The Shooting Cycle Continues in 2021

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In 2014, I co-authored an article with Shelby Baird titled The Shooting Cycle. We published the piece the Connecticut Law Review. The symposium was organized in the wake of the Newtown mass killing. Shortly before I presented the paper, then-Governor Malloy talked about the urgent need for gun control laws to deal with the tragedy in his state. Our presentation took a very different approach. We wrote:

The pattern is a painfully familiar one. A gunman opens fire in a public place, killing many innocent victims. After this tragedy, support for gun control surges. With a closing window for reform, politicians and activists quickly push for new gun laws. But as time elapses, support decreases. Soon enough, the passions fade, and society returns to the status quo.

We call this paradigm "the shooting cycle." This article provides the first qualitative and quantitative analysis of the shooting cycle, and explains how and why people and governments react to mass shootings.

Seven years later, the shooting cycle seems to continue. And don't take my word for it. Today, the New York Times published an op-ed from Dan Gross, the former President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. He described the shooting cycle in almost the same terms that Shelby and I described it.

It also breaks my heart to see gun control supporters, part of a movement I once helped to lead, repeat the mistakes that doom us all to the unacceptable status quo: tens of thousands of shooting deaths a year. The pattern is as familiar as it is tragic: In the immediate aftermath of a mass shooting, the main demand of political leaders and gun control groups is a federal assault weapons ban. The news media, which seems to pay attention to gun laws only in the wake of mass shootings, amplifies that call, mostly taking at face value the idea that an assault weapons ban is the best way to prevent "gun violence". Then, as headlines about the latest calamity fade, so do the hopes of federal policy change. If this pattern plays out again after the shootings in Georgia and Colorado, no one should be surprised.

No, I am not surprised at all. Gross writes that gun control advocates should not focus on big, bad scary weapons like so-called "assault weapons." Instead, gun control advocates should focus on the cause of the overwhelming majority of gun deaths: simple handguns.

Though it does not grab national headlines, the daily toll of gun deaths and injuries is just as horrifying as our mass shootings, and more preventable as a matter of policy. The gun control movement should focus on the deaths and injuries that are most common, rather than be galvanized by mass shootings like the one that put my brother in a coma.

Gross explains that mass shootings represent a very, very small number of gun deaths.

Of the nearly 40,000 deaths involving guns in 2019, well under 1 percent were caused by what the F.B.I. defines as "active shooter" incidents. In an average year, around 60 percent of deaths involving guns are suicides and upward of 30 percent are homicides that don't meet the "active shooter" definition, like episodes of domestic and gang violence. Even unintentional shootings (about 1 percent of the total) outnumber mass shootings. . . .

But the fact is that if one were to objectively list solutions based purely on how much they would lower the number of gun deaths in our country, an assault weapons ban would not be high on the list.

Gross is exactly right. Gun control advocates should not fixate on long guns.

There are far more effective means to prevent these sadly routine tragedies than by focusing on assault weapons. And that means that it is both wrong and counterproductive for advocacy organizations and elected leaders to use the moments when the public is focused on gun control to push an assault weapons ban.

Of course, Gross can certainly speculate why gun control advocate will not focus on hand guns. Indeed, the organization he led was initially called "Handgun Control." But it dropped that name because the goal of banning handguns was seen as too radical. You have to start with the big, bad scary long guns, then work your way down to handguns. Nations around the world have followed a similar trajectory: ban long guns after a tragedy, and then when people are desensitized, move onto handguns. Gun control advocates are not focusing on banning the types of weapons that result in the most deaths, but are focusing on banning the types of weapons for which the political opposition is less severe.

One final note about my co-author. In 2014, Shelby Baird was still a senior at Yale University. Since then, she graduated from Duke Law School magna cum laude, was the President of her FedSoc chapter, was an editor on the Duke Law Journal, and clerked for Judge Hardiman on the Third Circuit. Now, she is an associate at Cooper & Kirk. I am very proud to have co-authored with her many years ago. I have known Shelby from my time clerking in Western Pennsylvania. I recognized early she had great potential, and she has exceeded those expectations.

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  1. “There are far more effective means to prevent these sadly routine tragedies than by focusing on assault weapons.”

    OK let’s hear them!

    And if there were, wouldn’t we have passed at least some of them?

    1. Well, we did pass a lot of them. Now we don’t enforce them — for example, the prohibitions against lying on ATF Form 4473, which would have kept Hunter Biden from buying his gun.

      Other more-effective means to prevent mass shootings also involve stricter law enforcement, particularly against a client group strongly favored by Democrats, so Democrats don’t even seriously consider those means. They focus on Scary Long Guns instead.

      1. Exactly. For instance, the Westland Mall shooter. He had been arrested on firearms charges prior to the shooting, but was under “house arrest” at the time of the shooting. After he was arrested again…this time for murdering someone while out on house arrest…he bonded out again, and again placed under “house arrest”.

        WBNS: Teen charged with murder in Westland Mall shooting out on bond

      2. What means are you referring to?

      3. It is worth noting that Form 4473 includes the use of marijuana. I suspect that many more than Hunter Biden lied on the form.

        1. But the question is, why isn’t the law being ENFORCED against Hunter Biden? Given that it’s public record….

          If the law isn’t enforced, or only “selectively” enforced against those who don’t have the right connections….I mean, then perhaps that’s the problem.

    2. And if there were, wouldn’t we have passed at least some of them?

      That’s what passes for reasoning in your neck of the woods?

    3. The two most effective ways to prevent these tragedies are:
      1. Fix our approach to mental health
      2. End the self-destructive “war” on drugs.

      We could end the war on drugs tomorrow. Other than political grandstanding (by politicians of both parties), I don’t know why we haven’t done that already.

      Fixing mental health, however, is hard. We can’t even fix our national approach to physical health and that carries none of the negative stigma of admitting to mental ill health. If you can figure out how to fix our mental health policy, I think you’ll deserve free beer for life.

      1. Can we skip the fix mental health policy and go straight to the free beer? 🙂

      2. “We could end the war on drugs tomorrow. Other than political grandstanding (by politicians of both parties), I don’t know why we haven’t done that already.”

        Politicians are control freaks, they get off on telling others what to do. People who lack that drive typically avoid politics.

        The problem with drug relegalization is that it involves accepting that people will do things you disapprove of. That’s a very difficult thing for your average politician to do.

        1. ““We could end the war on drugs tomorrow. Other than political grandstanding (by politicians of both parties), I don’t know why we haven’t done that already.”

          Politicians are control freaks, they get off on telling others what to do. People who lack that drive typically avoid politics.

          The problem with drug relegalization is that it involves accepting that people will do things you disapprove of. That’s a very difficult thing for your average politician to do.”

          The other issue is economics. Ending the War on Drugs puts an awful lot of people on the government payroll out of work. Whole sectors of the government would suddenly become obsolete.

        2. Also the private prison lobby pumping in those sweet campaign contributions to keep the prisons full.

          Plus, if drugs were legal, how would the police be able to justify killing so many people? Conservatives wouldn’t be able to point out how people like George Floyd deserved to be killed by the police because drugs appeared on their autopsy reports.

          1. Conservatives wouldn’t be able to point out how people like George Floyd deserved to be killed by the police because drugs appeared on their autopsy reports.

            I didn’t realize it was possible to cram that many misrepresentations into a single sentence. Bravo.

          2. Counting all US state and federal prisoners, fewer than 10% are housed in private prisons. That lobbying you refer to is not being paid for by private prison operators, it’s being paid for by government prison guard unions.

      3. One of the biggest problems with mental health as it relates to firearms is the failure to recognize that most mental health issues do not make a person dangerous. The “dump it all into NICS” approach has done real harm.

      4. The two most effective ways to prevent these tragedies are:
        1. Fix our approach to mental health

        My impression is that the role of mental illness in gun deaths is much exaggerated, though certainly depression is involved in many suicides.

        Not so?

        1. The most recent reliable statistics that I’ve seen put about 1/3 of gun deaths as suicides. Very few of those are the classic Kevorkian “I have an incurable disease and want to go out on my own terms”. The vast majority involve deep depression and other mental illness.

          About half of all gun deaths are attributable to gang activity, most of that connected to our self-destructive “war” on drugs (already covered).

          The remainder are accidents (surprisingly few) and crimes of passion, etc. And while mental illness does not play a role in accidents, it is arguably a factor in the crime of passion and other categories.

    4. The entire premise of the article is wrong.
      They don’t care at all about crime and “gun violence “victims.
      If they did, they would be laser focused on gang members in minority communities in our inner cities.
      That’s all all the gun deaths occur.
      No they are interested interested in oppressing the citizens.
      And they can’t do that until all the really effective military style long guns are out of citizens hands.

    5. “And if there were, wouldn’t we have passed at least some of them?
      No. Simple as that

    6. OK let’s hear them!

      Cant even define the goal. Can’t define “assault weapon”

      The style of an AR15 has no bearing on its lethality.
      There is also the matter of the constitution. The 2cnd Amendment. As defined by Miller. Miller outlawed sawed off shotguns, because they were a design that had no practical utility. Miller said the right to keep and bear arms covered guns, common to the people and widely available. The AR 15 is the single most popular rifle design, by a wide margin, than any other rifle.
      According to Miller, it is specifically protected by the Constitution.

  2. The police are evil racist murderers, so lets make sure that they are more well armed than the communities they police. Or something.

  3. “Mister Saturday Night Special, got a barrel that’s blue and cold, ain’t good for nothing but puting men six feet in a hole.” That was all over the radio in 40 years ago.

    The Massachusetts Attorney General banned sale of “Saturday Night Specials” a couple decades ago, citing consumer protection law as authority. No clue if that made a difference.

    1. Well yeah, but that’s just a Saturday night special, not a well crafted revolver or pistol, which is good for a lot more than that.

      But actually the whole “Saturday Night Special” campaign was the assault weapons bait and switch of its day. Try to make a place gun scary, so you can ban it as a first step to banning all guns. A gun so cheap even poor people can afford it, the horror.

      1. Maryland’s Saturday Night Special ban was designed to keep inexpensive firearms out of the hands of poor black folks. Look at Baltimore, it clearly worked.

        [/sarc]

  4. Mass shooters are either suicidal (generally over 26 years of age) or so mentally deranged they don’t care if they live or die (18-26 years of age). So unfortunately more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens might make mass shootings more likely. Obviously we should be focused on getting the 18-26 year olds mental health help as well as keeping guns out of their hands…we should consider raising the age for males to purchase guns to 27.

    1. “unfortunately more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens might make mass shootings more likely.”

      That turns out not to be the case. For example, permissive handgun carry laws reduce both the frequency and severity of multiple victim shootings. Lott, John R. and Landes, William M., Multiple Victim Public Shootings (October 19, 2000).

      https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=272929

      1. A gun did not help the police officer in the Boulder, CO.

        1. If Daniel Schmutter had claimed that the presence of even a single gun completely eliminates the possibility of a multiple victim shooting, that fact would be a powerful refutation.

        2. As usual you cherry picked one event. And by the way the cops who came after shot the perp in the leg right before he surrendered.

          1. Mass shooters target armed cops and target people armed frequently. So a few weeks ago a mass shooter targeted a gun store owner in his gun store!?! A mass shooter also killed two of America’s greatest warriors that were armed and at a gun range!?!

            Btw, the gun store was a gun free zone because the store owner required guns to be unloaded…so even gun store owners fear people with guns.

            1. Sheriff: 3 Dead in Gun Store Shooting in New Orleans Suburb

              1. Only 3 casualties. Takes 4 to qualify as a mass shooting.

              2. One of said casualties was the shooter who was dead before the cops arrived.

              A person went into a gun store and shooting range in a New Orleans suburb and fatally shot two people Saturday, causing customers and staff to open fire on the shooter, a sheriff said. The shooter also died.

              1. Give me a break—it’s a mass shooting type incident in which the shooter fortunately didn’t kill more. Of course the gun nuts can point to the fact the gun store was a “gun free zone” because the gun store owner forced patrons to unload their guns…but the lunatic still knew the store owner would be armed with a loaded gun and so armed and loaded people did not deter the shooter.

                1. And why didn’t he kill more?

                  Because the people you loathe put him down like a dog and stopped him at just 2.

                  1. I’m pro-gun. You would be in the group of people that loathe the gun store owner because his store was a “gun free zone”. And the shooter didn’t kill more people because he literally flipped out in that very moment…and nuts tend to be worse mass shooters than older suicidal people that plan out their attacks. So he opened fire on people he knew were armed and trained in arms…so guns did not deter him!!

      2. 2000??? You are a nitwit!! Mass shootings have increased in frequency since then. MASS SHOOTERS ARE SUICIDAL!!

        1. Well, there you have it. Sebastian said so.

      3. That dataset is so old it doesn’t even include Columbine. It only mentions Columbine once in the whole article, and only in the introductory paragraph. It’s been pretty thorough reviewed and analyzed since it was published, and it’s causal link mostly discredited. The most we can say from it is that passing concealed carry laws don’t appear to increase the number of public murders from guns.

        Here’s an NAS report from just 2004 reviewing a lot of the critiques: https://www.nap.edu/read/10881/chapter/8#122

        1. Anyone that links to a study from 2000 is clearly looking to have their opinion confirmed and most likely has a closed mind because “2000”?!? Seriously?? Here is a more recent study.

          https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/active-shooter-study-2000-2013-1.pdf

          1. Anyone who links to an FBI “active shooter” event study — at least when the question is whether permissive gun licensing makes mass shootings better or worse — is clearly looking to have their opinion confirmed and most likely has a closed mind because there is no remotely defensible reason to exclude gang violence, drug violence, hostage situations, and crossfire from an analysis of whether lots of people got shot at one time.

            1. Lol, the FBI disagrees with you and John Lott disagrees with you and pretty much everyone with a brain disagrees with you!! I have already stated that more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens has most likely reduced overall violent crime. So step back and turn your brain on and realize this discussion involves a particular phenomenon that is largely an American problem that no one can seem to solve.

              1. “largely an American problem that no one can seem to solve.”

                Probably because they, like you, keep focusing on inanimate objects, and make no attempt to solve the problem.

    2. re: “more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens might make mass shootings more likely”

      The word “might” is doing an awful lot of work in that statement. The actual evidence is that (excluding suicides) violent crime has been going down as gun ownership has been going up.*

      Yes, we should get everyone the mental health they need. No, we should not keep arbitrarily raising the age of adulthood.

      * Suicides get excluded because a) by definition they are not mass shootings so they are not relevant to the premise of your comment and b) cross-cultural studies show that people who are suicidal find a way. When you take away guns, you get an increase in bridge-jumpers, pills, etc. The total level of suicides per capita is dependent on a lot of cultural factors but gun control policy is not one of them.

      1. Use your brain—THEY ARE SUICIDAL!! So more guns can only make mass shootings MORE likely and not less.

        1. For some saying “use your brain”, maybe you should take your own advice. The fact that some shooters are suicidal does not make mass shootings more likely. The evidence – that is, facts on the ground – is that gun violence is decreasing at the same time that gun ownership is increasing. If that evidence disagrees with your mental model, it’s not the evidence that’s wrong.

          1. Excuse me – that should have been “For someone saying …” (Can we please have an edit button?)

          2. Correct, more guns in the hands of law abiding citizens probably reduces violent crime…but more guns increases mass shootings because mass shooters are SUICIDAL or so mentally deranged they don’t care if they live or die!!

            1. Again, look at the evidence. The number of guns in private hands keeps rising. The number of mass shooters is not rising during the same period.

              1. Yes it is!!! Mass shootings are more common these last 20 years. Overall violent crime like gang violence and domestic violence was down prior to 2020. Do you know who Kyle Rittenhouse is?? He was open carrying an assault rifle and a suicidal man attacked him…because guns don’t stop suicidal people from attacking you!?!

                1. “ Mass shootings are more common these last 20 years.”

                  Cite, please.

                  1. Take out gang violence and take out domestic violence and mass shootings (active shooter) are on the rise according to the FBI.

                    https://www.fbi.gov/file-repository/active-shooter-study-2000-2013-1.pdf

                    1. There’s a goal post moving problem with that report.

                      The standard that used to be bandied about for “mass shootings” was for or more casualties. That FBI report uses 3.

                      I’d like to see that analysis go back to 1980 with that same standard.

                    2. Do you not have eyes and ears??? Mass shootings are clearly on the rise these last 20 years and you shouldn’t need an FBI study to inform you of that.

                    3. A lot depends on what you consider a “mass shooting” and how it’s reported.

                      If you look at overall homicide rates by firearm (arguably more important), you’ll see it’s dropped overall since the 60’s and 70’s.

                      https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/16/what-the-data-says-about-gun-deaths-in-the-u-s/#:~:text=There%20were%204.6%20gun%20murders,per%20100%2C000%20measured%20in%201977.

                    4. I already stated overall violent crimes are down as more law abiding citizens have become armed with concealed handguns. But mass shootings have clearly increased.

      2. Rossami,

        cross-cultural studies show that people who are suicidal find a way.

        Again, I’m not sure this is accurate. I thought that studies showed that failed suicides generally did not repeat the attempt. So reducing firearm attempts, which are likely to succeed, would in fact reduce suicides.

        It’s not clear to me how cross-cultural studies can cast a special light on this.

        1. My observation is that mass shooters want to die and so they start shooting hoping to go out in a blaze of glory. The older mass shooters also tend to be more deadly because they most likely aren’t mentally deranged like the 18-26 year olds. Mass shootings are most likely on the rise due to copycats seeing other mass shooters on the news.

        2. “I thought that studies showed that failed suicides generally did not repeat the attempt. So reducing firearm attempts, which are likely to succeed, would in fact reduce suicides.”

          Presumes with out evidence, that they wouldn’t have made the first attempt without access to a gun.

          Guns are not the most effective (lowest failure rate) means of suicide. That would go to jumping off of buildings/bridges.

          I’m not sure what the least effective is, I’d guess drug overdose.

          1. Which is why the SF media stopped covering Golden Gate Bridge jumpers to prevent copycats. Mass shootings are on the rise most likely because of more copycats since Columbine as media coverage has increased.

            1. That’s my conclusion, too. It works out great for the media: If it bleeds it leads, and if you report on mass shooters, you pretty much automatically get more opportunities to report on mass shooters.

              The difference is that the SF media didn’t find it useful to have people jumping off the bridge, while the national media find reports of mass shooters useful in advancing their political goals.

              1. Apparently at the multi billion dollar NYC development there is a 150 foot sculpture that once opened people started committing suicide by jumping off it so they closed it down. And in South Florida they opened a new high speed rail line and people started jumping in front of trains to commit suicide. So suicidal people start copycat suicides fairly frequently.

        3. Re: failed suicides do not repeat

          I’ve seen conflicting studies on that exact point. I think the truth is that we just don’t know why some people commit or attempt suicide. There is one school of thought that it’s a “cry for help” that is not intended to succeed. That theory is a lot less popular with psychologists than it was back when my father was in practice. That is, it may be a cry for help from some people (and you should initially react like it is regardless) but it’s a smaller number than we originally thought and certainly not a universal truth.

          Re firearms suicides being less successful
          Again, the jury is still out. There is some evidence supporting that claim but also some evidence that it’s not so.

          However, what we do know is that the rate of successful suicides is not well correlated with gun restrictions. The interpretation is that among those who sincerely want to commit suicide, when denied guns they find equally effective means.

          it only once but others repeat. Your assumption, however, that firearms attempts are more likely to succeed does not appear to be supported by any of the studies I’ve read.

          1. Arggghh!!! Can we please have an edit button?!? Strike that entire last paragraph fragment. That was a leftover from an early edit. I overwrote it. I have no idea why or how the Reason commenting system put that back at the end of my comment.

        4. So, one way is to look at different countries, with different firearms laws, and suicide rates and types.

          One example is South Korea. Guns are tightly regulated there. Yet they have a fairly high suicide rate (24.7 per 100,000 people). Hanging and pesticides are common methods.

          The US has a lower suicide rate (10.1 per 100,000). Firearm use is more common, as expected. With suffocation and poisoning coming in after that.

    3. Old enough to die in Afghanistan but too young to go plinking?

  5. ” Gross is exactly right. Gun control advocates should not fixate on long guns.”

    Trivially so, since they shouldn’t be gun control advocates.

    But the focus on long guns makes sense.

    Ignore the astroturf and public relations fluff. The gun control movement has two basic objectives: Protecting politicians from assassination, and rendering the government safe against popular revolt.

    Rifles are the preferred weapon for both.

    1. Please stop helping.

      1. I take it you’re one of the useful idiots taken in by the PR fluff?

        1. I take it you’re one of the other kind…

    2. nah, I think that prohibitionists are just naive. They really think that they can pass a law and magically remove the predators from existence. Since Moses brought the 10 commandments “Thou Shalt not Kill,” people have believed another law would solve for human nature.

      The right has its own similar issues with drugs and abortion. Just pass another law, people will stop being racist drug using AR15 wielding baby murders.

      1. Like in most movements, you have to distinguish between the foot soldiers and the generals, the people leading the movement, and the useful idiots.

        Yes, the useful idiots believe the propaganda. The people at the top? They originate the propaganda.

        Like Josh Sugarmann, coining the term “assault weapon”. He’d actually publicly brag about what a great con job that was, that it made it easy to mislead people into thinking they were banning military arms.

      2. That’s a shitty translation of the Hebrew brought to you by, well, nevermind. It’s actually “thou shall not murder.”

        Big difference.

      3. “Since Moses brought the 10 commandments “Thou Shalt not Kill,” people have believed another law would solve for human nature. ”

        If God wanted people to stop murdering, He’d see to it with more effort than a little bit of stone-carving. Unless all those religious folk are incorrect about His omniscience and omnipotency.

        1. “If gun prohibitionists wanted people to stop murdering, they’d see to it with more effort than a little bit of stone-carving. Unless all those folk are incorrect about the omniscience and omnipotency of government.”

          I fixed that for you.

          1. Your ability to fix things seems to be somewhat impaired.

    3. The gun control movement has the objective of less people being killed by guns. But I wouldn’t expect a sociopath who thinks he can shoot people in the back for taking his stuff to understand that others think dying is a bad thing.

      1. The gun control movement ALSO has the end goal of civilian disarmament. Sorta like the anti-abortion movement will say (for example) that abortion clinic safety standards are for a woman’s protection, but *wink* *wink* it’s a way to get a clinic to close with the end goal being no more aborted babies.

        Once slice of the loaf at a time, mon frere.

        1. And why do they want less people armed? So that less people are shooting each other. In a society whose morality isn’t driven by promoting violence as a positive good, this wouldn’t be hard to understand. But because we’re Americans (who also have a long and storied history of paranoia and conspiratorial thinking) it is.

          1. And, if their end goal is still civilian disarmament, why should there by a single ounce of compromise?

            I note, you didn’t refute the premise, just tried some crappy appeal to emotion with some even crappier cultural anthropology to try to camouflage your logical fallacy as a response.

            1. Well you’re kind of a crappy person so that’s all you get.

              1. So you take your ball and go home? Typical of someone who is in support of gun control when confronted.

                1. I just don’t feel like engaging with a bad faith and completely made up paradigm distinction between “emotional” and “logical.” Anti-gun control people always do this, but it’s a complete farce.

                  The debate is supposed to be emotional. It’s about human lives and their value. Saying someone is appealing to “emotion” in the face of mass death as if it’s a bad thing is contemptuous of the human experience and not worth engaging with. I mean how am I supposed to engage with someone whose argument is that there is some kind of “logical” approach to an issue that disregards the emotional impact of human suffering. If you don’t get that there is a hugely important emotional
                  component to this, you have a serious problem and I feel bad for you. You are missing something fundamental to the human experience.

                  But the other thing is: anti-gun control advocates love appeals to emotion! The emotion of fear for one. Fear of the unknown, fear of tyranny. Fear of being seen as less than a full man, etc. The entire project is just figuring out a way to give your emotional attachment to weapons a greater moral weight than the grieving at loss of life.

                  1. You seem to be ignoring the most compelling logical argument; all that 2A stuff.

                    1. There are an alarming number of people who feel that the Second Amendment says they can have however of whatever weapon they want. They don’t like it when you point out that it actually doesn’t say that.

                    2. That’s a legal argument about the powers government has to deal with guns. It’s not really a normative argument about what should be done. The existence of the Second Amendment doesn’t give any moral weight to any argument for or against gun control.

            2. “I note, you didn’t refute the premise, just tried some crappy appeal to emotion with some even crappier cultural anthropology to try to camouflage your logical fallacy as a response.”

              One of the flaws with people in general is that they want to use whichever tool is closest at hand to achieve their goals. For some of them, the tool closest to their hands (and their hearts) is their gun. If they had other tools available to them, then solving their problems with a gun wouldn’t leap so easily to top of mind. This was a theme explored in the Robert Heinlein novel “Tunnel in the Sky”. Highly recommended. If you’ve got a handgun in your center console, then pulling it starts to seem like a rational response to that jackass who won’t get out of the passing lane despite going 10mph less than the people behind him want to go. But summary execution is not the ideal solution to this problem. The car goes even slower with nobody to drive it.

            3. ” if their end goal is still civilian disarmament, why should there by a single ounce of compromise?”

              If you’re dealing with people willing to tell YOU what YOUR goals are, why would you consider compromising anything with THEIR lying asses?

          2. Banning a constitutionally protected gun, the AR 15 style of rifle, will not move the data on gun deaths.

            Banning Blacks from having any guns, will save lots of lives. Because guns dont kill people, Blacks do.

            1. Didn’t know that the Parkland Shooter, The Charleston Church Shooter, the Columbine shooter, the Pittsburgh Synagogue shooter, the El Paso Walmart Shooter, the Las Vegas Shooter, the Dayton Shooter, the Texas Church shooter, the Orlando nightclub shooter, the Newtown shooter, the Virginia Tech shooter, the Isla vista shooter, etc. were black. That’ll certainly be news to them as well.

        2. “The gun control movement ALSO has the end goal of civilian disarmament.”

          I’m in favor of disarming irresponsible people. If you are not responsible, I don’t want you to be armed. If you’re armed, I want you to be responsible. One of these two options is easier to effect from outside your psyche than the other one is.

    4. Brett,

      The gun control movement has two basic objectives: Protecting politicians from assassination, and rendering the government safe against popular revolt.

      Please try hard to rid yourself of the very obnoxious habit of assuming that everyone who disagrees with you does so in bad faith.

      The fact is a great many people believe quite sincerely that reducing the number of firearms in circulation would reduce firearm deaths. So stop the BS.

      It doesn’t help your arguments.

      1. “The fact is a great many people believe quite sincerely that reducing the number of firearms in circulation would reduce firearm deaths.”

        I’m not disputing that. Like I said, you can divide movements into the leadership, and the feet on the ground, and they don’t necessarily have the same goals. Sometimes the leadership have more extreme goals than the membership, sometimes less extreme goals than the membership, and sometimes simply different goals.

        But they’re hardly ever in complete agreement.

        1. “I’m not disputing that.”

          You were quoted disputing that, claiming that there are only two possible reasons to favor gun control, which inherently means that any third reason brought up by someone you oppose must be false. Here, let me show you how that works:
          There are two kinds of people who disagree with me. Stupid ones, and the ones who were misled.

          1. Yeah, you’re not understanding my point.

            The useful idiots, who make up the majority of the foot soldiers, actually do believe that banning guns will save lives, and support it for that reason.

            The leadership will typically know better, and have different reasons for supporting gun bans. But they know their different reasons don’t make good public relations, so they tell people they’re trying to save lives.

            1. “Yeah, you’re not understanding my point.”

              Or, you aren’t successfully making the point you thought you were.

              Either way, I don’t believe you were at any of the meetings, so I doubt your description of what happens there has any accuracy.

            2. Why can’t you believe that people in leadership have empathy and care about things other than their selves? I mean I know why you can’t, but why can’t you at least pretend to understand?

              1. It’s certainly possible for people in leadership positions to have empathy, and care about things other than themselves, though I think that’s not generally the way to bet, given the way social dynamics operate. The worst sort of people percolate to the top in almost any organization, you just have to arrange things so that they’ll do the right thing out of self interest, since benign motives can’t be relied upon.

                Useful idiots want to be useful, which isn’t objectionable, and they can’t help being idiots. However, idiots don’t end up at the top of any organization, so when you see an organization pursuing means that are stupid given their announced goals, you pretty much know that the leadership are pursuing other goals, even if the members aren’t bright enough to notice the mismatch.

                This is as much a criticism of the NRA, by the way, as it is of gun control organizations. The NRA leadership is not pursuing its members’ goals, either, or only incidentally.

        2. I’m not disputing that.

          Yes, you did dispute that.

          The distinction between leadership goals and foot soldier goals is meaningless. Neither group is unanimous in its opinions or goals.

          And if you are suggesting that the leaders of gun control groups have nefarious objectives, you are simply making the same accusation of bad faith about them.

          1. “if you are suggesting that the leaders of gun control groups have nefarious objectives, you are simply making the same accusation of bad faith about them.”

            If that’s all you have, you pretty much HAVE to keep using it.

    5. I’m amazed that anyone is continuing to push the line that the Second Amendment is about revolting against tyrannical government, after we just saw a demonstration of that belief, in practice, on January 6.

      Do you want the future of our government decided by people with that kind of judgment?

      1. What we saw on January 6th was about a quarter million people protesting peacefully, a few hundred displaying peaceful bad judgement, and a a relative handful who apparently combined bad motives and judgement, but who also were not armed.

        And this is supposed to mean that, if the government so outraged enough people that it would face an armed revolt if they were armed, we should make sure they’d not be armed, because they’d just be idiots?

        1. To be clear, nobody in DC that day is being charged with sedition. Less than 25 are charged with conspiracy, and one with assault.

          Most of the people who entered the Capitol building that day are being charged with trespassing and/or disorderly conduct, or just having charges dropped. Most do not face jail time even if convicted of that misdemeanor.

  6. Perhaps we should focus not on the inanimate object, but rather at the person behind the object. Look at the demographics (age, race, gender, and political party affiliation) instead of shotgunning (pun intended) law abiding citizens. If we prohibit liberals from possessing guns, for example, I’d bet 90 percent or more “gun violence” would cease.

      1. I believe you’re the one assuming, and assigning, the race. That makes you the racist. It’s the boomerang woke problem.

        1. No, it’s the taking a troll’s comments seriously problem.

    1. ” If we prohibit liberals from possessing guns, for example, I’d bet 90 percent or more ‘gun violence’ would cease.”

      Why bother with such a prohibition, when all the liberals faint dead away at the mere sight of a firearm, and can’t stomach the possibility of actually handling one?

  7. Does a 9mm have enough stopping power for kindergarten aged children?

    1. To much recoil. Kindergarten aged children should learn on a .22 after some time with a BB gun. A .22 has enough stopping power for their needs.

      Oh, is that not what you meant?

      1. I got my son an air rifle; You can use BBs in it, but you can also load it with pellets and pump it up to ten times, and take out small game like squirrels.

        But that’s for elementary school students, I wouldn’t trust your average kindergarten student with one.

        1. I agree, with supervision; not till they are in grade school and able to run around in the woods a bit, if you live in the country.

        2. “But that’s for elementary school students, I wouldn’t trust your average kindergarten student with one.”

          My mom wouldn’t let me have a BB gun, because she thought I’d use it to shoot at my little sister.

      2. I found the recoil from a .410 shotgun unpleasant when I was 10 years old, but not so unpleasant that I couldn’t have fired and missed if an intruder had threatened me. It wasn’t as bad as broccoli.

  8. While I think the “shooting cycle” accurately describes what happens, I would note that the frequency of shooting means that the recovery time is shrinking. I would also suggest that with each cycle more people are convinced that some additional gun control is needed.

    1. Frequency of shootings is not increasing, though the volume and frequency of media coverage is. (Remember that we used to have “local” news – not every shooting was exploited on national television.)

      And while some people are convinced in favor of gun control in each cycle, the evidence of gun sales suggests that more people are convinced the other way during each cycle.

      1. “And while some people are convinced in favor of gun control in each cycle, the evidence of gun sales suggests that more people are convinced the other way during each cycle.”

        Or it shows that people who already want to possess firearms and do so already choose to add to their personal arsenal.

        1. 9+ million first time gun owners since last June, suggests that many aren’t stocking up for their home arsenals. But it is a favorite scare tactic for ignorant gun grabbers, trying to scare the even less informed.

          Anecdotal from several of my local Mom & Pop LGS; many of the first timers are stunned to find they had to fill out a 4473, pass a Background Check and (in Illinois) wait 3 days before picking it up. They weren’t able to “Walk in with cash and walk out with an AR15, no questions asked. Easier than buying a book”, per St. Obama of Illinois.

          Actually, longer because the NICS checks system has been over loaded for 6 months and it ain’t so “instant” these days.

    2. You just think that, because the shootings come in waves, the other ‘shooting cycle’.

      Mass shootings are a copycat crime. You’ll go long periods without any prominent ones. Then somebody pops, and the media, because they’re up for trying to create a gun control panic, give it big time press, splash the perp’s name all over the place. (Though they, too, know they’re inspiring copycats.)

      Then a number of copycats commit similar shootings, wanting some of that notoriety for themselves. The rate is rising, which gives you that impression.

      But the supply of copycats is quite limited, and they take themselves out of circulation, and then the rate drops into the basement for a while.

      The rate DID rise a bit after 2012, but you can clearly see the periodic nature of the problem.

      1. “Then a number of copycats commit similar shootings, wanting some of that notoriety for themselves.”

        You know who doesn’t do any copycat shootings? The guy who couldn’t get a gun. That’s why there weren’t any more airliners used as weapons after 9/11, or truck bombings after OK City. It takes more time and effort to plan a hijacking, or build a truck bomb.

        1. The reason there weren’t any airliners used as weapons after 9/11, is that partway through 9/11, trying to do so would get you torn limb from limb by the passengers.

          Not because they somehow found a way to keep knives out of airplanes.

  9. There are two aspects to every issue in the US, and they have to be addressed separately:

    1. Reality
    2. Dishonest news media propaganda.

    In reality, gun laws already address essentially everything that can be addressed. There may be a few extreme outlier situations involving 1 in 10,000,000 people that some very, very specific change could reasonably, constitutionally address. But that won’t change shootings in any measurable way. That’s the reality.

    And in reality, gun controllers may write and attempt to pass Constitutional Amendment to limit the Second Amendment. Because of the 2A, gun issues are not very complicated.

    Dishonest news media propaganda should be addressed dismissively. And those who listen to it and believe it should be dismissed along with it. No genuine conversations about propaganda stories. Stop being dishonest if you want to converse.

    1. “Because of the 2A, gun issues are not very complicated.”

      Only as of 2008. Before that, in fact for the entire history of our country, it was quite a bit complicated and required real thought. And hard research on policy. Not things Republicans are competent to do these days.

      1. The return to constitutional order helped a lot.

        Now we need to return to constitutional order on the 13th Amendment and a few other things.

        1. What do you mean, to return to constitutional order on the 13th Amendment? No more prison labor, or something else?

          1. Doesn’t the 13th specifically allow for prison labor in the text?

            Maybe he’s talking about the draft or something.

            1. I think he meant the 14th. But knowing him, who knows.

            2. Technically, the 13th allows for both involuntary servitude AND slavery, but only as a criminal penalty.

          2. Masterpiece Cakeshop. Someone wants to hire you to do a special project for them. You decline. You have a right to decline. The 13th Amendment should obviously protect that right.

    2. “In reality, gun laws already address essentially everything that can be addressed.”

      Or would, if everybody who followed other laws chose to follow the gun laws. But they don’t.

      1. But adding more laws has zero effect on that.

    3. “Dishonest news media propaganda should be addressed dismissively. And those who listen to it and believe it should be dismissed along with it. No genuine conversations about propaganda stories. Stop being dishonest if you want to converse.”

      I have some bad news about what you’ve been told about vote fraud in 2020.

      1. Stop trying to change the subject. It’s a clear sign you can’t defend your position on the current subject (if you even have a position).

  10. This reminds me of the Onion headline from many years ago:
    “‘We can’t do anything about it!’ says the only country where this regularly happens.”

    1. This isn’t the only country where this regularly happens.
      It’s not strictly that we can’t do anything about it but that all the things we can do are much, much worse.

    2. Yeah, there is no gun violence in Latinx America.

    3. Yeah, but it’s not a US problem. It’s an urban center problem. Really, a bad neighborhoods in urban centers problem.

      Gun crime, violent crime in general, varies dramatically in frequency from place to place. The murder rate varies by 2-3 orders of magnitude between different locations.

      Most of the country is quite peaceful by European standards. Then you’ve got violent cities, (Not all of them.) and hyper-violent neighborhoods IN violent cities.

      And then the gun control movement tries to leverage something that’s going on in a tiny fraction of the country, to force changes on the vast portion of the country that doesn’t have a problem.

      1. Let’s get down to brass tacks. 50% of this nations murders are done by 13% of the populace that belong to a certain demographic group, but to drill down even further, only the young male members of that certain demographic group that shall not be named.

        Of the 15,000 or so murders in the US with guns, about half of those are done by about 4-6% of the population, which as you note, mostly live in urban areas.

        1. I would dispute the demographics group point; That’s an artifact of the demographics of the urban crime hotspots. If you look at the problem in detail, you find that all the groups living in such places are about equally violent.

          The same demographics outside those hotspots are about as peaceful as you’d expect of people living in peaceful areas.

          It’s a cultural problem, which only looks like a demographic problem because it correlates with demographics, and demographics are easier to see than culture.

      2. Most of the country is quite peaceful by European standards.

        If you are going to exclude high-crime areas of the US for comparison purposes you should also exclude high-crime areas of Europe.

        Otherwise the comparison makes no sense.

        1. It’s not supposed to make sense.

        2. Honestly, I would like to see that.

          Remove the top 10-20 most violent cities in the US, and the same number of top most violent cities in Europe, and compare that.

          I bet the results wouldn’t look like you assume. But, I could very well be wrong. Care to make a friendly wager? 20 bucks to the charity of your choice.

    4. I am sure the staff of Charlie Hebdo found that headline hilarious.

      1. Their taste in headlines is what got them in trouble.

  11. Unless gun advocates develop persuasive arguments, relatively soon, they seem likely to experience the same fate as another group that hitched its political wagon to the Republican Party — abortion absolutists — as conservatives continue to lose the culture war, the national debates, and electoral competitiveness.

    I hope the snapback engineered by the American mainstream does not overrun a right to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home. Largely, though, that likely depends on the degree to which gun nuts continue to try to delay progress.

    1. Rising gun sales suggest to me that gun advocates have very persuasive arguments indeed.

      1. Depends on how you define “persuasive”.

        1. “Changes what people do.”

          1. Ah. Under that definition, you’re wrong. (Again.)

    2. Well, one thing that would help, Rev. Arthur Kirkland, is to _not_ called it a ” right to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home.”

      The right is not limited to the home, and the standard is not reasonableness.

    3. You’re daft. States are liberalizing gun laws left and right. Just a couple days ago, Iowa went permitless carry. It’s up to 20 states now. Moreover, the reason President* Biden has to use EOs, is there isn’t enough support for any act of Congress.

      Guns are one of the few areas, where the right has not only held the line, but is actively winning, the culture war.

      But, seeing as you want the entire US to look like Detroit, I know where you’re coming from.

      1. “Guns are one of the few areas, where the right has not only held the line, but is actively winning, the culture war.

        But, seeing as you want the entire US to look like Detroit, I know where you’re coming from.”

        Gee, isn’t Detroit one of the places where pretty much everyone is packing?

        1. “Gee, isn’t Detroit one of the places where pretty much everyone is packing?”

          Gee, not legally. But I can see how the distinction might confuse you.

          1. In terms of sorting out who wants anything to “look like Detroit”.

    4. The America left is buying guns . First time gun sales are up.

      A popular blogger bought an evil hand gun a year ago. Retired Constitutional Law Prof from Madison WS.
      That is about a liberal and left as you can get. I assume, a rational person with the ordered thinking of a lawyer. Even the left understands they had better practice their rights before the left cancels them.

  12. Gun control means hitting your target.

    If you want gun bans and regulation, look to your state government and not the federal government which has no legitimate authority.

    If you want to reduce homicides overall, including “mass shootings” then…..that’s a tough one. You could contribute to a moral and upstanding society by trying to be a moral and upstanding person. You can join various types local community organizations to mentor young people without fathers, giving generously and voluntarily and sacrificially of your own time and resources to help youth. You could take actions and support policies that further 100% full employment and intact families so that every single person has a job and a stake in society. You could, if you wanted to, enforce criminal laws more strictly with longer prison sentences, since many homicides are carried out by prior violent criminals. You could advocate more widespread gun ownership together with training and competency, and go back to a few decades ago when elementary school children were trained in the use of firearms at school, so that people are generally prepared to defend themselves and would-be criminals are more deterred.

    I just saw the following statistics posted to support the idea that guns themselves are not the cause of “mass shootings.”

    Mass shootings per decade:

    1950s: 1
    1960s: 6
    1970s: 13
    1980s: 32
    1990s: 42

    1. I don’t know what the right statistics are but I know those are garbage. Mass shootings has been redefined over the years. The current definition is four dead, potentially including the shooter. There was more than just one family-scale murder/suicide in all of the 1950s. A lot more. But they didn’t make the news and we didn’t call them “mass killings”.

      The statistics I’ve seen show that, when normalized for a consistent definition and corrected for gaps in reporting, the rate of mass shootings is essentially flat since WW2.

      1. AFAIK, it is 4 dead, not including the perpetrator. That’s what the FBI and Congress have used in the past.

        The MSM has dropped that down to 3 people so they can report on them more and push their agenda harder.

      2. Yeah, I figured it might be an idiosyncratic definition of mass shootings.

    2. ” You could, if you wanted to, enforce criminal laws more strictly with longer prison sentences, since many homicides are carried out by prior violent criminals.”

      Put people in prison longer, despite your own claim that people who were in prison are doing most of the homicides? With logic like that, you could be elected in a red state.

      1. Double-you Tee Eff? Do you think that not putting them in prison at all will stop it? You really are daft.

        Not only is your logic non-existent, your comprehension appears to be as well. You almost make AOC look sane and intelligent.

        I would think that being the type of person who would go to prison for a violent crime would correlate highly with being the type of person who would kill another. The only way to stop that then would be to either 1) prevent them from becoming violent, or 2) remove their ability to ever be a free, violent person that has an opportunity to kill. And neither of those seem like realistic options to me. Got any better ideas?

        1. “Do you think that not putting them in prison at all will stop it?”

          No. Which is why you can’t quote me saying that.

          “Not only is your logic non-existent, your comprehension appears to be as well”

          The fact that you can’t follow logic doesn’t make it non-existent. It means you have a problem, not me.

          “Got any better ideas?”

          Better than anything you can articulate? Highly likely.

          1. “The fact that you can’t follow logic doesn’t make it non-existent”

            The fact that the logic is non-existent makes it hard to follow.

            “Better than anything you can articulate? Highly likely.”

            Articulate, you? I’d pay to see that.

    3. ML is on the right path.
      Its not a gun problem, its a people problem. For some reason the left has no desire to address root causation.
      We don’t have an illegal alien problem…no we have a problem with Central and South American Countries, that are failing their citizens. That’s what Kamala informs. Root causes. The answer in not a fence, it’s giving $Billions to Ecudor.

      Guns are different because shut up.

      1. ” For some reason the left has no desire to address root causation.”

        The root causation is easy access to guns, and you don’t want to address this fact. Are you outing yourself as “the left”?

  13. We’re just a violent people who prefer violent solutions to anything. Violence isn’t some distasteful thing. It’s celebrated. State violence, private violence, systems of private violence supported and encouraged by the state. Doesn’t matter. Too many Americans just enjoy killing and suffering. We often promote sadists and sociopaths and others with violent tendencies to high political office or cultural prominence.

    1. yea, I too feel bad every time I think about how Democrat pathological liars and sociopaths make it into office too.

      I think you have a problem with human nature itself. To bad we can’t change it. Violence, in and of itself, is not inherently bad. It’s where the violence is aimed at. Nature is red in tooth and claw.

      Have you ever been in a real fight? Played a contact sport? Practiced martial arts? Charitably, you sound like such a wuss in your comment.

      1. And you sound like an asshole.

        And FWIW I’ve probably actually endured more physical pain than you can imagine, without ever being in a fight. Pain isn’t fun and can be overcome. Knowing this, I certainly don’t want to inflict it on others. You do. That makes me a good person and you a bad one. You can call me a wuss all you want, but I’d rather be that than a violent asshole and bully who causes people physical pain.

        1. I can come off as an asshole to cowards who have lived their whole lives having other people engaging in violence on their behalf to keep them safe, but who also condemns them for it.

          If you faced physical pain and came through, then good for you. It builds character, and prepares you for old age and eventual death. Likewise, you have no idea the level of suffering I have endured. Let’s not compare dick sizes, eh?

          Now, since you admitted that you have never had the “lived experience” of playing a contact sport, or boxing, or wrestling, or Judo…then you have zero understanding why humans take such active pleasure in engaging with, and watching, such activities. So why don’t you stop making silly comparisons to them being animalistic gorillas.

          1. “I can come off as an asshole to cowards who have lived their whole lives having other people engaging in violence on their behalf to keep them safe.”

            Never asked anyone to. And you come off as an asshole, because you are one. You called me a wuss for saying violence is bad. That’s an asshole thing to do. And now you’ve doubled down o being an asshole by calling me a coward. Non-violence isn’t cowardice, its simply non-violence. I think you’re simply a bully who likes violence.

            “Likewise, you have no idea the level of suffering I have endured. Let’s not compare dick sizes, eh?”

            Uh you started it by saying I was a wuss for decrying violence. You are the epitome me of : “I must have a large penis because I am a bully who likes hitting people.”

            1. Violence isn’t inherently bad, it’s the direction it’s applied to that makes it bad or not. It’s not that hard to understand the distinction. Moreover, it’s so outside your experience to understand why people like something as inane and harmless as hockey or American football, that I question what dosage your anti-anxiety meds are at.

              Look, even kittens and puppies, most animals in fact, play around and wrestle with each other. Sometime as part of a dominance test, sometimes just for fun. Little boys and even little girls, if you’ve ever worked with children, love to wrestle around. It’s part of being human.

              1. “Violence isn’t inherently bad, it’s the direction it’s applied to that makes it bad or not.”

                Yes it is. Human suffering is bad it’s just been excused a lot for various reasons.

                “Moreover, it’s so outside your experience to understand why people like something as inane and harmless as hockey or American football, that I question what dosage your anti-anxiety meds are at.“

                First of all, just because I’ve never played football or hockey doesn’t mean I don’t understand it. I’ve watched it and played football with friends you dolt. Second of all, I wouldn’t consider the injuries in those sports harmless, particularly the brain damage from football.

                “It’s part of being human.”

                So are a lot of bad things. We usually try to eliminate them rather than celebrating them.

          2. mad_kalak, I grew up in a culture which expected men to be physically tough and shut up about it. I like that a lot better than I like the way you talk.

          3. “If you faced physical pain and came through, then good for you. It builds character, and prepares you for old age and eventual death. ”

            That’s what I tell my 12 year old. “Stop complaining about your stubbed toe. You’re in the foothills of pain right now, when you get older you’ll be exploring the mountains. You’ll look back at that stubbed toe, and wonder why you cared.”

            Somehow it doesn’t reassure him.

      2. “Have you ever been in a real fight?”

        Too damn many.

        “Charitably, you sound like such a wuss in your comment.”

        Somewhat less charitably, so do you.

    2. “Too many Americans just enjoy killing”

      Fair enough. I’m not one of them … I have a little twinge even when I swat a mosquito … but I sure want to be able to defend myself and my family if I encounter one of the people you say are so common.

    3. What’s this “we” crap?
      There is virtually no violence where I live. With the exception of drug crimes. A man was shot to death at 4 in the morning going into the local Caseys to make the donuts. It was a drug turf war. I don’t feel any more danger than before the shooting. So do guns kill people? Or are drugs he real force pulling the trigger?

      1. “There is virtually no violence where I live.”

        Yes, running away from anywhere that has violence might leave you out in a cornfield somewhere.

      2. What do you think policing, prisons, immigration enforcement, and wars involve?

  14. Like poverty, the Left has no intention of actually solving gun violence, so it doesn’t matter to them that their methods are counterproductive.

    Read the pro-gun alt-media and you’ll learn what the Right have always known — banning guns is a lot more effective at keeping disarmed the good guy who can stop a mass shooting than at keeping disarmed the fanatic or crazy person who will start one.

    1. “Read the pro-gun alt-media and you’ll learn what the Right have always known — banning guns is a lot more effective at keeping disarmed the good guy who can stop a mass shooting”

      The “good guy who can stop a mass shooting” is largely the invention of Hollywood. In a movie, Bruce Willis can be in just the right place when the shooting starts, and can learn all the bad guys’ plans with just enough time to stop them. In reality, though, it just doesn’t work out like that very often. Mass shooters get the advantage of tactical surprise, and that’s usually sufficient to keep the return fire to a minimum. The problem is that the bystander usually doesn’t know who’s a mass shooter and who’s not a mass shooter, which makes taking out the mass shooter(s) MUCH more difficult.

    2. “the Left has no intention of actually solving gun violence”

      Are you rightists mad because this is supposed to be YOUR position? You had it first, no fairsies?

  15. Although “big, bad scary long guns” account for only a tiny percent of firearms deaths, I think the gun grabbers focus on them because they do get used in a significant percentage of random mass shootings.

    The gun grabbers are aware that most people in middle-class America intuitively know that they run little risk of death by a firearm if they (1) don’t point a firearm at their own head, (2) don’t engage in criminal activity, (3) don’t associate with criminals or criminal organizations such as gangs, and (4) don’t work at a high risk job such as a 24hr convenience store in gangland. However, these people do know that they, and their family, can’t insulate themselves from the very occasional random mass shootings which are more likely to use “big, bad scary long guns”.

    Thus, focusing on the scary looking long guns is a useful strategy to win over the hearts of those who don’t understand elementary probability and statistics (i.e. most people). These are the same people who become fearful of flying after a well publicized plane crash that kills all aboard. The problem for the gun grabbers is that these people often have the attention span of a drunken gnat so they move on quickly to the next “crisis” of the week and forget about the mass shooting that got them energized last week.

    1. re: “big, bad scary long guns” … do get used in a significant percentage of random mass shootings

      No, they don’t. Most random mass shootings involve the use of handguns and occasionally a shotgun. The number of random shootings involving a long gun is negligible. However, I will concede that the number of random mass shootings in which the media initially claim that a “big, bad scary long gun” was used is quite high – and the retractions generally buried.

      None of that disputes your thesis that a great many Americans are utterly ignorant of basic statistics and have the attention span of a drunken gnat. (Great turn of phrase, by the way.)

      1. ” Most random mass shootings involve the use of handguns and occasionally a shotgun. ”

        Most random mass shootings involve multiple weapons. It’s like the shooters all played Doom and got the habit of switching out weapons.

  16. “Gun control” has little nothing to do with actually saving lives. It is about two things – virtue signaling and control. If the gun controllers cared about safety they would be the first to line up to enforce the gun laws we have on the books, encourage mandatory firearms education in schools, and provide real paths to legal gun ownership including carrying.

    1. ” encourage mandatory firearms education in schools”

      Are you talking about installing firing ranges in all American elementary schools, or did you have something else in mind?

      1. Basic gun safety starts with understanding the operations of a firearm, so placing ranges in schools is not a bad idea. It would create a lot of jobs as well. Might as well make it a mandatory part of the Biden infrastructure bill.

        1. Problem: most elementary schools are located in residential neighborhoods. Not an ideal location for shooting ranges. You never heard of a “field trip”?
          I went to a summer camp that had a rifle range. I also went to Basic Military Training in 1985 with a bunch of other people who’d enlisted for military service. On day 19, we spent the whole afternoon learning the principles of operation for the M-16, and the next day headed out to the rifle range. Deliver 50 .22 bullets to the other end of the range, 40 of them being scored. Minimum passing score was 0. Just deliver all 50 bullets without violating any of the range rules. Rules which included, specifically, “do not set the weapon for fully-automatic fire” and “do not put any part of your body across the firing line while the range is hot and especially, do not try to collect brass. Range staff will retrieve brass after the day’s firing has been completed.” I saw both of these rules violated with the penalty for violating range safety rules being that the trainee would restart basic training from day one. That’s part of what convinced me that there ARE people too irresponsible to be entrusted with firearms. They taught us where the fire-selector switch was located and how to tell if it was set for semi-automatic, and one guy on the range stood there and rattled off about six rounds before the rifle jammed (the rifles they keep for basic training all jam regularly, because it doesn’t matter if they do. You just take your finger off the trigger, hold up your hand, and a rifle-range instructor comes up behind you and clears the jam for you, then gives it back so you can finish rifle qualification.
          After the range, I never touched an M-16 again. (Although I did load an M61A1 in tech school, and also handled a b-61.)

        2. Jimmy, gun ranges, formal or informal, are indispensable for teaching beginners to shoot. They are a terrible place to teach more-experienced shooters much about gun safety—except for how to be safe on a gun range. Otherwise, they teach danger-enhancing over-confidence.

          The problem is the minimally challenging, safety-controlled, surprise-suppressed character of the gun range. Without repeated exposure to myriad factors which lead to bad outcomes, people get feckless. Robert Frost wrote a poetic masterpiece which isn’t even about guns. But it might as well be. Every gun carrier ought to read it. Here it is:

          ‘Out, Out—’
          BY ROBERT FROST
          The buzz saw snarled and rattled in the yard
          And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
          Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
          And from there those that lifted eyes could count
          Five mountain ranges one behind the other
          Under the sunset far into Vermont.
          And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
          As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
          And nothing happened: day was all but done.
          Call it a day, I wish they might have said
          To please the boy by giving him the half hour
          That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
          His sister stood beside him in her apron
          To tell them ‘Supper.’ At the word, the saw,
          As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
          Leaped out at the boy’s hand, or seemed to leap—
          He must have given the hand. However it was,
          Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
          The boy’s first outcry was a rueful laugh,
          As he swung toward them holding up the hand
          Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
          The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
          Since he was old enough to know, big boy
          Doing a man’s work, though a child at heart—
          He saw all spoiled. ‘Don’t let him cut my hand off—
          The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!’
          So. But the hand was gone already.
          The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
          He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
          And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
          No one believed. They listened at his heart.
          Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
          No more to build on there. And they, since they
          Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

          To understand how dangerous guns are you have to go someplace where you risk falling down with a loaded gun in your hand, encounter slippery footing, suffer cold and fatigue, get dehydrated, and try to shoot well when taken by surprise under bad lighting conditions. In short, you have to combine danger-enhancers which get systematically excluded from gun ranges, to keep the ranges safe.

          When I find gun range enthusiasts talking shooting prowess and extolling safety rules on the VC, it gives me the willies. None of the experienced shooters I have known would trust to go in the field with those guys. Until experience has taught you to wonder whether it is even worth having something as dangerous and hard to manage as a gun around, I don’t want you anywhere near me. You don’t talk like someone who has yet learned that lesson.

        3. “Basic gun safety starts with understanding the operations of a firearm, so placing ranges in schools is not a bad idea.”

          1. Expect some pushback from schools that have already had guns in them, such as Thurston High School in Eugene, OR.

  17. I am a little disappointed in this article. While many of the points are factually correct, the suggestion by a (libertarian leaning?) constitutional law professor suggesting that additional gun control of handguns is perplexing. I may not be a law professor but I do understand the meaning of “…shall not be infringed.” I would have hoped that this article would have addressed the unconstitutional nature of gun control.

    PS: And please… for the love of god… don’t quote Scalia in Heller v DC. In my opinion, he wrote an opinion that is extremely spongey and contains at least one example of circular logic. I understand why he did it as he could barely secure a 5-4 decision. The last statement in his majority opinion is very telling.

    “Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

    Please Professor… don’t pile on to the chorus of voices that further support denigrating the 2nd Amendment.

    1. ” I may not be a law professor but I do understand the meaning of ‘…shall not be infringed.'”

      Maybe you should work up your mastery to include the entire text, instead of just picking out the part(s) you like.

      1. You make a lot of assumptions. I am well versed in 2nd Amendment issues.

        The predatory clause of the 2nd Amendment does not constrain the operative clause of the 2nd Amendment. It does not say “…the right of the militia…”… it says “the right of the people.”

        Also relevant is the Militia Act of 1792. I’d you read the Militia Act of 1792 and were to exclude the age, sex, race discriminators…. it is understood the Militia is the People. The Militia is not the military. It is not the national guard.

        www,gunfire.cim

      2. You make a lot of assumptions. I am well versed in 2nd Amendment issues.

        The predatory clause of the 2nd Amendment does not constrain the operative clause of the 2nd Amendment. It does not say “…the right of the militia…”… it says “the right of the people.”

        Also relevant is the Militia Act of 1792. I’d you read the Militia Act of 1792 and were to exclude the age, sex, race discriminators…. it is understood the Militia is the People. The Militia is not the military. It is not the national guard.

        www,guncite.com

      3. Penn & Teller do a decent job of explaining it.

        https://youtu.be/Hx23c84obwQ

  18. Best gun control would be to keep ownership by otherwise law-abiding citizens legal and to police dark alleyways by way of destroying the darknet on which everything from arms to even viler human trafficking is available to creeps.

    The mantra of the faux humanitarians who don’t care about self-defense of the hoi poi is to disarm the law-abiding and not the criminals who will always buy and sell off-market arms, other contraband, and babies online. The mentally unstable argument for gun control laws is a trivial distraction, and one that will be used against all of our military veterans who will be cast as suffering from PTSS and hapless clients of marriage and anger management psychologists.

    Kill the darknet and call out celebrities and politicians who use armed security and advocate the disarming of the rest of us.

    1. “Kill the darknet ”

      No problem. all you have to do is be smarter than anyone who owns a computer or a router. What, walking away? such a pity.

  19. ” Instead, gun control advocates should focus on the cause of the overwhelming majority of gun deaths: simple handguns.”

    The cause of the overwhelming majority of gun deaths is people who intend to shoot people. If you could keep the guns out of their hands, that would significantly cut down on gun deaths. For some reason, firearms enthusiasts don’t want anything along that line that might work to become law.

    1. They will still get guns, James, no matter. To pretend otherwise is intentionally obtuse.

      You’d rather there potential victims not be armed to protect themselves or their families?

      1. “They will still get guns, James, no matter. To pretend otherwise is intentionally obtuse.”

        Keep your guns properly secured, and they won’t get yours. Get enough people to do that, and it will start to matter.

    2. You say, “The cause of the overwhelming majority of gun deaths is people who intend to shoot people. If you could keep the guns out of their hands, that would significantly cut down on gun deaths.”

      Perhaps you prefer pre-crime enforcement wrt gun laws?

      1. Yes. Also, take the car keys away from drunk people before they try to drive off.

        1. Maybe you should write an essay on which fundamental rights should be taken away on the hunch of a suspicion that someone might someday do something illegal?

          1. Maybe work up a meaningful explanation of what a “fundamental right” is. Is endangering people one of them?

            1. Rights expressly mentioned in the Constitution. I’m surprised that you couldn’t figure that out on your own.

              Seems that you’re quite willing to toss away the 2nd Amendment, as well as portions of the 4th, 5th, and 14th.

              Which others need to go in order for your fear to be assuaged?

              1. “Rights expressly mentioned in the Constitution.”

                As originally drafted, the Constitution didn’t expressly mention any rights. Try again.

                “Seems that you’re quite willing to toss away the 2nd Amendment”

                No, but neither do I pretend that all that part before the comma isn’t there, as you seem to prefer.

                “Which others need to go in order for your fear to be assuaged?”
                You’re the one suggesting that things be discarded, not me. Try to keep that straight in the future.

                1. We don’t pretend it isn’t there, either. That part is why it’s military arms that are particularly protected.

                  1. How many Howitzers you got? F-15s? Predators?

                    1. Who mentioned ‘originally drafted?’ I clearly stated the Constitution, which currently includes 27 Amendments.

                      Thanks for bringing up F-15s in a discussion about the 2nd Amendment and the other parts of the Constitution you’d like to disregard.

                      Proof that you’re not just a dishonest commenter, but also a fucking dipshit.

                      Go play in traffic.

        2. “Yes. Also, take the car keys away from drunk people before they try to drive off.”

          Except, you’re not suggesting merely taking the car keys away from drunk people levels of pre-crime. You’re suggesting take away everybody’s car levels of pre-crime.

          It’s convenient that we can usually observe who is too drunk to drive (or has been drinking). Can you observe who is likely to shoot someone, without assuming everyone is potentially going to shoot someone?

          1. “It’s convenient that we can usually observe who is too drunk to drive (or has been drinking). ”

            Hint: Someone who’s too drunk to drive is also too drunk to carry a firearm.

            “Can you observe who is likely to shoot someone, without assuming everyone is potentially going to shoot someone?”

            I want you to think carefully. Can you think of nobody who makes you think “that guy should not have a weapon”? You know that person better than I do.

            1. “Hint: Someone who’s too drunk to drive is also too drunk to carry a firearm.”

              Hint: There are already laws against carrying while drinking.

              “I want you to think carefully. Can you think of nobody who makes you think “that guy should not have a weapon”? You know that person better than I do.”

              So, as always, you’ve got nothing.

            2. “Someone who’s too drunk to drive is also too drunk to carry a firearm.”

              Nice moving goalpost.

              Did you have trouble following along with your own analogy?

              1. You’re too drunk to keep posting.

    3. In some states driving fatalities are up since their decriminalization and legalization of marijuana. You must be against legal marijuana, even medical, James, to “significantly cut down on [___] deaths.”

      Texting has also been shown to increase road fatalities, so ban smart phones to “significantly cut down on [___] deaths.”

      Police and soldiers also mass shoot innocents on mistaken raids and what not. Ban their guns, too, and let them carry UK style batons, instead, to “significantly cut down on deaths,” unless, of course, your whole idea is to give the State and darknet creeps and criminal gangs a monopoly of deadly force over a citizenry.

      1. You seem quite willing to describe for me what I think. It seems unlikely that telling you what I actually think will change your notion of what it is that I think.

        In actual fact I have no particularly strong feelings regarding marijuana, medical or otherwise.

        I am, in fact, quite opposed to texting and driving. But at the same time, having moved across the country relatively recently, I’m pretty much 100% dependent on Google Maps on my phone to get anywhere more than about a half-mile from my home. so, no… banning smart phones isn’t on my radar.

        “your whole idea is to give the State and darknet creeps and criminal gangs a monopoly of deadly force”

        What the hell do “darknet creeps” have to do with anything?

  20. “Their”, lol.

  21. Pretty much anyone who hangs out with firearms fans knows at least one who triggers a few “yeah, THAT PARTICULAR GUY shouldn’t have access to guns” thoughts, and probably more than one of them. But they’re so scared of the “gun grabbers” that they’ll never identify the people they wouldn’t hand a gun to, because after they get THAT GUY’s arsenal, they’ll be after yours next.
    There are a small number of people who think that nobody needs a gun for any purpose, full stop. But not that many of them, and pretty much nobody pays them much attention or takes them or their opinion seriously… except when the firearms-enthusiast community needs a boogeyman to get their backs up. Fearing that the big scary gubmint is coming to take their toys away. If y’all would put away the paranoia for a few milliseconds, and work with the rest of us on a plan, a system to keep the shooty bangs in the hands of responsible adults and out of the hands of the irresponsible ones, then the interest in taking weapons away from people will fade because the only people who have them are people who take proper care of them. As long as you continue to act as if you favor keeping the weapons in the hands of irresponsible people, you look more and more like an irresponsible people yourself.

    1. “Pretty much anyone who hangs out with firearms fans knows at least one who triggers a few “yeah, THAT PARTICULAR GUY shouldn’t have access to guns” thoughts, and probably more than one of them. But they’re so scared of the “gun grabbers” that they’ll never identify the people they wouldn’t hand a gun to, because after they get THAT GUY’s arsenal, they’ll be after yours next.”

      How many mass shooters are “THAT PARTICULAR GUY”? And how many of “THAT PARTICULAR GUY” have never shot a person?

      I have a better idea. Any person who lives in a city controlled by Democrats is not allowed to own a gun, and the police within those cities are empowered to perform door-to-door searches randomly, with no warning or cause, even up to and including basically Marine-style urban warfare tactics. That’ll take care of 90% of the gun violence problem, really quick. And, it has the advantage of not targeting the vast majority of legal gun owners whose weapons have never, and will never, shoot a person.

      1. ” it has the advantage of not targeting the vast majority of legal gun owners whose weapons have never, and will never, shoot a person.”

        It’s odd, you quoted me extensively, and then went on to argue against someone else who has opinions different from mine.
        But, I’ll take up your invitation to argue a point other than mine: if you have weapons that have never, and will never shoot a person then what do you care if you don’t have it. The gun you don’t have will never shoot a person, either.

        1. “It’s odd, you quoted me extensively, and then went on to argue against someone else who has opinions different from mine.”

          It’s almost like I introduced an absurd argument to make fun of your absurd argument. So odd.

          “But, I’ll take up your invitation to argue a point other than mine: if you have weapons that have never, and will never shoot a person then what do you care if you don’t have it. The gun you don’t have will never shoot a person, either.”

          The same reason why people should be allowed to own fire extinguishers.

          1. “It’s almost like I introduced an absurd argument”

            It’s EXACTLY like you introduced an absurd argument. Come back when you can do better.

          2. “The same reason why people should be allowed to own fire extinguishers.”

            I don’t think people should have fire extinguishers that don’t extinguish fires, or that they never use to extinguish fires.

        2. > But, I’ll take up your invitation to argue a point other than mine: if you have weapons that have never, and will never shoot a person then what do you care if you don’t have it. The gun you don’t have will never shoot a person, either.

          The gun I had in 1982 (one of those maligned “inaccurate Saturday Night Specials which which I could often hit a milk jug at 100 yards) caused a knife-wielding attacker to flee. No shots were fired.

          Two nights ago, although we live in a very safe rural area, my daughter (a red-haired teenager in a convertible Mustang) called in a panic because a car following her was engaging in scary driving games, riding her bumper. The (evil black rifle) gun her dad had as he stood beside our driveway quickly encouraged the tailgating car to reconsider their decision to follow our daughter in. No shots were fired.

          I could describe several incidents over the past 40 years where I or my husband used guns entirely effectively in life-and-limb-saving lawful self-defense WITHOUT A SHOT BEING FIRED. (In fact, this is typical for most instances of self-defense with a firearm. Even assuming that most firearms owners never use a gun in self-defense–a point on which I am not sure there is data–there are a LOT of firearms owners and the number of successful self-defense uses is not small.)

          As long as I (or your garden-variety lawful gun owner) possess the firearm, it will not be used TO MURDER (unlawful killing). You are being deliberately obtuse to suggest that self-defense that results in the death of an attacker is equivalent to murder.

  22. Have to agree with the posts that question why Blackman who is suppose to have some level of street cred in terms of legal training goes all social science and ignores the clear 2A issues.

    The 6th Circuit just bitched slapped Trump’s bump stock ban and I suggest it likely they will do the same thing to the proposed brace ban. It is almost embarrassing as the House bill than seeks to ban grenade launchers on long guns. I was discussing this with a pro gun control guy and asked him where one could get a grenade and he suggested breaking into a national guard armory. Does anyone really think someone looking to commit a crime with a gun would care about violating any background check law. I am amazed that the dems claim pot laws don’t work but gun laws would work.

    Bottom line is everything Biden’s EOs propose will do nothing to stop gun violence and some will get bitched slapped by the courts.

    1. Ragebot, just to be clear, when I hear the term, “law-abiding gun owners,” I am not to expect that is meant to include obeying gun regulation laws, right? I am supposed to expect those laws will be violated routinely, with no discredit to the people who violate them? National gun policy definitely should not rely on any premise that people who break gun regulation laws are law breakers who disqualify themselves from gun ownership by flouting the law, right?

      1. Generally, when we speak of “law abiding” gun owners, we mean abiding by constitutional laws.

        “An unconstitutional act is not a law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; it affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation as inoperative as though it had never been passed.”

        The ‘law abiding’ gun owner doesn’t murder, rob, and so forth. But he generally only obeys gun control laws to the extent doing so is prudential, since they aren’t actually laws. They’re unconstitutional usurpations pretending to be laws.

        That the courts often haven’t gotten around to recognizing this means obeying them where you might be caught is prudential. It doesn’t mean the law abiding person feels any legal or moral obligation to obey unconstitutional laws.

        1. “Generally, when we speak of “law abiding” gun owners, we mean abiding by constitutional laws.”

          You mean “abiding by laws that don’t trouble us to abide”, which is also how meth-users define the term.

          1. I’m pretty sure your average meth user isn’t asserting that drug laws are unconstitutional, (Though they are, at the federal level.) let alone that there’s an on point amendment saying so.

            This is rather like a black person violating Jim Crow laws when they weren’t likely to get caught; It really doesn’t have a lot to do with whether they’re ‘law abiding’ in the sense of whether they’re likely to commit a crime that actually has victims. It just means that they don’t feel obligated to assist in their own oppression.

            1. My previous comment remains unchallenged.

              1. It’s still true.

      2. “I am not to expect that is meant to include obeying gun regulation laws, right? I am supposed to expect those laws will be violated routinely, with no discredit to the people who violate them?”

        Snorting bath salts again?

        1. He get into your stash?

          1. Nah, I keep mine locked up like a responsible bath salt owner, obviously.

            Super awesome retort though. I can see your amazing intellect at work.

            1. I keep mine under the sink, convenient to the bathtub. Doesn’t everybody?

            2. “Super awesome retort though. I can see your amazing intellect at work.”

              Keep trying. You’ll figure out how to do it yourself, eventually, and won’t have to cry for help so blatantly.

  23. Ah yes, Josh Blackman, once again focusing on one singular tree in the entire forest.

    The causes of gun violence in the U.S. are no doubt multifarious and complex. While there’s some evidence of a correlation between the number of guns in circulation and the amount of gun violence, ultimately the true causes need to be addressed through a combination of poverty relief; healthcare, education, and police reform; de-criminalization of drugs; and probably some smart attention paid at the federal level to how we’re subsidizing the arms industry through defense contracts and foreign military aid. Focusing on “long guns” is, as you note, just a political ploy to try to nibble at the margins of the issue, and is unlikely to result in much improvement in the actual number of gun deaths.

    It would be nice if the gun fetishists would address gun control policies from within that frame – i.e., not focusing so much on how what’s being proposed wouldn’t work or would be unconstitutional, but on the systemic design issues that bring about the underlying dysfunction. But bizarrely, so often, the message seems to be that the number of gun deaths is just the “price of freedom.” So, until you have a serious proposal on actually addressing the problem, I’m not sure why anyone on the gun control side of the aisle should pay attention to what you have to say.

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