John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

On Guns and Safety

The Realities of Shoot-Outs

Tuesday, January 8, 2013
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I am a former New Jersey State Police officer. As a Jersey trooper I served on the “TEAMS” Unit for 4 years.  My unit carried out high security details and operations – including Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) – in 11 northern counties of New Jersey.  This territory included rural areas such as in Sussex, Warren, and Hunterdon Counties, and urban areas outside of New York, such as in Essex, Hudson, and Bergen Counties.  My experience included working with the Secret Service to protect President Ronald Reagan and Vice President George H. Bush when they visited New Jersey.  It also included conducting special operations to address violent crime in Newark, and raids across northern New Jersey to arrest suspects involved in narcotics, gambling, and organized crime.  I was also a firearms instructor for the New Jersey State Police.

Besides the standard 9mm semi-automatic handgun carried by troopers, I was proficient with a twelve-gauge shotgun, a scoped .30-06 rifle, and a semi-automatic AR-15 rifle.  As a member of the TEAMS unit I carried an AR-15 in the trunk of my police car at all times.  In my hands, the weapon was deadly from as far as 200 yards.  I trained with the weapon often.  I had first used its military counterpart – the M-16 – as a U.S. Marine when I was a teenager.  I could reload the weapon and change its magazine without thinking or looking, in a few seconds.

Scott Fina
Click to enlarge photo

Scott Fina

The AR-15 has almost no kick when you fire it, so it is relatively easy to stay on target when taking multiple shots.  Yet the rounds of the weapon are incredibly powerful.  They can enter a human body at an extremity like the arm or leg—and exit at the chest or back.  The AR-15 is a perfect, personal weapon of human mass destruction – and that was its original military purpose.  It has also become the weapon of choice of deranged shooters in schools, shopping centers, and movie theatres.

More recently I worked as an administrator in teacher-preparation programs at two universities, where I directed the student teaching programs, and managed graduate programs for in-service teachers – including the preparation of school administrators.  I spent substantial time in schools.  These included many urban schools in some of the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods of the U.S.(in north and west Philadelphia), and many suburban schools in some of the wealthiest and safest neighborhoods of the U.S.(in Montgomery and Bucks Counties in Pennsylvania).

My understanding of law enforcement and schooling has been enriched by the completion of a Ph.D. in political science.  I know guns; I know security; I know schools; and I know the Constitution.  I also know that the proliferation of firearms makes our country less safe and our children more vulnerable – no matter where one lives or goes to school.

When I first started working for the New Jersey State Police, troopers carried six-round revolvers.  Although semi-automatic weapons were already common in the U.S., arming police officers with such deadly weapons seemed threatening and un-American. It was also perceived as dangerous, since the multiple rounds from high powered weapons could more easily harm innocent bystanders.

Then, too many cops were gunned down with magazine-fed, semi-automatic firearms while they struggled to reload their revolvers (two rounds at a time).   Analyses of police shootings were released at the time that revolutionized the firearms selection and training of law enforcement officers.

I first trained with my police firearm by shooting at targets from distances as great as 50 yards – sometimes while holding the gun with one hand and with a generous amount of time allotted to take careful aim. You did well in these qualifying tests by taking your time, relaxing, and concentrating on the target. The problem was that most cops that died in shootings were killed within 15 feet of their opponent in gun battles that lasted a few seconds.

According to most recent FBI Uniform Crime Report, of the 63 law enforcement officers that died from shootings in 2011, 21 were slain from within five feet of their killers.  Most gun battles involving cops are over within a few, immensely stressful seconds.  Most often, cops have no time to think or concentrate during gun battles.   They react instinctively in the manner in which they have been trained.  Cops that survive gun fights can struggle to remember exactly what happened during the few moments of the incident; some can’t even recall pulling the trigger.

Because of these realties, police officers began to be trained by firing their weapons from close distances under short time limits and with imposed stressful conditions. Firearms training was also conducted more frequently to inculcate habitual responses (including emotional restraint) that would maximize police survival and the protection of innocent bystanders.  For example, panic can lead a police officer to shoot when doing so is unjustified.  It can also cause a police officer to grip a firearm incorrectly or pull at the weapon when discharging it—firing it well short or aside of the target.  Only by continued and intense practice does one learn to instinctively shoot when justified, and to gently pull a trigger without jerking a firearm when firing under duress.

Cops are now also trained to recognize their firearms not only as protective instruments—but also liabilities.  The presence of a gun – no matter who is carrying it and how it is carried – brings a certain degree of danger to every situation.  Again referring to the Uniform Crime Report, three of the 63 law enforcements officers that were shot to death in 2011 were killed with their own weapons.

The U.S. is experiencing a virtual plague of deaths by firearms.  The most recent National Vital Statistics Report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has these sobering statistics: 31,513 Americans died from gun shots in 2010, of which 19,308 were by suicide and 11,015 were by homicide.  Gun wounds are now among the top ten causes of death in the U.S. and are expected to exceed traffic fatalities by 2015.  Numerous studies, including international comparisons, indicate an unquestionable, positive correlation between the prevalence of guns in a society and its death rate by shootings.  Of course this would be the case; disease spreads when its causes (germs or guns) are present in greater numbers.

These days many claim that increased gun ownership by good folks, and especially model citizens like teachers, will make our society safer from criminal and deranged citizens using guns.  These voices misunderstand the realities of gun shootings and grossly overstate the capabilities of regular citizens who do not benefit from the intense and frequent training of law enforcement officers.  I assure you that few teachers are up to the task, with so much to worry about and do in getting kids to learn in increasingly crowded classrooms.

Many argue that effective screening of potential gun purchasers will make ownership of semi-automatic and other firearms safe in our country.  These voices grossly overstate the administrative capabilities of government, and understate what many otherwise well-behaving and mentally healthy citizens are capable of doing to others or themselves when they are under prolonged stress or emotional duress.  Everyone one of us has a snapping point that can make us behave irrationally.  Ask any cop who has experience responding to domestic disputes or counselor who works at a support hotline.

Many contend that the Second Amendment of the Constitution protects an unfettered right to bear firearms – and cite the 2008 Supreme Court ruling (District of Columbia v. Heller) that struck down a ban on handguns in Washington.  These voices – including five of the jurists on the Supreme Court – undervalue the contextual circumstances that gave rise to the Second Amendment.  Our young country had recently experienced the warrantless confiscation of guns by the British army.  At the time of the passage of the Second Amendment in 1791, there were no real municipal police departments to protect the citizenry and only a minimalist, standing army in the U.S.  Our national defense depended upon the ability to rapidly call up citizen soldiers in state militias. Moreover, a higher proportion of Americans in the 18th Century depended upon guns for hunting game they needed for consumption, while rapid fire, semi-automatic firearms weren’t even conceived of.

In effect, those who propagate increased ownership and carrying of guns, as a remedy to fatalities from shootings, do so with unfounded support for their claims, especially when it comes to our regular citizenry and public places like schools, theaters, and shopping centers.  By accepting such a proliferation of firearms, we Americans value the errant conception of gun ownership as a personal measure of security over the lives of our fellow citizens.  In doing so, we especially hold certain cohorts of our population –like cops, teachers and children – as expendable.

Scott Fina lives in Santa Maria, California


Independent Discussion Guidelines

With all due respect, Mr. Fina, I'll give up my right to own and carry a gun when all of the criminals, police and military agree to give up theirs. I don't feel safer knowing the DHS is buying 450 million rounds of ammunition and President Obama is signing the NDAA 2013 which allows for indefinite military detention, in violation of the 5th Amendment.

The 2nd Amendment is not about hunting and police cannot adequately protect the citizenry. You seem like a reasoned and educated person, so I would expect that you respect the knowledge and wisdom of our Country's forefathers:

“The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” -Thomas Jefferson.

"What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms." -Thomas Jefferson

"The supposed quietude of a good man allures the ruffian; while on the other hand arms, like laws, discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside … Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them." -Thomas Paine

sbmomandpop (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 4:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

sigh, sbmomandpo, did you really read Mr. Fina's essay?
In 2009 there were 11,493 gun homicides in the USA []. When the Harvard Injury Control Research Center did a comprehensive review of the social science literature, they found solid evidence that the more guns that are available in a jurisdiction, then it's homicide rate is higher. QED. Further, the gun deaths aren't evenly distributed across our population segments: in 2008 and 2009 gun homicide was the leading cause of death for young black men, and their homicide rate was eight times that of young white males.
The UK bans guns, and its homicide rate is about 1/4th that of the US.
We desperately need much stronger gun control laws. And actually California does a better job than many states.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 5:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

With all due respect sbmomandpop, what made sense in the 18th Century needs to be reexamined in light of present realities. Mr Fina has written the best article on the topic that I have read anywhere.

blackpoodles (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 5:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Looking deeper into this issue, (which as far as I know, not one politician has addressed) why the proliferation of violence?

Back before the weapons Mr. Fina mentions were readily available,I don't remember hearing about people coming onto school campuses or into malls and opening fire with regular handguns or other conventional firearms of the day. If people would address WHY such manic behavior is becoming more common, then I think we would see more common ground on this issue, not to mention saved lives.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 8:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Scott Fina, for a well worded, informative and authoritative essay on the subject of gun safety and the realities of gun use.

Given that civilian gun ownership is deeply established in this country, and continuing to grow, I would welcome an extension of your thoughts, specifically addressing what options we have, or steps we should consider taking, with the goal of replacing our current unacceptable situation (one based on ignorance and fear) with a reasonable and sustainable one.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you Mr. Fina for writing such an excellent article. Your background and involvement is just the common sense approach we need for opening dialog and discussing solutions for solving what's truly an epidemic issue in our country. It'd be great to hear more from you and hopefully the Independent can find the space for a full page cover story.

edmanski (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 9:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks, Mr. Fina, for an excellent and authoritative opinion piece.

JohnDouglas (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Whenever someone starts "With all due respect...." huh? The article was a sobering incite into the rigors and dangers of police work and the evolution of their weapons training. Totally agree that the contextual birth of the 2nd Amendment has little relevance to today's firearms epidemic.There is a tangible feeling that the silent majority has woken up on the gun issue. Hopefully the prevailing wind in this debate will be commonsense, it's long overdue and a blindingly obvious factor in any effective measures taken in the near future. It was a great read...(ya learn something everyday).

katubaldy (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Anybody such as sbmomandpop who thinks that owning any number of guns by any number of people will stave off the government is completely deluded. If it really comes to that situation, one quiet Predator drone strike will turn you and your neighbors into nothing but **** stains on the surrounding streets. Grow up and join us in the 21st century,

SezMe (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 3:08 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks SezMe, there goes the powdered wig market.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 3:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Please read both the 2nd and 3rd Amendments to understand what the thinking may have been about having an armed militia.
SezMe-While, once again, not being in love with or hating the 2nd Amendment, despite superior firepower and weaponry the application of this firepower did not work too well in Viet Nam, Afganistan, and the middle east in general. We decided to duplicate the failed experiment of the USSR...
I do not read anything in this editorial that addresses the functional question of legally mitigating our Constitution.
Also, contrary to some assertions, the majority of Americans support their right to have firearms; those on the left coast may think these folks are wrong headed but that does not change the majority opinion.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 6:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I cringe whenever I hear the argument that our military has grown so powerful over our civilian population that it must be feared and obeyed or raining death will surely follow.

It also makes me all the more respectful of our founding fathers who were certainly warned by earlier surrender monkeys like SezMe that they were CRAZY in taking on the best disciplined and greatest military the world had seen to that point. How grateful freedom loving peoples the world over are that Washington and Jefferson were at the helm and not SezMe.

edukder (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 8:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you, Mr. Fina for writing such an excellent article and servicing your community with distinction.
I agree with you on most of your comments but from an armed force protection officer contracted with the federal government, I also (like yourself) were armed with more than just a firearm. We also used an expandable baton and pepper spray to use with those who didn't warrant deadly force and we were wearing protective body armor incased safety for those who would ambush as while protecting others. I don't carry presently even though I am a firearms owner, I use other methods to keep safe and other protective and none lethal weapons if the need arises for personal protection.
As for arming Teachers in schools, or Armed security officers on campuses, this is a "knee jerk" approach and have NO lasting affects against an individual or group of carrying out a mass killing since they have the upper hand always of ambushing the guard or officer and placing an additional weapon in their hands.
There is NO universal training and qualification for all security or for that matter the individual firearms user to for ever State, so different states have different qualifications or none at all. There are laws that are not enforced on our books and until those laws are observed and enforced, no new laws will change the misuse of firearms.
People, there is no "silver bullet" for this increased issue, nor will there ever be until we figuer out the root cause for these shooting and address that issue.

dou4now (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 8:40 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"Please read both the 2nd and 3rd Amendments to understand what the thinking may have been about having an armed militia."
-- Italiansurg

That strikes me as overly simplistic. After all, each amendment is only one sentence long. How are we to garner rationale or context ("the thinking") from so few words?

Regarding Fina's well-written letter and the lack of any recommendations for legal initiatives, I think Fina did well to avoid that. Sometimes you have to focus on practical motivations first.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Fina's police experience was in a part of New Jersey that is home to the New Jersey mob (esp Essex county). He doesn't specify, but I wonder what, percentage of the gun crimes he alludes to were mob-related.

Of course gun-owners need training; why shouldn't that simply be a requirement for ownership?

There were 3 times as many deaths due to medical error last year as due to guns. Eliminate doctors?

Eliminate cars?

There are lots of statistics on both sides of this debate - I have quoted several. Perhaps slinging statistics is not the answer here.

What about insisting on personal responsbility and accountability?

I'm curious as to how many anti-gun folks have ever shot a gun? Or are just reacting in fear?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 9:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

EB-My obvious point is that lovers and haters both point solely to the 2nd Amendment and claim to have the Holy Grail with regards to understanding what the writers meant. 2&3 must be taken together as was intended, and this is not conjecture but is substantiated by the discussions that lead to their inclusion. I never claimed reading both would provide all of the information, just that it provides a hell of a lot more information than selfishly or stupidly citing only the 2nd.
I found this article no more helpful than a plethora of pro and con points of view that are accessible every day in this country.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 9:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)

JohnLocke; I went to a shooting range about 30 years ago to get used to the idea of my boyfriend having a gun. The event shook me up completely for a few days.
I agree. We must insist on personal responsibility and accountability. Unfortunately, some of us need law to enforce the requirement.

sbpaddy (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 10:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke et al:
I am no longer going to consider the red herring logical fallacy of throwing in other causes of death as a reason not to enact common sense gun regulation. This is ridiculous and a clear breech of critical thinking and is simply used to distract us from the real argument so people don't have to come up with actual reasons to support their opinions.

But I'll bite: Both medical errors and car fatalities have their own commissions and task forces which are enacting legislation to reduce fatalities due to these causes (ie seat belts and drivers licenses and malpractice). However, if you are seriously concerned about reducing these deaths, then I will gladly join you on another editorial/forum on those issues. But THIS editorial/forum is about gun violence and what can be done to solve the problem.

This is not dogmatic or political; this is called problem solving! We have a serious problem in our society, and as a teacher and a mother, I would like to work toward solutions (besides arming teachers which Mr. Fina did an excellent job of dismissing). Do any of the gun-rights advocates have a solution to offer or just tired bumper sticker slogans? Because this time, I don't think the silent majority of Americans are going to continue listening as more innocent children die.

amom (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 10:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Italiansurg ... your writing is not as "obvious" as you think. Nevertheless, I understand you're trying to be objective about the 2nd amendment.

What in your opinion does a reading of the 3rd amendment add to an interpretation of the 2nd amendment? That together they pertain more to the military than to the general populace? Or something else?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 10:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I would love to ask Mr. Fina-and get an honest answer-if he carries a concealed weapon. I have a few friends who are police, both active and retired, and they all carry a gun. Wonder why? Do they know something?

As a teacher with many years experience, I would welcome the opportunity to take a police training to be able to protect my students and myself in an emergency. If I was to “wash out” of such a program (I’m 62 after all) I wouldn’t be embarrassed or ashamed, but I would like to see such a program for teachers who desired it. Keeping up a high skill level would obviously be part of the deal.

I also want to point out that I once saw an excellent film about gun control-it was called Schindler’s List.

edukder (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 11:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke, I qualified "marksman" on the old M-14 at Ft. Benning boot camp; I inherited my father's bolt-action .22 rifle and have fired it often (not in 2 decades); I have taken my then-12 yr old son shooting with his grandfather's weapon. Most people are not properly trained, or emotionally ready, for any sort of militia activity.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 11:15 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As the historical record of the debates about the Amendments demonstrates, the 3rd was purposely put in to subvert the power of the military to civilian control, hence the intentional delineation of a "well armed militia"(read civilian) vs the Army. Although we have not been subject to standing Army's on our soil, the Founders did not differentiate between outside intervention or internal insurrection; the civilians were not allowed to harbor(most likely under duress and threat of being shot) any military including the National Guard as later reaffirmed by the Supreme Court and the civilian right to arm was purposely cemented with the 2nd. Again, as an immigrant I read this stuff voraciously, probably with more intrigue than most native born Americans, and few if any constitutional scholars on either side of the gun debate disagree with the logic of linking the 2nd and 3rd.
These facts are neither a pro or anti gun stance which is why I am so damn tired of reading passionate and emotional points of view from either side. Despite our entire history of owning guns we seem unwilling to look at whatever societal changes have created an environment where too many people undervalue life itself. Likewise, if you want to limit gun ownership propose some changes that are constitutional. Please remember that convening a Constitutional Convention can prove "the law of unintended consequences" which is why CC's are difficult to convene.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

“I also want to point out that I once saw an excellent film about gun control-it was called Schindler’s List.” - edukder

Are you suggesting that Jews would've fared better in Nazi Germany if they all had rifles and pistols? I doubt that very much.

DrDan hit it on the head when he said “Most people are not properly trained, or emotionally ready, for any sort of militia activity.” Contrary to the 2nd and 3rd amendments being somehow related, this should be obvious.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:11 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@italiansurg: thanks for clarifying the link between the 2nd and 3rd amendments (I'll take your word for it for now). Perhaps that reasoning was a reaction to the common European practice of sequestering private property for military uses (at least through WWII). We are lucky that has rarely occurred in the US. Proposing a “constitutional” limitation on bearing arms will require defining what the “Arms” are that we have the right to bear. Does it include cannons and bombs? Where is the line? Is it constitutional to require some sort of (perhaps locally, non-governmental operated) training certification as a prerequisite to “bear Arms”? Perhaps basic gun training is intrinsic to the oft-neglected link between the right to bear Arms and a well-regulated militia.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually there were large groups of Jews with guns fighting the Nazis, mostly in Eastern Europe which really was the epicenter of the Holocaust.
In addition, should a foreign country decide to invade us with an army instead of just buying all our real estate and debt, do you really think the government would be shy about arming people?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnLocke: "What about insisting on personal responsbility and accountability?"

When 'responsible' gun owners fail in their 'responsbility [sic] and accountability' it's the rest of us (and, in the most recent horrific case, our children) who pay the ultimate price. And I am unwilling to place the potential safety of my family in the hands of people who already exhibit these 'the government will come and get us' delusions and paranoia. It's YOUR guns that will likely end up in the wrong hands - whether those wrong hands be yours or someone else's.

@JohnLocke: "I'm curious as to how many anti-gun folks have ever shot a gun? Or are just reacting in fear?"

I have no desire to fire a gun. And fear is a far more reasonable reaction than the reactions of the pro-gun lobby - who continue to defend this lunacy even as the bodies pile up.

EatTheRich (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I did read the essay and I gave Mr. Fina his due respect because he has served our country and his communities for the better part of his life. I was not saying it flippantly. I did try to provide some context for the birth of the 2nd Amendment by providing the quotes in my first reply (@EastBeach) from some people that were actually there.

I agree wholeheartedly with @edukder that simply accepting the military as all powerful and therefore we might-as-well give up any possible means of resistance is cringe-worthy. If and when the time comes, the military and police will have mass defections and join sides with the people.

The fact is that the Supreme Court has ruled, in 2008 and in 2010 (recent enough for you?) that the 2nd Amendment applies to individuals.

The fact is that concealed-carry permit owners commit less crime per capita than actual police officers.

The fact is that roughly 62% of the gun deaths per year are suicide.

The fact is that the remaining gun deaths are overwhelmingly gang-related and happen in areas of concentrated poverty.

The fact is that "Mass Shootings" accounted for a total of 76 deaths in 2011. This translates to 0.0068% of the total gun related homicides. Should we legislated based on this information? If so, why don't we legislate the violent movies and video games as well as the mind-altering SSRI drugs with the known violent and suicidal side effects?

The fact is that poverty is a great predictor of actual homicide rates.

Should we make it illegal to be poor and African American or Latino? I guess it is easier for politicians to just grab the guns than to actually try to fix the real problems. And most of you follow along blindly.

sbmomandpop (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Your long form version of your resume didn't leave much room to point out other credible research.

Refer to two policy reports by the Cato Institute: "Tough Targets: When Criminals Face Armed Resistance from Citizens," and "Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America."

The former studies the use of statistical data like yours, and concludes how it cannot be relied on because it misleads both sides of the debate. So the Cato Institute gathered all armed self defense incidents going back 8 years and studied it independently. Their findings prove many of your “facts” to be merely myths.

It is counterfeit to relate POST standards to citizens who arm themselves. Citizens have a right to self defense, and that does not translate into needing certifications to the do the complexities of armed police work.

The latter unveils an unsettling rise in the use of SWAT. 30 years ago, SWAT was used rarely and reserved for the most risky operations. Today over 40,000 SWAT raids happen each year, and it is being more commonly used for routine police work like serving misdemeanor warrants and going after non-violent suspects. The phenomena has resulted in officers dressed not as police, but as soldiers who target wrong addresses and injure or kill dozens of innocents.

Ironically, a weapon commonly issued to police for public safety, which is also the weapon of choice for SWAT, is the AR-15. The very weapon that you said is “a perfect, personal weapon of human mass destruction.”

Our modern military does not have the police powers granted to the British Army in 1775, and today we have real municipal police departments employing over 1.2 million officers who police our civilians AND military personnel. Compare that to the 1.4 million military personnel who do not share off duty arrest and firearm carry privileges granted to police. Tyranny is possible today as it was in 1791. But instead of coming from the military, it’s more likely to come from police who willingly follow unconstitutional orders of a local politician, police chief, or sheriff. Imagine the power of Sheriff Arpaio if he could disarm his citizens. In order to satisfy “necessary to the security of a free state,” mentally sane, law abiding citizens have a right to arm themselves to the same degree that police officers find fit to arm themselves from criminals, and the most powerful weapon in the police force arsenal is no longer the musket or revolver. It is the so called “assault weapon.”

I too am a former Marine and 18-year law enforcement officer (federal) who shares a lot of the training and experience outlined in your resume. But I also remember taking an oath to defend the Constitution. In order to serve nobly, one must carry out that oath without prejudice. It is not the peace officers’ position to choose what parts of the Constitution we want citizens to follow while reserving the rest as a special privilege for ourselves.

Grummel (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 12:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@ekdukder...I'm older than you and have been teaching all age groups since early 1970s. When on one of several trips to Israel I did see school teachers carrying weapons with their classes as they entered the museum I worked at there (Haifa). I spoke with some of them. They felt it WAS necessary in that troubled country, but they hated it. It's tough enough to be a good teacher, as I'm sure you know, but ADDING that type of responsibility is unreasonable and essentially crazy. I am a teacher, not law enforcement. Imagine how we overload public school teachers with so very many things that, while important, are not academic education. Now we ask teachers to carry weapons as well?? Furthermore, isn't this just a tired old NRA ploy to sell more guns to more incompetent people? It's unreasonable to put it mildly.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 1:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan - You bring again bring up the US vs UK on guns thinking they're so much safer because they don't have guns across the pond. Reality check: 12,664 homocides in the US and only 8,583 were caused by firearms and of those, 660 were justifiable homicides. Britain has a lower gun homocide rate BUT the US has the highest gun ownership in the world, yet is number 28 in gun homicide in the world. The UK has the 2nd highest overall crime rate in the EU and is the most violent country in the EU. So tell me again how the UK has done such a better job than the US? Oh that's right, they haven't. People carry knives there and anyone who has a gun knows they can do whatever they want because nobody can properly defend themselves. (all these numbers can be found on

Either way, this article should be considered null beecause it doesn't properly address the issue of a tyrannical government. In the great words of Ben Franklin, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither safety nor liberty".

Muggy (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 1:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

That strikes me as overly simplistic. After all, each amendment is only one sentence long. How are we to garner rationale or context ("the thinking") from so few words?

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 9:36 a.m.

Because the simplicity of the comments leave no loopholes. "The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed" is clear and the only ones who are attempting to garner rationale or context are those who are for gun prohibition. The only valid point might be the argument against semi-automatics and other firearms of mass killing. As for arming teachers, while I don't think that teachers should be forced to carry guns, (or for that matter, I don't think anyone else should be forced to carry or own guns) clearly the ignorance behind "gun-free zones" has proved disastrous--as was the case in the Virginia Tech massacre.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 2:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

gosh, Muggy, I am much MUCH more worried about violent citizens bearing automatic and semi-automatic weapons than about a tyrannical government. I believe in the checks and balances of our great Constitution, you're still hung up with King George III back in the 1770s. Times have changed. You also were so worried above about mentally ill people here, you are correct. Let's start by making sure they can't access these ridiculously powerful weapons. Thank god I live in California.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 3:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan- To be worried about being a victim of a mass killing by an "assault weapon" is about as rational as living in constant fear of being struck by lightning.

And yet we Citizens risk losing our rights when these tragic, yet extremely rare events occur.

We are the most spied upon group of people in the history of the world, and the government is doing the spying. The President sign the NDAA 2013 allowing for indefinite military detention without due process? Why?

The Government is cataloging each piece of communication and storing it until it finally has the computing power to break the encryption. Why?

I'm sure I'm already on a special list somewhere...

sbmomandpop (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 4:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan - Times have not changed because human nature has not changed. Get that around your head.

Muggy (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 4:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank God the overwhelming response to this article was made by sane people with common sense.

rblacumbre (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 4:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Leave it to a cop to describe his romance with guns and then, in practically the same sentence, support gun-control. Par for the course in a society that is discovering how little trust it can really place in it's "authority figures", by whom I mean priests, politicians, cops, military authorities, teachers and boy-scout leaders, all examples of groups that claim to serve the public but seem to be interested in serving themselves when noone's looking.

Go to Switzerland and count the number of assault-rifles found in the homes of it's citizenry and then come back and tell me that the author of this article knows what he's talking about. Better yet, just type in: Wikipedia/Switzerland/gun-control and read the article you find there...then pull your head out of the sand and ask yourself what REALLY causes gun-violence in this country.

shibboleth (Wayne Gilbert Myers)
January 9, 2013 at 5:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm with rblacumbre: "thank God the overwhelming response to this article was made by sane people with common sense."!
It's possible that "We are the most spied upon group of people in the history of the world, and the government is doing the spying," but this doesn't recommend arming up like vigilante fools. Anyway, the East German STASI spied even more on the Germans marooned over there until 1989. Check your facts.
Pull YOUR heads out of the sand: more gun control is coming, thankfully, start getting used to it or perhaps leave the country, eh? You don't seem to like it very much, shibboleth and Muggy.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 5:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Because the simplicity of the comments leave no loopholes."

"... and the only ones who are attempting to garner rationale or context are those who are for gun prohibition."

-- billclausen

Simplicity does not imply succintness. And this has been no less true than for the second amendment.

Check out the Supreme Court's deliberations in determining both the historical and modern meaning of the word "militia" as they tried to figure out the context of the wording and who the amendment applied to:

That single word was a bone of contention for SCOTUS and created many late nights for the justices' clerks. In fact, the interpretation of "militia" was one of the key outcomes of DC vs Heller (details in the link above).

In summary, despite its "simplicity", the second amendment has always been vague regardless of which interpretation one prefers. That is, up until DC vs. Heller's 5-4 decision.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 6:37 p.m. (Suggest removal)

1) I think we all agree that mental health care in this country is an embarassment for any country calling itself civilized.

1A) However better mental health care doesn't have to include hospitalization, tho many peopel you see living on the streets should be hospitalized.

1B) Neither do those are suffering mental illness or neuro issues necessarily need to be put on drugs (at least not the pharma chemicals that several of the most recent killers were on.)

2) Common sense. Do you want your neighbor to own a vial smallpox? Would you want an habitually drunk neighbor to own a vial of small pox? Wouldn't it be better to restrict them to just herpes?

3) California already has restrictions on high capacity magazines, and we haven't been suffering the same events the more gun promiscuous states do.

4) Criminals like the type Bill's dad encountered are very lucky Mr. Clausen had just a gun and not peperspray ect.
Most people would've sprayed first and warned later; not everyone in a panic situation has solid fortitude to know if they have to fire or not.

4A) Who wants to lug a big piece of machinery like an assault weapon to begin with?

4B) Who manufacturers these things and boy I bet they love all this controversy and hysteria because they're selling more guns than ever.

5. If you can own an AK, I get to own a nuke and keep all the crazies away.

6. Unfortunately there are times when people do need guns. Self defense but also to eat. In the MidWest it's not uncommon for poorer families to rely on hunting more than the more recreational hunting of better off families. Hence rifles and pistols are necessary. Even animals attack, else they wouldn't have tranqed and deported that mountain lion a few days ago.

7. People are growing up and/or being conditioned to instant gratification, ever increasingly so in all facets of life.

7A) People don't get that there are consequences to their actions and many kids aren't being taught that there are.

7B) Alleviate poverty and you alleviate both gun crime, and alcoholism and addiction rates. Hard drug addictions aren't so much the reason for crime as much as they are a symptom.

8) I wonder how many of these guns sold at WalMart are made in China.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 7:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Japan's gun regulations have had positive results.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 7:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yea, citing the UK makes a ton of sense for analyzing our own societal problems...and guns are at the root of black on black violence as well. What a load of crap. We have a very old democracy here that has survived in spite of people thinking that their solution du jour is better than our own guiding documents.Geez DD-You sound like the "love it or leave it" right wing nuts with that last post...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 7:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Along with legitimate desperation there is an ever increasing narcissism in our society as well that forgets that there are other human beings and they have rights.
Police testimony in the Aurora case states the charged was standing as if in a daze when police arrived. If I was writing that scenario I'd say he had suddenly realized that all those bleeding and dead people on the ground weren't going to get back up and go about their lives. There was no reboot. Who knows. Again only conjecture but who knows.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 7:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

yeah, italiansurg, I was flipping the old love it or leave it back onto the right wing gun freaks. They want to blast away? then try another country. I love this old democracy -- Italy wasn't unified until after Garibaldi. Yet our constitution is famously flexible. Witness Amendments 12 - 27. I suppose you would call Amendment 13, ending slavery, a solution du jour, eh?
We do have a very old democracy here, and I get tired of the right wing and gun folk attempting to pose that THEY know this country best; that their ideas are "original". I am native-born and bred in these United State: Vincennes, Indiana (George Rodgers Clark land) and southern Illinois. I've been shooting with the old boys and with my dad (see above); I love the country and the many and diverse peoples in it. I'm glad Europeans like yourself choose to come here and offer the best you have to this land. The gun thing is way out of hand, it was not like this before, the homicide rate wasn't this high. Sure, there are many causes, but limiting the semi-automatic and automatic weapons is a start to reduce this. You don't have any ideas about this, except to move between the 2 and 3 Amendments.
Obama and Biden won't get anywhere. There will be more massacres and gun deaths. Finally, the people will wake up and then reassess the whole Second Amendment, and likely repeal it. Too bad so much more killing will transpire in the meantime.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 7:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Maybe the reason I differ with guys like DrDan is more visceral than I let on in my earlier post when I brought up Switzerland and "authority figures", two subjects, by-the-way, nobody including the good doctor has addressed yet, maybe it's all the impoverished people around the world that will still fall dead from American bullets whether I have a gun or not. If you think disarming me is going to make you safer then you have a shaky view of reality, a reality in which your tax-dollars have armed the greatest army in history, the U.S. Army, and sent them out to kill every "raghead", "coon" and "rice-eater" in the world who has something you (or a Corporation) need(s), you know, oil, opium, tungsten, coffee, diamonds...spices. Yep, killed them by the hundreds-of-thousands, even nuked a few thousand, but you want MY gun? Wow.

shibboleth (Wayne Gilbert Myers)
January 9, 2013 at 8:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As in my previous post I would again like to thank God, this time for the fact that we are having this debate in cyberspace. Could you imagine...... well I hate to even think about it.

rblacumbre (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 9:43 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"It also makes me all the more respectful of our founding fathers who were certainly warned by earlier surrender monkeys like SezMe ..."
-- edukder
Stay classy, edukder.

"I also want to point out that I once saw an excellent film about gun control-it was called Schindler’s List."
-- edukder

Well done. You Godwin'd this thread and suggested that a movie be the basis for our legal framework in one short sentence. Two idiotic comments for the price of one.

SezMe (anonymous profile)
January 9, 2013 at 10:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

lol, I mean, people still think that somebody's coming to take away their guns. Too much fear, stop playing those video games! Some idiots think we are still living in 1776 because of what, human nature why, why ? Don't think that tinfoil fits around anybody's head. Can we progress as a species just a little before I die please!!??!?

spacey (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 12:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'll say this...Congrats to whomever is pulling the strings for effectively instilling fear in the hearts of citizens based on an infinitesimally small likelihood of events in an effort to further legislate away our constitutional freedoms. You win.

Some seemingly bright people on this board have been hoodwinked.

sbmomandpop (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 9:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I see it in reverse, sbmomandpop: you're full of fear that the government will take over, or whatever, so you want to right to have unbelievably lethal firepower at your personal disposal. No to that.
Fina wrote, "the proliferation of firearms makes our country less safe and our children more vulnerable."
That is the case. We're just going to disagree.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 9:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Mr. Fina has written a well reasoned article. I don't have a problem with an individual's right to own weapons. What type of weapons does the individual have a right to own? Nuclear weapons? Chemical and biological weapons? Rocket launchers and grenade launchers? Fully automatic weapons?

Or did the founding fathers have in mind single shot muzzle loaders that took a minute or longer to reload?

buckwheat (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The data regarding strict gun laws vs incidence of gun crimes are inconclusive at best; I've quoted examples before and will not do so again - it's easily available to those interested in facts.

There are 300 million guns in this country; the government will no more be able to eliminate them than they can eliminate illegal immigration unless one agrees to suspend the 4th Amendment. There are 50 million gun owners. 1/3 of the gun deaths are suicides (which I argue is its own separate issue). A tiny, practically invisible except for media coverage, fraction of the gun crimes are mass shootings. Research by several institutions including the DOJ indicated that the Brady Ban (on so-called, but incorrectly so, assault weapons) resulted in no perceptible effect on gun grimes. All available data to anyone who care to look at the facts..

Even in the face of such inconclusive evidence, I believe that the solution is better regulation AND enforcement. The young woman who provided weapons to the NY firefighter shooter - was she charged as an accessory to murder? The (now dead) mother of the Newtown shooter - heard anyone comment about her culpability in making weapons available to her minor son?

My views, not to mistaken with whatever side of the issue I choose to argue, are that reasonable gun control is necessary. To me, this means background checks (including mental health, data not currently available to the background checkers thanks to HIPA) at all venues (background checks are already required at CA gun shows), no automatic weapons (the media outcry regarding "assault weapons" ignores the fact they are illegal and have been since the 1930's), no sales to minors, felons or those with a history of mental health issues, mandatory education on gun safety (including secure storage requirements) as part of licensing. Most of this already exists in CA, which BTW is still among the states with the highest percapita gun crimes in the US. But many states have little regulation.

I also believe that gun regulation should be crafted by people who actually know something about guns. The problem with the Brady Bill was that, under its provisions, something like a .22 calibre single shot bolt action Boy Scout rifle with an pistol grip and a folding stock was classed as an "assault weapon" (putting it in the same class as a full automatic AK47), while many semiautomatic weapons were not declared illegal unless they had such devices attached. Now Senator Feinstein has proposed that guns be banned by manufacture and model. Brilliant. The manufacturer has only to change the model number and the gun is no long banned under her proposal - perfect example of really stupid legislation.

Like many contentious issues, there is much emotion and misinformation being promulgated on this one. We need reasonable and effective gun safey laws. To make that happen will require reasonable compromise by all.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

One more thing. I just read that "gun-control advocates" were unhappy that the NRA was invited to the White House meeting. Tough. These are the same people that complain that the NRA has undue influence on gun laws. Typical. Doesn't it make more sense to include all sides in the discussion, rather than gather a group of people who already agree with you on something in such national dispute? Good for you, Mr. Biden.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:29 a.m. (Suggest removal)

i hate to think we are over reacting. after all, there were only 16 mass shootings last year in this country. that's less than 2 a month.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:32 a.m. (Suggest removal)

To riff off JL's last comment, the overwhelming trend in this country is to shut ourselves off entirely from opinions that differ from our's and to cherry pick information instead of getting the whole story.
CNN etc. has helped reduce everything and everyone to good or evil and nothing in between.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you, Mr. Fina!

It is great to hear a well-informed point of view of one who has carried firearms much of his life and likely still does.

I don't read that he is saying remove all guns. He is saying that assault rifles - read, high capacity, weapons designed for war and high volume fire - and other high capacity magazine fed weapons are not needed to sustain the Second Ammendment.

And if having a firearm - the Wayne LaPierre, good guy with a gun to take out a bad guy with a gun - might on some theoretical rare level be helpful, a wheel-gun or revolver would work just fine.

When you are not trying to kill or harm many, many others, one doesn't need 30-round magazines.

In the gun shop near my house, the only items being sold are the latest in military style .223 caliber assault rifles, with the AK-variants thrown in. We don't need these on our streets.

I find it humorous almost to hear those who propose that some day they might need to take on the government. And that's what they need an AK or M4 carbine knock off for (perhaps lacking select fire capability).

These folks that dream about taking up arms against their government, are thinking they could take on the US military, or local SWAT teams? What are they thinking?

Let's accept the fact that six or nine rounds is sufficient. Let's eliminate high capacity magazines - let folks turn them in and receive, free, smaller cap mags. And let's eliminate all arms that can accept high cap mags. Simple modifications could work.

Then these disturbed or sociopathic folks will at least have some limits on the carnage they can inflict. It just might make a difference.

You have to chuckle at John Stewart's take on Sheriff Arapio's stand that his "posse" of armed volunteers will protect the schools in his county in Arizona. John is like saying, we'll really feel comfortable to have guys who have nothing to do 8am to 5pm Monday through Friday (unemployed or unemployable) patrolling our schools, armed, and that will make us feel safer. And we expect these volunteers to have a uniform level of proficiency. It goes on.

I think this is a gun-crazy culture that we need to curb, put some limits on. I have no objections to some limits, and I'm not an anti-gun guy.

TheEvolOne (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thankfully Fina isn't the last word. If the proliferation of fire arms makes us less safe, then shouldn't Chicago be very safe? Wouldn't DC be very safe? Wouldn't Mexico be very safe? Our focus should be on gangs. Our focus should be on poverty. These are the overwhelming factors in our relatively high rate of gun violence. If we want to get our gun-violence rate down, why are we talking about random "mass killings", which, as I pointed out, represent a little over half of one percent of the gun related homicides in 2012? Let's have a discussion about the policies that have created poor and dangerous ghettos where young people have little choice but to join gangs or sell drugs to get by. Why are young African American men 7 times more likely to commit murder than young white men? Why are their victims also black 82% of the time? Let's talk about the fact that the violent crime rate in the US has DROPPED every year since 1993 until last year. Was there a sudden rush of guns that flooded the market in just one year to account for this change? No.

sbmomandpop (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 10:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Actually, I calculate that the mass killings were .01% of the total. Yet that's where the majority of the emotional discussion is centered. And, once again, TheEvolOne, assault weapons have been illegal since the 1930's.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 11:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"JohnLocke" you have provided reasoned and generally temperate information regarding your thoughts on guns, and I particularly applaud your call for the necessity of regulation.

You are incorrect, however, to assert that California is...

: : " ... still among the states with the highest per capita gun crimes in the US."

...when in fact we are in the middle third for gun-related homicides, violence, and crime among US states.

binky (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 11:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Evol: Limiting magazine size is not going to really deter a crazy person bent on taking out a large number of people. 10 round magazines can be swapped out in seconds and a person can easily carry 10 or 15 magazines on their person. A large percentage of the "mass killings" casualties were from pistols.

Wait...again I'm getting sucked into the 1/2 percent argument. Man, you almost got me.

sbmomandpop (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 11:54 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I think we looked at the same data. There are 3 columns, which are not additive. I looked at the righmost column and found CA to be 14th of 50 on per capita in firearms assault, then in other columns, 10th of 50 per capita in firearms murder rate, and 20th of 50 per capita in armed robberies. You are correct, not among the highest. But my point stands - if strict gun control were the answer, then California should come out extremely low on all measures. Look at DC, which also has strict control and is at or near the top in all categories. So, as I said, the data is not conclusive.

Unfortunately, today's White House meeting went as I expected. After claiming to want to hear all sides, Biden used the meeting to push his existing agenda, while the NRA took their usual stance of 'no new regs'. More unproductive blather from both sides. So I'll have to retract my previous compliment to Mr. Biden.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 5:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's assume we get rid of all the semi-automatic guns, and any guns with mass killing capacity and are only left with handguns. Then people such as Adam Lanza and the guy that shot all those people in the movie theater would still be able to shoot and kill numbers of people--only in lesser numbers. This forces us to admit that banning all guns would be the answer--at least for a while. Then the Adam Lanzas could attack people with knives, baseball bats etc. Of course, then guns could be smuggled into this country, couldn't they? After all, we can't stop the panga boat and the illegal human cargo that's arriving every day in the U.S. We can't stop the illegal drugs that get in here, and there are those who know how to make guns so like drugs, even when you outlaw them, they persist.

On the other hand, we should do what that politicians won't do: Ask ourselves WHY these shooting are happening. Back before the introduction of WMK's (weapons of mass killing) the capability of schooyard shootings with 6-shooters was possible, but it wasn't happening. Why?....because our society was a more civil one. Even if all guns disappear, we still will have the problem of a violent culture. Ask your selves what we were doing differently a few decades ago when we didn't have to worry about such behavior. I'll give you helpful clue: We didn't have road rage and gang violence being a major issue a few decades ago. Again, ask yourselves why.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 6:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Those columns sort (click heading to sort by each column); so the rankings as of 2011 were:

- Firearms murders rate: California is #18
- Firearms robberies rate: California is #21
- Firearms assaults rate: California is #20

I believe the fine logic you display in your long comment, of a balanced and multi-pronged approach to gun violence and regulation, breaks down when you say,

: : "But my point stands - if strict gun control were the answer, then California should come out extremely low on all measures."

Gun control (regulation) is AN answer, not the panacea. As you suggest in your long comment.

In fact, as California puts up middle-of-the-pack numbers in those quoted stats above, perhaps it shows our regulations are making a difference, when states of similar urban makeup and median income levels -- but less firearm regulation -- are posting higher levels of gun-related problems.

binky (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 6:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There's two GENERAL modes of gun violence in which these high capacity mag weapons have historically been used.

1) Related to other crime, criminal activity (gangs) etc. Yes there is and always will be a black market in this area.

(most crimes of passion (ex. Jean Harris) have historically used smaller arms or other weapons.)

2. Shooting rampages with legally obtained weapons by mentally ill individuals. While there may be other behavorial issues, most people in group 2 don't really network with the folks in group two. Heck at least you can probably reason with many in group one.

Remove access and while we'll still have scenarios like one Bill wrote, the amount of possible death can be greatly reduced.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 10, 2013 at 7:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks, Binky, for the reply and the info on how to sort the charts. Note that DC is top of the list and has extremely tight gun control laws. The city of Chicago has tight laws and high crime. Australia has tight laws and low crime, Switzerland has broad gun ownership and low crime. So let me amend my earlier remarks to that this inconclusive information indicates to me that restrictive laws are not a complete solution (I've already said I'm in favor of gun safety laws). Billclausen's comments add another worthwhile dimension to the discussion.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 9:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Mr. Fina,

You are from the North East, I get that mindset, my Brother in Law, served in the Marines, served a distinguished 33 years in Law Enforcement.

Difference he as I are Westerners.

He has all your qualifications and then some and would completely disagree with your Yankee Mindset.

He lives and worked in Arizona where Constitutional Concealed Carry is the Law. I have spent time with many AZ cops and they just don't exhibit the same fears you do. Every LE interaction could have a firearm involved.

Every law abiding Arizona Citizen has the legal right to carry a concealed handgun on their person with a few restrictions concerning places serving alcohol.

You bring the Yankee Mind, I give you the Western Mind.

Please don't come to live in the West and bring that crud here, that is and has been our problem.


You bring up some good points.

1. Virginia Tech - Shooter was in the State Mentally Ill database but not in the NICS System - failure of Government.

2. Arizona - Shooter expelled from public Junior College, known issues - not in the NICS - failure of Government or its Institutions.

3. Colorado - Shooter forced to leave school - barred from some parts of campus - under medical care, not in the NICS - failure of Government and or the Mental Health Community and or University.

4. Connecticut - Shooter tired to buy but wound not wait the for the 14 day check, was he in the NICS or State system? So he stole from parent - failure of Parent with a known disturbed child, that some reports state was trying to involuntarily commit the young adult.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 9:51 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm still waiting for an answer. What kind of arms does the 2nd Amendment allow us to bear? Nuclear arms? Chemical and biological arms? Rocket and grenade launchers? Fully automatic assault weapons?

Or are there some limits as to what kind of arms an individual can possess?

buckwheat (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 10:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

my western mind couldn't disagree with you more, hgwmv! As we write, another shooting near Bakersfield. Buckwheat has asked a good question as another one bites the dust. We need more strict gun controls, even in Calif. No, it won't solve the much deeper societal issues, but will reduce the carnage while we posters blather on.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:10 a.m. (Suggest removal)

More gasoline on the fire should put it out and make it manageable. Duh. Remember, folks: Most of the gun-nuts who misinterpret the 2nd Amendment (none of them belong to well-regulated militias or carry muskets) are the same idiots who have been so successful in misinterpreting their book of fairytales, the Bible. 'Nuff said.

Draxor (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is a North East LE Journal discussing the High Rate of suicide in the LE demographic.

Looks like Cops or retired Cops should not have firearms because they might kill themselves, PTSD anyone, and it has been swept under the rug.

Again its Mental Health, War on Drugs, that has created a 1 trillion dollar annual worldwide organized crime problem, Illegal Immigration, not the people but criminal elements that profit from it.

Pointing at the tool, firearm, and turning a Blind Eye to Public Policy is disingenuous at best.

Inner City Crime is fueled by the monies of Organized Criminals,
Mental Health has been swept under the Rug, but we can point to a black anodized aluminum rifle as the cause - shaking my head.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I'm with howitzergreenvalley on this one: Too much Eastern crud here. If your ancestors weren't in this golden CA territory say 500 years ago, then just pack on up, leave and get thee home!

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Guy writes an unbiased and sensable opinion about where he's from, what he's done what his thoughts are on guns on teachers in schools. Simple place to enter a discussion one would think. Yet this opinion becomes a loon-leur attracting crazed pirana! It's like dropping a 7 hook fishing line in the center of the Amazon. Talk about feeding frenzie. An easy catch to say the least.

edmanski (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Draxor, being against overly restrictive gun control laws does not make one a "gun nut". Most of this discussion has been thoughtful and respectful, for a change. Please keep it that way.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:53 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"I'm with howitzergreenvalley on this one: Too much Eastern crud here. If your ancestors weren't in this golden CA territory say 500 years ago, then just pack on up, leave and get thee home!"

[Cue response from "howgreenwasmyvalley" who details his noble family lineage, and suggests all of us carpetbaggers need to skeedaddle.]:
. . . . .

binky (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

So who are the crazies, @edmanski? Those that wish to focus on the 0.5% crimes and then push for more nanny laws or those that chose to argue with real numbers?

In real life, violent crime is down over 40% since 1993, but when you survey people they actually think it is getting worse. That mental incongruity is due to the media. Fear is a powerful motivator and the powers that be play it well.

sbmomandpop (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 12:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let’s use real numbers as sbmomandpop suggests and abandon ‘stand-your-ground’ laws since ‘real numbers’ say such laws increase crime: A recent study (from Texas no less) of the 20 states that have implemented those laws has found that “… the laws do not deter burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. In contrast, they lead to a statistically significant 8 percent net increase in the number of reported murders and non-negligent manslaughters.”

I also like the idea of identifying the crazies. Let’s start with those that knee-jerk against any gun control or regulation but can’t or won’t answer the persistent question that Buckwheat and others have asked: is there a limit on what arms we can bear, and if so, what is it? If not, should there be one sbmomandpop? Or are you OK with the neighbors of your children owning any size or power Arms they can build or buy? That shouldn't be a problem given how responsible people are with their vehicles when they drive. Or should we remain mum and let our ‘nanny states' put a ‘real number’ on the limits, if any?

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 1:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Well Binky,

Follow the money. What fuels Crime in the inner City?

Drug money, billions of it, we saw this during Prohibition.

It is certainly time for a National Debate about de-criminalizing drugs. The vast majority of firearm deaths in this country is fueled by Drug Monies and the organized Criminal Organizations that profit from it.
That is why little old sleepy Santa Barbara Police Dept. has an armored
Personel Carrier and Swat Team with suppressed sniper rifles and automatic weapons - its because Organized Criminals are Dangerous and Violent.

Militarization of cities across the United States does not make me feel safer and Police are civilian and should not have access to anything I don't, read your history book. The armies of Rome were never allowed in the City for a reason. When your Police are as well armed as your Army, you have problems.

Now I agree with a NATIONAL NICS, thats instant check and cash and carry after if you pass, with all States contributing to the Database. The CADOJ is active in removing firearms of those that have been convicted of felonies and domestic violence, bought lawfully before conviction.

The creeping crud is the real endgame, a Prohibition of Firearms and that is why the two sides cannot make headway, it breeds mistrust.

You have many more dead because of drugs and drug crime than school shootings, so lets be honest about it.

Time to address Drugs and Mental Health - if you want to be honest.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 2:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Great article. Good job.

Riceman (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 3:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I've read your posts for some years, howgreen, and never before have you railed vs. mental health and so on...hmmm, it comes up now. Be serious.
Let's be honest, this country's romance with guns was once sensible (try the 1770s). As the numbers of gun-dead rise, suddenly some of these posters want to focus on mental health and other issues, which are relevant, but are so deep there won't be any significant impact any too soon. What we can do is...well, you know what we can do.
I do appreciate JL and others' thoughtful responses here.
The major problem with installing reasonable gun control in US isn't the 2nd Amendment or SCOTUS, it's the politicians' typical lack of cojones to challenge the NRA. And as others point out, it isn't really even the majority of the NRA, it's their incredibly sick leaders.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 4:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yep, it's a romance with guns that makes some of us want to honor the Constitution,both the 2nd and 3rd Amendments, and everyone that disagrees with rampant limiting of guns is sick. Gun banners are as nuts as gun nuts. I am neither.
Maybe Obama could start by re funding the federal ballistic data base that law enforcement, gun advocates, and gun haters all agree works without violating statutes or the Constitution.But gosh, that's not as sexy as an impassioned plea to save the children or stop black on black violence or become more like the U.K...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 4:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Thank you, Mr. Fina, for your excellent essay. We need more people like you to engage in this uncomfortable, but necessary conversation.

BTW - I came across this excerpt from a Wash Post article that resonated with me:

The Second Amendment debate about what the Founders intended was clarified in 2008 when the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller determined that the right of the people to keep and bear arms included individuals, not just a “well-regulated militia.” However, as Winkler pointed out, Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion left wiggle room for exceptions, including prohibitions related to felons and the mentally ill. Scalia was not casting doubt, the justice wrote, on “laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

This still leaves open the loophole of private sales that do not require background checks, which President Obama wants to close. We will hear more about this in coming weeks, but the call meanwhile to ban assault weapons or limit magazines in the wake of the horrific mass murder of children and others at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut is hardly draconian. It won’t solve the problem of mentally disturbed people exacting weird justice from innocents, but it might limit the toll. Having to stop one’s rampage to reload rather breaks the spell, or so one would imagine.

One also imagines that the old Reagan would say there’s no reason a citizen needs an assault weapon or a magazine that can destroy dozens of people in minutes. He would certainly be correct and, in a sane world, possibly even electable.

Joe_Paycheck (anonymous profile)
January 11, 2013 at 11:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

John_Locke, I must take issue with your comment: "Actually, I calculate that the mass killings were .01% of the total."

Really? Is it really that clinical to you?

How many first graders, or other innocent bystanders lives should be sacrificed before we decide to do something about the problem that unfettered access to assault weapons has created?

Joe_Paycheck (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 12:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Gosh JP, your logic is so clear. If you could, please, tell us:
What are the physical characteristics and specifications for function that constitute an assault weapon?

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 4:47 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Well, J-P, I was merely correcting an error of factual reporting, apparently not as important to some folks as the emotional content.

For the record, I do not believe that "saving one life is worth any cost", as do some folks. It is not possible to put a value on human life, therefore it is not possible to value how much one should spend on saving it. I didn't support the ugly bridge on Cold Springs bridge because I thought there were better ways to spend the money, specifically on mental health care for the suicidal.

I don't support knee jerk emotional reactions to anything. I do believe that there are reasonable laws than can help increase gun safety. I do not believe that such laws will eliminate gun violence, any more than safe driving laws eliminate auto deaths.

BTW, I'm having a hard time finding any data that supports the idea that so-called "assault weapons" are responsible for any more than a tiny fraction of gun crimes, so am having trouble understanding all the focus on them. Handguns are responsible for a much bigger proportion of gun crimes, but have been virtually ignored in the emotional hysteria following the recent shootings.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 9:59 a.m. (Suggest removal)


What did the NRA have to do with this?

Did the Postal Service have a responsibility to notify California Mental Health, did they? When she moved to New Mexico was anyone notified, she got her disability checks, so they knew she was there.

Just what position the NRA takes caused this.

“A former postal worker who had been put on medical leave for psychological problems shot five people to death at a huge mail-processing center and then killed herself in what was believed to be the nation’s deadliest workplace shooting ever carried out by a woman.”

Virginia Tech, he was already in the system but the State of Virginia had not transmitted to NICS.

Arizona again legally owned. Colorado legally owned.

I already mentioned the failure or two educational institutions to report, or are they not required and why not.

It is time to hold the Government Accountable. Stepping on my Rights will not solve the problem unless your End Game is a Police State were the Civilians are just Subjects instead of Free Men and only the Government has firearms.

All these people Legally Purchased because the Government Mental Health System Failed along with other Government entities, its nice to be Blameless.

Lets talk about the Legal System. My Mother is a high functioning paranoid Schizophrenic; she was committed in the 1950’s and 1960’s, brilliant but Crazy. Except for being old in her 80’s I bet she could pass a background check, pre-computer age, if she lied on the forms. We all know Mentally Ill People don't lie, don't we. At some point she will need a conservator again, the current legal system makes it almost impossible to do so, it needs to change.

NRA’s fault again?

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 1:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@howgreenwasmyvalley: Guns/The NRA are wedge issues. Just like many right-wingers freak out at the thought of re-legalizing marijuana because to them it represents a out-of-control rebellious culture, many left-wingers hate the thought of guns because it connotes tobacco-chewing testosterone-crazed Rednecks.

Neither side gets the fact that passing more laws simply makes the problems worse not to mention the fact that our society is too lazy to address the root causes.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 3:16 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Joe_Paycheck wrote:
"...unfettered access to assault weapons..."

It shouldn't require much more than a room-temperature IQ to understand the idiocy of terms like 'assault weapon' and 'military-style.' Regarding the first, 'assault' is simply a deliberately provocative and pejorative term that does absolutely nothing to further classify 'weapon.' Regarding the second, it requires zero understanding of firearms to understand the absurdity of limiting or banning something because of its 'style.'

Click on the link below, and consider the bottom two images; this is the EXACT SAME GUN, the left with a wood stock, the right with a modern plastic composite stock and some other accessories....

It's a SIMPLE .22 RIFLE, which is about one step up from a BB gun — the type of rifle that 12-year olds have used to learn marksmanship in summer camp for decades. Yet, if shown a photo of the bottom right version, Senator Feinstein (with her own concealed carry permit as well as armed guards nearly everywhere she goes) and most of the other gun-phobic ignoramuses would insist it's an "assault weapon" and should be banned.

JohnS (anonymous profile)
January 12, 2013 at 5:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnS, I've been trying to make this point,too. One can buy an air-powered pellet gun at Big 5 that meets the criteria of "assault weapon" as defined by the ignorati. Feinstein is the lead hypocrite in the gun control argument and a perfect example of the "I am important and you are not, so laws should apply to you and not me" kind of politician we have in office these days.

The bigger issues are gun sales without background checks, the lack of mental health info availability to those who do the background checks (in spite of a law requiring the states to furnish that data, passed under GEORGE BUSH), and gun owners who fail to properly secure their weapons.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 13, 2013 at 9:46 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@JohnS, @JohnLocke

There is no way that a .177 pellet and a .22 caliber are in the same class, in regards to lethality.

I understand, that JL is trying to say that the "assault weapon" description would be incorrectly applied to the pellet rifle, but I would also like to know which criteria is being applied to do so.


Regarding, "...'assault' is simply a deliberately provocative and pejorative term that does absolutely nothing to further classify 'weapon.'....This is semantically true, but the idea of such classifications is to allow for the utilitarian classifications (hunting, sport shooting, animal control, even home defense to a degree) be based on the abilities of the weapon, as opposed to the use--in which case any firearm could be called an "assault weapon". If you can't appreciate the difference in a rifle used for killing game, as opposed to one used for mass shooting of humans, then you are ignorant (which is my opinion, so while I welcome a reply, please don't get hung up on the word "ignorant").


Aside, I'm curious about the laws that were "passed under GEORGE BUSH". Assuming these are real (no reference included), do they override HIPAA laws, regarding sharing health information?

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 7:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The previous assault weapon law used cosmetic features, such as pistol grip, flash suppressor, collapsible stock, removable magazine (not so cosmetic) to define an "assault weapon", hence my point regarding a pellet gun, which, yes, is clearly not of the same lethal force as a .22 much less a .223 as fired by the Bushmaster used in the Newtown massacre. That is precisely the point. Stupid lawmaking (i.e. written by gun-ignorant people) is the reason the assault ban was found in several studies, including one by the Centers for Disease Control, to be ineffective (easy research online). Of course, the Brady bunch claims the law was effective.

The law passed under Bush to my knowledge made no mention of HIPAA and I'm not sure of the relative timing of HIPAA vs the Bush law to which I refer, but I'm guessing that the many states that are refusing to implement the Bush law are doing so using HIPAA as a cover. What do you think? Gun safety or HIPAA?

These various items were documented in an extensive article in the LA Times. The article also commented on the apparent reluctance of the Justice Department to pursue enforcement of existing gun safety laws wondering therefore what good additional laws might do without mandated enforcement...

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 9:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Thanks, for the reply--Was muzzle caliber never considered at all? I think I could understand why it might be overlooked, specifically, but I'm guessing that it might also be possible that an *air-powered* rifle is not counted as a *fire*arm, and so the pellet rifle would not be included in a ban.

"Gun safety or HIPAA?"---Unfortunately, that's a good example of a prickly issue, weighing "Private Rights" vs. "Public Safety". It's even more complicated, when considering that we might curtail the rights of the "mentally ill", but then what do we do if they are "cureable" (or at least manageable)?--Sorry, that's a tangent....

I agree with the LA Times article (and I assume your point, by proxy) that more laws are not (necessarily) the answer--especially in light of what is/isn't already being enforced.

Overall, I think a large problem is that "stupid lawmaking" is done by "lawmakers", and not experts in anything else. Even allowing for the consultation of experts, I doubt reason ever truly prevails!

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Absolutely agree. Seems to me that a proper assault weapon law should address things like muzzle velocity (which is actually more of an ammunition than a gun characteristic) and fastest possible rate of fire (obviously fastest with large magazines). Banning specifics like calibre could (not guaranteed) just cause a shift in manufacture, as would Senator Feinstein's REALLY stupid law that would ban specific models. But 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm calibres are the common denominator in "real" assault weapons and are NATO standards unlikely to change, so a ban on civiliian ownership of those calibers might help (though I'm not in favor of that). New York state today put in place a gun law with strong mental health reporting requirements that already is raising privacy issues - this is indeed prickly. I was stunned to read in the Times the number of falsified gun applications that were not prosecuted. What good is any law without enforcement....

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 7:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You know what? I don't really CARE what the CALIBER is, what the MUZZLE VELOCITY is, whether it APPEARS like a military weapon or not. If it can fire more than 10 ROUNDS in a magazine, or more than 100 ROUNDS IN LESS THAN A MINUTE, then as far as I'm concerned, it has no place in MY WORLD ! My main goal is to make it harder for the CRAZIES to reload. I'm amazed that the GUN CULTURE dopesn't feel the same. Fine then. Be prepared for a fight, but be forewarned, we outnumber YOU.
Sincerely, The Ignoranti.

Joe_Paycheck (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 7:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

To Joe_Paycheck and others who feel as he does. During one of the presidential debates, Obama and Romney agreed that we do not need additonal gun laws, but to enforce the laws already on the books. About two hours ago I was telling my sister "as far as I know, Obama has only tried to re-enact that laws already on the books--one of which is a law passed in 1994 which expired a few years ago". However, about 15 minutes ago I read that at a press conference due to take place tomorrow, new leglislation is to be introduced. While we're at it, let's make heroin and meth illegal. Oh wait...

My question is this: Unless the news report is inaccurate, why does the president feel the need to go back on his word, and if this is the case, why should we believe anything he says now? Also, be aware of a favorite catch-phrase of the anti-gun people which is "this is a good start". If this is a "good start", why not reveal the whole agenda now if they feel it is saving lives, instead of waiting for more people to die?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 8:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@J-P: my comments were an attempt to address exactly what you said your goal is: "make it harder for the CRAZIES to reload". Did you notice my comment about "rate of fire"? Do you understand that it directly addresses your "more than 100 ROUNDS IN LESS THAN A MINUTE" comment. The expired assault weapons ban was a bad joke. Apparently you don't really want the problem solved, you just want to rail about it.

I don't know who "we" and you" are in your polemic; I suspect that "we" are those with an irrational fear of guns and "you" are those that might like to own them. Might you contribute something thoughtful to the discussion? Oh and BTW, you cannot determine from my post which group I belong to. And don't be so sure that " we outnumber YOU", whoever we and YOU may be.

@billclausen: this is not the first time, and I'll bet not the last, that the President goes back on his word.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2013 at 11:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

P.S.: I'm not just picking on Obama. I remember when G.H.W. Bush made the iconic pledge "read my lips, no new taxes". I wonder if these guys are so naive that they actually believe the promises they make. Nonetheless, the promises are broken.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2013 at 3:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I didn't think you were. Maybe We are the naive ones if we believe the promises! Obama sure fooled me on several topics.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2013 at 5:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All one has to do is look at how he reacted when the news about his pastor Jerimiah Wright made headlines. That says it all about his charecter.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 16, 2013 at 6:54 p.m. (Suggest removal)

All guns are illegal in Mexico. The ratio of gun-related homicides in Mexico v US is 2.5/1.
Will people who sell illegal drugs have difficulty obtaining illegal weapons?
Does the government's ability to enforce the law increase with the number of laws it enacts?

14noscams (anonymous profile)
January 18, 2013 at 11:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Is the US better compared to Australia than Mexico?

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 18, 2013 at 7:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You don't like guns?

Don't buy one.

You don't like people that own guns?

Don't befriend them.

Don't believe the US Constitution gives me the right to own a gun?

Too bad, it does.

Don't worry about what kind of guns I have or how many rounds my magazines hold. If you aren't a criminal threatening me or my family, a paper target, or a tyrant infringing on my liberties, my guns are no threat to you.

JAnderton (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 5:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You might want to take another look at the Constitution. It doesn't say Joe Six Pack can own an arsenal. The 2nd merely states there shall be a WELL REGULATED militia and they only put that in as a sop to the South and their slave patrols. Basically it was put in there to enforce slavery which was also in the Constitution.
I.e. JAnderton you believe a myth. And exactly what liberty other than gun ownership are you ready to defend? Free Speech? Freedom of go with or without religion? Or just the gun part?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 6:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I support ALL of the rights afforded to us by the constitution. Even your right to say things I don't agree with.

I think you should look at the Constitution again:

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

This amendment has TWO different aspects it reads the federal government will not infringe on "well regulated militias" OR "the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear arms."

You may disagree, the First Amendment guarantees that.

BTW, invoking slavery in an attempt to belittle the exercise of my right to bear arms will not work. I never supported slavery and never will.

Next I suppose we can debate the definition of "arsenal."

But you are dodging my basic premise: why take guns away from law-abiding people? Citizens who are not a threat to anyone, and have broken no law. How will limiting the types of guns or capacity of magazines prevent mentally ill or criminally evil people from doing horrible things?

If you tell me how this works, I'll give you my guns.

Just declare this is actually a continuation of an epic gun-grabber campaign pursuing a fantasy in which there are NO GUNS, nobody disagrees with each other and criminals actually obey the law.

JAnderton (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 6:57 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Also Volok, you better check yourself about the rights I am willing to defend. You have no idea the sacrifices I have made, and continue to make for this great country and all it's flaws.

JAnderton (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 7 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Who's saying take guns from law abiding people?
It doesn't take a genius to figure out the less firepower the less carnage.
And I don't want your guns, just for you to be rational.
Judging from your past comments it's all guns and zero freedom of expression.
Thank you for whatever sacrifices you've made but that doesn't give you the right to make unchallenged statements of imagined fact.
Notice you don't address my points about slavery in your rebuttal, also interesting.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 7:21 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here's the 23 executive orders designed to address the problem of gun violence in America.

Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.

2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.

3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.

4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.

5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.

6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.

8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).

9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.

10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make itwidely available to law enforcement.

11. Nominate an ATF director.

12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.

13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.

14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.

15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effectiveuse of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to developinnovative technologies.

16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.

17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.

18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.

20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.

21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.

22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.

23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.

So which part do you find objectionable?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 7:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You missed this from my post:

"BTW, invoking slavery in an attempt to belittle the exercise of my right to bear arms will not work. I never supported slavery and never will."

Also, claiming our forefathers were slave owners so everything they wrote is irrelevant doesn't make sense. The right to bear arms was developed as a counter to a tyrannical government. Some may say "that will never happen." I say really?

As far as freedom of expression you missed this:

"I support ALL of the rights afforded to us by the constitution."

I also typed this:

"You may disagree, the First Amendment guarantees that."

Also, you can't discredit me by implying I am racist, so passe...

We obviously have differing points of view. Don't be cliche. Stop insinuating I'm racist, I'm not. Don't intimate I'm a violent person because I own a few guns, I'm not. Let's be "rational" as you suggest.

Am I irrational because I don't agree with you? Unchallenged statements of fact? Please enlighten me...

JAnderton (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 7:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Sorry I missed your anti-slavery statement amidst your hyperbolic missive.
I didn't bring up the fact that many of the sainted yet human founding fathers were slave owners, you did.
So which of the Executive Orders regarding guns do you disagree with?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 8:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On the subject of guns and the Black/White polemic I have heard (which means one of you can confirm) that gun laws were first passed to prevent Blacks from owning guns.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 21, 2013 at 11:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I believe that is true Bill.
I'm not anti-gun, I'm against nuts having access to heavy firepower. There many many families, especially in the MidWest who depend on hunting to eat, not as sport- they hunt so they don't starve. I can understand these people being especially concerned. But besides the fac twe already have an assault weapons ban in California, I don't see why - especially after I provide the "gun plan" for want of a better term- why people are in this area should be so upset.
In addition, while the NRA once was gun safety education/hobbyists organization, it is now merely a mouthpiece for multinational corporate weapons manufacterers.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 12:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yes KV, and most NRA members aren't nearly as intense (like JA) about their holy right to own many weapons, incl. semi-automatic assault weapons. Notice JAnderton does not take up your challenge about WHICH of the Obama exec. orders s/he disagrees with? Please respond specifically, JA...How about the first SIX which mainly improve background checking and making sure authorities are coordinated?? Here they are in case you don't want to deal with them:
1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.

Just ranting about how we have to trust you, and all those with homes packed with various firearms, and state whether you'll accept some of these six?? I think even gun-lovin' JohnLocke can get behind a few of these!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 6:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

In celebrating their gun rights, many gun owners show how they are preparing to protect themselves from a tyrannical government:

Thank God there’s one behind every blade of grass. No need for a Waco call here. Happiness is a warm gun….

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 7:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I agree with all of the Executive orders; they support what I have posted regarding reasonable gun safety laws earlier. The NRA leadership (not to be confused with the NRA membership) is just ridiculous in their opposition.

And, BTW, DrDan, my posts on this topic have all been written very carefully so as to separate my personal feelings about individual rights and personal safety from my societal views on gun ownership. So, I'm curious. Which of my comments led you to believe that I'm "gun-lovin'"?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 10:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

as you wrote about one of my posts, "your tactic is clear," JL. Above you wrote, "Stupid lawmaking (i.e. written by gun-ignorant people) is the reason the assault ban was found in several studies, including one by the Centers for Disease Control, to be ineffective" ...

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 10:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Another shooting this morning, in Texas happening as I write. Notice we don't have these issues in CA where we have the assault weapons ban.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 11:39 a.m. (Suggest removal)

As I said, DrDan, which of my posts leads you to believe I'm a gun lover? Your last reply certainly doesn't qualify. Understanding that a poor law was written by people ignorant of what they propose to legislate does not make me for or against.

K-V, I agree that the mass shootings are horrible, but I've been following the news all day and not heard "assault weapon" mentioned once. Where did you get your info?

In any case, mass shootings, horrible as they are, are a tiny fraction of 1% of all gun crimes. Over 90% of gun crimes are by handgun. Fortunately, the President's orders address all guns.

The assault weapons ban in CA is a bit misleading. AR15s, Bushmasters, whatever, are perfectly legal here if manufactured under CA restrictions, which means a maximum 10 round magazine and a device to prevent manual release of the magazine - both easily circumvented. Also, there are estimated 3 million such weapons already in circulation in the US. If you don't propose confiscating those weapons, how will a ban help?

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 1:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)


"How will limiting the types of guns or capacity of magazines prevent mentally ill or criminally evil people from doing horrible things?"

Taking you literally--such limits would not stop anyone from "doing horrible things" (assuming them to be gun-related). However, the idea is to mitigate the damage possible, by limiting the "types of guns or capacity of magazines". It's simple logic: the limits are based on the design of the firearms, in relation to power and capacity/cycle rate.

I think you are also overlooking the idea that you as an idividual may be a "responsible gun owner", but as you have mentioned, there are "mentally ill" and "criminally evil people" who may not be. In such, you would be affected by any firearms law which would restrict those people--short of a world where the mentally ill and criminally evil would simply shy away from gun ownership! [Laws have a tendency to be of the type that punish a non-guilty majority, due to the actions of a minority of outlaws, because they are reactive.]

Sidebar, the WW1 rifle, the .30-06 semi-auto M1 Garand--an early "assault weapon", if you will--only had an 8 round capacity. Furthermore, it replaced a bolt-action model. [I'm mentioning this just to illustrate that while deadlier weapons are desirable in a war zone, I believe that a compromise must be made when it comes to the 2nd Amendment and the "home front".]

Btw, if a legal, semi-automatic weapon has the capacity/ability to kill a group of people as large or larger than an rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), then why is one legal but the other isn't? When comparing the damage possible *per projectile*, the RPG would be on top. However, considering the slow cycle rate, and likely limited carryable ammo, one might be able to argue that it's actuall *safer* than a high-powered, semi-automatic rifle with a few hundred rounds? (Note: This is mostly a joke--an RPG is proably considered an explosive device, and as such would not be available to the general public.)

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 2:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As I've said before, there isn't a person who's participated in this thread who doesn't know of at least one person, either in their past or present whom they would not trust with a fork. You want them to have easy access to guns?

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Absolutely not. But I do want laws written by people who understand what they are trying to legislate and who recognize that there are responsible gun owners as well as nuts. And who can think ahead to how the laws might be subverted. The Brady Ban on assault weapons is a perfect example of How Not To.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 2:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"I do want laws written by people who understand what they are trying to legislate"

Well, that would be nice across the board JL, we can only dream.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 2:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Yep, that is a problem (one of many IMO) with professional politicians and professional staff, as opposed to expert staff or hired (or volunteer) subject experts.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 3:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Latest report from Texas says handgun was used. Nothing about assault weapons.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 4:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"Anybody such as sbmomandpop who thinks that owning any number of guns by any number of people will stave off the government is completely deluded. If it really comes to that situation, one quiet Predator drone strike will turn you and your neighbors into nothing but **** stains on the surrounding streets. Grow up and join us in the 21st century," -SezMe

Honestly I'd rather ban the government from having predator drones, thanks.

And why don't you tell that to Vietnam and Afghanistan, whose populations have been able to defend and overcome the two largest empires in the 20th century (the US and USSR, respectively)

And Ken, why haven't we had a school/public shooting in CA with guns that are legal here? My guess is the FBI just hasn't decided to hold one here. All the evidence points to James Holmes and Adam Lanza being drugged and/or murdered while government agents carried out the shootings and left them at the scene to take the blame. All the shooters had masks on. They found multiple gas masks in Aurora and many witnesses claim there were multiple gunmen. In Sandy Hook you have video of the cops chasing a guy in a cargo outfit off school property and into the woods. The guy was a SWAT officer from another township and they haven't given any reason why he was there. The rifle that was used, according to the coroner, was said to have appeared in Adam Lanza's car trunk, and there is video of them removing it.. Not to mention it was actually was a car that belonged to somebody else. Many of the people on TV, victims family/parents appear to be crisis actors. James Holmes attorney appears to be one of the parents in Sandy Hook, actually comes from the Sexton family in Florida, their entire family appears to have been involved in crisis acting in the Sandy Hook incident.

There is a lot more info out there on these shootings.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 4:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It wasn't widely reported, but the Oregon Mall shooting where only two people were killed, a guy brandished a gun, aimed and the shooter and then decided against firing because there were innocent people behind him. The shooter saw him and so he ducked behind a wall to protect himself. The next shot was the shooter shooting himself in the head. If he didn't see the guy with the gun, he may have gone on to kill many more people.

There was another school shooting where the student decided he was going to shoot up two schools.. start at the high school, then move on to the middle school while the cops were busy descending on the high school. Well, one of the teachers went out to his car to get a gun and he saw the shooter and was able to stop him from going to the middle school to continue his carnage without incident.

How dare the author come to such ridiculous conclusions without mentioning that many recent mass shootings HAVE in fact been stopped by armed civilians.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 5:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While I don't support everything loonpt said here, I do find it seriously lacking that amid all the uproar about gun crimes there is little discussion about guns preventing crimes. And it ain't because there's no supporting data. Can anyone spell "media bias".

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 5:22 p.m. (Suggest removal)

A healthy and equitable economy coupled with a strong educational system prevents most crimes.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 5:45 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Agreed. More money for education, less for prisons.

All in all, a really good discussion, minus a few insulting and inflammatory posts.

JohnLocke (anonymous profile)
January 22, 2013 at 6:55 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It wouldn't be an Indy thread without hyperbole and flame wars.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 23, 2013 at 1:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

yep good debate and thoughtful disagreements, geeze, too bad some of us get heated up over these things (!), ya know I'd never...
yeah, a bit of hyperbole works, folks set up straw men and red herrings, draw out the other perspectives

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 23, 2013 at 6:27 a.m. (Suggest removal)

re the authors statement, "I carried an AR-15 in the trunk of my police car at all times. In my hands, the weapon was deadly from as far as 200 yards. I trained with the weapon often. I had first used its military counterpart – the M-16 – as a U.S. Marine when I was a teenager." >> USMC recruits have to qualify to 600 yards on their M16s ... maybe the author wasn't very skilled.

I can't even begin to address some of the things he claims, using his PhD and LE experience to nominate himself as an expert. (He spends a lot of time talking about his credentials, trying to establish who his opinion is more valid than the many I've read which disagree). There are other experts. I know at least half a dozen SWAT cops with mil experience and college degrees who would disagree on some of the major points he tries to make. NJ is a very gun-unfriendly state, by the way, but here is Newark Mayor Cory Booker making a bold statement saying that legal gun owners are not the problem.

This is what Mayor Booker isn't afraid to talk about by implication (and huge props to him for it), but the MSM and politicians are. Our social engineering programs and the legacy of a welfare state, poverty and poor schools, and before that slavery have created a violent culture.

PDowns (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2013 at 2:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Claims like this by the author ring hollow (and which I presume are to make the argument that only cops should have guns): "These voices misunderstand the realities of gun shootings and grossly overstate the capabilities of regular citizens who do not benefit from the intense and frequent training of law enforcement officers."

Facts: The NYPD has 2 times per year firearms qualification only, I was just told by an ex-NYPD cop turned lawyer. It is neither very intense nor frequent. I have fellow competitor friends and avid cop shooters who go to the range 2 times WEEK. Qualifying twice a year doesn't build or maintain proficiency (shooting is a perishable skill, but dry-fire work helps) ... NYPD doesn't have the budget for that, nor do most agencies. So what you have is a majority of cops who are average at best with their guns. I have qualified (as a reserve LEO) and competed against them and I know this to be true. This is why, when you see police shootings, they often have a hit rate of less than 25%, sometimes, with some of those unguided missiles missing the target and going downrange. Shooting accuracy degrades under intense pressure and if your ability is average under no stress, it worsens greatly.

Many defensive uses of guns by civilians (some of whom also are also not too proficient) do not involve a shot being fired. In any case, the police cannot be there to protect you all the time.

PDowns (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2013 at 2:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

In England, when many guns were banned, the rate of burglaries of occupied dwellings went up 400% iirc, Robbers breaking in w/people at home because they knew they were unlikely to confront a gun. A very unpleasant way to wake up, as my friend Don will tell you. Don, a Vietnam vet, was asleep at home with his wife a few weeks ago. At 1am, he awoke to an horrific noise, someone was smashing through his front door. Two of the wooden panels were already smashed in and the guy was reaching in to the knob. My friend tried to stop him and nearly got his arm torn off. Because Don doesn't like or own guns, he ran to the kitchen to get a knife as the guy smashed on a window to climb in. Don stabbed the knife out the hole in the front door but didn't think he connected. His wife, panicked out of her mind, called 911, but they live in an isolated part of town, a bit hard to get to. Don guarded his wife and intermittently repelled the guy breaking in windows. When the deputies arrived, they had to Taser him 5 times to subdue him. He was bloodied... Don had connected with the knife. Turns out, he was the son of a neighbor, in his 50s (my friend is a small guy, and 65 yrs old), who had lived next door with his parents until being kicked out 25 yrs ago and Don had only seen him once since, after getting a restraining order because the guy had threatened Don's young kids. He had been in and out of jail/prison for dealing dope and other crimes and had just gotten out of prison 5 days before this attack, a 25 year psychotic grudge, fueled by drugs and rage. Don never ever saw it coming. He told me, "If the guy had gotten in the house, there's no way I could have fought him off. He might have killed both of us ... I think he would have." Now his wife wants to get a gun, as he travels (and just because) but he is on the fence. I told him to get a shotgun. The cops told him the same thing - get a gun. The madman is in jail on a $1mil bond, and they hope he goes back to prison.

You never know... I will never not have a home defense firearm. Variations on stories like this happen all the time in America

DOJ/BJS interviews with felons in prison reveal that they fear citizens and homeowners who are armed more than the cops. I've made my choice, but others can call 911 and ... wait. Think about going against a career criminal who's just spent the last 10 years pumping iron and learning to fight and use improvised weapons ... how's your skill? Or someone on PCP or meth who would need 4 cops to be subdued ... you want to fight someone like that? I don't, I am just not that tough. There is a reason why Castle Doctrine laws have passed in many places ... if you can't be safe in your home, where? Don barely stopped him, was injured in the process, and it very easily could have gone very wrong, he says. He said it was one of the most frightening experiences, and he is a combat veteran. Now his wife wants a gun.

PDowns (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2013 at 2:52 p.m. (Suggest removal)

From a friend who read this and is a retired SWAT cop:

My career sounds almost identical to the writer of the article (same Presidents!) except I was a sergeant in SWAT and was a SWAT team leader for a substantially longer time than him, and policed in a metro area that led the nation in FBI Part 1 violent crimes for many of the years I was there, in a region that usually led the nation in most officers killed (Southeast). Boasting of his experience like he does is irrelevant - the depth of the reasoning is what's important.

He's just regurgitating the same tired myths.

He touches on the actual answer but, as so many do, he says most citizens can never be skilled as a cop, and especially as a tactical team cop, so citizens shouldn't have firearms for protection. Back home, we'd say he was "eat up with himself". The fact is, as you know, most cops are quite poorly trained and there are SWAT team members out there, even in this day and age, that have no business being on a team due to a weak skill set.

The reality is simple. Pat Goodale ( proves it with every class he teaches. The majority of people with the desire to learn, when given the chance, will develop an outstanding skill set and can be easily as capable in their firearms handling as the average LEO. This guy is just using the classic leftist M.O. of telling people they cannot do such a complicated task and so they must allow someone else like, oh, say, the federal government to do it for them. The Man still be holding people back! It's B.S.

I'll keep saying this. What would happen if the Federal government EMBRACED firearms ownership as it should? What would happen if they made firearms education and safety a part of every school's curriculum, offered tax breaks for the attendance of courses that met minimum standards, sponsored nationwide, basic firearms skills courses, and ran a long term campaign that urged people to get educated about firearms and get training? I'm betting the change would be profound if that was coupled with stricter enforcement of the laws we already have.

Developing a better mental health system would be huge, too.

Rant off.

PDowns (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2013 at 3:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Lawyer and USMC combat veteran Marc Victor writes:
"I Am a Peaceful AR-15 Assault Rifle Owner"

PDowns (anonymous profile)
February 3, 2013 at 5:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

i think the 2nd amendment does protect my right,my individual right to own a firearm of my choosing.the framers left many letters attesting to there positive view that as citizens not subjects we are entitled to be for the common canard they knew nothing of powerful weapons in our hands. cannons anyone?there bad ass,and still with us, any one may possess one and many do,in 2013.i respect the argument to ban everything,though i vehemently disagree .this concept of" good guns"and" bad guns"is dumb,a so called civilian assault weapon is another's sporting rifle.I'm old enough to remember if only zip gun's could be eliminated or Saturday nite specials were outlawed all will be well. since 1952 all the mass shootings occurred at no gun allowed areas or events except for gabby giffords [out side public area]check it out.even the most rabid gun banners say hunting arms are ok,shotguns anyone?the right weapon for crowd control evidenced by patrol cars in america one cop one shotgun devastating with buck shot or worse.i don't own a clip fed rifle but handguns are crucial to have clip feed for safe defense and fast battery in time of need.

8andskate (anonymous profile)
February 9, 2013 at 1:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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