

          • civisisus

            Here’s a tip, Gomer – intelligent people do not cite Robert Heinlein as a decisive authority

          • RealReaganite

            Here’s a tip right back at you – only lonely, twisted, classless individuals with nothing intelligent to say resort to calling people names. Come up with some real solutions or keep your mental masturbation to yourself.

          • civisisus

            Reagan was not at all averse to gun regulation, Gomer. Please try to keep up

          • RealReaganite

            Again – please try to stick to talking about solutions, Cissy. While you may enjoy your juvenile antics, they certainly aren’t going to solve the problem. Then again, neither is a ban. But that’s all you’ve got – so no wonder you have to resort to sophomoric behavior.

            Reagan was not averse to gun regulation. That’s one of the few areas where he had it wrong.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            Then you must ban all firearms and their designs for the last 150 years at least. The lever action rifle has a rate of fire very similar to a typical semi-auto, and it’s capacity is comparable in many variants.

            Part of the problem is also the emotionalism evident in your statements above, such as the inclusion of “injure”, “kill”, “fetishists”, etc. This does not help sort out the facts from the feelings.

            The firearms you’re talking about banning are not the one’s used in the majority of such crimes, so this will have little effect on crime or the number of casualties. It will also place our Law Enforcement Officers at a disadvantage, so we may in fact trade fewer citizen deaths with more police officers being killed.

            Let’s also not forget that we did indeed have such a ban for a full decade, with no measurable effect on crime or the number of people killed in such events, which continued to happen. This would indicate that you have a fear of the firearm itself, independent of whether its presence has any measurable effect on the number of crimes or deaths. If we’re to have this conversation, that fear needs to be dealt with also.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            While you get hung up on the capacity of magazines, you miss the larger, and more primary reason for their development – convenience in recharging a firearm. Magazines weren’t initially developed to provide what you consider “high capacity”, but to facilitate quick reloading. The time cost of reloading is very small, so there’s no great handicap for someone to reload using 3 reduced capacity magazines as opposed to a single standard capacity magazine, especially when the targets are *unarmed*. However, in a defensive situation, reloading is a time during which a defender must find cover, or be undertaking movement to bridge the time when his/her weapon is out of service. Therefore, while reduced capacity magazines have little effect on an attacker who is attacking a target that has no means of defense, they do cause delays for those who have to respond to violence. This is the reason why both citizens and law enforcement choose to use these devices – to minimize the vulnerable time during which they must recharge their firearms. Criminals, especially spree-shooters, don’t have that tactical concern. Therefore, a ban on these magazines would disproportionately affect lawful defensive users.

      • Grunch

        ^Not sure what you mean by this. Fully automatic weapons have been available at cheap prices to the general public since 1919. They were outlawed in 1934, but were still cheap and easy to get.

        But if you mean semi-automatic weapons, like the ones used at Sandy Hook, those have been legal and in wide use for over a hundred years. You are wrong.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

        The AR-15 is very nearly 60 years old. It didn’t pop out of hell yesterday. It’s an old gun. The AK-47 is even older. These are not new innovations, and you do a disservice to the conversation by attempting to imply that they are. We’ve had magazines for a long time, yes, even those “hi-capacity” ones that horrify you so much. What’s changed is not the firearms. It’s how we deal with mental health in this nation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

      How sophisticated, easy to carry and deadly were any guns 200 or 100 or even 50 years ago? How many TV channels – in competing deadly for pairs of eyeballs – give massacre perpetrators millions in free advertising time?
      How many years we have “real real life” slaughter video “games” with direct links to these deadly weapon sellers?

    • Fact-Man

      You may want to check your facts on that one. I’ll make it easy for you – just look up “List of School Shootings” on wikipedia – shootings have been around longer than you think.

  • http://womanfoodshinyobjects.wordpress.com/ Brian Stephens MD

    Chris Rock said it well. “We dont need gun control, but bullets should be 500$ a piece!, then there wouldnt be any innocent bystanders.”

    • NormRx

      Maybe we should have all doctors go back to school and learn basic hand washing, so we would not have 100,000 patients needlessly die from nosocomial infections each year. Perhaps surgeons should learn their left from their right so they don’t cut off the wrong limb. You anti-gun physicians should spend more time cleaning up your own profession first.

    • Oakenheart

      Chris Rock is an entertainer. We don’t pay him for serious thought, so don’t be surprised when you get idiocy from him. He’s a comedian – stupidity is his trade.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bdallavia Bob Dallavia

    This is a stupid article / argument whatever it is and just offers a lot of questions & zero solutions but It does illustrate a stronger need for gun control and mental Heath

  • http://www.facebook.com/ricardo.f.pereira Ricardo Fróis Pereira

    Edwin,
    I am Portuguese citizen, and in my country the usage of guns is limited to
    Public Safety, National Security and Defense officers, and why is that? Because GUNS are instruments of war, were created to kill or seriously hurt an opponent. These things are not meant to be used, handled or played with as a recreational means, or used with the illusion of a personal security “device” and the fact you think it can be, for the sake of a constitutional right, makes me think twice about if the US will ever be able to solve such a serious problem at hands.

    No guns for the ordinary people, drastically reduces the risk of having horrible Sandy Hook events happening. If you don’t believe, in honor and respect of all of those unfortunate victims whose lives were taken too early by countless events like this one, try it.

    • NormRx

      Yes, guns are instruments of war, they are also instrument of genocide. In the past century the governments of Russia, China, N.Korea, Cuba, Germany and a few others have murdered over 100 million of their own citizens. In every one of those cases the first thing the government did was disarm the population, that is why we have the second amendment.

      • zandeman

        Genocide and famine: two catastrophes that have never befallen a democracy.

        • http://www.facebook.com/jonathan.g.pelham Jonathan Gerald Pelham

          Isn’t the US a Republic rather than a democracy?

  • http://everydayemstips.com Greg Friese

    Children are killed every day by guns. Many children are killed by guns that belong to people the child knew – a parent, a sibling, a friend, a rival. If we don’t talk about guns killing kids today, what day should we talk about it?

    • Oakenheart

      They are also killed at a much greater rate by sickness, drowning, bicycle accidents, etc. Guns are less than 1% of deaths. I blame Liberals for many accidental gun deaths of children – because Libs will not let children be taught gun safety. Many of these accidents are preventable by training. So, you cause it, you own it.

      • http://everydayemstips.com Greg Friese

        Your prevention efforts will likely be more successful when you settle on who is to blame, liberals or gun owners. Are any prevention efforts warranted for things like bicycle accidents or drowning? Or should we sit idle on those causes as well?

        • AKMaineIac

          The big problem here Greg, is this. Your “efforts” are directed at the law abiding and peaceable gun owners. What all these people are proposing is not directed at criminals, lunatics. The regulations and rules are squarely aimed at normal, every day people, who own guns. Now, that may not seem like a big deal to people who don’t own guns. I wouldn’t expect it to.

          Liberals and gun owners are not to blame for this. Scumbags and lunatics are to blame for this. Criminals and crazy shitbags who want to go in a school and kill little kids and their teachers.

          The gun is academic… it’s just a tool, an instrument. Going after me and my guns to stop lunatics and criminals from committing crimes is like going after surgeons because there are too many lacerations and injuries from stab wounds coming into the emergency room. Stupid.

          • http://everydayemstips.com Greg Friese

            I am a gun owner. Also a caregiver. Also a risk manager. Also a teacher. Also a parent.

            Probably like many people that are commenting on this post I have thought of little else for the last 7 days. And my thoughts and conversations on this topic span the decades.

            I was suggesting “efforts” for Oakenheart.

            Finally, I am never clear though if I am part of “you people” or “those people”

          • AKMaineIac

            Well Greg. For a risk manager, you seem a bit short sighted in only evaluating the damage that criminals do with firearms in your analysis. So, I’d say probably you’re in the club with the English gun grabber who can’t grasp the reality that criminals and lunatics do not follow laws. You can not legislate away evil, and bad people. No law will prevent them being that way.

            When you direct laws and penalties at criminals and lunatics, I will support you. When you direct them at law abiding and peaceable people, I will oppose you. At every step of the way.

            Here’s a suggestion… it’s one that would be relatively easy too. NICS, (National Instant Check System)? You are obviously familiar, having spanned the decades. How about we immediately begin investigating and prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law anyone prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm, who tries to buy one and is denied?

            Did you know that currently, only 3 to 4 percent are ever investigated or prosecuted? I bet you didn’t know that. Did you know that a prohibited person commits a FELONY when they sign the statement saying they are not prohibited under the law from buying a gun?

            You don’t use the laws you have NOW. And those laws are directed squarely at criminals who are prohibited from having guns. Why on earth should honest and law abiding gun owners come to the table to negotiate away more of their rights? So we can, step by step, end up like our unarmed brethren across the pond?

            Not in my lifetime we won’t. You get the US Attorney’s offices across the country to get off their bottoms and enforce the law against trying to buy a gun illegally. Then maybe we’ll discuss other modifications. But you don’t push laws through claiming they will prevent crimes, then not use them, and come back screeching for more when “They don’t work.” We told you it wouldn’t to begin with. It can’t possibly work. But it especially won’t work if you don’t use it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

    Now is the perfect time to discuss this. Or do you suggest we wait until the next mass murder? I am so tired of hearing how people, not guns kill people. If that is so true, then explain our gun murder rates compared to the rates in countries who limit or ban guns. You sound like every other gun owner who has decided that his or her rights to own a gun supercedes the rights of the thirty two people gunned down every single day in America.

    • Oakenheart

      What makes it so much worse when a gun is used in crime? Seriously, do you not care if more people are murdered by other means? In these wonderful utopias (that’s sarcasm, if you fail at detecting it) where guns are severely restricted people are regularly bludgeoned, stabbed, choked, at a higher rate than ours. I guess you don’t care if more people are made defenseless. I guess you don’t care how many people are murdered, robbed and raped, as long as a dirty old gun isn’t used. Frankly, your focus on an inanimate object at the cost of more lives and crime sickens me.

      • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

        Murder by any means is terrible. Murder by guns is the number one method of murder in America. I suggest we start with that, but yeah, there is no reason we can’t try and work on decreasing the overall level of violence at the same time. On a side note, it would have been difficult for the Newton murderer to strangle, or even stab, all 26 of his victims to death.

      • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

        Also, not sure where you got your “statistics” (that’s sarcasm in case you didn’t catch that), but our overall murder rates are some of the highest for developed countries. Now if you want to add Africa, et al in the mix, yes, it will skew things, but I’m thinking when we have a murder rate even higher than places like Afghanistan, Iran, and Iraq, we have a problem.

      • zandeman

        So why not explain to us how this young man could have killed 26 people with a knife or a baseball bat, especially when brave adults were so clearly prepared to offer him physical challenge?

        • AKMaineIac

          Doesn’t need a baseball bat. How about he walked to the local truck stop and smacked a driver fueling his truck on the head with the bat? Then he got in the truck and drove it to the school, at about 70 miles an hour, and doesn’t stop?

          Got any idea how many kids would be killed or injured, teachers?

          Maybe he just jumps on a school bus when the thing stops to let kids off or on? Drives it off a bridge. How many kids does a bus hold these days?

          Better turn your attention away from where the light is, and start looking where the keys are. The lunatics are the problem here… not the guns.

          Guns? Academic… “easy”.

          • zandeman

            Or he could have diverted a herd of buffalo through the school doors. You’re straining credulity here AK. The issue here is the ease with which a disturbed person can acquire the means to commit mass murder. There are lots of disturbed people in the UK and our mental health care is far from perfect, but what we see here is individuals being murdered, not mass murder. We’ve had two gun rampages since 1989. Why? Gun ownership is strictly controlled in the UK, as is the type of firearm we are allowed to own.

          • AKMaineIac

            English are content to be treated like a bunch of potential mass murderers? They don’t trust the majority to do the right thing? That works okay in England I guess. We’re not interested in it here. We weren’t interested in it when you tried it at Lexington and Concord, or Bunker Hill either.

          • zandeman

            Oh dear. Insult in place of argument always looks so weak. Let me see if I can counter your insult with argument.

            1. All the English soldiers involved in the episodes you refer to are long dead, so you’ll have a hard time pinning them on me.

            2. All the American militiamen who fought them off are also long dead, so good luck with your claim for credit.

            3. I’m not English anyway.

            4. Here in the UK, citizens understand that the ready availability of deadly weapons increases the risk that gun owners will go berserk and kill innocent people. We’ve seen it with Michael Ryan at Hungerford. We’ve seen it with Thomas Hamilton at Dunblane (our own Newtown) and we don’t want to see it again, so we accept the need to control availability of firearms.

            5. We don’t share your 18th century fantasy that we’re going to need to overthrow our government militarily. Our democracy has evolved gradually over centuries and, while we can get pretty fed up with it at times, we know we can change it without violence. Life here isn’t a Hollywood action movie.

            I’ve lived in a society that was awash with guns. I was born in Belfast and worked in a frontline medical role from 1974 to 1994. I’ve been at the aftermath of massacres and seen what high velocity weapons do to a human body. I’ve waded in blood. Maybe you don’t know this, but a high velocity wound can cause exsanguination, and when blood exits the body that fast in winter temperatures, it often congeals quickly, creating piles, rather than pools. In one incident that sticks in my mind, I worked in a small, dark room crowded with nine bodies, five of them dead.

            You talk tough AK, but I’m guessing that you’ve never seen a bunch of your own fellow citizens lying dead and dying from gunshot wounds. I have. And talking tough doesn’t resolve a problem like this. It just adds to it. No, what’s needed to solve your gun violence problem is thought, civilised political discussion and a determination that catastrophes like Newtown won’t happen again. So if Wayne LaPierre and the NRA can’t come up with a better idea than hundreds of thousands of armed guards for little children, they should be quiet and leave it to the adults.

          • AKMaineIac

            Well. Luckily I live in a country where 90 MILLION of us have firearms and we don’t shoot each other with any regularity at all.

            I’d put forth that you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. You live in England, and don’t know squat about what goes on across the ocean. We discussed this with you people 200 plus years ago. Mind your business.

          • zandeman

            I’m sorry to descend to personal comment AK, but you are a ridiculous, puffed up little man who can’t handle dissenting argument. The evidence of this thread is that this is because you don’t have a substantive argument of your own.

            I don’t live in England. I live in Wales. I’m not English. I’ve already told you that, but I suspect you didn’t really read my posts, because I also pointed out that I do know “squat” – whatever that means – about what goes on in the USA, because I’ve been working there for decades. I’ve worked in in Fairfield County, where the Newtown massacre occurred. I never saw any reason to own a gun there. It was – and still is – prosperous and peaceful: a lovely place to live. My work has also taken me into the slums of Richmond, Virginia and Kansas City Missouri, and I’ve worked in many other states. In fact, I may have worked in more of the USA than you have.

            “Mind your business”? A ridiculous end to a ridiculous post. I hope that someone with your anger management problems doesn’t own a gun.

          • AKMaineIac

            No you’re not. You descended into personal comment when you questioned my rights. When you assert that any of us should have to prove anything before exercising those rights. In a country where people are presumed to be innocent of any crime until proven guilty, they’re not required to “prove”anything.

            The substantive argument you seek is this. There are 90 MILLION gun owners in the United States. Virtually none of them ever shoots or threatens to shoot anyone, ever. A rare exception commits a crime with firearms, and people like yourself clamor for everyone to be treated like a criminal. While that is acceptable to people accustomed to such things, it’s not to most of us.

            I’ve been through Fairfield County and a good part of Connecticut, and spent time working in Front Royal, Virginia and South Boston, Virginia as a matter of fact. I have guns for hunting and target shooting mainly. The offshoot of that is that the second amendment has nothing to do with those activities at all. It goes to the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The big brass bell in Philadelphia? That’s not called the “Safety Bell”, it’s called the “Liberty Bell”. But you wouldn’t really know much about that probably, or have any appreciation for it at all.

            Working in cities hardly makes you any sort of expert on anything that goes on outside of them.

            There can really be no comparison between the UK and US regarding crime that can be held up to be statistically valid. They are two wholly separate countries with different societies and cultures. Obviously.

            Your blather about the statistics regarding gun injuries is hardly surprising. No guns? No gun crime? We’re not going there, and we’re not taking any steps in that direction either. Not willingly, and not forcibly.

            I own a few of them, not that it is any affair of your own. I can discern the difference between a discussion or argument and a lethal fight. Something which I sense you may not be able to do yourself. Being why I suppose you don’t trust yourself or your own countrymen with such things and cast assertions about here regarding that.

          • zandeman

            Disagreeing is not personal comment AK. You’d have to be a sensitive soul to think that it was. And quoting the number of people who own guns isn’t an argument. You’ve already accepted that the correlation between your gun laws and your gun homicide rates isn’t a mere coincidence. And of course the UK and the USA have different cultures. But per capita death rate comparisons are very powerful and you haven’t addressed that in any of your posts, nor do I expect that you will. Instead, you call it blather.

            I’ve also worked in rural areas of Michigan, Georgia and Colorado, among others, so I do have an appreciation of what goes on outside the cities. I’ve never seen anything in any of those areas that justifies the unfettered gun ownership you hold in such high regard. I have a copy of Miracle at Philadelphia on my shelf, along with a very old copy of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography and biographies of Washington, Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson and a history of the American Revolution. But even having read these books and acquired a decent understanding of the antecedents of the USA, I still can’t see your comment about the Liberty Bell as anything other than a meaningless slogan.

            That’s my opinion. It has no force in your country, so it can’t be described as interference. However, while you may understand the difference between an argument and a lethal fight, you certainly don’t seem to understand the distinction between a difference of opinion and a row.

          • AKMaineIac

            You’ve studied statistics and research? You do know the between subjects and within subjects analysis techniques and why the two are not interchangeable?

            Yet… here we are? A statistically non-valid comparison, while it may look wildly powerful doesn’t mean anything sir. If it’s not scientifically valid, and it isn’t, it really doesn’t even belong in the discussion.

            Your assertion would lead one to believe that firearms cause crime. When all the data indicate otherwise “WITHIN” subjects. So, take a gander at the number of gun crimes and crimes WITHIN the UK, and the change in that supposedly resulting from the change in the laws. Kind of a shocker isn’t it?

            Now consider that Connecticut ALREADY has some of the strictest laws in the USA, and currently has a ban on “assault weapons”. Places where guns are common in the US are not havens of crime at all. In fact, it’s place where guns are banned and heavily regulated.

            I don’t think guns and crime have anything to do with one another. Anymore than flies and garbage at least.

            But I really don’t believe that making ownership and possession of guns “burdensome” for law abiding people in the US is going to do a thing to criminals’ access to guns. Nothing.

            If you think it might, then you can have your opinion. You’re right, it has little weight here insofar as the law is concerned. And being that it’s based on erroneous presumptions and statistically invalid techniques, it really doesn’t have a heck of alot of scientific validity either.

          • AKMaineIac

            “I’ve lived in a society that was awash with guns. I was born in Belfast and worked in a frontline medical role from 1974 to 1994. I’ve been at the aftermath of massacres and seen what high velocity weapons do to a human body. I’ve waded in blood.”

            Were the automatic weapons and bombs being used all “legal” in Belfast at the time?

            Just curious… I’ve talked with friends and acquaintances who waded in blood that was running down the street after the WTC collapses and seen pictures. Stood in my own share of it, and they were friends of mine, not just countrymen. Your emotional pain makes you no authority on this issue or any other. In fact, one would do well to steer clear of anyone approaching an issue from that perspective, when looking for a solution to anything.

          • buzzkillersmith

            You’re a gun-nut troll.

          • AKMaineIac

            Are you perseverating tonight? There is a medication for that you know. You’re no gun owner. Gun owners have more sense and can recognize when someone is lying to them.

    • AKMaineIac

      Explain our lack of rickshaw accidents compared to the average Asian country. Duh. Occasionally though, the truth seeps through the pile of BS that comes out of gun controllers’ mouths though.

      “Reasonable gun control measures” is crap. You people don’t “really” want that. But simply saying what you want and being honest has never worked. Dennis Hennigan and Sarah Brady, Chuck Schumer, they all want them simply banned. Gone from the hands of all law abiding people.

      • zandeman

        A rebuttal of Susan’s argument would be nice, perhaps, instead of an assault on her person because she dares to hold a different view than you.

        • AKMaineIac

          “You sound like every other gun owner who has decided that his or her
          rights to own a gun supercedes the rights of the thirty two people
          gunned down every single day in America.”

          Susan has said nothing that deserves any kind of rebuttal. She and the rest of you simply come on these discussion groups with your erroneous presumptions and assumptions about guns and gun owners (neither of which, by the way you know anything about) and insult our integrity, right, personhood, and dignity.

          Then you turn around and wonder why people might get a little bit testy back at you.

          The “rebuttal” you seek is this. There is no statistical evidence from within like cultures that making gun control laws more strict has any effect on crime at all. There never has been and never will be. Comparing two or three different countries and cultures on the basis of one variable is sophomoric and juvenile, it lacks the reasoning power necessary to carry on a “reasonable conversation” or a scientific debate.

          • zandeman

            You’re skating over the issues. No first world country has a higher intentional homicide rate than the USA, unless you include Russia as a first world country. You have to go over thirty countries down the league table to get to another first world nation (Finland). All other Western European nations have a homicide rate per 100,000 less than half that of the USA.

            In firearms related deaths, the gap is huge between the USA (10.2 per 100k) and the first Western European nation, Finland again (3.64). The UK sits at 0.2.

            Maybe you’re going to argue that this is pure coincidence. That wouldn’t surprise me.

          • AKMaineIac

            I’m afraid it’s you who is going outside of the bounds of statistical practice to pick and choose which data you’ll view and include in your analysis. Between subjects can be interesting and fun, but unless you can control for all the variables it doesn’t mean anything. Within subjects is the illuminating analysis that will usually tell one whether or nothing some remedy is efficacious.

            Your analysis of the countries you choose to look at in your “study” does not control for anything. It’s a simple comparison of countries based on two variables. Even within those countries, the definition of “violent crime” varies and is different. Jesus… they can’t even document the number of “home invasion” crimes in Australia, because they can’t agree on the definition of “home invasion”.

            In England, terrorism related to “the troubles” has always been excluded from their crime statistics… they simply chose to not include it.

            It’s not a coincidence that we don’t have a problem in this country with deaths and injuries related to Rickshaw accidents. I bet that they don’t have as big a problem with deaths and injuries related to seat belt use in Uganda. Maybe we should ban seat belts, and regulate those more?

          • zandeman

            There hasn’t been a troubles related death in England since 1994 so I’m afraid that’s irrelevant. I understand that violent crime is defined differently in each country, but the UK has a very comprehensive definition of violent crime in its Crime Survey for England and Wales, which is based victims’ experience, not police reports.

          • AKMaineIac

            No. Not a coincidence at all. You’ve taken the guns from all the law abiding folks. And you never have gotten them from the criminals apparently. Because there are virtually no guns left in your society at all. And you still have criminals running around shooting other people.

            You might wish that onto us. God only knows why you would do that. But some of us are kind of offended by that.

            Oh… by the way… how are you people coming with your “knife free zones” anyway? I understand that home invasions have become a problem there as well? And your “criminal” justice system actually prosecutes homeowners who defend their homes when they are invaded too?

            You can have that. Really. No thank you. We have a right to keep and bear arms to defend ourselves and our homes with. And we’re not going to tolerate anyone interfering in it from outside or inside of the country.

          • zandeman

            Well it seems that our criminals aren’t very ambitious, because the figure for gun related homicides per 100,000 in the UK is 0.07, as compared to 2.97 in the USA. That’s a 42-fold difference. It would take a lot of knife murders to close that gap. And our comparative rates of intentional homicide per 100k (1.2 in the UK and 4.2 in the US) show that we’re losing that race too.

            As for burglary, like other crimes in the UK, it’s in decline. In 2011/12, there were almost 9% fewer burglaries than in 2010/11. Our police leave a lot to be desired. They have occasionally arrested homeowners who injure burglars in self defence. That’s a travesty, but the courts have always sorted it out and government has recently issued new guidelines to resolve it. But when someone injures of kills an intruder as they are running away, that’s a different matter. Then it isn’t self defence. The castle doctrine doesn’t extend to homicide in the UK, and most UK citizens agree with that.

            Finally, despite what you seem to think, I’m not interfering with your right to bear arms. I’m disagreeing with it. That’s a different matter, and one with which any secure and confident US citizen should have no problem.

          • AKMaineIac

            Glad to see you’re making some gains in the burglary area. Mighty sore spot for someone trying to maintain some kind of air of superiority isn’t it?

            I didn’t realize you still had crime and criminals in the UK at all? One would have expected with no guns that business would dry up altogether.

            When you figure out how to get the guns from the criminals first… we might have a discussion over some aspects of your solutions to the problems. Then there are the hunting and self-defense uses of firearms in the neck of the woods I live in.

            http://www.adn.com/2011/12/06/2205617/dna-samples-confirm-wolves-killed.html

            http://www.adn.com/2009/08/13/897940/twig-snap-alerts-dog-walker-to.html

            Let you take my guns or question my right to have them because of what criminals do? What the hell have my guns or me got to do with any of that? Nothing. Laws don’t stop criminals from getting guns. Anymore than it stops drug addicts from getting drugs, or alcoholics from getting booze.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            How can you say there is no evidence? Our overall murder rate (not just guns, but of course, the majority is from guns) is much higher than that of other countries “like us”–specifically western Europe and Canada, the most like us comparably. So if the overall rate is higher and the difference is have guns versus don’t have or limit guns, what other conclusion can you logically come to? And I apologize if I came off as insulting. I know there are gun owners out there that also believe that we need to change the laws in our country and not just cater to the deep pockets of the gun manufacturers and their powerful lobby. I am not against gun ownership, but no one needs a weapon that doesn’t need reloading after six shots or one without a gun lock, nor do we need to have loopholes for purchasing without background checks or not have to require competence as a gun owner. I have to renew my nursing license with continuing education every two years because I could kill someone if I didn’t keep my competency current. We have to renew our driver licenses and retake eye tests and driving exams because we could kill people with our cars if we don’t drive competently. Well, the same holds true for gun owners, yet we require nothing of the sort.

          • AKMaineIac

            No right to be a nurse, drive a car…

            Of course you’re against gun ownership.

            “Our overall murder rate (not just guns, but of course, the majority is from guns) is much higher than that of other countries “like us”–specifically western Europe and Canada, the most like us comparably. So if the overall rate is higher and the difference is have guns versus don’t have or limit guns, what other conclusion can you logically come to?”

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            Umm, did you even read my response or did you just have trouble comprehending it?

          • AKMaineIac

            Umm, I comprehend you and what you write better than you do. You most certainly do have a problem with gun ownership. And if you’ve convinced yourself otherwise, than that’s your own problem not mine.

            Anyone who claims to not have a problem with gun ownership. Then turns around and points to a country that confiscated every last one of them from anyone who would give them up and destroyed them as an example of what we should do…. lies to themselves and can’t help but repeat it to others.

            No problem comprehending you at all. I got your number.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            It’s obvious you have no intention of having an intelligent discussion since you cannot even address the specific changes I brought up, so go ahead and keep going through life with your self-righteous blinders on. You will probably be happier that way anyway…ignorant, but happy.

          • AKMaineIac

            Let me help you a little, because I have intelligent conversations all day long with people alot smarter than you.

            Your “changes”? Billions of dollars of NOTHING. A big database of honest and law abiding people who have never done, and will never do, anything to anybody.

            You’d be the one wearing the blinders… I suppose when you lose your car keys you crawl around on the ground under the streetlight, because that’s where the light is, right? I feel around where I know I lost them. It’s where they are.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            Hmmm, yes, whatever you say, Mr. AK

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Susan, to address your comparison to U.S. murder rates and Canada’s, in particular, I will quote a commenter named Ernie Sharp from another forum:

            “I think that comparing crime in Canada to crime is the US is an apples and oranges comparison. Canada’s entire population is less than the population of the state of California, and spread across a much larger land mass. In other words, Canada is a largely rural nation,
            having only 6 cities with a population of over a million people.

            Even so, violent crime rates (per 100,000 population) between Canada and the US will surprise you. The violent crime rate in Canada is 1282 per 100,000. The violent crime rate in the US is 386 per 100,000.

            The murder rate in Canada is lower overall, until you exclude the large urban areas from the US statistics, and compare the areas of the US with similar population density areas of Canada. In this sort of apples to apples comparison, the US actually has a lower murder rate
            than does Canada.”

            The problem is cultural, not the weapons.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            Okay, I’ll go ahead and give you Canada because of your population density argument, but it doesn’t explain away western Europe.
            I agree there is a cultural component, but to which component are you referring? Violent video games are played just as much in Europe; they have gang issues, crime, racial problems, drugs, poverty,etc…they just have less access to guns.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            I’m not trying to explain away counter arguments. Making rational decisions, protecting society while preserving individual rights, all of these things are difficult, and anyone who says they have an easy answer, or even just one answer, is lying.

            Liberty can be a messy thing.

            I simply give you information so that you can compare apples to apples. If in the end you still have a moral objection to gun ownership, I can respect that. I’ll never share it, but I’ll respect it – with my guns if necessary. That is what free peoples do.

            In regards to the rest of Western Europe, England has far lower rates of gun crime and murder than we do. But just so we’re comparing apples to apples, England has always had far lower murder rates than we did, even when our gun laws were comparable.

            I believe this supports the position that it is culture, not tools, that drives the violence.

            Since they imposed their gun bans, violent crime has steadily risen in the UK. Likewise for Australia. Their murder rates have steadily risen. People are simply finding other ways to kill each other.

            Also, much like comparing our neonatal death rates with Europe, you have to be sure we are comparing like numbers. England has never included the terrorism of “The Troubles” in their crime statistics. How much higher do you think overall violent crime, gun crime and murder rates would be if those were included?

            I appreciate your courtesy in replying to my comments. A nurse in another post accused me of valuing an assault rifle over the life of a child when I pointed out the logical fallacy in her statement that the Second Amendment only referred to muskets, while she exercised her First Amendment rights on the Internet.

            If you would like to engage in debate on gun control with a bunch of gun nuts on another forum, I welcome you to my blog. We may not wind up agreeing, and we may not change your mind, but I promise you that I will see to it that everyone treats you courteously.

          • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

            Thanks, right back at you. I don’t have a problem with gun ownership. I understand that people want to protect their homes, go hunting, skeet shooting or other forms of target shooting. I guess my problem lies within the regulation of ownership. I don’t get get the need for “assault” weapons to accomplish any of the above or why unlicensed gun sellers are allowed to sell guns at gun shows without doing background checks. I don’t understand why gun owners don’t have to renew their licenses in a manner that assures us (to the best of our ability to ever do this) that they are still competent, both physically and mentally to own a gun. I don’t understand the NRA’s argument against individual gun locks on every gun. I would like to believe that a lot of gun owners may have the same feelings about these issues, especially in light of the escalating rate of mass violence in our society, but also because of the 30-50,000 people who die in our country each year from gunshot wounds. I work in an operating room caring for these victims–I think my youngest so far was four, with an intentional gunshot to the head and I can’t help but feel that we should be doing more.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            Susan, those “assault weapons” you refer to are *very effective* at filling many of the roles you cited. It seems very difficult for some reason to get this across to people. Gun owners own these rifles because they are *useful*, and useful for multiple roles. We’re not buying them out of some blood lust (if we were, then there would be millions of crimes committed with them by now). We are buying them because their combination of features, adaptability, interchangeability and versatility are unmatched by most any other design available today. It really is that simple.

          • zandeman

            You can’t make up your own facts Ambo. Violent crime in the UK has declined every year since 2001. In 2011-12, homicides were at only half the number of 2001-02. Attempted homicides have also fallen year on year.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Cite your sources, please.

          • zandeman

            You’ll have to close the gaps in the link.

            http : //www .guardian. co. uk/ news/ datablog/ 2011/ jul/ 14/ crime-statistics-england-wales

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Ah, the British Crime Survey, which I gather is a matter of some controversy in Britain in that it disagrees significantly from the police reported statistics.

            I’d have to crunch the numbers, but at first glance it would seem that reconciling the two would, if not wholly refute your argument, at the least demonstrate that violent crime has not lessened as significantly as you say.

            Thanks for posting the link.

          • zandeman

            It isn’t at all controversial. It differs from police reported statistics because it measures a different thing. The Crime Survey is based on victims’ experience and includes crimes not recorded by the police. Both sources report a drop in crime, so I fail to see how reconciling them would do anything to undermine my argument.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            They’ve also fallen here in the U.S., yet we have increased the number of firearms. Again, other factors are at play as has been mentioned.

          • AKMaineIac

            I’m from Maine originally… next door to Quebec. Quebec would love to have our crime rates, and we want NOTHING to do with Quebec type gun control in Maine.

          • zandeman

            The problem is a violent culture with weapons.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Which predates semi-automatic weapons, or for that matter, firearms.

          • zandeman

            Who brought up semi-automatic weapons? Not me. You can kill a lot of people with a couple of handguns.

          • Dnes

            But really, it is very simple: people own guns for the power trip. Kill animals and feel powerful, defend oneself and feel powerful (more reasonable than the former, but still), etc. It’s no surprise that a huge power trip (guns > knives) gives people the sense of power to act out something.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Thank you for your immature and unsolicited amateur psychoanalysis.

            And to think that people pay good money for such things, when there are people on the Internet willing to do it for free?

            Do you have anything useful to add to the discussion, besides trolling?

    • JD

      Susan,

      According Wikipedia, here are the top 10 countries in terms of gun ownership rates:

      1) USA
      2) Serbia
      3) Yemen
      4) Switzerland
      5) Cyprus
      6) Saudi Arabia
      7) Iraq
      8) Finland
      9) Uruguay
      10) Sweden

      Now here, according to the UNODC, are the top 10 countries in terms of murder rates

      1) Honduras
      2) El Salvador
      3) Ivory Coast
      4) Jamaica
      5) Venezuela
      6) Belize
      7) US Virgin Islands
      8) Guatemala
      9) Saint Kitts and Nevis
      10) Zambia
      (The US does not come anywhere close to the top 10)

      While it may be true that in these countries murders might not be related to guns, they are still murders. And yes, children are involved in these countries too. As you can see, there is no overlap between these two lists. Quite simply, those countries where people kill each other the most, are not the countries that own the most guns. Newtown was a horrible, horrible tragedy that hit home, and yes, guns were involved. However, saying that guns are responsible for death is ignorant and, in my opinion, disrespectful to the many more men, women and children that are killed by other people. So, since I have no reason to believe that the death of an American child killed by a gun is any more tragic than the death of Honduran child killed by another means, I will say that “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” and not really care whether or not that bothers you.

      • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

        You are comparing apples to oranges. The murder rates are higher in places like Honduras, the Ivory Coast, etc. for multfactorial reasons. You must compare first world countries with other first world countries, and third world countries with other third world countries. Recompile the list in that manner and you will see a completely different picture.

        • JD

          Exactly why can’t first world countries be compared with third world countries? Your argument is that guns, and not people, kill people. If that is the case, then your theory must be able to withstand such comparisons. In fact, based on the lists I provided above, one could argue that gun ownership helps to DECREASE murder rates.

        • JD

          “The murder rates are higher in places like Honduras, the Ivory Coast, etc. for multfactorial reasons.”

          Yes – one of the reasons is because murder victims are not allowed to defend themselves with guns

        • JD

          OK Susan, just to humor you and your ethnocentric views (since first world violence seems to be what matters to you the most), here are the top 10 first world/european countries in terms of rates of gun ownership

          1) USA
          2) Switzerland
          3) Finland
          4) Sweden
          5) Norway
          6) France
          7) Canada
          8) Austria
          9) Germany
          10) Iceland

          And here are the top 10 first world/european countries in terms of murder rates:

          1) USA
          2) Albania
          3) Montenegro
          4) Latvia
          5) Liechtenstein
          6) Luxembourg
          7) Finland
          8) Bulgaria
          9) Macedonia
          10) Czech Republic

          Only the US and Finland is on both lists. The only common feature is that the US is first on both lists. The most likely explanation is that there is something unique about the US that puts it at #1. It is certainly not gun ownership, as there is no correlation between the two lists.

          Guns don’t kill people in first world countries, people (in particular, Americans) do.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      Susan, we have higher gun homicide rates, but do we have higher homicide rates? In many cases, no, we don’t. People do kill people, in a variety of mundane and creative ways. The information on gun and non-gun homicides across various nations shows that very clearly.

  • panda33

    I agree. The problem isn’t that there are guns out there, but rather a culture that enjoys violence, that glorifies it, that is used to seeing it and dishing it out and calls it entertainment, and that at the same time, holds almost no regard for mental illness. But since changing an entire culture of violence takes generations and changing a country’s attitude towards mental health also takes decades and gigantic investments, I still think that removing guns entirely from the general population and most police officers (as it happens, for instance, in the UK) is a quicker solution while everything else gets fixed. Sandy Hook might not have happened with a culture that is less trigger-happy or a better support system and healthcare for a mentally unstable young man, but it definitely would not have happened if he hadn’t had access to guns. The UK is equally as obsessed with violence, but you don’t get mass shootings. Easier to stop a bar brawl than a machine gun.

    • SBornfeld

      This.^

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

        That is an example of the problems in truly understanding this issue that I’ve spoken about above. Both UK and U.S. cultures have violence in them. The always have and always will. The UK has more apparent and everyday violence that the U.S. does. The UK also tends to be quicker to commit and monitor those who show signs of mental illness.

        Your mention of “machine gun” shows that you’ve no familiarity of that issue with which to make a claim. Only two registered NFA firearms have been used in crimes, both times I believe, by the Law Enforcement Officers that possessed them.

  • Maura69

    I too am a gun owner, (more than one) and they are locked up in a safe. Thank you for writing this as it is well thought and to the point. Thank you! My prayers and heartfelt condolences go to the families of the Sandy Hook tragedy! It is and was appalling, a tragedy in all our hearts. God Bless each and everyone of you. We will never forget!

  • D V

    First of all lets get a few things straight, instead of all these inaccurate “facts” the media and other folks are throwing around.

    1)The weapon the Newton shooter used was NOT an automatic weapon.
    the weapon used required a separate pull of the trigger for every round discharged
    2)The Newton shooter had NO HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINES on him. The largest magazines found on him was 10 rounds. The majority for the rifle were 5 round capacity.
    3)The weapon in question is NOT a “high powered” rifle as media and others a calling it. The .223/5.56mm round is just a hotter version of a .22 cal cartridge.

    4)If you were to ask a combat veteran they would tell you the bushmaster .223 is NOT a ” military grade” or “battlefield” weapon. NO soldier in his right mind would take that weapon onto the modern battlefield, unless they had a death wish. Also, the AR in the nomenclature stands for Auto-loading Rifle NOT assault rifle. Assault rifle is a term invented by the media to make certain weapons seem more ominous.

    The fact of the matter is the killer could have caused as much carnage with a .38 revolver and a dozen speed-loaders

    • AKMaineIac

      There’s been some erroneous information flying around since the story broke. The fault of the media in their rush to report everything as soon as the rumor breaks instead of waiting for reliable information. I think the CT State Troopers will clear up much of it shortly.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      The impotence of the 5.56mm round has been long discussed, especially by those in the military, where ammunition selection is more limited. Many have taken to derisively calling the round “the Poodleshooter” for just this reason. It is classed as a low to intermediate round in terms of its energy and velocity. The bullet is on the lower end of rifle bullet calibers, being only .223 in diameter and with a weight of typically 55-77 grains. A typical hunting caliber has much higher energy, and bullets in the .30 range and above, with weights running 150 grains and above.

      • gwen rothberg

        so, the purpose of a pistol grip is somehow NOT to lower the center of gravity so that you do not have to shoulder the weapon? Its somehow NOT for the purpose of absorbing recoil so you can spray into a crowd? Please.

    • gwen rothberg

      and yet, 6 year old Noah Pozner’s jaw was blown off his face, as was his left hand. My .38 doesn’t do that.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/L5E5IDEGD4GSXI4J7GMLNM4XQQ Brett

    All of you with your holier-than-thou smart alec comments are ridiculous. THANK YOU TO THIS ER DOC FOR SAYING WHAT IS RIGHT! Liberals somehow do not understand that the American people are supposed to be able to be as well armed as the military. Why? Because if the people need to rise up to overthrow their government, they need a fighting chance. Do you all think this is not important? Willing to be slaves to the state if it comes to that? I would argue we already are, and it is only a matter of if or when the state decides to make it official. Guns are great for protection from criminals, but we have the SECOND AMENDMENT to protect the people from its government. Get it though your thick skulls. Also, we have gun laws. We should abide by them. I bet NONE of you knew that prosecution for gun violations was exponentially higher under GWB than it is under Obama. We need to make violations have heavy consequences and leave law abiding citizens alone!

    • zandeman

      Because, of course, liberals are not Americans, are they?

    • gwen rothberg

      You are not aware of the NRA’s push to stifle the free speech of physician’s in FL by making it illegal to screen for safe gun storage in the home, in the same way they screen for car seat use. The NRA has successfully crippled law enforcement by demanding and legislating that background checks be destroyed in 24 hours. They have effectively blocked any kind of accountable leadership in the ATF since 2006 and have specified by law that they be disallowed from using computers to do their jobs. They have made it extroridinarily easy for ‘bad guys’ to get guns through private sale, and then at the same time trotted out the fear card to encourgage people like you and the good doctor to buy more guns. In the respect of defending yourself against ‘big gubermint’ you may want to evaluate modern technological warfare and its efficacy against your glock. You would not stand a chance against a drone from your front porch. These arguments are flailing – gun laws are toothless and have been for some time. Law abiding sportsmen are not the problem, nor the target of these new policies, but the fantasy of government over throw or defense in the face of a mass shooting are alive and well and complete bullshit. For example, while I qualified in the USMC 6 times as an expert, but at 50 with bifocals and a small child with me, I’m the last person you want fumbling for her concealed side arm in the first 4 seconds of a crisis. I no longer train on a stress range, and haven’t fam-fired in a year. My reaction time is not what it used to be but you keep fighting to make sure that people like me can wield a weapon in public because you trust every body to be fit, trained, expediently undistracted and a perfect shot with a weapon perfectly maintained and safely stored and never prone to jam or misfire. Yeah, keep thinking that.

  • peace

    To the many responsible gun owners, thank you. I am not a gun owner and have no desire or need to own a gun. In my view the problem to solve here by everyone, responsible gun owners and non gun owners is how to best handle irresponsible gun owners. So let’s start there, together!

  • zandeman

    Of course you didn’t do it. But if you’ve contributed to the anti-gun control lobby, you contributed to it. In any other civilised country, this young man might have been just as disturbed and his mental health problems just as neglected, but he would not have had ready access to the firearms he needed to commit this massacre. I found your article flip and devoid of substantive argument.

  • http://twitter.com/DRGOSAF DRGO

    Dr. Leap, thanks for some sanity. I was instrumental in the push to defund the CDC’s anti-gun “advocacy research” in the 1990s. The ban is still in effect, and for good reason, it’s obvious. Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership, a project of the Second Amendment Foundation

  • the way it is

    Amen to American Girl. It is the culture. First person shooter games, the deterioration of the family, the move away from teaching that some things are right and wrong and not subject to opinion.

    I do find it interesting that the liberal left jumped on this and made it a political issue in hours. The media made no mention of how awful this was, unlike the incredible haranguing they gave Mitt Romney when he correctly pointed out the Bengazi situation. “Three lives were lost. How can you be talking about what really happened and try to make this political at a time like this?” On and on it went. Now, of course, with the politicizing fitting the media’s mode of what is right, not a word is said.

    • zandeman

      Politics is how you solve problems that require legislation. Making something as important as this a political issue is not something to be criticised. What’s your alternative? Poker? A shootout?

      • the way it is

        No concern with politicizing the issue, my concern is with the disparity in media treatment of those who politicize the issues. Politicizing something as important as an attempt to downplay and recharacterize the situation in Bengazi was not something to be criticized either, but was attacked vehemently, and there we were talking about families who had chosen public service being the ones grieving. Here, it is private families in the midst of the depth of unbelieveable grief. So, my comment was more about the media bias than politicizing, though I do think people could have waited a couple days to honor the dead and let the families grieve.

        • zandeman

          Maybe they noticed that that’s what you always do and it hasn’t worked so far.

  • http://euonymous.wordpress.com euonymous

    104 comments already and more to come, I’m sure. I grew up in a family with pistols, rifles, and shotguns. All were used for target shooting and/or hunting. Cleaning guns with my father is a pleasant memory. The smell of gun oil is sweet. But in the 50′s, 60′s, and 70′s we were not bombarded with violence in movies, TV, and video games the way we are today. Not that there wasn’t violence, but there was not as much. It was not as visual. Something has happened to this country to make us ever more violent. From what I read, the matter of gun control is not everybody going out and buying one gun but that gun owners, like the author and my dad for that matter, have an arsenal of weapons and ammunition. When you hear of a tragedy like Sandy Hook, it seems to inevitably involve multiple guns and the slaughter of innocents unknown to the shooter. I don’t want to go down the rat hole of what constitutes a militia and how these self-armed arsenals do not constitute any part of an organized militia. An organized militia has better control of its weapons than American municipalities and states have of the arsenals assembled within their borders. It’s time to recognize that the technology of weapons and cultural environment has gone beyond what the founding fathers anticipated. To survive we will have to manage this violent culture better. Or reduce the level of violence. Or we can pretend it is our sacred right to own whatever lethal technology is out there, there is no such thing as global warming, and every word in the Bible is true. Did I go too far there? That’s the point. It’s all crazy. Much like our healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world and delivers unexpectedly low outcomes. The NRA, so far, is sounding more reasonable than some of the posts I’ve read here. I hope they will help the country try to manage our private arsenals. But this is Thursday night and Friday is supposed to be their big statement. I hope for something helpful.

  • zandeman

    I find it perplexing that you seem to believe you should have the freedom to do whatever you want. Yes, you did say that. There’s a well established principle in democracies that personal freedom ends where it impinges on the freedom of others. Hence, in most democracies, the freedom to smoke ends where it impinges on the freedom of others to breathe smoke free air.

    It is clear to all but those who will not see that the freedom to own guns in the USA is impinging on the freedom of its citizens to go about their legitimate business without a high risk of being shot to death. In the context of the remainder of your post, I should add that it’s also about the freedom of institutions like schools and workplaces to ban guns on their premises. Your idea of freedom seems to be that you get to do what you enjoy and, as a consequence, everyone else has to be mandated to do things that they don’t necessarily want to do.

    Strange idea of freedom.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      I find it perplexing that you seem to think that the government can tell me what to do without my consent.

      Difference between being a citizen and a subject, I guess. From its inception, our Constitution has been a limiting document on the power of American government. It is far more than the framework of our laws. In America, we tell the government what to do, not the other way around. What power it has, we grant, not the other way around.

      We are an unruly bunch here in America, impossible to rule. If we were easily ruled, we’d still be British subjects.

      For a foreigner, the nuances of our system of government might seem hard to understand, but I have neither the time or inclination to provide you a civics lesson.

      As to your question of my freedom to own a weapon, specifically an AR15, I do. It is an enumerated right in our Constitution. I can own one because there is nothing in our laws that says I can’t. And my right to own it ends the moment I use it to infringe the rights of another.

      So yes, ownership of the weapon is my right. And as long as I own it and use it responsibly, that right may not be infringed. While it sits in my gun safe, or when I shoot it at targets or game, or even at another human being in lawful self-defense, I am not infringing on the rights of others.

      Indeed, in the latter case, I am defending my right to life against another illegally trying to take it. In America, the right to self-defense is fundamental.

      And 99.998% of lawful gun owners (upwards of 80 million of us), and by extension every gun they own, violate no rights of others. The actions of the other .002%, who ignore the law anyway, are not compelling reason for the rest of us to grant the government the power to take our guns.

      There is Supreme Court precedent that our police have no specific duty to protect individual citizens. They protect society as a whole, investigate crime and enforce laws, but each citizen has the right and duty to protect themselves first.

      I find your idea of freedom every bit as strange as you find my own.

      • zandeman

        But your government CAN tell you what to do without your consent. Try breaking the law and you’ll soon find out. I understand your system of government very well. I’ve read extensively about it and I’ve been working in the USA, on and off, since 1973.

        I was born in Belfast and worked there for 20 years, from 1974 to 1994, in front line and leadership roles in emergency medical services (and I’d soon put anyone who called me an “ambulance driver” very straight), and I know of many cases where well-armed and well-trained off-duty police officers and soldiers were killed by terrorists. I don’t know of a single case where they were saved by having a gun. Recent US studies have shown that when confronted by an armed assailant, and armed person is more than four times more likely to be shot and killed than an unarmed victim.

        You can make all the silly comments you like about citizens versus subjects, but they don’t do anything to strengthen your argument.

        • Ambulance_Driver

          And again, the power to pass those laws, we grant. We consent to those laws. And we do not (yet) consent to laws restricting our right to own firearms.

          Is that so hard to understand?

          And my choice of an internet handle is satire. My respect is not derived from what name I am called.

          You say things like “I know of many cases” and “I don’t know of a single case…”

          The plural of anecdote is not data. Show me figures.

          (By the way, the figures you showed me about violent crime in Britain proved an incorrect assumption on my part. Thank you for correcting me. Violent crime in Britain is trending down. Probably not as much as the British Crime Survey says, but down nonetheless)

          I can counter your anecdotes with reams of news reports of armed citizens successfully defending themselves against armed attackers. The publications of the NRA are filled every month with stories pulled from local newspapers of these instances.

          Of course, those aren’t data, either; just a large collection of anecdotes that supports my position.

          In the war of competing anecdotes, show me the studies that demonstrate that an armed victim is more likely to be killed by an armed assailant than an unarmed one.

          I’m sure that, being in the medical field, you realize that some studies are so flawed that no relevant conclusions can be drawn from them, unless you’re content to cherry-pick only that which supports your assumptions.

      • SBornfeld

        Please cite that Supreme Court case. There may or may not be a federal requirement, but since the operation of local police forces is one of the rights reserved to the states and local government, the lack of a FEDERAL requirement to protect citizens is meaningless

        • Ambulance_Driver

          Castle Rock v Gonzales.

          “You, and only you, are responsible for your security and the security of your family and loved ones. That was the essence of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in the early 1980′s when they ruled that the police do not have a duty to protect you as an individual, but to protect society as a whole.”
          It upheld at least 10 other lower court cases that stated the same thing, among them Warren v District of Columbia and DeShaney v Winnebago County Department of Social Services.
          Your personal safety is your own responsibility in this country, and frankly I prefer it that way.
          A police force pervasive enough to protect individuals is also a police force more than large enough to oppress them.

          • SBornfeld

            I’ll take a look at it. I wonder why my friends the first responders on 9/11 bothered to rescue individuals.

            Pardon my snark. I will look for the lower case rulings, they may make more sense in context.

            If you can point me to the SCOTUS case I would be grateful.

          • Ambulance_Driver

            Castle Rock vs Gonzales is the SCOTUS case, although there may have been others.
            The other two listed are lower court cases.

          • AKMaineIac

            “WE” first responders everywhere, and law enforcement officers “bother” to rescue people because it’s what we do.

            Simple isn’t it? “Write a law….” If laws would fix it, it wouldn’t be broke.

          • SBornfeld

            What does that mean, “it’s what you do”? It’s a hobby? Please tell me you don’t feel a responsibility to protect individuals.

            I looked at AD’s SCOTUS case. I can understand why gun advocates use it, but the wording is very specific, and involved setting a dollar value on failure to enforce a court order, and tort liability of public entities.

            I suspect that unless you are an entity protected by good samaritan laws, you are personally and individually responsible, as I certainly am. I can claim not to be responsible under Federal law, but of course I am–by the DEA, for one.
            I was responding to AD’s claim that police are responsible to “society” as a whole, not to individual persons. But I saw NOTHING in the actual decision to support that absurd claim.
            You want to split hairs about what “responsibility” means, feel free–but I think most adults (certainly not all) have an idea–even if they decline to practice.

          • AKMaineIac

            “What does that mean, “it’s what you do”? It’s a hobby? Please tell me you don’t feel a responsibility to protect individuals.”

            I apologize. I’m unaccustomed to speaking with people who require such specificity in replies. I also don’t normally correspond with folks who don’t know the difference between “an obligation… i.e. a “moral or ethical obligation” and a “legally binding obligation” under the law. Here’s the dissonance point, I believe. Laws, rules, regulations, morals, and ethics… any coordination between them is largely coincidental.

            I think we have arrived at another point where the misunderstanding becomes more clear between people with a “gun problem” and people with a “crime problem”. Some people thing a moral and ethical obligations extends into some legal obligation, though none exists anywhere. Some people think we might possibly prevent criminals from becoming criminals by simply writing more laws. That laws somehow can stop crime.

            Good Lord.

            Don Quixote had a “dragon problem”.

  • Pras

    Even If it helps at minuscule level to save a child life by putting out of reach gun from law abiding boring people. Do that. Gun are not fun. It kills.

  • http://www.facebook.com/susan.tomso Susan Tomso

    Thanks for your reply. A lot to think about. I guess on the first point about the “assault” weapons, we will just have to agree to disagree. I get that they are fun to shoot. I saw someone suggest that weapons like this be kept in locked target shooting facilities–you rent a locker, come over, have a blast, (no pun intended), check it back in when you are finished. I know this is not ideal, but if it helped to keep these out of people’s homes (I read that somewhere around 80% of illegal firearms were stolen during a burglary?) and out of the wrong hands, yet the owner still gets to use it the way they say they want to, why not? And as far as the fee, think of it like a gym membership for gun owners. I don’t know, just a thought.

    Second point, loopholes. Just because it will continue to happen illegally elsewhere doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can to make sure that every purchaser has to undergo a background check. Not every parent brings in their kid to get immunized, but we immunize as many as we can to try and prevent the spread of disease. So close the gun show loophole and prohibit and prosecute private sales without background checks.

    Third point, licensure. Currently, as an advanced practice nurse, in my specialty, we have to take 40 hours of continuing education every two years in order to recertify. However, our professional association and licensing board as decided that even that is not enough, so starting in 2016, we must take 45 hours with 20 hours being tested (an exam for each hour taken). In addition, every 8 years (I think it is eight, but it may be four), we must take a certifying exam covering our entire practice in order to keep our license. This is all at our own individual expense, but required absolutely if we want to keep practicing. MD’s already have something similar, but I am not sure of the specifics. So, no, I don’t think it is too much to ask. You enjoy the privilege, so you must undertake the responsibilities in order to continue to do so. At the very least, it ensures that gun owners are familiar with the current laws, are able to safely handle a firearm, have not developed some mental disability in the intervening years, etc,etc. We already do something like that for our driver licenses–making sure we know what the signs mean, that we can actually see… I think it would also be something that gun owners would want too. “Look, I have a license that’s current, I’m up to date on the latest and greatest. I actually know what I am doing.”

    Point four, gun locks. I truly applaud you on the biometric safe. I do think that is awesome. That way, you can keep your gun ready, but secure. I imagine though, that something like that is not cheap and wonder how many people make an investment like that. I also have to admit that I have a personal stake in this particular issue. My dad, a retired federal agent and former marine is an extremely careful, conscientious, by-the-book kind of a guy. When I was sixteen, my extremely hormonal and pissed off younger sister suddenly appeared in my living room where I was hanging out with a girlfriend with a rifle in her hands, pointed it point blank at my chest and pulled the trigger. Obviously, it wasn’t loaded and she got the crap beaten out of her. The point being that my dad thought he had hidden this rifle very well in our attic. I certainly had no idea it was there. But my sister somehow did and she was angry about being left out or something similarly stupid and pulled an extremely stupid pre-teen move that fortunately did not go as bad as it could have. In Newton last week, it went really bad. Unfortunately, not everyone, and probably most do not secure their weapons properly. Other than gun locks then, how do you propose to try and correct for this?

    Point five–I will have to look into this further. You may be right that it is just the availability of constant streaming news that we just know about Ti more, but I thought that I saw somewhere that the worst events and the greatest number had occurred over the last thirty years. But like I said, I would have to look into that. You did enlighten me to the illegal gun use in crime though. I was previously under the impression that legally owned firearms were more often used in the commission of crimes.

    As for the last point, again, we have to disagree. I cannot wrap my head around the idea that the number of guns is inversely proportional to the number of gun deaths. I would have to see a ton of data to support that. I don’t want guns in my kids’ schools–even after this tragedy. I get that they use them in Israel, but I hope the way the Israelis have to live with the spectre of daily terrorism hanging over their heads, never happens to us here. I sincerely hope we find another way to prevent these mass shootings from becoming commonplace.

    Like I said before, I am okay with gun ownership. I live out in the country and let my friends who are gun owners come over and practice target shooting (with their handguns only :-) I just want to find away to change things so that it is safer for everyone. Thanks for the great discussion!

    • Ambulance_Driver

      There is indeed a lot to think about, and no easy answers. It is a multi-faceted problem requiring multi-faceted solutions. People on both sides of the debate are throwing around vague generalizations, baseless assumptions, insults and outright falsehoods. I myself unwittingly posted one when I stated that violent crime in the UK was trending up, and Zandeman set me straight.

      All any of us can do is sort through the information as best we can, and base our positions on what we feel is the most compelling evidence.

      And yes, keeping guns out of the wrong hands has to be addressed. The problem is in agreeing on how to go about it.

  • JD

    I am anti guns, and certainly more so after this tragedy. I should point out that I was at home alone when I was burgled by 2 armed men. I hid and was able to call the police and luckily was able to escape safely. Still, at no time did I wish I had a gun.
    Having said all that, I am getting a little tired with these comments that say we need better gun control. Trivializing the solution to a problem such as mass violence to “better gun control” reflects the fact that those who suggest it have no idea about how complicated this problem is. FIrst, there is absolutely no consistent data to demonstrate that gun control reduces violence. For every study that suggest that it does, I will show you a study that shows it has an opposite effect. Seriously, if we as physicians conducted clinical trials in the same way that legislators pass gun control laws, we would be testifying before an ethics review board.
    Second, physicians as a group should not be proposing how best to solve gun violence. For that matter, neither should politicians. My reasoning is simple: we are utterly unqualified to do so. We are doctors, not social scientists, not statisticians, not constitutional lawyers, not any of the highly specialized skill sets that are needed to understand and analyze a problem of this magnitude. While it might be harmless for us to post on this page about what we think is best, does it not bother anyone that the people who are actually at the table discussing how to “solve” this problem (i.e. politicians) have absolutely no expertise in this? If physicians handled patient care in the way that politicians handle gun violence legislation, we would be sued for not calling a consult.

  • JD

    According to Wikipedia, the following are the top 10 countries in gun ownership rates:
    1) USA

    2) Serbia
    
3) Yemen

    4)Switzerland

    5) Cyprus
    
6) Saudi Arabia

    7) Iraq

    8) Finland
    
9) Uruguay
    
10) Sweden

    Now here, according to the UNODC, are the top 10 countries in terms of murder rates

    1) Honduras
    
2) El Salvador
    
3) Ivory Coast
    
4) Jamaica
    
5) Venezuela
    
6) Belize
    
7) US Virgin Islands

    8) Guatemala
    
9) Saint Kitts and Nevis

    10) Zambia

    (The US does not come anywhere close to the top 10)

    Although guns may not be the means of killing in these countries, these are still murders, and children are involved too. There is simply no correlation between gun ownership rates in a country, and the rate at which people kill one another.

    I agree that Newtown was horrible, and that guns were involved. However, I have no reason to believe that the death of an American child by a gun is any more tragic than the death of a Honduran child killed by other means.

    • zandeman

      I suppose that’s a good argument if you are satisfied with being compared to developing and third world countries. I’d be more concerned with the comparison with industrialised democracies. That tells a very different story.

      • JD

        Exactly why can’t first world countries be compared with third world countries? If the argument is that more people owning guns results in more people killing each other, then that theory should withstand comparisons across all countries. Limiting the analysis to a smaller dataset (“industrialized countries”) only allows people to “fit” the dataset to suit their theory.

        From a reply that I made previously, here are the top 10 first world/european countries in terms of rates of gun ownership

        1) USA
        2) Switzerland
        3) Finland
        4) Sweden
        5) Norway
        6) France
        7) Canada
        8) Austria
        9) Germany
        10) Iceland

        And here are the top 10 first world/european countries in terms of murder rates:

        1) USA
        2) Albania
        3) Montenegro
        4) Latvia
        5) Liechtenstein
        6) Luxembourg
        7) Finland
        8) Bulgaria
        9) Macedonia
        10) Czech Republic

        Only the US and Finland is on both lists. The only common feature is that the US is first on both lists. The most likely explanation is that there is something unique about the US that puts it at #1. It is certainly not gun ownership, as there is no correlation between the two lists.

        Guns don’t kill people in first world countries, people (in particular, Americans) do.

  • Lee Rogers

    Dr. Leap, I’m a doctor and a gun owner too. There are many weapons that would be safe in my hands, like a tank or a nuclear weapon chemical. I would never use them on my fellow humans, but that doesn’t mean I should own them. Nor should law abiding citizens own other weapons of war.

  • civisisus

    ” if I could afford one I would. They’re interesting, and enjoyable to shoot”

    If “Doctor” Leap is actually a doctor, his earnings are more than ample enough to enable him/her to purchase a weapon capable of firing large numbers of bullets very rapidly, easily and accurately; say, for example, an AR-15. An AR-15 would cost him less than half a week’s pay, if he/she is any capable kind of physician.

    But it seems more likely that in fact “Doctor” Leap is merely an uninteresting, unenjoyable, garden-variety blowhard, and that none of his nonsense merits the attention of adults seeking to consider and work together to resolve important social problems.

    “If I could afford one”, for heaven’s sake. I for one would like to “take” from you the valuable attention of people with better things to do than attend to the ravings of a nincompoop.

  • Richard Watt

    It is, however, easy to convert a semiautomatic weapon into an automatic

    • John Henry

      No, it is not really all that easy. It takes some significant gunsmithing skill to accomplish this. And to do so requires you immediately register the weapon as it becomes a restricted firearm and pay the BATFE for a stamp.

    • Jeanette Victoria

      Spoken by someone who has prolly never even held a weapon. Moron

  • Randall Crockett

    Thank you for this. Very well said and concise. A couple of stats that might help to reinforce what you say are that last year (2011), over 14,000 deaths occurred from handguns in the US where only just over 350 where from rifles. Of those from rifles that where what anti gun advocates deem “assault” rifles, there we less than 20. By compassion, 300 people died from Aspirin. 100 from Equestrian Deaths and nearly 500 from not wearing a bicycle helmet.

    I have a Modern Sport Rifle and I love it. They are not only fun on the range but serve as the most versatile firearm there is. I spend a lot of time in the wilderness and often in Bear Country. I can think of no better all around defensive weapon made.

  • http://twitter.com/CountryKidsDoc Matt Weidman

    We shouldn’t put tighter regulations on firearms because guns are “interesting” & “enjoyable to shoot”? Really? I don’t think that’s an appropriate response to the Newtown dead & their families, or to the over 30,000 deaths secondary to firearms in this country each year.

    At least this is an honest response – gun advocates don’t want their toys taken away. It’s so inconvenient that they might have to wait longer to get their toys. It’s so dreadful that certain really fun, really big toys might not be available to them anymore. It’s an inconceivable horror that they might have to reload their toys more frequently if we take away their high capacity magazines.

    In my opinion, it’s absolutely appropriate to “politicize” the horror of the Sandy Hook shooting. In fact, I think we would be morally remiss NOT to politicize this terrible event. We need to move this country toward sanity and away from the wild west mentality that serves only to pile up the corpses year after year.

  • NormRx

    And that is a good thing. Despite what some physicians say, GUNS ARE NOT A DISEASE.

  • AmericanSue

    Kellerman’s studies on accidental gun deaths were scientific and groundbreaking. He generated a hypothesis based upon observation as an ER MD, and designed studies to test his hypothesis. That the studies may not have been perfect only shows that more scientific studies such as these need to be done. Ranting and raving (I have read your posts) are not substitutes for scientific inquiry.

    • AKMaineIac

      And a comment board is hardly a peer reviewed academic journal. Those studies were pure political and ideological rubbish. And why they were revised downward, and ultimately discredited because he still refuses to make his original data available for other researchers to examine.

      He abused science to support his political and social theories. That’s a well-documented fact. That you continue to trumpet that foolishness only illustrates your own prejudice and political ideological bend.

      The MDs who wrote the NEJM are hardly “ranting and raving”, and neither were the statistics “students” at the college level who criticized his work. I’d think that alone would give anyone who had any knowledge or training in “science” some pause before the defending that silliness as “groundbreaking” or “scientific”.

      Someone left a loaded gun in a bathroom the other day at a store. I didn’t defend it. I said it was stupid, reckless, and indefensible. Amazing that I see such hypocrisy in otherwise consistent people, when they defend crap like Kellerman’s “research” when we all know what it is.

    • AKMaineIac

      “Ranting and raving (I have read your posts) are not substitutes for scientific inquiry.”

      Insipid remarks about peoples’ well established rights that are emotionally driven and without any basis in fact hardly substitute for “scientific inquiry”.

      “We must do something!” is hardly the basis to move forward on at all. If you have a flat tire every time you park your car in the driveway, you must do something. Smart people go find the nails… idiots continually fix the tire.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      His studies included incidents where the firearm in the home was not the property of the homeowner, i.e. was brought there by the criminal.

      But that and other issues aside, did that “43 times” claim not sound just a little odd? If gun-owning households were *that* likely to have issues, then why is the death rate not in the 100′s of thousands, which is what would be required to match the “43 times” claim.

      The claims put forth by the Kellerman study didn’t match with the known data on the number of firearms deaths/accidents in the home. It was in no way “groundbreaking”. It was very controversial, and with good reason.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rui.barreto.3 Rui Barreto

    Really? “Insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness” is wrong? It is the first thing we are told in medical school. For instance, if I have a rifle and want to prove its capability of killing something I will point and shoot, lets say at a duck. If the duck doesn’t die, should I just say “well it is proven it won’t kill” and point it at me? Or should I consider that my insufficient evidence should not lead me into believe that the gun is ineffective? And allow me add that, as a Portuguese physician I find perplexing that a community may feel safer with firearms (some capable of mass killing) than without. I apologize in advance for my English .

    • AKMaineIac

      The gun can’t shoot itself. If you can’t hit the duck with it, it’s not the rifle that is ineffective, it’s you. That is the crux of the disagreement right there. Guns are inanimate objects and incapable of killing anything.

      I feel quite safe in any community within the United States and am not bothered at all by my neighbors and others, including myself, owning firearms. I trust them to do the right thing in the vast majority of cases, and they do.

      With a meta-analysis including numerous studies, a lack of evidence of efficacy would be good reason to remain very skeptical about recommending such a course of action to anyone. Because it is most definitely “evidence of inefficacy”. Ask any insurance company… or better yet, next time you’ve got someone with an illness sitting in front of you, preface your proposed treatment plan with, “There is no scientific evidence to support that this will work, but… ” and see them disappear out the door. Unless you’re a chiropractor anyway.

      Do you commonly wile away resources and time with ill patients trying various things that have no scientifically valid studies supporting it? I highly doubt it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

        Control Question (which not only 70% of NRA members but even GOP “raising star”, Rubio, has a problem with):

        The Earth is about how many years old?

        a) 6,000 years

        b) 10,000 years

        c) about 4,500,000,000 years

        d) do not know (had Bible studies and responsible use of guns that year instead of science)

        • AKMaineIac

          Obviously a trolling type of question as it has absolutely nothing to do with the issue at hand. I assume you are familiar with the theory of relativity? Time shrinkage at light speed travel? The concept that, when one travels at close to the speed of light, or faster, time “shrinks” for that individual.

          Whose “day” or “year” is being referred to in the Bible? Or do you believe in the Bible at all?

          When it was written the God created the earth in seven days, whose reference of time was that? Assuming that God could travel instantly from one side of the universe to the other, (not outside of the realm of possibility, as the theory of relativity also proved that if one could fold space time would become irrelevant).

          In our time reference, the earth is expected to be about 4.5 billions years old. I certainly hope you don’t begin a discussion with most people by asking such questions. Many would respond with hostility and simply walk away from such a juvenile approach.

          • Seth King

            Shouldn’t I have access to high velocity explosives then? I know I don’t exactly live in an area that needs a lot of tree stumps clearing but if one came alone, I would like the option to defend myself from it.

            Can I have high velocity explosives?

          • AKMaineIac

            I don’t know that it’s possible to form a response to such a statement and accompanying question that is not insulting.

            I should think that the differences between high explosives and any sort of firearm would be fairly obvious. The uses of such things, in fact the very presence of them, creates a danger.

            You can not possibly believe they are even remotely equivalent. If you have a stump needing to be removed, you can call someone or apply for a permit to have the amount of explosives you need to deal with that. The stump is not going to kill you while you wait, Seth.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            Depending on the nature of the explosives, and the task you intend to put them to, yes, you can in fact have such access. Independent of any licensing or laws, you could still quite easily manufacture such a substance yourself. My concern would be why you would feel that an area effect device such as an explosive would be suitable for personal defense. You really should rethink that strategy.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

          The Earth, at best current estimates, is approximately 4.5 to 4.6 billion years old, in a universe that, again, based on current best estimates, is approximately 13.5 to 14 billion years old. It’s important in any discussion to be cogent of the facts.

      • http://www.facebook.com/rui.barreto.3 Rui Barreto

        When you say “a lack of evidence of efficacy would be good reason to remain very skeptical about recommending such a course of action to anyone”, you are agreeing with me. The key word is “lack”, meaning it is not enough to conclude anything. The exact opposite of proving that something isn’t so. You deduced the rifle COULD be effective because there were UNCONCLUSIVE evidence of its effectiveness, instead of assuming it COULDN’T be. This is not a question of semantics, it is statistics and logic 101. When I deal with my patients, I always use the best scientific evidence available, as any other doctor. Fortunately, cases where “there is no scientific evidence (whatsoever) to support” are scarce but still demand much clinical reasoning and a great deal of patient-doctor trust and communication. In the end, I do what is best for the patient no matter what. Those cases are what makes medicine an art based on science. And, not wanting to make this a feud, my point is why the need to own firearms in the first place. Do you feel that unsafe around your town that people need a firearm capable of shooting someone’s head off for reassurance/shooting animals? I am not judging, just questioning.

        • AKMaineIac

          By all means Doc. You’re from Portugal, a different society with a different history and social construct. It’s natural you wouldn’t comprehend much about the United States. I appreciate you asking actually.

          I feel completely safe around my town and in my country. I feel safe enough that I have no problems at all having those things, and with my neighbors having those things. I’m always a bit struck by people who don’t trust others to have firearms insinuating that I am somehow “paranoid”. As far as “blowing the heads off animals” goes. I hunt, and fish, for food each spring, summer, and fall, and usually do carry a firearm when I am out and about.

          While “uncommon”, occasionally a grizzly bear will take exception to the presence of a person and either kick the hell out of them or kill them. Usually, they kill them by kicking the hell out of them until they’re dead. I carry pepper spray as well, and would generally prefer to use it, but it is not appropriate for every situation. No idea if you’ve ever seen a victim of a grizzly attack, or met one. I have, and that won’t be happening to me.

          In a free country, one is not required to demonstrate or explain a “need” for firearms. For the most part, I see a firearm as a tool and nothing that mystical or even powerful. Killing people isn’t any special talent, idiots have been doing that for most of the history of mankind.

          The difference has been that since the development of firearms, strength has been rendered moot in most situations. Even numbers have been made less important. Before firearms were developed, the biggest men and largest groups of them were able to rape, pillage, and plunder pretty much at will. Unless one was very skilled with a bow, and extremely physically strong and well trained with a sword, they were helpless.

          Now we have “laws to prevent those sort of things”? They don’t seem to be working that well actually. No better than the laws against criminals and lunatics having guns and shooting people are, as a matter of fact. Laws regulating law abiding people and their guns are not specific enough to criminals and their guns to make any difference in that.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

            Agreed. It’s safe to leave a door open here. That bump in the night really is the timbers in the floor. We don’t hear about burglaries, thefts, muggings, attacks etc. Not like back in Ireland, when these things happened to your neighbors (and yourself) as a regular occurrence. I had 6 break-in attempts on my property over a 4 year period. I was lucky. In an armed society, the cost and risk/benefit calculations favor the victim much more so than the criminal. If you want to avoid death by gun here in the U.S., the most effective thing you can do is not be involved in the illegal drug trade. We have a serious problem with that, but it tends to self limit to those involved in that “enterprise”.

          • AKMaineIac

            If one digs into the numbers, it becomes clear that firearms are not the determining risk factor for any kind of violence. Past criminal conduct, ongoing drug and alcohol problems, prior medical care for injuries sustained in fights, all carry higher risks of death and injury with a firearm.

            Violent crime is about half what it was in the 1980s in the United States. In that same period of time, we’ve locked up has roughly quintrupled from 500,000 to 2.7 million. Strangely, we’ve not had the spike in crimes that should have been expected with economic decline since 2008.

            Among even Kellerman’s study sample, 71% of the murder victims had high rates of criminal history. Studies have shown that 75% of those who kill police officers have extensive criminal histories. Criminals and victims tend to have a sorry history of crime and criminality. Those who are generally “safe” have little to no criminal history, such as the 90 million or so gun owners in the United States that didn’t shoot or threaten anyone last year.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      The firearm allows effective response to violence, and, unlike a vehicle, it’s not in operation until the instant it is required. Imagine how low the death rate on our roads would be if no car was ever driven. Given that most firearms are not fired often, tend to spend most of their time sitting inertly in gun safes or holsters,, and when they are used it is typically in separated, equipped areas, you can see why it is (excluding those crimes committed as part of the various drug wars) that firearms kill much fewer people than vehicles.

  • http://twitter.com/PorterOnSurg Chris Porter MD

    The MMWR report you supply is a nice contribution to the discussion. Thanks.

    The ‘insufficient evidence’ vs ‘evidence of ineffectiveness’ point is an epidemiologic/statistical principle, not an ideologic one.

    I agree we don’t have clear evidence that weapons bans have made a difference. I also believe we will not see a measurable difference, with tighter regulation, for generations.

    This debate never hinges on statistics. Nor does legislation. But if nothing is proven to reduce gun violence, is doing nothing the right response to Sandy Hook? Is arming our schools the right response? Who do we consult for solutions – the NRA or England? These are questions of identity and ideology, with different answers in different communities and with a slow generational shift toward restricting gun access.

    http://www.pewresearch.org/files/old-assets/pdf/gun-control-2011.pdf

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

      UK has 35-times lower death by firearms rates.

      Per our “patriots” they must have so much less freedom and most likely suffer under “socialist”, freedom=grabbing government.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

        But they have a higher violent crime rate. Remember, most non-suicide firearms homicides tend to be drug/gang related. Factor those two items, and the U.S. death rate falls in line with many European countries, and with much lower violent crimes than most any European nation to boot.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jan-Matys/100003028623887 Jan Matys

    As you write: “They fully and completely ignore any beneficial effects or uses of firearms.”

    Can you, please, tell me what benefits say inhabitants of UK (35-times lower death by firearms rates) or Canada (3-times lower) or Australia (9-times lower) are missing by not having that many firearms and thus deaths by firearms?

    Having (much) lower gun ownership in a society and national economy (thus also much lower death by firearms rates) is in my view much more desirable state of affairs, even when arms and ammo manufacturers and funeral home business contribution to GDP are subtracted.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      Having lived in one of those societies, I can tell you the disadvantages of having a disarmed population – an overall increase in the acceptance and occurrence of violence and violent acts. Violence, both verbal and physical, are far more an element of daily life. You get used to seeing it, day in day out. From pub brawls, to the elderly being mugged and picked on, to families being bullied, etc. It tends to bias criminal acts in favor of those who are physically more capable, more inclined to violence, and who associate with others of the same nature. More property crime tends to happen in the presence of the victim, typically because the criminal will bring greater physical capability, and has less to fear from a victim. Also, states that have restrictions also tend to have restrictions on the scope and options available for self defense, restrictions which of course will not apply to attackers. I’ve lived here 8 years, and I’ve not seen a single altercation of any kind. That’s a real eye-opener, coming from a relatively gun-free country as I have. I would have expected to come across at least one such event per month, but so far nothing. You don’t realize how much more peaceful a society you have here.

  • civisisus

    By confirming you’re a “NRA life member”, all you’ve cleared up is that you’re a brainless enabler of some of the most perfidious creatures drawing breath on this planet. So, thanks for that! What a relief to know we can safely ignore ‘your’ opinions.

    • Ambulance_Driver

      Thanks oh so much for your commentary.

      To you have anything useful to add, or is your entire contribution going to be grade school insults?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      Again, there’s that abandonment of facts and reason to personal prejudice. Can there really be any understanding when we sink this low?

  • http://twitter.com/PorterOnSurg Chris Porter MD

    Why is reducing the number of firearms in society stupid as a goal? Do you mean impossible in America, or undesirable as a principle?

    • AKMaineIac

      Undesirable as a goal because it results in fewer firearms in the hands of people who were disinclined toward violence in the first place. It’s like developing an antibiotic that “only” targets the bacteria in the gut. Tell me, please. “WHO” do you think will be the first to give up firearms? Criminals? Lunatics? Murderers? Drug dealers? Come on. Only people going to give up guns will be the ones who never would have anybody anyway. How does that help anything?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/James-Corbally/1708640742 James Corbally

      Effectively both. Undesirable as it limits ownership of an item that is relatively low down on the list of causes of death, not to mention it requires limitations of personal freedom. However, given the data we do have, it would also place additional burdens on those who are victims of crime, and would negatively affect both the risk/benefit and cost/benefit balances in favor of criminals. Remember, for every crime committed, there are several prevented by firearms owners.

  • nomidazolam

    What *I* don’t understand is why the victims would prefer to be shot to death instead of having their own gun to take out the gun toting maniac? Seriously? It’s better to be a sitting duck (gun metaphor) than to have a means of saving your own life and others? The laws in place say that you may NOT go into a gun free zone with a gun. Its against the law to murder people. People with obvious mental problems may NOT own a firearm, although knives and blunt instruments are readily available and just as lethal. Nearly ever single thrill killer is on some kind of mind melting LEGAL, FDA approved drug, maybe we should outlaw those first? So I’m thinking that any new gun laws are not going to pertain to the criminal element. Just a thought. As a woman I have carried something with me for many decades. How many times do you think I’ve had to gun somebody down? Not once. But I feel I have every right (constitution) to possess a weapon on the off chance that something like Sandy Hook goes down while I’m around. I prefer to live. A gun gives me the means and opportunity.

Most Popular