Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/3/2017: In the Wake Of Las Vegas…

Good Morning.

1 The reaction of the anti-gun forces is so depressingly predictable, the arguments being put forth are so well-worn, the demonization of those who comprehend the importance of the Second Amendment so shameless and the misrepresentations are so familiar. I am considering just ignoring it this time, and referring anyone to the copious essays already written here tagged with Sandy Hook Ethics Train Wreck. Maybe I should just re-publish them after using a search and replace to switch Sandy Hook and New Town with “Las Vegas Strip.”  I’m sure in future months we can look forward to testimony at various legislative hearings by family members of the slain and wounded, as our elected officials, as usual, choose to use emotion, sentiment and grief to ram through legislation that they could not and cannot justify if the public’s attention isn’t distorted. I was on the road most of yesterday: has Hillary shot off her mother yet? Obama? Piers Morgan? Jimmy Kimmel? Diane Feinstein? I honestly haven’t had a chance to check. How quickly did some predictable Ethics Alarms commenters use the tragedy to start attacking gun ownership? By the time I finish the Warm-Up, I’ll probably know. I’ve made a few wagers with myself…

2.  Fake news, hoax postings and irresponsible rumor-mongering was rampant after the shooting. Is there any point in noting that ISIS, with its apparently false claim that this was one of its terror attacks, is unethical?  How about 4chan, which deliberately pinned the crime on the wrong man, and habitually inaccurate conservative websites like The Gateway Pundit, which circulated the lies? Twitter users with the character of poorly raised reptiles also got in on the fun: From the New York Times:

In a telling exchange, Gianluca Mezzofiere of Mashable reached out to the operator of one Twitter account sharing misinformation and reported the following:

Mashable reached out to the troll to ask why he’s spreading misinformation during such a critical time.

“I think you know why,” he replied. “For the retweets :)”

When Mashable pointed out that it’s unethical to spread misinformation when people are desperately looking for their missing family and friends, he just said: “You are right I’m sorry.”

“Jack Sins” said he chose TheReportOfTheWeek (aka Reviewbrah) just because he’s a meme and tweeted Johnny Sins because he “is a living legend.”

Asked whether he’s done it before and whether he’d do it again, he replied:

“Yes and maybe.”

3.  Yesterday, in the brief post I got out before my day was taken up by briefings of tech employees, observations of the stressful process of an expanding business trying to install an ethical culture as it suddenly multiplies its workforce, and being stuck for hours in construction on various highways, I mused about the shooting being conceivably related to the constant, escalating barrage of irresponsible rhetoric, anger and hate now marinating the public. Can anyone identify another tragedy where anyone in a position of responsibility and who was not already certifiable (Pat Robertson weighed in by saying that that the shooting was sparked by the rampant disrespect for the President, God and the National Anthem. I didn’t see that coming: Colin Kaepernick is at fault!) would publicly say something as idiotic as what former  CBS executive and attorney Hayley Geftman-Goldwrote on Facebook?

 “I’m actually not even sympathetic [because] country music fans often are Republican gun toters.”
CBS fired her. Do we really have to have a freedom of speech debate about that? The comment was bigoted, hateful, cruel, dumb, and essentially a declaration to the world that “I am a toxic asshole and the company that employs me approves!”I wonder how many “likes” she got. Based on some of the posts from my Facebook friends, I’d guess quite a few.

These echo chambers don’t just encourage unethical statements, they breed them.

4. David Hairsanyi entered a perceptive essay in “The Federalist” that includes this quote:

But those who reflexively call for more restrictive gun laws without even knowing how or why Paddock got his hands on guns — or what kind of firearms he used — give themselves away. Those who conflate automatic and semi-automatic guns also give themselves away.

Those in the press who mislead the public on all these issues give themselves away, as well. They are interested not merely in stopping mass shootings, but limiting gun ownership. This kind of reaction hardens the resolve of Second Amendment advocates and creates an environment that makes any realistic options moot. Rather than specifically pointing to areas of achievable compromise, the reaction of most gun-control advocates seems to be a declaration of partisan war.

“Our grief isn’t enough. We can and must put politics aside, stand up to the NRA,” tweeted Hillary Clinton (emphasis mine), “and work together to try to stop this from happening again.” This an example of someone — and there increasingly more like her — who can’t distinguish ideology from general decency. The NRA is a strawman for countless political activists who are too cowardly to condemn the 55-plus million Americans who own firearms and the millions of others who support their right to do so. Reflexively treating law-abiding gun owners or the organizations that represent them as if they are tacitly encouraging or cheering violence does nothing to advance the goals that gun-control advocates claim to embrace.

It wasn’t that long ago,  in fact, that Democrats led by Sen. Chris Murphy, a person who’s probably done as much as anyone in recent years to ensure the failure of gun-control legislation, were accusing Republicans of selling guns to ISIS.

Well, that answers my earlier question about Hillary. I also see from my Facebook feed that Murphy is on the case again. The echo chamber approves.
 

159 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

159 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/3/2017: In the Wake Of Las Vegas…

  1. Rick M.

    I happen to be totally anti-gun and have posted my opinions on the topic many times. Yes – an extreme radical on gun control. Nothing will change one iota despite the latest. I have mixed emotions about some of the far too quick responses especially by Seth Moulton. Of course, he is pandering to one segment of his party. Should have at least waited until the dust cleared and the blood was washed away. The sad situation is I was not shocked by this one bit. I also see the Chicago death toll continues to rise.

  2. Related to #1.
    An extremist Conservative friend of mine said yesterday that the shooter was probably a closet anti-gun activist trying to prove that mass gun violence is possible in the USA so they’d ban guns int he USA.

    You wanna know what’s really interesting, it wasn’t many years ago that I heard anti-gun activist saying that nothing will be done to ban guns until they prove that regular mass murders with firearms are possible in the USA.

    Back to my extremist Conservative friend; it’ll be really interesting to read what kind of information the FBI releases regarding this shooters digital trail through the internet. The shooters kind of obsession and justifications for randomly murdering a massive amount of people is going to have a trail of hate a mile wide; was he an extremist blogger, was he a prolific hateful internet commenter, was he trolling the internet spreading hate, was he browsing conspiracy sites, etc. etc. The kind of obsession that drives people to plan and execute such horrific things doesn’t happen overnight, it’s been festering for a long time.

    How much information about the shooter will the FBI actually release?

    • Let not your heart be troubled, the talented Jimmy Kimmel has moved beyond his reverse peristaltic grasp of the (Un)Affordable Care Act to a largely fact-bereft discussion of gun control.

      “They should be praying for God to forgive them for letting the gun lobby run this country because it’s so crazy,”

      Sheesh, what possible chance do we have if the Trilateral Commission, the Illuminati, et al, are carrying water for the NRA?

      There are a lot of things we can do about it. But we don’t,” (bolds mine)

      “Things?” Those gosh darn externalities are easy to hype, but hard to pin down.

      https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2017/10/03/kimmel-gop-should-pray-god-forgive-them-helped-cause-shooting

      • No. 2 and in response to Paul Schlecht:

        It appears that Sandy Hook and Las Vegas were and are false-flag operations to empower the government to infringe on Constitutional liberties. Yes, they were. The lunacy goes like this:

        Nobody really saw the Sandy Hook and Las Vegas shooters firing their guns. Their dead bodies (allegedly from self-inflicted gun shot wounds) were staged at the scenes to deflect away from the truth. And the truth is the intent by the federal government to control everything, from elementary school to recreation. (Remember – beware the military-government-industrial complex). Witness the ever-increasing militarization of the police forces, etc.

        I like the other side, too: If this were a Muslim or a Black man, the news would be drumming the “terrorism” meme up and down the street. But, because it was a white male, the news media won’t label this an act of terrorism; rather, it is mayhem or mass murder. Good grief. The politicization of the incident did not wait for the smoke to clear.

        Sometimes the truth is really simply: An evildoer did unspeakable evil and hurt a lot of people. Why did this shooter do what he did in Las Vegas? Because he is/was pure evil. And because he had an opportunity to wreak maximum carnage on a large, open-air multiple day music festival, attracting thousands of unsuspecting people. It is really that simple.

        jvb

  3. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Regarding #3, unfortunately that wasn’t the only example of that kind of a post, only the most prominent. I saw literally dozens of posts and tweets like it. It also isn’t the first time I’ve seen posts to the effect of it’s perfectly all right for horrible things to happen to people the poster doesn’t agree with politically. How many posts did we see after the recent spate of hurricanes telling us that Florida and Texas deserved to get ravaged because they went for Trump? We can go all the way back to 9/11 and Michael Moore’s public observation that the terrorists did the wrong thing because NYC did not vote for GWB.

    It’s frankly a high school mentality encouraged by the ability to quickly publish whatever pops into our heads and sounds good without thinking much about it first. It all goes back to the six basic truths I posted last year:

    1. and most important: People are BIASED. They know what they like and don’t like, they know what they want and don’t want, and very little is going to change that.

    2. People are partisan and will cherry pick favorable facts, ignore unfavorable ones, and twist themselves up into logical pretzels to support their side. However, it’s not necessary to do that here, just say bluntly what they thought.

    3,4. This is bolstered by the next two basic truths: people are lazy and arrogant. They aren’t interested in actually finding out the facts here because it takes effort, and they do not care, because they believe they are smarter, better, and RIGHT, so nothing else is necessary.

    5,6. This leads to the last 2 basic truths: People are immature and hateful, so, when they can get away with it, they express their opinions in sophomoric, unfunny, and often downright cruel ways.

    People are generally rotten , it just takes events like this to bring it out, when either people think they can get away with it, or anger or passion makes them turn off their filters. In this case probably both apply.

  4. Still Spartan

    The gun control debate ended with Sandy Hook. If a class of dead 5 year-olds could not change the laws, nothing will.

    As for predictability, well, you can say that about both sides.

    • Still Spartan wrote, “The gun control debate ended with Sandy Hook.”

      You underestimate the stupidity of social justice warriors and the shredding of the Constitution light at the end of their irrational tunnel.

      • Still Spartan

        The Constitution was not handed down by God. That’s why it was designed to be changed. If we are going to have a new Amendment, then fine. But I do think gun regulation within our current framework is a pointless exercise.

        • Still Spartan wrote, “The Constitution was not handed down by God. That’s why it was designed to be changed. If we are going to have a new Amendment, then fine.”

          I get the distinct impression that you think the Constitution should be changed; if so, in what ways do you think it should be changed?

          • Still Spartan

            This is not the right forum to discuss this — obviously there are many changes that could and should be made. We are no longer living in an isolated, 18th. C., pre-industrial, agrarian country with a small populace.

            • Steve-O-in-NJ

              Name five you think could get the necessary supermajority of Congress or the required number of state legislatures to support them. The Constitution is designed to be hard to amend, and for a reason.

              • Still Spartan

                I don’t disagree, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have the discussion.

                • I’d never support such a change to the constitution, but I absolute having the discussion about changing the constitution because it’s the appropriate change to be made. Passing laws and regulations that don’t conform to the constitution is a waste of time and effort because they can be struck down by any district judge (forget whining about the Supreme Court).

                  So, to quote Ken White at Popehat on this, I support the argument because it’s an honest argument. Not the position, but the argument.

            • Constitutional amendment is just legislation, though it’s very tough legislation. The essence of legislation is giving one thing up to get another. So the narrower question is, what would you give up to get changes to the Second Amendment?

              • Abortion on demand for Gun Control? Welfare for First Amendment?

                Not directed at anyone on the thread, but an observation: progressives always seem to talk about how laws can be changed, until they get one they like, and then it is ‘settled’ and stuck in stone.

          • Rusty Rebar

            I have always wanted to shorten the 1st Amendment:

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

            To just:

            Congress shall make no law.

            I think that should about do it.

            • Sam

              Well either the way things are going on capital hill we are almost there or that pretty much wipes the 1st Article of the Constitution. Or is the opinion that ‘”Congress shall make no law” one of those unethical comments that Jack was railing against a while back?

              • I assume that is satire. The opinion that Congress should make no law is libertarianism dacayed into anarchism, and no, that cannot be taken seriously or respected.

                • Rusty Rebar

                  Good assumption Jack.

                  • The problem with such satire, though, is that plenty of idiots are liable to take it seriously.

                    • Here in Texas, my grandpappy used to say that the ‘peepul’ were only safe when the legislature was not in session. Since they only meet every two years here, I found great comfort in that when he said it.

                      We have too many laws. How about a law that you must repeal two to add one?

                      Won’t work, as we cannot agree on one to add in Congress, much less two to repeal. The proliferation of regulation with the force of law is most of the problem.

                      Hey! Repeal two regulations for every new one could work, and Trump owns that branch! /snark

                    • Not to get the resident knee jerk Truml haters in vapors, but evidently, on the regulatory side, Trump has been pretty good at deregulating.

        • joed68

          You’re right. The 2A doesn’t grant us this right; it’s pre-political, a NATURAL right to self-defense.

          • Joe, I can’t figure out who you are replying to, but agree on the natural right…to include, an individual’s use of deadly force in self-defense against one or more other individuals who are imminently threatening aggressive and unjustified use of deadly force. (Trouble is, pro-aborts might love that.)

  5. “has Hillary shot off her mother yet? Obama? Piers Morgan? Jimmy Kimmel? Diane Feinstein? I honestly haven’t had a chance to check.”

    I’m gonna assume you meant ‘mouth’, and oh boy yes, Hillary in particular. She tweeted out some variation of “This is not the time for politics, we need more gun control” (With all the self awareness she could muster, she’s since deleted it, which is why I can’t find the actual quote, but I saw it, it was there, Pepperidge Farm remembers.)

  6. This morning on Facebook I saw someone post a made-up logo for the NRA with the mock slogan, “NO LIVES MATTER.” Meme wars are fun! But real wars are more fun. If assholes want my gun, they can come and take it – their lives won’t matter to me, any more than mine does to them.

  7. “But those who reflexively call for more restrictive gun laws without even knowing how or why Paddock got his hands on guns — or what kind of firearms he used — give themselves away. Those who conflate automatic and semi-automatic guns also give themselves away.

    Those in the press who mislead the public on all these issues give themselves away, as well. They are interested not merely in stopping mass shootings, but limiting gun ownership. This kind of reaction hardens the resolve of Second Amendment advocates and creates an environment that makes any realistic options moot. Rather than specifically pointing to areas of achievable compromise, the reaction of most gun-control advocates seems to be a declaration of partisan war.”

    I’ve said this before too, it crystallized in my mind in the wake of the Dylan Roof shootings… Roof used a Glock handgun with a small clip, and had legally purchased his firearm (although some people might argue that’s a technicality, he would have failed his background check had it been administered properly. (Although that didn’t stop people from commenting in the wake of the Adam Lansa shooting, where the guns WERE bought legally, and the owner, his mother, HAD passed a legitimate background check.)) But in the wake of his shooting the same talking points were issued: We need to ban scary black guns, and big clips, “we need to ban the guns that have been basically banned since 1920, but I either don’t know that, or have auto and semi-auto confused”, “we need to do things that would not have in any way shape or form actually stopped this tragedy.”

    I’ve said this before, but it’s important, and it bears repeating: A vast majority of Americans favor universal background checks, but depending on how you ask them, there’s a disconnect between the idea of background checks and the actual implementation of them. Hell, the NRA used to support background checks, although they no longer do. What’s changed? Why is there that disconnect?

    The credibility of gun control advocates is in the sewer.

    Gun proponents don’t believe control advocates when they say “We aren’t coming for your guns” when they knee jerk the same chorus to every tragedy, and it doesn’t help that every now and again, Democratic members of congress, through either ignorance, stupidity, or a rare burst of honesty, let the game up. They don’t believe, “We only want to ban assault weapons” when the response to a handgun crime is the same as the response to an AK 47 crime.

    And I can’t blame them. This is just another series of lies in a recurring meme on the left: “We have concerns, we have valid points, but why make them when we can hyperbolise everything to the point of absurdity? And why on Earth should we actually be required to understand what we’re talking about before we talk about it?! We’re right, and that’s all that matters!”

    • Rusty Rebar

      Hell, the NRA used to support background checks, although they no longer do. What’s changed? Why is there that disconnect?

      I think this is attributable to the gun control crowd. The NRA used to be more conciliatory when it came to “common sense” laws. But the gun control crowd kept pushing and pushing, and the NRA has basically said “not one more inch”. So now, even something that is considered “common sense” to everyone will get no traction, because the gun control crowd kept pushing things.

      I have said this before, and will recap here. There is a way to do background checks that will be acceptable, and even preferable, to everyone, but the gun control crowd would never allow it.

      First, we need to understand the purpose of a background check is to determine if the person buying the gun is legally eligible to do so, nothing more, nothing less. That is not what gun control proponents want though, they want more, they want a registry of all purchases. That is beyond the scope of a background check.

      So, my easy solution. Make available a system when someone who wishes to purchase a firearm can request a background check (via the web, or phone). Once that has cleared, they get a confirmation code. When you go to then buy a firearm, the seller can call in, enter the confirmation code, and look at the identification of the buyer. They system would say, they are eligible (or not), they ID would match.. boom they are checked. Make the check good for 30/60/90 days — whatever. A private seller could use this system as well, currently a private seller does not even have the ability to check even if they wanted. There is no need to talk about the actual firearm being purchased, this is a background check, not a registry (currently you need to put the serial number and description of the firearm on that form — why?). I think this solves what people are concerned about, at least on the pro gun side. It also solves what the anti-gun side “says” they want… but not what they actually want.

      Gun proponents don’t believe control advocates when they say “We aren’t coming for your guns” when they knee jerk the same chorus to every tragedy

      With good reason. They say “we aren’t coming for your guns” with one breath, and with the next give you a list of banned guns. Tell that to the SKS owners in California. Tell that to AR owners in California, or New York. “We don’t want to ban your guns” — then they put up legislation to ban all center-fire semi-automatics. “We will not come door to door looking for your guns” — we will just ban something, then when we come out on a noise complaint in 3 years and search your house without a warrant we will find it and throw your in prison — even if you are law abiding otherwise.

      Give me a break, there is no credibility from these people.

  8. charlesgreen

    I note that this post, and every comment thus far, is anti- people who decry gun violence.

    Meanwhile the largest mass murder in modern history has taken place in the only country where mass murder is a commonplace thing. Though not as common as the daily grind of suicide, domestic violence and accidental deaths.

    And all you do is complain that the left doesn’t come up with specific suggestions? Don’t you think the pro Second Amendment forces, the NRA, and the broad right-wing generally share some responsibility for making constructive suggestions?

    Most of the people on that side of the debate are opposed to regulation in general (excepting classic values cases like immigration and abortion). They often argue in favor of self-regulation by industry. Well, where are the specific proposals for regulation to stop the madness?

    What’s wrong with, for example, requiring criminal background checks for gun owners and gunshop employees? With requiring some kind of electronic database? With limiting concealed carry permits to those who have had some form of safety training? With banning sales and ownership of $50 modification kits to convert semi-automatic to fully automatic firing?

    If you don’t like those ideas, modify them: engage, propose something. Stop the echo-chamber of complaints about Jimmy Kimmel when we’re staring down the barrel (please forgive the pun) of mass murders and chronic homicides. In any other country, this would be recognized as a public health case. I honestly fail to see why it’s impossible to have commonsensical public safety modifications without destroying the Second Amendment. And unless you’re a theological absolutist about it, why shouldn’t the constructive commonsensical suggestions come from the responsible gun-owning part of the public?

    Hello? I’m waiting…

    • charlesgreen wrote, “I note that this post, and every comment thus far, is anti- people who decry gun violence.”

      Bull Shit Charles.

      Why the hell would you start a comment like that if you really wanted to have an intelligent conversation and not just an emotional conversation?

      • charlesgreen

        Come on Zoltar, I gave four specific suggestions. That’s rational, unlike your 100% emotional reaction here. Give some rational suggestions back, I suggest.

        It was also, at least thus far, an accurate description of the post and all the comments. Can you point to one that I missed?

        • Charles,
          Give me a break Charles. Prove your hyperbole that “every comment thus far” is “anti- people who decry gun violence”.

          This should be fun.

          I’m waiting…

        • charlesgreen wrote, “the only country where mass murder is a commonplace thing”

          More nonsense hyperbole?

          Have you been living under a rock?

          Have you really not been paying attention to what’s been happening across the globe?

          • Jeff

            Indeed, America hasn’t got a monopoly on mass murders. Google “Chinese knife attack” sometime and marvel at how much harm can be done with garden tools and kitchen knives. Or if you want an example closer to home, have a peek over our southern border and see the mountain of bodies slain by the drug cartels over the past decade.

            Further, if mass murder really is “commonplace”, why does it garner so much attention every time it happens? Isn’t that more like the reaction to an event that is rare?

            • charlesgreen

              Re the commonality of mass murders:

              So far I have seen comments that say their frequency in this country isn’t all that much when you consider Iraq, China and Mexico.

              Really? Are those countries the right countries against which to measure this phenomenon?

              i would welcome stats comparing our frequency of mass murders with those in Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Denmark, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Canada, Israel, Poland, even Brazil and Argentina.

              We shouldn’t be justifying our stats in comparison to Iraq and Mexico.

              • Matthew B

                How about we use this list instead?
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_terrorism_in_Europe_(2014%E2%80%93present)

                When guns are banned, they are using trucks, acid, knives and bombs to great effect.

                • Still Spartan

                  If the asshat in Las Vegas had been armed with a knife, he wouldn’t have been able to kill 58 and wound 500 others. Especially in a CW crowd. He would have been taken down within seconds. I’m sorry — it’s just a stupid comparison. A truck can’t do that kind of damage either. Maybe a bomb could come close, but I go to concerts all the time and I have to go through metal detectors and by bomb sniffing dogs.

                    • Chris

                      So guns should be more heavily regulated than knives.

                    • So guns are more heavily regulated than knives.

                      Fixed it for you.

                    • Still Spartan

                      My point is that I would rather take on a murdered armed with a knife then a murderer armed with 20+ rifles, automatic weapons, etc. 30 floors up in a hotel room with me on the ground.

                    • You do not have the ability to choose what other people are armed with.

                      You might as well prefer that someone else hand you a cashier’s check fot a trillion dollars.

                    • I’d rather be armed with a firearm when taking on a murderer who may or may not follow gun laws.

                      You’d rather be disarmed when taking on a murderer who may or may not follow gun laws.

                      To each their own, I suppose.

                    • Chris

                      tex: So guns are more heavily regulated than knives.

                      Fixed it for you.

                      Thanks; I was actually just coming back here to fix that myself! I agree with your correction.

                      You’d rather be disarmed when taking on a murderer who may or may not follow gun laws.

                      I’m not sure that’s a fair interpretation of Spartan’s position on this topic, but I could be wrong.

                  • Jeff

                    “A truck can’t do that kind of damage either.”

                    The 86 people killed and 450 injured in Nice last July disagree.

    • Charles wrote, “What’s wrong with, for example, requiring criminal background checks for gun owners”

      Already being done.

      Charles wrote, “What’s wrong with, for example, requiring criminal background checks for… gunshop employees?”

      I don’t have a problem with that. I think the owners already are required to obtain a license to sell firearms.

      Charles wrote, “With requiring some kind of electronic database?”

      There is already a electronic database for criminals, what else do you think should be put in there that would likely violate civil rights?

      Charles wrote, “With limiting concealed carry permits to those who have had some form of safety training?”

      Already being done.

      Charles wrote, “With banning sales and ownership of $50 modification kits to convert semi-automatic to fully automatic firing?”

      Fully automatic firearms are illegal. Are you talking about the bump stocks, which I personally don’t think should be legal?

      • From what I understand, this evil bastard jumped through every legal hoop to acquire the firearms he used in committing this atrocity.

        When I hear or read “reasonable restrictions” or “reasonable regulations”, I think of what is in place already to determine what would have or could have prevented this guy from doing what he did. My conclusion: Nothing. Nothing short of outright banning of the sale of any future firearms to any private citizen, along with a healthy dose of firearms confiscation from the same law-abiding persons in the name of the greater good. Those are the only ways to stop what happened in Sandy Hook and Las Vegas. I wish the “reasonable gun restrictionists” would be honest and openly declare that they want to ban ALL firearms from private ownership.

        I am not a gun lover; in fact, I couldn’t care less about firearms. I don’t own one and I don’t intend to own one anytime soon. I also don’t own a motorcycle or a helicopter and nor do I intend on owning of them, either. This monster killed 59 innocent people (by my last reading) and wounded over 500. That is horrifying. That is sickening. Yet, bearing the drums of “do something anything” is a recipe for disaster.

        jvb

    • Glenn Logan

      I’ll jump in, Charles:

      What’s wrong with, for example, requiring criminal background checks for gun owners and gunshop employees?

      These checks are already implemented for the vast majority of gun purchases, and I suspect most gun shops use them for employees as well, although that isn’t a requirement.

      The only transactions not subject to a background check are occasional sales between private parties. Contrary to most Democratic commentary, all Internet sales require the firearm to be shipped to a local FFL where a background check is done. Only face-to-face occasional sales between private parties are not.

      If the government could make background checks very cheap, widely available and easy to implement, I’d support that, but right now, they are none of the above. They would add at least $25 to the purchase price of every firearm, not to mention the inconvenience of finding a place to have them done. There’s not exactly a gun store on every corner, you know. Also, FFL’s would charge more for ad-hoc background checks because they aren’t obtaining any benefit other than the charge.

      With requiring some kind of electronic database?

      This is gun registration. The first step to confiscation is registration. That’s been the position of most gun owners, and their fear is certainly justified by history. Besides, it’s not going to decrease the likelihood of a mass shooting. So what good is it?

      With limiting concealed carry permits to those who have had some form of safety training?

      I support this as well. I have never really been comfortable with “constitutional carry.” I think training contributes a reasonable amount to safety, particularly in the concealed carry context. Even if Kentucky were to pass a constitutional carry law, I’d still get training before obtaining a CCDW.

      With banning sales and ownership of $50 modification kits to convert semi-automatic to fully automatic firing?

      I have no problem with that (the kits are more like $100-400, but your point isn’t affected by that). I think machine-gun or an equivalent created by a recoil-operated device are not good ideas, because they are not generally useful for self-defense, and even the army rarely employs select-fire weapons the way the Vegas shooter did. You can be trained to fire a semiautomatic firearm at a high speeds, but mechanical assists would be better off forbidden, in my view.

    • “I honestly fail to see why it’s impossible to have commonsensical public safety modifications without destroying the Second Amendment.”

      For the same reason that it’s impossible in America to have a commonsensical conversation about voter ID, that is, specifically that despite a real concern (gun deaths or democratic integrity) and relatively obvious ways to address those concerns (universal background checks and government issued ID, respectively) the proponents of these changes have hemorrhaged credibility by being stupid.

      Despite voter ID being the norm in every single other first world Democracy on Earth, Democrats are terrified of the idea because they think that Republicans will use it to disenfranchise minorities. They think this because Republicans have a track record of being assholes around voter suppression and gerrymandering (and yes, fellow right leaning people, Democrats do it too, but in this case, the normal politics of disenfranchisement are skewed in a way that have undertones of race and class, and those are a dog whistle to people preoccupied with race and class.). In other words: they come about it honestly. Sure there are ways to mitigate it, requirements that the ID be free, readily available, and quick to process, for instance. But I’ve never heard Democrats, at least not in any material way, suggest those compromises….. No….. It’s just so much easier to oppose everything.

      Now, let’s take that paragraph and ad libe in the other side of the arguement:

      Despite background checks and education as a requirement for owning guns being the norm in every single other first world Democracy on Earth, Republicans are terrified of the idea because they think that Democrats will use it to confiscate their guns. They think this because Democrats have a track record of being blatantly dishonest and ignorant surrounding the topic (and yes, left leaning people, Republicans do it too, but in this case, the normal politics of disenfranchisement are skewed in a way that have undertones guns and liberty, and those are a dog whistle to people preoccupied with guns and liberty.). In other words: they come about it honestly. Sure there are ways to mitigate it, requirements that the checks be free, readily available, and quick to process, for instance. But I’ve never heard Republicans, at least not in any material way, suggest those compromises….. No….. It’s just so much easier to oppose everything.

      Christ… That went together far too easily.

      • “They think this because Republicans have a track record of being blatantly dishonest”

        God da… I missed a switch, that should have been “Democrats”

      • Chris

        I nominate this for Comment of the Day.

      • Still Spartan

        “Sure there are ways to mitigate it, requirements that the ID be free, readily available, and quick to process, for instance. But I’ve never heard Democrats, at least not in any material way, suggest those compromises….. No….. It’s just so much easier to oppose everything.”

        This is exactly what I have proposed and I am a Dem.

      • Matthew B

        Despite voter ID being the norm in every single other first world Democracy on Earth, Democrats are terrified of the idea because they think that Republicans will use it to disenfranchise minorities. They think this because Republicans have a track record of being assholes around voter suppression and gerrymandering

        That’s the charitable position. The cynical position is that the Democrats are afraid of losing millions of illegal votes.

        • There aren’t millions. Hundreds, certainly. Thousands, probably. Tens of thousands, maybe. Hundreds of thousands are unlikely, and millions are basically impossible. But!!! In just the last national contest, there were three states; Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan where trump won with only five figure margins, Michigan’s margin was literally only 10,000 votes, and if Hillary had won those three states, all other things being equal, she would have had the electoral college 276 to 260. Ten thousand votes matter.

          • The problem with ANY numbers is the lack of interest to investigate, indict and convict for this crime. How would California know how many illegals voted? They give them drivers licenses. How would a poll worker know they are illegally voting?

            And they don’t WANT to know, either.

      • One reason it seemed to easy is that it’s a little off, HT

        “Republicans are terrified of the idea because they think that Democrats will use it to confiscate their guns.”

        1. “Terrified” intrinsically suggests that this is an irrational belief. The anti-gun left, when it is not posturing to get its nose under the tent, DOES want to confiscate guns. What was Hillary Clinton talking about when she said that “the Australia approach” should be tried? Why do gun opponents keep citing the anti-gun paradise of Great Britain? . They don’t respect the right to be armed; they detest gun, they think allowing guns to anyone but the police and hunters is barbaric and insane.

        They also insist that the Second Amendment doesn’t protect the right to own guns, because they don’t accept the legitimacy of the SCOTUS call on the subject, and believe that a reversal is just a few appointments away, sort of like the Right’s position on Roe v. Wade.

        2. Voter ID, when it is free and available to all, is a no-brainer. It would also work. As has been pointed out on this and other threads, background checks are primarily involved in gun purchases already, and the real question is what backgrounds will matter. Last year, Democrats argued that being placed on a no-fly list without due process should stop a citizen from owning a gun. This is flat out unconstitutional irrespective of the Second Amendment,, but Democratic legislators (AND Hillary) don’t care.They just want to ban guns, just like they want single-payer health care, incrementally but inevitably. It’s pretty obvious..

        3.Back to background checks: the second an alchoholic commits a major gun crime, watch the anti-gun lobby start demanding that treatment for alcoholism should make gun ownership impossible. Seeing a therapist. An accusation (without a charge) for domestic violence. Being found guilty of sexual assault in a college under the “Dear Colleague” letter kangaroo court rules.

        I think your analogy makes the assault on gun ownership seem more benign than it is.

        • ““Terrified” intrinsically suggests that this is an irrational belief. ”

          I don’t think so… I certainly didn’t mean it that way. If a nuke was on it’s way to my doorstep, I think I’d be terrified, I also think I’d be very rational in my fear response.

          But regardless

          The obvious response to this would be to trot out the pictures of absurdly gerrymandered electoral districts, or quote the idiot politicians who admitted that their goal was to restricting voting rights so as to disenfranchise their political opponents. While the rank and file of Republicans probably doesn’t think that way, I can understand why Democrats might see it. If for no other reason than a factor of our news cycle: We always seem to see the worst of our opponents; If you believed CNN, the entire right is only a few steps away from rounding up Jews at the direction of Richard Spencer.

          What I think that both Republicans and Democrats should endeavor to remember is that in an all-or-nothing, no compromise political slugfest, you eventually lose. The pendulum swings, and someone gets a super-majority. If we, and I mean we to encompass literally everyone in that context, continue to stonewall even the things that we realize, deep down, are reasonable, then when the other side of our issue has enough political power, the dam is going to break and the changes coming down the pipe won’t limit them to the reasonable stops basically everyone can agree on.

          • Might I point out that BOTH sides gerrymander? That only the GOP gets called on it?

            • You could… But I thought I specifically pointed that out.

              “(and yes, fellow right leaning people, Democrats do it too, but in this case, the normal politics of disenfranchisement are skewed in a way that have undertones of race and class, and those are a dog whistle to people preoccupied with race and class.)”

              If the voting demographics for both parties was evenly distributed, no one would bat an eye, both parties, while they’re in power, like gerrymandering because they get to stay in power. It leads to the 90% incumbency rate your legislature has. But that’s not the world we live in, Democrat voters skew brown! And to someone obsessed with melanin, the disparate impact of disenfranchising brown people seems to overcome the self-awareness that if given the opportunity, they’d do exactly the same thing.

    • Charles,

      Two points that I think bear examination before a further response.

      Meanwhile the largest mass murder in modern history has taken place in the only country where mass murder is a commonplace thing.

      This statement is false as written — a google search shows that mass murders are taking place all over the world, and are very common right now in Iraq, and that death tolls in mass murders have scores of examples in the hundreds of fatalities — so I presume you mean mass murders by guns.

      Most of the people on that side of the debate are opposed to regulation in general (excepting classic values cases like immigration and abortion). They often argue in favor of self-regulation by industry. Well, where are the specific proposals for regulation to stop the madness?

      I find this to be a disingenuous statement, because conservatives are not against regulations for the sake of being against regulations. There are legitimate reasons for regulations. That’s why we have laws, period, and not an anarchic society in which everyone monitors their own behavior. Last I checked, conservatives were very much in support of stricter regulations of criminals. Conservatives are also very much in support of the federal government when it comes to the basic purposes of the federal government, such as protecting our borders (thus immigration regulation).

      The problem here is that there seems to be obfuscation of what the real purpose is in the gun debate. Is the purpose of the gun debate to limit injury by guns, or is it to remove guns from the hands of the populace? Now, I’m all in favor of background checks. I’m in favor of requiring people to have licenses and pass written and practical tests to demonstrate competency in using guns. But as for a national database, I am bit skeptical, because I’m concerned with the amount of overhead and the effectiveness of such a system, coupled with the potential of complacency. I could be convinced, though, if it could be shown to be an effective, cost-efficient, and a true deterrent to gun violence.

      However, it doesn’t seem that the debate is actually about gun control, but gun ownership period. I can appreciate the fact — and I do believe it is a fact, demonstrated in other countries — that homicide rates do go down when gun ownership is banned. I think it is probable that in those instances where we see cities with high gun violence and strict gun control laws, that part of what enables that to happen is that the rest of the country does not have such strict laws, and that makes it easier for criminals to move guns into gun-free zones. I think it is probable that a uniform, national policy would the best method, but what should that policy be? More importantly, should that policy be written because of what happens in any one mass shooting incident? Knee-jerk reactions, ad hoc laws, tend to be expensive and ineffectual (or so my friend from the Wyoming Legislature assures me).

      Cost and effectiveness need to be considered when addressing the problem of gun violence. If what is being proposed is not cost-effective, then it shouldn’t be implemented. Moreover, I wouldn’t blame conservatives for not coming up with better ideas, because that assumes there are better ideas. As long as gun ownership is a constitutional right, the problem of gun violence is probably an intractable one. And this leads to a very tough question, and it has to be answered by conservatives and anyone who continues to support the Second Amendment (which I do support, by the way): is the death toll due to gun violence acceptable in exchange for the benefits accrued through permitting gun ownership?

      One fact that I think needs to be made clear is that we cannot legislate away pain and suffering. We cannot make a law that ensures no one is hurt. Typically a law will disadvantage someone, make someone’s life harder, let someone fall through the cracks, and the job of policymakers is to make tough decisions that include “we will accept that people will die because of this, but there is greater good to be had that makes those deaths tolerable.”

      Is it fair to say that the left does not see any benefit of gun ownership, and that is where the outrage comes from? I hear the concern that hunting is antiquated, so we don’t need guns for hunting. I hear that guns are disproportionate defense, and so we don’t need guns to protect ourselves. If those are the primary reasons listed by the right for keeping gun ownership, and the left finds no value in them, then defending Second Amendment rights is obviously foolhardy to the left. So I will close this by asking: does the left see any benefit to gun ownership at all? Can conservatives make a good case that gun ownership is worth the side-effect of gun violence? I think these need to be honestly and earnestly answered, because otherwise, the two sides of the debate will just talk past each other.

      • Well stated and thought-provoking.

        jvb

      • Glenn Logan

        And this leads to a very tough question, and it has to be answered by conservatives and anyone who continues to support the Second Amendment (which I do support, by the way): is the death toll due to gun violence acceptable in exchange for the benefits accrued through permitting gun ownership?

        That’s right, that really is what it boils down to. For me, the answer is a resounding “yes.” Firearm ownership gives us a means of self-protection, a tool for survival if civilization suddenly comes crashing down, and the feeling of being in control, or at least within shouting distance of control if things go very bad. Plus, shooting firearms lawfully and responsibly is a lot of fun.

        Can conservatives make a good case that gun ownership is worth the side-effect of gun violence?

        Many more people die in automobile crashes than any kind of gun violence each year, yet nobody talks about banning automobiles and forcing the us to use public transportation, even though it would serve the dual purpose of getting us to walk more and pollute less. For that matter, there are at least ten times more motorcycle deaths per year than deaths in mass shooting attacks, yet nobody talks about banning motorcycles. Going even further, there are over twice as many deaths by knife wound than by mass shooting every year.

        Is this a good case for gun ownership? Probably not. The best case for it is that it is a right guaranteed by our constitution — in fact, important enough to the founders that it is an enumerated right they thought deserved explicit mention. Not only that, one would think its position as #2 after the First Amendment might lend further moment to the importance the Founders gave to the ownership of arms.

        • Playing “Devil’s Advocate” here, the 2nd Amendment states as follows:

          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.

          Courts have routinely upheld the 2nd Amendment as an individual right (not limited to such things as State Militias or Police). Regardless, Gun Control Proponents continue to stumble on the opening words “A well regulated Militia…” to insist that the right is not an individual right.

          My question is this: forgetting the debate on “individual” or “pluralistic”, could the opening words be seen as a form of “future signaling” by the founders to suggest:

          “Hey, we’re enumerating this now because this reason is important to us today. It may not always be this important and when this is no longer an everyday truth, you should think about changing this.”

          ?

          Have we come far enough along to have the genuine debate on 2A and the reasons we have it? Does it not matter because we’ve stumbled upon other good reasons to have it, so having it for outdated reasons is just as fine because the preferred outcome would be the same?

      • Jeff

        “Does the left see any benefit to gun ownership at all?”

        Some on the left seem to have had a recent change of heart on the subject. Following the election of Donald Trump, lots of far-left groups suddenly decided that their previous stance that civilian arms would be useless against a tyrannical government was perhaps a bit hasty.

        Regarding registration schemes: Canada recently abandoned its rifle and shotgun registry, having concluded, fifteen or so years and hundreds of millions of dollars later, that it didn’t actually aid in reducing crime. It turns out (somewhat predictably, but still…) that criminals and psychopaths don’t register their guns, no matter how nicely you ask them to.

      • joed68

        The primary purpose of the 2A has nothing to do with hunting or personal defense, but to serve as a check against the possibility of government tyranny/democide. Before anyone says “that will never happen here”, think of all the people, about 262 million in the last century alone, who thought the same thing about their enlightened civilizations, right before they were murdered.

    • This article appears to rebut the claim that America is more prone to mass shootings. It is population adjusted, so I assume the non-population adjusted numbers would likely support the claim, but there is at least a question as to whether there is really something wrong here.

      https://crimeresearch.org/2016/01/compared-to-europe-the-us-falls-in-rank-for-fatalities-and-frequency-of-mass-public-shootings-now-ranks-11th-in-fatalities-and-12th-in-frequency/

      (I haven’t vetted the organization, I’m guessing it’s a pro-gun think tank, but that does not necessarily invalidate its research)

    • James M.

      To clear up a few facts for you:
      1.) The “largest mass murder in modern history”? No, not really. To avoid changing the subject, I’ll exclude acts of war or genocidal government activity such as the Holocaust (6 million Jews and up to 9 million others), the Holodomor (up to 10 million dead), and China’s “Great Leap Forward” (up to 45 million dead). You’re talking about single incidents, not Stalin-style “statistics”, so let’s see: The 9/11 terrorists killed over 3000 people, the Yazidi Communities bombing killed 796 people, the Cinema Rex arson in Iran killed 470 people, up to 400 were killed in the Benthala Massacre, 270 died in the bombing of Flight 103 over Lockerbie, the Mumbai bombings in 1993 also killed 270 people, 255 Muslim pilgrims were killed in the Grand Mosque hostage incident, the Sadr City attacks killed 215, the Mumbai Railway bombings killed 209 people, over 200 were killed in Al Qaida’s embassy bombings in August of 1998, 202 were killed in bombings in Bali in 2002, the Madrid train bombings killed almost 200, the Al Hilleh bombings killed almost 200, 170 died in the Moscow Theater attack, the Oklahoma City bombing killed 168, the bombing of the St. Nedelya Church in 1925 killed 150 people, the Karachi bombings of 2007 killed 139 people, the sinking of superferry 14 killed 116, the Taj Mahal Hotel attack in Mumbai killed over 100, the bombing of the King David hotel killed 91 people, and Anders Breivik killed 77 (in Norway, a nation with tighter gun laws than the US). Fortunately, the jerk in Las Vegas didn’t decide to build a bomb and REALLY up the ante.
      2.) “Only country where mass murder is a commonplace thing”? That one is inaccurate, too. Between 2009 and 2015, there were 55% more casualties per capita from mass public shootings in the European Union than in the US. Many European nations have lower overall murder statistics, but they have plenty of mass shootings.
      3.) “Not as common as the daily grind of suicide, domestic violence and accidental deaths”. True, mass murder is less common than those tragedies. Unfortunately, there is no consistent relationship between gun ownership and suicide (despite Dr. David Hemenway, Arthur Kellerman, and the Harvard Injury Control Research Center’s efforts to publicize examples to the contrary). Many nations that restrict firearm ownership have higher suicide rates than the US.

      • Chris

        2.) “Only country where mass murder is a commonplace thing”? That one is inaccurate, too. Between 2009 and 2015, there were 55% more casualties per capita from mass public shootings in the European Union than in the US. Many European nations have lower overall murder statistics, but they have plenty of mass shootings.

        I don’t see how you’ve prove this point is inaccurate. The European Union is not a country.

        • Well… There are countries in the EU, and averages being what they are, there will be countries higher and lower than the average, right?

        • James M.

          Please forgive me if I miss your point, but your critique seems a bit obtuse. Are you implying that mass murders in Europe do not happen in one of that continent’s countries? if the United States is the “only country” suffering from mass murders, where did those European murders happen?

    • Rusty Rebar

      Don’t you think the pro Second Amendment forces, the NRA, and the broad right-wing generally share some responsibility for making constructive suggestions?

      No, I don’t think they share some responsibility. I, and they, are mostly happy with what the 2nd amendment says, and have no desire to change it one iota.

      If you want to propose a change, that is your right, but don’t get all butt hurt because I don’t agree with you and try to restrict my rights because you don’t like them. It is not my job to make your proposal better. The onus is on the people making the proposal to make their case, it is not on me to make a case for you.

      If you really want my solution here it is:

      I think there should be a constitutional amendment that affirms the average citizens right to posses, and carry a firearm with them, any place that the person is legally allowed to be. They should be able to own, or carry with them any firearm that an infantry soldier might have with them, including fully automatic rifles and crew served machine guns, although I am not sure about explosives — but I lean towards allowing that as well. Also, people need to be held accountable for their actions when using these items. I ~may~ be willing to consider safety regulations with regard to how these weapons may be employed.

  9. I came up with this rewording of the Second Amendment several years ago, if people maybe want to suggest their own alternatives:

    “”A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of State and local militia to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms suitable for personal defense or hunting shall not be infringed.”

    The first sentence makes clear that militia is a protected but community right, just as it was in colonial days, so that lone wolves don’t have the right to hold military equipment. The second sentence makes it clear that other traditional uses of appropriate firearms are still protected.

    • LoSonnambulo wrote, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of State and local militia to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms suitable for personal defense or hunting shall not be infringed.”

      TERRIBLE WORDING!!!

      #1 “local militia to keep and bear Arms” opens the door for Posse Comitatus groups, or the KKK, or skinhead Nazi, Antfa, etc. etc. to declare themselves a Militia and arm themselves exactly like the United States military.

      #2 Who the heck is the defining authority of what is a “arm suitable for personal defense or hunting”, they could define that as a bow and arrow, slingshot, or a rock.

      • First, please run some cold water over your head and try to lose the bold and exclamation points. Your points:

        #1: none of those groups is state or local in nature.
        #2: we already make these kinds of decisions with respect to arms, e.g., no one’s making the argument that private citizens should have tanks in their driveways.

        • LoSonnambulo wrote, “#1: none of those groups is state or local in nature.”

          Your problem is you did not define local; it’s terrible wording. Local could easily be defined as a VFW group or anything else someone might choose. How about this; would you want a “local” village board that’s full of skinheads to form their own militia? Local is way too narrow and segments “formal” militias.

          LoSonnambulo wrote, “#2: we already make these kinds of decisions with respect to arms, e.g., no one’s making the argument that private citizens should have tanks in their driveways.”

          You have completely missed the point as it relates to the Constitution and the federal government.

          I honestly don’t think we need to go down this path any further.

        • … no one’s making the argument that private citizens should have tanks in their driveways.

          The problem is where we draw that line. Who gets to decide what is and is not covered by the Constitution and why?

          In Texas we DO have people with tanks in their driveways. There are quite a few APCs around in private hands, and you can even ‘rent’ a fully functional tank in Uvalde (www.drivetanks.com) to drive on their tank course. Striker vehicles are used by LEOs too.

          Has a tank or APC been used to rampage across the landscape? Why is it any of your business if I want an historical military vehicle?

          Not being snarky: these are real questions that too many think are decided law. Just yesterday Jack asserted that ‘machine guns’ are always illegal, which is blatantly false. He was misinformed, not pushing an agenda, but there it is.

          Many things people know just ain’t so.

          • “The problem is where we draw that line. Who gets to decide what is and is not covered by the Constitution and why?”

            Absent a Constitutional amendment or a reversal of Marbury v. Madison, these questions eventually go to the Supreme Court, so you have to trust that system.

          • By “machine guns” I meant the classic definition of a fully automatic weapon that reload automatically and fire continuously with one trigger pull. Such weapons have been banned for civilians in the United States since the Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986.

            I don’t know what you think you’re talking about. But fully automatic guns ARE illegal.

            • Technicality: Machine guns are open bolt fully automatic belt fed weapons designed for sustained fire and shouldn’t be confused with automatic/burst assault rifles that are closed bolt weapons and are not designed for sustained automatic fire. Generally speaking, a machine gun is belt fed (although you can use magazines with some) and an automatic assault rifle is magazine fed only.

              This doesn’t change your argument.

              • Sue Denim

                Technically, the Spandau and Vickers guns on aircraft in WWI had been modified to become semi-automatic. The repeated firing of closed bolt single shots, 5-10 times per second, was accomplished by a synchronisation motor and hydraulic or mechanical linkage, engaged when the trigger was pressed.

                This was to synchronise the firing so the propeller didn’t get shot off. No fully automatic system was reliable enough in timing to prevent this due to unpredictable delays in feed, bolt travel and ignition.

                So if you’re going to make a distinction between semi automatic weapons fired 10 times a second due to external components, as was used in Las Vegas, and “machine guns”, then WWI aircraft didn’t use machine guns either, except for over wing and pivot weapons.

                A distinction without a difference.

                • Reread Sue; I didn’t say a word about semi-automatic therefore I didn’t make a distinction between semi-automatic and anything.

                  P.S. The information about the main gun of prop planes of WWI is interesting information for most people that don’t already know about such things; interesting but irrelevant. My comment was only about nomenclature absolutely nothing else should be read into it.

            • valkygrrl

              The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act exempts every single “machine gun” that was already legally owned in 1986, of which there were many. Those weapons are still legally owned and can be legally sold.

              I’m not the only person who’s pointed this out to you, hell I linked the law and quoted the relevant text in the last post. What gives?

              • What gives? That’s a gotcha, that’s all. Did you bother to read the post I linked to? Like:

                Machine guns made prior to the cutoff date in 1986 remain legal but highly expensive—typically running in the five figures—and are tracked closely and individually by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. According to the NRA, the state of Nevada, where the shooting occurred and where Paddock reportedly lived, does not impose any further restrictions on legally owned machine guns. There are reportedly around 193,000 pre-cutoff machine guns in legal ownership nationwide, and special events around the country offer gun enthusiasts space to celebrate and fire these weapons. In August 2016, the Atlantic’s John B. Fischer reported on the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot. “For two days in June, hundreds of people traveled to Wyandotte, Oklahoma, for the opportunity to fire nearly every species of automatic weapon from the past century,” he wrote. “There were UZIs and M16s, Barrett .50-caliber rifles, WWII-era belt-fed Brownings, and even a Minigun—a giant, chair-mounted cylindrical device powered by a car battery.”

                Tracked INDIVIDUALLY. That means that while not banned (since they were bought legally), they are seriously regulated unlike normal guns. This passage also appears to elude you:

                Of the 91 American mass shootings catalogued by Mother Jones that have occurred since 1982, not one has seen the use of a fully automatic machine gun. It’s semi-automatic rifles—guns that reload automatically but fire only once per trigger pull—that have seen wide use in recent mass shootings and that probably constitute the majority of rifles used in homicides and other crimes. Still, rifles of all kinds constitute a small minority of criminally used guns: Only 2 percent of homicides were committed with rifles of any kind in 2014.

                In other words, its a straw man. The guns used by Paddock were illegally modified. He couldn’t have bought a 5 figure antique automatic weapon without being flagged, and didn’t. Fully automatic weapons are not the problem.

                That’s what gives.

                • valkygrrl

                  That’s all very interesting but mostly irreverent to my comment.

                  Since you admit that such weapons are not banned for civilians, why did you claim they were banned to civilians?

                  • They are banned. New ones can’t be purchased, and the old ones that were legal when purchased are treated unlike normal guns. I should have written “new” automatic weapons are banned. I don’t acknowledge your “gotcha.” When most formerly legal commodities are suddenly illegal, it is customary to allow the previously legally purchased one alone. The alternative is armed confiscation, which violated Due Process.

                    If automatic weapons are irrelevant, then why are you arguing on this thread about automatic weapons?

                    • valkygrrl

                      The hell? It isn’t a gods damned gotcha.

                      It’s a correction. It is particularly annoying to see someone give the same inarticulate statement after they’ve been corrected. I am not well pleased by all this hostility.

                    • What you are doing is shifting focus away from the issue to an irrelevant detail while harping on a minor inaccuracy as if it was intended to deceive. It’s like responding to a comment about how cars must have catalytic converters with, “Not true! There are many antique cars that don’t have them, and it’s legal!” Fine, 30+ years old automatic weapons that were purchased legally are legal if the owners report and allow the government to trace their ownership and transfer. Happy? Is that the focus of the calls to “ban automatic weapons”? No. Did Paddock use one of these 30-year old guns? No. Would changing the law on these old guns prevent another Paddock? No. Are 90% of the people calling for bans on automatic weapons actually even talking about fully automatic weapons? No.

                      It’s a gotcha.

                    • valkygrrl

                      I am not shifting focus away, for I was not the one who brought automatic weapons or their legality into the conversation, and if you find it a distraction, that it entirely your own fault since all you had to do was say oops, you’re right, my bad, won’t happen again.

                      Do not accuse me of that which I have not done.

                      If automatic weapons are irrelevant, then why are you arguing on this thread about automatic weapons?

                      Wasn’t me who brought them into the conversation, isn’t me arguing about them now except to point out that an inaccurate claim was made.

                      I’ll note that you’re not making accusations against slickwilly who said essentially the same thing that I did. Funny that.

                    • What’s THAT supposed to mean? Slickwilly made a point and a correction; I left it stand, as I do many corrections. You made an attack. Nor did I bring automatic weapons into the discussion: I responded to false statements that banning automatic weapons for civilian use would address the kind of shooting under discussion. I also don’t agree that the fact that legally owned old automatic weapons can be transferred under federal scrutiny makes the statement that automatic weapons are banned for all practical purposes unclear or inaccurate.

                    • valkygrrl

                      What’s THAT supposed to mean?

                      Was I vague? You’re picking on me.

                    • Oh. I don’t mean to, honestly. I apologize.

                    • Do we know what type of weapon was used at this point? This guy was rich enough to purchase those older weapons, if he so desired. Since he has a clean record, purchasing many would not have caused concern, either. Happens all the time, as collections are sold off or acquired.

                      Just interested in what the guy used, as an intellectual point. I have a bet with a buddy that a bump stock was involved, based on the recording I heard. He heard an illegally modified AK47, which shoots slower than a factory one.

                      There were so many weapons that we may both be right!

                    • joed68

                      Definitely slide-fire. You could see it on pictures of two of the weapons.

                    • I have no idea. And that’s right: this guy could have purchased one of the grandfathered guns, though if you are planning a massacre, I’d think one would not want to alert the feds that the gun you wanted to use was on the move and you were getting it.

                • joed68

                  Whoops! Sorry, Jack. I didn’t notice all this. I need to slow down & read.

            • joed68

              In 1986, it became illegal for automatic weapons manufactured after that date to be transferred to anyone but law enforcement or dealers (post-86 dealer samples). Civilians can still purchase pre-86-manufactured machine guns (these are called fully-transferrable) after paying a $200 tax stamp, getting a background check, finger prints, and a local chief LEO signature, submitting this all to the ATF, and waiting about 6 months for them to mail you the stamp.

    • Here’s how it’s written in the state constitution for the State of Colorado.

      Section 13. Right to bear arms. The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.

  10. Wayne

    Hillary is a shameless narcissist who could care less about those killed and wounded in Las Vegas. Her call to ban silencers which was totally irrelevant to the massacre of people there and stand up to the NRA shows that her only aim in her contrived tweet was to advance her political agenda.

  11. Rick M.

    I would have zero concern about a restructuring of the 2nd to just do away with the legal issue of firearms, but the reality is if my magic beans worked and that happened it would be virtually useless. The process of manufacturing a gun is relatively simple and I can certainly see an extensive cottage industry of machinist and gunsmiths doing just that. If somehow assault weapons were eliminated and some whack job was too lazy to create/modify then “old school” would be used. A simple handgun or hunting rifle with the only positive outcome a smaller (maybe) body count. I am a staunch anti-gun advocate who realizes my pipe dreams are just that – dreams.

    • Jeff

      It is refreshing to see someone on your side of the argument acknowledge that the genie is out of the bottle. Guns are relatively simple machines. There is a cottage industry in Pakistan (look up “Kyber Pass gunsmiths”) that produces serviceable firearms using mostly tools that would be right at home on an Amish farm. Now add in the fact that there are something like 400 million firearms and probably trillions of rounds of ammunition in civilian hands in the US, and eliminating guns is rather obviously an impossible task. If you think that passing a gun-ban law would be difficult, wait until you try to enforce it.

  12. Neil Dorr

    Jack,

    Now the narrative seems to be gaining traction that because Trump hasn’t condemned the shooting as “terrorism” yet, it proves he’s — ummm — a racist. “Because — ummm — if the shooter were Muslim he would have already labeled him a terrorist. This PROVES that white guys never condemn other white guys for the bad things they do.”

    So much is in shambles right now, why do they go looking for more controversy?

    • It’s an interesting thing that I’ve concocted around this in my head. Terrorist by definition means violence with political aims. We’ve heard of the stupid few who don’t care about country music fans because they’re likely “republican gun toters”. So, if Trump did declare this guy a “terrorist” what were his political aims? If we listen to the “left”, we might reasonably imply his aims were to influence the gun control debate by showing the relative ease with which one man can exploit U.S. gun culture and laws by attacking those most likely to be gun rights supporters.

      So, okay. We can call him a terrorist and his terrorist organization is the political party that aligns with his aims but certainly not his methods?

      • Chris

        1) We have no evidence that this shooter was a terrorist, and it’s a good thing Trump didn’t call him a terrorist.
        2) It is of course true that if the shooter was a Muslim, Trump would call him a terrorist and use it as evidence for why we need the travel ban. Does anyone really doubt this?

        • 1) The only thing that’s keeping him from being a terrorist at this point is that his motive is “unknown”. If his motive turns out to be political, he gets the designation. A manifesto usually comes to light, though I get the feeling that this guy is going to leave his motivations up to our imaginations.

          2) Sure, but if that were the case, we’d be looking at it through the context of war. As a domestic terrorist on domestic policy, we resist the urge to let them influence our culture and way of life. As a foreign terrorist on foreign policy, we resist the urge to let them hurt us again. Basically apples and oranges…context matters.

          • Chris

            1) The only thing that’s keeping him from being a terrorist at this point is that his motive is “unknown”. If his motive turns out to be political, he gets the designation. A manifesto usually comes to light, though I get the feeling that this guy is going to leave his motivations up to our imaginations.

            Agreed.

            2) Sure, but if that were the case, we’d be looking at it through the context of war. As a domestic terrorist on domestic policy, we resist the urge to let them influence our culture and way of life. As a foreign terrorist on foreign policy, we resist the urge to let them hurt us again. Basically apples and oranges…context matters.

            Hm. I’m not sure I’m getting the distinction. We should also resist the urge to let foreign terrorists change our culture and way of life (especially since that’s what they want). We should also resist the urge to let domestic terrorists hurt us again. And of course, we should always resist the urge to jump to conclusions. If you think Trump is arriving at the decision to instantly label Muslim shooters terrorists while being more careful when it comes to non-Muslim shooters based on the nuanced argument you make above, I have a bridge to sell you.

        • DISCLOSURE: In the aftermath of the San Bernardino attack, President Obama did equate the Ft. Hood attack with “terrorism.”

          However: Recall that the Obama Administration, along with the Pentagon, labeled the 2009 Ft. Hood incident as ”Workplace Violence?”

          For your consideration: Paddock was a professional gambler and the incident did take place where Mo Greene ”had an idea to build a city out of a desert stop-over for GI’s on the way to the West Coast” which is inextricably tethered to gambling.

          Much more has been made out of much less; any takers?

  13. …the 55-plus million Americans who own firearms and the millions of others who support their right to do so…

    I have to make a small point of order, because the all too common media tactic of lowering the numbers of their opposition to make them seem more in the minority of opinion than they are is quite easy to expose.

    Jack stipulated 55 million plus. According to recent polling, the percentage of gun owners is far higher, making that a BIG plus. Those polls range from a low of 36% to a high of 49% of households have a gun, making them ‘gun owners.’ The 2010 Census gives us an average of 2.58 persons per household, and the US Census Bureau tells us that there are 326 million odd people in the USA today. A little math results in about 126 million households. Therefore, between 45 and 62 million households have a gun.

    If we agree to that math, this gives us a range of about 117 to 160 million gun owners. These are only the ones that that admitted to owning a gun. There is a strong bias against admitting to gun ownership for a variety of reasons and in different localities. Add to that that these are only the LEGAL gun owners… criminals are on top of this. Add to that those who do not own a gun, but support the right to do so.

    Quite a bit more than the MSM minimized number.

    Here are some further breakdowns of those who admitted to owning guns, from a site that uses published polls, papers, and governmental sources:

    Male 45%
    Female 15%
    White 33%
    Nonwhite 22%
    Republican 38%
    Independent 31%
    Democrat 22%
    http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

    Incidentally, in my opinion (validated by observation,) these numbers are why the Democrats continually lose on this issue: they minimize the numbers of legal gun owners then believe their own lies, thinking they have a far greater majority than they do.

  14. Let me get this straight.

    White man kills a bunch of people.

    Congress passes gun control laws in response.

    Black men go to prison for violating these laws even though they did not hurt (much less kill) anyone.

    Is that how it goes?

    • And I like ice cream.
      I don’t see any connection or comparison whatsoever.

      • The connection is this.

        You have Colin Kaepernick and company arguing that police habitually gun down unarmed black men, that that our criminal justice system oppresses people of color and gives white people a free pass for their crimes

        And then you have another bunch of people arguing for stricter gun control laws- which will be enforced by these same cops and prosecuted under that same criminal justice system Kaepernick and company claims oppresses people of color.

        There is going to be a collision between these two groups.

        Joshua Black (I think you blogged about him before) pointed it out.

    • Y’know… Michael… Socrates used to ask questions designed to forward conversations by making people think. You aren’t Socrates. You should just say what you mean.

  15. Glenn Logan

    Here is a very interesting, and I think useful article at Five Thirty Eight that explains why mass shootings are a poor way to understand gun violence. Consider:

    You could, theoretically, cut down on all these deaths with a blanket removal of guns from the U.S. entirely — something that is as politically unlikely as it is legally untenable. Barring that, though, policies aimed at reducing gun deaths will likely need to be targeted at the specific people who commit or are victimized by those incidents. And mass shootings just aren’t a good proxy for the diversity of gun violence. Policies that reduce the number of homicides among young black men — such as programs that build trust between community members, police and at-risk youth and offer people a way out of crime — probably won’t have the same effect on suicides among elderly white men. Background checks and laws aimed at preventing a young white man with a history of domestic violence from obtaining a gun and using it in a mass shooting might not prevent a similar shooting by an older white male with no criminal record.

    • Yet mass shootings ARE the prime push, because the target has ALWAYS been banning firearms that put the citizenry at a relative par with the soldiery. Mass shootings are almost always perpetrated with automatic rifles, whereas the all other killings / assaults are perpetrated by handguns, knives, or blunt force objects. So, focus on the mass shootings and you can justify the removal of the real target of gun control.

      • It is similar how Jared Taylor and company focuses on black-on-white violent crime instead of violent crime in general.

        Taylor and company wants to abrogate equal protection and bring back Jim Crow laws and sundown towns- or worse.

        The anti-gun cult wants to ban guns.

        That is why they focus on a strict subset of crimes, even though crime has gone down.

  16. Rick M.

    How do you stop this from happening?

    • You can’t.
      Or have a police state.

      • Rick M.

        Is it collateral damage from the 2nd? If so – is it worth the price?
        Is it a social version of the Bost Conjecture or other unsolvable problem?
        How do you mimimize this without debilitating the 2nd?

      • Sue Denim

        Other countries have managed it. Are they all police states by your definition?

        Example – Australia. In terms of gun ownership, about 80% of what it was before the gun buyback. But the composition has changed. No semi auto or fully auto weapons. Ownership of bolt action and shotguns in rural areas might be even higher in Australia than the US. Hunting using semi auto weapons with armor piercing ammo and silencers … unknown.

        They’re not afraid of their police. They don’t have reason to be.

        Anyway, repeated massacres at schools and concerts is an inevitability in the US now. I don’t think there’s any level that isn’t considered acceptable.

        • This is rhetoric without substance SD. Other countries aren’t this one. Other countries don’t hve ur traditions or values. Other countries don’t have a national character that distrusts government and authority. Good.

          I said you would need a police state to prevent such episodes in the US. Australia is irrelevant, and a straw man.

        • Hunting using semi auto weapons with armor piercing ammo and silencers … unknown.

          How do you know what goes on the the Outback? Hundreds of miles from nanny state authorities, do you think these guns were simply given up?

          Anyway, name a true armor piercing bullet that is not outlawed already in the USA. I’ll save you the trouble: none. Zilch. Nada. Nichts. This is partisan bullshit, repeated (I hope) in ignorance.

          Using sound suppressors to hunt is good sense. They are not ‘silencers’ as they only cut about half the sound from any medium sized animal killing rifle. The hunter’s ears are better protected, and an ethical second shot is possible (running shots are unethical since a wounding shot is much more likely) since the animal may not spook when you miss (many hear where the bullet struck, behind them, and run to you, if fact.)

          No semi auto or fully auto weapons

          None not in criminal hands, since the laws converted the law abiding into criminals.

          • Jeff

            Suppressed semi-auto rifles (even the dreaded AR-15!) are becoming the go-to tool of choice in hunting feral hogs in places where it’s legal (like Texas). They travel in groups, and using a suppressed rifle allows a skilled hunter to take several at once, before they scatter to the four winds. This is the only way to get ahead of their exploding numbers, since they breed so prolifically. They’re an invasive species that does billions of dollars of damage to farms and wild ecosystems.

            So yes, semi-auto rifles and silencers have a legitimate role in hunting. People who say things like “Nobody needs a 30 round magazine to hunt deer” are ignoring the fact that deer aren’t the only animal whose population needs to be controlled.

  17. Michael R.

    I think the worst part of the aftermath of this tragedy is I don’t know who to trust. Should I trust reporting on this event that comes from CBS after their vice president announced on social media that she had no sympathy for the victims because many were Republicans? When President Obama tweeted “A violent felon can buy the exact same weapon over the internet with no background check, no questions asked.” — @POTUS #StopGunViolence”, the media fact-checked this and stated it was ‘mostly true’, so should I trust any of them? What news outlet can I trust to give me a truthful account of what happened?

    Should I trust the FBI? James Hodgkinson was a member of numerous anti-Republican newsgroups (like “Terminate the Republican Party”), believed Donald Trump was president because of Russian collusion, took photos of the baseball field after the New York Times published an article on where and when the Congressmen would practice as well as the fact that there would be little security, travelled to the D.C. area and was living out of his van right next to the baseball field for days before the attack, Googled “2017 Republican Convention” hours before the attack, and asked “Is this the Republican or Democratic team?” before firing on the Republican Congressmen. This man shot up a bunch of Congressmen and what did the FBI say about all this? They said that Hodgkinson “…had no target in mind” when he shot them, that they didn’t know who he planned on targeting, and that he may have just “happened upon” the baseball game and “spontaneously” started shooting. Should I trust the FBI on this one? All the information at the beginning of this paragraph was from the FBI and the latter part is the conclusion they drew from the info. The FBI also said they didn’t wiretap Trump Tower, then admitted that they did…at least twice.

    Very little of substance is being released about Stephen Paddock. It appears he was an unbelievable gambler, winning tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars regularly, with over 200 law enforcement reports of his financial transactions in the last 3 years (over $10,000, I assume). His girlfriend was a bigamist, had two Social Security cards with different birthdates (and years), and was in the Philippines where he transferred at least $100,000 to her recently. The press and FBI have been reporting this as if it is unremarkable. But what if this guy was subscribing to a bunch of Islamist discussion groups? What if he wasn’t an unbelievable gambler, but was laundering money for ISIS (you put tens of thousands in a slot machine, spin a few times, hit print, and claim the ‘winnings’ as legal gambling revenue) and sending it off to Muslim terrorists in the Phillippines? Would the FBI tell me or would they just say “…there is no apparent motive.” Would the press tell me either?

    This lack of credibility in our government and press makes incidents like this even worse for society. It makes us more alone, afraid, and susceptible to conspiracy theories. I suspect that was the point of destroying those institutions and the frightening thing is that I don’t know how we will get them back.

    • Chris

      The FBI also said they didn’t wiretap Trump Tower, then admitted that they did…at least twice.

      The FBI has not admitted that they wiretapped Trump Tower, and there is no evidence that they have done so.

    • 1. Comment of the Day, Michael.
      2. It takes a massacre to get you back commenting? That’s a high price, but at least there is a silver lining. First time since 2015! I have missed you, and I know the clarity and discourse here has as well.

      Thanks!

  18. Rick M

    This is an example of gluttony statistics with 59 dead and 500 wounded. Yet in an average day close to 100 die of gun deaths and a few hundred are injured. Crickets on that. Too bad.

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