Let’s Talk… About Gun Control


For the last couple of weeks since I wrote my letter to Congress, I’ve been trying to foster dialogue with the people of the Internet and the people of my city (hello, Colorado Springs!).

This has not been easy.

A lot of the replies that I’ve received via my blog or Twitter account have been painful. Painful is a strange word to use, but that is what comes up when I transcend the flash of anger that appears when I first hear certain things: pain.

When people ask me, “What do you think about the armed citizen that stopped the shooter in your shooting?” As if I didn’t realize she was a part of my story.
When people assert that people are the problems, not guns. As if it were not bullets that killed my sisters.
When people say that laws don’t dissuade criminals. As if they don’t set norms in society of what violence equates to, as if they didn’t set the norm that the shooter adhered to.

The list goes on. Each of these replies first pierces my heart and honestly? I want to lash out.

I want to be the same exact person I see all over Twitter. Insulting, and raging, and cursing at people I disagree with. Sometimes, I admit it, I degrade to being that exact person because it hurts so damn much.

But if I can take a step back and look at it for a second, if I get curious, something happens that changes everything.

I meet people.

I’ve heard so many stories in the past 2 weeks. Stories that I am honored to carry, and that you can go read in the comments of my blog. I’ve had amazing conversations with people I would have called “the enemy”, had I continued to react out of pain.

At this point, that means much more to me than being right. I don’t want to be on the “right” side of this discussion. I want to truly meet people and hear their heart.

So while I’m now going to tell you about some of my personal beliefs about gun violence, I want to ask that you do the same. Tell me your stories. And tell me WHY you have them. What beliefs are behind your stories? I’ll trade you, okay? But let’s be people first, and issues secondary to that. Meet me here – I promise to hold your story in a safe place in my heart.

1) What about the “armed citizen” who stopped your shooting?

Several people have asked why I didn’t mention her in my letter. Here’s the simple truth: she didn’t factor into my letter. My letter was about me, what I saw and experienced. I wasn’t her. I didn’t take the shooter down. Am I grateful to her?

Here’s my story. I remember clearly when someone came and told me that the shooter had been stopped. I instantly felt weak with relief. I never wanted him dead. I just wanted him stopped. So yes. I am grateful to her. I’m grateful she was trained enough to stop him.

The follow up question to that is, what DO I think about armed civilians?

This is tricky for me. And I think there is two parts to this, because I live in a state that allows open carry as well as concealed. So I’ll address both.

a) Are you against conceal carry?

My short answer: no. I think I speak to that in my letter. I asked people to think about their responsibility if they chose to carry, and here’s what I mean by that. Imagine your daughter, son, sister, brother, friend laying dead on the ground from a gunshot. Think about the horror and pain that would cause you. And then think about whether you could inflict that harm on someone else. If you can then I think you know the responsibility of carrying and should be allowed to do so. I know there are people who can do this, because I’ve talked to them in my blog comments.

Another thing I want people who conceal carry for protection to think about. Adrenaline. I promise you, you have no idea what adrenaline will add to the situation until you are actually smack dab in the middle of it. Adrenaline also does weird things to your body. When my sisters were killed, I thought I heard shots coming from one direction. It turns out that the shots were coming from the exact opposite direction as I had supposed. Don’t underestimate the role of adrenaline. If you want to carry and you want to carry for self-protection, train in situations where you are guaranteed to feel adrenaline.

b) Do you think open carry should be allowed?


Why? Here’s one simple reason. As a gun violence survivor, it is extremely triggering for me to see someone carrying their gun in public. Just a few weeks ago, I saw a man open carrying at my laundromat. It was terrifying.

Honestly, I am wracking my brain to think of a reason to carry openly what you could easily conceal under your jacket or shirt. And seriously, if you think of one, please let me know in the comments. I’ll gladly consider a good argument.

2) Is it the person, or the gun?

I think it’s both. I wrote about what I think goes on behind violence here. So yes, I think violent people are violent. BUT, I also think it’s the gun, because a gun provides an ease in killing other that no other easily-owned weapon provides. (so, I’m not talking tanks, bombs, drones, etc) There is no other weapon that makes it just THAT easy to kill someone, and that is why I think it’s the gun, too.

3) What about regulation?

So, here’s where things get tricky and where I hear a LOT of contention. The very second I mention regulation, we all get angry (me included). I have lots of thoughts on regulation, and I’ll describe them in terms of my personal thoughts and feelings.

Here’s why I think universal background checks (UBCs) are a good idea: I feel safer knowing that we are aware of who is purchasing firearms and whether they are mentally or physically able. I can feel secure knowing that if someone owns a firearm, it’s for a good reason, and I will trust that person if they ever need to defend me.

[On this subject, can someone explain to me in the comments the issue that some of you have with form 4473 on the UBCs? Still trying to learn about this]

Here’s why I think and feel licensing firearms is a good idea: If firearms are licensed, I can safely know where the firearm has come from. I can know that the person legally acquired that firearm, and again, presumably is fit to use it. Therefore I feel safe around that person knowing that they have what it takes to own that firearm. THAT BEING SAID I also have some fear around it being used as surveillance, because things tend to get twisted like that in the US.

Here’s why I think and feel laws around gun use are a good idea: I don’t feel like laws are great at stopping criminals. But having a law about what gun use is legal makes me feel safe, because it establishes that certain kinds of violence are not okay in our society. If I know that the government thinks certain violence is not okay, I feel more secure because I feel the government takes that seriously, and will protect me and any citizen who is in a situation that goes against that law.

Here’s why I think Congress should get involved: From my understanding of things, through a variety of ways Congress is blocked from allowing research funding to go to the CDC for mass shootings. I want to know more about mass shootings so we can see predicates to them – what personality markers are indicators? What are common denominators? We know none of this, and it would make me feel much safer to base any legislation off of solid research.

And now, it’s your turn, because this is about dialogue.

I want to hear from you. But I want to hear from a different perspective. What I want to know is your WHY. Tell me about YOU – Why do you think and feel that background checks aren’t helpful? Why do you feel afraid, upset, angry about licensing firearms in general? What do you think the role of laws are in our society, and why do you feel strongly about not passing laws? YOU. Not just political ideologies here. Mainly – your stories and your heart.

I look forward to hearing and learning from you.

103 Replies to “Let’s Talk… About Gun Control”

  1. I wish more people were willing and able to think in depth about the issues and share those thoughts as you have done here. As you’ve experienced far too many people react with slogans and sayings. I have no story to share with you. I have no experience with guns. I’ve never touched one and have only seen them on the hips of police officers and in the movies. I am aghast at how awash with guns our country is and how complex and multi-layered the problem is. It’s not just guns or people. It’s mental health and a lot of other things. Until we start talking and get past the slogans and the sayings, the problem will remain just that. A problem.

    1. I agree. That’s what I’m hoping to provoke here with my posts – get past the slogans, saying, platforms, etc, to what people really feel and think themselves. What is going on behind all of that stuff. I think it is a multi-layered complex problem, and it’s going to take all of us really talking to each other to fix it!

      1. Kingmidget – You raise a number of questions in your reply. Please see my reply under Jermbarnes comment.

        Also, I am sorry but I somehow cannot find your main point. Can you please make it more clear for me and I will be happy to respond.

      2. I lost a son to gun violence read my article “Open Letter to whomever it may concern” the holidays are the hardest

    2. No question the problem and the solution are complex, however I have to ask, without any knowledge or experience with guns – why are you “aghast at how awash with guns” our country is? Perhaps unspoken, but why are you not aghast with how awash our country is with violent criminals? Why are you not aghast with how awash our country is with laws that are not enforced? Are you aghast with the number of mentally ill that walk our streets without treatment, or are you just worried about it? Are you aghast at how awash our country is with gun-free zones, which is where every single mass shooting in the last 20 years has occurred with the exception of one? Are you aghast with how awash our country is with politicians that voted against Kate’s Law just yesterday. You might recall that she was murdered by a 7 time deported felon in San Francisco. How about being aghast with how awash our country is with firearms purchase denials (over 2.3 million) and less than 1% actually being prosecuted? Just curious – why firearms?

      1. Wow. The subject was guns, I expressed some basic thoughts on that topic while also stating that it is complex and Multi-layered and you apparently think that it is only guns that I am aghast at. This is why mutually respectful conversations on this issue and many others are so impossible. I’ll give you a clue — I’m equally aghast about many of the other things you mention, but not all of them. Whether I have knowledge or experience with guns is irrelevant to whether I have the right to question how many guns exist in our society without you assuming you know anything about my other views. I notice you failed to respond to the substantive point of my comment. Who would you want to be armed in gun free zones? Anybody and everybody? No thanks. Teachers in schools? No thanks. Who exactly? Should we have armed guards everywhere? No thanks. Imagine that. Armed guards to protect us from our fellow citizens because we can’t come up with a common sense approach to guns in our society. I have no interest in living in an armed camp. Maybe you do.

    3. This article caught my eyes. I am a mother that lost and son to gun violence. I wrote President Barack Obama about stricter gun laws two years ago and he wrote me back with his seal so I just want to say is they hear us.

  2. I’ve never understood how people are OK licensing and registering their vehicles, but If asked to do the same for their guns, it’s an infringement of rights. I think making this universal would be a good start

    1. The reason people are OK licensing and registering their vehicles is that driving is a priviledge and not a right. The 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of the United States to provide an individual the right to possess/use a firearm (Heller). As such licensing & registering is seen as an infringement on this right. Much like you don’t have to be licensed, nor registered to voice your opinion (1st Amendment) or to exercise any of our other rights as outlined in the US Constitution. It is as simple as that.

      1. Yes, and the Supreme Court has been known to get things wrong. Heller is one of those things. The tortured logic and mental gymnastics of the majority opinion are a testament to result-oriented opinions everywhere.

      2. Earl – how do you think the issue of gun ownership should be dealt with, then, in an age where gun violence is a serious problem in our society?

      3. Kingmidget – Obviously I got under your skin. That was not my intention, but the level of firearms ignorance in this country is astounding and it is often those that have the least knowledge about firears are the ones that argue most vehemently against them. For someone that admits they know nothing about guns, you seem to have an expert opinion on Heller so I will assume that you are a legal scholar, practitioneer, or at least affectionado. Please let me know where you find “tortured logic and mental gymnastics of the majority opinion”, I will be happy to respond. Also, please point me to the case law that has found the Supreme Court to have ruled incorrectly? Thank you.

        Laurie – Assuming that we are going to accept that the 2nd Amendment is here to stay (although one could argue that it can be changed, which it can), but for arguements sake, lets assume it is here to stay, and as has been found by SCOTUS to be an individual right then I would argue that we should be focusing on those things that will 1) keep firearms out of the hands of those that should not have them, while protecting the rights of those that should, 2) holding those responsible for the commission of violence by gun accountable, and 3) Protecting ourselves and those that choose not to protect themselves. What does this look like? Sense you asked about MY world, it includes ALL of these – not SOME of these, as they all work together:

        1) Universal Background Checks – The NICS system needs fixed with required 24 hour reporting from appropriate agencies (does not currently exist), sufficient staffing to eliminate the “hold” category, sufficient staffing to address additional volume from private sale checks, and absolute prosecution of anyone found violating the UBC laws. Less than 1% of current BGC’s result in conviction. Minimum of 5 year prison sentence.

        2) Mandatory Sentencing – Anyone committing any felony with the use of a firearm will receive not less than 15 years in prison. There can be no plea bargans down to a lessor offense.

        3) Full Enforcement of Existing Laws – All existing firearms laws would be fully enforced, or repealed if they are too draconian. Why have a law if you are not going to enforce it.

        4) Universal Shall Issue Concealed Carry – Right now each state makes up it’s own laws regarding concealed carry, which makes it very difficult and confusing for law abiding citizens to carry to protect themselves and others. It should be uniform across the US.

        5) Required Training For Concealed Carry – An NRA approved Firearm Safety course would be required of all persons applying for a Concealed Carry permit, which must be successfully passed within 3 months of receiving the permit (this is for those who have an immediate need, for example woman with a restraining order against husband/boyfriend, but cannot immediately take the course). A temporary permit could be issued until such time as a safety course was taken.

        6) Elimination of Gun Free Zones – Any and all GFZ’s would be eliminated. If the owner of private property want’s to declare their property a GFZ, fine however they accept criminal and civil liability for the protection of all persons using their property with permission.

        7) Trained Armed Guards At Schools – Children are required to attend school, yet are unable to defend themseleves, so we must.

        8) Bring back involuntary hospitalization for the mentally ill.

        Now, will the above eliminate all violence by gun? No. Will the above eliminate all mass murders? No. Will the above eliminate all suicides? No. Will the above eliminate all negligent homicides (accidental shootings)? No. But, I do believe that it would do as much, if not more than just confiscating firearms, because the only people that are going to turn in their firearms are the law-abiding owners.

        Those are my thoughts on it. How would gun ownership be handled in your worlds?

      4. Earl, thank you for this thoughtful and considered response. I happen to agree with several of your points: 1-5, to be exact. I think that all those should be done. I’m possibly with you on 6 as well, but not sure on that yet. I completely disagree on 7 & 8. I think 8 especially reinforces the stigma against the mentally ill. But I would like to hear your logic and thoughts behind points 6-8, if you would be willing to explain?
        Gun ownership in my world would be handled very similarly to the other points you mentioned. Shore up existing regulations. Universal issue conceal carry. Training requirement for those who DO conceal carry. I also like the reverse registration idea that I believe Bernadette mentioned, depending on how that is handled. I have to agree that registration can be a tricky subject. I’m also an advocate for police to carry body cams, but that is the EXACT issue I have with that – how can we make sure the police use them for reporting and not surveillance? So to – how can we make sure a gun registry is used for reporting, but not surveillance? I need to ask someone smarter than I about that one. 😉
        Further than that – I think the background issues in society as a whole need to be addressed. Why do we get hung up around this subject of guns? I personally think it’s fear, and that fear I believe needs to be dealt with as well. Unfortunately people more easily follow outside demands rather than inner guidance… when following inner guidance, one usually is led away from fear, at least in my experience. So I think both/and is necessary – deal with society, and deal with gun rights.

    2. My apologies Laurie, but I don’t always get a “Reply” option below people’s comments. I am replying to your inquiry regarding points 6, 7, and 8 below:

      6) Elimination of Gun Free Zones: My thought here is not that I want everyone carrying guns around everywhere, although I am not against that. My desire for eliminating gun free zones is so that we don’t have “preferential killing zones”. I believe, that those who do mass murder preferentially choose gun free zones because they know they will find the lowest probability for meaningful resistance in these zones. I want to eliminate them, so that they are no more attractive to a mass murderer than any place else. Will it truly have an effect? I have no idea. However, like most of those posting in this dialog, it is clear that gun free zones are not working, and I am grasping for a potential solution that 1) keep firearms out of the hands of those that should not have them, while protecting the rights of those that should, 2) holding those responsible for the commission of violence by gun accountable, and 3) Protecting ourselves and those that choose not to protect themselves.

      7) I believe that anywhere people are unable to protect themselves, or are incapable of protecting themselves, we have an obligation to provide protection for them. Schools are a place where not only are people unable to protect themselves (gun free zone), but the vast majority are incapable of protecting themselves (children). Thus it is our responsibility to do so. The only viable way I can see to accomplish this is to have armed guards. You can have all the metal detectors you want, all the automated gates you want, but in the end those can be defeated and the children left unprotected. Yes, an armed guard can also be defeated, but I feel this is the ultimate expression of our desire to protect our children and should be enacted.

      8) Involuntary Hospitalization of the Mentally Ill: My goal here isn’t to incarcerate anyone and everyone that has a mental illness. My goal here is to see that those presenting a danger to themselves and others receive the care they need. I am probably showing my ignorance of the issue by suggesting involuntary hospitalization. Someone indicated that there is 72 hour involuntary hospitalization. I did not know that was available. That is a good thing, but what do we do with the person that is dangerous to themselves and others beyound 72 hours, but does not agree to treatment? We need a way to ensure such people get the treatment they need and do not have access to firearms. That is all I am trying to accomplish.

  3. Laurie – First I want to applaud in your efforts to open an honest and non-confrontational dialog. This is what is missing in most if not all of our national discussions. I am a 51 year old man that has been hunting and shooting since I was 4 years old. I have spent 35 of those years teaching firearms safety as both an NRA instructor and as a Wyoming and Washington state Hunter Safety instructor. I have spent the last 5 years as a Concealed Carry instructor for Utah, Arizona, Oregon, and Florida. No instruction is required for Washington. Lastly, I owned and operated a shooting range and firearms store for three years. So here are my thoughts:

    1) Background Checks: Good idea that has been poorly implemented. They do stop purchasers not deemed eligible to possess firearms from purchasing them from “licensed dealers”. Most states do not require them for private sales (that is Universal Background Checks). These checks do not stop true criminals, but operating a gun store demonstrated that they do stop a lot of lower level criminals (restraining order, mental instability, etc.). The problem is that the NICS system has a ton of errors in it and not all police departments are up to date on reporting information to it. Additionally, if a person is put on hold, the dealer can release the firearm after a three day wait from NICS. NICS often does not get back in three days. I believe this is how the shooter in Charleston got his firearm. There is no requirement in most states for private sellers to do a background check. Yes, there are laws against selling a firearm to a person whom you know is not eligible, but the key is “you know”. If I don’t know you and I sell you a firearm I have no prior knowledge and thus cannot be held criminally liable. The problem with requiring private checks is that there is no national system to faciliatate this. So these are the problems with NICS – the other problem is that most fear that UBC’s will result in a national registry. BC’s have not resulted in a national registry, but I understand the concerns. Frankly, politicians cannot be trusted.

    2) Licensing Firearms: The elephant in the room with this is the development of a national registry. UBC’s I will support because I know we can do it without developing a national registry. I will never support a national registry. Another problem with Licensing, is if we assume a training requirement prior to licensing, then what do we do about the woman that has a restraining order against her husband, boyfriend, etc. Are we going to tell her that she cannot have a gun until she completes the training course? This is a problem that I am sure we could find a good solution to, but it is one that needs addressed. I think the major problem is the national registry.

    3) Laws: They are a very useful tool for societies, however we have literally 1,000’s of firearm laws across the country that are not enforced. We need to start enforcing the laws before we make additional laws. Once this is done, I am all for additional laws focus on the accountable person – not the law abiding citizen. How about mandatory 15 year sentences for the use of a firearm in committing a crime?

    Your thought?

    1. I agree with you on enforcing laws that have not been enforced. There is a LOT of regulation that isn’t enforced so far.
      I’m curious to hear though – what brought you to these beliefs about regulation, registry, etc? You mention the registry several times. Why are you against it? What is the background with that? I’d like to hear.

    2. Earl … I see no reason to discuss the issue further with you. You make assumptions about me and my beliefs based on the very minimal comments I’ve already provided. As long as you do that, there is no way to have a credible and open-minded discussion. As for Heller, anybody with an open mind on the topic would be able to see that it was a result-oriented decision just as Roe v. Wade was. As for when the Supreme Court has got it wrong before. Dred Scott is the historical example. Citizens United is a recent example. And there are plenty of reasons to believe they got it wrong with Heller as well. Or, put it another way, by reaching the decision they did in Heller, the Supreme Court was expressly stating that prior iterations of the Court that failed to rule that way had got it wrong. Enjoy your day.

    3. “8) Bring back involuntary hospitalization for the mentally ill.”

      IMHO that is completely unfair. As it stands now, one can be involuntarily committed for 72 hours, but making it indefinite is completely unfair. For example, in a perfect world, a Bipolar person who is in the active stages of his/her cycle should NOT be permitted to purchase a firearm, but there is no reason to involuntarily hospitalize them indefinitely just because they ARE Bipolar. That makes no sense. I also don’t even understand how this fits into the rest of your list — the others make sense regarding gun control, but this one….doesn’t. It just seems to be another way to bring higher stigma to those that don’t really need the help to label and think of themselves as broken or bad.

      1. Marlapaige – Perhaps my ignorance of the mental health issue is showing in my comment regarding involuntary hospitalization. I am not try to stigmatize mental health issues. What I am trying to do is ensure that someone who has mental health issues 1) Receives care and 2) Is not allowed to possess a firearm if/when they are a danger to themselves or others. So maybe there are better ways to achieve my desired result without involuntary hospitalization. You indicate that a Bipolar person should not be indefinately hospitalized. I agree. I don’t think anyone should be indefinately hospitalized. They should only be hospitalize when they need to be hospitalized. However, I don’t think that a Bipolar person should be allowed to purchase a firearm, even when they are not in an active stage. So feel free to suggest other ways to ensure that individuals with mental health issues 1) Receives care and 2) Is not allowed to purchase firearms.

  4. Laurie – My concerns regarding registration is predicated on a simple fact, the only reason that one would have for registering firearms is so they can be confiscated at some later date. It is “settled law” as the present party likes to use regarding abortion and Obamacare, that we have an individual right to possess firearms given to us by our 2nd Amendment. As long as we have that right, guns can never be confiscated and thus registry is serves no purpose. If you want to register guns, then I suggest working to amend the US Constitution is the first step. At that point, I and others will have no leg to stand upon related to registration of firearms.

    1. My concern is that those who should NOT have a firearm (criminals, mentally ill) do not have access. A question then came to mind based on your feelings about a national registry: What would you think of a “reverse registry” that tracks individuals who are declared not fit to possess firearms (temporarily or permanently)? Something similar to a driver’s license revocation or suspension? Do you think that, properly implemented and used, it could be a reasonable alternative?

      1. Bernadette – I do think that would be a reasonable alternative, however I believe that in theory it already exist. It is the NICS database that is used to conduct background checks. Persons determined by a court to be mentally unfit to possess firearms are supposed to be reported to the NICS database. Part of the problem is that is an unfunded mandate from the government and thus often is not a priority for the municipalities. As such, there are delays in reporting and there have been instances where a person was approved for a NICS checked firearms transfer who should not have been. I 100% support improving the accuracy and timliness of the NICS database!

    2. There’s no question there are numerous reasons for registering guns. If registration only exists for the purpose of confiscation, let me know the last time a car was confiscated by the authorities with whom you need to register it. The other reality is that registering a gun does not violate the U.S. Constitution. Please explain how you think it does.

      As for some of your other comments — it is clear that you are in the camp of people who believe that the problem with guns is that there aren’t enough of them out there. Hence your belief in doing away with gun free zones and in allowing concealed carry anywhere and everywhere. It is simply illogical to assume that gun violence will go down if only we had more guns in the hands of citizens walking the streets. It’s possible that the incidence of mass shootings would go down, but other incidents of gun violence would go up. And I’m still waiting to hear how, if everybody is walking the street with a gun, how you know who the good guys and bad guys are. And given your experience with humans, why you would possibly want that. Take away the clearly mentally ill who should be institutionalized, how do you possibly feel comfortable with so many guns out there in the hands of people who are on the edge, who are unbalanced, who got depressed this year but were OK before then. Think about, think about the people who exist in your daily life. I can’t imagine how it is possible to feel comfortable if you knew those people were walking around with guns. I don’t care how much training is required — they’re humans, with weaknesses and issues and problems that don’t necessarily span a life time, but can come up at any moment, and in that moment, BAM! somebody is dead.

    3. Earl … I want to retract a comment I made. I don’t think having more guns out there would reduce the number of mass shootings. Almost all of these individuals ultimately want to die anyway, whether they are shot by a cop, a citizen, or by their own hand, I don’t think it would matter. And I think many of them wouldn’t mind fulfilling a wharped fantasy of dying in an armed battle with armed citizens. That’s all armchair psychology not worth a penny, but these mass shootings are committed by people who aren’t thinking rationally.

      I also want to add this, I find it fascinating that you believe UBCs and requiring training classes would be constitutional but registering guns could not. I’d love to hear the distinction you draw that justifies that position.

      1. Kingmidget – I was under the understanding at 7:38 AM on 10/22 you had effectively ended our “open dialog”…

        In the interest of promoting “open dialog” I will entertain your questions directed at me.

        I don’t believe that I said that registering guns is unconstitutional. If I did, then I am in error and apologize for that. What I believe I stated is that I worry registering guns could/would lead to confiscation and cited a number of historical situations where it in fact did. While historical performance is not a guarantee of actual performance, history does have a way of repeating itself. Clearly, confiscation of firearms is a direct violation of our constitional rights.

        Additionally, after your ended our “open dialog” you then challenged me with the question of why have they not confiscated cars? The registration of cars is done for the purpose of collecting taxes. You register your car so that you can pay taxes on your car. You are also incorrect on your statement they have not confiscated cars. Cars are regularly confiscated for any number of reasons, including not paying your taxes, liens on your estate, etc.

    4. “registering firearms is so they can be confiscated at some later date”
      In some cases, this may not be a bad idea. As I explain on my site, my cousin had his firearms confiscated at one point (they WERE returned to him), but it was a safety issue. Knowing how many guns there are in one household can make that particular part a lot safer for everyone.

      1. Marlapaige – I can’t argue with you on this one. I can certainly see where in some instances it would be good to know where to get the gun. In the first 20 years of the life of a gun, it is actually possible to do, if the firearm has not been sold privately. FFL dealers must maintain what they call a “Bound-Book” that has where the firearm was obtained, and to whom it was transferred. Police and others can follow the trail of a firearm to find out who has it. This is not required of a private seller. Additionally, there is no easy way to trace a persons name to a firearm, only to trace a firearm to a person’s name.

        However, I continue to be against any form of firearms registration due to concerns that it will ultimately be used to violate the 2nd Amendment.

    5. Elsewhere you suggest that you never said that registration of guns was unconstitutional. Here you state “If you want to register guns, then I suggest working to amend the US Constitution is the first step. At that point, I and others will have no leg to stand upon related to registration of firearms.” In another comment, you also state ” As such licensing & registering is seen as an infringement on this right. Much like you don’t have to be licensed, nor registered to voice your opinion (1st Amendment) or to exercise any of our other rights as outlined in the US Constitution. It is as simple as that.”

      Seriously, Earl, if those comments don’t establish that you believe registration is unconstitutional, I’m not sure what would. Unfortunately, it’s based on what you seem to believe is the only possible reason for registration of guns — confiscation. That’s simply not the case. If the intent was to confiscate guns, there is a simpler way to do it. Just confiscate them. There are a number of legitimate, non-confiscatory reasons to require registration of guns, just as there are legitimate, non-confiscatory reasons to register cars, boats, bicycles, and all manner of things. As long as you insist that the only reason for a registry is confiscation, you appear to be part of the lunatic fringe.

      So, I have a couple of questions. Do you acknowledge that, regardless of what Heller says, that the individual right to bear arms is not absolute? And then, regardless of that answer, do you recognize that the Heller court acknowledges that the right is not absolute? And since we’re on the topic of Heller, wouldn’t you agree that the Heller court pretty much ignored any logical and well-placed historical argument about what “A well-regulated militia” as the prefatory clause to the amendment actually meant in the context of the whole?

      I was going to ask you also how you think more guns in society via no gun free zones and more concealed carry would make us safer but I noticed you attempted to answer it in a comment to somebody else. Your answer is fascinating. You don’t know if it will. You actually have no idea. So, without any idea whether it will actually work, you’re willing to put more guns on the streets, more guns in the hands of humans, with all of their weaknesses and frailties, and … what cross your fingers. I’m sorry, but that’s a headsmacker to me.

      Elsewhere you also tried to suggest that auto accidents kill many more people than guns and suggested that increasing the legal age to drive would eliminate thousands of deaths. I’m assuming you do recognize the difference in the social utility of a car versus a gun. Let me help you … a car offers many more legitimate uses than a gun. And given that, it’s not quite right to compare the two and suggest that each should be limited in the same way, wouldn’t you agree? If you really believe it is right to treat each object identically, I’d love to know why.

      Yes, I was frustrated by your initial responses here in which you put me in a box based on a pretty limited comment I made. Here’s your chance to show you actually want to have an open dialogue on the issue.

      1. Kingmidget – I have re-read our entire string of dialog and find that we are not having an open dialog, but engaging in screaming “I right, your wrong!” louder than the other guy, confrontation and innuendo, and one upmanship. I take full responsibility for this, but do not feel that it is doing a thing to address violence by gun or is in keeping with the spirit of what Laurie had intended. As such, I choose to respectifully exit our dialog and wish you a good day.

      2. And this is why true open dialog on so many issues is impossible. Far too many people when challenged don’t want to explore the core set of their beliefs. You don’t want to admit that the rights protected under the 2nd amendment are not absolute because it would undercut many of your positions. You don’t want to admit that putting more guns out there when you admit you have no idea if it will make a difference is a head smacking concept for most people. So, apparently, what you believe an open dialog is that you get to explain your position, provide some clarifying thoughts on that position, and then when questioned about the basis for your position and thoughts, that’s just oneupsmanship and confrontation. Here’s a question, if you can’t challenge me on my beliefs and I can’t challenge you on your beliefs how do we ever get to a solution. Neither of us will change our minds if we don’t challenge each other. Without that challenge, there is no dialogue.

  5. Reblogged this on The Outraged Progressive and commented:
    Here’s my considered opinion for whatever worth you ascribe to it:

    If people must be required to undergo training, licensing, and insurance purchasing to own and operate a vehicle because of the potential for causing injury or death to other people through misuse, then so too must people be required to go through similar measures for owning, carrying, and using guns of any kind. This means universal background checks including state-to-state, keeping files on record, mandatory rigorous training courses, licenses with regular renewals, and liability insurance, before being allowed to own and carry.

    Gun fanatics forget, deliberately or not, that the first four words of the 2nd Amendment are “A well regulated militia”. Not everyone was trusted with firearms, and the specific types of firearms to be used for military or peacekeeping purposes were regulated at local and state levels. Even before and during the revolutionary war, and in the years immediately following, people were forbidden from carrying their hunting guns openly out of season for fear of causing public panic—they had their share of drunks and crazies, too—and the militias and constabulary had regulations for keeping, maintaining, and using their firearms as well. This was to ensure both the public safety and the well organized and trained public defense of the community.

    Years ago I was walking home from work late at night, same as I usually did. It was rainy and cloudy and I was carrying my umbrella, which was long, black, and had a wooden handle. I walked past a bar and received some funny looks from the people gathered outside, but thought nothing of them as I went on my way. A little further up the street I heard a noise behind me and turned around to see two cops standing behind the open doors of their parked squad car, their shotguns trained on me, ordering me to “drop the gun or we’ll shoot ya!” Figuring they must have mistaken my umbrella for a rifle, I immediately dropped it, told them I was unarmed, and explained the situation to them. After inspecting that my umbrella was what I said it was, they went on their way, explaining that some people down the street reported seeing a man carrying a rifle. They must have, in their drunken state, imagined my umbrella was a gun. I shudder to think what would have happened if I’d actually been carrying a rifle around late at night in “exercise” of my 2nd Amendment rights. I’ve had guns leveled at me before and I am telling you right now I never want them pointed at me again for any reason.

    More recently, there have been public panics incited by gun fanatics openly carrying their assault rifles around trying to “educate” the public. What they ended up doing was scaring a lot of people for no good reason. With all the mass shootings that have become commonplace, almost on a daily basis, carrying guns openly serves no other purpose than to intimidate people through the threat of violence. It’s as though open-carriers are daring anyone to start something so they can play out their fantasies of being ‘Dirty Harry’ or ‘Matt Dillon’. It’s a childish indulgence with the potential for injury and death of innocent people. There is no legitimate reason for it.

    We as a nation need to grow up and learn how to curb our violent tendencies. There is nothing wrong with regulating gun ownership and use so as to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the violently insane, and to ensure that those law-abiding citizens who conceal-carry are adequately trained. That is only common sense. It’s about being smart about how we exercise our 2nd Amendment rights. It’s about protecting our communities in a manner that preserves civil rights and liberties.

    1. A very reasonable and rational approach, well stated… Agree! I have not had the chance to read all replies here, nor to state my own views, but I applaud Laurie’s determined efforts to get a true dialogue going, and bypass the rhetoric and bluster on either side. It is precisely these topics that draw such impassioned responses from us that demand to be examined calmly and civilly…. Everyone stands to benefit and learn, even if our core responses remain unchanged.

      1. Thank you Bernadette! I am indeed determined to make this subject a dialogue rather than two sides facing off against one another, mainly because I feel this is the only way to change things. I so appreciate your support in this endeavor.

    2. Michael – A couple issues I see with some of your arguement. You suggest that we license & register vehicles and require driver training, so why shouldn’t we do the same with firearms. You also suggest that all of this is done for safety reasons. You are correct that drivers training is done for safety reasons, but neither licensing or registering a vehicle have anything to do with safety. They are merely a means for the collection of fees and taxes. I am a big supporter of firearms training. In fact, I have devoted over 35 years of my life and over 250 hours each year towards firearm training of myself and others. So I get training and I support training. Where the problem comes in is the 2nd Amendment. I cannot figure out a way to have a mandatory training program that does not conflict with the 2nd Amendment. If you can, please help me to understand and I will be a big supporter of it.

      UBC’s I can support provided we fix existing problems with NICS and enact the other measures I identifed in my post above. Licensing runs afoul of the 2nd Amendment. Liability insurance is an interesting one and I am not sure how I feel about it. Clearly, any person using a firearm is both criminally and civilly liable for their actions with a firearm and I support both criminal and civil penalties for persons who commit crimes with a firearm.

      You make several references to “gun fanatics” and openly carrying firearms. A couple points. First, use of that term does not engender a lot of open dialog from the firearms owners community. I think it is important that both sides openly and genuinly discuss the issue of violence if we are ever going to resovle the issue of violence. Secondly, I think that you will find most within the firearms community do not support open carry, both from a tactical perspective as well as a courtesy to those that share your fear of firearms. That said, just because you have a fear of firearms does not require others to accomodate that fear. Nonetheless, I again say that the vast majority of the firearm owning community will agree that open carry is not necessary.

      1. Collection of fees and taxes in driver training and licensing is how it’s all paid for in the first place. Naturally, there are going to be fees. The people who issue the licenses have to eat, maintain their places of residence, and go to and from work, too.

        A mandatory training program is not in conflict with the 2nd Amendment for the very reason that the first four words are “a well regulated militia”. Those words clearly imply that the right to keep and bear arms is subject to regulation so as to ensure an effective, well organized fighting force with which to keep the peace and defend against invasions. Colonial and early State common laws made provisions for having able-bodied citizens turn out on a regular basis for inspection of their firearms, gun powder, shot, state of repair, and type of firearm (hunting rifle versus musket). Today we have National Guard units and a standing military that provides weapons, uniforms, and training, and well organized and trained police forces. Obviously these come with their own problems, but the original purpose of these organizations is still to keep the peace.

        The fanatics to whom I refer are those who insist on no regulation at all, even to the point of passing laws making it as easy as possible for criminals and the mentally ill to obtain guns with which to harm others. Such insanity has gotten innocent people killed and will continue to do so as long as the influence of organizations such as the N.R.A. dominates the legislative process with their money and political connections. There is a vast difference between responsible gun owners and those who abuse gun rights to cause public panics and block reform. I like to think the sane people and the crazies know who they are.

      2. Michael – If you look into the finances of fees and taxes, I think that you will find in most municipalities, the revenue collected from vehicle property tax and licensing fees far exceeds the expenses incurred to do so. Your comment on “a well regulated milita” and mandatory training programs is a good one, which I had not considered. I am a strong advocate of firearms training and have dedicated 35 years of my life as a firearms safety instructor. Where I have always hung up on mandatory training is addressing such problems as persons who have an immediate need for personal protection, but have not taken the necessary training – for example a person who obtains a restraining order against a violent significant other. How would you propose implementing a mandatory training program that would address such issues?

  6. I’ve read the preceding comments with interest and would like to add to the conversation. I thank Laurie for opening her blog to this very important and consequential issue.

    As I said over on Twitter, our family has suffered the loss of loved one, the son of my cousin, to murder. He was shot while being robbed of his stereo. His killers were rapidly found and sent to prison for life. My cousin was profoundly changed by the loss of his son. He armed himself and anyone in his family who wished to join him. His wife, a fragile lady, demurred. My wife, daughter and I are armed. But we were before this tragedy. We were raised by parents who knew the wages of war, crime and privation. We were trained before puberty to never touch a gun without a parent present, without permission or without the need to stop a threat to our lives. We were taught the basic, iron clad four rules of gun handling (http://www.youcancarry.com/the-four-rules-of-gun-safety/). We were made to understand the value of human life, not by just simple lectures a time or two. Whenever a news report on tv applied, our parents made it a teachable moment. We were taken to target ranges, to see the damage done to the targets, to imagine that damage to a human. Both at our hand and at the hand of a criminal.

    Both at our hand, in self-defense or of others, or at the hand of the criminal, who harms our loved ones or others nearby, or summarily executes the innocent without due consideration, nevermind due process.

    We value the Second Amendment for its protection of our natural right to defend ourselves with at least the same weaponry available to our assailants or a rogue government.

    We take nothing for granted. Life is ephemeral, we’re not as civilized as we tell ourselves.

    The Second Amendment is the armed body guard of the First Amendment. Our Founders understood this need well, having lived and escaped a land where neither of those natural rights were protected in their favor. So they took great pains to make it clear that these rights were not third, fourth or fifth down the list. These top two protections are mandatory to the existence of all the rest of the rights.

    Common sense laws have been, supposedly, enacted by others before you and me. They were just as devoted to saving lives, to sparing ourselves the horror of sudden, irreversible murder. Those laws are on the books. They are either not enforced at all, because they are not well-written enough to be enforceable, or they were passed to appease those who wanted “something done” but whose enforcement would be so onerous as to jeopardize the public safety, the law of Unintended Consequences, or would swiftly end the political careers of those genuinely perfect for their jobs, earnest and honorable, but who felt forced to make a law real though it defied all actual logic, purpose or common sense.

    Common sense is in fact quite uncommon. The common sense suggested by a politically driven, very well-funded group such as Everytown, MomsDemand and Gunsense is the opposite of what circumspect, mature, history-respecting free men, women, elderly, disabled, LGBT, black, and immigrant have learned the hard way to be common sense.

    Universal Background Checks. This operates on the belief that bad people with bad intentions will obey, in private, a law that dictates that they subject the private sale or transfer of a private gun from one to another to a background check.

    Those who defend our Second Amendment know better and we believe that, in the quiet moments of your life, you do too. Human nature is immutable. Particularly, criminal human nature.

    “If men were angels, we would not need laws.” Ben Franklin. True. But that does not mean we must turn to laws to cure all that ails us. Laws are only effective when they assess penalties more unpleasant than the considerer would care to suffer vs enduring the status quo he or she seeks to improve or escape. Laws never have been able to, nor are meant to, change human nature. That can only come from within, if the right inspiration is perceived at the right time.

    National Registry. That is a non-starter. Those who do not understand guns, their power, their benefits, have taken the allowance for making appropriate rules to govern gun use and ownership as carte blanche to demand and receive any restrictions they feel necessary or ideal at the time. Unfortunately, far too many others have acquiesced, because on their face, the allowances did not seem or feel oppressive, unreasonable or an infringement. Fair enough. But now, 20K laws later across the land, they have become just so in the aggregate.

    20,000. Laws. Restricting free and natural access to a natural right. Something no one would find reasonable in any amount in application to the first natural, free right. Rights that we are not supposed to ask permission of anyone else to use as we see fit. Most certainly not of the government.

    Past is, still, too often, prologue. Despotism and oppression are routinely enabled by the first order of business: disarm the populace. Thinking that America could “never” dissolve into such a state is to reject the lessons of history. And we all know how that goes. Yes, America is exceptional. But only because we remain vigilant and refuse to give up the the protections of our rights enshrined in the Constitution. The moment we think the Constitution is nothing more than a list of rules for the people to obey is the moment the Grand Experiment concludes in failure. Something millions of people around the world would be crushed by.

    The sad fact of life is bad things happen to good people. There is no way to legislate that away. Providing parity in medical insurance for the mentally syndromed, disabled or critically ill would be a huge improvement, no doubt. It is shameful that it was never considered an illness of the same worth as diabetes. But such is the condition of humanity in a capitalistic system: if you have the physical ability to toil, then you are well. Get to work. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-capitalism, at all. But I acknowledge that it can hurt and kill people just like socialism can and does, subtly, slowly, quietly.

    It is not true that there is an epidemic of mass killing by gun in America. There is an epidemic of mass death by car daily. Daily. We kill far more daily by car than by gun, fist, bat, knife or poison combined. Just raising the driving age by one year would save thousands of lives in fact overnight. But we resist. We advance a myriad of justifications against it largely based on expedience. It’s shameful. But that is what we as a species will tolerate. Because it suits us as a group. It makes no logical sense. Likely some of your friends, new and old, will swiftly reject this argument for a variety of statistically interesting reasons.

    If you will honestly compare net-net death count, body count, the bottom line, the numbers are no contest.

    So why focus with laser intensity on mass shootings in America? Because some among us are genuinely afraid of something they know nothing about and associate only with acts of horrible crimes.

    That is not unlike what many Americans did, and do, concerning Islam and 9/11. Most of us knew/know nothing about it except by way of that truly mass murder by terrorism. We are routinely scolded by the self-appointed priests of political correctness that we must not view all Muslims as terrorists due to that horrible, horrible day. And yet, they just as routinely do exactly that to gun owners who by the millions commit no crimes with their guns, suffer no accidents with guns. Who defend themselves successfully by merely showing their gun to the now fleeing criminal, feed themselves and last but not least, cherish their right by teaching responsibly and reverentially the value and awesome responsibility of having, keeping, using, enjoying and protecting their Second Amendment.

    More tabulating, counting, recording, restricting and revenue streaming of lawful gunowners only shifts all the accountability to those who are not at all at fault. As I’m sure you’ve noticed in the flood of tweets that carry the #gunsense hashtag on twitter, a disturbing number readily call for the ban of guns. Shannon Watts and Mike Bloomberg included. Many insist they aren’t “coming for your guns.” Maybe not them personally, but they don’t speak for the rest. This is not about slippery slope spawned paranoia, this is about their actual words.

    Far too many in the past, and currently in other countries, are manipulated into abdicating their rights, convinced by the politically driven that they aren’t capable of owning and using guns responsibly. See the mass shootings? That’s curable by you submitting to yet more rules and laws. Just submit to these new regulations (not the same as “well-regulated”, a different discussion). And now these additional rules. And then those yet more intrusive laws, fines, penalties. Accidents are now felonies. Your HIPAA protections are no longer respected. A doctor will issue you access to your rights now.

    Waiting until those seemingly outrageous scenarios are mere steps from your own door, or your neighbors, will be too late. Imagine if we had to submit to the same just to start a blog and open it to uncensored comments.

    My apologies. I’ll stop now. I look forward to any questions or challenge in the spirit in which you started this blog. Again, thank you. Peace to you and yours.

    1. Miles – Well written. I agree with almost all of your statements including the effectiveness of BGC’s on criminals. Criminals don’t get their guns from places requiring a BGC. However, as an owner of a firearms store, we regularly had people that were denied purchases during the NICS check. Generally they fell into two classes: 1) Mental health denial or 2) Restraining order denial. In many of these cases, they got the issue cleared and were ultimately able to purchase. In just as many, they never were allowed to purchase a firearm.

      As responsible firearm owners, I believe that we do have a responsibility to do what we can to ensure that those who are not eligible to possess firearms, never get their hands on them. While it is an inconvenience to me, I am willing to put up with BGC’s and even UBGC’s to do my duty in this effort.

      1. Earl, thanks. Your commentary is quite good, too.

        Regarding current BGC/NICS, let me expound.

        While I believe we should not be subjected to any check-point charlie verifying/clearing/blessing in order to access a Constitutionally protected right UNTIL you prove yourself untrustworthy, I tolerate the current system largely because it keeps heat off of lawful gun merchants and readily answers the initial questions asked by investigators. Since the casual, low-ambition, commonplace mental illness suffering incipient criminal/mass shooter/suicide is relatively easy to slow down or dissuade, I consider them the least of our worries. Career criminals, who have never given up being a criminal for a living, who harden more with each crime, who crime better, have no trouble getting a gun, or even the gun, they want, on demand. BGC/NICS’ door will never be darkened by them.

        Responsible gun owners have a responsibility to be very good and very careful with their firearms. We should consider it up to each and every one of us to protect the Second Amendment, free of assault by those who fear guns irrationally, who blame guns rather than the perpetrator and from especially those who pursue their big picture agenda, the disarming of the American public. By actual or constructive repeal of #2A.

        And responsible gun owners, just like everyone else, should be raising their children to understand, value and protect the Bill of Rights in its entirety. All citizens should raise their children to at a minimum understand and value the Bill of Rights. And whether they own a gun or not, to understand, value and teach and the Four Rules of Guns to every child, in grade school. Because that will save their childrens’ lives first.


    2. All very well said! Guns are freedom, it is the only thing our Founders stated as necessary for the security of a free state.

  7. I am not a gun fan. Actually, they frighten me. Not the gun themselves, just the ability for it to do so much damage so quickly; and how easily it can kill someone. I’m equally uncomfortable with other things that can hurt, maim, or kill people without them even knowing it’s going to happen (like your story). So, yes, I believe in gun control. And more than that, I believe in gun safety (biometric locking devices on guns, gun cases, safeties, etc.). But I have another idea on the subject: education. Something more than “don’t touch dad’s gun”, or “guns kill people”. Actual gun training, by the government. I’m not asking that everyone in the country get trained to be stealthy tactical field officers, or snipers. Instead, something more general that teaches people how to properly handle a weapon, whether or not they ever intend to own one. I think I’m going to post about it on my site to flesh out my idea, but that’s the general gist of it. I think it will significantly reduce the potential dangers.

    1. Marlapaige – I too am completely supportive of firearms safety training and am astounded that Mom’s Demand Action, the Brady Group and any number of other “gun control” groups offer absolutely no firearms safety training. You know who does. The NRA. Ton’s of it. I have been a certified trainer for over 35 years and provide more than 250 hours each of those years. You know how much I have made from my almost 10,000 hours (5 work years) of effort. Not a penny. It is all volunteer as is much of the training offered by the NRA. I encourage you to take a look at http://www.nrainstructors.org/search.aspx and refer people to that page as well.

      Also, I am sure that you fear the classes are nothing more than a push to join the NRA and support the 2nd Amendment. Well, the classes run between 4 hours and 16 hours depending on the subject matter. In the 4 hour class, 5 minutes of the curriculum is dedicated to the NRA and the 2nd Amendment. In the 16 hour class, there is 15 minutes set aside and 2/3rds of it is used to discuss shooting programs. So there is not a big emphasis on these subjects.

      1. Earl —

        I am having difficulty replying to all of your comments because the replies can only go so far. So I am replying here to cover all of the replies you gave to me so far.

        “So feel free to suggest other ways to ensure that individuals with mental health issues 1) Receives care and 2) Is not allowed to purchase firearms”
        I cannot begin to tell you how the country should change to ensure it’s citizen’s can get the best mental health care. As it stands right now, the majority of the solution is non-existent. For example, in more than one state, they hospitalize someone in psychosis for the 72 hours, then put them on a bus out of town so some other district can deal with the financial burden of someone who is unable to take care of themselves at that time. That’s not appropriate healthcare – for anyone.
        Secondly, you cannot argue that as a citizen of a country that you have a right to own a firearm, but then restrict individuals from having that same right unless they are currently a danger to themselves and others. That’s discriminatory. Therefore, I think both things should be better thought out. Maybe owning a gun shouldn’t be a right as much as a Constitutionally accepted privilege (like driving not being a right).

        “I continue to be against any form of firearms registration due to concerns that it will ultimately be used to violate the 2nd Amendment”
        I can see your point, but also I see that if private sales are counted, gun violence would HAVE to go down. No one could own a gun which couldn’t trace back to them. That’s the way it should be. You shouldn’t be able to look up John Smith because you think he’s a suspect and see a list of the guns he currently owns, but police should definitely be able to find a bullet’s striations at a crime scene, run it though their database and say “this comes from a firearm owned by John Smith”. Does that make sense? That way the evidence cannot in any way support a hypothesis, but rather the evidence leads to the formulation of a hypothesis. As they always say on CSI, follow the evidence.

        “Also, I am sure that you fear the classes are nothing more than a push to join the NRA and support the 2nd Amendment. Well, the classes run between 4 hours and 16 hours depending on the subject matter. In the 4 hour class, 5 minutes of the curriculum is dedicated to the NRA and the 2nd Amendment. In the 16 hour class, there is 15 minutes set aside and 2/3rds of it is used to discuss shooting programs. So there is not a big emphasis on these subjects.”
        Actually, I know the NRA holds classes, and I never considered them to be indoctrination-type classes. I just think that CLASSES should be mandatory when purchasing a firearm. That’s all.

      2. Marlapaige – Perhaps you misunderstood me, I do not think that just because someone has a mental illness they should not be allowed to possess/purchase firearms. I only fell that those who are a danger to themselves and others should not be allowed. I do not see this as discrimanatory. There are 100’s of examples of situations where we as a society have decided that individuals are no longer extended all of their rights and it is not considered discrimanatory.

        There is no such thing as a Constitutionally extended priviledge. If what you are suggesting is that we should just abolish the 2nd Amendment, we can certainly try to do that, however I would not be supportive of such activity.

        I agree with your beliefs that we should have some ability to be able to identify the specific firearm used in a crime, and track that firearm to it’s present owner. That will require Universal Background Checks, which I have stated I support provided a number of additional measures which I have outlined in this dialog elsewhere. I do not believe we should be able to start with a persons name and be able to identify all of the firearms that person owns. It is not necessary to do that in order to solve a crime. The only reason that one would want to be able to start with a name and end with a firearm is for the purpose of confiscation.

        I am glad that you are aware of the classes taught by the NRA. They are fantastic SAFETY classes. My ongoing challenge with mandatory classes is what do you do in the situation where a person has an immediate need for personal protection, but has not yet taken a class. For example a person that obtains a restraining order against a violent person. How would you recommend such situations be handled?

        I appreciate the dialog?

  8. Thank you Laurie for your courageous stance; putting yourself out there after the pain you’ve experienced must be difficult. I’ve enjoyed your intelligent, open posts. I am not a fan of guns. I do believe people have the right to hunt, and even to own certain firearms, though I myself do neither. Here’s what I think folks forget when referencing the 2nd amendment. In the same way that the constitutional framers did not consider the impact of digital media, they did not consider the ready availability of automatic weapons. Thus, I hardly think the framers intended for any citizen to have access to weapons such as these. They could not have conceived of them at that time.
    In any case, thanks for the conversation. And my deepest sympathies to you in your loss.

    1. Aileen – Currently the general public does not have access to “automatic” firearm. An automatic firearm will continuosly fire with a single trigger press. A more common term is machine gun. To possess one, you have to obtain what is called a “tax stamp” which cost $500 and undergo a special background check that includes fingerprinting, photographs, and in some instances the signature of your local law enforcement Chief. Such firearms are heavily regulated.

      You might however be referencing “Semi-Automatic” firearms. These are firearms which require the shooter to press the trigger for each and every shot. They will only fire one shot with one trigger press. It is a misconception that these types of firearms will “shoot faster” or hold more ammunition than other firearm types such as revolvers, lever action, pump, or bolt action. While they can be faster and they can hold more ammunition – that is not always the case.

      I agree with you that our Founding Fathers could have never imagined the digital age, nor could they have imagined semi-automatic firearms. However, we have not re-imagined the 1st Amendment as a result of the digital age, so why should we the 2nd? Furthermore, keep in mind the purpose of the 2nd Amendment. It is not give us the right to hunt and target shoot. A reading of historical papers clearly shows that the 2nd Amendment is there to protect us from our own government and the Founding Fathers meant for the People to possess firearms equivalent to that of the government. If they had meant for the People to have a lessor firearm, they would have specified a matchlock. Now there is no need to chastise me about this point by saying, “Oh, he thinks everyone should have bombs, tanks, and jet fighters”. I do believe that the Founding Fathers intended for the People to have the same Arms as the government, but I accept that is not possible nor prudent in todays society.

      1. Thank you for correcting my error. Question, are you suggesting that the First Amendment has not been reinterpreted over the years based on changing circumstances?

      2. Aileen – I am not suggesting that the 1st Amendment has not been reinterpreted, just like I am accepting that the 2nd Amendment has also been reinterpreted. They both have been interpreted due to changes in our societal norms.

    2. Hello Aileen,
      Thank you for your kind words. It’s definitely a hard topic for me to discuss, but it does give me a degree of healing to do some work in this area. I feel my sisters would be proud.
      I think there is definitely some merit to what you’ve said. To me it seems like translating the Bible to mean the same thing today that it would have back in “biblical” times. I think it’s important to frame any historic text within the context and time that it was written.
      Thank you again for reading and your kindness!

  9. The shift that scares me in our society is that it is getting harder for those of us who wish to live a life free of guns to do so. I never thought that I would have to worry about where I take or send my children because of guns. I hate it, but I find myself profiling locations based on the type of people that go there – are they likely to feel the need to have a gun with them? And sadly, if the answer is yes I find us not going. I’m not just nervous about the mass shooters now. I’m worried about the hot heads, the people with guns in their purses they leave unattended, the person who forgot to put on a safety, the person with an unsecured gun in his car, etc etc. Because it’s not just the crime, or those that snap, but also a lot of people who just have to have their guns with them who are irresponsible and then lives are lost. Why is my right to life not as important as their right to not only have a gun but now increasingly get to have it wherever they go? We shouldn’t have to have armed guards at schools. We shouldn’t have to depend on a responsible gun owner to defend people in a movie theater. We shouldn’t have to worry in a place of worship. And unless I’m terribly mistaken, mothers in the past in this nation actually didn’t have to worry about these things. Something changed and the laws need to change with it.

    1. Jen – Was not going to respond because I am certainly a dominating responder on here, but it does not seem that anyone else is and I want to draw you into the conversation because I share some of your same concerns. I too wish our society was not one in which people had to worry about were they go, the type of people they are going to encounter, and the kinds of situations they may inadvertently find themselves in. I share these same worries with you. But right now, that is the society we have.

      You indicate that you are “worried about the hot heads, the people with guns in their purses they leave unattended, the person who forgot to put on a safety, the person with an unsecured gun in his car, etc etc.” – and I am too – IF these individuals are doing so illegally, and I think that all responsible gun owners share my view. NO rational person wants someone who is deemed a threat to society or themselves to have a firearm. However I am concerned that your worry goes beyound the illegal carry of firearms and includes those that legally carry a firearm. I know that my saying your worry does not make sense, does not help – but – your worry does not make sense. There is not real good data on this, but there have been two studies that I am aware of. One found that CCW holders commit crimes at a rate of 0.18% (which is similar to that of Police Officers). The other found a rate of 0.09%. I apologize that I do not have the links to these studies. I will continue to look. If that is the case, you are vastly unlikely to be the victim of a violent act by a CCW holder.

      In closing, you said, “We shouldn’t have to have armed guards at schools. We shouldn’t have to depend on a responsible gun owner to defend people in a movie theater. We shouldn’t have to worry in a place of worship.” I agree 100% with this and believe that legal gun owners across the US will agree as well. Unfortunately, until we can somehow eliminate violence in our society, we will have to continue to do so.

  10. I’ve got to stop reading these great, thought-provoking essays and comments when it’s so close to my bedtime…. But anyway…

    The Second Amendment, as currently interpreted by DC vs. Heller, allows for private citizens to possess firearms for the defense of their home, family, and property. This makes sense. Even if you live right next door to your local police headquarters, if someone breaks into your home with evil intent, the police aren’t likely to get there in time to stop the evildoers. So, yes, a personal firearm in the home should be allowed.

    However, the Second Amendment just says “arms”. It does not specify what *type* of arms. Clearly, one cannot prevent people from picking up the nearest blunt object and using it as a club. Equally clearly, private citizens should never be allowed to possess tactical nuclear devices. So our first topic for discussion is what type of “arms” are appropriate for the allowed use? For home defense, do you really want something that can shoot through a wall? Is a gun that can fire several rounds with a single press of the trigger something that should be allowed? Is there enough need for such a gun that it should be?

    (I note in passing that there are plenty of regulations covering knives and bows, but no one gripes about them. There’s no “National Sword Association” arguing that people should be allowed to carry rapiers with them at all times)

    Next, what sort of licensing and registration regime should be in place? There’s a shared database for automobile licensing and registration, so that you can buy a car in one state, register it in a second, and drive it in a third without any problems whatsoever. And if you’re caught breaking the law in a fourth state, the authorities can readily track you down. Would something similar work for firearms? No one claims that such a system is an infringement on their ability to drive. Under what circumstances can the “right to bear arms” be temporarily revoked? If you are caught committing a crime with your weapon, or any felony at all? If you have an Order of Protection against you? If you have small children in your home, or are taking care of someone mentally ill?

    Finally, how far outside your home does your right for personal protection end? Should guns be barred from schools? Churches? (I note with some sad humor that if you feel you must bring a gun to your house of worship for protection, you clearly don’t think your deity is strong enough to protect you…) Bars? Any place where large groups of people readily gather? At some point, my right for self-protection comes up against your right to go about your daily affairs without having to worry about being shot…. How do we balance those rights?

    There’s plenty of room here for a rational discussion as our society comes to a consensus on what is allowable and what is beyond the pale. Sadly, most of the rest of the discussion is dominated by irrational screaming and isn’t as thoughtful and civilized as this….

    1. Richard – A couple thoughts/clarifications.

      You raise the question of is there a need for ammunition that will penetrate a wall for use in personal defense. The answer to your question is maybe, depending on the situation. Here is why. The FBI has developed a test that they believe sets the standard for the penetration of a projectile to be reliably fatal for purposes of self defense. This test requires a bullet to penetrate a minimum of 12″ into ballistic gelatin. Our current bullet construction technology is such that we cannot manufacturer a bullet that will penetrate 12″ into ballistic gelatin, and not penetrate a simple sheet rock wall. It would be great if we could, and I for one would use such bullets in my home defense firearm. That said, not all personal defense is done in the home, and at times and in some situations it is necessary to not only have a projectile that will penetrate 12″ into ballistic gelatin, but also defeat some type of barrier. Using a real world example, not too long ago in Washington State, an irate husband caught his wife and lover in bed. The lover was walking to his car, when the husband got in his car and was going to run the lover over (some might say perfectly acceptable), the lover pulled out his legally concealed pistol and shot through the windshield of the car, stopping the husbands attack. This would not be possible if bullets were made to not penetrate barriers.

      You ask about the need for a firearm that can fire multiple rounds with a single trigger press in personal defense. That is called an “automatic” firearm, or machine gun. Society has already ruled that they are not protected by the 2nd Amendment and thus are not permitted for general possession. To possess one, you must complete a full FBI background check which includes finger-printing, photographs, and in many jurisdictions, a signiture of your local lawenforcement Chief. You must also purchase a $500 tax stamp for each firearm. All of this information in maintained in a Federal and Local jurisdiction database. If you will note, I do not believe there has ever been a criminal use of a legally obtained automatic firearm in the United States.

      Your comment regarding knives is somewhat incorrect. Currently, switchblades are illegal in some jurisdictions. There are several national organizations with thousands of members that are actively trying to change local and state laws regarding switchblades. The most recent state to allow the carrying of switchblades that I am aware of is Utah. http://weaponlaws.wikidot.com/us-switchblade-laws

      Licensing and registration of vehicles. This is an arguement that is used quite often, whose factual basis is incorrect. The reason we registers and license vehicles has nothing to do with providing a means of tracking if the vehicle was used in a crime. The historical basis for licensing and registering vehicles is for the purposes of collecting taxes and fees. It is a by product of these activities that has allowed law enforcement to use the databases for purposes of tracking, and might I add confiscation of vehicles. That is the precise concern that supporters of the 2A have with regards to firearms registration – that it will lead to additional infringement such as confiscation. Secondly, driving is not a Right, it is a Priviledge. That is why no one complains about licensing and registration infringing on their right to drive. Such a right does not exist. Firearms possession, on the other hand, is a Right. As such, activities that make it more onerous to enjoy this right is in fact an infringement.

      You ask at what point is it permissable to be denyed your right to possess firearms. There are literally 100’s of conditions underwhich your right to posses firearms can and is denied. You mention committing a crime using a fiream – yes, they are denied this right. You mention felons – yes, they are denied this right. You mention restraining orders – yes, they are denied this right. Drug users are denied this right. Those adjudacated as mentally ill are denied this right. Persons dishonorably discharged from the military are denied this right. Person convicted of domestic violence are denied this right. Illegal aliens are denied this right. All appropriately from my perspective. Individuals that have small children in the home or individuals with mental conditions are not currently denied this right. They can however be held criminally and civilly liable for actions taken with their firearms.

      How far does your right to carry a firearm extend outside your home? I think we have to look at the purpose of the 2nd Amendment to address this. The true purpose of the 2nd Amendment is two-fold: First, to allow the citizenry to rise up against the tyranny of government when the government no longer represents the people. That was in fact the entire reason the American Revolution was fought. The second is to allow persons a means of self defense. As such, I would ask you – Where might a person need a firearm in order to fight against a tyrannical government, or for personal protection. That is where a firearm is needed to be carried.

      You mention your “right to go about your daily affairs without having to worry about being shot”. I am not being a smart ass here, but would like to ask – where in our Constitution are we given the right not to worry about anything? I don’t believe it exist. I worry about a lot of things, but I don’t expect the government to infringe upon others rights so that my worry is lessened.

      Lastly, I share your displeasure that we seem unable as a country to have a civil and honest discussion about violence, and sincerely appreciate the efforts that people are making here.

  11. I have read statements from ATF officers who have said that if there were more regulations it would make doing their job and arresting/prosecuting criminals easier. (I don’t know the ins and outs, but it struck me as very interesting).

    I think that people who aren’t responsible with their guns should be prosecuted. If your gun was not properly locked and stored and was used in an accidental or intentional shooting, you should be prosecuted and serve time. This may be the only way we get people to take that issue more seriously.

    I think bullets and magazines should be regulated. I can’t buy more than 15 days worth of Allegra D because some people use it to make meth. Why are bullets not regulated?

    I don’t see the need for automatic weapons that fire multiple rounds. When the assault rifle ban was lifted (in 2000 I think) law enforcement officers were absolutely against it. They spoke out and lobbied against lifting the ban. They lost, obviously.

    Courses in gun safety should be a requirement. There are too many people who own firearms and don’t take safety seriously. (I personally know quite a few.)

    People shouldn’t be allowed to plea down charges and keep their guns. (I personally know someone who was able to do this. Two years later she shot someone.)

    People who have committed any type of violent crime should never be allowed to own a gun again. Period. Domestic abuse included. ESPECIALLY domestic abuse.

    The bottom line is, there are a lot of responsible gun owners out there. I have some in my family who are very responsible with their guns. I let my son go to a shooting range with them because I know they would never be blasé or cavalier or show off. BUT there are A LOT of irresponsible gun owners. Those people make the responsible gun owners look bad. They are a huge part of the problem. The more responsible gun owners who speak up and lobby for better and more regulation, the quicker we can come to some practical solutions. Then, we can tackle the mental illness and glorification of guns/violence and the irrational anger that contributes to gun violence.

    The idea that armed citizens could help in an active shooter situation strikes me as fantasy. Police officers and military train extensively in how to respond to these situations. They practice over and over. To think that any average Joe could handle the high adrenaline and terrifying situation without causing more damage or adding to the carnage? I think that’s not only insulting to the people who go through the training and spend their lives protecting us, I think it’s a false assumption in most cases.

  12. Gretchen – A couple comments:

    What regulations are ATF officers suggesting would make doing their jobs easier. Provided they do not facilatate confiscation, and are enforced 100% and all existing firearms laws were enforced, I think you would find that most responsible firearms owners would support.

    Currently, in all 50 states, firearms owners can be held both criminally and civilly liable for the use of their firearm if it was not illegally obtained. What more would you recommend that we do to hold them responsible?

    Point of clarification – bullets are the projectiles that are fired from a firearm. I believe you are referring to cartridge, which is the case, primer, powder and bullet. I believe that the reason you can be infringed upon for your Allegra D, is that the use of that is not protected under our Constitution. It is a priviledge and not a Right. That said, there have been attempts to ban certain types of ammunition, some of which have succeeded and others that have failed.

    Currently the general public does not have access to “automatic” firearm. An automatic firearm will continuosly fire with a single trigger press. A more common term is machine gun. To possess one, you have to obtain what is called a “tax stamp” which cost $500 and undergo a special background check that includes fingerprinting, photographs, and in some instances the signature of your local law enforcement Chief. Such firearms are heavily regulated.

    You might however be referencing “Semi-Automatic” firearms. These are firearms which require the shooter to press the trigger for each and every shot. They will only fire one shot with one trigger press. It is a misconception that these types of firearms will “shoot faster” or hold more ammunition than other firearm types such as revolvers, lever action, pump, or bolt action. While they can be faster and they can hold more ammunition – that is not always the case.

    You mentioned the assault weapons ban within the contect of automatic weapons. Just to clarify, what are commonly called assault weapons (which by the way, their is no clear definition of what an assault weapon is) are not “automatic” firearms. They are “semi-automatic”. Furthermore, the fact is that “assualt weapons” are used in less than 2% of all firearms related violence. Honestly, they are not the “problem”. Handguns are the “problem” if we are focusing on violence by gun.

    There are literally 1,000’s of examples where your average Joe, stops a violent situation by using a fiream. Please refer to https://www.nraila.org/gun-laws/armed-citizen/ for many examples. Recently, what was certainly going to be a mass shooting was stopped by an average Joe. See here: http://www.kgw.com/story/news/2014/07/24/12405148/. Furthermore, I don’t believe (although I could be wrong) that there has ever been a mass shooting that was exacerbated by the presence of an armed average Joe, nor do I believe that there has ever been a situation where the presence of armed average Joe(s), resulted in a mass shooting that would not have happened otherwise. All of that said, I agree 100% that the average Joe is not going to be as effective as a trained officer or other person – and as such I am 100% in support of those carrying firearms for personal protection having training.

    As a firearms owner, I agree with the remainder of your points.

  13. You did an amazing job with this and I want to say that I’m so very sorry for your loss. Personally, I think that a lot can be done with gun control. I do not think that people should so easily be able to purchase weapons at gun shows – it takes out the step of a background check and having data on who owns the guns. I also think that bullets should be much harder to get – that people can walk into Walmart and get them is terrifying to me. I’m not sure what the answer is but I’m glad that so many of us are participating in this conversation this week.
    PS I grew up in Denver.

    1. Kristi I fully agree with you on the ease of buying ammunition. I think there should be many more questions about that. In Aurora, the killer had 40,000 rounds of ammo. 40,000! Why didn’t someone ask questions about that? That’s absolutely terrifying.
      I grew up in Denver myself! Now I”m in the Springs, but I didn’t move here until I was an adult. 🙂 It’s an interesting place to grow up that is for sure – I love the mountains and feel privileged I got to spend a lot of time in them as I was growing up!
      I’m so glad you came by to read and dialogue… thank you.

      1. Laurie – Your turn to chime in. How many rounds would be a reasonable amount of ammunition for an individual to have on hand? (Keep in mind that each time I go to the range to practice I will shoot a MINIMUM of 100 rounds). I train approximately 3x per week. Perhaps more importantly, would Aurora been prevented if there was a limit to 100 rounds at any one time?

        Also, assuming we could get the laws/checks/limitations on firearms such that only good guys are permitted to purchase/possess firearms – would there be a need to limit ammunition? It is worthless/harmless in the absence of a firearm. This includes cases of home fires. It has been demonstrated that ammunition in fires pose no harm to firefighters. It’s a physics thing.

        Your thoughts?

      2. I don’t think Aurora would have been prevented, necessarily. It’s honestly hard to say in that case. I just think someone should have noticed 40K rounds.
        Reasonable – I don’t know. I’m not a regular shooter, so I’m fully acquainted with numbers there, but if you train 3x a week and use approx. 100 rounds… I mean I would limit it then to around 2K rounds monthly, roughly. That allows for some shifting within the amount used. Keep in mind I’m not fully researched on this subject so I’m just throwing a number out based on what you said. I think it might be more useful to limit ammunition purchasing to places where you can train. So you could purchase ammo when training and not have it stored up, which might eliminate that problem altogether.
        I think it’s important to have checks on ammunition even IF there are limits on firearms, just due to the issue I described of storing up ammo… then you could conceivably again have a case where someone stores up 40K rounds… there are a few “bad guys” for instance that can’t be weeded out and fly under the radar.

      3. Laurie – If we are wanting to keep our actions to things that really make a difference, then limiting ammunition is not one of them. I don’t have the number, but I would venture a guess that in any shooting in the history of the United States, not more than 200 rounds (and I actually think it is less than 100 rounds) have been fired by any single person. Thus, to have ANY effect on shootings, the limit would have to be less than 100 rounds to have an effect, and truly would have to be less than 1 round (to avoid stockpiling) to have a meaningful effect.

        As for limiting ammunition purchases to places you can train, I would think that a Colorado girl would know that is impossible. What does the person that lives in Cortez, Colorado do? There is not a shooting facility within 250 miles? In Denver there are less than 10. In Seattle there are less than 10. In San Francisco there is not a single one.

        People seem to like analogies, so I will return to the automobile. This is like asking the person who has licensed and registered their car (the “background check”) to only be allowed to purchase 5 gallons of gas a week so that they are not capable of being on the road too much an causing too much death.

        I love the fact that you are so passionate about this, abhore the reason, and appreciate the dialog you are trying to create. That said, I honestly think there are bigger fish to fry than limiting the amount of ammunition a person has.

      4. Laurie – I guess I was hoping that in asking the question, and you giving it considered thought – which I believe you do – you would realize that limiting the amount of ammunition a person possesses would have little meaningful effect on overall violence, or on violence by gun. I believe they call it the Socratic method of helping someone think through an issue. Obviously I failed, but hey – I tried! 😉

      5. Ahh I see. Well to be frank it feels a little like bait and switch to me for you to ask a question that you have an answer to, then to have explained as you did after I answered. Really I feel a little disrespected at the moment. Especially since I think your experience of me up to this point has been that I will listen carefully and research reasonable arguments.
        That being said, I will indeed give your words some thought, you may be right and you may not, I need to do some more research on it.
        At this point too I’d like to ask if you can back off on the comments, I’d like to give some other people a chance to speak up and voice their opinions. As well as give me some time to read through and think through some of what you’ve written! You’ve given a lot of information, now I’d like some time to process.

  14. Kristi – Just trying to educate here and which you may already know.

    It is no more easy to purchase a firearm at a gun show than it is to purchase it anywhere else. If you purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer at a gun show, Federal Regulations require that you must complete a NICS background check. If you purchase a firearm from a private seller, Federal Regulations do not require that a NICS background check be done. Those EXACT Federal Regulations apply outside of a gun show. That is why you will often hear 2A supporters stating there is not a gun show loophole. Thus to be more precise, perhaps we should say there is a Private Sale Loophole, as there is no Federal Regulation requiring a NICS background check for private sales, regardless of where they occur. Please keep in mind that a number of states have State Regulations that require all private sales include a NICS background check.

    1. Re your reply to Kristi,

      A better characterization is Private Sale exemption. It is not a loophole. It is a proper and lawful exemption such that the government is not intruding on private transactions.

      This is America where we do not rely on the Government to rule and bless every single aspect of our lives outside of taxation, especially of a Constitutionally protected right. The Federal Government is already our largest employer and that should worry all of us.

      Imagine if we had to submit our First Amendment speech to the Government for approval before use?


  15. Open Question To All: I am trying to find out if any gun control advocacy group offers or recommends a firearms safety program. Is anyone here aware of one? I would be interested in learning more about the programs offered. Thank you very much!

  16. As I stated before, I have owned & been trained as a police officer in firearms. I actually only pulled my weapon twice while on duty. Our policy was shoot to kill & I had the highest target training scores. In other words, if I fired & did not kill, I was in trouble. I had been through every scenario possible, psyched myself up into the unimaginable & knew I could do it without hesitation. Thankfully, I was wrong. Thankfully, I am thankful to be wrong instead of regretting it. See, on this particular shift, at about 3am, my partner pulls over a car for speeding. I stayed in the patrol car. At first I had a bad feeling when I realized there wasn’t a driver & passenger but at least 6 heads of younger kids, possibly teenagers. The body language was off. I was on alert. I noticed my partner was too. I also know no one in that car realizes I am there. So I call central & wait for my partner to turn down his radio & nod. As I am letting dispatch know the head count & situation, my partners hand goes on his gun & he gets into a protective stance (behind the driver by the frame) only this isn’t protecting him since the back is full of rowdy kids & I can see the situation escalating. I unholster, get behind my door & get ready for whatever is about to happen. . .when suddenly I see the driver pull a gun & put it in my partners face. Now, this is where I am supposed to shoot first for the officers safety & while I was damn sure ready quicker than expected. I was truly amazed at how quickly I had the back of the boys head in my sights & finger halfway through the pull, but there was this NO! Just Wait! Please please please don’t do anything stupid. I argue with myself that if I wait & watch him blow my partners head across the interstate then I will become a murderer because at that point it will be vengeance not self defense yet something kept begging me not to pull that trigger. Turns out it was just a stupid kid who decided his best option when asked if there were any weapons in the vehicle was to pull a gun and hang it out the window, barrel first to the officer.
    Now, I broke protocol. I got reprimanded. And I had no other excuse other than I had a feeling. And, I can live with that. What I couldn’t live with is blowing a kids head off for a stupid mistake, ruining the lives of every damn other kid in that car. What I also couldn’t live with is not pulling that trigger & watching the kid blow my partners face off, knowing I was his only chance to live…had I only done my job.
    So, while I can say that I know I can take every aspect of owning, carrying & using a gun. While I know I will take all sides into consideration & can remain calm in a fury of emotion, I cannot say I could live with myself in any other given outcome there.
    I believe in the right to bear arms. I think, like most other things in America, we have taken it to the extremes on both sides. And, most of us with very little real knowledge of what we would actually do in any given situation. The gun being on you (exposed or hidden) protects you no more than a deadbolt you never lock. You must use it. You not only have to know how to use it, how to not be disarmed or shot first, but also know if & when you can. . .or should. It’s a much bigger choice than just buying a gun.
    I loved my gun. I loved training, shooting, scenarios, target practice etc but I never once felt cocky or even safe when I carried. I felt like I had to be hyper alert. It’s like throwing a blade in the middle of a crowded room & waiting to see who grabs it first. And mostly, I felt sad. We shouldn’t have to live in a world where everyone is an enemy. Where our brains are constantly assessing if this person is a threat & if so, do I shoot him/her?
    So, while I still believe in gun rights, I don’t own or carry. That is my choice though & therefore I would never take that choice away from anyone else-I don’t know their situation. I also don’t want that choice taken away from me, because my situation may change one day…as it has before.

  17. Wow… Thank you for sharing this. That is what scares me the most about guns. A matter of split seconds can change lives forever. I applaud your decision to trust your instincts… Thank heaven your situation resulted in the best possible outcome – everyone was safe. I hate to think what would have happened had either you or the teen pulled the trigger… Many lives would have been irreparably changed that day.

    That is why I cannot understand allowing guns in bars, and I do believe that children should not have access to guns – certainly not without the observation of a trained adult at all times, under very strictly controlled situations (a shooting range, etc.). Even allowing guns on college campuses worries me – the mix of young people, alcohol, immaturity and strong passions is a recipe for disaster in my mind. Not to mention it can also inhibit classroom instruction and free expression of ideas if there is the threat of a gun in the room in the back of everyone’s minds.

    The proliferation of guns in our increasingly stressed-out society has directly resulted in more heat-of-the-moment shootings as well. Witness the recent “road rage” shooting that cost a 4 year old girl her life, and the shooting of a man trying to break up a fight in the parking lot at the Dallas Cowboy’s stadium. The reports of the crowd egging on the shooter before he fired were particularly horrifying.

    I have to think that had a gun not been readily available, neither of those situations would have turned deadly. Even IF the intent to harm or kill was still there, I have to believe that there would be more opportunity for the victims to get help or to escape from the situation.

    So… Am I for stricter gun control? Absolutely. How should it be implemented? I think we ALL need to come together and hammer out an acceptable solution and then make sure that it is implemented with the funding needed to ensure effectiveness. I personally support background checks – thorough ones – and some type of registry or ability to track guns back to their owners. I think any type of sales where guns are not tracked should be prohibited. I think training is absolutely necessary and should be required within a very short time of purchasing a gun, if not before ownership. I favor biometric locks or any device that will restrict gun operation by non-owners, and think part of owning a gun should include proper safe storage requirements – lock, safe, etc. Finally, I do not personally ever wish to own a gun, as I feel safer away from them.

    So, that’s my take on the issue. Thanks again, Laurie. I look forward to continued discussion, education and ultimately, effective action to reduce gun violence.

  18. To marlapaige, re her reply of October 23, 2015 at 9:40 am to Earl (apparently only one reply to a comment is allowed on this blog):

    Hi Marla,

    Your reply to Earl is very thoughtful and I hope it’s ok if I comment with you, too, in the interest of discussion.

    The consensus among mental health professionals is the mentally ill are actually an extremely low-risk for violence against others, and instead are much more at risk of being victimized. Something good that could come of the still very rare mass shootings by the medically/legally deemed mentally ill is mental health treatment will become more available and will, finally, receive medical insurance coverage parity.

    Just as the Main Stream Media agreed to not report suicides, especially by teenagers, because they finally understood it precipitated a spike in copy cat suicides, I believe MSM must do the same with mass shootings, especially by teenagers at schools. That is easy to do, immediately, and infringes on no rights. The proof of its efficacy would be just as quickly available.

    Once we see the beneficial effect, we can realize that THAT will address most mass shootings at schools, unlike the wild casting about for the application of any previously not yet dreamed up restriction that sounds even remotely like it should be applied. Many bad laws are written under that guise.

    Anyone, as in anyone, standing on US soil has a Constitutionally protected right to free speech uncensored by our government, for the most part, riddled with lies or not, crazy or not, profane and vulgar or not, immature or not, traitorous or not. Citizens also have the Constitutionally protected right to arms, but not nearly as liberally as the right to free speech. Those who’ve never even touched a gun, who only hear of guns in crime reports, and are not wholesome judges of what are guns and gun rights, may readily think that is how it should be. Those raised with and routinely use guns as they are meant to be used do not as a voting block think so. That’s a separate discussion.

    Suggesting we not have our right to the arms that make defense of self and others successful would require, to start, a repeal of the Second Amendment. Please google that process. That is not going to happen. But for arguments sake, let’s say it does.

    Do you really believe that the millions of Americans who own guns now, lawfully, peacefully, will simply quietly line up to hand in their guns? Or, do you really believe that a president will be able to order our military service members or police departments to march house to house taking our guns by force? Please google Posse Comitatus.

    I agree with Earl, firearm registration is a non-starter. If I may ask, why would government intrusion into private sales of guns reduce gun violence? Most private sales and transfers are between non-criminals. Good people by nature want to be law-abiding. They are not who commit violent crimes. Violent criminals will merely ignore such a law, just as easily as they ignore all the other laws. I prefer that criminals who use a gun during a crime the first time be sent to prison for a minimum of 15 years, no plea bargain, no time off for good behaviour (now that is a loophole), no early parole. Actual 15 hard years. The first time. Defense attorneys will fight it vigorously. They will try very hard to make crimes with guns submit to same equivalence of sentencing as other crimes for one reason: to give them a chance to build a reputation for getting their clients off scot-free or nearly so. (No, they wouldn’t do that, would they?….. Yes, they would. You’ll have to trust me on this.)

    I think firearm education should be offered by the government, free of charge, just like sex education in public schools (though for anyone from age 12-21). If teaching children about sex does not lead to increased sexual activity, as is currently alleged, then the same will be true for gun education. In the same spirit.


  19. Miles,

    I am glad that you wanted to get into the conversation. I think that the more the merrier.

    I am having difficulty responding to you, because of the topic. On both sides of the topic there are emotions involved, even if one tries to keep them out of the conversation. Therefore, I’m trying to express myself without using emotional responses at all, although some of what you said made me respond emotionally when I first read it. Please, do not misunderstand, in no way did you offend or upset me, that is not what I mean. It’s just that there are certain topics that you can help but respond to with “no no no!”, you know? But as I’m typing this part of the response out, my emotions are settling, and I felt that I should be open and honest and admit that my initial response was purely emotional. Now I can actually address what you said rationally. Thank you for allowing me this.

    Firstly, there are different forms of mental illness, a LOT of them. Most of the time, those with mental illness are more likely to harm themselves, but there are some mental illnesses that do cause the sufferer to lash out with irrational responses to stimuli. Yes, that’s part of being human — everyone at one time or another lashes out irrationally — but these disorders cause it to happen more frequently, and much more violently. If the individuals with these types of disorders are unable to obtain a weapon, the likelihood of violence is greatly diminished. This is just an example, not proof-positive: A teenager who has hormones all over the place, misdirected angst, and a mental illness is slighted in school (say, the girl he likes didn’t know his name, but DID know the name of the star footballer in school), he could respond poorly. If he has access to weapons, he can just go to school the next day and take out anyone who has ever slighted him. If he doesn’t have available weapons, he would either deal with it or start a fight. The truth is, having access to a gun is dangerous, especially if the person wielding the weapon is not stable. One slogan I’ve heard about five trillion times in my life is “guns don’t kill people, people kill people”. This is true. People with guns kill people.

    You go on to mention that the media is somehow responsible for the mass shootings due to copy-cat shootings. Honestly, I do not have the statistics on that and I won’t pretend that I do, but the reality is, it would be very difficult to copy-cat a mass shooting if these kids didn’t have access to guns. Period. I’m not saying that no one should be permitted to own a gun, I’m saying that guns should be regulated in a different way by those that own them. If one is to own a gun, one should take all of the necessary precautions that their child cannot access the gun and hurt anyone else, or themselves. There are too many stories, not just of mass-shooting at schools, but of children accidentally being fatally shot because they were playing with a parent’s gun. Why on Earth should children have access to guns? Honestly, I’ve never been given a decent answer to that. If you want to own guns, PROTECT them. If you want to keep them for personal protection, protect other people from your guns as well, ESPECIALLY the children.

    As far as free speech goes, we do have a Constitutional right to free speech, but there ARE limitations. You cannot say anything that is openly a lie about another person in an attempt to disparage them in any way, you cannot walk into a crowded movie theater and yell “fire”, you cannot use your free speech to threaten, intimidate, or terrorize other people. There are limits to all of our Constitutional rights, and the Second Amendment should not be any different. I do not believe that the Second Amendment should be repealed, nor have I ever thought that. Although I believe restrictions on that right are not out of place or unfair in any way. The point to the government and the police is to protect the citizens of our country, and a law that requires people to be responsible gun owners is not an unfair law. I have also never said that people who legally own guns should hand their guns over to anybody. I believe that all gun purchases should be logged and accounted for. I believe that a data-base should be created that shows every firearm anyone purchases after a mandatory waiting period. The information goes into the database, but the police can only access it a certain way. They can’t decide that Joe Smith did something wrong and then look to see if he owns guns, I think that’s unfair, and will give them too much of an opportunity to pick on people. I think they should be able to find a bullet and compare striations to guns owned, or run a serial number on a gun used in a crime to find the owner. I don’t think that’s taking anyone’s rights away, it’s just part of responsibly owning a fire arm. Register it. And if you believe that most private gun sales are between non-criminals and good people, then there shouldn’t be a reason NOT to register it or “transfer title” in a way.

    As for your fifteen years in prison idea, you will NOT hear me argue with that. I think gun violence is something that needs to be cracked down on. I also believe there are a few other crimes that should have mandatory sentences without loopholes (child molestation for example). As for your statement about defense attorneys, you are only half correct. In the court room, their clients have a right to the best defense their lawyer can give them, and that includes trying to convince a judge or jury that the crime is no different than other crimes thus is not deserving of a 15 year term. However, most of those attorneys (and I know quite a few) PERSONALLY feel that the mandatory sentencing is a great idea, and that will not stop them from avidly defending their clients. That’s their job.

    As I said to Earl, I believe that education and classes is one of the ways to bring down the violence. No argument here.

    Thank you for being a part of this conversation. I really appreciate it.

    1. Hello Marla,

      I just so happened to still have this tab open so when I saw your reply, I was delighted. Thank you for your kind reply and I, too, am grateful for mature, thoughtful and inclusive discussion. Far too often, especially over on Twitter, it is in short supply.

      Mental illness. It remains true, in this the youth of the 21st Century, that mental illness is still stigmatized. In America. And exactly as with physical illness, it populates the spectrum, known and yet to be known. Yes, if someone is suffering such that they might lash out with a deadly weapon, then they should not have access to such weapon.

      Here is the difficulty: who decides when that is the case? Who takes away their right and then who returns it back? What constitutes a weapon? Because I’m sure we can agree, humans, tool makers extraordinaire, can and do make anything into a weapon. A simple search of knife attacks in recent news will show that yes, sadly, mass killings can be committed by one person with one knife. Or with one car (OSU Stillwater). But returning to guns… the more we focus our laser beam attention on guns, the sooner the young and naive will conclude only guns are the “problem.” No weapon is a weapon until a human picks it up and gives it that purpose.

      I promise, as a father of a (now grown) teenage daughter, she was no different from all of her friends who all rode the tsunami of teen hormones at the same time. Our family is no different than those of the millions–millions–of lawful, peaceful gun owners with babies, toddlers, pre-teens and teenagers in the house. None of them flipped out and shot up anyone or anything. Properly trained and raised children, of any age, but especially with hands big enough to work a trigger, do not make the news. When she hit a particular rough patch over a boy (what else), her mother and I secretly changed where we kept the guns and paid extra close attention to her. (She thought we lost our minds. Har.)

      No teenager can lawfully buy a gun now. So if you’re thinking they can go buy a gun, lawfully, I assure you, they can’t. But what if a mother has impaired judgment vis-a-vis her son (Lanza)? All parents suffer from blind spots over their children. So it is a delicate assessment for someone (who? when?) to decide a mother is so blind to her son’s deadly potential that CPS must be called. Then we can only hope the CPS case worker agrees. And now who decides the the mother’s guns “might” be used in a crime? Do we disarm her prophylactically?

      Those are areas of taking away the right to self-determination from the lawful citizen in anticipation of possibilities that skirt far too closely to Minority Report than our American society deserves to even contemplate, nevermind tolerate.

      Having an access to guns is dangerous only if the accessor is careless, ignorant, naive or criminal. That is true of nearly anything else in life. Access to a car is dangerous. People with guns kill people. People with fists kill people (please, google “one punch homicide”). People in a rage, without an official weapon of any kind within reach, often grab the nearest item they can “make” a club of–a cold cream jar–and inflict grievous harm or even death.

      The best cure for people who might act in a rage is to raise them to value life such that it makes them stop and think. If they are raised to value innocent life so much they stop for even so little as one second, then the chances that innocent life will be saved and criminal life will not, go up exponentially. Rightly.

      I’m sorry if I suggested MSM is “responsible” for massing shootings because that sounds as if they intend to incite them. Of course not. But, when we notice that something we do, innocently, contributes to the harm of others, and we can change what we do without detriment to ourselves, we readily do so. As I mentioned, they noticed, or were advised by mental health professionals, long ago that after every suicide they reported, they reported even more. So they dialed back on reporting them and the incidence of suicide clusters slowed way down. I believe I am not alone in noticing the same seems to be true of mass shootings I’m out of time for that research tonight.

      Yes, free speech has some limitations but nothing compared to that of gun ownership. Nothing. The laws in America that could punish libel or slander only protect the libeled and slandered when and only when a someone brings an action in court. In the case of the Second Amendment, no harm need be so little as alleged, at all. That is not acceptable to a growing number of citizens, women, LGBT, able-elderly and able-disabled included. There are far too many hoops for them to jump through at great hardship. Far too many gun controllers think only white men want guns. That is dangerously xenophobic and in some cases racist, ageist and dismissive.

      Gun purchases through FFL retailers (federally licensed) are accounted for now. But maintaining a database of names and addresses? That is, as history has proven time and again, a very slippery slope that Americans must never, ever stand on.


      Defense attorneys have, as usual for humans at large, taken the “zealous defense” standard to the extreme, at the expense of society and victims. Yes, defend them zealously IF they are innocent. Have you noticed how many of them decide their clients are innocent? All of them. Why? Because it’s far easier on their natural conscience to “decide” they represent someone innocent and, it puffs up their reputation among the interested and that means more business. I know whereof I speak, too.

      It’s not their job to help the guilty get away with it. The Blue Book Code of Ethics makes that clear. But as long as they use the trick of deciding their client is, of course, innocent, then no problem. See?

      Thank you for your reply and perspective. Your civility and thoughtfulness is especially appreciated. Goodnight and until again,


      1. Hello Miles,

        There are two things I feel I need to point out before I ever get to actually replying to what you said. 1) Half of what you said made me confused at first, because in my mind, every statement was 3/4 true — but I believe that was emotion again. 2) That was one amazingly thought out response, and it was a pleasure to read it — all three times LOL Thank you. I do not use Twitter or FB or any of the other social media sorts of sites, so I’ve never had to deal with insane replies on them; however, I’ve seen enough through other people to know that no debate is worth having on sites that only permit like 150 characters. You can’t say what you need to say, and as a result you try to condense it, and ultimately sound somewhat insane. I’m glad there’s no restrictions like that here. This site promotes thinking out your answer and replying maturely and respectfully, and I really respond well to that, as apparently you do as well. So thank you for that too.

        I believe that it’s nearly impossible to be able to figure out who actually has a mental illness that will cause them to crack up and kill other people (unless they’re displaying such behaviors and intents while purchasing the weapon). However, having a specific waiting period where background checks are completed COULD help a great deal. For example, a 20 year old schizophrenic with bad intent goes to buy a gun, a background check would probably not turn up anything and that person is now armed, I get that. However, someone with mental illness or not goes in, and their background check reveals that they’ve been in prison for violent crimes (using ANY of the weapons you mentioned in your reply), makes it far more likely that person will use the gun in an inappropriate way. If someone’s rap-sheet is riddled with assaults or intent to take lives, there is no reason that person should have access to guns. I realize that we got on the subject of mental illness, but it’s not just mental illness, it’s everyone. Everyone has the ability to snap, everyone has the ability to do stupid things with a weapon, but you can’t make it so that everyone can’t have a gun; but it’s the place of society to protect it’s citizenry in a way that harms no one but generally protects everyone. Education can’t do it all. You have to take tests and study to get a driver’s license, but that doesn’t stop some people from driving under the influence. You can’t protect people from their own stupidity, but you can try to protect everyone by passing a law. One you must be licensed to drive (law), two, you must be insured (law), three, you must have your vehicle registered so that they can find it if it’s involved in a hit-and-run (law), four, you can drive at 16 or 17, but can’t drink legally until 21 to give you time to learn how to drive (law). Why is it unfair to expect the same from gun owners?

        I have not ever said that the only weapon that can be used for bad intent is a gun. I just believe strongly that guns ARE a problem in America (granted, one of many), and as a result, some restrictions are not out of line.

        As for your story about your daughter, you guys did the right thing. Despite the fact that she thought you were insane, you protected her and others from her emotional turmoil by moving the gun so she couldn’t find it as easily. Not all gun owners are that responsible. I’d wager that a good number of gun owners are not that responsible (I am not saying most, I’m saying a few overall). And due to their lack of responsibility, children can get hurt. And that’s not a society that’s protecting anyone. An 8 year old kid has a better chance of accidentally shooting someone while playing with a gun then they do stabbing someone else to death. Yes, it’s happened, but the numbers are significantly different. I am also not saying that a mother should be stripped of her guns because her son has a violent tendency; I am saying that parents should be trained to safely keep and store their guns so that their son/daughter can’t access them so easily. Whether or not they have a blind spot, whether or not they think their kid can handle it; a parent’s duty is to protect their child, and they should do it with complete authority.

        Unfortunately, raising your child to respect life is not as easy as it sounds. Some people think they’ve instilled that in their child, but in some cases the child has no regard for human life due to mental illness, or simply blind emotional rage. They probably won’t hesitate until it’s over. It’s unfortunate but accurate.

        you said “But, when we notice that something we do, innocently, contributes to the harm of others, and we can change what we do without detriment to ourselves, we readily do so.” And that’s my point. Once can easily fill out paperwork, one can easily store their gun safely, and it’s a detriment to no one…just a way to protect everyone.

        Also, you said “Yes, free speech has some limitations but nothing compared to that of gun ownership.” The truth is, words can hurt, but words don’t kill you unless you let them. When guns are concerned, you have no choice whether it kills you or not, that’s entirely up to the gun-wielding individual.

        As far as the database goes, I believe such a thing CAN help a great deal, but I believe the access to the information has to be very carefully set up (which is possible). Names, addresses, serial numbers, and bullet striations go into the database, but law enforcement can only access the data if they have a bullet to compare with the database, or a gun’s serial number. THEN the information about the owner is available. They have to have physical evidence to put into the database to get any information out of the database. That protects the owners of guns privacy, and it keeps the police from trying to create a case without the appropriate evidence. But by having that database, the crime doesn’t come back to the wrong person. For example, if the paperwork I’ve mentioned were completed and put into the database, the person who purchases a gun lawfully in a federally licensed way can sell their gun to the guy down the street and now that person is the registered owner of that particular gun. So if HIS kid commits a crime with it, it doesn’t go back to the law-abiding citizen, the evidence goes back to the appropriate owner, thus saving police time, harassment of the original owner, and the ability to bring a killer to justice swifter. Which brings me back to the 15 year mandatory sentence. This is a great idea for adults, or children that are tried in adult courts, but it’s missing a piece. What about the kid who was playing with his father’s gun? I think the parents should be punished for that, as it was their job to keep that gun out of the hands of their child in the first place. There should be a sentence for that…a mandatory one.

        I must say, you take a dim view of defense attorney’s. Their purpose is to defend the person to the best of their ability, not just acquiesce to the idea that their client is guilty. In America, you are innocent until proven guilty, not the other way around. You clearly believe in gun ownership. Let’s say you sold someone one of your guns privately, and then they use that gun in a crime (completely hypothetical), and it traces back to you; would you want an attorney who believes you did it, or one that will fight as hard as possible to convince the others you didn’t do it? Yes, sometimes defense attorney’s are better than the DA, but I don’t care what kind of crime it is, the person has a right to a fair trial and a good defense attorney. And as a defense attorney, their job is to make sure that their client is represented to the fullest, no matter what. It’s not about sleeping better at night, it’s about doing your job. As I said, I know many defense attorney’s (I have quite a few in my family), and every single one of them at one time or another refused a case because they knew that the client did it and therefore they could not properly represent them. You are correct that it is not their job to help the guilty get away with it, it is their job to represent their client to the best of their abilities. I am not saying that every defense attorney is the same as the ones in my family, and I’m sure there are some who care more about helping people get away with it than anything else, but those aren’t representative of EVERY defense attorney, just as one gun owner who doesn’t take care of their guns are representative of all gun owners. You cannot argue that one particular subject has gray areas while maintaining that everything else is black and white. Yes, it’s not right when a murderer gets set free because their lawyer put up a good defense — that’s not the lawyer’s fault. That’s the jury’s fault. They’re the ones that determine whether the person is innocent or guilty. It has not now, or has it ever been the decision of the defense attorney. The problem is, the DA goes in with cock-a-mayme evidence that a blind man could walk through, and the jury must acquit. If EVERYONE did their jobs properly, the innocent wouldn’t go to jail, and the guilty would. You can’t blame that on one attorney sitting on one side of the room. There are two attorney’s present, a judge, AND a jury. It’s up to all of them to do their job correctly, and it’s honestly strange that you believe one attorney should do their job in a way that is less than their best because the other attorney doesn’t have a solid case. In whatever business you are in, you should always do your best, no matter what the other people in the room do. A guilty client has the same rights as the innocent one: to have the best defense they can. If the other attorney doesn’t have all of the evidence lined up in a row, then it’s THEIR fault, not the defense attorney’s.

        I’m done defending lawyers now LOL I appreciate your comments, and I must say, I’m having to read your replies several times because they make a great deal of sense, and you’re making me REALLY have to think about where I stand and what I believe. I enjoy the challenge. Thank you.

      2. (Oh, this is how we Reply to each other more than once……)

        Hello Marla,

        If only more people would simply dialogue like we have, how much farther we could get in solving difficult problems. Thank you. “Ultimately sound somewhat insane”–LOL! Too true. I appreciate it mightily that you and others are interested in at least discussing the issues that plague us all, without rancor or hostility. All any of us can expect, and really all I ask, is that what is said be given honest and patient consideration.

        Waiting Periods. It is a part of our struggle as a species that when we identify a problem, we fashion a solution, then, we notice the solution reveals another problem. Dangit. Part of the issue in discussing nearly anything on a global platform is what is true where you live is not true where I live. Where I live, and actually where most live, there is a waiting period of some length. What we need to think about is everyone eligible to buy a gun, not just the mentally troubled. Far more numerous are women at risk of domestic violence. By the way, do you mean a waiting period to buy or to get a CCL? Either way, there are waiting periods for both of varying lengths now. Longer does not equal safer.

        Carol Bowne, a NJ woman started the process of arming herself to save her own life only to be fatally thwarted by the red tape. http://www.courierpostonline.com/story/news/crime/2015/06/04/woman-fatally-stabbed-berlin-twp/28461361/

        I’m a tad confused by why you list felons as a group who should not have guns because that is the law now. That felons are getting guns anyway points up that humans are very, very clever, determined and when criminal, unscrupulous. Since the dawn of crime and punishment, we’ve been trying to find ways to make it impossible for criminals to crime again. How are we doing?

        The only way to make crime truly a minor societal difficulty is to raise better humans. Applying force from the outside (prisons, fines, rehab) only creates industries for applying such force more creatively and at a profit. In America, established to be a nation of laws, equal protection under the law increasingly loses its power and allure when the people, here and around the world, start noticing that America keeps making exceptions.

        We can trade specific examples of exceptions for quite sometime (thanks internet search engines). Trying to make public policy that respects our natural human and civil rights while addressing the problems that those rights inherently generate is our challenge. What we have learned through history is that when we start restricting liberal access to our rights, the politically opportunistic take advantage to secure more power to themselves. That’s not the case with John Q. Public but it doesn’t have to be. We live among people who do thirst for power, and absolute power is the very most delectable to them.

        Guns Regulated Like Cars. I’m not sure you really want to suggest this as a solution. Because right now, we don’t have to go through a background check to buy a car, which is not a right. We also don’t have to switch to using cabs when we reach the border of a state that doesn’t recognize our driver license, which is what happens when a CCL carrier travels with their lawful weapon to a state that doesn’t honor their CCL.

        I have been lobbying for many years for the minimum driving age to be raised just one year, from 16 to 17. The number of teens who die by car, due to immature judgment, is staggering and entirely preventable. But because they die by the hundreds every month, around the world by the thousands, we’ve become numb to it. It’s not nearly as sexy to the Main Stream Media as threatening a right, because people get worked up about their rights. If we would air the photos of the gruesome aftermath of teen driver car deaths, the lead would bleed, then we’d see how much, much more blood is spilled by that than by gun. Then maybe we’d be mobilize to at least, at least, raise the age just one little year.

        Keep in mind, even with the regulations you think wise and prudent now applied to driving, we are killing each other by the THOUSANDS day in and day out. With licensing, with insurance, with many, many traffic laws. By the thousands, most of them under 21. Clearly, all of those measures are not saving nearly as many lives as you seem to think they will when applied to guns. So I ask that you give that more consideration.

        More Restrictions. To this I politely but firmly respond, no. Free men, women, elderly and disabled in America have already conceded far too much concerning their Second Amendment right, far more than anyone has in order to access their First Amendment right. Speech is not just the words that come out of our mouths that land seemingly without leaving even so much as a bruise.

        I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the black & white PSA that ran for a while featuring a young girl who is subjected to a steady stream of verbal abuse. As each put down, insult and degradation is spit at her, a bruise, cut or abrasion appears on her face. We’ve learned, all of us, that words don’t leave visible scars but savage damage inside our hearts that last a lifetime. That is an example of how the spoken word can be and is harmful, crippling and deadly. Ask any LGBT how inconsequential to them are the words uttered at them designed to punch them in the soul. Probe the impetus behind the teens who commit suicide to escape the scourge of bullying, a plague that exacts death through purposely painful words.

        It is with words, speech, that people are convinced, induced and incited to commit physical violence. It is with speech that people are manipulated into voluntarily giving up their own rights. Mao’s Little Red Book. The Bible. Qu’ran. The Bill of Rights. All speech. All hugely consequential for ill and good. Far more influential and existential than hand held weapon. Why bother with diplomacy if speech is not capable of starting and ending wars?

        I strongly disagree that guns are a problem. No, people WHO MISUSE GUNS ARE A PROBLEM. Specifically, career criminals, gangsters, who are repeat offenders of graphically gigantic proportion. The MSM enjoys harping on cases of people who misuse a gun for the first time, as a child, by accident, in murder-suicide which is what most mass shootings at schools usually turn out to be. Because the MSM is made up mostly, now, of the left leaning who think the government patriarchy is the answer to everything. They really do think the People are unruly, violent, rudderless and in desperate need of more government control. What is baffling is how short-sighted the Fourth Estate is now.

        Without the same liberal access to our Second Amendment right, the press would be the first to suffer. Of course, those who firmly believe in giving up a right are the last to admit they were wrong when they need the right personally one day.

        Just as you would wager that a “good number of gun owners are not that responsible,” I would wager that you are thinking of those who we hear about in the news. Because the vast majority of the gun owning families in America you never hear about. Because they are responsible. The vast majority defend themselves successfully by merely showing their gun to the criminal who runs away. Those every day Defensive Gun Uses never make the news, never get counted by the CDC or anyone else. But they happen. It has happened in my family. No one calls the press to say “I just scared off a burglar by just showing him my gun, so put that in the Good Guy with a Gun Column for Report to the World Public.”

        Raising better humans is not as easy as it sounds? No kidding. But it’s not impossible and it is worth doing, clearly.

        Again, a registry is out of the question. Socialist countries adore such ideas. Considering how swiftly such registries are used to oppress the populace when the political winds blow just right one day, it provides more evidence that words do, in fact, kill and in far greater numbers than personally owned guns. History is replete with horrific examples of disarmed people suffering, unable to rid themselves of their corrupt government oppression because they have no right to a gun. Just ask the Syrian people now.

        I’m glad you’re done defending lawyers because that’s no fun for anyone except attorneys and their clients, LOL! To quote The Eagles, from the song “Get Over It”: “The more I think about it old Billy was right, Lets kill all the lawyers, kill em tonight” Har. I keed, I keed. Lawyers have a place in our society, clearly but too often they break out of that place and insinuate themselves where they do harm, such as in politics and government. They love writing laws. Especially laws that give them job security, if you know what I mean. 😉

        Again, thank you for your perspective and well-advanced arguments. I will do the same as you, continue contemplating them and seeing if any novel, feasible solutions might be derived therefrom. We both want to reduce suffering.


      3. Miles,

        It is my personal opinion that “discussing the issues that plague us all, without rancour and hostility” is the only way to get anywhere. The truth is, in all topics, people have emotional beliefs that don’t necessarily match other people’s emotional beliefs, and that’s when the dialogue breaks down, and nothing gets solved. Instead of lashing out because one does not feel the same, if everyone could discuss it as we are, then the likelihood of finding something in between that could work better than the current situation is more likely to happen; especially if both sides are open to good, honest discussion and debate.

        As far as the waiting periods, there are many states where this is not the case. I do not propose making the waiting period some ridiculously long time, but rather enough that a real background check can be ran on the person. Yes, there’s that woman out there who wants a gun to protect herself and her kids from an abusive husband, but that same abusive husband can get his hands on a gun too. That’s not making everyone safe, that’s making everyone in that situation less safe. In this particular instance, since you mention domestic violence, I believe there’s a two-part solution that won’t really hurt anyone. 1) waiting periods on guns with a full background check, so the man with a criminal record of domestic violence can’t get the gun whereas the victim of the violence can; 2) better protections in place for victims of domestic violence, and stronger punishments for people who violate a restraining order. That gives the woman time to apply and get her gun while he’s locked up. As far as the article you attached, I have to say that the two solutions I had mentioned would have greatly reduced the risk to the woman. I also think that when the person is filing for possession of a gun, everything, INCLUDING fingerprinting should be part of the application process up-front, that way it’s not up to the person running around trying to get all the necessary information. Go to a gun shop, fill out all of the required documentation, then wait while they run the background check; there’s no reason someone in danger should wait a whole month to be able to protect themselves.

        When I mentioned the felons, I was stating that with proper procedures and background checks that person would be unable to obtain a gun. Also, if all private sales of weapons were recorded, the same would be true. It would make it harder for the bad guys to get their hands on guns. Also, the prison system is letting down the criminals. It has been proven that education inside prisons, anger management courses inside of prisons, and the like significantly reduce the recidivism rate upon parole. I do not fully understand your “exception” statement, but I do not believe there should be exceptions. Everyone deserves equal protection under the law, it’s part of what America is all about.

        Again, my guns regulated like cars is not a one hundred percent accurate portrayal of what I was trying to say. I was simply using the example that registering your vehicle and registering your gun should both be required. As far as car deaths versus gun deaths, there are multitude of factors that go into car deaths: distracted driving, careless driving, faulty parts on the vehicle, slow reaction times, whatever it is. Guns do not have the same dangers, because you have to purposely pick it up and point it. That’s what I’m trying to say: if the same registration requirements were on guns than with cars, the deaths by guns would dramatically decrease. As far as with cars, I do not disagree that the driving age should be raised. And in some states it has been.

        When I said “good number of gun owners are not that responsible,” I clarified and said I was not talking about the majority. I was talking about the few, the ones who allow access to their weapons to children too young to understand the repercussions.

        As for the lawyers, I don’t understand what you’re saying. Lawyers rarely write laws.

      4. Marla,

        Fully agree.

        Waiting periods. Partly agree, partly not. I’ll think more on what you’ve suggested.

        BGCs on private gun sales. The thing is, felons get guns on the black market, they rarely use lawful means. BGCs will still never catch them. It’s just not going to happen, they work around it now and will continue to.

        Proven that education, anger management, etc. Please supply links and/or citations to the authoritative sources that inform your claim. Thanks.

        Exceptions. I mean when we allow some to break the law because of their political allies, their personal physical demographics. Yes, everyone does deserve equal protection, but if you’re not a member of the in-crowd, not on the favored side, you won’t get it. As a black woman said at a town hall meeting recently, when illegal aliens commit crimes, they get sympathy, allowances, assistance, but when blacks break the law they go to jail.

        Cars v guns. I respectfully disagree. Cars and guns, both mechanical tools, are vulnerable to the same problems. A car is no different than a gun in that you do have to get in it, and point it. You make it a smart bomb or a smart transport, entirely up to you, as the Stillwater, OK event goers learned just last week. And the chief difference is the very most important difference: driving is not a right. Just as the innocent are entitled to a zealous defense, so do our Rights. I know some think we should treat American citizenship no better than a driver license, because they want us to ignore the immigration laws broken. Many disagree. Trying to treat a right like a privilege trivializes all our rights. That is a very, very dangerous path.

        Lawyers write most of our laws. As elected Congress members, and as lobbyists who submit proposed bills written for the convenience of our inclined, lazy, insecure and/or corrupt Congress critters. Do you know how many people in elected office are lawyers? And they influence how laws are interpreted in courts around the nation daily. SCOTUS is made entirely of lawyers. SCOTUS settles the contested law in the cases they elect to hear.


  20. If anything … the dialogue on this post shows that there may just be some issues that are unsolvable. There may be many underlying causes of the violence in our society. Mental health issues and the lack of an appropriate level of care for those troubled by their demons. A fractured lack of community and shared responsibility. The diversity of our country compared to many others that can be an incredible strength, but also create dangers of its own. The violence that permeates our entertainment industries, including movies, music, and video games. There are plenty of others.

    But, while I dislike comparisons with other countries (just like I dislike comparisons of guns with cars), I cannot ignore that many of these same issues exist in many other developed countries and yet the level of gun violence in those countries is in most cases minimal. And the one big difference between other developed countries and the United States is our gun culture.

    The problem is that too many people involved in this debate are set in their views. They have already written the book on their position and are completely uninterested in a re-write. I’d like to start with a few points that challenge the other side as expressed by various commenters here. First, the rights granted under the 2nd Amendment are not absolute. This is a fact that the Heller court recognized. To state it more broadly, there is no individual right granted by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any amendment thereto that is absolute. The courts, throughout our history as a nation, have recognized that every right granted in our founding documents can be limited if there is an appropriate government interest at stake. In other words, saying individuals have a right to bear arms and the government can do nothing about it is a misstatement of the law in this country. And given that, we should be talking about what reasonable restrictions make sense, both for our society and within reasonable constitutional bounds.

    I fundamentally disagree with the notion that more arms in the hands of citizens will make us all safer. The human race is made up of people with weaknesses. None of us are without our problems and our frailties. And no amount of gun training or education will do anything about that when we get to that moment when those problems reach a crisis point. Because of that, the idea that we should have armed guards everywhere, and allow for concealed carry everywhere, is an idea that defies logic. Please share your counter-argument as to why it would be logical. But before you do … have you read the stories of the individuals who were at the Oregon college during the most recent mass shooting who were armed and explained why they did not intervene. If you haven’t, you should. When everybody is armed … or not even everybody, but more people are armed, and they are firing at each other, it will be impossible for law enforcement to know who the good guys and bad guys are. Placing far more people at risk.

    I have no issue with people owning weapons for hunting, for going to firing ranges, and for the protection of their homes and loved ones. I will continue, however, to oppose any expansion of the ability of regular citizens to walk the streets armed. I see no good in that and only an increased risk to us all.

    I believe we have lost our way with the treatment of the mentally ill, but I don’t know how we fix that without a massive expenditure of resources that one side of the debate is unwilling to make and the other is unwilling to make for “civil rights” reasons.

    We have lost whatever fight we were willing to make about the content of entertainment because … you know, that’s another one of those amendments. Freedom of speech.

    What is fundamentally the problem goes back to one of the causes I identified … the fracturing of our society and the lack of a sense of community. Far too many of us have left the community and convinced themselves that they live on an island, free to do whatever they want and any challenge to that is a challenge to their rights. We’ve lost whatever sense of community responsibility we ever had … at least on a scale large enough to make a difference. So, rather than collaborating and discussing solutions, we retreat to our islands, to your fortresses and lob statements and conclusions and never consider that while we may be “right” about our views, there may be a better way to address these issues for the larger whole.

    Until both sides on this issue are willing to tear up the book they have written in defense of their positions and start with a blank page, sadly, I don’t think there will ever be a solution. To this issue and many others our country faces. We seem to have hit a wall. We’re not listening to each other and only give credence to the views and facts that support our own views while belittling those that don’t.

    I applaud you, Laurie, for your efforts to begin a discussion on this topic. It is one that must be addressed and I hope for your sake and that of millions of others, somewhere along the way, leaders emerge on both sides who are willing to sit down and find a solution.

  21. I’m an Australian who has had the benefit of being born only a few years before the 1996 Port Arthur massacre which caused the gun by-back. I’ve never handled a gun or shot one and I don’t really want to. I believe that what others wish is up to them, but I support strong legislation including background checks, registering guns and even restrictions on the type of gun/ amount one person can have.
    There are deeper problems, mentioned above, like our treatment of mentally ill people, which are connected to all this.
    I join with you in hoping for conversation rather than flat-out argument.

  22. Hello King,

    Good evening. I can agree with you that there are issues concerning human violence that are not solvable by us, here, now, by way of law or otherwise. Such is an aspect of the human condition.

    Just as you dislike certain comparisons (for reasons I haven’t found yet), I dislike the restriction of “developed countries” because it gerrymanders the data. Wherever there are guns and humans contributes to the data. Human nature and our relationship to an excellent firearm is what matters, not the development of our countries natural resources.

    America, not unlike every single other country of any level of development, has many cultures. The multi-culturalists will claim this is good. The homogeneous will claim not. America is a car culture, an individual right culture, a wealth accumulation culture, a youth worshiping culture, a technology obsessed culture, a fast food culture, etc., etc. So to say we’re a gun culture is only true among those of us who take our Second Amendment right very seriously, just as with the First Amendment right, and who actively avail themselves of the right for all that it protects.

    When you say too many people involved in this debate are set in their views, you do include yourself I trust. In which case, I agree. If I may challenge your views in return?

    First, the Second Amendment does not grant rights. Neither does the First Amendment. Both, at the top of the Bill of Rights, protect natural rights. Contrary to your assertion that Heller v DC does not grant individual rights, SCOTUS recognizes that in fact it is an individual’s right to bear arms, for defense of self and others and, secondarily, being a necessary prerequisite for the formation of a citizen militia. What good is a militia if no one bears an arm until assembled and is thus inexperienced and thus, not well-regulated? An individual right granted (not true)…can be limited if there is an appropriate government interest at stake?

    Such as? You have it backwards King. The government is us, and as us, it is subject to the will of the people, especially in an emergency. Not the reverse. We left England for this very reason. Cf. 04-19-1775.

    I also disagree with you in that more arms in the hands of lawful citizens who wield them in defense of self and others is a good thing. I have more faith in my fellow man than you, it would appear. I promise you, as will most Law Enforcement experts, people are around you now, with a concealed weapon in their saggies, without any license or training, in public at the store, etc. They are the sort you would call gang bangers. Criminals. Getting chips and soap. See no evil.

    That the UCC CCL held back, did not engage the shooter, should tell us more about our blame the hero culture, than about their ability or willingness to intercede. They, rightly, had to consider what the ramifications would be if they fired and were not 100% perfect. Christ Mintz, who I hope everyone here has donated to his GoFundMe, rushed the shooter, unarmed. He is the very definition of a hero. Now, consider how you would regard him had he rushed the shooter while armed? Would you worry about who of the innocent he “might have” harmed with his “wild” shooting?

    Because he was unarmed, he took the much rougher path to neutralizing the shooter, at horrible risk to himself and ultimately his family. I would have preferred that he stopped him with a firearm and able to walk away.

    But I do agree that so far, the solutions usually advanced by those who don’t understand or like guns too often call for outright ban, pseudo ban or yet more restrictions that if applied to the previous mass shooters would have stopped none.

    I hope that in due time, all of our rights will be respected, enjoyed and more of us will see fellow citizens as friends.


  23. Miles,

    “Wherever there are guns and humans contributes to the data. Human nature and our relationship to an excellent firearm is what matters, not the development of our countries natural resources.”

    OK, give me an example of a country, whether developed or not, that has a higher proportion of gun ownership but a lesser level of gun violence than those countries that have a lower proportion of gun ownership.

    As for the various cultures that exist in our country … I agree that are many. Nothing I said suggested otherwise. What we do have, compared to most developed, Western countries and even many that are not developed or Western, is a love of guns. Hence, compared to many other countries, we also have a gun culture, which affects all of us, not just those who want to possess a gun.

    Regarding Heller, the 2nd Amendment, and the Bill of Rights, I did not say that Heller did not grant individual rights. What I said is that the court recognized that the 2nd Amendment, just as with the rest of the Bill of Rights and Constitution, does not grant an absolute individual right. This is a concept that has survived over 200 years of Supreme Court decisions regarding the bill of rights and is an opportunity for you to begin to re-write the book that forms your views.

    The classic example of this taught in law school is the fact that while we have a right to free speech, this does not mean the right is unlimited. You cannot yell “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. Because of the danger that would cause to your fellow citizens. Similarly, you can be sued for libel and slander. These are limits on your right to free speech. Similarly, the 2nd amendment does not grant a absolute to bear arms. This is a fact the Heller Court recognized when it stated the following: “Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts rou­tinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. [citations omitted] For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. [citations omitted] Although we do not undertake an
    exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws impos­ing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

    In other words, regardless of whether the 2nd amendment protects a natural right, an individual right, or whatever, regardless of your idealistic views of what government is, the Court recognized that, just as with every other right protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the government may for compelling government interests limit the right protected by the 2nd Amendment. As quoted above, the court recognized the legitimacy of all sorts of restrictions on the right to bear arms — including, as relevant to your point, the longstanding tradition of government being able to restrict the concealed possession of firearms.

    So, I’m curious, are you willing to modify your views of the 2nd amendment and what it actually means? Or will you stick with your views that aren’t based on how these things are actually interpreted and applied by the courts?

    As for my flexibility … I’ll make you deal. You and Earl have both suggested that more guns in more hands, more concealed carry, would make us safer. Earl, in proposing that, acknowledges that he has no idea if it will make things better. You make no effort to show that it will improve things, instead relying on your faith in the human race. I’d suggest that a belief that people should walk around with guns demonstrates a lesser faith in the human race, but I guess that’s just me. You refer to the idea that there are all sorts of criminals out there already walking around with concealed guns. You may be right, but again, having more people with guns has yet to be credibly argued as an improvement. If you want to make that argument, I’m all ears. Seriously. but as long as the only thing that is said in defense of that position is either “I have no idea if it’ll work” or “I have faith in the human race” I’m not sold.

    Your turn. Oh wait, I remember something else I wanted to say. I think people on my side of the debate who think there is any reasonable, credible way to “confiscate” on a large scale the guns held by law-abiding citizens are living in a dream world. I’d like to see an idea for solving the problem moving forward, that does something to lessen the prevalence of guns on the streets — from both criminals and law-abiding citizens. To be honest, I’m not sure how to achieve that, but that should be the objective for all of us, regardless of which side of the debate you are on.

    1. Hi King,

      Give you an example? No. Why? Because that continues to rely on the country being a part of the equation. Gun ownership and the right to self-defense thanks to it, is much more granular. And your demand leads from the belief that there is a standard extra-American that America should submit to.

      I disagree. Maybe you think America would be so much better, so much cooler, so much nicer, so much more of everything you think she needs to be if only she would stop being what she is now, starting with the gutting of certain of her rights protected by the Constitition. I don’t.

      To quote myself re the feeble by comparison limitations on free speech: “Yes, free speech has some limitations but nothing compared to that of gun ownership. Nothing.” The laws in America that could punish libel or slander only protect the libeled and slandered when and only when a someone brings an action in court. In the case of the Second Amendment, no harm need be so much as alleged. That is not acceptable to a growing number of citizens, women, LGBT, able-elderly and able-disabled most especially. There is far too much red tape for them to unwind now as it is. Far too many gun controllers think only white men want guns. That is dangerously xenophobic and in some cases racist, ageist and dismissive.

      The Bill of Rights is not a grant. It is an order of protection of natural rights, given by God or by operation of the right to just proceed with life, your choice. Heller came with dicta and opinion which do not obviate the ruling final.

      The right to bear arms is an individual right. (Now, if you want to assert that the SCOTUS ruling is wrong, I have an example of one you likely agree with and I think is wrong. I’ll refrain from saying which for now, but I think you can guess.)

      The Second Amendment suffers and endures many restrictions now. Over 20,000 laws on the books now across America. “The longstanding tradition of government being able to restrict the concealed possession of firearms”? Do you mean documented concealed carry vs undocumented, starting in 1976? Or do you mean banning concealed carry, considered something criminals do to maximize their advantage, while leaving alone open carry?

      Of course no right is unlimited. Your right ends where mine begins.

      I’m curious, what part of my commentary suggests *I* have an “idealistic view of what government is”? Quite the contrary, I don’t trust the government, any of them, most especially the parasitic municipal variety. The Constitution and Bill of Rights is not the government.

      Earl and I? That suggests to me you think Earl and I are in cahoots, because it’s not possible we naturally agree? Only agreeable people agree with you? Are you surprised two strangers on a blog agree with each other and not with you or are you paranoid?

      I have made the same efforts to show it will improve safety among the lawful and even modestly trained, as you have to show the opposite, but you are not interested. I have more faith in lawful citizens than you do and I give them the benefit of the doubt, at least, something you won’t do. People are walking around with guns now but you prefer they remain concealed, documented or undocumented. Undocumented suits criminals just fine. You don’t ask, they won’t tell. Defenders of the Second Amendment and lawful citizen gun owners prefer we see who is armed so we all know who is likely to fight with us against an attack. At least.

      You have faith in law enforcement for the most part, correct? I do, too. You trust them with guns, right? Why? Because they’re trained? Their training makes them safer AND, rightfully, more lethal. Understand? Where do LEOs come from, Mars? No, they come from among us. So if they are trainable so are we. And just because you only hear of, and fear, those the Main Stream Media report on, criminals, the foolish, or someone with bad luck, you stereotype all gun owners? Why is it you would hotly protest stereotyping Muslims because of 9/11 but you do exactly that to us, fellow citizens, people who want the same result as you, less suffering by the innocent?

      In addition to extending the benefit of the doubt to my fellow lawful citizens, I don’t reject the realities of human nature. Especially, criminal human nature.

      More guns in the hands of the lawful scare the criminals, King. When a criminal thinks he may have a gun shoved in his face he decides to pick someone without a gun. Criminals understand this quite well. Women understand it, too. Anyone who talks a woman, elder or paraplegic into disarming themselves is guilty of giving aid and comfort to their assailants. Pay closer attention to the videos now commonplace on Youtube and LiveLeak that show thugs robbing a store. Watch how they react when the victim merely points a gun at them. With few exceptions, they run. No shot need even be fired. Thank goodness for video proof of non-violent successful Defensive Gun Use because the Main Stream Media routinely ignores them.

      I disagree with the suggestion that regardless of which side of the debate one stands on, a blanket reduction in guns should be the objective. I fully agree with disarming criminals. I will not disarm the lawful citizen. Because no amount of outlawing guns for criminals will keep guns out of their hands. We can’t do it with drugs, we can’t do it with poached animals, we can’t do it with human smugglers. If we would enforce the laws now on the books, as in actually enforce them and levy truly harsh sentences the first time a gun is misused in a crime, the criminals and the watching public would finally believe we really don’t tolerate crime.

      You and I need our fellow citizens from all walks of life to be armed and ready to help you and me when necessary. I, and millions like me, demand liberal access to our right to self-defense and defense of our Republic. If you want to sneer at us certain we’re scaredy-cats, say exactly that to the next armed woman you meet.

      You and I should be ready to defend ourselves and those around us. If you don’t trust yourself to carry a gun, that’s fine. But don’t disarm the rest of us. When you need us to save your bacon, we will. But at least have the guts to say thanks.


      1. Miles … my initial post that you responded to was my attempt at suggesting that all of us, on both sides of the debate need to be willing to re-examine our pre-conceived notions of right and wrong on this issue — and many others — if we are serious about finding a resolution. I’m willing to take that step if those on the other side of the debate are willing to do so also. You clearly aren’t. What was your point in responding?

  24. kingmidget
    October 27, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    At this point, that is my question to you. Why suggest everyone re-examine their positions while
    offering no sign of you doing exactly that. You’re full of gauntlets, no olive branches.

    1. Interesting … in at least two different areas, I suggested ways in which you could begin to convince me of your perspective. In both of those areas, you refused to respond to my requests for additional information and then suggested I was paranoid and a coward. It’s impossible to have a rational dialogue with somebody who does that. Hate to tell you this, but the coward is the one who needs a gun to walk walk the streets, not the one who is safe not needing the gun. The paranoid one is the one who leaps to that kind of conclusion where you did — let me give you a clue. I was trying to open the door to considering the possibility that more guns might be a solution, but I was pointing out that for me to do that it would take something more than what you and Earl had said in defense of such a position. Not because I thought you were in cahoots with each other, but because you were the only two commenters making that argument. That you leaped to the conclusion you did based on my comment and request for additional justification says a whole lot more about your state of mind than it does about mine.

      So, let’s just agree to go our separate ways. Our non-existent dialogue here is a perfect example of the problem I identified above. We live in two different Americas, speak two different languages, and it likely would be impossible for us to agree on just about anything.

      1. I think that both of you might be missing the mark here. In part on what I mean by dialogue. Some of the language from both of you is inflammatory, and I’d like to invite you both, if you are willing, to share from a different perspective.
        I’d like to hear from both of you on your story behind how you came to the conclusions you have. I don’t care what those conclusions are NECESSARILY. They are important, but what I care more about is your process of consideration, and your story. Would both of you be willing to dialogue with me about the story behind your positions?
        In particular, I’d like to hear – what thoughts and feelings led you to believe you should carry/not carry a weapon? What thoughts and feelings led you to believe that guns should/should not be restricted in some way? What was the deciding factor that made you think about these issues in the first place?
        If you don’t want to answer, I understand, but these are the things I”d like to hear from you both.

  25. Laurie … I would like to apologize for participating in a degradation of the debate and discussion that you were hoping for. I take full responsibility for my participation and apologize.

    The interesting thing is that I have reached very few conclusions on this issue and honestly don’t know what the solution is. There are many issues at play and focusing on only one of those issues means we won’t actually achieve a solution. While I don’t know what the solution is, I have some ideas about what the solution isn’t and when other commenters have stated ideas that I don’t believe are a solution, I’ve asked for more explanation, more justification, more evidence that supports their ideas. And for that I get attached as paranoid and a coward. It’s an odd dynamic that exists in this country these days … people think that all they should have to do is state their position and they don’t believe they need to justify their position or respond credibly to requests for more. It is simply this — “this is what I think and I’m unwilling to analyze that belief or respond to your requests for more.”

    So, I don’t know how to answer your questions on this particular issue. How have I come to the position I’m at. I believe that the issue of guns in this country is a fundamental issue that must be resolved. As I said in my last comment, we are two different Americas, speaking two different languages. As long as we remain that way, there will be no solutions. Guns are one of the best examples of this dynamic. I don’t know what the answer is, but I believe we have to come to some kind of consensus on how to deal with this issue, and many others, or the fracture that exists in our country will just continue to grow.

    I do know this … as long as people believe they don’t have to defend their positions, don’t need to challenge their own views, and are unwilling to blow the doors open and consider something other than what they have believed for years … well, we’ll never get anywhere on this.

    Again, my apologies to you for my participation in the negative aspects of this kind of discussion. Given your history and your heartfelt request for a real discussion, to the extent I prevented that from happening, my apologies.

  26. Hi Laurie,

    Thank you for asking a question that brings us back to the issue at hand.

    I and my family came to believe in the defense of our Second Amendment right and in its protection of our natural right to defense of selves and others because to us, the truth of it is self-evident. That we also personally have had occasion to graphically use that right in self-defense and have suffered the loss of a loved one to murder is an intensifier.

    Both my wife and I were raised by parents who lived the value and importance of owning and using guns. We do belong to what some derisively refer to as the “gun culture.” We’re not cartoons. Rather, American humans who otherwise are not that different from you or anyone else. We work, laugh, cry and vacation. What we’re not is criminals. We’re not rubes who act irresponsibly. But we will defend ourselves against all comers, especially those who belong to the “anti-gun culture” who consider us the enemy.

    My wife and I both have so far, thankfully, been the only two in our family, who have had to at least brandish our weapons in an effort to to repel a criminal coming after us. In both cases, it was enough. We know the odds are our daughter will have to do the same, at least, some day. We pray all our teaching, training and preparing her will save her life if necessary.

    We believe that Americans at large have made far too many concessions that restrict our liberal access to our Second Amendment. Those who don’t use or understand the Second Amendment think we’ve made no concessions at all. They usually have made no effort to educate themselves before making that accusation. We heartily believe that all our rights should enjoy the same LIBERAL access as our other rights. But for too long, too many believe that guns are deadlier than speech and as something glaringly deadly we must all be against it, uncritically. Not enough of us are asking “yes, guns are deadly but is that it? A simple two dimensional reduction or is there more that our elders, people once young like us, once avant garde like us, learned and are trying to teach us through the din of our youthful simplification of life?”

    Our parents, and we as well, have learned the hard way: criminals will always find a way to get guns. Even in prison, they make guns (aka zip guns). So long as that is true, and so long as despotism is still a thing on earth, we can never rest on our laurels. We can’t toss aside the protections of our rights our Founders and Patriots of that generation through til now fought and died for, simply because we refuse to face reality, refuse to learn from history harsh and recent.

    Thank you again for even offering a place for the disagreeing to endeavor to be less disagreeable but more thoughtful. Peace and courage upon you and yours, now and forever.


    1. Kingmidget and Miles – thank you for your thoughtful responses. I appreciate the time and effort you are putting into this conversation.
      I invite you to continue considering this issue. To address one point you made, kingmidget – I DO think it’s possible to actually find some common ground and discuss, but it takes a lot of nonviolent communication. That’s something I’m learning myself. I’ve engaged several people on the “other side of the debate” from where I am, and I’ve learned a lot. But it’s been largely through maintaining curiosity and dropping my defensiveness as much as possible, which is not easy.
      In any case – Miles. I think you told me your story of self defense in another comment, but I missed it. By which I mean, the actual situations in which you have had to use a weapon. I would love to read it, because my first questions are around the issue of necessity – was a firearm necessary in this situation? I don’t question in order to say it WASN’T. I question because I believe responsible use is a big deal and I am curious to hear your take. But really, it’s not a fair question without knowing the story behind it.
      Kingmidget – thank you for your honesty in saying you’re not sure how to respond to my questions. They’re not easy questions. But I think they might be the entrance point to this issue. As I mentioned earlier, curiosity is the name of the game in my opinion. I encourage you to examine your deeply held beliefs and question why you hold them, what brought you to those conclusions in the first place. My encouragement is actually also to help us both better take on such a large issue. I’ve noticed in my own life that if I know the values, feelings, and motivations behind why I pursue something, I have a great deal more clarity on WHY the issue is so important to me. Does that make any sense? Please let me know if it doesn’t.
      Both of you – What I truly wish is more in-person conversations about this. Why? Because in an online forum it’s tricky to dialogue. We can’t see each other’s faces. We can’t put a person to the story quite as easily. And that is so important. For instance, my boss at work, who I highly respect, is a card carrying NRA member. I absolutely disagree with his stance on gun rights, but because I know him, I know I could have a respectful discussion with him about it. And I know I would quite possibly learn something from him. I think that’s the KEY we are missing in this whole discussion. I have no idea where I’m going with this other than to say, I hope this kind of dialogue can continue in all forums.
      I look forward to hearing from you both.

      1. Hi Laurie,

        Thank you for your kind encouragement to keep the line of dialogue open. I hope others will wander over and chime in, too, in the spirit established.

        I think you’re asking for specific details of the times my wife and I had to show our guns, right? As you seem to acknowledge, each encounter with a criminal is as unique as each individual involved in it. There are at least two universes of realities experienced where facts as perceived by each will match each other, and where other facts are special to where they stand.

        In my case, some years ago, I happened to be alone in the house while wife and daughter were out shopping. Watching a game, the dogs go off like fire crackers and head straight for the patio door. Before I follow them, I first get the shot gun from the closet. As I get near the patio I see a figure lurking about in the yard just at the edge of the patio lights. I hold my rifle muzzle low but ready. He notices me and before I can even say GTFO, he hauls out. I wait a second to be sure he doesn’t curl back, the dogs stay pointed as their barking dies down. They don’t head in a new direction so I’m thinking he’s gone. I look around through the house windows, nothing. I called my wife and told her to stop at the grocery store to pick up a few things. I wanted her to take longer getting back. Get the flashlight, let the dogs out with me, we give a thorough check. I do not call the cops because really, nothing happened. Had I learned the next day there was a rash of breakins or the like, then I would’ve.

        That is an example of a successful Defensive Gun Use by a lawful citizen which ended as it ideally should: no one hurt, no shots fired, bad guy was afraid of me so HE ran away.

        As you’re a woman, I will share my wife’s experience because you might find it more interesting.

        This happened to her long before we met, while she was still in her twenties. She was unarmed, returning home after dark, after ending her shift as a waitress. About half way home, she notices the same set of lights following her. Having been raised by a veteran, who raised her with guns, she was also situationally aware. So instead of heading to her apartment, she started making turns toward her parents neighborhood. After another minute, the guy pulled up beside her, and made motions to pull over. She could not see his face and didn’t recognize the car. Now, remember, she was raised to be aware, that panic kills and to keep thinking. So she formulated a quick little plan.

        She pulled over on the busy boulevard, put on her hazards and waited. He stopped behind her and when he was nearly at her door she stomped the gas. She ignored all traffic laws and made a beeline to her parent’s house. She scooted in before she saw him drive down her street. Her dad handed her his revolver. They made a contingency plan and after waiting a bit, she headed back out with the gun in her lap.

        Astoundingly, he reappeared. He pulled up driver side when she stopped at the sign, so she lifted the gun and showed its profile to him. That was enough, he left. She went back to her parents, they talked and decided calling the cops would be no use or worse. She never could get a look at his tags, or him. Though not carrying concealed, though not fired, they agreed they’d all only get hassled, lectured and made to feel wrong. They remained on alert for a while and never saw the guy again.

        I agree, not being able to see each other is a drawback when trying to discuss especially serious subjects. So we have to be more deliberate and ready to extend the benefit of the doubt.

        I hope one day you will consider asking your boss to take you to a firing range. I also hope your boss is the sort who makes you feel he will protect you and move respectfully and patiently with you. Only so you can see that it’s not scary, wild west or studded with stereotypes you might have or imagine having. No commitments, just a look-see. I suggest it routinely to those who have never been near a gun just so they can see how the other half lives. Exposing our selves to new cultures is seen as a good thing by liberals who readily jump at the chance when the culture is overseas. So why not here?

        I doubt you’re in danger of being mind-fu’d in one visit. Of course, you’re always in danger of meeting a cretin who will spoil it all for everyone. But that’s a risk anywhere, anytime.

        I hope I understood what you were asking for, if not, please let me know.


  27. Why? You would like to know the why of how I have come to my beliefs on this topic. There are many facets to the why. First, is this. It’s a legal perspective, one formed by my reading of the 2nd amendment and what I believe it means, which is not what the NRA and its supporters believe it means. In addition, because I’m an attorney who went through Constitutional Law in law school and who has continued reading and understanding court cases that interpret the Constitution, I know that it is nowhere near as absolute as the NRA and its supporters would like to have the rest of us believe. As I noted in one of my comments, even the Heller court, a conservative decision if there ever was one, recognizes that the government has the right to place limits on the rights protected by the 2nd Amendment. So, there is that.

    And there is this … I have lived my entire life in an environment in which guns have not been necessary. Have there been times when I have felt unsafe enough to believe that maybe a gun was necessary? Certainly, I don’t think anybody can exist in the world without at least one circumstance like that. An example — a couple of years ago, I thought one of my kids was out in front of our house when I heard gun shots right outside. I rushed out there and, fortunately, my son had left with his girlfriend and wasn’t out there. Problem is the gunshots were very real and they were the result of some interactions the neighbor kids had with somebody who had come to visit them. I still don’t know the details, but the neighbor kids appear to have had some involvement with gangs or dealing drugs or something. After it happened, considering what those kids were involved in, I considered getting a firearm — with training. I never followed through with it because I simply do not want to have a gun in my house. I believe, even with training, guns are dangerous objects that, in the hands of humans, all too frequently cause more harm than good and I don’t want one around. And other than isolated incidents like the one I just described, I and those that I love and care about, the “need” for a gun just isn’t real to me.

    And, finally, there is this … the logic of solving gun violence with more guns simply escapes me and, I believe, fails to recognize certain realities of human nature. I believe that experiences in other countries demonstrate that we are a far more violent country and one of the reasons is the prevalence of guns in our society. Yes, there are other factors that contribute to who we are compared to others, but it is simply impossible to escape or ignore the overwhelming number of guns that exist in this country.

    I have no interest in taking people’s guns from them. I just wish that, in exchange for that, those who want guns would respect the idea that walking the streets with guns isn’t a solution either.

  28. I cannot say strongly enough how much I love what you’re doing here. We so easily give in to our anger and stop listening to each other as humans. This is why we can’t get anything done in this country anymore. I have not yet read through these comments, but I absolutely will do so. Thank you so much for this.

    As to my feelings on guns and gun control: I am a war veteran, and I absolutely believe in strong regulations for owning and carrying firearms. I do not want just anybody carrying. You need training and experience to do so properly. Most average citizens are just not capable.

    A woman not all that far from me thought herself a hero when she shot at fleeing shoplifters in a Home Depot parking lot (http://nypost.com/2015/10/13/woman-charged-for-shooting-at-fleeing-shoplifters-in-home-depot-parking-lot/). She endangered lives. In your case, a citizen was able to stop the shooter. In many cases, that would not have happened. In the Aurora theater shooting, a good guy with a gun would have been almost certainly unable to take a clear shot. More bullets flying means more lives in danger.

    You’re also right to point out how adrenaline changes everything. Movie and TV shows will have you believe that a well-trained marksman can shoot a person between the eyes one-handed while falling down from 20+ feet away. That would be a difficult shot while dead calm from just a few feet away. Add in adrenaline, and things get much more dangerous, particularly for innocents.

    I was a lot like you once. When I first came back to my hometown when my military service was done, I took a concealed carry class. I chose not to get my permit. I won a firearm, but I do not carry. I have no qualms about taking a life in order to save lives. I am unwilling to risk lives unnecessarily in that pursuit. Should I be involved in an active shooter scenario, I know I would not be able to fire a shot unless the shooter is close enough for me to employ other means that would not put others at risk. I don’t oppose concealed carry, but like you, I’ve made a different choice for myself.

    Again, thank you for hosting this civil dialogue and trying to talk to people as people. This is truly admirable.

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