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.

© Copyright 2012 TinaDupuy.com, distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.

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Guest Voice
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Barky
Guest
3 years 8 months ago

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

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago

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.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
Member
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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
sheknows
Guest
sheknows
3 years 8 months ago

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!

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
sheknows
Guest
sheknows
3 years 8 months ago
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,… Read more »
Bob Munck
Guest
Bob Munck
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
sheknows
Guest
sheknows
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
The_Ohioan
Guest
The_Ohioan
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
Member

@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.

The_Ohioan
Guest
The_Ohioan
3 years 8 months ago

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.

zephyr
Guest
zephyr
3 years 8 months ago

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.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
Member
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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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,… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
zusa1
Guest
zusa1
3 years 8 months ago

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

Bob Munck
Guest
Bob Munck
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Bob Munck
Guest
Bob Munck
3 years 8 months ago

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.

zusa1
Guest
zusa1
3 years 8 months ago

“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.

zusa1
Guest
zusa1
3 years 8 months ago
“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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago

the military arm of the Tea Party.

Anyone else get a giggle out of this?

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
ShannonLeee
Guest
ShannonLeee
3 years 8 months ago

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.

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 8 months ago

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

rudi
Guest
rudi
3 years 8 months ago

@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/~dalene/chance/chanceweb/103.myth0.pdf

ShannonLeee
Guest
ShannonLeee
3 years 8 months ago

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.

Bob Munck
Guest
Bob Munck
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Bob Munck
Guest
Bob Munck
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Bob Munck
Guest
Bob Munck
3 years 8 months ago

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.

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
@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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago

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.

ordinarysparrow
Guest
ordinarysparrow
3 years 8 months ago

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?feature=player_embedded&v=40UGBiYBf6M#!

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago

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.

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
Bob Munck
Guest
Bob Munck
3 years 8 months ago
… 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… Read more »
EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
zusa1
Guest
zusa1
3 years 8 months ago

“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?

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 8 months ago

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.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
Member

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

zusa1
Guest
zusa1
3 years 8 months ago
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… Read more »
dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 8 months ago

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.

Dorian de Wind, Military Affairs Columnist
Member

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.

zusa1
Guest
zusa1
3 years 8 months ago

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.

dduck
Guest
dduck
3 years 8 months ago

Sept. 10, 2012: “Police say a New Orleans woman fatally shot her husband with a single bullet to the chest Monday morning after mistaking him for an intruder.” http://www.nola.com/crime/index.ssf/2012/09/3_killed_in_new_orleans_one_wa.html

Sept. 28, 2012: “Police: Connecticut man kills suspected burglar, then learns it’s his teenage son.” http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/09/28/14134818-police-connecticut-man-kills-suspected-burglar-then-learns-its-his-teenage-son?lite

EEllis
Guest
EEllis
3 years 8 months ago

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?

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