More about Guns

I’ve written about guns before, here and here. Plus, in the comments of this post, which wasn’t specifically about guns, there developed a great debate about them.

My frequent commenter Bob S. left a request on my About Page. Here’s the gist of it:

Something you’ve said a couple of times has stuck with me

“I just go by what seems to make sense to me.
What I’m going by is just common sense as I see it. What makes sense to me is fewer guns means fewer shootings.”

I’m not trying to start a fight, far from it. I’ve heard this on other sites also. My problem is that I’m on the other side. I can’t see many common sense arguments against having firearms.

I was wondering if you could help me out by discussing, either in email or on a post, where common sense would say it’s not preferable to have firearms.

I can think of a couple; immature young people, felons convicted of violent crimes, felons in jail, certain courtroom situations (divorce court, criminal proceedings).

So, if you are willing, where else does common sense say it isn’t appropriate to have a firearm?

Well, Bob, how about alcoholics. Sober alcoholics in recovery, let’s say, who decide to take a drink. Should they have easy access to guns? I say no. That goes even more for alcoholics who are not sober. People who abuse drugs in any form, the same. Depressed people, who might from time to time consider suicide, should not have guns. Those prone to road rage or who lose control of their anger at home with the wife or girlfriend. Children. You might want to say, who would give guns to kids? I’m talking about the kids who steal daddy’s or big brother’s gun and take it to school. It’s on the news every once in a while. You may have seen it. What about the men who are insecure and have the inferiority complex that only a gun can cure? Perhaps you know the type. Although they may not represent an immediate threat like some of the other groups I mentioned, I don’t feel comfortable with their being armed.

Last week Weer’d Beard, whom I now consider an internet friend, left me a comment including the following: “I’ve never seen an argument or harsh words (even about gun-banning politicians), never seen a fight or an argument, never seen a gun drawn in anger.” He was talking about the several hundred shooting range friends he has. I think upon closer scrutiny, or just using that famous common sense that I like more than statistics, even he would be forced to admit that some percentage of his shooting buddies fall into those categories I mentioned above.

Now, all these people are among the “good guys.” What about the criminals? I believe the proliferation of guns has become so widespread that some small percentage ends up in the hands of the criminals. Houses and cars are broken into. Guns are pawned in tough times and end up who knows where. Teenagers who are going bad have been known to sell off parts of the family arsenal, adding to the swirling black market.

There’s much more.  I just wrote off the top of my head without researching what the “professional” gun control people have to say about it. And let me repeat, I’m not talking about legislation or taking your guns away.  I’m just talking theory not solutions.

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26 Comments on “More about Guns”

  1. Thomas Says:

    You’re silly.

    I’ve finished up work for the evening, having my afterwork beer with dinner and a gun on the computer desk because it’s right by where I put my wallet and NONE of my firearms are shooting anybody. I actually personally know a World IPSC champ shooter that likes to drink a bit and he hasn’t killed anybody either for damn near 75 years. Even when he was a California cop and a perp shot at him.

    I’ve seen people die. It’s not pleasant. It’s not advocated for the most part other than my death penalty views.

    Stupid is as stupid does. Drugs, alcohol, blah…. Hell those are normal in a lot of the land of the military….shhh….don’t tell anybody.

    I drank a beer as I watched a Zim refugee cut through the fence at my friend’s farm on the RSA side of the three tier electic razor wire fences as we ate impala sammiches and we all had rifles and pistols handy and alcohol available and DIDN’T KILL ANYBODY. Even when one of the people with me was the person who owned the farm where the fence was being cut and it was going to cost him money to fix.

    Are you going to judge people’s rights by the lowest effin’ common denominator of humans? Are you going to take everybody’s cars away. They kill a f-load of people. When we rule the world, people like you will be convicted in a legal and formal court of law and on death row but nobody will shoot you, you will get to ride the Spanish Donkey, eventually. Shooting would be too merciful.

    You hardly deserve the civil rights of a toad because I believe you are mis-using your freedom of speech.

    Find another straw man.

    I read your blog because you make me laugh but it’s at you, not with you.

  2. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thomas, I understand this is a passionate debate for you, but I think my not deserving “the civil rights of a toad,” is a bit of an overreaction. You called me silly and said that you laugh at me not with me. That stings, I don’t know why it should, but it does.

    You said, “I actually personally know a World IPSC champ shooter that likes to drink a bit and he hasn’t killed anybody either for damn near 75 years. Even when he was a California cop and a perp shot at him.” Well, what’s that got to do with it? I said nothing about drinking “a bit.” I named a number of categories of people whom I think could not safely own guns. What’s so hard about that?

  3. Bob S. Says:

    Mike,

    Thanks for the reply. I’ve heard a lot of people mention using common sense but few would define what they mean by it.

    I want to think about your post for a bit before I continue the debate.

    Thanks for keeping an open mind and an open board. It’s nice to have a discussion that normally doesn’t devolve to a flame war.

    Sorry for Thomas, trust me he’s not indicative of all gun rights advocates.

  4. Weer'd Beard Says:

    “I think upon closer scrutiny, or just using that famous common sense that I like more than statistics, even he would be forced to admit that some percentage of his shooting buddies fall into those categories I mentioned above.”

    Nope, and hasn’t been for 40 years:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Control_Act

    Have a quick read over of that list.
    Addicts cannot own or buy guns until they deemed by a court (usually through the completion of a recovery program)

    “Those prone to road rage or who lose control of their anger at home with the wife or girlfriend”

    All Felonies (even non-violent ones) and any charges of domestic violence will preclude you from legally owning or buying guns.

    “Children. You might want to say, who would give guns to kids? I’m talking about the kids who steal daddy’s or big brother’s gun and take it to school.”

    Must be 18 to buy or own a rifle, 21 to buy own or carry a handgun. There are some variations to some of these laws, such as in Maine its legal to carry a rifle alone if you posses a state hunting license (which requires training and testing), but an adult needs to have bought the gun for you. As for stealing a gun, that’s a crime, and already for most dangerous items, leaving something in an unsafe condition is a personal liability. If my kid shoots somebody with a gun I left loaded on the living room coffee table, I’m negligent, and gonna see some time in jail….and loose my guns (see above) the same goes with if I leave my car idling by the side of the road with my keys in the ignition while I run to take a pee….somebody grabs my car and runs somebody over I’ll be facing charges….and even though a gun wasn’t involved, I’ll loose all my guns.

    “Now, all these people are among the “good guys.” What about the criminals? I believe the proliferation of guns has become so widespread that some small percentage ends up in the hands of the criminals. Houses and cars are broken into. Guns are pawned in tough times and end up who knows where. Teenagers who are going bad have been known to sell off parts of the family arsenal, adding to the swirling black market.”

    The first part IS true, there are very few guns in the English black-market that are stolen property, because so few guns are in the general population. Of course I’ll point out that there are still plenty of guns there, just more are smuggled in from out-of-country, or built by hand.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9xf62PKC5M I think I’ve posted that video before. The high-quality guns that I enjoy are VERY difficult to make….but to make a gun of lesser quality its not very hard.

    As for black-market pawning that’s something that disgusts me these days. You see you can’t actually BUY a gun from a factory. Each gun is made in a factory, and at the factory a serial number is placed on one of the parts (usually in multiple places…this is the frame of a handgun, and various places on rifles) these numbers are cataloged and shipped to to Federal Firearms License holders (FFLs, best known as gunshops) who again catalog guns received. When a person buys the gun they take a National Instant Background Check (NICS) that screens the for any of the above discussed restrictions, and they need to fill out a form that is sent to the ATF that has the name, the NICS check and the serial number and description of the gun being sold.

    Also FFLs can BUY guns from the general population, when they buy a gun they log the gun and the person who sold it to them in their log book. If they sell that gun again it goes under the same process as with a new gun, and paperwork again goes to the ATF.

    When a gun is found on a crime scene unless the serial number is filed off (which is VERY hard to do as there are techniques to reveal a number that has been filed off or obliterated) the ATF quickly knows where the gun was built, where the gun was shipped to, who the gun was sold to there, and any subsequent FFL transfers. If an FFL fails to keep meticulous records, or are selling outside the law, they are subject to loose their license, their business, and all their guns. If that seller is found to have sold their gun illegally (now this can be a blatant black-market sale out of the trunk of a car in a seedy alley….or a simple mistake of selling a gun to a good friend who you’ve known for 40 years….but happened to have been caught with a dime-bag of pot when he was in college and is a felon) then this person is convicted, faces fines, jail time, and you guessed it! Loss of all their guns!

    Private sellers are expected to keep records of guns legally sold so they can aid criminal investigations that may involve a gun being sold privately, if you sell a gun to somebody who then pawns it illegally you’ll find yourself in a LOT of hot water unless you can produce a bill of sale to clear your name (Driver’s license number, or gun permit numbers are very good things to keep for all sold guns)

    If somebody is selling guns out of their home, and then attempting to hide it as Theft, they won’t be able to run much of a business, as after a few traces the story will look VERY suspicious.

    Oh another thing I forgot, when buying from an FFL if you buy 3 or more handguns and additional form is sent to the ATF with the transaction to help them watch for illegal wholesalers.

    No statistics, just how the law works for gun owners. So no, my friends on the firing line DON’T fit into that group of people because those people are BANNED from owning guns, and if they cross any of the lines (lines that really aren’t that big a deal for most non-gun-owners….how many people do you know got nailed with some drug possession? They didn’t like it, but after a few months its forgotten…not for us!!!), we don’t stray from these lines because our 2nd Amendment rights are too important to be stripped FOREVER for a minor infraction.

    Mike, I apriciate that you’re sticking with this subject, and I hope you’re getting a better understanding of where the Common Sense really does reside.

  5. Weer'd Beard Says:

    Oh NO! Did my reply get eaten?

  6. Weer'd Beard Says:

    If it did I’ll do a VERY short version:
    “I think upon closer scrutiny, or just using that famous common sense that I like more than statistics, even he would be forced to admit that some percentage of his shooting buddies fall into those categories I mentioned above.”
    Short answer: NO, because they CAN’T!!
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_Control_Act

    All of the above cases of people who you think shouldn’t have guns CAN’T legally! They haven’t been able to for 40 years! If you violate any of those things mentioned you loose ALL YOUR GUNS FOREVER! Full Stop, end of story!

    So the people I hang out with on the firing line are the most law abiding people I know because they value their second amendment rights far too much for them to be stripped forever on a technicality.

    As for the whole theft, illegal transfer, and pawning. The ATF can track any gun from a factory to a licensed gun shop to the legal citizen (who need to pass a background check to verify that they don’t meet any of the above restrictions). If a gun ever comes back into the store to be legally sold the process starts all over, and the ATF sees all!

    As for theft and private sale, if your guns are legitimately stolen you will be asked to help police to find the guns. If you sold the gun to somebody who cannot legally posses one you are now a felon and will be facing fines, jail time, and loss of all guns FOREVER. If you LEGALLY sell a gun to somebody who then sells it illegally you will be asked to produce a bill of sale to further the investigation and clear your name. Also if you buy more than 3 handguns at one time from a gun dealer an additional piece of paperwork is filled out and sent to the ATF in efforts to crack down on illegal gun wholesalers. If a gun dealer is violating the law, or not keeping proper records of transactions they face loosing their license, their business, and all their guns FOREVER.

    No statistics, just common sense here. The people who legally own guns are law abiding people because they HAVE to be, the people who illegally own them have more than enough laws to send then out of society for a long time (Sadly here in Boston where violent crime is a serious problem, judges take pity on the animals committing these crimes and give light sentences, often followed by more serious crimes, like murder, while the convict is still under parole!)

    It seems your big problem with the issue is not knowing gun owners, and the laws and system we live under.

    I hope we can get to a better understanding of where common sense actually resides.

  7. Weer'd Beard Says:

    Looks like it did get posted. Good, just delete the last two as they’re meaningless and/or superfluous.

    This post on the other hand got me thinking of you, Mike
    http://munchkinwrangler.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/tales-from-a-gun-free-society/

    Shows a great example of the opposite side of the coin. I use England as an example of how we shouldn’t run things around here. Seeing as America is a former commonwealth of the British Empire, and we share the same language, and often the same religion, Americans and Britons can be compared as a similar people (even our 2nd Amendment rights were bases somewhat on old British law that required a subject of the king to protect the realm with weapons)

    Still Brits have banned all but the most genteel guns (and having guns just for sport and hunting alone is barbaric IMHO, just ban them all at that point as you can’t SAVE lives at that point, but you can still have hunting accidents, or the guns stolen and END lives….worthless!) they are banning knives, most of the cities are under camera surveillance, and social services are provided by the state at much greater numbers for the price of a massive tax burden against the upper class.

    meanwhile they have MORE gun crime than the US per capita, and more violent crime.

    This is why I fight so hard on the issue….this is what I see as the future of the US if people with nothing but love and understanding in their hearts…but an aversion to history, and statistics get their way for too long. And how long before a place like UK or the EU go from the borderline Police state they’ve become to the “Paradise” of Stalin and Mao?

    I don’t think what you want is necessarily wrong, or bad. But in the end the numbers and data and history have shown that it just doesn’t work like that.

    You may not change your mind, but I’m glad your listening, and providing thoughtful rebuttals on these issues!

  8. Nomen Nescio Says:

    “common sense is what tells us the world is flat”.

    Sober alcoholics in recovery, let’s say, who decide to take a drink. Should they have easy access to guns? I say no.

    some folks, including some self-described sober alcoholics, claim that if you’ve once been an alcoholic you remain such until your dying day, even if you’ve been many decades sober. do you agree? if you do, i have a really hard time seeing how this is not a ridiculous overreaction.

    That goes even more for alcoholics who are not sober. People who abuse drugs in any form, the same.

    this is one of those “common sense” ideas where, if you want it actually implemented, somebody will have to sit down and define the terms first. what counts as “abusing drugs”, and what counts as “drugs”? me, i’m addicted to caffeine. i intend to remain such, unrepentantly. who are you to say that some Mormon’s common sense would never end up barring me? (i would not comply with such “common sense”, for what it’s worth.)

    Depressed people, who might from time to time consider suicide, should not have guns.

    useless, worthless hogwash. i speak here from experience.

    like most, i had the obligatory encounter with adolescent angst in my mid-teens to mid-twenties. mine was a bit deeper than most; i spent years contemplating suicide. not having access to a gun had no impact on my plans, nor on my abilities to kill myself. now that i do have access to guns, nothing has changed in this respect.

    some free advice from the dark side: the major obstacle to suicide is not and never has been finding an easy, reliable means of killing oneself. the physical mechanics of death are laughably simple, as illustrated by the scores of drunken (and sober, for that matter) idiots who manage it by accident every year. instead, what keeps suicidal folks from completing the act is the enormous difficulty in overcoming the survival instinct, which is pretty much universal, and operates far below the conscious personality. even if humans came with a handy dandy off switch built in, it would be near impossible to voluntarily flip.

    more free advice: having an easy, painless, and reliable means of suicide close at hand can help keep a suicidal person alive. the security of having that “emergency exit” available just in case the pain of living ever gets too great, can be enough comfort to keep that pain from ever getting too great. (me, i had a couple. none so good as a shotgun might’ve been, but good enough. i’m still breathing, and now that i do have a shotgun, i’m not giving it up.)

    Those prone to road rage or who lose control of their anger at home with the wife or girlfriend.

    as with drugs, above, define your terms. i believe weerd also weighed in on people convicted of domestic violence; they’re already barred from gun ownership in the U.S., as they should be.

    Children. You might want to say, who would give guns to kids? I’m talking about the kids who steal daddy’s or big brother’s gun and take it to school.

    kids being humans, you cannot kid-proof your guns; you must gun-proof your kids. this is an education problem. do children ever steal the drain cleaner from under the kitchen sink to take to school and show off the deadly poison? no? there’s a reason for that, and it can be extrapolated to guns.

    What about the men who are insecure and have the inferiority complex that only a gun can cure?

    show me a few.

    now, for balance, what about listing a few categories of people who should have guns? i’ll start off: people in wheelchairs; asthmatics, who can neither run from crime nor use pepper spray (which should be sold in every hardware store, by the way, as it properly is where i live); persecuted minorities, such as homosexuals or (in the USA) colored people.

    one thing you have a point about is thefts feeding the black market. this troubles me, largely because i have no good answers for it. the ideal first step in preventing gun theft is to get a good gun safe, for locking up your weapons in; but safes are expensive. requiring them would be heavily discriminatory against poor people, and as a socialist, that puts my egalitarian nerves badly on edge. (besides, “poor people” could be argued to have a large overlap with “people who need guns” in any event.) i don’t know how to help solve this problem, and it bothers me.

  9. Weer'd Beard Says:

    GREAT post! The only thing I can add is to the last two paragraphs. Don’t forget Women (#1 victim class for rape in the world!) the elderly, and anybody of slight build or strength.

    As for Theft and black market, the ATF has altogether so much power on the issue, if a gun is discovered in a routine traffic stop and Police know the gun is illigally held (a concealed weapon without a permit is a big red flag….and the fact that police give all people detained a NICS check, a flunk to this will also be a red flag) the ATF knows EVERYTHING about that gun and within a week’s time can find either the rightful owner of that gun or the person who criminally sold it. Why they don’t is a mystery to me.

    But untill the Police put these people in Jail I’d like the best tools possible so I can protect myself and my family until the Police arrive if I find these people first.

  10. Nomen Nescio Says:

    oh, just one more detail… pawn shops — legally operating ones, that is; i dunno if the mafia runs black-market ones in the back alleys or not — must hold federal firearms licenses to shift guns across their counters. if you get a gun from a pawn shop in the USA, you will have to fill out a BATF form 4473 and the clerk will call in an instant background check on you, just as if you had bought it from a gun store. this even if it’s your gun that you’re redeeming by paying back the pawn loan.

    i believe most pawn shops also run a stolen-gun check on the serial number of every firearm they take in, but i’m not sure if that’s required by law or not. i’m quite sure that trying to pawn a gun that would be illegal for you to own would be one of those classic “really stupid crook” Bad Ideas(tm).

  11. Bob S. Says:

    Mike,

    Nomen raises some very valid and excellent points, so did Weer’d. I would like to take a different approach.

    How does one legislative common sense?
    Even if all of your points were valid, the whole world agreed to prevent those people listed from having firearms; how does one implement it?

    Most people aren’t alcoholics their entire lives, aren’t clinically depressed from childhood; so how do we detect and enforce the law on those people who common sense says should turn in any previously purchased firearms?

    I have friends that are functional alcoholics, they work, take care of most of their responsibilities and for all outward appearances are indistinguishable for anyone else.
    How do we prevent those people from purchasing or keeping firearms?

    Without resorting to a totalitarian government, I really don’t see any way of doing it.
    Common sense says we shouldn’t get drunk and drive, but it happens. Shouldn’t common sense say put an alcohol interlock on every car, make people use the breathalzyer before driving?

    There is a blog called “Sharp as a Marble” by Robb Allen, he has an excellent example of what Nomen said about gun proofing the kids. He left a gun case, empty, on the floor of a room. His 5 year old daughter, 5 mind you saw the case and yelled out “Daddy, I found a gun, I’m leaving the room”. We trust kids to do the right thing with drain cleaner, knives, bath tubs, why not firearms. It’s common sense but nothing can every prevent it’s lapse.

    I’ll answer the theft issue; on two points. If firearm ownership is common, easy and low cost; then fewer firearms will need to be stolen. Just common sense that if someone can get a firearm before they become a criminal, there is less need to steal one.
    Also, if there are more firearms in homes and on the streets; common sense says the competitive edge they provide is weakened. Currently, only a very minute portion of the population is authorized by the government to carry firearms. What does increasing that percentage dramatically do to the risk reward equation for a mugger or car jacker? It risk increases greatly for the same reward. Even if the person mugged doesn’t carry, it’s possible that a witness would. That is why crime has fallen when concealed carry laws and castle doctrine laws are implemented.

    Read the post by Marko at Munchkin Wrangler, it talks about the culture issue that I mentioned earlier.

    By the way, notice not one stat?
    My pet peeve is people posting information as fact without supporting it or even providing the information. That is why I give the stats, to show that the facts don’t support banning guns.

  12. Weer'd Beard Says:

    Just FYI, Robb’s server just blew up so some of his fantastic posts might have gone down the memory hole.

    Also on a cultural sense look at “Prohibited Items”, while people DO drunk drive (I would add “Too Much” but is there such thing as “too little”?) but overall as a culture we supply designated drivers, and most bar-heavy areas are LOADED with cabs late at night. Boston the Subway is free on New Year’s Eve. But how many of us know people who smoke Marijuana while driving or just before it? Or how about people who will smoke right when they get out of Bed (“Wake and Bake”, if you will) meanwhile many people will wait for a certain time of day before popping their first beer, even on a weekend. Also around here Highschool kids with problems with drugs an alcohol will say that getting drugs is easy business, but its harder to get alcohol. Why? Because we HAVE alcohol dealers, and they’re all legal dealers and won’t sell to kids….but somebody selling drugs, what’s it to them if the buyer is 13 or 30 if their money is good?

    Guns appear, right now, to be right on that cusp. There are so many people who just want them “Gone” (good luck putting that genie back in the bottle) so something as simple as basic gun safety (For young kids things like Eddie Eagle’s “Stop, don’t touch, leave the area, find an adult” very similar to “Stop Drop and Roll” that we all know by heart….for older kids things like the 4 rules of gun safety, I would say basic marksmanship in PE, but that could go either way with me) is forbidden, and its become so much a taboo that even a fairly reasonable Teacher friend of mine totally freaked out when I relayed a story of a kid bringing in a spent shell casing he picked up at a 21 gun salute on Memorial day *To ad insult to injury it was a .30-06 Blank round that had been fired*. A police officer brought in confiscated drugs to school one day just so we’d know what drugs looked like and to “Just say no!”, but the idea of somebody having an inert piece of brass that once had SOMETHING to do with a GUN is a bad thing!!??!??

  13. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thanks guys, I just read all these posts and I’M EXHAUSTED. Honest to God, I’m dead. It’s getting late here, late for me anyway. I really don’t think you’re persuading me to change sides, but I truly enjoy the discussion. Thanks for that.

  14. Weer'd Beard Says:

    Its a hefty thread, indeed! Feel free to dump my extraneous posts after I thought my LOOOONG one got et by the langoleers.

    Thanks for providing a great forum for conversation from both sides of the political spectrum!

  15. Thomas Says:

    If you can’t be trusted with a firearm you should be serving a custodial sentence or in the booby hatch. You can’t nerf the world.

    Sorry if I’m “blunt”, but I am, by nature, “blunt” about these sorts of things and I really disliked the way you have an inclination to crucify Ivins too, being as I have little birdies I know who worked at Fort D. for decades with him and they all cry FOUL. Word to the wise. You don’t get approved to do ricin research at Ft. D if you are a loose cannon. You can take that or leave it.

    I’m not sure if you are to be trusted with a keyboard without supervision. You might do something irresponsible with it.

    My two cents. Take it anyway you want but I’m entitled to an opinion too.

    You showed up on the radar because of the beardman and I’ve been inclined to laugh at most everything you typed I’ve read. It’s my personal opinion, and I appreciate the entertainment value, but that’s what you are–a cartoon.

  16. Thomas Says:

    Just for Bonus points and sh*ts and giggles:

    After being hounded to suicide by the FBI, Ivins, a gun owner, overdosed on Tylenol.

  17. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thomas, I haven’t objected to anything you’ve said so far, but what you said here is too much: “I really disliked the way you have an inclination to crucify Ivins too”

    If you care to reread what I wrote about the man, I think you’ll see that all my inferences were aimed at the government. I called it a “convenient” suicide. Does that sound like I want to crucify him?

  18. mikeb302000 Says:

    Dear Bob, Weer’d and Nomen, Man, you guys are really tough on me; you don’t give an inch. At least Nomen allowed, “one thing you have a point about is thefts feeding the black market.”

    My main feeling when reading your comments is that you guys are talking from personal first-hand experience, while I, although I do have some history of gun experience to draw upon, am mainly theorizing in my head. I bow to your greater on-hands knowledge of the subject.

    Nevertheless, your (all of your) adamant denial, pretty much of every point I’ve tried to make, makes me wonder if you might be suffering from some small amount of rationalization leading to justification. It’s a natural human tendency. But, regardless of that, I feel that you three guys, and some of the other commenters have been totally sincere and honest. It’s beautiful.

  19. Weer'd Beard Says:

    I hope I haven’t been in denial on issues. Maybe I’m over simplifying the issues just because I know your eyes cross when you read statistics, but I see it ALL as statistics.

    Things like you have more of a chance of getting hit by a car if you cross the street. Yeah, well DUH to that one….but then look at the chances…then break down those numbers (How many were adult people in good health *ie not blind or deaf or infirm* who looked both ways were hit, vs. people doing “somthing stupid” like a child chasing a ball into the road) So I’ll be crossing the street whenever I need to. I’ll do it with caution, and if I have a child with me I’ll be tightly holding that little hand!

    So are there legal gun owners who are drunks, crazies, or wife beaters? Yep! Sure are! Of course for that to work there needs to be a lack of conviction (we all deserve due process!) or a technicality like VT’s Sung Cho (He was adjudicated mentally ill and a danger to himself and others by a Judge, but the judge sentenced him to VOLUNTARY mental health treatment! You need to have been involuntarily committed for you to be “too ill” to own guns. Makes sense to me, frankly, because I know people with ADD, Depression….hell most gun owners do things that could be viewed as Obsessive Compulsive when it comes to care, cleaning, and checking the chambers of our guns. No reason why these people can’t own guns….or work in a daycare a hospital ect)

    Just recently a man with a Concealed weapons permit shot and killed a police officer. That’s horrible…but when you go to the data that shows that something to the tune of 0.02% of all CCW permits are revoked for violent offenses, you get the picture that this is something like somebody wondering if he shouldn’t step off the curb.

    Yes, the majority of the guns on the streets are stolen property from legal gun owners, but I see banning guns so they can’t be stolen (when making them by hand isn’t very hard, and smuggling them in with shipments of cocaine or heroin, or illegal aliens) is similar to the argument of banning guns because of suicide (Thomas, while being more than a little gruff does make the valid point that there are MANY means of killing yourself, and some people see those as methods are preferable to shooting….more stats, but Japan leads the developed world in suicides, Russia is not to far behind, these places have little to no civilian guns)

    So yeah there is a REALLY ugly side to gun ownership (as is there a REALLY ugly side to my Scotch collection when you factor in alcoholics, liver and kidney disease and drunk driving, and drunken violence) but when put into perspective with the number of guns that AREN’T DOING ANYTHING here, and the number of guns that SAVE lives (often without even taking a life in turn) it starts looking like any other social argument. Teach responsibility, don’t punish people for good behavior, and severely punish people for bad behavior.

    Somebody gets drunk and smashes into a pregnant woman on her way home from the night shift, we punish the drunk. We punish the bar if they can be found negligent (as a former bartender I’ll definitely state that’s a ROUGH call as most people safely and responsibly moderate there intake and their methods to arriving home) But why take MY scotch away? What have I done?

    Go deeper and look at the United State’s ham-handed attempt to ban alcohol. Suddenly moonshiners and bootleggers showed up in DROVES! There aren’t many shiners anymore as there’s no reason to do it, most are hobbyists or spendthrifts, or just plain old rebels wanting to give a overzealous government the finger, but back then there were scads of them. Booze was being hidden in shipping crates and picked up at the docks. Speakeasies came around to distribute the booze and protect the drinkers from the Police. Gangs gained power from running booze and they began to do other illegal activities (Between Al Capone’s Mob, and the bank robbers of the great depression this gave rise to America’s ban on Machine guns. Before then Machine guns could be bought with as much ease as a washing machine, it took a great depression and an organized Mafia to make them cause problems….and again even these people were only a small percentage of the general population) they say the prohibition of Alcohol is what got America its taste for fermented beverages. Now we have movies like Sideways, and terms like “Jonny Six-Pack” (Beer was the first beverage to be allowed when America realized prohibition was a total blunder)

    So its my assertion that yes with gun ownership comes HUGE responsibility, and when people act irresponsibly or outside the law HUGE problems. Of course you know from my statements and Blogs that I’m all for MASSIVE punishment for those who act irresponsibly, be it violent gun owners…just violent non-gun owners, or drunk drivers, or people cheating on their taxes….or their wives!

    But what I can’t stand behind is punishing the majority of people because a handful of people (some who go unpunished) can’t act right. This goes double when you factor in personal protection, and the ability of the gun to allow those who are weak to be strong.

    Maybe that makes it a little more clear?

  20. Bob S. Says:

    Mike,

    I was thinking the same thing about you:

    Nevertheless, your (all of your) adamant denial, pretty much of every point I’ve tried to make, makes me wonder if you might be suffering from some small amount of rationalization leading to justification

    A minor quibble, I don’t think we are in denial, but in rebuttal of your points. Each side has a point of view. You’ve expressed yours well. None of us are lawyers, scholars, or lobbyists, just a few schmucks (no offense meant), sitting around talking about the important things in life. No name calling, no hard feelings (I hope), but polite civilized conversation. Weer’d and I have mentioned occasionally how rare your site is, trust me we appreciate your open forum.

    For me, this issue is personal and important. I have a family to protect and I have to protect myself to be around for my family. Pull up the Dallas Morning News or the Fort Worth Star-Telegram to see the level of crime in the cities near me.

    Most of the gun owners are responsible people who have spend the effort to study the issue enough to make an informed decision. My decision has been to learn to use firearms for self defense.

    Thanks again

  21. Thomas Says:

    If you want to gunproof kids, do what my gunsmith friend did for his daughter. He he built her “her own” AR-15 (legally his, of course) for her sixth birthday and taught her to use it because she was starting to outgrow her .22 she got when she was four and the doesn’t have the physical strength to operate a good break open precision air rifle yet. When she gets a bit bigger she can have a pellet gun. Was cheaper to make her an AR like dads (but pink) than to buy a good pre-charged, fed off of a scuba tank, air rifle. =]

    She goes hunting with her dad and knows what bullets do to animal meat and wouldn’t be inclined to shoot any of her friends or classmates.

    Maybe I misread you on Ivins, Mike, but I’ve been disinclined to agree with most everything I’ve read you type in your “main posts”. Still, it passes the time…

  22. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thomas, Thanks for what you said about the Ivins business. And that’s sure a fascinating picture you gave us of the 6-year-old girl learning about guns. Actually, it doesn’t sound too shocking or frightening to me given the parental supervision you described. Earlier I was talking about the cases of irresponsibly leaving guns where the kids can find them, kids unlike the girl you described, who don’t know how lethal they can be. But, all the commenters seem to agree these cases are rare; most gun owners are extremely responsible. I hope that’s true.

  23. Thomas Says:

    I can be contentious at times. Mix swiss/roosky/dutch/afrikaaner and you get a lot of fights at the dinner table.

    The thing I really don’t get about gun controllers was surmised by a fellow I know, and this goes back to the idea that people that can’t be trusted should be serving custodial sentences.

    Paraphrase of his thoughts and mine:

    If you live in a society where guns (and other weapons) exist (which is every society on earth, I don’t care how you try to dice it, but it’s true), it means a criminal or idiot can get a gun, so if you don’t trust the criminal or idiot to have a gun, why did you let him out of the prison or booby hatch to begin with? Doesn’t compute in Thomas logic…parsing error…recheck your code…

  24. Thomas Says:

    For what it’s worth, love it or leave it, this is where a lot of us come from and Mike V. summed it up nicely more than once at Western Rifle Shooters. You should read his stuff, BTW, especially the bit on Birmingham, AL he just wrote.

    We’re intelligent normal non-racist people and shake our heads a lot at things that seem illogical. Many are ex or current US Military and LEOs. Nobody is looking for another Waco or a Civil War but idiots on both sides. Us being armed prevents anybody from contemplating a civil war. Hell, if Koresh et al had wanted to, there wouldn’t have been a single ATF agent that left alive but all they wanted was to be left alone which is why they only killed four and let them collect the bodies and go home to re-arm and hire more men.

    In an odd historical parallel, you might study the Boer Wars. For the most part the Boers just wanted to be left alone to live as they saw fit but they kept accidentally settling on land the British wanted. None of them were keen on fighting, but they were quite competent at it when the fights happened because it was their land and they weren’t hired mercenaries,. They had a vested interest in protecting their family and ways of life.

    A person not trusting us with a gun is like a person not trusting us with a plow or a hammer or a scythe or a tractor. We’re suspicious of the motives of a ruling class to attempt to disarm us because we haven’t done anything wrong with our arms and we’ve done quite a bit of “right” while witnessing an impressively long human history of genocides against unarmed people perpetrated by their governments.

  25. mikeb302000 Says:

    Thomas, Thanks for those last two messages; I enjoyed reading them. I never spoke about legislation or gun control. Mine have all been theoretical comments, philosophical ones. I realize that these questions are more than that to you, that they’re very personal. I can respect that.

  26. Thomas Says:

    Cool. Sorry to be hotheaded at times about this but I’ve made it through 30+ years of firearms ownership without being hotheaded with a firearm or my fists. Words don’t kill people, more often than not, unless the words are used to convince people wrong ideas. =]


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