Michael Bloomberg and America’s guns

By Bernd Debusmann
August 13, 2009

Bernd Debusmann— Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions are his own —

New York’s billionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is stepping in where President Barack Obama fears to tread — confronting America’s powerful gun lobby. In the country that holds a commanding global lead in civilian gun ownership, it promises to be a hard fight.

No matter how it goes, America’s position at the top of the list of gun-owning nations looks secure. Up to 280 million guns are estimated to be in private hands and the arsenal is growing year by year. On a guns-per-capita basis, the United States (90 guns per 100 residents) is way ahead of second-ranked Yemen (61 per 100), according to the authoritative Small Arms Survey issued by the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva.

Obama has been a sore disappointment for advocates of tighter gun controls, and a boon to gun manufacturers and dealers. Predictions that his administration would swiftly work towards greater restrictions helped spark a huge run on firearms after his election. The National Rifle Association (NRA), the country’s biggest gun lobby, said its members reported widespread shortages of ammunition.

Supply and demand are back in balance and those who rushed to stock up need not have feared an Obama assault on gun ownership. The president has shown no eagerness for stepping into the political minefield of gun legislation. On the contrary. Obama rowed back in haste after his attorney general, Eric Holder, prompted alarm among gun lovers by saying he wanted to reinstate a ban on assault weapons that was allowed to lapse under the Bush administration.

There are no signs either that Obama intends to fulfil campaign pledges on other hot-button gun legislation issues such as closing the so-called gun show loophole that allows private citizen-to-citizen sales without background checks, or the Tiahrt amendment, which limits disclosing information on the sale of guns used in crimes.

Josh Sugarmann, head of the Washington-based Violence Policy Center, a group advocating tighter controls, describes Obama’s attitude so far as “deeply disheartening” and says the president broke campaign promises on gun legislation.

Why? History provides an explanation: the last time the United States had a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, the party aggressively pushed gun control legislation and suffered crushing defeats at the polls, in part thanks to opposition stirred by the NRA. The Republicans took control of Congress in 1994 and held it until 2006.

Enter mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York, a city where he is popular and guns are not. In 2006, Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), a group that wants to make it more difficult for criminals to get their hands on guns. MAIG’s growth has been explosive: from 15 in 2006 to 250 in 2007 to 451 now.

BATTLE OF GIANTS

That makes, as a headline in the Washington Post put it, for “a battle of goliaths” pitting Bloomberg and his group against the NRA, whose four million members tend to see restrictions such as unregulated sales from private citizens (through the gun show loophole) as an assault on the U.S. constitution’s second amendment.

It says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Exactly what that means (arms for militia members? for individuals?) was one of the most passionately disputed legal questions in the United States for decades until the Supreme Court last year ruled that it gave individual Americans the right to bear arms. The court also allowed for some restrictions on gun ownership.

In July, the U.S. Senate defeated a measure, introduced by a Republican Senator, John Thune, that would have allowed licensed gun owners to carry hidden, loaded weapons from states with weak gun laws to states with tough ones. The proposal failed largely because of energetic lobbying by Bloomberg’s mayors. It was a rare setback for the NRA and Bloomberg made clear he would remain on the offensive.

“If you want to beat the NRA,” he said on a television show this week, “you have to go out and get your message out. And it costs money to do that … You know, the NRA doesn’t spend that much money. If you look at what the real numbers are, I think that we can pull together here and raise enough money.”

Bloomberg has spent almost $3 million of his own money (Forbes estimates his personal fortune at $16 billion) on the mayor’s group. The NRA’s annual budget is around $200 million.

For Wayne LaPierre, the NRA’s Executive Vice President and CEO, talk about money is beside the point. “Bloomberg is clearly out of step with the majority of Americans,” he said in an interview. “Our membership has been increasing by 40,000 to 50,000 a month since the middle of last year. We hope to reach five million before too long.”

LaPierre is confident that the NRA will prevail in future legislative wrangling, not least because “there has been a sea change in the center of the Democratic Party.” Ironically, the vote that defeated the Thune amendment gives backing to that view. The bill required 60 votes to pass. It fell short by two. Of the 58 votes in favor, 20 were from Democrats. (Editing by Kieran Murray)

160 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

I am a pro-gun democrat who believes Bloomberg is out of step with the majority of the country. The idea that easy access to guns is the cause of violence in America is failed thinking. To continue to beat the gun control drum ignores the root causes of violence in America:
Broken families, a lack of positive role models for youth, the refusal of public officials to condemn certain behaviors, or choices made by prominent personalities as being “wrong” and handcuffing an education system so that they cannot teach morals, or ethics to a generation of young people who are not getting it at home or from MTV.

If Mr. Bloomberg really wants to do something positive he should stop trying to find easy excuses and tackle those tough issues. But that would be truly “heroic” and he wouldn’t do that: he might have to tell some of his exciting chums that their own behavior is adding to the problem, not helping it.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

I am a democrat and a gun owner. I think my party is coming back to its roots, which are blue collar, midwest, pro family, pro church, pro labor, and pro gun/pro hunting.

At least the last elections cycles seem to shoe that. The democrats who won in places like Virgina, Missouri, Montana, and Nebraska were moderate to conservative in their views and all of them were pro gun candidates.

Mr. Bloomberg and the Eastern elitists would do well to keep their opinions in New York City. If they don’t it will spell disaster for the Democratic Party in future elections.

Posted by Stan | Report as abusive

I’ll make Mayor Bloomberg a deal … I’ll drop my support for the Second Amendment when he lets me borrow his armed bodyguard whenever I want.

Definitely hypocrisy of the highest order.

It’s pretty clear what it says – “The right of the people to keep and bear arms”. How else could that ever be interpreted?

Posted by JDonald | Report as abusive

90 guns per 100 residents – is that really necessary? Bloomberg and other mayors’ efforts to prevent people from carrying anywhere and everywhere are completely sensible.

Posted by Greg B | Report as abusive

August 13th, 2009 11:50 am GMT – Posted by Steve T ———— Dude, that’s hilarious. Could not agree more. In fact, I take every opportunity to shore up support for the second amendment. I used to believe in gun control but not anymore. If I changed my mind, then there has to be others out there that just need an education and a better understanding of this issue.

Posted by JDonald | Report as abusive

With 280 million guns in private hands you would think we would have MORE violence, if in fact Mayor Bloomberg were correct.

The United States has more guns in private hands than second place Yemen and yet we have an orderly society; you can travel from one end of the country to the other without a permit, boys and girls have equal access to education, if you are sick you will receive medical treatment even if it is at the local emergency room, incidents of violent crime are down in our major cities and you are safer in downtown Los Angeles than you are in downtown London, at least that’s what statistics data suggests. So why the talk about more gun controls?

I don’t own a gun, but I have no problem with my neighbor having one, if for no other reason than it probably deters burglars from breaking into houses on my street in the middle of the night.

Posted by Mary-Kay | Report as abusive

The powers behind the anti-gun movement truly want a world wide subservient working class that is so afraid they will follow blindly. Time after time it has been shown that in areas where legal concealed carry has been permitted violent crime has dropped. No, you can not prevent an insane person form committing murder. The press is quick to point out these instances where a gunman opens fire on a crowed of unarmed individuals then kills themselves. My point is that if the people of this country were armed first you would have fewer insane people shooting up the place and when they did they would not have the time to kill themselves. It is flat wrong to create huge populations of sheep. I would rather have my gun and freedom than a police state where the sheep now fear everything because the wolves have just changed clothes.

That said there should be a national standard for concealed carry. Licenses from compliant states would be good nation wide.

Oh yea I hate to inform you, Mr. Debusmann but no the supply and demand balance is not back. There are shortages of ammo and reloading supplies. I reload ammo for fun and it is great therapy. It also allows you to match the round to the firearm and in some cases it is cheaper than buying rounds. One would hope that this President and Senate will not ratify that horrible treaty the UN keeps pushing which will effectively disarm us and prevent us from reloading.

If a gun owner sells a small arm to another citizen why should he be responsible for insuring the buyer has a background check? I don’t need one to sell a car and they kill more people each year in this country than guns. Hell, I can sell a car without even seeing the buyer’s driver’s license.

As for the NRA I am not a member because the NRA can’t keep to just firearm laws but insist on getting involved with other political agendas in which I do not agree with their position. Drop the other agendas and I will sign up tomorrow.

I do hope that more Democrats disassociate themselves from the anti-gun movement. It is a non-issue.

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

Yemen is not “apples to apples” comparison. Women over there can’t own guns or, for that matter, anything at all – it’s them who are owned by their husbands. If you counted only men, the math would change. Besides there’s no such a thing as gun collector in Yemen. The guns are owned there for their intrinsic purpose – to kill. One must see a difference between an antique silver-inlaid hunting gun, or even a WW2-vintage Parabellum on one hand, and a run off a mill AK-47 on the other.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

as a gun owner and member of the NRA the only thing it came to my mind about cities with high index of crime is not about guns,is about local politicians and council members that no help their task police force, to the contrary their only job is to stay playing wanna be do nothing rather then figth for budgets and take care of crime, try to put the blame on gun owners,who legally enjoy for sportmanship,so anyway hard sounds soft, impossible is means more logical and not to re-write the the constitution second admenment.

Stan:
re “Mr. Bloomberg and the Eastern elitists would do well to keep their opinions in New York City.”

Have a look at the Mayors’ website and you’ll see there are plenty from Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Tennessee,Montana. Is this where Eastern elitists congregate these days?

I say three cheers for Bloomberg for doing something President Obama hasn’t got the guts to do. Making it hard for criminals and unhinged citizens to get guns is the right thing to do. The Thune amendment would have made the country less safe.

Posted by Elvira | Report as abusive

I am female, over 65, a member of the NRA and licensed to carry concealed. Recently we had a serial killer operating in our area and I have to tell you that I was glad to have a handgun with which to protect myself if he headed to my house. Handgun control isn’t the answer to a society out of control or children being raised with no rules or respect for themselves or anyone else.

Posted by Charley | Report as abusive

hmmmmm wonder why the story left out the mayors who are under indictment for crimes…seems mayor Bloomberg has a strange value system on crime when it suits his needs.

Posted by cowboy357 | Report as abusive

Elvira,

Yes a number of mayors from big cities are on board with Bloomberg, but guess what, they don’t get to run the rest of the country. If they want to try to place tighter controls within their cities and if those control will pass constitutional muster, so be it, but don’t be surprised if their is a voter backlash.

As for my party, The Democrats, we need to stay away from the issue because it is a non starter. With more guns than people in this country, if they were as dangerous as Bloomberg believes, we would all be dead by now.

I am a life long Democrat and a life long gun owner/collector/hunter and I don’t need any politician telling me how to live my life or handle my guns.

Oh and I am also a 25 year veteran of a California Sheriff’s Office and my peers feel safer with the good people having guns rather than only the bad people having them.

Posted by Stan | Report as abusive

“90 guns per 100 residents – is that really necessary? Bloomberg and other mayors’ efforts to prevent people from carrying anywhere and everywhere are completely sensible.”

Greg B:

Then presumably you won’t have any issues if we restrict your 4th, 5th or 6th Amendment Rights as well?? I mean if you’re not doing anything wrong why would you need a right against self incrimination..right??

Posted by Stan | Report as abusive

It’s almost believable that a handgun can serve as protection against assault or home invasion. But what are assault weapons good for?

Iraq – even under Saddam Hussein, had a surprising number of gun owners. What good did it do them against assault by the state security apparatus? Every Afghan seems to have the big guns and they don’t seem to stop the Taliban.

And all the talk about values oriented education and ethics doesn’t seem to do a thing because it appears no one can really agree on them. Especially the religious based values. Ownership of weapons of any kind isn’t even mentioned in the Ten Commandments is it? As I recall from Christian education classes no where did Christ advise his followers to arm themselves to the teeth. Didn’t someone mention hypocrisy above?

In fact pushing religious based values in a public education system is almost guaranteed to get everyone to go for his gun. And how gun ownership is going to restore family values, extended family networks or whatever seems to be lacking to those who think guns will save them, somehow reveals a real disconnect between and ideal and practice.

But really – what are the assault weapons’ purpose except to take on an army? Are supporters of the private ownership of assault weapons expecting to start community based military exercises North Korean style? Have they got plans to launch community purges to bring back “core” values by blowing away the “social deviants”?

Obviously – ownership of weapons and political freedom are not exactly synonymous. They just seem to sound like they are.

Posted by paul rosa | Report as abusive

The gun manufacturers are smart to make money from the gun lobbyists. It is sad, however, because categorizing people as “elitists” and claiming that guns are needed for protection is the sound of FEAR talking. Unfortunately, more people carrying more guns does not ensure the safety and security of anyone. I guess we will have to wait in this country for the current generation of gun lobbyists to pass on so that real reform for a safer country can happen. The next generation can learn that more arms solves nothing.

Posted by Guns Kill | Report as abusive

Elvira, I agree. Making it harder for criminals and unhinged people to get their hands on guns would be nice. But, how do you do that without infringing on the rights of the rest of us? It’s a well known fact that violent crime does go down in areas where legal concealed carry is instituted. The criminal acts you are worried about are not being committed by legal gun owners/carriers. Criminals can and do carry guns to commit their crimes. (thats what they do) The rest of us will simply have to protect ourselves the best we can within the law. So why should the law abiding citizen have to allow our lawmakers to make us defensless???

PAUL,

Sounds like your solution is ban guns and let everybody act like savages, without any sort of rules or reasonable standards of behavior.. Brilliant

I think I will take my sons to the rifle range and not only teach them responsibility, but listen to what they have to say and make sure they are on the path to growing up to be the men i want them to grow up to be.

And if you want my guns Paul I will gladly give them up when you take away everyone elses recreational sports equipment, golf clubs for example..

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

After reading these comments, Americans must still think they are in the wild west!
Guns just bring death and destruction.
Grow up!!

Posted by Cecile Batchelor | Report as abusive

I don’t think it matters one way or the other if we restrict gun access or promote it. If guns really made us safer, we should be the safest nation in the world. We’re not. If you restrict them, black market gun runners will celebrate. Prohibition of guns will be as successful as alcohol and marijuana prohibitions. I think the only cure for violence is community. We’ve got to get out of our media shells, seeing everything through the lens of a camera, hiding behind our tv screens. The media fills us with all types of irrational fears, and it’s this hyper-awareness of danger that leads us to lash out in violence. The only way to stop the violence is for people to learn to trust one another.

Posted by kyle | Report as abusive

Another librial not telling the truth or bendint it for his own purpose. Mr. Debusmann states the following “In July, the U.S. Senate defeated a measure, introduced by a Republican Senator, John Thune, that would have allowed licensed gun owners to carry hidden, loaded weapons from states with weak gun laws to states with tough ones. False statement! Or a lie? He knows that the bill said nothing of the sort!

Posted by Mike Holland | Report as abusive

My family has owned guns for many years of all varieties and currently we own versions of several former military weapons under permit. We own an AK47, an FN FAL, and an M14, two of those are automatic. Recently we also purchased a semi automatic derivative of an M16. Along with that we have a 1903 Springfield. We also own several handguns and a shotgun. I trust President Obama enough to not commit such political suicide by trying to put in any new gun laws. They’re the last thing on his mind when he’s got the economy and Afghanistan to worry about.

Posted by Kyle | Report as abusive

Maybe not enough people listened to the lady from Killeen,TX when she testified before a senate commitee. She saw her father murdered because she had left her pistol in her car. She finished her testimony by informing the members of the commitee that the 2nd Amendment didn’t have anything to do with duck or deer hunting it was included in the Constitution to protect us from them!

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

Jim – I asked a simple question that you haven’t answered. What do you need assault weapons for?

I don’t want your guns. You do what you like with your sons.

You also haven’t suggested how gun ownership protects your freedom? Isn’t that the mantra of the ARA?

I also don’t understand the connection between gun ownership and recreation sports equipment?

And since when have people who don’t own guns, or weapons of any kind been accused of savage behavior? I guess you have to watch those Buddhists, they can be real maniacs? I almost forgot, They invented the martial arts, didn’t they. But they are anything but savage.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann: A writer has accused me of a “solution” I never offered. I made a reasonable reply. In fairness to my statement you should permit me to answer him. Don’t play silly games just to raise the heat.

Posted by paul rosa | Report as abusive

This story misses a key issue, which is “fingerprinting” every gun manufactured, and requiring proper documentation of sales. If all guns are “fingerprinted,” whenever you find a fired bullet, you can look up which gun it came from. It only hurts people who want to commit murder and get away with it (i.e. a vocal group of gun owners).

Posted by Pete Cann | Report as abusive

CURRENT KILLING ZONES

New York: 571 (down 26 on previous year)

Los Angeles: 511 (down 5)

Chicago: 447 (down 151)

Baltimore: 276 (up 7)

Washington: 198 (down 50)

St Louis: 114 (up 40)

Boston: 62 (up 21)

Also down: Philadelphia, Miami and Las Vegas

The record: New York’s 2,245 in 1990

New York’s murder rate per person: 6.9 per 100,000, making it it the safest large city in America

London’s murder rate per person: 2.4 per 100,000

Posted by Simon | Report as abusive

Perhaps the fact that the United States provides an inordinate number of guns to Mexico, that inturn increase the strength of the drug cartels and decrease security of the US will be a strong reason to reduce the manufacture and importation and lax sales control of assault weapons. Maybe that way it will not be necessary for us to buy cannons.

Figure out a way to stop the criminals without infringing upon my personal rights and I’ll be all for the measures. Instead, there are plenty of current gun laws, most of which make it harder and harder for law-abiding citizens to get guns but have no effect whatsoever on the criminal element. Why do we need more emotionally charged legislation that will just distract us from the real governmental issues at hand (i.e. Afghanistan, Social Security/medicare reform and this atrocity known as big government in bed w/ pharma trying to push their agendas upon the people.)

Posted by ErricZ | Report as abusive

Paul Rosa,
What do you consider an assault weapon? if i stabbed you with a fork, i used it as a weapon, and assaulted you. so is it now an assault weapon? you need to define what you mean by that.

And how does gun ownership not protect freedom? If you were going to rob a house, would you prefer one that has a gun-free zone sign in the front yard, or one where the owner is known for his 1 inch groupings?

The sports equipment was an allusion to how it is used as ‘assault weapons’ also… if a criminal cant afford to buy, or cant steal a gun, is he gonna give up? no, he’ll probly just use a knife or baseball bat or golf club instead. so to make gun control even more effective, we should also regulate (ban) anything else people can use as ‘assault weapons’

For your ‘christ’ argument, i seem to recall a specific passage about going out and selling your cloak to buy a sword, which was the most technologically advanced and expensive ‘assault weapon’ of the time period.

I will assume you take assault weapon to mean any big semi-auto rifle with a detachable mag and maybe a pistol grip, or a suppressor or muzzle brake. maybe even a barrel shroud. (most of which are safety features, but they ‘look scary’)

so if someone breaks into your house, trying to rob you or maybe wanting to rape someone, would you prefer to defend yourself with
A) small, single-shot pistol. maybe a .22?
B) something you know will take them down in one hit, no matter how scary it might look, even if the name scares you..
C) a bat or golf club, assuming you can legally own one.

And dan, how many assault weapons does mexico get from us? if you mean rocket launchers, grenades, or machine guns, i would love to know where in the US you can buy these? i know the gun shops in Dallas dont sell them… As to the 90% figure you’re probly thinking of, thats a rather doctored number… 90% of the firearms mexico SUBMITTED for tracing, that were SUCCESSFULLY traced were found to be from the US. they dont send for tracing anything that doesnt have SNs, or that obviously isnt from the US. Mexico almost definitely get more firearms from the Merida Initiative than from illegal importation from US gun shops.

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

The NRA should be renamed to the assembly of morons. I can hardly believe people can be so foolish.

Posted by max | Report as abusive

Guns don’t kill people. Peoople with guns kill people with guns.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

the bill that was defeated in the senate, pushed by republican senator john thune, actually allowed you to carry your gun from one state to another if they both allowed concealed carry. Nothing more than that… and yet somehow that’s been twisted into allowing me to bring a gun from texas to new york. This is simply a lie and this isn’t journalism. Read the bill before you mention it.

Posted by allen | Report as abusive

I live in New Mexico where guns are everyday tools and our crime rate is very very low – and I never carry a gun; but if you think I would wonder around NYC without carrying – you’re nuts!

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

It’s not the guy in the White House…it’s the Chuck Schumer’s of this country that you have to worry about. Sneaky ba$$tard will put something into a bill; at the last second, knowing the bill is sure to pass. That’s the scary part.

Obamacare: The “Postoffice” of healthcare plans.

Posted by O2BNTEXAS | Report as abusive

Mr Kyle: We ARE one of the safest countries in the world because of private gun ownership. Just look to any country that has restrictions to private gun ownership. The citizens (subject or slaves) are under asault by their own government daily. Look at Great Britain and their social health care system. The British government does not have to worry about changing it to a more functional system. Their subjects are disarmed and not a threat to their power. Why do you think our goverment is even considering the will of the people to not have socialized medicine here. Like Mr Chris said: The reason we have the second amendment has nothing to do with hunting. It is to give the U S Citizen the ability to defend themselves from our government. It is a tradition that started with the fouding of this country – our ability to say NO to King George.

Posted by Jose | Report as abusive

A NYC filled with cameras on streets for population servelance is not my idea of a free state. Bloomberg loves guns for Israel going and supporting the Gaza killing fields excercise. He is a control freak. With Schumer they have made careers of scaring the bajesus out of parents. 3 bi

Posted by John Benson | Report as abusive

the NRA must have it’s eyes closed. bloomberg is not the problem. the mexican drug cartels will change the gun laws not obama.

the ammo shortage started with the cartel’s buying several thousand dollars worth of ammo at a pop. they already have the arsenal they bought in the states and they’re busy killing literally thousands of locals. that takes a lot of ammunition.

when the republican supreme court made your exposure to imminent domain contingent on your political connections, that’s when a lot of people got nervous. the gun sales and the antidepressant sales both reflect that same malaise.

Posted by jim | Report as abusive

Here is the thing, assault weapons are banned for all practical purposes. Only the police, private security, and special license holders can have such weaponry. So, to say that Barack Hussein Obama is a “disappointment” to gun-grabbers is pure Propaganda. Also, there is STILL a major shortage of ammunition. You guys will wake up one day and WISH that your countrymen were armed, when the offshore banks are done destroying this country. Quit being so limpwristed about guns. It is the man or woman behind the gun you have to worry about.

I have no strong feelings about weapons, per se. They\’re tools. Tools of a very particular sort, granted. Still, merely tools.

That said, the characteristic debate is reflective of many of the limitations of democracy, in which the task of \’elites\’ becomes pandering to the lowest common denominators and baser instincts — fear perhaps chief amongst them — in human nature, and of the particularly naive and atavistic characteristics of contemporary American culture.

It\’s sad that the society which first brought to the world many of the finest notions of the modern nation state is reduced to longing for past glory at any of a number of levels, and is completely unable to move forward in a changing world.

Perhaps Swift was too kind in his depiction of the Yahoos. Then again, he hadn\’t contemporary American \’civilization\’ as a source of inspiration.

Let them clutch their guns. They have only the night and their own fears to comfort them in the course of their long, sorry, and sadly inevitable descent.

Posted by Not Silent Not Bob's Dog | Report as abusive

Stan:
I dont understand how can you believe that the Democratic party is moving to the center based on the last few elections. Now more than ever I believe that the leaders of the democratic party are pro-big government, pro-socialim, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, anti-gun, pro-illegal immigrants, etc. In my opinion, most of these positions put the Democratic Party as far as they can be from what our forefathers intended this nation to be. The bible is against homosexual relationships and most churches are against abortion (remember thou shall not kill?). Did you know that the Pope didnt allow Nanci Pelosi to be photographed with him. The reason, because she supports gay marriage and abortion, and both are big NO-NOs under true Christianity. All the other top leaders of your party are also on the same bandwagon. Your Democratic President hasnt done anything (yet) about guns, but he did say that he wouldnt mind renewing the so called “Assault Weapons” bill; even though this bill didnt include a single TRUE assault weapon (i.e.-machine gun). ALL the weapons banned by this bill were semi-automatic weapons. I am sorry, but if you care about guns and church, the last place you should be looking at is the Democratic Party.

Posted by Henry | Report as abusive

Stan: The democratic party is coming back to its roots of being pro-church? Are you off your medication? The leadership of the democratic party is vigorously, viciously, vehemently opposed to religion in general and Christianity in particular. The party tries its best to ignore those with religious faith. If they must address them, they seek to undermine the teaching of the church using religious language. In private, among the like-minded, their contempt for religious belief is striking. I find it incomprehensible that anyone can actually believe the thought you expressed. I guess you can always fool some of the people.

Posted by Greg | Report as abusive

“CURRENT KILLING ZONES

New York: 571 (down 26 on previous year)

Los Angeles: 511 (down 5)

Chicago: 447 (down 151)

Baltimore: 276 (up 7)

Washington: 198 (down 50)

St Louis: 114 (up 40)

Boston: 62 (up 21)

Also down: Philadelphia, Miami and Las Vegas

The record: New York’s 2,245 in 1990

New York’s murder rate per person: 6.9 per 100,000, making it it the safest large city in America

London’s murder rate per person: 2.4 per 100,000″

Nice try, but the last two numbers are per 100,000, whereas the first ones are absolute. Bad liberal, bad!

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

crooks don,t care about gun laws. I will protect myself and family from these crooks that Blomdeburger wants to empower. He’ll kill off lawabidding gunowners by making them powerless. He’s got his head stuck up his okoele. How many bodyguards with guns protect him?

Posted by GD Hilo | Report as abusive

Hey Americans Why stop at assault rifles I think that you all should have the right to own an Abrams tank . After all why shot the person when you can blow him away. If you look at the statistics 90% of gun owners kill their families and themselves so keep buying guns it’s the only stock in my portfolio that is doing well.

Posted by Chase | Report as abusive

Quote: It says: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Exactly what that means (arms for militia members? for individuals?)

Seriously? Quite trying to mislead people. Put away your dictionaries and encyclopedias – they don’t matter. When you need to define something in the Constitution more than it is defined there, you refer to the United States Code.

In this case, the question is “What is the militia?”

The answer can be found in the United States Code, Title 10, Chapter 13, Section 311:

Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes

(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
(b) The classes of the militia are –
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/10C 13.txt

Soooo……If you are, or have declared your intention to become, a US Citizen, are male and between the ages of 17 and 45 years, and are “able-bodied” (the only really ‘loose’ term in the section) and are not a vet (we’re liable for Militia service to the age of 65), then you are in the Militia…and per US vs. Miller, 1939 http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/ge tcase.pl?navby=CASE&court=US&vol=307&pag e=174 there is a clear delineation stating that the 2nd Amendment applies ONLY to firearms wit a “military utility” – in effect, pretty much anything that goes “BANG!”

Now, I’m not a lawyer – I’m just a schlump. Why is it so difficult for people to simply look up the relevant laws? And that especially means lawyers and reporters – c/mon, people! This is BASIC RESEARCH!

Posted by Where's my 'tini at? | Report as abusive

It’s Sugarmann, not Sugarman. What’s the matter with you guys? You can’t afford proofreaders?

Posted by anymouse | Report as abusive

More people are killed each year by medical mistakes and malpractice than by firearms. Why not outlaw Doctors? Or motor vehicle collisions.. Outlaw cars next?
Guns don’t kill people… People kill people. Guns are just a tool. like a scalpel or a 4000 lb. hunk of metal on wheels. It’s the intent of the human being using the tool.

Posted by Brendan | Report as abusive

Now more than ever,Americans should be Armed..The Police are helpless in preventing home invasions..
the Police have never prevented any crime.they only can be effective post crime and regulating Traffic.BUT,the main reason for having a gun is to protect Democracy in America..No country with Armed Citizens have ever had their Democracy over thrown..Obama[during the election] said he needs a Presidential Police Force,where he would be the Commander.[This may be hearsay from the Net]Maybe,now that He is the President,he probably feels that since he has TOTAL control over the FBI,CIA,Secret Service and His Chicago Mafia Enforcers,PLUS A LAP DOG CONGRESS ,he might wait until he can totally disarm America..AMERICANS SHOULD STAY ALERT!THESE ARE SCARY TIMES..Maniacs that shoot up schools and malls would use bombs if they couldn’t get guns..

Posted by jack garnett | Report as abusive

Maybe have a look north of the border, if you even know where Canada is… Very very low gun violence. Where the violence does occur are guns illegally smuggle from the U.S.

The fact is Americans don’t need the Thune agreement. All States signed the U.S. Constitution. Conceal carry permits, licenses, are all infringements- which are illegal according to the highest law of the land. And secondarily, the Federal government handing out licenses for all 50 states subverts states privileges. It’s a bad idea all around. It just happens to make the socialists think they’ve won something.

So while Bloomberg repeatedly breaks actual Federal law investigating gun shops in other states, the rest of us get to wonder where the hell these people come from.

The purpose, and most of you posting have missed it, of gun ownership in America is to overthrow tyrannical government. You know, just like how America was founded in the first place. Guns are a tool to keep governments in line with the law. And part and parcel of that is the self-defense of your life. Even bacteria defends itself. But somehow socialists think it’s sane to give society control over their very existence. No. Not this American. Not ever.

And that’s all it is kids. Guns are to keep the government from doing harm and reaching outside of that fireplace called the U.S. Constitution. End.

Posted by JAG | Report as abusive

Why do we need more legislation. Citizens don’t need more laws to restrict their freedoms. PUT CRIMINALS IN JAIL!!! Oh wait, Attornies can’t afford such things!

Posted by the1 | Report as abusive

There is no such thing as a “gunshow loophole”. It’s a contrived, made-up political term to infer a breaking of some “law”. Gun sales between private individuals are legal, whether done at a private home or on the grounds of a gunshow. Please try to educate yourselves before posting as “experts”. Thanks!

As an Englishman, I am often amazed and saddened by the world view of the US which the opinions of its citizens promote.

First, to set my stall out, I love the US. Has been my chosen holiday destination for over 20 years, and, along with Tokyo, New York is my favourite city of any I have visited.

However, the US is an amazingly insular society. Perhaps because of its size and sociological diversity, and there is often so little understanding of what the world is like outside of those borders. Comments such as those on this thread, when looked at by the rest of the world, paint a picture of hillbillies and NIMBY’s, where prejudice is always preferred to logic, and change is unpatriotic. In fact, as anyone who spends any time with you and your countrymen will know, America is one of the most welcoming and accommodating societies in the world.

There is however a real division between the individual view of acceptance and tolerance which I have encountered in my travels over the years and a need to be seen to be bigoted and narrow minded, as is the theme of most of the entries in this thread. The closest I can equate it to is the darkest days of the soviet era, when conversations in private discussed openly the Governments failures, whilst at the same time those same people would in public pursue the party line with almost maniacal zeal.

The facts of the ratio of gun ownership to violent death in countries around the world are there to be seen. If American citizens believe that, despite the fact that they are more likely to be shot an any other citizen of a first world country, they are safer because of the weapons they stockpile, then that is fine, but I do wish that the moderate American, the sensible and thoughtful intellectual, could also have a voice in these discussions, without being shouted down as “Un-American” or “Unpatriotic”.

Posted by Pete | Report as abusive

To jack, who believes that no democracy has ever been overthrown when citizens own guns. I have news for you cupcake, this ain’t a democracy, it’s become an oligarchy–our nation is led by the nose by corporate interests. While they inflame you to worry about guns and robbers and demonize without listennig those who suggest (rightly or wrongly) to limit certain guns in crime violent cities, corporations buy government to make laws in their favor and mop up (do you know how much private contractors made in Iraq? Or, how about the bank bailouts that WE paid for?) That’s called Realpolitik…divide and conquer. Maybe turn of the pundits on radio who poison honest intellectual debate and actually pick up a book and educate yourself.

Posted by peter | Report as abusive

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” What rubbish is this amendment talking about?
There is hardly some kind of foreign invasion taking place of the US that the people of that country need to bear arms. They complain about so-called rogue states such as Afghanistan, Pakistan etc… as bad examples, but just look at themselves. Ultra Pathetic

Posted by Jag | Report as abusive

I *love* the argument that gun ownership is to guard against the possibility of government tyrrany — the lunatic frontier fantasy of defending one’s log-cabin homestead against APC’s with a few rifles.

Few things speak more powerfully of what is most naive, most willfully childish in the American psyche.

Too many movies, children. Grow up.

As if.

Oh, and, yes, the Constitution is not merely a well-conceived document composed by men, it’s sacred writ, timeless, direct from the mind and hand of the Maker.

Do you really imagine a document, however well conceived, to provide governance for a nation of thirteen colonies and eight million is scaleable to a different time and to the governance of 50 states stripped of their rights by the war between the states and a populace of over 300 million?

Duh. Look around you. How well is the government functioning? You are in desperate need of deep structural reform, yet you cling to delusions of past glory.

That, folks, is the very definition of failure.

Keep it up.

Few things are more sacred in the American psyche than the myth of exceptionalism. Very nearly all bow to it. To question it is the minds of most Americans proof of a traitorous mind or revelatory that one is — gasp — a foreigner. One feels the fear lurking behind these claims at this point in time, however, as Americans demonstrate they are ‘exceptional’ largely in the negative sense.

Ah well, at least they’ll be able to hold off the ‘redskins’ and the ‘evil guvment’ with their guns and the ghost of John Wayne.

Pitiful, isn’t it?

Posted by Super Snark | Report as abusive

Richard ~

You are horrifically misinterpreting Luke 22:36. I suggest you learn English or, better still, how to interpret a simple passage in context.

Not to worry, though, I’m sure you find the steel-solidity of your weapon in your hand all the reassurance you need.

;)

Posted by Super Snark | Report as abusive

why do people need guns? don’t you have police to protect you? when everybody has guns,nobody is safe !
that is why gun-related crime is so serious in US.
if guns are easily obtainable,the first people to buy them would be criminals and that makes everone insecure.
if you live by the sword,you die by the sword.

Posted by Rahul Gandhi | Report as abusive

the second amendment which allows ‘a well regulated militia’ ( not ordinary people ) the right to bear arms was formulated 200+ years ago in a newly independant and lawless socitey with a rudimentary or non-existant law enforcement and formal army.
‘militia’ back then meant irregulars who were fighting against british for independance.they were later replaced or absorbed into the formal army.
so there is no need for ordinary citizens to bear arms ,now that a formal well equipped army is in place and law enforcement ( police,judiciary ) is in place.
those who harp on second amendment are pure hypocrites,hiding behind a 200 year old and now obsolete law.

Posted by Joe Sixpack | Report as abusive

If we take literally the way the 2nd ammendment of the Constitution is written, paramiliary groups such as the ones in Colombia and Central America, would be legal in the U.S.?.

Posted by Ricardo | Report as abusive

“the main reason for having a gun is to protect Democracy in America..No country with Armed Citizens have ever had their Democracy over thrown”

this government you keep “in check” with your guns, just stole trillions from you.
what have you done about it, tough guy? you or the other fat, dumb, and happy hunters? nothing.

keep dreaming, idiots, the rest of the world is having a ball watching you.

Posted by jack the knife | Report as abusive

Like the name says, I’m a Democrat here in Texas with no guns. You may ask me why and the answer is simple- Safety.
Even the quickest perusal of the facts shows that guns aren’t safe- and owning them puts you at risk. This is from the CDC, a “guvment” group and all, but for 20 of the last 25 years over half of all gun deaths were suicides. Suicides made easier by the presence of guns.

I’m not saying I might suddenly get the urge to off myself- but I do have children, and they have friends who generally know what famalies are gun-toting and which aren’t.

I’m going back to the CDC info for 2005- 31,000 Gun Deaths in the US. 55% Suicides, 40% Homocides, 3% Accidents and 2%- a total of 620 Deaths combined caused by Cops doing their jobs and Legal Gun Owners defending themselves.

Posted by Texas Dem | Report as abusive

The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming! The Bandits are coming, the Bandits are coming! Egad, and forsooth, what other excuses do we need to arm ourselves to the teeth? We are in more danger from ourselves than anything else.

To all you “living constitution” apologists I have only this to say:

DC vs. Heller. Read it and weep.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

To answer Richard: I would could consider an assault weapon – I haven’t looked the definition in any code or gun owners handbook – weapons like machine guns, guns that store large amounts of ammunition at once for firing more than what a typical revolver or semi automatic revolver would shoot. The kinds of weapons that can saw one in half. A bit much for guarding hearth and home don’t you think?

I once even owned a small pistol and did a little target shooting. It was an expensive and minor thrill.

I would consider it a lot more reliable to have a home security system that ties into the local police department. What do you think you’re paying them for in those real estate property tax bills you probably get? If you are even in a situation where you are at violent odds with the local or state police you would already be defeated.

If people are really worried about the state attacking them – they can forget any protection from owning private guns. The military can work by remote control haven’t you noticed? And if you’re that worried about protection from a threatening state – see a psychiatrist.

Posted by Paul V Rosa | Report as abusive

Pete: “The facts of the ratio of gun ownership to violent death in countries around the world are there to be seen”

No my friend, it it nowhere to be seen. In case you hadn’t noticed, the crime rate in Great Britain, where all handguns were banned a decade ago, is now significantly higher than that in the US.

There is no correlation whatsoever between gun bans and violent crime, in either direction. The Swiss, the most heavily-armed populace in the developed world, also enjoy a negligible crime rate.

Posted by Bohemond | Report as abusive

The right to bear arms is an absurdity inherited from the founding fathers of the U.S and the constitution. American has evolved, and is now longer a place where guns should be accepted as it is in the western movies. those that fight to keep these arms are retards/rednecks/moronic individuals who have no big picture of their country. They just like the idea of keeping a gun…

Posted by benjy | Report as abusive

It appears in the State of Texas.That most Democrats
are not only against the 2nd Ammendment but against the
First and it appears they should read the constitution
if they did they won’t be Democrats.In general they are weak kneeded at best.They follow the President like a little puppy Dog.

Posted by John McMackin | Report as abusive

GUN CONTROL WORKS JUST ASK HITLER AND MAO

Posted by kameha | Report as abusive

Guns… Owning them is our right; but thinking we can use them against the government/military and win is ludicrous. Our military, used without limitations, would kick our butts all over the place. A rifle, machine gun, etc is nothing but a pea shooter against armored vehicles, unmanned weapons systems, and jets. So the argument that we need guns to stave off the government makes no sense. I think people should be allowed to own guns in this country but there should be limitations.
I don’t believe private citizens should be allowed to own assault rifles unless they have a federal gun permit to own one. Why would one person need to own one. They are designed to kill people not for hunting
I saw another poster say “my assault rifle protects my home.” Lets be honest if someone is creeping around in your house, and you don’t hear them when they first break it, by the time you wake and get your assault rifle out and arm yourself that person will probably be breathing on you.

We as a people are paranoid and afraid of one another. We don’t need to own guns to be safe. The idea that guns will keep us safe from crime is nonsensical. What we need to do is figure out what causes crime, poverty, etc and find a way to fix the issues. Then we will not need guns to protect us from the boogey men. In order to do this we need to take a step back and look at the ills plaguing our country. We need to shore up our education system, (frankly as a former tearcher it sucks), we need to make our parents better, we need to fix our broken prison system, we need to clean up our dependence on foreign oil, fix healthcare, proper drug prevention/care, last but not least we need to figure out a way to stop recreational drug use in the country because it is causing strife in other countries which in turn hurts us.

First off if we educate our people properly they will have the skills to find and create jobs which will help struggling commmunities and lower crime. If more parents took a more active role in their childrens lives and education our society would be better off. If we need to put in less hours at the office to do this so be it. Our children are our future and we shouldn’t leave them a crappy country to inheret. We need to stop the revolving door in our prisons and jails. In order to do this we should teach prisoners job skills, rehab them, and educate them so when they do get out they will have skills that can find them a job. (might have to get rid of the prison guard lobby to do this, they will lose jobs). Fixing healthcare and our dependence on oil will free up monies we can put towards education and other social programs to better our lives. Healthcare is what will destroy this country, as it did with many major corporations (GM anyone), costs have become too high. The government needs to regulate prices and put the insurance companies in their place. They are robbing us blind. Last but not least we need to take care of the drug problem. The war on drugs failed a long time ago. We need to figure out a better way of combating drugs. Legalizing and taxing marijuana will sap most of the profits of the drug cartels and at the same time it should be monitored like we do with alcohol. (We do need to watch out for people with the munchies it could in the long run cost us money with obese peeps healthcare costs) People in this country need to understand the reprecussions of their use of drugs. It is what funds the Taliban (which are killing our citizens and our allies citizens in foreign countries), the Mexican cartels (which will destablize trade with Mexico and cause violence across their borders into ours), and other violent syndicates across the world. If we can solve the drug problem we can free up billions of dollars which can help with the deficit or go to education.

The idea that guns keep us safe is shortsided. If we shore up our country and fix the problems we have created we won’t need to own guns to feel protected. As said before we need to look at ourselves without biases and stop blaming others and making excuses for our shortcomings.

Posted by Pablo | Report as abusive

The NRA isn’t the adversary of the gun control folks, it’s gun owners (most of whom are not NRA members) and even those without guns who believe the right is an important one. (I was one of the latter for many years, until I became one of the former.)

The right to bear arms has been understood since near when guns were invented, including in England, as an individual right. Hence, for example, Michigan’s Constitution of 1835: “Every person has a right to bear arms for the defense of himself and the state.”

Bernd, let’s put you in a wild west of other chaotic situation where you’re surrounded by bad guys with firearms, but you can have no more than a 3″, non-locking pocketknife. Best of luck to ya, pardner.

Posted by Henry Ruger | Report as abusive

Ban criminals. Let law-abiding citizens do as they wish, so long as they don’t commit crimes. And to those who’re satisfied with home security systems protecting their families, I gently remind you of Katrina. Homes under water often don’t have working security systems. When infrastructure fails, preservation of ones family comes first. Many law enforcement officers and emergency workers left their jobs and went home to protect their loved ones.

Posted by Jeff | Report as abusive

Jim – I asked a simple question that you haven’t answered. What do you need assault weapons for?

I don’t want your guns. You do what you like with your sons.

You also haven’t suggested how gun ownership protects your freedom? Isn’t that the mantra of the ARA?

I also don’t understand the connection between gun ownership and recreation sports equipment?

And since when have people who don’t own guns, or weapons of any kind been accused of savage behavior? I guess you have to watch those Buddhists, they can be real maniacs? I almost forgot, They invented the martial arts, didn’t they. But they are anything but savage.

PAUL:

I own an AR-15 rifle, among many others. Some are for hunting, some are for collecting and some are for competition shooting. I shoot my “assault rifle” regularly as part of an organized shooting club that holds service rifle competitions. These competitions consist of firing at targets up to 800 meters. A great deal of practice is necessary to achieve the accuracy required to place well in competitions. You asked why I need one of these assault weapons and there is my answer. It is my sport. Some people play golf, some people play softball, I go to a rifle range. If you don’t think Shooting is a legitimate sport I would like to point out that it is in fact an olympic sport; rifles, shotguns and pistols, all of with require an incredible level of skill to be competitive.

My sport also helps me hone my skills, which I have on occasion used when I have had to retrieve my “assault rifle” from the rack in the front seat of my patrol car. So actually, my “sport” helps me keep people like you safe.

Your argument that if we didn’t have guns in society we would automatically be safer is foolhardy. Go ask a rapist if he would like his victim unarmed. Go ask a residential burglar if he has ever worried about getting shot while braking into someone’s house.

And the notion that if we banned a certain class of guns the police would go around and pick them up is foolish as well.

If 1% of the legal gun owners in this country resisted the confiscation of firearms with lethal force they would bleed the US millitary and every police department in the country white. And we know this, which is why we would never carry out a confiscation..

Which is sort of the reason the founding fathers made the right to keep and bear arms the second freedom we have; second only to the freedom of speech and right of assembly. As long as we have people armed who know how to use their guns it is highly unlikely anyone is going to trample our rights. And that includes your rights too, even though you choose not to exercise specific ones.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

armed citizenry = dis-armed criminals

In the 1770′s our country revolted with less taxes and a smaller less powerful government than we have now.

I wish everyone had assault rifles in their house, look at Japan last I checked their murder rate is a lot higher and they have much worse gun restrictions that we do.

Guns don’t equal crime, criminals equal crime.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

The same old story outlaw guns and only the outlaws will have guns. With Obama and his rapid changes to socialism, I am glad my fellow Americans are armed we will need them.

Posted by gary | Report as abusive

A few observations, from a 30-year Paramedic who has treated approximately 400 gunshot incidences:

To my mind, the Founding Fathers were brilliant, but not perfect. There is no way they could have ever foreseen thousands of mental midgets running around cities in “iron horses” shooting children who dared to wear the wrong color T-shirt. Let’s get real.

The phrase, “A well-regulated militia . . .” refers to non-government, civilian armies, to keep the government military honest. That – folks – was the context of the conversation THEN. At no place in the Constitution does it say “any individual” has a right to own any weapon whatsoever. The word “people” is plural, an aggregate, not singular. They were clearly making the distinction the citizenry, and those who rule.

The NRA has spoken much wisdom over the years, and I am thankful for their point in the debate. But perhaps if they simply followed the logic of their own name, logic might prevail. “Rifles” not handguns, would be a damn good start.

Or shall we just continue this idiocy infinatum.

P

My comment is for the very large majority of us who know that gun ownership is unnecessary and dangerous in this country. Why don’t we speak up enough to drown out the NRA and the irrational minority who despite the “tyranny” of our government and the hordes of murderers and rapists whom all the gun owners have gunned down over the years persist in living here. Lets invite them collectively to move somewhere without a strong government presence in terms police, military, education and yes health care. The rest of us who care about each other enough will continue to work to find ways to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe and healthy without guns.

For those of you who still don’t feel safe despite the overwhelming evidence that actual people are safer without guns around, (despite the mythical hordes)buy a bow and several metal-tipped arrows or even a crossbow and defend yourselves. You’ll be armed and the rest of us will be much, much safer.

Posted by Michael Williams, MD | Report as abusive

Dr. Williams:

How about YOU move away instead of the gun owners. Say to someplace like Britain. First rate health care and no guns, sounds like it’s right up your alley!

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Why is it that when somebody doesn’t like the culture of a country they feel that the “other” side should be invited to move away?

Hey America was founded on freedom, which includes the freedom to own guns. If that frightens you then move to Canada or England.

As for guns and crime how about focusing on the criminals. I mean if they were running around using knives instead of guns would we be talking about removing knives from our homes?

Posted by Stan | Report as abusive

Dr. Williams,

I too am a physician and although not a gun owner I have no concerns with my neighbors owning guns. I have treated gunshot wounds as an E.R. doctor and often times they were the result of both criminal activity and carelessness. But guess what? I have also treated wounds from knives, hammers, hatchets, automobiles and even nail guns. All were inflicted either during the course of a criminal act or out of carelessness.

People do stupid things and sometimes they commit crimes AND sometimes they use tools such as hammers, hatchets, knives, and yes guns. Hold the person accountable for their actions, not the tool.

You should stop trying to tell people what is best for them and let them make up their own minds how they want to live their lives. If they choose to keep their home gun free, that’s fine, but if they choose to own a gun, please sir, butt out of their business..

Posted by Mary-Kay Langer M.D. | Report as abusive

The United States is the ‘gold standard’ for freedom and its all-encompassing. Worldwide. For some smug Brit to get on this post with his opinions about the States…(please!) The States are the reason you have an opinion you moron.

Take away the guns. Take away your freedom. Ask that Brit about all the cameras in his country…

Opinions from a Canadian

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

From Jim – “Your argument that if we didn’t have guns in society we would automatically be safer is foolhardy. Go ask a rapist if he would like his victim unarmed. Go ask a residential burglar if he has ever worried about getting shot while braking into someone’s house.”

My reply,
I didn’t make that argument. Your are taking it to ridiculous conclusions. I asked a simple question. And I think your argument that gun ownership makes you able to resist civil authorities is shear baloney. Before you ever had the opportunity to “bleed the police departments” – as you call it – there would be civil war and very likely a killing frenzy like that which occurred in Iraq. One of the first victims would be illegal immigrants or any ethnic group that is considered a threat. I get so many xenophobic emails from friends and relatives I am sure that the period of bleeding you threaten should anyone go for your guns would very rapidly spread out of control.

The wide use of privately held firearms – the assault rifles type and heavier duty types I suppose – doesn’t seem to have ever worked for the Iraqi’s or the Afghans.

And the first things the US and coalition forces did when they entered Afghanistan was try to disarm those tribal gun owners. They didn’t want to give them up either.

You are just admitting that this country does to other countries what so many of it’s own citizens fear it will or could do to them.

I’m quite sure those cameras that now infest any public place and many private places in the US are not meant exclusively for “terrorists”. The managers of our not so sane society are very worried about guys like you.

I really can’t answer for what rapists or burglars might prefer. But evidently the civil authorities don’t want passengers on planes, trains or buses carrying anything that might even cut someone. But they consider that the safe option. That definition of “safety’ so quickly invoked for the public sector could just as easily be extended to the neighborhood level.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

Britain? First rate health care? Ever see their teeth?

New York should wake up to the statistics which show Vermont, which has no law requiring even registration of a weapon, ranks 47th in states’ murder rates, and 49th in violent crime. Why? Criminals are fearful creatures by nature, spurred into such fear by a conscience not yet totally erased. Their guilt allows them freedom when fear is reduced by the belief they will not be harmed in committing crimes, and their activities are clearly, statistically and dramatically reduced when they are scared, and rightfully so, by their guilt in committing a crime.

A child who is left alone will enter into willful, petulant disobedience. My own son, whom I have never beaten, was arguing with his mother and I asked him why I never heard him say such things to me. “Because you would beat the sh*t out of me,” was the answer.

Human nature and human reasoning is always the same regarding punishment. If it is present and imminent, one need not fear misbehavior. If it is absent and there are no consequences, crime and vices of all sorts are rampant. Visit any ghetto and see what I mean. Then go to Vermont. Stats don’t lie.

Posted by peter1589 | Report as abusive

What is it with guns…? Really, I mean, what is it about guns that stirs up so much bleeding ruckus in the vicinity of the American virtual water-cooler just when there ought to be so very many other extremely pressing issues to talk about, calmly, now more than ever?

Guess it must be… The Freedom, Stupid!

You can own a gun – many guns, in fact – even if you’re diagnosed as being nuttier than a rabid fruit bat, even to the point of having your driver’s license revoked. Does that make you free, sane, or the neighborhood safe, even?

You can be frisked and cuffed by the police in front of tourists on Hollywood Boulevard, and stay that way for as long as the cops deem fit, for “looking like a gangsta” – more likely though, for wearing baggy pants – whether or not you ever in your life owned a gun. Does that make you and the gawking tourists free?

You can see guns all day long on American broadcast TV, watch them being fired again and again as human bodies fall, tons of guns on more channels than you can shake a stick at . . . but nary a naked breast, a vagina or a penis. Not ever. Nor shall you hear even a single word of explicit language. Does that make you, the viewer, free? Oh, yeah, plus you get to pay for it, too. Double trouble.

You might find yourself wondering why only ever two, and two very similar, political parties dominate the entire mainstream political landscape in this country, whether that’s really representative of a free society, etc. Is this as free as politics can be in the Free [sic] World? Well, as long as neither of those parties has squat to say when it comes to owning the Freedom© implements commonly known as guns… Let Freedom© reign, yo.

At street level, pity help you if you ever need to urinate in public. Doesn’t matter how many guns you own. You’re going down.

You can’t buy a drop of alcohol unless you’re 21 or older, almost never after 2am, anywhere, for some bluestocking reason – and you can’t smoke in bars or restaurants, whether or not you own a gun. Does that make you free?

No nudity, no bonfires, no dogs or smoking or alcohol on State beaches; guns… maybe. Sex? No way. How free is that?

You can’t talk on a mobile handset while driving, gun or no gun. You have to wear a helmet to ride a frickin’ pedal bicycle to school – gun neither here nor there. Free?

More people own guns now than have health insurance, or can afford urgent medical care even if they happen to have both. Free? Hell yeah, say some. Loudly, and faster than a speeding bullet, quicker than it takes to think, no less.

Speaking of which, how free are you to drive over the posted speed limit, or after a couple of drinks – say, even on a totally empty street? With guns, or without…

Then again:

No guns or even enthusiastic talking about guns in schools, courts of law, banks, post offices and airports. No guns to be carried openly in private passenger, public transport or commercial vehicles. No nail scissors on airplanes, no shampoo or toothpaste in any significant quantity either. Free, and if so, by which – the gun, the toothpaste or the shampoo? How free are you if you can’t even talk, much less joke, about guns? At that point, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve got one in a box at home, really.

Since the PATRIOT Act, you don’t exactly have habeus corpus any more in America, which really isn’t as free as it used to be. And don’t even think about boarding a plane carrying a copy of the Koran – but screw that, it’s all about the habeus gun’us, even if all you can do is keep it at home, lovingly oiling it, innit?

Obama vacillates about gun ownership (as he does with The War, the weapons makers and the war criminals behind it) and unleashes a bull market in the private domestic gun market, which then booms. Free? No, rather expensive. Synthetic scarcity and ensuing profit margins duly created.

Gun shops should and indeed may be handsomely tipping the Commander In Chief for all the windfall business he’s thrown their way. Was it widespread Freedom, or expediency-induced widespread Fear? Obama has definitely played a leading role in bringing more guns to market than there ever were before. Some peace leader, he…

Never mind all that other stuff, sources say, America’s practically oozing Freedom as long as you can have a gun or three or more and plenty of ammo. Too often, then, it’s all Let’s Roll with the Enduring Freedom, yea! A big roll to Nowhere, more like it.

Go figure how free you really are thanks to guns in America and get back to me, please, do.

However, I don’t want to hear any more Love It Or Leave It Jerry-Springer-grade rhetoric. I want to know where the freedom went, guns or no guns. I’m not against guns, but they haven’t done one damn bit of good so far in recent history, least of all when it comes to keeping America’s national leadership honest, accountable even; stopping actual avoidable tragedies from breaking out or any of those other tricky “little” incursions mentioned above from sliding into Liberty home base.

In fact, the gun issue is dialed up so disgustingly loud in all its hot-button glory, it drowns out much of what thinking Americans have to say about anything else most of the time.

Here’s a clue for any Freedom© lovers out there, on either (hah!) side of the ever-raging Big Gun Debate: this never-ending static is exactly why things are the way they are.

Your real freedom, meanwhile, quietly went thataway while you weren’t looking. Oops. And now it’s pretty much out of range. Mission Accomplished!

Posted by The Bell | Report as abusive

“That makes, as a headline in the Washington Post put it, for “a battle of goliaths” pitting Bloomberg and his group against the NRA, whose four million members tend to see restrictions such as unregulated sales from private citizens (through the gun show loophole) as an assault on the U.S. constitution’s second amendment.”

A “gun show loophole” does not exist.

U.S. citizens have the right to sell privately owned property to whom ever they wish, when ever, and where ever, they so desire. This fact is essential to the concept of U.S. citizens, through the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, controlling, in all matters, our own destiny.

The first battle of the Revolution (which the U.S. citizenry decisively won) was a battle fought over the issue of the sanctity of private property, and the issue of the illegality of government sponsored “Gun Control”.

There are, if the government wishes to repeat the battles of Lexington and Concord, millions of us willing to, once again, stand, fight, and very bloodily defeat the forces of governmental oppression. Our God Granted Rights remain ours, and any government entity that chooses to attempt to curtail or rescind these God Granted Rights should be alert to the fact that such an attempt will result in the same sort of bloody defeat suffered by the British soldiers at Lexington and Concord.

As a man once said, “si vis pacem, para bellum”.

We are prepared to defend our Rights against the forces of collective, operating under the color of law, gun grabbing tyranny.

Just try us.

Larry Farrell
Gun owners of NJ
908-277-1111

The Liberals in this Country attempted a Gun Registry. We as Canadians feared the worst…the next step would be confiscating all our long arms. Fortunately, there was a scandal. (Liberals. Scandal? No, say it isn’t so?). And we voted them out. We already have a strict hand gun ban in this Country… doesn’t stop all the shootings on the Toronto news every night. Beware of any Gun Registry…

Opinions from a Canadian

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

The Bell ~

Very, very well put.

In my not so humble opinion, we’re witnessing the decline of a deeply dysfunctional society incapable of reform or addressing substantive issues.

Not news, I know, but still . . .

Posted by Jay Is Not Silent Bob | Report as abusive

The right to bear arms was originally about the security of the State from domination by it’s enemies.

Now it has been twisted by people, to mean the security of the individual from any domination by it’s State.

The problem is a self centered minority who believe they should have complete liberty for themselve, rather then share the burden of restrictions which ensure all people have equal liberty.

Such minority believe that they are true patriots. That they can somehow resist tyranny with their ownership of private firearms.

But rest assured. If anarchy was ever to fall over the United States, their constitutional firearms will likely become the very tools which tear the nation to pieces.

Posted by Haha | Report as abusive

Again to my Commonwealth compatriot, Pete.

The Gun Control debate is not about you. Its about money. There is no money or benefit to the government in harsher sentences (that costs money). The money for the liberals is in the gun control: Revenue. Another government agency. More government jobs. More taxes. More Pork.

See…It ain’t about you…but there is always some moron out there who thinks the government is their friend and all. (sniff.)

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

We now that were the criminals do not now who the sheep are and who the wolves are violent crime drops significantly. Canada is not safer because it bans hand guns. The criminals still smuggle them into the country and make a steep profit doing it. Crime is not dependent on hand guns. Crime is a function of poverty and availability of black markets. Criminals are not stupid either. If law enforcement focuses on solving GSW crime, the smart criminal will make sure to kill in other ways to avoid the law’s attention.

If you want a safer society deal with poverty and eliminate black markets. All eliminating guns will do is create a society of defenseless sheep waiting for the slaughter Because guns will always be available to those that will pay the price for them.

“God created man; Samuel Colt made them equal.”

That axiom stated over 100 years ago is still true today. It was in reference to the Colt peacemaker revolver. Why do people in NYC have the reputation of standing by while others are robbed and killed. Without a gun what are they going to do? I can’t even imagine what that feels like. To be so helpless that all you can do is stand there and watch because some LAW made out of ignorance and greed stripped you of your ability to be an equal within your society.

Tools do not kill. Tools do not have a will. Tools are designed to be used by a person. How that person uses that tool, for good or for evil, is not dependent on the tool but on the will of the person using the tool. Violent crime is not dependent on the tools used to commit the violence but on the level of poverty (motivation) and availability of black markets (opportunity).

Posted by B.Free | Report as abusive

To Michael Williams, “MD”

From where did you get a medical degree that had such low standards for academic ability…or even IQ? First off…

- “My comment is for the very large majority of us who know that gun ownership is unnecessary and dangerous in this country.”

That would be the large majority of voices in your head, because contemporary polls show the majority of Americans do NOT favor tighter gun control.

- “Why don’t we speak up enough to drown out the NRA and the irrational minority who despite the “tyranny” of our government and the hordes of murderers and rapists whom all the gun owners have gunned down over the years persist in living here. Lets invite them collectively to move somewhere without a strong government presence in terms police, military, education and yes health care. The rest of us who care about each other enough will continue to work to find ways to keep ourselves and our neighbors safe and healthy without guns.”

Maybe you should move to London, where your far more likely to be the victim of violent crime than in any firearm-friendly U.S. location.

- “For those of you who still don’t feel safe despite the overwhelming evidence that actual people are safer without guns around, (despite the mythical hordes)buy a bow and several metal-tipped arrows or even a crossbow and defend yourselves. You’ll be armed and the rest of us will be much, much safer.”

Your inept display of basic language skills as well as your complete lack of adult reasoning ability forces me to conclude that your claim to an “MD” is about as genuine as the one claimed by the young Obama supporter who stood up at a recent town hall meeting and lied about being a doctor because she thought it give her more credibility. Unfortunately her uneducated demeanor gave her away and she was immediately uncovered.

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

- “It’s almost believable that a handgun can serve as protection against assault or home invasion.”

Almost believable? It happens multiple times every day. I’m glad that proven reality is “almost believable” for you. Perhaps the medication is working.

- “But what are assault weapons good for?”

I don’t know, because the term “assault weapon” is a meaningless, made-up one. If I pick up a rock and assault you with it, it has become a weapon. So that rock is now an “assault weapon”. Shall we ban rocks?

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

I’m simply amazed that Michael Bloomberg and the rest of the anti-gun community truly believe that I need them to tell me what I can and cannot own.
I’m appalled at the thought of them using our police personnel to forcibly dictate to me what decisions I am allowed to make, namely, whether or not to purchase and own a firearm for my own defense.
I’m disgusted that there are people who would willingly participate in stripping their fellow Americans of their rights in the name of “the common good.” This smacks of the same kind of high-spirited Naziism that precipitated the Holocaust.
It’s easy (and convenient) to de-humanize each other with clever catch phrases and jingoistic buzzwords, but it’s hard to reach any kind of mutual understanding.
I own guns, yet once I admit to owning them, I’m immediately painted as some sort of writhing, foaming lunatic by the puling, whining, chattering class who can think of nothing better to do in this debate than level insult and invective(in the name of “tolerance,” no less!).
What purpose does that serve? What purpose does gun control serve, other than to generate massive amounts of money for it’s priests and prophets?
Logically, I can see no benefit in surrendering my guns; I have been in a couple of situations that would have ended badly (for me) had I not been armed. I do not see the utility of surrendering the most effective tools in my inventory, just to please some effeminate New York sophisticate.
It should be noted that criminals favor gun control legislation almost to a man. They find it endlessly hilarious that the politicians and “well-meaning activists” intend to disarm the very citizens they plan to rob, brutalize or kill. It’s exactly what they want, and the anti-gun crowd is going to try and hand it to them on a sliver platter.
I wonder how the our self-appointed guardians of gun control will fare once guns really are outlawed, and the “misunderstood” criminals they empower thereby run amok in THEIR neighborhoods?

Posted by Raconteur | Report as abusive

- “The right to bear arms was originally about the security of the State from domination by it’s enemies.

Now it has been twisted by people, to mean the security of the individual from any domination by it’s State.”

Your ignorance of U.S. history is profound. The right to bear arms is a natural right that pre-existed the U.S. Constitution, and was recognized as such by the founders (see the Federalist Papers and various state constitutions of the time that also recognized the right). The 2nd Amendment, whatever you think it’s intent was, serves to enumerate and *protect* that right, not create it.

Perhaps you should spend more time learning about these concepts before spouting ill-informed commentary.

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

I have to wonder why Pete’s comment is tacked as “the best”? On the one hand, he pompously calls for a more intellectual examination of the issue, while simultaneously trumpeting the most superficial examination of it as some sort of self-evident conclusory evidence (the “ratio of gun ownership to violent death in countries around the world”). Surely someone who believes himself to be well-educated would be aware of the basic maxim that correlation does not equal causality, as well as the numerous peer-reviewed studies that indicate that governmental gun control does not result in lower rates of crime? The cited correlation is not even a consistent…or particularly good one. Ask yourself, Pete: “Which countries currently have higher murder rates than the U.S.? And what are the gun-control laws like in those countries?”

The U.S. currently ranks 52nd on the list, and the vast majority of the countries with higher murder-rates employ strict gun-control. Not particularly supportive of your simplistic conclusion, is it?

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

One must simply looks at Bloombergs fortune to see his motivation and true nature, WOW 16 billion! Now how would a man of that wealth begin to even for one second comprehend the working mans struggles? Or better yet how did he amass such a fortune? You can bet that in some form or fashion each and everyone of those dollarbills came directly from a working mans pocket.

As to guns, You can have mine when you pry it out of my cold dead hand.

Our country needs to implement much harsher criminal penalties if we truly want to see the crime rate drop. I for one want prisoners, at least those not executed for the murders they committed, to work for their meals. Convicted criminals should be treated as prisoners and forced to work for their room and board, they refuse then a hole for them will suffice. A prisoner has no rights. Such acitivties as road construction, trash pick up, ditch diggin, rock moving etc should be performed by prisoners, this would save our states massive amounts of current tax spent monies. I also think prisons themselves should not have TVs, or other means of activities. With the current lifestyle of a prisoner whats to deter them from committing crimes in the first place?

Crime has nothing to do with guns.

Posted by David Strickland | Report as abusive

Dan Parker, There’s no need be concerned with my medicine cabinet. But you have an obsession with violent injuries.

If you are anything like a man I met years ago, who I didn’t even know was a gun owner and I mistakenly mentioned the issue I had just been reading about, he threw his bear bottle at me. And I was dressed to go to work. That man was insane. He was also so paranoid from heavy duty drug use he almost never left his house and didn’t work. He was the reclusive partner of the women who was chairing a committee I happened to be working for.

I say it is almost believable because I have never in my personal experience ever heard of anyone who has successfully foiled a home break-in. But I have heard of many instances – in the immediate vicinity of the town I live in, of a man who kidnapped and murdered his children and himself, another who attacked a town hall and kill two people, and then himself in the barn he rigged to explode when the police attempted to apprehend him at his farm, another man in the next town who lured the police lure the police on a threat of suicide and than blew his brain’s out with a shotgun to his mouth when they broke into the house, another kid in a bad drug deal apparently who blew his brains out in an open field and who’s body wasn’t discovered until months later, in the snow and without a head. I know of another man from my father’s neighborhood who had a violent argument with his son and shot him.

But I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who claims to have foiled a home invasion. I can’t name one instance in over 30 years. Or do you think this is all propaganda too?

Why do the comments that are so fond of mine keep accusing me of wanting to take their guns. And you fool, of course a rock can be a weapon – as a child I was beaned by a cousin who threw one at me but it didn’t kill me. However, the large caliber and magazine type weapons you fringe maniacs want to own are capable of blowing rather large holes in the target, can tear apart internal organs, can paralyze and maim for life.

The NRA with it’s four million (something) members with a conviction that somehow their private armaments are going to be a guard to their civil liberties or their freedom is beyond the reach of reason. You don’t need medications, you need therapy. Any organization that has a membership of merely 1/10 of 1 percent of the population cannot possible claim it is the mainstream. The comments that have targeted my questions only prove to me that the NRA membership must be stuffed with maniacs clinging to the illusion that much more than a handgun is necessary for their personal protection. And I can still only say from your comments and the others on these pages, that the protection even a handgun may offer is still only barely believable.

And I still don’t want you GD guns.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

Mayor Bloomberg calls his group “Mayors against illegal guns”, but their first cause is designed to restrict the rights of law-abiding individuals who legally own firearms. Is it no wonder people are skeptical of his aims? We don’t live in Oceania, at least not yet.

Posted by Bob Meador | Report as abusive

- “Dan Parker, There’s no need be concerned with my medicine cabinet. But you have an obsession with violent injuries.”

And you divine this how? Never mind. That comment and the remainder of your nonsensical rant serve only to illustrate your ignorance and dishonesty. Never heard of a personal firearm being used to prevent a home invasion (or other crimes, for that matter)? You should try reading a newspaper from time-to-time, or any of the many works published on the subject. There is apparently a great going on in the world on a daily basis you know nothing about.

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

Oh, and the following was pretty entertaining as well:

“However, the large caliber and magazine type weapons you fringe maniacs want to own are capable of blowing rather large holes in the target, can tear apart internal organs, can paralyze and maim for life.”

Any firearm (or sword, or spear…or long, pointed stick) can do that. Nearly every bolt-action deer rifle fires much larger and more powerful rounds than does my AR-15. Do you have any idea at all what you’re talking about? No, clearly you don’t.

So are you going to define “assault weapon”, or aren’t you?

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

August 14th, 2009 8:58 am GMT – Posted by Bohemond

Bohemond – Thank you for taking the time to read my first post and comment on it. Your reply does slightly sqew the facts you mention however, as I specifically referred to “violent death”; you mention the UK crime rate. The figures for London and New York show that you are x3.5 more likely to be killed by a gun in the US than London.

Furthermore, the social demographic of those deaths is somewhat different. In the US where gun ownership amongst the whole social spectrum there is a far higher proportion of those killed from middle-class, crime free backgrounds. In the UK almost all such deaths are from youths from the lowest social class, and members of or associated with street gangs. This element of society (modelling itself on US street gang culture and values, incidentally) is an anomaly when viewed as a proportion of the population as a whole.

Finally, the number of deaths due to gun crime is still the exception, with knives making up the majority of killings, due in the main to the lack of availability of guns.

The crime rate issue is due in part to the reclassification of a number of anti-social issues and vehicle related matters as “crime” in the UK. At the same time I understand that a number of US states have taken steps to decriminalise events which would be included in any UK statistics.

It is true that the Swiss have an exceptionally high level of weapon ownership, and this is often mooted by gun activists as proof that ownership does not equate with increased death rates. Firstly, the facts for the US could equally be taken as proof that this is not the case, as the US has the highest rate per capita of gun violence of any of the developed nations.

Second, the Swiss national mentality is one which the average US citizen (and especially the more rabid gun lobbyists) would find incomprehensible. The Swiss believe strongly in control, regulation and compliance. The gun rules which do apply are followed exactly by citizens, and there is a degree of social responsibility which would, I am afraid to say, be almost unheard of in the US. Feral violent street gangs are also uncommon in Switzerland, and so the availability of weapons does not place guns into the hands of those most likely to use them illegally, as is the case in the US.

Final point is that, unlike in the US where the militia on exists in certain historic documents, there is an active militia, legislated and supported by the Swiss government. Members are required to keep a weapon in the home, and required by law to undertake regular training on weapon use, target practice, etc. This level of control and regulation also ensures gun owners are trained in its use and the implications and responsibilities of weapon ownership, and are also identifiable and accountable.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

August 16th, 2009 12:07 pm GMT – Posted by Dan Parker

Dan, Thank you for your comments. I have no idea why my post was tagged best either; there have been a number of eloquent and thoughtful posts from all side of the debate, but it’s a great compliment for which I am grateful!

I don’t think I made any comments on my education or indeed intelligence, and my post was less about the gun debate in the US, but more the manner in which the debate has progressed. I think the phrase is “correlation does not imply causation”, and quite right. However, it is only a caution to not assume that an absolute can be extrapolated from any given set of data.

I would be interested to see some sources for the data you mention. I found the 52nd place listing in Wikipedia, which has it own health warning regarding reliability, of course! Looking at the list though, it is somewhat disingenuous to quote this figures, as it includes all regions of the world currently at war or subject to civil unrest. It also includes some duplication (the UK is in there at 88th place, but also includes separate figures for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) Rather than a league table, it is best used just as a comparative listing, which shows the UK with 2.03 per 100,000 population and US with 5.80.

As we are quoting figures on a discussion relating to guns, though, it is only proper for me to point out that these refer to homicides, which in the UK for example means physical assault or knife crime. The proportion for gun crime alone is far lower for the UK.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

“…As we are quoting figures on a discussion relating to guns, though, it is only proper for me to point out that these refer to homicides, which in the UK for example means physical assault or knife crime. The proportion for gun crime alone is far lower for the UK.”

Apologies for the last post. I intended saying “…which in the UK for example means in the majority of cases death by physical assault or knife crime.”

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

Pete,

- “I would be interested to see some sources for the data you mention. I found the 52nd place listing in Wikipedia, which has it own health warning regarding reliability, of course! Looking at the list though, it is somewhat disingenuous to quote this figures, as it includes all regions of the world currently at war or subject to civil unrest.”

There’s nothing disingenuous about the cite at all, as it lists countries according to “homicide” rates, not war casualty rates. But if it will make you feel better, eliminate all countries from the list that are currently at war (civil or otherwise). You’re still left with quite a few examples of high-homicide-rate countries that employ tight gun control. Russia is a good example.

- “It also includes some duplication (the UK is in there at 88th place, but also includes separate figures for England, Scotland and Northern Ireland) Rather than a league table, it is best used just as a comparative listing, which shows the UK with 2.03 per 100,000 population and US with 5.80.”

See above.

- “As we are quoting figures on a discussion relating to guns, though, it is only proper for me to point out that these refer to homicides, which in the UK for example means physical assault or knife crime. The proportion for gun crime alone is far lower for the UK.”

That misses the point entirely. That firearms are banned in a locale and the local thugs turn to using bladed weapons to commit murder is not a good argument for gun control. Is the goal simply to reduce homicides using one particular class of weapon? Is it somehow less tragic for a murder to be committed using a knife than a gun? Is your argument, “Country X has a higher murder rate than country Y, but those murders weren’t committed with guns, so it’s a better result”…?

Is the law-abiding population being disarmed and rendered defenseless against criminals OK because at least the former are less likely to be victimized via the use of a gun?

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

I see enough of this U.S bashing in Canada, but to be more precise, a sort of lecturing or pontification coming from peoples on their high horse, while at the same time benefiting through economic means and freedom of speech, from this economic giant, the United States.

As a Canadian, I can say the United States is a unique World model, which should not be ‘tweeked’ by pseudo-intellectual Euro-Trash morons or anyone else who is not American, because you will never get to know America.

I live right beside America, ‘bombarded’ by their weird and wonderful culture, but love it or leave it, warts and all, America is the ‘gold standard’ for freedom and if there was a lottery or open immigration, the whole world would be leaving en masse to The States and people like you, Pete can form their own Utopia. But there already is a Utopia. Its called America and please do not pontificate while you benefit from this giant.

And trust me, I’m of German ancestry and I know how smart those buggers are (Germans that is). And America (and Canada, and many other nations) left many of their dead in Europe defending your country from Germans crossing the English channel and kicking your sorry ass.

But again, America is a unique model so don’t compare it to Russia, or Belgium or any other place.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

Well we no longer have the right to bear arms in the UK, and I for one certainly don’t feel any safer or more free for it. My grandad shot regularly at Bisley, had a couple of .303′s around, and I don’t recall any great amount of armed crime problems in his day. Should I wander round the nearby neighbourhood of Tottenham with my wife of a evening, I’m pretty certain the seriously high probability of a kniving relative to the rest of the country doesn’t give me much sense of freedom. What I would say is that with 2 years military training, there’s no way I’d be prepared to be a ‘victim’ to any little shit with a knife or gun, if I was armed too. With 60 million people in this small island, its fairly obvious that the State cannot afford to allow people like me to assert our right to act freely like those in the States, because the shortfall in our liberty is now too large to accommodate individual restitution. Public enemy No.1 in the UK is our own government. They have tacitly recognised this, by disarming the populace fairly recently, whilst at the same time arming increasingly thuggish uniformed morons in the police. I see no consequent decrease in armed crime that would justify any of the original nonsense spouted to keep our increasingly gullible and sheeplike citizenry quiet on this issue.

Posted by Rhoopsis | Report as abusive

PAUL ROSA:
“I’m quite sure those cameras that now infest any public place and many private places in the US are not meant exclusively for “terrorists”. The managers of our not so sane society are very worried about guys like you.”

This line made me laugh Paul.. I am a deputy sheriff here in California. I have been, from time to time, one of those guys watching people through those cameras that seem to frighten you.. And Paul and isn’t guys like me that we’re watching.. It’s guys like you Paul.

Sleep safe tonight Paul you’re government is at work protecting you…

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

PAUL ROSA:

“I really can’t answer for what rapists or burglars might prefer.”

I know you can’t Paul, because you never sat across from one and interrogated them about a crime you were investigating.

I have dealt with criminals for over 25 years and the one thing they fear is a potential victim who pulls out a gun.

You can try to explain that away, or come up with some weird comparison to Iraq, or whatever, but I have talked to them and I know what they have told me about their views on people having guns and I tell you criminals are not in favor of armed citizens.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

It is perhaps inevitable that a post which simply suggests that this subject would be better served with an honest and frank discussion of the facts without name calling or jingoism, would eventually meet with name calling and jingoism. However, to be fair to the many postee’s from the US I note that this individual is also not a resident.

I cannot see any point raised in Drew’s post which relates to the issue in hand or warrants a response, but I would just observe, with a wry smile, that the summation of the piece from a self proclaimed Canadian (of German ancestry) is that only Americans are fit to comment on this issue, and that all other nationals should keep their noses out!

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

Dan,

I appreciate your comment on the league table, and certainly don’t want to get into a tit-for-tat argument over minor asides which distracts from the wider issue of gun control, which you clearly have strong and well reasoned views on. Immediately contradicting myself I would just raise issue with your choice of Russia as an example of gun control’s weaknesses, however. I unfortunately know from first hand experience that the collapse of communism resulted in near anarchy in Russia, with even the most basic of government functions grinding to a near halt. One issue was that many public servants including the military did not get their salaries. This was not for a week or two but months and months. The desperate position this left many millions in meant that they had to take any opportunity they could to survive. During this period many in the military began taking and selling weapons. This ranged from soldiers selling their own arms on the street and in bars, through to whole consignments of equipment being diverted to the black market, usually through or to the Russian Mafia.

The problem for Russia therefore is not the level of gun control and legitimate gun ownership, but rather the fact that there are several million unlicensed, military grade weapons in the hands of private individuals and organised crime, meaning that there is to this day a flourishing black market economy which serves both domestic users, and terrorist organisations around the world.

“Is your argument, “Country X has a higher murder rate than country Y, but those murders weren’t committed with guns, so it’s a better result”…?

No, not at all. My point was that the murder rate in the UK is lower than in the US, and that the proportion of those killings carried out with guns is also far lower. If we assume (a caveat on this, I know) that there is a proportion of the general population who are disposed to murder others, given the availability of the same means to carry out this act (knives, fists, blunt objects, etc) we should see the displacement of the gun crime portion of the total in countries such as the US, with these alternatives. As this is not the case, I propose the thesis (I am avoiding saying the word “fact” as I appreciate it is anything but) that some of the differential is as a result of the wider availability of the differentiator (guns) to those in the US.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

America will have all the crime it is willing to tolerate and it is apparently willing to tolerate quite a lot. Lawbreakers should be harshly punished rather than coddled by a faulty justice system which twists the notion of what constitutes “cruel and unusual” punishment to the point of ineffectively protecting the law abiding citizenry. Yet many don’t clamor for appropriate justice but instead appeal to the diversion that is the side show of “gun control.”

Going after gun owners who conform to the rule of law is a miserable dereliction of responsibility on the part of those who govern and Americans need to recognize it.

Posted by noelekal | Report as abusive

Dear Pete,

I agree. That is funny.

However, 20th Century German ‘Imperialism’(?) was crafted by an insular society, as well. And your lecturing comments (from a European no less). Most people on this continent left Europe many moons ago. So keep your smugness to yourself and keep the dialogue open, but don’t kick America when they’re down. That’s easy to do. Guns = Freedom.

And those ‘hillbillies’ as you refer to get up every morning with no Health care and buy YOUR stuff including crappy Jaguars (now owned by Tata), Jacobs drill chucks and Squire can openers.

The global recession is caused because Americans are not buying your crappy stuff. And probably no longer subsidizing your world vacations, either. I watch the dumb BBC but you don’t here me chime in on whats wrong with your Monarchy.

To coin a term sir, “Don’t tread on me”, Schmucko.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

To Pete (cont..)

And again, yes Jaguar (Ford), Land Rover? (Tata). But they all still leak oil in the driveway and they are all pieces of opulent garbage (like trash).

And again, on this side of the Atlantic there is a fight against Liberalism and your comments will not be taken lightly.

Observing you country, sir. The U.K. (snicker, snicker) and I’m also half Scottish/Brit you a-hole. But again, you have all these damn cameras, no guns. And in Canada its the same here, the Liberals are trying to take away all guns and disarm the populace. And create a smart card for everybody to carry. They also have a system like yours, a license plate scanner computing offenders at the rate 6,000 a minute. (Gotta have that tax revenue).

And if you are traveling the world, some other poor Brit (Bloke?) is paying your freight. Your damn VAT so to speak. Some poor Brit is paying all his taxes for you.

Regarding gun control, my house is guarded with a 40oz. Worth baseball bat from Tullahoma, Tennessee. And if I need to use it I fear the worst for any intruder.

But this a fight, so give me a break about this global village crap and live here for a while. You know, Beyond the New York Sheraton.

America is the last domino standing!

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

To Pete cont..,

Also if you would like to talk about gun control and in specific this article. I will tell you this. First, I don’t get my facts from Wikipedia and second I don’t compare Russia to the U.S.

But regarding this article, Bloomberg has future political aspirations and is trying to strike a chord with the growing liberals. He’s also a multi-billionaire and I do not think he would venture in to anything where he would lose his shirt, so to speak.

And I should be able to own any gun I like…however, now if you shoot that gun, that is where the difference lies. Or if you do not store that gun properly there should be some strong penalty.

But while you have been on this ‘Lost Generation’ kick, conservatism is taking a back seat to liberalism. And hence, why I’m taking a stand on this. But how rosy are ones glasses observing the U.S. from the Holiday Inn.

But Americas Big Guns kept you safe from a German Empire.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

Pete:

You mention the murder rate in the UK being lower than the U.S.

What is the population of the UK versus the U.S.; could this account for some of the difference? Per capital?

I agree people in the UK have a longer tradition of being “civilized” towards their fellow citizens the we in the U.S. have, but I would mention that my wife’s English relatives comment that they feel safer visiting us in Los Angeles, than they do back home walking the streets of York. While this is anecdotal I think it still bears something out about perceptions and possibly about reality.

We must accept that every country is different and has different histories, cultures, traditions,governments and rule of law. Our founders chose to codify certain rights they believed were granted by God upon all men in our Constitution. I do not believe the 2nd Amendment (Right to Keep Arms) is any more outdated than the 1st (Freedom of Assembly) or the 5th (Right Against Self Incrimination.

None of the rights are absolute, but before any are infringed upon by government they must be subject to close scrutiny by both the courts and by the people, whose rights they are.

As far as amending the Constitution, what may sound like a good idea may in fact create far worse problems than the original problem being solved. As an example I point to the 18th Amendment, which banned alcohol as an attempt to cure social ills brought on by its consumption. This ban on alcohol made the level of violence rise, created millionaires out of people like Al Capone and gave rise to Organized Crime in America, which we are still fighting against.

So when people propose banning guns in America, or repealing the 2nd Amendment I would remind them that history warns they may be creating a bigger problem than the one they are trying to eliminate.

I would also remind them that Americans are not like any other people on Earth; we are love freedon, yet we want law and order. We want a nation of laws, but we don’t want anyone infringing on our liberties.

If a national election were held and the question was “Should your right to own a gun be taken away from you.” I believe the overwhelming majority would vote “No” even if they don’t own a gun, because we don’t like having our rights eroded.

If the question was “Should assault weapons be banned in America” I am less certain of the outcome of the vote and yet it is essentially the same question, just worded differently. And this perhaps best illustrates the paradox of being an American.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Drew,

Thanks for those last 2 posts. Your parody of that type of poster was spot on, absolutely brilliant.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

Dear Pete,

I also recall in the U.K., after 9-11. Do you remember that? On what exciting locale were you then? I recall in the U.K. that taxi drivers were not allowed to display your Union Jack on the back of the windshield (windscreen – foreigners…(sigh)) because it might “offend” certain groups.

That’s where you country is going…

Its all related. Guns. Arms. freedom. this is an opinion. its my opinion.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

To Jim: I didn’t ask you to protect me and your comments should embarrass your fellow officers if you really ever were one. It is hardly a comfort and you don’t deserve my thanks. For one thing I don’t get paid to sit and watch the goings on of the street. I does worry me that the nation is spy crazy (so was Iraq under Saddam don’t your recall?)- it infuriates me that another taxpayer supported lobby – The Police -have found yet another way to present a bill to the taxpayer for dubious and for the most part unproven protection. The paraphrase Voltaire – “If terrorists didn’t exists it would be necessary for the nation to invent them”. It offers such a handy excuse to invade other countries. Especially the oil rich ones.

The fact that I haven’t sat across from a murderer or rapist tells me they are fairly rare. And it also isn’t my job. And living in a small rural town – they aren’t what most of the local police have to deal with either as a rule. And you really are an ass for posing like your civil service job makes you a superior mind with superior insights and therefor superior judgment. You could be Barney Pfife for all I know.

And all your comments make me laugh. And in as much as my personal recollections were dismissed as lies – why would I give your comments to slightest credence? But I was mistaken about the man who kidnapped and murdered his kids. He was apprehended but couldn’t help the police find their bodies. He couldn’t remember where he dumped them.

But answer this – Why were so many police associations firm supporters of the now lapsed ban on assault weapons? Would you be happy to face many more of that kind of weapon on the street than those other officers were?

Whether it was you or another commenter who made the spurious argument that stacks and stones are also “assault weapons”- if a rock or stick were really the effective equivalent of those weapons, why don’t more Cops just carry night sticks and a sling shot? It would save so much money in Afghanistan and Iraq if all the forces there had to carry were rocks or sticks, don’t you think? I watched a local police officer in my town clean some of his station’s guns and there wasn’t a single assault weapon type as described in the pages I have researched. I was moonlighting as a janitor at the time.

All I have learned from the question I put so many pages back is that there are people out there who are not rational. They argue for guns the way some people argue about points of theology. They argue from what they believe not what they can prove. And the comments that pester mine also try to argue an obvious point into submission even if it requires they use the flimsiest tautologies.

And when in any of my past comments did I do anything but ask a question? The comments that pester mine are from people who are zealots. And like a typical little person with a job you will someday have to leave – you think you can issue rhetorical threats from it? Go to hell and I hope your department fires jerks like you.

If you really spy on people like me than you waste your time and every body’s money. Be careful – while guys like me are distracting you the real “bad guys” might be right behind you.

But keep it up – I didn’t question it at the time of my first comment but I am questioning the sanity of the second amendment now.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

Michael Bloomberg should be put behind bars for advocating disarmament of the militia, this makes him a tyrant against rights and our countries welfare.

Posted by braveheart | Report as abusive

Drew,

I’m not sure what it was, and certainly have no idea what it means, but certainly made me laugh long and hard, so thank you for that.

On a general point, my original post never mentioned my views on the gun control issue itself, only on the nature of the debate. Subsequent sensible discussion with the forum has focussed on the relevance of gun ownership and homicide rates.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

Hi Jim,

Thanks for your comments. Don’t mean to sound patronizing or pompous but you made excellent points which certainly made me think.

On murder rates; the figures Dan and I were discussing were rates per 100,000 population, so should be (roughly) comparable, regardless of the actual size of the country.

I don’t think we can claim the moral high ground re.civility, and certainly not just because our society has been around for a few thousand years. Large periods of that history were spent happily persecuting one social and/or religious group or another, in the most bloody and unpleasant fashion. It occurs to me though that, thinking about the manner in which nations and indeed civilisation in general develops over the centuries, there is always a gradual move away from formalised violence, whether through statute or custom. I’m not saying that any and all nations are not capable of violent acts (Germany is a paragon of order and control, but they have blotted their copy book a couple of times in recent history), but as a general trend there is a move towards greater acknowledgement of the principle of pacifism.

Re. your comments on York (where I am off to at the weekend for the first time in decades, oddly enough, so will be keenly interested to see how I find it) civic and national pride is also a factor in comparing the 2 countries. The US is famed for it’s positive, can do attitude, and this translates into the level of patriotism seems in all walks of life. The UK has by contrast a reputation for being suspicious of success, and enjoying failure of others more, especially if that person is perceived to be “too big for their boots”, with a “ha, serves em right” attitude. This translates into the press and general public approach.

As a small nation we are also pressed closer in together, and there is therefore far more intermingling of social strata in day to day life in the UK. I am not saying that the UK is more socially mobile, of course, but just that simple geography makes it difficult to compartmentalise whole areas and neighbourhoods as safe or dangerous, as is often the case in the US. Therefore in the UK the lowest elements of society are often far more visible in day to day life for the middle classes, and this, helped in no small part by the UK press (a subject which is worth a thread all of its own, comparing it’s approach to news, patriotism and social responsibility compared to other developed nations including the US) fosters a feeling of exposure for some.

It goes without saying (but I will anyway) that the US constitution is a remarkable document, managing to encapsulate in a few short paragraphs the basic framework for Government, Judiciary and Society. Someone once commented that whilst the contributors managed, in that one document to define a nation, the FDA took over 20,000 pages and numerous revisions to establish an ineffectual standard for frozen pizza toppings!

All legislation should be subject to regular challenge, to ensure it is valid and relevant to the society it controls. The central issue of the posting (the right to bear arms) is of course an amendment to the original constitution, which perhaps proves the point. Perhaps the success of the Constitution is also its greatness weakness therefore, as the high respect in which it is held means it becomes increasingly untouchable, as the statements within it are taken to be truths in themselves, and therefore beyond question.

In the UK we have never had a Constitution and therefore legislation is based on principles of precedent and statute alone. In fact, the ongoing efforts of the EU to try and ratify a Constitution for member states is a highly contentious issue for many UK citizens who use many of the same arguments of those in the US who seek to protect their constitutional rights, but with the aim of ahceiving exactly the opposite conclusion!

Your point concerning the contradictions of the US national psyche did make me think againl, and I think this is one element which and one which can be difficult for non-nationals to understand. I know that the “Land of the Free” tag, which is often the focus for mocking derision in the rest of the world, is genuinely believed by many (even the majority) of US citizens to be the defining feature of the US. I think however that every country (in fact every person) has a degree of NIMBYism and certainly the general distrust in the UK to things like the European Court of Human Rights and the EU Constitution is an example of the “well, obviously the Europeans need to be controlled, but we can’t have them telling us what to do” attitude. (By the way, I mention Europeans as “other people” because you really don’t understand the UK until you understand the famous Daily Mail headline “Heavy Fog In English Channel; Europe Cut Off.”)

Finally, I am sure you are correct, that terminology is everything, and how a question is phrased can for the most part guarantee the answer received. Perhaps the gun control lobby would therefore be better placed trying to appeal to the responsible gun owner, and actually try to relax some of the existing gun control regulation, such as the type of weapons permissible, in return for increased transparency of ownership. In the same way that other great obsession of Americans, the car is regulated, perhaps the issue is not access but accountability. In the US as in most countries you can own as many cars as you wish and have them as powerful as physics and your bank balance will allow. However the only proviso is that they are licensed and traceable to you, the owner, and you are ultimately responsible for their conduct and the purpose to which they are put. As responsible car owners see this as a necessary control, and indeed a means of protecting them from the actions of other road users, perhaps the same should be applied to gun owners who have no intention of deliberately using those weapons in an illegal manner. As with cars, it would need some sort of punitive control mechanism with increased tariffs for transgressors but my understanding is that unlicensed gun ownership is already a criminal offence, and goes without saying that any use which results in a criminal offence is also punishable. Taking the line that some posts have taken, is this not a way in which the responsible gun owner can help secure their freedoms and help law enforcement and the Courts punish the criminals?

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

I think all proposers of any ban should be forced to watch the entire anthology of Coronation Street as punishment.

But seriously, I heard a statistic (take them or leave them) but I heard that of the 1800 murders in NYC in one year, 1700 of these are so called black-on-black shootings. A term the news uses…

And in Toronto, a lot of these gun killings are done by young black men. This is an observation. America is a mix of cultures, and so is Canada, but not the U.K. or Europe.

So there are some bad apples. But why punish the good apples? Its easy to ban everything. I live in liberal Ontario, so I know all about bans. Bans are easy to do and require ‘little thought’.

But anyone from the U.K. cannot have a ‘sensible’ discussion on gun control because your country is mostly white folks going to the pub.

It ain’t the same over here.

This is the New World. You live in the Old world.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

In Toronto, a few years back, there was a high profile Christmas gun battle in downtown Toronto. Boxing Day actually. You could google this. Innocent shoppers caught in the crossfire on Canada’s busiest street. One dead. This brazen shootout happened in broad daylight.

I had talked to someone from Detroit who saw this on their news and it did raise eyebrows. We have a hand gun ban already in this country.

Now I’m Canadian and I buy into the Detroit:scary thing but this person from Detroit said its appears to be scary in Toronto.

But you have to be skeptical and suspicious of all politicians. If you aren’t you are fool.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

PAUL:

Obviously the thought of police surveillance has unnerved you and caused you to buckle under the strain.

First off I am a deputy sheriff, but not in Mayberry, in Southern California.

Second, I have sat across from criminals who I have interviewed and I do think that gives me a little more insight, than say a part time janitor would have, into what motivates them and what they fear the most.

Third, we again are talking about apples and oranges. You keep referring to Iraq, etc. I am saying that most people who own guns do not use them in crimes; you said that you observed a police evidence room while working as janitor and did not see a single assault weapon. You know why? Because they are used in less than 1% of gun crimes, even here in L.A. we are more likely to run across cheap handguns than an AK-47. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen occassionally, but it is the exception and not the rule.

You asked about the support of gun control measures by police associations. Well, having served on the Board of Directors of our own association I will tell you they are essentially labor unions. And we back the play of our local politicians and their legisaltion so as to curry favor with them during contract negotiations. That’s the ugly truth. We support those politicians who are going to give us more money, better benefits and bigger raises. Just like every other labor union in America, including the SEIU, which represents janitors..

And finally I want to say this about police surveillance. we use cameras to monitor areas that are high crime spot, to monitor areas that we think are dealing drugs, to monitor a suspect’s residence to see when he leaves or arrives.

And if this bothers you Paul, how about this, we use satelite tracking devices attached to suspects vehicles to track them wherever they go; this eliminates the need to have a large team of detectives “tail” a suspect. It is extremely efficient and allows up to redirect resources paid for by taxpayers to other areas, as needed.

So basically Paul you are living in a police state, whether you realize it or not. The only difference between us and East Germany is that little paper document called the Constitution that protects your rights, including your right to own a gun. I don’t think it would be a good idea to erode those rights because once you eliminate one of them, someone in the government will ask you to erode some of the others in the interest of public safety..

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Hello Pete,

I think you’re dead on about the language the gun control lobby uses. If the issue was registering weapons, background checks, etc. I don’t think sensible gun owner can argue against it. And in fact in California we already have those laws and regulations in place. What is lacking is a uniformity among the states. The issue is whether the Federal Government can stretch the Intersate Commerce Clause to give them the authority to mandate a national gun registry.

This has been tried in the past, but always was defeated in the House and Senate. While the NRA has always been a powerful lobbying group, the fact is most gun owners do not belong to that association, but they do write their representatives and they do vote. And in a State like Texas or Georgia you can best residents have some pretty firm opinions about their right to own a gun, and whose business it is.

I think Americans should be able to own guns, as long as they are not a convicted felon, found by a competant court to be a drug addict, found by a competant court to be a mentally ill subject, found to be the subject of a restraining order, or have been convicted of any misdemeanor crime of physical violence. In short I support the laws of my state, California, with regards to gun ownership.

For those who abhore the idea of gun ownership let me say this: There are many things I do not apporve of personally that are allowed to take place in our free society, but because we are a free society I keep my nose out of other people’s business, until they break the law. I would appreciate the same consideration from my neighbors with regards to my choice to own a gun.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Drew,
I’ll bet most of those black on black shootouts happen because we still have Jim Crow laws. We just put them under this very noble and patriotic name called the “Drug War”. End prohibition, end the shootouts, this country would be such a safer place.

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Pete,

You’ve misrepresented a couple of my points. First off, I did not cite Russia as an example of the “weaknesses of gun control”. I cited them as a country with a much higher murder rate than the U.S. (among many others) in spite of the fact that the government tightly controls firearms ownership…organized crime notwithstanding. You also completely swept aside and ignored the 40 other countries that outrank the U.S. in that category in favor of a mini dissertation on the collapse of the Soviet Union. A rather disingenuous response to my point.

- “No, not at all. My point was that the murder rate in the UK is lower than in the US, and that the proportion of those killings carried out with guns is also far lower.”

The murder rate in the UK was also lower than in the US well before your draconian gun-control laws went into effect. So you don’t even have a good apples-to-apples correlation in evidence.

- “If we assume (a caveat on this, I know) that there is a proportion of the general population who are disposed to murder others, given the availability of the same means to carry out this act (knives, fists, blunt objects, etc) we should see the displacement of the gun crime portion of the total in countries such as the US, with these alternatives. As this is not the case, I propose the thesis (I am avoiding saying the word “fact” as I appreciate it is anything but) that some of the differential is as a result of the wider availability of the differentiator (guns) to those in the US.”

Your thesis is only valid if you completely ignore every other societal variable, of which there are quite a few. Also, the fact that there are other nations with higher per-capita rates of gun ownership than the U.S. that also have significantly lower murder rates than we do would seem to throw another big monkey wrench into your theory.

In short, you’re attempting an overly simplistic analysis of a couple of data points and drawing conclusions that suffer for it.

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

Dan

You did not cite each and every nation rated above the US in that list, and I did not therefore respond with an individual dissertation. You did however specifically mention Russia, and I responded to your point. This is hardly disingenuous. If you wish to give a detailed synopsis of each nation, I am sure I will be able to respond, although I have no first hand experience of many of them, but this is,I suspect the same for you.

You raised Russia as an example of a nation with strong gun control legislation which appeared above the US in your list. I took this to mean that you felt their gun control policy demonstrated weakness in preventing or reducing the homicide rate. You did not actually make a point in your posting; I had to surmise this from the context in which you wrote it. If you have another point then make it and lets debate it.
On murder rates, you seem to have “moved the goalposts” (I’m not sure if you have this expression in the States) in the debate. Previously you have stated that there are numerous nations with higher homicide rates than the US and stricter gun control, and cited the UK and Russia, which I responded to in kind. You now allude to other counties with higher levels of gun ownership and higher murder rates, but you don’t provide any facts so difficult to debate against. I am not aware of these nations, and can’t find evidence to back your suggestions up, but I am not the font of all knowledge.

I am more than happy to debate with anyone, and think that sensible, reasoned discussion is always informative and can on occasion change opinion, if the debaters have a willingness to listen. I am not quite sure why you adopt such an aggressive tone, but I have tried to avoid silly personal attacks, as they serve no purpose and invariably make the accuser look the fool. On another forum I had a long exchange with a fervent member of the NRA, in which I don’t think we agreed on one single point of view, but still managed to appreciate each others evidence and, at the same time, had a pleasant, rewarding and informative dialogue which has developed into a friendship. That we now find that we disagree on almost every other topic of conversation we discuss is an ongoing source of amusement.

My point, once again, is that I actually added my initial comment not to agree or disagree with the gun debate, interesting though I think it is, but rather to point out that rational argument would serve both sides better, and help avoid stereotypes, be they gun toting Commie hating Charlton Hestonites or weak willed, middle class NIMBYs of the Michael Moore school.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

As a Dutchman living in the USA I am amazed about the discussion or better non-discussion about guns. I cannot understand the logic and the reference to the second amendment. Personally I believe that the USA has no future when they endlessly keep going back to the past. The other point is that there is no normal discussion possible on almost any subject in the US. Maybe that you can talk about golf or baseball, but forget global warming, guns or health care. There is no normal discussion possible. You are either a socialist or a communist. I really hope that some day the USA will wake up and transform itself to modern times, where other people already use km instead of miles, etc. But I am afraid it is not going to happen in my life time.
ps. I have travelled in more than 50 countries and lived an about 10 different countries. This has shown to me that there are many other ways people can live.
Stay open and try to learn from the world.

Posted by San Vriens | Report as abusive

“Obviously the thought of police surveillance has unnerved you and caused you to buckle under the strain.” Comment by Jim.

What Buckled? What unnerved? Actually – after your last words – anyone reading your comment probably should be. How long will it be before the country becomes another Myanmar? The answer is – not very long!

Jim, you’re still an ass. You still sound like Barney Pfife but on steroids. But thanks for reminding me how important organizations like the ACLU are. They at least can’t claim they are creating the police state and than milking it for every tax dollar they can. You also explain why one hardly sees any flag waving any more. Your comment makes it clear there is nothing to wave them for. And you still put forward that spurious argument that guns protect one’s civil rights. Law protects civil rights, not weapons. By the time one has reached the time or place when guns are a protection, one’s civil rights have already evaporated and its a matter of basic survival.

And you still haven’t answered the question about assault weapons and whether it is wise for a society to allow those kinds of weapons to be widely available to any gun owner who wants them. And the comments in this entire debate have drifted far from the original article. They seem to have become a debate on gun ownership in general.

Take you eyes off the spy holes and look around. You seem to be loosing the debate. You and your fellows have been turning the country into a prison camp who’s citizens are merely “trustees”. And not very trusted Trustees at that.

But I knew this was coming eight years ago. Next time I’m outdoors I’ll remember to wave a big foam finger, or better still, I’ll make sure the landscape around my house is suitably composed for that neglected vantage point – from above. Forget curb appeal, let’s go for “spy in the sky appeal”. We’ll just have to hope the realtor forgets to mention that the neighbors might be hiding enough firepower to murder the rest of us in a few seconds.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

Sorry, forgot to paste in my response to this point:
The murder rate in the UK was also lower than in the US well before your draconian gun-control laws went into effect. So you don’t even have a good apples-to-apples correlation in evidence.

The level of gun ownership in the UK has always been very low. At the time the UK laws on gun control were tightened there were fewer than 57,000 registered owners. After the act was passed effectively banning handgun ownership 163,000 weapons of all types were tracked and handed in for disposal. This gave a gun ownership figure of less than .3% of the population. Therefore, you miss entirely the point the UK is an excellent example of the correlation between levels of gun ownership and gun related homicide. regardless of whether the level is due to legislation or personal choice.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

There are a multitude of reasons why gun control simply will not work in the US. First and foremost, there are still areas of the US that are far more rugged than my fellow European readers can understand.

Second, we as Americans, feel we have a right to gun ownership because we are just that a free society! We are untethered by the social constructs that strangle so much of Europe and Asia. We have the right to bear arms for our protection.

Protection from what? From the tyranny of evil men. So, I ask you why is mayor Bloomberg so quick to assume that he knows what is best for the entire country? How can he make a decision for the people of my state, Oklahoma, based on his insular, liberal life in the “Big Apple”?

I do not pretend to know the inner workings of the New York City, nor do I want to know. However, I also do not try to dictate the policies for his city, anymore than Bloomberg should try to dictate to mine.

The federal government needs to stay out of states rights and other states need to mind their own business. Our legally owned, Constitutionally protected firearms are not the problem. If Bloomberg wants to help then why doesn’t he get involved with a lobby for stronger sentencing for violent offenders.

Posted by Jack Tatum | Report as abusive

[...] At least one Reuters Columnist is setting this up as a clash of the Titans. [...]

For a different perspective from an Englishman, read the BBC article, “America’s Safety Catch” here:
http://tinyurl.com/6xrnv9

One of the reasons that the US has never been invaded, is the fact that the invaders would face a rifle behind every blade of grass. There is no movement or “progress” that we can undertake that will give us better protection than ourselves. There are bad people in this country, and in the world…The Sheriff is at least 15 minutes away. When the bad guys break the door down, who will protect me? Mayor Bloomberg? I think not…. the only one who can protect me is ME!!! I therefore, will stay armed and prepared to kill ANYONE who tries to do me harm. Leave me alone and I will be your friend. Screw with me, and I will be the worst enemy you could ever face… Your never alone with Smith and Wesson… Good luck in being unarmed in a dangerous and violent world…

Posted by Cory Hine | Report as abusive

PAUL:

You call me an ass and yet you are the one who sounds like chicken little running around crying about the sky falling.

You have spent too much time with your mop and bucket; perhaps it is you that should step out into the sunlight and see the country for what it is:

A place full of diversity; diverse cultures, opinions, lifestyles and above all else freedom.

You would deny my freedom to own a firearm, yet gladly wrap yourself in the flag and proclaim freedom in every other aspect of life in this country.

Your the horse’s ass, Paul. Not get back to your mop bucket..

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Should the U.S. learn from other nations and become more global? Perhaps. What I have noticed living here all my life is that when other nations come here to live, they bring their culture with them.

They have their holidays, their dress, their dances,their events and some even their own laws and regulations. Whether it is the Dutch community, the Chinese community, the Irish community, the German community or the many others that live here, we as Americans are encouraged to accept this as part of the “melting pot” ideal.

Yet it seems that the rest of the world cannot accept certain aspects of our culture. Why is that? It seems to me that the rest of the world is no different. There are things going on around that world with which many American’s do not agree. That’s just life.

Everyone thinks they are right. No one really thinks they are wrong. So, those outside the U.S. think they are right on “Global Warming” or “Gun Control”. So what? They think their measuring system is better. So what? Some people like purple and some like green. So what?

As far as I know the U.S. isn’t trying to force our measuring system upon the rest of the world nor are we trying to make you have gun laws as we do.

We don’t want the government to rule us. We want our voice always to be heard. We don’t want the government to be the dominant but the sub-serviant. In the U.S. the government is of the people, by the people and for the people.

This is not a idea from the past, which monarchies and dictatorships represent, but rather an idea that is young in relation to history.

It is our culture, if other countries don’t like, guess what? That only means there are things about their cultures we don’t like as well.

Remember, everyone thinks they are right and their ways are the best ways.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

I cringe as I watch society step closer and close towards a more Orwellian future. One of the things that makes America great is the choice itself. Not only was this system put into place in the event the countries citizens would ever have to literally overthrow their government (violently if need be), but it is also a sign of trust on the governments part. Yes the potential for violence might be greater, but to retract these rights is a much greater travesty; one that offends on a deep moral and philosophical level. If the government no longer places it’s trust in its people, what is left?

I think Benjamin Franklin said something of the effect: “those who sacrifice there freedom for security don’t deserve freedom at all”.

READ 1984.

I SUPPORT GUN RIGHTS EVEN IF THAT MEANS I GET SHOT.

40 Reasons to Support Gun Control
(Apparently derived from the essay by Michael Z. Williamson.)

1. Banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, and Chicago cops need guns.
2. Washington DC’s low murder rate of 80.6 per 100,000 is due to strict gun control, and Arlington, VA’s high murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000 is due to the lack of gun control.
3. Statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control but statistics showing increasing murder rates after gun control are “just statistics.”
4. The Brady Bill and the Assault Weapons Ban, both of which went into effect in 1994, are responsible for the decrease in violent crime rates, which have been declining since 1991.
5. We must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a shooting spree at any time and anyone who would own a gun out of fear of such a lunatic is paranoid.
6. The more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.
7. An intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if shot with a .357 Magnum will get angry and kill you.
8. A woman raped and strangled is morally superior to a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.
9. When confronted by violent criminals, you should “put up no defense — give them what they want, or run” (Handgun Control Inc. Chairman Pete Shields, Guns Don’t Die – People Do, 1981, p. 125).
10. The New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice about guns; just like Guns and Ammo has some excellent treatises on heart surgery.
11. One should consult an automotive engineer for safer seatbelts, a civil engineer for a better bridge, a surgeon for spinal paralysis, a computer programmer for Y2K problems, and Sarah Brady [or Sheena Duncan, Adele Kirsten, Peter Storey, etc.] for firearms expertise.
12. The 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1791, refers to the National Guard, which was created by an act of Congress in 1903.
13. The National Guard, funded by the federal government, occupying property leased to the federal government, using weapons owned by the federal government, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a state militia.
14. These phrases,” right of the people peaceably to assemble,” “right of the people to be secure in their homes,” “enumeration’s herein of certain rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the people,” and “The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states respectively, and to the people,” all refer to individuals, but “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” refers to the state.
15. We don’t need guns against an oppressive government, because the Constitution has internal safeguards, but we should ban and seize all guns, thereby violating the 2nd, 4th, and 5th amendments to that Constitution.
16. Rifles and handguns aren’t necessary to national defense, which is why the army has millions of them.
17. Private citizens shouldn’t have handguns, because they serve no military purpose, and private citizens shouldn’t have “assault rifles,” because they are military weapons.
18. The ready availability of guns today, with waiting periods, background checks, fingerprinting, government forms, et cetera, is responsible for recent school shootings,compared to the lack of school shootings in the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s, which resulted from the availability of guns at hardware stores, surplus stores, gas stations, variety stores, mail order, et cetera.
19. The NRA’s attempt to run a “don’t touch” campaign about kids handling guns is propaganda, and the anti-gun lobby’s attempt to run a “don’t touch” campaign is responsible social activity.
20. Guns are so complex that special training is necessary to use them properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.
21. A handgun, with up to 4 controls, is far too complex for the typical adult to learn to use, as opposed to an automobile that only has 20.
22. Women are just as intelligent and capable as men but a woman with a gun is “an accident waiting to happen” and gun makers’ advertisements aimed at women are “preying on their fears.”
23. Ordinary people in the presence of guns turn into slaughtering butchers but revert to normal when the weapon is removed.
24. Guns cause violence, which is why there are so many mass killings at gun shows.
25. A majority of the population supports gun control, just like a majority of the population supported owning slaves.
26. A self-loading small arm can legitimately be considered to be a “weapon of mass destruction” or an “assault weapon.”
27. Most people can’t be trusted, so we should have laws against guns, which most people will abide by because they can be trusted.
28. The right of online pornographers to exist cannot be questioned because it is constitutionally protected by the Bill of Rights, but the use of handguns for self defense is not really protected by the Bill of Rights.
29. Free speech entitles one to own newspapers, transmitters, computers, and typewriters, but self-defense only justifies bare hands.
30. The ACLU is good because it uncompromisingly defends certain parts of the Constitution, and the NRA is bad, because it defends other parts of the Constitution.
31. Charlton Heston as president of the NRA is a shill who should be ignored, but Michael Douglas as a representative of Handgun Control, Inc. is an ambassador for peace who is entitled to an audience at the UN arms control summit.
32. Police operate with backup within groups, which is why they need larger capacity pistol magazines than do “civilians” who must face criminals alone and therefore need less ammunition.
33. We should ban “Saturday Night Specials” and other inexpensive guns because it’s not fair that poor people have access to guns too.
34. Police officers, who qualify with their duty weapons once or twice a year, have some special Jedi-like mastery over handguns that private citizens can never hope to obtain.
35. Private citizens don’t need a gun for self-protection because the police are there to protect them even though the Supreme Court says the police are not responsible for their protection.
36. Citizens don’t need to carry a gun for personal protection but police chiefs, who are desk-bound administrators who work in a building filled with cops, need a gun.
37. “Assault weapons” have no purpose other than to kill large numbers of people, which is why the police need them but “civilians” do not.
38. When Microsoft pressures its distributors to give Microsoft preferential promotion, that’s bad; but when the Federal government pressures cities to buy guns only from Smith & Wesson, that’s good.
39. Trigger locks do not interfere with the ability to use a gun for defensive purposes, which is why you see police officers with one on their duty weapon.
40. When Handgun Control, Inc., says they want to “keep guns out of the wrong hands,” they don’t mean you. Really.

Posted by Carol Winters | Report as abusive

To Michael Ham,

Agreed. And the Drug War is another conundrum.

But the subject of Gun Control…someone mentioned poverty and in my opinion, the huge disparity between rich and poor creates some of this violence.

But to change the American model, would mean more taxes to even this disparity. A popular idea in the States now. But, again, to change the American model, would mean more taxes, less disparity, but less income for all Americans, more for the government, and America will no longer be the world buyer of stuff. Like crap from the U.K. And all that crap at Walmart, too.

The U.S. drives the world economy. Is this a false statement??

Gun control = A disarmed populace = More taxes = Less purchasing power for Americans = Less British crap sold = Smug Europeans taking less vacations.

Its all related…

And all this happened in Canada already.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

Also in simplified form,

Guns = Freedom = Freedom of speech = Morons like Carol Winters (espousing not even her own opinion but M.Z. Williamson’s flawed logic) having the freedom to discuss her diatribe.

Well, hmm… people say. I live in Europe and I have freedom of speech, too. And yes, thanks to America.

America is the last domino standing.

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

Jim – you know what they say about guys who need big guns or big cars?

And you’re comment about mops and buckets might get the cleaning staff a little worked up if you dare get near any of them again.

You’re still an ass and I think it’s still growing. Too bad the same thing can’t be said about the other side.

I also think you have a big problem with psychological Projection. I have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree and happen to be self employed. I was moonlighting, you arrogant joke. I really hope police departments aren’t full of jerks like you.

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

Drew–
Please extend the courtesy of refraining from disparaging remarks that are not only irrelevant (ad hominem), but demonstrate the type of courage found only either in front of a computer screen or out of earshot of those who would otherwise take offense; I doubt very much that you would be so inclined to refer to someone as a moron if he or she had opportunity to punch you in the mouth. Though we may fervently disagree, let all of us embrace the advice of the late novelist Kurt Vonnegut and “be kind”. And having taught formal logic for 27 years, I do agree that Williamson does indeed stumble over a few fallacies here and there, but the spirit of his argument outlining the absurd contradictions and emotional appeals that often result in disastrous prohibitions I think makes a good point: People generally choose sides with less than all the facts, and are incapable of empathizing with those who disagree. This condition, unfortunately, has preceded most wars.

Posted by Carol Winters | Report as abusive

Carol Winters & Drew

I seem to be misreading this, but the article Carol posted looks to me like a piece written to sarcastically highlight the discrepancies between gun control fact and theory. In fact to me it seems rabidly pro-unregulated gun ownership. Not quite sure why Drew is so upset by it therefore.

John,

I agree the cultural melting pot idea should promote greater tolerance and understanding, and over a longer period of time, given that there are no exceptional additional factors, does help with assimilation. A good example from the UK is the curry. Indian immigrants have been in the UK from the days of the Empire, and yet only 30-40 years ago a curry was still seen as something outside the norm. Now curry is officially the UK’s favourite take out food, and (I think) also in the top 5 for home cooked meals. It has been assimilated to the extent that we no longer see it as foreign.

On the subject of democratic Government, the UK led the field on this one, of course. The Magna Carta in 1215 was the first document to enshrine in law control of the monarchy by an elected body, and in the same century we had the first elected Parliament. By the 1600′s we had the elected Parliament as the main ruling body, with the Monarchy increasingly sidelined to the current point where the Monarchy is merely a symbolic office with no practical power to influence policy. Government by the people since the 1600′s at least therefore.

I think the jist of your post though, if you will allow me to summarise for you, is that this is a domestic matter for the US, which has no impact on the legislation or practice of other nations. I think that you are absolutely right that, so long as there are sufficient controls to ensure American visitors are unable to carry these weapons across international borders, then the decision on what the US does is for the US to decide. However, I completely disagree with any suggestion that this means that individuals cannot contribute to the debate. Indeed, given the diverse experience of contributors from around the world I think their contribution can only encourage intelligent and balanced debate within your borders. The key bit is intelligent and balanced, of course. Whilst, as I have mentioned several times, the more extreme posts by some US citizens here and elsewhere only reinforce global prejudice against the US, equally others have used it for a bit of “Yank bashing”. Neither is fair, rational or helpful. Like you I have no idea what the metric system or oil wars have to do with gun control, but equally I am mystified what Jaguar cars and number plate scanners have to do with anything much at all! (Then again, this from someone who has just worked curries into a debate on gun control!).

I think that Most US citizens are proud of their Constitution and, likewise, I am equally proud that my country does not have one; these are wholly opposing positions, but also entirely justifiable and crucially, neither stance is an attack on or threat to the other.

Final couple of points, one of which also ties into John’s thoughts on national identity.

I had stopped looking at Drew’s postings, but noticed on reading back the comments a couple which had returned to gun control of a fashion, contained comments which I felt I had to respond on
“…But seriously, I heard a statistic (take them or leave them) but I heard that of the 1800 murders in NYC in one year, 1700 of these are so called black-on-black shootings. A term the news uses…

And in Toronto, a lot of these gun killings are done by young black men. This is an observation. America is a mix of cultures, and so is Canada, but not the U.K. or Europe.
So there are some bad apples. But why punish the good apples? Its easy to ban everything. I live in liberal Ontario, so I know all about bans. Bans are easy to do and require ‘little thought’.
But anyone from the U.K. cannot have a ’sensible’ discussion on gun control because your country is mostly white folks going to the pub…”

The UK (indeed, Europe as a whole) can best be described as the archetypal melting pot. Immigration and cross border migration has been a feature of the continent for thousands of years. There are numerous nations in Europe where there are several national languages due to this.

London is one of the most ethnically diverse capital cities in the world with over half the population being non-white/non-European. It is certainly true that ethnic groups tend to congregate in urban areas, at least during the initial few generations of integration, but to suggest that this country is “…white folks going to the pub…” is nonsense.

I appreciate though that all US citizens, with the exception of the 3 million or so Native Americans are in effect immigrants. In fact it is one of those American quirks that is often commented on by other nationals that so many, American citizens born and bred for many generations back, still seem to firstly associate themselves with another country to which they have no personal connection and in many instances have never visited or indeed living relatives who have been there. Perhaps the melting pot idea is promoted by this, in some part at least

I don’t really understand the earlier point about “black-on-black” violence and would not comment on it, other than to say that the very use of the term is an appalling example of institutional racism, if as the post implies it is in common use in the US press and other media. I am sure Drew did not mean to suggest that “blacks” are bad apples, but it appears to me to suggest that there is a scale of importance based on skin tone, and by quoting it as a mollifying factor concerning the Washington murder rate, implies that the overall figure is not really as bad as it seems as, 1700 are “only” black-on-black.

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

To Carol Winter,

I would be happy to discuss Gun Control to any mental midget, such as yourself. You are welcome to phone me.

Just don’t make it collect.

But to refute all your points from A-to-Z. (Even I have a life to lead)…

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

Also to Carol Winter:

(Knuckles cracked…),

In case you didn’t notice Carol, this is called “The Great Debate” and we have Paul Rosa and that officer from L.A. squaring-off, Jim and Pete squaring-off and me and Pete squaring off. And these are all great ideas. And its all here on the Internet (note to Pete: you know the Internet?, which was invented by America!)

And even Pete, bless his soul, I call him names, this is part of my arsenal and this is an effective strategy, because even you seem to be a little tongue-tied.

But I like picking on Pete, too. And I like picking on people from the U.K. and I’m going to pick on you right now. So you are going take your little medicine and like it.

First off, you are invited to call me anytime. It would be foolish to give my number out right now, under the microscope, so to speak. But I have disclosed my long last German name and the small town I live in. So do a little a research…

But you, Carol Winter, took a few shots at me, so if I could respond. Yeah I’m hurling epithets in the safety of my own home – well you’re part right. And you’re also part wrong.

Believe it or not, I also “walk the walk”, so to speak, but you will have take my word on that. Only you’re sophomoric fragile confidence hopes that I hide behind a computer.

I’m not hiding. I’m right here.

And I called you a mental midget. Prove me wrong. Prove to me you are not part of the ‘Crayon Crew’ with Pete.

But lets look at you for a second…first, you interrupted our debate, And its a great debate! by printing a whole chapter on this thread, which in my opinion is rude as well, forcing the good people on this debate to read this crap. And we only have so much time. So sometimes less is more. And there is a lot of crap on the net and I just scanned what you put up.

You could have encapsulated your moronic posting with a joke, but I forgot, you were making a joke. Not all of us, like Pete, are on permanent vacation, either.

Second, you are suggesting censorship on the internet just because things aren’t going your little way. And pardon me, I didn’t know you made the rules…And thankfully, its still an open forum.

Third, your comments about ‘a punch in the face’, which I thought were cute, is a borderline threat and lets not mince words… If i said the same thing to you, I think someone might be showing up at my door. But thanks to America, the whole world ain’t Liberal yet. America is the last domino standing.

Fourth, let me take a shot at you (no pun intended)…

You publish your last name on the net, so either, you are brave or terribly naive and I think its the latter of the two.

You use Latin in your thread to impress, so right off the bat, you are a psuedo-intellectual University Student, probably come from a rich home, probably from the Eastern Seabord (not the Midwest).

You are probably a ‘policy wonk’ – trying to impress Men with your brain. (And we all know about women with great personalities…)

Or maybe you are a Man impersonating a Woman. Or a Woman impersonating a Man.

Hopefully this is my last statement on this thread and I look forward to hearing from everybody on other posts, including you Carol Winter. And Pete for being such a good sport.

Guns equal freedom. Equal freedom of Speech.

God Bless America

Drew Scott Kreutzweiser
Ontario, Canada

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

Interesting comments from an Englishman regarding the passionate discourse in our country on the right to own a firearm. There is some clamor in Great Britain currently about bringing back the right to bear arms due to the increasing crime problem, especially in the countryside. Americans who do not wish to have the law changed are vocal in the gun debate to the point of being belligerent because they know that if the state moves aggressively on gun ownership there will be a cascade of laws once a precedence is established in court and private gun ownership will be over – well and truly. The mayors who have problems in their respective cities have societal problems – not gun problems. Eleanor Holmes Norton cries about the prevalence of gun shops in Virginia that she claims are a source for firearms in the crime ridden shooting galleries of the District. They sell a lot of firearms in Virgina – but the difference is that residents aren’t using them to slaughter each other like the thugs in DC. There are hundreds of millions of firearms in the U.S. If the State takes the weapons from the law-abiding citizens – the only people left who will have access to the huge number of unregistered guns will be the criminals – just like the situation in Great Britain.

Posted by Galasso | Report as abusive

For Carol Winters: I respectfully disagree with the article you cite that says gun banning has worked in DC. Just last week, the Chief of Police of the District of Columbia said that they are optimistic that by year’s end they will have had less than 100 homicides – which will finally after 45 years – dip to the level when JFK was President. That is certainly not a record to be proud of especially in such a small metropolitan area.

Posted by Galasso | Report as abusive

The Supreme Court did not give us the right for individual ownership of firearms in 2008—that right was granted in the original US Constitution (You know, those guys with white powdered wigs who wore knickers? Who were their fashion consultants?). The DC case basically ruled that the DC government was violating that fundamental right of the citizens of the District (the ones NOT committing crime, rather the potential unarmed victims). I would refer one to the voluminous discourse of the founders on the subject, and the historical documentation of the Crown’s attempts to control firearm ownership in the colonies prior to the American Revolution.

On a gut level, what does one do at midnight when a large stranger is looking in the patio window, seems oblivious to the four large dogs barking at him from the inside and decides to come in anyway? One shows him the business end of a .38 Special, as I did. He decided that I had the edge and vanished into the night.

Posted by Bigolfascist | Report as abusive

“Oh, No”, I hear the cry, “he’s back!”

Galasso
“There is some clamor in Great Britain currently about bringing back the right to bear arms due to the increasing crime problem, especially in the countryside.”

I am quite an avid follower of news and current affairs, and I have never heard of this. Furthermore I have never heard anyone even raise the idea that private ownership of guns is a solution to crime. If you are from the UK we must look at different sources of info. and move in different social circles. Guns and gun crime is so noticeable in the UK press because there is so little of it, and there are so few guns. I recall a drug dealer shooting a rival drug dealer in most US towns and cities is hardly worth a from page in the local paper, whilst in the UK it can make all the national papers and news channels.

I think perception of guns in society is crucial to this debate. In most mainstream (Hollywood) movies gun use is widespread, and crucially, often seen as the solution to a problem. Certainly for the blockbusters the cool, sexy, tough hero is the one who knows how to use a gun, and the nerd, the wimp, the coward or the comedy relief is the one who has never fired a weapon, and has to be shown, usually with a knowing smirk, what to do. Often final redemption is only achieved when the nerd overcomes their cowardice and joins the fray, sometimes even saving the hero. By this method they gain acceptance, prove their worth and none too subtly re-affirm that heroes use guns. I don’t think there can be anyone who would seriously argue this but just in case, feel free to run through the plotlines (a very loose use of the term) of the Die Hard & Lethal Weapon series, Dirty Harrys, etc.

Before this we have the western, and here I think we find a reflection of the need American society has to see itself as different from others, with perhaps more noble a purpose. It is true that every society is different, just as every region and person is. Nations can be stereotyped, and sometimes those stereotypes are propagated and celebrated as a source of pride. A number of posts have mentioned the difference in American psyche, geography, and most seem (subconsciously or not) to hark back to those frontier plainsmen, masters of the wide open spaces, simple but honest, ready to help the weak and punish the oppressor, invariably with a gun in their hand.

Now we know that the cowboy of popular culture is almost exclusively derived from pulp fiction written by easterners in the 1800′s. In fact there were very few Cowboys as a proportion of the total population, and as their name implies, they were cattle wranglers, doing a tough, backbreaking job in appalling conditions for very little compensation. The proportion of gun ownership amongst this group was not as high as fiction would imply either, simply because a gun was still an expensive purchase and had limited functionality when compared to a knife.

I mentioned in my original post the insular view of the world which many Americans have. This is undoubtedly due to the size of the place, which means there is often a lot of national news to pack in at the expense of world events, and the island mentality which comes from have so few borders, and no potential rival nations (sorry Canada and Mexico). One poster Cory Hine claimed
“One of the reasons that the US has never been invaded, is the fact that the invaders would face a rifle behind every blade of grass”

I would suggest that the military strength of the US throughout the last centaury, the slight issue of staging an invasion across several thousand miles of ocean and the problem of MAD were more relevant to the military strategists than the fear that a duck hunter would be taking pot shots at them. This is not to say that this was not the case at the time the Constitution was drawn up, and, as a new nation with huge borders and a fragile unity, the need to respond to a potential threat in some distant location would quite conceivably require a militia to act as the Army pro tem. Also, there was a level of suspicion and mistrust between the states themselves, and the Constitution and its amendments recognised that a state could call upon its citizenry at short notice to form a state militia to defend itself against neighbouring states.

My point is that, yes America is a unique country, as is every other nation on earth. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, traits and traditions. However, all nations change and develop, as society grows and matures. No one (I hope) now thinks that slavery is acceptable, and what was once seen as sensible and expedient is now generally abhorrent. Racism, sexism, religious intolerance, were all at one time or another enshrined in law in most developed nations. As we have grown as a global society we have been able to modify our views and therefore our laws to reflect this, and it seems discordant therefore that, with the progress the US has made in all other areas, the issue of gun control still seems, in many cases to hark back to another era which in all probability did not even exist.

Final point. Drew; I am touched, almost a compliment in there! Now that we have bonded, next time I am in Canada I will know where to look you up for a visit. I will make sure I give you plenty of warning though, as I would not want to show up on your doorstep unannounced. I would guess that the house will in any case be surrounded by furious gun control supporters, shaking their fist ineffectually at you in the absence of anything stronger with which to overcome your superior firepower!

Posted by pete | Report as abusive

Drew–
Did you actually read my original post, or jump to the conclusion that, based upon its title, the essay must necessarily espouse gun control? Read it again, and understand that the author is vehemently pro gun, and so am I. I am baffled that as an advocate of firearm rights, you would fail to recognize that the author effectively contradicts just about every argument in favor of gun control made by the anti-gun establishment over the last 20 years. And I’m the moron? Who is calling the kettle black here? And Galasso, the article doesn’t suggest gun bans have worked in Washington D.C., but quite the opposite: Just across the Potomac River, the State of Virginia has no gun control and a murder rate of 1.6 per 100,000, while Washington D.C. has one of the highest murder rates in the country. Pay attention!

Posted by Carol Winters | Report as abusive

I think you are all missing the point.

The founding fathers did not award the right to keep & bear arms the status of #2 in the bill of RIGHTS, as a crime deterent, a self defence measure or even a subsistance method, although arms have sure come in handy on all of those accounts.

Rather they knew from sad experience, long and bitter, that the right of the people to throw off a government that has become odious & offensive to them, is what must be preserved and THAT was the original intent of the phrase.

It is imperative to our freedom and liberty that our government always know, that it’s people have the will and the means to throw it off or change it if things come to the point where liberty is in peril & civil means to preserve it fail.

It is, in fact, our duty.

Simply we must not and cannot have a society where only the “authorities” and the government are armed.

In the words of Thomas Paine: “Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them. ”
Thomas Paine

It is this balance that we wrestle with. We need our government to secuire our liberty, but that same government cannot always be assumed to be virtuous, so the governed must retain the ability to ensure that it’s government remembers its true place.

And it is this that I believe the liberal mentality either truly fears or misunderstands.

I can’t believe that the ani-gun lobby are so abysmally dim that they miss the 800 lb gorilla in this entire discussion.

That being, that if you pass rigid gun control, two things will happen.

1. Law abiding citizens will be faced with a choice; become a criminal by keeping his guns anyway or disarming. Thus, the law abiding person must chose to become prey to the uncivilized criminal or become a criminal himself at best and at worst, a slave to a government that no longer respects him.

2. As legal arms disappear, illegal arms traffic will increase. A black market will arise and the government will have no more luck stopping it than it does illegal immigrants or tons of dope and drugs.

Foregin arms makers will reap the windfall, law abiding Americans will become defensless.

Since the anti gun minds must see this, and I can’t believe they don’t, I am left with the simple suspicion that they themsevles have nefarious motives or are very naive, either of which chill this patriot to the bone.

Posted by Jim | Report as abusive

Jim–
Well said.

Posted by Carol Winters | Report as abusive

Pete,

Your continued insistance on the use of misleading phrases like, “greater chance of being killed with a gun” is bad enough (the issue is whether or not gun ownership in a society correlates with more/less violence and murder, not murder via a specific implement. If I take away your gun and you then stab someone to death instead of shooting them, is society the better for it?) But then you pull the following nonsense:

- “I am not quite sure why you adopt such an aggressive tone, but I have tried to avoid silly personal attacks, as they serve no purpose and invariably make the accuser look the fool.”

I have been neither aggressive nor have I engaged in ANY personal attacks on you. The hypocrisy your false accusation juxtaposed with the last phrase is most ironic, however.

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

Pete said….

“Guns and gun crime is so noticeable in the UK press because there is so little of it, and there are so few guns.”

LOL! You still don’t get it, do you? Is the ultimate goal to simply reduce *gun crime* specifically, or crime overall? If the former, well then…congratulations. Does that mean that one should be proud of the current dramatic increase in the London murder rate simply because almost none of those murders were committed with a firearm?

http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/news/artic le-530290-details/Murder+rate+hits+almos t+one+a+day/article.do

“In recent weeks, detectives in high-profile murder inquiries, such as the case of the boy battered and then burned to death in Kingsbury…”

Whew. Good thing he wasn’t shot. That would have been tragic.

Posted by Dan Parker | Report as abusive

This is for Sharrratt–and everyone else!

Benjamin Franklin’s exact quote:

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Posted by Dev Poster | Report as abusive

The argument that an armed population would be helpless against the arms of the military sounds feasable except for one important FACT..In America,the Military is composed of Citizens of America..When joining the military,each person is sworned to protect America from Foriegn and Domestic Enemies.They are also sworn to not obey an Unlawful Order..Any order,that commands the military to fire on American Citizens is an unlawful order,even if it comes from the Commander-in-Chief..Some Military may be reluctant to dis-obey the President,but they would be set straight by their Comrades..In all probability,the Military would oust the president that tried to order the Military to fire on the Citizenery…The first half of my adult life was serving my country in the military..during that time,I had to reaffirm my Sacred Oath every four years..Because of his written words and the reputations of his mentors,Obama is the only President that I am scared of..Hopefully,the Military wouldn’t become so propagandized that they would forget their Sacred Oaths if some situation occurred where Obama would try to Order the Military to Fire on Americans..

Posted by jacgar | Report as abusive

The MAIG, Mayors Against Illegal Guns would be more aptly named Mayors Against Firearms In America. This sham organization pretends to be only against illegal guns, but they really are about the suppression of a fundamental, enumerated, and incorporated civil right. In New York state there is a ban on the mere possession of a handgun for any out of state resident. That’s right, a ban. The rash of recent arrests aren’t new, they are just being reported more lately.

No matter how law-abiding or compliant, one may not even possess a locked, unloaded, registered handgun in NY state without a state permit, and it is not issued to out-of-state residents. That’s a ban for 98% of Americans. And mere possession is a felony.

The US Supreme court has recently struck two bans, in DC and in Chicago. Second Amendment jurisprudence is in it’s relative infancy, so it will take awhile, but in a few years, any non-prohibited person will be able to carry (bear) arms for self defense in all but the most sensitive places, such as courthouses and the secure areas of airports.

This is how it’s done in most of the country, and licensed concealed permit holders have proven overwhelmingly that they may be trusted with the right. They are a group so law-abiding, that firearms misuse among them is statistically incalculable.

Time to get with the program, NY, NJ, IL. Wake up, the Second Amendment is alive and well in most of the rest of the country, It works perfectly well as designed, if you let it.

Posted by mystroh | Report as abusive