Gun Control

5 Misconceptions Promoted by Democrats During Their 'Gun Safety Forum'

The presidential contenders hyped the "epidemic" of gun violence and the threat posed by school shootings while perpetuating myths about "assault weapons," background checks, and the Second Amendment.

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Yesterday's "Gun Safety Forum" in Las Vegas featured a lot of emoting, a lot of sympathizing with victims of gun violence, and a lot of praise for young activists pushing new restrictions on firearms. But judging from the four interviews with Democratic presidential contenders that I watched, there was little in the way of policy substance. The absence of thoughtful, evidence-based arguments in favor of "common-sense gun laws" was especially striking because each candidate had half an hour to defend his or her views. Instead they simply asserted the need for the mostly indistinguishable policies they favor while perpetuating several misconceptions that continue to cloud the debate about gun policy. Here are the most striking examples:

1. Gun violence is an "epidemic."

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D–Texas) promised he would "end this epidemic in America," Sen. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.) agreed that "we have an epidemic," and entrepreneur Andrew Yang said, "This is clearly a public health epidemic." Of the four candidates whose interviews I watched, only Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) failed to invoke the e-word.

While it's true that firearm homicides rose between 2014 and 2016, they fell in 2017 and again last year. Furthermore, the firearm homicide rate is still far below its peak in 1993. The total homicide rate last year was half the rate in 1980.

2. In light of the risks that students face, mass shooter drills in schools are sadly necessary.

The interviewer, MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin, noted a couple of times that his 5-year-old son had recently undergone a "lockdown drill" at school. Melvin worried about "rear[ing] an entire generation of kids who are constantly living in fear of being shot."

Klobuchar, who is 59, noted that she never had such drills in school when she was a girl (when the homicide rate was actually higher than it is now). "The solution is that we need to greatly reduce gun violence," she said, in which case "maybe you won't need to have these kinds of education drills."

Harris likewise accepted the premise that mass shooter drills make sense. "I have always thought about this issue…through the eyes of a child," she said. "Our children—elementary, middle, high school students…over the course of the last few weeks have been going back to school to endure a drill where they are taught about how to hide in a closet if there is a mass shooter roaming the hallways of their school….This is traumatizing. Our children…should be sitting in a classroom and opening their mind to the wonders of math and art and science….Instead half their brain is concerned, legitimately, about a mass shooter busting through the door."

Only Yang, to his credit, argued that the fear and anxiety such exercises instill among children and parents cannot be justified by any plausible safety payoff. "We're undertaking these activities," he said, and "it gives rise to a real sense of uncertainty for the child. If you can't be secure in your own classroom…your entire sense of the world gets shaken….If you have that certain cost and a very uncertain, speculative benefit, you have to give your kids a chance to go to school and not worry about getting shot."

Given the infinitesimal risk that any given child will be threatened by a gunman at school during the 13 years from kindergarten through 12th grade, Yang is surely right. Yet gun control advocates like Harris routinely hype that minuscule danger to advance their agendas.

3. "Assault weapons" are uniquely deadly.

The entire Democratic field shares that erroneous view, arguing that firearms with certain "military-style" features have no place in a civilized society because they are designed to kill many people quickly.

O'Rourke, who wants to ban and confiscate "assault weapons," reiterated his claim that such guns are distinguished by the destructive power of the rounds they fire. Klobuchar, who wants to ban "assault weapons" and institute a voluntary buyback program, called them "killing machines," a term that could accurately be applied to any firearm. Yang, who favors a tiered gun licensing system that would impose restrictions based on the potential threat to public safety posed by each class of firearms, thinks "assault weapons" are manifestly too dangerous to be tolerated.

"An assault weapon was designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly," Harris said. "It's the design of the thing. There is no legitimate reason or purpose for them to be on the streets of a civil society."

Contrary to those claims, the characteristics that distinguish "assault weapons" from other firearms—features like folding stocks, barrel shrouds, and pistol grips—have nothing to do with bullet size, ammunition capacity, rate of fire, or muzzle velocity. And while Klobuchar described military-style rifles as "the mass shooting weapons," most perpetrators of such crimes use handguns.

4. Background checks are an effective way to prevent mass shootings.

All of the Democratic contenders think background checks should be required for all gun sales, including those that do not currently involve federally licensed dealers. Klobuchar argued that mass shootings have increased support for that policy.

Yet the vast majority of mass shooters do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records, making background checks irrelevant in those cases. Even when mass shooters are legally disqualified from owning guns, it is debatable whether they would be deterred after unsuccessfully trying to buy firearms from licensed dealers, as opposed to obtaining them through private sales that the government could not monitor even if background checks were notionally "universal."

It makes little sense to expand background checks in response to mass shootings they could not possibly have prevented. But Klobuchar said pointing this out is "just excuses," because "we know that not one size fits all" and "there are a lot of different solutions."

5. The Second Amendment is all about hunting.

"I come from a state…with a proud hunting tradition, and we've got to remember that there's a lot of law-abiding gun owners out there," Klobuchar said. "I look at these [gun control proposals], and I say, 'Does this hurt my Uncle Dick in his deer stand?'"

We have met Klobuchar's Uncle Dick before, and he still is not an exemplar of all the rights the Second Amendment is supposed to protect. A ban on all handguns, for instance, would not stop Uncle Dick from shooting deer, but it would nevertheless be unconstitutional, since it would interfere with what the Supreme Court has called "the core lawful purpose of self-defense."

O'Rourke did mention self-defense as a legitimate reason to own a gun, but he also argued that an AR-15 is clearly not covered by the Second Amendment because people "don't need this to hunt." He also seemed to question whether any modern guns are covered by the Second Amendment, noting that they fire faster than muskets did. The Supreme Court has explicitly and repeatedly rejected the idea that the right to armed self-defense extends only to weapons that were available when the Second Amendment was written.

Harris agreed that the right to own an AR-15 is not protected by the Constitution, even though such rifles are "in common use" for "lawful purposes," the test prescribed by the Supreme Court. "You can respect the the traditions of hunting among families in our country," she said, and still support an "assault weapon" ban.

Harris also repeated a puzzling formulation of the issue that suggests she has not given much thought to the restrictions that the Second Amendment imposes on gun control. "I'm not going to any longer accept your false choice that you're either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone's guns away," she said, implying that you can be in favor of the Second Amendment and still want to take everyone's guns away.

Like O'Rourke, Harris was hazy on how far politicians can go without violating the Second Amendment. The Constitution is "a living document," she said, and "its principles must be applied to the realities of today."

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  1. 2nd Amendment: A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    All gun control laws are unconstitutional and therefore illegal.

    Including but not limited to: background checks, waiting periods, gun/ammo specific taxation, licensing requirements, permit requirements, restrictions of any kind to infringe on the right….

    1. It’s too bad the Founders didn’t think of the fact that maybe someone would want to change the Constitution at some point, which is why they chiseled it into stone with no amendment process at all.

      1. As Congress has demonstrated, you don’t even need to amend the Constitution in order to circumvent the Bill of Rights. All you need is total apathy from lawmakers. The Bill of Rights is a prop when they need it, and an inconvenience they try to ignore when they don’t.

      2. Wow, you’re dumb.

        Why do you think they call it the Second AMENDMENT?

        1. You might want to get your sarcasm detector calibrated.

          1. Truly. There are a few Trolls on this and other sites whose ravings I have trouble telling from satire, but that was pretty obvious.

          2. My apologies. I completely misread.

      3. “It’s too bad the Founders didn’t think of the fact that maybe someone would want to change the Constitution at some point, which is why they chiseled it into stone with no amendment process at all.”

        The Second Amendment doesn’t grant the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, it acknowledges that the right exists and that the government can’t infringe on that right:

        …it has always been widely understood that the Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right. The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it “shall not be infringed.” As we said in United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U.S. 542, 553, 23 L.Ed. 588 (1876), “[t]his is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The Second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed ….”
        District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570 (2008) at 592

        1. Thanks to the 2md amendmenters when I have a political disagreement with a Tumper I have to wonder if he will pull out a gun he is legally allowed to carry in his waist band. it happened, in a cigar shop. that restrains my constitutional right to free speech wouldn’t you agree?

          I have to worry which disagreement at a gas pump will result in me being shot.

          I am no quick draw and evidentially no one else is because the news is not repleat with people accosted by gun wielding loonies who drop , roll and shoot. if so I would imagine my home town rag would run headlines about that every day. instead we have a cop shooting a guy in his own apt.

          and then there are the kids who find themselves in the crossfire , dead or maimed because the didn’t carry and respond.

          but of course no of you care about a 5 year old getting shot so a bunch of white guys can fetishizes guns and gun culture.

          and finally in my home town there are no 2nd amendmenter’s who move to dangerous neighborhoods or patrol seedy streets keeping the peace. nope they sit at home yelling at Rachel Maddow and stroking their AK’s.

          1. You seem irrationally afraid so allow me to reassure you. The 2nd amendment doesn’t endanger you in any way. Killing people over an argument is still completely illegal. So you’ll be fine as you argue with Trump supporters at gas stations or whatever. Unless, of course, you don’t trust laws to protect you.

            Your fear of “white guys (who) can (fetishize) guns and gun culture” is also misplaced as that demographic doesn’t commit most gun crime.

            You’re correct, however, that the majority of Trump supporters don’t tend to live in the most dangerous places. But if you avoid dangerous cities as well as places with a lot of Trump supporters and/or 2nd amendment supporters, I’m afraid that basically leaves you with college towns. As someone who lives in Bloomington, Indiana I can tell you that college towns do have benefits. But if you think rednecks yelling at Rachel Maddow is annoying, I can’t imagine how you’ll feel about affluent “woke” white kids and white professors foaming at the mouth over Trump tweets.

      4. If a few people were killed with gun violence, and this is enough to ban guns, then CERTAINLY we need to ban cars as they are responsible for (last year) 37,461 deaths. Of course, we cannot expect our representatives and the like to THINK, but instead we expect them, and they do, vent their spleens instead of use their brains (assuming our reps even have brains.) Gun deaths, which includes accidents, are 33,636 yearly, of all adult firearm deaths are by suicide, 61% more than deaths by homicide.

    2. It’s worth noting in this context “well regulated” means “well-equipped” or “in good functional condition”. I saw an post yesterday which didn’t understand that. In addition the Militia is all US males between 17 and 45 if I recall correctly. Basically, in modern English, someone might say “For the purposes of having a well-equipped standing citizen’s Army, the rights of the citizens to posses and carry arms cannot be limited.” The first clause of the sentence doesn’t restrict who can own arms down to only “the Militia”, but is there to justify why the second clause exists.

      All laws you mentioned are indeed illegal.

      1. Most importantly, the BoR doesn’t grant citizens any rights. The people already have the rights. The purpose of the BoR is to impose restrictions on the government.
        The wording is irrelevant. 2A could say “Because we clingers like our guns and bibles, Uncle Sam can fuck off”. The only relevant portion of that is the “Uncle Sam can fuck off”.

        1. The BoR does grant rights that they people don’t have naturally.

          You naturally have the right to protect yourself. Hence the term “Natural Right”.

          The right to a jury trial, non-excessive bail and non-excessive fines, effective assistance of counsel, etc are granted rights to the People. These types of things don’t exist outside a government with the power to create courts, etc.

          1. Nit picking here, but I believe that the right to be judged by a selection of one’s peers, etc. were considered logical outgrowths of Natural Rights, if not Natural Rights in and of themselves, by the intellectuals of the Enlightenment.

            Which doesn’t mean they were right, mind.

            1. And to extend ever-so-slightly, in context the relevant part of the statement is not “trial by jury” but “jury of your peers.

              The idea being that nobles and peasants aren’t qualified to judge one another’s actions, and people from one community aren’t qualified to judge the actions of someone from a different community.

              In 18th-century thinking, that qualifies as letting Law be governed by the Nature of Things – i.e. a natural right to not be held to standards foreign to your community.

          2. Agree that there are rights such as you describe. They have nothing to do with the BoR, however. All those rights were the rights of Englishmen under Common Law. The BoR was specifically written to limit the power of the Fed. That was why it came into existence. Several states would only ratify the constitution if a document expressly limiting the government’s power were forthcoming. And this was also one of the main arguments against the BoR: By enumerating certain rights for specific protection from the Fed (that the constitution gave the Fed no specific authority to regulate) the anti-BoR founders argued that in later years some clever lawyer would reason that the fact that the BoR imposed restrictions on the government regulation of certain rights was proof that the Fed did have the power to limit rights in other ways, even though no such power was expressly granted.
            Sadly, they have been proven correct.

            1. Somehow, they all seem to see the 6th and 8th, but always miss the 9th and 10th. 1, 2, 4 and 5 get most of the press, and even then they can’t seem to understand what is so plainly written.

          3. Actually, the right to be judged by your peers dates back to the most primitive of Germanic government systems. The Saxons, Norse, Danes, etc all practiced a form of peer judgement prior to a more formalized government.

        2. Yep, I’m only preemptively trying to address the inevitable comments about the scope of the second clause. Eventually someone will argue that simply by redefining who “the Militia” is they can back door gun control. If they would have meant that only “the Militia” could have arms they would have said something like “…the right of the Militia to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” 2A very clearly applies to everyone and as you said, the reason is really irrelevant.

          1. Eventually someone will argue that simply by redefining who “the Militia” is they can back door gun control.

            This is already a not-uncommon argument on the left – the 2A secures the right of the government to arm itself. Because rights of government need to be secured against its tyrannous citizens.

      2. It’s closer to “well trained”. Having access to weapons made sure they could pick up a weapon when called and use it effectively, whether it was their own weapon or a newer, better one.

        1. Fair enough. It was definitely their intention was to have citizens ready to fight, and that includes have the means to do so as well as the knowledge of how to fight as you mention.

      3. What this article calls “misconceptions” I call “LIES”… with one minor caveat.
        The NICS background check system is claimed to be 99.5% accurate by the FBI, but it flags over 70,000 denials a year. When a prohibited person attempts to buy a guy, they commit a felony. The ATF Form 4473 is explictly clear on this. So we get 70,000 felonies per year – and fewer than 100 are ever prosecuted.
        Seems to me the reason this law isn’t working is because it’s not enforced. Putting convicted felons in prison for 10 years would at least eliminate them from society for that long.

        But does it matter in reality?
        Well, the El Paso killer had been court-adjudicated mentally barred from possessing a firearm. He attempted to buy one. He failed the background check. He was not arrested. He went on to buy a gun elsewhere and the rest was on the front page.

        More recently, a man bent on a copy-cat massacre also failed the background check, was not arrested and was out trying to buy a gun some other way when his father contacted law enforcement and informed them of his son’s intent. But for the father’s intervention, there would have been another mass killing due to the failure of law enforcement to do their job.

      4. Per statute, the members of the militia are men 18-49 and all women currently serving in the National Guard.

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    4. lovecconstitution1789, SCOTUS disagrees with you, per Justice Scalia´s opinion in D.C. v. Heller.

      …Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. [Footnote omitted.]

      We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.” …

  2. Old news, Jacob. These five “misconceptions”, and likely more, have been with us for 20+ years. And they are not misconceptions, but rather willful distortions of the truth. The Dems are true believers in gun control, making them impervious to facts and reason on the issue.

    1. AND they are getting desperate. When I first became aware of politics, in the mid’ 1970’s, it was generally assumed that handguns would be broadly banned in a decade or so, and long guns would probably be heavily regulated not long after.

      Now there are only nine states left that have ‘may issue’ laws concerning concealed carry.

      1. Part of that was the mythology of the time that said the UK had eliminated violent crime by banning guns.

        Turned out to be less true than they had hoped.

        1. And having not learned their lesson, the UK has moved on to banning knives, to the point of not even publishing pictures of the “scary” knives they confiscated lest some SJW be “triggered”.

          The entire UK government needs to be purged and a free society set up in its place.

        2. Particularly since the UK turned out to have had the brilliant idea that their murder rate could be as low as they wanted if they just stopped recording all the murders.

  3. By “Misconceptions”, Sullum means “Lies”.

      1. I wish he’d write every article.

    1. Trump “lies”.
      Democrats “make misconceptions.”

  4. “5 Misconceptions Promoted by Democrats During Their ‘Gun Safety Forum'”

    Ironically, they seem like the kind of people who would accidentally shoot of their own limbs during a handgun safety training class

  5. The primary misconception they were all peddling is that any of them are morally or intellectually qualified to be President.

  6. The main misconception:

    Viewers think that any of these people have ever attempted to buy a gun once.

    They have not.

    They clearly speak like people who have no clue what they’re talking about.

    And I could remind Klobuchar while she didn’t have live shooter drills, she did have fucking nuclear bomb drills.

    1. Amy Klobuchar was born in 1960. “Duck and cover” nuclear bomb drills were a feature of the 1950s.

      By the time that Amy Klobuchar was in school civil defense procedures had moved to public bomb shelters. Almost all big buildings had signs directing people to their basements where supposedly they could sit out the time it would take for the radiation to disperse.

      I think it is worth pointing out that “duck and cover’ and basement bomb shelters are artifacts of a time when “we all agreed about politics”.

      1. Where I grew up, we had duck and cover drills on the last Friday of every month when the air raid siren blew at 10AM up until around 1964-65.

        1. So, you think that Amy Klobuchar who was born in 1960 was in school around 1964-65?

          1. You said duck and cover drills were a feature of the 50’s and I replied that, based on personal experience, they actually continued into the 60’s.

            I didn’t say anything about Amy.

            1. My personal experience is they continued into the 80s.

              Although by then weather events (tornados) had become the primary reason. They did however mention nuclear attacks which I recall one teacher saying something along the lines of ‘as if our desks could protect us from that’

    2. “”And I could remind Klobuchar while she didn’t have live shooter drills, she did have fucking nuclear bomb drills.”‘

      They didn’t have people running around simulating a nuclear bomb going off either.

      We had a fire drill at work this week and it made me think of the active shooter drills. No one was pouring smoking into the stairway or anything that would simulate the situation. Just evacuated the building.

      The purpose of having an actor come in and simulate shooting your teacher is to traumatize the kids. We don’t use such details on other drills.

      1. and there ARE cases where a murder, with or without a gun, has pulled the fire alarum, knowing which doors are designated as exits for fire drills/alarums, then gone round with some deadly device to the door everyone was instructed to exit, waited until a sea of people gathered, thinking they were totally safe, then commenced his killing.

        When evil is in someone’s heart, the lack of an “acceptable” weapon is never a deterrent to the evil being perpetrated. Don’t have a gun? Plenty of other unregulated items can be, and have been, and will continue to be, put to use for evil

        These dumbocrats utterly fail to comprehend this:

        it is NEVER the tool, it is the hand holding it

        It is NEVER the hardware, it is the software directing it.

        It is NEVEr the arrow its always the indian.

        sarin gas in a crowded subway tunnel in Japan.
        Arson in Paris
        homemade fertiliser bomb in Oklahoma City
        Rented Home Depot truck in Manhattan
        beater kid’s car and knives in Ohio
        large freight truck in Paris
        crowbar to remove spikes to derail fast passenger train

      2. Yeah, I’m not usually onboard with the conspiracy theories of party politics, but in this case I’m hard pressed to see a simpler explanation. As far as I can tell, the motivation for trying to amp up the scare factor on these drills is most simply because they want the kids to be scared. I reject the idea that it’s a very long term attempt to sway public opinion (i.e. the kids grow up to be vehement gun control supporters) due to the fact that humans rarely plan long term that well, and a long term view is essentially unheard of (and usually anathema to) modern american politics. But it seems like having your kids coming home terrified of being shot daily might be a way to move the needle of public opinion in the short term.

        Personally, I think this project is gonna backfire in the long run as nearly all of the govt social engineering efforts do. If nothing else, it might put a lot of pressure on charter school opponents when people start clamoring to send their kids to a school that isn’t gonna give them nightmares.

      3. “The purpose of having an actor come in and simulate shooting your teacher is to traumatize the kids.”

        You forgot to add “and politicize.”

    3. I grew up in the 50’s and our schools (in Indiana) did not do “duck and cover” drills. We had “fire drills” that continued ’til I moved on to college. Those drills doubled as “bomb-scare” drills which were a fixture of my day–a guy called up the school claiming a bomb had been placed there, probably as a ruse to get school cancelled that day. To my recollection, no bomb was ever actually found in any of the various “bomb scares”.
      I wonder if “duck and cover” was more regional?

  7. You can’t expect Democrats to understand things they don’t understand.

    1. Democrats hold Democrats to a different standard.

    2. You can’t expect Democrats to even try to understand things they don’t understand and have an irrational hatred for.

  8. I have always thought about this issue…through the eyes of a child

    Maybe she should think with her brain instead.

    Then again, I suppose her formulation is better than farting through the nose of a slug.

  9. It’s funny to hear the Democrats talk about how they aren’t looking to impact hunters, when everybody knows they hate hunting and hunters with a fiery passion.

    1. It’s also amusing because it wouldn’t have ever occurred to the Founders that someone would need permission from the government to go hunting.

      They had just gotten done fighting a war against their tyrannical government using personally owned weapons, but we’re supposed to believe their intent in 2A was about shooting deer.

      1. And somehow “hunting” = “deer hunting from a stand.”

        A light-weight, short, intermediate-caliber rifle with a multi-round magazine (“assault weapon”) is exactly the right tool for hunting feral hog and coyote, and both species are becoming destructively overpopulated across most of the U.S.

        1. They won’t know that. Heck, they pride themselves on how little they know about it.

          But no doubt later this year we’ll be treated to the spectacle of some of the Dem candidates stumbling through the woods in stiff new cammies fresh out of the wrapper (with a Cabela’s tag still dangling from the sleeve) with a borrowed shotgun awkwardly tucked in the arm.
          Press: “What are you hunting?”
          Candidate: “Umm, flamingoes.”
          Aide (whispering): “Turkey”
          Candidate (out loud): “Why would we hunt turkey? Can’t we just buy that at the grocery store?”
          Aide (whispering): “Wild turkey”
          Candidate (out loud): “Can’t we just buy that at the liquor store?”

          1. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

    2. Except the ones in Iowa and New Hampshire of course. They can keep their single-shot flintlocks.

  10. Klobuchar thinks she’s still in the race? Beto? lol

    1. By the time she’s back up for re-election Klobuchar might have to be lucky just to keep her Senate seat.

  11. there was little in the way of policy substance.

    Beto seems to be the only one who dares to start laying out his real policy.

    1. Actually, destroying the bill of rights is a pretty specific policy.
      It is also one shared by all there.

    2. It’s less of him being daring and more of him not being smart enough to realize that you don’t do it.

  12. Lowering gun violence is simple, end drug prohibition. Most of it comes from gangs in large cities fighting over drug territory.

    1. I blame the public school system for producing so many simps that think busting a cap is the path to a better life.

      1. Their fathers are in jail for drugs or dead. This is what happens without older males in the community.

    2. To a certain extent. A lot of the violence has been reduced since cell phones became ubiquitous; what used to be your “corner pushers” – the lowest level guys who do the actual retail – have mostly moved to a delivery model. This means that holding territory is less important for sales, which reduced a lot of the daily friction. However, the kingpin model of enforcement that the government has adopted (trying to bring down the guys on top of the chain) has produced a lot of violence as the top and mid-level guys left after each big bust fight for control of the apparatus again, until a new kingpin emerges.

      The short version of this is that the rise of consumer cell phones cut the homicide rate in half from the early 90s, and Mexico (the northern part, certainly) would probably be a far better place if we hadn’t arrested Pablo Escobar. So you can maybe, partly blame the DEA for illegal immigration.

      Government action can have dire and far reaching consequences that can be difficult to foresee – hence the reason why legislators relying on bogus notions like the ones above is extremely concerning to me (one of the reasons, anyways).

  13. Background checks are an effective way to prevent mass shootings.

    Serious question: Would advocates for “universal” checks be on board with in-depth background checks before people could run for president, an action that arguably potentially negatively affects more lives than gun ownership could.

    1. But it’s not analogous really because running for president is not an enumerated right. How about requiring a background check, ID, and a mental health exam to get a license to vote.

      We already know how that would play out.

      1. Just watch the faces of a gun banner when you ask “would you support requiring a carry permit in order to vote?”

    2. There aren’t enough h’s or a’s to HA at that like it deserves.

  14. They aren’t concerned with the facts, just control.

  15. “The Constitution is “a living document,” she said, and “its principles must be applied to the realities of today.””

    Not how this works. If you disagree with an amendment in the Constitution, you need to put in the hard work to get 2/3s to agree to adding another amendment to it. The amendments don’t suddenly become invalid because it’s 2019.

    1. Actually, it’s 2/3 to propose an amendment, but 3/4 to enact it.
      Article V

      The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress;

  16. Harris also repeated a puzzling formulation of the issue that suggests she has not given much thought to the restrictions that the Second Amendment imposes on gun control. “I’m not going to any longer accept your false choice that you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away,” she said, implying that you can be in favor of the Second Amendment and still want to take everyone’s guns away.

    I’m pretty sure that the implication she was going for was that you can be against 2A and still not want to take everyone’s guns away.

    1. Right, for instance her bodyguards would still be allowed to carry guns.

      We can all rest easy knowing that she figured out that the intent of 2A was in fact to protect politicians from harm, not to prevent them from doing harm.

  17. School shooting exercises are driven by the fear of lawsuits; nothing else.
    School districts know that, were a shooting to occur on their watch they can avoid charges that ‘we were never prepared for it’ by conducting these silly exercises.

  18. Let’s add:

    6. The gun show loophole.

    7. A teenager can buy a machine gun on the internet.

    1. 8. It’s easier for a teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.

      Seriously, Obama actually said that while ostensibly sober.

      1. 25% of firearms using offenders acquire guns from drug/street dealers (National Institute of Justice). Drug dealers even recruit teenagers to act as couriers and loan them handguns, so may be it is easier for an urban teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.

        Now, how do you get drug/street dealers to run universal background checks on their gun clients when they won’t demand Rx scripts from their drug customers?

        1. “so may be it is easier for an urban teenager to buy a Glock than get his hands on a computer or even a book.”

          If there are urban areas without access to libraries, we should fix that.

  19. For the left:
    Gun safety means –
    treat all firearms as loaded
    always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction
    never shoot unless you are certain of the target, and the area beyond the target
    practice regularly
    never, ever vote for a democrat

    1. I’ve also heard: never point a gun at something you do not want to destroy.

      1. “always keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction”
        and
        “never point a gun at something you do not want to destroy”
        are both variations of the rule on muzzle awareness. I like:
        “never let the muzzle paint that in which you can’t fix a hole”.

        Also missing is “finger off the trigger until eyes and sights are on an intended target”.

  20. We had nuclear bomb drills when I was a kid. And they wonder why people are messed up.

    As with many other issues, one of the answers is simple — take your kids out of the schools. Nothing good happens when you put somebody on a bus to go to a government run institution.

  21. “Only Yang, to his credit, argued that the fear and anxiety such exercises instill among children and parents cannot be justified by any plausible safety payoff. “We’re undertaking these activities,” he said, and “it gives rise to a real sense of uncertainty for the child.”

    Is that anything like scaring the b’jeezes out of kids about how we are f’ing up the environment and you have nothing to look forward to – the world ends shortly and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    Same kind of uncertainty, or is this different?

    1. It’s a shame that Yang isn’t higher in the polling. I don’t agree with any of his policy prescriptions (that I know of) but he at least has some goddamned common sense that is all too lacking in this field.

  22. The democrats’ “gun safety forum.” = “How can we confiscate the guns from all these rubes without them knowing it?”

  23. “An assault weapon was designed to kill a lot of human beings quickly,” Harris said. “It’s the design of the thing. There is no legitimate reason or purpose for them to be on the streets of a civil society.”

    Yes, they can do that. But what the general public have access to here in the US of A is NOT an “assault weapon” Those are restricted to militery and some pushy geeked out law enforcement agencies, mostly federal.
    And those common rifles they so despise and blame for all the evil in society are so feeble they are not even legal for hunting deer in almost every state. So you can’t even use an AR for deer hunting. How stupid do they think WE are, anyway?

    Thos AR style rifles ARE very useful for hunting… nuisance feral cats, coyotes, livestock eating wolves, feral pigs, possum, coon, rabbit, out in the high deserts of Oregon and Washington the AR is the preferred platform of rifle for keeping the sage rats under control. I’ve known folks to head out to the rural desert areas, set up in a huge field, and kill a few hundred of them in an afternoon.
    But the weak and feeble AR is too puny and is prohibited for use in the taking of deer

    1. The AR can be configured for about 60 different calibers. Many are allowed for deer. Gun control nuts know nothing about the thing they are trying to ban.

    2. Sage rats? You are talking about ground squirrels. They do not need control, unless you are suffering from a plague of marsh hawks and prairie falcons.

  24. A well regulated citizenry, being necessary to the security of a police State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be allowed.

    Fixed it for them.

  25. “Klobuchar, who is 59, noted that she never had such drills in school when she was a girl”. Interesting. She may not have had drills (I think we’d discarded the false hope of “duck and cover” by that time.), but she lived through the height of the cold war and obviously doesn’t remember the feeling of the atomic sword of Damocles hanging over her head.
    I’m not saying it was a great thing, but most of us who lived through it turned out reasonably well adjusted in spite of it.
    Using the same argument, she could reject all the other safety-related drills (fire, storm, etc.) that school kids endure. I’m not so sanguine of going unprepared. Ignorance doesn’t lead to bliss when the foreseeable actually happens. It leads to panic.

  26. ‘ “we’ve got to remember that there’s a lot of law-abiding gun owners out there,” Klobuchar said.’
    This, to me, is the key. I wish these folks could truly see that and not just say it unintentionally ironically. There are a microscopic subset of gun users who engage in illegal activities. Holding the overwhelmingly vast majority of gun owners at fault for the few that misuse the right is like saying that everyone who owns a car should be considered a drunk driver.

  27. I quit working at shoprite and now I make $30h – $72h…how? I’m working online! My work didn’t exactly make me happy so I decided to take a chance on something new… after 4 years it was so hard to quit my day job but now I couldn’t be happier.

    Heres what I’ve been doing…  ,,,

    CLICK HERE►► Read More

  28. Since we are on the subject as a service to the commentariat I wanted to post a review of a product I had mentioned.

    The product is called iTarget. It is a system for dry fire practice at home using your pistol, and cell phone.

    The package goes for $100 and can be purchased on their website. It consists of a target. A sled that holds your phone and the target, and one bullet.

    You just put the bullet in the chamber of your gun. It will not eject so you can keep shooting.

    The app tracks your shots, it even makes a little bang noise and gives you a score. The sled is adjustable as you need to have it positioned so the target fills the screen. That is pretty much it easy peasy.

    Really like this and my wife and I are having lots of fun with it. Also would make a nice gift.

    Of course it is not the same as live firing but good for practice at home and very cool.

    You can buy additional laser bullets for $60 each if you want to use it for more than one type of gun.

    1. Echospiner, that’s cool. A great way to build confidence in skills you don’t actually have. You know what would be even more useful? An app that sometimes, at random, not too often, stuck a live bullet in the chamber of your gun after you emptied it.

      1. Oh it is not a substitute for live firing as I said. Many experts advocate dry firing as an additional tool. Also the app makes it fun and what is wrong with that?

        Lighten up Francis.

  29. Sullum: Contrary to those claims, the characteristics that distinguish “assault weapons” from other firearms—features like folding stocks, barrel shrouds, and pistol grips—have nothing to do with bullet size, ammunition capacity, rate of fire, or muzzle velocity.

    As every gun enthusiast reading this knows, that is a load of crap. Of course, it is a load of crap which too many gun control advocates buy into. But it is more egregious to have it spouted by someone offering an “expert” opinion on gun policy, even if the expert thinks he is using it to deride gun critics.

    The characteristic which distinguishes assault weapons from other firearms, and which makes them unreasonably dangerous for uncontrolled civilian use, is a particular combination of 3 factors:

    1. Automatic or semi-automatic operation.

    2. Detachable magazines.

    3. A compact, light-recoil cartridge which delivers sufficient ballistic energy efficiently to kill a human being.

    It is that combination, not any particular feature, or any other combination of features, which distinguishes assault weapons. Subtract from that combination any two of those features, and you no longer have even a semblance of an assault weapon. You also no longer have the unique social menace which the rapid increase in assault weapons inflicts on society.

    Societies already have extensive experience with military-style weapons from previous eras, which did not feature the full distinctive combination of features which marks an assault weapon.* Those were not as likely to be used in mass shootings as modern assault weapons have been, nor did they so often deliver comparable mayhem. Indeed, without a modern-style assault weapon, featuring exactly that combination of features, the infamous Las Vegas mass shooting could not have begun to achieve its extraordinary casualty total.

    *For gun pedants: yes, there were also early, less-efficient examples of weapons which did combine those 3 features. They were never as widely marketed as modern assault weapons. The fully-automatic ones were singled out for especially stringent federal regulation, and remain so today. Those regulations have proved, by far, the most effective gun regulations for public safety ever passed.

    1. The notion that casualty counts will be lower if school shooters use something old school like the M1 Garand, which has been sold to civilians since the 1950’s is silly on its face.

      One might also ponder the high victim counts at the many mass shootings that didn’t use the kind or weapons you don’t like, e.g. Va Tech.

      Lastly, taking Mr. Sullum to task for using the definition used by the actual federal ban, most state bans, DiFi’s proposed ban, etc, instead of your own seems a bit odd. He’s just reporting reality as it exists.

      1. The notion that casualty counts will be lower if school shooters use something old school like the M1 Garand, which has been sold to civilians since the 1950’s is silly on its face.

        Absaroka, that is not the notion. But since you bring it up, that is a provocative illustration. Apparently, today’s mass shooters disfavor the M1 Garand. It hardly seems silly to take into account the mass shooters’ own judgment about what works best for them, and to tailor policies to limit those choices.

        But the notion is to get away from the parody definitions of assault weapons, and use instead the characteristics which uniquely define their dangerous public character. That is what I have done, as I think you know enough to understand.

        1. Let’s put some numbers on things, instead of just vague nostrums. Let’s suppose the Sandy Hook shooter had a 7 round, 100 year old M1911 pistol when he walked into that class room of 2nd graders. Do you expect the number of victims would have been cut by 10%? 50%?

          “uniquely define their dangerous public character”

          So a Remington 7615P is practically harmless compared to an AR…good to know. Just for the record, how many rounds have you put through an AR, just to the nearest few thousand? Because your prognostications on the subject seem awfully theoretical, like you picked them up on Vox or somewhere, as opposed to first hand experience.

          1. Let’s suppose the Las Vegas shooter was armed with an M1911 pistol. Put your own numbers on it.

            So a Remington 7615P is practically harmless compared to an AR…good to know.

            Speak for yourself. Whatever you think the answer is, it’s irrelevant. It doesn’t meet the standard. It has a detachable magazine, and chambers the .223 cartridge.

            1. Ah, I’m a little slow. So if it has a detachable magazine (stripper clips?) and is ??any caliber less than 30[1] ?? you’ll ban it – lever, pump, bolt, whatever?

              Rifles only, or handguns as well?

              And again, if you get the bans you want, how much of a reduction in mass shooting casualties are you expecting?

              [1] or more generally, define ‘compact, light-recoil cartridge which delivers sufficient ballistic energy efficiently to kill a human being’. I mean, 22LR certainly meets that criteria, so there doesn’t seem to be a lower bound. When are they big enough to not meet the ‘compact, light-recoil’ prong or your test? 308? 12 gauge? 50BMG? Or is the idea to ban any cartridge less powerful than 308, and more powerful than 223, resulting in a null set of legal calibers?

  30. “”I’m not going to any longer accept your false choice that you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away,” she said, implying that you can be in favor of the Second Amendment and still want to take everyone’s guns away.” — if “in favor of the Second Amendment” means “no gun control at all” (as many people here argue), then her “false choice” point makes sense.

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