Shots Fired Inside NY City Hall

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A "man in a blue suit" apparently opened fire from the balcony of the New York City Hall Chamber, getting off a dozen shots and wounding two before fleeing.

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  1. Great, another “reason” to implement more social controls in the great city of New York…

  2. Gun Control fails again.
    Can’t even protect themselves in that fortress they have made out of City Hall, with metal detectors and armed police all over the place.
    But the average subject of the Lord Mayor has to depend on 911. Self defense is not permitted.

    Tom

  3. Angry smoker going after Bloomberg?

  4. Someone shoots three people, and your primary area of concern is to make sure people like him are not prevented from buying guns in the future.

    Typical.

  5. Well, it would appear that all the attempts to do so have already remarkably failed, joe. Unless you want to try to take them away from everyone else while you’re at it.

  6. I do believe the concern is that people _like us_ are STILL permitted to buy guns in the future, not that people who will abuse them can still abuse them.

    Perhaps a point too fine to see in the midst of gunsmoke, so to speak, but no less important.

  7. /sarcasm on

    This story is obviously a fabrication. Everyone knows that guns are illegal in New York City. Unless this was a rogue cop or National Guardsman, there’s no way someone could have shot up the council hall, since there’s no way they could have gotten their hands on a gun in the first place.

    You libertarians are so gullible.

    /sarcasm off

  8. the shooter was stopped from more violence by the brady bill

    oh wait, a security guard used a GUN and shot the killer

  9. Pluto and Steve, if you react with personal horror when someone suggest that thugs and psychotics shouldn’t be allowed to buy weapons, I have to wonder why. I think there is a difference between a peaceful, law abiding gun owner and someone who would shoot up a city hall. I don’t think a normal gun owner would do that sort of thing, and that public policy should recognize this. You, on the other hand, seem quite committed to disabusing me of this notion.

    Keep at it, and I’m sure the law will come to reflect your opinion – but I don’t think you’d like the implications.

  10. Julian on a home trip?

  11. joe – my point is that the law seems ever-futile in making this distinction. Case in point, I’m willing to wager one of a few possibilities – that the assailant had no prior record, that the gun was acquired within the jurisdiction through illicit means, or the gun was acquired outside the jurisdiction, meaning no NY public policy solution would have stopped it. If the man had no prior record, again, the distiction failed – this person was, up until now, a “law-abiding citizen.” Finally, if the gun was illicitly acquired, the entire law was circumvented to begin with, essentially making it moot. Ergo, how would the law change short of outright confiscation that would make it not impotent to act in the cases I propose?

  12. comment from the Corner from Bloomberg:

    “At a press conference right now about the shooting at city hall today, a reporter asked why James Davis, the city councilman killed, was armed (it is not clear that he ever used his gun, though–he was fired on first). NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg responded: “I don’t know why people carry guns. Guns kill people.” Does the mayor ask his security detail why they carry guns?”

  13. “I don’t know why people carry guns. Guns kill people.”

    This comment is so open to mockery they should call it a Bushism.

  14. joe:

    “Pluto and Steve, if you react with personal horror when someone suggest that thugs and psychotics shouldn’t be allowed to buy weapons…”

    Funny – not only has no one stated that thugs and psychotics shouldn’t be allowed to buy weapons, but as such no one has reacted with personal horror about it. You know, it is really rather difficult to carry on the least bit sensible of a discussion when people are going to be deeply disturbed, annoyed, or otherwise compelled to post and argue *about things that no one has actually said!* So perhaps it would be productive to go back and read what has been written, and discover that no one said what you seem to think we said.

    That thugs and psychotics can buy weapons is not an issue for me. Do you know why? Warning, screaming to commence: BECAUSE THEY SHOULDN’T BE IN SOCIETY IN THE FIRST PLACE! Sweet jesus, I somehow don’t feel any safer that people are going to work really hard to make sure thugs and psychotics don’t have guns, all the while they are free to roam about and do all the beating, raping, robbing, ramming, running over, throwing, and stabbing they can get away with. Jee, I dunno, how about this solution – if you know they are a thug or psychotic…uhh…keep them the hell away from the rest of us, OK? Don’t waste your time making sure they don’t have a gun – just take them away. What kind of fucked up logic is that? “Well sir, we have good reason to think that, if released, this man will murder someone.” “Oh, well then…I guess we’d better be sure they don’t get their hands on a gun!” Huh?

    But that’s the problem, isn’t it – you can’t much figure it out until AFTER they’ve gone off their rocker, can you, save the ones we’ve already arrested and then let go as if they were sufficiently adjusted? Thus there really isn’t any way to keep guns out of the hands of lunies unless you take away everyone’s gun; unless of course you have the whole “background check” thing, for which you can see my above objection – if one can really be reasonably worried that they are going to use a gun to murder someone, jee, I dunno, perhaps we can do something about letting them out in the first place, and leave all the good law-abiding people the hell alone?

    Litterally, we are talking about screwing with an entire society because we cannot collectively get our heads around the idea that people who are actually proven to go about robbing and raping people pretty darn reliably go about doing some other equal or worse nasty stuff; and maybe that’s just because there is something seriously wrong with these people, and one had best not to trust them in civil society without some really good reason for doing it. Not about punishment – let’s just figure out to keep them from, say, doing it again if they somehow manage to get their hands on a weapon. Or, in the alternative, maybe they aren’t really that much of a threat afterall, and our system is pretty darn good, so we shouldn’t even have to worry about whether or not they can get a gun or not.

    But still, the fact remains that someone generally has to do something really bad _for the first time_, which sure seems like the case here; so I’m guessing the aforementioned wager would work out pretty well.

    In other words – gun control, short of an outright gun ban, would not have kept a gun out of the rightful control of the lunatic who decided to go on a shooting spree. Assuming, of course, that outright gun bans would be more successful than outright bans on cocaine and heroine – which is to say, not very.

    So we can all feel safe knowing no law abiding individual has a gun, while criminals and lunatics still manage to get their hands on them, or we can just go with something else; but either way, lunatics and murderers won’t go away. Seems there is something wrong with them, and apparently they actually existed before even the invention of gunpowder.

  15. Joe, my question, much as Steve is asking, is how do you make the distinction between a peaceful, law-abiding gun owner, and thugs and psychotics?

  16. As we have seen in England (and other places, such as Taiwan), outright gun bans don’t work either. Outright gun bans make it impossible for good people to defend themselves, while creating a black market in guns amongst the criminal classes.

  17. Gregory, if you have to explicitly spell out that you’re being sarcastic, you’re probably a person who’s not qualified to be using sarcasm.

    Not to mention, that whole “/sarcasm on” business kind of neuters the whole delivery, taking away both the humor and the punch for the reader.

  18. Dear Anon.,

    Sorry. Too many evenings spent at fark.com. The posters there require it to be spelled out for htem

  19. Well, it’s not nearly as bad as “IMHO,” which has always struck me as silly and redundant.

  20. It’s obviously the nefarious Dr. Wang, come back to life. He’s pissed, and this time he’s only got one blue suit.

    And Plutark, do you really think anyone is going to read an eight paragraph posting? Come on, now.

  21. I just about went ballistic when Bloomberg made that asinine “I don’t know why people carry guns” remark.

    My initial reaction was, “What do you call those people in uniforms carrying guns around New York, again?” A gun in the hands of a cop or soldier is for killing people, the last I heard. Some people need to be killed. When a private citizen kills someone who’s trying to hurt, rob or rape them, that’s a GOOD thing–a lot better than the alternative, anyway.

    Are you gun control folks aware the police are not legally obligated to defend any particular person? Your wonderful social contract boils down to trading in your God-given right to self defense for the remote possibility that your death will be avenged by the state.

    This double standard of not minding when the POLICE carry guns, BTW, strikes me as not only elitist but inconsistent. It’s like the people who call themselves “pacifists,” and then go on to talk about how all that money spent on armaments could go to Head Start or something. How do you think the government gets that money? People with guns taking it by force! Duh!

  22. Joe:
    The assailant was a political candidate and personal acquaintance of the victim. It is rather likely that up until today, he would have been described a “law-abiding citizen.”
    Additionally, I would point out the assailant got around the metal detectors because he was accompanied by the Councilman. If NYC elected officials had to abide by the daily rules and regulations of average citizens, Davis might still be alive.

  23. “most of the illicitly acquired guns in NYC were once legally purchased in a jurisdiction with slack gun purchase laws, like Virginia. You are probably correct that stricter gun control laws in New York would not have prevented the crime, but stricter laws nationwide may well have. ”

    Most “illicitly acquired guns” were once “legally purchased”. But most of these entered the black market via theft, or were legally purchased by friend or family of the illicit owner. Consequently, “reasonable” gun laws restircting point-of-purchase sales don’t work very well.

    To get around the limitations of “reasonable” gun laws, you pretty much have to jump to full-on prohabition. But as we have seen in England and Taiwan (or in the US for other products such as drugs and alcohol), these don’t work either, and bring on much larger problems.

  24. AJB: All Glocks I know of have enough steel in them to trigger metal detectors.

  25. “Which was my point – the only use for background checks appears to be to keep known criminals from buying guns from gunshops. And why do we care if these people buy guns? Why, it would seem to be because we think they are sufficiently likely to use them to, say, kill someone, such that we wish to keep them from so purchasing a weapon. And thus my response: Gee, do you think you could just not let those people out in the first place? Maybe it’s just me, but using background checks in place of a proper prison, penal, and rehab system doesn’t make me feel any better.”

    I agree.

    Furthermore, why are convicted but released felons prevented from owning guns? If we can’t trust them with a gun, we can’t trust them in free society in the first place. Certainly, released, non-violent felons should be able to own guns. Particularly considering the range of silly felonies we have in our country these days.

  26. “The government can’t “take people away” who haven’t committed a crime. Prior restraint is a far more slippery slope than background checks for purchasing firearms.”

    Aren’t background checks used to find people who have already committed crimes? If these people have committed serious crimes such that there is reason that they should not obtain arms, shouldn’t we just keep them off the street? On the other hand, if they haven’t committed such crimes, what’s wrong with letting them obtain guns?

  27. So now, as long as they’re too stupid to buy a Glock, or some other type of ceramic/polymer construction handgun, they’ll be busting caps in the foyer.

  28. When guns are outlawed, only politicians will own guns.

    They can take my gun when they pry it from that Councilman’s cold, dead fingers.

    It must be said, that this crime was committed by a pro- gun control politician, against another pro- gun control politician.

  29. Plutark,

    The government can’t “take people away” who haven’t committed a crime. Prior restraint is a far more slippery slope than background checks for purchasing firearms.

    As for the source of the gun, Steve, “the gun was acquired within the jurisdiction through illicit means, or the gun was acquired outside the jurisdiction, meaning no NY public policy solution would have stopped it.” Actually, you’re saying the same thing twice; most of the illicitly acquired guns in NYC were once legally purchased in a jurisdiction with slack gun purchase laws, like Virginia. You are probably correct that stricter gun control laws in New York would not have prevented the crime, but stricter laws nationwide may well have.

  30. how about stick gun control for the whole planet? call in the UN!

  31. joe: “The government can’t “take people away” who haven’t committed a crime. Prior restraint is a far more slippery slope than background checks for purchasing firearms.”

    Precisely. And how is it that you can’t take people away based on prior restraint, but those same people can be prevented buying a gun via background checks?

    As far as I’m aware, background checks are “checking” their “background” for having already committed crimes. They aren’t checking their background with God, they are running their identity against a database of criminals who are no longer permitted to buy guns.

    Which was my point – the only use for background checks appears to be to keep known criminals from buying guns from gunshops. And why do we care if these people buy guns? Why, it would seem to be because we think they are sufficiently likely to use them to, say, kill someone, such that we wish to keep them from so purchasing a weapon. And thus my response: Gee, do you think you could just not let those people out in the first place? Maybe it’s just me, but using background checks in place of a proper prison, penal, and rehab system doesn’t make me feel any better.

  32. National gun laws will STILL only hurt the law-abiding.

    Look at England. You may not LIKE this example, but it is textbook-perfect. Its is a frigging ISLAND… and still the guns come in, and still the politicans respond with restrictions on the law-abiding. Ubiquitous Cameras. Busting people who use putty knives on their job. Reducing the right of self-defense to the point its not really there anymore. Protections against Double Jeapordy removed.

    No, this is NOT all the cause of firearms banning, but it IS part of the same mindset.

    Every time an incident like this happens, more gun laws against THE LAW-ABIDING are discussed. We are not paranoid to note this: It simply never fails to happen… it is reality.

    Oh, and Jon H, take your fantasies about wild wild west gun-owners filling up city hall with return-fire casualties elsewhere. Your bigotry is not appreciated.

  33. Plutarck writes:

    “In other words – gun control, short of an outright gun ban, would not have kept a gun out of the rightful control of the lunatic who decided to go on a shooting spree.”

    The victim was armed with a gun (apparently, retired police are by convention allowed to carry in NYC). There were armed guards present. There’s a big police station a block away. The gunman almost certainly expected that he’d probably die.

    Obviously, more guns wouldn’t have stopped this crime. Had more non-perps been armed and shooting there probably would have been more people killed. Shooting among an audience of people isn’t exactly ideal for clear lines of fire.

    This would seem to be a pretty neutral incident in the gun control argument. Tighter gun control wouldn’t have helped. Looser gun control wouldn’t have helped either.

  34. Oh, and the perp was shot and killed on the scene.

  35. Glenn C writes: ” If NYC elected officials had to abide by the daily rules and regulations of average citizens, Davis might still be alive.’

    Apparently, Bloomberg has removed that loophole and everyone will have to go through the x-ray now.

  36. In response to Jon H:

    I agree that this doesn’t say much about gun control one way or the other, but it does say a lot about term limits.

    With all councilmen limited to 2 two-year terms, the parties are ready to nominate ANYONE who shows up at party meetings to be a councilman (so long as they vote othe party line). You folks probably know that most of the people who go to political meetings have nothing better to do or hear voices in their heads.

    Sheesh, you should see the motley collection of people who were at l;ast years nominations meeting for the NYC libertarian party!

  37. “Aren’t background checks used to find people who have already committed crimes?” “If we can’t trust them with a gun, we can’t trust them in free society in the first place.”

    Background checks are designed to identify people who have a prior conviction, and have either finished their sentence or are on probation/parole. If you want to make the argument that these people should all be in jail, go ahead, but it’s not a very libertarian thing to do.

    “To get around the limitations of “reasonable” gun laws, you pretty much have to jump to full-on prohabition.” Only if you believe that gun laws should try to prevent *all* gun crimes. I do not.

  38. “Background checks are designed to identify people who have a prior conviction, and have either finished their sentence or are on probation/parole. If you want to make the argument that these people should all be in jail, go ahead, but it’s not a very libertarian thing to do.”

    People with prior convictions should either be trusted with a gun or still incarcerated. Those that can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted in free society. On the other hand, we have many felonies that shouldn’t even exist, or, at the very least, shouldn’t prohibit gun ownership.

    “Only if you believe that gun laws should try to prevent *all* gun crimes. I do not.”

    In terms of net effect, I’m not convinced that gun control laws prevent ANY crimes. In fact, much gun law seems to be aimed at preventing citizens from defeding themselves (laws preventing concealed carry, etc) while others seem aimed at doing nothing but adding confusing laws to the books (the various AW bans).

  39. “In fact, much gun law seems to be aimed at preventing citizens from defeding themselves (laws preventing concealed carry, etc) while others seem aimed at doing nothing but adding confusing laws to the books (the various AW bans).”

    Aimed at? AIMED AT? I think you’re lurching off into black helicopter territory there. Aimed at? As in, the primary intent of the people supporting them?

    A better argument is that a certain gun law would have that effect. That’s a reasonable topic for discussion, that open minded people would be wise to consider, regardless of their philosophical position. But when you start making arguments that gun control supporters have an agenda that starts with making God loving Red State Americans helpless, you’re not going to convince anyone.

  40. “Aimed at? AIMED AT? I think you’re lurching off into black helicopter territory there. Aimed at? As in, the primary intent of the people supporting them?”

    Note that I said “seems”:

    “. . . seems to be aimed at . . . while others seem aimed . . .”

    I wasn’t talking about actual intent, just the effects of the legislation, and what you might infer about intent based upon these effects.

  41. So you are talking about their intent, but want to keep your rhetorical options open.

  42. National Gun Control is a wonderful idea!!! If we made all guns illegal in the US, we would be free of all guns, just like how we have outlawed Cocaine, Meth, Weed….Wake up.

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