If Only the Killer Had Better Firearms Training

The following information appears in a New York Times story about the Virginia Tech massacre (it's in my copy, but apparently not online), right before Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, complains that "Virginia's gun laws are some of the weakest state laws in the country":

Virginia imposes few restrictions on the purchase of handguns and no requirement for any kind of licensing or training. The state does limit handgun purchases to one per month to discourage bulk buying and resale, state officials said. Once a person has passed a background check, state law requires that law enforcement officers issue a concealed carry permit...However, no regulations and no background checks are required for purchase of weapons at a Virginia gun show.

It's hard to see how any of this is relevant to the case at hand. Assuming that Cho Seung-Hui did not have firearms training, does the Times think people at Virginia Tech would have been better off if he were more adept with a gun, or if he had been taught basic safety rules such as "always treat a gun as if it's loaded" and "never point a gun at someone else"? So far it's not clear whether Cho bought his guns at a store or a gun show, but there's also no indication that he would have failed a background check, assuming he avoided one.

The response from Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is similarly puzzling. Helmke bemoans "how easy it is for an individual to get powerful weapons in our country." In what sense are the handguns Cho used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

I guess we should be thankful that Helmke at least did not demand reinstatement of the federal "assault weapon" ban. After the 1991 massacre in Killeen, Texas, which until yesterday was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, Sarah Brady, co-founder of Helmke's organization, said the attack showed the need for an "assault weapon" ban, even though the law, which focused on firearms with a militaristic look, did not cover the pistols used by the killer.

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  • ||

    Will have some info momentarily...

  • ||

    Cho Seung-Hui seems to have been trouble enough for his teachers to worry about him but there is nothing in his background that would have prevented him from buying a weapon had there been the "background checks" that Horowitz supports. The fact is no amount of gun control within the context of a free society could have prevented Hui from doing what he did. Given this fact, the gun control advocates have nothing relevant to add to the discussion. That of course will not stop them from standing on the dead bodies in hopes of getting some kind of political advantage.

  • ||

    I keep thinking about it and thinking about it and I'm hard-pressed to conclude anything besides this tragedy was unpreventable.

    Sometimes it happens like that.

  • ||

    I don't recall where I saw it -- followed a link from a story on Google News -- but I saw a post with email from someone who claims to be the gun-store owner who sold the Glock to Cho in March. He said the paperwork was perfect. Also, that his store archives video for 35 days, and it was saved just before deletion. Apparently Cho was a legally resident alien who had lived in VA for 14 years, subject to no greater restrictions on gun purchases than any citizen in Virginia.

  • ||

    Once a person has passed a background check, state law requires that law enforcement officers issue a concealed carry permit.

    They are either off a bit, or intentionally misleading. The procedure in VA to get a CWP does include certified training and fingerprinting, after the background check.

    But, it doesn't matter. As stated, those facts are irrelevant to this case.

  • ||

    Virginia imposes few restrictions on the purchase of handguns and no requirement for any kind of licensing or training.

    This is not especially unique to Virginia. Many states do not require training to simply purchase a firearm. Only the required NICS background check and that the buyer fill out a Federal Form 4473 when purchasing through a Federal Firearms License holder. (All commercial gun stores are required to have an FFL by the feds.)

    Once a person has passed a background check, state law requires that law enforcement officers issue a concealed carry permit...

    It sounds like they're conflating a purchase permit with a concealed carry permit. Easy to do for those in New York, where you're required to obtain a permit simply to purchase a firearm. Purchase permits are only required in a few states, and they are not the same as a concealed weapons permit.

    However, no regulations and no background checks are required for purchase of weapons at a Virginia gun show.

    Federal law absolutely requires that any gun dealer who holds an FFL absolutely must vet any potential buyer through a NICS check. The venue absolutely does not matter.

    If a private party is selling firearms at a gun show, the background check may not be a requirement, as it's left up to the state to decide. Virginia may not have such a requirement. Colorado, for instance, does.

  • Timothy||

    If some kook wants to kill a bunch of people, he'll probably be able to do it. A propane tank from a regular old gas grill (the kind my dad used to send me to fill every weekend in high school) is basically an explosion waiting to happen: heat, spark, instant bomb. Are we going to ban gas grills?

  • ||

    It's hard to see how any of this is relevant to the case at hand.

    Is it? Once again we see how the easy availability of handguns enables one individual to kill a lot of people. So discussing ways to prevent such occurances in the future seems pretty relevant to me.

  • ||

    "In what sense are the handguns Cho used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    Handguns generally aren't terribly powerful when compared to rifles.

    The .22 especially so.

    Debates have been raging among law enforcement, ammunition manufacturers, and other interested parties about relative lethality of pistol rounds for years. For the most part it's all just speculation and anecdotes.

  • ||

    Are we going to ban gas grills?

    Or for that matter, fertilizer? Gun laws didn't seem to be an issue for McVeigh & co.

    Let's face an unpleasant fact: there isn't much anyone can do, before the fact, if some nutjob is determined to kill people.

  • ||

    "Once again we see how the easy availability of handguns enables one individual to kill a lot of people. So discussing ways to prevent such occurances in the future seems pretty relevant to me."

    Please forgive me for feeding the troll.

    1. Unless and until you can point to some form of gun control that would have concievably stopped an otherwise law abiding citizen who went bizerk from obtaining a firearm, the easy availability of handguns had nothing to do with this tragedy.

    2. Unless and until you can show how an outright ban would have stopped someone as determined as this guy from obtaining a handgun, the legality of guns in this society has nothing to do with the tragedy.

    This guy apparently took a while planning this. If it had been a case where someone who had a CCW permit someone lost his temper and shot someone with whom he was arguing, you might have a point. But that is not what happened here. This guy was dead set on killing a bunch of people and was very quiet about it and gave no warning about doing it. Given those facts, no amount of gun control could have stopped him.

  • ||

    "Once again we see how the easy availability of handguns household chemicals enables one individual to kill a lot of people."

    All fixed.

  • ||

    "Debates have been raging among law enforcement, ammunition manufacturers, and other interested parties about relative lethality of pistol rounds for years. For the most part it's all just speculation and anecdotes."

    A .22 to the back of the head will kill you just as dead as a .45. At close range with a determined shooter and an unarmed victim, I don't think it matters much.

  • ||

    "...Sarah Brady, co-founder of Helmke's organization, said the attack showed the need for an "assault weapon" ban, even though the law, which focused on firearms with a militaristic look, did not cover the pistols used by the killer."

    The selling of newly-manufactured magazines capable of holding more than ten rounds was outlawed during the time of the ban on so-called "assault weapons." This included pistol magazines.

    Transfer of ones that were already on the market was still completely legal, and resulted in inflated prices for magazines.

    It also made possession of newly-manufactured magazines capable of holding >10 rounds illegal. In other words, you could be thrown in prison because a bit of stamped sheet metal or molded plastic was made after a particular date.

    Regardless, magazine capacity isn't going to be much of a deciding factor in a mass shooting, unless the perpetrator is so stupid that he is incapable of understanding how to reload.

  • tazman||

    Hooked on Innuendo said: "It's hard to see how any of this is relevant to the case at hand.

    Is it? Once again we see how the easy availability of handguns enables one individual to kill a lot of people. So discussing ways to prevent such occurances in the future seems pretty relevant to me."

    Your right, but for the wrong reason. Virginia Tech (and a lot of other schools) used to allow students to have firearms in the dorms (my buddies who went to college in Montana used to hang the deer they shot out the dorm windows) but, in accordance with the anti-gun lobby, have banned students from having both guns and knives on campus. If that ban wasn't in place, somebody could have dropped this scumbag after the first shooting in the dorms instead of letting him walk across the campus and killing 30 more. The solution is more guns, not less. Check out this article on lew rockwell that sums this up nicely: http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig8/clarke1.html

  • Timothy||

    JW: did you know you can make loose hydrogen out of tap water and a car battery? Hell, I bet you could make A LOT if you rigged up an electrolysis device to use the 220 circuit in your house...

    BAN DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE NOW!

  • ||

    Would the economic libertarians please explain to the 2nd Amendment libertarians the concept of "margins?"

    Sure, you can MacGuiver your way to blood and guts, but it's a real pain the ass.

    You know why the Army issues soldiers rifles and pistols instead of propane tanks?

    "You can kill someone with a hatchet" is the .22 caliber pistol of anti-gun control arguments.

  • Timothy||

    I'll get right on explaining margins to myself joe, thanks.

  • ||

    The only relevance to the case at hand is that it is the ignorant and lying gun control advocates who bear near all the responsibility for 29 of the 31 fatalities. (Yes, talking directly to you Hooked)

    If the 2d amendment were respected and preserved, most of the ADULTS on the college campus would have been able to carry weapons or have them stored in their quarters. After the first shooting in the morning, he would have been 'detained' in one way or another by fellow citizens.

    This is a crystal clear, uncontestable proof that the police are neither here to nor able to 'protect and serve' us; contrary to their budget-expanding rhetoric. It is cold, clear testimony to the lies and self-serving statist urges of those who would have us surrender our right to defend ourselves on the basis of 'social order'.

    The true social order showed its face yesterday.

  • ||

    It sounds like they're conflating a purchase permit with a concealed carry permit.

    I think he just doesn't understand the "shall issue" CCW license.

  • lunchstealer||

    I guess we should be thankful that Helmke at least did not demand reinstatement of the federal "assault weapon" ban. After the 1991 massacre in Killeen, Texas, which until yesterday was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, Sarah Brady, co-founder of Helmke's organization, said the attack showed the need for an "assault weapon" ban, even though the law, which focused on firearms with a militaristic look, did not cover the pistols used by the killer.

    I lose a lot of karma every time I say this, but I can never resist.

    Does the Brady foundation's opposition to 'assault weapons' and high capacity or high caliber semi-automatics signal that they want more people to use .22 caliber revolvers?

  • ||

    On the CBS "Early Show" this morning, Helmke or some other Brady rep (got the affiliation, not sure of the name) did call for the reinstatement of the assault ban. He was sharing the spot with a Luby's massacre survivor who's now a Texas state legislator arguing for the students to be able to carry.

  • ||

    What about shotguns Joe? Frankly if I put on my homicidal lunatic hat for a moment, I would think that it would be easier to do what this guy did with a couple of Browning semi-automatic shotguns or Remington pump action models. Yeah, they suck to reload but that is why would carry two. Can't think of a more devistating weapon at close range than a shotgun. Again, it is difficult to see how any gun control could have ever stopped this guy.

  • Edward||

    Hooked on innuendo

    You clearly don't understand the particular derangement peculiar to this blog. Liberty, as opposed to discipline, duty, reationality and countless other virutes, is the highest good and is to be venerated above all else. Gun ownership the symbolic of all liberty--a sacred right. The government--the embodiment of all evil--wants to take all our guns away in order to enslave us and do all manner of unspeakbale things. We need the guns to protect ourselves from the government's criminal SWAT teams and assorted do-gooders who want to impose things like universal healthcare on us.

  • ||

    What about shotguns, John? What are you asking me?

    I think the shotgun of anti-gun-ban arguments is, "They don't work. People just guns off the black market."

    Is that what you meant?

  • ||

    Wow, the trolls are really out today. Again Edward, please explain how any gun control measure would have stopped this guy? Until you do that, gun control has nothing to do with the argument.

  • ||

    The response from Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is similarly puzzling. Helmke bemoans "how easy it is for an individual to get powerful weapons in our country." In what sense are the handguns Cho used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially "powerful"?


    Jacob, as I noted yesterday, the Brady Campaign folks spat forth that press release before the news folks were even sure the shooting was over, never mind exactly what guns were used. I am not defending the Brady pricks mind you, just pointing out that they won't let little things like 'facts playing out in real time' stop them from lambasting the "gun lobby".

  • ||

    Edward, you go too far.

    You go approximately 3/7 of 1% too far.

  • ||

    NO I just misunderstood Joe. My apologies.

  • ||

    John,

    When I was seven, I had a water pistol shaped like a laser gun.

  • ||

    OK, I take it back.

    I was going to see how far I could get away from advocating gun control before you stopped asking me to defend it.

  • Baggers||

    Trolls feeding trolls...

  • ||

    Here is a quote from the guy who sold him at least the Glock:

    http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/223055.php

    "Well, I'm screwed. They found a receipt in the gunman's pocket indicating that he bought the gun from me in March. ATF is at my shop right now. See you later, I'm on my way to the shop right now."

    [...]"Call BS all you like, but I just spent the last several hours with 3 ATF agents. I saw the shooter's picture. I know his name and home address. I also know that he used a Glock 19 and a Walther P-22. The serial number was ground off the Glock. Why would he do that and still keep the receipt in his pocket from when he bought the gun? ATF told me that they are going to keep this low-key and not report this to the tv news. However, they cautioned that it will leak out eventually, and that I should be ready to deal with CNN, FOX, etc. My 32 camera surveillance system recorded the event 35 days ago. This is a digital system that only keeps the video for 35 days. We got lucky. By the way, the paperwork for Mr. Cho was perfect, thank God."

  • ||

    Edward, I'm beginning to understand it all to well.

    For example, I just learned that I personally was responsible for the shooting.

    Now, if I were a libertarian I'd point out that everybody on the VT campus was free to have attended school at a place where everybody is allowed to be armed. Assuming the market provides for such a place.

  • ||

    "You know why the Army issues soldiers rifles and pistols instead of propane tanks?"

    Joe, glad to know that the Army isn't in the habit of strapping giant incendiary devices to the wings of their helicopters, or, say, lobbing them at stuff kilometers away through a mortar.

    No, the Army's all about just rifles and pistols, because stuff that blows up and takes out a whole group of people is obviously much less lethal than a rifle.

  • ||

    Here is a quote from the guy who sold him at least the Glock:

    http://confederateyankee.mu.nu/archives/223055.php

    "Well, I'm screwed. They found a receipt in the gunman's pocket indicating that he bought the gun from me in March. ATF is at my shop right now. See you later, I'm on my way to the shop right now."

    [...]"Call BS all you like, but I just spent the last several hours with 3 ATF agents. I saw the shooter's picture. I know his name and home address. I also know that he used a Glock 19 and a Walther P-22. The serial number was ground off the Glock. Why would he do that and still keep the receipt in his pocket from when he bought the gun? ATF told me that they are going to keep this low-key and not report this to the tv news. However, they cautioned that it will leak out eventually, and that I should be ready to deal with CNN, FOX, etc. My 32 camera surveillance system recorded the event 35 days ago. This is a digital system that only keeps the video for 35 days. We got lucky. By the way, the paperwork for Mr. Cho was perfect, thank God."


    Are we supposed to feel sorry for this guy? He directly profited from the deaths of 33 people.

  • ||

    John-It's ok, trolls need feeding too. Just ask joe.

    They are either off a bit, or intentionally misleading. The procedure in VA to get a CWP does include certified training and fingerprinting, after the background check.

    This is incorrect. For VA residents, the fingerprint mandate was eliminated in 2006. For nonresidents, it remains. It's kinda silly, obviously having his fingerprints wouldn't do anything in this case, but people believe it holds some intrinsic value because the All Powerful Oz knows or something. In mass killings, the guilty are rarely on the run afterwards, they usually become part of the body count.

    Has nothing to do with the issue, as it deals with carry permits not purchases, but wanted to correct the misunderstanding.

    Transfer of ones that were already on the market was still completely legal, and resulted in inflated prices for magazines.

    The good ole days, when someone would buy a Glock V 1.0 mag for $90 plus. Now, they're what, $15? Nope, $22 at one place online. Haven't purchased any for a while.

    To clarify one of mediageek's comments, standard capacity (some say "hi cap"), as opposed to reduced capacity, magazines made after the ban went into effect were stamped "LE Military Only" or words to that effect, which is how someone knew they were "post ban" magazines as magazines aren't stamped with a manufacture date. They're kind of like collector items now.

  • db||

    joe, I agree with you. Edward successfully characterizes only 2/7 of 1% of the arguments put forth on this blog relating to gun control.

  • Other Matt||

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for this guy? He directly profited from the deaths of 33 people.

    No more than GM profitting when a drunk hits a pedestrian.

  • ||

    Would the economic libertarians please explain to the 2nd Amendment libertarians the concept of "margins?"

    Sure, you can MacGuiver your way to blood and guts, but it's a real pain the ass.

    You know why the Army issues soldiers rifles and pistols instead of propane tanks?

    "You can kill someone with a hatchet" is the .22 caliber pistol of anti-gun control arguments.


    You're missing the point joe, et al.

    It's not that you can, but that people don't. And not because it's hard.

    I thought that you would have picked up on that with my comment yesterday re 4000 lb. wheeled vehicles, but I 'spose not.

    Lemme spell it out for the trolls, since dee-duction isn't a strong personal skill: We're a peaceful people in posession of a good sized fatality-causing arsenal, literally at our hands. With all this lethal force at our disposal, you'd think the carnage would be routine.

    At least as far as the "man-as-savage" prols are concerned.

  • ||

    Oh, there is much we can do:

    1. Outlaw private gun ownership.
    2. Hold gun manufacturers responsible for crimes committed with their products.
    3. Supply guns to all police and security.
    4. Implement strict curfews.
    5. Institute random searches of private residences and individuals.
    6. Apply the death penalty to all those convicted of perpetrators of violent crimes.
    7. Dramatically increase the number of police officers nationwide.
    8. Etc.

    Yes, there is much we can do, but the most important is to surrender our freedom.

  • db||

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for this guy? He directly profited from the deaths of 33 people.

    What?

  • ||

    tazman wrote: "Virginia Tech (and a lot of other schools) used to allow students to have firearms in the dorms (my buddies who went to college in Montana used to hang the deer they shot out the dorm windows) but, in accordance with the anti-gun lobby, have banned students from having both guns and knives on campus. If that ban wasn't in place, somebody could have dropped this scumbag after the first shooting in the dorms instead of letting him walk across the campus and killing 30 more."

    Interestingly, I heard a mother of a suriving VA Tech student interviewed on the radio this morning (WPHT Philadelphia). She said that the campus draws a lot of students from rural areas and that therefore a lot of the students are into hunting and are responsible gun owners. Which makes one wonder if things would have turned out differently if the students had been allowed to have guns on campus.

  • ||

    Other Matt - thanks for clarifying.

  • ||

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for this guy? He directly profited from the deaths of 33 people.

    What?


    Stab at the guy that sold the gun, blaming him for the actions of the purchaser. Similar to blaming the hot tub seller if I drown someone in a hot tub.

  • ||

    "By the way, the paperwork for Mr. Cho was perfect, thank God."

    No, thank yourself. Those laws exist for a reason, and you followed them.

    JW,

    Normal people don't kill people with propane cylinders, firearms, or SUVs because they don't want to. But normal people aren't the problem here.

    Spree killers are the problem here, and they've shown a remarkable consistency in their choice of firearms over gas tanks.

  • The Ref||

    That's it. Everyone out of the pool. Reason editors: Would you please, for the love of dog, stop posting about this mess? No one, in any of these threads, has anything new or useful to say, and they almost instantly become cases of people howling past each other.

  • Virginia Tech||

  • Kap||

    Spree killers are the problem here, and they've shown a remarkable consistency in their choice of firearms over gas tanks.



    Actually, joe, the individual who still holds the mass-school-murder-spree record did use fire.

    It was in 1927, in Michigan, the school handyman rigged the school for arson.

  • ||

    Even if one accepts the notion that people should be denied an effective self defense tool, ostensibly out of a desire to increase public safety, why on earth would one be so deranged to think that highly motivated people in the U.S. could be prevented from obtaining easily manufactured, easily concealed, small pieces of metal, especially when several hundred million of such small pieces of metal are already in circulation?

  • ||

    But normal people aren't the problem here.

    Spot on.

    I just read his one act play on the smoking gun, interesting.

  • ||

    Stab at the guy that sold the gun, blaming him for the actions of the purchaser. Similar to blaming the hot tub seller if I drown someone in a hot tub.

    No, I'm not blaming the gun owner for the shooting. I'm only pointing out that he's got some blood money in his cash register and can spare us the whining about bad publicity.

  • Other Matt||

    Spree killers are the problem here, and they've shown a remarkable consistency in their choice of firearms over gas tanks.

    You have joe, and you have "not exactly".

    Biggest mass killing-arson of NY nightclub, 87 killed. Second biggest-school bombing, Bath School, 45 killed. So it seems out of the big 3, only one used firearms, the others used the equivalent of your propane tanks.

    It's not the firearm that's the problem, you just absolutely don't want to see it, it's amazing.

  • ||

    Kap-That's number 2 now.

    Hooked-Yes, you are.

  • ||

    Speaking of crazed killers and campus shootings, and how a little training might play out. From a movie full of immortal quotes comes this gem:

    "Those two men showed what one motivated marine and his rifle can do, and before you ladies leave my island, you will all be able to do the SAME thing."

  • ||

    Normal people don't kill people with propane cylinders, firearms, or SUVs because they don't want to. But normal people aren't the problem here.

    Spree killers are the problem here, and they've shown a remarkable consistency in their choice of firearms over gas tanks.


    Except when they don't. Last check, dead is dead.

    I don't think you and I disagree much here, but evidently folks like Hooked think that is exactly the problem.

    Somehow, they believe, that on this one occasion psychopaths and thugs will obey the rules of society.

  • ||

    Will Allen,

    I made the point on another thread that if law abiding people carrying guns to defend themselves is so dangerous, why do we allow the police to carry guns? I would hazrd to guess that the typical small towm police officer or campus police officer is just as likly to shoot an innocent bystander as the average person. If it is wrong for the average person to shoot back because of the danger created, why isn't it wrong for the cops to shoot back? I guess the sollution under that logic is to just run and hope the guy runs out of bullets or commits suicide on his own.

  • ||

    Other Matt, Kap, thanks for the anecdotes.

    Now, would you care to state the blindingly obvious truth about the weapon of choice in the majority of multiple homicides, or is playing dumb part of your religion.

    Oh, and "Other Matt," what does the statement "But normal people aren't the problem here. Spree killers are the problem here,," suggest to you about what I consider "the problem?"

  • ||

    "Spree killers are the problem here, and they've shown a remarkable consistency in their choice of firearms over gas tanks."

    How is this freak any different that tweedle dee and tweedle dumb who did the OKC bombing?

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    I keep thinking about it and thinking about it and I'm hard-pressed to conclude anything besides this tragedy was unpreventable.

    Uh - maybe if the school would have shut down campus after the first shooting...

  • ||

    I blame S.W.A.T for the high body count...

    Whats up with S.W.A.T teams just standing around while the shooter was killing unarmed victims? I thought it was thier job to serve and protect.. apparently thats not thier job, it seem thier only job is to count the bodies.

    I watched the same scenario unfold on TV during Columbine, the guys with the guns, bullet proof vests, and bullet proof lexan shields stood outside while the kids without any defensive means were shot left and right.

    Hey how about using some of those Special Weapons And Tactics to actually attempt to neutralize the shooter??

    You know whos responsable for not letting the death toll to climb higher then 32 dead?? The shooter!!! He took his own life, imagine how many more would have been dead had he not taken his own life?? Who would have defended those terrified kids locked up in thier classrooms, Not the police, they were busy hiding behind trees...

    Yea yea, I know, its policy, they were only following orders, blah blah... how about its time we demand a change to that policy??!!

    While unarmed, defenseless kids were being slaughtered, the ones with the means, and defense to stop the carnage were tied down by politics and policy... whats the sense in having bullet proof vests and millions of dollars in training if your not going to use it when it counts???

  • Timothy||

    I doubt, "Man, I sure feel murderous, but I can't find any guns, so I guess I'll go crochet instead." is a very common thought. More like, "I guess I'll find some other way to hurt a bunch of people because I am a deranged psychopath to whom the normal moral calculus doesn't apply."

  • ||

    JW,

    "Somehow, they believe, that on this one occasion psychopaths and thugs will obey the rules of society."

    If there's one thing I've learned, it's the value of actually understanding your opponents' beliefs, instead of projecting easily-refuted positions onto them. At a minimum, doing so will enhance your ability to win arguments with them. Sometimes, it will lead you to a greater understanding of the issues involved.

    No, gun-controllers don't believe that thugs are going to follow the law. They are confident that they will not follow the laws against murder and assault. That's why they want to make it harder for them to get firearms.

    If you look at the gun control laws that have been passed an proposed, they involve bans on manufacturing, selling and transferring firearms, as well as owning them. It isn'the compliance of the murderers that is assumed, but of the gun dealers and normal gun-owning people.

  • ||

    9/11, for better or worse, temporarily persuaded many dove-ish people that their deeply held views on foreign policy were flat-out wrong.

    There is nobody here who has changed their views as a result of this tragedy.

    That is why all these arguments are unconvincing.

  • ||

    Kanabis,

    I agree completely. The cops are paid to put their lives on the line to protect innocent people. If they are going to stand around and say "I ain't going in there" while some lunatic is killing innocent people, then what the hell good are they? The did the same thing at Columbine and several other mass shootings; just stand around wait until the guy is done and has killed himself and then cleaned up the mess. It is complete bullshit.

  • ||

    I doubt, "Man, I sure feel murderous, but I can't find any guns, so I guess I'll go crochet instead." is a very common thought. More like, "I guess I'll find some other way to hurt a bunch of people because I am a deranged psychopath to whom the normal moral calculus doesn't apply."

    So...the argument is that since a psychopath (presumably) will find a way to hurt people no matter what, we should make it as easy as possible?

  • Kap||

    No one, in any of these threads, has anything new or useful to say...



    OK, I'll make a feeble effort.

    When I was in high school 20-odd years ago some merry prankster put a Kryptonite lock across the two handles of the double doors entering the library. This locked a dozen students in for a few hours while the metal shop guys diamond-drilled their way through the lock. The experience freaked the school admin so badly that within a week or so on every set of double doors one of the doorpulls was removed. I read that the shooter in VA did the same trick, with himself and his prey inside.

    Isn't there any repository of lessons learned, of "best practices" to prevent or minimize this sort of thing? I'm not calling for regulation, can't the American Architectural Association or whomever develop some sort of knowledge base.

    Also, can we stop identifying these killers? It's sufficient to say "a 23-year old man", you don't need to plaster his name and photo over our collective consciousness for 3 months. These idiots are angry at life and they want revenge against it, and infamy. If you render them forever anonymous, I think in the broken mindset of these folks it renders their spree pointless.

    I'm not calling for censorship, only responsibility on the part of the school admin, police, journalists, and bloggers.

    It pisses me off when the finger is pointed at the likes of me, as a gunowner, for culpability in these situations when many of the people pointing that finger are turning the shooters into celebrities.

    Now, would you care to state the blindingly obvious truth about the weapon of choice in the majority of multiple homicides, or is playing dumb part of your religion.



    A blindingly obvious truth: in the UK when guns were banned the populace started getting stabby. Substitution. A libertarian playing dumb about economics?

  • ||

    John,

    "How is this freak any different that tweedle dee and tweedle dumb who did the OKC bombing?"

    Their crime required greater expertise and financial resources.

  • ||

    "It isn'the compliance of the murderers that is assumed, but of the gun dealers and normal gun-owning people."

    Since this guy had a clean record and there was no reason to beleive he was dangerous, no amount of compliance on the part of gun dealers would have prevented the tragedy. Indeed, I defy you to find one of these mass shootings where background checks or any form of gun control would have stopped it. Your ordinary scumbag criminal just doesn't engage in mass shootings. It is always seems to be the wierd loaner who has never been in trouble before.

  • Other Matt||

    Now, would you care to state the blindingly obvious truth about the weapon of choice in the majority of multiple homicides, or is playing dumb part of your religion.

    I don't have religion, perhaps taoism is close.

    You spoke of spree killers. They are a special breed, and typically take what's available to them. This is the point. If you take away guns, they'll use something else. In Britian, they have a rash of knife attacks, now that guns are outlawed.

    I honestly don't know their weapon of choice statistically.

  • ||

    I'm for the right to bear arms and I own lots of weapons. But grow up and realize that the price of that freedom is that there is more opportunity and means for nuts to kill people with guns. I'm brave enough to accept that.

  • ||

    Kanabiis,

    The students inside the building reported that they could hear the police in the hall very quickly after the first shots were fired. Given the way terror can make minutes seem like hours, their sense that the police arrived quickly is pretty compelling. The police even fired a few shots at the killer as they were chasing him, before he shot himself.

    I saw the footage of the cops outside, too. While they were standing behind trees and watching the doors, there were other police inside, looking for the guy.

  • ||

    When I was in high school 20-odd years ago some merry prankster put a Kryptonite lock across the two handles of the double doors entering the library.

    I guess that stopped Superman from saving the day.

  • Kap||

    It is always seems to be the wierd loaner who has never been in trouble before.



    Leave the subprime crisis out of this.

  • ||

    If there's one thing I've learned, it's the value of actually understanding your opponents' beliefs, instead of projecting easily-refuted positions onto them. At a minimum, doing so will enhance your ability to win arguments with them. Sometimes, it will lead you to a greater understanding of the issues involved.

    Feeling a little superor today joe? No shit. You keep missing my point.

    No, gun-controllers don't believe that thugs are going to follow the law. They are confident that they will not follow the laws against murder and assault. That's why they want to make it harder for them to get firearms.

    Even though it doesn't, it feels so good to think that anyway, eh?

    If you look at the gun control laws that have been passed an proposed, they involve bans on manufacturing, selling and transferring firearms, as well as owning them. It isn'the compliance of the murderers that is assumed, but of the gun dealers and normal gun-owning people.

    And that it does nothing to stop "murderers" is beside the pount then?

    If only "murderers" were the only problem, then we'd have no need for gun control laws, right?

  • ||

    Since this guy had a clean record and there was no reason to beleive he was dangerous...

    You mean he was a law-abiding citizen? I thought there was no risk in selling that kind of person a gun, since only criminal commit crimes.

  • ||

    Kap,

    "A blindingly obvious truth: in the UK when guns were banned the populace started getting stabby. Substitution. A libertarian playing dumb about economics?"

    I'm not a libertarian, but I do know enough about economics to know that not all substitutions are as efficient as the original choice. Have there been a large number of mass casualty stabbings in Blighty lately?

    A knife may well be a highly efficient substitution for a gun when you want to stick it in an old lady's face and take her purse, but to slaughter dozens of people in a school building?

  • ||

    Joe,
    Link?? Not that im calling you a lier, but I have been wasting a day at work talking with coworkers around me about this, and we are all reading articles about the shooting, and I have yet to read one with the police response details, nor an interview with any of the survivors saying thank god for the police.

    If it is true, then thats a welcome change from the SOP in the 30 or some odd shootings over the last decade.

  • ||

    You mean he was a law-abiding citizen? I thought there was no risk in selling that kind of person a gun, since only criminal commit crimes.

    This is true, which is why the argument about overriding numbers using guns is bullshit. Statistically, all of violent crimes are comitted by prior criminals. Even here, there were indications. The problem is balancing the privacy of the individual, in terms of being treated for depression, with background checks. As there is no database I'm aware of of people who are under a doctor's care for depression, there is no way to verify. There is a question on the form which asks if you're under treatment for mental disease, but of course this guy lied (which really makes you wonder why the form is even filled out, because someone who is nefarious would simply lie, but Sarah likes it I guess).

  • Dave W.||

    It's hard to see how any of this is relevant to the case at hand. Assuming that Cho Seung-Hui did not have firearms training . . .

    Guess what happened when Zaccharias Moussaoui went to get flight training.

    Cho bought his guns at a store or a gun show, but there's also no indication that he would have failed a background check, assuming he avoided one.

    On one of the other threads it was alleged that disturbing writings caused him to be referred as a risk at the university. So a background check might have picked up on this referral.

    Another comment alleged that his MySpace page was disturbing. So that is another thing a background check might have picked up on.

    Try reading the comments section at HnR sometime, Mr. Sullum. Almost as good as actual research.

    The response from Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is similarly puzzling. Helmke bemoans "how easy it is for an individual to get powerful weapons in our country." In what sense are the handguns Cho used . . .[including] a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    There are weaker handguns. And when we are talking about something as easily concealed as a handgun, there is an argument that 9 mm is too powerful for such an easily concealed weapon.

    Long guns are a different story, of course. In part because they are harder to lug across campus.

    I guess we should be thankful that Helmke at least did not demand reinstatement of the federal "assault weapon" ban.

    True, that.

  • ||

    "A knife may well be a highly efficient substitution for a gun when you want to stick it in an old lady's face and take her purse, but to slaughter dozens of people in a school building?"

    You mean like the machete used in the school killings in Dunblane, England, 16 students killed... higher body count then Columbine...

  • ||

    JW,

    "Feeling a little superor today joe?" I feel superior every day, but you are making it easy today.

    "Even though it doesn't, it feels so good to think that anyway, eh?"

    I wouldn't know. Ideologues of all varieities tend to feel good about their superiority to those who disagree with them, so it probably does feel good to them.

    "And that it does nothing to stop "murderers" is beside the pount then?" Nice wholly-unsupported-assumption you've got there.

    "If only "murderers" were the only problem, then we'd have no need for gun control laws, right?" I don't even know what this is supposed to mean. Does supporting a ban on selling lock-picking tools to the general public mean I'm not worried about burglars? No, it means I AM worried about burglars, and want to make it harder for them to practice their craft.

  • Dave W.||

    By the way, the paperwork for Mr. Cho was perfect, thank God.

    If anyone has a copy of that paperwork, please post. It is, as "Weigs" Weigel would say, "relevant" to the story.

  • Kap||

    joe,

    You are correct.

    Knife < gun < fire < explosives.

    And the somber scorecard reflects this perfectly.

    Unless you're starting at the top of that list and banning downwards, your efforts at banning the middle might have unintended consequences...

    Devil's advocate here: OK, ban anything that goes "boom". Do you honestly think that every one of the 200M extant guns can be recovered? Has this worked in any other prohibition scheme?

    I gave a few ideas above, what is your solution?

  • ||

    In other news, I see that the mayor of Nagaski, who was shot by a gunman earlier today, has died. This points out the need for Japan to enact tight gun control laws.

    Oh, wait. . .

  • ||

    In what sense are the handguns Cho used . . .[including] a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    I dunno, maybe in the sense that they allowed one guy to kill 33 people?

  • Other Matt||

    On one of the other threads it was alleged that disturbing writings caused him to be referred as a risk at the university. So a background check might have picked up on this referral.

    Another comment alleged that his MySpace page was disturbing. So that is another thing a background check might have picked up on.


    Dave-Do you even know what you're talking about with a background check? I'm not being inflammatory, but there's no way in hell they'd pick up on a college counsellor referring someone due to writings. It's just simply not what it is.

  • ||

    kanabiis,

    No link, just the interviews I've seen on CNN. A girl who described locking herself and 20 other people in an office, and the guy who held the door shut to a classroom as the killer tried to get in.

    "If it is true, then thats a welcome change from the SOP in the 30 or some odd shootings over the last decade." I think there has been a change. Columbine and the Amish school attack seem to have caused some rethinking.

  • Other Matt||

    For Dave W-http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cjisd/nics.htm

    Educate yourself and come back.

  • ||

    "You mean he was a law-abiding citizen? I thought there was no risk in selling that kind of person a gun, since only criminal commit crimes."

    I haven't seen anyone claim "no risk" at all. Just a different level of risk, to be weighed against other interests. Obviously, having a restraining order out against you or a history of schizophrenia is going to make one side of the scale a bit heavier.

  • ||

    You mean like the machete used in the school killings in Dunblane, England, 16 students killed... higher body count then Columbine...

    Umm, actually, Dunblane was done with handguns. and it's in Scotland.

    It led to Great Britain (already home to some of the world's toughest gun laws and traditionally low rates of gun ownership) to pass even stricter legislation.

  • Kap||

    Obviously, having a restraining order out against you or a history of schizophrenia is going to make one side of the scale a bit heavier.



    Both of these already make you legally ineligible for purchase or possession of a firearm.

  • ||

    I don't even know what this is supposed to mean.

    So much for smug superiority.

    Tell me again who is expected to follow a gun ownership law?

  • Dave W.||

    Dave-Do you even know what you're talking about with a background check? I'm not being inflammatory, but there's no way in hell they'd pick up on a college counsellor referring someone due to writings. It's just simply not what it is.

    Maybe that is the problem, then, no?

  • ||

    "You mean like the machete used in the school killings in Dunblane, England, 16 students killed... higher body count then Columbine..."

    And half of that at VT. My anecdote is bigger than your anecdote.

    Kap,

    Explosives are already highly regulated - many are completely illegal, and even nitrogen fertilizer sales are now reported to the feds.

    "Do you honestly think that every one of the 200M extant guns can be recovered?" Of course not.

    "Has this worked in any other prohibition scheme?" No, banning common practices, like drinking, gambling, or owning pistols or rifles, is only going to produce a black market. The practice/items are too common, and the general public will cooperate with the racketeers instead of the government.

    "I gave a few ideas above, what is your solution?" I don't have a solution for what happened yesterday, at least not one that involves gun ownership.

  • ||

    Kap,

    "Both of these already make you legally ineligible for purchase or possession of a firearm."

    Have you got a problem with that? Or do you agree that marginal protections are allowable (even desireable), as long as they don't interfere with the general public?

  • Other Matt||

    In what sense are the handguns Cho used . . .[including] a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    I dunno, maybe in the sense that they allowed one guy to kill 33 people?


    You really need to know what you're talking about, Hooked.

    In the world of handguns, the 22 is the lowliest, the 9mm is constantly derided as underpowered, to the point where a number of organizations and individuals have gone to the 40SW. There are the 45ACP guys, who'll always be the 45ACP guys, and nothing else will ever do.

    The point is, in terms of handguns, these are not "High Powered". To say so is sensationalism.

  • Other Matt||

    Maybe that is the problem, then, no?

    And not the firearm?! Perish the thought! ;)

    The problem is balancing the privacy rights of the guy to seek help, vs the database. I have a hard time with that one, my natural privacy bent tends to win.

  • ||

    JW,

    I assure you, my smug superiority is untouched by your unclear writing.

    "Tell me again who is expected to follow a gun ownership law?" You mean, specifically, ownerhsip laws, separate and apart from manufacture and sales laws?

    Law-abiding people. The only relevance of a purely onwership-based law to the people committing most of the gun crimes in this country is to give the police something to charge them with.

  • Guy Montag||

    Josh Horowitz is a flaming moron.

    Everything below is a about LEGAL purchases and transfers.

    "Virginia's gun laws are some of the weakest state laws in the country":

    Right here we see his bias: freedom means weak laws. The fact is that the Commonwealth of Virginia prevents localities from infringing on the rights of citizens.

    Virginia imposes few restrictions on the purchase of handguns and no requirement for any kind of licensing or training.

    There might be States that require training before purchase of handguns and I am open to hearing of them, but I have not heard of one yet.

    Guess what? Tennessee does not require any training for you to purchase a car either. Not sure about VA, but I have heard you actually need ID in VA for the cash purchase of a car (some of that required insurance nonsense or something), but no training is required for purchasing a car. I bet you don't need any training or ID to purchase a bulldozer cash either (as long as it costs less than the federal required reporting of cash transactions).

    The state does limit handgun purchases to one per month to discourage bulk buying and resale, state officials said.

    What was he saying before about a lack of restrictions? How did this slip out of the same mouth/ass?

    Once a person has passed a background check, state law requires that law enforcement officers issue a concealed carry permit...

    Ah, the Dowification is present! Combined with all of the Fairbanksing it is not a surprise.

    He forgot about the required training too. Also, when I looked into getting a VA CCW permit they wanted me to remember every violation of the law I had ever had, including traffic infractions. I went with the TN license, since they just look up the stuff they are interested in.

    However, no regulations and no background checks are required for purchase of weapons at a Virginia gun show.

    As someone else mentioned, if you are buying from a dealer at a gun show, gun store, parking lot or anyplace else a background check is required.

    I am a Tennessee domiciliary, so I can only buy handguns from TN dealers and residents in TN. Private sales in TN and in VA do not require a background check. A VA domiciliary may seell a handgun privately to another VA domiciliary, but not to an out-of-Stater. Same with TN.

    IIRC, handguns can only be purchased in the State of domicile anyway. Long guns and shotguns can be purchased in adjoining States (like when I purchased shotguns in VA and had to wait THREE FREAKING DAYS for VA to clear the purchase).

    Oh, the shooter when to the same (or a nearby) high school as Jayson Blair of the NYT.

  • Kap||

    My anecdote is bigger than your anecdote.



    Rwanda for the win.

    I don't have a solution for what happened yesterday, at least not one that involves gun ownership.



    Neither do I. And I hope nobody else does either. Unfortunately, I doubt that will be the case.

  • MC||

    Talk of new gun laws after this is like talking about restrictions on diesel fuel after oklahoma city.

  • ||

    Jacob Sullum writes:
    > In what sense are the handguns Cho
    > used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    He used them to kill 32 people. What further demonstration do you want?

  • ||

    "How is this freak any different that tweedle dee and tweedle dumb who did the OKC bombing?"

    Their crime required greater expertise and financial resources.


    Then I think we need to outlaw greater expertise and financial resources. Fortunately, the people who run our schools, and government tax-and-spenders in general, are on the case.

  • ||

    "There is a question on the form which asks if you're under treatment for mental disease, but of course this guy lied"

    Actually, the question asks if you have ever been adjudicated as mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed.

    Just being depressed, or seeing a shrink isn't a violation of the law.

  • Dave W.||

    "How is this freak any different that tweedle dee and tweedle dumb who did the OKC bombing?"

    Cause the feds knew about that one before it happened.

  • ||

    "Incidents involving a firearm represented 9% of the 4.7 million violent crimes of rape and sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated and simple assault in 2005."

    - Bureau of Justice Statistics

    That said, firearms are used in more than 50% of attempted homicides.

  • ||

    "Tell me again who is expected to follow a gun ownership law?"

    You mean, specifically, ownerhsip laws, separate and apart from manufacture and sales laws?


    No. But then, you generally can't own one without buying one, right? Yes, you can inherit them, but as you are fond of pointing out statistical probabliity, that isn't the issue here.

    Law-abiding people. The only relevance of a purely onwership-based law to the people committing most of the gun crimes in this country is to give the police something to charge them with.

    Oh, I thought we weren't talking about "normal people."

    Waits for joe to respond with "but you didn't say sales..."

  • Kap||

    Have you got a problem with that? Or do you agree that marginal protections are allowable (even desireable), as long as they don't interfere with the general public?



    Guy and mediageek may throw their drinks at me for saying this, but no, I don't. A journalist doesn't need a license to exercise his first amendment rights, but no, I don't have a problem with having to ID myself and prove no criminal background check to buy a gun. I don't have a problem with needing a CHL to carry one, and I won't event bitch about the ~$300 cost of obtaining one every 5 years.

    But I don't think that any of this will really stop criminals from getting them, or the insane from occasionally using them. That ATF form is basically 20 questions of "are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?" It's quaint. I like how they throw just one "yes" question in there to make sure you're paying attention.

    I will, however, put up with it if it makes the soccer moms feel safer and if it eventually leads people to bark up other trees than mine.

    I do have a problem with the thought of some disgruntled ex-girlfriend going to a judge and making a baseless accusation of abuse from me, knowing that the judge's rubber stamp of a restraining order ("what could it hurt?") will instantly turn me into a felon because I own guns. Witness what happened to David Letterman.

    I also have a problem with "OMFG!!!!1111!!LOOK AT ALL THE PRO-GUN COMMENTS HE WRITES IN A SPOOKY LIBERTARIAN BLOG!!!!111!!" leading to my ineligibility or revocation. Or goth poetry, or whatever.

    Due process, confront accuser, jury of peers, etc.

    Finally, I believe that the likes of Rita Cosby are more culpable for yesterday than I am. I am not speaking rhetorically, I honestly believe that.

    [Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, long sloppy wet kisses, Susan Sarandon in garters still hot, etc.]

  • bubba||

    The Killeen shooting directly led to Texas authorizing concealed handgun licenses, and ultimately led to me having one.

  • ||

    The fact is no amount of gun control within the context of a free society could have prevented Hui from doing what he did. Given this fact, the gun control advocates have nothing relevant to add to the discussion.

    Maybe you are giving them, without wanting it, the solution: as you said, no amount of gun control within a FREE society could have prevented this. So the solution in the collectivist mind will be to make this an UNfree society, and alas, I believe that is the direction we're headed, carbon credits and all...

  • ||

    "Guy and mediageek may throw their drinks at me for saying this, but no, I don't. A journalist doesn't need a license to exercise his first amendment rights, but no, I don't have a problem with having to ID myself and prove no criminal background check to buy a gun. I don't have a problem with needing a CHL to carry one, and I won't event bitch about the ~$300 cost of obtaining one every 5 years."

    I have a problem with it only insofar as it's generally ineffective, if unoffensive. As a libertarian, I'm philosophically opposed to it.

    But I don't have a serious issue with it.

  • MattXIV||

    joe,

    "Would the economic libertarians please explain to the 2nd Amendment libertarians the concept of "margins?""

    That argument isn't the homerun you think it is. I'm guessing the demand for premediated murder is pretty inelastic and "sticky" in the sense that unanticipated difficulties would be unlikely to cause a plotter to stop if they could be overcame. In order to prevent the murder, the difference in preference between the gun and the best substitute (legal or marked up on a black market) would have to be greater than the difference in preference between not commiting the murder and committing it. Just because a policy change has a marginal impact doesn't make it an effective tool for changing behavior. Changing income would have a marginal impact on how many meals people eat a day, but that doesn't mean it could serve as the basis for an effective policy effort to change the average number of meals people eat a day. I also don't think an analysis of utility is that relevant in this particular case, or in cases of murder-suicides in general. The suicide part suggests that the killer is unlikely to respond to the normal range of incentives that public policy could put forth.

    Also, you seem to be moving the goalposts. Switching to the more general case of all multiple homicides rather than "spree killing"-type ones and complaining that examples of the latter aren't representative of the former when we're discussing the later is a pretty poor rhetorical slight of hand.

  • ||

    Once again we see how the easy availability of handguns enables one individual to kill a lot of people. So discussing ways to prevent such occurances in the future seems pretty relevant to me.

    It is not relevant. The weapon of choice for killing lots more people in a single instance is still an improvised explosive device.

    A way to prevent such occurances as the one in VT is to allow people to defend themselves, and not make them into defenseless targets by gun-control laws.

  • ||

    JW,

    "But then, you generally can't own one without buying one, right?"

    Right, but buying one requires a transaction between two parties, meaning that the sale of a banned weapon requires both a buyer and a seller. My point here is that gun store owner, subject to licensing and required to keep records, is likely to stay on the right side of the law.

    'Oh, I thought we weren't talking about "normal people."' We're not. You're being unclear again.

  • Kap||

    See, joe, gun nuts compromising! They never do that!™

  • Guy Montag||

    Kap,

    [tosses full Foster's bottle at Kap]
    [tips bartender $300 to keep his mouth shut]

  • ||

    Matt XIV,

    "That argument isn't the homerun you think it is." I'm not making an argument, I'm refuting one.

    I agree that gun laws are unlikely to make a dent in the number of spree-killings/multiple murders (I really wasn't trying to move the goalposts there, just using the terms interchangeably). I do believe that reducing the lethality of the weaponry available can reduce the body count when they do occur.

  • ||

    Kap,

    I've been here long enough to know that there are reasonable and moderate gun nuts.

  • ||

    In what sense are the handguns Cho used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    Because Helmke probable never fired, much less touched a firearm in his life and would shit himself if one were discharged in his prissy presence.

  • ||

    edit probably

  • ||

    Law-abiding people [would obey these laws]

    Which immediately says that non-abiding individuals would not obey these laws, obviating them. Good thinking, Joe.

    The only relevance of a purely onwership-based law to the people committing most of the gun crimes in this country is to give the police something to charge them with.

    Actually, the true relevance is that it would hinder the law-abiding people from getting guns, giving room for non-abiding people to use them against the law-abiding with less risk of getting shot back. The fact that there are many criminals indicate that the risk of prosecution is still relatively low compared to the rewards.

  • ||

    I do believe that reducing the lethality of the weaponry available can reduce the body count when they do occur.

    That is absurd. Reducing the lethality of one weapon would only encourage a killer to carry more lesser-lethality weapons, or use Improvised Explosive Devices, which can be created out of almost-household items.

  • ||

    Right, but buying one requires a transaction between two parties, meaning that the sale of a banned weapon requires both a buyer and a seller. My point here is that gun store owner, subject to licensing and required to keep records, is likely to stay on the right side of the law.

    Irrelevant. In such cases, the non-abiding individual will simply turn to the black market, which will become more lucrative once a ban is imposed, the same way as with drugs, alcohol and prostitution. Prohibition does not work - the law of unintended consequences is too powerful for even the most proactive of bureaucrats.

  • Kap||

    Guy,

    Think global, drink local.

  • ||

    Couldn't the Assault Weapons Ban have covered the clips used in the 9mm? If the clips used held more than 10 rounds, they would have fallen under the ban. Of course, the gunman had a vest with multiple clips, and a few extra re-loads wouldn't have made a difference, but hey, this is politics, not reality. Those kids have enough reality to deal with.

  • ellipsis||

    Akira,

    You seem to do a lot of ex post facto corrections. Is it the rush to get your comment in as quick as possible? I know I do that sometimes. I grabbed the newest version of firefox, which spell-checks on the fly. I've found that to be helpful.

  • ||

    Lamar-

    As I've already pointed out, even during the ban on magazines holding more than ten rounds, it was still legal to own and sell ones that were in circulation before the law was enacted.

    Even if he had been limited to ten-round magazines, it wouldn't have made much of a difference.

    The latest that I've read is that the .22 pistol he used was a Walther P22, for which there are no >10 round magazines available anyway.

  • Guy Montag||

    I am still waiting for the people who did not hug this guy "enough" get blamed for the shooting, since the gun seller has already been blamed (other thread?).

    Herd some dork call in on a radio show blaming the US "isolationist society" (he was assuming nobody wanted to hang around with the English major from Asia, or something) for this and that there would be "a lot more of it".

    Come to think of it, if that caller goes on a shooting rampage because he does not want to make friends I bet WMAL catches crap for not "reporting" the caller to whomever "loners" are supposed to be "reported" to.

  • ||

    Right, but buying one requires a transaction between two parties, meaning that the sale of a banned weapon requires both a buyer and a seller. My point here is that gun store owner, subject to licensing and required to keep records, is likely to stay on the right side of the law.

    Banned weapons? When did I say anything about that?

    You're being unclear again.

    No, you're just being deliberately obtuse to make a point.

  • ||

    Other Matt | April 17, 2007, 3:27pm | #
    > The point is, in terms of handguns, these
    > are not "High Powered". To say so is
    > sensationalism.

    Yes. And 32 dead people in Virginia agree with you.

  • ||

    So what then would constitute a low-powered gun? One completely incapable of causing injury?

    That would kind of make the whole "high-powered-pistol-rifle-assault-weapon" meme a tad bit moot, wouldn't it?

    But then again, I guess its all about the hyperbole.

  • ||

    I read about half the comments here.
    I think we oughtta make people illegal. Half are too fuckin stupid to justify the oxygen they use and the other half are armed. Which apparently makes them lunatics as well.

  • ||

    And oh BTW,
    classmates of the shooter said he was bat shit crazy and they joked about whether he was gonna turn into a school shooter. The shooter's professors had referred him to counseling because they saw he was a fucking loon.
    The signs were obviously there.

  • ||

    9/11, for better or worse, temporarily persuaded many dove-ish people that their deeply held views on foreign policy were flat-out wrong.

    There is nobody here who has changed their views as a result of this tragedy.



    Invoking the Nazis in every unreleated discussion has gotten passe - I really think Godwin's law will need a 9/11 corollary soon.

  • ||

    Jacob Sullum writes:
    > In what sense are the handguns Cho
    > used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    He used them to kill 32 people. What further demonstration do you want?


    Oh, I dunno, maybe something about how powerful the weapon is rather than how many people Cho killed with it. (Or maybe I missed the part where, instead of killing them one at a time, Cho lined all his victims up and killed them with a single round. If that's what happened, then yeah, his weapon was pretty powerful.)

  • ||

    Seamus wrote:
    >> Jacob Sullum writes:
    >>> In what sense are the handguns Cho
    >>> used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially
    >>> "powerful"?

    >> He used them to kill 32 people. What further >> demonstration do you want?

    > Oh, I dunno, maybe something about how
    > powerful the weapon is rather than how many
    > people Cho killed with it.

    Seamus, my dear fellow: The measure of a weapon's "powerfulness" is, in the ultimate sense, how many people it will kill. Any other measure is just pissing around. By this measure, the guns used in the VT massacre were quite powerful indeed.

    Please don't try and play us for fools.

  • ||

    Really, Ken?

    Perhaps you should call Marshall & Sanow, the FBI, Martin Fackler, or anyone else who works in the field of ballistics and let them know about this.

    Geeze, why should they be fucking around calculating foot-lbs, ballistic coefficients, or aerodynamics.

    Why, if a bullet, administered to a human head at point-blank range kills them, that certainly tells anyone all they need to know about the "power" of that round.

    Your expertise is jaw-dropping.

  • ||

    mediageek wrote:
    > Really, Ken?
    >
    > Geeze, why should they be fucking
    > around calculating foot-lbs, ballistic
    > coefficients, or aerodynamics.

    Only a real scumbag would value foot-lbs over human lives. Such measurements are meaningless in light of the overwhelming loss of life that occurred at VT. It is souls that concern the American public, mediageek, and frankly it's a shame I have to point that out to you.

    You don't care much for human life, do you?

  • ||

    Seamus, my dear fellow: The measure of a weapon's "powerfulness" is, in the ultimate sense, how many people it will kill.


    Then, by all means, man is that ultimate weapon. Every single murder in human history has had one thing in common, another person was involved. The instrument used does not determine the amount of death, only the wielder of said instrument.

  • ||

    Kwix,
    "Then, by all means, man is that ultimate weapon. Every single murder in human history has had one thing in common, another person was involved. The instrument used does not determine the amount of death, only the wielder of said instrument."

    Thank you very very much. No other comments are necessary. Good night everyone. God bless.
    Peace out.
    A M E N

  • ||

    Ken, did you furrow your brow and purse your lips while typing up that dreadful bit of sanctimony?

    If you're going to define "high-powered" as "anything that could possibly kill a person" then the term obviously has no meaning.

  • ||

    mediageek wrote:
    > If you're going to define "high-powered" as
    > "anything that could possibly kill a person"
    > then the term obviously has no meaning.

    Yes, I value human lives over foot-pounds. Only an inhuman witch would not. I see that you have taken the side of the witches.

    When a member of your family has been killed by a gunman, as has my family, I will listen more fully to your protests. Until then, you have littel moral ground.

  • Gee...||

    Wow, tough shit Ken, but your situation doesn't change whether or not .22 caliber or 9mm are powerful rounds or not.

    Next time you want sympathy, talk to a shrink, don't interject it into a discussion because you have nothing useful to add.

  • ||

    Plainly, hammers need to be banned.

    A sharp blow to the head from a carpenters hammer will prove fatal in most cases.

  • ||

    Only a real scumbag would value foot-lbs over human lives. Such measurements are meaningless in light of the overwhelming loss of life that occurred at VT.


    If you don't torque those lug nuts down to at least 65 ft/lbs your wheels will slide off and you will die. So more ft/lbs = more human lives saved.

  • ||

    The response from Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, is similarly puzzling. Helmke bemoans "how easy it is for an individual to get powerful weapons in our country." In what sense are the handguns Cho used, a .22 and a 9mm, especially "powerful"?

    Powerful weapons in the sense that bare hands and even knives are considerably less powerful. Powerful in the sense that one person who used them was able to kill 30 people in a short period of time. Powerful in the sense that if someone else in the room had held a 9mm, he could have prevented those thirty deaths in a matter of seconds.

    I would hate to think the argument to allow people to own guns might have to rest on the premise that they aren't especially powerful weapons.

  • Guy Montag||

    And oh BTW,
    classmates of the shooter said he was bat shit crazy and they joked about whether he was gonna turn into a school shooter. The shooter's professors had referred him to counseling because they saw he was a fucking loon.
    The signs were obviously there.


    More for the argument to ban English majors from Engineering schools.

    Other item: Ken, you are a total moron who needs to be playing at Kos, TNR, The Nation or Ezra's site. When we need a conjugation we will call you. Otherwise, until you learn something about weapons just shut up and read or at least make non-technical comments, like the color that you want guns to be and what sort of design you want on the stock (yes, that is a real part).

    Can't wait for you to tell us how your 1/2 horsepower electric scooter is "more powerful" than a 426 HEMI because it does not go as fast and is "zero emission".

  • ||

    Ken

    I'm really sorry for what has happened to your family but there's a reason why doctors don't treat, lawyers don't represent and policemen don't investigate crimes involving family members.

    When you have something emotionally invested in an issue it is hard to be objective about it.

    I know our society in very much into making people whole but, frankly, victims and their families are the very last people who should be allowed to give input in policy matters involving crime.

  • ||

    This whole thing could not have come at a worse time for Rudy Giuliani.

    There was no way the evangelicals were going to vote for him anyways.

    Now, with an increased focus on gun control laws he's going to lose mainstream republicans.

    His only hope is going to be dems crossing over to the GOP to vote for him in the primaries.

  • ||

    Yes, I value human lives over foot-pounds. Only an inhuman witch would not. I see that you have taken the side of the witches.


    Yes! Mediageek is a witch!

    Burn him!

  • ||

    Why do gun liberals want to stop any kind of regulation of the militia?
    It was stipulated in the constituion.

    After all - Regiments of Cho like maniacs was not in the minds of the founding fathers.

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