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Connecticut school shooting revives gun debate

81 Comments
By THOMAS PEIPERT

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81 Comments
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I feel that it is more of a mental healthcare problem than a gun problem. I'm not too sure as to what can be done to help; I'm not a doctor. But as a concerned citizen, I'd like to see the issue of mental health discussed more often, as it appears to be a recurring factor in these shootings.

-7 ( +5 / -11 )

There will be a lot of debate, lot's of proposals, more talk of this is not the time to make important decisions. And terrible as it is, this atrocity will gradually become a memory. And nothing will change. And then there will be another mass killing and the same debate will begin again.

The only thing that can bring about real change to america's gun laws is a similar incident to what has just happened but with the dead being the children of the politicians. Or a madman killing 20 or 30 congressmen in one go. Then they would act. Until then the gun industry will oil their profits with the blood of innocents .

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I feel that it is more of a mental healthcare problem than a gun problem.

Or a combination of these problems.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

There will be words but there will be no legislation. This is a tragedy and it is a black mark on the nation as a whole that it occurred, just as the next one will be. That is the terrible responsibility of the 2nd Amendment. It is not merely a right but a responsibility that must be approached with respect and vigilance because of how easily it can be abused. I have no sympathy for those that abuse that right and they deserve only the most terrible punishments available.

Existing laws must be enforced, there will be no outcry over that statement. Try and push through federal restrictions and support will turn to resistance near instantly. The majority has no interest in restrictions and the congress has no stomach for it.

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This has been doing the rounds on Facebook and is well worth a read

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/14/nine-facts-about-guns-and-mass-shootings-in-the-united-states/

It's simply beyond belief that this conversation is being held again.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

SimondBDec. 15, 2012 - 11:40AM JST

There will be a lot of debate, lot's of proposals, more talk of this is not the time to make important decisions.

TheQuestionDec. 15, 2012 - 12:11PM JST

There will be words but there will be no legislation.

Please, stay positive. The lawmakers of Colorado are under pressure, they will be forced to debate on the gun control starting January 2013. They can no longer ignore the demand of public call. If they want to be re-elected, they better get on the ball.The majority of public wants to ban automatic rifles. They do not belong here. Hopefully we can lead the rest of country. The change is coming for real.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Debating is one thing, DOING is something else. Every single person in the world outside the US, and many even within the US, can't fathom those who deny there is a problem in the US with gun culture, and NOW is the time to tighten the laws and limit the ease at which people can use the things.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

The majority of public wants to ban automatic rifles. They do not belong here. Hopefully we can lead the rest of country.

I think you misunderstand. I'm not seeking any additional legislation. Where you have rights you have those who abuse them, those who take them and twist them to terrible purposes. Freedom of speech has the KKK and Westboro, freedom of the press has shattered lives and suicides on its conscience, freedom of religion has its Jonestowns, and this one has mass murders. These people are despicable and evil, but the rights exists and must be respected and protected against those that wish to abuse or abridge them. I get thoroughly enraged every time I hear about these mass killings not only for the loss of life and the abuse of rights I hold in the highest regard, but because I know they will happen again but I cannot, in good conscience, condone sweeping reactionary legislation.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Sure it is a mental problem! America is mental for allowing regular citizens to buy and sell such dangerous weapons legally in the USA !! For shame!!!

2 ( +7 / -5 )

TheQuestionDec. 15, 2012 - 12:42PM JST

The majority of public wants to ban automatic rifles. They do not belong here. Hopefully we can lead the rest of country.

I think you misunderstand. I'm not seeking any additional legislation

I want additional legislation for my state. We do not want "Automatic Rifles" while I am respecting the Amendment 2. The Automatic Rifles do not belong to Colorado. Where is this appropriate? Should we allow these idiots to shoot the doves? We have had too many mass shootings here. We say no more. People outside of Colorado are underestimating our power what we have done to change this country. For this one, we are all united to move forward.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The Automatic Rifles do not belong to Colorado.

It's already illegal to own automatic weapons without a specialized permit and to my knowledge there hasn't been a legally purchased automatic weapon used in a crime in recent memory. I think you're confusing assault rifle with assault weapon. An assault rifle has a fire selector that allows for semi and fully automatic fire. Assault weapons in the US is a weapon that has rail attachments and/or bayonet lugs, they are not automatic.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Certain breeds of dog are regulated more tightly than handguns. The Constitution may guarantee ownership (though please do not pretend that even that point is under debate); it does not prohibit common-sense regulation.

A good place to start would be requiring all guns to be equipped with a palm print ID device that would only allow a registered user to fire it.

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LagunaDec. 15, 2012 - 01:31PM JST

A good place to start would be requiring all guns to be equipped with a palm print ID device that would only allow a registered user to fire it.

Thanks for the million dollar useful info.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The guns used in the killings belonged to his MOTHER. He did not own them. Ask yourself this, what did people use to kill others before the invention of the firearm? There will always be killing, it is just what some segment of society does.

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nothing will be done about gun control, they can talk/debate till Kingdom comes but that's as far as it will go. Now if you switch the victims ( the kids ) to politicans in Washington, then may be something MIGHT change.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Ask yourself this, what did people use to kill others before the invention of the firearm?

Edged weapons mostly but lets not muddy the issue. The purpose of a firearm is to give a person, any person regardless of physical strength or mental acuity, the power to end a life in as quick a process as possible. With the exception of the spear all weapons were created with the intention of killing other human beings, they are terrible items with incredible power, and that is why their possession is protected by the constitution. Because well meaning people can see the devastation they can bring about and naturally want to see it end. What they cannot foresee is how those in power that succeed them will use their new-found monopoly on force. The right to bear arms is a terrible responsibility.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Easy access to guns means easy way to murder kids. The NRA and their republican lackeys have once again blood on their hands. For the sake of profits on gun sales the NRA puts guns into the hands of kid killers.

In this one day in this one town the US gun crime is 2 times all of Japan for an average year. In the USA in 2008 587 people were killed when their guns went off by accident. 15,000 people a year in the USA die due to handgun violence. In Japan the rate has been as low as two per year. Why, of course gun control.

The right to bear arms is basically a right to commit murder. There is no difference.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

The NRA and the Tea Party are no different...............stick to their position regardless of what's good for the country even though the majority of the population want sensible gun control and tax policy.

Here's a solution, treat the gun lovers like tobacco users. It's OK to own guns, buy as many as you want but you have a pay a HUGE tax ; if you are convicted of any crime with gun, a HUGE mandatory jail time awaits. That ought to make a dent in gun crimes.

Just sayin'.......................

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The whole argument of the pro-gun lobby / NRA that the more arms civilians there are, the better we are able to protect ourselves .... is quite frankly RUBBISH.

In the last 30 years of mass shootings in US, in not ONE single case was the killing stopped by a civilian using a gun. NOT ONE!

More guns has only equaled more deaths and injuries. http://ow.ly/g6UNx

The NRA catch cry should read "Guns don't kill people. People kill people... WITH GUNS".

What a sad Christmas. Thoughts and prayers to all.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

The American forefathers didn't intend the right to bear arms to slaughter hundreds of children and students while at their places of education.

They would have dropped like hotcakes if they knew.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Murder, by bullet's...No our forefathers did not intend for this...However, they would of streched a nice peice rope for the perpertraitor of such a baby killer........They would also keep their arm's, for future defence of the State's...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The NRA and gun lovers should "stick to their guns." Just come out and tell the world that situations like this will never stop because they have to have their guns. Mass shootings should be thought of as something that's just going to happen with no end in sight. And if your kid is in a school, even in a school with gated security, it won't matter. Either his name will be drawn out of a hat and his brains will be on the wall, or they won't. It's just random luck.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Our American forefather's also burned witches at the stake, and stole native american land's, treated indian's and mexican's like animal excrement. And killed more women and children than we really know....not a very good example....

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

In the future I wish the nutters would just stick to shooting up NRA conventions. Seems appropriate to keep their issues out of everyone's world except their own.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I just saw Obama's reaction to this. The usual 'this has happened too often' platitudes. Yes, it is happened too often - so what are you going to do about it? The time to make a stand on this is scandalously overdue.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I cannot, in good conscience, condone sweeping reactionary legislation.

You know, if there had been sweeping reactionary legislation after Columbine or countless other incidents that happened before or after then it's highly unlikely that this would have happened. Instead they did nothing and whilst they continue to do nothing then this will continue to happen on regular occasions.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Connecticut actually has one of the strictest gun laws in the United States. They even have their own state registry separate from the federal govt - that's why the CT authorities were able to trace the weapons and its owners so quickly. You also have to carry certificates with the guns and take gun-safety classes. They also have a ban on assault rifles, but the fact that the suspect had an assault gun may mean it's a very old one, before the 1993 law banning it while grandfathering the old ones bought before the law.

So, the suspect's guns are all legal guns under his mother's name - she passed all the checks. Pretty much the only way to take those away is to make guns illegal.

The suspect himself just seemed like a normal dude, aside from autism. People around him say he's not at all antisocial or have an extremist agenda. That's why people are having such a hard time finding a motive.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So, the suspect's guns are all legal guns under his mother's name - she passed all the checks. Pretty much the only way to take those away is to make guns illegal.

lostrune2, not if my suggestion above were adopted.

It's written that 47% of Americans are gun owners, and they certainly don't entire overlap the 47% who voted for Romney. A large number of gun owners also support common sense gun control measures desperately opposed by the NRA - and they should. The vast majority of those who oppose guns long ago abandoned the utopia of banning guns altogether, but the more frequently these tragedies occur (remember, the Portland Mall shooting, also committed with a "borrowed" gun, occurred just last Tuesday), the greater the pressure builds for draconian measures that even many moderate gun owners might find restrictive.

Here's a list of a few common-sense steps to take as a start: http://www.alternet.org/story/156416/5_issues_that_divide_gun_owners_and_nra_leadership/

I would also suggest that the sale of ammunition - even that of a single bullet - be electronically tracked to its buyer. Hobbyists who frequent gun ranges and thus make frequent, large purchases of ammunition could thus be easily separated from the anomalies who suddenly and for the first time purchase hundreds of rounds. Gun control opponents might resent what they would perceive as an invasion of privacy, but even if gun ownership is guaranteed by the Constitution, such privacy is not. We have to take off our shoes and belts before boarding a flight; listing your name when buying such lethal items as ammunition seems very small in relation.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It would be useful at this time to remember what Alexander Hamilton wrote regarding a "well-regulated militia" in Federalist No. 29:

“A tolerable expertness in military movements is a business that requires time and practice. It is not a day, or even a week, that will suffice for the attainment of it. To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss.”

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I agree that any weapon that is not intended for hunting I.E. Shotguns and Deer Rifles should probably be illegal or highly regulated. Nobody needs to go hunting with a belt fed machine gun.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This is sort of like everyone in Japan giving up their pricey knives just because a stabbing took place. -ain't gonna happen especially with people in Japan having the best knives in the world. It is also good reason to never get into a fight while in the kitchen.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The right to bear arms is basically a right to commit murder. There is no difference.

No it is not and yes there is. The right to bear arms is meant as a safeguard in the even a government either fails in its responsibilities or if those in power abuse their authority.

It's OK to own guns, buy as many as you want but you have a pay a HUGE tax ; if you are convicted of any crime with gun, a HUGE mandatory jail time awaits. That ought to make a dent in gun crimes.

The US already hands down prison sentences considerably harsher than most countries. Also, if you use a firearm in a crime it is already automatically upgraded to assault with a deadly weapon.

You know, if there had been sweeping reactionary legislation after Columbine or countless other incidents that happened before or after then it's highly unlikely that this would have happened. Instead they did nothing and whilst they continue to do nothing then this will continue to happen on regular occasions.

That's how we got the Patriot Act which has acted as a justification for gross abuse of individual liberties, massive abuse of power, and torture. Aside from outright banning handguns on a federal level, a process which has already been struck down by the SCOTUS, this would have still happened. It's already illegal for a person with a diagnosed mental disorder to own a firearm.

The American forefathers didn't intend the right to bear arms to slaughter hundreds of children and students while at their places of education. They would have dropped like hotcakes if they knew.

Civilians were already being slaughtered with guns at that point in history. There have always been those people with terrible intentions. The 2nd exists to act as a safeguard against authoritarianism and anarchy, this crime is a tragic loss of life and a perversion of that responsibility.

Nobody needs to go hunting with a belt fed machine gun.

And nobody does. It's illegal to own an automatic weapon without a special permit for collecting purposes which also requires the firing pin to be stored separately from the weapon itself in many states.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

TheQuestion, you have served a purpose in shooting down factually inaccurate arguments, yet you have brought absolutely nothing to the question: How to reduce gun violence in America. Refutation and affirmation are quite different.

Also, you were inaccurate on this point:

It's already illegal for a person with a diagnosed mental disorder to own a firearm.

That is not necessarily true. More here:

http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2012/07/should-people-with-a-mental-illness-have-firearm-rights/

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How to reduce gun violence in America.

Lets be clear, overall gun violence is on fairly steady decline in America. The number of single victim gun homocides has dropped by 40% since 1980 even with more lax gun laws and overall gun related crime is also down. What is happening now is an increase in the number of killings involving 4 or more people. It's not that these murderers have better access to the weapons involved, the main weapon of most of these crimes are semi-automatic handguns that have been around for nearly 100 years, but the increase has a number of social and cultural connotations associated with it that I feel are more closely linked to these massacres than the mere availability of firearms.

Gun crime is down but these kinds of killings keep happening and with greater frequency. That is an indication of a clear shift in how people think and act in regard to guns. The short answer is I don't know how to reduce gun violence. Increasing legislation against them failed miserably in the earlier 20th century and lax gun laws don't seem to have any effect on the decline of gun violence decline in the US. I don't know how to change the way people think and I don't think that I should be able to even if I did.

That is not necessarily true. More here:

18 U.S.C. § 922(d), it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.”

The law exists, enforcement is very poor though. Many people with mental disorders purposefully don't allow their illness to be known. The problem is the law is vague over what a mental defective is, and in what severity, would make a person ineligible. My brother is bi-polar but I've never seen him act out on it in his entire life, he is a successful business owner, and he is the most studious person I know about gun safety and storage. For that reason he would never willingly admit he had an illness. Its a terrible problem with no clean solutions.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Can someone enlighten me on why there is a need or right to bear arms in 2012?

Have mentioned it on another post but I do hope Americans can progress and do something about gun control in their country..

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

You know, if there had been sweeping reactionary legislation after Columbine or countless other incidents that happened before or after then it's highly unlikely that this would have happened. Instead they did nothing and whilst they continue to do nothing then this will continue to happen on regular occasions.

A good place to start would be requiring all guns to be equipped with a palm print ID device that would only allow a registered user to fire it.

Ridiculous statements!

Estimates of how many guns are owned in the U.S. range from 200 million to 350 million (note the 150 million difference) not counting those possessed by military, law enforcement or museums. So any gun control legislation passed now is not going to make these guns disappear. You are not going to have 150 million people coming in to gun stores to have their guns equipped with a palm print ID device. Firearm legislation is not going to stop these incidents, the police or national guard are not going to go door to door searching peoples homes for firearms. So express your outrage that something like this happens but gun control is not going to stop it.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

TheQuestion, your lengthy arguments are all but convincing.

If the number of guns lying around in US homes would be drastically reduced, you would see a difference, believe me.

It's math, it's common sense and it's a phenomena that can be observed in all democratic nations with a developed civil society... except in the US.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

In general the average American probably has never seen any gun violence except what they watch on the screen. Even these sensational news articles can't change that, I have my own personal grievances with them.

AustPaul, the right to bear arms is there no back pedalling is going to make it go away. Even if you could, do you know how many guns are around in America?

Gun education, Gun Safety class, I would advocate and there were a few things 'Laguna' wrote about that make sense. I come from an area where drive-bys are common, illegal guns are easy to get and school slaughters were happening before they became hot on the news. I have also had two time in my life guns pointed at my person so yes if I thought we could get rid of guns in the U.S. I would be all for it. I have no faith that it can be done so the next best thing is to work out how to live with them. Every one of those rights we have come with big consequences 'TheQuestion' pointed out a few.

I understand the founding fathers were worried about not having enough guns to have functioning militia. They were also very worried about what type of government they would become. I still believe that they believed that we would be responsible with firearms since it was a personal everyday item with them. (On another note, Alexander Hamilton wasn't he taken away in gun violence. Damn dueling thugs!) Having a mature society means that they have to learn to deal with consequences of the laws they have. Chicago tried the whole banned guns across the city, I still came in contact with them as a kid. I still had to learn to navigate around idiots. But, we were taught gun safety what to do when you heard gun fire. Where was the best places to be while it doesn't guarentee you'll survive it helps.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ask yourself this, what did people use to kill others before the invention of the firearm?

Bow and arrows ? Or knives :

A man stabbed 22 primary school students in a knife attack in China on Friday, ....The attacker “has been detained”, but none of the victims died, the official told AFP.

That's still scary... but that makes much less fatalities. That's already good to take.

You are not going to have 150 million people coming in to gun stores to have their guns equipped with a palm print ID device.

They don't do have car number plates made and registered and driving license renewed ? For cars it's easy, for guns too complicated ?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

People please, there is NO gun debate.

The gun folk won the debate years ago, the price America has to pay is the occasional massacre.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

If the number of guns lying around in US homes would be drastically reduced, you would see a difference, believe me.

There were concerted efforts in Washington DC and my own home city of Detroit in the way of restrictions, registrations, and buyback programs and gun crime in these cities has fallen slower than the national average. Overall the number of guns in the US is on the rise but the level of gun violence continues to fall. Those two are not related. The rising number of guns don't make us safer nor are they making our environment any more dangerous. It's a shift in how our society operates, the average person is less likely to use a gun at the same time that media and social outlets make it appear as if all people with mental disorders are violent mass murderers which, in turn, allows such disturbed people to believe that such acts are within the realm of possibility.

It's math, it's common sense and it's a phenomena that can be observed in all democratic nations with a developed civil society... except in the US.

The US is actually on pace with the decline in violent crime registered in most western nations. The US has always been considerably more violent than it's peers by sheer virtue of how the society operates but right now the country is experiencing historically low crime rates across the board. It has never been safer to live in the US. There was a murder every week within a mile of my house when I was growing up, it was regular, people got kidnapped and beaten, people went missing. That doesn't happen anymore but you wouldn't know it by watching the news. There hasn't been a murder in my neighborhood in years but according to the media I should be locking my doors and hiding my children.

If you think this boils down to anything even remotely simple than you need to find some more resources. It is a long, deeply ingrained facet of US society and to think that any action, whether an individual packet or a long term campaign, will change that you are seriously mistaken.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And there is the voice of the NRA.

And here's some actual facts.

Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States. - 61 in the last 30 years Eleven of the 20 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States. Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward. More guns tend to mean more homicide. States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.

As the president said, parents across America (and around the world) will be hugging their children a little bit tighter. Sadly, members of the NRA are hugging their guns tighter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

AustPaul, the right to bear arms is there no back pedalling is going to make it go away. Even if you could, do you know how many guns are around in America?

Probably more than people...

Maybe it's time to amend your constitution, perhaps something that better reflects the modern world. The argument that a person has a right to bear a firearm for defence or in case the government fails in that area in particular sounds odd. This was written in a different period for that period.

Not sure about palm print ID sounds too expensive, I think better education and a coordinated national approach to restrictions would go a long way. As far as getting illegal weapons off the streets the govt could consider an amnesty and buy back scheme?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The US has always been considerably more violent than it's peers by sheer virtue of how the society operates

What do you mean by 'sheer virtue of how the society operates'? Is that something written into the DNA of Americans?

I do believe that the sheer virtue of a country with 250 million plus guns lying around in private homes is quite different from one with a fraction of that number.

A country where children grow up surrounded by guns, and gun violence, creates a different mindset then one in which guns are so rare that you might never see one, except maybe in a museum..

The 'culture of violence' in the US and thee idea that everybody should have the right to carry around 'homicide tools' are directly related.

Of course strict gun control would not solve all violence problems in the US, but it would change the 'virtue' of the society. It would help creating a society where less people believe in the ability of violence, or threat of violence, to be of any value.

And to prevent just one such unbelievably tragic disaster like the one in Newtown because the potential shooter didn't get access to guns is such a powerful outlook that It seems meaningful to do everything to reach that goal and if it took 3 generations.

Luckily humans are able to learn and to change attitude.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If you are interested in gun control, I encourage everyone to write to your congressional members who are receiving campaign fund from NRA. Thank you.

National Rifle Assn: All Campaign Fund Recipients

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/recips.php?cycle=2012&id=D000000082

0 ( +0 / -0 )

More guns tend to mean more homicide. States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.

That is inaccurate. The top 5 are Louisiana, Maryland, California, Mississippi, and Nevada. Maryland and California have some of the staunchest laws in the nation. Louisiana and Mississippi are generally terrible places to live regardless and Nevada is split between terrible crippling economics and Mexican cartels spilling into the area from Arizona. Gun crime by state doesn't follow any real pattern between gun control states and ones with lax laws. Texas has a lower murder rate than New York, while New Hampshire has the lowest gun crime rates in the country and it's laws are quite lax compared to it's neighboring states.

What do you mean by 'sheer virtue of how the society operates'? Is that something written into the DNA of Americans?

To a limited extent, it actually is. The country was founded in violence, it has been tempered in violence, and unlike other democratic nations the people of the US are willing to go to war at the drop of a hat if they feel they are justified. We expanded into lawless regions and even in this day and age many of us don't trust the authorities to protect us.

A country where children grow up surrounded by guns, and gun violence, creates a different mindset then one in which guns are so rare that you might never see one, except maybe in a museum..

The level of guns is only different in how the media portrays them, they shove them in your face and plaster murderers and the guns they carried all over the televisions and news stands. To be honest I saw more guns growing up than I do now and I own several. People would leave them laying on the kitchen table in case someone broke in or leave rifles next to their beds. That is considerably rarer now and yet the number of guns has increased.

Of course strict gun control would not solve all violence problems in the US, but it would change the 'virtue' of the society. It would help creating a society where less people believe in the ability of violence, or threat of violence, to be of any value.

There would be no virtue in it. It would breed only resentment and anger. You can't tell a man to be virtuous in one breath and take away his power to choose with the other, it's insulting to his intelligence and a bold faced lie. The right to bear arms is a right and responsibility, take away one and you take away the other. You cannot have virtue without trial and effort and you cannot expect a person to respect and value of free will and humanity when you treat them like the children you seek to protect.

Luckily humans are able to learn and to change attitude.

But only so much. Right now the NRA has 68% approval in a recent Reuters study on the subject and gun-control is still seen as political suicide on both sides of the aisle except for the most secure bastions of Democratic power in New York and California.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Time to get with the times America. For starters, assault weapons should have absolutely no place in society.

All those that go on about having the right to bear those arms, should seriously start thinking about how that weighs up against children`s and other innocent civilians right to get an education, go shopping, go and watch a film etc without getting gunned down.

Fighting fire with fire isn`t working, so it has to be time to start that long hard process of minimizing these weapons in society. Politicians have let it go so far, for so long that it wont be easy but its time to grow some balls and start now.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

To be honest I saw more guns growing up than I do now and I own several.

Tell me, TheQuestion, what is it that makes guns so important and dear to you, and so many other US citizens, that you feel your personal freedom taken away from should they be taken from you?

There are so many things that the US constitution doesn't allow you to own or to do, and you don't mind, but guns...

Reading in the news that the mother of the Newtown shooter was a 'gun collector', that she probably went to shooting ranges with her children for fun and that she had semi-automatic assault rifles lying around her home leaves me speechless.

Just imagining that such weapons might be lying around every third or fourth household in my neighborhood, in the direct reach of people of whom I have no idea whats going on in their heads or hearts, scares the crap out of me.

What ever was going on in the mind of this Newtown shooter, he just had to pick up a killing machine in his home to end the life of 26 innocent humans beings in an instant.

I don't think that the NRA wants anybody to believe it is protecting this kind of 'freedom'.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Tell me, TheQuestion, what is it that makes guns so important and dear to you, and so many other US citizens, that you feel your personal freedom taken away from should they be taken from you?

On a basic level I want the ability to defend my home and property should the need arise. The area of my primary residence used to be very dangerous, it's gone through a kind of suburban revival but I grew up surrounded by violence in a city that, at the time, had some of the strictest gun laws on the books.

On a more macro level the right to bear arms is just as important as the right to free speech and freedom of the press. Because without the right to bear arms you leave yourself at the whim of those who wish to strip the others. The right to bear arms exists so that the citizens may protect their rights if and when the government either fails to do so or deliberately acts to stifle those rights.

Just to the south of the US tens of thousands have been butchered by drug cartels and they are crossing into the US on a daily basis. These are people that gut the families of elected officials and leave bags of parts on their door steps to ensure that the government in Mexico remains powerless to stem the violence. Do your really think that they'd hesitate from doing that to a US state or federal official or to the police? The world has come a long way, it is safer, but safer doesn't mean safe. As long as there is somebody that thinks they have all the answers, if only they had just a little more authority, I will never be comfortable without the means of defending myself.

There are so many things that the US constitution doesn't allow you to own or to do, and you don't mind, but guns...

For the record I'm against any law that abridges a persons ability to own and maintain whatever property they so choose. You assume a lot about my stance on the topic. I do mind these laws just as I have a problem with any government control over behavior that doesn't directly injure or violate the rights of others. Owning a gun doesn't hurt anybody, shooting somebody does. I believe it must be left up to the individual to choose what they do and how they act and that those actions must have consequences.

Just imagining that such weapons might be lying around every third or fourth household in my neighborhood, in the direct reach of people of whom I have no idea whats going on in their heads or hearts, scares the crap out of me.

And yet gun crime is at historic lows. Guns are allowed in more places than ever and in greater varieties than ever. The only places where guns aren't allowed are in schools and on college campuses, so called 'gun free' zones and those are the places where almost every single one of these terrible massacres take place.

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AustPaul, what would make you think the government could do anything about it. People who own guns don't usually trust the government and are probably the least likely to trust a ban. No sitting President unless he was on his second term would be able to even suggest it. Even if he wanted to it would make him hughly unpopular. I don't really care if a gun is more expensive if the tag id. works then the consumer will still pay to have their guns. It's a solution that gives the gun owner more control of what is happening to their guns. Still, you would have all those grandfathered guns with out it. I believe that it is a starting point. I say this as someone who has dealt with gun violence and not just theoratically dealt with it. The police had very slow response time in my neighborhood and we are famous for few things drive through drugs and guns. People who live in those conditions aren't going to trust the government to save them. The government has already failed them.

These random school shootings are still rare. Taking away guns because some idiots or people with mental health have done something wrong is akin to shutting down the internet because you can find kiddie porn on it. A call for more responsibility with guns is in order and tougher sentences for crimes involving guns.

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TheQuestion

Owning a gun doesn't hurt anybody, shooting somebody does.

See this comment right here is the ultimate example of why gun control in the US will never work and why you are doomed to constantly repeat these disgraceful acts. Can you not see that by owning a gun does infact hurt people. Can you not see the correlation between easy access to guns and these massacres. Can you not see the fact that if a person can access a weapon that can kill multiple people easily a quickly then these events will occur. If these types of guns are not available to the public then they cannot be used in these events.

I believe it must be left up to the individual to choose what they do and how they act and that those actions must have consequences.

Sad! I say that because you would have to be seriously deluded to believe this is actually the answer to this issue. These people that commit these actions dont care about the consequences, come on thats a no brainer. You take away the ability, the tools to commit these acts, that is more of a deterrent than prison time or the death penalty especially when many of these shooters want to die anyway.

The only places where guns aren't allowed are in schools and on college campuses, so called 'gun free' zones and those are the places where almost every single one of these terrible massacres take place.

So rather than disarm the people lets arm the kids right?????

As sad as this story is and l feel sad for the kids and their families reading comments like yours just make me shake my head and realise that your country is pathetic when it comes to logic behind gun control. As long as there are people like you around these acts will continue to occur. As long as there are people like you around l feel thankful that l live in a country with tight gun control, in a country that l do not feel the need to own a gun for "self protection" from the other people who legally own guns. Its a sad sad country you live in.......

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If these types of guns are not available to the public then they cannot be used in these events.

Because that's working so well in Mexico. A US serviceman was recently arrested for transporting an antique shotgun across the boarder because of their strict laws while thousands die in their country every year. The US also has massive drug cartels, gangs, and every crazy group under the sun but our crime rate is on the decline.

Sad! I say that because you would have to be seriously deluded to believe this is actually the answer to this issue.

So I answer questions, explain my points, and use statistics to back up my arguments but because you have a different opinion you are entitled to insult me and my intelligence. Rather than contest any of my points you make condescending blanket statements. Well played.

Its a sad sad country you live in.......

That just about sums up your argument. "You don't think like I do and that makes you stupid." How delightfully condescending.

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TheQuestion

Because that's working so well in Mexico. A US serviceman was recently arrested for transporting an antique shotgun across the boarder because of their strict laws while thousands die in their country every year. The US also has massive drug cartels, gangs, and every crazy group under the sun but our crime rate is on the decline.

Sorry are we talking about Mexico or the US here? If we are talking about Mexico thats a different matter. But i was refering to the US afterall thats where this occurred.

So I answer questions, explain my points, and use statistics to back up my arguments but because you have a different opinion you are entitled to insult me and my intelligence. Rather than contest any of my points you make condescending blanket statements. Well played.

Excuse me, you are the one that said "I believe it must be left up to the individual to choose what they do and how they act and that those actions must have consequences." As l pointed out, most of these massacres are committed by people who want to die so what consequences are there that will stop them????

That just about sums up your argument. "You don't think like I do and that makes you stupid." How delightfully condescending.

Sorry but after reading yours and others poor attempts at "dont blame the gun blame the person" it is painfully clear that nothing will change and we will no doubt in another couple of months be here again discussing the same issue with the same arguments groundhog day style. So yes it is a sad country that you live in where people dont have the sense or the bravery to stand up and say lets get tough on guns.

If you find that condescending then lm sorry but it is after all just the way it is. If you disagree prove me wrong. Maybe you could start by telling me why you need to be armed in the first place?

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Sorry are we talking about Mexico or the US here? If we are talking about Mexico thats a different matter. But i was refering to the US afterall thats where this occurred.

Nations do not operate in a vacuum and that point is particularly glaring when talking about Mexico, a large proportion of the US population lives very close to the mexican boarder and we share many of the same problems as other nations in the Americas. The US has problems with cartels, gangs, and other international thugs that move freely across boarders. Yet the rate of gun crime in the US and Canada are dramatically lower. You compare a nation to its neighbors to get an accurate picture of the effectiveness of its policies. The US and Canada have far more lax gun laws and while Canada has a lower crime rate it's laws aren't all that different. By contrast it's all but impossible for a private citizen to get a gun in Mexico, yet there are roaving bands of murderors that hold the entire nation of tens of millions of people hostage.

It's merely to put things in context.

As l pointed out, most of these massacres are committed by people who want to die so what consequences are there that will stop them????

So you want to create legislation that impacts millions of people as a knee jerk reaction to the actions of the mentally disturbed. That is on par with the decision making process that got us draconian measures like the Patriot Act and I take exception to that. You made a statement, then you asked a question, I answered the question, you called me deluded. That's not how debate works.

So yes it is a sad country that you live in where people dont have the sense or the bravery to stand up and say lets get tough on guns.

You appear more interested in insulting me than talking at this point.

If you find that condescending then lm sorry but it is after all just the way it is.

Nice cop out. "I'm right and your wrong, that's just the way things are". Once again, how delightful.

If you disagree prove me wrong.

Since 1980 gun crime has fallen 40%. In that same time the number of guns has increased exponentially.

All forms of violent crime are down.

The only places that these gun massacres take place are in gun free zones.

Nations that have implemented gun control policies have seen drops in violent crime at the same rate as the US and, in the case of the UK and Australia, the rate of decline has actually been slower.

Forensic Psychologist Dr. Park Elliott Dietz, one of the top officials in his field, has stated that the most effective way to reduce these kinds of massacres would be to stop publishing killer names, pictures, and personal information while also omitting body counts from headlines. The primary motivation for these attackers is to gain attention and recognition 'they will remember me for this'. He has also stated that gun control policies would likely have a negligible effect given that these individuals normally come from homes that are perfectly stable up until the time of their psychotic episode.

There, that's why I feel that your approach is flawed.

Maybe you could start by telling me why you need to be armed in the first place?

I've already stated that. I feel the need to be able to defend myself and my property. While a murder hasn't occurred in my area for a number of years some people still break into cars and garages, while I have never had to shoot at anybody I have threatened to do so when my car was being broken into a month back. First time that happened but I'm glad I was prepared. It took the Detroit police 45 minutes to arrive and I called them immediately after I heard my window break.

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So rather than disarm the people lets arm the kids right?????

Or you could just put an armed law enforcement officer into the schools. Up until a few years ago they were doing that. My own high school had an armed police officer in our school. That way if anything serious happened, not talking about gun violence here, the police were already on scene and could deal with issue with school officials.

As l pointed out, most of these massacres are committed by people who want to die so what consequences are there that will stop them????

The only defense against that type of person is to have the ability to incapacitate them.

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TheQuestion, people like you, who say personal ownership of firearms and the direct threat of violence are an important part of their personal freedom, are actively taking part in creating a 'culture of violence'.

I don't say that you commit any crimes, but I do want to say that you are responsible for creating an image that says violence or threat of violence does help.

I'm not naive and I do believe a certain force to protect people from crime is necessary, but I do believe that in a democratic state with a developed civil society the only body able to put a threat on individuals and to cary around potentially life-threatening weapons (not restricted to firearms) should be state organs.

If you don't trust your democratically elected state and your political system, that's a different problem. Then get active, but please leave the guns at home!

I would even go so far to say that if the mother of the Newtown shooter wouldn't have been a gun lover her son wouldn't have committed such a horrible crime. Apparently he grew up surrounded by firearms and knew how to use them. The chances that he would have done what he did if his mother's main hobby would have been flower arrangement, and not firearms, are tiny, not 0 though.

Can you see any relation, TheQuestion? No?

In the countries I have lived up to now the relative absence of violence was also due to a virtue in society, an agreement between people that says violence and threat of violence between individuals are counterproductive in any case.

Of course I don't mean to say that a school shooting like in Newtown couldn't happen in a country with strict gun control, they do happen, though much less frequently.

There are many factors involved in such a horrible incident, and even in a country without any weapons occasionally people will kill people, but we are talking about how can we reduce such incidents.

I firmly believe that really strict implemented gun control in connection with a civil society that believes in the need to ban violence (and tools for mass murder) from every day life of individuals will make a huge change.

But maybe the US 'civil' society is not ripe for that change. (note the 'civil' in opposition to 'military' or 'militia')

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people like you, who say personal ownership of firearms and the direct threat of violence are an important part of their personal freedom, are actively taking part in creating a 'culture of violence'.

I believe that actions have consequences. I do not initiate force as I am, contrary to perceptions, a fairly nonviolent person but I will not hesitate to defend myself. To do that I believe I should have the tools necessary to do that. That is not a contribution to a culture of violence that is self-preservation.

I'm not naive and I do believe a certain force to protect people from crime is necessary, but I do believe that in a democratic state with a developed civil society the only body able to put a threat on individuals and to cary around potentially life-threatening weapons (not restricted to firearms) should be state organs.

The problem with that line of thinking is that state authorities are reactionary by their very nature. Even if they operate with all due efficiency they, more often than not, arrive after the crime has been committed leaving the victim at the mercy of their assailant. Guns are going to be in North America whether they're controlled or not.

In the countries I have lived up to now the relative absence of violence was also due to a virtue in society, an agreement between people that says violence and threat of violence between individuals are counterproductive in any case.

I have worked in half a dozen countries and cannot say I have ever been to one that has had any relative absence of violence. That said, I do not believe that the actions of the mentally disturbed should be basis for sweeping legislation unless it specifically deals with the sickness itself. I would applaud a measure that would increase the potential for detection of such disorders among school children and research into how such disorders may be more effectively diagnosed and treated. I cannot, however, condone imposing legislation on a citizenry that overwhelmingly acts exactly as its supposed to in regard to firearm safety and usage.

I make comparisons to the Patriot Act for a reason. The Patriot Act was reactionary legislation and it paved the way for some of the most gross abuses of civil liberties of American citizens in the modern era in the same category as the Japanese and German concentration camps constructed during WWII. It violated a basic right against unlawful search and seizure, overrode personal privacy, and resulted in unlawful and unsubstantiated imprisonment. The killing of these children is a tragedy but I do not see the merit in combating tragedy with travesty.

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I cannot, however, condone imposing legislation on a citizenry that overwhelmingly acts exactly as its supposed to in regard to firearm safety and usage.

So do I get it right, even if the chances for such a tragedy to happen would drastically be reduced by less proliferation of firearms, you would chose the freedom of the individual to posses arms?

Is there a any limit in your world of radical individual freedom to protect yourself?

Like grenades? Mines to protect your property? Or if you live in a dangerous neighborhood it might help to have a spring gun?

Sorry for being a bit sarcastic, but your arguments for having firearms around your home are not rational and there is no research I know of that can prove that there is less violence where more individual possess firearms.

If you find one please link it here.

I believe in personal freedom and individual responsibility, and thats why I fight for gun control.

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Like grenades? Mines to protect your property? Or if you live in a dangerous neighborhood it might help to have a spring gun?

You can already own these things if you have the right licenses. To my knowledge a licensed individual has never used such devices to commit a crime. My brother and I, for example, own a functional machine gun because my brother is a certified collector. With the right permits you can own functional artillery for that matter. Also, spring guns area already legal in the US and Canada so long as the property perimeter is adequately posted with warning signs.

Sorry for being a bit sarcastic, but your arguments for having firearms around your home are not rational and there is no research I know of that can prove that there is less violence where more individual possess firearms.

I don't recall ever making that assertion. Quite the contrary really, in other articles I've flat out stated that I don't believe that more guns will impact the rate of violence at all, positive or negative. It's an assertion that I don't make because the data involved is shaky at best because of the wide variety of variables that impact gun violence studies. By contrast you have made the claim that increased gun control would reduce violence, the burden of proof is on you for that.

I believe in personal freedom and individual responsibility, and thats why I fight for gun control.

If there is no choice there is no freedom.

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By contrast you have made the claim that increased gun control would reduce violence, the burden of proof is on you for that

There is plenty of evidence that a strictly enforced gun control (one that manages to drastically reduce the actual proliferation of firearms) reduces gun related violence and death. Just to give you two links:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1730132/pdf/v010p00280.pdf http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/191/3/253.full

Of course every country has its own problems and it is difficult to compare such complex topics over national borders, but very simple common sense tells us that the absence of a semi-automatic assault weapon in the house of the Newtown shooter could have changed the course of this tragedy and saved the lives of innocent people.

In any case you will find much more evidence that points to less violence with less proliferation of firearms then the other way around.

You can already own these things if you have the right licenses. To my knowledge a licensed individual has never used such devices to commit a crime.

If you look for it you will surely find crimes by licensed individuals, but in any case if you talk about licenses you are talking about gun control and restricting access to dangerous weapons and that's common sense. No weapon that can kill humans with ease should be lying around somewhere. The discussion about gun control is about how difficult to make it to get hands on such dangerous weapons.

If it's easier for you to get weapons it'll be easier for some one with bad intentions as well. It's that simple.

Also, spring guns area already legal in the US and Canada so long as the property perimeter is adequately posted with warning signs.

Wow, couldn't have ever imagined that. North America must be a really scary place to live. Up to now I thought spring guns were one of those inhuman measures employed mainly by mean communists to keep their citizens from escaping to a better future.

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There is plenty of evidence that a strictly enforced gun control (one that manages to drastically reduce the actual proliferation of firearms) reduces gun related violence and death.

The studies you brought up show how gun violence has been on the decline in Austrailia and the EU (specifically Austria) in recent decades. And that is correct, gun violence is down. According to these studies run related violence is down 14% over the last 22 years in Australia. In the US during the height of gun control in the early 1990's there were over 14,000 gun homicides in the US ever year down to a little less than 8,500 in 2011, over the past 22 years the US has seen a 40% reduction in gun related violence.

So according to your articles sweeping gun control regulations and strict restrictions on the availability of firearms had less than half of the impact on gun violence over the same amount of time that was experienced in the US. For the record I don't credit the drop to more firearms being available, I believe that the increase in firearm ownership had a negligible effect, but I believe the credit goes to a societal shift in our perceptions of violence. Far from your assertion that the US has a culture of violence I believe that there has been a transition towards less tolerance of violence in everyday life.

I remember in the 1980's it was illegal for me to own a handgun in my city and I was mugged almost every week, it got to the point where I would only carry 5 dollars on me in hopes that they would just leave me alone but if they didn't get as much as they wanted they'd just beat you and steal your clothes. I haven't been mugged in the US for over 15 years, to put things in comparison I've been mugged 3 times in the last 5 years while working in the UK.

If you look for it you will surely find crimes by licensed individuals, but in any case if you talk about licenses you are talking about gun control and restricting access to dangerous weapons and that's common sense. No weapon that can kill humans with ease should be lying around somewhere.

To the best of my knowledge a machine gun hasn't been used in major crime in well over 20 years and I don't think that artillery has ever been used to murder anybody in this century. Despite the fact that there are over 40 individuals in my state alone that own and maintain such devices.

Wow, couldn't have ever imagined that. North America must be a really scary place to live. Up to now I thought spring guns were one of those inhuman measures employed mainly by mean communists to keep their citizens from escaping to a better future.

As I said, they must be clearly posted and on personal property and the property must have adequate barriers. They're usually only found way out in the forested areas where people view poaching as punishable by death. The common consensus is that you shouldn't be trespassing anyway.

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Gun control is only one aspect of this issue. It is not as simple as limiting guns to certain "approved" types. The issue that is in common with all of the recent mass shootings has been that the shooter has invariably had a mental health issue. America has for the most part stopped institutionalizing mentally unstable people. We are too afraid to stigmatize people. Also, our culture is extremely violent. It's soaked into all of our media from movies, music, to video games.

If we insist on only taking the simple minded approach of trying to ban guns it will fail yet again. The result will be another surge in gun sales during the time the issue is in the news. Reasonable limits are something worth considering but every time Obama mentions the word "guns", sales go through the roof. No one trusts him or the government in general to approach the issue without an ideological agenda. We need to take the approach the addresses all aspects of the issue and not just make more of the same simplistic arguments about banning guns. It will never happen and any attempt to take guns away from Americans will result in a serious backlash.

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You can circumvent 2nd amendment and still have a strong firearms control policy by simply placing a heavy tax on handgun bullets like tabacco and have ATF control of trafficing the bullets over boarders through tax evasion. This way even though there are many hand guns on the street the amount of bullets on the market will decline due to shortage of demand.

Keep the tax level low for rifle bullets to obtain support from hunters and NRA since rifle bullets cannot be loaded into handguns.

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You can circumvent 2nd amendment and still have a strong firearms control policy by simply placing a heavy tax on handgun bullets like tabacco and have ATF control of trafficing the bullets over boarders through tax evasion.

This would already be circumvented by individuals who load their own ammunition. Just to save money I bought a shell reloader for 12 and 10 gauge shotgun shells. Gunpowder is cheap and so is lead. Loading bullets is a little more intensive but I know people who do it and they can churn out well over 200 rounds a day if they had nothing better to do.

Keep the tax level low for rifle bullets to obtain support from hunters and NRA since rifle bullets cannot be loaded into handguns.

Actually many handguns can take rifle rounds, specifically 22 long rifle bullets. There are some handguns that can take shotgun shells as well.

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I know that the US got safer recently again due to a shift societal consciousness and less tolerance towards violence mainly enforced by the police. But even with such really positive improvements the US is in category on it's own amongst developed democratic nations. Homicide rates are somewhere between 4 to 20 or 30 times that of other comparable nations.

More then half of the mass shootings of the past decade happened in the US and what are your proposals to change this, TheQuestion?

Of course gun control only works as part of a broader set of measures (especially with a shift in awareness as you pointed out), but it is one very real measure that can reduce the impact of violence. It makes a difference if a shooter has direct access to semi-automatic assault weapons or not. In the case of Newtown non-access could have saved lives.

Btw, that's a slightly different viewpoint, but accidental death by firearms is higher per capita in the US then the homicide death by firearms in most european nations! And the unintentional firearm injury death rate among children ages 14 and under in the US is nine times higher than in 25 other industrialized countries combined.

Children are victims of gun proliferation in the US frequently, not only in Newtown.

You are trying to argue very rationally to cast doubt on gun control and try to make it look like gun ownership poses no threat to anybody, but I really don't get your point, TheQuestion.

Would you propose laws that require mentally ill to get educated not to pick up firearms? Or firearms and education on shooting ranges for every school teacher?

I haven't read any real proposal from you about what to do and how to change this really frustrating reality in the US.

By the way the following paper gives a very good international overview on the topic: http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/ficap/resourcebook/pdf/monograph.pdf

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Homicide rates are somewhere between 4 to 20 or 30 times that of other comparable nations.

Homicide rates in the US have always been considerably higher than western European nations. Sheer virtue of the fact of how the society operates, and no I don't mean the culture of violence thing. When you are constantly smashing dozens of ethnic groups of varying levels of skill, education, and cultural background together you get more tension which leads to more violence. The US has much higher rates of property damage, assault, and are far more likely to engage in racist or bigoted behavior. People surveyed say they don't generally trust other people and have little to no trust in the authorities and government despite all evidence to the contrary that paints the US as one of the least corrupt nations in the world.

The US also has a lot of gang violence, and I mean a lot. When we look at the 8500 homicides that occurred in 2011 the FBI has stated that gang on gang killings make up over 60% of that. In several posts you mentioned how scary it must be to live in the US. Quite the contrary. Virtually all of the violence occurs in the slums of major cities in my own Detroit there were nearly 400 murders in 2011 (out of the national 8500). To the north in Port Huron region that covers well over 100,000 people several years may go by without a single murder at all.

Gun violence in the US is not spread out at all, its highly concentrated in small bastions of gang territory that the vast majority of people never go in to. The police don't go there either.

More then half of the mass shootings of the past decade happened in the US and what are your proposals to change this, TheQuestion?

I've already stated that I firmly believe we would see less mass shootings if the media stopped groping for ratings. Reporting and free press is necessary for a just and free society but there's a difference between informing the public and driving a narrative. The news immortalizes the individuals who commit these atrocities, they paint their pictures all over the news for weeks, they post their body counts all over the internet, they scrutinize their past. They make them into tragic figures and victims which only plays into the delusions of these people.

I would not suggest any laws to correct this shameful practice of the media. The should do it themselves as a just and right thing to do. When it comes to rights I'm not a one trick pony, I believe in the preservation and necessity of all rights being left unabridged. I also believe in the responsibilities associated with those rights, I believe that most media outlets are abusing the right of free press and it is increasing the likelihood of these mass shootings occurring. I think it's terrible and that they should stop, but I wouldn't make a law requiring them to do so.

And the unintentional firearm injury death rate among children ages 14 and under in the US is nine times higher than in 25 other industrialized countries combined.

For that I would suggest more education on the nature and maintenance of firearms. Most of those accidental deaths occur while someone is cleaning their gun unaware that there is still a round in the chamber. In Port Huron they have gun safety classes in school because gun ownership in that area is close to 80% of households (same area that typically has 1 or 0 homicides annually). I would suggest that as a means of reducing accidental deaths. The only time I had to take a gun safety course was to get my Concealed Carry Permit for my personal firearm.

I am not for restrictions on firearm rights, I am almost never against increasing education on relevant life topics.

Would you propose laws that require mentally ill to get educated not to pick up firearms? Or firearms and education on shooting ranges for every school teacher?

No and no. Only a small portion of the population of the mentally ill are dangerous, that's a perception that I'd like to see shaken off. Those with serious mental problems are already barred from owning a firearm without the express permission of their therapist. As for arming teachers I believe the option should be made available for them but just as I don't like zones that forbid firearms I also don't like the idea of requiring them. If you don't feel comfortable carrying a concealed weapon you should never have to carry one.

I haven't read any real proposal from you about what to do and how to change this really frustrating reality in the US.

That's because I very very rarely look at a problem and react with the desire to see a new law in place. Every piece of legislation I see normally has costs and benefits associated with it. Based on my observations I generally double the cost and reduce the benefit by half, very rarely does a law survive that criteria. I firmly believe that no real change will occur in terms of gun violence as a result of increased gun control law, I support this belief based on historical data of US crime rates compared to levels of gun control policies in place. The only solution is a proliferation of educational opportunities about firearm safety and maintenance and the media either taking it upon itself, or the viewers demanding them, to take responsibility for the information they report.

I'm not a gibbering gun nut. I merely perceive the data presented to me through the lens of my own experience and with the context of US social norms that I grew up in and how they relate to modern reality. I seldom believe that legislation will solve our problems and feel that getting individual citizens, and the citizenry as a whole, to take responsibility for their actions is a far more successful method to avert these tragedies.

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I seldom believe that legislation will solve our problems and feel that getting individual citizens, and the citizenry as a whole, to take responsibility for their actions is a far more successful method to avert these tragedies.

Just to make it clear, you are fine with the fact that a semi-automatic assault weapon, that can be used to shoot dozens of people in minutes, is lying around a private home with more or less free access for the members of the household, be they mentally ill or minors, or what ever?

...

Oh, that's the problem of the head of the household? Just an irresponsible person? So it is the not the weapon, but the irresponsible person and law can't do anything about this kind of situation?

...

I think you are wrong on this.

I'm far from being a law and order person, but I believe in the role law plays in organizing the life of citizens and I believe that the process of legislation is powerful if promoted properly. The written law is only a tool, not an ends in itself, and it should help with: getting individual citizens, and the citizenry as a whole, to take responsibility for their actions

I believe that one of the primary roles of legislation should be to protect the weak from the wrongdoings of irresponsible people.

And I see a realistic chance that the tightening of gun control, in connection with a discussion on gun control legislation, and the problems that come along with the omnipresent proliferation of deadly dangerous weapons in the US, can make the US a safer place to live.

Of course, only if a majority of US citizens see that chance as well and choose to follow that path.

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The written law is only a tool, not an ends in itself, and it should help with: getting individual citizens, and the citizenry as a whole, to take responsibility for their actions

What it boils down to is that you and I have a fundamental difference in what the role of government ought to be, a difference that I have with many other posters. To me a firearm is a tool, a law is something considerably more potentially destructive. A man with a gun can be stopped, he can be killed, or he can be thrown in jail based on what he uses that tool for. A law, on the other-hand, abridges the rights of all people often to the detriment of the good. Even if the law is well intended, even if it guarantees an outcome most would deem to be good, I may still view it with contempt.

I believe that one of the primary roles of legislation should be to protect the weak from the wrongdoings of irresponsible people.

I believe that is a perversion of just law. No fair system should favor the rights of any class over those of another, even if they are irresponsible are still human, and therefore entitled to the right to defend themselves. The only laws I support are those that protect the rights of individuals and punish those who violate those rights.

And I see a realistic chance that the tightening of gun control, in connection with a discussion on gun control legislation, and the problems that come along with the omnipresent proliferation of deadly dangerous weapons in the US, can make the US a safer place to live.

I view that scenario as unlikely and undesirable. I would prefer to see the decline in violent crime continue while seeking alternatives to legislative action to avert future tragedies. The average gun owner is a responsible individual that understands the burden that is placed on them and i do not believe that any greater purpose will be served in limiting the accessibility of firearms to law-abiding citizens.

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To me a firearm is a tool, a law is something considerably more potentially destructive.

I get the impression you have a problem with the democracy you are part of.

In a country like the US legislation is a democratic process and you might not always agree with the outcome, but if a law is really destructive there are many ways to act on it.

A man with a gun can be stopped, he can be killed, or he can be thrown in jail based on what he uses that tool for.

I suppose you haven't really thought about how cruel and cynical this sentence must sound for the victim families of school shootings.

I believe that is a perversion of just law. No fair system should favor the rights of any class over those of another, even if they are irresponsible are still human, and therefore entitled to the right to defend themselves.

I was talking about the weak, that's not a class, or would you consider children a class? I might have used to vague expressions, but irresponsible people, like criminals, are of course humans with human rights, never the less should law provide a framework to protect weak humans, like children, from violence or crime.

The average gun owner is a responsible individual that understands the burden that is placed on them and i do not believe that any greater purpose will be served in limiting the accessibility of firearms to law-abiding citizens.

I really have problems to follow your logic... Was the mother of the Newtown shooter a responsible individual that understood the burden that was placed on her?

Just try to imagine the shooter had lived in a country with no access to assault weapons. How would the shooting have proceeded with hand guns only? If there is the slightest chance that some of the children could have survived in such a scenario, it makes sense to ban all such assault weapons.

You could of course never prove if you really did save lives with such a measure, but it would be irresponsible not to try. And luckily it looks like more and more US citizens seem to understand such a logic in the wake of Newtown.

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I get the impression you have a problem with the democracy you are part of.

I have a problem with the circumvention of guaranteed rights by both sides of the political spectrum. I do not believe in majority rule as they have a bad habit of penalizing those in the minority for their own gain, I believe in justice and equality and one cannot have equality without the the protection of rights.

I suppose you haven't really thought about how cruel and cynical this sentence must sound for the victim families of school shootings.

Cruelty implies intent and cynicism implies negativity. I made a statement of fact, if anything it was detached or amoral. On a personal level I empathize with the family as I have also lost relatives to violence. 2 uncles were killed by firing squad during the revolution, I understand the sadness, depression, and in some cases hatred that results from violence. However, the fact remains that rights must be protected even if the outcome is terrible.

I was talking about the weak, that's not a class, or would you consider children a class?

I would. Some zeitgeisters will claim that there is no class and that we are all just people, I refute that. By virtue of the way our brains work we are constantly categorizing and classifying everything. Children are a class, the weak are a class, the ignorant are a class, and they all deserve equal representation under the law. I was a child, now I am an adult, you can change classes and be members of different ethnic and social classes but you will always be categorized. I leave criminals out of this equation because criminals are a perversion of civilized society and don't deserve rights.

Just try to imagine the shooter had lived in a country with no access to assault weapons. How would the shooting have proceeded with hand guns only? If there is the slightest chance that some of the children could have survived in such a scenario, it makes sense to ban all such assault weapons.

A pump action shotgun can hold 8 shells. A handgun normally has a 10 round clip. Each of these fires at roughly the same rate as a semi-automatic rifle and their rounds are far more deadly. The common misconception of these rifles is that their fire rate makes them more deadly when, in reality, hunting rifles and shotguns have considerably higher yield rounds. The AR-15 uses a .223, many hunting rifles use a .306 which is more than twice the size and several times over the stopping power. Such rifles would be unaffected by an assault weapons ban. And, in actuality, the AR-15 would not be impacted if they remove the attachment rail and stop offering bayonet lugs.

Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people using fertilizer and a moving van. That does not mitigate the tragedy of this situation in any way. With enough planning a person can commit terrible crimes, maybe not with the same ease but for those disturbed individuals who spend months or even years preparing time means nothing. For them its all about the attention, the recognition. You can see it on their faces in the courts, they smile, they laugh, it was a game to them and now that the whole world is watching them they've won, at least in their eyes.

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With enough planning a person can commit terrible crimes,

With a gun a person can commit those terrible crimes with very little planning indeed.

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With a gun a person can commit those terrible crimes with very little planning indeed.

That is almost never the case in mass killings. Virginia Tech, the Norway massacre, Columbine, the Aurora shooting, Giffords shooting, Fort Hood and all other mass shootings typically had weeks of planning. They go to locations where they will meet little to no resistance, they sometimes tour the location multiple times, they create hit lists, and they detail out how to inflict the largest number of deaths.

There have been 62 mass murders since 1982 and with the exception of 2 all of them involved involved several weeks of documented planning some planned them for years. These are not snap reaction crimes of passion, they are deliberate attempts to get media attention.

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There have been 62 mass murders since 1982 and with the exception of 2 all of them involved involved several weeks of documented planning some planned them for years

And how many murders (I suppose you'd have to call them homicides since there's no malice aforethought, apart from the malice inherent in owning/carrying a loaded firearm) have been spur of the moment? Road rage events? Folk peeved at someone cutting in ahead of them in the supermarket queue? Folk feeling 'threatened' because someone looked at them funny?

Whine all you like about mental illness and with enough planning mass murder using a balloon and a piece of wet spaghetti is possible, this gun-as-a-security-blanket madness is nothing but pathetic. No one, but no one, needs a gun unless they're out to hurt someone else.

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And how many murders have been spur of the moment? Road rage events? Folk peeved at someone cutting in ahead of them in the supermarket queue? Folk feeling 'threatened' because someone looked at them funny?

According to the FBI roughly 60% of the 8500 gun related homicides are related to gang and cartel activity. Added to the fact that gun violence has declined by 40% since the 1980's (compared to a 14% decrease over the same time period experienced in Australia) I would say that the instances that you are referring to are rare and becoming even rarer with every passing year.

Whine all you like about mental illness and with enough planning mass murder using a balloon and a piece of wet spaghetti is possible, this gun-as-a-security-blanket madness is nothing but pathetic.

In its original form it was actually a check against the potential of a failed state or despotism. I don't believe in the abridgment of any rights, that has always been my core argument, you all keep putting me in a position to take responsibility for the actions of others which I refuse to do. I hold myself responsible for all of my actions and I hold others equally responsible for theirs, that's why I believe in the death penalty and feel that it should be implemented far more frequently. Not to deter but to punish.

No one, but no one, needs a gun unless they're out to hurt someone else.

At its core, yes. Sometimes I'm put in a position where I may need to hurt or kill someone. As I stated earlier in the article I was recently put in a position when someone was breaking into my own property and I threatened them with my firearm. I called the Detroit police before I made the threat and it still took them 45 minutes to arrive, I could have been killed and my property stolen or destroyed by that point. That appears the norm in large cities whether it was when they laughed at me for wanting to file a report after getting mugged in London or when they put me in jail for a night in Kyoto when I beat the man trying to mug me there. When a government fails to provide adequate protective services the citizens should be able to defend themselves with whatever means possible.

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I believe in justice and equality and one cannot have equality without the the protection of rights.

If you talk about rights you mainly seem to be concerned about your individual right to posses firearms.

You don't care about the right of physical integrity, e.g. the right of humans to live without the threat of homicide by firearms.

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You don't care about the right of physical integrity, e.g. the right of humans to live without the threat of homicide by firearms.

I do, that is why I fully support harsh punishments for assault and violent crime. I don't believe that one right should be sacrificed for another. Rights should not be mutually exclusive, I am perfectly capable of owning a firearm and not violating the right of others and have done so for many years. It would be like suggesting that free press should be banned because a couple people in Australia made a decision that incited a woman to kill herself, terrible but not a justification for abridging a right.

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I do, that is why I fully support harsh punishments for assault and violent crime.

The US has the harshest punishment for violent crimes that do exist and does it make the US a safer place?

The US has highest proliferation of firearms in the world and does it make the US a safer place?

Looking at the reality in the US, with the more then 30,000 death by firearms every year, it is obvious that your concept doesn't work and the only explanation you have for this fact is the 'virtue of the US society'.

What you are basically saying here at great length is: the US is a violent place and I want my firearms, period.

I don't believe that one right should be sacrificed for another.

The firearms you own, TheQuestion, pose a threat to other humans, that's why you own them. In most developed nations this fact is seen as infringement of the right to live in peace and without threat to ones physical integrity.

You will say, I don't pose a threat, I'm a responsible person.

I will say, you pose a threat as you own potentially deadly weapons, and moreover you are a human who makes mistakes every day.

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The US has the harshest punishment for violent crimes that do exist and does it make the US a safer place?

Possibly, violent crime has been steadily decreasing for the past several decades.

The US has highest proliferation of firearms in the world and does it make the US a safer place?

So far the evidence points to that it doesn't have a positive or a negative impact on crime rates that of any significance.

Looking at the reality in the US, with the more then 30,000 death by firearms every year, it is obvious that your concept doesn't work and the only explanation you have for this fact is the 'virtue of the US society'.

US culture imho is why the US has as much crime as it does, take for example Japan's suicide rate, it is higher than the combined homicide and suicide rate of the US.

To further prove the idea that it is the US culture/society that is really behind violence of all types in the US I would ask that you read this:

http://www.garymauser.net/pdf/KatesMauserHJPP.pdf

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What you are basically saying here at great length is: the US is a violent place and I want my firearms, period.

That is a grand oversimplification. London is also violent, parts of Japan are violent, many places I've been are violent, but I don't demand to be armed while there. Those are the laws of the land in such nations and they are entitled to legislate as they see fit. That said, I would never permanently live in a nation that does not give its citizens the rights and means to challenge the authority of government if that government should ever devolve into despotism. In other nations you will never have last recourse if a decision is ever made to strip you of your rights in the name of unity, security, or some other excuse.

When it comes to basic safety I'm not making a great leap in saying that I can disable or dissuade any attempt to assault my person by sheer virtue of my size. I can honestly say that unless I'm confronted by a trained officer or military personnel it is highly unlikely that another person can successfully impose on me in the physical sense. Great uncle was even larger than myself, he was utterly powerless when the revolution occurred and he was dragged to a firing line and executed. I'm over six and a half feet tall, I weigh close to three hundred pounds, and I was in more fights in Detroit public schools than I care to remember, many of which I lost, I don't fear violence. But when a few men can kill a man bigger and stronger than I just because they decided the country would be better off without bankers, that scares me. The Patriot Act scared me even more.

People have called me ignorant and foolish for fearing the just and compassionate nature of western democracies. I have been called a fascist and a primitive for viewing every legislative act with extreme skepticism. But if you think that there is no possible way for a successful, prosperous, and peaceful nation to fall, over the course of many years, into tyranny, I can only wish you the best.

The firearms you own, TheQuestion, pose a threat to other humans, that's why you own them. In most developed nations this fact is seen as infringement of the right to live in peace and without threat to ones physical integrity.

You don't have a right to feel safe and if a nation says that you do than it is built on a lie. It's like saying you have a right to not be offended. So long as I use my firearm in the manner in which I have for the past many years there I am violating nobody else's rights. If they feel threatened or unsafe, that's unfortunate but feelings should never be a valid justification for legislation.

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If they feel threatened or unsafe, that's unfortunate but feelings should never be a valid justification for legislation.

I believe that the main reason for you to own firearms is because you feel threatened and feel safer with them, but I don't think there's any research which could prove the appropriateness of your feeling.

Why do all those people who feel threatened by firearms around them have to accept that people own firearms just because they feel safer with them?

I can very well understand why so many Americans are fed up with gun proliferation and I hope they succeed with turning the tide and getting America to become part of the civilized developed nations, who largely ban firearms, not just assault weapons, and live happily without feeling threatened on a daily basis.

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I can very well understand why so many Americans are fed up with gun proliferation and I hope they succeed with turning the tide and getting America to become part of the civilized developed nations, who largely ban firearms, not just assault weapons, and live happily without feeling threatened on a daily basis.

They should feel threatened. The US constitution is written in such a way that it recognizes natural rights, it does not grant them, that exist regardless of whether the government exists or not. If you live in a society that can take away and grant rights as the situation calls for then you should feel very threatened. Any government that believes that it has the authority to grant rights is equally capable of striking them given the time and political capital. It has happened before.

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