Sunday Commentary: When Will We Acknowledge the Truth on Guns?

Orgeon Shooting Graphic

Orgeon Shooting Graphic

The first step toward a solution to a great problem is to acknowledge the problem, and the problem with respect to guns is that what we are doing is not working.

Yesterday, the New York Times published their first front page editorial since 1920 and argued, “It is a moral outrage and national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency.”

When the terror attack occurred in Paris three weeks ago, the focus of public attention turned to ISIS and organized international terrorism. The national debate moved toward whether we should be excluding refugees from Syria.

But, as tragic and frightening as the Paris attacks might have been, the number killed pales in comparison to the number of people in this country who have been killed this year in active shooting events. In fact, it pales in comparison to the number of people killed by police in this country this year.

There is, of course, now evidence that the husband and wife involved in the latest shooting in San Bernardino pledged their allegiance to the Islamic State. But FBI Director James Comey said that the investigators had found no evidence that the killers were part of a larger group or terror cell.

I would still argue that by far the bigger threat to the safety of the typical American is a home-grown problem, not an international problem.

The Christian Science Monitor in an op-ed asks, “Is the conflation of two problems – international terrorist attacks by lone wolf extremists and domestic mass shootings by individuals with semi-automatic rifles – the best way to solve them both? Democrats seem to say yes, while Republicans disagree.”

After all, some would argue, the problem in San Bernardino, regardless of the motivation, was the ready availability of weapons.

As we wrote back in October, the facts are clear – shooting sprees are not rare, gun ownership on the whole is declining, violence and crime have been declining and yet, despite this, active shooting events have been on the rise.

The data as we reported is relatively clear, however. Gun control is not politically popular and, while it ebbs and flows, in general the trend is moving away from the view that gun control laws should be stricter. This despite the fact that “[f]irearm deaths are significantly lower in states with stricter gun control legislation. Though the sample sizes are small, we find substantial negative correlations between firearm deaths and states that ban assault weapons (-.45), require trigger locks (-.42), and mandate safe storage requirements for guns (-.48).”

Current policies are not working. The NY Times op-ed acknowledges, “Opponents of gun control are saying, as they do after every killing, that no law can unfailingly forestall a specific criminal. That is true. They are talking, many with sincerity, about the constitutional challenges to effective gun regulation. Those challenges exist. They point out that determined killers obtained weapons illegally in places like France, England and Norway that have strict gun laws. Yes, they did.”

I agree with the opponents here – I don’t think we can really stop people committed to doing destructive acts. Many are willing to die at the end of their acts. That means that we cannot deal with these issues by deterrence.

On the other hand, I don’t believe the gun owners’ view is the solution either – arm the citizenry to the teeth in hopes that they will shoot the active shooters before they can do their damage.

The problem I see there is that situations are dynamic, they are fast-moving, but untrained people can make a lot of mistakes. Part of the problem we are seeing in cases like Laquan McDonald and others is that trained police officers are making mistakes shooting unarmed people who pose little threat to them. If trained police officers mistakenly shoot innocent people, what are untrained citizens going to do?

There are some problems with the New York Times editorial, as Nick Baumann, the Senior Enterprise Editor of the Huffington Post pointed out on Saturday.

He notes, “The Times doesn’t use the term, but the policy it’s advocating is what’s generally called an assault weapons ban. Assault weapons bans are hard to write and implement, and easy to undermine and circumvent. Even a perfect assault weapons ban wouldn’t do anything about most gun violence, because most gun violence involves handguns that aren’t forbidden under such laws.”

He highlights an article from the Times from last year, “The Assault Weapons Myth,” which shows the efforts to shift focus away from assault-weapons bans and “focus their attention on measures that are more likely to be effective at preventing gun violence.” Most violence in America involves handguns, not assault weapons.

Mr. Baumann writes, “To the Times’ credit, it mentions that its plan would require some gun owners to give up their weapons. But it doesn’t explain how the government would go about getting people to surrender them. There are 300 million guns in American homes. Confiscating even a small percentage of these — the Times’ ‘certain weapons’ — would be an enormous, dangerous, and politically fraught undertaking. Banning civilians from owning ‘certain kinds of ammunition,’ as the Times also suggests, would be even harder.”

He adds, “Perhaps most glaringly, though, this editorial fails to mention that electoral politics — specifically Republicans’ dominance of the U.S. Congress and the fact that some Democrats seem to be more afraid of the NRA than they are of gun control groups — is the biggest reason why President Barack Obama wasn’t able to pass even modest gun control measures in the wake of the Newtown massacre. Congressional Democrats tried pushing new gun control measures again on Thursday, by the way. Republicans blocked them all. But ‘if you want gun control, vote for liberal Democrats for Congress’ would be a short editorial.”

My argument is what we are doing is not working. The current policies have failed. The Democratic response won’t work because they lack the votes. The conservative response, in my view, will make the problem worse.

Our analysis in October pointed to a different potential cause and thus a different potential solution.

We see that the trend away from gun ownership and the decline in crime are not linked to the rise in mass shootings. That suggests that a mass shooting is unlikely to be linked to either the availability of guns or the overall crime rate – meaning that it is a separate phenomenon.

If we accept that mass shooters are essentially individuals committing their final act, as they usually kill themselves or are killed by the police, then perhaps the act itself has the meaning.

Our suggestion in October was that the act itself and the publicity of the act itself was meaningful. And so what we need to do is play down these incidents – hard as that may be.

It is hard for the news media not to cover a massacre, but perhaps that is the strategy that can work to reduce the number of mass shootings.

Eric Harris, the infamous shooter in Columbine, would point out in a journal entry that it is not about guns, it is about television, film and fame. Cut out that part of the equation and you might see a reduction in mass shootings. It is, of course, not easily done, but worth investigating.

—David M. Greenwald reporting


About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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88 thoughts on “Sunday Commentary: When Will We Acknowledge the Truth on Guns?”

  1. Tia Will

    I am going to write from the point of view of a doctor. When in medicine, we find that there is no agreement about the underlying causes of a problem or set of problems and their is no agreement on the best approach, what is needed is not individuals entrenching in their own favored approach. What is needed is to be open to further information which in my field depends upon research.

    One of the issues involving prevention of gun related injury and death in all of its forms, is that we have decided, as a society, not to support research into how to systematically approach any of the types of gun related injuries whether terrorist, non terrorist deliberate or accidental. This is unique in our society. We choose to support medical research. We choose to support car safety, airline safety, road safety, work place safety….and yet we do not support any gun safety research.

    When discussing this issue with many people, which I do on a fairly regular basis, one of the comments I hear is that gun injury prevention seems hopeless. And I agree, if we do not address the component aspects, it does seem overwhelming. However, what if we chose to make one single step ? What if we decoupled the idea that prevention of gun injury and a “take away your guns conspiracy” were one and the same. What if we were willing to look at what steps might actually reduce at least one aspect of gun related injuries, determine the underlying causes, and find a practical approach to just that one aspect of the problem ? Might we not have at least a small improvement. And would not even a small improvement be better than what we have now ?

    So my very small ask in favor of reducing gun related injuries would be to encourage our elected officials to do away with the federal restriction on funding gun safety research. If our military can be funded for research on more effective weaponry, why cannot our citizenry be funded for research on safer weaponry ?

    1. tribeUSA

      “one of the comments I hear is that gun injury prevention seems hopeless.”


      (1) avoid the bullet: agility training; consult Einsteins ghost for time dilation tips

      (2) wear kevlar vests at all times: Martha Stuart needed for accessory advice

      (3) grow thicker skin: voice loud PIC rants in public at every opportunity (the Trump technique)

  2. Tia Will


    I would rephrase your title as “When Will We Acknowledge That There Are Many Truths On Guns ?”

    To illustrate, I am going to list as many different types of gun related injuries as I can think of:

    1. Deliberate terrorist ( foreign group)

    2. Deliberate terrorist ( foreign individual)

    3. Deliberate terrorist ( domestic group)

    4. Deliberate terrorist (domestic individual)

    5. Deliberate for financial gain ( group)

    6. Deliberate for financial gain ( individual)

    7. Deliberate for personal reasons ( group)

    8. Deliberate for personal reasons ( individual)

    9. Deliberate for the intent of ending one’s own life ( group)

    10. Deliberate for the intent of ending one’s own life ( individual)

    11. Deliberate as part of a law enforcement or military activity

    12. Accidental ( hunting, child on self, child on other, mistaken identity, false perception of risk, injury to self or other by owner while inspecting, cleaning, displaying or showing the weapon)

    13. Self defense or the defense of others

    I am sure that I have missed some. But just from this list alone,we can see that reduction of gun related injuries and deaths is multifactorial and will not be addressed by single or simplistic solutions. Each of the different categories has different root and contributory causes. There are many individuals, both academics and otherwise, who have interest in one or more of the above issues but are virtually precluded from investigating their own particular area of concern by the lack of public funding for research which we readily grant to other endeavors. If we are not willing to do anything else at all, could we at least do away with the ban on publicly funded gun safety research ?

    1. wdf1

      Tia Will: 12. Accidental ( hunting, child on self, child on other, mistaken identity, false perception of risk, injury to self or other by owner while inspecting, cleaning, displaying or showing the weapon)


      If we are not willing to do anything else at all, could we at least do away with the ban on publicly funded gun safety research?

      The federal Center for Disease Control has online guidelines for safety and prevention in various areas of American daily life:

      STD/STI prevention

      Electrical safety

      Motor vehicle safety

      Youth sports safety on concussions

      Home safety for prevention of falling among older adults

      But there is nothing on gun safety.

      Wait…  I take that back.

      There is a publication on nail gun safety, but not on conventional regular guns.

      This is how ridiculous the defense of gun rights has become.  A reputable agency on health and safety issues can’t publish guidelines for regular gun safety.

      1. Miwok

        This is how ridiculous the defense of gun rights has become.

        I think you forget why they were thought of in the first place. There was a “government” (monarchy) that dictated soldiers to “pick up” (arrest) people they thought might commit a crime (so they said). No proof, no assumption of innocence. Maybe (you might be one) a person who expresses an opinion different than the current King (government). Maybe they decided to live with you just so they could see…

        There are many organizations that assess the people who are political prisoners across the world, the ones with “gun control”. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for decades, was he a criminal?

        The CDC is not the Agency for this study, and the FBI and Justice Department won’t take the initiative.. And if you don’t have complete data, you are guessing. Start with that.  I am too old, and it would take too long just to get an accurate data set. Instead we go with freelancers. You get what you pay for. Unfortunately, you cannot pay for fairness and lack of bias.

        1. Tia Will


          I think you forget why they were thought of in the first place.”

          Because something was “thought of in the first place” in a certain way does not mean that the rationale should not ever be rethought. The technology has gone far beyond what the originators of these thoughts could have ever anticipated. And again, bear in mind, my request is not to confiscate, it is to investigate to determine means of making us actually safer as well as allowing us to “feel”safer.

        2. wdf1

          Miwok:  I think you forget why they were thought of in the first place.

          I don’t know what you’re talking about.  I don’t know what that has to do with my interest here.  I’m talking about putting out information for how to properly and safely handle, keep, and store guns so that people don’t accidentally get shot.

          Miwok:  The CDC is not the Agency for this study,

          And why is that?  They take an interest in health and well-being in so many different ways.  I have gone to the CDC to get info on youth sports concussions when my kids played AYSO.  I consulted their website for information on infant and toddler car seats when my kids were of that age.  It makes sense to include gun safety.


    2. Miwok

      But just from this list alone,we can see that reduction of gun related injuries and deaths is multifactorial and will not be addressed by single or simplistic solutions.

      And yet those are the ones proposed… But I appreciate your saying this and recognizing it is a complicated problem. No One thinks so. The facts that people are killing other people is the problem, tool of choice is irrelevant.

      1. Tia Will


         thought you were working with Women’s Health?”

        You are correct. I do work in Women’s Health which is a primary care specialty. I consider the entirely of a woman’s health and wellness to be within the purview of my specialty. When I meet patient’s I frequently address safety issues both within and outside the home. For young women this may focus on STD and pregnancy prevention, for older women it may include fall prevention even though I have no expertise in neurology or orthopedics. For all women, domestic violence including gun safety is a relevant topic. Like any other topic, I ask whether this is a subject they would like to discuss. You would be surprised what some women will discuss with their gynecologist that they will not share with other doctors.

        What have I ever said that would lead you to believe that I am posing as an expert in gun safety? I make no pretense to expertise in this area. I never teach on this subject and I have done no independent research. Anyone of you could have compiled the list of types of injury that I put together off the top of my head this morning.

        And to answer your last question, I teach in the area of my expertise every Monday morning.

    1. Matt Williams

      Tia, your question could also be asked in the MOU discussion thread. In that MOU context, I would say that one positive step would be to make it standard policy that major expenditures (like these MOUs) always appear as a Regular Agenda item where the citizens/residents can make public comment (Note: I erroneously used the term “public hearing” in the original posting of this observation). Yesterday hpierce posted the informative comment below, which gives us a sense of what the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been in the past. My personal belief is that SOP helps contribute to the broad sense of distrust of government that exists in Davis and across the Nation. Changing that SOP to one that is more transparent and inclusive would be a step toward building greater trust in our government.

      Over the last 30 years, I believe the MOU’s were on the consent calendar (not sure on the ‘imposition’ ones) 100% of the time, but several were pulled at the mtng. Always by a CC dissenter(s). SOP (suspect more people know what MOU means than SOP).

      Look at it this way, Davis is a “municipal corporation”, by state law. The CC is the Board of Directors, chosen by the investors/stakeholders (voters). The CM is the CEO/CFO. Do corporations hold meetings with stakeholders with a discussion item on employee compensation?

  3. Tia Will


    the real problem is the use of social media as well as traditional media the perpetuates propaganda by terrorists.”

    While I agree that this is one aspect of the larger problem, the comment “the real problem” might be interpreted as a statement that you see this as the “only” problem. I am sure that this is not the case, t it is inferable from your post.

    1. Anon

      Right now, I see the media as THE problem, more than anything else.  The guns purchased by the San Bernardino couple were legally obtained, and CA has one of the tougher gun control laws in the country.  I am not opposed to more stringent gun control, but even if it were implemented, I don’t think it would make much of a dent in the incidents of mass killings.  There is something much more fundamental going on here, and I think it has more to do with the media, the regular media and social media.  I think we are underestimating its profound reach and potency.

  4. hpierce

    This is more complex than guns, per se.   Look at the actual events… how many are associated with MH issues?  If they had no guns, would there still have been stabbings? Bombings?  Maybe the casualty figures would be different, but I suspect the “incident” count would be damn near the same.

    I do not own a gun.  I reserve the right to own one.  Using other folk’s guns, I enjoy target shooting from time to time, and am a fairly good shot.

    I believe that no one needs to have a fully automatic assault rifle.  If they truly do, I see no reason that they need more than one.  I could see owning one pistol/handgun, one rifle, and one shotgun.  For home self-protection, the shotgun would be my preferred tool.

    1. Miwok

      Using other folk’s guns, I enjoy target shooting from time to time,

      Yet in today’s world, YOU just became a criminal in California, since many new laws proposed by the State restrict this. Now they want you to get a permit to buy ammo. You could not buy a box for your friends’ guns, because you would them be subject to scrutiny yet you have done nothing wrong?

  5. Tia Will

    Anon and hpierce

    I completely agree with both of you that this is much more complex than just the guns alone. We have very complex issues including freedom of speech rights vs media sensationalism, we have problems with mental health and societal integration, we have a very adversarial and violent society overall and are very quick to resort to physical force to enforce our will on others whether in the domestic or public setting.

    All of these are issues that overlap. While it is true that guns are not, as physical objects, the problem, they remain an implement of extremely high lethality. A heavily armed individual can do much more damage in much less time with a semi-automatic weapon than with a knife or a bat. As such highly effective instruments of killing, guns are deserving of safety regulation just as are automobiles.

    1. hpierce

      I can work with a premise that we can and should look at and pursue ‘gun safety’ issues, as to ownership, safety/responsibility training, and definitely sales of ammo (guns don’t kill, ammo does).  AS LONG AS the the violent tendencies that could express themselves using guns, knives, bombs, motor vehicles, etc. are addressed with equal/similar fervor.

      The Boston marathon mass attack did not involve guns, except during apprehension. Neither did Oklahoma City. Ted K(?)…

  6. Michael Suhany RHU REBC ChHC

    The question that I would ask as a supporter of our Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms is how legislation that infringes on the exercise of those rights by law-abiding citizens is the solution to the problem of those intent on possessing and using firearms in violation of the law?

    I do support regulation on the ownership and carrying of firearms.  Requirements such as a Firearm Owners Identification Card to purchase firearms and ammunition or a License to Carry on a “shall issue” basis are common sense and constitute no meaningful hindrance to Constitutional rights much like requiring a valid photo identification at the polling place is common sense and constitutes no meaningful hindrance to the right to vote.  There is nothing wrong with requiring a citizen to assertively demonstrate a right.

    I would note that firearm owners do have a significant restriction placed on their rights in that it requires a federal license that significantly surrenders other Constitutional rights in order to possess a fully automatic weapon.

    I agree with Mr. Greenwald that media sensationalism is one of the driving factors behind many of the mass shootings whether the goal of the shooter is ultimately suicide or terrorism.  Is the answer “common sense restrictions” on the First Amendment freedom of the press?  Of course not.

    So I go back to my original question.   How does legislation that infringes on the exercise of the rights by law-abiding citizens the solution to the problem of those intent on possessing and using firearms in violation of the law?

    1. hpierce

      uh, in California, no photo ID is required to vote.  When you sign the roster, you are certifying, under penalty of perjury, that you are the person legally registered to vote as the person you purport to be.

      Other than that, valid comments…

  7. Tia Will


    How does legislation that infringes on the exercise of the rights by law-abiding citizens the solution to the problem of those intent on possessing and using firearms in violation of the law?”

    I appreciate and largely agree with the points you have made. But I am perplexed that you keep returning to a question that I do not know, despite many years of working as a physician to educate and improve on gun safety, anyone who is advocating. I know no one whose purpose is to pass legislation that “infringes on the exercise of rights of law-abiding citizens”.  I do know of many people who are against even basic gun safety regulation who claim that this is the case, but no one who actually advocates for it.

    If you have specific instances of attempts to pass such legislation, please provide specifics.

    1. Miwok

      despite many years of working as a physician to educate and improve on gun safety,

      I thought you were working with Women’s Health? What part of that is gun safety? You sound like the Researcher at UCDHS that pretends to be a Gun expert, for years on TV and such.. Hobby? or research?

      When do you teach?

      1. Tia Will


        I thought you were working with Women’s Health? What part of that is gun safety? You sound like the Researcher at UCDHS that pretends to be a Gun expert, for years on TV and such.. Hobby? or research?

        When do you teach?”

        I seem to have deleted rather than posting my previous response.

        You are correct. I work in Women’s Health which is a primary care specialty. As such I consider the entirety of a woman’s health and wellness to be within my purview. This is not limited to strictly obstetric and gynecologic issues. In promoting heath and well being, I may address STD and pregnancy prevention with the young woman but I also address smoking prevention and cessation, weight management, avoidance of binge drinking,recreational drug use and any other issues she may want to discuss including domestic violence. Although I am not a neurologist nor orthopedist, for the older woman my counseling may include fall prevention as well as other aspects of home safety. With regard to any other issue, I ask if my individual is interested in discussing safety issues. You would probably be surprised at the issues women will discuss with their gynecologist but not with other doctors.

        As for expertise, I have never made any pretense or claim to expertise in gun safety. As a matter of record, I have stated repeatedly that I have no technical knowledge regarding guns.  I claim only that I feel that there is a great need for more research in this area.

        And as for your last question, although I doubt relevance, I am happy to respond. I teach within my area of special expertise , which is breast health and disease detection and management every Monday morning.

    2. Michael Suhany RHU REBC ChHC

      States that adopt a “may issue” approach to a license are infringing on the rights of their citizens.

      Limitations on magazine size and “assault weapons” bans are infringements and ineffective.

      Efforts to make firearm manufacturers subject to liability claims are attempts to shut down the industry.

      I disagree with those who object to any and all legislation and support so-called “Constitutional Carry.”

      I think the NRA takes its extreme position precisely because they rightly judge that there are those in the Democratic Party who oppose and are working against all gun rights.

      1. hpierce

        Michael, was with you up to this post… you saying folk have the right to 50 mm weapons, grenade launchers, etc.?  If so, I let you know I very strongly oppose that.

        Remember that when the Founding Fathers adopted the Second amendment, their world had weapons that were single shot, muzzle loaded, flintlocks.  Hard to imagine 2 people killing 12, wounding many more with the “arms” in existence when the Second Amendment was codified.  They would have been subdued and/or killed before they got the second or third shot off.  Trust me on this.

    3. hpierce

      uh, Tia, the NRA, believe it or not, advocates for gun safety training, and offers [my understanding] free or nearly free gun safety/hunter safety training.  They recommend trigger locks, particularly if there are children in the household.  They also recommend keeping ammo ‘un-chambered’ and unloaded, unless the owner feels a real threat.   The gun owners in my/extended family have taken the training, and taken their recommendations to heart.  The only gun in my household (I’m not the owner of the shotgun) has no rounds in the gun, and has a trigger lock.

      1. Tia Will


        uh, Tia, the NRA, believe it or not, advocates for gun safety training”

        I am well aware of this. And yet our gun injury statistics remain what they are. So this is not proving to be an effective strategy to move us beyond our current state. Just as it would be in medicine, this is an indication to me that we need to be doing something differently.

  8. Tia Will


    AS LONG AS the the violent tendencies….”

    I absolutely agree that the violent tendencies of our society should be addressed. I even wrote a single piece about the home as one root source of violent tendencies which could certainly serve as corroboration that it is violence and injury, not guns per se that I oppose.

  9. Tia Will


    Efforts to make firearm manufacturers subject to liability claims are attempts to shut down the industry.

    Do you feel the same about pharmaceutical companies, or automobile manufacturers. Should they not be held liable for adverse consequences of the designs of their products ?

    1. Michael Suhany RHU REBC ChHC

      The parallel you are suggesting would mean that pharmaceutical companies would be held liable for such things as people who abuse pain medication or automobile manufacturers for deaths caused by a drunk driver.

      A firearm that shoots a bullet is working as designed.

      1. Tia Will


        Many pharmaceutical products that work “exactly as designed” are pulled from the market and/or their manufacturers held liable not for the inefficacy of their product, but rather for its side effects. I consider an accidental shooting equivalent to a “side effect”. So how can these be reduced ?  We don’t know, largely because we are not allowed to use public funds to address this question. This is the ask that I am making.

  10. Tia Will

    “The facts that people are killing other people is the problem, tool of choice is irrelevant.”

    When one weapon requires close physical contact such as fists or a knife or a bat, while another weapon can cause near instantaneous death to multiple people in a matter of a few minutes as is the case with semi-automatic weapons ( no special expertise needed to know this), then tool of choice becomes highly relevant from my point of view.

  11. TrueBlueDevil

    I haven’t been aware of a rash of “domestic mass shootings”. We’re a very large nation, over 300 million, so that affects the comparative numbers.

    It would be interesting to see the numbers if we broke out those shootings by gang members (domestic terrorists?) and illegal immigrants. Those two groups likely have a substantial share of the shootings, more so than “domestic mass shootings”.

    1. hpierce


      Demonstrably false statement…. Newtown… Aurora… Colorado Springs… Charleston… the Oregon campus… Columbine… etc., etc., etc.

      You getting your “facts” from a Trump twitter feed?

      1. TrueBlueDevil

        Columbine was 1999. For a nation of 315-320 million (or more), I’m not sure that proportionally we stand out.

        What we have had is a recent upswing – at least in the first world – of terrorist mass attacks. Many or most of these appear to be waged by radical Muslims. Paris, California, the first Paris attack, not to mention the failed attacks which failed only because they were bad at making bombs.

        1. hpierce

          Yeah… Oregon, Charleston, Colorado Springs… forget Columbine, forget Aurora… yeah “radical Muslims” are the most to blame… seek medical help for your RCI.  Perhaps you can get a referral from a physician who is reading this.

          You dismiss my post, based on the US population, then bring France into your rebuttal/dismissal.

          Real smart.  I concede to your….

        2. Don Shor

          I’m not sure that proportionally we stand out.

          We do, but I won’t bother to prove it to you. You have a clear bias on this topic, like most conservatives at the moment. Other than a spike in Norway due to one major incident the US leads the world in mass killings at almost every level of statistical analysis. And it has been increasing.
          Just one resource on the topic. I could cite others.

          Your obsessive focus on jihadist terrorists is clear. It is also a false narrative.

        3. Frankly

          Wait for it.  Wait for it…   the posts to discredit the resource instead of actually acknowledging the point that is inconvenient to the narrative of the gun-banners.

        4. TrueBlueDevil

          Frankly, if we factored out inner city gang violence gangs and violence by illegal immigrants, our numbers are probably similar to the rest of the world. You’re not comparing apples to apples.

        5. Frankly

          I agree with you TBD.  There are many reasons that the US has a higher rate of gun violence than some other places (note how OECD conveniently leaves off countries in Central America, South America and Africa), but it is not the number of guns.  That is a lie by the left to push their ideology and trample the Constitution.

    2. Tia Will


      I haven’t been aware of a rash of “domestic mass shootings”

      I don’t think that “a rash” of occurrences is a necessary pre-requisite to feel that there is a need for investigation and prevention. I recall a number of posters on this site justifying the expenditure of millions of dollars when the “disease of the day” was Ebola, purely because of fear when there was no evidence of outbreak in this country. And yet we will not even fund research into a well documented scourge in this country. Somewhere between panic induced by headlines with no realistic probability of local occurrence and choosing to completely ignore a problem, their lies some kind of rational approach to known problems. We fund research for common diseases such as diabetes and for uncommon diseases such as cystic fibrosis. But we consistently refuse to fund research on gun safety. This is not, repeat, not because it does not affect many Americans, but rather because it does not fit the agenda of a particular interest group that does not want this issue addressed.

        1. David Greenwald Post author

          Why don’t the Koch brothers fund it if it’s so important to preserve gun rights?

          For one thing, if any of those folks funded it, no one would trust the results. In genera, you don’t want partisans to be funding scientific research, you want objective, double-blind research.

        2. Miwok

          TBD, these guys don’t fund research, they fund opinions.

          Frankly, you are right. The grants I saw and helped people apply for always asked what result the research would show before they funded it… If not what they were tryiong to prove that day, no grant.

          I talked with many Professors and Grad Students who would like to do pure research, but would not have funds and could not publish results contrary to the funder. Even if it was the Givernment.

        3. Barack Palin

          Research isn’t what it used to be.  It was something that could be trusted and relied upon.  Today it’s so politically biased that most of the time it just depends on who performed it or who funded it.

  12. Biddlin

    How odd that I rarely walk around my well armed suburban neighborhood in Sacramento after dark, for fear of being shot, by intention or serendipity, but walk the streets of London at all hours with no fear, at all.

        1. Barack Palin

          Tia Will, actually my wife and I discussed this on a long drive we made yesterday.  We both agree there’s no need for the average citizen to own rapid fire guns.  So there’s one aspect I think we can both agree on.

        2. Frankly

          Tia Will, actually my wife and I discussed this on a long drive we made yesterday.  We both agree there’s no need for the average citizen to own rapid fire guns.  So there’s one aspect I think we can both agree on.

          So, you want to ban rapid-fire guns?   How do you define that?  And how do you control that if you ban it?

          You do know that there are already bans on larger magazines and guns without a magazine clip that requires a tool to eject?   Those bans were ignored by the killers.  Which really gets to the point that killers don’t pay attention to bans.  So let’s stop talking about bans of anything currently legal.   It does not help other than make some people feel good that they are winning an ideological battle.

        3. TrueBlueDevil

          Frankly, I believe California and Chicago already have some of the strictest gun laws.

          But what Obama doesn’t talk about is a full-throated explanation radical Islam.

          What he doesn’t explain is how two active Islamic extremists were allowed into our country.

          Obama clearly sees any calamity as political advantage (Saul Alinsky tactic), but ignores or downplays real issues.

    1. Tia Will


      And thanks to you also. While BP’s post made me smile, yours made me laugh out loud.

      I would like for any of our legislators who state that clinic restrictions do not pose an undue hardship on women to state why these regulations ( perhaps minus the US) would pose a hardship on gun purchasers whether male or female.

      1. sisterhood

        Glad you enjoyed it. Another thought, why does our country get so upset at Paris and San Bernardino, etc. and even suggest going to war, when many more people have died in domestic gun violence?

        1. Miwok

          Imagine a world where Psychologists and Mental Health Professionals did not charge a hundred bucks an hour for their services, while pretending to “help their fellow man”, with varying degrees of competence and success?

          Is it supply and demand. not enough of them out there?

  13. CountyRoad

    There does seem to the be copycat effect when a mass shooting is publicized.  Downplaying the crime by media couldn’t hurt…or at least focus on the victims and not the shooters.  Zero chance of happening, but if we went Roman and left the naked corpse of any mass shooter up for display for a few week…it probably would discourage that type of crazy.

    The problem about gun control, is that the cat is already out of the bag.  There are over 300 million firearms floating around.  Gun buy back programs have shown to be successful, especially in impoverished areas, which coincidentally have a higher incidence of gun violence.

    1. Barack Palin

      Smith and Wesson’s stock just hit a new high because of a feared gun control sales spike.  Smith and Wesson love Obama and gun banning liberals.

      1. Tia Will


        Smith and Wesson’s stock just hit a new high because of a feared….”

        I think that you could have ended your sentence right there and had the same impact. Every time we see a surge of gun purchases, it is about fear. Fear that we are next. When it was the inexplicable in the form of mental illness as in Adam Lanza, and now the incomprehensible hatred that is being sold by Donald Trump as the fear that is supposed to stampede us into blocking the entry of all Muslims into the country….we are being asked by those on the right to reconfigure our national values on one emotion only…..fear. Do we really want our entire national value system to be scrapped because of fear ?

  14. Tia Will


     We both agree there’s no need for the average citizen to own rapid fire guns.  So there’s one aspect I think we can both agree on.”

    Thanks for sharing. That makes this a two smile day to your credit.

  15. Tia Will


    It does not help other than make some people feel good that they are winning an ideological battle.”

    While I agree that it is best if we can be specific about which type of weapons we support, and which we do not, I think that there is more than “feeling good” at stake here. Many times when I talk with people, they make the assumption that if I am tabling for Brady, I must want to ban all guns. In fact, I see this as neither feasible nor desirable. My views are ( brace yourself ) actually much more nuanced. However, some people simply cannot see past an all or nothing approach with regard to guns. For those who are promoting gun safety but are not interested in an ideologic battle, it may well help to make one’s opinion known even if one does not have the expertise to be able to state exactly which they do or do not support. One example, I am sure that we could all get behind the idea that the second amendment does not guarantee the right to own a portable rocket launcher ( which in my inexpert opinion is not fundamentally different from any other portable high powered projectile launcher ). But can we all articulate why not, or which rocket launchers might be an exception because of some detail or other of their construction ? I certainly cannot, and I doubt any one else who has not operated one in the military can either. That doesn’t mean that our opinion is invalid.

    1. Frankly

      Aye yes… the collective vs. individual rights argument.  You either side with the first part or the second part of that poorly written sentence of the Second Amendment.

      “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      Most truly non-partisan Constitutional scholars agree that it isn’t either-or, it is both.

      The rights of states to have a well-regulated militia to secure their rights as a free state, and the rights on individuals to keep and bear arms.   And neither of these rights shall be infringed.

      The American Constitution and American laws in general derive from English Common-Law.

      The Second Amendment was based partially on the right to keep and bear arms in English common-law and was influenced by the English Bill of Rights of 1689. Sir William Blackstone described this right as an auxiliary right, supporting the natural rights of self-defense, resistance to oppression, and the civic duty to act in concert in defense of the state.

      Here again this dual purpose is stated… but this time with the individual right being placed in front.

      SCOTUS has upheld the individual right more recently in 2008 and 2010.

      In my opinion there are four justified uses of individual firearms:

      1. Personal defense

      2. Hunting

      3. Recreational target shooting (including competitive sports shooting)

      4. Collecting

      Here is where I come down for opposing bans.  The existence of this dual right… collective-militia and individual… supports an understanding of the framers thinking in both terms.  A rifle or pistol was the individual firearm.  Cannons belonged to the militia and required a militia to operate.

      An AR is simply a rifle.  It is useful for all four of the uses above and the average individual can learn to operate one accurately and safely.

      Rocket launchers, machine guns, cannons, bazookas, RPGs, etc… these are all weapons built for and intended for use of a militia.  Average people cannot be easily trained how to use these.   They are not useful for hunting and are not even practical for personal self defense.

      I don’t support the reason that some give that they need arms to protect themselves from our government… not yet anyway… although Obama has certainly added a lot of fuel to that smoldering pile.

      I do support the right for individuals to arm themselves in protection from crime, riots, home invasions, terrorist attacks, mentally unstable people, etc.  I am 100% absolutely against bans of guns that are reasonable and useful tools in this role.

      I would support stronger licensing and background checks.  I would support gun safety training.  And laws to penalize people that don’t lock away their guns to prevent children from accessing them.  But bans of reasonable tools will just ensure that fewer law-abiding people have them, and more advantages go to the bad guys that don’t give a crap about the bans.

      Banning is stupid.

      And frankly, if you want to understand why the NRA does not agree to even discuss reasonable gun ownership regulatory enhancements, it is because the members rightly do not trust the left to stop there.   It is clear that the left wants nothing less than to ban as many guns as possible and eventually to make the US like Europe with no private gun ownership allowed.

      Instead we should do like Switzerland.

  16. Tia Will


    And frankly, if you want to understand why the NRA does not agree to even discuss reasonable gun ownership regulatory enhancements, it is because the members rightly do not trust the left to stop there.   It is clear that the left wants nothing less than to ban as many guns as possible and eventually to make the US like Europe with no private gun ownership allowed.”

    I agree with most of what you said until this point. I do not for one moment believe that the main issue, although it may be an ancillary issue for the NRA is that they “do not trust the left to stop there”. If this were true, why would they consistently urge blockage of gun safety research. Why would they not do exactly what you did above, namely lay out their legitimate concerns and then concede on those points that have merit. I think that this is nothing but a pretext, and I believe that it is basically about the money for weapons manufacturers. Just as I agree that many on the left would like to see a ban on guns, there have been a number of postings about how great the mass shootings are for business since gun sales rise after each as fears are played upon. Just as the NRA may not trust the left, I most assuredly do not believe that harm reduction is on the NRA’s list of priorities, otherwise, they would be willing to accept meaningful compromise just as the left should be willing to accept the same.

    1. Frankly

      From the NRA…

      NRA opposes expanding background check systems at the federal or state level. Studies by the federal government show that people sent to state prison because of gun crimes typically get guns through theft, on the black market, or from family members or friends, and nearly half of illegally trafficked firearms originate with straw purchasers—people who can pass background checks, who buy guns for criminals on the sly. No amount of background checks can stop these criminals.

      NRA also opposes gun registration. Expanding background check systems and allowing records to be kept on people who pass background checks to acquire guns would be steps toward transforming NICS into the national gun registry that gun control supporters have wanted for more than a hundred years.

      As a liberal progressive, the standard anti-gun political animal, progress can never be acknowledged because criticisms is the progressives’ stock and trade.  When you combine this with a federal government under Obama that has, for example, used the IRS to go after private citizens for political reasons… you have all the justification you need to oppose what appear to be reasonable gun control changes.

      Leftists are the primary reason why we cannot have reasonable compromise.  Just look at how far the left has gone on political correctness and speech codes.  Our own AG going on television to basically threaten anyone with saying anything about a Muslim even as we have clear evidence that neighbors of the two San Bernardino terrorists suspected activity but did not say anything out of fear of prosecution for racial profiling.

      The left has destroyed common sense and the feeling that it is safe to compromise.  We are involved in a culture war as well as a war against Islamic extremism.

      1. hpierce

        And, Trump and/or Cruz are champions of the “right” side of the ‘culture war’ you say we are involved in.

        However in a battle of values… they are…

      2. TrueBlueDevil

        Great points Frankly.

        The Left keeps trying to paint guns as the problem, but we have record gun ownership and crime decreasing.

        Every time Obama threatens gun owners, sales rise, after every terrorist attack, gun sales rise.

        Average yearly gun sales were 10 million a year under Bush, last year Americans bought 21 or 24 million guns.

        1. Davis Progressive

          Gun ownership in the U.S. has been declining over the last forty years. A survey found that gun ownership reached a record low in 2010, with 31 percent of adults owning a weapon, down from the peak of nearly half in 1977 to 1980.
          Survey data released last year by the Pew Research Center broke down the demographics of gun ownership. Gun ownership, not surprisingly, is predominantly among older adults, rural residents, and whites, especially white Southerners. Whites in the South are more likely to own guns than those in other regions.

          according to this information, published by the vanguard, gun ownership reached a record low.

  17. TrueBlueDevil

    Obama clearly wants to downplay the growing threat of radical Islam, and our incompetence or purposeful arrogance in allowing radical extremists into the country. (The two recent killers.)

    My goodness, it just came out that we have 72 people who are on the “No Fly List” (threats) who work for Homeland Security!

    We recently had an undercover test where fake passengers, smuggled weapons on to planes, past Homeland Security. The success rate was 90% or 95%!!!

    Obama’s speech Sunday night was a rehash of his past limp positions on terrorism, and he has gotten criticism from both sides of the isle. He is feckless. That analysis came from the Democrats.

    1. hpierce

      That would be the ‘isle’ of Hawaii, right?  Where they forged his birth certificate?  To hide the fact that he is the ‘muslim candidate’? [variant of ‘Manchurian Candidate’ for you younger folk]

      Do you even know how anyone can get onto the ‘do not fly list’?  I’m betting, NOT.

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