Dark matter skews the gun control equation

gunAmerica extended its towering global leadership in mass murder over the weekend. A man gunned down his wife and four daughters in Roswell, New Mexico, raising this year’s toll of mass-shooting incidents to 133.

You may not have heard about that one. It was just a single family murdered in their home. Their father didn’t take time to pledge allegiance to a terrorist group, pose in front of a Confederate flag, or raid a Planned Parenthood prior to killing them. At the pace we’re running, we can’t be bothered to care about a mass gun killing unless the perpetrator goes to some effort to build a unique narrative. The death of that family in Roswell was ordinary. It was routine.

Mass killings in the US have spiked in recent years despite a decades-long decline in overall violence. What has remained constant across decades is America’s striking level of gun carnage in comparison to the rest of the world. Homicides may be declining, but we are no closer to the kind of public safety every other respectable country’s citizens take for granted.

No other functioning nation on the planet allows unregulated, unlicensed, untracked ownership of firearms. By magical coincidence, no other civilized nation experiences near-weekly mass shootings. As a “we’re #1” special bonus, no other country racks up dozens of annual deaths at the hands of gun-toting toddlers. We have a gun problem.

So, why don’t Americans care enough about each other, about their kids, or about themselves to pass even the most modest restraints on gun ownership? To understand why we retain this toxic relationship to guns it makes sense to walk through the apparent logic of our gun culture. When that logical thread trails off into futility, as it always does, the real answers start to emerge from the shadows, beyond the reach of reasoned debate. We will not get a handle on our unique relationship to violence without confronting one of our darkest national pathologies.

We could start our exploration with this proposition – America has a globally unique cultural relationship to gun ownership. Though no other civilized nation allows mass ownership of such a wide range of killing tools as the US, any sensible gun regulation scheme should still respect that heritage and continue to allow mass gun ownership.

How do you retain widespread ownership of guns while curtailing the senseless mayhem that accompanies it? We have accomplished this with any number of other potentially lethal products in mass circulation. Establish a sensible regulatory scheme that tracked the sale and ownership of the product, require owners to maintain financial responsibility for safe use, establish a licensing regime to ensure safety, and hold irresponsible owners liable for their negligence. Do these things and, in time, gun deaths would decline steeply, just like automobile, cigarette and tobacco deaths.

Take that premise, or practically any idea for gun regulation, and present it to a seemingly sensible American gun enthusiast. Watch how quickly a reasoned exchange of ideas can descend into madness.

Such a discussion might start with your gun enthusiast downplaying the US death toll from firearms. It’s an odd rhetorical line that’s difficult to restate clearly because it decomposes so quickly into incoherence. There is simply no comparison to be made. No other country not at war or consumed by internal crime experiences gun deaths at anything approaching our rates.

Commonly paired with the “it’s not that bad” response is the baffling canard that mass gun ownership actually makes us safer. Sometimes this argument includes cherry-picked examples of mass shootings in “gun free” zones. It even extends to the idea that we need more weapons to ensure reasonable safety.

Perhaps the world’s largest “gun-free zone” is Japan. Despite the shocking incapacity of Japanese individuals to defend themselves, they remain somehow immune to mass slaughter, suffering a mere handful of gun murders a year. The same general pattern holds for every country in Western Europe. The French, Germans, and British endure a few dozen gun homicides annually.

If mass gun ownership was a credible antidote to gun violence, shouldn’t the organizers of the Republican National Convention press to allow guns on the convention floor? How can they leave their members defenseless while passing laws that let college students carry guns in their dorms? Don’t Republican delegates deserve the warm security of their fully-loaded AR-15s?

Continuing down this line you might next hear that gun regulation doesn’t work. Your ammosexual friend might point out that Chicago and DC have fairly stringent gun laws, yet experience high levels of gun violence. Paired with this seemingly promising argument might be the suggestion that we start by “enforcing the laws we already have.”

This rhetorical feint is interesting for what it exposes about our weak gun regulations. One could start by consulting Google Maps, where we learn that a Chicago resident need only walk across a street to Indiana where they can purchase firearms under a nearly unrestricted scheme.

Indiana does not require firearms to be registered or owners to be licensed. Gun purchases there by private sellers do not require any background check. Unfortunately for Chicago, there are no visa requirements for visiting Indiana and no customs screen on returning. Most guns used in Chicago crimes come from Indiana and Mississippi.

As for “enforcing current laws,” our federal firearms laws were written to be unenforceable. Predictably enough, they are in practical fact unenforceable.

We have no central tracking of gun owners. Law enforcement access to our thin records on gun ownership and registration is riddled with constraints and loopholes created by a thicket of obstructions in state and federal laws. These laws are engineered to cripple gun regulation making it nearly impossible, for example, to track and prosecute “straw sellers,” people who earn money making legal purchases that are then handed over to criminals. The same people claiming we should “enforce current laws” have lobbied very hard to prevent reforms that would make enforcement achievable in the real world. The “enforce existing laws” argument is a cynical evasion.

Some gun fans might insist that gun laws simply cannot work. When something is restricted people want it more. Despite that logic, it turns out that a sensible regulation scheme can be pretty effective. How many people are arrested each year for illegally selling beer? It’s a regulated substance in high demand, yet we seem to be able to stay on top of it.

Maybe, one might argue, there’s something special about weapons that makes them impossible to regulate. By that logic, regulating guns means only criminals will be able to obtain them. How many Americans are killed every year in hand grenade violence? How many are killed at the hands of bazooka-wielding maniacs? It seems that we can succeed in regulating weapons when we try.

Continue through the discussion and you’re likely to hear nearest thing to a logical, legal argument you’ll encounter in the whole exchange: Our Constitution, which is utterly sacred and handed to our Founders by Jesus, guarantees my right to own a gun with no restrictions of any kind. Any suggestion of the most minimal safety regulations around firearms will run into this passionate defense of America’s Constitutional protections. Anyone who wants to regulate gun ownership is, by extension, attempting to demolish our Constitutional freedoms.

Gun enthusiasts are in fact no more attached to the Constitution than anyone else on the left or right. Ask a simple follow up question and watch this passion for Constitutional liberty evaporate into ether:

How do you feel about Texas’ law, passed in 2013, that imposes constraints on a woman’s right to an abortion, constraints so severe that many women have effectively lost that right? How do you feel about similar laws all over the country that sought to regulate that Constitutional right out of existence?

This is where the strange overlap between gun fanatics and right wing politics exposes a logical fault line. Your gun advocate might explain that abortion isn’t mentioned in the Constitution. You might hear that abortion is a brand new right, created out of judicial imagination only forty years ago. That’s an interesting line, because the same thing is true of my personal, Constitutional right to own a gun.

Until the Supreme Court’s Heller decision in 2008, no court had found a personal, Constitutional right to own a firearm. Only the McDonald decision in 2010 extended that right, created in Heller, beyond the District of Columbia. For more than 200 years, courts read the 2nd Amendment to mean what it said, and took Alexander Hamilton at his word as he explained in the 29th Federalist Paper. Even in light of Heller and McDonald, nothing in the Constitution or related jurisprudence suggests that basic regulation would infringe on 2nd Amendment guarantees.

Until Heller, our right to own weapons was collective, subject to regulation, and tied to “a well-regulated militia,” as the Bill of Rights clearly states. A sacred, personal, Constitutional right to own a weapon never existed until a court found it existed, just like a woman’s sacred Constitutional right to an abortion. If God, via the Constitution and the black-robed oracles that interpret it, wants me to own a weapon, then he also wants to make sure I can have an abortion. Chances are the passion for Constitutional liberty expressed by your gun enthusiast will, by some strange alchemy, fail to extend to the rest of our sacred Constitutional rights.

If gun fans were genuinely animated by some esoteric attachment to Constitutional liberty, they would be just as interested in the Constitutional liberty of first graders to not get slaughtered in their classrooms by a well-armed psychopath. They aren’t. The Constitution is yet another distraction in this debate.

Keep pressing your gun proponent and the conversation will likely take a turn into dark, troubling territory. This is the point in the death of an argument at which you’re likely to hear about “2nd Amendment remedies.” Guns are the guarantors of our liberty.

By this logic, any effort to constrain gun ownership represents a step toward oppression. In a singularly important tell, your gun enthusiast might even start using the language of slavery.

If the purpose of the 2nd Amendment is preserve my right to rebel against the government, why can’t I have landmines or tanks? How can I possibly expect to defend my family from Obama’s oppression if I have no hand grenades with which to clear a room? The 2nd Amendment, originally designed to ensure our capacity to maintain an armed, capable, “well-regulated” militia, is not a Constitutional ejection lever. This is the point where any lingering hope of reasoned dissolves into paranoia.

Suggest something as obviously sensible as a license requirement, and after you’ve hacked through the rhetorical weeds the conversation will eventually leap to “cold dead hands,” where it meets its bizarre, intellectually stunted end. Intellectually honest discussion of gun regulation in the US is virtually impossible.

Why?

Someone raised outside the United States will find this baffling. In many cases, someone raised outside the American South will struggle to follow this logic. Nothing in the regularly deployed arguments on gun rights explains a passion for unrestrained gun ownership worth the annual loss of thirty thousand lives, or the depth of fear inspired by the most modest suggestion of accountability. What leads an otherwise sane, competent, educated adult to the conclusion that their unrestricted access to guns is all that protects them from slavery?

Even the greatest cultures retain a few pathologies; strange wrinkles in the fabric of their development, formed around some pain, some defeat, some overlooked, forgotten, or concealed crime. No one raised outside of Britain, or perhaps just England, can quite grasp the role of class in the shape of life there. As an outsider you might detect its influence around the margins of your interactions. You might even trip over its hidden lines. It would be difficult though to ever fully account for its influence.

The US is no exception. Any effort to pursue otherwise sensible gun regulation becomes tangled in strange distortions. There is dark matter in the equation, some force or interest unaccounted for in the math that leads gun enthusiasts to their oddly insistent yet nonsensical positions.

Find an issue on which a large number of otherwise sober Americans hold bizarre or irrational beliefs, and you can usually trace those delusions back to our most vexing national pathology – race.

Being raised in deep East Texas granted your author many legacies, including a rich collection of racist friends. During the protests in Baltimore over the killing of Freddie Gray, one of those friends shed a depressingly candid light on his and others’ passionate interest in firearms.

racist fb1

And there you have it, pretty much the only honest argument for mass unregulated gun ownership you’re going to find. I must arm myself to remain safe from marauding Negroes.

Gun advocates remain convinced beyond reason that there is an obscure “other” among us, determined to destroy all that we cherish. At different times and among different people you’ll hear this other described in the form of illegal aliens, marauding urban blacks, or apocalyptic spiritual forces.

Only by relentless vigilance can that other be held at bay. Weak-kneed liberals enable and cultivate this other. Their high-minded rhetoric obscures the presence of this threat, making us all more vulnerable. Any and every effort to curb my access to weapons is a veiled attempt to leave me vulnerable to this other.

Attempts to discuss otherwise sensible gun regulations are skewed beyond all reason by the dark matter of our defining national pathology. Ironically, the Trump trainwreck may promise some relief.

Trump has built an entire Presidential campaign on our otherwise undiscussed racism. By dragging our singular modern pathology into the full glare of the political spotlight, we are being forced to develop the insights, language, and tactics to finally address it. On the other side of this mess, we might find a new capacity to cope with a whole range of issues rendered off limits by our great collective glitch. Once we learn to factor the hidden variables into the debate we might solve the gun control equation.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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336 comments on “Dark matter skews the gun control equation
  1. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Tracy:

    “I always carry three spare magazines, or three speed loaders, depending on whether I’m carrying my pistol or my revolver. I always have 20 or more rounds with me…Both my carry guns are equipped with XS Big Dot tritium night sights and CrimsonTrace laser sights.”

    I’m going to suggest you’ve not been in a gay nightclub on Latin night, nor a non-gay nightclub on Latin night, if you believe you would manage to be that armed while bumping and grinding on the dance floor.

    I mean, are you happy to see me or is that a gun in your pocket?

    I guess there is more than one “accidental discharge” people have to worry about.

    • LOL. Point taken. HH, I must admit, my experience of gay nightclubs on Latin night is nonexistent. 🙂

      Actually, when I’m carrying, I don’t drink. (Alcohol and guns mix, anymore than alcohol mixes with driving, boating, aviation, heavy machinery, or power tools.) So bars and nightclubs are off limits. That’s not to say I don’t frequent non-51% venues where alcohol is served; I’m just not imbibing.

      • 1mime says:

        Yet you still advocate those who do frequent large nightclubs packing? I believe that is what I read earlier….

      • 1mime, I believe the 51% law that prohibits carry in bars in nightclubs should be abolished. At the same time, I would more strictly define the prohibition on drinking while carrying. Texas law prohibits carry under the influence of alcohol, but does not define “influence” (e.g., with a blood alcohol limit).

        Just as we encourage designated drivers for nights on the town, we might also encourage designated “carriers.” (In my household, when my son is home, we flip a coin for it; the designated driver and the designated “carrier” are one and the same. As my beloved chooses not to carry, I’m always the designated driver/”carrier” when it’s just the two of us.)

      • 1mime says:

        Good ideas, Tracy. If I am understanding you correctly, in certain situations, “government” regulations that are sensible and enforceable are desirable?

      • 1mime says:

        There have been many challenges in the establishment of BAC levels for OWI/DUI enforcement. Fifty and I have had some exchanges on this point. In actual OWI trials, in which people have consumed alcohol, been measured at specific intervals through blood tests, and observed operating a vehicle by trained law enforcement, BAC as a measure of inebriation is an important tool, both from a legal enforcement standpoint and as a guage of personal tolerance levels. It is not a 100% veritable measure of function due to primarily weight/size differences but also the liver’s ability to manage alcohol in the body. The same BAC level in a small persons – female, teen, etc., could render them totally dysfunctional whereas the larger person has the advantage. I rarely drink and then in great moderation, which my husband used to say (while we were “courting”) was a good thing – I was a “cheap” date! (in the nicest parlance)

        It is a fact that the vast majority of those who commit gun violence are males. Maybe we should focus on that gender to target behavioral changes. The one point everyone seems to agree upon is that people are the ones who are making the decisions to use guns for violence. There are simply too many of these people out there who shouldn’t be armed – which we agree about as well. I disagree that drinking and being armed shouldn’t mix, but there is a reason why TX won’t establish BAC levels for this duo. I submit it’s not to protect other people; it’s to make the law unenforceable, or, “flexibly” enforceable. Change that and you have a legitimate, effective enforcement tool.

      • Indeed, 1mime. As I’ve said many times, regulation has a place where our rights intersect with others in the public sphere.

        With respect to the 51% rule, I had never given it much though until now; being a law abiding kind of guy, I just obeyed it. I certainly understood the rationale, i.e. the general notion that alcohol and guns don’t mix (just like alcohol and driving). This incident certainly turned the 51% rule upside down in my head, though. A law that’s designed to protect and does not should not be in place.

        Note, once again, that criminals pay no attention to the law. For instance, witness the Waco biker gang shoot out (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_Waco_shootout). Then again, there’s a clue as to why the Orlando monster didn’t target a biker bar.

      • 1mime says:

        Oops – I “agree that drinking and being armed shouldn’t mix”….

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      I am sorry… but this is getting painfully absurd. Doesn’t anyone find it laughable that people are seriously advocating that everyone should be armed (in a similar fashion as the Orlando shooter) so that mass killings could be avoided or the losses mitigated. That is in my opinion a Ted Nugent sized delusional fantasy (NRA board member by the way).

      Why can’t we look at other aspects of the Orlando story, like how the killer was in his youth was identified by education administrators as having a lack of empathy/remorse/conscience or that he talked of school shootings around age 10?

      Isn’t it profoundly messed up that we have seriously disturbed individuals out there who can avoid developing a significant criminal record, acquire weapons that were originally intended for special forces operatives and still never come in contact with any meaningful psychological/counseling services?

      The mental issues swirling in this case are in my opinion stunning but seem to be submerged by the terrorism hysteria fostered in part by that orange haired casino guy (with vague incestuous leanings).

      The security company that had employed the Orlando shooter… do they even have any meaningful psych evaluations of employees? What made them possibly think it was a good idea to employ someone like this?

      But getting back to the idea of better armed clubbers(?!)…

      Does anyone really want to live in a future where in your local bars (or nightclubs) the dance floor will look like this?

      http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/deadliestwarrior/images/8/80/Swat.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20110721155014

  2. So, as this post closes out, I notice that nobody has asked what seems to me an obvious question: In Orlando, why was nobody shooting back? The percentage of CHLs in Florida exceeds 10% of the state’s adult population. In a club housing hundreds, one would expect dozens to be armed.

    The answer is, of course, that Florida, like Texas, requires any establishment whose alcohol sales exceed 50% of revenues to be gun free zones. There is no doubt that multiple CHL holders were present at the club, but they were all unarmed as a requirement of law.

    So, we have a law that is intended to foster safety (purportedly by preventing drunken bar shootouts) that has instead results in the deaths of dozens of innocents. It seems to me that that law ought to be changed, and the bozos who came up with it held accountable.

    • 1mime says:

      So, by extension of your theory, people in a darkened establishment that held 300 persons who were moving around dancing and drinking should have been armed so they could shoot back? Wow, why didn’t I think of that. That’s as logical as your statement that “registration equals confiscation”.

      • Tom D says:

        First, it’s purely speculative whether any patrons with guns at Pulse that night would have saved lives by killing Mateen, or would have been killed themselves and made no difference to the death toll, or would have made things even worse by shooting other patrons in what must have been a dark, loud, drunken, panic-inducing, and confusing situation.

        Second, if you add up the potential deaths and injuries that could easily have been caused by the escalation of drunken arguments, shoving matches, and fistfights into gunfights (and one-sided shootings) in bars and nightclubs throughout Florida over several years, it’s not exactly hard to imagine that they would exceed the toll from this one mass shooting.

        Third, apparently, as Mateen was entering the club, he got into a shootout with an off-duty cop in the parking lot. The cop felt he was outgunned and called for backup, which arrived within a few minutes. So this mass murder happened despite the immediate presence of one guy with a gun and the quick arrival of several more. This does not inspire confidence in me that the situation would have turned out much better if some patrons had also been carrying guns.

      • 1mime, please, don’t be idiotic. You’ve *already* got somebody in a darkened establishment whose #1 priority is shooting everybody in sight just as fast as he can aim and acquire a target. Everybody in there is *already* in mortal jeopardy, and bullets flying back in the shooter’s direction can’t make a dire, deadly situation *any*worse, and could make it a whole lot better. As soon as somebody starts shooting back at that monster, his priority list is completely upended. His #1 priority is now don’t get shot, and his #2 priority is deal with the person who is shooting at him. *Everything* else becomes secondary, and he is no longer shooting at unarmed patrons. An unmitigated slaughter just turned into a gunfight, with a very real likelihood that the Grendel ends up coughing his last breath into a puddle of his own blood, instead of 50 innocents suffering the same fate. Get. A. Clue.

      • 1mime says:

        We.disagree….and that doesn’t make me idiotic nor you correct. In a more controlled situation I could agree with you, Not in this situation. If you find that baloney, so be it. I.can. handle.it.

      • Peter Basch says:

        I don’t know. Tracy could be right… I haven’t any experience in this kind of thing. My instinct (flawed and incomplete) is that two people shooting in the dark is twice as bad as one person, but his explanation that the shooter now has something to contend with… I think they’d just shoot faster and more wildly. Who knows; not me. I wish there were some example of this happening so we could be dealing with anecdotes and not just action-movie fantasy ideation.

      • Tom D says:

        ***As soon as somebody starts shooting back at that monster, his priority list is completely upended. His #1 priority is now don’t get shot, and his #2 priority is deal with the person who is shooting at him.***

        Maybe. But this guy was apparently suicidal — he doesn’t seem to have gone in there with the intention of coming out alive. If he was being shot at, wouldn’t he just have continued to try to kill as many as possible? How do we know?

      • 1mime says:

        Not to mention the fact that he had high capacity ammo clips. Do most people who carry a gun carry single shot when they go out into public areas?

      • http://controversialtimes.com/issues/constitutional-rights/12-times-mass-shootings-were-stopped-by-good-guys-with-guns/

        http://bearingarms.com/category/guns-saving-lives/

        You very seldom see prolonged news frenzies when the shooter is taken down quickly, and there are no mass casualties. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

      • 1mime says:

        Bravery is always to be commended. I’m happy to see examples where people were either detained or prevented from hurting others.

      • And 1mime, I always carry three spare magazines, or three speed loaders, depending on whether I’m carrying my pistol or my revolver. I always have 20 or more rounds with me. (I saw a lady LEO in a restaurant a few days ago – she had five mags in her belt, and was carrying a high capacity 9mm Glock. Talk about prepared.) Both my carry guns are equipped with XS Big Dot tritium night sights and CrimsonTrace laser sights. I hunt hogs regularly in low light conditions with a revolver, so I’m used to shooting at moving targets in a chaotic target selection environment. I’m reasonably confident that I could engage a moving shooter and get hits under almost *any* lighting conditions. If I can see his body outline and I’m inside of 20-25 yards, I’ll get hits. I am hardly alone in this respect; most of the individuals I know who carry have skill sets that equal (and in many cases, greatly exceed) mine.

        I don’t hold any illusions about the likelihood of coming out on top, or even surviving, an engagement against somebody armed with a long gun; my limited training has taught me that if you get into a gun fight, chances are you are going to get shot. But if you do it right, the other guy is going to get shot, too, and more than once. And in the situation under consideration, that’s the whole idea.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, I would expect you to be armed to the max, but it would surprise me if average armed people had as many clips as you carry.

      • 1mime, most carry guns are of relatively low capacity resulting from the needs of concealment – form follows function. Any concealed class carry you could attend stresses the need for carrying addition ammo.

      • 1mime says:

        Ha, the last thing a lady puts on after her lipstick, right? It does require a certain “mindset” to prepare oneself to go out into public armed…………..Don’t forget the ammo…..

    • vikinghou says:

      Actually there was an armed, uniformed off-duty policeman working at the club that night.

      • 1mime says:

        There have been comments that with this size crowd, one uniformed, armed guard was insufficient. I’d agree with that while totally disagreeing with arming the patrons inside.

      • Actually, in my view, if a venue is going to be a gun-free zone, either by choice or as a matter of law, then it *must* bear responsibility for its patrons safety, and is morally obligated to take reasonable and prudent steps to ensure the same.

        A single, armed security person is not sufficient. Even the most elementary tactical considerations indicate there should be at least two, separated, but in sight of each other, and in position to support each other in the event of an incident. Ingress should be controlled with a two-door entry, such that if an attacker that makes it past the first door, he is stopped by the second door (or, preferentially, trapped in an enclosed space between two locked doors). Again, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure this stuff out. (We’ve know how to do this for thousands of years, since the earliest advent of walled towns and castles. Visit any barbican or gate in the walled “old town” in a European city with an eye towards security, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.)

        The basic security measures described above are relatively inexpensive, and easy to retrofit. I’ve never been in a nightclub with only one bouncer; it’s just a matter of appropriate training, arms, and deployment.

        The next time you walk into a venue that sports a 30.06 sign, or a 51% sign, take a look around and check out what kind of security is in place. If there isn’t any, that should tell you right there how much that establishment cares about *you*.

      • 1mime says:

        Good points, Tracy. I concur (-;

        Another question that has been raised regarding Orlando is why law enforcement didn’t enter the building sooner, knowing there was a single shooter. I may have missed an explanation of this reasoning somewhere but it seems to me that 3 hours was way too long to enter. Another point might be that a building in which alcohol is sold that accommodates a crowd of several hundred should be required to have more than one fire door exit.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      what are the details? So it’s a state that trains and retrains CHL holders. In some states the CHL requirements are laughable and And Security checks ID and CHL credentials at the door? Assuming this, how many people does the suicidal nut shoot before the gun carriers dive for cover, draw, decide who the bad guy is out of the multiple people pulling guns. Remember, the aggressor always has the advantage over the defender.

      So 1 if its a single shot rifle, 6 if its a revolver, automatic pistol and rifle with large clip, who knows? And how many good guys get shot by other good guys. So for the martyr, whether its 1,3 or?, he has accomplished his mission. And he is surrounded by virgins or harp playing angels. I have to admit 1,3 or ? is better than 50.

      But that is on the night that the terrorist struck. I’ve never been to a Florida nightclub but If you allowed pistols into the club, how do you have bouncers? All the bars near my house have door checkers and bouncers(sometimes off duty cops) on Friday and Saturday night. Some even have metal detectors. I assume experience has caused the owners of these clubs to spend the money required for security.

      Can we do a study on how many gunfights will happen inside clubs on nights there are no terrorists? All across the nation we will have drunken young males with guns competing for the attention of young females. Sounds like a Wild Kingdom episode. It might work. Do we have a Terrorist Tuesday?

      • 1mime says:

        Oops – no studies, unarmed. Congress pulled the plug on them.

      • “…how many people does the suicidal nut shoot before the gun carriers dive for cover, draw, decide who the bad guy is out of the multiple people pulling guns.”

        Unarmed, I’m not sure what that number is, but I’ll hazard a bet it’s well south of *50*.

        And yes, the aggressor always has the initial advantage of surprise. That’s not to say he automatically retains all tactical advantage throughout the encounter. It’s really pretty straightforward. Move. Seek cover, if available. Assess. Flank, if possible. Move to contact. Engage. In other words, try to get behind the SOB, and shoot him in the back of the head. Note that a chaotic situation, with people running around in all directions, actually makes that a bit easier, so long as you keep your wits about you.

        BTW, I’m not aware of carry law in any state that allows firearms carry under the influence. You can drink, or you can carry, but you can’t do both. So whoever draws the short straw on designated driver might as well be the designated “carrier”, too (assuming said person has a CHL.)

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Tracy, I guess we’ll never know, but I personally believe the death toll would be in the hundreds if dozens were armed and started firing. There is just now way even a trained professional could keep any type of situational awareness in that scenario, let alone dozens of amateurs.

      One thing we DO know is that there was a “good guy with a gun” who intercepted him immediately. and he was even a trained good guy. And he couldn’t stop 49 deaths.

      • Actually, Rob, the actions of the off duty cop revealed a flaw in SOP. He was outgunned, and the shooter got into the club, a potential hostage situation. In those situations, if you can’t resolve the situation yourself with a high probability of success, you call for back up and wait for the SWAT and hostage negotiation/rescue teams. The problem was, the shooter was only interested in hostages to the extent they provided a means of extending his killing spree. In this instance, in hindsight, giving this monster three hours to do his work was a really bad idea.

      • 1mime says:

        “giving the guy 3 hours was a bad idea” – finally, something we agree upon, Tracy.

      • And Rob, don’t be silly. It’s perfectly obvious who the bad guy is – it’s the guy with the AR walking around like he owns the place, shooting everybody in sight. It’s just as obvious who the good guys are – they’re the ones with the compact pistols and revolvers, shooting back, and trying *not* to shoot anybody else. That assessment will take all of 0.1 seconds. It ain’t rocket science.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Tracy – Actually, allowing CHL to carry in bars would be an acceptable experiment for me. On a municipality or in some cases statewide basis. Failing that we could use the current setup in each area as a baseline. We need to make sure we got good data for a few years. Then we could allow CHL guns into drinking establishments, gather data over a few years and compare.

      Do you know how many people were shot in bars before the current regulations? It would help if we had that info. I assume it was a problem?

      By the way, we know absolutely there was one licensed person to conceal carry in the Pulse night club. He was the one doing the shooting.Our experiment is not starting off well.

  3. Anyone who thinks the NRA will change their position on guns for every one all the time no matter what, read the below.

    Follow the money, that’s all you have to do!

    http://billmoyers.com/story/fully-loaded-inside-shadowy-world-americas-10-biggest-gunmakers/

    • 1mime says:

      From your linked article, Justhuman:

      This is obscene: “In the year following the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, the three largest gunmakers — Sturm Ruger, Remington Outdoor and Smith & Wesson — netted more than $390 million in profits on record sales.”

      • Why is that obscene, 1mime? Those profits are high because people *voluntarily* made record gun purchases. Nobody, pardon the pun, held a gun to their heads and *made* them buy those guns. That’s the free market, and freedom of association, at work. It’s also the entirely *natural* reaction of free people reacting to a president and a party who have clearly indicated in every conceivable way that they intend to abrogate some of that freedom. It’s also an entirely *natural* reaction to the growing realization that we are all our own first responders. By the time the police arrive on the scene and act, matters of life and death will have *already* been decided. Given these two factors, it’s entirely *rational* that people would choose to arm themselves, and they have obviously done so in *droves*.

      • 1mime says:

        You are right – obscene is not appropriate under normal circumstances. However, when mass shootings occur and the reaction is a massive gun and ammo purchase, that is a very sad outcome. Maybe we can agree on that point….the fact that in America so many people feel the need to arm themselves.

      • No, 1mime, you’ve got it *completely* bass ackwards. What’s sad is that in so many places around the world, people *don’t* have the right to arm themselves for self defense. What’s really, really sad is that our president and his party *want* to make America *just like* those other places.

      • 1mime says:

        ” What’s sad is that in so many places around the world, people *don’t* have the right to arm themselves for self defense. What’s really, really sad is that our president and his party *want* to make America *just like* those other places.”

        That is flat.out.distortion. Not once has our President nor anyone posting on this blog who calls themselves a liberal stated that we want to deprive people of the right to arm themselves. Frankly, it’s BS statements like this and those that state gun legislation is tantamount to gun confiscation that is so destructive to finding common agreement on this subject. One day, the pendulum is going to swing in the other direction. Poll after poll demonstrate that the majority of Americans want sensible gun legislation. I have NEVER seen one that says, btw, “we’re gonna take your guns too!” I proudly wear the Democrat label. How proud are you of your label about now?

      • 1mime, I don’t wear the GOP label. I consider myself a classical liberal, in the Lockean sense. Neither party fully supports those concepts anymore (if they ever did); the GOP generally comes marginally closer. The Libertarians also come marginally closer than the Dems, but they, too, miss key points. Politically, I am a man without a country, and have been so for a long, long time. Frankly, the candidates of both parties fill me with utter dismay. I truly fear for our Republic, regardless of which of these two deeply flawed candidates come out on top.

        With respect to Hillary Rodham Clinton, over the course of her long career in the public spotlight, she has never *once* seen a gun control measure she didn’t like. She has supported bans on guns that are too small, too cheap, shoot bullets that are too big, shoot bullets too quickly, hold too many bullets, or look too scary. In this campaign alone she has publicly stated that Americans have no individual right to keep and bear arms, and she has supported the importation of gun *confiscation* legislation from foreign countries. She says we have too many guns in this country, but never once says how many guns are just right. Given her record, one suspects that number trends towards *zero*, at least in the hands of private citizens.

        Open your eyes, 1mime, look things in the face, and see them for what they are. I fully understand that you are not a one issue voter, and that 2nd Amendment rights mean very little to you. But before you blithely cast a vote to throw away the rights of others, at least have the intellectual honesty to own who and what you are voting for.

      • 1mime says:

        I respect the second amendment, Tracy, I just have a different interpretation of it than you do. I have looked hard at all of the candidates who are seeking the presidency. Of the three who were top tier contenders, HRC still is the most qualified IMO. That doesn’t mean I agree with every position she takes (I am for Trade agreements, she is not) but I do agree with her on most issues, including many of her positions on guns. I do not agree with her stance on holding gun manufacturers responsible for the acts of those who use them “unless” the manufacturer illegally provided weapons to those who should have been barred. If there is a weapon defect, then sue the manufacturer. Otherwise, you know my oft stated positions on gun legislation. I feel that under Clinton’s presidency, America will function more effectively than it would under either of the other two men. I do not feel Johnson is qualified nor Jill Stein. I do intend to vote “for” HRC as opposed to against Donald Trump. I will live with whoever wins. One thing I am certain of, America is bigger than any one man or woman who serves as our President. It will survive. As will you and as will I.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Of course they wont. They aren’t all powerful though. Did Big Tobacco change their mind? Or did political action change their minds for them, with them kicking and screaming?

      The NRA will either take the lead on some reasonable, common sense regulations, or the gun control side will take the lead.

      From the perspective ofnthe NRA, it would be much preferable to them to have the former rather then the latter.

    • pbasch says:

      I’ve been reading and contributing to this comment stream, and I am grateful for Tracy’s contributions. I work in an industry (aerospace) with a boatload of regulations, guidelines, and so on, and I’ve been wondering how one would rewrite the 2nd amendment, as currently interpreted, in modern regulatory language.
      My rewritten 2nd amendment, post-Heller—Congress will not attempt to regulate personal firearms in any way. Also, states should have well-regulated militias.
      Is that about right? The first sentence is a “shall” (well, a “shall not”, which is considered bad form, but it was the best I could do quickly), and the second is a “should” – a guideline or best practice, but certainly not required, and not a condition on the “shall”.
      Tracy, does this conform to your notion of the amendment? I think it must.
      But I wonder about that “should”. Reading Tracy’s posts, he seems to have a solid grounding in military tactics, almost like he is part of a well-regulated state militia. And other commenters on other blogs who share his view of the 2nd A also emphasize that they would be cold-blooded, careful, unemotional killers, with a solid grounding in tactics and weapons use. I have read about a wide stance, two-handed grip, careful aim, threat assessment, and so on.
      Very impressive, and I guess this must happen every once in a while (recent robbery of French McDonalds thwarted by customers who also happened to be elite police corps, for instance; of course, they were police, so I guess that doesn’t count).
      Thing is, I don’t quite believe it would ever happen that way. I think people in extremis are stupid, panicky, and rash. And if anyone were like that, I wonder if their priority would be to protect me. And if I had a gun, I don’t know… I’ve never served in the military, I’ve barely ever been in a fight. Maybe a lot of people (even without 10-gal hats!) would just snap into high alert and be accurate, lightning quick fighting machines.
      I doubt it, but I’ve been wrong about a lot of things.

      • goplifer says:

        To clarify, we cannot amend the Bill of Rights

      • 1mime says:

        Maybe we can’t “amend” the BOR, but it sure seems that we can re-interpret the hell out of it.
        What ‘s the difference in the long run? We are a nation of laws – regardless who makes them or changes them or distorts them.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Lifer, I don’t know if that was tongue in cheek or not, but I would like to see what would happen if a state formed an official Militia or renamed the National Guard and worked from there.

      • 1mime says:

        Unarmed, you do realize how close the vote was in the TX Gop Convention to secede? It’s not a stretch to envision exactly what you are describing. TX has to be one of the best armed populace in the nation so they’d have a running start on fire power.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        I can imagine. What I was thinking was a blue state forming an “Official Militia” and then say to prospective gun owners, sure, you can have a military grade gun, just show up for training this summer, and for two weeks each year. The Interesting part would be, how the court would interpret any requirements in relation to the 2nd amendment. After all, “Judge we are just try to regulate our militia.” It seems no matter how you interpret “regulate”, the state should win.

      • 1mime says:

        With today’s decision by SCOTUS to refuse to hear a challenge to CT’s partial ban on assault weapons, I would say most blue states would opt to pass similar legislation rather than make an oblique run on the issue of guns.

      • pbasch says:

        Interesting answers… And no, I’m not (for once) being facetious. I’m just trying to phrase the 2nd A the way it’s currently interpreted, rather than the way it was originally written, which was (pretty obviously) to prevent the Federal Govt from disarming the States. In other words, the 2nd A makes as much sense in a modern USA as the 3rd A (is that the Anti-Quartering thing? See The Onion on that: http://www.theonion.com/article/third-amendment-rights-group-celebrates-another-su-2296).

        I’d like to see a blue state form a well-regulated state milita, and all gun owners would automatically be in it! “Bring our state into compliance withe the 2nd A.” And I don’t think 2 wks a year is nearly enough. Not nearly. Not if they’re going to make good on all those toughness boasts.

  4. Rob Ambrose says:

    And here’s why Trump will never pivot off the white supremicist tone: he doesn’t want to mess up his Plan B (or, who knows, maybe this was Plan A the whole time. He’s certainly acting like a man who wants to lose)

    http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/06/donald-trump-tv-network

    Trump TV, which I’m sure will be a cesspool of toxic waste, but which will probably be Trumps next major revenue stream. There aren’t enough nationalist/W.supremacists around to elect him POTUS, but there sure are enough to make some real money.

    It’ll basically be the cable channel for those that think Fox News is stuffed full of PC Librul RINO’s

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      That… is just so Trump.

    • 1mime says:

      It’s about time FOX News got a real competitor! Rev up the crap machine..

    • flypusher says:

      I could see that. All of that pesky digging by that biased press into his past business dealings isn’t going to help any future real estate ventures. He’ll need a new revenue stream.

      • 1mime says:

        He could call it: “pay for pew” (-;

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        From a pure biz perspective it’s been a disaster. Trump doesn’t really build buildings anymore (more evidence he’s not nearly so rich as he claims) he licenses his name to OTHER ppl who build, or sell steaks, or scam ppl etc.

        He’s pretty thoroughly trashed his brand. And not even with the race stuff (altho that certainly doesn’t help). The biggest asset to his brand was that “Trump” (rightly or wrongly) stood for elite/luxury/wealth/high class etc etc. Basically the kind of people who look down their noses at the common serfs who make up his base

        Don’t get me wrong, those types of ppl (the elitist type who thinks money = morality) are their own type of awful. Just pointing out the damage he’s likely done to his brand.

    • Holy Smokes! the guy is smarter than anyone thought! Sarah Palin had some kind of tv type show on the internet, didn’t she?

      if you listen to Alex Jones’s Infowars, the guy is making millions telling people all sorts of crazy things, government cameras on telephone poles watching everyone, etc, and selling seeds and gold to people who probably have trouble paying the mortgage!

      trump could corner that market! and he would be a thorn in the side of the GOP for years!

      i read this morning trump told the GOP that if they do not back him, he will go it alone (see blow)! and sarah palin, who is always a treat to listen to:-), says the reason that british politician was killed was because she wasn’t carrying. and of course, obama is a ‘special kind of stupid!”

      so the next step in guns is that everyone will have to carry to be safe!! the gun manufacturers could not ask for more!

      http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jun/16/donald-trump-prepared-to-go-it-alone-if-gop-wont-g/

      • 1mime says:

        Sara Palin is demented. Who even listens to her? Kathleen Parker with WaPo had a serious opinion on the gun issue that poses this question: “As a way of reframing the conversation, is it not possible to create both a good and necessary law?”

        IOW, is this just going to be another “how tragic”, lots of dialogue between proponents for no action (that would be gun advocates) and those who want to at least make an effort to prevent gun violence….(that would be all the rest of us). As for me, I’m sick of it. It matters and I am losing all respect for those who insist that their second amendment rights are so inviolate that nothing – nothing can be done to make it harder for irresponsible people to obtain guns and easier for authorities to have ready information to prevent and manage crises.

        As Homer stated – Sandy Hook was a watershed. When nothing was done following that heinous attack, the odds of anything ever being done just went way down. For all those who own guns and are responsible, you are not the problem unless you dig in your heels and refuse, no, fight, against reasonable efforts to try to reduce gun violence. You know who you are.

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/repeat-retreat-reload-why-cant-we-do-something-sensible-about-guns/2016/06/17/2e8e6350-34cd-11e6-8758-d58e76e11b12_story.html?wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Stuff like what happened in the UK supports the gun control side IMO.

        Why did this extremist kill 48 less then the Orlando extremist? Is it because the Brit was more discriminating? That hes a decent guy who had no interest in mass killing?

        Almost certainly not. The fact that he had a slow to fire weapon and had to actually STAB her seems like a more likely suspect.

  5. rulezero says:

    Figured Chris would like this. A politico article about how a public-private partnership revitalized the Over the Rhine area of Cincinnati. I’m not understanding the vitriol in the comments section. Some are claiming gentrification and racism. Do they not want a 36% drop in crime rate?

    • pbasch says:

      I’ve burned your house down. Aren’t you happy to be rid of clutter?
      I know nothing about the specifics of the situation, but the argument is specious regardless.

      • 1mime says:

        If you don’t know anything about the specifics of the situation, why comment? Did you read the article? What Works is an ongoing series that highlights positive changes in cities throughout the United States. The point of the project was to do something good and in reading the article, it appears they succeeded. Stories like this are welcome and too rare. Celebrate success.

      • Peter Basch says:

        You know? You’re right. All the people who lived there still live there, their rent may have gone up a little, but it’s worth it because suddenly potholes are getting fixed, the police are more polite… WAIT! NO! That’s probably not it.
        Here’s the thing about gentrification. It’s an economic neutron bomb, Get rid of the pesky residents, keep the wonderful old crown molding, brickwork, and gargoyles.
        Neglected neighborhoods have good housing stock because they’ve been ignored by real estate developers because profit is elusive. They’re not just neglected by real estate developers, however, they’re neglected by government and the business community in general. Usually (not always) because of the ethnicity of the inhabitants. See “redlining.”
        Now a generation comes about that’s sick of what those same real estate developers have done in the better-off neighborhoods they grew up in. Those “ticky tacky houses” we’ve heard about. They look around for “authenticity”, and they find it in those neglected neighborhoods. These buildings are amazing! Just look at those ceilings!
        First the most marginalized better-off people move in (LGBT) and find a deal on a fabulous old uninhabited dilapidated house. Fantastic! They shop, bring a little wealth to the neighborhood. They may be gay, but they’re white, so gov’t starts to take notice. Businesses see the money flowing. Then pioneering young families, who work in that marketing firm with the LGBTs, find other wonderful old houses. They interact confidently with government, and government’s and business’s immune system doesn’t immediately kick in the way it does with teh browns.
        Landlords see what’s happening and raise rents or take other actions, such as partially wrecking their buildings, forcing tenants out (common practice in NY; start off-code “renovation”, tenants complain, inspectors visit, building is declared unsafe, tenants have to leave, takes a year for the repairs, tenants have to find other digs… you get it). Rent triples, quadruples. Evictions happen for those who figured out how to stay..
        Amazingly once richer people move into these wonderful old buildings, crime drops! Statistics prove it! Amazing! Great for the tax base! potholes get filled! Police appear, and are so much more polite!
        My models are New York City, Newburgh NY and Venice CA. For all I know, the situation in Over-the-Rhine is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Might be!

      • 1mime says:

        PBasch, this is a field I know something about. All of the things you say are true – with gentrification comes opportunity for people of means to cash in cheap. That wasn’t the purpose of the effort. This neighborhood had the unenviable ranking of being the Most dangerous neighborhood in America. What did it’s residents have to lose? Maybe they would be bought out, crime went way down, property taxes probably will go up, transportation services and basic services (groceries, pharmacy, hospital) would increase…..

        In all situations like this, there are losers. It’s often those who have hung in there through the worst only to be crowded out by townhouses and storefronts. But, really, when the primary emphasis is to improve safety AND save an historic district, in my book, those are two very worthy goals. In many of these projects, there has been a commitment by the planners to provide affordable multi-family housing as part of the big plan. I don’t know if that was done here, but, if so, undoubtedly, there will be pluses and minuses to that.

        Let me ask you this: If the mayor had done nothing, i.e., just ignore the problem and allow the entire neighborhood to disintegrate, would that be a better choice?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Peter, I found it a bit hard to follow, a little too much snark. And I’m not complaining, I’m a guy who loves his snark, the issue is I guess I don’t know enough about this to pick up on the inferences.

        I had thought gentrification, generally, happens when “starving artists” move into a neglected area due to cheap rents. Eventually, thisbattracts more artists until a critical mass is reached and all of a sudden, ppl want to live there and property values go up.

        Anybody who loves there already property values go up, and even if they can’t afford to stay, they generally get a nice payday. The new ones/ones that remain have a neighborhood with less crime and more services.

        I’m sure I’m missing some big negatives, but those are some pretty big positives, and I think the positives outweight the negatives.

        What am I missing?

      • Tom D says:

        ***Anybody who loves there already property values go up, and even if they can’t afford to stay, they generally get a nice payday.***

        What I think you’re missing, Rob, is that the vast majority of poor people living in a neighborhood before gentrification are renters. They get no benefit from a rise in property values. Their rent just goes up so that they can’t afford to live there anymore. Thus, they get no benefit from a decrease in crime, an improvement in amenities, etc, because they’ve been displaced and are living somewhere else now.

        I acknowledge, though, that it’s not all quite that simple. It’s possible to have public policies to support the development of affordable housing in gentrifying neighborhoods. But it’s not easy, and it takes money and political effort, and so it often doesn’t happen, or happens on just a token level.

      • goplifer says:

        I’m mulling a piece on this. We have a lovely, 100 yr old home in a really nice Chicago suburb. We are coming to realize that despite the fact that it’s a perfectly good, large home in fine condition, it is a teardown. We are being gentrified right out of our neighborhood and we aren’t thrilled.

        In our case we stand to make some serious money on the proposition. All we have to do it tear it down ourselves and put up a tacky McMansion in its place. Sell that monstrosity and we can make enough money to buy a nice condo in Chicago, or that patch of land in Central Texas. For people who don’t have the capital to finance that operation, this situation is kind of grim. That teardown status puts a ceiling on their home value.

        Even for a big fan of markets, something about it is galling. Swinging a wrecking ball through a perfectly good, charming old home to build an architectural eyesore will put a hole in my soul. The neighborhood is filling up with young douchebags and their horrible, poorly behaved spawn.

        It feels like a neighborhood isn’t supposed to change this quickly. It isn’t what we bought into, but there’s nothing we can do to stop it.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m sorry you are finding yourselves in this situation, Lifer. However, it is different than the Cincinnati initiative where the whole neighborhood had been in serious decline and rife with crime. What is happening in your area is economics and location-driven which results in greater desirability and escalating prices. It’s too bad that there isn’t evidently a historic preservation effort to save homes such as yours. That sucks when it’s your home and block and you are happy and invested there. Sounds like the neighborhood crowd has started changing from your description. Maybe some not so good role models for the kids….too many want-a-be parents….I think your idea of buying property in central TX would be a nice fit for you if you can work from there….someplace close to Austin where the culture is more akin to your own….You’ve commented that you miss Texas. Would this be the catalyst to your relocation?

      • Tom D says:

        Also, gentrification can be good if it brings well-off people into a city and enhances the city’s tax base, making it possible to spend more money on things that benefit everyone, like better public schools, public transportation, policing, etc. But only if the money actually gets spent well.

      • 1mime says:

        Tom D: You make some valid points. I’d like to add one you missed. When an area decays, properties fall into disrepair, rentals surge, crime increases – there is no “ownership” in a neighborhood. Property owners who could have gotten out and are renting properties that they maintain poorly, if at all, and renters have no vested capital or interest or influence in changing things. It is this last point that bolsters the argument in favor of re-development. People who influence change are usually not poor. They are educated and they have vision and means. In short, they are the kind of people who can “make things happen.” Certainly as things improve, renters will be forced out, and many of these people have few affordable options other than to leave and go to another area of impoverishment – because that.is.all.they.can.afford.

        Now let’s get back to the re-development story. I maintain that there is far more to gain than has already been lost. There are always casualties in any initiative like this but ask yourself: aren’t there far more winners?

        We are really talking about two different things here. Poverty is the ignored, ugly issue; property disintegration is the ugly step child. With re-development come jobs and all sorts of other community resources already listed. Former renters may have to bus in for jobs but at least there are more potential jobs for them than existed before, and they are less likely to get shot on the way to work or school (or church or social club). Thriving communities have economic stability and civil order. No place in our country is totally safe today given the culture of violence that exists, but those enclaves where people care about neighborhood are the safest and the most successful.

        That is the real benefit of gentrification. Not everything is about profit.

      • texan5142 says:

        I don’t get the McMansion thing, my first thought is, somebody gonna have to keep it clean. We have a hard enough time keeping our house clean as it is, wouldn’t want to clean a bigger house. We have a full basement that never gets used except for storing shit that probably should be thrown away. Four bedroom house that three of the bedrooms I hardly never step foot in.

      • flypusher says:

        “Even for a big fan of markets, something about it is galling. Swinging a wrecking ball through a perfectly good, charming old home to build an architectural eyesore will put a hole in my soul. ”

        Also odds are that McMansion won’t be anywhere as near well built, and very unlikely it lasts 100 years. I’ve watched them being built, and I’ve talked to the various skilled tradesmen about them. Many of them are crap with a nice coat of paint. I would never advise anyone to buy one of these newly constructed houses unless the builder had a very good rep. If I ever sell this house, it will be to move into one that has been built to my standards, by someone I trust. Not this crap that sleazier contractors put up so fast that they don’t wait for the ground to settle (happened to some friends of mine).

        This is of course a big issue in the Houston metro region too. If you are rich enough you can fight those changes (see: Ashby high rise). But if you’re in the Old 3rd Ward?

      • goplifer says:

        From an economic perspective these houses are more like cars. They start depreciating almost immediately. Someone tore down a 90’s McMansion down the street from us and put up something that looked nearly identical. It’s bizarre.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        ” the vast majority of poor people living in a neighborhood before gentrification are renters. They get no benefit from a rise in property values. Their rent just goes up so that they can’t afford to live there anymore.”

        I get what you’re saying Tom, but in my opinion, that downside is still outweighed by the benefits. Neighborhoods are better when there is ownership, and not full of renter’s. Generally, nobody rents a place for a generation or more. I don’t see being forced to move out of a rental to be all that tragic, especially not when balanced against lower crime, higher property values for those that do own, increased tax base for social services, as well as a less transient community, which fosters deeper roots.

        To me, to give up all these so renters can keep having cheap rent is not good policy. Not saying “throw them in the street!!” Of course. Perhaps a city (with money to spend due to increased tax base) could invest more in affordable housing.

      • flypusher says:

        “…..these houses are more like cars…”

        That made me look for this little bit I heard on the radio recently:

        http://freakonomics.com/podcast/why-are-japanese-homes-disposable-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast-3/

        Makes it hard to build wealth. Might as well park a trailer on the lot if you’re going to keep having to tear down. I know, deed restrictions, but that is a very, very wasteful system.

        I hope you do have time to write on this topic. It’s something relevant to everyone, no matter your politics, whether you own or rent, where ever you live.

      • 1mime says:

        Homes are more than simple financial investments – although they certainly are that as well. They represent neighborhood, childhood friends, adult friends, and contribute to establishment and support of local businesses and other gathering places. They “center” a family, provide cultural and social nourishment and friendly help in times of need.

        I believe that the loss of the middle class in America is contributory to the tear down mindset. A recent NPR discussion about how Millennials are changing the real estate market comes to mind as well. They are not so “into” big McMansions. As our housing responds to our social changes, we will likely see changes in how we “house” our elderly…..There is no end to the ramifications of losing the homestead priority in our lives. It may be unavoidable, but I don’t think it will necessarily be better.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Guys
        On the “Tear down this fine old house”

        I am in two minds – in the UK we build houses to last for hundreds of years and that seems to have worked

        Here (NZ) it’s more like the USA with short term houses

        I have built two houses here – Because the existing “old” houses are just NOT very good “machines for living in”

        A modern house will be built using thermal mass and insulation to be easy to keep comfortable
        It will have enough cables and what-not for our modern lifestyle
        It won’t have the fascinating collection of wildlife that can sometimes be found in an old house

        I vastly prefer my nice new – self designed – house over any of the existing homes in this part of the world
        Or the UK
        Or the USA (Indiana)

      • 1mime says:

        Duncan, if I might go completely OT here….if one were to visit NZ, what areas and what sites would you recommend? (sorry all…good friend going)

      • duncancairncross says:

        What does your friend like? – and when in the year?

        NZ is great for the wide open green spaces and natural scenery – as used in LOTR,

        Then there is fishing, hunting, skiing, biking,

        North Island has lovely beaches – the ones on South Island are just as good but the sea is cold

        When we came on our exploration trip we flew into Auckland – took the train down to Wellington – ferry across to Picton
        Drove down the East coast of South island – crossed over to Queenstown – drove back up the West coast to Picton
        Ferry back to Wellington then drove up North Island

        Don’t miss Queenstown or Rotorua
        January – February are the best time to visit

      • 1mime says:

        I believe they plan to travel to NZ in April…..I have shared your information with them. Thank you so much…wish it were me heading your way, Duncan!

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi 1mime

        April is a bit late in the year – think October in Northern terms
        Bit too early for Ski season although people do ski on the glaciers all year round – I think it’s expensive
        Fishing season is still good
        Duck season starts in May
        The weather is always a bit variable but this year for instance was lovely in April

        If you do come over we have a spare room

      • 1mime says:

        That would be special bunking, Duncan, but I doubt I will have an opportunity in my lifetime to make such a journey even though you have tempted me with your tantalizing views of your country. I’ll pass your info along to my buddies.

      • Tom D says:

        Yeah, the real answer to all this is to support affordable housing rather than to categorically oppose gentrification. But, given that providing affordable housing is expensive (and is opposed on principle by free-market fundamentalists), one has to think about political tactics to try to get as much affordable housing as possible — whether through funding more Section 8 vouchers, or by forcing developers to include more below-market-rate rental units in new apartment buildings, or by building new public housing buildings in gentrifying neighborhoods, or whatever else works. The time when a neighborhood is gentrifying is perhaps the best time to try to do these things, because the neighborhood is changing anyway, so one can fight to try to make the change happen in the fairest and most inclusive way possible.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, yes, yes to all of that, but the real issue is taking people out of poverty so that they will have housing choices rather than subsidies as the only solution. Education, education – market relevant job training, affordable health care….moving culturally back to a society that respects contributing to something bigger than themselves…..We are talking major shift here. Affordable housing is important, I agree. But more important is what our priorities are as a nation. They are all linked. Poverty feeds upon itself. We will never eradicate it but we should at least be more honest about how poverty contributes to all the other areas of life we find so harmful.

      • Peter Basch says:

        Rob Ambrose – Thanks… and you’re right; those are valid criticisms. I’m a bit seduced by snark. And, I confess, everything I say is anecdotal, from my own experience. So I don’t have links to support my ill-tempered screeds.
        I’ve seen a couple of models of gentrification. The first I saw was SoHo, in New York. That was mostly light manufacturing, with a little working-class residential. I remember when the last wrought-iron shop closed down, when the South Street Seaport turned into a mall. Artists moved in, made it cool, and then were evicted when they had cleaned it up for the periodontal surgeons and contract lawyers (and their children).
        I loved small-manufacturing SoHo, and I loved artists-in-lofts SoHo. The current SoHo might as well be Madison Ave. It’s a cultural desert with nothing but luxury-goods stores.
        My parents’ neighborhood (Upper West Side) was a different model, where the poors were a component of the population and Needle Park was something to avoid. The middle-class component expanded, pushing out the poorer folk, then the upper-class pushed out the middle-class. I can’t afford to live where my parents lived, but I did okay on their apartment.
        As with free trade, there are minor benefits over the whole city (due to the higher tax base), major benefits accruing to very few (landlords and c-suite dwellers), and major hurt to the people whose lives were disrupted and had to move. An important piece of why poverty is a bad thing is the chaos that accompanies it, due to lack of bargaining power and leisure.
        As for “ownership better than rent”, and the claim that nobody rents over generations, I can only speak for NYC, my home town; there, thanks to rent control and rent stabilization, apartments are rented by generations. I suppose landlords don’t like it, but “overall” I think they do fine. I have a good friend who lives in his parents’ apartment. Same family for well over 50 years. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s too common for families to live in the same boughten house for generations. First, houses are built like crap and need to be torn down. Second, Americans are mobile and leave the town they’re from.
        I now live in West LA in a home I own. It’s a fine thing, to own a home. But if I moved back to NY, I couldn’t possibly buy; I’d rent, and be fine with that. I would hope there would be a lot of regulations on my landlord, to keep my rent stable so that I could make plans. Yes, they’d try to get around it, and I’d be in Housing Court as I have been so many times in the past. It’s something to keep in mind when considering moving to NY. I would never live in a co-op, where you’re prisoner of the tenants with the most time on their hands, who end up controlling the board. Condos, for some reason (I’m no expert), seem to be a little better.

      • pbasch says:

        1Mime, I’ll try to keep this short; I do tend to go on and on… You present a black/white choice that I think is fallacious. Either the mayor should do nothing, or else just get rid of the unsightly poor folk. If a city, instead, invested in the upkeep of poor neighborhoods, regulated landlords, financed public schools appropriately, and prioritized community policing, the neighborhood residents would be better off, not just the neighborhood buildings. And any landlord who felt they weren’t making enough profit could get out of the business, the way any business owner can get out of a business that turns out not to be as profitable as they had hoped. (Cautionary note – you’d have to avoid the horrible situation created by CAs notorious Ellis Act.) Business owners are supposed to be such bold risk-takers. Well, “risk” implies the possibility of loss…
        I always assumed that part of the idea of taxation was to take the excess revenue from rich areas and pay for services in poorer areas with a lower tax base. But that doesn’t take into account the political power that comes with money, where the rich areas demand more and more expensive services and insist that less be spent elsewhere.
        That’s the third way.

      • 1mime says:

        Your “third way” is on point, Pbasch. Ideally, what you are suggesting should and could be part of a bigger plan that would envelop historic preservation, crime abatement, etc. IOW, a real, livable, working community that is inclusive by class, income and race. That is the ideal. We totally agree…didn’t mean to offer a black/white scenario. Life doesn’t fit into neat square boxes, does it?

  6. 1mime says:

    Unless I missed it, we all need to remember the nine innocent people who were gunned down one year ago today in Charleston. May their families be surrounded by love today, especially.

  7. Rob Ambrose says:

    Perhaps it will all come to naught, but there does seem to be a feeling that the political machinery is starting to move re: gun control.

    As more and more political action groups join the fight, that will inevitably have an effect.

    http://www.rawstory.com/2016/06/the-nra-has-a-new-enemy-as-nations-largest-lgbt-lobbying-group-declares-war-on-guns/

    The article makes a great point: the Orlando shooting (and almost every other mass shooting) always has more then one reason, and there is no reason we can’t attack both.

    The GOP has framed these things as binary choices (“no, there’s no point in restricting guns. We need to attack terror/mental illness/ISIS/borders etc etc”

    If you get shot in the abdomin and go tobtbe ER, would it make sense to hear two doctors arguing about the best treatment, one saying “we need to get the bullet out!” And the other saying “no, there’s no point, we need to stop the bleeding!”?

    Aren’t both kind of necessary? Is there any particular reason they can stop the bleeding OR get the bullet, but not both?

    This is what the GOP is selling us. Of course easy access to guns are not the only issue. Often times, mental illness is just as important. Other times, Islamic extremism is. Others, such as Orlando, are a mix of all three.

    Wouldn’t it make sense to attack the problem from both sides?

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      Um, @1mime – you seem to have shared a link from your Gmail. Can’t see any personal data or any thing, but @goplifer should get rid of it anyway because security

  8. Rob Ambrose says:

    Getting away from guns and Trump for a while, an interesting analysis re: tax rates, and how CA and KS both fared when the former raised and the latter lowered. No big surprises, but interesting that this is in one if the most respected papers in the country(albeit with a liberal slant) .

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/17/one-state-raised-taxes-the-other-cut-them-guess-which-one-is-in-recession/?hpid=hp_hp-more-top-stories-2_wb-taxes-8am-stream%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    From the comments section:

    “I own a small shop and employ around 50 people – if you give me a tax cut I say thank you and buy a boat – if you increase my taxes I have to go work harder and get new business to replace my income lost to the additional tax – it isn’t rocket surgery kansas”

    Makes a lot more sense then demonstrably wrong trickle down theories.

    All in all, it’s been a pretty rough 2 years for the conservative movement overall.

    • Somewhere i read the Koch’s practically own Kansas. Having over 40 billion each in net worth apparently is not enough for them!

      • 1mime says:

        It’s unfortunate for kids and teachers that the Kochs don’t totally underwrite the cost of public education in KS. The KS Supreme Court ruled twice that the funding appropriated by the legislature was unconstitutional and ordered them to fund it properly. The result? Schools had to close short of the normal number of days. That’s how KS solves its public ed funding problem! (Sort of the same response by Repubs these days for all these bothersome public needs….cut em, reduce staff, what a bother….what we really need is privatized education….the poor can just go out and pick cotton.)

      • Mime,

        If the parents of the children in Kansas gave a damn, they would vote the Republicans out of office. But they don’t. I wonder what the % is of GLBT’s that vote! The % of women that vote! etc, Etc! In the 2014 election only @ 31% of people voted. Everything would change if people voted.

        as an aside, 100% of the people do bitch and whine! i guess that is something:-))!

      • 1mime says:

        Justanotherhuman – I wonder how fine the line is between “not caring” and “losing hope”? When the citizens of KS returned that SOB Brownback to office for a second term, knowing how he had devastated state services, I was sad. Especially as there was a quality candidate opposing him. Voting is key – we agree. But leadership has a responsibility to do the right thing. If they don’t, they shouldn’t be returned to office. It’s a very sad situation.

      • Tom D says:

        ***Everything would change if people voted.***

        Yes. This. I find it so frustrating that so many people don’t vote at all, or don’t vote in midterm elections.

      • Mime,

        I have heard the argument about loosing hope and not voting. I can not say it is a totally false argument. But voting the bums out is the only way to solve some of these problems. I read in Furguson, where the black kid was shot, 66% of the population was black/minority. But 100% of the city government was white.

        I just have this frustration level that keeps growing. Who the hell really thinks a person needs an assault weapon to protect themselves? But the laws can not be changed because the NRA is funded by gun manufacturers. and the NRA runs the GOP! And the GOP specializes in gerrymandering so even tho they may loose the popular vote they will win the elections!

        And people do not vote!

      • 1mime says:

        We don’t disagree, Justhuman…(hope you don’t mind that abbreviation). Voting is both a privilege and a responsibility. Especially in states like KS and so many others where leadership is horrible, people of both parties should vote incumbents out. Inspiration and leadership at the grassroots level can be highly motivational in situations like this. That is where hope and, sometimes, anger, provide the impetus to GOTV.

        As for the NRA. I have no respect for this organization, nor those within it who support reasonable legislation but don’t speak up. This is an even more egregious example than those who simply don’t vote, IMO.

  9. Glandu says:

    Seen from France, it is obviously alien….. but every country has its alien aspects, and my country certainly has a lot of dysfunctionments too. The problem being that THIS alien aspect kills a lot of people.

    My humble(and probably wrong) opinion is that the real problem is not the guns itself(for the murders, anyways – for the accidents, they are obviously guilty) that are the problem, but the gun-owner relation.

    Many people own a gun in France. Not as much as in the USA, of course. But most people would be scared to carry the guns with them. Some dream about defeating a burglar with guns (which would be illegal – as long as the burglar does not attack you, you are not allowed to attack him, even with bare fists, even if he entered your home uninvited), but it stops here.

    My perception(probably wrong, but still) is that the “gun owners”(the ones who really believe in the god-given right to bear arms) belong to a culture where using a gun is a good thing. Where killing bad boys is a good thing. Where using a gun is a symbol of status. Where killing in doubt is a good thing. Where killing a professional basketball player who entered the wrong flat by mistake is seen as a rational self-defence.

    Controlling the guns would certainly strongly reduce the accidents, and would therefore be a good thing. But to reduce gun-based violence, my uneducated guess is that you have to switch the culture from “people using their guns to kill are heroes” to “people using their guns to kill are either terrorists or gangsters, and sometimes, rarely, elite policemen who had no choice”, like in France. Or something alike, more suited to your general taste, but still considering

    • flypusher says:

      ” Some dream about defeating a burglar with guns (which would be illegal – as long as the burglar does not attack you, you are not allowed to attack him, even with bare fists, even if he entered your home uninvited), but it stops here.”

      No offense intended here, but that strikes me as totally crazy from the opposite direction. Self defense is a fundamental human right, and most societies allow that as a reasonable exception to “thou shalt not kill”. Someone who forces their way into your home does not have good intentions.

      As for the basketball player who was shot to death, I heard that he kicked down one door, and was kicking down a second door when the resident resorted to deadly force. If that is true, I don’t find that response to be unreasonable.

      • Glandu says:

        I don’t find reasonable to kill people who just destroy some stuff with their feet.

        That difference does illustrate my point : in case of doubt, open fire!!!!!! It’s your culture, not ours. and controlling guns more tightly won’t change this way of thinking overnight.

      • flypusher says:

        This wasn’t just “destroying stuff with his feet”. This was violently invading someone’s else’s space. It was also reported that the resident shouted a warning at this guy as he was breaking down the 2nd (bedroom) door, but he didn’t stop. If you can’t understand why the guy with the guy would feel threatened, then we truly are on two different planets here.

      • Tom D says:

        In the USA, if someone is kicking your door in and you don’t know who it is, it’s reasonable to assume they have a gun, so you’d better shoot first because otherwise you may be shot first.

        I guess in France it’s less likely that the door-kicker has a gun, so it’s safer to think of them as just destroying property with their feet. Must be nice.

        Even then, though… You can’t even punch a guy who breaks down your door? That seems very weird to me. Maybe I’ve been living in the USA too long.

  10. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Also, Republican strategist Rick Wilson unleashes awesome tweetstorm on Trump, dubbing him “Cheeto Jesus”. Glorious.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/gop-operative-lashes-out-at-party-calls-trump-cheeto-jesus-in-epic-tweetstorm_us_57626d13e4b05e4be860ec59

  11. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    Honestly, I’m not sure Trump’s unfavorability ratings can go much higher. I’ve never seen anything like this before:

    Hispanics: 89%
    Women: 77%
    Independents: 68%
    Non-college Whites: 53%
    White Men: 52%

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2016/06/15/National-Politics/Polling/question_16417.xml?uuid=Lf3zdDLoEearnR2isPJPkw

    Hispanics and women, I can understand, but being underwater with white men, where he should be performing his absolute best? I was honestly shocked.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      Don’t forget. I heard Trump has a 94 percent unfavorable rating among African-Americans. The only thing I can think of that is held in lower regard by African-Americans than Trump right now is probably a concert by Lynyrd Skynyrd

    • antimule says:

      Real mindf*ck is that he won primaries. Which means that anyone else among republicans would be *even worse*.

      • flypusher says:

        The poly-sci types will be chewing on this cycle for years, but one thing that helped Trump was the large field. GOPe vote gets split among several candidates, evangelical vote splits, etc. Makes it hard to focus the opposition. Not taking Trump seriously until too late also hurt.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Flypusher

        The GOP had a large field – but what a lot of clowns! – Surely they could find some candidates a bit better than those

      • Seems to me if the Republican elite try to take the nomination away from Trumpy there will be hell to pay. I sadly know a few Trump fans. They are crazy for the guy. They do not care if he doesn’t do what he says he will do. it’s like a cult! Without Trump on the ticket, they would probably stay home. And these are rabid Republicans. It doesn’t take many non voters in any state to turn an election!

      • flypusher says:

        HI Duncan, I definitely agree about the “quality” of the GOP field. If I would have had to pick one, I initially would have taken Christie, because he didn’t pander to the religious extremists, and he did sometimes actually work with Democrats! I was shocked at how quickly he sold his soul to Trump. The only ones I can even respect now are Jeb and Kasich, although I doubt I’d ever vote for them.

      • vikinghou says:

        I think denying Trump the nomination through Convention trickery would blow up the party. The fallout could be spectacular.

      • flypusher says:

        It’s a tough choice Viking. Take Trump off the ballot, and at best, his followers don’t vote, and the down ballot races suffer. But leave him on, with his propensity to say inflammatory BS, flip flop his positions constantly, and apparently not pull his weight in the party fundraising, and the down ballot races still suffer.

        Dems, you had better get out your votes! Political stars don’t align like this very often.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @vikinghou: It absolutely would and Republicans know that. That the stakes of this election are, if nothing else, a generation’s worth of influence on the Supreme Court and all that that entails makes it so much harder for them. In order to stop Trump, they have to willingly forfeit all of that, and I don’t see that happening.

        @flypusher: Interestingly enough, Trump is also making that easier for Democrats in that he isn’t making any kind of serious investment in data or GOTV operations. Essentially leaving everything up to the RNC, he’s going by his cult of personality to win him votes the same way as he did in the primaries. Best of luck with that, guy.

      • flypusher says:

        “Essentially leaving everything up to the RNC, he’s going by his cult of personality to win him votes the same way as he did in the primaries. Best of luck with that, guy.”

        I won’t say that he’s completely delusional because he’s gotten a lot mileage out of the cult of personality thing so far, but he’s gone as far as he can go with that. In politics, as in evolution, the winners are the ones who adapt to the changes.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Is it that surprising that a demagogue appealing to white supremecists would win the party of racists/White supremecists?

      • flypusher says:

        “That the stakes of this election are, if nothing else, a generation’s worth of influence on the Supreme Court and all that that entails makes it so much harder for them. In order to stop Trump, they have to willingly forfeit all of that, and I don’t see that happening.”

        Then they still haven’t faced reality and they deserve a thorough political drubbing. The White House is rapidly receding from their grasp. The Senate is in danger of following.

    • 1mime says:

      Aren’t the White male statistics the most telling?

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Almost. The most striking statistic (and granted, I didn’t mention it in my comment above) is a poll that says 55% of voters would NEVER consider voting for Trump, not under any circumstances.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-bloomberg-poll-55-percent-2016-6

        To put that in perspective, President Obama won reelection in 2012 with 51.1% of the popular vote. Mitt Romney, in a cruel and yet oh so glorious twist of fate, got just about 47% of the vote. If those numbers hold, Trump goes into November with his absolute ceiling of support two points below that. And this from a man who, at least for right now, is not betting on any kind of serious investment in data, voter targeting or GOTV operations.

        That’s just for right now of course. Those numbers could get worse still.

    • 1mime says:

      I’ve been hearing and reading about a movement among Republicans to create an opportunity at the convention to nominate another candidate AND deny Trump the nomination. Regardless if it is a subversion of their own process, this is in the works. Guess someone rolled the dice and decided they’d take their chances.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/dozens-of-gop-delegates-launch-new-push-to-halt-donald-trump/2016/06/17/e8dcf74e-3491-11e6-8758-d58e76e11b12_story.html?utm_source=nl-politics-daily-061716

  12. flypusher says:

    This is absolutely horrifying:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-36550304

    We’ve had a pretty good track record of settling issues via the ballot box or in court, i. e., non-violently, but given all the displays of temper this year, I am worried. Plus we have way more guns than the UK.

    • vikinghou says:

      And it turns out that the shooter had ties to an American neo-Nazi group.

      • 1mime says:

        The ultimate irony….in America, we worry about the influence of ISIL on our citizens; whereas in England, they are worrying about shooters with American neo-natzi ties. It’s not enough that America has the highest gun violence stats in the world; now we are exporting our own home-grown vigilantes.

        I wonder, does this have any relationship to the proliferation of guns and the male need for proving his virility?

      • easyfortytwo says:

        Um, that meant as a reply to Mime’s “I wonder, does this have any relationship to the proliferation of guns and the male need for proving his virility?”
        Again, everyone here probably has had this experience.

    • easyfortytwo says:

      My straight “conservative” friends routinely point to their weapons as evidence of their virility.
      While this is anecdotal, I think everyone here knows what I’m saying.

  13. Griffin says:

    A little old but Master Levin has the ULTIMATE rebuttal to you commie’s who want gun control (the paranoia towards mobs attacking his family seems relevent to your last point Lifer):

  14. You wonder what pushes some people to do what they do, shoot people? John McCain blames Obama for the shooting Saturday! I used to respect McCain! No more! I do not know if he’s too old or has just lost his sense of right! I guess this is no worse than the senator who started a prayer meeting with a prayer that Obama dies an early death!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mccain-says-obama-is-directly-responsible-for-the-orlando-massacre_us_5762f78be4b0df4d586f9275?section=

    • flypusher says:

      The Trump virus had devoured his brain!

      “As I have said, President Obama’s decision to completely withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq in 2011 led to the rise of ISIL,”

      So we should have tossed the status of forces agreement that W’s people agreed to and re-invaded? There are legit criticisms of some of Obama’s decisions concerning Iraq, but I never hear to critics giving any legit alternatives to this little bone of contention.

      Also the ISIS connection to this mass murder may not be as strong as you claim it is.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      I honestly can’t fathom what the frack McCain is thinking. Is he genuinely that desperate to keep his Senate seat if it means lowering himself to this pathetic level? If so, he deserves to go down with Trump and I hope he does.

      • 1mime says:

        In a word: YES. His whole identity is wrapped up in his role as senator. He should have retired years ago. Hopefully, the voters of AZ will help him down that path….but we all know how difficult it is to remove an incumbent from office – even ones who accuse sitting presidents of being complicit in the worst mass murder from guns ever.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        True, in a comparatively regular year, McCain probably wouldn’t have anything to worry about, but this election season seems like a perfect storm ready to destroy him. He himself has called it the “most difficult race of my life” and with Trump at the top of the ticket, Hispanics are going to be energized like never before and will probably turn out in record numbers in Arizona.

        None of that makes his defeat a sure thing of course, but if he keeps letting himself get rattled like this, it makes Democrats’ chances that much better.

      • flypusher says:

        McCain should be a political cautionary tale-see what can happen when you have the chance to do the right thing (although not necessarily the easy thing), but you sell out for political expediency. Trump is a spoiled brat who couldn’t have endured for 5 minutes what McCain went through for over 5 years, but McCain surrenders to him without a fight. It makes me sad. McCain could have been great.

  15. rightonrush says:

    OT but damn….http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/richard-armitage-clinton-over-trump

    Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state under former President George W. Bush, said he plans to vote for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump, Politico reported Thursday.

    Armitage told Politico that he will vote for Clinton in the general election if Trump is the GOP nominee because he is not sure that Trump actually is a Republican.

    “If Donald Trump is the nominee, I would vote for Hillary Clinton,” Armitage told the publication. “He doesn’t appear to be to be a Republican, he doesn’t appear to want to learn about issues. So I’m going to vote for Mrs. Clinton.”

    Armitage is the highest-ranking former GOP national security official to openly support Clinton over Trump. He told Politico that he is not sure if other conservatives would come forward to support Clinton over Trump as well, saying many are “in a fog” over their choices.

    The former Bush administration official is not the first GOPer to say he’d vote for Clinton over Trump. Top Republican donor Meg Whitman hinted at support for Clinton during a meeting last week, as did GOP advisor Max Boot, who called Clinton “vastly preferable to Trump.”

    • flypusher says:

      These people have some spine- kudos to them! If you think Trump is not suitable, you lack any integrity if you endorse him or vote for him. That does not mean that you must endorse HRC or even vote for her. If you don’t have to nerve to go public, remember, the ballot is secret. No one has to know how you voted but you.

    • flypusher says:

      Just saw that Larry Hogan, the GOP Governor or Maryland, says that he won’t vote for Trump.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Perfect. As I posted on a previous thread, there is nothing courageous about seizing the nomination from Trump by casting aside the will of the voters in the primaries, all in the name of saving the Republican Party. After all, he did win fair and square. To do that would be to put party loyalty over the voice of the people.

      True courage is voting for the opposing party.

    • flypusher says:

      Kasich also dares to object:

      https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-show-isn-t-funny-000000627.html

      Just LOL at the stupid commenter who gets “Lewinsky” mixed up with “Allinsky”.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well said: Look, I think in either political party, there’s always a tug between party loyalty, being part of the team, and your conscience,” Kasich said.

      • Tom D says:

        That statement by Kasich is pretty weird to me. Why should your conscience pull you in a different direction from your party loyalty? If there is “always” a conflict between the two, as Kasich says there is, wouldn’t that be a sign that you are in the wrong party?

        Do a lot of Republicans feel like their conscience *always,* or even often, pulls them in the opposite direction from their party loyalty?

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Tom, good observation. Maybe Kasich gave too much away about his personal feelings.

      • 1mime says:

        For many Republicans, it’s difficult to separate the good from the bad within the party. IOW, there is still much to like in principle, the problem is, Republican principles are AWOL…..The other thing Republicans find abhorrent is they “think” they have such major disagreement with the Democratic Party ideology, that they can’t go down that path – EVEN if they basically align with the current Democratic party positions! Libertarians are the default choice or becoming Independents – neither of which offers a vehicle for viable participation on the national level.

  16. Rob Ambrose says:

    The whole constitutional argument also shows its hypocrisy when we look at, specifically, banning those on the terror watch lists from owning a gun.

    Is not the right to freely travel around and outside the country also not a constitutional right? Is that right not being stripped without due ptocess as well?

    If theThe NRA genuinely cares about “constitutional rights” they should be against no fly lists and terror lists in general.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      it’s funny how people get so upset that stupid liberals/media get the AR-15 confused with the Sig Sauer MCX, like the one used in the Orlando Nightclub Massacre.

      It is kinda like the same frustration I experience when I try to explain to those same people who are often social conservatives and homophobes that there is a gulf of difference between being a gay person (who is in a consensual relationship with another adult) and… a child molester.

      Those two things aren’t the same silly!

      • Well, Mags, if you can’t tell the difference between a direct impingement gas operated AR-style semiautomatic pistol and a short-stroke piston gas operated semiautomatic rifle, I really can’t help you. All I can do is feel sorry for you. 😉

        BTW, a few years ago my son came from deployment and presented me with an engraved SIG 556 for Father’s Day. It’s a very nice rifle, but since the MCX came out I’ve developed a severe case of modularity envy.

      • 1mime says:

        You know what Tracy? The difference really isn’t important. What IS important is that these weapons are the guns of choice for those who plan to commit mass carnage. This is not a silly game, what it appears to be is a gigantic ego trip for many who delight in definitions. I’m going to repeat: guns are a valid part of the discussion because they are so readily available and so irresponsibly used by demented individuals. Let’s work towards common sense gun regulations and information sharing that will allow our country to work towards greater safety for our people..,…all our people, not just the ones who can afford to own their own arsenal.

      • 1mime, I was responding tongue-in-cheek to Mags’ specious comparison of conflating homosexuals with child molesters, vs. conflating a semiauto pistol with a semiauto rifle. (Actually, I kinda doubt Mags was even aware that his first pic was a pistol, but there you go.)

        As I believe I replied to you in the Chris’ last post, the type of firearm really doesn’t matter, especially when the targeted victims are as defenseless and trapped as a herd of sheep in a slaughter pen. I presume you watched the video in which SASS competitors fired (and reloaded) *1870’s vintage hardware* at a rate that would be more than sufficient to wreak the same amount of havoc wrought by the Orlando Grendel armed with a SIG MCX.

        And yet we have the usual loony leftists screaming for another so-called “assault rifle” ban (even knowing the first such ban was utterly ineffective), apparently failing to understand that the choice of firearm is basically irrelevant to these monsters. They just go with what’s popular. The only conceivably effective ban would be to ban *and then confiscate and destroy* *ALL* firearms of any sort. And yet the same loony leftists (at least most of them) will shout just as loudly that they don’t want to take *ALL* guns from *everybody*. Then the same loony leftists trot out a presidential candidate who has never seen a gun ban measure she didn’t like. She supports frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers. She supports bans on guns that are too small and too cheap. She supports bans on guns that are too big. She support bans on guns that shoot too many bullets. She supports bans on guns that shoot bullets too fast. She supports bans on guns that are too scary looking. Then she publicly proclaims nobody has an individual right to *even own* a gun, and that SCOTUS has it all wrong. And then the same loony leftists tell me they’re not after our guns. Spare me. Spare me the utter f*ing nonsense.

        You are focused on the evil gun (modern sporting rifles in particular), instead of the evil individual. That’s a grave mistake, and as a country we are going to keep on digging graves until folks like yourself figure that out.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, we’ve had many exchanges on gun control, Tracy. We agree that guns are extensions of human behavior – some defensive, some violently offensive. We also agree that gun manufacturers should not be sued for the actions of those who misuse them; rather, for defects in workmanship. I flatly disagree with your position that more gun regulations wouldn’t work. I’ll suggest an experiment: let’s pass new laws regarding guns that correct or eliminate bad laws, and add new laws that expand upon the areas that could facilitate better outcomes. What would we have to lose? No one is proposing taking your guns, so do not throw that canard in there. Let’s give prevention, study, better background checks, data sharing among authorities, etc (to name a few only) a chance and see if we might get to “better”.

      • 1mime, please do not be naive. When Hillary states shes supports Australian-style gun laws, confiscation is *exactly* what she’s talking about.

        But, yes, I would support sun-setting ineffectual, unenforceable gun laws and replacing them. Unfortunately, the only suggestions coming from the usual suspects are yet more ineffectual, unenforceable gun laws. Go figure.

      • 1mime says:

        Tracy, I did not speak for Hillary Clinton. I spoke for myself. Ineffective laws of every kind should be examined and eliminated or modified. Times change. However, if the reason they are ineffective is bogus, i.e., their budgets and staffing levels slashed so that they are unable to effectively meet demands of them, or, the motive is “purely” political, that would be a horse of a different color, right?

        It is clear to me that you stand on the side of no changes of any kind to the purchase process of guns nor the collection and sharing of data of gun violence. That is your right just as it is mine to support those who seek changes in good faith with the goal of reducing death and injury due to guns. I keep hoping people can find agreement on this issue and I will not give up. If that makes me naive, so be it. I can handle the label.

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      Most libertarians, and several liberals are against those.

      A ban without any due process is very very dangerous. It can easily be used to make sure the the people *you* don’t like can’t do a variety of things. Hell, it should be terrifying howw easy it would be to turn something something like that into a new Jim Crow of sorts under a Trumpian president.

    • Funny you should mention it, Rob, but, no, freedom of movement is not enumerated as a constitutional right. You have to understand that freedom of movement is so basic to the human condition that it never occurred to the Framers that it would *need* to be enumerated as a constitutional right. The items listed in the Bill of Rights are considered, for the most part, to be natural rights, i.e. preexisting any form of government. The Framers originally didn’t enumerate natural rights in the Constitution, believing that the people retained all rights not explicitly ceded to the newly minted federal government. The anti-Federalists pointed out the recent egregious usurpations of the Crown, and the Bill of Rights was born. No doubt that if the Federalists could only see what they have wrought, they might have been a little more thorough in the drafting of the Bill of Rights. But for now, if your beloved government tells you that you can’t fly on plane, because you’ve been added to a list concocted in some super secret squirrel star chamber, utterly bereft of due process, why, you can like it or lump it.

      • pbasch says:

        You’re conflating freedom to travel with freedom to get on a commercial airliner. Careless!

    • Tom D says:

      Yes, the right to travel has been recognized by SCOTUS as a fundamental constitutional right. E.g., Shapiro v. Thompson: “The constitutional right to travel from one State to another … occupies a position fundamental to the concept of our Federal Union. It is a right that has been firmly established and repeatedly recognized.”

      Why it’s supposedly OK to keep people on a no-fly list without due process, given the existence of this right, I have no idea.

      What I’d like to see is for the same list to be used to stop people from buying guns, and if this causes gun enthusiasts to demand that people be given a fair process for being taken off that list, then it would be a win for freedom in general.

      But if banning people without due process, based on secret evidence and suspicion of terrorism, is now considered good enough for the right to travel, then it should be good enough for the right to bear arms too.

      • 1mime says:

        In order to use the list of those suspected of terrorism to be used to stop people from buying guns, Congress would have to authorize the portability of information. This capability is part of the amendment that supposedly is guaranteed a “vote” in the Senate this week. What is not guaranteed is that it will pass.

      • pbasch says:

        Well, again, you’re confusing the free movement, the right to travel, and the right to board a commercial airliner. I don’t think that being on the no-fly list prevents you from taking a train, driving a car, walking, or chartering a private jet! Since this is so incredibly obvious, one has to wonder, what’s the point of your argument?

      • Tom D says:

        Pbasch, I’ll respond even though this subthread is buried pretty deep and probably no one will read this: Flying on a commercial airline is, today, a really common way to exercise the right to travel, because lots of people don’t have the time to drive from, e.g., NY to LA and don’t have the money for a private jet. So banning a person from commercial air travel severely burdens their right to travel. Just like if the government were to ban you from using the internet, but you could still read and write books, your freedom of expression would be severely burdened although not outright denied. The government should not be able to impose a severe burden on people’s exercise of a fundamental right without at least providing a way for the person to receive due process and to be able to argue for their rights to be restored. I find the no-fly list objectionable because it doesn’t provide this kind of fair process.

    • 1mime says:

      How about the “right to counsel” for poor people charged with crimes? That right is regularly abandoned in court after court. Turns out that states don’t adequately fund the indigent defender program thus the caseloads are intolerably high…Pretty soon, the caseloads for our remaining judges will tip over as Republicans refuse to allow the president to fill those slots….
      Lots of “rights” issues here, only thing is, those whose rights are regularly abused “don’t matter”. You can bet your &ss that if White people with means (and position) started experiencing denial of their rights things would be in an uproar. Heck, things might even change – for “them”.

      Pardon my absolute cynicism.

      • Tom D says:

        Your cynicism is justified. But, while you’re at it, spare a thought for all the folks who don’t even have a right to counsel because they’re involved in a non-criminal case. That includes people facing deportation; eviction; foreclosure; the loss of custody of their kids; the termination badly needed benefits such as disability and housing assistance; and garnishment of wages. There is a LOT wrong with the unequal justice system in this country.

    • Well, MassDem, I’ve been really worried about this gun grabbing business you lefties seem so fond of. But then I gave a little thought to who would actually be doing the grabbing. Tell you what, when y’all come to take my guns, please send Gersh Kuntzman:

      http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/firing-ar-15-horrifying-dangerous-loud-article-1.2673201

      He’s one tough hombre! I do ever so hope he gets over his PTSD. (And his 5.56 NATO-induced bruising – it’s such a powerhouse round! It’s just not the ticket for delicate complexions.) Really, this dude needs to get out less. Unless, of course, it’s gun confiscation time. Then send him my way. 😉

      • MassDem says:

        Oh Tracy, I don’t know you at all, but you don’t seem to be mentally ill, or the type to resort to 2nd Amendment solutions for your particular cause, or the sort of clueless fool who ends up shooting himself in the butt. I hope you don’t point your guns at people unless in self defense, and that you store them safely away from children or from loved ones who might be suicidal. If all of that is true, and likely it is, then go hunting or go to the range with my blessing.

        Unfortunately, not every gun owner meets that standard. What do you suggest we to keep guns out of the hands of people who should not have them, while respecting the rights of the responsible gun owners, likely the majority? I would like to hear your ideas, and I’m not being facetious. I think we can agree that we would all like to see less gun violence going forward, not just the horrifying (but rare) mass shootings, but the more common gang shootings, in domestic violence incidents, and other criminal acts. I will say that I’m not a big fan of the “modern sporting rifle”, and if we don’t end up outlawing them altogether, than I woule prefer some limits on ownership because of the damage they can do in the wrong hands.

        Anyway, it’s rude to grab other people’s things if they aren’t using them to hurt anyone, so don’t worry–I don’t do that.😔

      • MassDem, you don’t seem to be mentally ill, either, thank goodness. FYI, I’ve been around guns all my life, have never shot myself in the butt, nor shot anyone else’s butt for that matter; I have never pointed a gun at anyone, let alone touched off a round at someone in anger (despite having rounds sent my way, on more than one occasion). My guns are stored securely, none of my kids have ever shot themselves, or any of their play pals; my kids are more skilled with firearms than I, nowadays. I’ve never committed suicide with a firearm, nor have any of my family members.

        And I really do appreciate your lack of rudeness, I really do. I’m quite sure that when the government apparatchiks that you vote into office send their thugs to my home to take my guns, they’ll be polite, too. Of course, they’ll come with guns on *their* hips, and no matter how polite they are, they’ll be quite willing to offer violence to anyone who fails to comply. Isn’t that lovely? I’m so glad that we can all be polite about such things.

        With respect to gun regulation, Heller states plainly that the 2nd Amendment, like all our other rights, is not unlimited. I, for one, certainly believe that regulation has a place, particularly where our rights intersect with others in the public sphere. In the privacy of your own home, on your own property, you should be able to comport yourself however you wish, so long as you don’t interfere with your neighbors. That applies to your choice in sexual partners, life mates, recreational substances, and, yes, guns. On the other hand, if you are going to carry a weapon in public (concealed, or otherwise), then I believe the public has a valid interest in being assured that you have demonstrated, to some reasonable and prudent degree, that you know how to safely handle and operate your weapon, and that you do not present an unreasonable danger to others.

      • 1mime says:

        May Justice Salia R.I.P. Heller should be tattooed on his tombstone.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tracy – Since you are on record as supporting gun control, what do you think of Lifers plan? You probably written your opinion before, but I don’t remember. Essentially, liability insurance and registration on each gun. I assume the insurance proceeds to be paid to the victims or survivors.

        In particular, as long as you didn’t sell the gun there would be no change for you. Only on new purchases. The requirement would not kick in until the gun sold and the seller was required to then register and ask for proof of liability.

        By the way,Lifer didn’t propose this last part. I was trying to imagine something that would be more acceptable for present gun owners.

      • Unarmed, I can’t go you with on registration; everywhere it’s been done it’s been a precursor to confiscation. Everywhere, every single time. Please note that all FFL gun sales *are* recorded; it’s just that the records remain with the dealer (unless the dealer goes out of business, in which case the records go to a national archive). Thus, BATFE can actually track FFL dealer gun sales, but they have to visit the dealer to do so. It makes it cumbersome for the government to track gun ownership, and that’s *exactly* how it should be.

        I’d consider liability insurance as long as it wasn’t mandatory. Make obtaining liability insuranace an affirmative thing, perhaps by affording gun owners certain enhanced legal protections if they *do* purchase liability insurance. That would make it attractive to people who *could* afford it, but not place an undue burden on those who couldn’t. Failing that, perhaps subsidies for the economically disadvantaged, not unlike Obamacare health insurance subsidies.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Ok Tracy, I see common ground here.

        But let me remind you that only dealer sales are traceable. I think some sort of mechanism must be found for private sales. Other wise, there is no purpose. You know, Criminal buys gun at yard sale, or from straw purchaser who buys 10 or 20 guns a month and sells them in Chicago. So leo says to criminal, “where’d you get the gun?” criminal, “I found it in the alley”. If we go to the straw purchaser, he says, “That gun was stolen last month”. We need some way of incentivizing the seller to consider what the buyer might do with the gun. If somehow we could make sure most/all gun sales go through a dealer, that part of the problem is solved.

        Let me offer this – We make government access to the records as difficult as possible. Maybe the Insurance company holds them and we require a warrant to see specific records?

        And I like your ideas on insurance. If there is no mandatory participation, much like health insurance you will not attract the ones that you want. Much like health insurance. I think it is called self selection. But if you could make it attractive enough- Maybe?

        So for us it leaves a voluntary system. Honestly, a voluntary system of some sort would be a start. Whether it included either a registration database or insurance or both. I have heard many who would not mind a registry. How about a registry with a free/lowcost insurance scheme?

        I thought the prospect of grandfathering in currently owned guns would allay your fears of confiscation. You do see that by opposing anything mandatory and the fear of confiscation leaves us with the status quo?

      • Unarmed, I’m glad you see some common ground. With respect to registration (at either national or state level), it’s a non-starter. Registration = confiscation, historically speaking. Any gun owner with even a modest awareness of history opposes the notion like hell, as do I.

        You may not be aware of this, but the history of every single gun sale via an FFL dealer *is* retained – by the dealer – as a requirement of law. This keeps records of gun sales disbursed, and out of the hands of government, yet still permits (tedious and time consuming) tracking by BATFE in criminal investigations. The reason for this is explicitly to, as you say, make “government access to the records as difficult as possible.” Frankly, I don’t want to make it any easier. Note that having insurance companies offer liability insurance does not require the insurer to know what kind of guns I have, anymore than my CHL allows the state to know what kind of guns I have. (Although, both insurance and the CHL are pretty good indicators that I have a least *one* gun. BTW, this is why there is such a strong push for constitutional carry in the gun enthusiast world. Some gun owners think that even a CHL affords the government too much information about your gun proclivities.)

        I’ve covered somewhere else in this thread how voluntary background checks could be made available. Again, because it’s fundamentally nonenforceable, don’t try to make it mandatory. Instead, figure out how to make it *attractive* to private sellers and buyers.

      • And unarmed, I should add that in the event of a background check performed by an FFL dealer for a private sale, the FFL dealer would obviously have to retain that record. The problem with current law is that inventory management and chain-of-custody requirements for FFL dealers are extremely onerous, which is why FFL dealers simply do not offer walk-up-to-the-counter NICS checks for private sales. If the law could be streamlined to support NICS checks for private sales (perhaps by coming up with some alternative to the onerous inventory management/chain-of-custody requirements), then I’m quite sure most FFL dealers would be happy to offer NICS checks for private sales as a for-profit service.

      • 1mime says:

        These existing “weak” gun laws that you reference, Tracy, just why do you think they haven’t been strengthened, or made enforceable? Could the NRA have anything to do with that?

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Tracy – Realize we have a misunderstanding about the insurance. You want to in sure a gun owner without regard to the gun he owns. I want to insure the gun itself through the owner. Which brings us back to your contention that confiscation will happen and then we will all die dishonorable, painful deaths. I got it.

        So the problem is we cannot control guns without putting some kind of mandatory sanction on the seller. Per you, mandatory is right out. Voluntary means a system that stops a highly motivated buyer and highly motivated seller (assuming the price is right) from making a free market transaction. Back at status quo.

        Unless you can suggest a different way forward? I never thought to ask before, is the status quo acceptable to you?

      • Unarmed, no, I am not happy with the status quo. I don’t like seeing helpless people slaughtered by crazed nutballs anymore than you do. I would like see a country where law abiding people were truly free to defend themselves, inside and outside their homes, as they see fit. I would like to see a country where everybody who chooses to carry a firearm would also choose to obtain the training that enables them to bear arms responsibly, safely, and in extremis, effectively. I would like to see a country where the monsters among us find it much more difficult to commit their atrocities. Such a world may not be attainable, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try.

        On the other hand, I will *not* tolerate abrogation of my constitutional and natural rights by our government. As I write this, I’ve just reviewed the Feinstein amendment up for vote in the Senate Monday. (http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?File_id=A4069E82-C605-4E13-BF2C-F1AEC32C3767&SK=EECCE128D066921838CE297714934231)

        Apparently, attacking the 2nd Amendment is not enough, now the gun grabbers have to go after the 5th and 14th Amendments, too. So much for due process.

        It’s absolutely sickening to behold.

    • I hope, Mr Thorleifson, that if privately-owned firearms were made illegal you would hand yours in like any other law-abiding citizen? 😛

      • 1mime says:

        It won’t and needn’t come to that, EJ. What may happen (eventually) is that there will be changes in gun regulations, reporting, background checks, elimination of some categories of guns. It may happen, but watch what actually will happen this coming week as a result of the promise by Mitch McConnell to schedule two votes on two low key gun legistive proposals – one dealing with terrorism and the other with closing gun show loopholes for purchases.

        I can’t wait to see what the Republican Party does with this. I try to be positive but……..

      • You mean like hordes of Californians are turning in their 30-round magazines even as we speak? Like hordes of New Yorkers are registering their semiauto rifles with the state? Let me think. No.

        Come and get ’em. 😛

  17. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Titanium Dragon says (June 16, 2016 at 6:47 am):

    The actual cause is very simple:

    Even though I promised myself I would not respond to this, anytime someone says something like the above about an issue as complex as this, it means the person is:

    A) about to unload a whole lot of bullshit
    B) is promoting an agenda
    C) fundamentally misunderstands the issue
    D) all of the above

    Answer: D

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      I have been trying to follow the speeches (or clusters of words) made by the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party (Donald Really Really Rich Trump). But frankly I am left feeling more than a little lost.

      Hasn’t anyone else felt just as confused as to what Trump is trying to say?

      But after reading a transcript of his recent comments on hotair.com (one of my daily sources for nutritious bat guano) I have come to a startling realization…

      Trump is some sort of avant garde poet/spoken ward/slam artist but doesn’t know it yet. So here is his most recent speech I have restructured as a poem.

      It’s poetry time in Deep Thoughts… with Stuart Smalley

      “Just be Quiet” by Donald J. Trump

      Obama is a lousy negotiator
      Except…
      When it comes to the Republicans

      He’s a great negotiator…
      okay?

      You know the republicans-
      Honestly folks,
      Our Leaders,
      Our leaders have to get together.

      This is too tough to do it alone,
      But…
      you know what?

      I think I’m going to be forced to.
      I think I’m going to be forced to.

      Our leaders have to get a lot tougher.

      And be quiet.
      Don’t talk.

      Please be quiet.

      FIN

      • flypusher says:

        That could be a good post-politics career for the short-fingered vulgarian. The sunlight is shining in on his parasite-capitalism business model, and that Trump “University” lawsuit could blow up in his face. Who seriously would want to give him any more financing for his real-estate shell games?

  18. texan5142 says:

    Tracy, would you be so kind as to explain this statement you made.

    “On the left, anti-liberty policies are popular regarding guns and the free practice of religion, and increasingly, free speech.”

    Can you please provide an example of anti- liberty policies on” the free practice of religion, and increasingly, free speech.” Or is it a myth like “gun free zones”.

    Thank You in advance.

  19. MassDem says:

    One problem is that federal funding for research on gun violence has been stymied by the 1996 Dickey Amendment, which was enacted at the behest of the NRA, and which prohibits the CDC from spending money on research “to advocate or promote gun control”, and which had the effect of ending all federal-sponsored research on this important public health problem.

    At the same time, Congress removed all appropriations for gun violence research from the CDC, and has never restored them. After the Sandy Hook shooting, President Obama issued an executive order for the agency to study the causes of and ways to prevent gun violence. But nothing came of it, because Congress refused to fund it.

    http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-gun-research-funding-20160614-snap-story.html

    Recently James Dickey expressed regret for his role in shutting down research into thIs important public health issue. From HuffPost:
    “If we had somehow gotten the research going, we could have somehow found a solution to the gun violence without there being any restrictions on the Second Amendment,” Dickey said. “We could have used that all these years to develop the equivalent of that little small fence.”
    I’m glad he feels bad about it.

    In other news, the AMA has finally come out and declared gun violence a public health crisis. The organization is advocating for overturning the Dickey Amendment, among other things. It’s about time.

    • flypusher says:

      Remember how the Surgeon General appointment was held up by the NRA? The whole notion that deaths and injures caused by guns is not a valid public health issue is INSANE. There are all too many examples of how our politics has gone completely off the rails and raced far, far away from reality, but I’d absolutely put that example in a top ten list.

      • MassDem says:

        Those crazy Floridians–they enacted a law prohibiting doctors from talking about guns with their patients unless it is directly related to the treatment being given. So no talking to parents about gun safety in the home if you want to keep your medical license, although I presume discussing car seats, vaccine schedules, sun exposure and the like are still okay. Sadly this infringement of 1st Amendment rights and the public health interest was upheld on appeal, because 2nd Amendment trumps 1st Amendment, every time.

        It’s like if we just don’t talk about it, the problem doesn’t exist. See how easy that was?

        http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/court-allows-gag-order-to-go-forward-on-doctors-talking-about-guns/2239068

      • flypusher says:

        I’m glad this nonsense is getting challenged in court. Hopefully we have the level-headed and meticulous Justice Garland to help fix this once it gets to the SCOTUS. Like the TX abortion laws, this is built on a foundation of egregious lies.

        I blame political apathy. The NJs who pass this crap benefit from low voter turnout.

    • Yeah, well, too bad we couldn’t count on the CDC of the day to use our tax dollars to actually do research, instead of pursuing anti-gun advocacy:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/1994/10/19/sick-people-with-guns/6c7f2bd2-fa57-4d69-b927-5ceb4fa43cf4/

      But I’m things are much different now. Right?

      • MassDem says:

        This is an opinion piece–no research presented–but I really don’t have a problem with it. Gun violence–not gun ownership per se– is a public health problem, and it is entirely appropriate to use tax dollars to study it, IMHO.

        What problem did you have with the piece?

      • flypusher says:

        Well Tracy, even assuming that there were a lot of MDs pushing anti gun propaganda, addressing a problem of going off one deep end by going off the other deep end doesn’t put you on the dry middle. You’re still all wet. Restricting doctors’ free speech is a horrifying breach of the 1st Amendment, and unlike the “gun-grabbing” you fear so much, this is actually happening.

    • 1mime says:

      Lack of research clearly limits the ability to determine cause and/or solutions. Shutting it down has no other purpose. There are many issues involved in reducing gun violence, and many laws which have been struck down or simply not funded that would offer help. Repeal of the Tiahrt Rule is huge. Everytown is one organization that is focused on trying to identify what the principle issues are and offer reasonable solutions to impact change. Its work is imperfect but then we get right back to Rob’s statement: “Don’t make perfect the enemy of better.” This is the crux of the problem. Shutting every effort down has been the NRA approach with the full cooperation of the Republican Party. That has to change.

      For those who wish to know more about the Everytown effort:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Everytown_for_Gun_Safety

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I kind of feel like state national guards ARE the “well regulated militias” that the 2A speaks of.

  20. Pseudoperson Randomian says:

    Can someone explain why Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota have high firearm ownership rates, but very low homicide rates.

    Some other states like Vermont might have lax laws but are really peaceful too.

    So, yes, cross state border of transport of fire arms (don’t care if it’s legal or whatever but that it’s easy and it does happen) can explain why some places do have regulation, but still have higher than expected rates of gun violence.

    But why do so many states have high rates of ownership but little crime? Have there been any studies using poverty, and concentrated long standing poverty, race, urbanization, religion, diversity and education levels to account for any of this?

    It’s just that violence is a complex multifactorial pathology. It seems like (to me), they make a bad situation where the “violence multiplier” is already high much, much worse. But it also seems like it has little to effect where the “violence multiplier” is low, making regulation in the second case seem uncalled for.

    So, why not a state level enforcement scheme, where every state figures out local restrictions themselves, but with a national policy asking for the ID of all purchasers as a rule, and with all cross border transport of guns banned by default, unless there is a deal made between the states. Beyond that, any further licencing and training requirements are a state concern.

    tl;dr. Guns are a multiplier in how destructive a violent incident is going to be, but aren’t the only one. Regulation should be state level, with national level laws to prevent weapons crossing state lines unless the states in question are both okay with it

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      Oops, this was supposed to be a continuation of titanium dragon’s chain below…

    • Griffin says:

      Those states you listed have extremely low popuation density. Fewer people means fewer psychopaths to go on shooting sprees (as well as making it harder to get a high body count on said sprees), a slower paced less stress filled environment that makes it less likely someone would snap, as well as (most importantly) little anonymity making it difficult get away with crimes. And all the other problems often associated with higher population densities (such as poorer living conditions for poor citizens and more competition for basic services) being less prevalent.

      Yes those places have their own problems but lower populations are always easier to manage.

      • TheMeansAreTheEnd says:

        Also, as Sanders noted, guns in rural areas are different from guns in urban areas. That is, owning a gun to hunt is different from owning one for attack or self-defense. I expect that a study of other states that separated urban and rural areas would find much the same distinction in gun crime.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Alaska has an above-average homicide rate but the lowest population density in the country.

        If mere low population density was predictive of lower homicide rates, we shouldn’t expect that.

        Also, larger, more distributed populations are harder to control, not easier – less money for law enforcement locally plus less concentrated law enforcement presence.

        Shooting sprees are a negligible contributor to national homicide rates – a mere drop in the bucket in the ocean of homicides.

        Also, the idea that people in cities have poorer living conditions is false – the poorest people in the US tend to be in rural areas, not urban areas. This is because urban areas have stronger building codes (Alaska doesn’t even really have one) and better access to resources and jobs. Rural people have much worse infrastructure and worse access to resources, which often are nonexistent in rural areas, or require travelling very long distances to access them due to the low population densities.

        Moreover, it is worth noting that in Canada, the rural murder rate is often higher than the urban one, which makes the idea that urban centers are intrinsically higher-crime questionable.

        Indeed, the states with the highest homicide rates are not particularly likely to be urbanized; Mississippi is a very rural state but boasts one of the highest homicide rates in the US, and Louisiana is below-average in terms of urbanization but also has a very high homicide rate. States like Hawaii, Rhode Island, Utah, and Massachusetts are amongst the most urbanized states, but have well below-average homicide rates.

        None of your arguments have good explanatory value, and several are outright incorrect.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        So, I actually graphed this.

        The R-squared value between the 2010 population density of states and the 2011 homicide rates by state showed an R-squared value of 0 (6 x 10^-5). There’s no evidence of a correlation.

        At least on a state by state level, there’s no correlation between population density and homicide rate.

      • Griffin says:

        “If mere low population density was predictive of lower homicide rates, we shouldn’t expect that.”

        I didn’t say that (or at least I didn’t mean that) but I would think it could be a factor with Alaska being an outlier. Poverty would probably be the most important indicator. Though the violence levels in Alaska are often attributed to massive poverty in areas Native Alaskans and them ofte being victimized. And yes there is a point where being isolated and rural has plenty of drawbacks depending on how extreme it is.

        http://www.businessinsider.com/why-does-alaska-have-such-a-high-rate-rape-2013-9

        http://www.slate.com/blogs/business_insider/2014/08/07/isolated_alaskan_communities_without_police_forces_make_violence_crimes.html

        Also I was talking about population density not urbanization in and of itself, which usually increases quality of life in areas with high populations.

        I could be wrong though it was just a hypothesis and something I’ve heard before. But let me guess your argument on virtually any social ill is going to boil down to “But did you account for the blaaaaaack people?”

      • Titanium Dragon:
        As a stats nerd, I’d be interested in seeing the correlation between firearms ownership and gun *suicides*.

        Suicide by firearms is vastly more common than murder by firearm. Statistically, if you own a gun the person you are most likely to harm with it is yourself.

      • 1mime says:

        Study? What study? See Tiahrt Rule and weep.

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      The actual cause is very simple:

      Non-Hispanic white Americans have very low homicide rates – the homicide victimization rate for non-Hispanic white Americans nationally is only 1.75 per 100k, which is between Finland and Belgium – an unremarkable homicide rate. Asians, too, have a very low homicide rate.

      Vermont, New Hampshire, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota are all extremely white states. Utah, Oregon, and West Virginia are also very white states. Hawaii is mostly Asian, with some white people. They’re all low-homicide states.

      There’s a very strong correlation between % black population and homicide rate:

      The R-squared value is pretty high. This isn’t very surprising; blacks commit 50% or so of all homicides in the US per the FBI, and have the highest homicide rate of any subpopulation there is significant data on (a homicide victimization rate of 14.5 per 100k).

      The blackest states in the US are Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina.

      Those are six of the seven states with the highest homicide rates (the outlier is New Mexico, which also has a very large minority population, though of Hispanic rather than African origin).

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Ugh, sorry, can’t edit replies.

        Mississippi, Maryland, Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina had six of the seven highest homicide rates in *2001*, which was *not* the year I graphed (I was looking at the wrong column).

        All still maintain above-average homicide rates in 2011, as you can see from the graph above (New Mexico remains that state over on the far left with a high homicide rate).

        They are not as uniformly awful as they were in 2001, though, with other states (Illinois, Missouri, and Tennessee) being up there with them in terms of homicide rate. Note that homicide rates declined nationwide between 2001 and 2011, so things have been getting better over time, though it varies from state to state; Tennessee and Missouri did not decline at all, which is why they ended up “moving up” – most everywhere else declined. Louisiana only barely changed as well, but was already the worst state, and remained so. New Mexico actually got worse between 2001 and 2011, but has actually seen a sharp decline by then – in 2009, it peaked with a homicide rate of 9.9 per 100k, but by 2014 that fell all the way to 4.8.

        Note that homicide rates are not ordinarily so unstable; they do vary a bit from year to year, but New Mexico’s decline in homicide rates was extremely dramatic. Everywhere else has seen a mostly slow but steady decline; New York, for instance, fell about 25% over the course of the decade.

        On the other hand, Mississippi’s rate went back up and it is now the second worst state in terms of homicides in 2014. The overwhelming majority of states, however, continued to see declining homicide rates between 2011 and 2014.

        Unfortunately, the preliminary data reports indicate that trend might have reversed itself in 2015. We’ll have to wait for the FBI’s final data set to know for sure, though.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Incidentally, the above graph is 2010 census data on black population by state (pulled from Wikipedia) versus 2010 (not 2011, as I said in my above post) homicide rates.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “There’s a very strong correlation between % black population and homicide rate:”

        There is clearly correlation here, but this is a pretty dangerous statement to make.

        It could be easily read (even if you don’t mean it like that) that black ppl are inherently more likely to commit crimes then other races, and this stuff is used by white supremecists as their “proof” that whites are inherently superior to blacks.

        I would say the crime rate is more correlated to POVERTY then race, and the reason why black populations are more correlated to crime is because of all the built in disadvantages and institutional racism we have baked into the system ensures that, as a group, black people will remain mired in poverty far more then other races.

        I don’t think you meant it like this, but it seems obscene and, frankly, racist tgat when group of people (I.e. white ppl) institutes systemic rules ensuring another group (I.e. black ppl) remain stuck in an endless cycle of poverty/incarceration (which would cause high crime rates in ANY racial group) and then to use that inevitably high crime rates to suggest that that group is INHERENTLY more violent then any other group, by dint of the amount of melanin present in their skin.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        @Rob Ambrose

        Statistics is horribly non-PC. You can’t do statistics, especially something like this without treading on a few toes.

        But, Like the statement reads, it’s a correlation. And like you mentioned, such correlation is frequently confused with causation, and, yes, white supremacists use data like this to promote their agenda, as can be frequently seen on websites that do discuss data.

        But the solution is not to stop talking about the data altogether. Research and science must inform our decision making. In this situation, “black” could be a proxy for a multitude of other things, and I don’t think anyone here is advocating disarming all black/Hispanic people, and leaving guns only in the hands of whites and asians, or anything along those racist lines.

        Data will say what data will say, but not talking about the data because it might be politically uncomfortable is dangerous – we’ll never fix underlying problems with poverty, institutionalized racism, entrenched prolonged poverty etc. if we choose to ignore the data. We’ll just do an “assault” weapons ban and affirmative action and pretend everything is fixed.

      • goplifer says:

        Data is utterly useless to this whole discussion. There isn’t a single element of opposition to gun control that is based on data. Just like climate change, this is about emotion. That’s all. The data is all lined up on one side of the equation.

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        @goplifer, no, it isn’t useless. The data clearly says that more guns=more death. That much, I agree with.

        So, but all that says is that “if you remove all guns from society, there will be fewer deaths in society than there are today, some because of fewer successful suicide attempts (most suicides are cries-for-help, and impulsive) and some because of fewer cases argument escalations leading to death (I remember reading somewhere that this accounts for ~40% of gun homicides (out of which 30% is unknown)), and a tiny miniscule bit because a nutty violent person might only be able to stab a small number of people rather than 50”.

        None of that translates into “if you get rid of semiautomatic weapons beyond a certain length, everything will be better”, as seems to be implied by those calling for an “assault” weapons ban. A lot of the damage caused by guns is because of handguns. All that law would do is give us the political satisfaction that we did something, while real world results would be less than good. It will be a whole lot of political will spent on something ineffective.

        If we want less death, we need data so that you can have effective laws that work. Not something that makes us feel better while doing nothing to fix underlying causes. So, yes, the observation that the homicide rates in the Black and Hispanic population are higher than in the white and asian populations is not racist, just like the observation that black and Hispanic populations have almost zero in assets and have higher rates of unemployment, while white and asian populations are fine is not racist. Neither is a statement of causation, although, I would disagree with Titanium Dragon because the word “cause” was used. It’s a correlation. It’s just a statement of things as they stand today – and an observation of the segregation and inequality that already exists. Nor is the statement that there is a “Southernness” component in this. As mentioned below, that slatestarcodex article, and all the articles linked are pretty much required reading – so we can have some idea of the most effective way we can approach this – and what the potential benefits of such regulation are.

        http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/01/10/guns-and-states-2-son-of-a-gun/

        One of the things that is ignored by that article is the type of firearm, i.e., no talk about handguns. Why, why is there such commotion of assault weapons and not handguns? Also, why don’t gun control advocates push the suicide angle more? That’s the most clearly linked consequence of gun ownership, and considering that most suicides are impulsive, and that most suicide attempts with guns are successful, while most suicide attempts by other means are not successful and that at least a large proportion of unsuccessful suicide attempts are never repeated – that should be the poster boy for gun control. Guns=a larger number of suicides, period.

        My personal idea for a solution at the federal level
        1. National law calling for mandatory IDs for all gun purchases, so that you can check for age, history of previous convictions and home state
        2. Guns can only be bought in home state
        3. Guns cannot be transported across state lines

        2 and 3 can be worked around by agreements between states, but 1 cannot.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Pseudo
        I would add
        (4) – The the gun MUST be registered to the owner and the registration process MUST involve complex forms, wait time and a personal interview

        This would help enormously in filtering out some of the loonies

      • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

        @duncan

        Yeah, that could help.

        My point though, is that we either go and repeal the 2A outright as a relic of a bygone era, or we use data to find effective legislative options.

        That proposed “assault” weapons ban is symbolic at best, or a cynical play to use fear to win political support at worst. I’ll call it an early symptom of reality-denial on the left, and that’s not good at all, considering the other side has already gone mad.

        Also, lists of names that have no transparency, no due process, no recourse if you do end up on one, and with numerous instances of false positives. Why, why do so few people see how utterly terrifying it is to use such lists to enact laws. If you disagree with me, think what would happen if a Trumpian president randomly started putting people he didn’t like on such lists. What would happen if people on a certain list weren’t allowed to freely express themselves? There is a place for such lists – but only when they’re clearly defined, transparent, have legal recourse and so on. But the current situation is madness already and we shouldn’t be legitimizing it because we’re scared of guns and terrorists.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      I don’t think there’s any question that sparsely populated, rural areas would have less gun violence then denser areas.

      And one could probably even confidently say if America was an entirely rural, sparsely populated country with no cities, this probably wouldn’t be an issue. But if course that isnt the case. Since we DO have cities (and lots of them) and other areas of high population density, then perhaps not makes sense to have some reasonable gun restrictions, knowing that higher density population centers and incredibly easy access to guns is not a good mix.

    • goplifer says:

      In per capita terms, Wyoming, Montana, Arizona and Nevada are all in the top 10 for firearm deaths per capita as one would expect. At the bottom – Massachusetts and Hawaii.

      Not all of those deaths are homicides. People are pretty spread out in those empty states. Homicide is more difficult if you need to hit someone several miles away.

      High rates of gun ownership with very low regulation translate, as one would logically expect, into a lot of random mayhem. Accidents and suicide take as many lives and intentional crimes. Again, that’s the sort of obvious logic around the danger of these tools that leads to our (unquestioned) bans on tanks, rpg’s, grenades, etc. There’s no point in ordinary untrained, unlicensed people owning them and they are tremendously hazardous. You know, like an AR15.

    • WX Wall says:

      The level of gun ownership in a state does not correlate with per capita gun murders. Check out https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States_by_state

      The numbers seem to be all over the place. But the question is, so what? Just because violence is a complex problem means we can’t address the gun component of it?

      By that logic, since car accidents are caused by a whole bunch of factors from car design, seat belts, speed, etc, we shouldn’t ban drunk driving. Even if a driver was drunk, he might not have crashed if *every other factor that goes into a car crash* had been addressed. So until that’s done, we shouldn’t even ban doing shots while driving down the interstate. Please tell me if there’s a flaw in applying your logic.

      Even the most strident gun control advocate doesn’t believe that banning guns will stop all crime. Most of them are well aware of the effects of poverty, education levels and all the other factors you’ve mentioned. It doesn’t mean we can’t also address guns.

  21. And Chris, the “collective right” canard is patently offensive. The vast preponderance of historical textual evidence supporting the 2nd Amendment as an individual right is simply *overwhelming*, and to suggest otherwise is highly disingenuous, not to mention anti-liberty, and anti-American. As you point out, Heller itself quite openly declaims that the 2nd Amendment is not unlimited, and is subject to regulation. Basically, Heller says nothing more than that the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right, like the majority of other rights listed in the Bill of Rights. And yet, this simple precept send leftist statists like yourself into an absolute frenzy. Hmm.

    You rail against our ridiculous TX abortion law (and rightfully so), but you seem to discount the fact the people like me, in this very venue, have spoken out against that law as vociferously as you. I would suggest to you that both parties have anti-liberty issues. On the right, anti-liberty policies are popular regarding LGBT rights, abortion rights, women’s rights, and equal protection rights in general. On the left, anti-liberty policies are popular regarding guns and the free practice of religion, and increasingly, free speech.

    Here’s a thought: How about we try promoting liberty in every way, shape and form, wherever and whenever possible. Liberty. Give it a try. 😉

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Sorry to disappoint you, Tracy, but generations’ worth of Supreme Court decisions disagree with you. In United States v. Cruikshank, the Court ruled that, and I quote: “The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence” and limited the applicability of the Second Amendment to the federal government.”

      Furthermore, In United States vs Miller (1939), the Court further ruled that the federal government could limit ANY type of weapon not having a, and again I quote: “reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.”

      As it was originally intended, the 2nd Amendment pertains only to the existence of a well regulated militia in the defense of the people and the country. Take to its logical conclusion, if you or I are not part of the military (a modern-day militia, I believe we can agree), then we have no Constitutional right to arms.

      Heller was the decision that effectively spit in the face of an entire history of precedent.

      • TheMeansAreTheEnd says:

        There are four usages of “militia” in the Constitution. Three of them relate to the President being able to call up militias to protect the nation in times of emergency — including armed insurrection against the government. To suggest that the fourth usage is intended to ALLOW armed insurrection (““2nd Amendment remedies”) is insane. Even to claim that the 2nd Amendment was originally about private gun use is to completely ignore the rest of the Constitution. Private gun rights were created by the Supreme Court, as Lifer said.

    • I’m amused by the description of Ladd as a “statist leftist.”

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Tracy, what about the liberty of gay ppl to go to clubs without being murdered? What about the liberty of children to go to school without being slaughtered? Does that liberty not count?

      • What about it, Rob? Do you honestly think taking away my means of self defense is going to have any affect on the ability of gay ppl to go to clubs w/o being murdered? Or the liberty of children to go to school w/o being slaughtered? Really?

        The Orlando nut job purchased his firearms legally. OK. So did the vast majority of recent terrorists / mass murderers. Do you honestly believe they would have been deterred by *more* stringent gun laws? Do think any of them wouldn’t have been unable to obtain firearms illegally? Do you honestly think access to firearms makes any difference at all to these people? It didn’t in Oklahoma City, New York, or Boston. These monsters bear one thing in common: they want to kill a lot of people. There are a lot of ways to do that, many of them more efficient than rifle assault.

      • WX Wall says:

        Tracy,

        Since you’re talking specifically about the Orlando shooting, let’s talk specifics:
        Do you honestly believe an effective system of regulation, including registration, background checks, financial liability for incidences that happen with your gun, and limits on gun running (buying more than say, 5 guns a month) would limit your current gun ownership and / or gun related activities in any way? Can you tell me one thing *that you do currently* with guns (not a theoretical Red Dawn scenario or something), that you wouldn’t be able to do if the specific policies I mentioned above are implemented?

        Believe it or not, I’m genuinely curious.

      • WX, sorry, didn’t see your post ’til now. I’ll take your items one at a time.

        1) Registration – Historically, registration leads to confiscation. You say registration; I hear confiscation. I’m sorry, but registration is total non-starter with the gun community. If you want to have an honest and open conversation, I highly suggest that you leave registration out of it, because *nothing* else you have to say will be heard. Take it off the table.

        2) [Universal] background checks – Aside from the fact the such laws are *totally and completely* unenforceable, I’m actually OK with the notion of voluntary background checks for private sales. I actually do most of my sales through GunBroker.com, where transfers are always through an FFL (for anything other than intra-state long gun sales; all my my long gun sales/purchases have been inter-state), so I probably would not have the opportunity to take advantage of it. But if I could place a sales ad in the local paper, or Craigslist, then, yes, it would be lovely to conduct the sale at the counter of my local BassPro store, complete with a NICS background check.

        3) Limits on purchases – Utterly ineffective. Only an idiot would draw attention to themselves by buying multiple guns at one time at the same location. The vast majority of gun trafficking occurs through standard 1-gun straw purchases and stolen guns. I’ll look at any proposal that is likely to be a) effective, and b) enforceable. This one fails a). (And mandatory universal background checks fail b).)

        4) Liability insurance – I already carry an umbrella policy for my home. It would be nice to have a policy that covers me off my property. Again, as long as it’s not mandatory, I’m all for it. Make it an affirmative choice, say by offering enhanced legal protection to those who purchase such insurance, and I suspect it would become quite popular. And maybe some form of subsidies for those who are economically disadvantaged and could not otherwise afford it.

        As you noted, none of the above measures would have prevented Orlando, or *any* of the spate of mass shootings/terrorist attacks over the last several years.

        One thing we could do is beef up the use-of-a-gun-in-crime laws that we already have on the books. These laws are generally not enforced, and are for the most part not sufficiently onerous to provide a deterrent, anyway. I suggest that we make them utterly draconian. Use a gun committing a crime? How about you get put away, *forever*. Mandatory life sentence, with no possibility of parole. I’d bet that would give your average criminal pause.

      • duncancairncross says:

        “Registration – Historically, registration leads to confiscation”

        An interesting statement
        I can only think of one occasion where that was true –
        There are dozens of countries where we have had registration for many decades and nobody has confiscated the guns

      • WX Wall says:

        Tracy,
        Thanks for replying. I’ll take your objections one by one.

        1) Registration = confiscation.
        This is pure paranoia. We require registration of all sorts of things. I can trace the ownership records of your house for a hundred years. Yet I bet it’s never been confiscated. Same goes for automobiles, etc. This is a classic ‘slippery slope’ argument that’s false. Just because we register doesn’t mean we automatically will start confiscating. The point of registering isn’t confiscation. It’s to make it easy to trace a gun that was used in a crime back to its owner and figure out how / why it was allowed to slip into a criminal’s hands (assuming it wasn’t the owner who committed the crime in the first place :-). If that then leads to the confiscation of the rest of the guns of an irresponsible owner who repeatedly allowed his purchased guns to be lost / stolen, then I hope you’d support that as well.

        2) Background checks. These are not unenforceable. They’re unenforceable now because extensive lobbying has rendered them so. Furthermore, even if they’re only 90% effective (say), they’re still useful. After all, it’s possible to get fake driver’s licenses and SS cards, yet we still use them as identification, and they work 99% of the time. Similarly, Fair-Isaac knows your entire financial history well enough to create your FICO score and allow credit card companies to determine your eligibility for a $30k credit card in realtime while you wait on the web. And yet gun owners still say that background checks are impossible so we shouldn’t even try.

        I’m glad you’re okay with this, but they can’t be voluntary. Voluntary ensures that only legitimate sales get checked, which completely defeats the purpose of catching people who knowingly sell to barred owners. Only mandatory checks would allow law enforcement to prosecute people who don’t check owners before selling to them.

        3) I’m not talking about from a single location. If you have an effective registration system, you should be able to see where he’s bought guns from *anywhere*. And this can be very effective. For example, these days, every state runs a prescription database, whereby *any* prescription you get filled in *any* pharmacy in the state gets recorded. Any doctor or pharmacist has access to this database right on the web, so he can figure out if a patient is “doctor shopping” i.e. getting multiple prescriptions (usually for narcotics) and filling them at different pharmacies. If he is, you can refuse to write (or fill) a prescription. This would be no different. An effective registration system would allow a gun owner to check in real time how many guns this person has already bought this month. And an effective background check system would automatically deny a buyer if/when he hits his quota. Doesn’t matter if he buys one in Texas, two more in Louisana, and 2 more in Oklahoma.

        4) I’m glad you support at least voluntary insurance, but again, I’d say it needs to be mandatory. We require 3rd party insurance to drive a vehicle. Why can’t we require the same for firearms? If it’s true that the vast, vast majority of gun owners are law abiding and safe and do not cause gun violence (which I fully believe, BTW), then their insurance costs will be minimal. But if it’s not mandatory, then the irresponsible owners for whom insurance costs are unaffordable will just go without insurance.

        As for the mass shooting, it’s an unfortunate truth that they are the absolute worst examples to use in the gun debate when formulating policy, because despite their horrific nature, most gun violence isn’t from mass shootings, and many policies that might stop the somewhat rational “ordinary” gun violence perpetrator probably wouldn’t stop the type of crazy, determined, irrational people that commit mass shootings. However, they’re the only type of gun crimes that make national news these days, so they’re the only ones we talk about. It’s sort of like fashioning murder laws to try to stop suicide bombers. What’s needed to stop suicide bombers is very, very different than what’s needed to stop the run-of-the-mill murders that happen every day.

        You might be right that no policy would have stopped the Orlando shooter. But you may be wrong as well, since we never hear about the crazy guy who *couldn’t* buy a gun and launch his attack. We can always play “what if” about a specific incidence. But this is a game of statistics. Gun homicides will never be zero. But we do know that effective regulation can substantially *reduce* gun violence. No gun rights advocate has ever created a rational rebuttal to Australia’s experience that definitively proves this statement (not to mention countless other countries).

        If I use your logic, then I could argue that stricter laws about using guns in a crime wouldn’t have stopped the Orlando shooter either. He seems to have been crazy enough to not care about dying. Do you think he even knew, much less cared about, the nuances of his potential jail term before deciding to attack? This is the problem with determining policy based on extreme examples rather than the ordinary, day-to-day stuff (Although we now, appallingly, average 1 mass murder every day, so…) that is far more damaging.

      • 1mime says:

        Outstanding, thoughtful response, WX Wall. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi WX
        Exactly right
        Almost every other country has “registration” and has had it in place for decades

        Which countries have used this for confiscation? – Germany?
        That’s the only one I can think of – and guess what you can still own a “registered ” gun in Germany today

      • Gentlefolk, you seem to equate a privilege granted to a favored few by the all-powerful state, and revocable at any time at the whim of the state, with an irrevocable constitutional right afforded to all. Europeans in general, and Germans in particular, are subject to the former. We enjoy the latter. You might care to stop for a moment, and ponder the difference.

      • 1mime says:

        The first of those rights is “life”. That is not privileged, that is universal.

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      “On the right, anti-liberty policies are popular regarding LGBT rights, abortion rights, women’s rights, and equal protection rights in general. On the left, anti-liberty policies are popular regarding guns and the free practice of religion, and increasingly, free speech.”

      I like seeing such gloriously libertarian perspectives – and they are quite common.

      Can someone explain why the Libertarian party hasn’t become a proper party commanding about a third of the American political landscapes and is instead a few good people trying to run a ship full of crazies?

      • I don’t really know, Pseudo. One supposes that the inertia of our 2-party system does a great deal to thwart ascendance of a third party. When you think about it, the policy positions of both parties are, to a significant extent, accidents of history. Americans love liberty, in pretty much every form. Yet both parties have adopted positions that are distinctly anti-liberty. (For instance, I’d actually consider voting for Hillary over Trump, were it not for her radical anti-gun policies.) I actually think that a *lot* of the turbulence in both parties (e.g. Bernie and Trump) stems from the fact that both parties have become so ossified that they no longer reflect the values of *any* plurality. Times, they are a changin’.

    • vikinghou says:

      The Constitution is not a sacred text divined from the heavens. It, like all other human documents, needs to placed in the context of the time it was written and the realities of today. The 2nd Amendment is one of those things. I wish the forefathers had specifically mentioned muskets.

  22. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    Personally, I think Titanium is just Grand.

  23. johngalt says:

    “Someone raised outside the United States will find this baffling. In many cases, someone raised outside the American South will struggle to follow this logic.”

    Some of us who were raised and have lived damn near their entire lives in the American South struggle to follow this logic, too.

  24. Ryan Ashfyre says:

    As is the case in this election season, another day goes by with ever worsening news for the Republican Party, whose favorability has dropped to an abysmal 32%, with Democrats faring much better at 49%.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-06-15/national-poll-part-2

    Just for perspective, Democrats need about a seven point advantage over Republicans in November for them to regain control of the House. Something to keep in mind.

  25. “One could start by consulting Google Maps, where we learn that a Chicago resident need only walk across a street to Indiana where they can purchase firearms under a nearly unrestricted scheme.”

    Uh, Chris, I presume you’ve never purchased a firearm, so perhaps you are unaware that you can’t legally purchase any handgun from a dealer outside of your home state, nor can you purchase a long arm that would be illegal in your (sadly benighted) state, nor could you make any out-of-state purchase without you FOID card. Surely you aren’t encouraging your neighbors to participate in a felony?

    As our friends at BATFE put it:

    Generally, a person may only acquire a firearm within the person’s own State. Exceptions include the acquisition pursuant to a lawful bequest, or an over–the–counter acquisition of a rifle or shotgun from a licensee where the transaction is allowed by the purchaser’s State of residence and the licensee’s State of business. A person may borrow or rent a firearm in any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes.

    [18 U.S.C 922(a)(3); 27 CFR 478.29]

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      What if you just gave a friend in a neighboring state the money to purchase the gun for you and have them give it to you as a ‘gift’?

      And what about online purchases? As a matter of course, as there are with so many other things online, surely there are ways to find loopholes or back channels to skirt state and/or federal regulations and buy a gun.

    • goplifer says:

      ***nor could you make any out-of-state purchase without you FOID card***

      Just to pick one (it’s getting late) let’s settle on that one. Yes you can.

      In Indiana a private seller can sell to anyone they want without a background check or documentation. Just like they can, by coincidence, in Mississippi. The buyer must be over 18, but even that requirement is governed by a “reasonable cause to believe” standard, one of those little wrinkles in the language which make it effectively impossible to enforce the rest of the law’s provisions.

      How will an Indiana seller know that the buyer is from Illinois? I guess it might come up in conversation. You are referring to notional requirements outlined in the law, but rendered in a manner that makes them unenforceable in practice. And how will an IL cop or any other law enforcement professional ever know that you got your gun in Indiana? They probably never will. It took a massive journalism project to track down those basic statistics about firearm origins in Chicago.

      Most reputable sellers will require ID. It’s a good idea after all. But they don’t have to. Unless they have managed to attract the attention of the ATF it will never matter, because Indiana isn’t going to do shit about it.

    • Ryan, out-of-state online purchases have to go through an FFL dealer at both ends. Failure to do so is a felony.

    • Chris, please excuse me having to point this out, but your comments are moronic. What you are describing is illegal gun trafficking. It’s a felony. In-state transactions between private individuals are legal, but transactions that involve transport across state lines most definitely are not – you must go through an FFL dealer.

      BTW, there is some agitation in the “gun enthusiast” realm to have Congress do away with the cumbersome restrictions on interstate firearms purchases. With the advent of NICS in 1998, every single legal dealer transaction has passed through the same national database FBI background check. (Prior to 1998, background checks were done by state law enforcement.) Since everybody is subject to the same background check throughout our Republic, it’s really kind of pointless to restrict interstate transactions (so long as they comply with the laws of the respective states at either end).

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        With all respect, Tracy, you would seem to be avoiding the obvious problem here. If a private seller in Indiana can sell a gun to someone that they “reasonably” believe is over 18 without a background check (which I just checked on, and which is state law), then what the hell is to stop that someone from crossing state lines and avoiding any problems that their state might otherwise have given them? Nothing.

        This Indiana law language is seriously troubling. Not just with what Lifer mentioned, but Indiana law also says that transferring guns, by whatever means, is prohibited if the owner “reasonably” believes that the receiver is less than 23 years old, mentally unstable, or is a drug abuser.

        WTF? What kind of pathetic regulation is that? It’s practically useless. Any moron with half a brain could say that, at the time, they had no reason to believe that said person was any of those things and no one could prove them wrong.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        “What you are describing is illegal gun trafficking. It’s a felony. In-state transactions between private individuals are legal, but transactions that involve transport across state lines most definitely are not – you must go through an FFL dealer.”

        But that’s exactly the point Tracy. The laws are worded so purposefully vaguely that even though, IN THEORY, selling these guns acroaabstate lines is illegal gun trafficking, in PRACTICE, there is absolutely no way to enforce this. Any law that SAYS something is illegal but then undermines itself to allow that act to happen unimpeded is a crappy law.

        There is absolutely no difference between that law, and drug laws that might say “selling oxycontins and morphine pills is illegal to anyone without a prescription” but then went on to clarify that you are not legally obligated to see the prescription, you can just take their word for it.

        Everyone would agree that THAT law is useless. The same is true here with the gun law.

      • There nothing at all vague in federal gun law, kiddies. What you are all so blithely describing is against the law. Now, any random knucklehead passing you in the street could punch you in the nose, and that would be against the law, too. There’s nothing to restrain that knucklehead other than respect for the law. Here’s a clue: the law-abiding abide by the law; criminals do not. Perhaps you should give some thought to which camp you want to call your own.

        As Rob points out, unenforceable laws are useless. Sadly, the majority of gun statutes fall into that category. For the criminal who crosses a state line to purchase a weapon for use in a crime, the last thing they’re worried about is breaking federal gun law. Nonetheless, I’d advise Chris to get a little better educated before attempting to make his purchase. Ignorantia juris non excusat.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        >] “There nothing at all vague in federal gun law, kiddies. What you are all so blithely describing is against the law. Now, any random knucklehead passing you in the street could punch you in the nose, and that would be against the law, too. There’s nothing to restrain that knucklehead other than respect for the law. Here’s a clue: the law-abiding abide by the law; criminals do not. Perhaps you should give some thought to which camp you want to call your own.”

        It’s quite curious how you skewed off into a tangent about federal law rather than focus on the, IMHO, quite troubling issues of state laws, such as those in Indiana and Mississippi, which we’ve been talking about. Obviously, if there were comprehensive federal laws that overrode the aforementioned states’ laws, then this wouldn’t be an issue. Regrettably, that isn’t the case, and if you disagree, then I’d like for you to reference the specific federal law that makes all of this supposedly moot.

        Secondly, you’re one short step away from being like those aforementioned knuckleheads (looking at you, Marco Rubio) that says that there’s no point in passing a law if criminals are just going to ignore it anyway. As I’m sure you know, that’s an asinine argument that’s an argument against all laws. Careful where you tread.

        Thirdly, you’re playing fast and loose when you talk about NICS. You know very well that private sellers at gun shows are not required nor are they even permitted to do background checks; and in addition, private sellers who ONLY sell guns at gun show don’t even need an FFL. So when you talk about “legal dealer transactions”, you’ll have to pardon me if I think you’re being intentionally vague with your wording.

      • goplifer says:

        Tracy,

        Try on this mental exercise. What it would it take to make those federal provisions enforceable in the real world? Cause they aren’t.

        Seriously, think that through.

        Then consider this possibility – everyone involved in federal gun policy also knows what it would take to make federal gun control laws enforceable. And those provisions have never made it into law. Why? Do you really think its an accident that we have an entire code of federal firearms regulations and yet no mechanisms by which law enforcement can track those transactions, identify violators, and punish them?

        You’re not dumb, Tracy. It just seems like you don’t want to follow this thread to its logical conclusion.

      • WX Wall says:

        Tracy, you seem to assume that the laws we have work perfectly despite the fact that, as Chris states, powerful forces do everything in their power to gut those laws.

        You admirably state that you opposed Texas’ attempts to restrict abortion access. That means you understand that a theoretical right is not the same as a practical ability to exercise it. This is the same principle. If you are against illegal inter-state gun running, you should be for efforts to enforce it. I won’t presume to say whether you do, but the gun industry and lobbying groups are vehemently opposed to any efforts that might allow currently existing gun laws to be effectively enforced.

        I mean seriously? A bartender has to check ID and can even be held liable if it’s fake, but a gun seller can just “presume” a buyer is 18?? And this is supposed to serve as the bulwark against inter-state gun trafficking? And you think there’s no opportunity to improve this law?

      • Gentlemen, I hear what you are saying, but you are totally missing the point. We already have gun laws that make, for instance, interstate gun sales between private parties, illegal. Yet it’s obvious that they do no good, because they are *unenforceable*. Law abiding folks like ourselves will and do abide by them, but criminals blithely ignore them. And yet, you seem to think that yet more unenforceable laws are somehow going to make a difference. Frankly, you all baffle me.

        WX, you seem to really confused about who is and isn’t a gun dealer. As with purveyors of alcohol, every gun dealer with a storefront (and even those who operate out of their homes, but make their living selling guns) must have an FFL. And *every single* transaction they conduct requires are NICS background check, with far stricter requirements on ID verification than is required for alcohol sales. Every. Single. One. Doesn’t matter where it occurs: in the store, at a gun show, over the Internet, over the kitchen table. *Every* transaction.

        Now, I just happen to brew beer as a hobby. Some of it pretty darn tasty. I give it away, but if I were I to choose to sell the odd bottle to friends and neighbors, nobody is going to expect me to obtain a liquor license, nor check IDs. Same goes for private gun sales. I buy/sell several guns a year. (Mostly with a net positive on the buy side, kinda of like my beloved with Jimmy Choo shoes.) Nobody in their right mind would expect me to obtain an FFL to pursue my gun hobby. (BTW, as an aside, a couple of decades ago some enthusiasts did go through the process of obtaining an FFL simply so they could buy small runs of limited edition guns at distributor, i.e., wholesale prices. They’d keep one, and sell the rest to their buddies, essentially building their collection for free. BATFE really clamped down on that kind of thing, so it wouldn’t even be *possible* for me to obtain an FFL these days. Hobbyists just can’t get them anymore.)

        With respect to interstate transfer laws, how, exactly, are you going to enforce that? It’s *fundamentally* an unenforceable law. The only way it *ever* gets enforced is if the violation is uncovered as part of the investigation into some other crime. E.g., a criminal gets nabbed for armed robbery, or some such, and the gun is traced. He gets gun trafficking added to his list of charges. He doesn’t give a flying er, squirrel. It’s the least of his problems. At the other end, unless it’s a repeat offense, it’s a slap on the wrist. Straw purchasers are generally vulnerable individuals (e.g. wives and family members of cons). In a court of law, it’s next to impossible to prove that they *knew* they were buying the gun for subsequent illegal sale. Again, unenforceable. If you have some brilliant idea for better enforcement, I’d love to hear it.

    • 1mime says:

      Tracy, Have your responded to WXWall’s questions? I, too, am genuinely interested in your answers.

      “Do you honestly believe an effective system of regulation, including registration, background checks, financial liability for incidences that happen with your gun, and limits on gun running (buying more than say, 5 guns a month) would limit your current gun ownership and / or gun related activities in any way? Can you tell me one thing *that you do currently* with guns (not a theoretical Red Dawn scenario or something), that you wouldn’t be able to do if the specific policies I mentioned above are implemented?”

  26. Rob Ambrose says:

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-strikes-apocalyptic-tone-atlanta-rally

    Jesus, is Trump having a mental breakdown? He’s making even less sense then normal. I copied it here because it’s truly amazing how a presidential candidate can use so many words to say, literally, nothing. This is bizarre. To wit:

    “Trump shared a story about a friend with a terminal illness who was expected to live one more month and then outlived that life expectancy.

    “He’s tough as hell,” Trump said, going on to say that he thought his friend was similar to the United States, which was having “the blood sucked out of us.”

    “It’s amazing that our country can continue to survive, but you know? Eventually it’s not going to survive. Just so you understand. Eventually it’s not. This guy’s an amazing guy. Our country is an amazing country. It’s amazing that our country could be abused so badly and not surv—,” Trump said, trailing off before shouting, “It’s just amazing!”

    “And continue to survive,” he continued. “But it’s not going to continue to survive like this. It can’t. It’s impossible.”

    He then began to detail how disastrous he thought it would be for Hillary Clinton to choose Supreme Court justices. He said putting Clinton in charge of filling vacancies on the high court would turn the United States into “Venezuela.”

    “If Hillary gets in, you will have a Supreme Court that will destroy our country as we know it, just remember that. It will destroy. We will have Venezuela,” Trump said. “You see what’s happening in Venezuela? We’re getting fairly close to that anyway. But we will have Venezuela,” “We will have something you won’t even recognize.”

    • n1cholas says:

      I’m still waiting for the US to turn into Greece, as the permanently-wrong Republicans swore would happen. Over and over and over.

      Cognitive dissonance is a hell of a psychiatric predicament.

  27. Stuart Armstrong says:

    One of the better analysis of the data and studies I’ve seen: “As the old saying goes, guns don’t kill people; guns controlled for robbery rate, alcoholism, income, a dummy variable for Southernness, and a combined measure of social deprivation kill people.”

    http://slatestarcodex.com/2016/01/06/guns-and-states/

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      Did you even read the article you linked to?

      It points out that there’s no correlation between homicide rate and gun ownership.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Nevermind, I think you were being sarcastic at GOPLifer. I doubt he’ll notice.

      • Stuart Armstrong says:

        Of course I read the article, it’s fascinating.

        Did you?: “But if you adjust for all relevant confounders, there is a positive correlation between gun ownership and homicide rates (~90% confidence). This relationship is likely causal (~66% confidence).”

        […]

        “An Australian-style gun control program that worked and had no side effects would probably prevent about 2,000 murders in the US. It would also prevent a much larger number of suicides. I am otherwise ignoring suicides in this piece because discussing them would make me too angry.”

    • Pseudoperson Randomian says:

      Oh no! Someone linked to Scott Alexander without warning. Have you no decency? I need coffee, time and a clear mind before I approach one of those articles. It’s for my sanity.

  28. JK74 says:

    As a non-American, I admit that the US’ firearm obsession strikes me as the least understandable thing about your country. It’s not like Australians never had or used guns; my father has a photo of himself & two friends, on holidays in the 1950s. They’d been hitchhiking around NSW – all carrying .303 rifles for hunting, and had no problems getting lifts. Wouldn’t happen today. (The other part that wouldn’t happen now is them all out in the bush, miles from anywhere, posing with the roos they’d shot – and all in sports coats & ties. Maybe that’s how they got rides).

    I can also understand the appeal of competitive shooting at a target; it’s a respected, Olympic sport, not unlike archery, wrestling or fencing, that I don’t participate in myself but have no desire to restrict other’s participation. Whatever works for you.

    But I don’t understand the self-defence aspect. The whole “when seconds count, the police can be there in minutes” argument for keeping a firearm handy. I mean, wtf? How likely are home invasions anyway? And for the safety of children, isn’t the standard that the weapon’s locked in a safe, and the ammo locked in a different safe – so the whole “seconds count” thing is meaningless. Plus, any gun in the home is far more likely to be used on a resident or guest in a suicide or domestic dispute. It’s simple risk assessment, people!

    Sorry, rant over.

    I had some understanding of the historical aspects – the Minutemen, the evil redcoats, throwing off tyranny, yada yada yada. Plus the downplayed aspect of unhappy Native Americans on the frontier, when the risk of home invasion wasn’t insignificant – and in those days they weren’t after your home electronics or jewellery, either. Lifer’s adding of the slave rebellion & race aspects makes a lot of sense.

    My younger son (who I may have mentioned is gay) seems to be taking the Orlando incident hard. His school band is planning to tour the US in 2018, visiting Chicago, NYC, Memphis, Nashville & Dallas. Please try to avoid killing him or any of the touring party when they are there.

    Finally, for completeness; it is often mentioned that since a man killed 35 people in Tasmania in 1996, resulting in much tougher gun laws, Australia has not had a mass shooting (4 or more killed or wounded). Sadly, that is no longer true; in 2014 a Wagga Wagga farmer killed his wife, their three children (aged 10, 8 & 6) and himself. So now we have had one in twenty years; in the US you average about one per day.

    • johngalt says:

      To be sure, JK, your father’s story from the 1950s could easily have occurred in many places in the US in the same time period. Australia has had the stones to learn from mistakes.

      • JK74 says:

        I don’t know if it was a mistake; just a recognition that weapons technology was getting to a point that some types of firearm needed to be moved to the list that included land mines, artillery, cruise missiles etc, of “stuff that does not belong in the hands of the public”. If you need to shoot (vermin control) or want to shoot (sporting) you can, but there are, I understand, some hoops to jump through to obtain the permits to do so, and limits on what you can use when doing so. So far as I am aware, our pest controllers & Olympians are managing just fine. It did take some political courage for our then Prime Minister to push for the changes, but overall it had widespread support then, and I suspect even more so now.

    • 1mime says:

      Want a better understanding of how some U.S. states view self defense….it’s called “Stand Your Ground”.

      http://criminal.findlaw.com/criminal-law-basics/states-that-have-stand-your-ground-laws.html

  29. Rob Ambrose says:

    Fine piece of journalism there Chris. Felt like I was reading a WaPo or Times article.

  30. Griffin says:

    It’s sort of funny the white nationalists who lined up behind Donald Trump are now confused/angry that he’s willing to talk to the NRA to get them to moderate even slightly. I imagine this is because Donald Trump is a bit unfamilar with the mindset of his followers even if he shares some of their racism.

    “Even the greatest cultures retain a few pathologies; strange wrinkles in the fabric of their development, formed around some pain, some defeat, some overlooked, forgotten, or concealed crime.”

    Out of curiousity as someone who’s lived in California his whole life do you think there’s any major pathology we have in Northern/Western America that is holding us back and we should challenge just as the South needs to challenge it’s racial (either conscious or subconscious) pathology?

    • Griffin says:

      Now that I think about it it makes sense that despite Trump’s racism he does not share in all the views of his followers because of his growing up in wealth. To him the more extreme “pro-gun” arguments probably make little sense because despite his “Confederate” mindset he did not grow up thinking he would need to personally defend himself from minorities, he has bodyguards and grew up in a nice house in wealthier areas. This is probably why he does not share in the religious fundamentalism of his followers as well. They require the social and economic connections aquired by going to church with other likeminded whites, while Trump doesn’t. I wonder how many other differences between him and the far-right are caused by his growing up in much more wealth than they did.

      • 1mime says:

        Undoubtedly, class and status combined with wealth enables someone like Trump basic security that lower classes do not enjoy.

  31. Titanium Dragon says:

    There is no correlation between gun ownership and homicide rate:

    The problem with the thought process of gun control is that it starts in the wrong place. Guns aren’t the problem. The data simply does not support the idea that guns are the problem.

    This is the Big Lie.

    Guns are an easy thing to blame because blaming the actual source of the problem upsets people. It is pure, sheer tribialism and willful blindness.

    The US does not even have a particularly high homicide rate. I did some calculations based on FBI statistics of homicide victims in 2014.

    The non-Hispanic white homicide victimization rate in the US is about 1.75 per 100k. For reference, that rate falls between that of Finland and Belgium.

    The Hispanic homicide victimization rate is 3.5 per 100k – still well below the US average.

    The black homicide victimization rate is north of 15 per 100k – worse than dysfunctional countries like Russia. And probably went *up* last year, judging by the preliminary crime statistics released by the FBI for the first half of 2015.

    Blacks are far less likely to possess firearms than whites are – a bit over 40% of white households possess guns, while under 30% of black households do. And yet blacks suffer significantly higher homicide rates than whites – almost entirely at the hands of other blacks.

    When you say “we need gun control”, “We need gun tracking”, all that rural white people are hearing is “We’re being punished because a bunch of criminals in big cities are violent crazies.”

    And they’re *right*.

    The problem isn’t the guns. The problem is the people. Your example – four people killed in a house – is soemthing which could also be (and has also historically been) accomplished with knives or arson. Gun control isn’t going to fix that problem.

    You should immediately recognize this. You’re blaming an object.

    Blame the person.

    Personal responsibility is supposed to be big with people like you, but when it comes to this issue, you are bizarrely avoidant of it.

    The problem is the people who do this stuff. The guns aren’t the issue. The data points towards that conclusion – if gun ownership does not correlate with homicide rates, then guns cannot explain the variation in the homicide rate.

    • goplifer says:

      Thank you for the reminder that facts, research, studies, analysis and even common sense can go screaming out the window in the face of an ideological necessity. Twenty years from now we might look back on these bizarre arguments with much the same quaint amusement that we regard arguments against child labor laws. For the next few years though, as the momentum around this issue finally and forcefully shifts, you can expect this kind of crap to be greeted with considerable heat.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        How is it a bizarre argument?

        Zero relation between gun ownership rates and homicide rates by state.

        That’s not a bizarre argument – that’s a rational argument that guns aren’t the issue.

      • johngalt says:

        TD, unless you post a source for this data, I have no ability to critically evaluate it. I am skeptical about it, since I have seen much other data that correlates gun ownership with violent crime. Sources, please.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      I’ll be the one to take first crack at this, if you don’t mind…

      First of all, I’m inclined to think that you didn’t even read Lifer’s article, because if you had, you would’ve noticed this particular nugget: “Mass killings in the US have spiked in recent years despite a decades-long decline in overall violence. What has remained constant across decades is America’s striking level of gun carnage in comparison to the rest of the world. Homicides may be declining, but we are no closer to the kind of public safety every other respectable country’s citizens take for granted.”

      What we’re talking about is not our overall homicide rate, as you inferred, but rather the rate of our mass killings with guns as compared to other countries. That’s the issue, and it’s where the United States stands out in a horrific way. Slice it however you want, but no other civilized country on the face of the planet has the kinds of mass killings that we have. Period, full stop.

      >] “The problem isn’t the guns. The problem is the people. Your example – four people killed in a house – is soemthing which could also be (and has also historically been) accomplished with knives or arson. Gun control isn’t going to fix that problem.”

      Taking your argument to its logical conclusion, one might presume that it’s alright to let people have landmines, tanks, bazooks and even freakin’ laser cannons as long as they’re the, apparently, “right” kind of people. After all, you’re saying that the weapons themselves aren’t the problem, so why not let have people have whatever the hell kind of weapons they want, right?

      Needless to say, that’s insane.

      That aside, and to say it once more just for good measure, your asserted premise of homicide rates and its correlation with gun ownership is inherently flawed. That’s not the issue. The issue is our rate of mass killings as compared with other countries:

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Let’s break down that first quote.

        The US doesn’t have a striking level of gun carnage. We have a below-average level of it worldwide. How many people are killed with guns in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia every year?

        The US hasn’t had a war on its own soil in 150 years unless you count the various relatively minor conflicts with Native American tribes, in which case it has still been north of a century since anything major.

        But here’s an even more important thing: as far as the overwhelming majority of Americans are concerned, the US is a very safe place.

        The US has the kind of public safety that every other respectable country’s citizens take for granted. In fact, the US is safer than countries like the UK, which have about 3x the serious assault rate of the US, or Australia, which also has very high assault rates. Americans are often warned about crime when going to Europe, and have to deal with pickpockets and the like. Meanwhile, almost all Americans walk on safe streets, and the mass groping of people as seen in Europe is not really a thing here.

        Almost everywhere in the US is very safe.

        Again, the homicide victimization rate for non-Hispanic whites – who make up the majority of the country – is between that of Belgium and Finland, both civilized, respectable nations.

        And homicide is a rare crime compared to more common kinds of victimization. The UK has a vastly higher violent crime rate than the US does, even if you just compare like to like, because of the out of control number of “woundings” (which are their equivalent of aggravated assaults). Yes, they have a lower homicide rate…

        But the homicide rate in both countries is extremely low, about two orders of magnitude less than the serious assault rate.

        Moreover, almost all people in the US avoid the high crime areas. Why would we go into the crime-infested portions of Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans, and other large cities? You wouldn’t.

        As far as the average American experiences, America is very, very safe.

        Yes, we do have the odd shooting rampage, but they’re rare occurrences. Our per capita rate isn’t hugely high:

        http://static.ijreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Screenshot-6_18_2015-9_43_12-PM.jpg?_ga=1.31522174.1585489550.1466041460

        The US just has an extremely large population, so it ends up looking like we have a lot of incidents because, well, 319 million people is a lot of people – about 2/3rds the size of the entire EU.

        —-

        Incidentally, people in the US are allowed to own tanks, including ones with functional turrets. I’m not sure where you got the idea that we’re not. Arnold Schwarzenegger owns a tank. There used to be a guy out in Bend, Oregon who owned a tank destroyer, before he accidentally blew himself up. You need a tax stamp. It actually really isn’t a big deal.

        Google Schwarzenegger’s “Will It Crush?” tank video. He’s so happy!

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Curiously, in that nice wall of text you just laid out for me, not once did you address the point that I went out of my way, twice, to tell you, and that is that we’re NOT talking about homicide rates, nor are we talking about violent crime rates, “serious assault” rates, or anything else. What we’re talking about are mass shootings and how, here in the United States of America, we have a rate that is, BY FAR, greater than any other country in the world.

        When you decide to set aside your ideological imperative of avoiding my point, I’ll be happy to have a reasonable discussion on guns with you. I won’t hold my breath though.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Ryan:

        Did you even bother reading my post?

        Per capita rampage shooting rates in the US aren’t that high:

        http://static.ijreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Screenshot-6_18_2015-9_43_12-PM.jpg?_ga=1.31522174.1585489550.1466041460

        The reason we have “so many” is because of our large population, not because our per-capita rate is extraordinarily high.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        The reason I didn’t bother addressing your, frankly, distracting focus on “per capita” rates is because it’s bullshit and contributes nothing to the broader discussion other than to be a distraction.

        And, really, the link you provided proves my point quite splendidly. How? By looking at how the United States compares to other countries, specifically with respect to “Total Rampage Shooting Fatalities” and “Total Rampage Shooting Incidents”. With respect to bother, the US is, as I’ve been telling you, in a class all by itself, and that has nothing to do with its larger population.

        The only way your argument works is by assuming that other countries would be just as bad as we are if our populations were equal in scope. You have provided no evidence whatsoever to back that claim up nor is there any reason to believe that that would be the case, hence why it’s bullshit.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Are you seriously suggesting that the per-capita rate is irrelevant?

        The US has a population of 320 million people.

        France has a population of 68 million people.

        If an event has a 1 in 60 million chance of happening to a person in any given year, it will happen once per year in France and five times per year in the United States.

        That’s just basic math.

        The rate would be the same across both countries. Someone who claimed there was an unusual number of them in the US would be an idiot – you’d expect any random event to happen five times more often in the US than France, if its rate of occurence is a function of population.

        If an event happened 20 times per year in the US but 10 times per year in France, that would indicate it happened a lot more often in France than you’d expect if the rate was the same, because France has 1/5th the population. If something happened 50 times per year in the US but only 2 times per year in France, that would indicate that the US had a higher rate.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        That is only the case if both countries are subject to exactly the same circumstances that would allow aforementioned “events” to occur in a predictably reliable way. And, last time I checked, France was quite a bit different from the United States, and not just because they’re so much better at making cheese than we are.

        That’s just common sense. Have you ever heard of the word “variable”?

        Goodness, stop digging the hole any deeper for yourself. This is just getting sad.

    • goplifer says:

      And as an aside, homicide rates in the US are sky-high. They are declining over the long term, but they are many times higher in the US than in any civilized country. They will remain at those levels until we do something about our absolutely unprecendented firearm regulation scheme.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        US homicide victimization rate:

        Non-Hispanic white: 1.75 per 100k – Between Belgium and Finland. Normal for a “civilized country”.

        Hispanic white homicide rate: 3.5 per 100k – Between Sri Lanka and Chile. High for a “civilized country”.

        Black homicide rate: 14.5 per 100k – Between Myanmar and South Sudan. Third world hellhole level.

      • Resident Alien says:

        In response to TD’s series of posts, I have a few observations:

        Your initial graph is uninformative; there’s no mention of where these data come from. Some indication of who was surveyed and how would help support your point.

        It’s not gun ownership per se that’s the problem, it’s the inability to track the movement of firearms from seller to buyer that makes law enforcement’s job so hard. As GOP Lifer mentioned, having tough gun laws doesn’t help a city of state if people can travel elsewhere to buy weapons.

        How does registration of firearms impinge on your gun rights? I have seven firearms at home and don’t see how registering them with the BATF of FBI is going to lessen my sense of safety (BTW, they’re for hunting, so are unlikely to be used in an attempt to overthrow a despotic government).
        T
        he only positive thing to come out of mass shootings and the election of democratic presidents is that the surge in firearm and ammunition sales that follow give state wildlife agencies a huge bump in Pittman Robertson funds

        http://www.wsj.com/articles/why-ducks-quack-for-obama-1409275094

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Resident Alien:

        How does registering firearms infringe on the right to bear arms?

        I don’t think it does.

        However, I am extremely dubious that it will make a large difference. People who buy guns from firearms dealers have to pass background checks already. Adding a registration step to this would be pretty trivial and wouldn’t really be a big deal at all.

        I severely doubt it would have much of an effect on crime rates, though, because the way most criminals get firearms is via “straw purchases” – where someone else goes in and buys a gun from a dealer, and then gives it to the criminal. These people are already breaking the law, and we do arrest them for doing it. Registration might catch a few more of these people, but as these people are already breaking the law, it is unlikely that the registration step would make a substantial difference in behavior.

        Any such system is going to cost money. Unless it actually causes a substantial decrease in homicide rates (something we have no evidence for – Hawaii isn’t the state with the lowest homicide rate, that’s New Hampshire or Vermont, both of which have fairly liberal gun laws), it is a waste of money.

        The other problem is that there are 300 million guns out there already. How are you going to get them all registered? Registering guns going forward is easy; registering them back in time is hard. And registration will instantly create a black market for “unregistered guns”, which will be full of both dangerous criminals and the “Your guvment is trying to grab mah guns!” types.

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      You had me going for a while, Titanium. I had seen studies showing the loosening of gun laws in certain states correlating with loosened gun laws. And I’ve seen comparisons of countries, re guns and such. But your chart? What the heck? Maybe we don’t have greater gun deaths that many countries. Maybe we don’t have babies shooting themselves or their mom. Maybe we don’t have more police shootings and more police shot than most other countries.

      Then it occurred to me that the Brady scorecard for Illinois would not correlate to gun violence in Chicago. As Lifer said in his post. Have you seen studies about where confiscated guns in New York are bought? How about Baltimore? You familiar with the gun corridor there? Had you thought about that?

      You chart showed stuff but you presented it as important stuff that proved something.

      Funny thing – I was going to get some recent data and do a chart with just two states. Hawaii and Alaska. Hawaii because its isolated and has a B+ rating from the Brady organization and Alaska because it is relatively isolated and has a F rating. It would have been funny as hell. And it would show a definite positive correlation between guns and homicides.

      And pinky swear this is true, I get an email with a link this article. Author talks about Hawaii and Alaska.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-15/nra-s-slippery-slope-on-gun-control-ends-in-paradise

      So you chart was crap and so was your seeming dismissal of black deaths by gun.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        Great article. I’ll be sure to remember that one.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        How is my chart crap? You can construct it yourself.

        Heck, you can just look at maps. Here’s gun ownership by state according to a 2015 survey (I was using older data in my chart):

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        And here is homicide rate by state:

        How well do high gun ownership and high homicide rates match up?

        Not very well.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        As I said in my comment, the problem with your chart is “the Brady scorecard for Illinois would not correlate to gun violence in Chicago” Chicago is in Illinois. Your chart does not mean anything because these gun laws that the Brady Organization are tabulating are state wide at best and municipality wide at worst. You cannot compare the effectiveness of gun laws if criminals can move across state or city lines and get a straw purchaser to buy said gun. But you know that, right?

        The new charts might prove something, but again no source, and they are confusing to look, going back and forth, but more importantly they are not saying anything about the Brady Scorecard. Which is what your first chart was about.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        Titanium – Somehow when looking for the data for your chart, I switched gears and was looking at gun laws vs homicides which I really had a good argument about.

        So, nevermind.

    • duncancairncross says:

      Absolute nonsense
      If you stick to the USA free movement means that you don’t get any correlation

      As soon as you open up your data set to other “western” countries the correlation becomes incredibly visible

    • unarmedandunafraid says:

      Titanium – In regards to your comment about “Rampages” you said, “Per capita rampage shooting rates in the US aren’t that high” Then a link to a chart showing 12 countries with the US being in the middle with 5 countries with higher rate. I looked at it and noticed that those with a higher rate had 1 or 2 incidences in 5 years. Norway was the highest number of fatalities. With 1 incident. To me, that means that for 4 of 5 years, Norway had 0 incidents.
      Zero. Zilch. Slovakia also had 1 incident. The others ahead of US had 2 in 5 years. And one was Israel, with all of the antagonists.

      I found this site that shows the complete list of countries in OECD.

      (http://www.charlespetzold.com/blog/2015/07/De-Obfuscating-the-Statistics-of-Mass-Shootings.html)

      Comparing the two lists, do you now have a different take? I assume you have never seen the complete list with all the countries with 0 rampage incidents. If you have seen it and considering my points above, and you continue to say “Per capita rampage shooting rates in the US aren’t that high” then you are just trolling.

      By the way, the link above has some interesting points about what the data of the complete list shows. It boils down to “damn we kill some people.”

    • WX Wall says:

      “We’re being punished because a bunch of criminals in big cities are violent crazies.”

      Yep. It’s called being part of a society. Sometimes you gotta sacrifice something for the greater good. Especially if the greater good is potentially saving a few thousand lives every year, and the downside to you is a more cumbersome registration process.

      If you don’t agree, then as an urban dweller, I’d like to rescind all the tax dollars I pay that go to subsidize rural farmers, ranchers, and other rugged individualists that can’t survive without my money.

      Also, I still can’t fathom your point. Yes, gun violence rates are much higher for African Americans. So therefore we shouldn’t do something about it? If I’m not black and don’t live in an area with high crime, I shouldn’t care?

      In all of your posts, you don’t propose any solutions aside from saying it’s the person’s fault. OK. Just like cars don’t kill people, drivers do. So let’s not try to minimize car accidents by requiring safety features, or licensing or car insurance. Am I understanding your argument?

    • 1mime says:

      TD, Assuming your hypothesis is correct, i.e., “guns aren’t the issue”, but surely agreeing that America should, where and as possible, deal as effectively as possible to reduce deaths and violence due to guns (and other means of violence), what would your suggestions/solutions be to address the core problem?

  32. gpsimms says:

    I think there is a lot that makes sense about your proposed license/insurance requirements. What would you say, though, to the argument that those types of requirements basically raise the bar (cost) of ownership to essentially eliminate minorities from being able to legally carry firearms?

    Personally, guns makes so little sense to me that I wouldn’t care if that were the case, but I assume some gun crazies will pull out that argument.

    • goplifer says:

      For someone who obtains a license and wants to own A rifle or A pistol or A shotgun, and they have nothing in their record that would suggest a problem, I would imagine that the insurance burden would be pretty modest. For your third or fourth rifle, or for the guy with a string of domestic violence arrests, or the guy who failed to maintain insurance for previous purchases, I would bet they could end up being priced out. As they should be. It might be nice.

  33. Fair Economist says:

    The association between guns and racism goes way back. In Southern states all the way back to the Revolution, the primary purpose of that “well-regulated militia” was capturing runaway slaves and suppressing slave rebellions. During the Revolutionary War the proportion of the state militias held back for slave patrol was a major impediment to the Revolution.

  34. Kenneth Devaney says:

    Chris,
    Great article. Had a history professor at University of Washington who walked into an American History Class and just said “Race”….that is the key to the story of the US.

    He proceeded to lay out many of our pivotal stories as a nation and tracing the racial politics and animus which was never more than one degree away from most of the fateful decisions of our society. The civil war ended slavery. We never resolved the status of millions of “sudden americans” its end created or people of other ethnicities for almost another 100 years.

    Guns is another part of that story. If we just examine like facts and treat guns like boats or cars insurance, registration and licensing wouldn’t be controversial. When I encounter irrational argument or sentiment from sober sane people…I know I’m stumbling into a holy of holies territory. I know I can become irrational when I am uncomfortable sharing what is really scaring me. That takes trust and safe venues to have those kinds of talks with fellow citizens but it has to happen if we are ever going to end that damn civil war.

  35. Houston-Stay-At-Homer says:

    I’m liberal, so by definition apparently, I believe race influence a wide variety of other issues, and no doubt there is an influence on our gun culture.

    I’m not a gun guy, I did go hunting with my family when I was a kid and shot clay pigeons (or more accurately, shot at them, rarely hitting them) on an uncle’s farm. It has probably been 15 years since firing a gun (under the watchful eyes of FBI trainers).

    There is, at least for me and for people I’ve spoken with, a palpable feeling of power when holding and/or firing a weapon. I think for some men (and probably some women), the feeling of power and ultra-masculinity is part of the appeal. You see if with middle-aged gun owners and with stupid teenage boys.

    We have lots of problems in the US that contribute to our tendency for gun violence, and the way we raise our boys is a part of that.

    • texan5142 says:

      It is the power of the weapon, it is an outlet for control in one’s life. Holding a weapon, any weapon, stimulates the mind on a sub level, it is hardwired. The power can be and is intoxicating. In other words, it turns some people on, they seek it like porn.

  36. pbasch says:

    Wow. Powerful stuff. Thanks for condensing all the arguments into one essay that I can print out, fold up, and keep in my pocket. Of course, I live in LA (and come from NYC), so I’m unlikely to need to make these arguments to most people I run into. And when I do encounter a heavily armed group that wants to put my name in nested parentheses, I doubt they’ll be interested in chatting, anyway.

  37. flypusher says:

    Licenses and insurance are a very reasonable compromise. But as we’ve seen in the discussions here, someone will come up with some excuse.

    Tracy, if you are truly concerned about such requirements preventing poor people from exercising 2nd Amendment rights, then perhaps all that $ the NRA spends to buy politicians could be better spent in a charitable cause to subsidize expenses for low income gun owners. Hell, I’ll even be willing to put my tax $ towards that in the form of waiving the lisence/training fees for financial hardship cases.

    But some how I suspect this is not really that big of a problem

    • Titanium Dragon says:

      I don’t think there’s any problem with gun licenses.

      I don’t think it is going to fix the problem, though, because the problem has nothing to do with guns. It has to do with people. There’s no world in which the guy who shot up Orlando wouldn’t get a gun license. He went through security training, for crying out loud.

      Insurance, however… let’s live in reality here for a second.

      What percentage of guns in the US are involved in homicides in any given year?

      The last year I can find a breakout for, 2011, said 8,583 homicides by firearms.

      There are roughly 300 million firearms in the US.

      If we include gun accidents, that number goes up to about 9200 deaths.

      That means roughly 1 in 33,000 guns is involved in a gun-related death each year.

      Shootings are, to be fair, somewhat more common. Looking at Chicago statistics, there were 1455 people who were shot and wounded, and 260 people shot and killed. That suggests that about 15% of shootings result in deaths. Thus, we can project that overall about 1 in 5000 guns per year are involved in an accidental or deliberate shooting which causes injury or death.

      Is this really a reasonable thing to insure against?

      For reference, there were 5,419,000 automobile crashes in 2010, including 30,296 fatal crashes. There’s 253 million cars in the US. That’s 1 in 50 cars being involved in a crash in any given year.

      This suggests that a gun is 100 times less likely to be involved in an incident than a car.

      However, on top of this, automobile crashes are almost all *non-deliberate*. Almost all shootings in the US are deliberate.

      If we’re only dealing with ACCIDENTAL gun deaths (and let’s face it – who is going to want to insure people for actions they’re deliberately taking to harm other people?), we’re looking at 600 deaths per year out of 300 million guns. That’s negligible. 50 times more people die by falling down than die from accidental gun deaths per year.

      Do we require people to have ladder insurance?

      No. That’s ridiculous.

      Obviously, then, insurance is a very, very questionable proposition – guns aren’t especially dangerous.

      The obvious answer is that this whole “insurance” thing is actually a means of penalizing gun owners and making gun ownership unnecessarily more expensive.

      I’ll also add that in real life, 58% of homicides are committed by convicted felons, meaning that none of those people are going to own firearm insurance because they aren’t legally allowed to own guns.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Risk analysis starts with a question like this:

        “Can happen?”

        There are only two possible answers, yes or no.

        If the answer is yes, the analysts attempt to determine how often might occur.

        (Unfortunately, most people skip the first question and jump to frequency of event, as in “How often does that happen?”)

        (The fact that can occur at all is important to continuing analysis.)

        Analysts continue: When occurs, what is the damage to people, property, reputation, future opportunities?

        Financial cost is then assigned to each type of damage to people, property, reputation, future opportunities. Included are likely legal costs, including bankruptcy.

        Now we have to ask “How often does happen?” We use data and experience to determine frequency of .

        Then, if we’re smart, we buy insurance for an amount that takes into account our assessment of financial costs associated with each type of damage should occur.

        If the producers of the product that causes are smart, they, too, will buy insurance to cover themselves should occur.

        To say 1 in 33,000 guns is involved in event each year is pretty much meaningless given the harm done by the event.

        I am no fan of insurance companies, but it is ridiculous that gun owners aren’t required to buy insurance with each weapon.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Can it happen?

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Weird format, my post. Where’d the blue text come from?

    • goplifer says:

      Somehow, we just have a lot of people in the US who are a problem. It’s a pure coincidence that no other country that has a reasonably strict regulatory scheme shares this problem with us. It’s the people…certain people.

      I know it was a long post, but I’m getting the impression that you missed the last bit.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Uh, it isn’t surprising or coincidental at all.

        The US has a large black and Hispanic population.

        Countries with majority black and hispanic populations generally have higher homicide rates than other countries:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_world_by_intentional_homicide_rate.svg

        In the US, the homicide rates in 2014 were:

        Non-Hispanic White: 1.75 per 100k

        Hispanic White: 3.5 per 100k

        Black: 15 per 100k

        This suggests that the non-Hispanic white homicide rate in the US is comparable to that of Europe – it falls between the homicide rates of Belgium and Finland.

        The Hispanic white homicide rate in the US is high for the US, but low for Latin America.

        The black homicide rate in the US is very high for the US, but fairly average compared to Africa.

        The Asian homicide rate in the US is even lower than the non-Hispanic white homicide rate, and lo and behold, China, Japan, South Korea, and Vietnam (all major sources of American immigration from Asia) all boast quite low homicide rates as well.

        I mean, on first pass, the fact that things break down like that are at least suggestive – our very large minority population is a major way in which the US is distinct from other developed nations, and our homicide rate is distinctive. Our minority populations whose ancestors came from higher-crime regions show higher homicide rates than minority populations whose ancestors came from lower-crime regions.

        It actually does correlate with the data, which is a point in its favor.

        It is worth noting that we’re hardly the only country which has observable issues in this regard. Australia struggles with extremely high Aboriginal crime rates relative to the general, mostly white population, and imprisons them at an even higher rate than America imprisons blacks. Canada, too, struggles with higher tribal crime rates, which actually results in the bizarre situation where Canada’s rural homicide rate is higher than its urban homicide rate in some years. A study in Germany found that recent immigrants from the Maghreb in 2014 had a 40% chance of committing a crime within the first year, compared to only 1.5% for Syrian refugees, suggesting country of origin mattered a great deal.

        Different populations having different basal homicide rates might explain the difference.

        Some might suggest this is caused by minority populations being poor and discriminated against; while this is an attractive hypothesis, and seems plausible on its face (Asians have low crime but are as or better off than whites and aren’t often discriminated against, save by Ivy League schools), there’s little evidence for this. The biggest problem: there are more poor whites (18 million) and poor Hispanics (13 million) in the US than there are poor blacks (10 million), but blacks commit 50% of the robberies and homicides in the US, and in the realm of 28% of all crime. If it was simply poverty, we’d expect poor whites and Hispanics to commit far more crimes than they do. The black and Hispanic poverty rates are nearly identical – within a percentage point of each other – but we see large differences in rates of criminality between those populations, despite there being considerable racial animus against Hispanics.

      • Titanium Dragon says:

        Incidentally, it is worth noting that as many affluent blacks have integrated into white society, their violent crime victimization rate has dropped dramatically, while crime victimization rates have gone up amongst poor blacks:

        http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Blogs/social-mobility-memos/2015/12/14-other-side-black-lives-matter-wilson/Wilson-1214001.png?la=en

        The most interesting thing about that graph is that crime rates were about double what they are today in 1978. Affluent blacks have seen a decline in accord with the rest of society, while poor blacks have actually seen crime get much worse, despite the overall sunnier picture for America as a whole. That would suggest that crime has become much more concentrated over time; for the crime rate for poor blacks to go up while the nation’s crime rate is dropping considerably, that requires that everyone else’s crime rate is much, much less.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        >] “Incidentally, it is worth noting that as many affluent blacks have integrated into white society, their violent crime victimization rate has dropped dramatically, while crime victimization rates have gone up amongst poor blacks:”

        And there it is, right there; Lifer’s point in a nutshell. So your recommended remedy for gun violence in America is to bring those “poor blacks” and make them more us like white guys, is that it?

        Well, if I might say, you can take that recommendation and shove it. I’ve heard enough of this racist shit for one day.

      • duncancairncross says:

        Hi Chris

        Re – licensing
        It seems to me that simply making the acquisition of the license a bit of a drama would effectively eliminate most of the really dodgy guys that do most of the shooting

        We don’t need to go to the ultrasound wand but watching some videos – filling out some forms – doing some testing – and having an interview would NOT be a barrier to a sensible person but would filter out some of the loonies

        If there is a worry that somebody could use the testing to filter out political views then it does not need to be a pass/fail – just – you must perform this test

      • 1mime says:

        TD, if, as you say, “it is worth noting that as many affluent blacks have integrated into white society, their violent crime victimization rate has dropped dramatically, while crime victimization rates have gone up amongst poor blacks..”, are you really saying that poverty is the primary motivator, or, are you meaning something else entirely?

  38. rulezero says:

    The only way you’re going to fix this is to curtail weapons manufacturers. We’ve had Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Insurance, etc., for a while now. Big Ammo is just the newest campaign contributor to come along.

    Guns and ammunition is an odd bird to me. It’s honestly one of the last Real American manufacturing products that we still make in high numbers. There’s a sort of baseball n’ apple pie quality about guns in our culture.

    The NRA is also a strange lot. And by strange, I mean a sleeper front for the Republican Party. Look at the 2012 election. Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, signed the Brady Bill and increased hand gun licensing fees fourfold. Barack Obama, to my knowledge, has signed only two pieces of gun legislation. The first makes it legal to carry in national parks. The second makes it legal to carry on Amtrak trains. The NRA endorsed Romney for some reason.

    The only way universal background checks and gun show loopholes will EVER be closed is for the SCOTUS to reverse Heller, and even that sets a dangerous precedent. Will the next conservative majority court reverse Roe v Wade? Either that, or constitutional amendment modifying or nullifying the 2nd Amendment, which will never happen.

    Pass all of the universal background checks and stuff all you want. I guarantee you, the NRA already has contingency plans ready to begin filing lawsuits in court, which will likely end up at the SCOTUS.

    I don’t really see a way to fix this. Maybe demographic changes in 100-200 years?

    • Tom D says:

      ***Will the next conservative majority court reverse Roe v Wade?***

      Yes. I guarantee that is exactly what will happen the next time there are five Republican-appointed Justices other than Anthony Kennedy. That will happen, regardless of whether Heller gets overruled at some point or not. So if a majority of Justices wants to overrule Heller, they might as well go ahead and do so, regardless of the theoretical future consequences for abortion rights.

      Personally, I’m OK with Heller and don’t think it necessarily needs to be overturned. Many reasonable restrictions on the ownership, use, and carrying of guns can be put in place without needing to overrule Heller. For instance, quite recently the Ninth Circuit held that there’s no constitutional right to carry a concealed weapon. That’s a reasonable ruling that’s consistent with Heller. Just because there’s an individual right to bear arms doesn’t mean it can’t be subjected to reasonable restrictions – and with objects as deadly as guns, a lot of regulations are reasonable.

      • Fair Economist says:

        To be technical, Roe v. Wade is already effectively overturned. Current Supreme Court guidance on abortion comes primarily from the Casey decision, which pitched out Roe v Wade’s trimester system for a complex and vague set of rules allowing much more regulation. There have been some other decisions since, generally further expanding the power of the states to regulate women.

      • Tom D says:

        I understand what you’re saying, but it wouldn’t be accurate (in either commonsense or legal terms) to say Casey overruled Roe v Wade. The main holding for which Roe is famous is that women have a constitutional right to abortion. Casey expressly reaffirmed the right to have an abortion, though it also made it easier for that right to be restricted.

        Subsequent decisions have shown that very few, if any, abortion restrictions are considered unconstitutional by Republican Justices, but it matters that the right to an abortion still exists. There would not be any abortion providers in Texas, for instance, if Roe and Casey were outright overruled.

    • 1mime says:

      I wouldn’t look to number of gun laws Pres. Obama signed…..after all, by the time anything like this would get to his desk, it would be so sanitized as to be worthless. And, the difference between Republicans supporting Romney and Obama despite their different actions on gun legislation? Surely, ye jest.

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