Wednesday Open Thread [12.26.12]

Filed in National by on December 26, 2012

Happy Boxing Day, everybody!

I hope everyone got what they wanted this year, and if they didn’t, may the New Year treat them (and all of us) kindly. How’s your family?

The Six Day Coup at FreedomWorks shows that wingnuts really are crazy, greedy, destructive SOBs, even behind the closed doors of their own organizations. More details: It’s an establishment vs wingnut fight, too, with Dick Armey as the Establishment Guy vs. Matt Kibbe as the Tea Party Renegade.

The guy who shot 4 firemen on Christmas Eve used a Bushmaster rifle, just like Adam Lanza, and left a note indicating his intent to burn down the neighborhood because “killing people” is what he likes “doing best”. He eventually shot himself, and was on parole for killing his grandmother in 1980. So far it’s unknown how he obtained the guns, which is a good indicator of why we need to close the gun show loophole regardless (how would we ever know – gun shows don’t report sales or the identities of purchasers).

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X Stryker is also the proprietor of the currently-dormant poll analysis blog Election Inspection.

Comments (97)

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  1. bamboozer says:

    The Freedom Works story is really heating up to say the least, especially the bit about Armey’s armed coup attempt. In the end the old man plutocrat had the last say, after all, he paid for this scam disguised as a grass roots movement. At first I thought Armey would simply emerge from some other Tea Party group, not now, not with the guy with the gun. I don’t think we’re done yet either, more amusement awaits.

  2. X Stryker says:

    Armey got paid off to the tune of 8 million dollars by a libertarian billionaire, so presumably he’s going to enjoy being a retired goon.

  3. cassandra_m says:

    That Freedom Works story is amazing — because they are fighting over who get to spend the wingnut welfare. And look, here we have ONE MORE bit of proof that these people are not a grassroots effort — but a bunch of rich people trying to buy a government.

  4. cassandra_m says:

    Bruce Bartlett writes the Conservative Case for the Welfare State.

    This is a terrific article.

  5. pandora says:

    I still can’t get over the Freedom Works story. Are these people for real?

  6. X Stryker says:

    I added another link to the post above – the guy who shot the firefighters in upstate NY was another psycho with a Bushmaster.

  7. Are Bushmasters the new pitbulls? The boogeyman that we need whip up hysteria about? They are good weapons, well designed and beautiful, but hardly worse than other rifles.

  8. My heart goes out to the families of the heroes who were gunned down.

  9. puck says:

    “Are Bushmasters the new pitbulls?”

    Why yes, I think they are. It would be interesting to correlate assault rifle ownership with pit bull ownership.

  10. X Stryker says:

    All AR-15s should be banned, David. As should grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons, and M134 miniguns. There is no legitimate civilian use for them.

  11. V says:

    hahah i almost laughed out loud at the obligatory, minute later “my heart goes out blah blah blah” after the defense of those noble, well-designed and beautiful, innocent weapons.

    Good priorities.

  12. SussexWatcher says:

    “All AR-15s should be banned, David. As should grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons, and M134 miniguns. There is no legitimate civilian use for them.”

    But … but … WOLVERINES!

  13. meatball says:

    How about Ruger mini 14? Same caliber, same rate of fire, same length, similar high capacity magazines, but it is a newer design. It has only been around since 1973 or so but is generally more accurate with a greater twist ratio than common/stock ARs.

    That said, the AR platform is fun gun to shoot because felt recoil is handled so effectively by the stock/pistol grip configuration. Plus, the picatinny rail system (that the standard mini lacks) allows for quick accessory swaps and the modular design makes it a snap to clean and maintain. No wonder it is a popular choice.

    I think I can achieve the highest rate of fire though with a Rugar 10/22. This is a .22caliber semi-automatic rifle that has very little recoil allowing the marksman to remain on target rather than having to reacquire the target. This, by far makes it a much more “dangerous” close range rifle than the AR-15 and yet Rugar has sold more than 6 million of them since 1964 (I got mine at Walmart for just less than $300).

    Does this make me a gun nut? I own a Labrador if it helps.

  14. puck says:

    Carper, Coons, Carney – we’ve heard plenty from you about how urgent it is to get a bad deal NOW rather than going over the fiscal cliff. But it looks like our leaders have different plans (although you never know).

    So now let’s start hearing from you what your January plans are AFTER going over the cliff. What kind of tax cuts will you support? What sequestered spending cuts would you restore? What new spending cuts would you support? Would you give back more to military spending than to social spending?

  15. Jason330 says:

    I’m pissed that the President had to cut his vacation short to meet with Boehner, who doesn’t even control. A dozen votes.

  16. mediawatch says:

    I keep on hearing Carney, Carper, Coons preaching the merits of bipartisasnship and reaching across the aisle. If any of these three had any influence (especially Carney, who is in the House where it really matters), they would prove they’re more than just talk by bringing a couple of their like-minded Republicans over to the Democratic/Obama position.
    If you can’t deliver, stop playing the game.

  17. Idealist says:

    The Problem for Democrats is that even though President Obama won over 300 electoral votes, House Republicans retained the House. Due to Gerrymandering, Republicans maintain the house as a default. They have to think if they didn’t lose in 2012, are they going to lose in 2014 with decreased turnout (mainly from Democrats)?

    By failing to govern, Repiblicans refuse to do their jobs without fear of getting fired.

  18. puck says:

    I was driving my son over to a friend’s house when “Riders On The Storm” by the Doors came on the radio, and he said it sounded like elevator music. He’s grounded for life.

  19. Anon says:

    Chip Flowers was mentioned in today’s Wall Street Journal:

    Chip Flowers, the state treasurer of Delaware, earlier this month issued an order that requires all of the state’s noninterest-bearing deposits to be backed by bank collateral. Delaware typically has between $200 million and $400 million sitting in noninterest-bearing accounts.

    Mr. Flowers said the state is now negotiating those collateralization agreements with its six banks, including Wells Fargo & Co., PNC Financial Services Group Inc. And M&T Bank Corp.

    “It has been a pain, but at the same time it is necessary–why would you put taxpayer money at risk?” Mr. Flowers said.

  20. Steve Newton says:

    @xstryker: “All AR-15s should be banned, David. As should grenade launchers, anti-tank weapons, and M134 miniguns. There is no legitimate civilian use for them.”

    Given that only one weapon on your list actually IS available to the general public, let’s note that the AR-15 is a favorite of tens if not hundreds of thousands of hunters, who purchase it in the custom configuration for hunting. It is also a “varmint” gun weapon of choice for ranchers and farmers (particularly west of the Mississippi). And it is a competition target shooting gun in multiple calibers.

    You may not like the weapon, and you may have an argument about banning it, but please stop using the very tired (and wholly inaccurate) line that “There is no legitimate civilian use for them.”

  21. X Stryker says:

    Steve, the other weapons on my list are technically still legal, though thankfully difficult to obtain.

  22. Steve Newton says:

    I said, “not to the general public.” You have to have a minimum of a Class III Federal firearms license to purchase or own one. Nor can you show where any of them have been used inappropriately by people with such licenses.

    More to the point, X, you ducked the fact that there ARE numerous legitimate civilian uses for the AR-15 and even the Ruger Mini-14. The narrative that such weapons are only used by preppers and domestic terrorists is one that people in favor of tighter gun controls need to get their heads around if they want to have any dialogue about the subject.

  23. pandora says:

    I would really like to have a dialogue on guns where gun owners/enthusiasts/supporters don’t shut down the discussion with details about specific guns. I defer to your knowledge. Perhaps that knowledge could be used to educate those of us who are calling for limitations on shiny objects that kill a lot of people quickly. Many times the discussion turns into… but, the X5$%&*%7 gun is different because it has this doohickey and that thingamajig.

    And… the narrative that doesn’t address the paranoia of preppers and domestic terrorists is one that people against tighter gun laws need to get their heads around if they want to have any dialogue about the subject. Just sayin’

  24. Steve Newton says:

    pandora

    I am quite willing to have that discussion, but the details are important if you want to accomplish anything. Too many people here and elsewhere want to start with “Ban all **** [enter type of weapon]” because “they have no civilian usages,” ignoring the fact that millions of law-abiding civilians would disagree. Then, when that is pointed out, they say, “We don’t want to talk about details.” Well, you are talking about crafting legislation here; you wouldn’t refuse to talk about parts per million in smokestack effluvia when crafting environmental legislation. You wouldn’t choose not to discuss the specific impact of GMOs when discussing food labeling. You wouldn’t resist discussing the increased melt rate in Antarctica when examining potential global warming legislation.

    That said, we don’t need to start with the details in order to have a good conversation about gun rights and gun legislation. We could start by discussing and looking for consensus on any of the following:

    1. Insuring that real background checks are carried out; examining whether mandated waiting periods actually do make a difference on whether people are more likely to commit suicide or a violent crime with a gun. If you can show me a specific correlation (details–argh!) I’m quite willing to talk about waiting periods.

    2. Restricting high-capacity magazines and discussing similar limits on certain kinds of ammunition (details again).

    3. Possible mandates of training/certification for first-time buyers of pistols, rifles, and shotguns. Make it renewable like CPR?

    4. Specific co-liability laws for people who do not report guns stolen that are then used in commission of crime or suicide.

    5. Discussing the very real question of how do you limit access of mentally ill people to firearms without stigmatizing them and going overboard (should everyone who takes depression medication be refused a firearm? what about people who become mentally ill AFTER they already own firearms).

    6. Having a real, substantive discussion on school safety that doesn’t start at the two poles of “arming all teachers is the answer” and “eliminating certain categories of weapons is the answer” because neither is the answer, not pragmatically, and not in time to make any difference for my fourth-grade grandson.

    7. Having a real discussion about preppers and their issues, and their “paranoia” that is something more substantive that people pointing fingers and saying, “Those folks need to get over it.” (I don’t think that, short of the mental health and law enforcement systems you are going to address the paranoia of “domestic terrorists,” most of whom are mentally ill in the first place if they are not (as the term presupposes, working for some outside group).

    8. Discuss the very real issue that cassandra posted on a week ago–the fact that with or without guns and with or without rap music we are a very violent society. How do we even acknowledge that, and how do we set about changing it?

    That’s my agenda. I’m sure it will not please many, but if you seriously want to have this discussion you have to (a) nerve yourself to deal with specific details about guns and mental illness and suicide rates and such; and (b) provide your own list for where we would start.

  25. What is wrong with “preppers”? Are they your next target? There is nothing wrong with people being ready for hard times. A few get extreme, we used to call them hermits who would go into a mountain and be on their own. How many cases in the last ten years where one attacked people? It is a free country, it is none of your business how much food or gold someone has and for what purpose. How can you put people who want to be ready in case of storm or depression in the same sentence/category with domestic terrorists?

    That is why people put details in some of these discussions. Someone acts like the Bushmaster is some automatic assault weapon. I say no it is a fine weapon but not more dangerous than any other rifle. Someone denies it on no basis so people tell why it and other AR-15 type weapons are used.

    It is a tough balance between mind numbing detail and information because people make specific allegations that sometimes have to be rebutted with specificity.

  26. pandora says:

    I don’t have a problem with any of Steve’s options. My problem is that the “ban all guns” crowd and the “let’s get into gun minutia” crowd have a LOT in common.

    I haven’t called for banning all guns. I don’t agree with that. But I will absolutely scream if one more gun owner lectures me on the specific details of a certain gun. I can’t discuss those points – which I’m beginning to think is the point.

  27. pandora says:

    And I’ll listen to Republican David when he applies the same nuance to abortion as he does to guns.

  28. heragain says:

    Pandora, the gun detail discussion is almost exactly parallel to the ‘housework’ discussion.

    Women know the one I mean. The one where a man resists doing the suck job in housework because ‘he’s so bad at it.’ Like, the whole wash turned pink, the spoons in the knife drawer, the litter box overfilled. YOU have to make sure the guy who remembers the exact batting average of everyone on the 1968 Phillies has ALL the details necessary to do some ordinary task competently. Talk slowly, he’s kinda thick. Eventually, it’s more trouble than it’s worth to explain and monitor it, so you do it.

    The gun discussion is like that. The original amendment is 27 words. “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.” But YOU aren’t informed enough to discuss the murder of children unless you are an expert on the seasonal variation changes in x or y easily modified weapon.

    One can imagine the fate of the original amendment if the states that ratified had to adhere to this standard. Hey, John Dickinson, we have a proposed amendment here. But first you need to be expert on the discussion. There are over 400 models of Colt weapons alone, but they’re a pretty minor manufacturer. You have a lot of reading to get through.

    It would be absurd, if it wasn’t so offensive. It’s like saying we can’t require seat-belts in cars unless we pass a pop quiz on their f*cking interiors.

  29. Steve Newton says:

    pandora, you don’t want to have this discussion with David, because David is not interested in discussing–only defending his current position with word games.

    There is a difference–sorry heragain–between using details to clarify a discussion and using them to derail it.

  30. heragain says:

    The problem is, Steve, that both go on. You say something is a ‘competition target shooting gun.’ I say, “Who cares… stupid activity.”

    I have known teenagers who liked to get drunk and have sex. I still support making (and keeping) it illegal for teenagers to do either. So I would still say there’s no reason for civilians to have guns with the capability of murdering multiple people without reloading.

    If gun enthusiasts want to make guns out of bamboo they grow themselves, or carry muskets into the ACME, well, swell. I’m willing to support gun rights that do that. I’m from Delaware. We ALL tried to make gunpowder. That was the point of a field-trip to Hagley, I thought. We emptied fireworks, too. But we weren’t in a position to shoot bunches of strangers. I’m not saying we were too smart to do it, or too nice, or too afraid of the consequences. We didn’t have the capability.

    That’s what I want.

  31. Steve Newton says:

    Fine. You want to ban virtually all pistols and all semi-automatic rifles, and you do not recognize target shooting or hunting as legitimate activities. That’s at least honest. The question is: do you think you can swing a majority around to that viewpoint in your lifetime? I don’t.

    By the way, I also disagree with you on teenagers and sex. If teens don’t experiment before they leave high school, what happens when they reach college or work?

  32. X Stryker says:

    Steve, who exactly said they wanted to ban virtually all pistols or whatever? You were doing a fantastic job of trying to present a reasonable side to the debate, when all we usually get from the pro-gun rights side is hyperbolic rhetoric. Don’t go hyperbolic and abandon the reasonable approach just because someone insulted your hobby. There are bigger concerns to think about. I didn’t respond to what you cited about AR-15s because you presented me with new information to process, and I’m a working man – I don’t have a knee-jerk answer because I’m taking you seriously and gathering more information.

    What I really want, and what you’ve been helpfully providing in part, are ideas from gun-rights supporters as to what ought to be on the table, so that we can draft a proper compromise that makes us safer without banning hunting, target shooting, or personal protection. If I may make a request, perhaps you can shed some light on the subject of ammunition restrictions – not by caliber, but rather armor piercing rounds and explosive rounds, etc.

  33. SussexAnon says:

    “By the way, I also disagree with you on teenagers and sex. If teens don’t experiment before they leave high school, what happens when they reach college or work?”

    LOL. Introducing the pseudo libertarian policy of “lets given STDs and unwanted pregnancies BEFORE heading out into the world.” Good plan.

    All of the legitimate uses of the AR-15 Steve cites can be replaced with weapons that are less deadly in the hands of a mass murderer yet still effective to ranchers. Bolt action, low capacity magazines, etc. You don’t need to pump 15 rounds into that rabbit in your carrot patch. Even Elmer Fudd knows that.

    Which reminds me of an article in one of my Fathers NRA magazines of guys sending in their pictures hunting with AR-15s. One of the pictures was a man proudly holding up a rattle snake and his camo AR-15 with scope. Legitimate hunting weapon indeed.

  34. heragain says:

    Everyone disagrees with me on teenagers and sex. Too bad, I’m right. :D

    I recognize hunting as a legitimate activity. I just think people ought to learn enough about what they’re doing that they don’t have to spray the forest with semi-automatic bullets or shoot a deer that’s a mile away in order to do it. Get some darn skill. And I’m not sure people need to own hunting guns, for the most part. How about the government has a gun “library” where, when you get your hunting license, you can check out a suitable weapon, with your 20 bullets, and pay a fine of, say, $100 a day for returning it late. Fine continues until paid in full and is taken from your income or taxes without further legal action, as a condition of the loan. Needless to say, guns are only issued to persons who pass an extensive background check.

    Similarly for target shooting. Do it surrounded by approved government employees on a range, with guns you can’t take home. I just do not believe that we really NEED to be able to set up “targets” in any unmonitored sand pit in the country.

    As for the political feasibility of this, don’t make me laugh. I live in a country where a majority party takes billions of dollars annually to carry water for people who use them like a greased cat. If I worried about drafting only legislation that was politically popular, I’d just be offering myself and my family up as the cat. I concentrate on doing what is right, saves time. ;)

  35. Steve Newton says:

    XStryker–please don’t lecture me about being a good conversation participant.

    heragain said, “So I would still say there’s no reason for civilians to have guns with the capability of murdering multiple people without reloading.”

    That would necessarily include pistols. Even revolvers are capable of murdering multiple people without reloading, and all semi-automatics are. Nor did she object to my characterization.

    Moreover, heragain is completely honest–she wants private gun ownership pretty much banned–you should check out hunting or target weapons from the government and return them!?

    Regarding ammunition–we could go there, but the problem with going there is that it is a highly technical discussion, and most people here would tire of it pretty quickly. The upshot, however, is that ammunition bans are tricky things because they rely on technical specifications to describe the ammunition being banned (think “copkiller” rounds–you have to define them to legislate about them). Therein lies the problem: as with hackers and code, as soon as you specify that you can’t do “this” in such and such a fashion, somebody will make it a personal challenge to do “this” differently.

    Realistically, the only two ways I can currently think of to address the ammunition issue (and I am not endorsing either) are to (a) outlaw non-standard loads of all kinds (which I do not believe would work) or (b) base definition on function. The problem with (B) is that while you could outlaw something like armor-piercing rounds, it would be extremely difficult except after the fact to create a definition that would work.

    @sussexanon: having seen what happens when children who could not discuss sex with their parents and who could not begin to experiment with responsible sexual activity before leaving for college, I will live with you idiot abuse, thanks, and go on being realistic with my own children. They will be the ones who understand birth control, date rape, STDs, and situational awareness when yours don’t.

  36. cassandra_m says:

    This:

    All of the legitimate uses of the AR-15 Steve cites can be replaced with weapons that are less deadly in the hands of a mass murderer yet still effective to ranchers. Bolt action, low capacity magazines, etc. You don’t need to pump 15 rounds into that rabbit in your carrot patch. Even Elmer Fudd knows that.

    A thousand times.

    I’m (oddly enough) surrounded by people with guns — family, friends, colleagues, co-workers — and after polling these folks over the past couple of weeks, they collectively roll their eyes at people who are “hunting” or “sport shooting” with these AR-15s. Not one of them owns one. This isn’t a scientific poll, but still. The activities that this gun supposedly has a “legitimate use” for were created to sell this gun. One key thing to remember in all of these arguments is that hunting is a sport that is slowing down. Meaning that the gun industry needed a spanking new set of customers. Hence — the selling of fear and the selling of the fantasy that you can manage that fear with a gun. Then you get these dumb ass “competitions” with guns that don’t need much skill to hit anything with, and voila — you have a gun that has a “legitimate use”. If the NRA was pushing rocket launchers you’d get the same excuses — that this thing is useful to hunters, that there are competitions and people need them to be safe. Do not buy it.

  37. pandora says:

    Perhaps part of our solution relies in not being technical? Perhaps we are being bogged down in definitions?

    Steve touched on something in his earlier comment. He says, “4. Specific co-liability laws for people who do not report guns stolen that are then used in commission of crime or suicide.”

    I’d like to take that a step further. No more “tragic accidents.” If your child “accidentally” shoots him/herself or another child/person with your gun, you go to jail. If you “accidentally” shoot someone (friend/family member/person looking for directions) because you thought they were an intruder, then you go to jail. We excuse far too much of this behavior – and, by definition, people who this happens to aren’t responsible gun owners.

  38. Steve Newton says:

    cassandra

    I love the folks who assume that there are Elmer Fudds out there pouring fifteen semi-automatic rounds into rabbits. I love the confirmation bias of talking to the folks who surround you, who happen to own guns–but may or may not be hunters, rolling their eyes. Good for them.

    I even love the fact that you want to legislate limitations on hunting based on very knowledge of what hunters actually do.

    I agree completely that the gun industry–like they did with police in the up-arming craze that our law enforcement agencies got into between 1995-2005–have hyped up whatever selling point they could think of to generate more sales. Including fear and paranoia. The same fear and paranoia that defense industrialists and politicians have ginned up to justify $600 billion Pentagon budgets. You could not have one without the other.

    There are a lot of imaginative ways to deal with this, including advertising restrictions and warning labels ala cigarettes. All of those things could be on the table.

    As could having the California teachers union–among most other public unions–divest themselves of gun-manufacturing stocks, which they have been profiting from for over a decade.

  39. cassandra_m says:

    It is also a “varmint” gun weapon of choice for ranchers and farmers (particularly west of the Mississippi).

    You did say this, right, Steve? That there are Elmer Fudds west of the Mississippi hunting varmints with this gun? One of my cohorts is a rancher in NM and he laughed out loud when I read him this. People using this weapon for varmint hunting aren’t especially efficient at it.

    So it might be confirmation bias, but it is the bias of people who are pretty serious (some competitively) hunters. Meaning that you kill by skill and knowledge, not by a gang-style drive-by. There’s no skill or expertise needed to just spray 30 bullets where you thought that deer was. There’s no limitation on hunting. The limitation is on this AR-15 which isn’t much of a hunting gun.

  40. meatball says:

    How about mandatory permits for each firearm after ATF conducted background checks/interviews similiar or the same as required for class3 FFL.

    Mandatory minimum training prior to taking possession of firearm.

    Biometric safety on all weapons to prevent unauthorized use.

    I only posted what some might consider minutia to point out that what makes the AR type weapon an assault rifle compared to other rifles is mainly window dressings. The tactical add ons don’t make the gun any more or less deadly.

  41. pandora says:

    Sorry for my “technical” freak out. I actually want those of you with the knowledge to help me out. My frustration comes when I try to suggest an answer, solution, etc. and my idea is shot down due to my saying Bushmaster/AR-15/Magazine/Clip which is… Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! – which then is used to prove I’m an idiot.

    And no, meatball, neither you or Steve has made me feel that way, but I’ve lost count the number of times my points are dismissed (with friends/family/on blogs) because I used the wrong term.

  42. meatball says:

    Mandatory waiting periods would be inherent in the permitting process. An individual would initiate a purchase, apply for the permit and get backgound checked and interviewed prior to taking possession.

    I’d also like to point out that with all this talk of banning certain or all types of guns, we are failing to identify a huge piece of the puzzle. Buried in the minutia is the little fact that the AR platform has been available to the public since 1958 in pretty much the exact same configuration that it is today. What has changed that has suddenly made this gun so deadly?

  43. puck says:

    The 1994 assault weapons ban was technical about the features. Nineteen weapons were named specifically in the ban, along with certain features for any weapon. No reason the same ban can’t be re-implemented:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violent_Crime_Control_and_Law_Enforcement_Act#Federal_Assault_Weapons_Ban

  44. meatball says:

    The features: Two or more of the following “A telescoping or folding stock, a pistol grip, a flash suppressor, a grenade launcher, and a bayonet lug.” Window dressings, none had any effect on the devastation in CT.

    Likewise, magazine capacities 10 vs 30, it takes 2 seconds to exchange a magazine.

  45. Steve Newton says:

    cassandra

    Let’s focus on areas of agreement here, because we can get into endless rounds of who has how many friends who use what weapon. I know about two dozen folks in western states who are farmers and ranchers who use the AR-15 platform for varmint rifles. And where in the world did you (or anybody else) get the idea that the AR-15 is used by indiscriminate spraying of fire after rabbits? It is a very accurate .223 weapon, and 99.9% of the time it is fired at game it is fired with single, aimed shots.

    We agree on gun manufacturers and advertising.

    We are all beginning to reach agreement on problems with the original assault weapons ban (see meatball statement above regarding its technical problems).

    We are in agreement that people need to be held lawfully accountable for the weapons that they own (e.g. if I have an unsecured weapon in my house and a child uses it to harm somebody else then I should be chargeable with negligent homicide or something comparable if the victim doesn’t die).

    I do not agree with an interview as part of the background check process unless there is some specific, documentable flag in a person’s computerized background check. I am agnostic on waiting periods until somebody can actually show me the correlation between lack of waiting periods and rates of suicide/homicide. Certainly willing to discuss it.

    I don’t see biometrics as a good solution. I want other family members to be able to use my weapon, and I am not sure the technology is robust enough at this point to be effective. There are possibly some other technical solutions along this line, however, that are practical.

    Firearms training is a good thing, and I am not–on balance–against a requirement for such training or the documentation of valid experience (military training on same or very similar weapon; police experience, etc.). I would point out, however, that this aspect will do less to stop gun violence than almost anything else on the list.

    I don’t believe ammunition bans work, and like meatball I do not believe high-cap magazine bans work, either. Learning to change a magazine in under 2 seconds is not a high level of difficulty–it generally takes new recruits in the military about 45 minutes to master it.

    But I do think we’ve made considerable progress.

  46. Liberal Elite says:

    @m “Likewise, magazine capacities 10 vs 30, it takes 2 seconds to exchange a magazine.”

    Let’s just make them put the bullets in, one at a time. Problem solved.

  47. Steve Newton says:

    @Liberal elite–so another vote for banning all current pistols–both revolvers and semi-automatics? As well as pretty much any semi-automatic rifle from the M1 Garand forward?

  48. cassandra_m says:

    Steve —

    Let’s focus on areas of agreement here, because we can get into endless rounds of who has how many friends who use what weapon.

    Right. Because no one could possible have any experiences or people with experiences different than yours. It shouldn’t surprise you that I’m surrounded by gun owners with a pragmatic and responsible POV here. There is nothing about what they use their guns for that is disrupted by this gun disappearing from the planet. They still hunt, they still feed their friends amazing medals from what they hunt, they still compete, they still shoot varmints and not one of them needs more than a handful of bullets to manage their tasks.

    In other words, there is no point to this gun in the hands of a civilian. Other than killing alot of people quickly, which is its reputation. People who don’t need the machismo of the gun’s rep to kill so much, so fast are exactly the voices that need to be heard and heard loudly here.

    No doubt that there is plenty we can agree to, but we won’t agree to let you dismiss my own experiences and knowledge because it doesn’t jive with the party line of why people need to be able to somehow “need” this gun.

  49. cassandra_m says:

    Folks interested in a very interesting and illuminating discussion on how assault-style weapons became such a large part of the civilian gun market should listen to this Fresh Air program where Tom Diaz from the Violence Policy Center is interviewed by Terry Gross. I heard this before I left town and it is a great resource.

  50. Steve Newton says:

    cassandra you are far more willing to take offense than I am to give it.

    You have offered second-hand experience from people who are only “responsible” gun owners because they agree with you. That’s fine. There are plenty of different viewpoints among people who own and use firearms responsibly, and if you insist on continuing to draw a ridiculous line in the sand over a weapon that has been purchased as a hunting rifle tens of thousands of time–hokay. If you intend to make an issue that your experience discounts everyone else’s (even though your experience is actually … other people’s experiences) that’s fine, too.

    But–and here’s the huge BUT–you don’t either have the power to privilege your narrative that this weapon has no legitimate civilian uses. To say that other weapons could substitute for it is fine, but does not negate the legitimate civilian uses of this weapon. All it does is fit your narrative.

    I have plenty of friends and acquaintances across the country, both inside and outside the military who own and use weapons like the AR-15 and Ruger mini-14 responsibly and legally for hunting and target shooting. Few of them own it for self-defense because it is not a particularly good close-in self defense weapon. As meatball pointed out, the AR-15 receiver (which IS the gun as far as BATF is concerned) has been available since the late 1950s or early 1960s, and hundreds of thousands of them have never been used inappropriately; this is not even a weapon of choice for drug gangs.

    But you have your “truth” and you are so heavily invested in it that nothing is going to influence that.

  51. Liberal Elite says:

    @SN “@Liberal elite–so another vote for banning all current pistols–both revolvers and semi-automatics? As well as pretty much any semi-automatic rifle from the M1 Garand forward?”

    Yes. Again, no exclusive legitimate civilian use for those. Every one of those has counterparts that can be used as an alternative. And it WOULD save lives, yet not deprive anyone of the protection that gun cowards claim they need oh so badly…

  52. Steve Newton says:

    OK, that’s honest: there is no legitimate civilian use for pistols.

    But what exactly is the counterpart you would offer for personal defense that could replace a pistol?

  53. pandora says:

    Okay, here’s what I’m talking about:

    A 3-year-old child in Guthrie died Saturday, after accidentally shooting himself in the head, according to the Logan County Sheriff’s office.

    The shooting happened early Saturday afternoon in the 1500 block of Derby Lane in Guthrie.

    Authorities are calling this a tragic accident after a 3-year-old boy got hold of a gun and accidentally shot himself in the head. Several agencies responded to the home just after noon.

    News 9 is told the little boy was the homeowner’s nephew. He was there just visiting.

    The Logan County Sheriff’s Office says this is clearly an accident and they aren’t expecting criminal charges

    We have got to stop accepting this irresponsible behavior. Put that homeowner in jail. Start prosecuting these “accidents” and I bet people start behaving responsibly.

  54. Steve Newton says:

    Agreed.

    Although part of me does wonder if the deterrent effect will be quite as pronounced as you think.

  55. cassandra_m says:

    This:
    let’s note that the AR-15 is a favorite of tens if not hundreds of thousands of hunters, who purchase it in the custom configuration for hunting. It is also a “varmint” gun weapon of choice for ranchers and farmers (particularly west of the Mississippi). And it is a competition target shooting gun in multiple calibers.

    is just as second hand and yet somehow we are all supposed to deal with it authoritatively. Yet it still doesn’t document any legitimate use for this weapon — certainly not a legitimate use that isn’t accomplished with other weapons and some skill.

  56. pandora says:

    MADD stopped a lot of people from driving drunk. Arresting and putting in jail these fools who leave their guns around would stop a lot of these “accidents.”

    Read this again: “The Logan County Sheriff’s Office says this is clearly an accident and they aren’t expecting criminal charges”

    Clearly an accident? Dealing with our gun problem won’t be solved with one law, but throwing these irresponsible idiots in jail will make many gun owners more careful because their own skin will finally be on the line.

  57. Steve Newton says:

    National Sports Shooting Federation estimates 21.8 million hunters in the US.

    http://www.nssfblog.com/number-of-u-s-hunters-greater-than-expected/

    AR-15 accounts of 8% of all firearms manufactured and 22% of all rifles manufactured in the US for domestic purchase.

    http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-279769.html

    If one half of one percent of all hunters use the AR-15 (and all the stats suggest higher), then that’s 109,000 hunters using an AR-15, which qualifies as “tens if not hundreds of thousands” of hunters.

    “Yet it still doesn’t document a legitimate use for this weapon”–hunting is not legitimate?

    “certainly not a legitimate use that isn’t accomplished with other weapons and some skill” nice try to shift your ground cassandra, but that is not the argument you advanced, and you know it. The original argument was that was NO legitimate use for this weapon. Patently untrue, so now you have shifted your ground to, “OK, but you could use other weapons, so it is still not legitimate.”

    You want links, there they are–and before you trumpet it, one of those links does quote an NRA item citing statistics. If you have any evidence that those statistics are incorrect, go ahead and present them.

    Final note: it was ok for you to present the “unscientific survey” of your gun-owning friends as authoritative substantiation that nobody hunts with the AR-15, but I’m required to provide links.

    Emerson was apparently right about that hobgoblin of consistency.

  58. kavips says:

    If I was hunting and had the option of using an AR-15, I would jump at the chance, because it was cool…

    If I was driving to New York and had the option of doing it in a Bugatti Veyron, I would jump at the chance, because it was so cool…

    I hope that puts it into perspective for some who don’t “know” guns, exactly why this is used for hunting….

    You are right about all your arguments. But you gotta understand the “coolness” of how it feels in your hands….

  59. Miscreant says:

    This has been an informative and, at times, humorous discussion on firearms. The suggestion of a “gun library” was pure comedic gold.

    Cassandra says-
    “I’m (oddly enough) surrounded by people with guns — family, friends, colleagues, co-workers — and after polling these folks over the past couple of weeks, they collectively roll their eyes at people who are “hunting” or “sport shooting” with these AR-15s. Not one of them owns one.”

    Nor do I. They’re functional for military and enforcement purposes. Beyond that, I believe they mostly appeal to those who fantasize about being soldiers. Frankly, they have minimal use as a hunting weapon, and the caliber is only marginally suitable a home defense weapons.

    As Meatball pointed out, the Ruger Mini-14 has the same capabilities, and is more accurate. I own one, as well as a Ruger 10/22 and an SKS which preceded the AK-47. If I wanted to play pretend soldier, I could easily transform either one into a military type weapon with the many accessories available. Having used most all types of these weapons as tools during my career(s), the “coolness” factor wore off quickly. The AK-47 rounds are far superior to the AR-15 for both home defense and hunting. Any one of these one can be transformed into a fully automatic machine gun with a few readily available kits and a metal file.

    While the assault type weapons, like the AR-15 and the AK-47, has never appealed to me, I guess can see why it does to certain people. My brother wanted very badly to smuggle his M16 home from Vietnam, but I think that had more to do with the fact he had to eat and sleep with it for 3 years than his desire to have a bad ass assault weapon. He was afraid of being caught, which is why it surprised me that he elected to smuggle about a years supply of some bitchin compressed hash in his footlocker. Now, he only owns an old pump shotgun and a pistol, and doesn’t even hunt, but he still smokes a little weed.

    Liberal Elite says,
    “… yet not deprive anyone of the protection that gun cowards claim they need oh so badly…’

    Obviously, you’ve lead a sheltered, safe life. Nothing wrong with that, if you can swing it. The possession of a firearm has indeed saved my life on one occasion, and possibly the life of my wife on another. This doesn’t include the countless times firearms were instrumental to my survival on the job. Perhaps you need to walk ‘where the bottles break’, at least once.

    A brief word about prohibitions: They just don’t work. I’m not averse to better screening, and tighter controls.

  60. Liberal Elite says:

    @miscreant “Perhaps you need to walk ‘where the bottles break’, at least once.”

    Hah. As a youth, I used to work in a convenience market in a really crappy neighborhood. I’ve seen the open end of a gun drawn in anger more than once. But it never made me stupid enough to want to actually carry one. Had I had a gun back then, I’d probably be dead. And yes… I was trained in the use of a rifle (Boy Scouts, Order of the Arrow,…), but I put those childish toys behind me as an adult.
    I stand by my “gun coward” derision. Most private gun owners I have known had guns due to abject cowardice.

    What would be really great is to get all the gun owners to pony up for the societal costs of gun ownership. If every gun owner was required to carry $20M in insurance for potential damage that each of his guns might cause (even if they were stolen), then those funds could be used for a victims fund. Let the insurance industry decide on how expensive each type of gun should be…

    THAT would be fair and just. And I believe that if people who were enabling gun deaths paid for them with real dollars, then the problem would decrease by a factor of five in very short order!!

  61. puck says:

    I am very susceptible to the school of thought that says the Second Amendment is intended to provide a check on abusive government authority. The problem is, it isn’t working out that way in real life. The weapons aren’t being used to check abuses, they are being used to kill innocents.

    I don’t mean starting a civil war because your taxes went up five percent. But there are lots of modern real-world applications. For example, perhaps an armed companion could put an abrupt end to an incident of roadside police taser abuse. Or homeowners could raise their level of resistance to improper or abusive foreclosures. Or put up effective resistance to an illegal police home invasion. These are all modern abuses that, had they occurred in colonial times, would very likely have been written into the enumeration of grievances in the Declaration of Independence. Resisting them with arms would be desperate acts for an individual, but if a pattern of them developed it would likely lead to needed reform.

    I do believe the Second Amendment intends civilians to have a rough parity with government in the category of handguns and long guns, for exactly the reason of providing a local and immediate check on abusive authority.

    The AR-15 and related weapons are the direct descendants of the colonial musket, in a way that grenade launchers and anti-tank weapons are not. Both are the standard-issue infantry rifle of their day (apart from the full automatic feature) So whatever is true about the Founding Fathers’ intent toward muskets is also true of the AR-15.

    The problem is, even though I believe that philosophically, after the modern mass murders I cannot support it. So I do support an assault weapons ban. But let’s not kid ourselves that we can do it without agreeing to write off the Second Amendment.

  62. Miscreant says:

    “..But it never made me stupid enough to want to actually carry one. Had I had a gun back then, I’d probably be dead. And yes… I was trained in the use of a rifle (Boy Scouts, Order of the Arrow,…), but I put those childish toys behind me as an adult….”

    Which only proves that you realize your limitations, and that you lack the confidence to counter a challenge, which can be a good thing. There should be a merit badge for that.

    I suppose our circumstances were slightly different. In my cases the aggressor was either after yours truly, and someone else near and dear to me. I wasn’t carrying, but it was readily accessible. I still don’t carry, and have no need for a permit. But I have found, through experience, it’s good to ‘be prepared’ for anything.

  63. pandora says:

    Only if you’re truly prepared. And that’s where my concern with many gun owners come into play. Most aren’t truly prepared, but they sure think they are, given all the tough talk. They are an embarrassment to people who have actually taken the time to train – and if I was a trained gun owner I wouldn’t want these chest puffing out “warriors” linking their gun cred to mine.

  64. Miscreant says:

    “Only if you’re truly prepared. And that’s where my concern with many gun owners come into play. Most aren’t truly prepared, ”

    I agree.

  65. X Stryker says:

    I think this has been a lot more informative and productive discussion than most past gun control debates we’ve had on this site.

  66. pandora says:

    I agree, X.

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this, and all roads lead me back to… I know a lot of gun owners, and 20% of them have no business owning a gun. The idea that I must place my safety, and the safety of my family, in the hands of that 20% is what bothers me.

  67. puck says:

    It’s been a civil debate BUT when it comes time to pass an assault weapon ban, the debate doesn’t matter. Just do it. We have a model from 1994 – pass that and close the gun show loophole, and you’re done. No need to re-debate it.

    If you want to get fancy, you can allow AR-15 styling as long as they can carry no more than three bullets and don’t physically accept larger magazines.

  68. Paré Normale says:

    This is like LEGO debate club. It all just stacks up so neatly!!!

  69. anonymous says:

    Republican David 12/26, 1:01 pm. said, “Are Bushmasters the new pit bulls? The bogeyman that we need whip up hysteria about?”

    Concern over 20 kids being shot with a bushmaster, is bogeyman ‘hysteria’ to republican david?

    Bushmasters are death tools that should be kept from the ‘questionable’ civilian public, just as blood drawing pit bulls, who killed or intended to kill, are judged for their capability and need to be removed as a threat. A kid attacked by a pit bull, doesn’t stand much of a chance. Bushmasters are life ending machinery, republican david. An attacking pit bull, isn’t an imaginary ‘boogeyman,’ but could be another type of lethal weapon. A person who would allow a pit bull to attack someone, would be irresponsible, cold blooded and legally liable, as should be a negligent gun possessor/user.

    Is an attack with a bushmaster, the same as an attack by a pit bull? Would you rather be attacked by a pit bull, or a man with a bushmaster, republican david? Would you be interested in owning one, if it’s negligent care or use resulted in a lifetime in jail plus every cent you have? After all, it’s victim, would not get to experience life or it’s riches.

    Next republican david says: My heart goes out to the families of the heroes who were gunned down. Fine, but…

    Why doesn’t republican david’s ‘ heart’ go out foremost, to the 20 little kids who lost their young lives, gunned down with a bushmaster? Why doesn’t republican david’s ‘heart go out’ for tens of millions of Americans (and people around the world,) who suffer when kids die and know, America’s gun laws are shot full of holes because of special gun interests and obliging legislation.

    If a republican had a heart, it should to go out, for the kids whose lives were brutally ended as they just began- because un regulated idiotic people have bushmasters, other weaponry, readily available when someone is having a bad day. Republican david instead mentions, imaginary bogeymen and ‘hysteria?’ Do people like republican david think it is their ‘right’ to demand lack of gun control? Does he think pit bulls are all sweet, fine dogs that never attack innocent people? Except the truth is, idiotic pit bull owners, who happen to ‘train’ vicious pit bulls, (either through ignorance or on purpose,) are the guilty party, who allow their pit bull (weapon) to damage innocent kids and adults. After the fact, it is the attacking pit bull (the weapon) that is ‘put to sleep forever; the negligent pit bull owner lives.

    Instead of offering condolences to dead “heroes,” republican david might better examine radical republican personality traits that gravitate towards (Exhibit A) war zone weaponry and (Exhibit B) pathological tendencies.

    My heroes will be the public servants who take guns from the hands of illegal, careless, irresponsible, incompetent, hate filled, low functioning, murderous or suicidal humans. It is our government’s responsibility to see that people who shouldn’t have guns, don’t have guns,(not wait for them to arrive at the schoolhouse foot for a shoot out,) just as it is the government’s responsibility to remove vicious attacking animals from roaming the streets. In either case, the people of sound mind, must insist, our government does its’ job of protecting society from known flesh ripping dogs and madmen with guns. madmen with knives, explosives, as well. After all republican david, for good reasons, you can’t bring box razors, lighters w/ fluid, 3.6 oz mouthwash, firearms, or even replicas of firearms, on a flight. They’ll search you for those items and ask you a lot more questions if you have them. Expect to be delayed. Airlines and the public would agree, guns in the wrong hands are – the thing that is wrong. not just something that people should ‘adapt’ to. Greedy, dangerous industries, would like the public to ‘adapt’ to death by weapons and buy even more guns and ammo. The lack of laws and regulations are known to be such, that kids and everyone else needs to be protected by the government immediately, until all illegal guns are removed from illegal gun owners and new regulations are in place.(40% of gun sales are made without even a background check.) Government should have a short time limit for this to be accomplished. Remove the problem, not have kids ‘adapt’ to a dangerous, hideous situation – such as gunmen coming to schools for easy targets or gun battles. (Excuse me for a second republican david, but such republicans are idiots who don’t even know/or care that they’re idiots.)

    All testing must be complete and often, with great consequences for having a gun without such testing, (and I’d suggest, insurance coverage for every single gun or it is taken away and the person greatly fined, imprisoned.) Insurance companies do a pretty good job of evaluating, limiting their risks and immediately reporting lack of insurance to government officials. Like a ticket for driving without insurance – a ticket for a gun without insurance – and – take the gun and the right to ever have a gun, away immediately.(You wouldn’t want a drunk with an unregistered, uninsured, vehicle running you down – yet that’s the same as a unstable personality, with a unregistered, uninsured gun, shooting someone.) There should be mandatory reporting of all guns in the public hands. Then proof of up to date background checks on all gun owners. Then reporting of ‘questionable’ persons who shouldn’t have guns in their household.(Why did Lanza’s mother leave guns out? No one knew there was a problem? Doubt it.) Then check on insurance coverage of ALL guns – for starters. Of course the gun industries like – that there are so few regulations – again, less regulations sells more guns, for more profits. (Like $100 jeans made for $1 each, in a Bangladesh fire trap- why bother with regulations and fire escapes.) Too costly.

    Side note to republican david. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined U.S. dog-attack fatalities from 1979 to 1998., and pit bulls, either purebred or crossbred, accounted for most deaths by any breed. Purebred or crossbred Rottweilers caused the second highest death rate by dog. The CDC concluded that Rottweilers and pit bulls were responsible for 67 percent of fatal attacks. Such dogs require pack structure, obedience and socialization. I would say, a lunatic on a rampage with a gun, lacks all of the above.

    Would republican david think guns possessors who are government hating (gangs of hoodlums); (aggressive and defiant) law breaking; and (lacking socialization) wanting to take the law into their own hands – should have lethal weaponry? There’s your attack dog/attack human with a gun, connection for you republican david, except humans up their aggression a notch, with war zone weaponry, clips, instead of a set of canine teeth.

    What would republican david suggest as a method to remove weapons from dangerous people? Voluntary disposal programs? Ahhh ha ha. Or ….wait for the next murder scene. so republican david can again say something dumb and worthless like, “My heart {again} goes out to the families of the heroes who were gunned down.” Of course, one can’t come out and say, what’s really important here today is that, one’s right to keep guns should not be challenged, you know, due to the second amendment excuse blah, blah.

    Elsewhere, at DelawarePolitics, republican david said, quote:

    “Not to sound heartless, but 20 children concerns me a whole lot less than the millions who will suffer if we don’t focus on what really matters. The NRA is at least dealing with the problem of school shootings and not proposing unrelated legislation.” End of republican david quote.

    Republican david. It isn’t the NRA’s place to ‘deal with the problem’ of school shootings – that is the government’s job. It is also the government’s job, to enact legislation that protects the public from gun toting madmen – far before they reach the schoolhouse door or anyone elses door, street, stadium, rally,(list thousands of locations here,) anywhere across the country.

    Is republican david concerned about himself or the tens of millions who have weapons and ammunition whether they are legal or not? Is the NRA ‘dealing’ with the ‘gun problem’ at all, if their advice is ‘guns at schools,’ when 40% of guns are being sold without even background checks and are now at millions of locations across America, without adequate controls?

    Question for republican david: Why is it you say,”The NRA is at least dealing with the problem of school shootings and not proposing unrelated legislation.” The NRA has dealt with nothing. You seem to favor ‘guns at schools’ over proposed legislation. “Unrelated” is just an extra ‘unrelated’ trick word you threw in. “Unrelated.” Sure, who would be for anything “unrelated.” But there is plenty of ‘related’ legislation necessary. What is the legislation you fear, republican david? Up-to-date mental health tests/ IQ tests? Mental competency of the elderly? Gun bans for people with violence issues? The suicidal? The brained injured? Current medical checks on people who require active drug prescriptions for their mental well being? Street drug thugs? Violent households? Violent threats? Criminals, robbers, bullies, with guns? Guns in homes where violent offenders reside? Unsecured guns? Liability insurance coverage for guns? Regulations of weapons. ammunition, possession, including war zone weaponry? How about legislation for potential terrorists -homegrown or otherwise, republican david? Be careful not to take their weapons away? Or, is it just like many ‘republican backed problems; -fear of interfering with pure greed.

    Republican david, you well know, the ‘shooting problem’ concerns a whole lot more people than 20 school kids and yet, you seem a whole lot more concerned about – legislation being proposed to correct the shooting problem, as if correcting the shooting problem, is a bad thing. Why is that? You mentioned the dark side. To me, the following, sounds dark.

    Republican david quote: “Not to sound heartless, but 20 children concerns me a whole lot less than the millions who will suffer if we don’t focus on what really matters. The NRA is at least dealing with the problem of school shootings and not proposing unrelated legislation.” End of republican david quote.

    Random shootings are the government’s problem to solve. Legislation to solve it, is the government’s task. The government must solve ‘the gun’ problem. They’ve allowed it to grow to a deadly proportion that has spread across the nation. They need to solve it across the nation, not just at a schoolhouse door, with kids in the crossfire.

    Anything less is bloody unfathomable, cowardly, reprehensible beyond imagination.

  70. SussexAnon says:

    @ Steve Newton – Your quote was “If teens don’t experiment before they leave high school…..” Educating teens (as you suggested later) is one thing, promoting experimentation is another entirely. And even educated teens who use protection can come home pregnant. Please keep that in mind when you are telling your kids its ok to experiment.

  71. Steve Newton says:

    @sussexanon–of course there is a possibility of teen pregnancy. And there will be that possibility whether you think you have convinced your sons and daughters to be celibate or not. The good news here is that you lack the power to enforce your views on my family, and I lack both the power and inclination to enforce mine on yours. Good luck with your strategy.

  72. Steve Newton says:

    @puck

    Just so you know, the 1994 assault weapons ban did not outlaw the AR-15, merely certain configurations.

    As long is it was sold without a flash suppressor, bayonet ring, grenade launcher attachment, or folding stock you could still manufacture, sell, and trade AR-15s quite legally.

    In fact, the AR-15 legally is only the upper and lower receiver group; everything else is an add-on.

  73. Steve Newton says:

    I am also curious (seriously): does anybody here really expect the House to pass ANY assault weapons ban in the next two years?

  74. pandora says:

    No. It will probably take more dead children – I can’t believe I just typed that! But the tide is turning – and irresponsible gun owners – who are given cover by responsible gun owners – will write their own demise.

  75. puck says:

    “Just so you know, the 1994 assault weapons ban did not outlaw the AR-15, merely certain configurations. ”

    Coupled with a ban on large capacity magazines, that’s good enough. I don’t care what the gun looks like as long as it can’t keep shooting forever. I believe the 1994 ban set the magazine limit at 10; that should be lowered to three.

  76. pandora says:

    Ah geez… contraception? Sex?

    I gave both of my kids (boy and girl) condoms when they turned 15 – would have done it sooner if they were dating. As I handed them the condoms I told them, “Don’t be stupid, but if you are… don’t be stupider.”

    I handle all the sex talk in the family, so my kids come to me quite often with questions. I try not to cringe while answering them honestly. If you think your kid is getting through high school without encountering – or wanting to encounter – sex, then you’re kidding yourself. If the opportunity presents itself (meaning someone actually wants to have sex with them) they will probably go for it. You know… Luv.

  77. Steve Newton says:

    pandora hits the crux of the problem in (probably unconsciously, but you never know) citing the 80-20 rule (20% of gun owners are irresponsible) of emergent behavior. In any population the rule of thumb is that 80% of the activity (good or bad) will come from 20% of the population. And among that 20% the 80-20 also applies, meaning . . . .

    Probably 60%-80% of the issues will come from about 4% of the gun-owning population.

    At current stats that’s about, what, 2 million people? Which is a lot in total numbers, although well below 1% of the general population.

    The problem as I conceive it is how to address those individuals with only a reasonable curtailment of the rights and privileges of those who have never (and probably will never) act inappropriately.

    I’m liking the idea of liability insurance for gun owners more and more (note; many responsible gun owners already carry insurance ON their guns, for replacement not liability). I am not sure that any insurance carriers even currently offer this product.

    But that offers an interesting way to approach “responsible” owners. As with driving, you could rack up discounts for training, use of trigger locks, a gun safe, etc. etc.; and insurance rates for weapons could easily be driven by an algorithm based on mass lethality plus your experience/record/background. Gun ranges or places where you have permission to hunt could be held liable for accidents/incidents if they did not verify your insurance card for the particular weapon you were bringing in. You can bet insurance companies would take this very seriously as it represents the industry’s favorite dynamic–millions of customers paying billions of dollars vs the risk of having to make a gigantic payout.

    My guess is that private insurance companies, if they could be enticed into this business, would enact far stricter and more effective controls than you could ever get the government to mandate.

  78. Miscreant says:

    Hell yeah! Look what the insurance industry did for the automotive industry and consumers. Maybe they could institute a point system for misfires, manslaughter, and murders.

  79. Steve Newton says:

    Well, I was thinking that if you went three years without losing a body part or maiming a child you could get your deductible reduced.

  80. heragain says:

    I love the smell of free markets in the morning. :D

  81. Liberal Elite says:

    Let’s push for insurance as an alternative to banning guns. Gun owners should bear the societal costs of gun ownership. This wouldn’t be too hard to implement.

    1. Require every gun to be registered and carry $20M in liability insurance that also pays into victim’s compensation fund.

    2. Payments would continue for 5 years in the event the gun is lost or stolen.

    3. Let insurance companies decide the cost of each type of weapon, and for each neighborhood.

    I believe that if costs are properly applied, then the problem will be greatly reduced.
    Maybe by a factor of three in just a few years…

    Let’s have all the owners of assault weapons collectively pay for the Newtown disaster!!

  82. meatball says:

    I somehow don’t think the CT terrorist would have bothered to buy insurance. In fact, I don’t think any of these cookoo for cocoapuffs terrorist would bother with insurance.

    Plus, you have the reverse. Hasn’t anyone seen that movie with the middle aged lady who loses a parking spot to a teenage girl? The lady then rams her car into the parked teenager’s car and states “I have better insurance.”

  83. Roland D. Lebay says:

    Plus, you have the reverse. Hasn’t anyone seen that movie with the middle aged lady who loses a parking spot to a teenage girl? The lady then rams her car into the parked teenager’s car and states “I have better insurance.”

    Precisely. Not to mention the free-for-all that insurance would create for trial lawyers. They see insurance companies as deep-pocket defendants.

    I think you’d have a tough time requiring insurance for a RIGHT granted by the “creator” and codified in the constitution. Are there any other examples of RIGHTS that require insurance?

    LE or someone above mentioned driving. That’s a privilege, not a constitutionally guaranteed right.

    I like my shitty old .22 cal semi-auto rifle, but I’m not married to it or the 2nd amendment. I just wonder how any of the ideas mentioned above would play out in the Congress or the SCOTUS.

  84. Roland D. Lebay says:

    BTW, the NRA somehow STILL has a 54% Favorable Rating according to Gallup.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/159578/nra-favorable-image.aspx

    WTF is wrong w/ these people?

  85. mediawatch says:

    I’m sure most of you have heard of uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage — optional coverage that kicks in when you’re hit by a driver who has no insurance or inadequate coverage.
    Given the number of unregistered weapons, I suspect that, even with insurance, a large percentage of gun owners would not carry insurance, thus creating a market for uninsured/underinsured shooters coverage, which the insurance industry could market as an add-on to health or homeowners/renters coverage. Make the cost seem low enough, say, $20 per person per year, and the insurance industry will have struck gold again … not at the expense of the gun owners, but from the wallets of fearful potential victims.

  86. Steve Newton says:

    The Constitution guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms,” not the right to be exempt from liability for your actions with those arms, any more than the right to “free speech” is necessarily a guarantee to the right to “freedom after speech.”

  87. Roland D. Lebay says:

    @Steve Newton“The Constitution guarantees the right to “keep and bear arms,” not the right to be exempt from liability for your actions with those arms, any more than the right to “free speech” is necessarily a guarantee to the right to “freedom after speech.”

    I agree wholeheartedly, but you didn’t answer my question.
    That is, can you name any other Constitutionally enumerated right that requires an individual to purchase insurance?

    I can’t, but I’m too tired to research it right now.

    FWIW, I’m not AGAINST such a requirement. I’d gladly surrender my lone .22 Marlin rather than pay to insure it or my potential use of it. It holds a total of 19 bullets, so it could (laughably) qualify as an “Assault Weapon”.

  88. Liberal Elite says:

    @meatball “I somehow don’t think the CT terrorist would have bothered to buy insurance. In fact, I don’t think any of these cookoo for cocoapuffs terrorist would bother with insurance.”

    No, but his mother would have… And if it was priced fairly, she might have not had an assault rifle.

    The bottom line is that gun owners need to pony up and pay for the societal costs of their “hobby”.

  89. John Young says:

    Roland,

    There are no rights specifically enumerated in the US Constitution, including all amendments, that REQUIRE the purchase of insurance.

    If you want to look at the Dec. of Independence AND translate life, liberty and pursuit of happiness to mean one’s good health, then yes, you now have to purchase insurance under Obamacare.

  90. Liberal Elite says:

    @mediawatch “I suspect that, even with insurance, a large percentage of gun owners would not carry insurance, thus creating a market for uninsured/underinsured shooters coverage”

    Anyone caught driving without insurance loses the right to drive that car and pays a penalty.

    It would be easy to make a law that says that anyone caught with an uninsured gun pays a penalty and loses the right to use any gun for 10 years. How many legitimate gun owners would want to deal with that???

  91. Miscreant says:

    The connection is clear. You’ll have responsible gun owners mandated to subside irresponsible, slacker gun owners, just like the automobile insurance industry and Obamacare.

    How progressive. Sign me up.

  92. If you had ‘pay at the pump’, everybody would have auto insurance, and you’d pay less at the pump than you do through your insurance carrier.

    If you have ‘pay by the bullet’, you have the same thing. Money would go to care and burial of those maimed by bullets. Would save a lot in health care costs as well.

  93. Dave says:

    Regulation of firearms is not infringement, anymore than prohibiting felons or the mentally ill from have firearms is infringement. Registration, insurance, even the quantity and type can be regulated. Literalists may read the amendment as a blanket right without constraint, but that doesn’t make them right.

  94. mediawatch says:

    @LiberalElite:
    While those CAUGHT driving without insurance may pay a penalty, the problem is that all are not caught before they cause damage, and that’s why we have uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage. And that’s why, if we were to have “shooters insurance,” there would inevitably be an “uninsured/underinsured shooters add-on.”

    Please don’t say “it would be easy to make a law” regarding any component of the gun-control debate. History shows that no legislation is “easy” when guns are the topic, no matter how sensible and logical you and I might think it would be.

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