Viewpoint: Real Gun Reform Doesn’t Come from the Capitol

Lasting change in norms comes from civic action, not from a law "preventing" the next Sandy Hook

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It’s now been a month and a day since the massacre at Sandy Hook. To those who favor a broad agenda of gun reform and responsibility — I am actively one of them — a month seems a long time. Reformers worry that the passage of time is the enemy of reform. The NRA is betting on it.

But as Vice President Joe Biden today delivers the recommendations of his gun-violence task force to President Obama and as the press prepares for an epic confrontation in Congress, we are probably paying attention to the wrong arena. Whatever policy changes are proposed in this legislative session, citizens in local communities will be the drivers of change in our culture, and that change will take place over years, even decades, not with the stroke of a pen.

(MORE: One Month After, Newtown Deals with the Physical Reminders of the Massacre)

History shows that creative civic action often defines or expands the frame of the possible in policymaking. Consider the early civil rights movement, from sit-ins at lunch counters to the Freedom Riders. It took the coordinated, patient actions of lawyers, activists and everyday Americans to challenge the values of Jim Crow for years before politicians found the courage to dismantle the legal structures of Jim Crow. A century before that, abolitionists weren’t content to thunder from the pulpit; they pioneered all manner of organizing tactics and novel uses of print and song and “social media.”

In our own time, consider the movement against drunk driving and the emergence of the designated driver as a lasting social and cultural phenomenon, which in turn prompted and reinforced tougher laws and law enforcement. Sometimes, citizen activists and policymakers can be symbiotic partners in changing norms. This has been the case with smoking, where pressure from legislators, lawyers, everyday Americans and the media not only altered how cigarettes are made and sold but also made smoking seem fundamentally less appealing.

The epidemic of gun violence in America demands this kind of citizen-led movement. Sandy Hook revealed a collapse of responsibility. Yes, personal responsibility, since every gun killing involves a killer who is personally responsible. But mainly collective responsibility — for how guns are made, marketed, sold and circulated. Creating a stronger social ethic of responsibility means creating new coalitions of parents, faith leaders, teachers, neighbors, cops, small-business people — and not just to lobby for a particular law but to ask a simple question: How will you be more responsible for reducing gun violence?

(MORE: Adam Cohen: Why Is Congress Protecting the Gun Industry?)

When tens of millions of citizens begin wrestling with that question in a sustained way, hundreds of Congressmen will eventually change their tune. A lasting shift of norms on guns will be the result only of a diverse, cross-partisan campaign of relentless persuasion that starts from the bottom up, in our cities and towns.

That means listening to gun owners and recognizing that they are not monolithic. In fact, great numbers support reform. It requires a strategic effort to isolate and shame the most intransigent, irresponsible status-quo defenders. And it means making a case for reform that isn’t about “preventing” the next Sandy Hook: no law can absolutely prevent a disturbed person from killing innocents. The point is to lower the odds that such acts occur and to reduce the scale of bloodshed if they do.

There’s a proverb that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago; the next best time is today. So it is with planting the seeds for reform. It shouldn’t take 20 years to get laws for more responsible gun ownership, commerce and use. But they won’t sprout overnight either. And if we want reform to endure, that’s all right — as long as we the people are doing the work of planting.

MORE: Andrew J. Rotherham: A Sportsman’s View: We Need a Moderate Alternative to the NRA

33 comments
T.P.Chia
T.P.Chia

It is sad to hear NRA's supporters voicing their ridiculous and illogical argements agianst gun control.

They said that the proposed measures will not really solve the proplem, and the protection of children should not be done at the expense of  the right to own guns, and increaed financial burden,  but they failed to realize that the new gun laws will curb gun violence, even though they cannot totally eliminate it, and that tthe stricter gun laws do not take away people's right to bear arms, and it is the American government's political duty and moral obligation to protect the safety and security of all citizens, including children.

They argued that background check, ammunition limits and assault weapows ban are infringing their rights under the Second Amendment, and that gun is not the root of violence problem, but the failed to admit that the proposed new laws and measures do not violate the Seocond Amendmen, but will make the gun oowners to be legally surpervised and socially reponsible in using guns, and that gun is a dangerous accomplice to violence, even though it does not itself cause violence.

The supporters of NRA should take the trouble to look around the world--to see why so many countries are practicing strict gun laws,

The NRA may not be "venal" in opposing new gun laws, but it is definitely religiously unacceptable and socially irresponsible.

JamesDerounian
JamesDerounian

I plead with Americans to remove politics and vested interests from their consideration of gun control (“The next great American gun fight, TIME 28 Jan 2013 pp 20-33); and to exert common sense.

Ask yourself, is it reasonable for there to be 310m firearms floating around US society; that there were some 30,000+ fatal shootings in 2011; and that 49% of households own a gun? Or that since the Sandy Hook massacre another 926 people have been shot dead?

Common sense – not politics or profit – demands that firearms are progressively banned. Arm the population and people kill each other.

Is that really what those who drafted the constitution intended in 1787: the right to bear arms to kill fellow citizens? And for the 79% (246m) American Christians the bible is clear: thou shalt not kill; or Matthew 5:39 – “if someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”…..not shoot him.

JackAckerman
JackAckerman

Regarding the gunfighters article, I wonder if there was an error. It said that the AR 15 shoots 45 rounds in one minute. For this shooter to put 11 bullets in one child and an average of 5 -6 per child times 20 children - the math doesn't add up. It means he would have have to take a full 15 seconds just shooting at one child (the one with 11 bullets). I hope somebody could check into that fact.

HeEsa
HeEsa

ALL HUMANS    THINK.?, STOP FIGHTING FOR GREED + UN


 WANTED BAD  DESIRES = EVERY ONE CAN LIVE HAPPY. MAKE

 THIS EARTH OR WORLD MOST PEACEFUL PLACE TO LIVE AND

 MAKE IT A HUMAN HEAVEN.... AS ONE DAY WE ALL HAVE TO

 GO.........DEATH IS REALITY OF LIFE  AS LONG AS YOU LIVE

 .LIVE WITH LOVE RESPECT AND  DIGNITY.......AT THIS AGE


 WHEN I SEE HUMANS FIGHTING IN NAME OF POWER &
RELIGION I FEEL..! SAD.

    WHY NOT LIVE IN PEACE AND LOVE & HELP LESS

 BLESSED HUMANS....WARS AND FIGHTING LEADS TO ONLY
 SUFFERING.....................ESA.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

The opinion of American's and their firearms will not change for generations... If anything you will find more Americans wishing for greater and greater firepower... 


The Gun lobby is fooling itself if it thing it can really change things.

PaulChang
PaulChang

Let's put the facts out there first.  

How many public schools are there in the United States?  

There is approximately 100,000 public schools per http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=84.  Based on these statistics, there is roughly 36,500,000 opportunities for school shootings to occur in any given year.  Keep in mind, these are just public schools, which does not include private schools and post-secondary education.  

There were 10 school shootings in 2012, with a total of 41 deaths based on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States.  

This would mean that on any given day if you attend a public school, you have a 2.74e-5 or 0.0000274 % chance of being shot in a public school.  Wow, those odds sound pretty good to me considering public schools already do so much for your average working parent.  

They essentially provide you with daycare from 8AM to 3PM, education, subsidized food, transportation, and more daycare (after school curricular activities) for your children if you need it.  We also have to have our government guarantee 100% safety from all threats.  Sounds like a real challenge to me...  

All the while, the parent's solution for these tragedies is a simple and disconnected reality of gun reform and legislation.  It sounds like government has assumed 100% of the responsibility in terms of the way we discuss these events.  I agree with many who have posted here who say that the responsibility should be local and start within our own communities.

This is why I ask the question.  Why do we have to send our kids to centralized locations to learn?  Why could we not have our kids connect with schools from home?  Is our technology not good enough to have kids learn from home and not have to deal with the daily popularity contests and bullying that without a doubt exists and is ignored in public schools?  

If we cannot bring the kids out of schools to learn into the safest environment we know, our homes.  Then we have to start looking at solutions that make sense and can help this country out as a whole.  In order to bring kids out of schools so they can learn at home, what would it take?  

I would say reliable AND cheap internet connection is the most important.  This would mean we would have to upgrade our infrastructure, which needs to happen now.  This would also create much needed jobs in this country.  Why are we not talking about this?...  

It is because we all want the simple, disconnected solution where we as individuals assume zero responsibility, and let the government take care of everything...pass laws in sacrifice for your freedom.  

Have a blessed day.

MrGrizzly
MrGrizzly

"Congress shall make no law…" The Second amendment is very clear and was not written to be open to interpretation. That being said I think this article is spot on. There were approximately 12,000 murders involving guns in 2011 and approximately 70 to 80 Million gun owners. If every one of those murders were legal gun owners (they weren't) that would mean that .00001% of gun owners commit murders (12,000 / 70,000,000) with guns. Bans and magazine capacity changes are only going to affect the 99.9999% of law abiding citizens (who have every legal make of firearm and magazine size right now) and do nothing to stop criminals. I want to stop the wrong people from getting guns; these steps do nothing to do that. More in depth background checks and requiring FFLs for universal transfers at least focuses on the PEOPLE, which is where the problems lie. In support of Mr. Liu's article, there are things we as gun owners can do to help in " reducing gun violence" like making sure our guns are securely stored when they are out of our direct control and supporting gun safety programs and firearms education.

Leftonomous
Leftonomous

I can agree with the writer on one main point. Gun control will start in the home and local level. I firmly believe that gun control starts in the home not in congress. The vast majority of these shootings would have been prevented if the gun owners had better protection for their guns and provided better education to their children about responsible use, and ways to keep guns away from them if they're not mature or stable enough. The gov't can make whatever screwball, kneejerk measures they want, but they will yield the same results they always have, nothing. Like I said, gun control belongs in the home. 

T.P.Chia
T.P.Chia

It is true that historically it took a long period of time and the painful struggles of people-movement to kill unfair and unjust laws in the United States.  It would be a shame if it needs more time and civic actions to effect strict gun regulations in modern America. Gun control is not a racial or civil rights issue. Nor is it a constitutional issue. It is simply the gun-business interets against the safety and security of the American society.

The NRA's arguments against gun control are constitutionally misleading and socially irresponsible. The Republicans who are under the influence or control of the NRA are morally irresponsible and politically hyporitical.  Personal selfishness and political expediency have lowered the quality of Ameican politics so much, as far as gun control is concerned.  It is time that the Ameican people take immediate actions to do something about it.

American voters should take the trouble to write a letter to their Congressional representatives, demanding support for sricter gun laws.  This may prove to be an effective--and patriotic-- way of doing someting right for America. Or let President Barack issue an Excutive Order.

commentonitall
commentonitall

Mental Health is the problem.  Funding has been drastically cut in the past few years and look what has happened.  That is what needs reform and money, not gun laws.  Look at it this way.  Did prohibition of alcohol work, no.  Has the prohibition against Marijuana worked, no.  If anything people will resort to more menacing forms of attack such as bombs ( a simple search of the internet yeilds scary restults)  because now they can't get their hands on guns.  Not to mention the black market for guns is going to see a boost and another problem will be created.  The current reaction is a knee jerk reaction by politicians because people view guns as the problem and not people.  The real problem is mental health and no one wants to pay for that because it costs money.  Well how much is just one human life worth? In my opinion it is invaluable and a price cannot be put on it.  Yet politicians go after the wrong thing because the term is trending and it will guarantee them their position because people think they are safer now, well in reality they are less safe because guns will become taboo and go underground, which is impossible to regulate.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

The problem with actually institution any kind of reform, social consciousness raising or activism is the second amendment.  As long as it remains unaltered, those "intransigent, irresponsible status-quo defenders" can always get the status quo back.

But there is a way to deal with the situation through social pressure without REPEALING the second amendment (which, frankly, I would not see as a bad thing).  The problem is that "arms" as known in the 1780's were a hell of a lot different than the ":arms" known today.  "Arms", as used in the second amendment, is not explicitly defined.  One COULD argue, from a constitutional basis, that they are entitled to privately own nukes, because they're "arms".  I imagine most people would be against that and we don't allow it.  But because they're "arms" and yet NOT allowed because of their level of destruction, arms control due to the destructiveness of the "arms" is sound in principle.

We're just haggling over price.  

At what point do you draw the line?  It would seem the "intransigent, irresponsible status-quo defenders" believe anything you can carry should be legal for a private citizen to own so they can protect themselves.  We've seen how well that works out.  The implication they use is that the must have their weapons to "keep the government in line".  We ARE talking about a government which has a "button", guys.  IF the government goes over the top, they're not going to scruple to keeping it to a conventional warfare.  And even if nukes are left out of it, the little popguns civilians own - GREAT for mowing down civilians - are laughably obsolete against any modern military.  I could go on about this (and did in my blog), but the point is, keeping the government in line isn't something they can do with ANY legally obtained weapon regardless of numbers. So we're left with personal protection, sporting and hunting.

I don't see more than one shot at a time being needed in ANY of these, assuming a gun owner is responsible, learns how to use their weapon and, above all, can AIM.  Certainly, no one needs to "spray and pray" for any of them.  It doesn't matter how many rounds you put downrange if none of them actually hit the target.  But modern firearms don't encourage accuracy.  Merely the ability to pull the trigger a lot and carry a lot of bullets.  Great for ammunition sellers and Dirty Harry wannabes.  Not so great in real life or for society, or, for that matter, the person doing the shooting.

They often don't hit their targets because they can't aim.  So they choose a place with a lot of targets and hope they will hit something.

Again, if you can only fire one shot at a time - with a long reload period between shots giving people time to escape, or shoot you if you're shooting at them - it covers all of the sport and hunting needs of the American public.  And, believe it or not, there IS a type of firearm that does that.

MUZZLE-LOADERS.  You know, the "arms" the founding fathers actually had in mind.

What we need it a constitutional amendment that draws the line between what is reasonable and what is too destructive and spells it out in explicit terms, leaving the wording of the second amendment intact but clarifying what "arms" can really be kept and borne.  It would be a simple amendment saying, "Effective immediately, "arms" as used in the Second Amendment shall be defined as any muzzle-loaded fire-arm consisting of no more than two barrels capable of a rate of fire of no more than four shots per minute."  Yes, a double-barreled weapon could shoot two rounds one right after the other, but it takes 15-20 seconds to reload each of them.  Do the math.

This kind of definition would clear the way to regulation - or outright bans - on ALL OTHER FIREARMS.  You can open carry a one shot weapon all you want.  Be Captain Jack Sparrow, for all I care.  It addresses every single legal, legitimate argument for gun ownership and has no rational, or reasonable, rebuttal.  The firearm itself DEMANDS a skillful user, meaning they'd have to be more knowledgeable about its safe and effective use, which makes for a better gun owner.  They'd also be much safer around the house because the bullet is broken down into it's three main parts (round, powder, primer).  Modern muzzle-loaders are also far more accurate than what was available in the 1780's - out to 500 yards or more - meaning sport shooting and hunting would still be as challenging as it should be.

I laid it all out on my blog not too long ago. http://themoderatemessenger.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-final-word-on-gun-control.html

But until we deal with the second amendment, the "intransigent, irresponsible status-quo defenders" have a legal leg to stand on - even if that leg is completely irrational.  Maybe social consciousness can be raised to demand this since it isn't as drastic as repealing the second amendment and still allows people to keep and bear "arms".

deksoftwareint
deksoftwareint

I support legislation that will outlaw assault weapons, make high capacity magazines that can hold dozens of bullets illegal, and will make extensive background mandatory everywhere a gun is sold or traded mandatory. However, we cannot assume this is all we need to do to stop the murders of innocent people.

The person who murdered John Lennon, attempted the assassination of Ronald Reagan, and the persons who murdered innocent men, women, and children in movie theaters, shopping malls, Virginia Tech University, Columbine, Sandy Hook, and at Gabrielle Giffords meeting with her constituents were all mentally ill individuals and we need to do something to address the ticking time bombs that are among us.

If medical professionals evaluate someone and deem them a danger to others they must receive treatment at an inhouse facility before they are allowed out in the community, no matter how strict our gun control laws become. We cannot pass stricter gun laws and go to sleep thinking the problem has been solved. There are severely disturbed individuals who attend our schools, work at our companies, and who shop and attend the same movie theaters, shopping malls, and supermarkets that we do. Those who qualified professionals believe are a danger to their community cannot simply be given a pill and thought to be under control. They must be remanded to a facility so they can receive the care they need. To ignore the ticking time bombs among us is flirting with more tragedies.

Pandorasbox
Pandorasbox

In 2010, 10,228 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (31%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

Of the 1,210 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2010, 211 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver.

Of the 211 child passengers ages 14 and younger who died in alcohol-impaired driving crashes in 2010, over half (131) were riding in the vehicle with the alcohol-impaired driver.

In 2010, over 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics. That's one percent of the 112 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S. adults each year.

Drugs other than alcohol (e.g., marijuana and cocaine) are involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs are often used in combination with alcohol.

So where are all the people crying about banning alcohol? There is not a Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing our right to alcohol. Look people, it's about personal responsibility. If you know somebody is a danger to themselves or society because of a mental illness and you do nothing you are just as guilty. This entire country needs to grow up, put on your big girl panties, stop blaming everyone else, stop getting your feelings hurt so easily, massaging each others egos. We need state run mental institutions reinstated all over the country. With the help of courts and social workers and family members we need to be able to put dangerous mentally ill people in an institution. Putting hundreds or thousands of lives at risk so one mentally ill person can wander the streets is stupid. There are a lot of things that kill people and the idea that banning guns will stop a deranged lunatic from going out in a blaze of glory is seriously diluted thinking. Not all of us pro gun people are tea party nut cases. This constant bickering about everyone's different interpretation of the Second Amendment needs to stop, it's already been upheld by the Supreme Court. Banning guns is not the answer, and it's totally pointless unless you plan to confiscate the hundreds of millions of guns already out there in which case like or not there will be an uprising. If you think the whole of the military will follow the orders to kill their families, neighbors, teachers, children, pastors, coworkers and destroy their own cities and towns you are sadly mistaken. And what would our beloved government gain by destroying their own infrastructure, highways, bridges and cities as well as slaughtering millions of patriotic Americans? So they can be left with the sniveling liberals and welfare babies? Good luck with that.

RugeirnDrienborough
RugeirnDrienborough

If we want to "lower the odds that such acts occur and to reduce the scale of bloodshed if they do," then we need to ensure that the measures we propose pass the Adam Lanza test: would they have stopped Adam Lanza, or the Columbine shooters, or similar attacks?

We're hearing a great deal about gun control measures that don't pass that test. The reason is simple: it's very hard to stop someone who is willling to die in order to do what they mean to do. Most of what we are hearing about, such as background checks, magazine capacity limits, ugly-gun bans, and so forth do not pass the Adam Lanza test.

We aren't hearing about measures that might actually help. 

We aren't hearing about making our schools more secure, both in physical terms--better structures with features that help people inside to protect themselves - and in terms of security staff. It's odd to find the NRA and the government of the People's Republic of China on the same side of any issue, but in fact the PRC recently launched a mandate that will place security staff in every single elementary and middle school in their nation. They're not doing that in response to our problems, but in response to their own; they've had a wave of knife attacks in schools. While the Chinese are taking concrete action, we're busy counting pennies and deciding we don't have enough pennies to protect our schoolchildren.

We aren't hearing about making a well-funded, concerted effort to discover how to recognize and effectively help people who are falling into an abyss of mental illness that leads them to violence. In several recent rampage killings, the killer was known to have verbalized his ideas and intentions, including actually seeking help, and meeting with no response.

Last but not least, no one is talking enough about looking at our own faces in the mirror. How much violence do we consume in our popular culture? How many violent deaths occur nightly on prime-time TV? The other day, while Jon Stewart was devoting his program to gun control, the advertising that supports his show featured three different violent movies; by my quick count, at least half-a-dozen character died violently in about two minutes of advertising. Oh, no, we'd rather not face the truth about ourselves - that we are a violent people and need to change. That's much, much too disturbing. Instead, let's do what Americans so often do - let's focus on the hardware.

Fundamentally, we need to grow up. Nobody's talking about that.

freedom76
freedom76

The founding fathers could not have anticipated the advance in gun technology. But they could predict the overwhelming desire of the government to subjugate it's citizens; which is so much easier if they are not armed. Thus the 2nd amendment.

omegapoint7
omegapoint7

If you don't care about the 2nd Amendment, you don't deserve the 1st. All anti-gun media outlets should be razed to the ground.

Elvisfofana
Elvisfofana

@PaulChang : you base your percentage on deaths by shooting in schools only. You should see the bigger picture and look at the greater number of people in general that get killed by firearms owned by a civilian. But even by looking at the school children alone : aren't the lives of those 41 children worth it that the American society would be mature enough as to rethink a use that has had it's necessity in cowboy-times, but that is a proven wrong choice in these modern times ? It is proven that restricting firearm posession has direct positive effect on the number of killed people : look at the numbers in Europe.

Leftonomous
Leftonomous

@T.P.Chia You're right. Americans should write a letter to their respective representatives. One saying,"I have guns, and I want to keep it that way. Aside from what the media would have you believe, most Americans want to keep guns the way they are." Don't believe me, then take a look at gun sales for the last few months. They have skyrocketed to record levels. All I can see here is that not only are you willing to infringe your own rights, but you're willing to allow the president to implement totalitarian measures to complete that infringement. Truly sad. 

LividLibertarian
LividLibertarian

@DeweySayenoff If the second amendment applies only to arms available at the the time of its writing, the first amendment applies only to the spoken word and text which is published by the technology available at the time. In other words, if you argue that my ownership of an "assault rifle" is not in accordance with the intent of the founding fathers, you must also accept that your blog is not protected free speech.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@deksoftwareint 

How?

Unless a person comes out and says "Hey ive been thinking of shooting people" you cannot simply lock people up... also should these lock-ups occur all over why would anybody ever seek treatment?

If you make people fear mental health treatment because they might be locked away to rot why would anybody ever dare seek treatment?

You ignore how hard it is to identify these people and how dangerous it is to make provisions to lock people up... Making mental illness into a provision for a police state is crazy.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@Pandorasbox 

A guy on coke or amphetamines is not likely to be "impaired" while driving... increasing brain activity and attention-span is more likely to make a driver careful... Of course the use is still unhealthy but it is not "impaired driving"

this is just pointing out pharmacology 

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@PandorasboxAh, I LOVE it when someone uses car and alcohol statistics to support the argument that we shouldn't do anything about guns and need to deal with the people.

It's such an invidious argument that I laugh every time I read someone doing this.  It's an apples to geese comparison.  Alcohol, guns and cars are vastly different things and ignoring that difference is why this argument is utterly ignorant and fallacious.

I'll make it simple for you.  Alcohol and cars, when used responsibly and properly for their intended purpose, don't result in death.  Guns, when used responsibly and properly for their intended purpose, do result in death.

Period.

Banning guns isn't the point.  Banning CERTAIN guns IS.

We can, and do, regulate both cars and alcohol.  Preconditions have to be met for using both, including who can own them.  No such regulations can exist for firearms.  Even the NRA has actively opposed restricting felons and the mentally ill from obtaining firearms.  But, god, threaten to take away your assault weapon - a laughably obsolete firearm in the face of a modern military and one utterly unnecessary and deadly in the civilian world - and you go all constitutional on it.

But you do raise a valid point about the mentally ill. But like most righties, you say we should do something and fail to FUND IT.  Do you know who emptied the mental institutions and put the deranged out on the streets?  Reagan did.  And it's been a disaster.  Will treating mentally ill people stop the prevalence of mass shootings?  No, because the availability of those weapons remains and someone can be outside of the mental health system - as most of these people were - can still pop up and grab one.

So, who is going to pay for your little insulting notion?  You?  I know, let's require every gun purchase - public or private - to pay a mental health tax.  Or we could mandate mental health insurance.  Oh, wait, you don't like Obamacare, so you wouldn't like that.  How long will you stand for suspending civil rights and make involuntary commitment easier?  Hell, you don't want to walk into a body scanner at an airport so the REST of us know you aren't carrying a gun or a bomb.  Why should we suspend other people's rights and not yours as well?  Fair is fair, isn't it?

You're the idiot with the gun who wants to carry it around and not be told what kinds you can and can't own or what you may or may not do with it.  If the problem is mentally ill people, and gun owners aren't going to be responsible enough to make sure their weapons can't be taken by family members or burglars, or BOUGHT OVER THE COUNTER because you folks don't like the idea of comprehensive background checks or mental health certificates (which, also, won't fix the problem, but may cut it down somewhat) BEFORE being allowed to buy a gun from ANYONE, then it's up to you to pay for your little proposals.

Freedom isn't free, Charlie.  If you want the freedom to be irresponsible, then you have to pay for it.  I say mandate insurance for gun owners. And, if they are EVER used improperly by ANYONE, charge the owner of the firearm with a felony, give them community service and take their guns away for life.  That way, "responsible" gun owners can continue to keep them while those who aren't are removed from the ability to inflict harm on people.

Or, you could mandate trading in your firearm for a muzzle-loader of similar type - pistol or rifle - and let you go on your merry way.  The same for ammo. (you buy the powder since that's an explosive and should be restricted, but you get caps and bullets for every shell you turn in).  After all, if you can do it with a modern firearm, you can do it with a modern muzzle loader.

Except, of course, mow down dozens of kids in a few seconds.

THIS is how to rationally deal with the issue.  The FIRING RATE of modern firearms among civilians is the problem.  Even if you banned assault weapons, you still have handguns that can fire a full clip in two seconds (At least, I could do that till I found the simple delights of muzzle-loaders).  If you're so much of a coward that you HAVE TO HAVE your gun to walk around and feel "safe", wear body armor.  IT will protect you a hell of a lot more reliably than any popgun you could possibly carry and has the advantage of not hitting innocent bystanders when you panic and miss what you were shooting at because your firearm, by it's very nature, doesn't MAKE you learn how to aim it.

And think about this: If someone pulls a gun, you probably won't be able to pull yours before you get shot.  If someone pulls a knife, you only need one shot to kill them.  If there are more than one, you're going to go down either way, no matter how many rounds you have in your gun.  Of course, that's if you rely on a gun like an idiot instead of your skills and wits.  In short, you only will EVER get one, or maybe two, rounds off before the issue is resolved one way or the other.  A muzzle-loading derringer would do the job just fine.

So what'll it be?  Mandate gun owners pay for their freedom to be irresponsible?  Or let them be irresponsible with a type of firearm that can't do as much damage as what's out there now?  Because no matter what kind of rationalization you can come up with, your proposal will not put any dents in the slaughter we have going on every day in the U.S. today, even over the long term, while MINE will.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@RugeirnDrienborough As usual, you're arguments, while reasonably presented, are unreasonable.  You're trying to change the nature of the human animal and that will not happen.  This is why socialism, libertarianism and communism don't work.  They ignore human nature.

You propose increased security.  That won't stop anyone because if someone is planning a mass shooting, they'll either do it in a place without increased security, or they'll add, "Kill the idiot with the guns" to the top of the "to do" list.  The weapon to do the mass shooting will be readily available.

You propose better school design.  Well, you had better add malls, theaters, concert halls and all the other places people gather to that list.  I imagine the bill will run to the tens of trillions of dollars - which doesn't include the long-term costs of paying for someone with a gun to stand around and guard it, and then paying for someone else to stand around with a gun and guard the guard because you never know.

I will tell you what will pass the test: Define "arms" in the second amendment as muzzle-loaded firearms then ban everything else.  Have a turn-in grace period where you get money or even new muzzle-loaders, for your now illegal to own or possess weapons. Once the grace period is over, put up a reward for information leading to anyone who still possesses any other kind of firearm.  After that, you're a criminal if you have any other kind of firearm and people will be rewarded for turning you in.  Let people open carry their muzzle loaders.  They're not going to be doing a lot of damage with them to their neighbors, friends and schoolkids, but they can protect themselves with it (Body armor would work better, but we're dealing with irrational people in the first place).

A responsible gun owner will comply because a modern muzzle-loader does everything a modern firearm needs to do and is safer to store and use.  The irresponsible will be found and locked up.

This also has the advantage of taking into account human nature, which no other proposal does.  Letting people open carry modern firearms only leads to more death - either at home or when people panic and shoot friends and relatives and strangers because they can "spray and pray" when "protecting" themselves.  It won't stop irresponsibility, but then, you can't.  It won't stop the mentally ill from shooting up schools, but it cuts down on the damage they can inflict if we make assault weapons illegal and put a bounty on finding them and taking them off the streets.

It will cost quite a bit, I imagine, but once the more modern firearms are off the streets, the financial impact of lesser damage being caused by a considerably lower rate, and ease, of fire will start to offset that cost.  And it won't cost nearly as much as your proposals will with the added benefit that my proposals will actually work if implemented, while yours will not.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@freedom76 OH, thank you!  Thank you! Thank you!  I was waiting for someone missing a frontal lobe to mention this!

First off, there is NOTHING you can legally get that the government fears.  It's more concerned about your vote than your pop-gun.  We actually elect our leaders here.  In every other place where insurrections happen, they didn't elect their leaders.  More on that later.

Secondly, as I mentioned, your little pop-gun, matched up against the firepower available to a government, is so ludicrously obsolete and under-matched that only the utterly irrational can possibly think the government is going to be "kept in line" by an uprising of traitors toting citizen-available arms. You folks love pointing out how the U.S. military is the "most powerful armed forces in the world", and you think your little AR's are going to intimidate THEM?  REALLY???  They've had ten YEARS of fighting insurrectionists to learn how to smack down resistance movements and have developed the technology and tactics to deal with it.  How are YOUR tactics for being an insurrectionist?

Thirdly, no insurrection in the modern history of the planet has EVER succeeded WITHOUT outside military aid from another government. The U.S. wouldn't even BE a country if not for the help of France. The South LOST the civil war (our first insurrectionist movement) in large part because the North successfully blockaded military aid from England.   Exactly who is going to help a bunch of malcontents in the U.S. overthrow the U.S. government?  Mexico?  China?  Iran?  North Korea?  Yeah, I can see the kind of people who WOULD take up arms against the U.S. asking them for help.  Not.

Finally, there is an unstated presumption in your ideology that all of the people would rise up.  That didn't happen before when the people rose up in rebellion.  I have seen NO indication of that kind of "unity" among the American people for thirty years or more - except for a few months after 9/11.  On matters of politics, there is no unity.  In order to have any chance at overthrowing a government, they'll need the support - or at least the non-involvement - of the vast majority of people, and that ain't gonna happen in THIS country. That means even if some people in the military don't shoot, others will step into their place, which means you're still going to face a force with several dozen orders of magnitude greater firepower than your little group can get hold of.  (And if you want to actually see how irrational the argument that the military won't help, exactly how, then, COULD a government take over if it didn't control the military?  Pass a law?  Please.)

In short, the ideology of the founding fathers was predicated on the notion that the arms available to the civilians were basically the same as the arms available to the military.  That, and the fact they were broke and cheap and couldn't afford to maintain, and arm, a large enough standing army to defend the U.S. from the outside  (that didn't happen for almost 50 years of our history), so put that on the states to keep militias ready to be called up.  IT was an English tradition they used to frame the idea and based on THAT, the second amendment was designed for the DEFENSE of the nation.  Not to keep our government in line.  And now that the arms available to the government so out-class the firepower available to the government, the notion of taking on the government if it turned totalitarian is ludicrous without outside aid.  And that aid would include better arms than anything you could get your hands on in our society today.

So please pretend that you can think critically and stop spouting that kind of nonsense.  It sounds really great until you face the realities of today.  Once you do that, you'll realize just how irrational, and ludicrous, it sounds.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

@omegapoint7 Without the first, you can't have the second. But making terrorist threats means you don't deserve the second.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@Hollywooddeed @MrGrizzly 


In 2008 the supreme court ruled that personal firearm ownership is protected... the well regulated part was not meant to be used to prevent private ownership

MrGrizzly
MrGrizzly

@Hollywooddeed Alexander Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers: "If a well-regulated militia be the most natural defense of a free country, it ought certainly to be under the regulation and at the disposal of that body which is constituted the guardian of the national security...confiding the regulation of the militia to the direction of the national authority...(and) reserving to the states...the authority of training the militia"   He argued for small but still well-regulated (trained) militia and that “This force will be further complemented by the ‘people at large,’ who can ‘stand ready with arms to defend their rights and those of their fellow-citizens.’"  This force would be “composed of ordinary citizens to provide defense, emergency law enforcement, or paramilitary service, in times of emergency without being paid a regular salary or committed to a fixed term of service."  Since these men were citizens who just finished fighting for independence from an oppressive monarchy, they also knew the value of the average citizen being able to rise up against tyranny should our own form of government become corrupt.  The Government should fear the people, not the other way around; if the average man cannot fight back, the Government has nothing to fear.    Additionally you should be aware that it was determined in the supreme court that nowhere else in the Constitution does a “right” attributed to “the people” refer to anything other than an individual right.   Hope that helped.  Thanks for the opportunity and your sincere interest.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@DeweySayenoff @Pandorasbox 

Dewey I think you underestimate an insurgency ... millions of americans with semiautomatic weapons is a serious threat to military force when you add fertilizer bombs.

I agree with much of what you say but to underestimate what millions of people with guns can do is silly.

Pandorasbox
Pandorasbox

@DeweySayenoff @Pandorasbox That makes no sense whatsoever and sinking to name calling? Typical. How could you possibly not see the correlation between alcohol and guns? How many gun deaths would be prevented by banning alcohol? You are statement about guns causing death when used responsibly is correct in that guns are a means of self defense and so hopefully the bad guy dies. I'm not one of those people who posted the silliness about banning cars. My point is valid and again to simplify it for you so you can understand.....alcohol is responsible for far more deaths in this country than guns whether it be a car accident, drunkenness turning violent causing shooting, stabbing and beating deaths as well as falls and overdosing. How many more children die every year as a result of alcohol in one form or another? How many children die at the hands of their parents or pedophiles that were released from prison? This is all about an agenda. Do you honestly believe they have any of our best interests at heart? The Democrats and Republicans are all garbage, they don't care!!!!! The vast majority of the people in this country believe in our Constitution and are tired of having our rights eroded away. There is no Constitutional right to alcohol. The Constitution doesn't tell US what we are allowed to do or have, it tells the Government what rights they can never take from us, many of which have already been stomped by the President and many before him. Personal responsibility my friend. The people of this country need to grow the f*&k up and stop blaming everyone else. We didn't have these problems until Reagan shut down the mental hospitals in the name of personal freedom. We can put people in prison for a multitude of asinine reasons but we can't the violently mentally ill in an institution? You want crappy socialized medicine? Fine. As a compromise all welfare recipients must take regular random drug tests to continue receiving benefits, also unwed mothers must provide the name and any other pertinent information about the father and his whereabouts so the government can make sure he pays his child support or he can go to prison or submit to voluntary sterilization in lieu of prison. Cut down the number of takers and maybe we will have the money to pay for the mental hospitals.

Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

@DeweySayenoff @RugeirnDrienborough 


Dewey that would work but you yourself ignore reality.

The supreme court upheld personal firearm ownership in 2008. There is no chance that firearms will be outlawed in the US because the law protects them and so do a large percentage of Americans!

Your strategies would work but are impossible to create because it violates the wishes the the people and ignores the law.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

As usual, you respond with nonsense.  I say "as usual" because I've noticed those who willfully embrace ignorance tend to double down on their positions.  If you want a point by point, researched and proven refutation of your entire idea and why it's utterly unworkable, I can provide it, but it would be too long here.  So I'll cut to the chase for the moment.

The long and short of it is that your idea won't work.  It won't reduce mass shootings because to do that, one would have to know who's going to do it before they do it and toss them into the happy house.  If they know that, they can stop it already.  You said there's an agenda, and you're right.  It's the NRA's agenda because your idea came from them.  Back trail it.  I did.  It came out about a week ago on an ultraconservative site owned by the NRA.  It's simply trying to distract from the fact 30,000 Americans, on average, die by firearms each year.

Here's why it won't work.  In fact, here's why your whole "personal responsibility" nonsense won't work: Alcohol.

I know you won't get that one so here's a history lesson in the explanation.  The 18th amendment banned the manufacturing, sale and transportation of alcohol in the U.S.  Did it stop it?  Hell no.  Why not?  Human nature.  People are NOT going to be "personally responsible"  EVER.  The major religion of this country says "Believe in Jesus and all your sins (you know, the bad things you were responsible for) will be washed away!" That doesn't encourage personal responsibility.  But even without that, human nature means we're all different.  We don't all walk, talk, eat, sleep, drink, work, play or live exactly the same.  Why the hell would anyone expect people to act the same?  And it's delusional to think that the government would ever be able to mandate that. 

(By the way, the repealing of the 18th amendment created a defacto right to alcohol, so your assertion that we don't have one is mostly incorrect.  It's not explicit, but it is strongly implied and precedent pretty much ensures it.  It helps your credibility and position if you know that what you're asserting is true before you assert it.)

You're paranoid to think that this whole subject is a long-running leftist agenda, based on leftist ideology since 1994.  But here's why I call you delusional: You want to trade civil liberties.  You want to be able to keep your guns and send people to institutions against their will and for some idiotic reason, you think this will help.  Granted, someone has to be insane to do mass shootings (the staunching of which is the goal since it's equally irrational to think that they can be stopped), but you seem to presume that all the people who would do mass shootings would be identified and institutionalized BEFORE they did them.  They wont, and assault weapons are too easy to pick up and use.

But let's go with your idea for a moment.  Let's stomp on civil rights and institutionalize everyone who may be a threat to others BEFORE they act.  Your posts indicate paranoia and delusion.  You are, presumably, armed.  You became openly hostile when your position was challenged (mostly because your position was hostile to begin with).  You said that we should "stop getting [our] feelings hurt so easily" and yet you couldn't live up to your own rhetoric and ideology, but you demand that others do.  That's irrational.  By these measures, you could very easily be considered a danger to society under your idea and locked away until someone decided you were safe to unleash on society again.

Do you REALLY think your idea is a good one?

To top it off, it doesn't stop someone who someone THOUGHT was cured and released to grab any assault weapon laying around (they're everywhere, after all) and blow away a bunch of kids.

My proposition - which you did nothing to actually refute - more reasonably addressed not only that, but several other down-sides to gun ownership - all without removing the right to keep and bear arms.  The thinking is, admittedly, unconventional.  But the situation is such that conventional thinking is getting us nowhere.  The idea isn't to STOP mass shootings since that's not possible.  The idea is to reduce the number of gun deaths in total.  My idea will do that.  Yours will not.

And yet you went on a non-topical, ideological rant which only reenforced the idea that you suffer from paranoid delusions and irrational thinking to begin with, not once realizing that by doing so, you become a principle target of the very solution you propose.

Do you REALLY want to keep this up?  Please do.  A definition of insanity is doing exactly the same thing and expecting a different outcome.  So either say why my idea has no merit with facts and figures or even with some REAL critical thinking on your part or prove my point about your state of mind and further undermine YOUR argument.