The Misguided Conversation about Guns

I like to think of myself as intelligent.  I like to think of you as intelligent as well because I can’t imagine you are reading this unless you have an above-average ability to think and do.  One of the greatest characteristics or qualifiers of intelligence is the ability to know when you don’t know something, to know when you need help or more information.  It is easy for us to attempt to answer a question based on what is presently in our mental databases.  What is not easy is to pause and consider the likelihood that our database just does not contain everything we need to reach a satisfactory answer or conclusion.

That’s why we ask questions.

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There is a discussion going on that may, for some, literally be the difference between life and death.  Like most discussions, this one started with questions that then produced answers.  Although that seemed like a logical progression, it did not continue, and this is why gun discussions are failing.  Questions are being asked, but they are not being answered, at least not correctly.  Questions are being misdirected and avoided completely.  Instead of addressing an issue, the answers are only causing frustration and mistrust.  People at each end of the table are yelling at the other end, but neither side is listening to the other.  They have their lists of talking points, shout their questions, wait for the others to stop talking, and then shout another question or an unrelated answer.  Through this, it could be learned that sometimes the best answer to a question is “I don’t know.”

 One thing is clear – nobody in the White House or Washington anywhere is talking about a complete gun ban.  That would be a bad idea.  However, the present state of guns is also bad.  What should be done is unclear.  Certain questions, when answered honestly and specifically, will lead us to an answer to the biggest question, “What – if anything – should we do about guns?”

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There are three groups of people attempting to be heard here.

Group A wants to completely eliminate guns.

Group B wants to regulate or control which type of guns can be owned and who can or can’t own them.

Group C wants pretty much anyone to be able to own pretty much any gun they want.

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Group A is nuts.  Guns will never be completely eliminated.  If you know anyone in Group A, give them a cookie, pat them on the head, and encourage them to play with Lego blocks.

Group B seems to be willing to talk, is worried about death, and deserves to be heard.

Group C has several things on its side including history, numbers, politics, and money.  On that alone they deserve to be heard, especially because they might be packing heat.

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Whenever anything is going to be changed, especially something that has been a basic American right, there had better be strong and hopefully indisputable reasons for change.  Likewise, no change should be carved in stone without the possibility of retraction.  Giving women the right to vote happened with good intentions, and it worked out well.  Prohibition happened with good intentions, but the results showed there is not always a connection between reality and theory.  We know where reality comes from, but what about theory?  Theory comes from asking questions.

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The only way to know if a theory will hold up is either to put it in effect and observe the results or ask as many questions as possible until you have exhausted all known angles.  Look at a situation, ask questions, weigh the  likely answers produced by theorizing, and continue until you have covered all bases to the best of your knowledge.  This gun debate has so far resulted in the same questions, good questions, asked again and again.  If these good questions are the “right” questions, and if they are answered correctly, then they should not have to be asked again.  Once you have run out of questions, you will likely have all the information necessary to make a decision.  In this gun situation, questions are being asked, but then they’re being asked again, and again.  Why?  Either it is because they are the wrong questions or because those questions are not being answered correctly.  Someone is not doing their job.

Here are some questions for which we have not heard good answers.  There might very well be good answers out there.  If you have any of those answers, share them here because it might cause someone in Group B to join Group C.  Or, vice versa.

As for Group A, just get them some more cookies.

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Question 1:  from Group B  “Why are you against background checks?”

Answer 1:  from Group C  “Background checks have not been proven to stop anyone.  Plenty of murderers passed a background check.  Also, plenty of people who were turned away have found other ways to get guns and kill people.”

Examination:  Well, that cannot be proven either true or false.  If a background check prohibits someone from getting a gun, there is no way to know if that person would have killed anyone.  Conversely, anyone who passed a background check and later killed someone was probably not thinking about killing anyone at the time they were given a weapon.  When people buy cars, they do not plan to drive drunk and kill anyone.  That is unpredictable.  However, here’s where the background checks can help.  There is – or was – something called a “waiting period.”  Its purpose was to stop an angry person from getting a gun and killing someone while in the heat of an angry moment.  Opponents would ask Why must I wait?  I’m not going to do anything wrong?  Advocates would answer with, Do you really need a gun immediately?  If you know you are going to need a gun on a certain day, then apply a week ahead of time.  What is the big deal?  Calm down.  Relax.  A waiting period allowed that angry person to have some time to relax, cool off, and then realize that a gun would not be the answer to anything.  Except maybe a Jeopardy question.

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Question 2:  from Group B  “Why are you against closing the “gun show loophole” or what is called a “universal background check”?

Answer 2:  from Group C  “Criminals do not buy guns at gun shows.”

Examination:  Well, again, yeah, but that does not answer the question.  It is a true statement that distracts from the answer.  There are professionally licensed gun dealers who sell guns at gun shows but must complete a background check.  However, at that same gun show, there are private citizens who legally sell guns to other private citizens without requiring a background check.  That is the loophole.  Group C is correct when they said “Criminals don’t buy guns at gun shows.  They get them on the street.”  However, Group B is not following up and explaining how those guns get on the streets.  People go to gun shows, buy guns without background checks, and then make a lot of money selling them to criminals on the streets.  Lots of money to be made there.

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Question 3:  from Group B  “Why are you against limiting magazine capacity to 10 rounds instead of 30?”

Answer 3:  from Group C  “It infringes on my 2nd Amendment rights.”

Examination:  No it doesn’t.  Limiting the number of bullets you can fire before taking a break is not a 2nd Amendment violation.  Eliminating bullets – that would be a violation.  Not limiting.

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Question 4:  from Group B  “Why are you against banning semi-automatic and/or assault-style weapons?”

Answer 4:  from Group C  “Semi-automatic weapons are not machine guns in gangster movies.  A semi-automatic weapon still shoots only one bullet for each pull of the trigger.  It is no different than even a simple hand gun.”

Examination:  True, I know, but there is still a difference.  For example, an AR-15 is designed so that you can easily fire four, five, even six rounds per second, depending on how quickly you can pull the trigger repeatedly.  That could be six or more deaths per second.  Of course, the magazine capacity will dictate how many rounds are fired in how many seconds until the clip has to be removed and replaced with a full one.  Single-action or double-action guns will not fire as many bullets in as little time.  That would limit how many people might die per second when compared to the semi-automatic weapons.  It should be noted that a six-shot revolver also shoots one bullet per trigger pull.  However, the effort it takes to pull a revolver’s trigger is greater than that of the AR-15.

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Question 5:  from Group B  “Why are you against gun registration?”

Answer 5:  from Group C  “REGistration is the first step to CONfiscation.  Once the government has a list of all the guns and gun owners, it is only a matter of time before they show up for a gun grab.”

Examination:  Where to begin?  The first follow-up question to this answer would be, “What reason do you have to think that the government is coming for your guns?  It is completely impossible.  Do you realize that you sound a little paranoid?”  The second question would be, “Cars are registered and documented on a yearly basis.  One of the benefits is so that if there is a car accident and a driver flees the scene, perhaps someone will get the license plate number.  If so, the driver can be located and held accountable.  If we make an effort to hold automobile owners liable for mishaps, why shouldn’t we also hold gun owners liable for mishaps?  Are not guns more deadly than cars?  Are not guns at least an equal or possibly more significant item to track than cars?”

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Question 6:  from Group B  “Why are you against any kind of weapons ban or limit?”

Answer 6:  from Group C  “Because law-abiding people should not be punished for what a few crazy people decide to do.”

Examination:  The flaw in this logic is big.  The problem is that EVERYBODY starts out as a law-abiding citizen, until they decide differently.  By then, it is too late and completely impossible to predict or determine what any given individual might do.  That seems stringent, as if we are taking toys away from the good children.  However, there are plenty of other toys for those good kids.

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6a00e5502775dc88340120a8bee960970b-800wiBob Grant was a nationally syndicated radio host I often listened to back in the 70’s and 80’s.  I once asked him what he thought was the key to being a good talk show host.  He said, “Nobody listens.  They ask questions, wait for the person to stop talking, and then they ask the next question on their list.  The best hosts ask a question and then listen to the answer.  It’s possible that you will only ask one question from your list of 10 or 20 because that first question – if you listen to the answer – might bring your interview into an entirely different direction than you planned.  You must listen.”

That’s what is going wrong with this attempt at a gun discussion.  Everybody is talking, but nobody is listening.

95 thoughts on “The Misguided Conversation about Guns

  1. I agree 100%. there should be a lot more listening and actually answering very reasonable questions on guns. Without temper tantrums, without drama. Cold hard facts. Some of these guys need some plain old manners taught to them. Listen then speak. Stay on issue.

  2. Are you running for president? I’d vote for you. Geez, can’t we just TALK about gun control, okay? All of my thoughts you stated so well. Except I really do want the cookies and Legos world!

  3. This is such a difficult topic for so many. I know we need to talk, but who? We the people? Only a few have a voice. I think people should be allowed to own weapons but at the same time I see that it’s certain is not the gun that kills but the person pulling the trigger. I don’t know the answer. We don’t know the answer. I hope we find it though, without compromising the liberties of our constitution.

    • me too. i don’t know the answer, but what i do know is that those who are asked are not giving the right answers. i don’t want to ban all guns, but i would like to limit some of the really deadly ones. well, they’re all deadly, but some rip people to shreds.

  4. Question 1 on background checks: Need more info from careful studies (unbiased) that compare various data form different states and approaches. Data on accidental gun deaths has been lacking due to NRA pressure on Congress. Complete solutions are always hard to find if not impossible, but improving things and reducing deaths is a reasonable goal.

  5. Dear Rich,

    I read your post. That’s step one. I’m thinking about it. Step two.

    You write about ‘databases’

    “It is easy for us to attempt to answer a question based on what is presently in our mental databases. What is not easy is to pause and consider the likelihood that our database just does not contain everything we need to reach a satisfactory answer or conclusion.”

    I know of very few people who pause to consider the likelihood that their personal database does not contain everything they need to reach a satisfactory answer or conclusion. Witness religion. Do adherents of religion stop for an instant to question whether their database regarding the existence of god or gods is perhaps flawed or lacking in some way? Critical thinking of this sort is not a predominant characteristic of human nature. Humans by and large base their decisions on what they ‘know’ NOW. As conditions change or are proven to be true they will adjust. Humans are also very susceptible to mob psychology and will make fast, stupid decisions based on completely non-ratonal thoughts.

    I take this part of human nature into account when I think about the answers to the questions you’ve posed.

    I also listen closely to any attempts to add information to my database, such as your subtle use of language to ‘group’ people into boxes of your choosing and description.

    “Group C wants pretty much anyone to be able to own pretty much any gun they want.” [very pretty]

    “Group C has several things on its side including history, numbers, politics, and money. On that alone they deserve to be heard, especially because they might be packing heat.”

    Of all the sentences in your post, the one about deserving to be heard because they might be packing heat ought to be edited because it shows the direction your database has you leaning.

    You write in one of your Examinations about the government.

    “Examination: Where to begin? The first follow-up question to this answer would be, “What reason do you have to think that the government is coming for your guns? It is completely impossible. Do you realize that you sound a little paranoid?”

    The ‘government’ is made up of people. People are venal, corrupt, dishonest, self aggrandizing, power hungry, and prone to all the foibles of humans of the past, something that the ‘database’ of history clearly documents. Yes, people are also good hearted, honest, caring, concerned individuals who mean well but they can be swayed by emotions and the majority of them believe in supernatural beings. If you want to blindly trust your future to them, that is your choice, but don’t label me paranoid because I choose to believe otherwise. I’m not running around calling you ignorant and superstitious. Don’t include such asides in your arguments. If you examine history you will find the bulk of the evidence support my view of government and not yours.

    Our founding fathers were well aware of the powers of unbridled and unchecked government and they wisely wrote the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment to address that issue.

    The bigger the government, the more intrusive. It will use the color of law and language and media to sway the populace in whichever direction it desires at the moment. More government in our lives is not the answer. You may not agree with this and that’s your right, but while you are disagreeing, stay out of my business. In trying to arrive at a solution to a problem that does warrant examination (and is a sad comment on the level of education and the mental health of our society) you must avoid at all costs encouraging ‘government’ to trample on the rights of those who have done no wrong.

    If the arguments and ‘reasoning’ of gun control proponents veer into syllogistic fallacy then the entire process suffers:

    God is love
    Love is blind
    Ray Charles is God

    Stay focused. Continue to ask questions, but be careful what you wish for. http://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/ask-anyway/ If you want to solve the gun violence problem the right to bear arms must not be abrogated.

    I applaud your commitment to addressing the issue of gun violence. Thanks for asking ‘what say you?’

    Aloha,

    Doug

    • Doug,

      i’m attempting to copy your statements, italicize them, and reply to them individually. not sure if it will actually appear that way.

      “I know of very few people who pause to consider the likelihood that their personal database does not contain everything they need to reach a satisfactory answer or conclusion. Witness religion. Do adherents of religion stop for an instant to question whether their database regarding the existence of god or gods is perhaps flawed or lacking in some way? Critical thinking of this sort is not a predominant characteristic of human nature. Humans by and large base their decisions on what they ‘know’ NOW.”

      That was my (long winded) attempt to admit that I don’t know enough about the various aspects of this gun issue. It is also an attempt to get answers – better answers than I’ve seen so far – to what I think are important questions.
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      I also listen closely to any attempts to add information to my database, such as your subtle use of language to ‘group’ people into boxes of your choosing and description.
      “Group C wants pretty much anyone to be able to own pretty much any gun they want.” [very pretty]
      “Group C has several things on its side including history, numbers, politics, and money. On that alone they deserve to be heard, especially because they might be packing heat.”

      This was my attempt to inject a little humor as an attempt to lighten a very heavy situation.
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      Of all the sentences in your post, the one about deserving to be heard because they might be packing heat ought to be edited because it shows the direction your database has you leaning.

      “leaning” yes. “committed” no. not yet. But willing to learn.
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      If you want to blindly trust your future to them, that is your choice, but don’t label me paranoid because I choose to believe otherwise. I’m not running around calling you ignorant and superstitious.

      I’m sure you don’t think that I was calling you – personally – paranoid. If you did think so, then I apologize for not having written carefully enough.
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      Don’t include such asides in your arguments. If you examine history you will find the bulk of the evidence support my view of government and not yours. Our founding fathers were well aware of the powers of unbridled and unchecked government and they wisely wrote the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment to address that issue.

      The founding fathers did write the 2nd amendment for exactly that reason, agreed. However, I can’t agree that the bulk of history – in America – shows a government running unbridled, unchecked, and resorting to such actions that have needed the 2nd amendment to keep that unchecked government in check. But just because I don’t agree does not mean that I claim to have solid, inarguable awareness of our history. You may very well be more aware of those situations than I am.
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      The bigger the government, the more intrusive. It will use the color of law and language and media to sway the populace in whichever direction it desires at the moment. More government in our lives is not the answer.

      I know the question i’m posing here is a different topic, but it is connected to your statement. Forgive me if this sounds like an assumption. It is more of a percentage-based guess. Most of your statements fall in line with the beliefs of most conservative republicans. I think we can agree on that, and I don’t say that in a derogatory way. Just as a matter of what seems like a parallel in the things you’ve stated. So I’m going with that assumption while also knowing I might be completely wrong and this whole paragraph was a waste of time. Again, assuming your stance falls in that direction, then it is (percentage based) likely that you also lean in what is called a “pro life” direction. I don’t like that title, I don’t think it’s a fair title, but it is a recognizable title regardless. Following my (possibly 100% wrong) assumption that you likely lean pro-life, then can you say that the philosophy of a government controlling a woman’s body and what she can or can’t do with it is not also an intrusive government?
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      You may not agree with this and that’s your right, but while you are disagreeing, stay out of my business. In trying to arrive at a solution to a problem that does warrant examination (and is a sad comment on the level of education and the mental health of our society) you must avoid at all costs encouraging ‘government’ to trample on the rights of those who have done no wrong.

      I don’t see where I have encouraged government to trample on rights. What I do see is where I have asked those who are in Group C (as loosely defined by me) to come up with better answers than those I have heard thus far. I feel that too many of those answers are designed to avoid answering the question. I feel it is too easy to sit in front of Congress and say “it’s the fault of the mental health system.” but then those same people wanted no part of obamacare, which perhaps can assist with the mental health system.

      I won’t say that those answers come from the predominance of NRA members. But I can say that those are coming from the NRA spokespeople and pundits who are dominating the televised discussions. It is very likely that the overall constituency would prefer that NRA officials find a better way to express themselves. That’s what the polls say – but we all know that polls can’t talk to everyone. Only a small selection.
      _________________________
      God is love
      Love is blind
      Ray Charles is God

      Not a word to be argued with there.
      _______________________
      Stay focused. Continue to ask questions, but be careful what you wish for.http://ironwoodwind.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/ask-anyway/ If you want to solve the gun violence problem the right to bear arms must not be abrogated.

      I am asking questions because I know that’s where things start. However, I don’t see anywhere at which I suggested abrogating the right to bear arms. What I did suggest is to either consider taking a few of those bigger arms off the shelves or for those in charge to come up with a concise explanation why those really big arms should be in the hands of the public. Not all arms. Just the most dangerous ones. I need a better answer than “because it will be 1776 all over again!” Not saying that was your statement. It was the guy who was yelling at Piers Morgan. I agree Piers needs to be yelled at, but not necessarily about that issue.
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      I applaud your commitment to addressing the issue of gun violence. Thanks for asking ‘what say you?’

      I equally applaud your commitment to your side of the fence. Thanks again for answering with such preciseness.

      • Dear Rich,

        Not once in your post did I get the feeling that you were advocating trampling my rights or those of anyone else. I just wanted to comment on your post in a way that promoted dialog while pointing out some of the very real dangers of too much government in the process.

        As for the history of our governemnt re running roughshod over the rights of some to ‘protect’ others you need only to look to the internment of Japanese Americans at the outset of WWII to find one glaring example. That many Americans ‘felt’ safer could not be argued but thousands of lives were irrevocably impacted and it remains a dark time in our history.

        Your earlier post, I Know the Next Shooter has within it the seeds of the solution. voluntary non-reporting of shooting events. Eliminate the notariety and these shootings will diminish. As it stands now we’re looking at guaranteed immortality for perpetrators. Find a way to eliminate that and we’ll be closer to a solution. Guns are never going to be eliminated and no matter how hard they are made to procure, the nut cases will always find a way.

        For the record, I thought the ‘might be packing’ comment was funny as hell, but don’t tell anyone.

        Aloha,

        doug

      • oh, i forgot about the japanese camps. i was thinking about joseph mccarthy, but i don’t know if that qualifies.

        i’m a little worried about putting armed guards in schools. at first, i thought it was a great idea. but now, not so sure. most of these shooters want to die. i’m sure you’ve heard the term “suicide by cop.” i think that’s what they want. but most of them have also had difficult times in schools. they remember that, and part of what they’re doing is lashing out against that. putting an armed guard in a school might just attract more shooters. they’ll think it’s a fun kind of “war game” running around the school exchanging fire until they are brought down.

        there was another question about the mentally ill angle i wanted to include in this post, but i forgot about it. dangit. to write another post will be overkill. i’ll save that for another day.

        and i won’t tell anyone. don’t worry. nobody reads this anyway.

  6. Hi Rich,
    Glad to see you weigh in on this raging topic. You present some reasoned and well-thought-out issues.
    I’m a gun owner. I bought my .22 revolver at a garage sale in Kansas about 20 years ago. Until a couple of years ago, I owned a 12 gauge pump I inherited from my Dad. I ended up trading it for a car. Note that both my gun transactions took place outside of any regulated gun sales operation.
    Still, I’m a strong member of group B. I agree with you about Group A. When you have 300 million guns in the country, I’m not sure there’s anything that can be done to make us safer. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. If we can save a few lives without violatiing rights, why not?
    I’ve written two blogs on the subject and I got some blowback from Group C, who seem to be totally unwilling to even recognize that we have a problem, much less be willing to do anything about it.
    My idiot Senator, Mark Pryor, a Democrat, said yesterday he will not support a ban on assault weapons. Big surprise. Group C helps keep him in office.
    I hate this idea that we have to keep things the way the founding fathers set them up. The Constitution should be a living document that gets changed to suit the times. The founding fathers never had to think about some asshole going into a school and shooting a bunch of kids. The founding fathers put the Second Amendment in mainly to allow the formation of militia groups. The Second Amendment doesn’t mention protection for guns to hunt, for personal protection, or for collecting. The courts put those rights under the Second Amendment. Those same courts could now reasonably limit those rights.
    But I doubt that will happen. Though the NRA has less than a million members, it exerts enormous influence. It’s a political lobby funded by gun owners and gun manufacturers.
    I don’t have much hope things will get better. Group C is convinced they know everything about guns and gun rights. Interestingly, studies have shows that people who know the least think they know the most, while people that know the most are aware of just how little they know compared to the big picture.
    I’ll never forget one time I was at the library with a redneck friend. I pulled my novel off the shelf and showed it to him. He had no idea I was a published novelist. He looked at the book like it was a poisionous snake and then he bragged, “I’ve never read a book in my life, but I know what’s going on.”
    And that’s what I think is going on with gun advocates. They don’t care about information, even shocking information like mass shootings, because they know what’s really going on.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. We’re a country in gridlock, but we need to keep the dialog going.

    Ron

    • thanks very much. we certainly do need to keep the dialogue going. the problem is that sometimes, some people end up talking to themselves.

      i know there are very well-educated gun owners just as there are great idiots who are pacifists. i know which questions need to be asked and then answered before i can either agree or disagree with either side of the table. i know that one side – the group b side – keeps asking questions. and i know that there have to be better people on the group c side who can provide better answers. it would be very easy for me to say that there is no possible answer that would make me say, “oh, okay, you’re right. we DO need AR-15’s in our homes.” i can’t imagine there is an answer that would cause me to say that. however, i want to remain open for the benefit of the doubt.

      i know there is more to learn. in fact, a staunch group c person left a comment for me when i posted this on the CNN website. he said something like, “we know the founding fathers had muskets in mind, not AR-15’s, when the wrote the 2nd amendment. but muskets were the best weapon we had at the time. they didn’t envision what could be better. but if they WERE able to envision that, they likely would have made it a point to include that. so then it’s possible we can assume that they just meant the right to bear the best possible arms at any given moment.” and that makes sense, and that was a point i had never thought of. it doesn’t win me over, but it does make me think. that’s what we need. more careful answers and more thinking.

      thanks for thinking. and tell me how to find a copy of your novel!

  7. I enjoyed this very much. But then I enjoy anything that is intelligent, well written and well thought out. Not much to add to the mix, I did recall (from a sci-fi book about politics wayyyyy in the future) one person explaining to another person what democracy had been all about. “It’s where a lot of people are allowed to freely and openly talk about a lot of things they are worried about and then they vote for other people who do the same thing and then there is a group of people chosen to run the country by those with the money/power/Influence. That way everyone felt like they were an active part of the governing process!” For some reason that came to mind. Seriously you’re right on with all the points you make re: each of the Groups. And your main point of course!

  8. Very good post. Being in Australia I’m not across the ins and outs of US gun laws but I agree with you about Group A. Whenever I hear the suggestion of banning something, I cringe. I think bans are the only things that should be banned. Slightly oxymoronic, I know.
    You are probably aware of the Port Arthur Massacre in Tasmania, Australia in 1996 which lead to major gun law reform in Australia. This was largely possible because Australia does not have the same constitutional “right to bear arms” as the USA does. Plus Australia doesn’t have the powerful gun lobby that the US has.
    I don’t know the answer but I someone did point out that instead of focussing on access to firearms perhaps they should focus on access to mental health assistance.

    • there is no question that mental health is an issue, so that leads me to the paragraph i forgot to write.

      in life, there are things we can’t control and things we can. we cannot control the mentally ill – but we CAN control what kind of weapons they can get hold of.

    • thanks very much. and i just want to say thanks for taking the time to read it. i know there’s lotsa stuff out there to read, and you can’t read everything. so i appreciate that you felt the need to give your time over this way.

  9. You created a great dialogue here, Rich. I enjoyed reading your view, and those of Doug and others who commented. This is an issue, like abortion, that people will scream at each other about until doomsday with neither side listening. Why? It’s an EMOTIONAL issue. Instead of focusing on issues that divide us, I wish just once, we (as a nation) could direct our energy on resolving issues that threaten the long-term health of our country. Unfortunately, our politicians cannot agree upon the color of grass.

  10. Thanks for the thought provoking essay, Rich. I’m not sure I agree with the rationale for #6 though and I lean toward the Group C answer on that one. We can’t legislate stupidity. We test and license drivers but one day, however many years down the road, someone’s in a hurry and decides they can run a red light safely and the result is tragic. Why doesn’t the same apply toward guns since we can’t predict what might happen to someone years after they’ve made their purchase(s)? I think the main reason that Group C is against any kind of ban or limit is because of their interpretation of the 2nd Amendment and because of a fear of a possibility of a ban in the future.

    • thanks for reading and so carefully replying.

      when you talk about a “fear of a possiblility of a ban in the future,” do you mean a total weapons ban?

      also, i’m not sure what point you’re trying to make when you said this: “We test and license drivers but one day, however many years down the road, someone’s in a hurry and decides they can run a red light safely and the result is tragic. Why doesn’t the same apply toward guns since we can’t predict what might happen to someone years after they’ve made their purchase(s)?”

      there are two possible points to be made here, and i’m not sure which you mean. i assume that either you mean we should be testing and retesting people who have weapons, or you’re saying that we should forgive weapons mishaps because we don’t seem to react very strongly to car mishaps. or – you mean something else that i’m missing.

  11. Fear of government tyranny, fear of armed intruders shooting up your home, fear of a lawless time when your only hope for survival/protection is being armed. Fear is the driving force and preface to most NRA arguments about gun restrictions. NRA members need to admit they just like shooting guns and the more the gun looks like it comes from a movie, then the more badass they feel. If home invasion is a concern (and it may very well be in many cities across the country), then buy a tazer, buy pepper spray, get a dog, invest in a security system. If you want a shotgun for defense, then fill it with rock salt instead of buckshot. There are so many options never discussed because it doesn’t play into the fear scenarios the NRA so loves.

  12. I believe recent legitimate polls indicate 85% or more members of the NRA support closing the Gun Show Loophole, they also support clip size limits and bans on specific weapon types. Interesting isn’t it, Wayne LaPierre isn’t representing his membership, no rather he is representing the weapons and ammunition manufacturer, they want no limitations. That 85% is just slightly below the national polling numbers.

    Rich, there is a great deal of information available to show background checks have stopped criminals from buying guns. The FBI statistics have this information, it is easily searchable. There are also enormous numbers of studies showing who is at risk if there is a gun, any gun in the home, it is usually domestic partners and children. There are also models showing by 2015 more people will die violently by guns than on our roads, this will be our pivotal year.

    No Group C do not have history on their side. What they have is the ability to twist the meaning of history to their desired outcome on their side and an illiterate, under-achieving and uninformed populace willing to take anything at face value. The Second Amendment was not intended to protect individuals from an over-reaching government, it was (1) intended to pacify the Southern Slave States and insure ratification of the Constitution; (2) intended to maintain cost efficiency in national defense by passing the cost of armament to the citizen militia. I recommend reading Patrick Henry, George Mason, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and James Monroe on these issues. The Federalist Papers, the Debates and the private letters of all are quite enlightening.

    I am a gun violence victim I will for the rest of my life live with the damage done to my body, according to the doctors my life was likely shortened by anywhere from 10 to perhaps 20 years. Yet I remain firmly in Group B. Not because I think every person should be able to freely access any gun they want anytime, I don’t. I remain in Group B because I believe there is a reasonable answer and we can find it if, as you say we are willing to sit down at the table and listen.

    Those who remain staunchly in Group C, though well Rich I think they should be given a Cookie and sent to their room as well. Frankly, no ‘Right’ is absolute. You cannot yell fire in a crowded theater unless there is a blaze, we have slander laws and limits on pornography.

    The complete absolutism of those who believe there should be nothing standing between themselves and any gun, any clip size, any number of guns, anywhere in any forum and in any circumstance without limits is complete lunacy and an infringement on my right to the following:

    Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    • i think i’m going to have to read those federalist papers because i have to admit my ignorance to the details contained. sure, i’ve heard of them but haven’t read them.

      as for the reasons you state regarding the 2nd amendment, it seems i have more to learn there because i – like most people – have been focused on the militia for the defense of the country because, at that time, we didn’t have a standing army other than the citizens’ militia.

      i have a lot to learn, and i’m very sorry about your injuries sustained. i can’t imagine, and i hope to stay that way.

      life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as long as they don’t take money out of the politicians’ pockets, or their special interest groups, or their re-election warchests.

      • I apologize Rich, I didn’t mean to be a snot and I came off that way. That was very wrong of me.

        You did this very well. You opened the door for discussion, for some of us (people like me I guess) even when we are in Group B, it is a sensitive subject.

      • snot? not at all. i thought you gave a thoughtful reply with a good slice of emotion that qualifies and validates what you said. you have nothing to apologize for, and – with your permission – i’d like to delete this apology.

  13. It’s probably only a matter of time till they’ll ban knives at the table. I don’t think it’s the tool… rather the mentality of those who use it. Check out the movies that the young people are watching, and you’ll find my drift…

    • There is no question that it starts with the mentality of the user. Sometimes the mentality is shaped by whoever is raising a child. Some parents teach their children to deal with difficulties using violence. But sometimes the mentality is a certain way right from birth, And there is nothing that nurturing will do to change that. I don’t think it would be a bad thing to limit which tools those people might be able to use. Especially when it comes to tools whose only purpose is to destroy humans quickly and easily. I am not sure why so many people think that banning 1 tool will eventually lead to banning all tools. I don’t see any basis for that argument, nor do I see any precedent.

  14. I figured it out Rich: the problem with everything…it was said in your post: Everybody is talking; nobody is listening – to much of anything. Everyone wants their say, but no one is paying attention to anyone else. (takes Superman pose and looks around smartly).

  15. I belong to group A, but will take a cookie and lego before joining group B,one small step at a time. It took those same small steps to get to this bad situation. Thank you for this awesome piece.

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