Free Minds & Free Markets

Overcoming Confirmation Bias on Guns

Confirmation bias is one of the great obstacles to making the practical case for liberty.

JIM RUYMEN/UPI/NewscomJIM RUYMEN/UPI/NewscomConfirmation bias is one of the great obstacles to making the practical case for liberty. People see in events what they want to see. I think of the joke about the person who planned to take his hyperactive dog on a train trip and asked his veterinarian for a tranquilizer. The vet mistakenly handed the person a stimulant. On the train he gave the dog the pill, prompting it to run madly up and down the aisle the entire trip. The embarrassed owner said to his seatmate, "Gosh, think what would have happened if I hadn't given the dog the tranquilizer!"

We are all subject to this bias. The best we can do is be aware of it and fight to overcome it.

When people look at statistics, confirmation bias always looms. It's just too easy to explain any statistical results in terms of what social scientists call one's "priors." But now and again we encounter an example of someone who refuses to let confirmation bias stand in the way of learning the truth. The latest example comes from Leah Libresco, a statistician who used to write at the political data-analysis site FiveThirtyEight.

Libresco's example is particularly noteworthy because the issue she was considering was gun violence. If any issue is prone to confirmation bias, this is the one. It is also noteworthy that she published her article at The Washington Post.

In "I Used to Think Gun Control Was the Answer. My Research Told Me Otherwise," Libresco begins:

Before I started researching gun deaths, gun-control policy used to frustrate me. I wished the National Rifle Association would stop blocking common-sense gun-control reforms such as banning assault weapons, restricting silencers, shrinking magazine sizes and all the other measures that could make guns less deadly.

But then she did some analysis, and it changed her mind. For three months she and others at FiveThirtyEight examined the tens of thousands of annual victims of gun violence, prompting her to conclude that "the case for the policies I'd lobbied for crumbled when I examined the evidence…. As my co-workers and I kept looking at the data, it seemed less and less clear that one broad gun-control restriction could make a big difference."

For example, bans on "assault weapons": "It's an invented classification that includes any semi-automatic that has two or more features, such as a bayonet mount, a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount, a folding stock or a pistol grip. But guns are modular, and any hobbyist can easily add these features at home, just as if they were snapping together Legos."

As for a ban on silencers, which Hillary Clinton thinks would have saved lives in Las Vegas: "they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don't make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer."

Limits on high-capacity magazines? They "were a little more promising, but a practiced shooter could still change magazines so fast as to make the limit meaningless."

She says nothing about the cause de jour, bump stocks, which even some gun-rights advocates seem willing to regulate ban. I hope she would realize that even if they were banned, a black market would thrive since the existing supply could not be confiscated and people could make them in their garages. (There's a reason no one's heard of them until now.)

She also decided that "the strictly tightened gun laws in Britain and Australia … didn't prove much about what America's policy should be. Neither nation experienced drops in mass shootings or other gun related-crime that could be attributed to their [buybacks and bans. Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress. And in both Australia and Britain, the gun restrictions had an ambiguous effect on other gun-related crimes or deaths."

Part of what opened her eyes was a realization of who the victims are gun violence are. For example, "Two-thirds of gun deaths in the United States every year are suicides[!]. Almost no proposed restriction would make it meaningfully harder for people with guns on hand to use them." Besides, there are plenty of other ways for people to kill themselves.

One in five victims were young men, age 15-34. "These men were most likely to die at the hands of other young men, often related to gang loyalties or other street violence." Again, the gun-controllers seem to think guns are the only way to kill.

"The last notable group of similar deaths," Libresco writes, "was the 1,700 women murdered per year, usually as the result of domestic violence." Plenty of brutal spouses kill their wives (and husbands) by other means.

"Far more people were killed in these ways than in mass-shooting incidents, but few of the popularly floated policies were tailored to serve them." Instead of writing few of, she might have written none of.

"By the time we published our project," she concludes, "I didn't believe in many of the interventions I'd heard politicians tout. I was still anti-gun, at least from the point of view of most gun owners, and I don't want a gun in my home, as I think the risk outweighs the benefits. But I can't endorse policies whose only selling point is that gun owners hate them. Policies that often seem as if they were drafted by people who have encountered guns only as a figure in a briefing book or an image on the news."

Libresco believes that "more narrowly tailored interventions" could conceivably reduce the number of victims of gun violence. Maybe so. She does not mention ending the war on illicit-drug makers, vendors, and consumers, but that measure certainly holds a good deal of promise. She also does not mention that guns are used defensively to save innocent lives many times each year. If all guns disappeared tomorrow, bigger, stronger bad people would have an advantage over smaller, weaker good people.

But let's give credit where it is due. A one-time gun-control advocate came to believe gun violence is not likely to be reduced by "sweeping bans focused on the guns themselves." If more people would do what Libresco did, we might be able to have an intelligent conversation about guns.

This piece was originally published by The Libertarian Institute.

Photo Credit: JIM RUYMEN/UPI/Newscom

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  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "a rocket-propelled grenade-launcher mount"

    She should thank her lucky stars Raytheon saved her from making a complete fool of herself with that line.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    "Mass shootings were too rare in Australia for their absence after the buyback program to be clear evidence of progress"

    I'd say going from 2 every 3 years to 0 was a decent sign of progress, in all fairness.

    Until that schizo rammed a sedan into that crowd in Melbourne in January and killed 6 people, that is. What you might call a sign of *re*gress, really. Even if they put up concrete pillars on every sidewalk, they will always find another way.

  • Jerryskids||

    In all fairness, she's a statistician and "statistically meaningful" might mean something different to her than it does to you. As in, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

  • Johnny B||

    I somewhat disagree with the "plural of `anecdote' is not `data'". That is only true if the anecdotes, the individual observations in the data, are not representative of the underlying population. Here, I think the data is the population.

  • Kevin Tyssen||

    "representative of the underlying population"

    Therein lies the problem, without a statistically significant sample size you can't say with any confidence that something is representative of the population, and Australia never had a statistically significant number of mass shootings to sample

  • Bra Ket||

    What's more important is that the basis of all our statistical predictions be homogeneous and fully-developed island-nations thousands of miles away.

    As opposed to say, the progress achieved in Mexico and Latin America via gun control.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Or Japan's super-restrictive gun laws still don't prevent yakuza knife or gun attacks, and Japan has a much higher suicide rate.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    The Yakuza actually almost never use guns, for the same reason they almost never deal drugs: they have a sort of "gentleman's agreement" with the fuzz to not do anything obviously criminal, in exchange for pretty much being left alone and allowed to hobnob with Japan's government big-wigs (including prime ministers). Add to that the weirdness of Japanese "honor" culture and you have a society where the only murders are random schizos and the occasional "suicide" of a recalcitrant business owner via repeatedly hitting himself in the back of the head with a baseball bat.

  • Get To Da Chippah||

    I'd say going from 2 every 3 years to 0 was a decent sign of progress, in all fairness.

    The trend was already going down before Australia's buyback/ban and continued at roughly the same pace after. Unless you think the country was on the verge of a sudden increase in mass shootings, nothing suggests that downward trend wouldn't have continued without the buyback/ban.

  • SQRLSY One||

    There's also the BIG problem of mis-attributed root causes!

    In this case, the recent decline in violence in Australia is REALLY due to that more Aussies are spending their time scratching themselves "down under", and less time drinking Foster's Lager and eating Vegemite, both of which are known to "amp you up", especially in combination!

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    If the *mass shooting* trend line had gone down at the same rate as before, you would expect to still see one every 3 or 4 years, then every 5 or 6 years, etc., for the next decade or so afterward.

    As it is, I think the law left mass killers reaching for a new method for 20 years, but it didn't last. Courtesy of ISIS, they've found the new approach they were looking for. Which is why I'm not advocating for any weapons controls in imitation of them.

    Unless you're talking about the overall murder rate, which indeed doesn't seem to have been improved by the '96 laws, due to steak knives being an underestimated weapon for individual murder.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    They went 20 years straight without a mass shooting, but like I said, who gives a shit? They have vehicle rammings now. Probably Luty submachine gun killings to follow...

  • Could not connect to remo||

    At least she didn't say, "statistically significant" which is something unfamiliar to 95% of the population. A change of 1% can be "statistically significant" if it occurred in a very large sample but it certainly is not meaningful.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    I wonder how much bias came from the #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeAKnee movements.

    Last month, the focus was on #BlackLivesMatter and #TakeAKnee. They say
    they were not protesting the anthem, but racism. They whined about how cops
    are habitually gunning down unarmed black men,They whined about police
    brutality. they whined about how the police oppress people of color. They
    whine about how the police oppress communities of color.

    Now the network media and many spokesholes completely ignore that and
    call for gun control.

    Do we expect these allegedly brutal, racist cops to enforce gun control
    laws in an even-handed manner?

    Because if you combine #BlackLivesMatter with #GunControlNow, that is
    exactly what we are supposed to believe.

  • creech||

    Did the whiners note that they, in many instances, have the power to vote out of office the politicians who support all this racist hatred in their communities? As long as 95% of those who think they are hated on continue to support, at the polls, those who allegedly hate them, then no kneeling or fist raising or marches are going to change anything.

  • ||

    So, are you real Libertarian, or just a poseur regurgitating Trump's position?

  • JunkScienceIsJunk||

    With the exception of using the word "whine" to describe extremely valid complaints with hard data to support them, I think you make a good point. The crowd calling for gun control fails to see that it will most likely be applied in a racially-biased fashion and may very often turn out to be a tool that the police use to probe "suspicious" (i.e. black) characters. I don't know how the american left can reconcile those two ideas.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    What kind of monster refuses on gun control to think with her heart?

  • Bra Ket||

    we need to put politics aside and implement my political agenda.

  • ||

    First, I agree with the original article.

    Second, if any policy (or industry agreement, or...) does or could reduce gun-related deaths, the idea that those deaths would occur by some other means should not be a reason to not enact said policy. There's confirmation bias on the pro-gun side, maybe more so because it's not just passion, but passion + money.

  • Bra Ket||

    If those deaths occur by some other means then you have traded liberty for "security" and gotten neither (scare quotes because someone else's choice to commit suicide isn't really your business if the person is an adult).

    The pro-gun side undoubtedly makes mistakes too, but is far less naive about guns because they're generally the ones who actually own and use them.

  • vek||

    Yeah it should, because people have a right to protect themselves. I don't want to be a disarmed slave to the whims of criminals or the government. Even if it DID cause more deaths, I would still be in favor, fortunately I don't think that's the case. I have read tons on gun crime over the years, and have come to the conclusion that anything short of a total or near total ban won't accomplish much of anything. Even bans like European countries and Australia didn't make a huge difference, if any at all, in overall murder rates.

    The real problem is getting to the underlying causes of violence. In the USA with guns it is almost all suicides, and gang related. You gotta break up the gangs and convince the people to be productive members of society instead of gangbangers. If you remove our uniquely American (in terms of scale of the problem) gang problem our murder rates are not much different than some European countries. Many states without big gang issues in fact come in at lower murder rates than in Europe.

    So deal with the gang problems, which is really mostly a poverty problem, which is really mostly an inter generational welfare induced problem, and you fix gun murders!

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    So deal with the gang problems, which is really mostly a poverty problem, which is really mostly an inter generational welfare induced problem, and you fix gun murders!

    The gangs are mostly a drug war problem. Systemic poverty is really mostly a drug war problem. Welfare is, ultimately, intimately tied to the drug war problem.

  • vek||

    Very true, I left out the drug war portion in my smart ass sentence. But it very much is in the mix. Without drugs, but still with welfare and poverty, many of the criminals would probably move into other types of crime still though. They'd still need to make an illegal buck somehow, and since drugs would be legal that wouldn't work, so perhaps more car theft and home robbery etc.

    It's a tough nut to crack in the 21st century. Most criminals have considerably lower than average IQs, which is why they didn't just be "smart" and learn to do something that pays well... And there just aren't many jobs for low intelligence people in America in the 21st century. The ones there are are all shit paying, and largely filled by immigrants who are often willing to work harder for even less... And as long as welfare is on the table native born people will never get their shit together and be willing to do a lot of these shit jobs even. A tough nut indeed :/

  • uunderstand||

    And there just aren't many jobs for low intelligence people in America in the 21st century.

    Congress has gone out of business?

  • Bubba Jones||

    I don't think that is entirely true.

    European homicide rate is 1:100,000. US Black is 17 or so. US White is 4.

    I don't think gangs entirely explain it, but I could be wrong.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    US Black 17-19, US Hispanic 5, US White 2.5.

    But Europe's white populations include larger urban and low-income contingents than the US's, so it isn't really a fair comparison.

    The real thing to remember is this: America's *non-gun* murder rate is 1.5 to 1.7. Even if guns were completely eliminated, and only 1/5 of gun murders occurred with knives or bats as a means of displacement, that leaves our "new" rate at between 2.2 and 2.5. And since guns aren't nearly that much deadlier than other weapons IRL, the actual "new" rate would be more like 3 to 3.5... And since guns aren't just gonna poof into thin air, the actual reduction would at best be from 3.5 to 3.7 gun murders a year (current) to 1.5 gun murders and 1 to 1.25 new non-gun murders, leaving us at around 4 to 4.5 instead of our current 5 to 5.5-ish.

    TL;DR: America would have a high rate without guns, and will always have more gun murders per capita than other countries.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    f any policy (or industry agreement, or...) does or could reduce gun-related deaths, the idea that those deaths would occur by some other means should not be a reason to not enact said policy.

    How so? If the benefit of the policy is supposed to be that it prevents "gun deaths", then the fact that the "gun deaths" would merely be replaced by "knife deaths" or "baseball bat deaths" means that there is no real benefit.

  • DajjaI||

    The purpose of gun rights is to protect us from a tyrannical government, and it's just so ironical that the Trumpkins are the biggest proponents of gun rights. How'd that work out for ya, stupid Trumpkins?

  • Cloudbuster||

    Pretty well, so far. Thanks for asking.

  • Spinach Chin||

    The fact that it had the effect of driving people like you batshit insane is all the reward I need.

  • Rockabilly||

    Hillary Clinton will NEVER EVER be president !! LOL X infinity!!! Hahahahhahahahahaaaaa

  • Cy||

    It scares me how many people selectively trust their governments. How can you demand the government take away everyone's right to self defense except those they 'deem' necessary? Then you turn around and bitch about Trump and his ilk?

    All I can say to someone so tribal and blind, we don't want anyone to control us or our rights. Not Trump. Not Clinton. Not Bush. Not team red. Not team blue. Not the hammer or the sickle. Not your feelz. Not your lack of education. Not your echo chamber's consensus. NO ONE. Do you get that? Someone else being irresponsible with their life and their rights isn't justification to take away anyone else's life or rights.

    Why is this so hard to understand?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Partly because too many self-proclaimed liberty lovers are full of "but..." principles. Look at all the gun rights supporters who are willing to trade a bump stock ban for suppressor freedom or nationwide conceal carry reciprocity.

    When real principled libertarians come along, they are too rare to be believed.

    Certain professions have the stink of dishonesty -- used car dealers, real estate agents -- and those industries still have more honest participants than all the "but...." liberty lovers. The general public has a healthy disregard for principles because too many principled people really aren't.

  • Liberty =><= Equality||

    Amazing, a week ago, few people here knew what a bump stock was, and now they're considered an indispensable part of Second Amendment rights that cannot be compromised.

    Do you think restrictions fully automatic weapons are a violation of the Second Amendment too? If not, the bump stock is a circumvention of those restrictions, so I don't see how you can consider them to be protected by 2A.

    Look at all the gun rights supporters who are willing to trade a bump stock ban for suppressor freedom or nationwide conceal carry reciprocity.

    Trading a useless toy for something that actually has legitimate purpose? Fuck yeah, I'll take that deal any day.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    A perfect illustration of a sunshine patriot, willing to trade other people's liberty for his own choices. The principle of principals.

    What government is strong enough to give you, they are strong enough to take back in spades.

  • Wizard4169||

    Yes, the NFA was unconstitutional. And the Hughes Amendment was super-double unconstitutional.

    Personally, I think bump stocks are stupid and pointless. I also think banning them is stupid and sets yet another bad precedent.

  • Bubba Jones||

    I would trade a bump stock ban for national concealed carry plus suppressors.

    I think that is a major net win. Especially if you leave out echo triggers...

    No one wanted the bump stocks before they were at risk of being banned.

    I think national concealed carry would be difficult to undo.

  • Bubba Jones||

    And then try to block the bump stock ban as unconstitutional...

  • Hank Phillips||

    Over at you can find translations of National Socialist gun laws specifically prohibiting "Jews" from possessing firearms. The Amerikan variant of these Kristallnacht laws is barring your grandfather (as a felon who transported a sixpack of light beer) or your son (as a felon for the wrong plant or seeds), or you as a thoughtcriminal. Never do any of the communo-fascist socialists discuss the possibility of abolishing the communist income tax on individuals or disarming ANY government agents.
    "It Can't Happen Here," a novel of fascist Amerika, was written in 1935, when the same religions that ran Germany also ran These States in similar proportions.

  • Earth Skeptic||

    For one serious answer, see the work of Jonathan Haidt (Moral Foundations theory). One principal conclusion is that most American progressives focus selectively on the "prevention of harm" foundation. If that is your primary ethical driver, then intrusive nanny-state government is not only desired but mandatory.

  • Warren||

    As if pro-gun people weren't neck deep in Confirmation Bias.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    Thank you for your detailed and supported argument. Wherever the needle may be, moved it, you have.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Sheldon Richman writing about confirmation bias is a bit like Shikha Dalmia writing about Trump Derangement Syndrome.

    Yeah, pay close attention when the Greeks write about "moderation in all things"; after all, the Greeks may have been the most immoderate people in history.

  • Hank Phillips||

    Remember how Orwell believed that if you could use inference, like 2+2=4, you could be free? Logical inference requires premises, generalities usually obtained by induction. All men are mortal is an example. But this fundamental truth is denied by mysticism based on the supposition that Jesus existed (but was only mentioned 150 years later in a language you don't read), and that Jesus could perform miracles physicists and chemists know to be impossible, such as resurrecting someone who has been dead for, say, three days. To the extent that faith-based brainwashing is encouraged, even funded by The Political State, logic and mathematics, and all science that relies on them, are replaced by ignorance, superstition and coercion (which of necessity requires killing defiant individuals).

  • Ken Shultz||

    "As for a ban on silencers, which Hillary Clinton thinks would have saved lives in Las Vegas: "they deserve that name only in movies, where they reduce gunfire to a soft puick puick. In real life, silencers limit hearing damage for shooters but don't make gunfire dangerously quiet. An AR-15 with a silencer is about as loud as a jackhammer."

    Pair that with subsonic ammunition and it can get pretty quiet. I suppose a flash suppressor might have made it more difficult to detect where this guy was shooting from, too.

    Someone else might point out that a "silencer" can be easily made from an oil filter.

    If a suppressor offered a significant tactical advantage, someone planning a terrorist assault like that can pretty easily put something together. Banning silencers just makes it hard on people's hearing. There are tactical considerations.

    If you ever had to shoot a handgun in an enclosed room in defense against an intruder, the sound alone might have the effect of a stun grenade--and that's just generally a bad idea to disorient yourself while you're shooting.

  • sarcasmic||

    That is why my home defense .357 is loaded with .38sp. If I ever have to use it I don't want to me made deaf.

  • Wizard4169||

    No, a flash suppressor would not have made the shooter any harder to spot. The only thing a flash suppressor does is direct the muzzle flash away from the shooter's eye-line, so that he isn't blinded by his own muzzle flash when shooting in low light. It doesn't do anything to diminish the overall flash.

    You're completely right about sound suppressors, though. Give me an hour in the average house, and I can put together a crude but effective suppressor. It won't do much for accuracy, and it might not last long, but it will work for at least a few shots. The only reason I don't actually do this is the whole "not wanting to go to jail" bit. Any murderer who wants a quieter gun can accomplish it easily, yet so few do. (I specifically say "murderer", since in most other crimes the gun is ideally a threat and not a weapon. If robbers, etc., have to actually start shooting, then things have already gone seriously sideways.)

  • Bubba Jones||

    A suppressed rifle is still 120dB.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Meanwhile, what we're really talking about is a qualitative preference for freedom balanced against safety--which doesn't and can't really show up in any statistical analysis. There are people who make safety their ultimate consideration--it's a psychological disorder. Agoraphobes never leave home and paranoids are so scared they, . . .

    The rest of us, quite rationally, make compromises between safety and freedom to satisfy our qualitative preferences. If I have a qualitative preference for more freedom that guides how I view gun statistics, that isn't necessarily a bad "bias"--especially if we're ultimately talking about personal preferences for freedom anyway.

    Whether guns, drugs, cars, or sugary soft drinks are statistically dangerous is only a subset of the bigger question of whether people should prefer the freedom to make choices for themselves about whether to use these things. A society in which no one is allowed to do anything that might put themselves or anyone else in danger is an oppressive society.

    Yes, I have a bias for freedom, which quite rationally overrides my interest in certain statistics. If that colors my collection of such statistics, that's irrational, but ignoring the fact that statistics are always just one consideration in a much bigger question about a qualitative preference or "bias" is also completely irrational.

  • Ken Shultz||

    If I could edit that, it would read:

    "If that colors my collection of such statistics, that's irrational, but ignoring the fact that statistics are always just one consideration in a much [more important] question about a qualitative preference or "bias" [for freedom] is also completely irrational."

  • Old Mexican's Speedos||

    Libresco believes that "more narrowly tailored interventions" could conceivably reduce the number of victims of gun violence

    Possibly, but what I take from that statement and similar statements from people advocating for gun control is the idea that such people place a much higher value on violence committed by guns than violence by other means, as if it was less terrifying to be bludgeoned to death with a baseball bat (a kind of weapon for which no requirement for background checks or waiting periods exist) or being stabbed to death with a kitchen knife. To me, it seems that this selective outrage stems strictly from ideological biases and not an unwillingness to look at data, as here is no fundamental difference between committing acts of violence with other weapons compared to guns. Guns have the added advantage of allowing an individual at least closer parity with the agents of the State and that is what is driving this attack on gun ownership and not a sense of compassion from compassionless leftists.

  • Old Mexican's Speedos||

    ... as if it were less terrifying...

  • sarcasmic||

    I believe the idea is that it is easier to squeeze a trigger than to stab or bludgeon someone to death.

  • Bra Ket||

    No I think the idea is they personally don't own guns nor the balls to use them, so they would prefer to have that option off the table for everyone else too. Fits right in with the male-female divide on the issue. Also the rural-urban split between left and right, where lefties have no other uses for guns, hence no opportunity to become familiar and confident with using them.

    To them guns are an extraneous liberty they don't exercise so they lose nothing by giving them up. Sort of like how left-wing cities want to ban tobacco while legalizing marijuana.

  • Rockabilly||

    What's hilarious is that the democrat progressive marxists call Trump a fascist. Trump supports the 2nd amendment. Part of the reason he said he supports it because it keeps government at bay.

    So here is the logic of the democrat progressive marxist.

    Trump is a fascist. Trump should support our call for more gun control to make it more difficult for people to acquire weapons to keep government at bay.

    No, I did not vote for Trump. But a candidate who supports the 2nd amendment is preferable to Hillary Clinton.

  • sarcasmic||

    A gunsmith friend of mine makes his own suppressors. He's got a .22 rifle that is totally silent with subsonic ammo. All you hear is the mechanics in the weapon.
    He's also got a custom AR, fully suppressed and fully automatic. Sounds like dropping a phone book. But you still hear the crackle of the projectile breaking the sound barrier. The thing has a two foot suppressor surrounding n eleven inch barrel. Like I said, custom job.
    Bad fucking ass.

  • Wizard4169||

    Saw a suppressed AR chambered in .300 Whisper in action once, with subsonic ammo. From about twenty feet away from the shooter, all I could hear was the "clack" of the bolt cycling, closely followed by "Whang!" as the bullet hit the empty oil drum they were using for a target.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Her analysis collapses under the observation that the rest of the civilized world has gun control and I hear everything is awesome there.

    Suck that, confirmation bias!

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    +1-way ticket to Rio

  • Bra Ket||

    Latin America has gun control too. Everything is definitely awesome there.

    But note how you excluded them and focused on a narrow subset of countries which confirm your bias. I guess gun control also solved rest of the developed world's problems with gangs and teen pregnancy too?

    Most murders in the US happen in neighborhoods that better resemble the developing world than Norway and Japan.

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    {quietly elbows Bra Ket}

    Psst. Dude. Sarc Meter. Turn it on.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    {Passes Telcontar the Birther a note}

    *Let him go and let's see what happens*

  • Telcontar the Wanderer||

    Oy. It was "Obama Birther" when I still had it, and I changed it back to "Wanderer" like a zillion years ago. If this were America's Next Top Model, you would so be "out".

  • Heraclitus||

    Context matters. The rest of the world isn't populated by a sizable minority of residents who worship guns and think they need to stock up for the apocalypse. Even liberals get worn down when they realize that their only recourse is to go out and get guns for themselves. We can sit around mulling the numbers on these little bills being proposed. As long as you can go out and buy 30 guns in a year we are all screwed. They're not stocking up because they fear tyranny. They're stocking up so that they can take control when society breaks down. They can force us to stand and honor veterans of the tyrannical military/police state that they are stocking up to fight. Yeah, that makes a lot of effing sense. But hey, congratulations on winning the rhetorical argument.

  • Red Rocks White Privilege||

    The rest of the world isn't populated by a sizable minority of residents who worship guns and think they need to stock up for the apocalypse...We can sit around mulling the numbers on these little bills being proposed. As long as you can go out and buy 30 guns in a year we are all screwed.

    Tell us how that firearm murder rate is today compared to 25 years ago.

    The fact is that it dropped from the early 90s to about 2000 and has held steady since then, and most of those murders are executed by black men in our glorious Democratic Utopian Strongholds. Jethro and Billy Bob aren't your greatest danger; Shitavious and D'Quantrell are, but only if you happen to enter their neighborhood. The vast majority of gun deaths are suicides, which is a mental health issue, not a gun control issue.

  • Robert||

    "Know when we'll disarm? When those radical right wingers do." — The President's Analyst

  • vek||

    WOW! So you mean if we just became slaves like the rest of the world we could MAYBE lower our murder rate, which basically doesn't effect anyone who doesn't live in the ghetto anyway??? Sign me up!

    Our death toll from shootings is not a HUGE issue. It's almost all gang related, and while I feel for the innocent bystanders, I DO NOT feel bad about ghetto trash killing each other. If we want to solve our violence problem ending the drug war, and the welfare state, while pushing those people into being productive members of society is the way to do it. Taking guns from the 99% of people who commit almost no crime isn't going to fix shit.

    And damn right I have guns for the JUST IN CASE THE WORLD ENDS scenario. Crazy stuff has happened over, and over, and over throughout history. How is a $500-1000 investment (for a decent used AR) in self protection for SHTF a big deal either way? Nothing wrong with being prepared. If anything ever does go down I'm gonna LOL at all the idiots who thought nothing bad could ever happen for the rest of history...

  • ranrod||

    There is no such thing as "gun violence". This is a focus-group-driven buzzword and talking point to create an imaginary bogeyman as the main anti 2nd Amendment propaganda tool. There are PEOPLE who commit violence with guns, but there are many more people who commit violence without them.
    And, since the term "gun violence" is a catchword/cliche, the title suggests an unattainable goal. People have been robbing and killing other people, using the weapons of the day, since the beginning of man on this planet, which identifies the real issue - controlling criminal impulses in humans, not the otherwise legal instruments they use to commit crimes.
    Anyone who doesn't realize and/or acknowledge this isn't thinking, s/he is 'feeling', and our liberty cannot depend upon what anybody 'feels'.


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