Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
105

Real America: The Gunmen Among Us

permittedGuns kill people. That's what they are meant to do. But do gun control laws kill people? Because they are generally not supposed to do that. Concealed carry permit holders claim that they do. To find out if they are correct, I became one of them.

Last year, U.S. states passed three times the number of laws that loosened controls on firearms than they passed laws restricting them. And you may have read a bit about forthcoming legislation around the country-referred to as "pro-gun measures"-on the front page of today's New York Times. The result of the changes that have already taken place: a boom in permit applications-with at least nine million owners now licensed to secretly pack heat. Florida has seen the swiftest increase. Now, all but two states allow the concealed carry of a firearm.

Illinois is one of those two states; Wisconsin is the other. But maybe not for long. Cheese-headed governor Jim Doyle has shot down concealed carry supporters by swearing to veto any such legislation that crosses his desk. But Doyle will not be running for reelection this year. Republican contender Mark Neumann supports concealed carry-and it just might win him the election.

The concealed carry of weapons (CCW) elicits especially strong, often unreasonable, "debate." Support for CCW can border on the pathological, while opposition is often specifically unsupported and inseparable from gun-control feelings in general. Drunk driving kills far more innocent people a year and is an unquestionably greater threat to society than those who lawfully carry a gun, yet liberals reserve far more scorn and ridicule for the latter. Meanwhile, maniacal CCW supporters can insist carrying a firearm is a duty of any real patriot serious about safety, like Arizona state senator Russell Pearce who, of proposed bill SB 1002, which proposed residents be allowed to conceal carry a firearm without any training or even a background check, said, "…our Founding Fathers expected it and demanded it."

RTC

But many CCW advocates are genuine activists, no different from free speechers or PETA. And some of the tactics of the CCW movement are way more Critical Mass than NRA. This is especially true of "open carry." Open carry is the practice of holstering a sidearm "old west" style, where it can be easily seen. Wesleyan professor of anthropology Charles Springwood has perfectly summed up the goal of the movement: they aim to "naturalize the presence of guns, which means that guns become ordinary, omnipresent, and expected. Over time, the gun becomes a symbol of ordinary personhood."

And in this omnipresence, open carry offers a deterrent that CCW does not-which is that crimes will become less common if criminals observe many around them are armed.

The official position of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is that "The open carrying of firearms in public places is inherently threatening and intimidating, and poses risks to those nearby, to law enforcement and to the community. For example, when open carry has occurred in retail stores, other customers quickly become alarmed and the police often are called to the scene, creating a volatile and potentially dangerous situation."

This assumes that people are unfamiliar with the law allowing open carry. Should open carry become more common, it seems safe to assume that over time such instances would decline (along with the volatility of such "potentially dangerous situations"). And in communities where open carry advocates have been active, some police dispatchers have begun asking callers whether the person reported with the gun is acting threatening or if the gun is just securely holstered.

Mike Stollenwerk, co-founder of OpenCarry.org, told me that open carry has become more popular "because almost all gun owners want the freedom to choose their method of carry. But this depends on the individual and what scenario she thinks might happen to her, deterrence verses freedom to choose when to let an attacker know she is armed are the main tactical issues. But social issues arise as well. There is plenty of gun bigotry in the USA and many gun owners wish to avoid that by concealing. At OpenCarry.org we think that it's time gun ownership came out of the closet and the best way to do this is for normal Americans to openly carry properly holstered handguns in daily life. In the end, the debate over form of carry is like that old Miller Lite commercial-less filling, tastes great; gun owners want their freedom to choose."

But in many states with tough or no CCW laws (California, Wisconsin), open carry offers CCW activists a way to make a point: Give us a CCW law or get used to seeing guns. Not surprisingly, our society is not ready to see guns that are not on the TV.

After Ohio activists hosted numerous open carry gatherings, including one in front of the governor's mansion, the state ended its 145-year CCW ban. This is what advocates in Wisconsin are aiming for. In the absence of a CCW law, an emboldened open carry movement has produced several legal black eyes for the police, who have a tendency to get a little testosterony when they observe an openly carried firearm. In one instance, a cop joked about shooting open carriers. After Wisconsin's attorney general said that open carry was legal in the state, Milwaukee's chief of police enraged everyone by saying "we'll put them on the ground, take the gun away and then decide whether you have a right to carry it." And then his force was sued for doing just that.

* * *

There are no advantages to Open Carry. And there are many disadvantages. Open carry is just that. Everybody knows you have a gun, including the bad guys. This can make you a target of someone planning on committing a crime. It just reduces options. Visualize a 7-11 scenario where the bad guy comes in to rob the place. He sees your gun, you are now a priority target that must be dealt with before he can proceed with his original plan… add to that, you may, because you are concentrating on a can of V8, not even be aware that he is there… Do you see a potential problem there?

That is William Schmitz, a certified multi-state firearm instructor and the chairman of Wisconsin Concealed Carry Association. Schmitz spoke with me about CCW in Wisconsin and elsewhere.

A concealed carry permit is not the ticket to inevitable shooting crime. But while liberals often unfairly lump CCW permit holders in with pro-assault weapon extremists, many CCW proponents do their cause no favors by denying a reasonable boundary between a licensed person carrying a small handgun for personal protection and an untrained nincompoop amassing an arsenal of weapons designed solely for war. The group Wisconsin Gun Owners is the perfect embodiment of this problem; the group's website boasts a tactical assault rifle superimposed over the state itself on a banner just above a terrorism-esque color-coded "gun control threat level" meter (always "high"). And this frames the biggest issue facing CCW.

"The perception of CCW is really the biggest issue. People who don't know what concealed carry is all about perceive it to be dangerous. They have no experience with it," Schmitz said. He claims that a lot of this has to do with a media environment that is largely loathe to print stories of instances where a concealed firearm saved a life or prevented a crime. And he's not completely wrong. The uncomfortable truth for those who are against the practice is that there are many instances of CCW doing exactly what CCW-proponents claim.

conceal tieA larger part of CCWs perception problem may be CCW holders themselves. Many liberals judge CCW advocates by their language alone. For example, in my talks with Schmitz, he talked about "bad guys," "target rich environments" and "tactical situations." My reaction is to roll my eyes. For those who never use it, this lingo and posturing can come across as comical and creates an instant disconnect. It seems those who exercise CCW permits often enter a whole new culture where the very act of walking around with a gun comes to consume them. For the outsider, it seems a culture of constant paranoia, not just regarding the potential for having to use the weapon, but of just having the weapon at all. This phenomenon appears universal, as those that one would expect to be more nuanced about gun ownership display the same behavior. This includes groups like Pink Pistols, a gay CCW-advocacy group.

After pouring over literature, message boards and talking with proponents, it's challenging not to see those who carry a handgun as dweeby 15-year-old kids who carry a condom everywhere. They're "prepared," "just in case," because "you never know," "it could happen." Equally, they both seem to fantasize about situations when they might actually use it. It's this way that some CCWers emphasize rare or unlikely "tactical" scenarios that will never materialize that make it a test for a rational person to take the movement seriously. And yet, the effort should be taken seriously because the driving force behind much of it is a genuine desire to be safe and protect oneself because "the system" is failing at this responsibility (see Pink Pistols above).

concealed scenerioSchmitz generally agreed with this assessment about the movement's language, saying that words like "tactical" are taken negatively. But, he said, "In the broader picture, however, everything is tactical. From the board room to the bedroom. Tactical, in reality, means nothing more than an assessment of probable outcome. However folks, many times, do not look at [this]."

For those sympathetic to the cause, CCW faces some non-perception-based, honest-to-god real-scenario hard questions. Maybe the hardest of which is: suppose many people at one of America's more iconic shootings (be it Virginia Tech or the Nebraska Mall) were concealed carrying. While it is true that these armed citizens might have quickly ended the situation by shooting the shooter, it is just as likely that, in the mass confusion of "a shooter!" everyone would be aiming at (if not shooting at) everyone else with a drawn weapon.

I posed the question to Schmitz. "Way too many scenarios to go into all here," he said. "Suffice to say this: you have never heard of an attacker accosting an armed group. The fact that a certain percentage may be armed will tend to reduce the occurrence of these incidents. Setting up a gun free zone is the same as setting up a safe, for the active shooter, target rich environment."

Whether or not that answers the nightmare CCW hypothetical is unclear. But one thing Schmitz can agree on is training. Even as pro-gun rights as Schmitz is, he cannot get behind movements such as the "Vermont style" movement.

Disturbingly, "Vermont-style" right-to-carry, which allows citizens to carry a gun with no permit, fee or any kind of waiting period or background check whatsoever, are growing in popularity. "There are many reasons for a state to adopt [this] genuine right to carry law," claim proponents. One reason: "A comprehensive national study in 1996 determined that violent crime fell after states made it legal to carry concealed firearms."

And you can't argue with numbers, right? Right? That "comprehensive" study? It was done by John Lott. Spend some time in the gun debate and you will undoubtedly get to know John Lott's gun-rights research. You might also get to know Mary Rosh, the fictional Wharton School student Lott pretended to be to defend and justify his work on numerous online reviews and message boards. A murderers' row of experts, including Yale Law School professors and the authors of "Freakonomics" (who Lott sued for defamation), have shot holes in Lott's work. (On the Freakonomics blog, they wrote of one of Lott's studies that "Virtually nothing in this paper is correct.") Still Lott is still regularly used not only by the NRA and concealed carry proponents, but also by state legislators seeking to convince colleagues to pass increasingly permissive gun bills.

This tragic adherence to any data regardless of accuracy in an attempt to make a point is tragic. Still it doesn't mean pro-CCW arguments are bunk. The concealed-carry debate is rife with misinformation on both sides. Misinterpretation of data and assumptions made and press-released to the public, much of it based on typical correlation/causation fallacies, is commonplace. And too often, passions of CCW are inseparable, (again, by both sides) from the whole expansive range of gun control and gun freedoms debates, which aren't really debates at all.

* * *

To find out just how educated a CCW permit-holder must be, I went through the process to get my North Dakota concealed carry permit.

red gunsThe only weapon I've ever owned is a 1986 Bo Jackson-signed Louisville Slugger. But growing up on a farm and with several gun-obsessed friends, I'm familiar with guns. With rifle-style firearms I would rate myself "intermediate." But with handguns, I'm about a "total beginner." While I've fired a revolver, I have never even handled, for six seconds, a semi-automatic pistol.

I tested for the easiest North Dakota permit to get, a class 2. And, oh, was it ever easy.

For most of its statehood, North Dakota allowed no commerce of any kind to be conducted on Sunday. These "blue laws" largely disappeared in the 1980s. But not fully in Grand Forks, where several are still observed. (This is why Home Depot is closed until after noon on Sundays.) So the fact that I took the a test to exercise my constitutional rights on a Sunday at 9:00 AM in a city that maintains these unconstitutional laws is fairly amazing.

The two-hour test, all written, took place in a serviceable conference room at Grand Forks' Hilton Garden Inn. I had found a certified testing professional online and joined one of the dates he had scheduled. Throughout the test he read a Tom Clancy novel. The only other tester was my local mechanic.

The test is open book and almost exclusively true/false. It is required that test-takers score 100% correct. The instructor will "advise" you about your answers. When I turned in my test with two incorrect answers I was allowed to correct them; I scored 100%. The ND permit to carry test is a test if you consider that it only tested the ability to show up at a predetermined destination at a certain time. Other than that, it is not a "test" in the sense that it could be used as a means of evaluating the abilities, aptitudes, skills or performance of an individual's knowledge or proficiency with North Dakota's conceal carry laws or firearms in general. I left knowing more than I entered knowing but I would say, at best, the four-page test assesses literacy.

On the section that requires you to identify the parts of a firearm, I copied the words directly from the book. The page struck me as missing a critical piece, can you identify it?
conceal carry test no safety

After certifying my perfect score, the instructor signed my sheet. I paid him. I took the sheet down to the sheriff's office and filled out the application with two passport photos. I was fingerprinted by the nicest old lady on earth. Approximately $100 and 6 weeks later I was licensed to carry a concealed pistol in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and West Virginia.

Not once, however, did I touch or even see a gun. Yet, thanks to the CCW permit serving as my background check, I can buy one tomorrow and be carrying around a loaded pistol in nearly half of all states despite never once learning how to load, store, clear or, very importantly, fire it.

I asked Schmitz about this seemingly alarming hole in the CCW process. "Training is an absolute issue," he said. He believes that CCW permits should have an attached education element that includes hands-on firearm training. But. "People who have a permit to carry have one because they have a high degree of personal responsibility," he said. "Permit-holders are, almost as a whole, the most law-abiding citizens there are."

Odd as it sounds, he's right. How many street criminals are going to go through the process of finding a class, paying $100, jumping through the application hoops and then waiting at least six weeks to legally carry and handgun? Like so many things, anyone who is responsible enough to go through the process and cost of obtaining a concealed carry permit is probably not a threat to the public.

fingerprinted 3The real problem with concealed carry is that it continues to be a debate about constitutionality and "facts" when, really, it hinges upon one's individual feelings about the fundamental indecency and helplessness of human beings in a threatening world. And it's those individual feelings about the personal safety that make CCW unique in the gun-control debate. When CCW proponents claim their rights are being denied, what they're really claiming is that their feelings are being denied. It's a communication failure.

And that's a shame because here is another uncomfortable truth about guns: the total gun ban many seek is not only nearly impossible, it really is unconstitutional. Regardless of what the so-called "Founding Fathers" intended, Americans do have a constitutional right to own guns. No matter how anti-gun one is, the Second Amendment cannot be denied anymore than the First. And much like freedom of speech, the only argument to be had revolves around defining terms. In the CCW case, the tricky words up for debate are "arms" and "bear." But without an ability to see even some of the opposing side's actors as reasonable, the two sides are likely to continue to define nothing but their own mutual contempt.



And now Abe Sauer is armed.

105 Comments / Post A Comment

"The page struck me as missing a critical piece, can you identify it?"

The safety?

Did I win? What did I win?

Flashman (#418)

It's either that, or the notches on the stock to mark your kills

Peteykins (#1,916)

The glory hole?

Or the hidden biblical references.

phlox (#204)

I couldn't find the silencer or the bullets!
(Or anyone to shoot for that matter)

hungrybee (#2,091)

I thought 'bullets!', and then I immediately thought Chris Rock on bullet control.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

Actually I think the "slide stop lever" is the safety. My guess was "the part the bullet comes out of."

kneetoe (#1,881)

It's that little button nestled into the Tang.

Eh, trigger?

Sutton (#1,490)

No, the slide stop lever is the slide stop lever. I'm no expert, but the pictured gun looks like a Glock to me, which doesn't have what most people think of when they think of a "safety."

"As for the rumors of a lack of safety, they were based on the fact that Glock handguns were one of, if not the first, semi-automatic handguns designed with no external safety lever. However, there are more safeties on a Glock handgun than there are on any revolver. The Glock handguns all have three safety mechanisms: 1) the trigger safety, 2) the firing pin safety, and c) the drop safety." http://www.alpharubicon.com/leo/glockpistols.htm

maebefunke (#154)

If you grow out your beard a little more you can conceal your weapon inside it!

deepomega (#1,720)

I really truly honestly think that a pro-second amendment Democratic party would be unstoppable. The avenue to take is through the Pink Pistols et al – gun ownership protects the disenfranchised.

A friend of mine worked at a public attorney's office in post-Katrina NOLA, and she basically did a 180 on gun control as a result of it – since the infrastructure is missing and the people most affected are poor, you end up with with the most at-risk members of society not having the social safety nets and feeling like the only possible avenue to safety is arming themselves. Not entirely unreasonable!

Ron Obvious (#351)

You're right, Deepo. There already are a lot of pro-gun Dems in the South. Many of my most rabidly Yellow Dog friends here in North Carolina own firearms. Lots of them, including fully automatic assault rifles and large-caliber hunting rifles that leave only a few tufts of fur floating in the air when you hit a deer with one of their rounds. Lots of liberals here in fly-over land are locked and loaded, a fact that wingnuts might want to take into account when they make threats on internet discussion boards. Oh, and me? I was reared to learn how to use and maintain all kinds of firearms. I don't own any firearms because I didn't want to risk my kids getting their hands on them. They're grown now, but I have a sand wedge with a weighted head and a seven handicap, so I got no problem with taking a mulligan upside some burglar's head.

permafrost (#2,735)

This is true. I was stuck there during all the horrid mayhem and our group felt much safer for being armed. A few of my friends have done a 180 on this issue because of that.

permafrost (#2,735)

Oh that is absolutely true, Ron. And I've noticed that shift in the last 5-10 years or so. Many many liberals are now locked and loaded, they are just much quieter about it.

Tom Scocca (#48)

Katrina, you say?

"Facing an influx of refugees, the residents of Algiers Point could have pulled together food, water and medical supplies for the flood victims. Instead, a group of white residents, convinced that crime would arrive with the human exodus, sought to seal off the area, blocking the roads in and out of the neighborhood by dragging lumber and downed trees into the streets. They stockpiled handguns, assault rifles, shotguns and at least one Uzi and began patrolling the streets in pickup trucks and SUVs. The newly formed militia, a loose band of about fifteen to thirty residents, most of them men, all of them white, was looking for thieves, outlaws or, as one member put it, anyone who simply 'didn't belong.'
[...]
"Fellow militia member Wayne Janak, 60, a carpenter and contractor, is more forthcoming with me. 'Three people got shot in just one day!' he tells me, laughing. We're sitting in his home, a boxy beige-and-pink structure on a corner about five blocks from Daigle's Grocery. 'Three of them got hit right here in this intersection with a riot gun,' he says, motioning toward the streets outside his home. Janak tells me he assumed the shooting victims, who were African-American, were looters because they were carrying sneakers and baseball caps with them. He guessed that the property had been stolen from a nearby shopping mall. According to Janak, a neighbor 'unloaded a riot gun'–a shotgun–'on them. We chased them down.'"

More where that came from ("'It was great! It was like pheasant season in South Dakota. If it moved, you shot it.' A native of Chicago, Janak also boasts of becoming a true Southerner, saying, 'I am no longer a Yankee. I earned my wings.' A white woman standing next to him adds, 'He understands the N-word now.'") http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090105/thompson

Maybe it all woulda gone better if everybody had even more guns. That's one way of looking at it.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@Tom: Actually, "everybody" having more guns is an argument made in CA by open carry people looking for better CCW laws. They claim that the restrictive "may issue" policy there disproportionately impacts minority residents in the cities who are kept from arming (and protecting) themselves. It's an intersting side of the pro-gun movement to have what many assume are racist hillbillies advocating for minority rights.

Also re: New Orleans and arming everyone. While Algiers Point is a terrible story reinforcing what everyone in the north believes about southern residents' gun craziness. You don;t need to go that far to find legally issued firearms causing problems:
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/02/ex-new_orleans_cop_pleads_guilty_to_cover_up_in_po.php?ref=mp

Sean Peters (#6,014)

I have to say that I'm in total agreement with the open carry people on this one point. The "may issue" thing is so obviously arbitrary that there's no way it should be the law. People either should (with appropriate training/certification) or should not be able to CC. Not be able to CC if the sheriff feels like letting them.

50% of all gun homicides are suicides. So I figure the problem will take care of itself eventually.

Yes! What we're avoiding, as are most "pro-gun" (whatever) arguments about civic safety, and that's fair, as it's a whollllle different kettle of fish, is the matter of guns inside the home. Guns are a remarkably different thing on the street from what they are just hanging out around the house. In the house is where they kill family members and children and gun-owners. But I really do believe that's something else that's different.

HiredGoons (#603)

'in the home' falls under personal responsibility. If you have a gun in your home and it is in any way accessible in such a manner as it kills your child, you are a negligent parent. It's not an issue of gun control.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

Guns in the house are only an issue if the people owning said guns, and/or said house, are idiots. I have a gun, locked in a case in the closet, unloaded. It has roughly the same chance of causing a fatal household accident as the desk I am sitting at right now.

HiredGoons (#603)

Instead of flipping houses, I predict the next economic bubble will be in the arms trade!

Disagree. Locks open, the gun is portabe (unlike the desk…), anything could happen. And that anything would most likely be fatal. Which is why I am opposed to handguns: their sole purpose is to kill people, and that's what they do.

What makes owning one worth it, given that fact?

muskegharpy (#2,094)

formerly–in Alaska people use handguns to shoot large halibut in the head before hauling them into their boat and for bear protection. I don't have one for the safety reasons you listed but I know plenty who do.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

The desk is portable – how do you think I got it into the study in the first place?!

As for why I own it, I like shooting animals and eating them after they are dead and cooked, and they don't sell venison or duck jerky at the Jewel down the street.

Additionally, if I woke up and some no-goodnik were prowling around the front room, there's nothing quite like the sound of a shotgun shucking to make said person question their line of work.

Abe Sauer (#148)

"shotgun shucking" counts as "just warning" under ND castle doctrine.

@Abe: Get the hell out. That is awesome in its … God, I don't even know what. Awesome, though.

And then he or she grabs it from you, and…

Scum (#1,847)

you applaud them for being such an awe inspiring badass.

Anyone who tries to physically disarm you after hearing you shuck a shotgun is the exact kind of person you want a shotgun for because they are fucking insane.

Scum (#1,847)

In fact, they should make a burglar alarm that doesn't set off an alarm. Instead it waits awhile until the burglars are in the house and then plays a 'chik chik' sound of a shogun getting shucked and then footsteps as if someone was coming down the stairs.

Here's a nitpick; you mention, repeatedly, "liberals" who are trying to reduce or contain weapon possession or purchases in varying ways and degrees. Except, where is that actually happening now? I can't think of any measures before the Senate or the House, and haven't read of any measures in individual states recently, that actually deal with weapons at all.

It's an otherwise interesting piece, but I can't think of anyone really seriously lobbying for stricter gun control now, in 2010, regardless my personal feelings about gun control.

Also, there are many kinds of liberals.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@go: Um, WI where the governor has sworn to veto any such legislation (as the piece mentions). DC. The Brady Campaign. HR 6257…

I guess I should have been clearer; I don't see any serious legislation going on preventing the purchase, possession or carrying of most weapons at the national level – I see a lot of traction the other direction in individual states though. Yes, you have HR6257, which is a reauthorization – not a new initiative. Also, gun advocates haven't exactly made a persuasive case for the private ownership of assault rifles.

The point I was trying to get at, which I probably didn't do a good job of, is that the "liberals" you mention at least three times in your piece have mostly accepted that private gun ownership is something that the American people want, is a "right" (which is a different argument altogether), and isn't worth fighting about, which is why I'm unclear about who exactly these "liberals" are.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Well, I chose "liberals" for simplicity's sake because generally the people who mock gun owners at all levels and really have no interest in understanding the different facets of the issue are self-identifying liberals. This piece was long enough without writing a 30-word description of the nuanced yet generalized gun-control proponent every time I needed to mention him/her. And there IS serious legislation "going on." From a gun rights activists' prospective, very restrictive may-issue laws in states like CA and NY, and a complete lack of CCW allowances in IL and WI, very much are "serious legislation going on preventing the… carrying of most weapons."

hungrybee (#2,091)

I am struck by the North Dakota CCW permit procedure applying across state lines, and in so many other states at that. I know this is akin to my NY State-issued driver's license being good in all 50 states, etc., and in that sense I see the rationale somewhat. Can someone in the know explain the process for getting a CCW permit in NY State, for example? I'm assuming (hoping?!) it's a more rigorous procedure?

Abe Sauer (#148)

NY State is one of the most difficult as it is "may issue" at the authority's discretion as opposed to "shall issue." The reciprocity is basic (usually). You recognize mine and i'll recognize yours. My Class II permit would be good in even a handful more states if it were Class I. However, class I requires he hand-on-a-gun training portion of the testing.

hungrybee (#2,091)

Ah, Class II vs. Class I, that makes sense re: reciprocity restictions. This "may issue" business is interesting, though. So if the issuing authority doesn't like my attitude or, you know, skin color perhaps, I might not get my permit even if I pass a test? Liberal-friendly nuances abound here, huh?

bong hitler (#3,233)

This reminds me of the time they wouldn't let me bring my chainsaw into the movie theatre. An insult to this country's proud tradition of logging and landscaping is what it was. Damn thing wasn't even switched on.

kneetoe (#1,881)

But, boy, turn that thing on and you'll be in violation of the noise code!

Moff (#28)

Yeah, this new Onion column says it pretty well, what you say about the tone most gun advocates seem to take.

I don't have much problem with responsible people owning or even carrying guns. I really don't. I don't like guns, and I'd much rather see them go out of vogue en masse, but it's not gonna happen, it's in the Constitution, and frankly, there are just too many out there at this point to make taking them away from registered owners smart, even if it were politically feasible.

But cripes, I'd like to see some empathy from the pro-gun side. Acknowledge that accidents happen. Acknowledge that not all gun owners are mentally healthy. Acknowledge that it's not ridiculous to be nervous about guns. Acknowledge that it might be politically advantageous to make the tests for a weapons permit a little tougher. Just make a token effort to live in the same reality as the rest of us. Because otherwise you have no right to be pissed when people write you off as a paranoid nut with a gun.

petejayhawk (#1,249)

I couldn't agree more. I am generally in favor of gun ownership (the term "pro-gun" creeps me out), but the nutjobs that tend to represent the (sigh) pro-gun side make it really hard.

Moff (#28)

It's not a great term, but I was having trouble thinking of another equally concise way of saying it.

"Gun enthusiast" is even worse. Like, he's got guns and man is he enthusiastic about using 'em.

Actually, being described as an "enthusiast" of anything sounds creepy, in a disreputable-Victorian-uncle sort of way.

kneetoe (#1,881)

When I was back home in Tennessee recently they were discussing legislation specifically to allow people to carry guns into bars. It's like: what's the craziest situation–the stupider the better–we can think up to pass a law about just to drive home our point about carrying guns being a constitutional right.

Bittersweet (#765)

THIS. It's especially hard for me to get behind pro-gun thinking right now (even though normally I'd be more sympathetic). Last month in my squeaky-clean Boston suburb we had two fatal shootings that resulted from domestic disputes.

Both killers (the husbands) were upstanding community members and family men…and apparently went right over the edge. You better believe that our entire town is now nervous about guns.

Outzide (#3,696)

Moff, are you claiming we must have empathy and feel the pain of every single incident that occurs? Why? Please demonstrate that we have not acknowledged that accidents happen.

Of course the hard evidence shows in 2006 CDC data that 642 accidental discharges occurred of which 140 were 0-18 yrs old? Lets see, that rate has been falling steadily for 3 decades, what with all the training programs and education provided by Pro-Gun organizations (NRA Eddie Eagle is the leader), hunter safety laws and programs one must question your perspective on empathy.

We recognize accidents occur, otherwise those safety programs would not have emerged and been established over 3-4 decades. Lets see, 100 million households with a firearm per ATF data and 140 deaths of children. 140/100,000,000 = .0000014.

Per the JAMA the 700,000 doctors in the US average 98,000 fatal mistakes per year or .14 deaths per physician. Man where is your empathy for that high risk of being attended by a doctor, after all there are only 255 million people in the US who have health coverage. Which means on average a doctor will have close to 350 patients (if they were all general practitioners) so your risk is .14/350 = .0004.

That is higher than the .0000001 average of being harmed by a concealed carry holder in Florida, a trend that is consistent through all concealed carry states! So where is your empathy for all those children that are killed by malpractice every year as they are 4,000 times more likely to be harmed by a doctor than a gun owner.

Lets talk more on empathy, how about the empathy for the criminals here, after all per government studies (USDOJ Gang Activity Report 2008) the professional criminal and gangs are responsible for up to 80% of violent crime in the US! Where is your empathy for all those criminals who get shot by choosing to be criminals. Unless you believe they are born to be criminals or have an inherent right to be criminals?

Yeah kinda sucks when your "empathic plea" is wasted on 80% of the incidents. Tell ya what, why don't you empathic people begin a peace movement and go on the streets of every city, every homeless area, every drug den, racketeering operation, every corner of the criminal underworld (this includes our politicians) and demand from them that they all "feel" the empathic pain for someone else's actions as the sole reason for stopping what they are doing and giving up their inherent rights. We wish you luck!

Reality is, emotions and empathy exist, but there is no proof that empathy for a bad incident, must inherently place the responsibility for another's actions upon everyone else..

So until you Moff or any who claim emotional standing as the only valid reason to defend the position that gun control is morally right, then you must also be prepared to get whacked with the reality of the facts.

Fact, gun owners acknowledge accidents, violent crime and whackos exist, otherwise we wouldn't plan and prepare for such an emergency, all the while hoping we don't have to exercise our inherent right to defend ourselves.

Fact we believe emphatically that we will not pay for someone else's actions.

Fact if 20,000 gun laws really did work, to control the seven sloths of human nature there wouldn't be any violent crime with firearms, but we digress to reality eh?

Gun free zones sure seem to have a growing number of shootings. Those gun free zones were put in place by all those lovely empathic people yet where is your guilt and remorse every single time a nut job knows they have carte blanche to kill where no one else who followed the law should be armed and first response by the only ones is minutes away?

Where is your remorse for the 100 plus million over the last century were killed when gun control was implemented, guns confiscated and the genocides began?

Here are a couple web sites http://www.keepandbeararms.com/, http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/, http://www.thearmedcitizen.com/ that actually identify where successful self-defense with a gun has happened.

Start counting how many have happened in the last month, then start calculating as these are only the ones reported. So where is you empathic joy that these people saved themselves from attack as one can only wonder how you intend for everyone else to feel your pain for victims eh?

Why is it that you cant feel the joy of being alive after having to defend oneself. Where is your empathy for the pain those who have defended themselves feel as they did something they didn't want to, yet by the actions of the other, were forced to do?

So Moff, this is only a glimpse of empathy from a pro gun person and empathy is a two way street that is lined with the reality of facts from which you cannot escape to into some fantasy world where empathy is the only one sided logic for any decision, it just does not exist!

Moff (#28)

Yep, that's more or less the tone I was talking about. I'm writing you off now! Please don't be pissed.

Outzide (#3,696)

Unfortunately for you Moff, that is one of 4 possible responses of which 3 are the ones we are used to seeing, verbal attacks, repeating the same fallacy, or outright dismissal as you have done and no answer to counter. The other response "acknowledging those facts and so many others exist", is just too painful for the majority of the "anti crowd" to comprehend that those facts, like the sun rising in the east and setting in the west exist!

No I am not pissed, I do feel empathy for your plight though as I have experienced the feeling of disenchantment and utter disbelief when a different portion of my belief system I held was utterly destroyed. So next time you decide to discuss the emphasis of empathy and the role it does not play in the reality of the world, we can begin again, or you can run away, either way, I am not angry, so please don't mistake sarcasm for anger though is sarcasm a real danger to anyone unless they are truly thin skinned?

petejayhawk (#1,249)

But see, this is why moderates hate gun nuts, even moderates/liberals like myself that support the right of private citizens to responsibly own and use firearms.

See how I phrased that? That doesn't fit in a headline well, but it at least doesn't shut the door to a reasonable discussion of the issue.

spikenard (#3,522)

You have pretty green eyes, I see.

I think that was the whole point of this article.

spikenard (#3,522)

Well, it worked. I've been musing on those green eyes and strumming my banjo dreamily all afternoon.

I like how the (pictured) license is for a "FIREARM AND DANG. WEAPON." I get this image of Yosemite Sam hopping up and down, yelling "Git me my firearm! Git me my DANG WEAPON!"

rj77 (#210)

Good to know I wasn't the only one who noticed 'dang. weapons!'

On second thought, perhaps it's for a firearm "and dangling weapon". Hrm. Good thing you were fingerprinted.

blueprint (#2,019)

If I've learned anything from the Milton Bradley offering "Clue", it's that people bent on murder will use whatever implement is available.

johnpseudonym (#1,452)

Unabomber.

HiredGoons (#603)

I was actually discussing the Vermont-style law with a fellow ex-patriot last night or two nights ago; it does seem uncharacteristically 'New Hampshire' of us.

Abe Sauer (#148)

The Vermont Law is dangerous b/c so many pushing for Vermont style hold up Vermont's crime rate as a result of said law. The point is that a vermont style no training no permit no nothin' approach would work equally well in, say, Chicago or St. Louis as if part of vermont's geo and demo aren;t part of that. It's the same in ND where there are literally more guns than people yet almost zero murders…

HiredGoons (#603)

Agreed.

HiredGoons (#603)

Also, I was looking for an excuse to rag on New Hampshire.

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I grew up in a gun-friendly household, and now most of my friends are gun-controlly lefties, and I definitely agree that the problem is people talking right past each other.

People who like gun control are generally worried that, hey, these things are obviously dangerous, and accidents happen. Better that an accident happen with pepper spray than something lethal.

People who like guns point out that guns, used effectively, are the most powerful tool to pacify people who could cause you harm. Better that you put yourself in control of a situation than trust that someone else will take care of you.

Personally, I find that both sides are way more reactionary and unstable than their root points of view would indicate. When someone argues that all guns should be banned, they're really just saying that only criminals should have guns. When people freak out that Obama is gonna steal their arsenals despite his patent ambivalence on the subject, they're obviously reacting more to paranoia than sense.

The best approach is really simple: keep the number of guns down and the requirements to own one steep, to minimize danger from morons like Plaxico, but don't even try to eliminate them entirely.

muskegharpy (#2,094)

I'm thinking about the accessory possibilities. Get your concealed weapon fanny pack here. http://mygunpurses.com/default.aspx?gclid=CISoxo_ki6ACFQTAsgodZVM3eQ

Moff (#28)

Has anyone done a study on how many cases there are of a citizen really saving lives or preventing a crime because he or she was carrying a gun? It really does feel similar to the much-touted ticking-time-bomb torture scenario to me: a convenient hypothetical with little bearing on reality.

Abe Sauer (#148)

Ugh. The stats. There are so, so, so many. It's a rabbit hole and, as mentioned, half if it is infected with Lott who may have faked some of his research but not all of it. Yet, some data out of Florida suggests that crime did indeed drop when their CCW law went into place. And there are a lot of stories out there on a regular basis like the one from detroit that are impossible to argue away as "ticking time bomb" (which truly has never happened). Almost every study is from a partisan group and the ones that aren't generally don't demonstrate a clear answer one way or the other.

Abe Sauer (#148)

That being said, there is some effort to track shootings BY CCW holders
http://www.vpc.org/ccwkillers.htm

Moff (#28)

Ooch. Just reading a few of the anecdotes about CCW shootings is a quick reminder that nothing is black-and-white. Sure — most of the people who go to the trouble to get a permit are sane and responsible; some aren't. Obviously, shit happens; but man, the shit tends to be so much more suddenly irrevocable when guns are involved.

Abe Sauer (#148)

But that site is the epitome of the correlation causation problems facing CCW…

Honestly, you tend to piss me off a lot (a lot) but I have to say, on a day when a lot of people on the Internet who consider themselves to be writers, instead of doing any real, committed writing, are taking quizzes on "How Millenial" they are and/or arguing on Tumblr about whether it's "better" to be "mean" or "nice," I really respect that you've written something like this and that I am able to read it.

Seconded!

(least-amount-of-effort-comment)

metoometoo (#230)

Well that's a nice comment, but I'm not sure how Millenial it is.

Sproing (#561)

Thirds. Well done, Abe. You're a hero for taking this on in a serious way.

jfruh (#713)

No matter how anti-gun one is, the Second Amendment cannot be denied anymore than the First. And much like freedom of speech, the only argument to be had revolves around defining terms. In the CCW case, the tricky words up for debate are "arms" and "bear."

Might not one argue that the words "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" are also tricky words that need defining?

The entire structure of both community and natioanl defense in the 1790s was radically different than it is today, with no real standing army and little by way of police protection; it was expected that the roles today fulfilled by those top-down institutions would be fulfilled in a sort of bottom-up way, as authorities at various levels of the pyramid could just rally private citizens who already had the equipment to repel attacks by "outsiders" (usually Indians) or, less often, to enforce the law. In their recent experience at the end of the colonial period, Americans had found that a standing army made up of professional soldiers who were stationed in places where they had never lived before was a bad thing, and wanted to ensure that there would always be enough armed citizens available to run national defense more or less the way that rural communities today run their volunteer fire departments.

You can argue for the righteousness or efficacy of gun ownership one way or another, but to think that the context in which the 2nd Amendment was written had anything to do with whether people had the right to bring pistols to the mall is staggeringly ignorant of history.

Abe Sauer (#148)

"Might not one argue that the words "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State" are also tricky words that need defining?"

YES, as a larger gun debate. But for the CCW debate, which I tried to isolate here, "bear" is more important. For example, Switzerland has a citizen militia and men serving are required to keep their military weapons (M16s I think) in their homes. A regulated militia. They can "bear" them in public though only for transport.

jfruh (#713)

I guess my argument would be that, dudes (or ladies!) walking around with a concealed weapon do not in fact constitute a militia by even the loosest definition of the term, and so, what with the way the text of the amendment is structured, everything else in that sentence doesn't apply to said dudes or ladies.

To put it in a slightly less convoluted way: if Jane Schmoe is in fact some kind of citizen's sheriff deputy or something, and is expected to always be on the alert for crime, and she reports back to the city's law enforcement apparatus in some regulated way, then the way in which she keeps and bears arms falls under the purview of the 2nd amendment. But Joe Blow, who just carries a weapon for "personal protection" on his own intiative, is not part of any such militia, and therefore the 2nd amendment doesn't apply to him, and his firearms use can be restricted or permitted based on whatever national and local statues apply.

I would guess that many gun rights absolutists would argue that militias (militiae?) are not just the creations of state or local government, and that the armed citizen body, acting in the abstract interests of Justice or the Nation, itself constitutes a militia independent of the corrupt government apparatus. I don't know if that really dovetails with a militia as the writers of the 2nd amendment would have conceived of it (though they certainly weren't afraid to use militias raised by local governments to fight against armies raised by the national government, so maybe they'd have a certain understanding of the logic).

Sakurambobomb (#1,722)

God, you're hot, Abe.

missdelite (#625)

Not a bad pic, but you look more like an axe man to me.

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay…

joeclark (#651)

After "pouring" what over the literature?

Gunpowder?

Maevemealone (#968)

For what it's worth, this story has stuck with me for years: http://www.wistv.com/Global/story.asp?S=8451232

Everything in place, yet everyone in the wrong place.

Mindpowered (#948)

That picture is so unrealistic, I can't imagine there is any criminal in the United States who carries a knife.

Besides, as the firearms expert pointed out, there is greater chance that you will be the target, rather than the deterrent because of the gun. Living in country where guns are pretty much unavailable (the sex and drugs are pretty common), I can say that criminals don't run rampant shooting/intimidating members of society(they do that to each other) and the incidence of 4 year olds capping themselves is 0.

It seems that American gun culture is in fact fear culture, and the citizens, state, and criminals are engaged in an unwinnable arms race with each other.

deepomega (#1,720)

Yes yes but what about knifecrime?

Moff (#28)

Actually, I've been working on a magazine story that has to do in part with the South American gangs responsible for nearly all robberies of traveling jewelry salespeople in the U.S. And they increasingly tend to carry knives rather than guns because the penalties just for carrying a gun, much less using one, are so much stiffer.

But I would tend to agree with your last sentence.

Mindpowered (#948)

Which is odd given the prevalence of guns in South America.

Mindpowered (#948)

Whoa. I totally can't read. Sorry. Why don't the traveling Jewelry salespeople just shoot them?

permafrost (#2,735)

I can see points in both sides of the argument. From my personal experiences in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I did do a full 180 and am now pro-gun ownership. But that has to be coupled with, obviously, extreme caution and a good sense of personal accountability. My problem with the extreme stance of some anti-gun people is that those that skirt under, around or ignore the control laws will still be able to get their weaponry and will still use it criminally. There has to be some sort of counter-balance, That counter-balance is, I think, legal and responsible gun ownership.

Also, what about that unsettling desire I get every time I'm near enough to a police officer to be in grabbing distance of his gun?

Mindpowered (#948)

If you had your own, you could grab it instead.

Man, the number of contexts in which that is so true…

Maevemealone (#968)

I do that too. I stare both longingly and fearfully at all cop guns within grabbing distance

smapdi (#1,306)

Abe stands for Abram, I just now got that…

Ow Lafaye (#3,692)

Welcome Abe,

A little clear thought goes with every gun in your pocket. It is a war on crime that the American public has finally joined. We have had enough. I am 70 and I assure you, the crime was negligible when I was a child. Now it is ridiculous. We are armed for a very good reason…once again, welcome.

missdelite (#625)

See, Abe? Now you've got a whole new set of friends…

NinetyNine (#98)

Compare the per capita murder rate with handguns in NYC versus any CCW or open carry or otherwise and get back to me. Granted, the inverse to this statement is DC, but home rule issues there create an exception you can't control for. Take that out of the mix, and NYC wins by a country mile. There are plenty of other factors at play, but concealed or open carry of sidearms has very little statistical benefit to deter handgun crime (even anecdotally).

The problem with 'gun activists' is the conflate every liberal who thinks regulating gun dealers is tantamount to Stalinism, even though we can pretty definitively prove that illegal guns mostly make their way to NYC via dealers in the SE.

Being prudent about regulating some behaviors is NOT being anti-gun. I've enjoyed handling shooting guns, and think everyone who eats meat should be required to hunt once in their life. I would also argue the majority of my liberal friends feel some degree likewise. But they are also very prudent about what handguns in the city have done in the past.

Sean Peters (#6,014)

Given the fact that both DC and NYC are within a few hours drive of jurisdictions that sell handguns freely, I really have a hard time believing that local gun ownership restrictions have any effect whatsoever on the crime rate. It seems far more likely that other factors (policing? the local economy?) have a lot more to do with it.

HiredGoons (#603)

"I like shooting this gun!!!" – Annette Benning

Outzide (#3,696)

Ninety nine, you are comparing and lumping law abiding gun owners in with criminals, ya know there is a difference but we will let you get back to us on that little problem. After all, police studies (Chicago 1990's, NYC 2007) identified that 76%-80% of those involved in shooting both victim and shooter were professional criminals or were both involved in criminal activity at the time of the shooting, but we wont let facts like that get in the way.

Of course since 20,000 gun laws only affect the criminals, oh wait, per Haynes vs US Supreme Court 1968 ruled 8-1 that a felon did not have to violate their 5 th amendment right of self incrimination, then all those wonderful laws of registration, reporting lost firearms, background checks etc. that make up oh what over 90% of all the gun laws have what effect on criminals but we will let ya get back to us on that one!

Or how about the USDOJ Background Check & Firearm Transfer Report 2008 where since 1994 99 million checks, 1.67 million valid rejections, 58% were felons, with a 68% reduction in felons attempting to buy since 1994 from licensed sources.

Per the USDOJ Survey in 1997, felons acquired their weapons 80% from private buy, 12% retail stores and 2% gun shows. Yeah that 68% reduction from licensed sources as the Brady Check only is responsible for monitoring licensed sources means a 9.52% reduction of attempted buys from licensed sources and places that % in the private sales or 90% at present. Yeah we see how licensed gun dealers are the majority of the problem.

Oh don't forget the Background check report also noted that between 2000-2008 only 13,204 of those rejected were prosecuted, or less than 1%. Yeah, what a wonderful example of the poster child of all gun control laws how it is only enforced less than 1% of the time. Care to counter how all the other gun laws are enforced more effectively? We of course see the government data to support that not one of those 1.66 million rejected who weren't prosecuted then didn't go buy a firearm from an unlicensed source eh?

Geez, what happened in 1994, oh yeah the ATF changed their rules on licensing gun dealers after they had been handcuffed by the McClure Volkmer Act of 1986 from prosecuting gun stopping the persecution by the ATF OF gun owners who sold more than a few firearms a year for not having a dealers permit. Most of those collectors and such had then registered for a type 1 permit prior to 1994, allowing essentially a home business. Then the ATF changed the rules, jacking the license fees up over 40 times, requiring an at will inspection by the ATF who by their rules must find a certain amount of violations real or imagined to justify their storied existence and other draconian rules that a mere paperwork error on the permitted person will as history has shown, be a felony charge. Yeah love how those 2 plus million type one license holders have been reduced by approximately 70% between 1994-2004. Such that these people no longer have to report their sales, such are the unintended consequences of another moronic gun law that didn't do anything to address the criminal.

So again, what about all these wonderful examples of stupidity in gun control warrants your position that gun dealers are the problem, much less the laws only affect the criminals or are even enforced when they do?

NinetyNine (#98)

Having a gun doesn't correlate to shooting someone. However, having a gun really helps. NYC has the lowest murder rater per capita of all large cities (and better than most medium sized cities). There's no evidence (including what you posted above) to show that law-abiding citizens with sidearms reduces crime, whereas there is proof (NYC's rate) that strict handgun control laws reduces murder.

Your cites carry no weight without a link. You do it like this.

Vulpes (#946)

I'm incredibly curious, now, to see Abe without the beard, just to see what he's got under there. I love the beard, but I just want to peek under it. And such dreamy eyes!

Outzide (#3,696)

Yet you continue to espouse causality that gun control works, is the only solution and contributing facto, yet claim foul on the data I forwarded. But then again, we are playing this debate game based on your response hence your position and the rules you employ to support causality, accept it or deny it, make your choice as you cant have it both ways. You going to actually read this or just dismiss this data and facts?

Oh here is a great example of causality, England, Australia, Canada, all gun bans in 1997, England violent crime goes up from 445k reported to 1.4 mill in 2008, murders don't go down, firearms crimes up, Australia 30% increase, Canada stayed the same all at minimum 2 times the US Crime rate which has been going down for over 2 decades. Yeah we see how less guns equals more crimes. Oh darn, forgot to make sure that when you check their data, they count the same as we do, uh, they don't. Don't forget either that England only counts solved cases, so as not to scare their tourist trade off!

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/crime-victims/crime-statistics/index358e.html?version=6 Britain

http://www.aic.gov.au/en/statistics.aspx Australia

http://www40.statcan.gc.ca/l01/cst01/legal01-eng.htm Canada

And the previous mentioned data

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm FBI UCR Database

Firearm Use by Offenders, Bureau of Justice Statistics, November 2001 http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=pbdetail&iid=940

http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/html/bcft/2008/bcft08st.pdf Brady Check report

http://www.data.gov/details/1526 USDOJ National Victimization Report 2008

http://www.constitution.org/2ll/2ndschol/46hard.pdf THE FIREARMS OWNERS' PROTECTION ACT:

http://www.popcenter.org/problems/drive_by_shooting/PDFs/Block_and_Block_1993.pdf

http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/downloads/pdf/public_information/2007_firearms_discharge_report.pdf
http://www.nyclu.org/files/nypd_firearms_report_102207.pdf

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/08/nyregion/08nypd.html?ei=5124&en=d07c8806cc4bfcc9&ex=1367985600&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink&pagewanted=all

Oh geez, since you only have 36,000 officers, the largest police force in the nation for that little 389 sq mile area area call NYC, which if you check the details, doesn't include the metropolitan area so you need to look at those as well as just like when Washington D.C. refurbished several slum areas, they just physically moved the drug trade down the street in the late 1990's. Those studies above don't take into account all the encounters where the police didn't fire, care to dig up those numbers and see if the actual crimes are reduced or they just aren't pulling the trigger as much?

Shall we look at the FBI report from several years ago?

http://www.americanfirearms.org/downloads/fbi_rc_1to3.pdf
http://www.americanfirearms.org/downloads/fbi_rc_4.pdf
http://www.americanfirearms.org/downloads/fbi_rc_5to6.pdf
http://www.americanfirearms.org/downloads/fbi_rc_7to8.pdf
http://www.americanfirearms.org/downloads/fbi_rc_9.pdf

You can go here and read the National Sciences Foundation report from 2004 on gun control laws, a study that was formed by the anti gun Clinton Administration so just like the Ludgwig & Cooke study noted below, doesn't prove any causality theory, much less any effect of gun control laws on violent crime, but then you have better data and facts than these experts who by chance, are anti gun, yeah, they are, sucks for the antis when their own study hurts their position, LOL! http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10881&page=R2

AFter all, looking at the totals, NYC is still #1 in oh so many categories and the question remains, are the officials only reporting those that were closed and not those unsolved as we have seen other cities and countries do? Oh maybe that is just the trend, ya know a mark and comparison from one date to another, easily seen in the FBI UCR data of a trend downward in violent crime. A detailed review of the morgues and the counts from NYC will also tell the true story, care to defend your position on that? I know for a fact that Chicago refuses to release that data for a Freedom of Information act request, care to guess why?

You didn't even take into consideration socio economic factors such as how many run down neighborhoods with the resulting high levels of poverty and crime that invariably inhabit the world of the entitled are counted in the city limits! What exactly is the amount of the police force in comparison to other cities, since you only have 36,000 officers for that small area call NYC, which if you check the details, doesn't include the metropolitan area so you need to look at those as well as just like when Washington D.C. refurbished several slum areas, they just physically moved the drug trade down the street in the late 1990's.

What are the programs in the schools to prevent violence. How many of the criminals have you actually sent away rather than releasing them as liberals are so wont to do to prey again, and again on society. Geez should we go on, or based on your premise, you could save the city millions by immediately halting all the other anti crime efforts right?

Unlike you, I am not citing a known liar like Bloomberg who has an agenda and in doing what he did violated laws just for a flashy piece of propaganda that is and always will be useless rhetoric and means nothing.

Oh, unlike the antis, I will admit an error, 245,000 to 50,000 was the reduction in Type 1 FFL licenses between 1994-2004, still over 70% and still because of the law changes by the ATF goon squads, prove otherwise.

Oh my, lets review the studies on defensive gun uses.

Professor Kleck & Gertz published a study in 1995 http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/KleckAndGertz1.htm identifying that up to 2.5 millions DGU's occur per year. One of the most noted anti gun advocates Professor Wolfgang http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Wolfgang1.html could not find fault with professor Kleck & Gertz's methodology. The best they have done is to rant about the sample size.

Then we go to http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/165476.pdf which is the "Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms" by Philip J. Cook and Jens Ludwig from 1997.

This is a GOVERNMENT study that creates some problems for the gun banners in that it can't debunk the standard of Professor Kleck & Gertz's 1995 study either, but still admits DGU's occur on page 10:

From their study: The only question is whether that fraction is 1 in 1,800 (as one would conclude from the NCVS) = 165,000 dgu's (adjusted for 2008 population) or 1 in 100 (as indicated by the NSPOF estimate based on Kleck and Gertz's criteria) = 3 million dgu's per year (2008 population level).

Ludwig & Cook have also created a failure in their logic in:

The key explanation for the difference between the 108,000 NCVS estimate for the annual number of DGUs and the several million from the surveys discussed earlier is that NCVS avoids the false-positive problem by limiting DGU questions to persons who first reported that they were crime victims. Most NCVS respondents never have a chance to answer the DGU question, falsely or otherwise.

Of course a respondent who replied they were not a victim because they had defended themselves by showing their weapon, thereby preventing the physical attack from occurring, that data was not considered by Ludwig & Cook., hence their survey value for DGU's was affected and made artificially low down from the 1.5 million DGU they identified in their study

Now the problem you have is that the 165,000 is not insignificant and is agreed upon by your anti gun professors of whom have been contracted to perform multiple studies for the anti gun organizations, but that is the minimum, not the maximum.

The next problem is that during their study, Ludwig and Cook reached that 1.5 million DGU's BEFORE they used their illogic to arbitrarily remove valid data from the study. That is the same number that the Clinton administration agreed occurred on average every year in 1997.

Yeah, nothing presented by these government reports and government sponsored studies "sponsored" means anything though right? You cant prove causality based on one variable. Yet I can point out multiple variables as to self defense working. So the fact still remains, you and the people who believe a gun ban works have no valid reason to restrict the law abiding gun owner.

Of course you can attempt to prove otherwise, but the 3-4 pages above is only a portion of all the facts. Care to continue?

NinetyNine (#98)

I addressed DC before — it's an outlier since it doesn't have a governmental structure even remotely similar to those of other large areas.

In New York, high crime precincts are almost all within city limits (the only areas where high crime is associated with close in 'suburbs' are in New Jersey — Newark and Jersey City, but NJ municipal structures also plays into this).

I'm not even arguing against open carry. All I'm saying is the point is that the usual canard — CCW or open carry deters crime — is as much as fiction as the death penalty being useful as a deterrent. You can look at an article such as this — which argues the murder rate nationwide would decline at a greater rate, save for the disproportionately high murder rate among southern white males — or you can look at some of the links above. I have no problem with people arguing in broad strokes about the right to gun ownership. I just find credible evidence that sidearms reduce gun violence or murder rates. After all, the only good use of a side arm is shooting another human.

NinetyNine (#98)

Sorry, should be 'just can't find credible evidence'.

zack petrick (#1,335)

WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS SHIT ABE? Your mechanic was there? I WOULD HAVE BEEN AT FUCKING HOME! Who the hell is this new man fixing you cars? Poking around under your hood! I am going to kick his ass!

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