Gun Control Wouldn't Have Stopped Loughner

And Loughner shouldn't start a new push for gun control

A very public shooting spree, with victims including a congresswoman, a judge, and a little girl, committed by a known lunatic, using equipment that had previously been banned: Jared Loughner’s crime seems an unparalleled opportunity for gun control advocates to gin up support for new legislation to restrict the weapons legally available to Americans and to restrict which Americans have access to those weapons.

Loughner reportedly used a Glock 19 pistol with 33-round magazines. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.) therefore wants to restore a provision of the Clinton-era “assault weapon” ban that prohibited the manufacture or importation of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. McCarthy’s proposal would toughen the expired law’s requirements by prohibiting the sale or transfer of ownership of existing high-capacity magazines as well. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) intends to sponsor similar legislation in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) has called for a ban on possessing weapons within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress and certain other high government officials. Taking another tack entirely, a bipartisan pair of congressmen, Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) vow to start packing heat themselves, and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) wants to allow congresspeople to carry weapons in D.C., something normal citizens still can't do.

King didn’t explain how such a rule would be enforced, given that politicians have an annoying habit of moving from place to place—though such a law could provide a presumptive excuse to search everyone getting near a politician in public. The primary result of King's law would be to make meet-the-public events of the sort where Rep. Giffords was wounded legally untenable. (In a cliche that bears repeating: Someone preparing to shoot others has already demonstrated their willingness to break the law.)

Meanwhile, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, representing over 600 city leaders, wants to toughen background check requirements and increase communication between different federal, state, and local databases—something they have little power to do on their own.

Americans’ attitudes toward gun laws have shifted since the mid-’90s, when Congress passed the now-expired “assault weapon” ban and the Brady Act. Brady instituted federal background checks for every potential gun buyer. The goal was to insure would-be buyers were disqualified from gun ownership for such things as a criminal record, being an illegal alien, having been dishonorably discharged from the military, or having been adjudicated mentally ill.

At the start of the 1990s, according to Gallup polls, 78 percent of Americans wanted stricter gun control. By 2009 that number had fallen to a historical low of 44 percent. As Americans’ attitudes have shifted, even Democrats have mostly avoided trying to expand gun control at the national level. (Some Democratic pols blame the Clinton-era gun control programs for Gore’s defeat in key southern states in 2000.) Despite the McCarthy and King bills, no one thinks Loughner’s crimes are going to change that stance. And they shouldn’t.

There is no consistent association between gun crimes and easy access to guns or the right to carry. Crimes such as Loughner’s are so bizarre and rare that there is no sense in trying to craft laws aimed at preventing them. Despite constantly expanding gun ownership—the number of new firearms entering American possession averages around 4 million a year—and expanded rights to legally carry weapons, the last two decades have seen a 41 percent decline in violent crime rates. Since the 2004 expiration of the "assault weapon" ban, murder rates are down 15 percent. Many pundits have tried to explain Loughner’s crimes by citing Arizona’s “loose” gun laws, including the lack of permit requirement for concealed or open carry. It's true that Loughner exercised his right to carry without a permit, but he would doubtless have carried the gun even if he was violating the law doing so. 

Daniel Vice of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence made his case plainly: “Our gun laws are so weak that someone who couldn’t get into the military, who was kicked out of school, and who used drugs walked into a gun store and was able to immediately buy a semiautomatic weapon.” But why shouldn’t someone not allowed in the military, kicked out of school, and known to use drugs—characteristics shared by millions of Americans—be able to own and use tools of self-defense and sport if he has not been adjudicated as dangerous?

Such a person should be able to own a weapon for all the same reasons anyone might want to own any tool, especially one connected to the vital human imperative of self-defense. Snide declarations that large-capacity magazines are good for nothing but killing innocent people ignore the fact that they are almost never used for that purpose and that law enforcement agencies regularly use them for self-defense.

A CBS poll two weeks after the massacre found that 51 percent of Americans still think gun laws should either stay the same or be loosened. That was down from 58 percent in March 2009 but still above 2002 levels, when 56 percent of respondents in another CBS poll supported tighter gun control.

Americans understand that even strange people should be able to own weapons, and not just for deer hunting. The very rare crimes of very unusual Americans should not dictate how everyone's right to self-defense is managed, and even in the wake of tragedy that is fortunately unlikely to change

Senior Editor Brian Doherty (bdoherty@reason.com) is the author of Gun Control on Trial (Cato).

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Tim||

    How does a lunatic who apparently couldn't utter a coherent sentence manage to hold it together long enough to get through the purchase and filling out of the 4473?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    The unfortunate reality is that I've encountered many gun dealers that really don't care too terribly much who buys. If the NICS check comes back clean and the is not openly and obviously a complete nutter or whacked-out on drugs, they figure the deal is legal and clean.

    Apparently Loughner is (or was) able to hold it together for many ordinary interchanges and not come across as the delusional, paranoid schizo he apparently is.

    Just because a guy "seems a little odd" isn't enough for most FFL holders not to sell to the guy.

    Heck, I've been in gun shops when three guys walked in who so very clearly appear to be gang-banging street thugs (yeah, I know - racist stereotype; but stereotypes are quite often founded in fact). And the gun shop guy eyeballed them but ended up selling them a Glock fawty anyhow.

    You don't stay in business very long if you turn away every paying customer who does not meet your personal profile of the ideal purchaser of your goods.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also, not every gun sale is from gun shops.

  • ||

    GUN SHOW LOOPHOLE!1!11

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Right.

    If I remember what I read, though, Loughner bought his gun from an FFL seller.

  • Rather||

    A clerk at Wal-mart refused to sell him bullets he/she went into the storage area and returned to say they were out. He went down the street to another Wal-mart. BSR, some people do not care.

  • Pip||

    "Apparently Loughner is (or was) able to hold it together for many ordinary interchanges and not come across as the delusional, paranoid schizo he apparently is"

    Thank you salvia divinorum!

  • Dan||

    What needs to be done is allow Gun Dealers to profile on sight. Maybe if we are lucky enough we can round up a band of people that are deemed odd & have them wear shiny stars on the outer garments to indicate who they are.
    And why should we stop at just guns? Cars kill people so does booze & drugs, knives, bowling balls, fat hookers etc... This list can go on for forever and when the group with the stars gets big enough where they just might be a threat well then we could just...

  • Paul||

    (yeah, I know - racist stereotype; but stereotypes are quite often founded in fact)

    If they were hardened gangbangers, their background check more than likely would have failed.

  • SIV||

    Heck, I've been in gun shops when three guys walked in who so very clearly appear to be gang-banging street thugs (yeah, I know - racist stereotype; but stereotypes are quite often founded in fact). And the gun shop guy eyeballed them but ended up selling them a Glock fawty anyhow.
    This reads just like posts at an outdoors forum I frequent. I guess you never got your decoder ring but I can't think of a "profile" more likely to need a firearm for self defense than the one which receives the most bullet wounds.

  • LarryA||

    Heck, I've been in gun shops when three guys walked in who so very clearly appear to be gang-banging street thugs (yeah, I know - racist stereotype; but stereotypes are quite often founded in fact). And the gun shop guy eyeballed them but ended up selling them a Glock fawty anyhow.

    The store owner was probably thinking, “Yeah, these guys are probably gangbangers. But if I refuse to sell to them LULAC or NAACP will bust a lawsuit on me.”

  • Spazmo||

    Are there that many politically correct gun store owners?

  • Spiny Norman||

    Can we get a different picture? Or none at all? I'm really sick of looking at that guy.

  • Dr. Phil||

    Scars yeah huh....Spineless Norman?

  • Paul||

    Come on, now... I still haven't seen anyone make the connection!!!

  • sounds real good||

    I don't think they look alike.

  • Realist||

    And Loughner shouldn't start a new push for gun control.

    But it will!

  • eyerollist||

    I'm disturbed that we're referring to Loughner as an "it" now. Did he have some type of elective surgery?

  • Realist||

    "it" refers to the Loughner event/eposode.

  • Realist||

    should read "event/episode"

  • squarooticus||

    The fundamental problem with calls for gun control tailored to individuals in an attempt to preserve the rights of the lawful is that it requires clairvoyance to work: despite the fact that I claim to be, and by most accounts am, a non-violent person, there is nothing stopping me from grabbing a gun, going to a public place, and blowing a bunch of people up before anyone was able to stop me. Of course knowing my own state of mind I wouldn't do this, but the point is that no one can predict this with absolute certainty because no one can read minds or predict the future!

    You can even play a thought experiment in which someone is programmed to be perfectly normal until a remote control switch is flipped, at which point the person becomes a killing machine. If the person so affected doesn't realize this, how can anyone else?

    Once you have admitted that access to firearms is an individual right, there is no solution to this problem. The occasional nutbag blowing people up is simply going to happen: there's no way to predict it and therefore no way to prevent it. This is simply one of the costs of living in a free society.

  • ||

    This is the heart of it all. You can never tell who might flip out suddenly; you can never read people's future actions.

    Trying to solve this problem is incredibly stupid; it can't be done. And it shows that those who are trying to do so are either ignorantly misguided, or are merely trying to score political points and have no concern about solving it at all; they just see an opportunity.

  • omg||

    It seems to happen whether or not you admit that access to firearms is an individual right, actually.

  • Publis Cato||

    ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! The worst spree killing of all time happened in South Korea, when a SWAT team member raided the precinct arsenal and went on an 8 hour killing spree leading to the deaths of 57 people, himself included.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woo_Bum-kon

  • ||

    One thing I've learned over the years is that you just cannot predict human behavior accurately, esp. in the long term. Psychologists and psychiatrists spend decades studying the subject and they still can't predict behavior accurately either (which they will admit in a candid moment).

  • ||

    So long as they don't ban personal, killer drones, I don't really care.

  • Paul||

    First they came for the personal killer drones.

  • ||

    Yeah, that's why we have to speak up before we even have them.

  • Pip||

    Really, seriously, stop showing that little faggot's mug shot.

  • ||

    It's hard not to think that the asshole posed for exactly this purpose. I'd be so much happier if the media wouldn't run photos of these jackasses and would only call them by some epithet, like Asshole Tucson Shooter.

  • The Media||

    I'd be so much happier if the media wouldn't run photos of these jackasses and would only call them by some epithet, like Asshole Tucson Shooter.

    "Asshole Tucson Shooter" evokes the idea that he acted on his own. We need to keep this moving in an institutional-fault direction.

  • ||

    Okay, for the false blame movement, they can refer to him as the Point Asshole of the Tucson Shooter Movement.

  • The Media||

    We've never said Loughner was influenced by non-left-wing hate speech!

    Oh, wait...

  • mr simple||

    The little faggot with the earring and the makeup
    Yeah buddy, that's his own hair
    That little faggot got his own jet airplane
    That little faggot he's a millionaire

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I hope you're not in Canada. They'll be coming for you soon.

  • Pip (channeling Sandi, sorta)||

    I wouldn't take a shit in Canada if my colon was on fire.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Colon on fire? We're talking Canada, not Mexico.

  • ||

    FWIW, i believe the actual line is "The little faggot with the earring and a mink coat,". The artist to whom the line was presumably directed routinely wore a mink coat until it became politically incorrect to do so.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The lyrics to that song always reminded me of when I worked for a modernist artist. One delivery guy looked at the paintings and said "Hell, my four year old could do that!

    I looked at him and replied (with as much sincerity as I could muster) "You must be very proud."

  • ||

    It's "make-up." Not "mink coat."

  • ||

    Satire and lyrical comprehension in Canada is officially dead.

    I'm Canadian and was abhorred by such a draconian, idiotic, ignorant and mindless piece of censorship.

    Terrible and the unelected jerks - based on ONE person's complaint - who took that decision can kiss my virus.

  • Almanian||

    OK, so when do we start getting the TSA articles again (NOT to mention an update on Mosque-a-palooza)? Huh? Enough with Loughner et al till we actually have some new news.

    I WANT MY TSA [and mosque], AND I WANT IT NOW!!!

    And I'm with Spiny - get another fokin' pic if you're gonna keep showing his stupid, bald-ass, whackjob mug.

    That's all! Thanks!

  • Michael Moore on Maddow||

    "This needs to be said that the imaginary person that breaks into your home...Who does he look like? We never really want to talk about the racial or class part of this, in terms of how it's the poor or it's people of color that we imagine that we're afraid of."

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    I really could not care on whit less what fucking color the person is who breaks into my house. If I'm home, that person - whatever his skin color - is quickly going to discover he has chosen the wrong house to break into (into which to break?).

  • mr simple||

    English, a Germanic language, has no real rules on sentence structure. The no ending a sentence with a preposition thing is a Latin rule.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    And yet it is a practice up with which I will not put!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Well, a good English sentence should have a verb and a noun about. But you're right that the Latin elitists can piss off.

  • ||

    Wait, but German has ridiculous rules on sentence structure- so much so that there are rules for the adpositional phrases and words in the clause of a sentence.

    English has far fewer restrictions likely due to its development from German through Danish and Dutch which relaxed the rules.

    Sorry, off-topic.

    More gun control bad.

  • Brother Wolf||

    Watch the film "Felon"

  • The Daily Show||

  • James||

    I'm sure I'm not the only one who normally avoids clicking on links when there's no attempt to explain what's being linked to and why it's relevant, but I had some spare time and I love The Daily Show, so I gave it a shot. Totally worth it.

  • mr simple||

    I'm amazed he can make so much money vomiting up shit everyday.

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    He's certainly not vomiting up his food.

  • mr simple||

    Or: Certainly his food he's vomiting not up.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    Have you ever seen a Brinks/ADT security system commercial? There's nothing whiter than a Brinks Burglar.

  • Pip||

    I've notced that too.

  • ||

    That sounds like a Michael Scott scenario--but really how do you keep an imaginary person OUT of your house? Stop imagining them breaking in.

  • Masturbatin' Pete||

    If the Tuscon shooting means that we need more gun control laws, then the Gosnell murders means that we need more scissor control laws.

    Additionally, we need the left's favorite solution to everything: more regulations. We need more regulations on abortion clinics. I'm sure the left will get behind me on this one.

    Over to you, Tony.

  • Mensan||

    If they really want to stop murders, then they should just outlaw murder.

  • Brother Wolf||

    I'm usually a fan of the Economist, but this breaks my heart:

    http://www.economist.com/node/17902699?story_id=17902699

  • Brother Wolf||

  • Extended Warren T||

    Can you read it to me?

  • Rather||

    Is it oxymoron day on H&R?

  • Bill Maher||

    "Don't you people read?!"

  • Almanian||

    Only articles on the TSA and the Ground Zero Mosque of the Red Death™.

  • Rep. Peter King||

    Crimes such as Loughner’s are so bizarre and rare that there is no sense in trying to craft laws aimed at preventing them.

    I am pleased today to announce additional legislation strengthening my ongoing efforts to protect the American people: The Prevention of Bizarre and Rare Crimes Act of 2011.

  • Sam O'Cumloud||

    Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) vow to start packing heat themselves, and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) wants to allow congresspeople to carry weapons in D.C.

    The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act already requires every resident of the county to pack heat. But since the congresspeople haven't read that massive law, I suppose they can't really be chastised under the circumstances for making sure about themselves.

  • ||

    Ah, more special privileges for our masters in DC.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Hear ye! Hear ye!

    Within the bounds of the lords' demesne, all peasants shall be disallowed possession of any and all firearms. Lords may bear firearms within the demesne, either openly or concealed.

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

  • ||

    As a supporter of Gun Rights, even Congresswoman Giffords was in support of the ABILITY to shoot her.

  • ||

    Gun control is essential. That is why I recommend Hogue grips. Especially for smaller, light revolvers like the Ruger LCR.

  • ||

    Or my new Kel-Tec P3AT. 8.3oz!

  • ||

    The last sentence in the linked ad: The small grip size and light trigger pull make the P-3AT ideal for female shooters.

    You have a girl's gun Epi. NTTAWWT

  • ||

    I tried to get it in pink, but all they had was the one finish.

  • ||

    Pink is the new Black (according to this guy in Seattle)...hmm, you live in Seatlle I believe..

    http://www.michaelhanscom.com/.....he-photos/

  • ||

    um, Seattle = two "t"s one "l"...

  • Rather||

    He CCs it in his vagina

  • ||

    Any comment from Reason on the I AM TJIC movement?

    http://borepatch.blogspot.com/2011/01/we-are-tjic.html

  • ||

    Regarding Doherty's question as to how they would enforce Rep. King's 1000 foot law, I suggest all future meetings with congress persons be held at TSA control points in US airports.

  • Your Good Buddy Johnny Clarke||

    I'm totally in favor of the 1000 foot law, since it would cut both ways.

    That means no politician would be allowed within 1000 feet of my home. If necessary, I would enforce the law with a hickory switch.

    For their own safety, of course.

  • Spazmo||

    And if we could keep at least over 1000 feet from Congress, all our problems would be solved.

  • Paul||

    Gun Control Wouldn't Have Stopped Loughner

    As a pretty rabid supporter of nearly unrestricted gun rights, how does this blog post make the argument that Loughner wouldn't have done as much damage with a 10 round clip as opposed to the 33 round clip-- as the whole point of restricting the number of rounds in a magazine was that mass shootings would be... less mass.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Paul,

    Because it's trivial to change magazines on a semi-auto, or to carry two pistols if the bad guy wants to shoot anyone rushing him during a reload. Moreover, didn't his super-duper extended mags cause him to stop his rampage by causing a jam?

    To return to the point of the OP, didn't we already have enough laws to prevent this? Dude was making death threats. Aren't those a felony sufficient to get you flagged on NICS? Or rather, they would be if for some inexplicable reason the cops didn't drop the ball on interviewing the homicidal nutbag. At the very least, wouldn't interviewing the guy reveal that he was having a schizophrenic break? That + the death threats should = involuntary commitment, right?

    But yeah, absent him making death threats, I don't think you stop this with the current laws we have, and I'm not sure I want to live in a country with the laws people would add to try and stop this sort of thing.

  • Paul||

    Gray Ghost, those are the types of arguments that should be made, but didn't seem to be made in the blogpost. I merely felt that the post made mention of the high capacity mags, but didn't address why they were banned, and how that law specifically would have failed in this instance.

    When the Brady Bill outlawed high capacity mags, we have to be prepared to defend high capacity mags, if we gloss over the issue, we'll get demagogued into losing more 2A rights.

  • ||

    The news reports of the incident that I've read stated that Loughner had three of the extended magazines with him. He emptied the first one, had a failure to feed from the second one, and was tackled while dicking around with the third one.

    Given that extended capacity magazines are especially susceptible to failures to feed, there's every possibility that he would have reloaded more efficiently had he been using standard capacity 15-round mags or politically-correct 10-round mags, giving bystanders that much less of an opportunity to tackle him without getting shot themselves. In other words, the fact that this bug-eyed psycho used a 33-round novelty stick may well have saved rather than cost lives in the final analysis.

  • l0b0t||

    Perhaps because the time it takes to drop an empty magazine and pop in a full one is negligible. Several small capacity magazines (or the olde timey practice of carrying a brace of pistols) is just as efficacious. The "High-Capacity" magazine ban is pure propaganda, designed more for Handgun Control Incorporated Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence fund-raising efforts and not so much for reducing violent crime.

  • Xenocles||

    Brady Center To Prevent Gun Violence Ownership

    FIFY

  • SM||

    My favorite part of the article: the title.

    "Gun Control Wouldn't Have Stopped Loughner"

    So, if we banned all guns, the most strict form of gun control, back at the turn of the century...this wouldn't have stopped him, because he would be unable to get a gun?

    So, what the article really should be titled: "Half assed gun control may not have stopped Loughner."

    Note: not saying we should ban all guns, just pointing out that the author failed in using sound...reason.

  • Bradley||

    So, if we banned all guns, the most strict form of gun control, back at the turn of the century...this wouldn't have stopped him, because he would be unable to get a gun?

    It's funny: I live in a country that has some of those "strict" gun control laws you speak of. And yet, criminal gangs are somehow still shooting at each other with those guns that they're unable to get. And every once in a while, a nut loses it and goes on a killing spree using some of those same guns that people are unable to get.

    "Half assed gun control may not have stopped Loughner."

    "Half-assed gun control" reminds me of those law-and-order types who're always complaining about half-assed drug policy, saying we need to get tougher and start beheading pot smokers in the street. If policy X isn't working, that just means we need to do it more and harder. The wisdom or efficacy of X itself is never questioned.

    the author failed in using sound...reason

    I would drink, but I've already had a few too many.

  • SM||

    Huh...i live in a country that has banned private citizens from owning nuclear weapons and it has prevented anyone from using a nuclear weapon on us....they are probably unrelated though. If everyone was allowed to get a nuke, no one would have used one by now, right?

    You defense is, "there is crime in canada"? How rich...you realize that canada is example that proves my point, right? That most murders aren't committed with guns, yes? Mass shooting as less prevalent? And you also realize that you have not banned all guns - so, again...what was the point of bringing up canada? That half assed gun control does not prevent shootings?

    Again, my original point, was to point out that his title is factually incorrect. If all guns were banned in this country, it would be more likely to prevent him from buying a gun (as is proven by the availability of guns in countries who have banned them) than our current gun laws, or half assed gun laws.

    Just use sound reasoning. Point out the title of the article is incorrect, move along. I just expected better from this site...

    I'm not even arguing that we should ban all guns. I'm arguing that the title of his article is wrong - he did not prove his claim in that article.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: SM,

    i live in a country that has banned private citizens from owning nuclear weapons and it has prevented anyone from using a nuclear weapon on us[...]


    Well, this country does not forbid people from owning 50 ton locomotives to club another person, yet there have been NO instances, recorded or otherwise, of people being bludgeon with 50 ton locomotives... Maybe because they're somewhat unwieldy - just like nuclear weapons are quite unwieldy.

    How rich...you realize that [C]anada is example that proves my point, right? That most murders aren't committed with guns, yes?


    Which means that the goal of banning guns is to make murderers more resourceful?

  • Xenocles||

    Drink?

  • PIL||

    CNN’s Barry Neild decided to find out which are “The world’s coolest nationalities.” Now I don’t know how you would answer such a question, but this is how he describes America, #5 in his “cool” list.
    “War-starting, planet-polluting, over-consuming, arms-bearing Americans? Surely we can't be suggesting that the people who voted George W. Bush into the White House (twice!) are cool?”

    READ MORE: http://libertarians4freedom.bl.....-cool.html

  • Mr Born-Again Barack||

    He was referring to MY cool supporters.

  • ||

    We're lucky to be #5. Look, the U.S. may be good at a lot of things, but we're not cool. In the world of cool, we're less the hipster and more his slightly uptight, religious, athletic opposite. Not the coolest, but not the one you want to bet against, either.

    P.S. After it became clear that we entered the war in Iraq under false pretenses, no one should cheer that; certainly no libertarian should.

  • ||

    For Gods,(or whoever's )sake, the news media needs to quit using that god awful picture of this nut. Just tired of seeing it everywhere. I realize that this picture alone belies the stupid theories of the left at the time of the shooting, and apparently still going on, but Damn!

  • ||

    Look, the gun control debate, like so many of our public policy decisions is inherently dishonest. The facts are that the more guns we have the more violence there is. Simple, cold fact. The issue isn't if guns increase violence, it's what price the US is willing to pay, in injuries, deaths, etc., to protect an individual's right to own a gun. So, far citizens are saying they prefer guns to a safer society. That's the debate. Any other discussion elements are superfluous and off target.

  • ||

    So do you have any evidence for the theory that more guns means more violence. Because England has a lot more violent crime then the US even though they are a freaking island with incredibly strict gun laws.

  • ||

    Britt, really? A link please. I'm pretty sure the U.S. homicide rate is several multiples of that in the U.K.

  • ||

    You are wildly incorrect. Their overall violent crime rate is similar to the U.S. (slightly more in recent years, perhaps), but the fraction caused by guns is miniscule and the corresponding amount of death and mutilation is far less. That is true of pretty much all other rich countries. As I recall, the U.S. has 80% of all the gun violence in the 30 or 40 richest nations. I agree with Lance. Guns clearly lead to more suffering - American's simply seem to value the illusory safety provided by guns over the very real carnage incurred because of them.

  • ||

    Nice sleight of hand.

    The original comment upthread claimed that "the more guns we have the more violence there is." Not more guns, more gun violence, but more guns, more violence of all sorts.

    Now you want to change the subject to exclude attacks with knives and other weapons.

    Not intellectually honest at all.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    And yet the government does not give up its guns, despite their abuse of guns.

  • ||

    Ooooh. Someone was foolish enough to assert the "fewer guns, less violence" lie.

    The truth is the exact opposite. The more guns, in lawabiders hands, results in less violence. In fact, given the wild purchasing of firearms by those convinced Obama and the Democrats were going to legislate extremely strict gun regulation, what your flawed premise would predict is that violent crime would rise in the USA as a result. The real result was that violent crime decreased nationwide by 43 percent to a 35 year low.

    It must suck to be so ignorant and doctrinaire as you.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: lancegmortin,

    So, far citizens are saying they prefer guns to a safer society.


    The two conditions are not mutually exclusive.

    The facts are that the more guns we have the more violence there is.


    Which makes D.C. a veritable safety paradise than, oh let's say, "super dangerous" Austin, TX.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.....crime_rate

    By the way, the murder rate in the US, overall, has been going DOWN even with MORE guns. So, you're lying through your teeth, which is no surprise to me.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/n.....9_CV_N.htm

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    I understand 17th century Japan was pretty safe. Doesn't mean it was more free.

  • Near Defiance||

    Rather than restricting the constitutionally-guaranteed rights and movements of tens of millions of armed Americans, wouldn't it be fairer, cheaper, and easier to preclude our ruling class (say congress critters plus a few hundred exec and judicial branch poobahs) from going within 1000 feet of anyone with a gun? Under penalty of loss of office and pension? And allow any (unarmed) American to make a citizen's arrest?

  • ||

    An even better solution would be to make Congress completely virtual, requiring Congresspersons to stay home. As virtual representatives, they could stop doing things in person altogether.

  • ||

    Loughner is an aberration, and the gun argument should not be about him. There are 11.4 murders on average every week in L.A. where I live, and most are committed by criminals and gang members. The question here is, where do criminals get their guns? Here's a PBS article about it: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/...../guns.html

    It turns out that gun shows don't have much to do with it- it's FFL's and gunrunners who are selling illegally that are supplying the weapons. Restricting the legal exercise of the 2nd amendment has little effect on people who are already doing something illegal.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Radley Balko commented on how often governments abuse guns in this
    country
    .

    And yet governments refuse to disarm.

    The hypocrisy factor, which is curiously not present in debates over bans on polygamy, heroin, and same-sex marriage, is a huge reason as to why gun control laws are
    unpopular.

    See also “ Gun Control, Chicago Style” at Reason.Com.

  • ||

    My wife and I have a cabin in the Oregon Cascades. The sheriff is a friend or ours. He advised us to get a gun for protection this far out in the woods.

  • philmon||

    "... but he would doubtless have carried the gun even if he was violating the law doing so."

    Yup. After all, I believe there are laws against murder, and those didn't stop him from doing that. Why would he obey one that didn't allow him to carry concealed?

  • ||

    The gun equalizes human nature, protects the weak and is a threat to cruelty.

  • ||

    Maybe we should pass a law forbidding our representatives from being within 1000 feet of anyone with a gun. Makes about as much sense as what King proposes.

    While I basically agree with the body of this article, I do not agree with the headline. This is one of those one of those extremely rare instances where gun control may well have prevented tragedy. But that is the price of freedom in this country.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Maybe we should pass a law forbidding our representatives from being within 1000 feet of anyone

    I like this idea better.

  • ||

    It's about time you guys change that creepy picture.

  • Seer Travis Truman||

    This article is un-informed, irrational and amateurish.

    Get the real deal here : http://www.Truthmedia.8k.com/JaredLeeLoughner.html

  • Old Mexican||

    I tend to shy away from self-serving websites with names that rely on the word "truth" and "true", because 99% of the time these do not come close to the truth.

  • Seer Travis Truman||

    Old Mexican, you are 100% correct. Most websites with 'Truth' in them are nothing of the sort.

    I am in the 1% category, however. Check out the updated Jared file!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Seer Travis Truman,

    I will refrain to give you my opinion on the information I obtained from your website, because I don't know for sure if you have a CCL and I have NOW cause to worry. Self-preservation is the better part of valor at this stage...

  • ||

    Liberals are ALL pacifists - they hate guns and knives and even martial arts; anything you can use to defend yourself is something they hate.

    Why? Because Big Government is supposed to do all that for you. Well you saw how Big Government failed in Arizona - they had an insane madman running around and even bought a gun legally yet they were powerless to stop it.

    It's all about Porky Pig Government failing at yet another task...........

  • sarcasmic||

    Liberals are anything but pacifists.

    They're all about the use of violence or the threat of violence in order to get their way.

    The fact that they themselves are too cowardly to employ force does not mean that their use of government force makes them pacifists.

    It just makes them liars.

  • Old Mexican||

    While people are trying to make things safer, let's also ask the government to ban lighting strikes.

  • Jack Meihoff||

    "White people" aren't the only ones "trying to make things safer"

    What are you? Some kind of racist!

  • ||

    In the U.S., lightning kills about 58 people a year but guns kill that many in less than a day. I worry about lightning a few minutes during the summer. I worry about angry paranoid men with guns practically every day when I wave my kids off to school.

  • l0b0t||

    That just means you are easily frightened & not very good at making risk assessments. Also, a "gun" has never killed anybody, never, not even once. A person may use a firearm kill someone but the firearm itself is inanimate and incapable of making those kinds of decisions or actions. Focus on the person doing the killing, not the equipment they might be using to do so. Additionally, malpractice/medical malfeasance leads to the death of MANY more Americans than the use of firearms (criminal or accidental). You are far more likely to die from an infection picked up in the hospital than you are from firearms crime.

  • Seer Travis Truman||

    I don't think Jared should have been stopped at all.

    http://www.Truthmedia.8k.com/JaredLeeLoughner for the Truth.

    [Jared file now re-worked and updated for much better clarity of concepts!]

  • Seer Travis Truman||

    Error : Above URL not linked.

    Try here : Http://www.Truthmedia.8k.com/JaredLeeLoughner.html

  • Jack Meihoff||

    Jesus Ass-Fucking Christ I'm sick of hearing about this Loughner clown, damnit.

  • ||

    Criminals break laws.

    I don't know why this surpises people.

  • sarcasmic||

    Some people (progressive liberals) believe laws are magic, so they are put into a state of awe when laws are broken.

  • Patrick M||

    I really agree with strong registration of guns and legal distribution but not with restrictions on types of guns. If we crack down on distribution at gun shows and keep all guns registered it will at least discourage bad guys and slow the progression of violent crime. This will of course take time but eventually it will make the country safer without infriging on our rights. I also think the law of no guns near congressmen is rediculous and will never be passed. They can all have 1 bodygaurd since they already make bank.

  • putra||

    Regulation of gun ownership should be tightened, there are many ways to protect themselves not necessarily with a gun, unless there are many psychopaths roam outside.

  • ||

    This isn't a gun control issue it's a health care issue. This is clearly a case of a sick person who didn't get the help he needed and a society who "couldn't afford" to help him.

  • cheapjordan||

    Regulation of gun ownership should be tightened, there are many ways to protect themselves not necessarily with a gun, unless there are many psychopaths roam outside.

  • chearayban||

    A candle lights others and consumes itself

  • nike running shoes||

    is good

  • tory burch||

    Support the Gun Control.

  • Scarpe Nike Italia||

    is good

  • kangzhu||

    This plan has no merit

  • alipay||

    ThAnK

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement