Gun Control

Mass Shooting Delusions

"We must act now" is not a gun control policy, let alone an argument.


If you are the sort of person who feels compelled to demand new gun control laws after a mass shooting, you have several options. You can keep your recommendations vague, letting your audience fill in the blanks; push the policies you always push, regardless of whether they have anything to do with the latest outrage; or latch onto a detail of that crime, inflating its importance to support a seemingly germane solution.

All three of those strategies were on display after a gunman murdered 12 people at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center on Friday. None of them reflected well on the persuasive powers of leading gun control advocates, who long ago abandoned logic in favor of emotional appeals and moral posturing.

"Enough is enough," said former Vice President Joe Biden. "We must act now."

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who are competing with Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination and have made gun control a prominent component of their campaigns, concurred. "Enough of excuses," Booker said, calling for "common-sense things." Harris announced that she was "sick and tired" of "senseless violence."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who has supported restrictions on firearms throughout her career, declared that "it's time for commonsense gun safety laws." Details TBD.

Feinstein's reticence was understandable. The gun control policy with which she is most strongly identified—banning so-called assault weapons, which are distinguished from other firearms by mostly cosmetic features that do not affect their lethality—was plainly irrelevant to the Virginia Beach shooting, the perpetrator of which, like most mass shooters, used ordinary handguns.

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence was more specific, urging Congress to pass a bill that would prohibit firearm sales unless they involve federally licensed dealers, who are legally required to conduct background checks. But according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Virginia Beach killer bought his weapons legally, meaning he either passed a background check or would have, which is typically true of mass shooters.

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party's 2016 presidential nominee, noted that the killer used "silencing equipment," which she thinks demonstrates the folly of loosening restrictions on such accessories. "The sound of gunfire can save lives," she said.

So-called silencers, a.k.a. suppressors, do not eliminate "the sound of gunfire." On average, they reduce the noise generated by a .45 ACP pistol (the kind used in Friday's attack) from around 157 decibels to something like 127 decibels, which is still louder than a siren or a thunderclap. It's not surprising, then, that "most law enforcement experts say" the Virginia Beach shooter's suppressor "likely had no bearing on his ability to kill so many people in so little time," as the Associated Press noted.

The perpetrator of last week's attack also used "extended magazines," although police have not specified their capacity. A bill that would have imposed a 10-round limit on magazines died in the Virginia legislature last January, and Feinstein has proposed the same limit at the federal level.

Since switching magazines takes a couple of seconds, the significance of having to do it more often while attacking unarmed people is debatable. But if having more than 10 rounds in a magazine sometimes matters in such cases, that is even more likely to be true for someone defending himself against armed attackers.

When states impose limits on magazines, current and retired police officers always insist that legislators make exceptions for them. They clearly recognize that larger magazines have legitimate defensive uses; they just don't think ordinary citizens deserve the advantage they demand for themselves.

In April a federal judge concluded that California's 10-round magazine limit "places a severe restriction on the core right of self-defense of the home such that it amounts to a destruction of the right and is unconstitutional under any level of scrutiny." For advocates of "commonsense gun safety laws," the Second Amendment is just another detail they would prefer to ignore.

NEXT: The Case Against Government-Mandated Parental Leave

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

  1. “We must act now” is what led to the 1994 crime bill, which led to the mass incarceration of young black men.

    It seems to me that every solution to the problem of mass shootings results in the mass incarceration of young black men.

    1. Democrats have been for that since they were running Black slaves here in the USA.

      Now the Black slaves just work for the Prison Industrial Complex.

    2. That shouldn’t surprise you. The Democrat Party – which CLAIMS to be concerned with the welfare of young black men – has historically defended buying and selling them, undermined their family structure under LBJ, and tends to run the cities in which they are likeliest to be shot.

      That’s the Party that claims to champion them…..

      1. And this demographic which votes by a 9 to 1 margin for Democrats doesn’t know their own interests? You’re implying they’re all fucking idiots for supporting the party of Steve King and Rush Limbaugh. These people know what the Republican party stands for today. They know who the KKK votes for today. They know why the southern whites abandoned the Democratic party after the civil rights legislation. Your ignorance is fucking pathetic.

        1. “Libertarians should never ever dare suggesting that the government parties and policies that people support are harmful to them!”

        2. I’m implying that the Progressive Left has run a long and successful series of scams on the Black community, and does precious little for them. The question of what Republicans might do for them is another issue, but they would have a good deal more leverage if they didn’t vote Democrat so reliably.

        3. The current KKK is estimated at 5,000 to 8,000 members by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) which, to be cynical, has a vested interest in exaggerating KKK membership.

          No national party should care how such a tiny voting base votes. KKK is a nullity. But it is a Democrat smear label directed at others to deny their own past. Do keep using that talking point: it’s the kind of Democrat National Committee tone-deafness that got Donald Trump (Independent, Democrat, Reform, Republican, Mr. None-of-the-above) elected.

          Locally in East Tennessee history, in the build up to the 1946 Battle of Athens, it was poll watcher C.M. Wise (white) for Boss Crump’s Democrat Memphis-based political machine who shot Tom Gillespie (black) in the back for daring to show up at the polling place to vote for the veteran-led Bipartisan Ticket (local candidates, 3 Rs, 2 Ds, not Crump machine). The connection Democrat = machine politics is hard to erase; machine politics = keeping people helpless at the mercy of the Ins in power.

        4. “And this demographic which votes by a 9 to 1 margin for Democrats doesn’t know their own interests? ”

          Yes of course. They have been fooled to vote against their own interests.

      2. Don’t forget it was also black Africans selling black Africans.

    3. Considering most mass shootings are committed by young black men, I don’t see the problem here.

      1. Citation, please.

        The FBI crime statistics do show that young black men commit more murders per capita. But since young black men are still a minority of all murderers, I do not believe the statistics support the claim that they commit most (that is, greater than 50% of all) murders. And I definitely do not believe that the statistics support the claim that they commit most mass murders. That is a distinct sub-class of crimes.

        From the data I’ve seen, mass murderers are predominantly male (though not exclusively), may have some age skewing but are about as racially diverse as the larger population.

        1. It depends on how you define “mass shooting”

          Using the FBI definition of a random, public, spree killing the shooters appear to be predominately white men

          Using a more general definition (often preferred by media and gun control advocates to inflate numbers) of any multi-victim shooting, most appear to be gang related, and the shooters predominately young black men

        2. The FBI definition is 4 or more, excluding the shooter, for a mass shooting. Black men make up almost 75% of that total. This shouldn’t surprise anyone considering they commit 50% of all homicides. Check out NIBRS if you’re curious. It’s not really that relevant logically. The percentage of people who do something has no bearing on reality. It’s just useful to know because people constantly talk about over and under representation in jails and arrests and if people are committing more crimes and being arrested more, that’s normal. It’s kind of like how the top 20% of earners pay about 87% of all income tax revenue and also primarily benefited from tax cuts. Of course they saved more from tax cuts; they paid more because they make up a greater percentage. Of course blacks are jailed more; they commit more crimes.

          1. While that is the definition the FBI uses and while black offenders do commit 47% of all homicides, black offenders only committed 16% of the mass murders between 1982 and Feb 2019 (the latest reliable data that I could find).

            16% is rather a long way from 75%. If you have a cite for your claim of 75%, please show your work.

            1. I don’t know about his 75% figure, but I have read other stats before that showed black men were disproportionately responsible for mass shootings, as per the FBI definition. I don’t recall the percentage, but it was rather higher than 16%. IIRC it was something comparable to the overall murder difference, which is around 50%.

              Bottom line is blacks are WAY over represented in all forms of crimes. IIRC for assaults it’s more like 35% or something, murder 50%… So I wouldn’t be too skeptical about them being somewhere in there on mass shootings too.

              1. I should have provided the source for my statistic of 16%. If you have a better statistic or a reasonable critique of the methodology used for that one, please share.

                Again, yes young black males are overrepresented for other violent crimes. So far, the statistics do not support the claim that they are overrepresented for ‘mass murders’ as defined by the FBI.


                  This 3 part post examines a lot of the biases and statistical games people play with shooting statistics, but it doesn’t cite the NIBRS data directly. The Fridel study doesn’t define mass by the number killed, so it underreports black mass shootings. The other articles cited make hilarious claims like whites commit 64% of mass shootings by broadly defining any public gun violence as a mass shooting. With such broad and meaningless distinctions, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the data mostly follows demographic data. Of course, even in that extreme scenario, whites are still underrepresented, which sort of proves my point in and of itself.

                  1. Ha. Even for public mass shootings, blacks are represented at 2.5x their share of the population, and whites are lower than their share. For the more general mass shootings they’re at 50%. It really is amazing how media manipulation can change the perception people have.

            2. The problem is how you define a mass murder. You’re not going to find a study that says 75% because you’re not going to find someone that actually uses the FBI definition and sticks to it. They’ll constantly shift the goalposts to get to the desired number to fit the narrative that psychotic white men, armed to the teeth, are coming to a school, concert, and movie theater near you.

              Of course 75% is a cherrypick to an extent since crime varies year to year, but the point remains that mass shootings are mostly committed by black men.

          2. My observation is that white males commit the majority of mass murders of people they don’t know. When black men, on the other hand, commit mass murders, it is generally connected with people they know and usually involves some combination of money, drugs, and women.

        3. You’re right. The current FBI released data (from 2013) shows that when the race of the offender is known, blacks committed 2698 murders (not just shootings) and whites committed 2755 murders; other or unknown committed 227 more. So blacks committed 47.5% of the all the murders, which is indeed less than half of all murders tracked.

          Of course, blacks comprise less than 13% of the population.

          The vast majority of their victims are also black, so this black-on-black crime is results in a per-capita rate that is 5 or 6 times higher than whites. Blacks also murder whites (405 instances counter in that dataset) far more often than whites murder blacks (189).

          The 2016 data is out but I’ve not found the salient chart there yet.

    4. Maybe we should demand that entertainment use the ACTUAL sound of a gun firing with a silencer versus what they use in TV and movies now. Lots of people think they are extremely quiet when, as this article (and many others previously) show they do not.

      1. That’s a slippery slope to start banning things on TV that don’t reflect reality. Did you think that one through before you said it?

        1. The idea that silencers tone down a gunshot to a quiet whisper is as far from reality as the notion (to date) of hand-held beam weapons. And a good deal more pernicious. Using a silencer protects hearing, it doesn’t make guns QUIET.

        2. Well, we would be spared Liz Warren and Ocasio-Cortez prattling about Game of Thrones.

      2. Cool thing to check out on YouTube:

        Subsonic ammo with a suppressor.

        No joke, with low caliber guns, it ALMOST gets to being as quiet as in the movies. Subsonic ammo is of course a LOT less powerful, so less deadly, but if one wants to be super quiet for some reason it’s pretty sweet.

        1. The shooter used a .45 ACP which was heard by many of the witnesses present.

    5. As long as about a quarter of young black men are criminals, _any_ crime control measure will incarcerate many of them. (Unless we reduce incarceration by adopting the Dickensian era British policy of giving most alleged criminals a swift trial, immediately followed by hanging even for petty theft.)

  2. When non-libertarians and non-gun rights people read those observations about how “assault weapons” are mostly about “cosmetic features that do not affect their lethality” and that most mass shooters just use ordinary handguns, they don’t see that as an argument for not banning assault weapons. They see that as an argument for banning ordinary handguns in addition to assault weapons.

    When most people read that observation about how the Virginia Beach shooter, like most mass shooters, either passed a background check or would have, they conclude that if universal background checks are insufficient to stop mass shootings, then we need to just go ahead and ban all guns and confiscate the ones that have already been sold.

    We may need to spell out the argument against gun bans and confiscating them from the perspective of stopping mass shooters.

    Maybe what we need to get across to people is that banning guns and confiscating them is likely to turn out a lot like the drug war–outrageously expensive, with the burden apt to fall disproportionately on minorities and the poor, and a gun war that is unlikely to do more good than harm. Hopefully, we won’t need to go through 40+ years of a war on guns like we did the war on drugs before people realize that it’s a war we should never have started.

    In fact, the war on drugs probably makes more sense to most people than a war on guns if only because, where heroin, crack, and meth may not be able to be used responsibly, few gun owners ever shoot another human being. Imagine if we started throwing people in jail during the drug war–not for buying, selling, and using drugs but because they might do so in the future. That’s what we’re talking about doing by banning guns and confiscating them. You’re talking about going after a hundred million Americans for something they have never done and will never do.

    1. Incremental; today’s “common sense do something now” is, as then
      VP Biden proclaimed in 2012, “just the beginning.” Do not doubt for one fucking second that the goal is anything less than mandatory confiscation. The fact that very few will comply [estimates for Australia put the compliance there at around 20%] will not matter; we will all be defacto felons, and that is what they really want. Once your are over that barrel, they’ve got you.

      1. estimates for Australia put the compliance there at around 20%

        If true, you can imagine what the rate would be in the US.

      2. we will all be defacto felons

        I am lucky if a full magazine all hit the target in an isosceles stance. I am never going to hit anything shooting with my wrist turned over.

    2. My argument against Gun Control is simple; the Second Amendment bars most forms of gun confiscation. Until and unless Gun Control advocates come to groups with this they are just one more bunch of authoritarian scofflaws undermining the Constitutions limits on government. And unlimited government has murdered more people in the last century than all the mass shooters combined.

      Either propose an Amendment to the Constitution permitting whatever Gu Control measures you envision, or sit down and shut up.

      1. And, if you do actually get an Amendment passed (which won’t happen given the need for 37 states to ratify), accept the civil war that WILL follow.

        Gun owners are not going to quietly turn over their weapons. Even in leftist Connecticut, the confiscation of (what particular model or type eludes me) had, what, about a 10% compliance rate by all estimates?

        Ain’t gonna happen, and a full on civil war is too high a price for the gun control fantasy.

        1. All-talk right-wing absolutists are among my favorite faux libertarians, especially when comparing their bluster with the facts that they have been getting crushed in the culture war and therefore spend their days obsequiously complying with the laws established by their betters (against their hopes and efforts) for more than 50 or 60 years.

          But, by all means, carry on, clingers.

          1. Not clinging, just predicting.

          2. Fun fact: the oldest organ in the sentient jar of gall bladders of failed dictators that refers to itself as Kirkland belonged to Elagabalus of Rome (d. 222 CE)

          3. Nothing says shedding obsequence like giving up all of your best means to self defense.

          4. Well, if anybody is ever dumb enough to try mass confiscations in the USA I guess we’ll find out how “all talk” all these people are won’t we Rev.?

    3. You can absolutely use heroine, Crack, and meth responsibly. They are not magic. They are not more powerful than the human will.

      Much like guns, it is ignorance that breeds fear, and then calls for prohibition. The war on drugs seems to be turning only because everyone is getting familiar with pot, and realizing that it’s not a scary boogeyman.

      Perhaps to stop the war on guns, the best thing is simply to get more people shooting. Nothing too scary at first. Just a little handgun.

      See? Not too big of a deal, right?

      1. “Perhaps to stop the war on guns, the best thing is simply to get more people shooting. Nothing too scary at first. Just a little handgun.”

        Totally agree; The .22 LR is the “gateway caliber.” I’ve introduced a number of people that way, and will continue to do so. Once you get them shooting the AR they’re hooked.

        1. The first one is free.

        2. I read it somewhere years ago, but also thought it myself before reading it. Basically the reason we’ve seen such a sharp change in gun attitudes is because of the increasing urbanization. Basically, far fewer people are familiar with guns, have no personal experience, see no utility or fun in them, therefore freak out.

          It’s become a self reinforcing thing at this point too. An organization that literally gave free .22LR pistols away to first time gun owners in cities would in fact be a cool thing to do. Or at least free shooting days at the range for people who have never fired a gun to learn about them or something. It would go a long way towards helping people I think.

          I almost never meet anyone who has fired guns before who is an extremist on gun control. You will sometimes meet somebody who owns guns who is okay with more hardcore background checks or whatever… But those people never believe in banning them outright etc.

      2. “You can absolutely use heroine, Crack, and meth responsibly. They are not magic. They are not more powerful than the human will.”

        You want gun rights to die on that hill?

        It may be plausibly argued by non-libertarians that heroin, crack, and meth users are hurting themselves. That’s certainly the general consensus–that heroin, crack, and meth users are not only hurting society but also hurting themselves. A hundred million gun owners can’t even be plausibly painted as guilty of hurting themselves–because they use their guns all their lives in a way that doesn’t hurt anybody, not even themselves.

        This may come as a surprise to you, but public policy isn’t set by libertarians. We’re such a minority that we depend on persuading non-libertarians to do things like legalize marijuana and oppose laws and policies that violate the Second Amendment.

        Your bad argument suggesting that banning heroin and crack is just as bad as banning guns because heroin, crack, and meth are used responsibly by millions of Americans is neither true nor persuasive to non-libertarians. Again, persuading non-libertarians to support gun rights with the truth is the goal here.

        And the truth is that a hundred million gun owners never shoot anybody else or themselves, and prosecuting average Americans for the crime of not doing anything that harms anyone is wrong.

        If you want to argue about how many heroin addicts can dance on the head of a pin, I suggest you argue with this guy instead:

        1. Besides which, I don’t find any amendment in the constitution stating that the use of those chemicals ‘shall not be infringed’.
          But our newest troll is likely not all that familiar with the constitution.

          1. “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”

            The alcohol prohibitionists understood something that modern progressives have (willfully?) forgotten: The written constitution limits the authority of the government, not the rights of people.

            1. Best. Reply. Ever.

        2. Wow. That’s a pretty thorough takedown of an argument I never made.

          I literally pointed out that opinions on the drug war haven’t been moved by arguments about how we should all be able to use heroin. Instead, you start with something less scary, like pot, because I fully agree with you that libertarians don’t decide policy. Nor is policy decided on principle or logic. In my reading of the second amendment, I should be able to own a rocket launcher. Will I take this argument to the public square when we are talking about magazine capacity limits? Of course not. But it’s still a valid aside on a libertarian website discussing the issue.

          Acceptance of guns or drugs will only come through familiarity. We both want non-libertarians to support gun rights. My suggestion was simple: have them shoot some guns.

          What was your suggestion again? Comparing the war on guns to the drug war, while simultaneously reminding everyone that you consider some drugs super inherently dangerous? Great idea.

      3. Yup, kind of hard to murder 15 people in a mass shooting when 12 people start shooting back as soon as they hear the first shot!

    4. This is exactly what we need to do. Common sense and restrictions are code for repealing 2A and confiscating guns. Find the rare Democrat who is still intellectually honest and they all admit that they want zero guns.

      Another argument we need to address is the necessity of 2A for a free society. Most people who oppose 2A accept the logic of “free society = society where people have weapons and can form militia to resist tyrannical state”, but they reject the necessity for such a provision. The founding fathers were pretty clear on that meaning and 2A reflects it accurately. What these anti 2A people can’t imagine is tyranny happening in America, so they consider 2A an excuse for “perverts” and “gun freaks” to enjoy shooting and violence.

      1. “”Another argument we need to address is the necessity of 2A for a free society. “”

        I wish that was a winning argument. They are not interested in a free society. They want an authoritarian society where government controls everything.

        1. Is there a convincing argument against authoritarianism that doesn’t involve actually having authoritarianism, people learning their lesson, and saying “never again” only for future generations to repeat their mistakes?

          1. I don’t know. Historically I think the most convincing arguments have been when the boot is applied firmly on the face and people grow wary of the boot. But we are seeking to avoid that.

            I do think the pro authoritarians in the US today are a product of never having to experience it.

          2. It is a sad thing that most people are too ignorant of history to get the basic lessons it teaches about these kinda things… Which is why I am pretty sure we’re heading towards another lesson learning period in this country, which scares the crap out of me. I just hope I’m young enough when it happens to get to go have some fun.

        2. Why they WANT is a nanny society where Nanny Government takes care of their every desire. What they will GET is another matter.

          1. A government that is powerful enough to give you everything you want is powerful enough to take away everything you have.
            — Ronald Reagan

      2. What these anti 2A people can’t imagine is tyranny happening in America,”

        What people need to be reminded of is that there has been tyranny by our own government in America several time in the past. the civil war, Jim crow laws, Tulsa riots in 1921? is a prime example even as recently as Hurrican Katrina when the government took law abiding peoples guns and left them defenseless during a time of emergency

        1. Most people believe that 9/11 was the first terror attack on US soil (look up ‘Mollly Maguires’ ) that Peal Harbor was an ‘unprovoked attack’ (we were being plenty provoking, and should have been), that the 1960’s saw the first ‘race riots’ (look up the New York Draft Riots).

          Most people have little grasp of history. And much of what they DO ‘know’ is pigswill.

    5. I’ve tried that approach, and I haven’t had much luck with it. Prohibition is out of living memory, and given the lack of knowledge of even basic American history nowadays it just doesn’t click.

      The War On Drugs is still ongoing, but many of the people you’re talking to have little or no direct experience with its failures. Some of them actually think it’s working well.

      1. The legalization of recreational marijuana suggests that people do realize that the war on drugs has been a failure.

        Regardless, pointing out that people who never hurt anyone (not even themselves) with a gun shouldn’t be prosecuted for doing something that never hurt anyone.

        We’re talking about prosecuting people who have never even aimed a gun at another person much less shot someone. The point is that even if the drug war was wrong–they were at least going after people who were doing something that could be at least “justified” as self-harm. When they’re talking about going after gun owners, they have to side step the fact that a hundred million gun owners never shoot anyone.

        We have become desensitized to the fact that 99% of gun owners never shoot anybody, and we’re talking about siccing the cops on them like they’re criminals. The injustice of what the gun grabbers are proposing needs to be emphasized. Punishing people who can’t even plausibly be painted as hurting themselves, much less other people, is intuitively wrong to most Americans–all the other statistics and arguments aside.

        Siccing the cops on kids for running a lemonade stand is intuitively wrong for the exact same reason.

        1. They say they’re going after a few bad apples to protect a hundred million Americans from mass shooters, but what they’re proposing to do is to go after a hundred million innocent Americans who have never and never will hurt anybody–not even themselves.

        2. The reality of your argument is indisputable, but I still find that it gets little traction. A lot of the people we’re dealing with stubbornly cling to the idea that the government can do anything if given enough money and power, even with government’s many failures.

        3. I fear that a lot of the forces behind legalizing marijuana are merely opportunism. Look at how legalization failed in New Jersey. It seems to me that a lot of politicians don’t actually support legal weed, but realize it can be a winning issue and that they can expand their power by taxing and regulating it. The moment that regulatory/tax mechanism was not to their liking, support dried up.

  3. The petulant foot-stomping of gun grabbers will extend well beyond the time when only agents of the state (active, off-duty and retired) are permitted by law to possess firearms.

  4. “it’s time for commonsense gun safety laws.”

    We already passed common sense gun control legislation – we passed the Brady Bill. If the Brady Bill was common sense gun control legislation, going beyond that would be going beyond common sense, would it not? Or is this an example of that silly “slippery slope” argument that everybody snorts at with a “don’t be silly, nobody’s proposing that” and a reference to the fit of one’s tin-foil hat?

    1. When people call responsible gun owners gun nuts, commonsense has yet to enter the room.

  5. All gun control laws are unconstitutional violations of the 2A.

    Just stop catering to these gun grabbers and tell them to fuck off. Any inch that was given to them in gun regulations resulted in them taking a mile.

  6. I don’t know which is worse; the constant bellowing that government must do something to keep us safe, or the delusion that they actually can. I don’t only blame the politicians, they’re power thirsty scum and we should expect them to exploit crises. Most of the blame is deserved by the people for being so willing to give up basic freedoms for some bogus delusion of increased safety.

    1. Agreed, but I still deplore and blame the power thirsty scum who exploit this for their own gain.

    2. Juvenile Delinquency was ended in the 1950s by forcing William gains to stop publishing Vault of Horror comics. The whole Seduction of the Innocents moral panick.

      He then made his MAD magazine the focus of his efforts, frequently hitting the theme that authority figures are clueless idiots.

  7. Maybe common sense legislation would be requiring a gun permit before you can have free speech rights to talk about gun control.
    And requiring a permit with fees, photo-id paid for by the citizen, expensive training paid for by the citizen, a background check paid for by the citizen, and permission from the county sheriff in order to vote.

    1. I see you are a forward thinking ahead of your time commentor. Quite prescient, I must say.

  8. Nobody ever explains how a War on Guns will work better than the War on Drugs.

    1. That is because it is a moral position; given that, consequences are a rather distant concern vs. “doing the right thing.”

    2. All those law abiding gun owners would turn their weapons in for just compensation. The gun manufacturers would close shop. You’d have smuggling and homemade weapons but the cost of obtaining the weapons would dissuade most from the pursuit. People aren’t physically addicted to possessing a gun so that’s a big difference. I think we should be gentle with the people who are caught with the illegal guns so long as the gun is destroyed. I’m not interested in putting people in jail.

      1. “”All those law abiding gun owners would turn their weapons in for just compensation.”‘

        No they won’t. They are refusing to even register their weapons in NY and CT.

      2. You really are a special kind of stupid. Of all the people who I work with and associate with, the vast majority of them are firearms owners (I live in Kansas, and used to live in AZ). The vast majority of them would NOT turn in their guns. Oh they might turn in 1 or 2 as a “dummy” turn in, but won’t turn in their best handguns or rifles.
        And I am not one to want a civil war, or say that one is just around the corner. But, if the fed govt starts trying to confiscate firearms, that will get bloody as hell. And consider that in the pro-gun states, police are actually supportive of citizen’s right to keep and bear arms (as opposed to the fascists in NY, CA, NJ, MA, etc.) There is NO WAY you win that war.

        1. Many of the working level cops in NJ that I’ve come across are pro-2A types.

          Of course I’m in the exurbs of south NJ, not up with those damn northerners.

          1. When i lived in Cranford (union county), i went to the local PD to get FOID paperwork one day and the desk sergeant, without even making eye contact said to me in the most condescending tone i’ve ever heard: “What do YOU need a gun for?”

            its different up north..most of those cops believe they are our betters and only they deserve the right to be armed

            1. I’ve heard that story before (BTW-they’re not allowed to ask that question of a FID applicant).

              My brother waited through the full 90-day limit, and they said they needed more time. With the mention of one word (lawyer), the FID card was suddenly completed the next day.

              1. Not that it should matter, but i was 23 or 24 at the time and looked every bit 5 years younger. I have no doubt the cop already decided a ‘kid’ doesn’t need a gun.

                World of difference out here in Arizona. Blew my mind (for the better) the first time i bought a gun.

            2. I guess saying that when seconds count cops are only minutes away would not have helped.

      3. “all those law abiding gun owners would turn their weapons in for just compensation”

        Based on past experience with such laws, 90% of those formerly law abiding gun owners would become outlaws and rebels.

        1. That’s a feature, not a bug.

      4. Even if all those law abiding gun owners and manufacturers did exactly as you describe, OG, you concede that there would still be smuggling and homemade weapons just like there is still smuggling and homemade (or grown) drugs. However, driving up the cost of obtaining them has not dissuaded most from the pursuit of drugs, it only made the smugglers fantastically wealthy.

        And no, physical addiction is not the reason that drugs are still smuggled. If that were true, there would be no new addicts and the “Drug War” would have petered out a few decades ago as the old addicts died off. People want them because they want them or because they are useful means to something else that they want. The same is and will remain true of guns.

        In the meantime, the police will adopt ever more totalitarian methods and standards, all in the name of stamping out “those last few illegal users”. And the fallout of those totalitarian methods will land on everyone.

        1. In regards to smuggling, it would be interesting to see what the Left’s attitude toward a wall on the southern border would be when crates full of guns and ammo are being smuggled across said border.

      5. First the government does not have the money required to “compensate” people for their firearms. Clearly you have no concept how much some guns cost. Eric Swalwell proposed paying $500 for “assault” rifles in his buyback plan. The problem with this plan is my rifle is worth $1500 and I have no intention of taking a $1000 loss to make gun grabbers “feel safe”. Second, I have not committed any crime or broken any law, so please tell me why I am to be punished? Do we take away cars from innocent drivers because they live in the same area as a drunk driver who kills others in an accident? No we hold the people who commit the crime responsible and this issue is no different.

        1. The most convincing estimates I’ve seen put the number of guns in “civilian” hands in the USA at 500 million or more. (Yes, that’s about 2 guns for every adult who is not banned from owning one because of a criminal record or a history of severe mental illness. Most of the people I know who’ve ever been to a firing range have 4 to 6 guns of various. IMHO, that leaves many people who need more guns!)

          Some of those guns are $100 Mosin-Nagant rifles or cheap Phoenix Arms small caliber pistols. Many of them have sat in a closet for a generation or two; they could be worth thousands as collectors’ items if they’d been taken care of, but as-is after 30 or 50 years of neglect, they’d often auction for no more than $100. On the other hand, new high quality guns usually cost around $1,000 or more, and every time a gun bigot speaks, more people rush out to buy one. So I’d guess that the average fair-market value is $500.

          Multiply and you get $250 Billion. That’s not huge compared to a national debt of about 22 Trillion, but it’s enough that borrowing that much _more_ in one year will have a substantial impact on the economy.

          But of course, the problem is that the gun grabbers aren’t planning to pay a fair value for each gun. They have no idea how to find the value, and gun buyback programs quite regularly hand out a few hundred dollars for a broken gun that once sold through the Sears catalog for $10 – putting the seller closer to buying a _good_ gun. So if they could pass this law, and the Supreme Court didn’t chop them off at the knees, they’ll hand out $500 to buy junk guns from people that know what they are worth, and closet queens from people that don’t. And then they’ll try to pay $500 to someone who has a receipt showing he paid $1500 for it – and go back into court over a _different_ amendment, and a clause that everyone in the country that has more property than political pull _cares_ about.

          But that’s not their worst problem. Their worst problem is that what ultimately keeps people like me – with hundreds of millions of guns in good working order – from shooting people like them is respect for the law. That law is based in the Constitution. If they can get that law past the Supreme Court, the Constitution has been nullified – and so have all laws, even the ones against hunting featherless bipedal vermin.

      6. If you accept Robert Sherrill’s estimate of 1 in 400 guns involved in crime, “smuggling and homemade weapons” would be more than adequate to supply the crime gun market.

        I’m not interested in putting people in jail.

        The Ken Ballew raid, MOVE siege, Ruby Ridge standoff, Waco siege/stand-off/gas-and-tank attack have demonstrated to us what authority considers justify doing in the name of gun control.

  9. A government employee retired and went postal. I’ve seen this news before. 😉

  10. If you outlawed all the modern variations of “arms” and only allowed the 18th century versions in use when the Amendment was written you would probably not have these mass shooting or the nearly as many of the ordinary kind. I’d like my chances against a guy with a musket.

    1. Ok, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and grant that you are being sarcastic. Maybe a little like OBL.

      If not, that is the dumbest fucking comment I’ve read in a while. If so, I suppose I’d rather take my chances against someone driving a horse drawn wagon than a Mack truck.

      1. There are already restrictions on the types of weapons you can legally possess. What’s so crazy about giving a nod to “originalism” and interpreting the language “arms” as it was understood in the 18th century?

        1. A combination of the 18th century definitions of well regulated, and infringed would make those restrictions unconstitutional.

        2. OG
          June.5.2019 at 9:51 am
          “There are already restrictions on the types of weapons you can legally possess. What’s so crazy about giving a nod to “originalism” and interpreting the language “arms” as it was understood in the 18th century?”

          The old, worn-out proggy argument that ‘we’re already doing something bad; what’s the harm in doing more bad stuff?’
          And proggies find this an argument rather than an embarrassment.

        3. Ok, so how was “arms” understood in the 18th century?

          Timothy Cunningham’s 1771 legal dictionary defined “arms” as “any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.”

          That definition seems to fit modern rifles as well as muskets

          1. And that would apply to any fundamental right that has seen technological progress; transportation and communication come to mind. It is the nonsense of trolls, and “”OG” seems to be the latest addition that company. Best to just ignore the fuckers, and let them curl up and die.

            1. Or one could have a good faith argument as OG seems to be trying to do. But poo flinging seems to substitute for you Coco.

              1. Claiming that your rights only apply to items that existed at the time is not a good faith argument since that concept does not apply to other rights.

                1. Why not? I’ve heard this argument from people before, and even have considered it myself. It’s those who spout absolutist drivel, as if it was written by god herself, that don’t argue in good-faith.

                  1. Because we have already extended rights to things that did not exist back then. You can’t argue in good faith that the 2nd should be restricted in a way other rights are not.

                    1. Sure you can argue that. People do all the time. We, as a population, constantly accept limitations to our rights based upon changing events. If George Soros acquired a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it, almost everyone would argue in good faith as to the Constitutionality of his right to bear that arm.

        4. The term ‘Arms’, as understood in the 18th Century included all weapons of war. By that interpretation a private individual could legally own a 155mm Howitzer. It would not have occurred to the Founders to limit the term ‘arms’ to exclude weapons developed in the future, any more than it would have occurred to them to exclude weapons from the past.

          1. So how is the limitation on our ability to own a Howitzer accomplished now under that reading? I’m not suggesting anything that isn’t already happening. The conservative courts have upheld limitations and I bet if the courts gave the 2A it’s “true meaning” you see the amendment repealed.

        5. What’s so crazy about giving a nod to “originalism” and interpreting the language “arms” as it was understood in the 18th century?

          I smell a Hihn sock….

          1. I smell a Hihn sock….

            Anyway, Hihn’s dead.

            1. Hihn = 0?

              1. Now that was funny!

        6. My state’s Article I, Section 26, right of the citizen to keep and bear arms, and the laws, court rulings, attorney general opinions, intrepret “arms” as anything as anything used for offense or defense, specificly including arms for self-defense and military preparedness training. Traditional lawful purposes are also protected: hunting, protecting livestock from predators, recreational shooting, collection as curio or keepsake. The legislature is reserved the power to regulate with a view to prevent crime, as long as traditional lawful uses are not unduly burdened.

          There is already a state law that the state will not enforce a federal ban seen as infringing on the state protection of RKBA.

      2. If not, that is the dumbest fucking comment I’ve read in a while.

        Likely not since Hihn was institutionalized. That was his argument too.

        How that guy ever thought to consider himself a Libertarian (capital “L”) is beyond me.

    2. Fine, as long as you agree to only use forms of free speech that were available in the 18th century. Good luck finding a used printing press on eBay.

      1. Isn’t that exactly how Clarence Thomas sees it? I’m not sure what I want. I’m still thinking about it.

        1. No, because that’s not what originalism means

        2. “Isn’t that exactly how Clarence Thomas sees it?”
          WIH does that have to do with anything other than juvenile misdirection?

    3. Nobody ever died from musket shot.

      1. Sword play and musket fire. That sounds awesome. It would take skill to kill and people with skills generally value their lives.

        1. you didn’t hear the story of the man in China who killed 50 people with a knife or in Rawand where most of the 100,000 killed were killed with machetes or the time a Japaness gang made rockets and attacked a building. People who want to kill will find a way. Let me have my guns so that i may defend myself from those people

          1. Or the guy in Nice who killed 84 people with a truck? Gonna ban trucks?

            Think about it. Barring guns, what if the Aurora theater shooter wedges the outside door shut, and throws a Molotov through the two interior doors before wedging those doors shut and then guards them with his sword? Likely outcome: 150 people die instead of 12.

            I too will take my chance against the guy with guns.

      2. Then why did they use them?

    4. Are you willing to use the same “originalist” theory in limiting First Amendment rights to Free Speech and Freedom of the Press? In other words, no electronic broadcasting, and printing one page at a time , 18th century style? If not, why not?

    5. Cannons were legal to own, still are, what do you think your chances are against a cannon loaded with shrapnel.

      1. I always love this ridiculous argument. I want to see you covertly use a cannon. There were few restrictions on weapons until the NFA of 1934. You could go into a local hardware store and purchase a Thompson sub machine gun, the same gun carried by NCOs during WWII. The ONLY reason for the changes in the law and federalization of gun laws was the US experienced a crime wave that lasted for over 2 years. Although the intent was noble, all the law actually did was begin the expansion of the power of the Federal government which Roosevelt wanted in the first place. Since the passage of the New Deal, the Feds have never looked back but now the people are telling them, enough.

    6. I shoot musket, 2 to 3 rounds in 1 minute. And I’m the slow one in the club. More devastating than most realize.

      1. That’s pretty good!

        Some of the Youtube videos I have watched impressed the hell out of me. I’ve seen guys nail 75 or 100 yard shots with reproductions of Kentucky long rifles or whatever. Those things weren’t as inaccurate as people think!

    7. The problem with that analogy of restricting rights other than guns to the 18th Century technology is, these days there are leftists who would be undismayed by thus restricting the 1st Amendment – except that wouldn’t go far enough for them. They’re already trying to punish people for anything posted on the internet that doesn’t entirely fit their current ideas of political correctness. If “Freedom of speech” was re-interpreted to reach only as far as your un-aided voice does, they’d still want to organize a mob to shout and drown out your voice. (And if the mob beat you over the head, that would not be violence but just an expression of their opposition to the “violence” of your words. See the very, very fascist “Antifa” if you don’t believe me.) If “freedom of the press” means only manuscripts written with a quill pen and set in type manually with movable type (technology that’s been obsolete since the Linotype came out in the 19th Century), they’ll scheme to keep you too poor to get anything published that way – and if you do get it printed they’ll steal and destroy those papers.

      And they still lionize Oliver Wendell Holmes, a progressive best known for two quotes: “Three generations of imbeciles are enough” (justifying the forced sterilization of a young woman, who probably was not the mental defective the state claimed), and “falsely shouting fire in a theater” (justifying jailing a man for distributing _pamphlets_.) In the second quote, most people leave out “falsely”, which is just as well, as falsity was neither an element of the crime, nor proven in court. Holmes lied twice in just 6 words.

  11. Gun control proponents would get a lot farther if they would come up with a list of proposals and follow it up by saying “if these are enacted we will not ask for more gun control ever”.
    In short, I don’t want to know your ‘first step’, I want to know your last.

    1. Indeed. If you know what the answer is, why take steps?

    2. Even if they say that, I’m not sure I’d believe them

      1. There’s a deeper problem than that. That’s only one person’s list. Even if he holds to the deal, once he gets what he wants, the _next_ gun-grabber will have a longer list.

        A deal is a deal only when it’s a binding contract, and an inchoate group can’t make those. Only a legal person (corporate or adult individual) can make a contract, and a long-term contract with a political party or pressure group is no good. If they have incorporated and cannot simply repudiate it when new members join the board, they can dissolve the group that made the contract and form a new one. That usually won’t work for a business corporation, because it’s like bankruptcy; the assets of the dissolved corporation must satisfy its debts and contracts before they can be passed on – and without those assets, there is no business. But when the “corporation” exists only to collect contributions and immediately spend them, there are few assets. In addition, enforcing a contract to collect damages for nonperformance is much, much simpler than enforcing one for specific performance. I can’t imagine a judge telling the DNC, “You can’t take that political position because you signed this contract”. Not even one of the few that lean right…

        The same is true for governments, only worse. You can only sue them in _their_ courts, and only when they let you sue them. And the Supreme Court has ruled that no Congress can bind a future one. They’ll let a government contractor sue for his pay (eventually), because if it became known that they were stiffing contractors, no plumber would unclog the toilets in the Capitol Building until he’s paid in advance. (And politicians don’t know how to function on a cash basis…) But on more serious matters, Congress can’t even make a contract to begin with.

    3. ” I want to know your last.”

      It isn’t controlling guns. It’s controlling people. The founding fathers thought they could trust the American populace as responsible enough to possess and handle firearms.

      1. “”The founding fathers thought they could trust the American populace as responsible enough to possess and handle firearms.”‘

        To what degree? There were murders back in their day too. So it’s not that they thought all gun possessing citizens would in fact be lawful, and or responsible.

        1. Just guessing here, but perhaps they felt that the overwhelming number of lawful/responsible citizens of the American populace would be sufficient to handle to outlaws.

          1. “Just guessing here, but perhaps they felt that the overwhelming number of lawful/responsible citizens of the American populace would be sufficient to handle to outlaws.”

            I’m sure that’s true. I don’t think they’d look on today’s crop of Americans with the same faith in their good nature. Today’s American is decadent and untrustworthy and the voters know this. Advocating for more lethal weaponry for Americans is a non starter on election day. Blaming guns is the obvious way to go.

        2. “To what degree? ”

          To the degree that they included an amendment protecting gun ownership. I don’t think you could expect the same from the current crop of fathers.

    4. Nope. Not with me. The current gun control regime is, for the most part, highly unconstitutional. They should propose a constitutional amendment to 1) legitimize the current laws and 2) attempt to enact and enforce anything new. But that would be too honest, so incrementalism and ignoring the constitution it is.

    5. or at a minimum put sunsets on all of them so if they don’t work they come off the books.

  12. “”We must act now” is not a gun control policy, let alone an argument.”

    I think we’re safe in generalizing that laws based on panicked emotion are bad laws.

  13. Blaming guns is the obvious solution. What’s the alternative? It’s foolish to expect law makers to blame Americans, their nihilism and propensity to violence. Americans vote and yearn to be pandered to. Guns don’t vote.

    1. We can’t even blame bad students for bad grades.

    2. Fucking nihilists. Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, at least its an ethos.
      required posting when the word nihilism is used.

    3. It’s foolish to expect law makers to blame Americans, their nihilism and propensity to violence. Americans vote and yearn to be pandered to.

      Bravo! Given anonymity and the entire internet, M has chosen us, the Reason comment section, to witness him acting out his fantasy of being Loki from the first Avengers movie. It must get him hard to imagine getting punched in the face by Chris Evans.

      I know the thought of Chris Hemsworth smashing him with a giant hammer gives me a thrill.

      Ooh, ooh, do Thanos next! I want to hear about how half of us don’t deserve to exist.

      1. “I want to hear about how half of us don’t deserve to exist.”

        You’ve come to the right place.

    4. Well, it certainly in some Americans propensity for violence.

      Of course if you look at per capita rates of white Americans or Asian Americans, we’d have crime rates comparable to nearly gun free Europe and Asia, DESPITE us drowning in guns. However we do have some groups that are rather fond of shooting people, at rates far disproportionate to their population…

      1. “However we do have some groups that are rather fond of shooting people, at rates far disproportionate to their population…”

        You mean black people, I suppose. No, the founding fathers never meant America’s black people to have guns. It’s too late to ban black people. It’s never too late to ban guns.

        1. Don’t forget Hispanics! They’re about double represented in murder cases too.

          My point is that a gun ban won’t do anything… With all our guns we commit murders at the same rates as Europeans and Asians with no guns… If we didn’t have guns, our problematic populations would resort to shanking people, beating them to death, and throwing acid on them like they do in Europe. OR just use illegal guns.

  14. “The sound of gunfire can save lives,”

    Particularly the sound of innocent people shooting back. And I heard the a-hole used a can on a .45. That would still be pretty loud, especially indoors.

  15. they just don’t think ordinary citizens deserve the advantage they demand for themselves.

    They also have a habit of emptying magazines before they stop shooting to assess a situation. And cops are ordinary citizens that are hired to enforce the law.

  16. There’s a simple way to at least mitigate these events, require every adult over 18 to be armed at all times.

    1. I don’t know about mitigating, but these massacres would become a lot more fun if they turned into gun battles rather than the one-sided shooting sprees we’ve become so familiar with. And guns are a little pedestrian. Iraqis taught us what an improvised booby trap can do to a car full of uniformed hillbillies.

      1. Of course armed people mitigate. Why do cops need guns? Why do banks need guns? Why do politicians need guns? When a school shooting starts we call 911 so more guns can arrive. Or do you think cops who respond to such an event should come unarmed?

        1. “Of course armed people mitigate. ”

          I’m not so sure. If you were keen on taking your gun to work and shooting as many of your co-workers as you can and then topping yourself, why would others having guns stop you? If you were smart, you’d concentrate on getting your hands on more lethal weaponry. If anything, others shooting back at you would make the shooting spree even more rewarding and realistic. Shooting unarmed people to death is boring and tiresome. No wonder why shooters kill themselves so quickly after starting a rampage.

          1. “” If you were keen on taking your gun to work and shooting as many of your co-workers as you can and then topping yourself, why would others having guns stop you? “‘

            I would be shot dead as soon I started shooting which would mitigate the number of people I could have killed.

            1. “I would be shot dead as soon I started shooting which would mitigate the number of people I could have killed.”

              With a shitty attitude like that, stick to knives.

          2. LOL WUT???

            A ton of these incidents are stopped by people with concealed carry permits. Tons of random robberies, rapes, etc too.

            1. “A ton of these incidents are stopped by people with concealed carry permits.”

              There are also incidents stopped by people with their bare hands. Guns are not magic, they depend on the people who hold them. There are incidents where armed people do nothing to prevent shooting. It’s the courage of the witnesses that matters.

              1. Sure. But having a gun sure as shit helps somebody who isn’t a coward take out a guy with a gun… That should be pretty obvious. A brave man with his hands just doesn’t have the same chances against a guy with a gun as somebody who is also armed.

  17. “‘We must act now’ is not a gun control policy”
    Agreed. ‘We must act now’ always begs the question of ‘Act how?’ or ‘What can we do now (or later) that will actually address the situation?’ Democrats have always been a bit dim on that aspect.
    ‘We must act now… to stop global climate change.’ ‘We must act now… to assure people have access to health care.’ ‘We must act now… to combat hate.’ All of these are solutions looking for a problem on which to hitch themselves.

    1. “‘What can we do now (or later) that will actually address the situation?’ ”

      How about grow up and act responsibly.

      1. “”How about grow up and act responsibly.”‘

        And that doesn’t require gun control.

        1. It requires self control. As I say, no politician is going to urge self control with the voters being who they are. Instead they pander. Gun control is the obvious way to go.

          1. And what happens when gun control fails?

  18. The cold fact is that “We must act now” is political speak for “….quickly, before this idea of mine is exposed as the steaming pile of poo that it is!”

    1. Well, “you do have to pass it before you can find out what’s in it” seems to be settled precedent by the same people wanting more gun laws.

  19. We can argue the meaning and scope of the 2nd amendment until the end of time but the reality is much easier to address. What leftists seem to ignore or refuse to acknowledge is they have already set a precedent that cannot be denied in regard to Federal law. With immigration and drugs, many states have made it very clear if you do not like or accept ANY Federal law, any state has the right to simply refuse to comply and accept it. Any new Federal gun laws would be no different and to act as if they are special is insanity. In the end this is all nothing but political bluster because every law every written has one fatal flaw. If citizens refuse to obey, it is nothing but words on paper with no meaning.

    1. I saw an article today about 2A sanctuary cities in Colorado.

      I thank the left for that.

    2. Shit, when the CSA tried that we wound up with a more powerful federal govt. Sometimes losing the battle means winning the war. Giving them a taste of defeat is the best medicine.

  20. Oh for fuck sake-just take everyone’s guns! You know that’s what they want.
    Then shoot those who don’t comply
    Then shoot those who don’t believe in AGW
    Then shoot those who don’t want trans bathrooms in public schools
    Then shoot those who won’t bake gay wedding cakes
    The shoot those who don’t want on-demand abortions at any time
    You catch my drift

    1. Drift? You need to adjust for windage…

    2. It’s totally happening in Australia post-disarmament.

      1. Of course those things are not, but mass murder still is.

        I guess you didn’t catch his drift.

        1. His drift seems to be that if guns are banned then leftists will either kill or, using the power of the state, kill everyone who doesn’t agree with them. I guess you didn’t catch his drift.

    3. Best we just invite the progtards to GTFO. Ensconce the one ones who won’t leave in landfills.

      Problem solved.

  21. ‘”We must act now” is not a gun control policy, let alone an argument.’

    When in danger
    When in doubt
    Run in circles
    Scream and shout

    “We have to do something!” is the cry of nitwits everywhere. Unfortunately, nitwits have outbred sensible people.

    1. Lemmings to tend to have a pretty high reproductive rate.

      1. do tend…..

  22. […] Mass Shooting Delusions: “We must act now” is not a gun control policy, let alone an arg… – Jacob Sullum, Reason Magazine […]

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.