The Assault Weapons Ban is a Red Herring (Guest Voice)

Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News


The Assault Weapons Ban is a Red Herring
by Tina Dupuy

The philosophy behind the quackery known as homeopathic medicine is that “like cures like.” As in: have a burn, apply a hot compress. This widely-panned pseudoscience (oh man, am I going to get letters) in its 300 years of existence has a history of being debunked, going away and then popping up a few decades later.

But this is the solution the NRA offers: Too many shootings requires more people armed and able to shoot. The problem AND the cure are basically the same: lots of guns.

On the other side is a call for ban of certain types of guns. This immediately gets into the weeds of “weapon-ese.” Semi-auto? Assault weapons? Machine guns? Military-style characteristics? High capacity magazines? Bayonet mount? Flash suppressors?!

Which if you don’t really care about guns (just care about being shot) is a booby trap set by gun enthusiasts. Because if you don’t know what semi-auto actually means (it’s a ridiculously broad term) — they can always tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Which is true. Then the much-coveted conversation about guns in America is over.

Because in America you can’t hate guns. That’s not a legitimate stance. You have to love guns, possibly own a couple and be able to talk about them competently in order to have a seat at the table. Mitt Romney had to say he hunted “varmints.” Really.

The problem with the assault weapons ban is that it’s something. It’s something for a nation, in the wake of Sandy Hook, crying out for some kind of SOMETHING. Anything but the bogus and tone-deaf prescription for more weapons on the streets made by Wayne LaPierre of the NRA.

There’s a perfectly understandable cry for more gun control, which the assault weapons ban claims to be. It bans certain types of purchases on future weapons but it’s not (in reality) a good law. It won’t actually (as gun enthusiasts love to point out) affect gun deaths. Most gun deaths are by handguns. It’s the legislative equivalent of banning large bags of candy to curb obesity, when the real issue is the wide availability of said candy.

Gun lovers gleefully pointed out last week that Chicago, with its assault weapons ban, police-issued Firearms Owners Identification Card mandate and its refusal to issue open carry permits plus its ties to President Obama, had their 500th homicide of 2012. If we cherry pick this information (disregarding the fact Louisiana and Mississippi with their lax gun laws actually consistently lead the nation in murders per capita) it appears gun control is futile.

Recently the Chicago Police Department requested the University of Chicago Crime Lab researchers study the guns used in crimes. In a groundbreaking report they found those guns were bought legally and locally in Cook County (where Chicago is located). Even more specifically from Chuck’s Gun Shop in Riverdale. The Sun-Times reported, “From 2008 to March 2012, the police successfully traced the ownership of 1,375 guns recovered in crimes in Chicago within a year of their purchase.” They continued, “Of those guns, 268 were bought at Chuck’s — nearly one in five.”

“How do the guns get on the street?,” the study asks. Straw purchasers. People without a record legally buying a weapon and then selling it. Which is outrageous and illegal. But the ATF — the law enforcement organization that would crack down on these sales — the Sun-Times points out, has been largely budget-cut out of business and doesn’t have the resources to track it or prosecute those crimes. It’s an agency that hasn’t had a full-time director in six years thanks to Congress insisting it requires a Senate confirmation. In short: In Cook County, Illinois (as with the rest of the country) it’s easy to get a gun and easy to sell a gun.

This leads me to one plea: If we get one bite at the proverbial gun safety apple, don’t make it the largely cosmetic assault weapons ban.

Federalize background checks, waiting periods and databases. Close the secondary market loopholes. These are things even card carrying NRA members agree with. Slow the flood of guns. But most importantly give the agency responsible for enforcing those laws a director and funding.

Then we can all learn weapon-ese and it’s not completely useless.

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Author: Guest Voice

51 Comments

  1. The gun lobby is about one thing and one thing only: keeping gun dealers in business. Anything else is an illusion.

  2. Federalize background checks, waiting periods and databases. Close the secondary market loopholes. These are things even card carrying NRA members agree with. Slow the flood of guns. But most importantly give the agency responsible for enforcing those laws a director and funding.

    For all intents and purposes background checks are Federal. Waiting periods have never been shown to have any positive effect on crime, violence, and truly is just pushed to make gun ownership just the slightest bit more difficult. Databases on mental health are a giant issue that even the NRA would have little issue with, heck even support for, improving. Privacy concerns would be a big concern as well as knee jerk reactions to perceived conditions. An example being PTSD in returning solders. On this board someone expressed concern over returning solders with PTSD going on psychotic shooting sprees but psychotic breaks is not a symptom of PTSD. Standards would have to be reasonable and should be based on science not politics. I don’t need to see any polls on who we should restrict in this case. It’s a medical decision not a popularity contest. As to closing “secondary market loopholes” well that’s a pretty vague phrase. The only way to do so that I can see would be universal registration and enforcement to a degree that I don’t thing US citizens would except. It’s easy to say “but we register cars” but in truth we don’t. There is nothing requiring you to do so in the law unless you drive it on public streets. Even if you ignore all the unregistered guns that are already here and easily available all we really could do is pass a law making it illegal to sell a gun without changing registered owners. The only people that would be unable to purchase such a gun are people it’s already illegal to sell to. So what would be the point? It could make investigations easier when tracking guns but for the most part that wouldn’t effect crime or violence at all. It would give an additional burden on gun owners and make ownership just a bit harder. Some in my family are fond of the idea that we should just tax and fee are way to a mostly gun free society. What strikes me about that is those with money would still be able to have guns or afford to purchase protections. Micheal Moore walks around with bodyguards while bashing CHL’s. Have we judged the lower income brackets unworthy of being able to protect themselves? Sure we don’t make laws against it but if we put that ability artificially out of their reach does it matter?

    It’s not a simple subject but I like the idea of looking at it from a factual and realistic basis. Whatever people may think of my views if I believe something would be a big enough benefit then I am willing to support some abridgment of my rights but I hate the idea of doing so because people don’t “like” something.

  3. The gun lobby is about one thing and one thing only: keeping gun dealers in business. Anything else is an illusion.

    Gun control is about one thing and one thing only: Control. Any idea that is is about crime, violence, death, or prevention is an illusion.

  4. Which if you don’t really care about guns (just care about being shot) is a booby trap set by gun enthusiasts. Because if you don’t know what semi-auto actually means (it’s a ridiculously broad term) — they can always tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Which is true. Then the much-coveted conversation about guns in America is over.

    As one of those who doesn’t exactly know what “semi-auto actually means” but who has “seen” the unimaginable grief, pain, and loss of human life caused by such so-difficult-to-define-and-classify weapons of human destruction, I guess I should agree that the much-coveted conversation about guns in America is over.

    But I won’t. By no stretch of the imagination or hopes of the gun lobby.

    Thanks Tina for the constructive recommendations.

  5. Which if you don’t really care about guns (just care about being shot) is a booby trap set by gun enthusiasts. Because if you don’t know what semi-auto actually means (it’s a ridiculously broad term) — they can always tell you that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Which is true. Then the much-coveted conversation about guns in America is over.

    Semi-auto is not a broad term, It means when you pull the trigger one round is fired and another round is automatically loaded. It takes little effort to learn and brings quite a bit of credibility to the user because if you don’t have the slightest idea what you are talking about and use terms that are deceptive or downright wrong then how can you be taken seriously when you advocate for something? Part of the whole “gun freaks will just pick words apart and we’ll never get anything done” is not because people don’t know their words are misused or incorrect but that many gun control advocate intentionally use inflammatory words and statements that they know are incorrect because those words or incorrect terms evoke the desired reaction in those who are uninformed about the facts. They then blame their opponents for the breakdown in conversation over due to the battle of the correct terms. It’s one thing if a gun nut stops a conversation over the difference between a clip and a magazine, which to be honest even people who shoot don’t always use correctly, another when someone tries to talk about the “gun show loophole”, there is none, or a term like military assault rifle, which (generally speaking) is not legal to own and doesn’t describe the firearms that the ban is attempting to cover. Why in this debate is is ok to be ignorant of the facts but still require that people take you seriously? If you are concerned then learn a little bit. Go shoot some guns, spend a bit of time to learn so at the very least you are more effective in you advocacy.

  6. True, waiting periods have little effect on crime. But if the NRA would be in support of greater mental health regulation in relation to gun ownership, then they should have no problem with mandatory psychological profiling before a purchase. Just register, take an exam, have it evaluated by state licensed mental health professionals and if it comes back a little “off” then……No gun for you!

  7. True, waiting periods have little effect on crime. But if the NRA would be in support of greater mental health regulation in relation to gun ownership, then they should have no problem with mandatory psychological profiling before a purchase. Just register, take an exam, have it evaluated by state licensed mental health professionals and if it comes back a little “off” then……No gun for you!

    Wow…..no. One does not lead to the other as we are talking a whole different standard. The NRA is for restricting ownership for those judged incompetent or defective, those involuntarily committed, etc. One of the things you will noticed is that there is a legal process involved with oversight. You want peoples rights restricted because they may have circled the wrong answer on a piece of paper. Much different. Now positive things that could happen would be in the nature of universal accurate reporting of those who do fall into those categories and the adoption of some sort of temp “restraining order” for those who might be a risk. None of this will be easy and shouldn’t gun ownership is a civil right and removing that right shouldn’t be easy. There are also issues with privacy, and before you poo poo that let us not forget other rights that are based off the right to privacy, when discussing reporting peoples health records to the fed govt. It is however something that we could make progress on that may have a real effect.

  8. A temporary screening procedure would be in order, most certainly. Those who fail to pass would be allowed to retake it of course, but it is not a violation of privacy in the strictest sense. IE: Case # 13000 shows paranoid tendencies with anti-social characteristics etc. Findings are not devulged to anyone anymore than the thousands of profiles given in the US daily by our health professionals. ( HIPPA regulations).
    We are talking about giving an individual access to a lethal weapon and setting them free to wander around in our society. Their reason for wanting a gun isn’t important, skeet shooting or duck hunting. They may still have a “right” to own a weapon as an american citizen, just not the proper frame of mind or mental capacity to own one.

  9. We’re giving up way too much ground in our initial position. Our base demand should use a solid, well-defined term: single-shot. Something like this:

    All guns must be manufactured or permanently modified to be single-shot, in which the breech is opened and the round loaded manually. After firing, the spent cartridge would be removed manually before another could be inserted.

    After all, that’s exactly what the Founders were talking about when they wrote the Second Amendment. It preserves the use of guns for hunting, target-shooting, and self-defense. (After all, Dirty Harry won with just the possibility of a single bullet in his gun. “Do you feel lucky, Punk?”)

  10. Bob Munck, I absolutely agree with you. I am all for a musket, afterall, but I realize that would never happen. As much as I , and many others petition for the repeal of the 2nd amendment for civilian use, it will never happen either.
    Guns are here to stay unfortunately.
    The NRA is waaaaay to powerful, hell they just ( sneaked) a concealed weapons bill added on to the credit card legislation.
    Maybe if we scream for legislation to have mental testing done, it might root out some of the wackos BEFORE they do damage.
    Handguns are so prevalent now that to get them off the street legally would be impossible too.

  11. Gun shows are closing all over. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts – and how many participate – and what the NRA has to say about it.

    SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Four gun shows, all about an hour’s drive from Newtown, Conn., all canceled.

    Gun advocates aren’t backing down from their insistence on the right to keep and bear arms. But heightened sensitivities and raw nerves since the Newtown shooting have led to toned-down displays at gun shows and prompted some officials and sponsors to cancel the well-attended exhibitions altogether.

    Some of the most popular guns will be missing from next weekend’s gun show in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., after show organizers agreed to bar the display and sale of AR-15 military-style semiautomatic weapons and their large-clip magazines.

    The Brady Campaign, which advocates for stricter state and federal gun laws, has long pushed to close the so-called “gun show loophole” by forcing every state to require background checks of buyers at the shows. They note that three of the weapons used in the Columbine attack were bought by someone who went to a gun show that didn’t require a background check. Seventeen states require an extensive background check, according to the campaign.

    Read the gun show sponsers’ responses. Fascinating.

    http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013.....-shooting/

  12. @TO

    Our City and County Council Commissioners will be considering a petition next week against the use of public funds to support gun shows in public facilities.

  13. DDW

    That seems to be the approach many municipalities are taking. If only 1/3 of citizens own all the guns, the other 2/3 should be able to wield some clout. Why that 1/3 has so much influence is a puzzle. Ironically, the same people that want to see Baby Jesus on city property also want gun shows to have access to the same.

  14. The gun lobby is about one thing and one thing only: keeping gun dealers in business. Anything else is an illusion. – Barky

    Bingo.

    Btw, Ellis is right, semi-auto is not a broad term. It’s pretty simple.

  15. If only 1/3 of citizens own all the guns, the other 2/3 should be able to wield some clout. Why that 1/3 has so much influence is a puzzle.

    It is a puzzle, T.O.

    But if you look at the bare knuckles, no holds barred, no accommodation, no compromise, take-no-prisoners approach by the gun lobby and the blind allegiance to it by its supporters, that is a big piece of the puzzle, in my humble opinion.

    As the other 2/3 of citizens finally begin to lose their patience and get some cojones, perhaps — just perhaps — the tables will begin to turn.

  16. We are talking about giving an individual access to a lethal weapon and setting them free to wander around in our society. Their reason for wanting a gun isn’t important, skeet shooting or duck hunting. They may still have a “right” to own a weapon as an american citizen, just not the proper frame of mind or mental capacity to own one.

    Gun ownership is a right. Go at it however you like but you will be beating your head against a wall with any position other than that. We can’t have tests to be able to exercise a right, even gun ownership, anymore than we have intelligence tests to vote.

  17. After all, that’s exactly what the Founders were talking about when they wrote the Second Amendment. It preserves the use of guns for hunting, target-shooting, and self-defense. (After all, Dirty Harry won with just the possibility of a single bullet in his gun. “Do you feel lucky, Punk?”)

    Actually it wasn’t, because they wanted citizens to be well enough armed in order to both serve as a military force and be able to resist and keep the govt from being repressive. Can’t do that with a single shot. This argument keeps getting thrown out there and both historians and courts disagree but still people proclaim it like it’s an honest argument. It’s not an honest argument it’s a dead one that was lost a long time ago. It get resurrected not because of it’s viability but rather because if it were accepted it might lead to a result you would desire. Fine but as I said it’s been debunked so many times it’s absurd and just hardens opponents in their stance because you, to them, are lying and knowingly using a incorrect argument to get what you want so obviously nothing said can be trusted. An just as an aside a single shot weapon is not considered viable for self defense and while right now there is some movement towards gun control in the opinion polls there is very little desire to “outlaw” handguns or semi-autos never mind other multi shot weapons.

    As the other 2/3 of citizens finally begin to lose their patience and get some cojones, perhaps — just perhaps — the tables will begin to turn.

    Most people don’t own handguns, or firearms at all, but while opinion may be trending towards gun control right now, they are still are pretty neutral about specifics. A poll done by USA today shows that 47% vs 46% want stricter laws but only 44% vs 51% want to ban assault rifles and just as a point of fact it’s only an assault rifle if it has the ability to fire full auto so the questions where flawed in favor of gun control and still it’s far from clear what americans want. opposition to handgun bans are at an all time high even after Sandy Hook. Now there is strong support for some measures but just as an aside the same pole also had this tidbit.

    The USA TODAY/Gallup poll found 54% have a favorable opinion of the NRA,

    So who is the one out of touch?

  18. Not to spam the thread but I got to say I hate the term “gun show loophole” because there is just no such thing. There are no laws anywhere that allow any activity at gun shows that would not be legal at some other location or time. There is no exception for any laws or regulations so how can it be accurately described as a loophole? Does it make it easier to make a private party transaction? Sure, with a large group of gun owners and enthusiasts you have much more selling and trading going on between them but the laws don’t change because you are at a gun show. You are just more likely to sell or trade guns there then at a yard sale but the legality is the same. What some places do is have a gun “scalper” law preventing private transactions on property but that must be a State or Local issue and legally the ability for the feds to regulate such things should be nil, because of another pesky amendment the 10th.

  19. There is no way I would consider a single shot weapon adequate for self defense.

  20. Actually it wasn’t, because they wanted citizens to be well enough armed in order to both serve as a military force and be able to resist and keep the govt from being repressive. Can’t do that with a single shot.

    You can’t do that with any possible level of civilian armament. The military has Predator drones, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, bunker-busters, satellite surveillance, and tactical nukes. In the Founder’s day, there wasn’t a huge difference in capability between an army unit with muskets and a bunch of civilians with muskets; now the difference is huge, many orders of magnitude.

    The right wing doesn’t seem to have made the connection between our grotesque military budget and their Red Dawn dreams of standing up to that military. We’re spending a half trillion dollars a year on the ability of the nation to defend itself, and that includes defending itself against the military arm of the Tea Party.

    (It’s possible that you and I are saying the same thing, but in all honesty, I’m not sure.) I would point out that Gallup spent the year before the election telling the right wing what they wanted to hear, and may still be doing so.

  21. There is no way I would consider a single shot weapon adequate

    Why not? You just point it at the leader and tell him he’s going to die if he doesn’t turn around and leave. It worked for Dirty Harry.

    I have to admit that I don’t take your perceived need for self defense too seriously; I see it as a mental aberration. If you were really worried about being shot at, and nothing else, you’d be wearing body armor all the time.

  22. “I have to admit that I don’t take your perceived need for self defense too seriously”
    If there is no reason to worry about someone coming into our homes, why lock the doors at night? Maybe you live in a different type of neighborhood than I do. I did a quick google search and there was a home invasion with the wife sexually assaulted just a few weeks ago.

  23. “I see it as a mental aberration.”
    I don’t see it as a mental aberration to be concerned about a burglary rate 2.5 times national average, a robbery and assault rate 1.5 times and a rape rate (I didn’t realize this) almost 5 times the national average and a crime index of “2″ meaning my city is safer then 2% of US cities. I have lived in this neighborhood my whole life and moving now is really not an option as I need to be near my parents. So please don’t be so blithe regarding a person’s “perceived” need for self defense.

  24. You can’t do that with any possible level of civilian armament. The military has Predator drones, Bradley Fighting Vehicles, bunker-busters, satellite surveillance, and tactical nukes. In the Founder’s day, there wasn’t a huge difference in capability between an army unit with muskets and a bunch of civilians with muskets; now the difference is huge, many orders of magnitude.

    Honestly that misses the point on at least two issues and provides an argument for less gun control without in any way making any difference in my statement. First, and mind you the idea is absurd on it’s face right now, there is no way for the military to nuke every other citizen in the US. Heck not even every tenth person. If there were a wide spread insurgency the military would be, by necessity, also spread out. Also you don’t have to defeat someone to make your point. Look at Ruby Ridge or Wounded Knee. They lost but their willingness to fight had impacts well in excess of their “military” effectiveness. At the least it would be able change the dynamic of a situation. An example? Say an administration gave an illegal order to round a group up and intern them based on race. While the military units tasked to to so may question the orders if the population is unarmed then , well, it’s just arresting people nothing else, so they might go along even tho they know it’s probably wrong and illegal. If that same group is armed it could prevent the governments actions because of the fear of having to kill instead of arrest. Troops that are willing to arrest may not be willing to kill for illegal orders. Mind you all that is pure speculation and means nothing as to the legality of the 2nd. It may be totally without any possible use or need to the current citizenry but that doesn’t change that it is there and there is no realistic possibility of changing the 2nd anytime soon. What you want is for it to disappear in history and it wont happen so you are attempting to redefine it so it means what you want in order to get a result you want. For those who care about the constitution that’s pretty upsetting. Sure there is a method to effect change in the constitution but that isn’t what you are doing, it’s more of repeating a lie until people believe it, as a way of getting what you want.

  25. the military arm of the Tea Party.

    Anyone else get a giggle out of this?

  26. Why not? You just point it at the leader and tell him he’s going to die if he doesn’t turn around and leave. It worked for Dirty Harry.
    I have to admit that I don’t take your perceived need for self defense too seriously; I see it as a mental aberration. If you were really worried about being shot at, and nothing else, you’d be wearing body armor all the time.

    Ah if only life were a movie. It’s not so your comparison seems pretty strange. I guess in your movie the good guys never miss and there is never more than one bad guy and every bullet disables or kills the bad guy? Body armor doesn’t make you invulnerable, it’s not comfortable, and definitely doesn’t make your daughter safe from being raped. Enough of that lets move to some real data. The largest study of the self-defense issue was the National Self-Defense Survey done by Kleck and Gertz out of Florida State University. In their studies guns were estimated to be used between 800,000 to 2.5 million times a year in defensive situations. Over half of those involved more than one “assailant”. A different survey with a ten state sample of incarcerated felons interviewed in 1982, 34% reported having been “scared off, shot at, wounded or captured by an armed victim.”

  27. Folks, without an amendment, we will not get real gun control. Trying to work around a basic constitutional right is not the answer. Sadly, we will need a lot more blood spilled, children’s blood, to see the political winds move towards attempting such a task.

    The shock doctrine works for a reason.

  28. Agree, SL, but at least we should and could ban HCMs and buy up the legacy ones.

  29. @EE
    Love the math from National Self-Defense Survey done by Kleck and Gertz out of Florida State University.

    Gun owners stopped burglaries in OVER 100% of these types of crimes. Care to defend their math.
    http://www.stat.duke.edu/~dale......myth0.pdf

  30. True DD, I do not believe that 100 round clips are protected by the constitution. And buying up the legacy clips would be very important.

  31. If there is no reason to worry about someone coming into our homes, why lock the doors at night?

    Did you realize what a silly thing to say that was, or were you being serious?

    You lock your doors so that no one can come into your home. When someone threatens you with a weapon on the street and demands your money, you give it to them. (Given what guns cost, that’s almost certainly the cheaper approach.) The great majority of the people in your city don’t feel that they need a gun; why are you different?

    So please don’t be so blithe regarding a person’s “perceived” need for self defense.

    I’m not blithe; I’m contemptuous. I think that part of the motivation of people who think they need guns is a vague,deep, unacknowledged hope that they’ll be able to shoot (at) somebody someday.

    Remember, a child living in a home that has guns is three times more likely to be shot. Why would you subject your children to that kind of risk?

  32. The largest study of the self-defense issue was the National Self-Defense Survey done by Kleck and Gertz out of Florida State University.

    That study was so flawed that a guy named David Hemenway wrote a paper analyzing the many ways it went wrong. The Myth of Millions of Annual Self-Defense Gun Uses: A Case Study of Survey Overestimates of Rare Events. (Ah, rudi gave us a link to it.)

    Ah, if only life were a movie

    Gun fanatics think that it is; that’s why I use the Dirty Harry reference.

    Body armor doesn’t make you invulnerable, it’s not comfortable

    It makes you safer, just like a gun does. Why don’t any gun nuts wear it at the times they feel the need to carry a gun? Perhaps because you can’t hurt or kill the bad guy with a bulletproof vest.

  33. I don’t see it as a mental aberration to be concerned about a burglary rate 2.5 times national average, a robbery and assault rate 1.5 times

    What difference does it make how your level compares to the national average? If your level remained the same but the national average increased by a factor of ten, would you then be safer? You’d then be way below the average.

  34. @EE
    Love the math from National Self-Defense Survey done by Kleck and Gertz out of Florida State University.
    Gun owners stopped burglaries in OVER 100% of these types of crimes. Care to defend their math.

    If people knowingly misapply the stats then who am I to rebuke them. Sure he misrepresents and misstates conclusions but so what. What Kleck study does say is that more people reported stopping a crime than crimes are reported. For every reported burglary someone said that using/having a gun has stopped a crime. Big difference between the two but since Hemenways response was an obvious attempt to “get the numbers down” and not a honest attempt at a scientifically based critique. Why would I say that? Well look at the paper. He is intent on pointing out any possible areas where there may be over reporting but ignores any under reporting. He states beliefs as conclusions and fails to show any “proof” but that something may be in error so it is in error. That isn’t scientific reasoning it’s partisan rhetoric. From Kleck

    H’s critical technique is simple: one-sided, and often implausible, speculation about flaws that might have afflicted our research, and that might have been consequential enough to significantly affect our conclusions. H devotes his attention almost exclusively to suspected flaws that might have contributed to the overestimation of defensive gun use (DGU) frequency. He either ignores well established sources of underreporting, or briefly and superficially discusses them only for the sake of dismissing them.[10] When H speculates about sources of response error that are plausible, he offers no rationale for why the problems should lead to more false positives than false negatives. Instead he simply conjures up reasons they might lead to false positives. As support for his one-sided speculations H even cites other people guilty of the same dubious practice.[11]

    All research is flawed. Known flaws should be identified and their likely impact assessed. Speculation about flaws can play a role in the pursuit of truth by motivating researchers to gather better empirical evidence less afflicted by the flaws. Speculation by itself, however, should not be given any weight in assessing evidence. An ounce of evidence, even though flawed, outweighs a ton of speculation. Unfortunately, in both good research and bad, there is no upper limit on the amount of speculative criticism that can be directed at the work, and thus this sort of critique is just as easily applied to good research as to bad.[Page 1449]

  35. You lock your doors so that no one can come into your home. When someone threatens you with a weapon on the street and demands your money, you give it to them. (Given what guns cost, that’s almost certainly the cheaper approach.) The great majority of the people in your city don’t feel that they need a gun; why are you different?

    No you give them your money. I don’t. I don’t have any problems with your approach and the law and the constitution finds mine acceptable so I will continue.

  36. Sometimes it is good to stop and get still, and remember.

    The Memory Lives On by Paul Cardall… It was put on youtube by the artist, so should be okay to share it within copyright honor…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?f.....UGBiYBf6M#!

  37. It makes you safer, just like a gun does. Why don’t any gun nuts wear it at the times they feel the need to carry a gun? Perhaps because you can’t hurt or kill the bad guy with a bulletproof vest.

    What! having a gun makes you safer! Armor may make you safer but it is a reactive defense only not a proactive one. If you get held up you still are putting your fate in the hands of the crook instead of your own. That and the fact that guns are a protected right where body armor isn’t and often a firearm is cheaper than armor. Then there is the fact that guns are just easier to have available and can be deployed quicker. I can carry a gun which wieghs less and gives no physical sign of it’s presence or wear a vest which must be put on under my clothes and worn all day unable to be picked up or removed at will and creates adverse physical reactions when worn. I can put a gun in a drawer and grab it in seconds but you think going to my closet and putting on a vest would somehow be equal? Not to mention the majority of defensive gun uses the gun is never fired so the gun itself deters the crooks. Why would a vest do the same thing? It wouldn’t. While vests are great and if there was some know threat it could be used pretending that is can somehow replace a firearms is absurd on it’s face.

  38. That study was so flawed that a guy named David Hemenway wrote a paper analyzing the many ways it went wrong. The Myth of Millions of Annual Self-Defense Gun Uses: A Case Study of Survey Overestimates of Rare Events. (Ah, rudi gave us a link to it.)

    Yep and it was BS and I have already mentioned why. It was a hit piece without any real scientific value. While Kleck may be wrong he at least attempts to make a legitimate study of the question Hmenway didn’t.

  39. What difference does it make how your level compares to the national average? If your level remained the same but the national average increased by a factor of ten, would you then be safer? You’d then be way below the average.

    The difference is in the context of the statement. You mocked his “perceived” need for self defense and he responded with comments about being in a higher crime area than normal. Which you continued to mock.

    Remember, a child living in a home that has guns is three times more likely to be shot. Why would you subject your children to that kind of risk?

    Because among other things it’s bunk. That figure came from a study by a Dr. Kellerman who refused to reveal his data. Why? Because in a study by Don Kates it was shown that kids were killed with guns that came from outside the home. That yes there were guns but that people coming in from outside the homes were the reason for the increase in fatalities not the guns in the home. The children were a greater risk because they lived in high risk situations not because there was a gun in the house. Care to share any more deceitful and misleading studies?

  40. … to make a legitimate study of the question Hmenway didn’t.

    Hemenway wasn’t studying the question; he was pointing out major flaws in the study. You seem to be claiming that there were other flaws that would have offset the ones he described. It doesn’t work that way.

    a higher crime area than normal. Which you continued to mock.

    And I will continue to do so. It’s a dumb argument.

    I once lived in an area of Tokyo (Tachikawa) that had a much higher crime rate than the national average. Should I have feared for my safety? No. Can you guess why not?

    That figure came from a study by a Dr. Kellerman who refused to reveal his data.

    No, it came from a Dr. FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, who revealed his sources in great detail.

    What does it matter which guns killed the kids? Maybe it’s more likely that shots will be fired if there are guns in the house; maybe people in a house with guns are more careless with other security measures like locks and alarms. The point is that your children are three times as likely to be shot if you have a gun in your house. Once you’ve made the decision to endanger them that way, is it really important to you that you’ll probably be able to blame someone else for doing the actual shooting?

  41. Hemenway wasn’t studying the question; he was pointing out major flaws in the study. You seem to be claiming that there were other flaws that would have offset the ones he described. It doesn’t work that way.

    That is exactly how it works. You look at a study and see how it may be flawed. Of course there is a chance of over reporting which Hemenway pointed out but a chance of over reporting doesn’t equal that there is over reporting and of course there is a chance of under reporting which Hemenway almost totally ignored. By handling the questions like he did Hemenway made it clear his effort was not to give a serious critique of the paper but just engage in partisan bashing. This paper was a farce and using it just shows how little some care about facts.

    And I will continue to do so. It’s a dumb argument.
    I once lived in an area of Tokyo (Tachikawa) that had a much higher crime rate than the national average. Should I have feared for my safety? No. Can you guess why not?

    No idea, don’t really care because I don’t think others concerns are something they need me to validate. It seems reasonable to think that someone in a higher crime rate may have addition concerns for their safety and belongings. That you think that having such concerns is “dumb” is pretty telling.

    No, it came from a Dr. FBI Uniform Crime Statistics, who revealed his sources in great detail.

    I don’t believe so. Link please.

    What does it matter which guns killed the kids?

    Are you kidding me? You say if you have a gun your kid is three times more likely to get shot but the added danger comes from outside the home? Like having a gun cause the door to be kicked in and got everyone shot? No it was that the household was in a dangerous situation and and that dangerous situation may have been the reason they got a gun. You try to portray the gun as causal when in fact it is not, firearm possession in this case would be an additional result not causal.

    The point is that your children are three times as likely to be shot if you have a gun in your house. Once you’ve made the decision to endanger them that way, is it really important to you that you’ll probably be able to blame someone else for doing the actual shooting?

    No thats not the point. If you live in a high crime area then people are more likely to have guns in their homes. If shootings would occur regardless of gun possession then pretending that the mere fact of owning a gun increases your risk of being shot is illogical.

  42. “What difference does it make how your level compares to the national average? ”

    Comparisons to national averages is a common practice to provide a point of reference.

    “If your level remained the same but the national average increased by a factor of ten, would you then be safer? You’d then be way below the average.”

    Obviously my absolute risk has remained the same, which is not trivial.

    “Remember, a child living in a home that has guns is three times more likely to be shot.”

    Isn’t this also an expression of relative risk?

  43. December 14, 2012: Man attacks school children and wounds 23, none die.
    December 14, 2012: Man attacks school children and KILLS 20 plus 7 adults.
    The difference, the weapons used. One a knife the other firearms.
    Facts.

  44. I like your persistence — and your rationale — dduck. Keep them coming, One day, common sense may win the day…

  45. Whatever actions we decide to take to try to prevent another school/public shooting, we need to consider situations such as this:

    “A young Oklahoma mother shot and killed an intruder to protect her 3-month-old baby on New Year’s Eve, less than a week after the baby’s father died of cancer.

    Sarah McKinley says that a week earlier a man named Justin Martin dropped by on the day of her husband’s funeral, claiming that he was a neighbor who wanted to say hello. The 18-year-old Oklahoma City area woman did not let him into her home that day.

    On New Year’s Eve Martin returned with another man, Dustin Stewart, and this time was armed with a 12-inch hunting knife. The two soon began trying to break into McKinley’s home.

    As one of the men was going from door to door outside her home trying to gain entry, McKinley called 911 and grabbed her 12-gauge shotgun.

    McKinley told ABC News Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO that she quickly got her 12 gauge, went into her bedroom and got a pistol, put the bottle in the baby’s mouth and called 911.

    “I’ve got two guns in my hand — is it okay to shoot him if he comes in this door?” the young mother asked the 911 dispatcher. “I’m here by myself with my infant baby, can I please get a dispatcher out here immediately?”

    The 911 dispatcher confirmed with McKinley that the doors to her home were locked as she asked again if it was okay to shoot the intruder if he were to come through her door.

    “I can’t tell you that you can do that but you do what you have to do to protect your baby,” the dispatcher told her. McKinley was on the phone with 911 for a total of 21 minutes.

    When Martin kicked in the door and came after her with the knife, the teen mom shot and killed the 24-year-old. Police are calling the shooting justified.

    “You’re allowed to shoot an unauthorized person that is in your home. The law provides you the remedy, and sanctions the use of deadly force,” Det. Dan Huff of the Blanchard police said.

    Stewart soon turned himself in to police.

    McKinley said that she was at home alone with her newborn that night because her husband just died of cancer on Christmas Day.

    “I wouldn’t have done it, but it was my son,” McKinley told ABC News Oklahoma City affiliate KOCO. “It’s not an easy decision to make, but it was either going to be him or my son. And it wasn’t going to be my son. There’s nothing more dangerous than a woman with a child.””

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/okla-.....Or4RW9Owu4

  46. Z, I wonder if there are counter stories where the “intruder” turned out to be a husband or son returning. Or the ones where the “intruder” uses the home owner’s own gun to kill the gun owner.
    Sorry, I am running out the door so I haven’t had time to do the research.

  47. Zusa:

    That is one example of, and a touching story about a young woman with a gun rightly and valiantly protecting herself and her baby. A good example of how a gun in the right hands, at the right time saved the day.

    Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    However, it is also worthwhile to look at the thousands of other examples, the tens of thousands of other stories, where certain guns in the hands of the wrong people, with certain kinds of magazines and bullets, at the wrong time, in the wrong place have caused so much tragedy.

  48. We need to have a reasonable expectancy that any action taken will have the intended consequence regarding the wrong hands and not just the right hands.

  49. I wonder if there are counter stories where the “intruder” turned out to be a husband or son returning. Or the ones where the “intruder” uses the home owner’s own gun to kill the gun owner.
    Sorry, I am running out the door so I haven’t had time to do the research.

    Of course there will be stories that have tragedies like that in them. So? You would remove this woman’s ability to defend herself because of what others might do?

  50. Stories VS stories, tragedies VS tragedies, yes, but more importantly guns VS knives on December 14th.

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