Why Should Public Opinion About Gun Control Change After a Shooting Rampage?

As Radley Balko noted this morning, a new CNN poll finds no shift in public opinion regarding gun control following the recent mass shooting in Tucson. The lack of change is similar to what was seen in the wake of other high-profile gun crimes, and it makes sense. If you do not think gun control is a good way to prevent violence—if you believe that it mainly serves to disarm potential victims, rather than deter armed lunatics or run-of-the-mill criminals—dramatic evidence that firearms can be used for evil purposes is not likely to change your mind. Furthermore, the specific policy proposals covered by these polls generally have little or nothing to do with the event that put gun control in the news.

The CNN survey (PDF), for instance, asked respondents whether they support "a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of semi-automatic assault guns, such as the AK-47." Neither assault gun nor the more commonly used term assault weapon has any fixed meaning; it is whatever legislators say it is, and typically they focus on scary, militaristic appearances, as opposed to features that make a practical difference in the hands of criminals. It's not clear what people have in mind when they tell pollsters (as 61 percent of the respondents in this poll did) that they support a ban on "assault weapons," a term that was adopted by the gun control lobby to foster confusion between fully automatic military firearms (assault rifles) and semi-automatic civilian models. But it's a fair bet that many of them are thinking of machine guns. Note that CNN cited the AK-47, an assault rifle that can fire continuously as well as one round at a time, as an example of a "semi-automatic assault gun."

In any case, the gun used to kill six people in Tucson, a Glock 19 pistol, is a popular self-defense choice that has never been classified as an "assault weapon." Seung-Hui Cho used the same handgun, along with a Walther P22, in the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting rampage, which killed 32 people. Likewise, George Joe Hennard used two ordinary handguns, a Glock 17 and a Ruger P89, in his 1991 attack on a Luby's restaurant in Killeen, Texas, which killed 23 people. Although neither of those guns was covered by the federal "assault weapon" ban, Sarah Brady still cited the Killeen massacre as a reason for Congress to approve the law.

Another specific proposal mentioned in the CNN survey—a ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds—does at least have some connection to the Tucson massacre, since Jared Lee Loughner reportedly used such magazines in his attack. According to the New York Times account, Loughner emptied one 30-round magazine, loaded a second one that jammed, and was trying to load a third when he was tackled and disarmed. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), who plans to introduce legislation next week that would limit magazines to 10 rounds, argues that Loughner might have killed and injured fewer people if he had to reload sooner. She made a similar argument after Colin Ferguson used a Ruger P89 with 15-round magazines in his  1993 attack on the Long Island Rail Road, which killed six people, including her husband (an incident that motivated her to run for office).

McCarthy's counterfactual may be correct. But it's important to note that her legislation, like a similar provision that was included in the now-expired federal "assault weapon" ban, would have no impact on magazines already in circulation. Hence a determined mass murderer could still obtain 30-round magazines. Alternatively, he might compensate for smaller magazines by bringing multiple weapons or by taping magazines together to facilitate reloading. And if it's true, as commenters here have argued, that 30-round magazines are especially prone to the sort of misloading that Loughner experienced right before he was tackled, the upshot of smaller magazines would not necessarily have been fewer casualties. For what it's worth, magazine size does not seem to have made any difference in the Virginia Tech and Killeen attacks, both of which killed far more people than died in Tucson.

The possibility that legislation like McCarthy's could make a difference in rare events like the Tucson massacre has to be weighed against the legitimate interests of gun owners who prefer large-capacity magazines for range shooting or envision self-defense scenarios in  which the extra rounds would be useful. (Having lived in L.A. during the 1992 riots, I don't consider those scenarios wildly far-fetched.) As is generally the case with gun control, the cost is borne mainly by law-abiding citizens, while the public safety payoff is dubious at best.

Robert Farago discusses high-capacity magazines at The Truth About Guns.

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  • ||

    If a killer wants to shoot a lot of bullets, and can't get high capacity mags, they will probably bring multiple guns. That is likely the most dangerous thing a killer can do, since this allows double the shooting without a reload (where, it seems, shooters are often tackled by bystanders) just like a high capacity magazine, but if one jams, they still have the other. Shit, bring three, or more, guns.

    The idea that some moronic ban can stop a determined crazy person from doing what they have decided they want to do is...moronic. Bans would be purely symbolic. But hey, actual effect has never meant anything to the "ban it" crowd, anyway.

  • R||

    Or they could just use a bomb. Bombs are not that hard to construct, so long as you aren't a moron, and can kill a large amount of people very quickly.

    Or they could just stab a bunch of people, as has happened in China and elsewhere.

    Gun control simply doesn't stop mass murderers. They will always find a way.

  • ||

    Some suicide bomber just blew up 60 people in Tikrit in Iraq. So, yeah...

  • Dan||

    I was going to say - or just buy an SUV and drive over your target(s). This madman could have easily done this in the Safeway parking lot.

  • ||

    I don't support magazine size restrictions, but this misrubbed me:

    envision self-defense scenarios in which the extra rounds would be useful.

    Didn't you just say it's better to have a bunch of smaller magazines rather than one big one?

  • TrollOLcat||

    In some situations it may be better to have multiple standard capacity magazines, while in others it may be better to have single large magazine. That's why gun owners should be able to choose.

  • CalebT||

    My goodness, you're not turning that old canard of the abortion debate, "Let the citizen decide," against the anti-gun lobby are you?

  • JD||

    I think it is worth a shot. Let the citizen decide based on their situation, not on some politician's definition of "need."

  • Hugh Akston||

    Uh, I think politicians know a little bit more about what's good for you than you do, friend.

    That's why you pay taxes and they don't go to jail for DUI.

  • R||

    Aggressors attacking unarmed victims generally have ample time for magazine changes (note that Loughner was able to change mags twice; his victims were able to tackle him because his gun malfunctioned, not because he didn't have time to change a magazine. As noted in the article, had he been using normal magazines, which are less likely to cause jams, he may have been able to shoot more people).

    Defenders facing multiple armed attackers generally don't have the same luxury.

  • Almanian||

    His gun malfunctioned? Had not heard that. Wonder what kind of ammo he was using?

    You have to, like, TRY to make a Glock malfunction. He may want to send it back for warranty work...

  • JD||

    Probably a magazine issue. There have been a lot of non-factory Glock mags (mainly Korean manufacture) appearing on the market in the past few years.

  • R||

    Magazines are a weak point on any auto-loading firearm. If the magazine lips are at the wrong angle, the spring is too weak or too strong, the carrier in the wrong position, etc., it can cause a failure to feed (FTF).

    Crappy mags will bring down even the most reliable semi-auto.

    Large capacity magazines, such as the 33 rounder used by Loughner, are more likely to cause FTF's due to spring pressure. If its too strong, the first round in the magazine will be too difficult for the bolt to strip off and shove into the chamber, causing a FTF. This is what seems to have happened to Loughner. You can sometimes fix it be downloading a few rounds - putting only 30 or 31 rounds in a 33 round magazine, for instance. Sometimes it can't be fixed, and the magazine needs to replaced.

  • ||

    Crappy mags will bring down even the most reliable semi-auto.

    True that. I had an Hechkler & Koch 93 (about as reliable a piece of machinery as you'll find) that refused to have anything to do with cheap 30 round mags, but never missed a feed with good German steel.

    And most high-capacity mags are cheap junk. I learned never to scrimp on mags, and good ones cost multiples of what cheap ones go for.

  • SIV||

    If you live near Smyrna GA you can get tuneup or repairs at the factory for free during your lunch hour. I hate Glocks but their reliability and customer service is great

  • Almanian||

    PS I was kidding about Loughner getting warranty work...

  • ||

    Large magazines would be useful to ordinary citizens in a self defense scenario, so they won't have to buy two or three weapons, kept loaded, to have the same firing capacity. Ordinary joes have budgets; money is no object to mass murderers.

    Realistically, most self defense shootings are probably over in 20 seconds or less; the guy who gets off the first shot usually wins.

  • JD||

    80% of self-defense incidents where the intended victim has a gun are resolved without firing a shot.

    According to politician logic, that means everyone who wants to carry a gun should be required to carry it unloaded.

  • ||

    Large magazines would be useful to ordinary citizens in a self defense scenario, so they won't have to buy two or three weapons, kept loaded, to have the same firing capacity. Ordinary joes have budgets; money is no object to mass murderers.

    Realistically, most self defense shootings are probably over in 20 seconds or less; the guy who gets off the first shot usually wins.

  • ||

    These kind of poll results must just torque the media.

  • -||

    It doesn't matter. It won't change anyone's mind. Gun control is a dogma.

  • Extended Warren T||

    The Torquemedia where they know what's right and you'd better believe it or else.

  • ||

    The magazines in question are 'STANDARD' capacity. Those approved by idiots a la McCarthy, Schumer, et al are 'reduced' capacity. Bottom line, personal arms are out right, no matter whether we choose blades, firearms or eventually some directed energy device. (I'm working on a giga-zine, it will hold 535 rounds of whatever caliber I wish)

  • JD||

    I'm a total gun nut, but I don't have a problem with calling a 33-round extended magazine for a Glock (of which I own several) a high-capacity magazine.

    I agree with your point if we were talking about politicians and the media calling a standard 15-round Glock 19 magazine "high capacity."

  • Mr Magazine||

    535? Hmmm, that number sounds familiar...

  • CalebT||

    I've heard (though not being a gun-owner myself I didn't know) that magazine can simply be rigged to carry more bullets.

  • CalebT||

    I guess it points to the stacking evidence that the politicians who developed this bill have never been around a gun in their entire lives!

  • Lowdog||

    Most people who are afraid of guns have never been around them. I know of multiple people who went from anti-gun to at least not anti-gun after getting a chance to use one while with others who knew how to use a gun and practice good safety protocols.

  • ||

    "If that log was trying to rob the place, you totally would’ve killed it."

  • Mango Punch||

    Most people who are afraid of guns have never been around them.


    Same holds for dogs... and "putbull" bans.

  • ||

    I read the article accompanying the poll results and you could just feel the hair pulling going on at CNN over the results.

    Right now they have two opinion pieces regarding gun control. One of them is a fact and satistic filled look at how gun control has been a complete failure and does little to curb violence. This is by Robert Levy of the CATO Institute. The other opinion piece is a rhetoric filled whine fest meant to pull the heartstrings. This one is of course by Sarah Brady. Maybe she's looking to get to sell a script to Lifetime.

    Sorta on topic. At Walmart today I saw a toy police uniform. I had one once back in the eighties. Mine had a nice badge, some handcuffs, a cloth hat and a small black 38 revolver. Today's "police" uniform comes with a badge, handcuffs, and military style combat helmet and an MP-5K sub-machine gun (bright white of course so cops don't accidentally shot you with their real MP-5Ks). This wasn't labeled SWAT or anything so extreme. It was a plain ol'cop outfit...with military gear. Kinda made me a bit sad.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Right now they have two opinion pieces regarding gun control. One of them is a fact and satistic filled look at how gun control has been a complete failure and does little to curb violence. This is by Robert Levy of the CATO Institute. The other opinion piece is a rhetoric filled whine fest meant to pull the heartstrings. This one is of course by Sarah Brady. Maybe she's looking to get to sell a script to Lifetime.


    Was not her husband James Brady, who was shot the same time Ronald Reagan was shot?

    I heard it happened in Washington, D.C. That can not be right, because D.C. enforced its handgun ban at the time.

  • R||

    It should also be noted that McCarthy's bill will also ban several models of guns, some of which have historical value.

  • ||

    You NutraSweeted your links, dude.

  • R||

    Fuck. Looks like it stripped out the hrefs. Weird.

    Here are the links:

    http://booksbikesboomsticks.bl.....clips.html

    http://www.snowflakesinhell.co.....would-ban/

  • ||

    But can you still own a shoulder thing that goes up?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    It should also be noted that McCarthy's bill will also ban several models of guns, some of which have historical value.
    reply to this


    Will Cuntilyn's bill also ban these models for government use?

  • ||

    I guess I will never understand Bush Rednecks....

  • ||

    You don't understand anything, shriek. You don't even understand that you don't understand.

  • 338_LM||

    Bravo on that response, Episiarch. Bravo. I've been trying to say that for years! Thanks.

  • ||

    A lack of understanding is a good reason, to anyone but the terminally arrogant, not to try to micromanage.

  • ||

    What about just banning guns in general? Did you ever think about that? Or making guns, no matter what their classification is, hard to get and illegal for anyone with documented mental illness? Who cares how many bullets are in the clip, how many rounds it fires a second, etc. Let's just stop people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Period. I just have to rain on your NRA-loving, gun-toting parade. The second amendment was meant for militias and they used gunpowder in muskets that fired single shot projectile bullets.

  • powdermonkey||

    hey, as long as the cops & military have to be restricted to single-shot muskets too...oh, you don't really care about the 2nd Amendment though...

  • ||

    What about just banning cars in general? Did you ever think about that? Or making cars, no matter what their classification is, hard to get and illegal for anyone with documented mental illness? Who cares how much gas is in the tank, how fast it goes, etc. Let's just stop people who shouldn't have cars from getting them. Period. I just have to rain on your AAA-loving, engine-revving parade. Cars were meant for politicians and important people and they used leaded gas in tanks that if hit in just the right spot would explode.

  • mike c.||

    You're talkin' in her good ear.

  • ||

    You should've gotten in that bit about driving being a privilege, not a right. Whatever the hell that means.

  • ||

    Banning them will be pointless. There are 300 millions guns in America, give or take. Any halfway decent machinist can make a gun with tools bought from Sears.
    It is already illegal for people who are adjudicated as mentally ill to own or buy weapons.

    All citizens are members of the militia.

  • ||

    Wait till home fabrication is all the rage.

  • Spiny Norman||

    What about just banning guns in general?

    Like we did with drugs?

  • Fluffy||

    Can we get up a pool to spring Loughner on bail so he can go to this guy's house?

    GASP! How "eliminationist" of me!

  • Almanian||

    I got some money...

  • JD||

    they used gunpowder in muskets that fired single shot projectile bullets.

    Funny, all my guns use gunpowder and all the projectiles I use are only good for a single shot too.

  • Abdul||

    The second amendment was meant for militias and they used gunpowder in muskets that fired single shot projectile bullets.

    I think it was PJ O'Rourke who said that any gun pointed at you is an assault rifle.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Bryan,

    The second amendment was meant for militias and they used gunpowder in muskets that fired single shot projectile bullets.

    The 1st Amendment was meant for town criers and they used quills and ink.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    What about just banning guns in general? Did you ever think about that? Or making guns, no matter what their classification is, hard to get and illegal for anyone with documented mental illness? Who cares how many bullets are in the clip, how many rounds it fires a second, etc. Let's just stop people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Period. I just have to rain on your NRA-loving, gun-toting parade. The second amendment was meant for militias and they used gunpowder in muskets that fired single shot projectile bullets.


    So when will the government disarm?

    Or making guns, no matter what their classification is, hard to get and illegal for anyone with documented mental illness?


    The only way to stop people with documented mental illnesses from getting guns is to lock them up.

  • ||

    "If you do not think gun control is a good way to prevent violence—if you believe that it mainly serves to disarm potential victims, rather than deter armed lunatics or run-of-the-mill criminals—dramatic evidence that firearms can be used for evil purposes is not likely to change your mind."

    It's also possible that people are willing to accept risk in order to keep the larger prize of freedom.

    I can't be the only one.

  • Almanian||

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but that's exactly what the father of the 9 yr old girl who was killed said. So you're not, in fact, alone.

    I'm with him and you - I'll take the risks of greater freedom as opposed to the apparent benefit of less freedom.

  • 338_LM||

    No, Ken, you're not. I'd much rather endure the risks of Liberty than suffer the consequences of Tyranny.

  • Lowdog||

    I'm with ya, Ken...

  • Fluffy||

    Here's an argument against magazine restrictions that should resonate with Radley:

    Even if a particular restriction appears to make a certain amount of rough and ready "sense", the continued presence of any restrictions empowers magistrates to hassle gun owners.

    In the wake of recent court decisions acknowledging the right to keep and bear arms, you'd think that the infrastructure in place to hassle gun owners would wither away. But it won't, because those officers will just redefine their mission and start making sure that gun owners have the right kind of ammunition, the right size magazine, the right length of barrel, etc.

    So whatever benefit we could conceivably obtain from getting rid of 30 bullet magazines has to be weighed against the fact that such restrictions give some truly wretched officers the opportunity to waste more taxpayer money exercising a power they shouldn't possess.

  • Almanian||

    Yeah, my little Ruger 10-22 with the banana clip...ZOMG ASSAULT RIFLE!!!!!1!!1won!!

  • Dan||

    Funnily enough, I learned in a gun safety class there is a much higher mortality rate being shot with a .22 than a larger caliber since the .22 tends to bounce around your insides causing all sorts of wound tracts.

    The .22 won't knock you down right away, but it will probably kill you.

  • ||

    I remember hearing that little bit of range wisdom a few times too. It's bunk though. Check out the FBI ballistic tests. Bigger is better.

  • ||

    Invariably these bills exempt law enforcement from the restrictions. You know, "semiautomatic blah blah blah have no purpose except to kill large numbers of innocent people blah blah blah." If that's true then why do cops need them?

    Uh, wait a second . . .

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Invariably these bills exempt law enforcement from the restrictions. You know, "semiautomatic blah blah blah have no purpose except to kill large numbers of innocent people blah blah blah." If that's true then why do cops need them?


    A fact that either escapes Cuntilyn McCarthy, or a fact of which she is fully aware.

  • Binky||

    Let's just stop people who shouldn't have guns from getting them. Period.

    Not so fast with the "Period". Could you also raise wages and lower prices while you're at it?

  • Bender Bending Rodriguez||

    And a PONY!!!!!11111!!!!

  • David E. Gallaher/Ruthless||

    I wish everyone carried a gun, but I never will. I'm a free-riding asshole. But wasn't that Tucson asshole stopped by folks tackling him when he was changing magazines? If everyone carried a gun, he could have been stopped after about ??? shots? In other words, before he had to switch magazines.
    BTW, I'm also the kind of asshole who would avoid political gatherings in front of a grocery store. Just sayin'.

  • LarryA||

    I’ve been wondering about this. I haven’t seen any quotes from people on the scene that they waited until he had to reload.

    Given that no one was expecting a shooting you have:
    1) The initial unconscious reaction time it took to dodge or jump in front of a loved one,
    2) Plus the time it took to consciously gather information and comprehend what was happening,
    3) Plus the response time it took to decide to tackle the shooter,
    4) Plus the time it took to physically tackle him.

    That was probably sufficient for the shooter to empty his magazine before anyone could jump him.

    Disclaimer: I certainly wasn’t there. I’m going on published reports plus action/reaction/response drills I’ve studied and participated in.

    Tactically, the only time it makes sense to wait for a reload before rushing is if you are behind cover, the shooter is facing you, and you have to cross more than a few yards.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Also, it has been brought to my attention that a number of you are stroking guns.

  • Chad||

    All new data should cause one to re-think one's previous positions.

    Oh wait, I am talking to conservatives and libertarians. Data need not apply.

  • Jeremy||

    The "new data" in this case being ...?

  • Miggs||

    Shhhh... don't question Chad. He has a PhD, you know.

  • Chad||

    How many mass murders does it take to qualify as data?

  • ||

    Guys what is so hard to understand here... the fact that a lunatic killed people means that we should abandon maximal liberty and just accept that our lives and freedoms are meaningless when a greater collective of people require them. Sacrificial suicide is now the new freedom people.

  • Tony||

    More than instances of armed self-defense, apparently.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    More than instances of armed self-defense, apparently.

    A silly notion, due to the rarity of mass murder events, and the ubiquity of armed self-defense:

    http://thearmedcitizen.com/

  • Tony||

    So you wanna put gun crimes up against instances of armed self-defense and see which one comes out on top? Or would that be too utilitarian for you? I suppose your precious absolutist principles are worth sacrificing a few thousand lives for?

  • ||

    Sarah Brady's group acknowledges over a million instances of armed self-defense a year, the NRA says its over 2 million. So, you little pissant slaver, you can't even win with that argument.

  • Tony||

    Though the statistics I've found are old, they are from the FBI, which says that for every 1 instance of justifiable homicide with a gun, there are 53 murders committed with guns. From the Journal of Trauma: guns kept in the home for self-protection are 22 times more likely to kill someone you know than to be used in self defense.

  • ||

    That 22 times more likely figure refers to all households, including gang bangers, drug dealers, etc killing each other. Not all households are alike. I understand a collectivist cannot grasp that concept.

  • ||

    Justifiable homicides are not an appropriate proxy for the number of instances of effective armed self defense, given any number of studies showing that most defensive gun uses do not even involve shots being fired.

    The "22 times" statistic is junk science and has been thoroughly debunked.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Though the statistics I've found are old, they are from the FBI, which says that for every 1 instance of justifiable homicide with a gun, there are 53 murders committed with guns. From the Journal of Trauma: guns kept in the home for self-protection are 22 times more likely to kill someone you know than to be used in self defense.


    And yet the police have not given up their guns, even though their guns are more likely to be used to kill someone that they know than in self-defense.

  • ||

    Except for climate data, right, Choad?

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Chad||

    Ummm, the data is tracking along or even worse than the worst case scenarios of the latest IPCC report. There was a particularly scary article in Science this week. I somehow doubt you read it.

  • ||

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

  • Apogee||

    SCARY!!!!

  • Mike M.||

    There was a particularly scary article in Science this week.

    Did you shit your panties when you read it?

  • Chinny Chin Chin||

    particularly scary article in Science

    It was "Hazards of Lonliness" that scared you, wasn't it?

    You can go outside, you know.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ok, at the end of the year, let's see if the murder rate keeps dropping as it has been for over a decade. Oh, you meant we should look at one incident, and change our minds based on that.

    Funny, when it's about something you don't like, you call that "anecdotal."

  • Miggs||

    For being such a supposedly apt scientist, Chad apparently doesn't know the difference between 'data' and 'datum'.

  • ||

    The guy wouldn't recognize a datum if it hit him in the cunt.

    How about this? You intend to commit a strong-arm robbery. Your target choices are a Starbucks in NYC, or a Cracker Barrel in Amarillo. Choose wisely...

  • Chad||

    How long do you think it will keep dropping, given that we are laying off cops left and right, and discharging a lot of criminals from our over-crowded prisons. We aren't always going to be successful in picking the right ones to let loose.

  • BakedPenguin||

    No? I've got any easy way to pick the right ones to let loose.
    1) Non violent drug offenders? Let 'em out.
    2) Read Radley Balko's columns. Get rid of DA's who prosecute without evidence, make evidence up, etc. Review their prior cases for reasonable doubt.

    Between 1 and 2, that's between 300,000 - 600,000 prisoners. But if they still scare you, feel good knowing you can always buy a gun for protection.

  • ||

    My what perfect reasoning...less cops, but more criminals on the street, so why don't we take guns away from the law-abiding? I'm sure the criminals would LOVE that. Sheesh....

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    How long do you think it will keep dropping, given that we are laying off cops left and right[...]

    You mean:
    a) You acknowledge a drop in crime after making gun restrictions less restrictive;
    b) This even with fully staffed police?

    Can I ask you how come the murder rate in places like DC, post-Heller, dropped, even with fully staffed police departments? If police is the sole deterrent as you want to imply, why the DROP in the murder rate? Why didn't it simply stay flat, or even rise (given more people had new access to guns)?

    But what would I know - you're the one with the PhD.

    (I remember James Randi once said that PhD diplomas had a substance in them that, once it contacts the skin, renders the recipient totally unable to say "I don't know" and "I'll find out.")

  • ||

    Maybe it will keep dropping for a while, given that most of what cops do does not make us safer, and that most people in jails and prisons are not a physical threat to others.

  • ||

    Yeah, if you happen to be a utilitarian...

  • Chad||

    That I am.

    It sure beats putting mythical principles in the way of human well-being.

  • ||

    Mythical principles? You mean like the greatest good for the greatest number?

    Hmmm which is more vague, "maximal liberty" or "good?"

  • Tony||

    Who cares? Maximized liberty is self-evidently not a good. Anarchy is rare for a reason: it's not sustainable or desirable.

  • Apogee||

    Maximized liberty is self-evidently not a good.

    Tony wants everyone imprisoned by the gub-ment.

    To prevent teh anarchy!

  • ||

    And there you have it folks. This brief glimpse into the warped mind of an authoritarian has been brought to you by the letter A.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Who cares? Maximized liberty is self-evidently not a good.

    Leave it to Tony to commit a perfunctory contradiction.

  • Tony||

    Maximized individual liberty = anarchy, something nobody likes except a few people who have the luxury of a modern civilization in which to engage in their theoretical fantasies.

    Every single human interaction is governed by the principle that one must sacrifice some liberty for the sake of a higher good. I can't run red lights legally, and I'm glad I can't, because other people can't either, and we're all safer for it.

  • Jordan||

    Maximized individual liberty = anarchy

    Wrong.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Maximized individual liberty = anarchy[...]

    "Maximized" does not mean "Absolute", Tony. So it does not mean "anarchy."

    Every single human interaction is governed by the principle that one must sacrifice some liberty for the sake of a higher good.


    You're begging the question: HOW much liberty is "some liberty"? What does that even mean, and WHICH "Greater Good" are you talking about? YOURS? Mine? My cat's?

    I can't run red lights legally, and I'm glad I can't, because other people can't either, and we're all safer for it.

    You only prove to be a fool if you think people don't run red lights because "it's illegal." What would happen if some DON'T think it's illegal? Would you still cross so confidently?

    I don't drive like that, Tony.

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    Christ alive! I didn't realise there was an objective 'higher good'. I take it all back. I am the devoted property of the state.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    All new data should cause one to re-think one's previous positions.

    Indeed. For instance, new data regarding video games should be construed as justification to ban them all.

    What? Oh, you didn't mean THAT data? You meant the data that purports to support YOUR views? You should have said something, Chad.

  • Abdul||

    People often ignore the fact that large capacity magazines have a very legitimate use: you can practice target shooting longer without reloading.

    Most manufacturers recommend breaking in a gun with 200-500 rounds. With a 6 shot magazine, you might be reloading a magazine 80 times or more.

    I've noticed that popping off 50 rounds and leaving for the day doesn't really count as "practice." If I shoot 300+ rounds, I'm almost as good as Annie Oakley by the end of it, because each round gives a chance to build muscle memory and teach lessons. It's annoying, and painful on the thumbs, to reload every 6 rounds.

    With guns, proficiency is a big factor in safety. Extended capacity magazines therefore save lives.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Dry-firing is very good for just the thing you're talking about.

    Good snark too.

  • SIV||

    And if it's true, as commenters here have argued, that 30-round magazines are especially prone to the sort of misloading that Loughner experienced right before he was tackled, the upshot of smaller magazines would not necessarily have been fewer casualties

    I've only heard of jams with Glock-18 mags in Kel-tec carbines. They seem to run reliably in Glock pistols. Does anyone have a different experience? The only misfire I've had with a Glock was from a bad primer.You can clear it in less than a second w/o any practicing.

  • SIV||

    Some reports indicate he was using the "Asian Military" discount Glock mags. You get what you pay for.

  • ||

    This is all a charade. There is a sizable contingent of people in this country, many of whom occupy positions of power and authority, who simply do not want you to you have a gun and will take any opportunity and use any approach in an attempt to deprive you of this Constitutional right.

    You don't need a gun and you shouldn't have a gun and guns have no place in a civilized society - this is the thought process and it is not more complicated than that. There is no issue to debate. Some people think you should not have a right to own a gun. Of course, virtually all of these people live in safe environments or have others paid to protect them at our expense. And a fair number actually have guns themselves for protection, but that is for the big people, not the little people like you and me.

    The hypocrisy of these pig fuckers sickens me. Likewise with the drug war. You can't get elected, it seems, unless you've shown the courage and character to confess your youthful indiscretions. Only then are you fit to send your drug warrior foot soldiers out to kill or ruin the lives of the others for doing what you so courageously owned up to doing in your salad days. or something

  • David E. Gallaher/Ruthless||

    me,
    Am looking for the "like" button here.

  • ||

    Welcome home man. Stay a while.

  • Anyway||

    Crackpots never fail to amuse.

    The government!

  • BakedPenguin||

    Mexico has cooler beauty queens than we do.

    Just sayin...

  • ||

    Also better looking. Damn you Mexico!

  • BakedPenguin||

    They're probably going to come here to the US! Imagine, a US filled with Mexican beauties, lounging around in skimpy outfits and... guns, and...

    I'm sorry, what was I talking about again?

  • ||

    I'd totally legalize that.

  • Dan||

    From the Mexico article:

    "Zuniga was riding in one of two trucks, where soldiers found a large stash of weapons, including two AR-15 assault rifles, .38 specials, 9mm handguns, nine magazines, 633 cartridges and $53,300 in U.S. currency, Solorio said."

    If that is a large stash, I am sitting on a epic stash!

  • Jamal||

    Then again, Congresswoman McCarthy may be incorrect. A ten round Glock magazine may be less prone to jamming than a 33 round one (there is no 30). Thus, the larger capacity magazine may have introduced a jam which saved lives. There's probably no way to know for sure. We should accept speculation for what it is.

  • Max||

    Even the regular Glock magazine carries more bullets that your coolective brains carry actual thoughts that make any sense, you fucking moronic asshole dimwits.

  • Parody Max||

    I'm sorry, I can't top that.

  • MlR||

    lol

  • Apogee||

    the coolective.

    Awesome.

  • Old Mexican||

    Don't mind the pet yorkie, he just barks at everything. And licks his own balls.

  • hmm||

    or envision self-defense scenarios in which the extra rounds would be useful.

    Like every self defense situation? Cops carry guns primarily for self defense. If they care two extra magazines and a back up why should I not have the same right when the main motive is self defense. Are cops the only ones that ever run into bad guys?

  • cynical||

    Would it be constitutional to require that all persons that qualify for the Selective Service be trained in and own a firearm? Or at least "constitutional", in the sense of the Commerce Clause loophole?

    Seems like the issue driving anti-gun sentiment is mainly ignorance and fear. Forcing people to come to terms with guns would dissipate some of that phobia. Plus:

    1) Would effectively nullify all local gun bans and regs, since they would usually directly conflict with federal law.

    2) Would neutralize the individual right versus militia argument since the gun ownership requirement would effectively bring all adults (males, at the very least) into the militia. The law should probably explicitly state such, just in case.

    3) Would make ordinary citizens feel more empowered relative to their government in a way that voting can't (even if it never came to trading bullets -- simply because they know they have the option and their neighbors will back them up). And conversely, would make state thugs a little more leery of violating people's rights. An armed society has a more polite government.

    4) Is done in other parts of the world, and those places tend to have less gun violence, and definitely less per-gun or per-gun-owner. Hey, we get to be more European, liberals. You... you do want to be more European, right?

    5) Automatic support from the arms industry, not to mention the American jobs that would be created.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Does this mean I can get my very own M4 at cost from the CMP? Sweet.

    Per point 4, I'm not sure that your typical liberal considers Switzerland to be a part of Europe. Well, until they look at some of Switzerland's environmental laws.

  • RyanXXX||

    THREADJACK:

    Seymour Hersh alleges that a small group of neocons in the VP's office and the Special Ops community have hijacked foreign policy:
    http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/....._unleashed

    He also says that Petraeus, McChrystal, etc. are all members of a secret Catholic organization.

    Normally I'd dismiss him as a nut for the second claim, but considering the source....

  • Tony||

    Getting all the guns--ah remember the 90s, when Michael Douglas playing the potus could advocate that somewhat plausibly in a mainstream movie--doesn't seem politically or practically possible, not that it's not a laudable goal. Fuck the 2nd Amendment, it's not holy writ, so the relevant question is whether the right to own firearms is proper. Even one of the bill of rights is subject to questioning, not that the 2nd has been applied in any way approaching constitutional originalism. It's been a battle of political interests, period, and the gun crowd has obviously been winning--in no small part because they've maintained their relentless purist stance and the left has fallen asleep at the rhetorical wheel.

    So the only viable option seems to be piecemeal regulation, something that most people can get behind. Being a society with every citizen armed to the teeth or being surrounded by those who are just doesn't sound like a pleasant way to live, and plenty of societies do just fine not being that way.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Fuck the 2nd Amendment, it's not holy writ

    Neither are "General Welfare" and "Necessary and Proper" and "Interstate Commerce", yet I bet the house you THINK those are.

    so the relevant question is whether the right to own firearms is proper.

    Which is like asking if the right to own anything is proper, Tony, as the right is OWNESHIP, not merely owning guns.

    So the only viable option seems to be piecemeal regulation, something that most people can get behind.

    Why would it be the only viable option? Why not simply take all gans and have a disarmed society?

    Being a society with every citizen armed to the teeth or being surrounded by those who are just doesn't sound like a pleasant way to live, and plenty of societies do just fine not being that way.

    Like, for instance, Mexico, where gun legislation is one of the most strictest in the world. It is great to live down there, so pleasant, where you cannot even carry a knife with you, lest you want to spend several nights in jail. So pleasant you run the risk of being kidnapped and your ears chopped off, not even being able to carry a club to defend yourself.

  • Tony||

    Neither are "General Welfare" and "Necessary and Proper" and "Interstate Commerce", yet I bet the house you THINK those are.

    Uh, nope. I'm just interested in what's good policy.

    Which is like asking if the right to own anything is proper, Tony, as the right is OWNESHIP, not merely owning guns.

    Interesting. But surely the right to own things isn't absolute. Should people be able to own nuclear weapons? Other humans?

    Why would it be the only viable option? Why not simply take all gans and have a disarmed society?

    Because the large, angry contingent of gun nuts in this country would probably create more problems than would be solved by taking all their guns.

    Mexico may have its problems, but the US is hardly a crime-free paradise as a result of its liberal gun laws. 30,000 people die a year by guns. The question is do we think that's a problem that needs addressing, or does the freedom to pack trump all?

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Uh, nope. I'm just interested in what's good policy.

    And what's good policy, Tony?

    Interesting. But surely the right to own things isn't absolute. Should people be able to own nuclear weapons? Other humans?

    One thing at a time, since I have time and you're dense:

    a) A person SHOULD be free to own a nuclear weapon. Why not? But, I posit another question: What for? Guns are far cheaper and more convenient than nuclear weapons. I don't rely on "slippery slope" fallacies to argue, Tony, for obvious reasons.

    b) The self-ownership principle implies you cannot own another person. So your question, "can a person own another person" is moot.

    Because the large, angry contingent of gun nuts in this country would probably create more problems than would be solved by taking all their guns.

    Basically you just invented a hobgoblin to justify your position. Nice "arguing" with you, Tony.

    Mexico may have its problems, but the US is hardly a crime-free paradise as a result of its liberal gun laws.

    You have NO idea of what you're talking about, none. The reason the statistics "seem" to indicate a higher crime rate in the US because of guns is because more crimes are reported in the US than in Mexico, since the Mexican people regard the police as no better than useless. The murder rate in the US due to guns may seem higher, except that if you take into account existing GUNS, it is extremely MUCH LOWER than in "gun free" Mexico.

  • Tony||

    A person SHOULD be free to own a nuclear weapon. Why not?

    If you have to ask that question then you're not being serious. The point is, there are caveats to your cherished principle, so the relevant question is how far down they should go.

    I have no doubt that there are problems with gun violence in Mexico. The mere existence of strict gun regulations doesn't guarantee that guns won't be there. There is, as you know, a large weapons smuggling operation into Mexico from the US. It seems our liberal gun regulations are causing problems not only here, but in our neighboring country.

  • Jordan||

    There is, as you know, a large weapons smuggling operation into Mexico from the US.

    The cartels get their heavy weaponry from the U.S. and Mexican governments.

    Mexico may have its problems, but the US is hardly a crime-free paradise as a result of its liberal gun laws. 30,000 people die a year by guns.

    The vast majority of murders are gangland killings. End the Drug War and this problem goes away.

  • Tony||

    No argument there.

    As I said, at least for practical reasons, I'm not for banning all guns. I do think there is a continuum of destructive power of weapons, and that everyone agrees a line must be drawn somewhere. I do think the line could be drawn somewhere other than where it currently is.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    If you have to ask that question then you're not being serious.


    Or it would mean you have no cogent argument and are trying to slither your way out of it. I ask again: Why NOT?

    And again, I ask: Why WOULD a person have a nuclear weapon?

    The point is, there are caveats to your cherished principle


    Maybe YOUR caveats.

    I have no doubt that there are problems with gun violence in Mexico. The mere existence of strict gun regulations doesn't guarantee that guns won't be there. There is, as you know, a large weapons smuggling operation into Mexico from the US.

    First, it is NOT true that there's a great deal of arms smuggling from the US to Mexico, that's a damned LIE. Most weapons are coming from Asian countries, NOT the US.

    The LIE comes from a misreported statistic by the ATF, that purportedly showed that something like 80% of all weapons captured from drug gangs came from the US. That's not so: OF THE EIGHT PERCENT of captured weapons that could be TRACED, 80% came from the US, but the other 92% (non traceable), NOBODY CAN SAY FOR SURE.

    It seems our liberal gun regulations are causing problems not only here, but in our neighboring country.

    Again, a BIG LIE. Colombia also had well armed gangs - are these weapons there because of the "liberal" gun laws in the US?

  • The Ingenious Hidalgo||

    I would argue that nobody is allowed to own a nuclear weapon, including the government, since the existence of such constitutes an explicit threat. If I own a nuclear weapon, it's the equivalent of sending a death threat to everyone in a five mile radius. The same is not true of guns until you actually point them at someone. So the slippery slope is fallacious.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Mexico may have its problems, but the US is hardly a crime-free paradise as a result of its liberal gun laws. 30,000 people die a year by guns. The question is do we think that's a problem that needs addressing, or does the freedom to pack trump all?


    It is being addressed by arresting and prosecuting the perps.

  • Old Mexican||

    Just "one of the strictest", not "most strictest" - sorry about that!

  • ||

    not that the 2nd has been applied in any way approaching constitutional originalism.

    Indeed. An originalist application of the Second Amendment would permit people to possess and train with, at an absolute minimum, state-of-the-art military small arms.

  • Tony, aka Pol Pot||

    Getting all the books--ah remember the 70s, when Pol Pot playing dictator could advocate that somewhat plausibly in a mainstream government--doesn't seem politically or practically possible, not that it's not a laudable goal. Fuck the 1st Amendment, it's not holy writ, so the relevant question is whether the right to own books is proper. Even one of the bill of rights is subject to questioning, not that the 1st has been applied in any way approaching constitutional originalism. It's been a battle of political interests, period, and the book crowd has obviously been winning--in no small part because they've maintained their relentless purist stance and the left has fallen asleep at the rhetorical wheel.

    So the only viable option seems to be piecemeal regulation, something that most people can get behind. Being a society with every citizen armed with knowledge or being surrounded by those who are just doesn't sound like a pleasant way to live, and plenty of societies do just fine not being that way.

  • Tony||

    Books are not machines designed to kill people. Arms are not magic freedom vessels, they are arms. We invaded an entire country because they possessed them, and they were invisible! Surely it's not beyond reason to question the availability of arms beyond the absolutist NRA standard.

  • Tony, aka Pol Pot||

    Ideas, enforced by governments, have killed far more people in the last 100 years than firearms (mostly because governments prefer to use starvation and gas rather than bullets; it's cheaper).

    So, by your standards, we should ban books because they transmit ideas.

    Actually, scratch that: by your standards, we should simply ban government. Actually, I could get behind that.

  • Tony||

    Ideas don't kill people, guns (and gas and starvation) kill people.

  • Jordan||

    Good thing those people didn't have the means to defend themselves, right?

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Books are not machines designed to kill people.


    So there is no connection between Mein Kampf and the Holocaust?

  • MlR||

    They shouldn't. But they do. Because people are emotional more than logical animals.

  • MlR||

    "It shouldn't. But it does."

  • Amakudari||

    From the article:

    As Radley Balko noted this morning, a new CNN poll finds no shift in public opinion regarding gun control following the recent mass shooting in Tucson. The lack of change is similar to what was seen in the wake of other high-profile gun crimes, and it makes sense. If you do not think gun control is a good way to prevent violence—if you believe that it mainly serves to disarm potential victims, rather than deter armed lunatics or run-of-the-mill criminals—dramatic evidence that firearms can be used for evil purposes is not likely to change your mind. Furthermore, the specific policy proposals covered by these polls generally have little or nothing to do with the event that put gun control in the news.

    Honestly, I've been pleasantly surprised by the sensible reaction of the majority of Americans to this event.

  • ||

    Yeah. Why WOULD a country of 325 MILLION, suddenly demand a change in Gun Control because ONE GUY went psycho?
    Where was Sheriff D*mbsh*t, clamoring for ENFORCEMENT of our IMMIGRATION LAWS, after the Arizona Rancher was MURDERED in his home?
    The Democrats are VILE PARASITES. Liberalism is a MENTAL DISORDER. And this THING in the White House, is NOT one of us. That's why he HIDES who he is. Why he HIDES his Past. That's why he SEALS HIS PERSONAL RECORDS in a VAULT, in Hawaii. And why he's spent MILLION$ ensuring that they never see the light of day.
    Every thing he does, makes this country WORSE. Every thing he does, makes this country WEAK. His APOLOGIES to our ENEMIES, only makes them more DETERMINED to attack us.
    What kind of a man would seek to DESTROY the one Country, that STANDS ALONE, for the Protection of FREEDOM, and LIBERTY, in the face of a growing EVIL on this Planet?
    "And I saw the BEAST rise from the Sea. And he was given a MOUTH, to speak Haughty and Blasphemous words.("WE are the ones we've been waiting for.") And he was allowed to exercise authority for forty two months." Revelation 13-5.
    Sounds like our Boy, to me.

  • Tony||

    I think you have a mental disorder.

  • cynical||

    Is there some disease that manifests by overuse of all caps? I mean, it's kinda like word salad, but not the same. Apparently something that features paranoid delusions, but isn't a form of schizophrenia.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Chad,

    How long do you think [the murder rate] will keep dropping, given that we are laying off cops left and right[...]

    You mean:
    a) You acknowledge a drop in crime after making gun restrictions less restrictive;
    b) This even with fully staffed police?

    Can I ask you how come the murder rate in places like DC, post-Heller, dropped, even with fully staffed police departments? If police is the sole deterrent as you want to imply, why the DROP in the murder rate? Why didn't it simply stay flat, or even rise (given more people had new access to guns)?

    But what would I know - you're the one with the PhD.

    (I remember James Randi once said that PhD diplomas had a substance in them that, once it contacts the skin, renders the recipient totally unable to say "I don't know" and "I'll find out.")

  • ||

    That's The Amazing Randi, correct ?
    Love that dude.

  • Old Mexican||

    Yes. That's the same, the one and only. And he didn't "say it", he wrote it. Sorry about that.

  • ||

    Why WOULD a country of 325 MILLION, suddenly demand a change in Gun Control because ONE GUY went psycho?

    Well, its a smaller country, but the Brits went apeshit on gun control for precisely that reason.

    Why? Because too many Brits are idiots, I guess.

  • ||

    It took me a while to remember, but assault gun does have a direct meaning:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sturmgeschütz

    But I think those were breech loading, not semi-automatic... Which means they would still be legal given the phrasing of the poll question. Sweet!

  • Michael Ejercito||

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

    And yet governments refuse to disarm.

    The hypocrisy factor is a huge reason as to why gun control laws are
    unpopular.

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

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