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Mass Shootings--338 and counting

This topic was continued by Mass Shootings...contd.....

Pro and Con

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Oct 3, 2017, 2:44am Top

That's 338 mass shootings THIS YEAR!!!

At least one Congressman, Democrat Seth Moulton (MA), declined to join his colleagues in yet another ritualized response, the moment of silence: http://freebeacon.com/politics/house-democrat-refuses-participate-moment-silence...

Another ritual is the line, "Now is not the time to talk about _______________" (@altNOAA).
Sarah Huckabee Sanders filled in the blank with "gun control". Yesterday it was "climate change".

If not now, when??


Washington’s Ritualized Response to Mass Shootings
Ryan Lizza | October 2, 2017

...(Las Vegas mass shooting is ) according to one measure, the three hundred and thirty-eighth mass shooting.

This year.

Mass shootings are so frequent in America that the political responses to them have become ritualized to the point of parody. The social-media accounts of the N.R.A.—which kicked off last weekend by retweeting a picture of a machine gun, to celebrate #FullAutoFriday—go dark. The politicians funded by the N.R.A.—mostly Republicans—tweet “thoughts and prayers” to the victims. The House Speaker, Paul Ryan, said, “The whole country stands united in our shock, in our condolences, and in our prayers.” He ordered flags at the Capitol to be lowered. “Keeping #LasVegas in our thoughts this morning after the horrific news,” the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell, tweeted. A tweet from President Trump was a model of the form: “My warmest condolences and sympathies to the victims and families of the terrible Las Vegas shooting. God bless you!”

The politicians, mostly Democrats, who think that an epidemic of mass shootings requires government action issue angry pleas for action. “This must stop,” the Connecticut senator Chris Murphy in a statement said. “It is positively infuriating that my colleagues in Congress are so afraid of the gun industry that they pretend there aren’t public policy responses to this epidemic. There are, and the thoughts and prayers of politicians are cruelly hollow if they are paired with continued legislative indifference. It’s time for Congress to get off its ass and do something.”

...Trump thanked the local police and first responders “for their courageous efforts, and for helping to save the lives of so many.” He offered prayers to the victims. “Hundreds of our fellow-citizens are now mourning the sudden loss of a loved one,” he said. “A parent, a child, a brother or sister. We cannot fathom their pain.” Trump, who is not known for his piety, even quoted the Bible: “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Trump announced that he would visit Las Vegas on Wednesday, after he returns from Puerto Rico, but, aside from the investigation itself, the only substantive response from the federal government that Trump offered was to direct that American flags be flown half-staff, another rote response after a mass shooting.

“In times such as these, I know we are searching for some kind of meaning in the chaos,” Trump said. “Some kind of light in the darkness. The answers do not come easy.”...


Oct 3, 2017, 5:51am Top

Do not politicize tragedy: the NRA needs us united now more than ever. If that guy wanted to kill, he would have managed with a sling shot. It might have taken longer, and might have required stealth, multiple venues, even a day or two more. But a sling shot with small poisoned projectiles could have gotten the job done. And how, I ask, would we legislate to stop that?

Edited: Oct 3, 2017, 6:14am Top

Americans Hopeful This Will Be Last Mass Shooting Before They Stop On Their Own For No Reason

ETA: NRA Says Mass Shootings Just The Unfortunate Price Of Protecting People’s Freedom To Commit Mass Shootings

And the perennial:

Oct 3, 2017, 6:51am Top

>3 davidgn: Thanks, and very much to the point for those who can be bothered to open the links (no pun intended): indeed, as the case is well made, the rate of heart disease is so out of control in this country, it's only a matter of time before 50 or 60 concert goers drop dead on the spot from massive mass infarction.

Oct 3, 2017, 6:54am Top

Oh, and before NRA emerges from its swamp, with its "good guy with a gun" line:

No Pistol Could Have Stopped This
The Las Vegas shooting demolishes the NRA’s “good guy with a gun” argument.
Alex Yablon | Oct 2, 2107

Oct 3, 2017, 7:15am Top

>5 margd: Nonsense. This only means we need more snipers. A chicken in every pot and a sharpshooter on every roof.
(I've actually seen variations of this argued.)

Oct 3, 2017, 7:34am Top

Deplorables cling to their promiscuous gun laws.

Oct 3, 2017, 7:43am Top

#5--I've been waiting for that one actually. You know they're going to use it anyway. And FWIW this Paddock guy is something of an outlier. He doesn't conform to the standard FBI/Police profiling of who a mass shooting murderer should be--which is to say that they have holes now in their pigeonholing. Very nice house, a multi-millionaire real estate investor, an airline pilot and an auditor for Lockheed Martin, according to his brother he didn't give a crap about religion and politics wasn't his thing either. No run ins with the law. No axes to grind. He didn't care about much. He liked to gamble in Vegas and eat burritos at Taco Bell. Maybe it was the country music? Maybe two/three days of it outside his window was just too much? His brother wonders where he got all the high power high tech weaponry from. Maybe we could ask the head of the NRA?

Anyway to go back to the 'good guy with a gun line'---they wouldn't be the same gun rights activists (quite a number of them carrying) that were marching around Charlottesville a couple months back with their Nazi flags and Klan hoods? I'm thinking quite a number of them might be.

I also wonder what Congressman Scalise is thinking right now? He was an NRA 100%'er. Still taking the NRA's money? I'm thinking that's a probability to.

To Trump--'warmest condolences'--WTF does that mean?--apart from how he expresses himself shows what a fucking idiot he is. It might take a day or two but he's already ready to forget about the victims and their loved ones.

In any case you're absolutely right in #1--the time for ritualized responses is over. It's time they actually did something.

Oct 3, 2017, 8:10am Top

Predictable, if not ritual response, is that NRA, fomenting fear of gun-control legislation (which never comes), sees sales of weapons and ammunition soar:

Gun stocks up after Las Vegas shooting
Paul R. La Monica | October 2, 2017

Gun stocks rose Monday following the deadliest mass shooting in American history late Sunday night. A gunman in a hotel room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas killed at least 58 people attending an outdoor concert and wounded over 500 more.

Shares of Sturm Ruger (RGR) were up 4%, while American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), the company formerly known as Smith & Wesson, gained more than 3%. A company named Olin (OLN), which owns the Winchester brand of ammunition, rose 6% to an all-time high.

The stocks have tended to rally in the immediate aftermath of mass killings...



The NRA’s New Scare Tactics
With Trump in the White House, the gun lobby has transformed into a right-wing media outlet.
Laura Reston | October 3, 2017

...with Obama gone, and Republicans firmly in control, the NRA is suffering. In the first six months after Trump was elected, gun sales tumbled by 9 percent. Vista, the firearms manufacturer that owns brands like American Eagle and Bushnell, saw profits drop 27 percent in the first three months of the year—a reversal the company called an “unprecedented decline in demand for ammunition and firearms.” Individual contributions to the NRA, which account for roughly half its revenue, could also take a sharp plunge; the last time a Republican occupied the White House, the NRA’s membership flatlined. “They need a demon,” says Robert Spitzer, a political science professor at the State University of New York and author of The Politics of Gun Control...


Oct 3, 2017, 8:38am Top

>5 margd: If all 20,000 people had been armed with sniper rifles, the shooter would have been wiped out before ten people were dead.

Edited: Oct 3, 2017, 9:39am Top

Imagine there’s no gun law
bullets don't ask why
No Muslims here to blow us
Way up into the sky
Imagine all the people blasting wogs away

Imagine there’s no blackies
I know it’s hard for you
They sell drugs in your cities
And some like farming too
But imagine all white people blowing them away (eh-eh-yay-eh-eh)

You may say I’m a dreamer
But look at all my guns
Come to the range and join me
In the end we’ll all be one

Imagine no possession
Armless to a man
Forced to live in hunger
A government that can
Imagine foreign people, shitting all over you (oo-oo-ooo-oo-oo)

I am not a fucking dreamer
And I’m keeping all my guns
You are dead if you don’t join me
For the Con-sti-too-shee-un

Imagine all white people, owning all the guns…

Edited: Oct 3, 2017, 2:07pm Top

God bless them, another part of the ritual is search for and celebration of the heroes, reassurance that human decency prevails:

...Tales of heroism and compassion emerged quickly: One man grasped the hand of a dying stranger as the man died, unable to pull himself away despite the danger. Another borrowed a flannel shirt from a man he didn't know to create a tourniquet for a girl he didn't know. | Couples held hands as they ran. The healthy carried the bleeding off the grounds. Strangers drove victims to hospitals in their own cars...

ETA: Las Vegas shootings: Tales of heroism emerge from aftermath

ETA: Army veteran risked his life to save others at Las Vegas concert massacre, but don't call him a hero

ETA: He was shot helping people during the Las Vegas shooting. His heroics helped his photo go viral.

Oh yeah, and interviews with family and neighbors of the killer...


Giving blood...


Fund raising...

ETA: Hospital costs for those with gun injuries approach $100,000 per patient

Oct 3, 2017, 4:17pm Top

Got nothing to say just still shaking my head thinking WTF???? Unfathomable.

Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 7:00am Top

Discussion Draft. What am I forgetting?

Mass-shooting Checklist (Domestic Edition)

___moment of silence
___flag at half mast
___condolences & prayers
___reference deity

___thank first responders, emergency depts., & police
___"Now is not the time to talk about gun control"
___"We need police reports before we can talk about solutions."

___interview family, neighbors, coworkers
___blame mental illness, lone wolf

___celebrate heroes
___give blood, $

___Presidential visit

___NRA: go dark
___NRA: issue "good guy with a gun" argument
___NRA: incite, e.g., "the government is going to take your guns"
___invest in gun stocks

allow CDC to research gun violence?
introduce meaningful screening of wouldbe gun buyers?
ban silencers, automatic weapons, Saturday night specials, hollow bullets, _____?
cover mental health?
direct Justice Dept to address domestic terrorism?
ban guns in public milieu?
allow states/cities to protect their citizens?
ETA: buyback firearms (per Australia)?


Oct 3, 2017, 4:56pm Top

>14 margd: I hope you're not politicizing when we should unite.

Oct 4, 2017, 12:13am Top

Oct 4, 2017, 12:15am Top

This message has been flagged by multiple users and is no longer displayed (show)
"What am I forgetting?"

Politicization, another dumb post by margd

Oct 4, 2017, 12:31am Top


Before Sunday, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history took place in June 2016, when a gunman who professed support for Muslim extremist groups opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people.

A suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, killed 22 people in May. Almost 90 people were killed in 2015 at a concert in Paris by gunmen inspired by the Islamic State.

Oct 4, 2017, 2:07am Top

Mass Shootings Are A Bad Way To Understand Gun Violence

By Maggie Koerth-Baker

It’s impossible to say when the first mass shooting in America took place. Plant your shovel in the internet and you’ll find one event described that way, and then another. Deeper and deeper. Back and back. The 13 residents of Camden, New Jersey, killed by a neighbor in 1949. The eight Winfield, Kansas, concertgoers murdered when a man fired into a crowded intersection in 1903. The 60 to 150 African-Americans shot and hanged by a mob of white men in Colfax, Louisiana, in 1873.

There is something distinctly American about this way of death. Mass shootings1 happen in other countries, but they are far more common here. Between 1966 and 2012, there were 90 such incidents in the U.S. The next four countries with the most mass shootings had 54 combined. There is also something distinctly American about how we respond to these events, the way they become tangled up in the national debate about guns — this question of how to reduce deaths attributable to a weapon protected in the founding documents of our land. No other country has that particular challenge. So mass shootings become a symbol of gun violence in general. The deaths of dozens become a window into the death of one, and a separate one, and a different one over there.

This, of course, has already happened with the mass shooting on Sunday in Las Vegas that left at least 58 people dead and hundreds more injured.

And this is a problem. What we know about mass shootings suggests that they are different from the everyday deaths that happen at the end of a gun. The weapon is the same. So much else is different. And the distorted image we get by using one as a lens through which to view the other has consequences for our understanding of the problem and the policies that might address it.

Last year, we produced a series of stories on American gun deaths and the people behind the statistics. From that reporting, and other sources, we know mass shootings are different from other kinds of gun deaths in several ways.

First, they’re rare, and the people doing the shooting are different. The majority of gun deaths in America aren’t even homicides, let alone caused by mass shootings. Two-thirds of the more than 33,000 gun deaths that take place in the U.S. every year are suicides

And while people who commit suicide and people who commit mass shootings both tend to be white and male, suicide victims tend to be older. The median age of a mass shooter, according to one report, is 34, with very few over 50. Suicide, however, plagues the elderly as much as it does the middle-aged.

Second, the people killed in mass shootings are different from the majority of homicides. Most gun murder victims are men between the ages of 15 and 34. Sixty-six percent are black. Women — of any race and any age — are far less likely to be murdered by a gun. Unless that gun is part of a mass shooting. There, 50 percent of the people who die are women. And at least 54 percent of mass shootings involve domestic or family violence — with the perpetrator shooting a current or former partner or a relative.

The historical trends for different kinds of gun deaths don’t all follow the same course. While data suggests that the number of mass shootings similar to the Las Vegas event has gone up, particularly since 2000,2 homicide rates have fallen significantly from their 1980 peak and continued on a generally downward trajectory for most of the 21st century. Meanwhile, suicides are way up, with the biggest increases among women. The trends are different because the situations are different and the people are different. Maybe different solutions are warranted, as well.

You could, theoretically, cut down on all these deaths with a blanket removal of guns from the U.S. entirely — something that is as politically unlikely as it is legally untenable. Barring that, though, policies aimed at reducing gun deaths will likely need to be targeted at the specific people who commit or are victimized by those incidents. And mass shootings just aren’t a good proxy for the diversity of gun violence. Policies that reduce the number of homicides among young black men — such as programs that build trust between community members, police and at-risk youth and offer people a way out of crime — probably won’t have the same effect on suicides among elderly white men. Background checks and laws aimed at preventing a young white man with a history of domestic violence from obtaining a gun and using it in a mass shooting might not prevent a similar shooting by an older white male with no criminal record.

If we focus on mass shootings as a means of understanding how to reduce the number of people killed by guns in this country, we’re likely to implement laws that don’t do what we want them to do — and miss opportunities to make changes that really work. Gun violence isn’t one problem, it’s many. And it probably won’t have a single solution, either.

Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 5:00am Top

>17 barney67: I flagged the post, but I think it is also getting to the point where we should consider asking that Barney be removed for some time. His focussed attacks on Margd are creepy already, but there have been too many to be tolerated.

ETA: Sometimes it is not enough to scold, humiliate, etc.

Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 7:38am Top

Apparently the number of gun-owning homes in America are down in recent years, but the average number of guns in those homes has increased. (To seven, I think. To put that in perspective, we have three plus a crossbow in our rural, hunting household--deer, turkey, the occasional duck/goose, varmints. (I'm looking at YOU, foundation-burrowing woodchucks!) DH would gladly sacrifice firearms if it would help, though we'd be overrun with critters I think.) NRA has apparently been successful in selling more guns to fewer people. Older. white. men. Its latest tactic is to insert itself into issues far beyond the NRA's traditional purview...

America’s Complex Relationship With Guns
The demographics of gun ownership
Kim Parker, Juliana Menasce Horowitz, Ruth Igielnik, Baxter Oliphant and Anna Brown | June 22, 2017


The NRA’s New Scare Tactics
With Trump in the White House, the gun lobby has transformed into a right-wing media outlet.
Laura Reston | October 3, 2017

...Now, with no one in the White House to strike fear in the hearts of its members, the NRA is embarking on a bold new strategy. Instead of sticking solely to its pro-gun agenda—pushing for firearms in schools, allowing gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines—the group has joined the ranks of Breitbart and Fox News. Last fall, in the weeks before the election, the NRA launched its very own streaming service called NRATV. Some of the 34 shows it produces—from Armed & Fabulous to Trust the Hunter in Your Blood—are little more than infomercials for gun manufacturers, who sponsor the programs to drum up business. But many of the shows focus on issues far beyond the NRA’s traditional purview, from immigration to the “fake news” media.

“We’re seeing the rise of a new NRA,” says Adam Winkler, a UCLA law professor whose latest book, Gunfight, chronicles the battle over gun rights. “It’s long been committed to a die-hard approach to gun policy; they focused like a laser beam on Second Amendment issues. Now it’s focused on immigration, race, health care. We’re seeing the NRA become an extreme right-wing media outlet, not just a protector of guns.”

...As a marketing arm of the gun industry, the NRA has long understood that fear sells—but now it has a new media platform from which to broadcast a daily drumbeat of extremism and paranoia. “I’m not even sure it’s a dog whistle anymore,” says Watts, the gun control advocate. “It’s just a whistle—to anyone in their base who’s willing to listen. They see the future: They’re selling guns to fewer people. Their demographic is older, white men. They have to create a culture war—to make Americans afraid of each other.”


Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 8:22am Top

All the more reason to focus on gun control: doesn't sound like dangerous psychopaths can be reliably detected in advance...

The Neuroscientist Who Discovered He Was a Psychopath
While studying brain scans to search for patterns that correlated with psychopathic behavior, James Fallon found that his own brain fit the profile
Joseph Stromberg | November 22, 2013


The Las Vegas Shooter Didn’t Just “Snap.” They Never Do.
Here’s what helps explain the meticulously planned massacre.
Mark Follman | Oct. 4, 2017 6:00 AM

...Calling Paddock a “crazed lunatic full of hate,” as the Las Vegas mayor did, or “a very, very sick individual” as President Donald Trump did, may offer some catharsis. But it isn’t very helpful for understanding such crimes. (This kind of language can also perpetuate a dangerous stigma against mentally ill people, the vast majority of whom are not violent.)

...The pathway to violence
... a series of escalating behaviors leading to an attack, which can comprise a crucial period of time for possible intervention. Typically this process begins with a deep-seated grievance that turns to motivation, followed by planning and then an act of targeted violence...it precedes virtually all mass shootings.

..Did he signal his intentions?
...What the surprise among family members or neighbors about a perpetrator “snapping” really tends to mean is that “they didn’t know what was going on in his life that led up to it,” ...In some cases that can include...a “triggering event”—being fired from a job, getting served with a restraining order, or some other negative life development that can set a potentially dangerous person’s plan into motion.

...most mass shooters express their intentions before they strike, most often to a third party—a concept known as “leakage.” ...computers and phone could shed light, ...girlfriend...a history of domestic violence is common among mass shooters.

...Psychopathy and suicidal behavior
...father was...classified by (FBI) in 1969 as a dangerous psychopath with suicidal tendencies. (Suicidal behavior is also common among mass shooters—a majority take their own lives...)...research indicates that psychopathic traits can be inherited, and that this is more likely to happen the more severe the trait.

...Paddock’s slaughter...was without a doubt a hideous and evil act, and it was hardly inexplicable.



Las Vegas Strip shooter prescribed anti-anxiety drug in June
Paul Harasim | October 3, 2017

...Paddock was prescribed 50 10-milligram diazepam (Valium) tablets...on June 21.

...Diazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug in the class of drugs known as benzodizepines, which studies have shown can trigger aggressive behavior. Chronic use or abuse of sedatives such as diazepam can also trigger psychotic experiences, according to drugabuse.com.

...Dr. Mel Pohl, chief medical officer of the Las Vegas Recovery Center...“It can disinhibit an underlying emotional state. … It is much like what happens when you give alcohol to some people … they become aggressive instead of going to sleep.”

...effects of the drug also can be magnified by alcohol.

...A 2015 study published in World Psychiatry of 960 Finnish adults and teens convicted of homicide showed that their odds of killing were 45 percent higher during time periods when they were on benzodiazepines.

A year earlier, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry published a study titled, “Benzodiazepine Use and Aggressive Behavior.” The authors wrote: “It appears that benzodiazepine use is moderately associated with subsequent aggressive behavior.”

Dr. Michael First, a clinical psychiatry professor at Columbia University and expert on benzodiazepines, said the Finnish study speaks for itself. But he also told the Review-Journal on Tuesday that he believes the drugs would be more likely to fuel impulsive aggression than premeditated behavior.

“What this man in Las Vegas did was very planned,” he noted, referring to reports that Paddock sneaked an arsenal of weapons into the Mandalay Bay and placed cameras inside and outside his room before launching his attack.

...Critics of unscientific linkage in the news media and on social media between psychiatric drugs and violence say it stigmatizes those who benefit from their use. That, in turn, can make people quit using medications that can actually be lifesavers... (margd: e.g., five years ago, benzodiazepines gave my son some relief from frequent seizures, until other meds finally stopped them)


Oct 4, 2017, 8:45am Top

I'd point out that there is an alliance between the NRA and many country music artists. An alliance between the NRA and the republican party. An alliance between country music and the republican party. That the NRA promotes a number of country music artists on an 'NRA Country' page on its own website--that it arranges concerts with at least some of them to promote NRA activities....and all the while groups on the alt-right like the Klan, like various Neo-Nazi groups (who get at least some tacit support from republicans and republican politicians) are doing some of the the NRA's dirty work for them trying to push NRA objectives like open carry--something that was seen quite a lot at Charlottesville a couple months back. Owning a gun is no longer just about protecting yourself or game hunting for deer--it's also become about displaying their guns in public (parsed as a freedom thing)--it's also about who can have the mostest, the biggest and the deadliest and for at least some it's a prelude to having a civil war--a meant to intimidate show of force. To some degree this attack in Las Vegas at least to my eyes was the chickens coming home to roost.

Oct 4, 2017, 12:36pm Top

Larrry, you are not coming together, not uniting. You words are divisive in a time of high level, high alert mourning, a time for respecting the flag draped over coffins.

Oct 4, 2017, 1:23pm Top

#24--well country music is a gun happy culture and there is an element of that (and in Southern rock music) that also likes to sing about Dixie this and Dixie that and likes to run around in pick up trucks with rifle/shotgun in the back window and confederate (sometimes American)flag decals/symbols plastered all over--traditional values and the original intent of the constitution 300 fucking years ago and all that blah, blah, blah horsefucking shit.

Divisive or not--it's true and Klanners and Nazis are doing their level best to have a part it in all. FWIW Neo Nazi's and Klanners have been trying to invade punk rock and metal for decades as well--it's just that they are completely marginalized--their music was shunned, banned, destroyed when it made an appearance. It's pretty much where a lot of Antifa in the US, Britain and elsewhere was organized in these kind of venues to combat those kinds of assholes. Country music is their big target today--they want to normalize their hate and the NRA will work with them if need be.

Oct 4, 2017, 1:25pm Top

Usually violent behavior has roots. A person doesn't suddenly become violent, esp. in his 60s.

One clue is his father. We'll see what the girlfriend has to say.

By the way, trying to win money at video poker is so dumb. It's essentially a video game, and so easy to rig.

This guy wasn't normal. No millionaire is normal.

Oct 4, 2017, 1:25pm Top

Maybe he hates country music.

Edited: Oct 5, 2017, 5:23pm Top

"I want any young men who buy a gun to be treated like young women who seek an abortion. Think about it: a mandatory 48-hours waiting period, written permission from a parent or a judge, a note from a doctor proving that he understands what he is about to do, time spent watching a video on individual and mass murders, traveling hundreds of miles at his own expense to the nearest gun shop, and walking through protestors holding photos of loved ones killed by guns, protestor who call him a murderer."
As seen at: https://www.facebook.com/GloriaSteinem/posts/10153129748542854

Plus the signature of the current or former spouse, common-law or conjugal partner of the wouldbe gun-owner.

Oct 4, 2017, 5:55pm Top

>28 margd: I like those sentiments.

Oct 4, 2017, 6:53pm Top

> 30 Yeah, no shit, the US has other problems than guns: high suicide rate, high murder rate, high mental illness rate, extraordinary poverty, extraordinary joblessness for such a wealthy country, unbelievable income gaps. The country is a fucking mess, so, sure, guns are not the problems alone. Of course the author neglects to discuss sweeping gun control laws, an amendment to the second amendment, to adress the underlying insanity of US gun love.

Edited: Oct 4, 2017, 7:41pm Top

Many suicides happen because the means are readily available. Denmark recently restricted the size of headache medicine packages. And the number of suicides went down. If you have lots of guns and ammo around, you'll have lots of suicides that might otherwise not have happened. (And I'm of course not saying that it will prevent all suicides.)
None of this is rocket science.

ETA: https://www.b.dk/nationalt/restriktioner-paa-piller-er-en-succes-faerre-forsoeger-selvmord is a Danish newspaper article with some interesting numbers.
Suicide attempts with headache medicine went from 1153 to 337 (from 2010 to 2015) and the total number of admissions to hospitals because of suicide attempts went from 5598 to 3141. (And yeah, I don't have any ready-made explanation of how this work. But it seems to work and the article cites England and Wales as the inspiration for trying it.)

Oct 5, 2017, 12:03am Top


Oct 5, 2017, 12:05am Top

>17 barney67: TOS: Comment on post, not people.

I did. Which is why I should not have been flagged.

Oct 5, 2017, 12:05am Top

Calling someone a bigot, on the other hand...

Oct 5, 2017, 12:13am Top

Josh Kraushaar
Oct. 3, 2017

it’s more instructive to look at certain Democrats—the red-state variety who haven’t joined their national brethren in denouncing the National Rifle Association.

Six red-state Senate Democrats representing largely rural states are up for reelection in 2018, and not one came out for more gun control in the wake of the Vegas killings.

West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, who cosponsored bipartisan legislation expanding the scope of background checks, has been notably quiet.

Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota voted against the background-check bill, and has no interest in bringing up gun control in the run-up to her reelection campaign.

Sen. Claire McCaskill, the most liberal of the bunch, simply released an anodyne statement calling the Vegas attack “evil” and offering support for law enforcement. She knows the politics in Missouri better than the armchair pundits who insist that gun control is a slam-dunk issue.

Jacky Rosen, the highly-touted Democratic congresswoman from Las Vegas running against Sen. Dean Heller, didn’t talk about gun control after the tragedy.

Oct 5, 2017, 1:36am Top

I read some of the comments on "Bump stocks" i.e. add-ons to make a semi-automatic rifle work like a full-automatic. Several politicians said that they didn't know how they worked and they would need to consult experts before even having an opinion. Googling "Bump stocks" will find you a video showing these things in action. To my mind they should be restricted under the same laws as full-automatics but I'm not a lawyer, nor a politician.
I'm sure some politicians can use this to argue that the law about full-automatics doesn't make sense amymore and thus should be cancelled.
And the background-check bill didn't stop the Las Vegas shooter either, so that can be cancelled too?

Oct 5, 2017, 2:40am Top

>30 cpg: As with healthcare, America has so far deviated from path of other nations on gun ownership, that it won't be easy, that's for sure. I suspect there will need to be a widespread change in attitude like we saw with cigarettes. Surely there's a limit to what American people will accept?

Technology might help. e.g., smart guns that recognize their owner. It might hurt, though, too? For example, 3-D printers could produce plastic handguns, bump stocks, etc.?

At the very least, we can stop the spiral down? Hollow, cop-killing bullets. Silencers. Guns in schools. Whatever fresh hell NRA gun dealers have in mind for us.

Oct 5, 2017, 10:43am Top

Background checks are not a foolproof panacea. Ask anyone in HR.

Oct 5, 2017, 10:46am Top

America is unlike other nations. So what? It's odd to think that what works in one country will necessarily, always, in all times and places work for a very different country. Or are you unaware of what diversity means? Another San Andreas fault in the liberal mind.

We were diverse for a long time. For the past few decades we've been less diverse, more Third World.

Oct 5, 2017, 10:47am Top

It's stupid to blame the NRA. People are responsible for their own actions. People are violent. If they kill, it's their fault. An eight year old knows this.

Oct 5, 2017, 11:09am Top

>39 barney67: (for the sake of others' not in the hope that barney reads or listens) no-one is asking for a foolproof panacea. Anything that a makes it harder to access weapons reduces the incidence of events like this and the far too many other killings (deliberate and accidental) that occur in the US. Each roadbump you put in the way discourages someone from heading down that street.

>28 margd: - seems fair to me!

Oct 5, 2017, 11:37am Top

>37 bnielsen: I heard on a tv newscast that the legal process to approve the bump stocks was helped by the manufacturer pitching the device as a way to help the handicapped shoot.

Oct 5, 2017, 3:36pm Top

>42 reading_fox: Personal attacks are against the TOS.

Pillory posts and points, not people, please.

Oct 5, 2017, 3:46pm Top

>43 DugsBooks: I read that too, but thought that if that was their best argument .... I wonder if anyone has found a way to help the blind shoot full-automatic weapons yet.

Oct 6, 2017, 3:11am Top

The NRA's strategic ploy on bump stocks
Chris Cillizza | October 6, 2017

...the NRA is calling on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) to handle the bump stock issue. Why does this matter? Because if ATF takes on the issue, it means that Congress doesn't.

Congress...equivalent of opening Pandora's box -- not just in terms of how the legislation might wind up looking but also in terms of public attention being paid to gun laws.

...why the NRA proactively came out in favor of ATF-driven regulations on bump stocks: It allows for a simple -- and quick -- answer to the horrors of the Las Vegas shooting without endangering any of the key elements of what the NRA and its supporters hold dear.

...a way to avoid prolonged debate about gun laws

...This move on bump stocks is an attempt by the NRA to stop a broad public debate on guns before it really begins in earnest. And it almost certainly will work.


Oct 6, 2017, 9:06am Top

That's the main thing that needs to be recognized is that the NRA is saying they MIGHT need to be REGULATED, but nothing about banning. Interestingly tho, they BAN them from their own gun range.


Oct 6, 2017, 2:31pm Top


Paddock had an arsenal of 23 weapons in his hotel room. A dozen of them included "bump stocks," attachments that can effectively convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automated weapons.

In a rare concession on gun control, the National Rifle Association announced its support Thursday for regulating the devices.

Oct 6, 2017, 2:31pm Top

Danley was interviewed by investigators for four hours Wednesday after she returned from the Philippines. Her attorney, Matt Lombard, said after the interview that she had no knowledge of Paddock's plans.

Oct 6, 2017, 2:32pm Top

Her attorney, Matt Lombard, said

Oct 6, 2017, 2:57pm Top

David French

But what, pray tell, is the “action” that will end mass shootings? Here Powers comes up empty. She refers to other countries, but the only concrete proposals she offers (“requiring criminal background checks at gun shows and on Internet sales”) not only would not have stopped the Las Vegas shooting — as she admits — they’re also misleading. As has been explained a million times, the so-called gun-show loophole applies only to private sales between citizens of the same state, not to all gun-show sales or to all Internet sales. If you buy a gun from a licensed dealer, the dealer is required by law to make sure that you’re legally eligible to buy that gun, no matter where you buy it.

Powers isn’t the only gun-control advocate to come up empty on the vital question of how to end mass shootings. During his presidential campaign, Senator Marco Rubio made waves when he declared, “None of the major shootings that have occurred in this country over the last few months or years that have outraged us — would gun laws have prevented them.”

After an outcry, the Washington Post fact-checked his claim, and — lo and behold — determined that he was right. It analyzed each recent mass shooting and found that shooters either gained their weapons legally (under laws that would not change) or defied existing laws. It’s conclusion:

This is certainly a depressing chronicle of death and tragedy. But Rubio’s statement stands up to scrutiny — at least for the recent past, as he framed it. Notably, three of the mass shootings took place in California, which already has strong gun laws including a ban on certain weapons and high-capacity magazines.

More recently, writer and statistician Leah Libresco reached a similar conclusion. Also writing in the Washington Post (kudos to the Post, by the way, for publishing thoughtful, divergent views), she took a look at gun control more broadly and concluded that modern proposals did nothing for the people who actually suffer from the vast majority of gun violence — people who commit suicide, victims of “regular” street crime, and women killed in domestic-violence incidents. She began her work on gun control broadly supportive of “popular” reforms. She ended in a different place:

By the time we published our project, I didn’t believe in many of the interventions I’d heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don’t want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can’t endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news.

Oct 7, 2017, 6:33am Top

Some question whether ATF can regulate bump stocks under current legislation, as recommended by NRA:

Did Obama administration approve bump stocks?
Manuela Tobias | October 6, 2017

..."The stock has no automatically functioning mechanical parts or springs and performs no automatic mechanical function when installed," (ATF’s technology chief John Spencer) wrote. "Accordingly, we find that the ‘bump-stock’ is a firearm part and is not regulated as a firearm under Gun Control Act or the National Firearms Act."

Bump stocks harness a weapon’s recoil to cause the user’s finger to squeeze the trigger repeatedly, but because they don’t alter the gun’s internal mechanisms, they were considered lawful.

...two similar devices did (qualify for regulation)

The difference? The Akins Accelerator and the Autoglove were determined in 2007 and 2017, respectively, to have mechanical parts that enhanced the trigger mechanism, making them by definition machineguns.

...decisions allowed two companies to sell bump stocks. It’s important to note this was not a statement of Obama’s preferred policy, which called for more regulation of guns, but was what the agency determined it had to do under the language of current law.


Oct 8, 2017, 12:59pm Top

Spoken Word "Can't you hear the children scream?" (4:01)
C.G. L | Oct 7, 2017

This man's spoken word poem about gun violence will bring you to tears, will bring you to think and may bring you to your senses...I hope


Oct 8, 2017, 4:05pm Top

>53 margd: Words are so powerful. Why can't some people understand them?

Yesterday I saw this about when is the right time to discuss gun legislation:


Edited: Oct 9, 2017, 11:02am Top

>41 barney67: No, it isn't stupid to blame the NRA. Vegas is a direct result of NRA efforts - NRA didn't pull the trigger but they enabled and guaranteed the results. It was the NRA that opposed any attempt to bar the sales of high capacity magazines, it was the NRA who said absolutely nothing about the introduction of bump stocks and for years the NRA has successfully defended the right for anyone to own semi-automatic assault rifle style weapons.

Without the high capacity magazines, semi-automatic assault rifles and bump stocks which convert a semi-automatic in to a machine gun with a low cyclic rate (estimate approximately 325 rounds per minute vs cyclic rates of 4-800 rpm for most sub-machine guns), NRA's Vegas show would have been only a shadow of what happened since the shooter would have had his choices reduced to pump or lever action rifles. Not only is the cyclic rate much lower but the quantity of ammunition available for a single loading would have been much less.

The only thing that could have conceivably made the situation worse would have been a situation where the NRA's bill allowing the sale of suppressors to anyone was the law of the land (as far as I know they are still on track to get this law passed). If the Vegas shooter had suppressors mounted on his weapons they would have taken about 30db off of the sound of the shots and if it was good suppressor it would have concealed the muzzle flash as well.

A check of db estimate on the web indicates the weapons used in Vegas had a db of 165 at the muzzle. If we use the formula for db attenuation as a function of distance 20*log(distance from muzzle/vertical distance to ground) where log is base 10

source: http://www.mcsquared.com/dbframe.htm

and assume a distance of 1 foot from the muzzle and estimate 10 feet/floor for the hotel then for the 32nd floor we are looking at an attenuation of

20*log(1/320) = -50db (Actually -50.1)

which would result in a db level of 115 at the ground level hotel entrance. This is about the same db level as an emergency vehicle siren. Now, if the shooter had a suppressor and trimmed off 30 db then the db 1 foot from the muzzle would have been 135 db. Take away 50 and the sound at hotel entrance ground level is 85 which is about the sound level of a passing diesel truck. By comparison the sound level of a rock band is about 110.

source: http://www.noisehelp.com/noise-level-chart.html

In other words, had the NRA's latest efforts been in force then instead of a measly 58 dead and 500 wounded the NRA would have had a slaughter that would have really made them proud.

Oct 9, 2017, 1:19pm Top

#55--absolutely agree.

Oct 10, 2017, 1:51pm Top

The person responsible is the one who pulls the trigger. End of story.

I don't know why people on this site have so much trouble with the notion of responsibility.

Oct 10, 2017, 1:58pm Top

nono. The person responsible is any Republican/Conservative I can find to blame, and of course Trump, who is responsible for all hurricanes.

uhoh. was that off-topic?

Oct 10, 2017, 2:58pm Top

>57 barney67: It's called enabling and the NRA can take sole credit for that. If it isn't available then you can't use it - End of Story. I can hardly wait until the NRA gets that bill through for the suppressors. The 30 db estimates are based on supersonic rounds - but when you go for subsonic (like a .45 caliber round) then you get a silencer - and when the first really impressive slaughter happens when someone uses silenced weapons the level of murder will be a direct result of the fact that the means to do it was present and it will be the NRA and friends who made those means available.

Oct 10, 2017, 3:04pm Top

>57 barney67: Then why don't we just let people own flame-throwers. If they use it on their neighbors then it's their own fault, no one else is to blame. Flame-thowers don't kill people, people kill people.

Oct 10, 2017, 3:40pm Top

60 You simply cannot legislate against Greek Fire.

Edited: Oct 11, 2017, 7:24am Top

>60 jjwilson61: As far as I know flamethrowers are not banned in the US, except for California, which these days have more than enough flames already. Please enlighten me if I'm wrong. Please not with a flamethrower, though.

Oct 11, 2017, 3:40pm Top

>59 alco261: "If it isn't available then you can't use it"

Then you use something else. No such thing as a world without violence. You need a scapegoat. I don't.

Oct 11, 2017, 3:41pm Top

Many ways to hurt people.

Oct 11, 2017, 4:03pm Top

>64 barney67: Why can't we put restrictions on the most efficient ways to hurt people.

Oct 11, 2017, 4:26pm Top

>63 barney67: Then you use something else. No such thing as a world without violence

True, of course. Use something else which is available, such as a fist, a stick, a knife, an axe, even a van. But you won't kill more than 50 and injure more than 500 before you are stopped. As >65 jjwilson61: says, why not reduce the damage by restricting the most efficient ways to hurt and kill?

Oct 11, 2017, 5:07pm Top

>66 johnthefireman: Use something else which is available, such as a fist, a stick, a knife, an axe, even a van. But you won't kill more than 50 and injure more than 500 before you are stopped.

“I am not anti-gun. I'm pro-knife. Consider the merits of the knife. In the first place, you have to catch up with someone in order to stab him. A general substitution of knives for guns would promote physical fitness. We'd turn into a whole nation of great runners. Plus, knives don't ricochet. And people are seldom killed while cleaning their knives.”

--the late and very great Molly Ivins

Oct 11, 2017, 7:22pm Top

>66 johnthefireman: What about an airplane?

I have no trouble prohibiting automatic, semiautomatic, or other military type field weapons from public use. What I'm trying to say is that regulation would not necessarily have stopped this particular slaughter. This is not a guy who gives up. He would have found other ways. I'm not going to list ways because I don't want to give anyone any ideas. Suffice it to say history is full of clever killers. Some if it, I'm sorry to say, simply can't be stopped.

Don't say "regulation" to every problem that exists. Not only will problems not be solved, many will be made worse. So let's stop thinking that there are some genial, kindhearted folks in Washington who will make everything right for us. If I said that to you, I'd be lying.

I doubt anything could have stopped this guy in Vegas, and all the second guessing strikes me as unfair and futile and irrelevant.

Edited: Oct 12, 2017, 6:59am Top

>68 barney67: What about an airplane?

I think the point would be that post-9/11 it is far, far more difficult to get hold of an aeroplane to carry out an attack than it is to get one's hands on a bunch of automatic weapons in the USA. We will never stop violence, as you say, but we can limit its damage through regulation. This is not about absolutes, but about sensible risk reduction. We will never stop car accidents, but speed limits, safety belts, built-in crumple zones, etc are amongst the regulatory measures put in place to reduce the occurrence of accidents and to limit the damage they cause when they do happen.

In Europe, for example, it is very difficult but not impossible for a criminal to get hold of an automatic weapon. It is far, far more difficult to get hold of 23 of them at the same time (or however many this latest nutter had - I've lost track); one can probably get hold of some ammunition but not thousands of rounds; incendiary rounds are likely to be even scarcer.

Oct 12, 2017, 8:37am Top


Oct 12, 2017, 9:05am Top

>70 barney67: Really? You see the word Europe and your mind turns off? What if John had left off the last paragraph? Then what would you say?

Oct 12, 2017, 9:18am Top

>63 barney67: Just how much damage would that Vegas shooter have been able to do if he hadn't had access to what amounted to a low cyclic rate of fire machine gun? Given that certain venues aren't available no one is claiming you can't or won't use other means to commit murder but please don't try to tell anyone familiar with firearms that you could get the same cyclic rate (and thus the same level of damage in the same amount of time) using a pump, lever action, or bolt action rifle. Would people have died in Vegas - sure - but the count would have been a lot lower. The whole point of the NRA effort is not about protecting the 2nd amendment it is about protecting their personal interpretation of the 2nd amendment regardless of the cost to the rest of the country.

Of course, at this point in the discussion someone will bring up all other kinds of ways one could have caused the same kind of mayhem - you know - C4 hidden in a trash can, bootlegged RPG's , IED's, explosives wrapped around an LNG container and hidden in the back of a car, etc. and use these fantasies as an excuse for allowing anyone access to any kind of firearm. The only problem with these what-if versions of Vegas is that, based on the available data, they are very rare whereas slaughter from easily acquired high cyclic rate weapons is fairly common.

If you insist that the NRA approach is the correct one then, given the very close relationship between the NRA and the arms manufacturers, it is only reasonable to put this on a cost/benefit basis. So, how many bad guys would the population at large have to blow away (under extreme duress and at the very last minute in their own homes) to justify only the carnage at Vegas and Sandy Hook?

A one-to-one trade-off is unacceptable - no one interested in turning a profit would accept that situation. Since the prevailing view of the NRA and their supporters seems to be that innocent lives are cheap (for example, to the best of my knowledge there has been no effort on the part of the NRA or any arms manufacturer to censor/reject/repudiate those elements of society who have claimed the Sandy Hook shootings were a hoax) lets go for a low ball valuation - say 5:1 - five bad guys shot dead in your home (using, of course, a semi-automatic weapon with a high capacity magazine) for every one innocent butchered/injured courtesy of the NRA's approach to public safety. (By the way if you are really concerned about a shootout in your home a pump shotgun is a much better option. No careful aiming necessary - just point in the general direction of the noise and open fire - you're bound to hit something).

At a 5:1 ratio we would need incontrovertible proof that within the last year at least (26+59+527)*5 = 3060 bad guys were dispatched in the manner described above. 26= Sandy Hook dead, 59 = Vegas dead, 527 = Vegas injured (Vegas count courtesy of NY Post - 2 October 2017). Somehow I don't think you are going to find anything approaching that number. Indeed I'm sure you can't even get a 1:1 match for the simple reason that if such things were occurring in the U.S. the NRA and its supporters would have made sure it was front page news and lead banner on every paper and internet news source available.

As for needing a scapegoat - no, I don't. What I would like to see is recognition on the part of the body politic in the U.S. that the kinds of weapons used in Vegas are built for one purpose only - efficient killing of human beings. There is no need for these kinds of weapons in any sporting venue such as hunting or target shooting.

I would like to see the same rules that apply to the legal ownership of machine guns, silencers, and "infernal machines" apply to semi-automatic rifles, high capacity magazines, and anything, such as bump stocks, designed to increase the cyclic rate of semi-automatic weapons. If those rules did apply you, as a citizen in good standing, could still own and use such weapons for target shooting, bragging rights, or whatever (no hunting), but the risk of someone such as the Vegas shooter easily acquiring such weapons would, over time, be minimized.

Oct 12, 2017, 12:27pm Top

>70 barney67:

It's an example, or perhaps a thought experiment. Let's think. If in the USA there were regulations like in Europe which prevented people from getting 23 automatic weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition, would 59 people have been killed that day and over 500 injured? I wonder...

Oct 12, 2017, 5:44pm Top

What about an airplane?

Oct 12, 2017, 5:46pm Top

>74 barney67:

See >69 johnthefireman:. Already very difficult to organise due to, er, regulations amongst other things.

Edited: Nov 1, 2017, 5:15am Top

How's that response to Las Vegas shooting coming, I wonder (bump stocks, silencers)?
This time NOW is the time to talk about response? Three hours after HD-truck assault in NYC:

"I have just ordered Homeland Security to step up our already Extreme Vetting Program. Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!"
@realDonaldTrump 6:26 PM - 31 Oct 2017

And could we see some extreme vetting for future presidential candidates, please (financial, mental & emotional, physical)?

Nov 2, 2017, 4:50am Top

"Shooting at Colorado Walmart - so no matter WHO did this, it's TERRORISM. I don't care if they yelled Allahu Akbar or woo pig sooie."

B-Ball Guru‏ @northcyde 7h7 hours ago

Nov 5, 2017, 9:18pm Top

Seems clear now we're going to have to deport people of Irish ancestry for their propensity to mass violence...

Nov 6, 2017, 12:44am Top

We still haven't heard from the guy's doctor. I suspect Paddock was hearing voices, probably his whole life, like some schizophrenics. Maybe they helped him for a while in building his fortune. It's a peculiar malady, after all.

But at some point the voices told him to stockpile guns, then use them. I wonder if he was fighting that temptation. I read an account by his girlfriend that said he was in mental pain and was taking Valium. That's good, but not nearly enough to confront hearing voices. Things got pretty intense near the end.

If this is what was happening, laws would probably not have made much of a difference. Those of who think laws can make life nice and good, those of you who can't even follow LT's rules, might want to reconsider your pseudo-moral outrage.

What America can do and should do is start protecting its borders and get serious about an immigration problem that has existed for how many decades. Liberals say that's not nice. But neither are mass killings.

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 7:06am Top

>14 margd: Mass-shooting Checklist (Domestic Edition)

Sutherland Springs, TX. November 5, 2107--thus far
___condolences & prayers
___thank first responders, emergency depts., & police
___evoke "America stong!" or some variant thereof
___blame mental illness, lone wolf
___"good guy with a gun" argument

Date & location TBD
___ Repeat :(


If Texas shooter is:

Muslim: More travel restrictions!
Black: More blacks in prison!
Mexican: Build the wall!
White: Protect 2nd A!

@jemisha_johnson 12h12 hours ago


In Tokyo @realDonaldTrump says Texas shooting was mental health problem not gun law problem and praises armed citizen who went after him
@mitchellreports 10:38 PM - 5 Nov 2017

It seems like extreme vetting of firearms purchasers would be worth considering.
@mattyglesias 11h11 hours ago


Thoughts and Prayers have released a joint statement: "We have received all the messages. We suggest gun control." #SutherlandSprings
@WajahatAli 12h12 hours ago


No gun, one victim: painful, broken ribs, but alive:

Rand Paul recovering from 5 broken ribs after attack at Kentucky home

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 6:18am Top

>79 barney67:

Laws would have made a huge difference. If firearms were as difficult to obtain as they are in other modern western democracies then your average schizophrenic would be unable to get his hands on them to obey the voices in his head.

PS: I think your immigration problem has been ongoing since about 1492, not just a few decades!

Nov 6, 2017, 6:44am Top

I am so sick of the refrain that laws would not make a difference. In what other area would that argument be made? We should do nothing because doing something might not completely solve the problem? What kind of people are we who can continue to see large numbers of Americans, including children, slaughtered every few weeks and shrug our shoulders and say there's nothing we can do? If making guns more difficult for those with mental illness or a propensity to violence to get prevents one mass slaughter, it's worth it.

As far as I am concerned, the NRA, Congress, and everyone who fights against commonsense forms of gun control has the blood of children on their hands.

By the way, it should come as no surprise to those of you who are paying attention that this guy has a history of domestic abuse: "The suspect, Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, who died soon after the massacre, had served in the Air Force but was court-martialed in 2012 on charges of assaulting his wife and child."

Nov 6, 2017, 7:03am Top

One shoe bomber tried to blow up a plane and now we take off our shoes.

1520 mass shootings since Sandy Hook and Congress has done NOTHING.

— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) November 6, 2017

Nov 6, 2017, 7:04am Top

Deaths by gun this year: 13,136 pic.twitter.com/p6Xa8hgH3Z

— Conrad Hackett (@conradhackett) November 5, 2017

Nov 6, 2017, 7:04am Top

Gun Death Rate Rose Again in 2016, C.D.C. Says
Christine Hauser | Nov. 4, 2017

The rate of gun deaths in the United States rose in 2016 to about 12 per 100,000 people, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released on Friday. That was up from a rate of about 11 for every 100,000 people in 2015, and it reflected the second consecutive year that the mortality rate in that category rose in the United States. (The United States has more than 33,000 gun-related deaths annually.)

...after several years in which the rate was relatively flat.

...Garen J. Wintemute, director of the Violence Prevention Research Program at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine, wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine after the Las Vegas shooting that mass killings are “reshaping the character of American public life.”

“Whoever we are, they happen to people just like us; they happen in places just like our places,” he wrote. “We all sense that we are at risk.” (http://annals.org/aim/fullarticle/2658284/what-you-can-do-stop-firearm-violence)

...(Bob Anderson, chief of the mortality statistics branch at the health statistics center)... Suicides account for about 60 percent of firearm-related deaths, and homicides about 36 percent, Mr. Anderson said. Unintentional firearm deaths and those related to law enforcement officials account for about 1.3 percent each. The rest are undetermined.

...The final data for 2016 will be released in the first week of December...


Nov 6, 2017, 11:23am Top

It’s amazing how many of the mass shooters are ex-military.

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 12:19pm Top

it's not about guns

ETA: sorry, reflex

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 3:50pm Top

FWIW a mail carrier Tim Webster who I use to work with in Elmira NY was murdered this past Friday by an armed Pennsylvania man who having failed at kidnapping a woman in Corning NY was trying to steal a car. He broke into Webster's home in Big Flats NY and shot him in front of his wife and then stole their truck and was apprehended a few hours later down in Wellsboro Pa. My initial thought about the perpetrator isn't about voices in his head--my initial thought is for Webster who worked all his life and never as far as I've known (I did not know him all that well to be honest) caused any real problems for anyone--just did his job and one second he's alive and then this asshole with a gun who he's never seen before comes barreling into his life completely out of nowhere and then it's all over for Webster and FWIW our houses aren't that far apart--it could have been my house this jerk off decided to stop at.

Edited: Nov 6, 2017, 6:05pm Top

it's not about guns.

Sorry, l, that's a shit story. I suppose if you outlaw cars only outlaws would have cars and they wouldn't run into such problems.

eta: I mean a shit story like...making me nauseated...shit folk doing shit things...

Nov 6, 2017, 6:45pm Top

>82 sturlington: "I am so sick of the refrain that laws would not make a difference. In what other area would that argument be made?"

Most. But you're a Democrat, so you've never that point of view. What you've heard your life has been that laws make the world a nice place. Then when you realize they haven't, you need someone to blame, or you call for even more laws. It's a self-defeating position bound to create frustration and despair. Maybe even lead to mass killing.

Nov 6, 2017, 6:45pm Top

The real subject no one wants to be debate is freedom.

Nov 6, 2017, 7:08pm Top


Freedom to sit on your front porch with a gun in your hand just in case someone comes to steal your truck?

Nov 6, 2017, 7:18pm Top

I would like the freedom for my family and I to go about our daily business without having to worry about being massacred. And I would like to do that without a gun in my hand. This is the 21st century--why does this seem beyond us?

Nov 6, 2017, 7:27pm Top

One minute, they were a family praying in church. The next, eight of them were dead. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/us/shooting-victims-texas.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0

But yeah, let's continue to argue that easy access to guns is not the problem. People with mental health problems cannot mow down eight members of one family in less than a minute without easy access to guns.

Nov 6, 2017, 9:14pm Top

By law, firearms makers and dealers don't face liability lawsuits. Taxes could be used to set up a compensation fund to cover the medical bills of gun violence survivors.


Nov 6, 2017, 9:39pm Top

The gun death problem is not laws or lack of laws, it is the fact that there are millions of guns floating around in the U.S. Anyone who wants a gun can and will get a gun. There is no way to stop that now.

The only solution would be an end to the power of the NRA. I don't see how that can happen.

It is what is called an intractable problem.

The problem is only going to get worse.

It will not get better in the short term. In the long term we will all be dead and it will then be a problem for unborn generations. And good luck to them.

Nov 6, 2017, 10:11pm Top

>97 JGL53: That is such a depressing prospect. I haven't completely given up hope but I don't see a way out. The liability tax, which almost certainly has zero chance of being implemented, wouldn't prevent any shootings, it would just give victims a little compensation to deal with the aftermath (pain, disability, PTSD, bills, etc). What a sad world we have created for ourselves.

Nov 6, 2017, 10:18pm Top

#97--events such as these are going to happen with greater and greater frequency.

Nov 6, 2017, 11:16pm Top

>91 barney67: laws make the world a nice place

It's interesting, Barney, that you have now apparently abandoned your "US is unique" stance and are now referring to "the world". In fact laws about guns have helped make the world a better place in just about all of the developed democracies. There is clear evidence of this and you don't need to be a Democrat to see it. In most modern democracies the right and left wing parties both agree on this.

On the other hand, there are failed states where there is no rule of law and just about anybody has access to an AK-47 - South Sudan and Somalia spring to mind immediately. I hope you're not suggesting that the lack of regulation of small arms and light weapons has contributed to making them nicer places. Incidentally they both also have high incidences of domestic violence.

>92 barney67: freedom

How do you figure that nobody wants to debate freedom? >93 Crypto-Willobie: and >94 sturlington: responded immediately, as I'm sure will others. The Pro and Con group often discusses freedom-related issues.

Freedom is not an absolute for an individual to do whatever s/he wants to the detriment of others. There is a social contract and, yes, laws, which a society implements to try to balance things so that one person's freedom does not impinge on the freedom of others. Even in your glorious country you are not free to build your own nuclear weapon, to make your own anthrax and mail it to someone you don't like, to drive a car on a public road at a speed which endangers others, to sell contaminated food, and many other "freedoms" which are prohibited under the law.

If you genuinely want to debate the balance of freedoms, I'm sure you'll find many takers. If you just want to use "freedom" as a slogan to support your own personal or party position, then I doubt whether there'll be so much interest.

Nov 7, 2017, 3:47am Top

> 89 So sorry for your neighbor--and you. So disquieting to elude disaster by toss of the dice. Also disquieting to realize there be such dangerous creeps amongst us--outnumbered by far by good people, though. It helps me to remember that!

>82 sturlington: "(Devin Kelley) has a history of domestic abuse." And before that he came to attention of police for abusing his dog--a stereotypical dirtball's path... Apparently Air Force should have reported the domestic abuse to civilian authorities, so breakdown in gun-purchase screening, already anemic at best...

>84 sturlington: >85 margd: gun death stats

"Since 1975: 3,025 Americans killed by foreign born terrorist incl 9/11. More than 1,800,000 killed by domestic gun violence. #NRATerrorism"
@altNOAA 3h3 hours ago

Nov 7, 2017, 5:22am Top

Even a little country like Slovenia is not immune from international criminal syndicates. Here, it is the Albanian mafia. They sell vegetables and fruit as a front, which is sometimes pretty funny because now and then their two stalls are manned by giant muscular fellows who look a lot like Albanian mafia muscle. They probably control all the drug trade in Slovenia, but might not because there is too little to be made in that arena, even though we have plenty of addicts even in Izola--it's still a small number. So they traffic in electronics and other highers priced stolen items and, even though this is a small country, it is a way station and they ARE international, so it is they who traffic in women. Since this is a small place, when I lived down the coast a ways, a kilometer from the main casino, I knew where the 'working women' lived or were kept. They had to pass a bar I frequented to get to where they waited for the van that took them to work.
However, last time there was a raid in Izola on these vegetable selling ruffians, the one guy with a gun ran directly to the sea and tossed it in. So in a land of strict gun control (we have hunters who get their guns) the outlaws are outgunned by the police. The Albanian mafia has no interest in attracting attention.
I recall being in Warsaw when the Poles were witnessing a mob war: about six or seven mobsters were gunned down on the banks of the Vistula. Look up gun crime in Poland. My guess is the figures will be pretty low.

Edited: Nov 8, 2017, 1:21am Top

>100 johnthefireman: Well, John, when I lapsed into "the world" that was simply laziness. You seem to think that I have no interest in the rest of the world. Far from it.

But you are correct in saying that I believe America is unique. That's both good and bad. In the context of this thread, there may be something in American DNA that is prone to violence. We don't recognize frontiers. We cross them. We push them. We create them. We have trouble with boundaries and rules and authority. To quote the movie Stripes, there's something very wrong with us.

In which case it doesn't matter what the gun laws are, because Americans don't respond to laws the way Canadians and Brits do. Those people are content to fall in line and do what they're told. We're not like that. We're more likely to circumvent or ignore laws we don't like. Do I need to remind you there are 320 million of us? And how many guns already in existence?

So how do you govern people as unruly as us? You decentralize. You have fewer laws rather than more, but the laws that exist are taken more seriously than they are today. You hold people accountable for their actions.

You don't like it, but that's one reason Trump was elected, the potential for change and accountability, and on that point voters were right. You have a much better chance of changing Washington with Trump than with any candidate we've had for a very long time because he's an outsider, and we've never had a president like Trump. All you liberals who are supposed to like change think that's a bad thing. I, the only conservative here, think this change is a good thing, and I didn't even vote for him. If nothing else, a lot of people have gotten shaken up and made to defend themselves and question their assumptions.

This presidency is interesting because it's unpredictable. If you fear change, if you fear the future, if unpredictability and uncertainty cause you anxiety and fear, then you will hate Trump and call him all kinds of names.

There will always be people, in any country, who can get guns if they want them. That's simply a fact of life I haven't been able to explain away. It means living with a lot of uncertainty, but you don't have to become fearful and obsessive about it. If I had one wish for everyone, it would be to reduce their fear. Mass killing, even in America, is still not as common as you might fear it is. If you think there should zero mass killings, then all it takes is one to upset you, let alone two or three a year. But zero tolerance is a bad rule. It doesn't account for complexity. It tries to steamroll it by oversimplifying. We can't stop mass killing, generally speaking, but we can control our response to it.

There is no short-term cure, no law, that will be end mass killing in America. As for long-term, I address those problems probably every day in my posts, for which I am severely ridiculed. The way we live today in modern 21st century society is not all that healthy. I'm surprised there aren't more mass killings.

Nov 7, 2017, 1:34pm Top

Generally I disagree that laws make the world a nice place. Or America or wherever.

Which is another way of saying I believe in freedom. Believing in freedom means believing in responsibility. People aren't helpless. If people want this or that, they have to pursue it, to use their freedom wisely rather than rely on some Big Daddy.

Anyone who finds America loathsome can move to Canada or wherever. That's fine. I've thought about it myself. I don't foresee big change. I see America being determined by American DNA.

Nov 7, 2017, 2:04pm Top

>105 barney67:

I think what you're espousing sounds more like the law of the jungle, the dominance of the powerful and their freedom to do what they want, rather than freedom and responsibility for all.

But thanks, Barney, for at least replying to me with your own opinion rather than an obscure one-liner or a barrage of copy and paste. I really do appreciate that, even though I still disagree with you pretty fundamentally.

Nov 7, 2017, 2:27pm Top

>104 barney67:

You seem to work on the absolutist premise that unless a law can be 100% effective it is not worth having. To use a cliché, you are making best the enemy of better. Virtually no law is ever 100% effective but, as others have pointed out, a law which saves a lot of lives is a lot better than no law at all.

Americans are wedded to their guns? Maybe so. Can they change? You seem very pessimistic about the possibility of change amongst your fellow countrymen and women, despite your strong statements positioning yourself as being in favour of change. Remember that here it is your despised "liberals" who are seeking positive change. "Conservatives", true to form, are taking the reactionary position, defending and indeed trying to strengthen the status quo.

Australia, an immigrant nation like the USA which forcibly ousted the native culture like the USA, and which had its own violent "wild west" (outback) history and culture like the USA, managed to crack down on firearms. Sorry to hear that you think Americans are so unadaptable and resistant to change.

Edited: Nov 9, 2017, 2:31am Top

This tweet made me laugh--wryly, of course--on election day (today):

If you’re a democrat, please get out and vote.
If you’re a republican, thoughts and prayers are sufficient.

@JenAshleyWright 6h6 hours ago

ETA: or as Mother Teresa put it, "I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”


If one kid on the playground
was hitting all the others with a stick,
would you take the stick away,
or would you give every kid a stick?

#GunManagementNow (via FB post of a Cdn Snowbird)

Nov 7, 2017, 6:20pm Top

States with broader concealed carry laws have higher rates of gun violence, according to 25-year study: http://ajph.aphapublications.org/doi/abs/10.2105/AJPH.2017.304057?journalCode=aj...

The study found that handgun homicide rates in these less restrictive "shall issue" states were 10.6 percent higher than homicide rates in more restrictive "may issue" states, like Massachusetts.

"So we think that there's two things going on," Siegel said. "More people are out there with concealed guns. And No. 2, riskier people — people with higher risk for violence — are out there with these guns."

In other words, this study concludes: The more guns out there, the less safe it is.


Nov 8, 2017, 12:04pm Top

The NYT has an excellent opinion article today on guns as a health issue:


Nov 8, 2017, 1:17pm Top

“If one kid on the playground
was hitting all the others with a stick,
would you take the stick away,
or would you give every kid a stick?”

That’s very cute. Provide the slightest bit of proof that you can effectively take away the stick, the broken bottle, the big rock, the rusty pipe, or any improvised weapon that dangerous kid can get his hands on, and I might consider taking away the vulnerable kids’ ability to protect themselves. Until then, it’s just empty words—meant with good intentions, I’m sure, but incredibly naive and dangerous for everyone without a stick. Evil people who want to hit others with sticks can find plenty more...it's like sticks grow on trees, even.

Nov 8, 2017, 1:34pm Top

President Trump is irrefutably correct. The murders in Sutherland Springs are more of a mental health issue than a gun issue. A few points from open sources:

-The murderer was reportedly on psychiatric meds starting around the time he was 12 years old, and spent time in a mental health facility.

-He was denied a concealed weapons permit.

-He was violently twisted enough to fracture his toddler stepson’s skull. Fitting the usual profile of violent mental illness, animal cruelty also factored into his history.

-There were already laws in place which would have prevented him from legally obtaining firearms, if his criminal conviction or history of mental illness had been properly reported. There were similar simple failures to apply existing gun control laws which would have blocked gun purchase by the murderers from the Charleston SC church and Virginia Tech shootings. If current laws aren’t being enforced, why would anyone think additional laws would be effective?

-He reportedly used an “assault style” semi-automatic rifle to murder his victims. A good guy (just a normal law-abiding citizen) also reportedly used a nearly identical “assault style” semi-automatic rifle to stop the bad guy’s rampage. It’s also said the hero is an NRA firearms instructor. The bad guy being stopped by an NRA good guy must be very inconvenient for those pushing a gun control argument.

-As usual, those eager to not let a tragedy go to waste were quick to blame the NRA and Republicans. One point I haven’t seen reported anywhere is that the murderer bought his rifle from a sporting goods chain founded by a staunch Democrat who even contributed to Hillary’s presidential bid. Many thousands of firearms have been sold through the stores he founded. Outside of a gun control debate, I don’t consider that to be pertinent, but it seems to be a pattern that where conservatives are being blamed, liberals are often profiting.

In another issue brought up here, there are multiple analyses (Harvard, Pew, and others) that indicate Australia’s gun confiscation scheme wasn’t particularly effective in reducing violent crime or suicides, or even overall gun crime.

A brief excerpt from just one article

"In fact, according to the Australian government’s own statistics, a number of serious crimes peaked in the years after the ban. Manslaughter, sexual assault, kidnapping, armed robbery, and unarmed robbery all saw peaks in the years following the ban, and most remain near or above pre-ban rates. The effects of the 1996 ban on violent crime are, frankly, unimpressive at best.

It’s even less impressive when again compared to America’s decrease in violent crime over the same period. According to data from the U.S. Justice Department, violent crime fell nearly 72 percent between 1993 and 2011. Again, this happened as guns were being manufactured and purchased at an ever-increasing rate."

There are several reasons gun confiscation efforts like those Australia attempted would fail in the U.S.—not the least of which is that Americans simply would not accept such government overreach. Another key difference is that Australia doesn’t share a 1,954 mile border with Mexico. For most of my life, we’ve been in a war on drugs. Since long before then, massive amounts of illegal drugs and other contraband have poured over, under, around, and across that border. Despite very strict gun control laws in Mexico, for the right price you can get just about any military-grade weapon you want. Strict US gun control would start another highly profitable smuggling industry.

Nov 8, 2017, 3:36pm Top

"If current laws aren’t being enforced, why would anyone think additional laws would be effective?"

Nov 8, 2017, 4:49pm Top

>113 Collectorator: Why can't we do both? That is enforce current laws and pass additional restrictions where it makes sense.

Nov 8, 2017, 5:28pm Top

Current laws can't be effectively enforced because they differ so much from place to place. Denied a gun purchase? Just drive across a state line or visit a barely policed gun show or buy one from some guy in a bar or a parking lot -- and there are SO MANY GUNS that guys in bars and parking lots are sure to have them.

Get some REAL centralized laws with effective background checks and databases and then enforce the laws. Impossible to do in America? They do it in Australia, which is hardly snowflake heaven...

Nov 8, 2017, 5:58pm Top


We could put more responsibility on gun sellers and manufacturers as well.

Nov 8, 2017, 6:09pm Top

The Kristof piece in >110 2wonderY: suggests gun locks, smart guns, and other measures for making people accountable for the guns they do buy and own. What's wrong with putting some of these measures in place? Why are we okay with safety measures for cars but not for guns?

Nov 8, 2017, 6:33pm Top

The only thing that would work is an extreme change in laws with a buyout included and an intense crackdown on newly illegal guns. The only people who can buy guns would have to be hunters willing to go through an intensive program covering mental health, gun safety courses, and registration. People need to know who has guns. Nothing will change without the willingness of US Americans to confront the absolute insanity of their gun problem and determine to fix it, to make their country healthier in at least that one aspect.

Unfortunately, the NRA and the gunloving dream theme is every bit a part of the oligarchic structure of the country as the military that is, like the citizenry, acutely and expensively over-armed.

Nov 8, 2017, 7:38pm Top

>118 RickHarsch: The only people who can buy guns would have to be hunters willing to go through an intensive program covering mental health, gun safety courses, and registration. People need to know who has guns.

But guns are a Constitutional right! Americans are guaranteed the right to arm ourselves against the government that upholds the Constitution...wait...what?...

Nothing will change without the willingness of US Americans to confront the absolute insanity of their gun problem and determine to fix it

the way an American fixes a problem is to shoot it.

Nov 8, 2017, 9:04pm Top

>111 TrippB:

And why should the "vulnerable kids" be forced to find sticks to protect themselves? In most modern societies this is a function that society takes upon itself through laws and police, with the consent of most of the people. Is the USA really operating at such a primitive level as you suggest?

Nov 9, 2017, 4:58am Top

>119 southernbooklady: Good point. Surround the constitution, particular Amendment II, and blast the thing.

Nov 9, 2017, 12:26pm Top

And why should the "vulnerable kids" be forced to find sticks to protect themselves? In most modern societies this is a function that society takes upon itself through laws and police, with the consent of most of the people. Is the USA really operating at such a primitive level as you suggest?

Depends on your perspective. The USA is safer than many countries with much stricter gun control. Most people go their entire lives without being in a position where they need to use a weapon to defend themselves. Even so, regardless of how modern a society may be, human nature has always ensured there are at least a few evil people who don’t care about laws or police. Until society can provide enough police to personally protect everyone at all times, or eliminate evil, the people have an inalienable right to defend themselves. I’ll keep my stick until all the evil people are eliminated.

Nov 9, 2017, 3:38pm Top

johnthefireman asks
is this a forest?
nose pressed flat into the bark
how can we be sure?

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 4:26am Top

>117 sturlington:

"Why are we okay with safety measures for cars but not for guns?"

Which automobile safety-measures prevent a determined killer from getting behind the wheel and using the car to run over scores of pedestrians?

Nov 10, 2017, 5:31am Top

>124 proximity1: That's one of the weakest responses we are likely to see this week. How many 'determined killers' run over scores of pedestrians? How many 'DTs' run over one here, one there?

And: should a high tech safety measure be discovered to prevent a car from leaving the road--and such is close (they'd have to get them at the zebra!), which organization would put up an NRA style fight?

Nov 10, 2017, 7:50am Top

>125 RickHarsch: I actually heard an interview with someone on NPR the other day whose job was to figure out how to keep cars from running over scores of pedestrians in urban areas. This is indeed an area of public safety that people are working on and applying technology to.

That's why these arguments make no sense to me. When someone uses anything but guns, we actually do all we can to try to prevent it from happening it again. We don't just throw up our hands and say nothing can be done.

Nov 10, 2017, 7:59am Top

>126 sturlington: Well, all those cowboy movies: throw up your hands means 'don't shoot'

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 10:59am Top

The focus of the discussion here is pathetically emblematic of the reigning moral confusion in the U.S. political culture.

Civil liberties, the Constitution's "First Ten Amendments" and, by extension, the democracy which depends on the preservation of these, are those principles for which people risk and sometimes lose their lives, property and safety in the course of life in legally-declared war and in everyday "peace time"--should that ever return.

Since there's little or nothing to speak of in such a democracy remaining in the U.S., I suppose a lot of people have never had occasion to reflect on that relationship, supposing that it might even occur to them in the first place. But those few remaining who do actually set great store by democracy and the demands it makes--accepting the risks which come with both the freedoms and with the rights (including collective and, if need be, personal, self-defense in defending those freedoms and rights)--don't have the luxury of this moral confusion.

Their priorities are straight: first, secure our rights and liberties and, in defending and using these, accept the inherent risks--like an adult.

But it's apparent that for many of you, all that matters and all that you want is for there to be a end to these mass-homicides by firearms. Just that. Never mind the underlying ills, if any, the more fundamental sources, if any, of these acts of violence. Never mind what they might suggest about the society's successes or failings, just make the homicides stop by removing the immediate instruments of murder--the firearms--because we're Americans and we always want a quick fix above all else. Fuck the rest. This expedience is practical, too, since there appears to be neither the will nor the way to establish a political order which might otherwise respond effectively to the roots of the problems. Simpler to just define the problem as the existence and availability of firearms and attack it there.

Gee!, "if only" there was a working, responsive democratic government which could eliminate this damned Constitutional right!


>126 sturlington:

" I actually heard an interview with someone on NPR the other day whose job was to figure out how to keep cars from running over scores of pedestrians in urban areas. This is indeed an area of public safety that people are working on and applying technology to.

"That's why these arguments make no sense to me. When someone uses anything but guns, we actually do all we can to try to prevent it from happening it again. We don't just throw up our hands and say nothing can be done."

And that's why I throw up my hands in despair at the reasoning-level on exhibit here.

The person interviewed on NPR--now I admit, I didn't hear the interview because I couldn't tune in and I wouldn't tune in even if I could, but, think: that person, if you review the interview carefully, was, I suspect concerned with trying to devise some effective means by which driver-less automobiles could be kept "from running over scores of pedestrians in urban areas." As you point out, "This is indeed an area of public safety that people are working on and applying technology to."

But that's not really pertinent to the issue here since, so far, we don't have the firearm-equivalent of the "driver-less" automobile. No, the issue here is really whether one could, by use of means which in themselves are not simply intolerable in their consequences, keep a human motorist-- one intent on getting behind the wheel and running down scores of defenseless pedestrians--from doing this, not a driver-less car.

"When someone uses anything but guns, we actually do all we can to try to prevent it from happening it again."

Still, "all we can to try to prevent it from happening again" hasn't come to simply banning outright the use of motorcars. Even though these can be used as instruments of first-degree homicide.

Nov 10, 2017, 10:40am Top

The Republican party has lost any sense of a moral or ethical center. Since Trump was elected, we on the other side have been repeatedly asked to understand and empathize with Trump voters. But over the past year, I have seen:

- Trump voters elect a man to the highest office who sexually assaulted multiple women and bragged about it on video
- Republicans contort themselves to explain why the massacre of five-year-olds in churches and schools is "just a part of modern life" and is necessary for "freedom"
- Republicans claim that a white supremacist who mows down a young woman with his car may be justified in his views
- Republican voters say that electing a sexual predator who preyed on teenage girls to the Alabama Senate seat is preferable to any Democrat

The Republican party is becoming the party of rape, bigotry, mass murder, and pedophilia.* There seems to be no moral or ethical line that cannot be crossed in order to preserve their power and control over others. Arguing with such people is useless because they are not arguing from any grounded values system. Perhaps at one time we could have had a reasonable debate on balancing the right to bear arms with the right to not get shot down in the street and how best to achieve that, i.e., compromise. But how can you find the middle ground when one side has basically succumbed to outright moral depravity.

*not all Republicans

Nov 10, 2017, 10:45am Top

>128 proximity1: There is absolutely no evidence that the intelligent appalled people here are not concerned with the underlying ills as I think you put it. I know I am very concerned and always have been with economic inequality, the moral weight assigned to the dollar. But I don't think people would have much patience with me--they have very little with you--if I provided a general Rick Harsch weltanschauung along with all my comments.

Nov 10, 2017, 11:00am Top

>130 RickHarsch:


>128 proximity1:

Why does it have to be either/or? Why not both/and, addressing the problem from both angles?

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 11:43am Top

>130 RickHarsch:

"There is absolutely no evidence that the intelligent appalled people here are not concerned with the underlying ills"...

If they were concerned then, at the very least, at least one amongst them should have brought them up, raising the issue of variant priorities rather than, as has been done here, completely ignoring the fact that life and property have historically been regarded as worth risking in the defense of liberties and rights. That aspect has not appeared anywhere in the comments of those here who you claim I unjustly accuse of being "not concerned with the underlying ills"...

The only thing I care less about than the amount of patience readers here have for your expository writing is how much patience they have with mine. I leave you to worry about such "issues". Again, this thread demonstrates in spades how terribly screwed up are some people's priorities.

Our democracy is a joke practiced by a patrician elite who take us for the suckers and patsies that we are-- and we're expending great time and anguish on the issue of people who go out in a suicidal blaze of gunfire, killing indisciminately dozens or scores of people.

There is no scale of comparison here. There were many days in World War II (the last war deemed just and necessary by most living Americans and the vast majority of those, now dead, who lived through those times) when the killed-in-action numbered in the several hundreds.

>131 johnthefireman:

"Why does it have to be either/or? Why not both/and, addressing the problem from both angles?"

It isn't "either/or". It's zero perspective on the issue.

It's ---> Problem: Mass-shootings,

---> Solution: vehemently urge and advocate we eliminate or much more severely regulate and restict firearms.

----> Result : Quick (esp. liberal) sense of satisfaction;

Nov 10, 2017, 11:23am Top

>132 proximity1: I think I get you now: you're being clever and linguistically profound, you want to get at my "underlying causes" right? Look, pal, you don't even know where I live. The answer is an unequivocal NO! Got it? One more step and I am the victim. Get it now. No get the fuck out of here before I call my girlfriend in here.

Nov 10, 2017, 11:29am Top

>132 proximity1:

What has been pointed out to you by me and Rick is that in fact it isn't just your last three bullet (arrow?) points. Most "liberals" that I know would be trying to grapple with many of the deep-seated social ills which contribute to the problem. Methinks you are setting up a "liberal" straw man.

Edited: Nov 10, 2017, 12:02pm Top

>134 johnthefireman:

"What has been pointed out to you by me and Rick is that in fact it isn't just your last three bullet (arrow?) points. Most "liberals" that I know would be trying to grapple with many of the deep-seated social ills which contribute to the problem. Methinks you are setting up a "liberal" straw man."

Wow. There just aren't enough hours in the day. Not for RH's silly attempts to inject humor into this set of issues or your convolutions.

But, sure, I know: Hillary vs. Bernie Sanders --who eventually endorsed her--represents all we can excpect of "liberals" "trying to grapple with many of the deep-seated social ills which contribute to the problem." Which is sort of the point--and really, that's the problem. This is "liberals trying to grapple with many of the deep-seated social ills which contribute to the problem." But you don't get it.

No, there are times when in practical effect, we can't attend to everything at once. Instead, we have to set priorities and determine what ought to matter more, what less. If we don't then various factions become easy prey for divide-and-conquer politics---which indeed is routinely the case. How, otherwise, do we get Eliz. Warren promising that we're going to get the corrupting money out of our politics even as she stumps for Goldman-Sachs's big-ticket speech-giver, Hillary Clinton? How are we otherwise to explain that the chief of "I'm With Her" gratefully took truckloads of dough from Harvey "I-want-her-to-give-me-a-nude-massage-while-I-discuss-her prospects-as-an-aspiring-actress" Weinstein?

Getting some things right requires sometimes reducing or rejecting others' ideas of what is also "most pressing." It seems to me that you just cannot get this --and I think it has something to do with your faith in arbitration. There's always got to be a way to arbitrate one's way out of a bad situation. (In fact, I don't think so.) I've never read of any instance in which you found a proposed arbitration was not a fitting course due to a lack ofcertain fundamental conditions being in place before hand. I hope that it just never had occasion to come up.

I have to go now. I can't address all the angles at once.

Nov 10, 2017, 12:34pm Top

>135 proximity1: My attempts at humor are about as funny as any other failed attempt to save a drowning attempted suicide.

Nov 10, 2017, 5:26pm Top

Well, I think this is funny: When you click on the trending hashtag #RoyMooreChildMolester on Twitter right now, the first thing you see is the official Twitter of the GOP.

GOP--Gross Old Pedophiles

Nov 10, 2017, 5:31pm Top


Nov 10, 2017, 9:23pm Top

It seems a chap in France has just driven a car into a group of students because he heard voices in his head telling him to do so. Three people were injured, none with life threatening injuries.

One small example of the difference in scale when guns are not readily available.

Nov 10, 2017, 10:54pm Top

Why You’re Afraid of Them

The scariest thing about serial killers is the general public’s lack of understanding. They seem to target complete strangers simply so they can enjoy the pleasure of murdering them. There’s no clear motive, so it makes it seem that no one in our society is safe. On top of that, serial killers aren’t dysfunctional, transient loners, as Garry Rodgers, a retired homicide detective and forensic coroner turned crime writer, explains. They’re seemingly normal people living normal lives

Serial killers could be anybody, from your nice neighbor to a grocery store clerk to your Bible study leader. This makes them feel like they’re everywhere. Rodgers says they become a kind of folklore monster, like the boogeyman, Bigfoot, or a witch that lives in the forest—except you know they’re out there, waiting to strike.

In the book Why We Love Serial Killers, author Scott Bonn, Ph.D, a professor of criminology at Drew University, explains that part of the problem is the sociological concept of “moral panic,” which, according to Bonn, is a “situation in which public fears and state interventions greatly exceed the objective threat posed to society by a particular individual or group who is or are claimed to be responsible for creating the threat in the first place.”

Basically, the public, mass media, and law enforcement make things out to be much worse than they are. If one killer is loose in the city, the entire population feels like they’re at risk. On top of that, the media is obsessed with what are known as “atrocity tales,” or colorful, shocking descriptions of events that are used to evoke moral outrage or mobilize control efforts.


Nov 10, 2017, 10:58pm Top

Why There’s No Reason to Fear Them in General

Okay, so you know why serial killers are scary, but why should you quash this fear once and for all? For one, serial murders are not as common as you think they are. According to Bronn, people greatly overestimate the number of serial killings in the U.S.:

As measured by opinion polls, the general public believes that serial killers are responsible for about 25 percent of all murders in the U.S. In reality, serial killings account for no more than 1 percent of all murders committed in the U.S.

To put that in perspective, there are roughly 15,000 murders in the U.S. every year, meaning serial killings account for less than 150 murders per year on average. And Bronn says the FBI estimates there are only 25 to 50 serial killers operating throughout the U.S. at any given time. There just aren’t that many serial killers out there. In fact, as Rodgers points out, they’re exceptionally rare:

Less than .01% of murders are classified as serial incidents. A 2013 study by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) lists the North American homicide rate as 3.9 per 100,000 in population, so doing the math from a combined populace of 464 million, you’ve got a .00039% chance of being a serial killer’s victim.

Even with Rodgers’ higher estimate of roughly 300 serial killers currently active in all of North America, that still only puts them at about .00064% of the population. And yes, you do have higher odds of winning the lottery—in case you were wondering.

Bonn goes on to explain that what makes serial killers successful isn’t intellect, but obsession, meticulous planning, and a psychopathic personality. So, they’re no smarter than you or me, they’re just really into the act of killing the same way you’re really into Stranger Things. And even if they were the smooth criminals we see in fiction, Rodgers suggests their numbers are decreasing, with there being less and less of them over time. This is all thanks to advances in crime fighting, like DNA analysis, behavioral profiling, and other technological and psychological detection methods that give serial killers a lot less wiggle room.

Yes, serial killers are still out there, but avoiding them is actually pretty easy, says Rodgers. Their victims fall into some very specific categories and activities. Serial killers go for easy, vulnerable, disposable prey. That’s usually young people of both sexes who have high-risk lifestyles, like sex trade workers, substance abusers, vagrants, and free spirits who travel alone. If you avoid that stuff, you should be safe—from them at least.

Also, Bonn says FBI data points to nearly half of the victims in known serial homicide cases that occurred between 1985 and 2010 were in their twenties or thirties. It seems the older you get the less likely you’ll be a target—something to be happy about as you head over the hill. All in all, the odds of you being killed by a serial killer are ridiculously small, so save all that energy you’ve spent worrying for something more useful.

Nov 11, 2017, 2:06am Top

>140 barney67:, >141 barney67:

So are you now arguing that there is no need for guns? The need to defend oneself against all those bad types is grossly overstated?

Edited: Nov 11, 2017, 1:04pm Top

>136 RickHarsch:

I don't know what you mean by that, don't know to what or to whom you refer by this "a drowning attempted suicide," don't know whether that is intended figuratively or literally or what, in either case, it has to do with this thread's topics. And I don't care to find out.



No. Whatever it's about, no, thank you. "Patience" has nothing to do with reading or not reading your posts. If you veer off into incoherence, as though you think this is some kind of performance art you're doing, I can decide that it is (again)a good time elect to ignore your posts. There's an implied bargain: have something interesting to say or risk being ignored.

I've got plenty to read elsewhere. Much more, in fact than I have time for. So, I can now skip some reading (and my replies to it) which you've recently demonstrated is a waste of my too-limited time.

Per subsequent posts from you: see (immediately) above.

Nov 11, 2017, 5:35am Top

>143 proximity1: Thanks for letting me know.

Barney: Serial killers?

Nov 15, 2017, 7:04am Top

___Repeat... (This one doesn't seems to warrant the usual load of thoughts and prayers? C'mon, NRA-compliants!)

4 dead after California shootings; gunman tried to enter school
Stella Chan, Cheri Mossburg, Ray Sanchez and Steve Almasy | November 15, 2017

Multiple people shot near a northern California school


Nov 15, 2017, 7:22am Top

More mental illness

Nov 15, 2017, 1:50pm Top

And surprise, surprise, this guy too had just been reported for domestic violence and one of the victims was his wife.

Nov 15, 2017, 2:32pm Top

Here's an interesting data site. Since 2016, the count has excluded the shooter from the death/injury count.


Thirteen pages of mass shootings (four or more shot and/or killed) so far this year alone.

Nov 16, 2017, 4:20am Top

>148 2wonderY:

I noticed that just the other day. Headlines and police statement on a recent shooting (California?) said four dead. When y ou read the small print in the main body of the article, it also states that the police shot dead the perpetrator. That makes five people dead, not just four.

Nov 16, 2017, 12:54pm Top

Better than nothing? Is that what the next set of grieving families will say?

Bipartisan deal on gun control unveiled
Leigh Ann Caldwell and Garrett Haake | Nov 16, 2017

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of senators Thursday unveiled legislation to improve background-checks for gun sales, a narrow measure that attempts to address the recent spate of mass shootings.

...an incremental update to existing law but has the best chance of any effort to pass through Congress in recent years, with the weight of support from senior Senate Republicans behind it and no public opposition from the gun lobby.

... the “Fix NICS Act” offers a handful of solutions to help get all the necessary records uploaded, including asking federal agencies and states to produce plans to upload and verify the criminal and mental health records necessary to bar unfit purchasers from buying a weapon.

... incentives like grants for states to do so. It also adds accountability measures like withholding political appointees bonuses for agencies that fail to do so. The bill also directs federal funds to ensure that domestic violence crimes are added to the background-check system.

...The last time gun control legislation came close to passing was after Sandy Hook when Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., fell four vote shorts of passing their bill to strengthen background checks. Their bill...would have required background checks for gun purchases at gun shows and online...


Dec 7, 2017, 6:10am Top

Supreme Court recently affirmed states rights to regulate guns. If Senate fails, hopefully courts will protect us from race-to-the-bottom(?)

GOP-led House passes bill making it easier for gun owners to carry concealed weapons across state lines
Matthew Daly and Richard Lardner | Dec 6, 2017

...The House approved the bill, 231-198, largely along party lines. The measure would allow gun owners with a state-issued concealed-carry permit to carry a handgun in any state that allows concealed weapons. It now goes to the Senate...


Dec 17, 2017, 9:07am Top

Review of
"Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment"
by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz:

The Brutal Origins of Gun Rights
Patrick Blanchfield | December 11, 2017

A new history argues that the Second Amendment was intended to perpetuate white settlers' violence toward Native Americans.

...Our national mythology encourages Americans to see the Second Amendment as a result of the Revolutionary War—to think of it as a matter of arming Minutemen against Redcoats. But, Dunbar-Ortiz argues, it actually enshrines practices and priorities that long preceded that conflict. For centuries before 1776, the individual white settler was understood to have not just a right to bear arms, but a responsibility to do so—and not narrowly in the service of tightly regulated militias, but broadly, so as to participate in near-constant ad-hoc, self-organized violence against Native Americans.

...in parts of the South before the Revolution, a class of armed white civilians was employed by the Colonial courts to serve as “searchers,” not just to track down fugitive slaves, but to detain freed blacks besides. Distinct from the formal militia, which was preoccupied with battling Native Americans, these “searchers,” subsequently known as “patrollers,” continued their work after the overthrow of the British, deploying a variety of tactics including the creation and printing of the first Wanted ads.

After the Civil War, these groups of armed whites morphed once more, continuing to harass and terrorize emancipated black Americans, becoming either Klansmen or police (or, not infrequently, both at the same time).

...From Reagan’s race politics to Trump’s nativism, leaders on the right have articulated the principles that groups of armed American extremists practice. “White nationalists are the irregular forces—the voluntary militias—of the actually existing political-economic order,” she states, succinctly. “They are provided for in the Second Amendment.”

...Towards the end of Loaded, Dunbar-Ortiz presents American “gun love” as a quasi-religious phenomenon, bound up in a primal national myth of chosen-ness, victimization, and righteous violence...


Jan 26, 6:40am Top

Just this month, there have been 11 shootings on school property...
Apparently, not enough victims to win the attention of our Prez? Shooter was white?

Trump Hasn’t Publicly Acknowledged Kentucky School Shooting, but Canada’s Prime Minister Has (and many others)
Taylor Swaak | 1/24/18 at 10:45 AM

...Since the attack, Trump has tweeted on matters such as "50,000 important text messages between FBI lovers Lisa Page and Peter Strzok" and a reminder that "if there is no Wall, there is no DACA." No mention of the attack was viewable on the White House's official Twitter account as of 10 a.m. on Wednesday...

...Tuesday's attack began shortly before 8 a.m., when a 15-year-old boy armed with a handgun reportedly walked into Marshall County High School in Benton, Kentucky, and started shooting. Two 15-year-olds died, and five of the 18 injured remained in critical condition as of Tuesday night, according to The New York Times.

...The Kentucky shooting marks at least the 11th shooting reported on school property in this month alone. A day earlier, on Monday, a 16-year-old male student shot and injured a 15-year-old girl in a Texas high school cafeteria.


Feb 6, 10:47am Top

Staff of a binational library report gun smuggling operation. Canadians build a wall.
Sad to see a symbol of US-Canadian friendship--a library yet--so misused, but fun to read about the wall the Quebec town erected. :)

(Doesn't sound like any wall will stop "the evil genius (contraband inspires) in some people...police in Toronto discovered some dealers were attaching handguns and GPS devices to the underside of vehicles sporting Ontario license plates in the parking lots of Detroit-area sporting events. The smugglers would then follow the vehicles into Canada, where they removed the guns without the vehicle owner’s knowledge.")

Crime from south of the border
Raymond Ramirez | Tuesday, February 6, 2018

...Canada faces a growing wave of gun-driven crime, fueled by America’s lax and not legislated approach to gun ownership...

...The Haskell Free Library and Opera House was intentionally constructed to straddle the boundary between Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont, as a symbol of cooperation and friendship between the two countries. The upstairs opera house reflects the quirky nature of this building, as the audience sits in the U.S. while the stage rests in Canada.

Visitors from both countries can mingle freely in the library downstairs without having to officially cross the border...

... (Alexis Vlachos, a Canadian citizen, pleaded guilty) worked with two Americans who purchased dozens of firearms in Florida and drove them to Vermont. The Americans visited the library, leaving a backpack full of guns in the men’s restroom. Vlachos then entered the building to pick up the backpack and carry it from the library into Canada.

Library staff was instrumental in spotting the smuggling operation and reporting to police that something unusual was afoot. In a building where most patrons tramp around in winter boots and parkas, Vlachos stood out in a tailored suit and expensive leather boots...

...The folks in Stanstead, Quebec, have even responded to abuse of their town’s unique location by building a wall near their beloved library. Well, this is Canada; the big beautiful wall along their southern border is a row of potted plants.


Feb 14, 5:35pm Top

>156 2wonderY: ". . . every high school in the county has a police presence, adding there are typically two officers at every school."

Years ago, I went to school in Broward County. We never had officers on campus back then. The times have changed, but not in a good way.

Feb 14, 5:40pm Top

And much good it does.

Edited: Feb 15, 7:16am Top

This time, cruelty to animals (red flag)...Valentine's Day...seventeen young people dead.

While it's always extremely difficult to lose a child, the hardest, apparently, is to lose a teenager.
(Counter-intuitive, I know--maybe that's why I remember that tidbit from The Moral Animal.)

Message below instructs us to "Continue this topic in another topic".
Hoping against hope that next topic will sideline #14 Mass-shooting Checklist (Domestic Edition) while we celebrate efforts to curb availability of assault weapons. Nobody needs one.

Here's some of the Q&A that came up when I googled AR-15 assault rifle:

What does AR 15 stand for?
The modern sporting rifle, based on the AR-15 platform, is widely misunderstood. ... They are today's modern sporting rifle. The AR in “AR-15” rifle stands for ArmaLite rifle, after the company that developed it in the 1950s. “AR” does NOT stand for “assault rifle” or “automatic rifle.”

What qualifies as an assault rifle?
It defined the rifle type of assault weapon as a semiautomatic firearm with the ability to accept a detachable magazine and two or more of the following: a folding or telescoping stock. a pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon. a bayonet mount.

How much is a AR 15?
Buying one that's mil-spec will probably cost $1,200 or more. But ARs are a platform, not an individual rifle. You can buy or build that one that's suitable for mid-range accuracy (600 yards), 3-gun competition, or home defense, and they can cost anywhere for $600 to $2,500.

Are AR 15's automatic?
In the wake of the Orlando shootings, the AR-15 and weapons like it are in the spotlight because, once again, a semi-automatic rifle was used in the shooting. This time (Orlando), it was technically a Sig Sauer MCX, but it's in the same classification of gun. It's a category of weapon called “military” or “assault rifles.”
What does AR stand for state?

Which AR 15 should I buy?
Here's our best AR-15 rifles list across all budgets:

Daniel Defense: DDM4 V3, DDM3 VV7, DDMA1.
Bravo Company: Mod 0, Mod 2, Recce 14/16.
Colt: LE6920.
Smith & Wesson: M&P 15 Sport II.
Aero Precision: AC-15M.

Can you buy guns on the Internet?
There are three basic ways online sales can go down: 1) First, if you try to buy a firearm over the Internet from one of the nation's 130,000 or so* federal firearms license holders, then you have to go through a background check, period. They'll ship the gun to your nearest licensed dealer.

Can you go hunting with an AR 15?
Though it can be used for hunting, the AR-15 isn't really a hunting rifle. Its standard .223 caliber ammunition doesn't offer much stopping power for anything other than small game. ... A hunter does not need a semi-automatic rifle to hunt, if he does he sucks, and should go play video games.

What is the caliber of an AR 15?
It's the only cartridge that fits in a standard AR-15-size rifle (less the barrel and bolt), while outperforming both the .223/5.56mm and .308/7.62mm—in terms of less wind drift, flatter extreme-range trajectory and more energy. Its only downside is magazines only hold about 22 rounds of ammunition.

Feb 15, 8:26am Top

>159 margd: Your article seems to be incomplete. After saying there are three basic ways online sales can work, it only lists one.

As a non-American, I am genuinely unfamiliar with U.S. legislation on gun acquisition. Could you fill in the gaps please?

Feb 15, 8:29am Top

Time for the NRA shills to make an appearance to explain it all away.

The POTUS has already pointed out the shooter was mentally disturbed. I suspect that's good enough for him to continue to do nothing.

The police presence always happens after the fact. That might go on for a week or two and then disappear too.

Rinse. Repeat.

Feb 15, 9:39am Top

>161 lriley: What is it that you expect "the POTUS" to do?

Feb 15, 10:24am Top

>160 Guanhumara: I'm afraid I don't know (three basic ways online sale can work). Here's what I found on online sales, though, from quick google...

Buy a Gun Online
A guide to purchasing firearms online

This section was created to clarify a few details and help better define the process of purchasing a firearm online so you know what to expect when you ‘pull the trigger’ on your next firearm investment. No matter where you live within the United States, we must ship your firearm to a Federal Firearm Licensed Dealer (FFL Dealer). Don’t forget to check all local and state laws prior to placing any order. You must be at least 21 years of age to purchase a handgun, stockless shotgun, complete AR or AK receiver, or stripped lower receiver. You must also be a legal resident of the state in which you wish to transfer the firearm (The only exception to this would be active duty military personnel).

** Disclaimer: Straw Purchasing is ILLEGAL and Palmetto State Armory in no way condones this act. A Straw Purchase is the act of purchasing a firearm intended for another person.**

Purchasing a firearm online can be broken down in to three easy to follow steps:

Arrange the transfer with an FFL Dealer

Choose a firearm and complete your purchase

Pick up your firearm and complete the transfer

Arrange the transfer with an FFL Dealer (You will use this dealer as the shipping address when you place your order).
Contact the dealer and let them know you would like them to receive a firearm for transfer from PSA (Palmetto State Armory).
Provide the FFL dealer with our contact information so they can send a copy of their FFL.
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 AM - 7:00 PM
Phone Number: 803-724-6950
Fax Number: 803-788-7979
Contact: Help Center
Ask about the transfer fee. Usually FFL dealers will charge a small fee in order to take care of the background check and 4473.



Excerpt from local Craigslist ad:

FFL TRANSFERS - - $25 ((macomb/st.clair))

I do ffl transfers for $25.00. seen a gun on the internet that you want to buy? have your seller ship it to me and i will transfer it to you for $25.00
all laws adhered to and paperwork completed, Ive been a ffl holder for 30 plus years. I do accept shipments from out of state non ffl holders with a signed copy of picture id.
so go ahead get that gun you saw on the internet
...this ad is a service not a firearm,non stocking dealer.

Edited: Feb 15, 11:24am Top

Deleted and reposted in the continuation of this thread.

Feb 15, 12:26pm Top

>163 margd: Thank you margd. I think I see how that works.

What does "the background check" consist of?

Is there any legal mechanism for private sales i.e. Joe Bloggs no longer requires his firearm and wants to pass it on to his old friend Jim Coggs, who has always admired it?

Also, can one legally gift a firearm to another person without state involvement?

Feb 15, 2:22pm Top

My husband had his hunting and varmint guns before we met, so I'm not sure what was involved on the US side. When he had to register the duck gun in Canada to leave it between seasons in a friend's locked cabinet, he was amazed at how much more thorough the Canadians were. I remember I had to sign form saying I knew he had a gun--I s'pose to alert me if domestic violence was in the picture. Also, he had to take a class, in which one task was to disassemble an unfamiliar firearm as I recall. Compare that with reports that it's taking reporters about 15 minutes to purchase in the US the same model AR-15 that the shooter used...

My understanding is that you can gift a firearm in the US if recipient is eligible and you are clear during the purchase that you are acting as agent of recipient? Fuzzier if Grandpa is giving you his old blunderbuss--NRA's argument. Of course, stolen weapons are passed along. Those criminals...

I think in Canada, ownership was followed much more closely, but not so much since PM Stephen Harper? Biggest beneficiary were police, who responding to a domestic dispute, say, could check to see if there was a gun in the home.


US Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco
National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)

Everything You Need to Know About Federal Background Checks
Miles Kohrman and Jennifer Mascia | Updated December 12, 2017

A step-by-step guide to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which vets anyone who attempts to buy a gun through a federally licensed firearms dealer.


Re "Straw Purchase" of gun for another person:

Abramski v. United States (2014)

Holding: Regardless whether the actual buyer could have purchased the gun, a person who buys a gun on someone else’s behalf while falsely claiming that it is for himself makes a material misrepresentation punishable under 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(6), which prohibits knowingly making false statements “with respect to any fact material to the lawfulness of a sale of a gun.”

Judgment: Affirmed, 5-4, in an opinion by Justice Kagan on June 16, 2014. Justice Scalia filed a dissenting opinion, in which Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Thomas, and Justice Alito joined.
SCOTUSblog Coverage

Opinion analysis: No stand-in gun buyers allowed (Lyle Denniston)
Argument recap: When compromise is the problem (Lyle Denniston)
Argument preview: Checking up on gun buyers (Lyle Denniston)


Feb 16, 10:10am Top

>166 margd: Thank you for taking the trouble to put together such a comprehensive reply.

The UK situation may be of interest:
For firearms the licence is for ownership, not for sale.
The background check looks at police records. It also requires a letter from your GP, stating that you do not have any relevant metal health history. The police will also enquire into your intended storage arrangements.
(A long time ago, I applied for such a licence. I was refused on the grounds that I was living in rented accommodation at the time, and could not guarantee that I would be the only person with access to the cupboard, since my landlord also had keys. The firearm in question was a muzzle-loading musket.)

After the only UK school shooting, handguns for civilians were banned completely, and the list of permitted firearms tightened sharply.

Note: shooting at a range etc., does not require a licence. The licence is for having a weapon in your possession.

There have been more examples of knife crime taking place in and around schools.

In response, the government brought out a law restricting the sales of bladed weapons.

No background checks, other than that the purchaser must be over 18.
The identity of all purchasers must be logged.

This has proved more problematic.
There is no regulation of private sales, gifts, or possessing items acquired prior to the law being passed.
The definition of "weapon" has also proved problematic - it includes, for example, the penknife that as a Girl Guide I was encouraged to carry at all times, but specifically excludes "chef's knives" (including the 4" bladed type that appears to be the weapon of choice for many muggers!)

The provisional conclusion that I draw from the UK experience is that effective legislation needs to be both carefully worded and based around a register of ownership, rather than simply dealers.
(Of course, professional criminals will not register. But the fact that they can be sentenced to prison for possession means that the law does not have to wait until they are used before acting.)

Edited: Feb 16, 12:42pm Top

>167 Guanhumara:

It's 45 years since I was a member of the rifle team at my UK university, long before school shootings were in favour, but even then our single-shot competition rifles were locked in a safe in one building while the bolts and the ammunition were locked in a safe in a different building. They only came together at the shooting range.

Not sure what to say about knives. In Africa I have worn a knife on my belt for most of the last 35 years, either a Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman multi-tool with a knife blade - at various times I have repaired my Land Rover in the bush with both tools. I have to be careful at airports, although in both South Sudan and, surprisingly, the USA I have found the airport security people to be very understanding when I accidentally still had the knife with me after going through passport control, and in both countries they facilitated the return of the knife, in South Sudan by letting me go back and put it in my checked luggage and in the USA by giving me an envelope and letting me post it. In my car I usually carry a machete or an army jungle knife for hacking at undergrowth or cutting branches to put under the wheels in the mud. So in my situation I see a knife as an essential tool, which I suppose is the same argument that some pro-firearm people use about guns. But I think the gun equivalent of a useful tool might be a shotgun or hunting rifle, not an assault weapon or, for that matter, a sidearm.

Edited: Feb 16, 1:59pm Top

>168 johnthefireman: I think we are in complete agreement.

I do not think that the storage requirements I mentioned were unreasonable, even though I was not intending to store either powder or balls myself at all. I was trying to politely contrast a system in which checks are applied regarding the storage of a weapon that, by reasons of range, accuracy, and reload rate, would be very difficult to use as a murder weapon, against a system that apparently does not check the storage arrangement for any type of firearm.

My objections regarding the blade-related legislation is that, whilst banning the carrying of the sort of knife (i.e. Swiss army) that has considerable, genuine practical utility, it permits the carrying of a variety that is known to have been used in a significant proportion of knife crimes.

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