America – Freedom vs Freedom

Update: Amended12/21/2012 (See last section titled 2nd Amendment Considerations)
Nothing in my lifetime goes in the history books as such a horrible time as this past weekend. The Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut was a tragedy that will never be forgotten by the families and friends of those innocents who lost their lives. It will also never be forgotten by those who intend to hammer it into political agenda both for and against gun control. It is forever cemented in our memories and most likely will be cemented in policy as well. Arguments will be made by both sides for months to come, and it will be referred to as a “what if” by pundits for the next ten years. We will likely never hear the end of it, which is in itself a tragedy for the loved ones of those involved. They will likely never have true peace as long as it remains a tool for politicians and gun advocacy groups from both sides of the aisle to use. It will be mentioned in the news media for years to come, as a reference point for gauging the caliber of future disasters, much as Columbine was before it. Sandy Hook is the new Columbine. For that, my heart goes out to those families and I can only pray that something good can come out of it; some lesson can be learned that can save even one life. Nothing will ever make those sacrifices worthwhile; nothing.

As part of the preparation for this article, I’ve devoted a massive amount of time to fact-checking everything I’m going to say here. I realize I have a readership that for the most part takes my word on things, which is to be both appreciated and cautioned against. It raises the stakes for any article I write and I try hard to be incredibly sure of any “fact” I lay out for or against an argument. Having said that, feel free to check anything you read here. Feel free to recalculate any statistics you see me quote, and feel free to let me know if there is something I’ve either forgotten or misrepresented. I’m human, and therefore fallible.

According to ABC news, there have been 31 school shootings in the US since Columbine in 1999, when 13 people were killed. That got me thinking about shootings in general, which are too numerous to count, and massacres, which thankfully number much less.  I’m going to borrow some information I read online at another site. If you’d like to see the source, it’s here. It specifically relates to massacres in the United States since our lives changed with Columbine.

These are most all of the the mass-shootings in the US since Columbine. I’ve taken a couple hours and done a little research that I think needs to be done EVERY time a shooting incident happens in the US. Specifically, pay attention to a few things in the following reports; what kind of guns were used? How were they stopped? Did local laws allow an armed defender to defend themselves or others at that particular location?  If we are going to hold these instances up as reasons for or against a gun-control philosophy, I think it’s important that all aspects be revealed, for the sake of absolute clarity. All of these, in my opinion, play a serious part in thinking whether gun legislation, especially “assault-weapons” legislation is enacted, and if so, how.

The following is a harrowing list of American tragedy. They’re listed here in as brief a manner as possible, not out of disrespect or lack of compassion, but out of a need to make them easily comparable for analysis.

December 11, 2012. On Tuesday, 22-year-old Jacob Tyler Roberts killed 2 people and himself with a stolen rifle in Clackamas Town Center, Oregon. His motive is unknown.
Weapons Used: AR-15 semi-automatic rifle
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound after confronted with an armed defender.
Guns Allowed: Not on mall property, but the actual town; Yes.

August 5, 2012. Six Sikh temple members were killed when 40-year-old US Army veteran Wade Michael Page opened fire in a gurdwara in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. Four others were injured, and Page killed himself.

Weapon Used: Springfield XD 9mm Pistol
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound to evade police.
Guns Allowed: No

July 20, 2012. During the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, CO, 24-year-old James Holmes killed 12 people and wounded 58. Holmes was arrested outside the theater.

Weapons Used:  Pump action 12 gauge, .40 caliber pistol, Smith and Wesson M&P 15.
Method of Capture:  Surrendered to police.
Guns Allowed: No (theatre’s charge admission to the public, so this means no carrying)

April 2, 2012. A former student, 43-year-old One L. Goh killed 7 people at Oikos University, a Korean Christian college in Oakland, CA. The shooting was the sixth-deadliest school massacre in the US and the deadliest attack on a school since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.

Weapon Used: .45 caliber pistol
Method of Capture: Arrested by police.
Guns Allowed: No

October 14, 2011. Eight people died in a shooting at Salon Meritage hair salon in Seal Beach, CA. The gunman, 41-year-old Scott Evans Dekraai, killed six women and two men dead, while just one woman survived. It was Orange County’s deadliest mass killing.

Weapons Used: 9mm Springfield pistol, H&K .45 pistol, Smith and Wesson 44 magnum.
Method of Capture: Arrested by Police.
Guns Allowed:  Varies. (Orange County is a “may issue” locale)

September 6, 2011. Eduardo Sencion, 32, entered an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, NV and shot 12 people. Five died, including three National Guard members.

Weapon Used: AK-47 (this actually IS an assault-rifle)
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Guns Allowed: Yes

January 8, 2011. Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head when 22-year-old Jared Loughner opened fire on an event she was holding at a Safeway market in Tucson, AZ. Six people died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Giffords’ staffers, and a 9-year-old girl. 19 total were shot. Loughner has been sentenced to seven life terms plus 140 years, without parole.

Weapon Used: Glock 9mm pistol
Method of Capture: subdued by bystanders
Guns Allowed:  In Tucson, Yes. In Safeway supermarkets: some yes and some no.

November 5, 2009. Forty-three people were shot by Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan at the Fort Hood army base in Texas. Hasan reportedly yelled “Allahu Akbar!” before opening fire, killing 13 and wounding 29 others.

Weapon Used: FN Five-Seven pistol
Method of Capture: Arrested by police.
Guns Allowed: Not really applicable – it’s a military base.

April 3, 2009. Jiverly Wong, 41, opened fire at an immigration center in Binghamton, New York before committing suicide. He killed 13 people and wounded 4.

Weapons Used: 9mm Beretta Vertec pistol, .45 Beretta Storm pistol
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: No

March 29, 2009. Eight people died in a shooting at the Pinelake Health and Rehab nursing home in Carthage, NC. The gunman, 45-year-old Robert Stewart, was targeting his estranged wife who worked at the home and survived. Stewart was sentenced to life in prison.

Weapons Used: Remington 597 .22 rifle, .357 revolver, .22 magnum pistol, 12 gauge Winchester 1300 shotgun.
Method of Capture: Arrested by police.
Guns Allowed:  Not on the premises, prohibited by sign on the property.

February 14, 2008. Steven Kazmierczak, 27, opened fire in a lecture hall at Northern Illinois University, killing 6 and wounding 21. The gunman shot and killed himself before police arrived. It was the fifth-deadliest university shooting in US history.

Weapons Used: 12 gauge Remington Sportsman shotgun, 9mm Glock 19 pistol, 9mm Sig Sauer P232 pistol, .380 pistol
Method of Capture: self-inflicted gunshot wound
Guns Allowed: No

February 7, 2008. Six people died and two were injured in a shooting spree at the City Hall in Kirkwood, Missouri. The gunman, Charles Lee Thornton, opened fire during a public meeting after being denied construction contracts he believed he deserved. Thornton was killed by police.

Weapons Used: Smith and Wesson model 29 44 Magnum revolver, Smith and Wesson .40 caliber pistol,
Method of Capture:  Shot and killed by police.
Guns Allowed: Not in city hall.

December 5, 2007. A 19-year-old boy, Robert Hawkins, shot up a department store in the Westroads Mall in Omaha, NE. Hawkins killed 9 people and wounded 4 before killing himself. The semi-automatic rifle he used was stolen from his stepfather’s house.

Weapons Used: Century WASR-10 semi-automatic rifle.
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: Not on mall property.

April 16, 2007. Virginia Tech became the site of the deadliest school shooting in US history when a student, Seung-Hui Choi, gunned down 56 people. Thirty-two people died in the massacre.

Weapons Used: Glock 19 pistol, Walther P22 pistol.
Method of Capture: suicide
Guns Allowed: No

February 12, 2007. In Salt Lake City’s Trolley Square Mall, 5 people were shot to death and 4 others were wounded by 18-year-old gunman Sulejman Talović. One of the victims was a 16-year-old boy.

Weapons Used: Mossberg 12 gauge shotgun, 38 caliber pistol
Method of Capture: Shot by off-duty police office illegally carrying his weapon.
Guns Allowed:  No, but you can NOW. They removed the on-premises signs.

October 2, 2006. An Amish schoolhouse in Lancaster, PA was gunned down by 32-year-old Charles Carl Roberts, Roberts separated the boys from the girls, binding and shooting the girls. 5 young girls died, while 6 were injured. Roberts committed suicide afterward.

Weapons Used: Springfield XD 9mm pistol, Browning 12 gauge shotgun, Ruger .30-06 bolt-action rifle.
Method of Capture: Suicide
Guns Allowed: No

March 25, 2006. Seven died and 2 were injured by 28-year-old Kyle Aaron Huff in a shooting spree through Capitol Hill in Seattle, WA. The massacre was the worst killing in Seattle since 1983.

Weapons Used: Winchester 1300 12 gauge shotgun, Ruger P944 40 caliber pistol
Method of Capture:  Self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Guns Allowed: No (It’s a private residence, but alcohol was on-site, so it would be unlawful to carry regardless of the local law.)

March 21, 2005. Teenager Jeffrey Weise killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend before opening fire on Red Lake Senior High School, killing 9 people on campus and injuring 5. Weise killed himself.
Weapons Used: .40 caliber Glock 23 pistol, .22 caliber Ruger pistol, Remington 870 12 gauge shotgun.
Method of Capture:  Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: No

March 12, 2005. A Living Church of God meeting was gunned down by 44-year-old church member Terry Michael Ratzmann at a Sheraton hotel in Brookfield, WI. Ratzmann was thought to have had religious motivations, and killed himself after executing the pastor, the pastor’s 16-year-old son, and 7 others. Four were wounded.

Weapon Used: 9mm pistol
Method of Capture:  self-inflicted gunshot wound
Guns Allowed: Yes, (I think)

July 8, 2003. Doug Williams, a Lockheed Martin employee, shot up his plant in Meridian, MI in a racially-motivated rampage. He shot 14 people, most of them African American, and killed 7.

Weapons Used: Winchester 12 gauge shotgun, Ruger Mini-14 .223 caliber rifle.
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Guns Allowed: No

September 15, 1999. Larry Gene Ashbrook opened fire on a Christian rock concert and teen prayer rally at Wedgewood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX. He killed 7 people and wounded 7 others, almost all teenagers. Ashbrook committed suicide.

Weapons Used: Ruger 9mm Pistol, .380 ACP pistol
Method of Capture: Suicide
Guns Allowed: No

July 29, 1999. Mark Orrin Barton, 44, murdered his wife and two children with a hammer before shooting up two Atlanta day trading firms. Barton, a day trader, was believed to be motivated by huge monetary losses. He killed 12 including his family and injured 13 before killing himself.

Weapons Used: Colt .45 pistol, Glock 17 9mm pistol, .22 pistol revolver, .25 caliber pistol
Method of Capture: Self-inflicted gunshot wound
Guns Allowed:  Too many various locations to determine all of them.

April 20, 1999. In the deadliest high school shooting in US history, teenagers Eric Harris and Dylan Kiebold shot up Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. They killed 13 people and wounded 21 others. They killed themselves after the massacre.

Weapons Used: 12 gauge Savage shotgun, Hi-Point 9mm pistol, TEC-9 9mm pistol, 12 gauge  Stevens shotgun, and 99 improvised explosives.
Method of Capture: Suicide
Guns Allowed: No

Aggregated Statistics:

Let’s go through these numbers, because they are important. I hate the concept of reducing people’s lives to statistical figures for analysis, and that’s not what I’m doing. I’m looking at the truth of what happened to figure out what should be done, or at least to maybe help others decide what they think should be done.

  • How many massacres are listed? 21
  • Over how many years did they occur? 13
  • How many people were killed in total? 183 people (including the killers)
  • How many of them involved assault rifles? 1 (The AK-47)
  • In how many of the 21 locations was a civilian allowed to carry a weapon to defend themselves or others? (Two, potentially three depending on the legality of one particular location in question.)
While atrocious in the extreme, and a fine example of some of our country’s worst human beings, pay attention to some of the aggregated figures revealed in these historical references.
Did you believe after hearing all these years that out of 21 massacres in our country’s recent history, a total of three of them happened in locations were people were allowed to carry guns? And of those 21 massacres, two of them were stopped by… wait for it… people carrying guns.  What does this tell you? It tells you clearly that killers prefer places where people are defenseless. These aren’t men that commit these crimes. They aren’t even hunters. Hunting, by rule and design, is performed in such a way to provide a “sporting  chance” for the prey to escape. These are killers, and by that clear divide are so far removed from the normal human being that it makes me wonder why we work so feverishly to legislate away the rights of normal people, when the killers among us aren’t going to follow those rules anyway.
In one instance above an off-duty cop broke the law by carrying a sidearm inside a mall that was clearly marked “No Firearms Allowed on Premises”, but thankfully he was able to take down the shooter and in the other instance more recently a mall patron drawing his weapon and aiming to return fire scared the murderer into a hallway where he shot himself rather than be captured. Everyone knows who the Clackamas town mall killer, but no one talks about Nick Meli… a twenty-two year old civilian with a concealed carry permit who did a few amazing things:
First, he checked to see if his friend and her baby were ok, getting them to cover.
Second, he pulled his concealed-carry piece in a mall with a crazed gunman, positioned himself behind cover and used a moment of distraction to draw down on a man who would likely blow his brains out if he had the chance.
Third; he didn’t fire. Because of another civilian behind the shooter in his potential line of fire, Nick never pulled the trigger.
Did that make the difference? People will argue that for a long time to come. Maybe seeing someone else with a gun was enough to make this guy think it was over. That seems to be a constant with these kinds of killers if you look at the facts. Almost 70% of them wind up putting a bullet into their own head as soon as they think capture is imminent. Maybe it just scared him long enough to make him stop shooting other people. Either way, less than a minute later, police were in the door and the shooter took his own life. People will judge Nick for a long time. He’ll be the butt of jokes, and some people will disbelieve his story. Regardless, the simple act of putting one’s own life between a crazed gun man and others, deserves a medal of honor in my book. Nick, the first beer is on me, buddy.
Sorry to digress – Without trying to resort to anything overly banal nor tacky, I’d like to analyze some of the pieces of information from the list of massacres. It seems fair to say that based on the 100% success rate in the two shootings where guns were involved, it seems mathematically possible that the other 90.4% of those fatalities could have been stopped mid-process by someone trained and permitted to carry a gun. Did someone with a gun stop the killing totally? No, only because they weren’t there at the perfect moment to do so. However they stopped MORE people from dying, and that counts a lot in my book. If not for those people, killings that left five or six dead could have instead left fifteen or twenty dead.
Let’s put that into mathematical figures one time – 90.4% of the the 183 deaths that happened as a result of gun-wielding lunatics happened in places where people aren’t allowed to carry guns to defend themselves. I don’t know about you but it seems to me that I’d rather have a pistol-packing third-grade teacher than a shotgun-wielding lunatic any day.
So What about Gun Control?
I know I’m going to disappoint every gun-toting Republican previously in my corner when I say this, but we DO need more gun control; much more. We just don’t need more prohibitions on firearms. They aren’t one in the same. We need proper enforcement of rules we already have.
And while I’m at it, all you people out there posting things like “Gun control is hitting them between the eyes” don’t make the conversation any easier for the rest of us who would actually like to discuss it like adults. People are dying and it’s our responsibility as human beings to stop it if we can. So, either say something constructive, or shut up.
Before I get on to gun control overall, let’s cover this stupid assault weapons crap that keeps coming up. Some people don’t know what it is, and others only think they do. Few actually bother to read the briefs instead of the headlines from the media, and fewer still read them more than once. (You can’t make sense of congressional briefs in a cliff-notes version read on the crapper. I’ve tried.)
So, on to the issue of assault weapons, just so we can get it out of the way.

 What is an Assault Weapon?

The “actual” definition of an assault weapon and the political definition are vastly different, which is why I have a problem with the term being hurled around the media by people who are too lazy to research their facts; this extends to includes the politicians voting on these by the way. Most of them don’t know the difference either. I’m going to focus on assault “rifles” since those are the issue at hand most of the time.

Which one of these below is an assault rifle?

Let’s take a test: Which one of these rifles shown below is an assault rifle?

Do you know? Can you tell from the picture? I’m not going to tell you which one it is yet. Leave your comments below and see if you can figure it out.

Why does it matter? Well, to me personally it matters because as a gun-toting member of America, I will vigorously protect my right to bear arms, but within reason. Will anyone ever take my guns? Not unless they pry the trigger from my cold clammy fingers first. The first person to try will get them all, bullets first.
Does that mean I need an assault rifle, as per the actual definition of one? No! I have no need for an assault rifle, and personally I don’t think the average civilian does either. First off, no one can afford to  shoot the danged things.. but we’ll get to that in a minute… or we won’t. Let’s leave it that bullets are expensive and few people have the money to really sit there and blow 50 bucks every three seconds. Let’s do a little more show and tell first.

Which is the more lethal rifle below? Based on ballistics?

Which one of these guns below makes you want to wet your pants and hide in a corner?



You would be smart to assume that’s a trick question, because it is. The rifle on top is a typical Bushmaster .223, the weapon used by the killer in Connecticut. The second rifle, the one below, is a Winchester .308 hunting rifle, a rifle no one ever wants to throw a ban on.

Why is America scared of one more than the other? Because the first one “looks” mean. In all actuality, that second rifle shoots a lot further, hits a lot harder, and has a much meaner bullet.  See below for yourself – I have both these kinds of ammo at home. These two bullets are lying side-by side. The top is the .223. The bottom is the .308.

Why is no one firing off political messages about banning Deer Hunting Rifles, because that’s what they both are by the way. Why? Because that .308 doesn’t look anywhere near as scary… I’d be lucky to hit a deer at 150 yards with a .223 and if I did it likely wouldn’t drop him unless it was a head shot. On the other hand I can put that .308 round through the chest-cavity of bambi at almost a mile, further away then she can even see it coming. Why are people scared of one over the other? The look of the gun…

Ok, let’s take that .308 and put a plastic housing on it, put a scope on it with a deflector, and a cool looking barrel, While I’m at it, I might as well make it black because that looks awesome, right?

Now we’ve made it into this:

Nah. I’m tired of that one. Now that I have some money I want to put one of those really cool-looking ACOG scopes on it so I can sight faster, and change out that smooth barrel for one with rails so maybe I can put a varmint-light on it for shooting coyotes at night. Since my whole family likes to shoot, let’s put on an adjustable stock so one gun will fit all of us, and change that barrel back to a factory one that’s longer so it’ s more accurate at long range. And just for kicks I’ll add a compensator to the barrel to make it look cool when it fires.

How’s that look? Hard to believe that’s almost the same rifle isn’t it? Ballistically, and with regard to its effect to do it’s job, it’s identical. Is it an assault rifle? No. It’s a hunting rifle, or a target rifle, that looks really awesome. That’s it.

Why do people like to build guns that look deadly? Because people like toys, and you can’t put a night-scope on my barrel without drilling holes in it, so you get one with rails, so you can just strap stuff to it. It’s cheaper and more effective to modify one rifle lots of different ways that it is to buy lots of rifles for different needs.

What it boils down to is that people are afraid of eye-glasses, kick-stands, and flashlights. Congratulations. That’s what most people think makes a gun an assault rifle: a kickstand, eyeglasses, and a flashlight.

 What actually IS an assault rifle?

What makes a rifle an “assault” rifle is a feature not available on most civilian rifles, and I don’t think it really should be. The technical definition is “a select-fire (either fully automatic or burst capable) rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.” Sounds complicated; let’s break it down.

Fully Automatic or Burst-Capable

An Assault rifle has a selector switch that changes if from semi-automatic (one-shot), to burst-fire, to fully automatic. Your normal rifle, whatever it’s looks, is semi-automatic… well, let’s step back even further and cover most all of them.

Bolt-Action – You pull up the bolt, pull it back, push it forward, lock it down, squeeze the trigger, bang. Repeat.

Lever Action: You pull down the lever, push up the lever, squeeze the trigger, ban. Repeat.

Semi-Automatic Action: You engage the bolt (how depends on the rifle) pull the trigger, bang, pull the trigger, bang, pull the trigger, bang, etc.Repeat.

Burst-Action: You engage the bolt, pull the trigger, bang, bang, bang (three rounds fire one behind the other with ONE squeeze of the trigger.)

Fully Automatic-Action: You engage the bolt, pull the trigger, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, click when the magazine runs out.

Intermediate cartridge just means the bullet is more powerful than a pistol, but less powerful then a battle rifle. And detachable magazine just means you can remove or insert the bullets in some kind of case or magazine rather than one at a time into the gun’s action. None of these last two parts are really things people care about as much in my opinion, so I’ll leave off with that explanation.

Assault Weapons versus Assault Weapons

You knew it was gonna get tricky didn’t you? Well now it just did. The Federal Government, in its traditional way of obfuscating things just to screw with people decided to label “Assault Weapons” differently for the political purpose of banning certain kinds of guns. They decided the word was scary enough to use, so in their push to ban certain kinds of weapons they decided their own definition of an assault weapon was the one to go with.

Their definition was specifically vague enough to confuse and anger most everyone in the gun world, myself included. Basically they decided that having a detachable magazine and any two of the following five characteristics makes a gun an assault weapon.

  • folding or telescoping stock
  • Pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action
  • a bayonet mount
  • a flash supressor or threaded barrel
  • a grenade launcher.
Yes, apparently you could have a grenade launcher, but NOT if you had a pistol grip, because that’s just too much! (I’m making light here. Relax. I’ve gotta get my laughs where I can these days.)
So why are gun enthusiasts pissed about these rules? Well, we’re not pissed about ALL of them, but some of them are… well, stupid. Let’s cover them and their uses in detail.
Telescoping or Folding Stock – These are used to match a shooter to their weapon. For example I might shoot with the stock extended because I have long arms. My wife might shoot with it closer in for the same shooting position on her shorter arms. It’s sure as hell better than buying two guns because you don’t  want to have to change stocks every time you change shooters. This is a stupid regulation.

Pistol Grips – The addition of a pistol grip  to some guns is designed to reduce the angle and the rotational strain of the wrist and to add more control of the rifle. They’re very popular with shooters with physical impairments that make it hard for them to hold a traditional grip,which CAN get tiring on the hand after a while, even for me. So, they want to ban a gun with this grip because it’s better for the shooter?? Put that in the category of stupid-ass rules that don’t belong and let’s move on to the next.

Bayonet Mounts – Ok, wait… really? I can have ten rounds to shoot someone with, but in the off chance I miss with all of them you’re gonna be pissy because I have a knife on the end of my gun? If I’m down to a bayonet (which I don’t even own) I’m more likely to use it as a club than a pointy instrument!  On a more factual matter, I have a 1967 Enfield inherited from my father that I restored. It has both a detachable magazine and a bayonet mount. Is my antique family heirloom suddenly illegal?

Flash Suppressor – These do one thing. They make the bangy part less bright. Yup, all they do is make the barrel produce less fire, to reduce eye-strain on the shooter or anyone nearby. Why is this bad exactly?

Grenade Launcher – I’m not going to dignify this with a response…

So, now you know what the government considers an assault weapon, versus what everyone who’s ever made them considers them to be and what’s always been the definition of one since they were invented. -1 for politicians who can’t read dictionaries.

Back to Gun Control:

Do you know what gun control was in my house growing up? I was about eight years old when I decided to play “fort” under my grandparent’s bed, hiding from my brother or cousin; I can’t remember which one it was at the moment. Somewhere during my hiding I found what someone had previously thought a cool spot for concealment. It turned out not to be so. As I came out into the living room carrying my grandfathers loaded .38 police special revolver which I though was SOOO COOL, I was quickly apprehended (read as tackled to the floor) by my father, who preceded to beat my ass so hard I wouldn’t sit again for days! I was told in no uncertain terms I’d better NEVER go snooping again and I’d better NEVER pick up a gun again unless I was told to by an adult member of my family.

That was the one and ONLY time I ever picked up a gun again without permission. That was gun control in my house. Now, will that work for the rest of the world? Well, some of them need a swift kick in the ass, but probably not as a whole.

Let’s step back and examine something that I find to be of importance. If we revisit the twenty-one massacres listed above, what stands out in your mind when thinking of the people who committed these crimes? Of the twenty-two individuals mentioned above (Columbine had two shooters) sixteen of them (three out of four) were so mentally screwed up as to be able to take a gun, put the barrel to their own face, and pull the trigger. Do you know how absolutely whack-job crazy you have to be to actually put a gun to your head and THINK about pulling the trigger? It takes a certifiable sick individual to actually DO IT. These are NOT normal people. These are crazy-ass-nut-job-rubber-room people the world is a lot better off without. The kindest thing they COULD have done was save us taxpayers the money and shoot themselves. Let that sink in for a minute… these weren’t the kids next door that play with your little Suzy after school; regardless of what politicians and media want to promote to us. These were sociopathic/psychopathic individuals that are so separated from reality that they think it’s OK to pull the trigger and kill children, then have the immense about of cahones it takes to shoot themselves in the head!

Gun control ain’t helping these people, folks!

Let’s revisit the most horrendous disaster we all can think of. Connecticut is still way too fresh in my mind to be able to talk about easily, but let’s face some facts. This kid, who people say was autistic (personally I don’t care if he was or not – it’s not relevant) walked into his mom’s house, went and got her gun, shot her IN THE FACE at point blank range, then got the rest of them, stole her car, and drove to a school.

The media has been purporting that the “gun-loving mom” was at fault here. Let’s say this man’s mother didn’t have a gun at all to her name. Do you think it any less likely he’d have gone somewhere else and shot someone else and used their guns instead? I don’t.

Let me Digress a Moment

One particular piece of journalism caught my eye thanks to a Facebook follower and I have absolutely GOT to get this off my chest…

The New York Post, in a piece of editorial journalism I didn’t think the Huffington Post would even deign to write, composed this article yesterday- Mother Shared her gun obsession with shooter Adam Lanza. Take a moment to read that article and then come back here. Really, go on, I’ll wait. I need more coffee anyway.

I don’t make it a policy to follow the NY Post, but I certainly won’t from now on. Hell, Fox News couldn’t even make up this kind of reporting and they don’t even needs things like facts to get in the way of their stories. Sentences like “Adam Lanza’s mother taught her son how to become a killing machine who used what he learned from her about firing guns to commit one of the worst massacres in American history at a Connecticut elementary school” was one of multitudes of commentary designed simply to inflame the reader – not to disseminate the news. This wasn’t freedom of the press.

You are the NEWS, not the Enquirer! You people, and I’m speaking specifically to Frank Rosario, Pedro Oliveira, and Dan MacLeod, should have your asses kicked all the way to the hiring line. Did your editor think that was good journalism? Do you? You three ass-hats should be permanently banned from journalism for that kind of crap. For God’s sake I’ve already spent more time researching this blog post that might get 500 views than you did that entire article and you represent the institution of journalism for God’s sake. You think sensational crap like that is going to make the world stand up, take notice, and have a serious conversation? No. It’s going to incite anger, fear, and stupidity from the masses. Congratulations you idiots… you just made the problem worse, not better. I hope your editor appreciates the extra page views that piece surely received.

Even worse, your “lethal fascination” imagery found on page two is so woefully devoid of factual information that all you could come up with is sharing trigger pressure and fps statistics about the guns. Who cares?  You should all be absolutely ashamed with yourselves…

End of rant – back to the topic at hand

Problems with Gun Control as it exists now:

There are a variety of problems with gun control, but few to none of them exist with gun owners. Rather, I’d like to posit from personal experience, that they stem from the government’s inability to actually monitor the practices they created – practices such as background checks, waiting periods, and more. I’ll share my stories. These are only my own experiences but to have this many experiences as just one person, show you how much is lacking in the oversight of our already-existing policies.

Concealed Carry – Instructors are a Joke.

I took my concealed carry course earlier this year to get my CCP (concealed carry permit). The certification that allows people to become instructors for these courses should be much more heavily regulated. My class was a weekend class, taught in one day, by a man and his daughter. The class started at 8 AM on Saturday, and I left around 6 PM that afternoon, having successfully completed my course.

North Carolina requires 8 hours of class-time instruction. We had about six when the instructor had covered all the material she thought relevant, so rather than spend the remaining time learning or reinforcing safety or incident scenarios, I got to watch a sixty-year old man tell the room how he could kill someone with just his two fingers and then proceed to try to teach this tactic to the class at large.
(When he asked for a volunteer, so he could showcase these deadly brain pokes and kidney jabs, part of me really really wanted him to pick me… just so the next time he said “Ok, attack me” I could just throat punch him and see how he recovered from that. If we’re talking self defense, let’s teach useful stuff, like tearing out a windpipe. That’s much easier than gouging your fingers into an assailant’s brain pan and trying to make scrambled mincemeat out of it.)

After the class was completed (Thank GOD, because I was about to go nuts) we had to go to the range. North Carolina requires a certain amount of ammunition to be fired by each person qualifying for their concealed carry. It further requires a certain amount of accuracy to be represented by the shooter, and certain groupings on the paper target. None of these were checked. The instructor chose to use the minimum state allowance of 30 rounds, instead of 50 rounds each. I watched person after person, including myself and my wife, blow through 30 rounds, go to the back of the line, and get our “Congratulatory” certification for concealed carry. Did I hit the paper? Of course. Hell, we did so good my wife wanted to keep the targets, but that’s not the point. The point is no one checked to see if I hit the paper or if I missed the mound entirely and shot a round off into a neighboring house.

Personally, I’d LOVE to teach that class myself. It would be a fun-filled grueling day of serious knowledge and practical applications that might save your life. There was no one-on-one time spent with the applicants. I know for a fact a 67-year old woman received her permit and hardly had any idea what she’d just done.

The last step for the North Carolina concealed carry permit, before you file your application with the police department, is to take a written test. The instructor actually asked the class of thirty applicants “Do you guys want to take this on your own or should we do it out loud together?” Well hell, who is going to say no to the opportunity to a perfect score?

Yes, the entire class got perfect scores that day. No one missed a single question, because the instructor TOLD the class the answers as we went along. If by chance, any one DID miss a question, it’s only because someone doctored the answers so they wouldn’t all appear to be 100’s around the room.

Why does this happen? It happens because an instructor can take a class full of people, work them for about 9 hours, charge them $60 each, and make $1,500 profit on a Saturday afternoon. Then he can do it again every other weekend of the year. In years past it was hard to find a concealed-carry class in North Carolina because they were so spread out. Now, instructors will offer deals to get you to their class instead of another, so they can fill their seats faster. Almost every instructor condenses the class to the minimum one-day rather than two days. Fill as many seats as you can as fast as you can – that’s the philosophy.

The concealed carry instructor program needs serious oversight, a massive overhaul, and better enforcement. So, let’s start with that. If you don’t want idiots having concealed carry permits, don’t let idiots be responsible for teaching them the rules and then administering an open-book test that’s not able to be failed unless you happen to have left your prosthetic arm at home that morning… both of them!

Hunting Licenses – Also a joke.

I love hunting. I wanted to hunt. I walked into Wal-mart about a month ago and asked for a hunting license. I got one in five minutes. Sound too easy? It was. My wife even said right there at the cash register- “Oh, shoot. They’re probably going to want to see your paperwork from the hunter safety class.”

What hunter safety class?” I quietly said out of the corner of my mouth as I stood there smiling… “I didn’t know anything about a hunter safety class. They gave me a concealed permit to potentially shoot people.. doesn’t that mean I’m OK to shoot deer?

Nothing was said as I stood there in front of the department manager and the cashier. They just went about their paperwork and I was done in a few minutes, having no idea what just happened there, but glad that I didn’t have to do any more paperwork.

After getting my hunting license, a friend of mine wanted to go hunting with me, so I told him he needed to get a license. We went to do the research together and then, and only then, found out there IS a process you’re supposed to go through.

First – You go online to your state’s wildlife web site and take a state-test. It’s a six hour process that you can’t skip through and you can’t cheat on. It’s actually fairly informative and ridiculously detail-oriented. Too bad I only knew about it after I had my license.

Second – Field day. Before the state of North Carolina will let you go out in the woods with a high-powered rifle and fire at living creatures a mile in the distance, maybe surrounded by houses… you have to have passed a field day exam. This is where a trained professional works with you in the field for a day to be sure you know what you’re doing. They teach you the rules, how to hunt responsibly, how to hunt ethically, and how to hunt SAFELY. (I never got this test either.)

Then, after all that is completed, you will be presented with both a printed-off test score to prove you’ve taken your test AND proof that you’ve gone through your field day with the state-approved officer. When you walk into any hunting license location you are supposed to present these two items (or a previous hunting license as proof) before you can get your hunting license.

Me – I walked in, said “Hey, can I get a hunting license?” Then I passed her forty bucks and walked out, ready to kill something. Scary huh?

Am I a trained rifleman? Yes. I’ve been trained by the United States Marine Corps, trained by a few friends in law-enforcement at both local and federal levels, and had a lot of coaching by a US Army Ranger and sniper. So, yeah, I think I’m better than the average bear when it comes to gun safety… but what if I wasn’t?

To prove my point, I told my friend “Hell, they didn’t make me show any paperwork. Just walk into the store and see if they’ll give you one.”

He did. And they did. No test. No field practice. No proof of anything. Here’s your hunting license. Scary huh? More like “here’s your sign.” There’s another thing you can work on, government. Work on cleaning that up a little bit and correcting the $8.00 an hour employees who are passing out licenses to kill things with no hesitation to whomever walks into the store.

Background Checks

I like that we live in age of digital communications, where things can be done instantly. When I purchased my very first handgun permits in Pitt County, North Carolina ten years ago or more, I was familiar with the seven-day waiting period rule. I knew it existed because it provided a cooling off period, and because background checks take time.  Not anymore they don’t.

I walked into the Pitt County Sheriff’s office years ago at about 9:00 AM and asked to purchase two handgun purchase permits. I filled out my fingerprint cards, entered my info on the paperwork, and passed the sheriff’s deputy my ten dollars. (they’re five dollars each in most counties here). I expected to have to come back the following week, which was OK with me, because I really wanted them for the gun-show that was coming to town soon.

The sheriff’s deputy said “Oh, that’s no problem. C’mon by after lunch and pick ’em up.”

Huh? Excuse me? What? Were you talking to me?

She explained that background checks can now be done in only a matter of minutes, so right before her lunch break she’d enter them all into the computer, run all the checks, and have all the approved permits in a matter of minutes. Since I didn’t particularly WANT to wait the seven days if I could have them right then, I agreed and came back after lunch. Sure enough, I had two handgun purchase permits the same day.

My complaint is this – Sure, I’m a normal guy who’s never been in trouble. I happen to be the type that will never commit a gun crime. But for all they know I could have been a total sociopath who planned to…oh, I dunno, murder a school full of children that afternoon! I was in and out of there lickety-split, with the power in my hands to purchase two brand new shiny guns!

Half the point in the seven day waiting period is to have that time to cool off, to change your mind. Maybe you’re upset that day and you really don’t NEED to do what you’re thinking of doing. Being forced to wait a week will settle a lot of problems before they start. We should go back to that. There’s no reason, shy of poor planning, that you can’t wait a week before getting a handgun, no matter the circumstance. And you ARE in that circumstance then you DEFINITELY don’t need one.

Did you know the Sandy Hook killer went to a store three days before the killing to get his own gun? The management at the store refused him one because Adam Lanza didn’t want to do the background check. I’m sorry, but here’s a legislative idea that doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out. When a guy walks into a store and refuses to buy a gun because you have to run a background check.. THAT IS THE GUY YOU WANT TO BE ON THE LOOK OUT FOR YOU IDIOTS!!!

Want to see me fix a national crisis? Watch.

New Rule: Every licensed gun dealer is required to have a way to communicate to the federal database, whether it be phone or website entry into the national federal database (Every Wal-mart has this for their rifle sales already. It takes ten minutes.)  From now on, every customer that wants to even ASK about purchasing a gun has to register first. First name, Last name, address, Social, and a physical ID that matches that information.

Don’t go getting all pissed off. ALL OF THAT is required before you get one anyway, in every state, so it’s nothing you don’t have to do already. It’s just an effort to stop the freaks who slip through the cracks.

Further, every store is required to have a security camera system that has 30-day playback ability focused over that counter at all times. Failure to record that information AND capture that video is a ten-thousand dollar fine, and a potential revocation of your FFL license. If it happens twice, your store gets closed permanently!

What did I just do? I just voided all the FFL’s of the back-woods home-brew gun shops that don’t want to report to authorities. Now, if you want to sell a gun to someone, YOU at least have to be reputable.

You know what it takes for me to become a gun dealer that can transport across state lines? Two hundred bucks and an application. That’s it. I’ve been planning to get mine for awhile now, but just haven’t done it. Based on the luck I’ve had so far though, I’m pretty sure if I had a spare $200 I could open a gun shop in my garage in less than a month. (Anyone wanna send me $200 for a test of the national FFL system? lol. I wonder if I can write that off as an expense if I put it in a book later… book research?)

Should that be legal? In my opinion, no. Many professional industries have certain requirements that have to be met before someone can participate in them. Doctors have to have insurances and certain practice standards. Accountants have to have certain levels of service instituted by their industry. I don’t think slapping a few common-sense rules on gun dealers is too far a reach, do you?

If you want to stop guns from getting to the wrong people, stop trying to punish people who don’t do anything wrong. Instead, start punishing people who sell them to people we all know they shouldn’t.

What about the public paying for that? Is that too expensive a program to institute? Let’s make it self-funding. (I really should work in the Federal government. I can churn out these ideas all day long.) Give a reward of $2,000 to anyone who can go into a gun shop and purchase a firearm without following all the rules, dependent on that person notifying the FBI and turning over the weapon. The government gets to slap fines on a shit-load of gun dealers to make their money back and a few people make a few bucks. Within 30 days nationwide, the gun-dealers in America would get VERY damned picky about whom they sold guns to and no one would accidentally forget to double-check the paperwork again. After that, the Federal government can have a gun auction to LEGAL permit-holders and make ALL the money back and then some, considering the illegal guns were probably sold for less than street value anyway.

Gun Shows – Why?

Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE gun and knife shows like you can’t imagine. Traditionally thought, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s a bunch of redneck dealers trying to hawk absolute crap knives and sub-par guns but you can always find a good deal on something somewhere if you look over the whole arena. Half the time I spend there is occupied looking at survivalist wannabe’s haggling over fake military gear. (Hint: if it says “Authentic Military Blah Blah Blah” on some product tag – it’s not. The military manufacturer’s don’t have to advertise. They have government contracts, dummy. Further, real Ka-Bar knives are all made in the USA, not China.) The other half of the time I’m looking for that rare deal on a specific gun I can’t find at my local gun stores. Sometimes I find it and sometimes I don’t. At the minimum what I get is a really neat chance to pick up and handle some gear I might one day want to buy but have been waffling on because I hadn’t had the chance to hold one yet.

In reality, none of us gun-nuts are going to lose out on anything if we have to buy from stores rather than gun-shows. We’d just have one less occasion to pack the family in the International Scout, polish up our Jungle Boots, toss on our military camo and say things like “copy that” and “roger Papa Bear” to each other one weekend every month. Truthfully, they’d probably still do it but they’d just go hunting or camping instead of congregating in one arena.

Would this hurt some economies? Almost certainly. There is a minority job market out there for people who want to sell guns and who only do it at gun shows. However, that economic niche was only created because of the lax regulations known for at gun and knife shows in the first place. But if you give Americans the choice to either regulate guns through less dealers with better management and oversight or stopping perfectly legal purchasers from getting guns because you’re too stupid to try it any other way, you’ll have a lot better support on a national level if you weed out the poor dealers first.  An individual who purchases a gun only buys at most five or six, or even ten. One crooked gun dealer can sell THOUSANDS to people who legally shouldn’t have them.

How many guns are too many?

Truthfully, that’s none of anyone’s business. If I pass a background check to get the permit to purchase a gun, no one has any right to determine how many I can or can’t have. Why do you care? Hell, I only have one set of hands anyway, so at most I could only fire two at once and wouldn’t be accurate if I did. What am I gonna do with the other 67 that week? Ten percent of gun sales and five percent of ammo sales goes to wildlife programs to preserve animals and to help make hunting legislation. There’s no reason to mess with that. It already works and screwing with it messes up more than people think. Numbers of guns don’t matter. It’s my constitutional right to own them. I don’t tell you how many squeegees you can have at your janitor job, do I? Do I tell you how many import luxury cars some rich guy can own? No. Quantity is irrelevant to the problem. The only quantitative figure that’s important is the number of crazies out there, not the number of guns.

Ammunition Restrictions – Stop being ignorant.

When gun control comes up, it’s always followed closely by some sort of bill being introduced to regulate ammunition sales by quantity. Why do you care if I have 500 rounds of .45 ammunition or fifty-thousand? Has anyone ever had a massacre where they walked into a school with a M249 squad assault weapon and dumped 3,000 rounds of belt-fed ammo into the occupants? If so I missed that one. Go back to the stories above. Those are factual cases.

In what national headline did you see someone expend hundreds and hundreds of rounds? Almost every one of those crimes could have been committed for less than $100 in ammunition, usually with less than one small-quantity box. No one has ever unloaded ammunition cases full of bullets at other people.

People that know nothing about shooting are usually the ones that make stupid, uneducated comments about ammo sales. Do you know how many rounds it takes with a particular weapon to become familiar enough to call yourself “good?” 100? 500? 1,000?

Most gun experts will tell you that it takes almost 1,000 rounds going through the barrel before any handgun is even broke in well. It takes another nine thousand rounds of practice before any professional is considered “good” with a particular weapon. Shooters, real shooters, have to expend tens of thousands of rounds to acquire proficiency with a weapon, especially handguns, and like any skill it has to be maintained or it suffers from degradation over time.

So if I want to shoot well, shoot safely, and teach my kids to do the same, it would stand to reason to most people like you want me buying as much ammunition as I can afford and practicing as often as I can and making sure my kids practice safely and often as well. Otherwise, if we ever DO have to draw that weapon, we’re putting ourselves and others at risk by not being proficient with it.

In short, practice makes perfect and it’s my right to practice as often as I please.

Recent shootings captured in the news reports, such as the Colorado theater shooting, mentioned that James Holmes bought 6,000 bullets. As a shooter, practicing with something like a semi-automatic rifle, that’s nothing anyone who knows anything about guns would be surprised by. It’s like saying that today in news, a truck-driver bought 500 gallons of gas. Whoop-de-doo. Who cares?

Did he use 6,000 bullets? Nope. Can he even CARRY 6,000 bullets if he wanted to? Nope. Most standard rifle bullets weigh between 28-32 pounds per thousand rounds. Six thousand rounds for a rifle would weigh approximately 192 pounds. 12 gauge shotgun shells weigh about 1.25 ounces each, so a box of 25 weighs approximately 1.95 pounds. Six thousand rounds of shotgun shells, assuming steel shot, would weigh about 468 pounds. So, the more ammunition I have means… nothing. It’s irrelevant to anyone who doesn’t know anything about shooting, but people are up in arms about it anyway.

If you DO know something about shooting, you know you can burn through a heck of a lot of ammunition just trying to teach someone how to shoot safely. When I teach people to shoot, I don’t provide the ammo. I can’t afford to any more. The point is.. if I’m allowed to buy ammunition, then it shouldn’t matter how much I buy.

Now, having said that, if they wanted to put a law into place that says something like “any purchase of more than ten thousand rounds has to be reported,” well that’s fine, but let’s be honest; that would just encourage people to visit lots of different stores. It’s very similar to the law that says any deposit in excess of ten-thousand dollars has to be reported to the IRS. Because of that law, I purposefully always make my deposits smaller. It’s no one’s business how much I deposit or withdraw as long as I pay my taxes each year, right? The same goes with ammunition.

As a side note, I don’t see anyone reporting people who buy too much food, or too much rice, or who pay in cash… wait..  I forgot. They do that now.

What what about carrying guns in public?

I live in an open-carry state, a fact which I love and a right which I choose to utilize every single day of my life. Do you know what? Look up police reports or news reports. Have you ever seen me in the news for brandishing a weapon in Lowe’s or Wal-mart? Nope. Anyone who knows me knows there is always a loaded handgun within 24 inches of me twenty four hours a day. I wear my sidearm like I wear my cell phone. It’s habit. I’ve never been robbed, but nor have I ever had the cops called on me for “going armed to the terror of the public” or “waving a gun around.” I’m very conscious of my side-arm and I’m even more conscious never to touch it, nor even rest my hand on it, ever if I’m in a public establishment. I’ve never given anyone a reason to think I was threatening anyone with it, and because of that I’ve enjoyed over a decade of no one giving me grief about it.

The other day in Lowe’s  a lady named Barbara who works in hardware asked me about it; what it was, what type, what I recommended, etc. She’s thinking of getting her first gun for herself. I explained to her that I’d love to let her see it sometime when we weren’t in Lowe’s but that honestly, I couldn’t exactly pull it out in the hardware store and show it to her. She seemed surprised to hear that. She asked me why not. I explained to her that wherever you see a man wearing a gun, you can almost always guarantee there’s another person with one keeping an eye on him. If I were to draw my sidearm in Lowe’s  for ANY reason, even to lay it on the counter to give it to someone else – I could be convicted of a crime.

Having a gun and knowing how to properly use it, carry it, and conceal it when necessary, are all parts of responsible gun ownership – and they should all be taught to potential gun purchasers.

Most likely I will wear my sidearm the rest of my life and never have the need to pull it because nothing will ever happen when I’m around. That’s just the statistical odds of the matter. Second likely is the fact that someone may walk into a waffle-house or gas station where I’m standing at the counter with the intention to pull a gun and change his mind. Criminals with guns don’t like it when the odds are evened up. Least likely is the chance that someone will one day walk past me in a mall and pull his gun out to shoot someone and I’ll be forced to make the decision to use it or to surrender. The odds of that happening are probably less then 1 in a million. That number halves every time another person in that mall is wearing one in plain sight. If you’ve got a mall with where it’s not uncommon to see patrons armed, no one is going to pull a gun crime in that mall. No criminal ever thought to themselves, “Dude, it would be so cool to rob that place and then get shot in the face by grandma when I go running past Bed Bath and Beyond.”

In Colorado, had one of the off-duty patrons of that theater been a cop or military service member or even a civilian with a CCP,  and they had been allowed to carry their sidearm, that story would have ended much differently. The news would have read “Two killed and three wounded before heroic citizen saved the day” rather than the word “massacre.”

Killers with guns will not stop because normal people can’t get guns. The ONLY thing in the world that can stop a madman with a gun is either stupid misfortune, or another man with a gun. That’s the brutal truth of it.

I went to Manteo High School, so did my dad and most of the rest of my family. When my dad was younger, he and the man that later became our state senator, spent most every morning hunting before school. They’d come into the high-school, toss their shotguns and dead geese in the locker, and head off to class. No one ever got shot in schools back in those days…. ever. (Yeah, those hooks in the lockers… they used to hand dead birds, not jackets. Neat huh?)

Thirty years later, we had to leave our guns locked in our gun racks in the parking lot. They weren’t allowed in the school building itself. No one got shot in those days either.

Today, you can’t have a gun at school. No one can – not teachers, not principals, not anyone. Today, kids die in schools.

You can argue it all you like. It’s a fact.

Killers like targets of opportunity, or what professionals refer to as a “soft-target”. Hard targets are locations that are either fortified for defense or in which armed resistance is expected. If schools were hard targets, we’d have no school shootings. Bass Pro shop is a hard target. Gun shops are hard targets. No one is committing massacres in the gun section of Bass Pro shop… ever. All those bastards are armed, myself included when I shop there. You can argue it up and down all day. The facts borne throughout our history prove this philosophy is more likely than any psycho-babble the media or politicians want to spew.

I want my kids to be safe. If schools want to be safer, let the teachers and staff who ARE properly trained and who ARE properly licensed carry if they choose to. They’ve been through training. We could even do MORE training for them.

My kids go to a public school, but let me tell you right here and now – If I saw a memo come in the mail that North Stanly High School was asking for contributions to pay for handgun training for teachers who wanted to participate, I’ll buy the first 1,000 rounds, deliver them myself with a batch of cookies and a thank you letter, and I’ll do it proudly.

I’d rather have a caring, upstanding member of society who is willing to put his own life at risk to save my child’s carrying a gun to protect my kids, than I would have a security guard (which they don’t have) with a night-stick (which doesn’t work) defending them.

Here’s an idea for the Federal Government:

For every location in America in which you don’t allow citizens to defend themselves, you have to put someone there with a gun that CAN defend them. Any private institution (mall, store, restaurant, etc) that chooses to have a no-weapons policy can have one, no questions asked. Violators can be prosecuted. All I have to do is know what locations those are so I know not to go there. Signs should be large and prominent and required on every entry door to the facility.  I’ll do business with people who choose to support my constitution and stay out of soft-target areas. Deal?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

So, do we need more gun control? Absolutely. What we DON’T need is some politician trying to step all over the second amendment to our Constitution. Personally, I really don’t see that being a likely scenario. I think those in Washington are very aware that trying to disarm American citizens would likely result in a civil war. I believe it should… our own second amendment right exists specifically to protect us from tyrannical government – and coming around to try to collect our guns would most likely fall within the realm of tyranny to anyone who considered it.

So, why don’t we all get together, ALL OF US, and stop screaming and yelling about gun rights and instead try to offer suggestions that work well within the laws we already have, or serve to improve them without stepping on the rights of lawful citizens? It can be done if we’d all just stop screaming from the rooftops and try to talk like adults. Politicians certainly can’t do it without our help. Those poor bastards can’t balance their own wallets. They need our help – real help – real advice that’s well thought-out and delivered in a calm and sensible voice and backed up by fact, not agenda or psychology.

Apologies and Condolences

I’d like to end this with some final strong message to government, or to at least politicians or individuals who have the power to speak up for change. In light of recent events, I can’t bring myself to do it. I’d like to instead extend my heartfelt condolences and prayers to the families of the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary School, and to the families and friends of every victim I’ve inadvertently brought into this conversation by mentioning them in this article. You all deserve a peace you’ll likely never have. To say I can imagine how you feel would be both disingenuous and completely and utterly untrue. I’ve never gone to bed with the horror of knowing that tomorrow I’ll wake up without my children’s sounds in the house. None of us who haven’t lost people to something like this can possibly know your pain.  I will keep you in my prayers, as will countless hundreds of thousands of others and I pray once again that something for the lasting good can come out of what is truly the worst tragedy in my lifetime.

2nd Amendment Considerations

Updated: December 20, 2012

I’m adding this for two reasons. First, a conversation I had with a friend of mine who inspired me to research the idea a little better, and secondly because it’s come up in various 2nd Amendment conversations surrounding this post and others like it.

So, let’s give the second amendment to the United States Constitution some serious consideration and examine a few facts of the period. The second amendment was ratified as part of the Bill of Rights on December 15th, 1791.

I’ve learned to assume nothing when it comes to readership, hence my obvious propensity to break things down to bite-sized pieces, consumable by all, even the those possessing the dimmest caliber of cognitive function. That being understood, what does the second amendment say, exactly?

There are a few versions, but the one passed by Congress states “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.” Twenty-six words; and probably the most disagreed-over piece of ambiguous legislation ever to be penned to paper.

I’m going to skip the history lesson because it could go on for ages, but there are a few important things to know about the mind-set of the people who wrote, and agreed themselves to be bound by, those words. It requires no conjecture or guesswork because there are hundreds of penned pages by people of the time surrounding their thoughts on the matter, so I’ll just list the highlights.

The federal government wanted the second amendment to be sure that the states understood they were going to be responsible for maintaining their militias on a local and community level, in the event that the Crown tried to seize power again. It wasn’t likely but it was a thought that prevailed through the US Congress at the time.

Those thinking on behalf of the “people” (the normal citizenry like you and I) expressed strong concern to to the signing of the Constitution at all, and this bill was one of their aces in the hole. There was already a very strong dislike for the fact that the federal government had already, under the new constitution, moved the power for defense from the states and the people to federal control. It created a fear that the federal government could itself develop overwhelming military force through its power to maintain a standing army and navy, and this could lead to a confrontation with the states themselves, even so far as to try to attempt a military takeover of the states by the federal government. (Sound familiar?)

Article VI of the Constitution had already made it unlawful for anyone besides the federal government to maintain a standing army, or to maintain a standing force, unless that force was requested by Congress and then it had to be under their terms.

Whether people at the time were federalist or anti-federalist, they both agreed on one common thing on both sides of their aisles; they were afraid of tyrannical rule.

Posed against that fear, the framers of the Bill of Rights saw the Bill of Rights as a check against the power of the federal government.

Let me take that and put it in to modern day english that’s really simple, and is completely unarguable… because you can research the framer’s beliefs on the subject yourself and read it in your own words. The original framers of the Bill of Rights were scared of the Federal Government of the United States taking action against the citizenry and them being unable to defend themselves. 

It’s an incontrovertible piece of historical record that any one of you can summon up with a Google search. So yes, the second amendment was ratified for TWO reasons.

  1. The Federal Government wanted the backing of the civilian population in case they were ever attacked.
  2. The citizenry was scared of the new government becoming as tyrannical as the old one they just fought and bled to flee.

George Mason was a delegate from Virginia and a devout anti-federalist (Patriot) and is most famous for his reminder that we didn’t want to become England again when he said “to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

Similarly, James Monroe fought to have the right to keep and bear arms listed in the original Constitution as a basic human right, not a right of states, but of people themselves.

Patrick Henry said similarly “Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.”

Everyone knows James Madison, one of the more influential framers of the Bill of Rights. He blatantly  came out and compared the new America to tyrannical England and described them as “afraid to trust the people with arms.” He proposed to the people at large that they need never fear their government because of the advantage of being armed themselves.

So, let’s agree (though some of you still won’t) that many of the fundamental founders of our country even feared the US getting too powerful over it’s citizenry and fought tooth and nail to be sure the citizens had their rights protected, through their right to bear arms. It’s not conjecture. It’s historical fact.

Ok, so now that we know WHY we as a People wanted the right to bear arms, let’s address the other conversation that keeps cropping up.

I’d like to first mention that I’m not a proponent of the argument I’m about to make, but rather I’d like to enlighten the idiots that think they know what “kind of guns” should and shouldn’t be allowed.

It’s true that our forefathers had no idea what their version of the modern rifle would someday become. They never envisioned a killing machine that could spit hundreds of rounds per minute, though had they, they would have been overjoyed to have them as opposed to the ones that spit three rounds per minute if they were lucky. ( A well trained soldier could get off about one round every sixty second if they were good.) That last part is conjecture, and not factual, but I believe it to be true nonetheless. Back to facts though…

The military of 1791 didn’t own crap. Uncle Sam at the time was a fledgling constitutional republic and the federal government couldn’t get rifles fast enough for their soldiers. As such many citizens of the time were asked to supply their own rifles to and pistols to help the cause. It was literally a cry of “Come fight the war! And oh yeah, bring your guns. We ain’t got any!”

So, what were the modern weapons of the day? There were two standard weapons that every soldier craved. They were the flintlock pistol and the flintlock musket. The variant of the musket we Americans most favored was the “Brown Bess,” a .75 caliber musket rifle designed in 1762.

The flintlock pistols varied in shape and style, but basically looked like the one below.

A lucky wartime veteran would have both. The rifle was to shoot as many enemy as they could as fast as they could. The pistol was a last defense when the enemy had run in too close for rifle combat. By the time you had to resort to firing your pistol, you sure as hell had better hit your target because you weren’t getting another twenty seconds to reload!

Well, that’s what the army had, but what did the people have?

Were you not paying attention? Hello! *knock knock*

That WAS what the civilian’s had! The army half the time made civilians use their own weapons in defense of the country. What’s important to understand here was the playing field was level. The average Joe at home had the same thing the military had at their disposal – the most lethal weapon ever invented in history for man-to-man armed combat; the musket.

They had ’em, and we had ’em.

What does that argument have to do with anything? Well it serves to put something into perspective from a historical standpoint. The people fought for the right, and succeeded, to have the same weapons as those that might someday oppress them, and won that right. If we’d had M249 Squad Assault Weapons, those would have been included in the right to keep and bear arms. Fact, not interpretative fiction… fact.

So how does this play out today? Let’s go back and consider the wording of the second amendment again: “a well regulated militia, being neccessary to the security of a free state…”

This phrase has caused hundreds of legal battles throughout history, both because of the use of the word “militia” (which we today use in a different meaning) and “free state,” which has been argued to apply to the state as a whole, and also to people as individuals composing themselves as a state.

These arguments were argued as the “States Rights” versus the “sophistican collective rights model,” and the “standard model” – the latter referring to a person as an individual having the right to keep and bear arms.

So, why don’t we take it to the Supreme Court then? Let them decide. We did. Three separate times it has been before the Supreme Court: in the 2001 fifth circuit ruling in the United States v. Emerson, in the 2008 case of DC versus Heller, and in the 2010 ruling of McDonald vs Chicago. Every time in history it has been brought before the Supreme Court, they have agreed that it was an individual human right, as applies to a person, not to an entity such as a state, government, or police department, etc. It is every American’s right to be able to bear arms, and the arms in question at the time of the ruling were whatever arms were in existence in 1791.

So we can agree that based on fact and legal precedent, we were originally given the right to bear arms because we were afraid of our government becoming tyrannical and trampling us as citizens, and that this right applies to every citizen of the United States.

Now, how about we add some common sense, ok?

We’ve already done that, to a large extent. We have rules already that say the following people cannot have guns:

  1. Persons under indictment for, or convicted of, any crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding on year;
  2. Fugitives from justice;
  3. Persons who are unlawful users of, or addicted to, any controlled substance;
  4. Persons who have been declared by a court as mental defectives or have been committed to a mental institution;
  5. Illegal aliens, or aliens who were admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa;
  6. Persons who have been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces;
  7. Persons who have renounced their United States citizenship;
  8. Persons subject to certain types of restraining orders; and
  9. Persons who have been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
  10. Persons under 18 can’t own handguns
  11. no one can own assault rifles without a Class III permit

Further, in addition to owning them, it’s illegal for anyone to sell them to anyone who meets these criteria. It’s even a felony to sell them to someone if a reasonable person have reasonable cause to suspect the person you’re selling to meets one of those criteria. For the most part, it can be reasonably ascertained that it’s already illegal for criminals to own firearms.

Well hell, why didn’t you just say so! If we’d known that we’d have made sure all the criminals were aware. That must be the reason they still break those laws.. they just don’t know they’re doing it! Got ya!

Guns only exist to kill people, so they should be banned.

If you are asinine enough to believe that, then I can’t argue with you. Please go stick your head in a toilet and breathe deep…  you can’t be reasoned with.
I’m not going to resort to the “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people” phrase, but only because it’s overused. It makes perfect sense and it applies to everything else in the world except guns in some people’s minds.
  • Someone gets stabbed – no one bans knives.
  • Restaurant patrons get anaphylaxis from peanut oil – no one bans peanuts.
  • Teen texting while driving kills someone – no one bans either phones OR cars.
  • Drunks kill people driving all the time – no one ban’s public drinking. (This one amazes me)
  • Obesity kills people – Yes, people are actually too stupid to stop eating and they die from it.. yet no one bans bad foods.

So let’s go ahead and say it and get it out there… “Guns only exist to kill people.” Bullshit. I call bullshit. I don’t know how else to say it. (Sorry, Mom.)

Gun’s are tools. Their only purpose IS to end life, I’ll grant you that, but the same extends to the sword, the spear, the javelin (yes, that’s why those were invented, specifically.)

Guns also provide a defense AGAINST killing people. You anti-gun people can whine all you want to the contrary but it’s backed up by completely irrefutable fact throughout history. With an overwhelming, disgustingly high percentage, bad guys don’t go after targets who can defend themselves.

Guns also exist to SAVE lives! Police don’t use guns to kill people unless they have to. They use them as deterrents, as do I in my house. Bad guy pulls knife. Cop pulls gun. Bad guy drops knife.
Let’s try it the other way around. Bad guy pulls gun. Cop pulls knife. Bad guy shoots cop. Bad guy now has gun AND knife. Bad guy continues onward being…well, bad.

I’m not sitting at home every night with my gun in my hand waiting for the chance to kill someone. If I ever had to do it, I’d probably puke my guts out after the adrenaline fled my bloodstream. I AM sitting  near my gun at all times at night so someone else can’t break in and kill, rape, or endanger my children or my wife.

Guns provide food for people: Hunting has been a sport since guns have existed, and before. The only difference is that it’s safer now. Talk all you want about being unsportsmanlike, but a pig is one of the most deadly animals commonly found in nature. They are incredibly smart, fast, and mean as hell. They can kill you in seconds. Having my gun makes it a lot easier to hunt hog than a spear did four hundred years ago.

There’s nothing wrong with hunting, and there’s nothing wrong with defending yourself or your loved ones. It’s our basic human duty to look out for each other. Guns will never go away, ever, just like the nuclear weapon will never go away. We all agree that no one should use them, EVER, because innocent people are 100% guaranteed to get hurt. I don’t see the Federal Government disarming themselves lately. The mere idea of mutually assured destruction has been enough to hold us in nuclear limbo for decades. The same goes on within a smaller social construct with regards to human beings. If I have guns, and you KNOW I have guns, you rob my neighbor instead of me.

We all agree that murderings and massacres aren’t committed by sane people for the most part, right? Well hell, even the mentally deficient seem to be smart enough not to attack places where there is a likelihood of a firefight! Have you ever heard of a massacre at a Bass Pro shop? How about a pawn shop that sells guns? How about a walmart? Even considering the MASSIVE number of Walmart’s their are, there are still relatively VERY few gun incidents at them. Why? People can carry guns in Wal-mart. That’s why.

Remember a few years ago when people started shooting up churches in the middle of Sunday services? It was all over the South for awhile. You don’t think they stopped because they were tired of it, do you? Perhaps you mistakenly assume the police apprehended those folks. You’d be wrong.They stopped because a lot of church-goers, including myself, keep their tithe right next to their .45 in their pants pockets. All it took was a few churches where members opened fire on would-be assailants and that word spread quick. That mess stopped in a hurry.

 Solutions Anyone?

I’ve had a lot of people email or message me and say they’re sending this page to their congressman or senator. Well, that’s freaking awesome. Maybe someone will see it and find something constructive here to use. On the off chance they DO read it, maybe we should devote some time to actual ideas that don’t involve shredding the second amendment. Surely you rhetoric-spouting idiots out there can shut your mouth long enough to engage your brain and actually come up with something useful, can’t you?

I’ve had a few ideas offered by people on my Facebook wall and via instant message. A few of them have some good ideas if people would shut up long enough to listen. I know I already mentioned some previously, and the smart thing to do might be to list these ideas up there with them, but for the sake of those who are reading the addendums to the original post, I’m not editing the original content. They were kind enough to read 12,000 words the first time, so I’m not going to make them hunt through it twice for minor changes.

Mental Health Ideas

I cant’ take credit it for this idea, but it’s been prevalent all over my wall these last forty eight hours. Apparently it’s been concluded (though I haven’t seen the research myself) that most criminals involved in gun crimes of a heinous nature (massacres, etc) all have one thing in common – a mental deficiency. Readers have suggested quite vehemently that there should be some sort of mental health screening. Here’s my take on that – maybe you’ll like the idea.

We have a database of drug users on a national level. Yes, if you have a prescription for a mind-altering drug, your name is in a database. Hell, if you buy Sudafed now your name is in a database.

If you legally purchase a gun, of any kind, through normal channels, your name is in a database.

Both these addresses contain your address.

Let’s do some thinking here…

OK, to buy a gun (at least in NC) your drivers license has to match the address you have on-file with your permit application. That information IS cross-referenced to be sure it’s accurate. I know that for a fact.

From now on, if you have a medical prescription, or a dependent with a medical prescription, your address on record has to match your drivers license as well.

When you fill out a pistol-purchase permit, or a concealed carry permit, or buy a rifle in a store, those  two databases are cross-referenced on the federal level. It can’t be that hard. We already have both databases.

If your address shows that you, your dependent, or anyone else at that address, has a diagnosed medical condition that could be considered dangerous in any way, shape or form, and I’ll go so far as to include clinical depression, autism, aspergers, bi-polar, or any of the more obvious maladies that we can think of, such as anti-psychotics, psychotropics, etc… then you are automatically FLAGGED.

In short, if you share a current residence with someone who “could” be considered by a reasonable human being to be dangerous or unstable, then someone will come talk to you about the possibility of your permit being approved.

Flagged doesn’t mean denied. It means flagged, as in “this application requires human intervention and can not be approved electronically.” Whether you get the permit or not, the flag means a follow up visit by local police, or county mental-health, or whomever best suited to the task.

In the case of the Connecticut shooting, this may have helped save a life. Maybe not, but maybe so. When his mother applied to get a handgun, it would have triggered a visit. That visit might be just clerical in nature. “Oh, I see. Your son was on anti-depressants when he was eight years old but he’s fine now? And he’s what now, 15? Ok. And he’s been cleared of this condition for how long? Five years? I see. OK. And you have the medical paperwork to prove his condition is “cured?” (for lack of  better word.)

In that instance, the processor would check the records, find out things were ok, and the person would receive their permit, though it would be delayed by a couple days. Is it inconvenient? Sure, but it might have saved a life.

Now, another scenario:

My alcoholic wife-beating convict uncle moves in with me from out of state and has his address changed to the same as mine when he renews his drivers license.  I go apply for a pistol permit. The same investigation ensues except that the outcome is different. It would go something like “I’m sorry Mr. Jordan. You legally are entitled to own a firearm, and we can certainly approve your permit, but not as long as you have a registered felon living in your home. We can’t knowingly approve a fire-arm to be sold to someone sharing an address with a felon,” or a mental patient, or a drug-user, etc.. You get the idea, right?

Along the same vein, have an annual cross-check of all related databases for per-annum criteria. If I bought my gun in June, and my uncle moved in in August, the permit would have been OK at the time, but some kind of semi-monthly recheck of the database would have revealed that both a permit holder and a felon share the same address.

Now I’d be contacted by the police, just as before, but depending on the law it could go a couple of ways.

  1. I have to surrender my firearms until such time as the issue has been resolved and I’m no longer sharing an address with the person that makes me ineligible for a firearm, at which time I would retrieve my firearm from wherever they’re stored…. for up to two years, after which time any non-reclaimed firearms become government property and can be destroyed, etc.
  2. I have to show proof that I’m aware of the law, and proof that I keep my guns locked up VERY SECURELY (which normally isn’t a requirement), and that I understand that if a crime happens with any of my guns, I will be held liable as an accessory to that crime.
Basically, the point here is that YOU can still own a firearm if you’re legally allowed to do so, but if you live in a situation that puts a mentally deficient person (as defined by whatever law) in a position to be able to do grievous bodily harm to themselves or another individual, then you can’t own one on those premises until such time as you’ve moved, they’ve moved, or the situation has resolved itself to the satisfaction of the government.

Magazine Restrictions

I’ve held off on this one because I’ve been talking to a few gun owners, gun-shop owners, and enthusiasts to see how they felt. I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome, and I do mean surprised indeed.

I asked a guy tonight, who is going to loan me his AR-15 for a video over the weekend, how he woudl feel about magazine restrictions on guns. He said “Are you kidding me? Who cares! You know the most annoying thing about deer hunting with this AR-15? The danged magazine is so long its uncomfortable to aim because the barrel rests on it in my blind when I’m hunting. I’ve been trying to get my gun-shop guy to find me five-round magazines for six months but they’re hard as hell to come by.”

REALLY? Whoda thunk it? An owner of an AR-15 who says it’s not efficient to have that many bullets at once in his gun. lol

While I personally don’t see the relevance in stipulating magazine sizes, if it makes the general public feel better, why not? My Ruger 10/22 Carbine has both a ten-round magazine and a 25-round magazine. What do I usually use? The 10… for the same reason. The 25 round one gets in the way, even with the bipod installed. It’s too tall.

They make 10-round and 5-round magazines for AR’s. Limit it at ten rounds. That’s enough to satisfy the mechanical requirements for most normal hunting rifles, and still makes the AR-15 fan boys happy.

If you don’t like the limitation, shut up and buy another 10-round mag or three. Besides, you can buy a ten-round magazine for less than the cost of the bullets that fill your 30-round magazine. Will I turn in my 25-round mags? Not unless you’re giving me two ten’s and a five, but then.. sure, why not?

Start a donation-funded program to trade in magazines for equal capacity in smaller magazines and you’d likely get a lot of owners to volunteer their magazines. Hell, you’re gonna give me three NEW ten-round mags for my five-year old 30-round mag? Ok. Sign me up.

It gets trickier when you start talking pistols, but set a realistic limitation. I think right now the average Glock can hold 15. Set a new rule to stop it there. No more than 15 rounds in a handgun for civilian use. Who’s that going to offend? The FEW people out there with 30 round magazines in their .45 pistols? Well, those guys looks like idiots with that thing on there anyway. You’d be doing them a favor!

Anyone else got any good ideas or thoughts?

And please.. if you’re not from America, and not covered under our nation’s constitution, please keep your mouth shut. Your vote doesn’t really count… really… seriously.. shut it. Shut. It. S H U T…. I T.

Have a good day y’all!


Relevant Links I’ve Seen That Further Support This Story:



139 thoughts on “America – Freedom vs Freedom

  1. thank you Tommy for posting this. I agree with you whole hearty! I’ve been saying this for a while now. I’m so glad you did!

  2. you are right about the assault rifles being to much to shoot they normally fire a .223 so they get expensive fast i have a m4 carbine it is sized down to a .22 it is cheeper to shoot and i can put all the attachments i want on it its a great conversation starter and just a fun gun to shoot.

  3. Great blog Tom, I currently attend Northern Illinois, i have a friend who was actually in the auditorium and was the first to contact police. She was not harmed physically but was psychologically harmed. People need to educate themselves more on the subject of gun laws. Although everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I believe in defending myself and if possible helping defend the lives of others.

  4. Very good writing. Your humor is always appreciated, especially when the subject matter is filled with the sorrow we are all sharing with those poor families. You never really rant, merely point out the ridiculous.
    While I agree that backgrounds and permits and classes need to be strengthened, I hope we as a nation do not get hung up on gun-control as the sole problem. I think these horrific acts would play out in other fashions if you take the gun out of it. I read (though I have not fact-checked) that a man in China killed kids in a classroom with a knife earlier this year. The media over-reports and, in an odd way, nearly celebrate a killer…some of them probably see it as a path to fame.
    Thanks for putting so much into this post. It has left me a lot to think about.
    (and thanks for my new word of the week, obfuscating)
    J R

  5. Your by far no expert to any of the statements your made. The could be some half truth to some of your rants. I had to read through way to much false info just to pick out a few good points you were trying to make. You have so many inconstancy within your grouping of gibberish /thoughts. I’m not sure if you even think you know what your trying to point out!

    Don’t let a little fame put you in the same pot as the big media, putting ideas down just to get ratings….. you should know better.

    • I never claimed to be an expert, however I can comfortably back up my facts without any problem, and my assumptions from those facts. You, on the other hand, decided to take the time to insult me from a generalized standpoint yet never made one single claim to refute anything I said. If you disagree and feel strongly about it, take the time to say why and to back it up with sources.

      And I don’t need ratings… I’ve got ridiculously high ratings… and I do nothing with them. What LESS could I do with my fame do you think?

    • Before trying to discredit an excellent well written and thought out piece, you really should take a romp through 6th grade spelling and english courses.

      Great work Tommy!

  6. I’m very impressed with your writing. You have kept it completely professional. I am an active duty military police soldier and concealed carry permit holder. I know that everywhere I go I am indeed protection folks that are around me at any point in time because of my training. I have never had to draw my weapon outside of my job and I hope to never have to.

    Concealed Carry Saves Lives!

  7. Very good, Tommy, and I commend you. While you are researching, ponder this. I seem to remember that both Columbine shooters were on Ritalin, and then later the other school shootings were said to be by young men who were or had been on Ritalin for ADD. That fact seems to have gotten lost in the media.

    • From what I can find, Harris, one of the shooters was prescribed Luvox, an serotonin uptake inhibitor for treatment of OCD.

      Again though, not to sound crass, but what does it matter? Are we going to lock up every child with a mental deficiency, learning deficiency, or just attention deficiency? Or are we going to suspend their parent’s second amendment rights because their kids are judged mentally unpredictable?

      The fact is, whether it’s kids or adults that commit these crimes, MY point is that no amount of legislation for the REST of the citizens is going to affect. If a sociopath decided he wants a gun to commit murder, he’s going to get one. Whether he shoots mom in the face to get it, or shoots a wal-mart employee is irrelevant. Gun control would have prevented nothing in that instance.

      I do agree though that mental health should play a role in the conversation about rights, responsibilities, and possible law changes.

      However if we make proof of a clean psych-report part of the process to acquire a handgun permit, we’re going to be discriminating, or at least that’s how it will spin on the senate floor anyway…

      • Tommy, the drug discussion matters because SSRIs and other anti-depressants are known to cause suicidal thoughts, especially in young adults. It’s a key discussion to have. First and foremost, the fact that these folks have prescriptions for substances that alter the way their brains work shows that they have been evaluated by a licensed medical professional. Perhaps we should have a discussion about how medical professionals can more early detect warning signs in troubled individuals. Second, these substances, especially in young adults have been shown to increase violence and suicidal tendencies.

      • I think the valid point having to do with pyschotropic drug use would be more effective regulation of those drugs and their effects on the psychy…

        Ritalin was shown in corporate-run tests to increase violent tendencies, but that research is not referenced. I agree that a crazy person is going to do crazy things, but if the drugs our Government is approving for use are causing *more* crazy people to become *more* crazy, that’s a problem…

  8. All I can say is Wow, that is so so very true, and I will be passing this on for my friends and family to read.. It definitely is food for thought. Very impressed Tommy! And to your question about the assault rifle and which one is of fact an assault rifle, I think the bottom one.. If not Both of them,

    • You would be correct Kathy… and I can’t believe no one tried to guess previously! Sheesh!
      But yes, the bottom is a Colt M4 Military Assault Rifle. The top one is an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle, NOT an assault rifle by actual definition, but it IS one by political definition, possessing the detachable magazine as well as a threaded barrel and a telescoping stock.

        • See? Just one more example of someone who assumes without knowing the facts…
          The “AR” in AR-15 doesn’t stand for assault rifle. The original company who made the design, or shape, of that rifle was ArmaLite. They made a variety of AR rifles, or ArmaLite rifles. The AR-15 is the ArmaLite Model #15.

          It was designed by Eugene Stoner in 1958 and sold to Colt in 1959, along with the AR-10 model designs. The AR-10 was the pattern later used to make the M-16.

          • To make this perfectly clear, AR stands for *A*rmalite *R*ifle.
            Everyone else copied the designation, much as we refer to all print copies as ‘Xerox’, or ‘Xeroxing’.

          • In “Nobody’s” defense, though I know I shouldn’t be defending someone who would try to argue a point without researching their side of the debate, the biggest selling point of an AR-15 at some gun shows is that the AR supposedly stands for “Assault Rifle”. Though it actually stands for “ArmaLite Rifle”, some dealers at gun shows try to claim that it stands for the other. Misinformation is a poisoner of minds…

          • And to the original point. I was positive the bottom picture was an assault rifle, and unless he was trying to trick us and put up two assault rifle pictures, that the top wasn’t.

            For those who ask how you know by looking at them? If you expand the picture picture you will see the selector switch. In a AR-15 semi-automatic design it will have two settings. One for fire, and one for safe. In the assault rifle design, it has three settings. One for safe, one for single fire, and a third setting for auto or burst. So THAT is how you can tell if it is an assault rifle just by looking.

      • Lol I’m surprised too..I agree, like you stated that the look of some guns, rifles ect are just scary looking.. Which I don’t agree with, but then every one is entitled to their own opinion..

      • Is that AR set up for .22 cal? Mag looks thin. This was an excellent post. The only thing I could think of that would make it better is that people I have sent it to have commented on the “prying from your cold, clammy hand” and “bullets first” bit. Sort of the equivalent to “between the eyes” gun control comments, I guess. Again, excellent work.

  9. First time reader. Truly appreciate facts and statistics so thank you for taking the time to support your opinions before writing. I don’t know what you call me but I support particular pieces of both sides of this topic (moderate?). Lets first remove the radical ideas thrown out by both liberals and conservatives which cause noise and grey hair: a) ban all guns and apprehend from all citizens b) hand out guns to everyone including criminals and mentally unstabled. What’s left? As you stated, reasonable and efficient improvements to obviously lousy laws. The goal is to have as many responsible and sane people using and/or carrying guns as possible. This includes both citizens and assigned protection (I.e. Officers and security guards). At the same time (see we can multitask

    • Agreed!
      I wonder if I’m gonna catch flack at Wal-Mart the next time I walk to the gun counter? lol
      Hope not, but hey, they should have checked to see if I qualified for that license before handing it over.

  10. I seriously wish you would decide to run for president. You would have my vote. That is what we really need, less politicians and more people in office with a little common sense.

  11. First time reader. Fully appreciate the factual research and statistics to support your opinion before writing. People to my right call me a liberal and people to my left call me a conservative. Guess i’m a moderate? Anyway, lets build on your point. First, we shall remove radical ideas thrown out by both sides as that’s what a reasonable person does a) ban and apprehend all guns in the US b) hand out guns to everyone including criminals and mentally unstable because we can shoot them before they shoot us. What is left? As you mentioned above, reasonable and efficient improvements to lousy laws. The goal here, after all, is to allow guns in the hands of responsible and sane people (including all citizens and protective services like officers and security guards willing to protect others). This is my version of gun control. To combat the non-responsible non-sane people, improve a slew of laws so easily laughed at by most. You attack common sense scenarious which is great. For example, someone attempting to purchase a gun but then refuses a background check is brought up? A) take their information before hand and b) notify the feds immediately because this is an obvious red flag to someone without a terribly low IQ. Exactly as you stated… Additionally, I agree we cannot create gun free zones but then not add protection against someone who wishes to break the law. Yes, the people present are sitting ducks. Add armed security. At the end of the day, we all know many people are crazy and we cannot completely stop all attacks. However, we can bring down the numbers. 10,000 gun homicides are year in the US is unacceptable. My message to the general population: If you believe we can do nothing or even worse do not care, then you part of the problem. We need to protect our 2nd amendment rights for protection, but also need to improve laws to reduce our country’s unfortunate homicide statistics. And to be clear, guns are not the only problem. Other ingredients include ugly mental health support, terrible parenting, tabloid-esk media and over sensitive and irrational people when it comes to tough issues.

    • I’d like to see the numbers excluding people shot by police, suicides, and gang related violence. I wonder how many of the ten thousand fall under those categories?

  12. Thank you for this, Tommy. I have seriously been thinking of purchasing a hand gun for personal protection. I have a lot to research before doing that. I have lots of target practice under my belt. I lived in the country with 80 acres to play on, so my daughter also learned to shoot. Now, in this time, it seems unsafe anymore to be without protection. Your article was very informative. You put a lot into it and I appreciate that. You did more research and investigative work then most of these “mass media” folks ever do. Like Morgan Freeman said the other night, “stop watching the news”. It was a short article from him stating that whenever there is a tragedy like this it is the killer who gets the attention, not the victims. He is right. And that brings me to my final thought…no matter how many rules or laws they pass for gun control, criminals still can get their guns. No matter how many of us take classes, lock in so many hours at the range, some crazy fool who’s life sucks, will find a way to get a gun. That is what we need to work on. Keeping guns from the hands of these crazy wack jobs. God be with those people who have to get tomorrow morning and realize that another day has passed and their child isn’t here anymore. Thank you Tommy.

  13. Thank you sir for the excellent read. I am truly impressed, and inspired. I can honestly say that I could not find one thing in this read that I disagreed with. Prop to you. T.Baker

  14. Excellent and thoughtfully written article on a timely and intensely emotional topic. I have friends who might quibble about the gun show parts, but I suppose there are a lot of differences between venues and some are probably better than others. Other than that, I find nothing immediately objectionable.

    Another point that is seldom mentioned, but should be, is that guns are here to stay because they simply cannot be un-invented, and that any halfway competent machinist and fabricate a working firearm in a reasonably well-equipped garage machine shop. If you want just one example look at the “sten” submachine guns of WW-II infamy. Now, with computer-driven drills and lathes, it becomes even more silly to think that somehow, someway, there is ever going to be a way to make guns vanish.

  15. Be warned: english is not my first language, some spelling or/and grammaticly erros may occure. (I’m watching across the great pond, so I’m far away)

    First of all I’ve to say your are right with the improvement of the gun controlls. The current situation you descriped is way more pathethic as I thought it would be.
    Let me quote you:
    “The ONLY thing in the world that can stop a madman with a gun is either stupid misfortune, or another man with a gun. That’s the brutal truth of it.”
    I think, the problem lies within this part: “a madman with a gun”. So it doesn’t matters who around him/her has a gun. The problem is, that HE HAS A GUN!

    Because if you (and don’t mean you personally) don’t improve these controlls and don’t stop listen to these people who keep saying: “If everyone carries a weopon not such a thing would have happend…” it will end in a kind of a cold war: a spiral of armament. Bigger weapons to defend bigger weapons to defent bigger weapons. (I’m getting scared)

    Oh, an I found an interesting part in the wikipedia-article of the AR-15:
    Legal status of civilian ownership – Germany and Finland:
    […] A license is required for each individual firearm and there needs to be a specific reason for ownership such as participation in the shooting sports and hunting. […]

    I know that the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives you the right to bear a weapon. Maybe it should be altered: not everybody is allowed to bear a weapon, only these people who passed the test and the background checks (and who as a specific reason).

    • Background checks ARE required for certain weapons here in the States. In fact, a background check was conducted when I purchased my single-action, six round .357 Magnum revolver (by no means an assault weapon). Being in the state of Nevada, no permit was required to buy it, but it DID have to be registered to me. Legally, I can carry it as long as it’s not concealed. If I get a CCW permit, I can carry it under my jacket where nobody will know. For that, I’d have to pass another background check, a qualification shoot, and notify the local police department of my permit (in case I ever get pulled over and they decide to do a pat-down search, in which case, I shouldn’t be carrying the weapon in the first place).

      The safeguards are there, but as with every law, there’s always a loophole.

  16. Very well said, Tommy! I personally believe that it should be mandatory for gun education to be taught in school as well as self-defense. Leave it up to the individual if they wish to purchase a gun when they are the correct age. At the very least, they will understand the responsibility of owning a gun and know how to use it!

    Thanks for putting in the amount of effort that was required for this article.

  17. Thank you for taking the time to write and post this amazing blog. My son was just deployed for the first time, he will arrive in Afghanistan some time today to help fight a war I’m still not sure why? I hope this makes sense but why are we so into fighting a war that is not ours when the United States has it’s own war going on here right in front of our faces. Americans killing Americans, Here is why I say this with all the shootings listed above you would think we would of taken a stance when columbine happened? The government is not blind to the killings listed above, when are they going to get on the band wagon and do what needs to be done further more when are they going to understand it is not the gun that’s killing it’s the person who is behind the gun. Check this one out! My son was at work in the Hudson Valley Mall in Kingston, NY when a 23 year old girl walked into Dicks sporting goods and bought a $340.00 shotgun, NO QUESTIONS ASKED BY THE EMPLOYEES! she purchased the shot gun walked the mall to the back parking lot behind a snow bank and committed suicide! I just don’t get it!!

  18. I have mixed feelings on most of the gun permit matters in the USA. I live in Brazil where all guns are not permitted to the common public and only allowed to be carried around if you are on the police force, in the justice department and have a reason to be wanted dead, or are on diplomatic security duty.
    My first instinct is to say that guns should be taken away from the public because of all the accidental firearm incidents involving parents that shoot and kill their own kids because of them sneaking back into the house without the parents knowing they were out. Or even just walking downstairs to get a cup of water at night.
    What I would hate to see happen is to have unqualified armed security at schools and other public venues that might just act on instinct, see someone “suspicious” based off of prejudice, or even be trigger-happy like Zimmerman and shoot for no reason at all.
    A lot of armed robberies happen with no shoots being fired. When they are fired it’s up into the air without the major risk of injuries. Shoot-outs happen when there is resistance and a lot of times nether robber or security have the experience with marksmanship to hit the target they want under stress, adrenaline rush, and under fire them selfs. That is when the public gets hurt.

    So I think your idea to give a 7 day period before being able to buy a gun and the actual purchase of a gun is valid. A better system of filtering gun license applicants through psychological examinations and background checks would also have to be implanted if you want unnecessary killings to stop.

    • (1) You are mis-informed regarding Zimmerman, do not be deceived that this incident took place as has been spoon-fed to you by the major media.
      (2) I have had to walk through the streets of Sao Paolo, and would have been grateful indeed to have been armed.
      (3) Your advocacy of passive acceptance of victimhood is antithetical to the most basic instinct of survival – a dangerous fantasy.

  19. Awesome article. One shooting I didn’t see happenened during the gun deer season in northern Wisconsin just down the road from where I live. A man of Hmong persuasion trespassed on private property and ambushed a group of hunters killing 8 people with a 7.62×39 SKS. I wasn’t even a hunter at that time, but its still one of those horrible tragedies that went unheard by alot of the nation. If you want more info on this it happened in Sawyer county Wisconsin in 2004, and I’m not sure of a specific date.

  20. Great article Tommy. Thank you for your time in doing the research on the facts on all of these tragic shootings. Also appreciate your explanation of the difference between the assault rifles and assault weapons as defined by gun control legislation. Huge difference.
    Yes it is time to have gun control discussions and look at the current laws and enforcement of those laws. What happened to the waiting period? What kind of background check can be done in just a few minutes? Should some type of psycholigical exam be required? Should health records database specifically for medications that treat mental disorders be reviewed in this background check? That gets into privacy issues I know. There is no simple solution or answer. Gun control is a complicated issue and a knee-jerk reaction to pass bad laws will not help.

  21. Well written article, Tommy. 2 corrections, if I may?:

    I wish you had not used the word ‘toys’. This word can and will be seized upon by the left as an example of the immaturity and irresponsibility of gun owners toward what are, in all reality, extremely deadly weapons. Toys is a word that should NEVER be associated with firearms. I would urge an edit to indicate you meant people love to tinker with their hobbies.

    2nd, The Trolley Square incident. Sulejman Talovic was not stopped or shot by the initial armed resister. What that man did was distract Talovic from shooting innocents to engaging an armed resister. That saved lives – how many, we will never know. Talovic was taken down by on duty police when they arrived at the scene far, far to late for the 9 victims.

    Thank you for a fine article from a prominently famous member of the gun rights crowd. While I strongly disagree with a few of your comments, they are mostly a matter of degrees of Libertarianism. Well done.

    • While it may not be inconvenient in a discussion about the defense of gun rights, the truth is that there are a great many gun owners who do treat their weapons like they are toys. More than a few gun owners *are* immature and irresponsible. Trying to gloss over that isn’t going to do anyone any favors; it just makes those advocating on behalf of gun rights look dishonest. We mustn’t sacrifice the truth.

      • Ben, given the extremely low statistics surrounding accidental injuries or deaths resulting from guns I am perplexed by your comments. According to Gallup ( nearly 47% of American adults report owning a gun. To put this percentage in perspective, out of the University of Sydney estimates there are 270 million privately owned firearms in the United States. Despite this extraordinary figure the number of injuries and fatalities directly contributed to firearms are extremely small on a per annum basis–fewer than the number attributed to automobiles. The CDC figures for 2009 place deaths due to the accidental discharge of firearms as #100, the intentional discharge (homicide) at #107, and those of undetermined intent at #110 of the 113 leading causes of death in the United States ( The accidental discharge figures would include those “gun owners who do treat their weapons like they are toys.” However, it would also include such incidents as accidental discharge while cleaning (a common occurrence). I don’t have an immediate reference but remember reading an annual report on Florida’s concealed carry permit (CCP) holders that reported only four accidental or unintentional discharges of weapons out of 150,000 gun owners with CCPs. I would argue that the only one trying to “gloss over” anything here is you. You want to ignore the facts and the rational, critical discussions surrounding those facts in order to mold reality to pre-conceived notions you already harbor.

        • Hey Kevin,

          I wouldn’t claim that a portion of the gun community treating their weapons like toys has any significant correlation with gun deaths. I don’t have any stats either way, and using the stats to support a position like that would be a logical fallacy anyway. But that said, some folks do treat their weapons like toys. Gun advocates need to own it, and when people bring it up the gun community should communicate that only a minority behaves that way and the responsible gun community does not condone that behavior.

          • Ben,
            The gun community does “own it.” It has consistently pushed for gun safety and training. Lumping the irresponsible minority in with the responsible majority is a logical fallacy in itself. It is analogous to condemning responsible motor vehicle operators for the injuries and deaths caused by drunken drivers and those who use their vehicles as weapons or as toys. We don’t do that because the generally law-abiding drivers don’t treat their cars as toys, don’t try to run down others who have offended them, and don’t attempt to operate them when they’re incapacitated.

            While I agree with you about not obfuscating the truth, I don’t believe that it is being obscured by gun advocates. The gist of their position is to simply avoid inflating a particular element that exists in almost every community where some tool, medicine, or other man-made object is abused by a minority among us.

  22. Thank heavens for some voice of reason! Aside from being very informative and presenting a currently unpopular argument, this is well-written and pleasant to read. Often an article or blog entry is so poorly written that I am forced to abandon it early on, despite any quality information it may present. I’ve participated in CCW qualifying shoots twice now, and while the instructor passed me, I declined the permit, stating that I needed more practice and wasn’t quite yet comfortable enough. Both times, the instructor have urged me to just take the permit anyway. Really? Do we want people carrying – conealed or otherwise – that aren’t comfortable or proficient? You’re right, let’s start by enforcing the rules and guidelines already in place.

  23. This was a very well-researched and reasonable article, but you upset me with one very silly remark in there:

    “No one ever got shot in schools back in those days…. ever. ”

    That’s blatantly untrue. In the US we’ve had school shootings since 1764, at least a dozen per decade. I know you don’t have the time to asssess each and every one, but they most definitely happened and can read about them here:

      • They’re scattered a bit, and I’m not sure what trends to make of them. Before the 1960s there were many accidental deaths and murder-suicides, and the shooting sprees were rare and had low body-counts (the Bath massacre obviously doesn’t count here). That would work in favor of your argument. From the late 60s to the 80s, we saw shooting sprees become more common, like the University of Texas Massacre, but most of the sprees still had relatively low body counts. The early 80s were low, then the late 80s and late 90s were high with gang-related single shootings. By the late 90s, the kind of massacres we think of when we say “school shooting” were being… perfected.

        I’m honestly not sure what conclusions to draw from it, since I don’t believe it to be a gun issue but a more serious social issue. We’ve always had violence, but when it happens now, we have higher body-counts in the age of Call of Duty than when our country was actually training for wars. And that doesn’t translate to other countries, who have the same games and similar gun laws that do not have the same amount of gun violence. Forensic psychologists warn about sensationalizing these events and sending a message to future-sickos that this is the way they can lash out and really leave a mark, and I tend to lean that way, but there’s not a lot of evidence behind it at this point.

        But anyway, thanks for the article. A well-informed populace is vital to understanding and preventing these kinds of things.

        • I don’t have the time to broach it now, but your response shows there’s room for analysis. Maybe over the next couple days I can think of a way to incorporate what you’ve said in to a more far-reaching edit to the original post. It’s worth considering.

          Just remind me to do it! lol

          • Fundamentally, it was that prior to the age of media saturation such occurrences were A) rare, B) local, and C) for the most part, literally unthinkable. However, once thought of and carried out, with national exposure the unthinkable became quite thinkable. If there was a shooting, it got coverage in the local press and a mention in the national press. It wasn’t dwelt upon endlessly in the national media.

            Prior to the ’60s and ’70s, kids who were exposed to guns for the most part didn’t romanticize them. A gun was a tool, not a fetish. And now guns are drooled over by fantasy warriors of all ages and stations, are macho bling, and in all too many cases, serve as penile prostheses. I offer up Soldier of Fortune magazine as an example of gun pornography, and the oh-so-impressive after market items you showed that can take a Ruger 10-.22 and make it look like something that a fearsome warrior would bear. (I’m a swordsman, BTW, and when we do demos, the kids always think that the deadliest weapon is my 9 pound, 78″ long Zweihander, when in reality it’s my 21 oz, 38″ long rapier)

            One of the problems now is that every shooting immediately draws national attention, not to mention a very great deal of emotional masturbation and political posturing on all sides. It also reinforces the notion that these occurrences are increasing in frequency, as people are just getting over one mass shooting when another occurs. This serves to make the thinkable even more thinkable to the disaffected and unbalanced who see all of the tumult resulting from the shooting, and the fame and notoriety of the shooter whether alive or dead. Sadly, many of the lost feel that there is no difference between fame and infamy . . .

            Add to this the amounts of money involved in the civilian armaments and big boy toy industry, the politicization of the NRA (I quit paying dues when the NRA stopped being a sport / hunting / range safety organization and evolved into a somewhat deranged political organization) and the notion that somehow the Founders intended for all patriots to bear arms against their own government. The 2nd amendment was a response to Shay’s rebellion, where a militia had to be raised to put down the revolt and assert Federal authority.

            I’m inclined to think that we need people control more than gun control. I like your proposals regarding the gun dealers. The penalty for abuse of a firearm should be draconian, assuming the shooter survives the experience, and one aspect of that penalty should be that the shooter’s name is never mentioned – Lanza should simply be referred to in the media as ‘the Sandy Hook Shooter’, and not by name. Let the names of the murderers pass from the ken of man.

            In any event, an excellent article, and I’m forwarding the link to where I think it will be well received.

  24. Best article I’ve read on gun control yet; better than anyone from any major media outlet could put together. You hit on important points, and quite frankly, have changed my opinion on guns and gun control. I think it’s important for people who do carry concealed weapons to know that, in essence, they are figuratively (and literally) the protectors of the people around them in the event of a shooting. I would hope that these people have the competency and mindset (and bravery wouldn’t hurt) to actually use those guns to save the people around them.

  25. This is a decently written article, however I must state that your ideas of “gun control” are not only contradictory, but also ineffective and asinine. Every control you mention is a refinement of one that is already in place and is a channel that mass-murderers avoid in the first place.

    You would do away with Gun Shows in lieu of purchasing weapons in Gun Stores? Gun Shows ARE the Gun Stores. Gun vendors for all over come together into one large bargain area and the policy to buy weapons at Gun Shows is the same as purchasing them at the store.

    You also propose a Federal Database of people who simply inquire about purchasing guns? Who would be able to find anything in that? Millions of people every day talk to the gun counter of every Wal-Mart, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shop, etc all over the United States. You’d be better off referring to the US Census Data for that information. These shooters aren’t buying their weapons legally anyway. You said yourself that Adam Lanza would’ve found a weapon elsewhere if his mother owned none.

    Refining concealed carry and hunting qualification criteria? Maybe. Most of those “instructors” are idiots, but what does that have to do with mass-murderers? That’s who we’re talking about. Not the competence of law-abiding CC Permit holders and Sportsmen. You think Cho Seung-Hui kindly went and got his concealed carry before killing those kids at Virginia Tech?

    The fact is this: No gun control serves to stop these events. It only makes it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to defend themselves.

    Also, lets not put labels on what guns people “need” and what guns people “don’t need”. If I’m a Mexican citizen getting slaughtered by the cartels with automatic weapons, you can be damned certain that I have every expectation to defend myself on an even keel.

    The Second Amendment is not about hunting or even defending one’s self. It’s about securing everlasting liberty in this nation against tyrannical government and makes no specification with regard to type of weapon or it’s features.

    What needs to change and what will fix this issue is a change in culture…A change in American perception of reality. Americans live in a false utopia where they tell themselves that evil doesn’t exist simply because they say so. We shelter our children from danger without informing them of it, thereby robbing them of danger indicators. The reality is that no one is safe anywhere and the only true safety and security obtained is through one defending one’s SELF.

    You want to stop school shootings? Properly train and arm every single staff member in every school in the country. We’ve got TSA looking up our asses for no reason in every airport in the country everyday, why’s it so hard to put a security team in a school? Every podunk municipality in the country seems to have enough funding for a SWAT team and a Mobile Command Center and hundreds of thousands of rounds of 5.56 for training; make them use some of that engorged budget to put officers and protocols in the schools.

    Gun control is not the answer in any shape or form. A dose of reality is. The world is a dangerous place. Regardless of how much better we think we may be, we still have the same maniacs right here in our back yard willing to commit the worst of atrocities with no regard for human life. Defend yourselves. Arm yourself for bear and know that you aren’t safe anywhere and the best person to protect you is YOU.

    • Ben,
      Believe it or not, I mostly agree with you 100%. I’ve always had those views (though maybe a little less hardcore than some of the ones you expressed.)

      However, I’m also trying to face the reality of the political situation our country is in. We are in the midst of a time and place right now where people are scared. They’re lashing out. They’re also looking for immediate and knee-jerk legislation to “handle” these things. You and I, and most of America if they were allowed to step back and think about it, would probably agree that gun control IS NOT the answer.. criminal control is.

      However the political climate we’re in right now is starting to feel like a post September 11 situation. People are demanding something and politicians are likely to grab this chance to slam overly zealous legislation through because there’s no better time to do it. People are scared and they want to be comforted. The comfort comes in the form of giving up rights just so they can feel safe. That’s a horrible thing to do, but it’s the reality of the situation. They would literally prefer to strip the second amendment rights from everyone just so little Jane can feel safer going to school every day.

      Is that smart? No, of course not, but in times like this people are being whipped into a frenzy and their anxieties will be played on. If we don’t try to bring some common sense ideas to the table, and some education to the table, it will be too late. The law will be passed and we’ll have no choice but to either accept it or start a civil war.

      As a gun enthusiast and a staunch supporter of the second amendment, I firmly believe no restrictions are going to stop nutjobs, but I also believe that if we don’t agree to bend a little, the rule book is going to be slammed in our faces and we’re not going to like the outcome.

      PS: If you’re a Mexican citizen (as in a citizen of Mexico) then your point of view is irrelevant because we’re talking about American laws and American rules. Personally I’d like to send a batallion of deer hunters to Mexico and give ’em cartel tags and see how many they could bag. I bet they’d thin the problem out in two weeks.

      • Tommy,
        I agree with “Ben”. While I wholeheartedly agree with most of your dialog, I believe you spent too much time addressing changes you believe would placate our politicians and people “whipped up” by our latest mass shooting. What you did not research is, how many of the perverts/mass shooters had “permits to carry”. I would suspect none! So! Addressing/over-reaching and making the permit process MORE difficult does not appear to be the solution. As you stated, the rules in place should be adhered to… but should not necessarily be expanded. I DO NOT believe placating is the answer… the government is slowly eroding what I believe to be the intent of the 2nd Amendment. As far as (the) further erosion of the ability to own Assault Rifles, remember what the words say about government. While I trust my state “militia” to respond to any threats by the federal government to my constitutional rights, we should still stay vigilant on having appropriate firepower to address a government gone awry! If the possibility exists for the “bad guys” to get those assault type weapons (or the good guys being directed by some bad/mad politicians), we should be LEGALLY allowed to possess those weapons as-well. The solution in part is to continue to educate the masses on the proper use of weapons and making sure that parents understand the importance of keeping those weapons out the hands of those that are mentally handicapped or challenged or too young to understand the magnitude of the situation. In your personal life account, you were fortunate about not causing harm to others in your family. Some parents would not take the time to address the concerns and solutions as your parents did.
        And then there is the discussion and possibility of the United Nations being able to control and address weapon purchases within the US. Thats another concern… Enjoyed reading your blog and agree with most everthing especially the info provided by Ben W.

    • Ben, just one quick quip on your reply. The two items you mention as not being part of the consideration for the 2nd Amendment, hunting and self-defense, were actually two of the most important elements of the discussions and debates that led to the Amendment in the first place. For a detailed understanding of the arguments you might look for James Madison’s notes on the Constitutional Convention and the drafting of the Bill of Rights.
      One element that we seldom discuss and many today take as the purview of the state and local authorities is the responsibility for the defense of the populace as being naturally placed upon the shoulders of “law enforcement.” At the time of the drafting of the Bill of Rights there was no conception of law enforcement or police forces (departments) as they exist today. The Framers considered it every Citizen’s duty and responsibility to protect and defend one another from the seedier elements that societies breed.
      As to the hunting issue, this was also a serious consideration for the Framers who looked back upon the experiences of their forefathers in England where firearms and some other forms of projectile weapons had been banned for the populace’s use by the monarchy. Throughout history and up to that period it was not uncommon for the head of the house to hunt wild game in order to supply meat in the family’s diet. In England the monarchy had gone to great lengths to prevent the general population from hunting the larger game in order to keep it the sole domain of the aristocracy. The Framers considered it a natural right of every man and not the sole province of an elite.

  26. Hi Tommy,

    Most here will agree that it isn’t the gun that kills, it’s the person holding the gun, pulling the trigger to another. Most people will also agree that it is the lunatics/deviants that would most likely ignore established laws and also participate in such atrocities (and the occasional emotional persons who just got fired/dumped from a relationship, etc.) And finally we all agree that they should have zero access to weapons (gun or otherwise).

    But how does the government body decide wisely on who can own a gun when there is such widely varying opinions on a person’s mental state, especially when one’s mental state can also vary from one point in time to another?

    Would/should all existing and potential gun owners be required to go through periodic psychiatric assessments and regular checkups to be allowed to own/carry? Individual Doctors/Surgeons need licenses to operate on a patient, individual accountants need certifications to crunch numbers for businesses, lawyers need to pass bar exams. You applied this idea to gun dealers in your blog, why not gun owners as well?

    Also – how do we effectively keep guns away from those who shouldn’t have access to it? If they are determined to get a firearm and can’t get it through legitimate means, they’ll get it through illegitimate means. It may take longer, but they’ll eventually get it. It seems like a no-win. And I’m sadden by that.

    Looking forward to your thoughts.


  27. I believe if we have security for shopping malls, why not schools – have an employment program for returning veterans/retired vets/national guard for security protection for the public school system. If we let the NRA pay for it, how much better their reputation would be among non-firearm owners…

    Anyhow, You have brought up very valid points on overall ownership of firearms and have the statistics to back it – well researched, sir 🙂

    But you and I both know laws & safety procedures only work when they are followed. And thats the problem – sometimes they arent, and terrible things happen. The worst thing is, most times the signs are there, and people are willing to look the other way, esp. if it involves a family member or friend. If someone would have spoken up or told their concerns about a mother training her mentally ill son how to lethally shoot to a law or medical authority, they would have had just cause, and there may have been a different outcome. Like nature, the signs are all there, but no one wants to get involved – there is less community involvement for these latest generations. This is where we, as responsible firearm owners need to get involved, to make sure laws are followed and that we dont look the other way when we see something we know is wrong or being handled incorrectly. We need to be the forefront of this, otherwise those who want to ban firearms will be. We need to change our view of ourselves – whether we like it or not, if we are an adult, we are responsible by law, and esp. us who own a firearm should be aware of this by speaking up or out when we know a firearm is being mishandled, or kept – its a moral responsibility and it begins with us.

  28. Thank You so very much for posting this all of this is so sad there is no reason why this has to happen to innocent people especially young innocent children again Thank You for posting this GOD BLESS YOU
    Susan (Watson)Fisher
    Athol Massachusetts

  29. Great piece, thank you for the great article. Very useful and informative. We need more TRUTH and less manufactured truth in our world!

  30. I do not know if this has come up or not since i have not read all of the comments but in relation to the shooting at fort hood while yes it was at a military base that does not mean that it is safer than going to the mall since just like the police the only people allowed to carry weapons on base are the military police. All other weapons on base are highly regulated.

  31. Hi Tommy,

    I was referenced to this article by a friend. You have a well written article explaining many things that I, being someone who doesn’t own any firearms nor ever shot one, wouldn’t know. I didn’t, however, draw the same conclusions you did from the facts you presented. I feel that we should go further than the assault weapons ban the government (probably) will propose in light of not just the Newtown, CT shooting but the ever-present facts about gun violence and death in our country. We should in fact ban all but simple handguns from use by the general population. What you have shown me isn’t that the system needs to be fixed, it needs to be eliminated.

    Let’s start with your stories about getting your various gun licenses. In each instance, you were able to get a license using a little more than half a brain, a few bucks, and a bit of time. It turns out that of that list of mass shootings you listed, many of the guns are obtained legally because it really is that easy (source: and and I both agree that this shouldn’t be the case. You, however, seem to believe that the system can be fixed while I believe it needs to be scrapped. I don’t deem your solutions to fixing the problem possible because of a few reasons you addressed.

    In the instance of your concealed carry permit, you have to rely on people who actually want to help educate people on guns and don’t want to just fill up a class and turn a profit. While there are plenty of people, like yourself, who should and would want to educate people correctly, very few have the time to do this and even so wouldn’t do it for free. I’d love to know how this would be funded.

    The hunting license story you told scares me to death to be honest. Your solution would be costly especially regarding the database linkups and it would rely on every WalMart and Bass Pro Shops employee to do their job. Do you honestly believe that this is feasible given the cost and the reliability of the people that could have handed any person a hunting license?

    Let’s move on to something else. I agree with you that these killers will go for “soft targets”. Malls, movie theaters, schools, and any other place with lots of people and no weapons would be ideal for someone who wants to go down in a blaze of glory. Your solution is to arm everyone and if you can’t arm everyone, arm someone to defend everyone. My solution is to arm no one and beef up security without the use of guns. I feel that this would be much more effective and much more secure than loosening restrictions on where gun owners can’t have their weapons.

    What we need to fix security protocols in these public places to ensure tragedies like this won’t happen. Take schools for example. I will be teaching in the public schools next year, and I find it absolutely scary to think that I would need to have a pistol in my desk drawer in order to feel safe inside my own classroom. I think it shouldn’t be possible to gain entry to the school without either going through the main office or being buzzed in after being checked if this isn’t possible. Now granted this probably would involve just as much time and money as would giving database link ups to every WalMart, but this measure of safety has already worked in courthouses and airports and other public places. We can apply the same idea to all of these other places as well. We as American Citizens have been willing to give in to the horrible atrocity of a government agency that is the TSA in order to ensure public safety. Putting systems in place to ensure it in other places shouldn’t be that hard to accept.

    Lastly let’s talk about the United States gun culture and it’s stemming from the second amendment of our constitution. I agree with your point about how our government has forgotten about the second amendment and what it truly means. I however, believe that your solution also goes against what the amendment was meant to do. I feel that my solution is much more grounded in the original belief behind that amendment.

    The amendment was a way to make sure that the government didn’t force the people to do things by force. Take Amendment 3 for example, the one about housing soldiers and such. The second amendment was so you could protect yourself from something like that from happening. We should have the right to defend ourselves from anyone threatening us in our home, whether it be a soldier, a government official, or some crazy lunatic. This, however, does not give us the right to have as many weapons as we want and fire them off where and whenever we want, even on our own property. Our gun culture in America has been spurred on by this second amendment and has led to over 10,000 deaths in a year in this country (source: Our gun-related murder rate is almost twenty times that of all the other industrialized countries as well. I agree that we should be able to defend ourselves, but the second amendment doesn’t allow you any more than that. As your two examples where an armed civilian stopped a shooter has shown, a simple pistol or handgun is all you need to scare off a mad man. While I do believe that guns don’t kill people and that people do kill people, it is pretty obvious based on the facts and the recent shootings that guns make it a lot easier to kill people.

    So that is my spiel. Granted it is not as long as yours but I hope you come to see that your facts can be led to some other conclusions than the ones you presented. President Obama said in his speech at Newtown High School that “No single law, no set of laws can eliminate evil from the world or prevent every senseless act of violence in our society” (source: I agree with you that something that is as simple as an assault weapon ban won’t do anything to stop something like this from happening. But I don’t believe that tightening up the laws we already have or making more guns available to more people is the answer either. We need to eliminate all of these rifles and heavy artillery, whether they be for hunting, for sport, or for anything other than the inalienable right we were given in the constitution, and leave those for the military. We need to take the lead from other countries who have eliminated guns and protect ourselves in a way that is sensible and doesn’t allow for even the slightest chance for someone to perform the massacres that you listed above.


    • Dylan,
      I enjoyed reading your post. I don’t agree with most of what you espouse because I have no desire to see a police state created which would potentially wind up becoming tyrannical in its enforcement of the nearly total gun ban–which you seem to support. I am also unwilling to simply give up on the ideas and intentions that the Framers had for this nation for a little more “safety.” Indeed, I don’t find the current, status quo, to be comforting either. We have drifted so far afield from the original intent of the Framers with respect to the ownership and use of guns that they would scarcely recognize the nation they helped establish–even if they were to be bestowed with an understanding of modern technology, the present political circumstances and the modern environment we find ourselves in. They would be aghast at how many rights and responsibilities we have given up or forsaken.

      Tommy is right on the money about making the system more responsive and more thorough. One of the issues that comes up when you delve into the mess that is our background checks system is the departmental and agency-level rivalries which go on behind the scenes at every level of government: local, state and federal. These “turf wars” are the product of inflated egos and faux self-importance, which are inherent human failings we are unlikely to expunge. And, while there are pros and cons to the background check system existing at all, especially for hardcore Libertarians, I believe that the pros outweigh the cons, making it necessary.

      I find a seeming contradiction in your arguments surrounding the intent of the 2nd Amendment. Specifically, between the idea that it was deigned in one sense to be a measure against tyrannical government excesses and the idea that the individual doesn’t have the right to “have as many weapons as we want.” If the government can restrict your access to weapons and impose limits on how many you may possess then the earlier argument becomes untenable–at some point, as you indicate a preference for, you will be limited to a single handgun and, maybe, a single rifle; neither of which will be any match for what the government could bring to bear upon you and your neighbors if it chose to impose its edicts upon you; thus, the 3rd Amendment wold become moot–another right (or protection) lost. Fallen like every domino falls after the first one is toppled. The Framers recognized these inherent failings and found the only solution, however imperfect, was to have every individual held responsible for the safety of themselves, their families, their friends and neighbors, and their communities. By arming the masses the excesses of a central, federal government could be held in check and the democratic experiment could be perpetuated as long as the status quo between the armed citizenry and their government was maintained. The Framers saw this as a long-term solution, recognizing that ‘quick fixes’ would lead to disastrous results. Our society today breeds a desire for ‘quick fixes’ and we see repeated calls at every turn for them. Few among us have the will or the ability to look long-term like those men did and recognize where trade-offs would have to be made in order to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

      • Thanks for your reply Kevin. I realize that there are people who won’t agree with me on this forum but I respect your different opinions. I’ll address a few of your points here.

        First, the framers of our Constitution probably would recognize our nation if they look at it strictly from the viewpoint of gun ownership. There are 88 guns per 100 people in this country (source: Even right after the revolution it’s hard to imagine a number that is larger than this. I think that they wouldn’t recognize a lot of other things in this country, but granted they made the Constitution as a framework that could adapt with the times so as much as they may not recognize the country they should know that their system did work.

        I agree with you and Tommy that the system needs to be more thorough and agree with a lot of what he said in his update to his post. I’d like to think that our comments helped spur that on and I am glad he addressed it. The summary of my argument against the background checks is that no matter how much you try and fix the system, one mistake in the system puts a firearm in the hands of someone capable of doing the shootings we are desperately trying to prevent. It’s not as much the system that is the problem, but the consequences that occur when the system fails are so much greater when it comes to gun safety than anything else. That is why I want to remove them from the equation without trampling on the constitution and the rights of gun owners across America.

        As far as the second amendment goes, Tommy did a splendid job in his update on the second amendment. I still stand by my point that just having a handgun would be enough to have an effect on another gun-wielding individual as proven by the various situations that Tommy talked to above, but you make a point about the second amendment that if the government can restrict your weapon choices and not their militaries you can go back to that situation where a tyrannical government is possible. But since we do have a military now, we don’t need to have our citizens armed with the weapons our military has. That just goes with common sense to me but I can see the other side if you really want to take that framework seriously.

        That said, I hope that this discussion does go somewhere. I’d much rather see Tommy’s suggestions heeded to than anything else. Our government actually listening to it’s citizens and doing something, anything, to secure our country better has to be an improvement.

    • Taken out of reality’s context, what you said seems perfectly true. The problem that must be however addressed here is efficiency. One, as far as i know, the united states is not a poor country, even in today’s economic disturbance, so if they can, as far as i know, make a database for the people that have a driver’s license, i don’t believe a database for gun users would be that impossible. Secondly, permit only small handguns and you give the bad people, as they seem to be called here, a valuable information, and that is the maximum kind of firepower they can expect to encounter. I am not a gun user, not even an american although i highly regard this article, but i believe that is something best not known, for interest of the general population. Malls with no gun security is not very efficient because well, i think a quote from the article says it all: “The ONLY thing in the world that can stop a madman with a gun is either stupid misfortune, or another man with a gun. That’s the brutal truth of it.”.
      AL THAT BEING SAID guns are scary, it’s true that they do not kill people by themselves, but the fact they give people the power to end lives is not comforting. While logic seems to stand on Tommy’s side it does not change the fact that i am scared of a place where everybody is armed. Even if they pass control regulations, an argument, an overheated debate, alcohol consumption, and many more, can escalate a situation. One wrong shot and we might get a war zone. Whether there exists some actual tests to make the risk minimum it can only make it minimum. I am not an american, and i must admit that if i ever will become one(i kind of favor Europe and Asia) i believe that i might consider buying a gun for all the reasons given here(in my country the citizen is not allowed to carry deadly force).
      On an ending note i believe a balance must exist, i do not agree with arming everybody on the planet, even if they do pass the tests. Some will want to carry, some will want to limit, it is natural this way and i believe it to be the best social state just as i believe that a fear of guns is natural and perhaps in some esoteric way even healthy.

  32. Nice write-up and very thorough. I have one thing that I would like to bring to your attention: The 2001 IHOP shooting where you say the weapon used was an AK-47 and later say it was the only actual assault rifle used in one of these shootings is not accurate. The rifle was not an AK-47, it was a MAK-90, a semi-auto version of an AK-47, and as such is not an assault rifle. As you probably already know, the difference between an AK-47 and a MAK-90 is the same as the difference between a M-16 and an AR-15. For an easy reference to this, check under the shooter’s picture on the right side of the Wikipedia page you linked to for that shooting:

  33. Nice to see someone on the other side of the fence have great reasoned suggestions and not think because people talk “gun control” that they are automatically against the 2nd Amendment.

    I think that one of the issues I’d like to see you address is the responsibility that gun owners for securing their weapons. (Had that been the case with the mother last Friday, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion.)

    Access to some gun owner’s weapon(s)is one of the problems for kids getting involved. And for guns being stolen. Not an easy thing to regulate.

    Suppose we treat guns like automobiles and require gun owners to be on the hook for liability of their weapon being used in a crime. I know, it’s not your fault, but more than likely the only reason a weapon is stolen is that they were not secured.

    States require liability insurance on cars. Lot more cars in accidents than guns. Most people would react that no insurance company would provide such a policy. I’ll answer this with if they think they can make money off it, they will be in it wholeheartedly. Risk management is such a huge money maker.

    Ok, what’s the point, other than to make an insurance more money. It would force gun owners to think twice about how they store their weapons in a safe secure place.

    One last point dealing with the NRA. There are probably a lot of qualified individuals who are and would be great instructors that you pointed out the need for. It would be the perfect place for instructors to come from.

    Your observation about classes in NC is spot on. I lived in Asheville for 25 years and sold insurance. The continuing ed classes were just the carry permit class you described. (My disclaimer: I no longer work in that industry and distrust insurance companies and big banks).

    But here is the caveat I would almost demand for that to happen. The NRA has to divorce itself from being the gun manufacturers defacto lobbyist in Washington. Regardless of the headlines, I know gun manufacturers are rubbing their little greedy hands together in glee. The NRA should ONLY be for the members (which I suspect most delude themselves into thinking they are) and not a representative of the military industrial complex (sarcasm).

    Great post Tommy. I told you once before after you first opened up this blog how much I though I appreciated your rational thought even though politically we might be on opposites side of the fence and I will continue to be one of your biggest fans.

  34. Excellent article and statement of the facts…

    A couple items:

    1) The Fort hood shooting should be listed as a Guns NOT allowed. Though it is a military base the only people who carry their weapons, loaded in a ready condition are the MP’s. The soldiers MAJ Hassan shot were all un-armed with no ability to carry.

    2) Brookfield WI Shooting, 2005 Firearms were not allowed to be carried (Open or otherwise) in WI. The constitutional open carry issue had not been address by the Attorney General so there was a De-facto ban on Open carry. Concealed carry was not legal in WI in 2005.

  35. Statistics are irrelevant when you have 20 dead kids at the end of the day. As someone who loves shooting traps and ranges, and has killed and eaten deer, I can no longer find any excuse to keep those interests above the human lives of innocent children. I will gladly give up having fun at the range if it means a single 5 year old might live to my age instead of die in a senseless shooting. It is no longer “Guns dont kill people, people kill people”, it is simply “Until we can read peoples minds, we better get rid of the guns.”.

    I know why the second amendment exists. But it is 2013, we’re now a first world country. I think it is out dated, and time for it to go. That is just my opinion, and I struggle to find any valid reason to keep it after this massacre. I am finding zero. Having fun, collecting, hunting, none of those do it for me. They are not worth the lives of children.

  36. Very well said, you need to head to Washington, we need someone like you to try talk some sense into this clown filled group who are going to draft up new legislation for gun control, not using any facts, just “feelings”.
    Thanks and again. Very well said.

  37. Regarding March 25, 2006 in Seattle, WA.

    You state: Guns Allowed: No (It’s a private residence, but alcohol was on-site, so it would be unlawful to carry regardless of the local law.)

    As I read the law, it states that guns are not allowed for carry in child-free zones. A private residence is not a child-free zone. For example, if a tavern has a ‘family friendly’ section and an ‘adults only’ section, you could carry your fire arm in the family friendly section only.

    • It depends on the state. Here you cant carry in a restaurant if it has a bar attached that serves alcohol. In Virginia you CAN carry, even concealed carry in a bar, as long as you have had no alcohol. Laws vary about alcohol on premises, even private premises, from state to state, so I wasn’t sure. That’s why I clarified.

      • Understood. In WA, it would have been legal to carry with the caveat that any property owner is allowed to establish their own rules with regard to weapons…so I suppose the owner of that private residence could have said ‘no guns allowed’.

  38. I enjoyed reading the update, as much as the original post. I liked reading the “view” from our forefathers…
    I think the ideas presented as solutions are good, regardless of where they came from. Thank you for including them, and for the extra research involved. I hope the right people get the chance to read this before the wrong people try to take away our rights.

  39. Remember there have been children even since the Connecticut shooting who have accidentally shot themselves when coming across guns. I know you say you got a good education in your family, but it really was lucky that nothing happened before you got that education (not that I agree with physical punishment).

    I was taught at a young age, even though my family never had guns, that if I ever found a gun, even it looked pretend, to assume it was real and tell someone. Seems like a good rule to follow.

    I have to admit I haven’t read your entire post yet because it’s long, but I’m going to finish it tomorrow. I like the break-down of this info because I never have been around guns (and don’t want to be) and know nothing about them. Well, actually, my grandfather in Sweden has a gun for hunting elk, but I think there is a law in Sweden that you have to keep the parts of the gun separate locked in different parts of thee house and assemble them before use, but I don’t know that for sure, just a vague memory from childhood.

  40. Thanks, especially for the measurable facts vs perceptions part. I just want to add that everyone is saying Newtown is the most deadly school shooting, which yes, it is. But there was a more deadly school bombing in 1927 in Bath, Michigan, where a disgruntled school official killed 38 children and 6 adults, after killing his wife at home, with home-made explosives. I *think* that’s the most deadly school attack in US history.

    I’ve seen a number of charts showing a dozen or so countries’ statistics on deaths by firearms vs gun ownership, and of course they’re all selective to prove the maker’s point. I always point out that I’d like to see the chart include all 196 countries. I tried to put one together myself but couldn’t easily find the statistics for many countries outside of Europe.

  41. My dad has hunting rifles so when you asked the question which one would make me wet my pants I was going to say the hunting rifle. Because I have seen the ammo that goes with it, shot the rifles and realized how powerful they are, and watched an experienced but aging hunter make his mark every time. An idiot with an assault rifle is just an idiot. when you were comparing the very first pictures my guess is the bottom picture of the rifles would be the worst because I looked at the clips and compared. Bigger ammo usually leaves a bigger mess.
    But when you were listing the stats. my mind was looking for a pattern, the way therapists do. There is only one that rings true: they were all mentally derailed men. Nothing else is 100% through the research. The close first is that people were shot at every occasion. The second is that the majority took their own lives. After that the pattern falls apart. The guns aren’t all the same, the style, the number of people, even whether or not guns were allowed. I bet if we knew the really motivation behind it all I bet there is a very similar pattern there.

    Which leads me to the Mental Health field. People who are not lucid and their families should have better options, more respite, and services made available to them instead of pushing a script their way and saying “Good Luck”. My mom was one of those people. My dad went through one situation where my mom got pissed and went to get his gun. He quelled the situation and when she became lucid again he told her what she was about to do and she was horrified at herself. She was going to shoot dad because she got mad at him. But in her right mind she realized she was no longer in control of herself. Though this happened, us kids were never in danger. She loved us. But insurance didn’t cover mental illness then and they are dropping it now from their policies. There was very little in the way of help then and that is still the case unless you live in a big city. We need to stop hiding mental illness under a rug and pretending these people don’t exist. This is what community is for. Everyone helping for greater good by helping individuals. Were these actions wrong, yes, but when you find out why, sympathy should be the response for the afflicted and the family- instead of blame.

    • I feel your pain Ms Anderson. My niece and her new husband are having issues with the booze and neither will admit they have a problem, even though some intervention has been tried and regardless of whether there was a way to pay for it, it won’t happen until they decide for it to happen. Most addictions treatments start that way with moving off the denial switch. It’s a frustrating dilemma to encounter. So I worry about the two of them.

      My niece has been into guns before and a number of people at her reception today have them and are gun advocates. I’ll admit that it’s hard to believe what she says a lot of the time, so asking would only leave me flummoxed as to the truth of it. Yet it’s an undeniable problem in our society today which is, in itself, a perplexing situation to resolve.


  42. On average:
    there are between 16,000-17,000 deaths each year from drunk driving
    there are OVER 100,000 DEATHS ea. year from medical malpractice
    there are over 4,500 deaths ea year from illegal drug use (THIS DOES NOT FACtOR IN PEOPLE WHO ARE KILLED FROM DRUG VIOLENCE)
    tere are OVER 100,000 deaths ea. year fromPRESCRIPTION DRUG USE
    there are over 40,000 deaths from NON alcohol related auto accidents ea. year
    there are OVER 400,000 deaths ea. year from tobacco.

    so what is my point….CARS ARE LEGAL, HOSPITALS ARE LEGAL, DOCTORS ARE LEGAL, ALCOHOL IS LEGAL, TOBACCO IS LEGAL, PRESCRIPTION DRUGS ARE LEGAL…no one is trying to ban these items but you want to ban my guns because we have 30,000 deaths ea. year from guns?(that total includes suicides, and the bad guys getting taken out)….so lets ban every one of these things were people are dying …otherwise, LEAVE MY GUNS ALONE!

  43. Your comments Tommy regarding extreme reactions in this dialogue of guns applies to both sides of the fence. Too often people just don’t take the time to read and just react. This is why your blog is so necessary because “reasonable” people can have a conversation, throw out ideas and try to come to some consensus…. “some consensus”.

    It’s a hard time for people today that doesn’t just stem from this conversation about guns yet it’s hot button has been pushed – very hot button – that helps divide our nation. And it is not going anywhere because the media, regardless of where their politics lie, are going to continue to beat this drum till the blisters pop.

    I encourage anyone reading and participating in this blog direct those you encounter and engage with over this issue to come here. At least here people actually communicate.

  44. This is an amazing article it took an hour to read it carefully. It is very well written. This is probably one of the most reasonable ideas on gun control I had read. One thing he discussed about was cross checking databases. I remember after the Virginia Tech massacre I was working as a programmer for a university health services. I had to write a program to encrypt suicidal tendencies so that it could be connected to the Ohio background check for handgun purchases, These systems do exist and should be enacted and It would be very easy to do so. I now live in Alabama and I was surprised on how easy it was for me to purchase my weapons. It took my last gun purchase 10 minutes from when I went that is what I want to I’m walking out the door. Did I like it yes but it was wrong. Concealed carry is a lot different in every state. It is so easy to get one in Alabama. 5 dollars and a trip to the courthouse to get one in Alabama. When I got one in Ohio it took a two day course, range time and I had to register with every county I went into with my weapon. I will be sharing this with my congressmen and senators from Alabama. I will also share this with a very known Democrat Congressman who I am actually friends with in Ohio.

  45. I just want to second jberryl’s last comments. I’m not a gun owner, so I come from the other side of the range approaching this issue but I am a parent who deeply appreciates the chance to hear a differing viewpoint presented so clearly and with a sense of balance. It’s been instructive in the least to read this post from start to finish and I feel broadened by the experience, so thank you for your time and thoughtfulness. I’ve spent as much time in recent days reading around in gun-owner forums (I gotta admit that they can get pretty scary) as I have in what would probably be called “liberal” blogs (I gotta admit, that they can get pretty irritating) and everything in between so I’m making an effort to try and absorb a variety of viewpoints in working to reach my own informed opinions. I got embroiled in a fairly long, contentious and often emotional Facebook thread following the Sandy Hook incident. A gun advocate linked to your post in an effort to define “assault weapons” and that’s how I got here. Attached is my response to him after reading it. Parts of it will be slightly out of context and I think we might still differ on some of the finer points of what we’d like to see done but I was struck in reading your updated views on high cap magazines and how similar they were to mine. I posted this response on the morning of December 20th, probably right around the same time you were writing your update. I don’t doubt that there’s a long, ugly, politicized debate brewing in this country and I don’t know what ultimately the outcome will be but it’s a shard of encouragement to see that there’s some generally common ground to be found when people are willing, as you say in a comment, to bend. Respectfully, here was my response to reading your original, pre-updated post and my answer to the other poster’s question about what defined a high capacity magazine: “Sat down with the Jordan article and I appreciate his process of illustrating his viewpoint. There’s a lot of helpful information in that column and I feel like I have more perspective on some of the issues we’re discussing. More people should read it and more gun owners should be willing to outline their thoughts on reasonable change to gun policy. I’d like to see him address the high cap mags in a similar fashion because I think they elevate the destructiveness of most of these semi-automatic weapons. What number is a high cap mag? I don’t know if there’s a single number and that there may be more appropriate to define it for different classes of weapon. Personally, I’d imagine 5 or 6 would be an adequate defense/deterrent in a handgun. I know people will argue that more shots are needed in panicked situations for defense so in the spirit of compromise, 9 or 10? I’m saying this knowing that a Glock is probably one of the most popular weapons in the US and that reining them in would be formidable and unpopular so that ceiling may be have to reluctantly rise to 15/17. But 31 (or 50 or 100) feels off-the-charts for me and I believe I’m hearing from many gun owners speaking out in the wake of recent shootings that they’re uncomfortable with those numbers as well. I imagine that there will be arguments that the public should have the same capacity as a horde of gun-wielding assailants on bath salts. My comfort level stops short of that in thinking that there needs to be a line as far as what is available to the general public and I imagine it to be 17 (though I’d personally prefer it to be 10). Loughner was stopped during the Tempe shooting when he dropped his clip to reload. If the first clip was only a 17, that would have nearly cut his mayhem potential in half. If only in that case alone, I think it’s a worthy save. I think it’s regrettable that there is a genie-out-of-the-bottle problem with the prevalence of these hi cap mags that is unlikely (or near-impossible) to put back in. What I also appreciate in the Jordan column is that he identifies places where gun laws and regulation could be strengthened (doing away with gun shows, reinstating 7 day waiting periods, stronger regulation of concealed carry and hunting certification training, institutional background checks with recorded video backup, strengthening gun dealer requirements). I’d also like to add a one-gun-a-month purchase policy (like the one just repealed in July in Virginia) and universal background checks, even for private sales as suggested in the Kristof column (and that I think you gave the nod to earlier in this column). And strengthening safe storage / trigger lock requirements. I personally don’t believe that just enforcing the laws we currently have is adequate. Look, I’m hoping we can agree that these mass shootings are occurring more frequently and I know we’re not going to see exactly eye-to-eye on the cause (and it’s not just variations on gun control/safety laws – there other huge components about mental health care/access and parenting/guidance issues to be had in another discussion), and I know that there’s an immediate run to cry “ban” when these events happen but I also think there’s a lack of constructive voice from within the gun advocacy community that gives the rest of us a sense that there’s [not] an effort to safely regulate who gets guns, what kind and how. It may just be a PR problem but I hope that with this elevated attention after the tragedy at Sandy Hook those voices start to emerge. I’m looking forward to hearing what the NRA has to say tomorrow. (For the record, at my core I don’t think anyone should have a gun but I’m not a Pollyanna and I know there’s a couple billion of them floating around out there so I’m looking for solutions to deal with that reality. I also don’t know anyone else in this thread except by distant association so I imagine that opinions will vary.)”
    Thursday at 10:37am

    • “Loughner was stopped during the Tempe shooting when he dropped his clip to reload. If the first clip was only a 17, that would have nearly cut his mayhem potential in half. If only in that case alone, I think it’s a worthy save.”

      It’s impossible to say at this point, but it could definitely be argued that Loughner was stopped precisely because of that 32 round magazine. It’s length makes it slower to use and much easier for an interloper to grab. I’m pretty confident that a standard 17 rounder is worlds harder to snatch. I’d have to put this one too close to call.

  46. In regards to which of the two weapons shown above is the actual assult rifle, and which is the semi-automatic “assult weapon”, I’ll say the the lower one is the actual assult rifle. The upper one is the “assult weapon”. My reasons are:

    * The configuration: The uppper one is rather accessorized, or “tricked out”, while the lower is not. When looking at pictures of M-16s or M-4s I don’t commonly see them with fancy scopes, camoflage finishes, flashlights, or especially large flash suppressors. Instead, the pictures I find show rather plain configurations: Sights and a cary handle. That’s it.

    * The magazines on each: The upper has a magazine which appears to be sized for handgun ammunition. The lower’s magazine appears to be appropriately sized for the 5.56mm rounds used on the M-16 and M-4.

    * The safety switch: Both pictures are small enough that I’m not sure I’ve correctly identified the safety switch. And even if I have, I can’t actually read the text stamped into the receiver around it. However, the saftey switch on the upper appears to have only two positions. Given that the AR-15 only has one firing mode (semi-automatic), it would make sense for it to have only two positions: Safe and Fire. The M-16/M-4 are select-fire, capable of both semi-automatic and burst/automatic fire. So you’d need at least three positions on the safety for an assult rifle: Safe, Semi and Burst/Auto.

  47. Thanks for the article. A little added history: The Militia Act of 1792 conscripted every “free able-bodied white male citizen” between the ages of 18 and 45 into a local militia company. Militia members were to arm themselves with a musket, bayonet and belt, two spare flints, a cartridge box with 24 bullets, and a knapsack. Men owning rifles were required to provide a powder horn, 1/4 pound of gun powder, 20 rifle balls, a shooting pouch, and a knapsack. So it looks like they were required to have what was at the time a “modern assault weapon” which, as you point out, was equivalent to those issued to the British army (and for those with rifles, better than the British issue).

  48. I’m tired of people always putting the blame on firearms. I have been a police officer for over 26 years and have been in gun fights where I was glad to be able to defend myself with a gun. It is a right of mine to own gun(s)…I’m trying to figure out if this is an argument for people wanting to save lives or just complain about something. Mental health is a serious problem in this country that nobody wants to address. Our wonderful government decided a few years back to make it a bigger problem then it already was. They felt that to much money was being spent on mental health and decided to stop funding these institutions which caused 100’s of hospitals to shut down, so let’s look at how much of the pie our government owns when it comes to these crazy people killing others.

    If people really want to save lives lets look at what we can control and what we cann’t. Now I’m not a fan at all when it comes to the government controlling more of our livelihood, but if people want to save a life lets see what can be done. AUTOMOBILES are the number 1 killer in children 0 to 14, number 1 killer in young adults 15 to 24 and the number 5 killer in adults, and has a higher share of medical expense and losses then all other top 10 causes of death in adults. The way I see it, if you want to save a life or thousands of lives each and every year get rid of the automobil. If some crazy mentally ill sob wants to go shoot somebody by the time they walked numerous miles they would have thought about it. You see it’s our right to own a gun and it’s only a privilege for us to own and drive a car. That was a horrible thing when those kids were shot that day and all they wanted to do was nothing more then play, learn and have fun with their friends. But the media never tells you about the hundreds of people that die every day in automobil accident.

  49. Thank you.
    Very well thought out.
    Yours is the first information I’ve read that looks at a workable mental health policy as part of your overall strategy to move our culture in the right direction.

  50. I must disagree with you about labeling the AK-47 as an assault rifle. As a retired Special Forces Officer with 30 years service and a school trained Special Forces Weapons Sergeant prior to becoming an officer, it is my belief that the AK-47 is NOT an assault rifle unless it is built or modified to become fully automatic while firing. If in fact this weapon was a legally or illegally owned weapon under the NFA rules or had been illegally modified to fire in full automatic mode, only then can it be discribed as an actual assault weapon. Respectfully, A.R. Moelter,Jr.

    • After rereading your article I noticed that you did in fact state the definition of an assault weapon. But, you still stated in your list of facts under the specific incident that the AK-47 used was an assault weapon. Do the facts bear true that this actual weapon was equiped with a selector switch allowing fully automatic firing? Or was the weapon illegally modified to allow fully automatic firing? Again, respectfully, AR Moelter, Jr.

      • Al,
        I actually intentionally referred to the weapon as an Assault Weapon, because a defacto AK-47 does meet the standards both politically and in actuality, of an assault rifle. However, another reader commented here that the particular weapon used WAS a semi-automatic. I have been too busy with family and friends over the Christmas season to further clarify that for fact. If you know something I don’t, please feel free to share. I do intend this week to clarify that matter one way or the other.
        Thanks for your interest, sir.


  51. Wonderfully well put together read. I admire someone that has taken he time to do a little research and post it. Way too many people are calling normal rifles “assault” weapons.’

    As I posted in the face book section, there is another mass massacre that wasn’t listed, and falls well before those you listed. It happens to be “The San Ysidro McDonald’s massacre was a mass murder that occurred on July 18, 1984, in a McDonald’s restaurant in San Ysidro, California, United States. James Oliver Huberty killed 21 people (including five children) and injured 19 others”. Very tragic, and was part of what was used by California to institute their strict gun control laws.

  52. Thank you for all the time it must have taken you to research this information. It is much appreciated and will definitely be shared.

  53. Hello, Tommy.

    The fact is that every single gun law on the books is unConstitutional. Something about “Shall Not Be Infringed” comes to mind. No matter how many times I’ve read the Constitution, I keep missing the part about reasonable restrictions. 🙂

    Allow me to give you some polite and constructive criticism.

    Overall, that was a bad article, but I know your heart must be in the right place. I’d give it a D if I had to grade it regarding accuracy, the 2nd Amendment, and freedom in general. Here’s why:

    Bear in mind that a few of these are just plain annoying to a firearms expert, especially in light of your extensive training. Others are serious issues that you should really think through and reconsider. Also, forgive my caps here and there, but I’m not sure that bolding the type will work.

    – You keep using “bullets” as if that word is interchangeable with “rounds” or “ammo”. It’s not. Stop doing that, it makes you sound like you don’t know anything about guns. You know better.

    – As was mentioned earlier, Eduardo Sencion DID NOT have an “assault rifle”, it was a SEMI-AUTO. Basically a Chinese version of a semi-auto WASR-10.

    – You said emptying the mag of a full auto weapon would cost $50? I know inflation is bad, but even 30 rounds of 147 gr .308 are only going to cost $25 at the most.

    – I wouldn’t advise using anything less than a .243 on deer, but barely being able to make a kill shot with an AR clone at 150 yards? C’mon, man. Even with iron sights on an M4, you should be able to ring a 10″ gong at 200 all day long.

    – Then to say you’d fire at a deer close to a mile away? With a hunting rig, I’m guessing? No way. Even with a .50 BMG, you’re gonna have a hard time hitting that buck! With my best .308, I wouldn’t try a shot on paper past 1000 meters/1100 yards. In a hunting scenario, anything past 500 yards is considered unethical by most. And that is with a target rig, not a hunting rifle. You mention this mile distance a few times.

    – Oh, it’s “cojones”, not “cahones”. 😀

    – You have to obtain “handgun purchase permits”, with fingerprint cards? I’d lobby to eliminate that garbage right away or move to a civilized state. That sounds freakin’ ridiculous! (Yeah, I know, that was off topic, but really.)

    – A 7 day waiting period? NO, that is WRONG all over the place! Only a small percentage of people would need to have their gun RIGHT NOW, but I’d bet that the number of people who are buying one to defend themselves from some psycho who’s just made a very real threat to kill them far outweighs the number of psychos buying one to kill people. No waiting periods, we don’t have them here or in most other states.

    – If I simply ASK about buying a gun, you want the seller to gather all of that info? No, no way. That is also WRONG! As you said, it’ll all come out on the 4473. It can wait until that point.

    – It’s a LOT tougher to get an FFL than you think. Imagine being anally probed at extensive length by the BATFE, FBI, and whoever else is involved nowadays. Now you’ve got the idea.

    – I can’t believe that you want to get rid of gun shows. That is irresponsible, coming from a gun owner. The right to assembly and guns in the same place? That’s purely American! Maybe YOUR shows are full of illiterate rednecks, but we have a vast majority of highly educated gun owners here. Besides, that is a statist, collectivist idea. Lose it.

    – Speaking of Gov’t overreach and advancing statism, the cross referencing of databases and the regulations you propose sound like a Communist’s wet dream. Checking on gun owners twice a month, giving up your guns to the Gov’t, and losing them after 2 years? Having to PROVE they’re secure? No, that would not go over well at all.

    – Limiting people to 10-15 round mags? That’s sure to get your gun owner card revoked. This is also a shameful idea, especially since you KNOW the reason for the 2nd is to defeat the Gov’t when needed. Everyone should have the ability to purchase any weapon or platform our military has, up to NBC’s. NOBODY should have NBC’s, but they’ve already been invented and produced, sooo …

    Well, I’m sorry to say this, but if you don’t forget some of those dangerously idiotic ideas, most gun owners, myself included, will consider you a Fudd and an enemy of the 2nd Amendment and freedom.

    I’ve already lost any respect I started out having for you. FIVE of your ideas are completely unacceptable. Please THINK, and change your mind. I’d rather have you as a friend.

    There’s at least 20 million guys and gals who are ready to fight over this and much more. Compromise is what got us here, it stops NOW! The majority of cops and military people I know, and I know quite a few, agree on this. We want our country back.

    Most Sincerely,

    – H. Bowman

    • Henry,
      Let me first thank you for taking the time to make an articulate and well thought-out response. It’s refreshing to see.

      Rather than try to address all your points one by one, I”m going to respond to the overall feeling of the message. I too, personally, don’t like the idea of gun regulation, ammo regulation, or anything else. I believe the second amendment was designed to do exactly what it says, and that no more or less interpretation of it is necessary. We should have the right to bear arms, end of story. It’s no one’s right to decide what kind of arms, what type, what brand, what size, or what capacity or caliber.

      However, I also feel that we (the gun owner’s community) should also show some common sense amongst ourselves with regards to regulations that makes sense to everyone, simply to show that we are willing to work with the other side of the aisle. If we don’t, we’re ALL going to be labeled extremists and no one is ever going to come to any sort of long-standing agreement. The pro-gun side of the conversation and the no-gun side have to show some willingness to communicate and to bring certain things to the table.

      We probably already agree on some things. For example, I doubt either of us believes the mass majority of the citizenry should be able to purchase RPGs. What does my neighbor need with rocket propelled grenades? We aren’t trying to give the citizenry the rights to stinger missiles, or dynamite, or nuclear weapons. We probably can agree that most people should be trusted with something like a squad assault weapon, right? Don’t get me wrong… I’d love to own one, but I get it that people just can’t go around with certain calibers of weaponry or other people are simply going to get hurt out of stupidity and common mistakes.

      The problem is, we all agreed on those things a long time ago… the public has forgotten. No one has made any concessions lately. There’s no “bending” on the behalf of the pro-gun community. Look at the crap the NRA spouted off this week. The only solution that the largest gun-rights advocacy group in the entire world could come up with was “Put an armed policeman in every school!” No thought was given to whether that was feasible, affordable, or reasonable. There are so many stupid ideas in that one sentence that I could devote an entire day to rebutting that argument.

      I don’t want my gun rights taken away. I don’t want them limited, even. However, we are going to have to show our willingness to bend or the other side of the aisle is just going to take ALL the rights away. Then what will our choices be? Surrender our guns and leave ourselves unprotected? Or maybe some favor the idea of going out in a blaze of glory, mistakenly thinking the world is going to rise behind the first martyr to shoot it out with the police about his/her rights to bear arms? That’s not going to help either.

      Then only “semi-acceptable” ideas I could personally think of were what I listed; cross referencing medical and firearms databases, and limiting magazine capacity. Do I like the idea? Not at all. I’m a responsible gun owner that shoots only the bullets I need to accomplish the job, regardless of the capacity of my magazine. I have 25-round magazines and ten round magazines. There’s no difference between them in reality. On one hand, it takes longer to load the 25-round magazine. The other side is that it takes time to change two ten-round magazines. In my experience, the difference is negligible. If I were limited to ten-round magazines, I’d just buy more of them. Never, unless I’m firing at a human being for covering-fire, will it be necessary for me to need that capacity. And if it WERE the case that I needed that, then I’m probably outgunned by an opponent that is already armed with burst or fully automatic firing capabilities. That would mean I’m firing back at the police or military… and I don’t build my gun collection with the idea that I might have to someday fight it out with the National Guard or a SWAT team. Face it… if we did, they’d just bring MORE guns with MORE bullets and it would result in the same ending either way.

      So no, while I personally like the right to high-capacity magazines, and drum magazines, I don’t see the “NEED” to have them, and if coming to the discussion table willing to put that on the line will help move the conversation forward on a national level… then I’m willing to “bend” in that regard.

      In response to some of the other points:
      -Yes, it’s cajones. My spell-check in WordPress for some reason changed that. Thanks for the correction. I didn’t catch it in proofing the article.
      -You and I both know that “bullets” are completely interchangeable with ammo and rounds to the common non-gun owner. Technically the word I should use is “cartridge,” but this article was designed to speak to the common person. I switched back and forth unconsciously, but you still know what I meant. No reason to nit-pick over something inane that has no effect on the material presented.
      -I don’t really want to get “rid” of gun shows, but I’d like some oversight added, even if it’s from within the gun-owner community. The horrendous number of shady merchants selling pure crap disgusts me. Yes, people tend to be stupid, but just because the guy believes he’s buying an “authentic” USMC Fighting Knife, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have your permit revoked for intentionally selling stuff that is not what it appears to be, or selling it for ridiculous prices. Hint: If you want an “authentic” fighting knife from the USMC, go to the same place they buy it from; Ka-Bar. It’s only about $70, not $150 and it’s NOT made in Singapore! The words “US Military Issue” and then a “Condor” sticker on the same item provoke the same response in me. No, it’s NOT military issue.
      -Yes, you have to be finger-printed in North Carolina to get a gun permit. I don’t personally have a problem with that. The ONLY time you’re EVER going to be comparing that fingerprint is in the event I killed someone, in which case I deserve to be brought to justice. If it were a justifiable homicide in the defense of another human life, then I’m still going to be standing there when the cops arrive and I’m going to be exonerated. Other than that, running my fingerprint card just serves an exclusionary role that tells the police I didn’t commit a crime. Works for me. It’s cheaper than a lawyer.

      In closing
      You can choose to mark me as an “enemy of the 2nd amendment” if you’d like. It’s untrue but I can’t stop you from doing it. However your views will make ZERO progress against a country of mothers and fathers that are scared and sick of their children being murdered. Facts don’t matter to a broken-hearted parent who just had their six year old’s head scattered like jello across a classroom wall. Some compassion and understanding and the ability to flex a little however, MIGHT be the way to preserve our rights before they’re completely stripped from us.

      • Hello again, Tommy.

        First off, thanks for the extensive reply. I’ve been debating people on this issue, and most can’t come up with a coherent rebuttal to my points. Probably because they are liberals/progressives, and they don’t know how to think, they just rely on emotion. I don’t expect to see your reply to this post for a few days, since Christmas starts tonight for most people. I would ask that you read that article by Larry Correia that I posted. It’s got media attention and a lot of reads, going viral, I guess.

        Now that I’ve thought about it, I’ll back off from my harsh assessment of your stance, given that we in the gun culture aren’t monolithic. We’re more like a proverbial Baskin-Robbins of positions across the entire spectrum.

        Unfortunately, it seems that you are willing to compromise with these vermin, while I realize that there is NO compromise with them. Whatever you give them, they will want more, until you are left with nothing. We should be on the offense, not the defense.

        As free people, the Gov’t can only take what we allow them to take, no matter how begrudgingly. They CAN’T take away RIGHTS, that is silly. However, if they try to take the tools used to exercise those rights, they will die. It will be a fight they can’t win, and they know it. Many of them already call it a suicide mission. More on that later.

        Freaked out sheeple aren’t the force behind this, nor are they the enemy, they are simply the “useful idiots” in this act of the play. The parents and the majority of the whiners will forget and go away as soon as a new season of American Idol or the football playoffs come on TV. We are really fighting the Marxists who are patiently destroying the Constitution, and are succeeding. They will never go away. That is why we should refuse compromise.

        Guns are the thing they fear, and what restrains them from completely overrunning us with their agenda. They have already eviscerated the 4th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, and 10th Amendments. The 1st and 2nd are now on the chopping block. Also, take a look at the 10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto, and compare it to our current situation. Most of them are in place in America right now.

        There’s going to be a fight. Either that, or they will wear us down until we are too old to fight. Add to that the fact that we are 2 diametrically opposed peoples living in the same borders. There is NO way that we will ever be able to peacefully coexist under this present societal structure. the pressure is building and it’s going to blow, very soon. The Marxists in the White House and the Gov’t realize this. Hell, they engineered it! That is why they are also deliberately destroying the economy. This is all very obvious if you just look around at our situation.

        This is why they need to curtail our ability to fight as much as they can. Once again, refuse compromise. More on that later.

        OK, I’ll poke you in the ribs once more over the “bullets” comment. Even if your target audience is the people who don’t know squat about weapons, it’s our job to teach them. Precision and accuracy in speech is very important. It’s like referring to a magazine as a “clip”. Only a Garand has a clip, as far as I know. The only cure for ignorance is proper education. It seems you are a natural at teaching these people, gauging from their responses. Why cut corners? That only perpetuates the ignorance.

        All right. Back to the 5 points of contention. I’m already writing a novelette, but it’s too late to turn back now. Let’s see if we can iron out a few things. Maybe you’ll agree with me, as I see some value to parts of your proposals.

        First, it’s good to see that you just want a little restructuring of gun shows, I guess I would, too. BUT, from WITHIN the gun community itself, just cleaning up that small bit of stuff that nobody really likes anyway. It seems that your biggest gripe is with the vendors who sell crappy stuff or lie about the realty of their “merchandise”. Yeah, I think those people should be relegated to the flea market, where they belong.

        However, others have a right to sell cheap stuff, because some people are actually looking for a $10 knife or a $30 pair of binoculars, just as “beaters”. You break them, you don’t cry, you just get another. That would be tough for the sponsors to decide, on a case by case basis, with maybe forms people could fill out to complain about or commend various vendors. Personal phones are always available to call NICS. That’s as good as it will ever get in regulating sales of weapons.

        Private sales and barters/trades will continue, as they always have. There’s no way to ever stop that, and given that the Gov’t no longer obeys the law, most people have decided on a more libertarian and moral structure to decide what “laws” are valid any more. As long as they aren’t committing aggression, fraud, theft, or malicious trespassing, a growing number of Americans think that they can sleep well at night, despite the dozen or more “laws” they broke that day. Corrupt Gov’t has consequences, and that is one of the biggest ones now, people disregarding their stupid, nonsensical “laws”. Civil disobedience at its finest. 😀

        Second, I can see how it would be good to link a mental health database to a criminal database, but that would get out of control rapidly. The restrictions that you mentioned, those are too much. Simply linking this to the NICS would create enough abuse. Let it go at that. There are also restrictions that should be placed on WHO is on that list, and they should ALWAYS be temporary. People on low dosages of powerful drugs, or people taking the lesser drugs should all be exempted from this list.

        Over the past 5 years, millions of people have become depressed, for good reason. Unless it is very severe, they shouldn’t be prevented from buying firepower. Shooting is a very good cure for mild or minor depression. They get outside, socialize, have fun playing various target games, and relieve stress. Given these parameters, I’d agree to that.

        Third, getting someone’s personal info because they’re just ASKING about buying a gun? No. Once again, that sounds like a feel-good measure that won’t do anything but put people in a bad mood. As I said, the seller will get all of that info on the 4473 if a deal goes to that point. Also, if I’m window shopping or trying to negotiate the best deal, I sure ain’t gonna give every salesman/woman in town my info. If a potential buy goes bad for any reason, I don’t want them to know anything about me. Or if I don’t buy, do I want them calling me every day trying to sell me stuff?

        Put it this way, would you give every car dealer in town your personal info if you wanted to buy a new truck? Hell, no! The harassment would never stop. And as a great last point? Every weirdo that has come into a gun store gets intense scrutiny from every one of the staff and the regulars. From dressing funny like a punk with those asinine half-shorts/half-pants, to acting strange, they are observed. If they are really suspicious, someone gets their license plate number. There are ways to derive intel from that. 😉

        So, NO preliminary inquiries, at all. We do just fine without them. Even clean-cut strangers get a double take and more.

        Fourth, the waiting period. No. That doesn’t do any good! John Lott, Gary Kleck, or one of the other researchers found that waiting or “cooling off” periods are worthless, and actually endanger more people. The nutjob looking to kill anyone will have weapons already, buy them on the black market, or steal them. The chick whose psycho ex just got out of the joint? SHE is the one who will go to a gun shop and buy a weapon, legally. We’ve even advised people, that if at all possible in those circumstances, plan ahead, take a shooting course, get any permits you need, and use factory ammo in a clean gun, taking the defensive shots when you are at the most apparent disadvantage. Then shut up.

        Worst case? Get a gun from a shop, use factory ammo, then shut up. NEVER talk to the cops. NEVER!

        Bottom line? Waiting periods probably kill more good peoiple than they save. Fuhgeddaboutit! 🙂

        Fifth, the magazine capacities. Aside from a fast retreat during combat with superior forces, there are many reasons to have a standard sized magazine. A handful of trained shooters can defeat even those odds if they know what they are doing. But a single rifleman/woman? can engage a small crowd of anything with standard 20 or 30 round mags MUCH better than with tiny 10 rounders. I think everyone should have at least ONE 100 round mag, just in case. The rule to follow here is that I or nobody else, after a firefight, has EVER said, “Damn! I shouldn’t have brought so much ammo!”

        There are just too many VERY COMMON scenarios where the difference between dispersing/killing off the enemy and being overwhelmed would be made by the few seconds gained with a standard mag versus a few of the small mags. Also, even experienced warriors often miss or have to deal with firing rounds into cover positions to maintain sustained suppressive fire. You know that.

        Cops? They are laughably incompetent in a firefight, and they are supposedly trained! Over 75% of the rounds they fire do not hit the intended target. At matches, the private citizens always kick their butts in all of the competitions. They will probably do better under stress as well. They should carry whatever the cops get or better! THAT is the rule for handguns.

        I don’t want to face 4 big goblins with a 10 round mag, knowing that, even if I don’t miss, it’ll take at least 3 rounds apiece to take them out of the equation. One of them might take a whole 10 rounder by himself to stop. No, I want at least 13+1 rounds in a .45ACP, more in a .40 or 9mm. And that is ME. I know how to kill someone with a few rounds from a .22LR, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to make that my go-to gun!

        For rifles, I carry whatever the military does. 7+ 30 round mags of 5.56 or 7.62R, even more 20 rounders of .308. Maybe a C-Mag or 2 if I’m going into a really nice neighborhood. 😉

        There’s a lot of places in this country that are just as bad or maybe worse than any 3rd world craphole I’ve been in. My profession occassionally requires that I either have to go into or travel through these places. Funny thing is, most of the people are friendly as hell in these dumps. But some are pure evil incarnate.

        Regardless, people should be able to buy any size mag they want. Cheaply.

        Hey, I’m almost done! 2 more issues, both very weighty, and of possibly equal importance.

        You spoke of “need”. That is a straw man argument, my erstwhile friend. Need has absolutely nothing to do with any of our pursuits, especially in the realm of firepower. Do I need 60 pots, pans, and pieces of cookware along with 24 knives? Do I need a 750 HP Mustang or a 130 HP Harley? Do I need a 3000 sq ft house? Do I need a 60″ TV? (No, I don’t have one of those, I think that is ridiculous!) 😀

        If we base what is allowable according to “need”, then we are truly socialists/communists. And who will decide what is needed and what is an excess? As you can see, that all goes nowhere, right up to the point to where we kill people for trying to tell us what we can and cannot have. Which is what free people will do if that garbage goes very far.

        You were mistaken on what we would agree to. I specifically stated that American citizens should be able to own anything they want, any weapon or platform our military has, excluding Nuclear/Biological/Chemical weapons (NBC’s). Remember, fancy toys will get to be prohibitively expensive on a rising scale. Even if buying from another country or international weapons dealer. So, the really cool stuff would probably be owned by local or state militias. (NOT the Nat’l Guard. They didn’t exist until 1903 and are under the Feds and State Governors. They are part of the Gov’t, but SHOULD be under command of each State Militia. REAL historical facts are cool, huh?)

        People forget, or never realized, that the 2nd is not only about protecting ourselves from our own Gov’t, and definitely not primarily about hunting, target shooting, and personal self-defense.

        The primary purpose of the 2nd Amendment is to guarantee military armament to the militia, which is every adult in this country. WE are supposed to be a complement to the military. Granted, we were not supposed to have a huge standing military, but that soon became necessary. But the point remains that most all of the artillery, ships, and other heavy pieces were privately owned back then, up until the 1840’s or so. Now, we should still have at least enough hardware to defend the country as private citizens.

        Anybody who doubts this has either never studied American History or is a mewling little fool, denying the facts that a child could find on the internet.

        That is why Americans should have a citizen’s arsenal that would scare the top 10 armies of the world combined. We already have enough people to outnumber them by a very wide margin, at probably well over 100 million gun owners.

        The Japanese didn’t attack the west coast because they knew, apart from the military, the citizens were heavily armed. Our own Gov’t hasn’t moved toward total tyranny (although they are creeping there) because they know we are still fairly well armed. Unfortunately, we have lost most of the will to use those arms. Still, there are probably 5-25 million Americans who would ultimately fight if it came down to it, given how desperate the Gov’t would become.

        To those who say we can’t defeat the Gov’t? Some of us ARE the military and the cops! It would get truly messy, but everyone for freedom would be fighting everyone for statism. Not a nice visual.

        When Feds or cops are asked what they fear the most, many have said, “A rifleman who knows what he is doing.”

        Finally, you apparently don’t like what that moron VP of the NRA, Wayne LaPierre, had to say? Well, to be honest, most gun owners think the NRA sucks because they compromise too much! 😀

        However, he was correct in that we have to have armed people in our schools. Just not active cops, maybe combat trained ex-military. Also, any teachers who would want to carry concealed would be taught for free by practically any CCW/combat instructor if they don’t already have training. At the college level, all students should be allowed to carry weapons. Many already carry in spite of rules against it. They’re young, but they’re not stupid. They know what works.

        There is NOTHING else that will stop insane people from killing these kids. If you think you have an alternative, let’s hear it. You’d better think it through, though. I have. There is only one solution. It’s been done in Utah for a while now, in several towns across the country, and many states are now going to hire armed people as well as arm all the teachers who are willing.

        For the crybabies: It is NOT a nice world out there, it never was! Get over it and come sit at the grownup table. Otherwise, shut up and stay out of the way.

        In parting, as David Codrea says, “The 2nd Amendment means what serious citizens with guns say it means.”

        American Civil War Part III is coming. The socioeconomic collapse will be in there somewhere. These are unavoidable certainties now. Screw being accomodating, this will be about survival.

        Your thoughts?

      • “So no, while I personally like the right to high-capacity magazines, and drum magazines, I don’t see the “NEED” to have them, and if coming to the discussion table willing to put that on the line will help move the conversation forward on a national level… then I’m willing to “bend” in that regard.”

        See, I’m not. The reason is simple. When magazine restrictions do nothing to reduce crime or mass shooters death toll (and it won’t) they’ll be calling for even more restrictions. You’ll find all centerfire semi-automatic rifles outlawed, then all ‘deadly sniper weapons’ (read hunting rifles), along with all shotguns that aren’t 1 shot/barrel, as Australia did.
        Large(read standard) magazines are the low-hanging fruit. Don’t give up the low-hanging fruit. I can guarantee it won’t stop there.

    • It’s ok. I get my blood boiling sometimes in these conversations too.. I mean no disrespect to you or your views. We just come from different ends of the same side of the same argument.

      • But there is an attempt to disrespect the views and ideas on non-gun owners who, while leaving the 2nd Amendment alone, would like to see some positive positioning of gun owners into the mix. One cannot change the fringe on either side. The comment “Probably because they are liberals/progressives, and they don’t know how to think, they just rely on emotion.” is just about the same type of comment the left fringe says about “conservative/regressives” (just insert these words into the quote above) who are gun owners. Certainly trying to pigeon hole people who don’t agree with all you put forth gives that impression. I think you miss the point that majority of people commenting on this thread are “come(ing) from different ends of the same side of the same argument.” (well not really – different ends of different sides of the same conversation) If not then you’re just like the people hate and are afraid of the “those guys” at the other end of the pole.

        What I like about Tommy and his blog is he sees the need to bring people together in a conversation not push them away or intentionally alienate them from the conversation. Now that’s my idea of progressive.

        The Great American Experiment.

        • jberryl,
          Although I’m definitely not a Lib/Prog, I’m sure not a Conservative, either. 🙂 The Stupid Party (R) and the Evil Party (D) should both be relegated to the dustbin of history.

          This is about Statists versus Individualists. You should read my posts again, carefully. I don’t care if I offend the Statists, because I’m tired of them asking for even more concessions from the Individualists. We have already given up quite a lot, yet they NEVER give up anything. It’s about time that they did.

          We have an acronym, LUTHA, Leave Us The Hell Alone. We’ve done nothing to you, why do you keep taking more of our money and infringing on our tools to exercise our rights? We are tired of false compromise, which always results in our losing more and more.

          I’m not part of some fringe element, not by a long shot. I’m sure that what I write echoes the sentiments of over 25 MILLION Americans. Just look around the blogs to confirm that.

          I’m definitely not afraid of weak people who are afraid of self-defense and weapons. I don’t hate them, but I do have a vast amount of derisive contempt for them when they propose to curtail MY liberties because they are too ignorant to realize that well-armed people are a major part of their ability to wander around fairly unmolested in a country that is still barely free.

          Well, at least in those areas where they allow us.

          Remember, we are the sheepdogs to the sheep, and if you chase off the sheepdogs or dull their teeth?

          The wolves will be upon you with a self-assured ferocity that you have never seen before. Read some history.

          Be careful what you wish for.

          You just might get it, along with all of the Unintended Consequences that accompany it.

          Merry Christmas.

          • Opps, hit the reply by mistake there.

            I can appreciate LMTFA – I mean really I do, because I feel the same way – maybe not about the same issues, but it’s not like I haven’t said that before.

            Barry Goldwater understood that if you were going to protect your position then you need to know how to compromise. Not saying the individual hasn’t nor the Statists.

            I like your analogy of the sheepdogs, though I could take offense of being considered the sheep. In any community there are those that protect and those that don’t. Besides, I put in my time and have had my fill of it, though I do love the smell of gun smoke, just as I do a good cigar (but don’t smoke them). And thank you for playing that role.

            I’m more concerned about the rabid dogs that have no sense of priority and or concern for their fellow sheep. Please don’t take my concern as being afraid – I don’t hide under the sheet.

            Tommy has pointed out that there are laws already on the books and the enforcing them would go a long way in helping curb those bad dogs – “bad dog!” And yes I personally think there are a couple of other things that would be beneficial.

            If I offended you with my comments regarding “fringe” please understand that it sounded that way. I’m not into assuming you are or are not anything – hmmm, except a LMTFA gun owning sheepdog.

            Big bump in gun sales last week – are you comfortable with everyone owning a gun? Are there people (not talking about those already prohibited from owning) who you think are unqualified to own a gun? This isn’t asking you to deny anyone the right not to bear arms… I hope you know what I’m getting at here.

            Hope your Christmas was good too Henry.

  54. Sorry dude but I have to disagree with you on magazine restrictions, on two points.
    1: magazine size factored negatively into mass shootings all of about twice in the past 50 years. Arizona: the shooter was tackled while reloading, but the large 32rd magazine also made it easier for bystanders to grab and wrench free. I’d call that pretty even. If he had been using 17 rounders, he may have been able to reload quicker and retain his pistol. Aurora: The 100rd cmag jammed the rifle at least 4 times before the shooter simply abandoned his killing and left the theater. Much of the damage was done with the shotgun he opened with.
    In the vast majority of shootings, no resistance is given (because the shooter deliberately chooses disarmed targets) so the ‘window of opportunity’ while he is reloading is simply not there.

    2. The same argument for civilians with reduced capacity magazines applies to cops. (who aren’t part of a SWAT/SRT or similar) They use their sidearms the same as we do, for the same reasons. They’re not fighting wars. If 10 rounds in a pistol is all I need, then it’s all they need too. (hint: you need more.)

    Personally I think that 20rd magazines are a perfect match to the AR platform in most civilian situations, but I have no issue with anyone owning 30, 40, 60, 100, 200 round rifle magazines. I’m not worried about people with rifles. It’s the shifty mofo with a pawn shop revolver or Hi-Point 9mm that’s most likely to give me trouble.

    • Sian: While I’m not picking on your rationale concerning magazine size, I am confused over your “need” for them. Or is it you are projecting an armed conflict where you will be found lacking. Improving your gun skills would seem to overcome the lack of magazine size. You know, hitting what you aim at. I guess my question really is, under what circumstance do you see yourself needing 20 rounds or more of ammo (assuming you are not a mass murderer)?

      • Sian #2 – Since I first see posts to this thread in my e-mail, I read the above one first and then saw you addressed the “need” issue by answering it as a “line in the sand” issue.

        Personally, unless one is a mass murderer, then magazine size should not be an issue. But even if they legislate them capped at a certain size, I suspect there would NO way to eliminate larger clips from being possessed by any criminal killer.

        I still like my compensation method of becoming a better marksman.

        • That’s just the thing, see.
          Unless one is a mass murderer, magazine size limits will have zero effect on crime, and mass murder is very rare (you wouldn’t know it by watching the news though). I argue that it won’t have any effect on mass murder, either.
          Meanwhile it could have a very real effect on me, or anyone else concerned with self-defense, and have no effect on the standard criminal’s preferred weapon, a small, concealable pistol with a capacity under 10 rounds. 10 rounds is enough (if you practice) to confidently engage one aggressor and make sure he is no longer a threat. Add more to the equation and between misses, drugs, and the astounding ability of the human body to keep going for a while even when mortally wounded, and things get dicey.
          The bad guy doesn’t need to be able to engage multiple aggressors. He picks and chooses when and where he will strike. The mass shooter will just carry multiple guns, and reload when he knows he will not be opposed.
          So what’s the point of magazine limits again? Is it just to give up *something* for the ‘WE NEED TO TAKE ACTION RIGHT NOW WHILE I’M STILL FULL OF EMOTION’ crowd, and it’s palatable because it does not affect you directly? They did not work the last time we tried them. Why would it be any different this time?
          I choose magazine limits as a line in the sand because of all the proposals, even ‘assault weapon bans’, this is the one that would be the least effective in doing anything but wasting time and tax money and angering gun owners. (aside possibly from expanding Gun Free Zones) I am not willing to compromise for feel-good laws that are in fact bad legislation.

          So why is it even being pushed? The answer is that is just the opening step in incremental gun control. (and if you think Feinstein, Boxer, Pelosi, Schumer, et-al don’t have this as an ultimate goal, then you’re not paying attention.) As we know magazine limits won’t make a lick of difference in crime or mass shootings, when the next tragedy occurs, they can go for a ban on removable magazines entirely. then centerfire rifles, (deadly sniper weapons) then all pistols and shotguns with more than 2 rounds. Think it can’t happen? It did in Austrailia.

          • Short answer regarding your last statement: One would think, me included, people who are not gun owners but are supportive of the second amendment, would help not let that happen.

            Hope you understood, I can’t see how limiting magazine size would help the gun control people get what they want. I was just curious how the issue related to you and I jumped all over the “Need” word.

            I hate that gun owners are feeling polarized. We should be talking about what we can do to limit the criminal element in our country from equipping themselves. Yeah, I know, if they are determined enough they can do it but no sense making it too easy for them.

  55. Banning Food, Alcohol, Cigarettes, Messaging, etc?

    Yes, they are trying to do these things. Have you been paying attention? No 16.9-OZ drinks. No salt in foods. The number of stupid things people in government want to do to save us from ourselves cannot be counted.

    Check out or for the never ending onslaught of irrational behavior.

  56. Thank-you for the work, I hope it gets in front of someone who are in the position to make change. I’m not much of a gun person but believe in freedom, and is true, freedom comes at some cost, the cost being risk. No one will ever stop stupid, evil, or whatever you wish to label it. Don’t people understand what a 00 buck in a legally sawed-off shotgun will do versus a plink-plink .223? As is true, most murders occur in a near-field, few are long distance sharp-shooter oriented. And the magazine arguments (size) is just dumb, it won’t change a thing (accept to decrease the freedom of law-abiding citizens). It seems like some people are not thinking like a killer, they are thinking like regular law-abiding folks. When someone has decided to kill people they do, period. A single-shot .22 and a handful of shells is capable of a lot of damage in a few minutes. As is in our personal lives and other, making decisions under emotional stress is a mistake. If we start banning gun stuff it will end up like the war on drugs and we know what has happened there.

  57. Jberryl,

    LOL, I guess there are a limited amount of replies per subthread! 😀

    Anyway, I hope you and everyone else is having a great Christmas to New Years week.

    Oh, I noticed your conversation with Sian, and the word “need” coming up. “Need” in this respect has about as much to do with this entire subject as whether I smoke a pack or half a pack a day. 😀

    I hope you read my take on that in my last reply, as well as his great replies. Bottom line, in ANY firefight, no matter how many one has engaged in, things go totally crazy. Some perceptions are incredibly clear and laser focused, and others become severely distorted or disappear completely.

    To echo Sian, a 10 round pistol mag will do it for one goblin, that’s it. I’d rather have the standard 15 in .45 ACP with my STI or Glock. More with a .40 or 9mm. And at least 2 spare mags. That’s my daily carry complement. 2 mags of standard capacity take up less space than 3 or 4 of those substandard 10 rounders. 😀

    Also, bad guys are taking to attacking in packs more and more. Think about that and how fast you can retreat while planning a mag swap. Inside of 20 feet, you are screwed. 🙁

    On another side note, I’m thinking of backing off of the armed ex-military or just plain old trained citizen as security for a school. Too many are complaining about it, but I don’t know what the hell else will work. ANOTHER GUY elsewhere suggested that since we’ll wind up infringing on the rights of one side or the other in this pursuit of a solution?

    Just don’t do anything and get used to the rare occurrences of psychos shooting up the “Come Kill Us” zones!

    Once again, I didn’t say that, and I think he’s just a smartass … 😉

    OK, where were we?

    I don’t mean “you” in the personal way, more as in the generic usage.
    Your rabid dogs = My wolves = Enforce existing laws before creating more. Tommy’s right, and all of us in the gun culture agree.

    But what else would be beneficial? We’ve already gone FAR overboard with 20,000+ gun laws that mostly do NOTHING! Psych evals are going to be abused, you KNOW that. We’d never hear the end of the whining over armed vets/competition shooters/whoever. Violent movies and video games? LMMFAO, now there is a red herring argument to add to the rest of the garbage being spewed.

    I hate to say it, ‘cuz the proggys will go nuts, but we need to change the way kids are taught about life and guns. That also doesn’t fit in with the Marxist plans of the Gov’t and their media lapdogs. So, I don’t know …

    Allow me a short rant:

    In the time it’s taking me to type this, I’m getting tired of the whole damned mess. I don’t have any kids in school. I carry concealed in many places despite their signs, unless it might be too high of a risk. Then I just don’t ever go into them. Regardless of their silly laws, I am morally accountable to only myself and my God.

    I’m disgusted. They’re NOT my kids, etc., so I have no responsibility for them if these people refuse my protection or anybody else’s. It’s NOT my fault if they get killed. Neither does any blame lie in my weaponry nor my choices thereof. Bottom line, it’s THEIR fault for making STUPID decisions and allowing ignorant laws to be passed concerning their most precious commodity!

    Let those concerned wrangle this out among each other, while leaving the God-given rights of everyone else alone. Once they start curtailing those rights, there will be consequences, both direct and unintended.
    Therefore, let them choose wisely the path that they will take.

    OK, mini-rant over. 🙂

    I don’t know how to choose who should be able to own firepower, bladed weapons, baseball bats, or a Cuisinart. Or, more properly, I don’t know how to draft legislation that would serve the purpose of keeping such things away from the immature and/or deranged. Not without also allowing the potential for massive abuse of said legislation.

    Once you put Gov’t into the equation, abuse is guaranteed. Our rights overrule all else, or we are simply slaves. Or more of slaves than we already are.

    Smarter people than myself have been trying to balance this equation for hundreds of years. I know that the gun owners in this country have already given away far too much over the last 78 years, and gotten nothing in return.

    Somebody had better figure out something quickly, aside from this continuous theft disguised as “compromise”. That applies to much more than just guns today.

    This country is a powder keg ready to blow. EVERYONE had better be cautious, one big spark and things will become incredibly interesting …

    • Henry, thanks.

      Just one point, I seldom take “you” as a personal jab and try very hard to structure my sentence with the substitute of “one” (which one could notice in my replies to our exchange) to keep a neutral and non-confrontational tone. Being from the South I suppose I could have used “y’all” and gotten the same effect.

      Because I follow this thread via my e-mail, Sian had actually answered his “need” remark in the second e-mail in my box than the one I responded to, and his discussion was more about drawing a line in the sand as it pertains to giving up issues for compromise that actually have little to do with any substantive change.

      I personally don’t see where magazine size can be regulated except with law abiding individuals.

      An Aside:

      I saw posted on my FB page a video from ABC’s Diane Sawyer where she took a group of college students, some gun owners some not, put them through a training process and then put them into a live fire scenario with a perp coming into a class room where the student participant is armed.

      Of course they failed, but I took issue with that portion of the video because I think the students were set up to think it a shoot out at the OK Corral being the theme, rather than placing yourself in a safe position, securing your weapon in your hands, and then cautiously engaging. Secondly the perp did not follow what I think a gunman of that ilk would do, which is taking out targets of opportunity that existed in front of him (the rest of the “students” scattered for the exits) as he focus’s in on the student participant. The perp being the range instructor made him pretty lethal.

      There were other parts of the piece that talked about what police training techniques are employed (repeatedly to keep muscle memory up) and how situations like that effect humans physically (heart rate, blood flow to extremities and tunnel vision) which were informative and believable, but in the end, I felt that it was too orchestrated by the police advisers to have a specific outcome and this lead me to think that the police, in general, are not in favor of an armed public.

      So it just an example of how you can’t believe all you see regardless of who is publishing it.

  58. My daughter (8th grade)is in a Youth Trap Shooting program, so the subject of gun control is very relevant to her and our family. She has an art assignment that needs to reflect something that is important to her and she chose this issue. I was telling her about your “Freedom vs. Freedom” article and she would like to incorporate it into her piece; would you be willing to give your permission for her to do so?

    Thank you!

  59. A friend on Facebook recommended this page to me as another, alternate, well-reasoned commentary on this issue. I found it to be a well thought out, reasoned, and substantiated essay on the subject.

    I very much applaud your determination to keep your facts accurate and make a clear separation between facts and opinions. In fact, by the end, I find I am in disagreement with you, primarily, on only two points. First and foremost, while I will cede that we’ve taken to incorrectly calling any big, impressive-looking weapon an assault rifle, I have a big problem with all weapons which can fire multiple times without cocking the gun. Automatic or full automatic make no difference to me. If you
    can pull the trigger or hold the trigger and emit a stream of bullets, I don’t want you owning it even if they are *only* little bullets. I want you (and myself) to have to make the conscious effort to cock and fire each bullet. I want that to be an intent not just a reaction. I want that second or so pause between each little package of death so, perhaps, you’ll decide to not pull the trigger again. I want it so, perhaps,
    someone else will leap up from hiding and attempt to stop you if you’ve gone so far over the edge that blasting an indeterminate number of others to Kingdom Come seems like a reasonable solution to whatever pain or anger you’re feeling. So, yes, I’d really like to see those weapons controlled.

    Second, while you made an excellent argument for how it could be implemented, I am concerned about the concept of a list somewhere of the “mentally deficient.” No, I don’t want any more wackjobs with guns. However, who keeps and controls that list? How do you get on it and how do you get off? What hoops do you have to go through to get yourself removed from it if you’re on it incorrectly? In what other ways will that list impact your life, your employability (Can it be accessed by potential employers, landlords, etc.), and your future? That whole slippery slope makes me very itchy when I think of possible ways it could be abused in the future. I don’t hate the idea totally, but it makes me very, very nervous.

    Finally, neither I nor, I’d like to think, most people who’ve weighed in on this subject are suggesting that we confiscate *ALL* guns, everywhere in this country. What would I like to see happen? Well, pretty much everything you have already postulated. In addition, however, I’d really like to see, as I said above, a ban on the sale of automatic and full automatic (and, perhaps, also semi-automatic) weapons. I’d also like to see a *voluntary* buy-back program instituted nationally for those who would be willing to unload the aforementioned automatic weapons. Note: I’m *NOT* calling for the gun police to come into people’s homes and confiscate these weapons. Rather, that we use the carrot to coax as many as possible of those weapons which are already owned by private citizens out of their hands, homes, apartments, etc.

    Would this solve all our problems? No. Would we still have whack-jobs out there killing people for no reason from time to time and committing suicide by cop? Sure. Would we still have criminals not following the law (surprise!) and using guns? Well, duh! Would I sleep better at night? Oh, HELLS to the Yes. Would you? I think, maybe, so.

    • Kris, first of all thanks for replying and sharing your thoughts. I see this a lot though among those who are less informed. It certainly isn’t your fault, the mainstream media which has long been hostile to gun rights has run a campaign of deliberate misleading of the public, for example talking about civilian self-loading rifles while showing video of fully automatic fire ,, a capability that has been strictly regulated since the 1930’s. Your misunderstanding of the term semi-automatic is completely understandable given this. It means ,simply, self loading, and only fires once per pull of the trigger.
      Automatic weapons are simply not generally available to the public, nor are they a factor in crime in this country.

  60. I am not a gun owner, only because the law says that I can’t since I was convicted of a felony when I was younger, but I completely agree with what you have said here. I don’t understand why it is so hard to pass laws that are well thought out and logical but for some reason they just don’t seem to happen.I think that enforcement of the laws in this country have dropped to such ridiculous levels that the punishment never fits the crime anymore. I do not believe that the average American citizen needs to have a clip that holds more than 10 rounds. We do not live in a third world country where we have to worry about some insane, power hungry general or dictator coming to kill us so we don’t need to have 30 rounds in our weapons. It only takes one round to stop a criminal from harming you or your family. As we saw here in Oregon it sometimes doesn’t take and shots at all just having a gun pointed at you is all it takes.
    You have some great ideas for fixing the gun issues for law abiding citizens. As for the criminals, we can fix that to if we make the punishment fit the crime!

    • Violent crime is at a 30 year low. I don’t know what else you want here. 😉

      As for well-thought out laws, very little proposed gun control is that. Need I point out the failed clonton ban or NY’s new mess of a magazine limit?

  61. Hey Mr. Jordan, thank you for posting this. I think it would help a lot of people to read this. Oh by the way my .308 Remington 700 AAC SD with Threaded Flash Suppressor and detachable magazine (according to my local sheriff) is now an “assault rifle”. Im laughing my ass off over this and emailed my sheriffs office about it which they told me not to worry. They actually got a laugh that my rifle would be banned under the new laws but in Arizona it is illegal for anyone to try to enforce gun laws that are restrictive in a way to keep law abiding citizens from owning weapons. I later got a second email which apparently got circulated of my “illegal assault rifle”. I hope someone isn’t scared of my “scary looking assault rifle”.

  62. Tom, thank you for taking the time to collect and analyze statistics. I learned a lot reading this.
    Both sides (pro-gun and anti-gun) often use a presumption not the facts.

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