Among the various contributors on Plunderbund, we don’t always agree on every issue.  A significant and timely issue that we have diverse opinions on is gun control.  Occasionally we will engage in heated, but respectful debates on the issue, and I admit that it is nice to have a forum in which we can do so.

Whatever.  It doesn’t really matter anymore because this anti-gun post is completely irrelevant in America today.

I can write all I want about our need to eliminate the tools of execution used in the massacre of twenty small children caught innocently in the safe haven of their classroom at school, but Americans don’t care.  Nothing will change tomorrow because of the actions of the mass murderer with a gun or because of the words I’m typing.

The word “Columbine” is synonymous with school shootings in America, but that event happened over 13 years ago and, while fresh in our minds and oft-referenced after each successive school shooting or public massacre with firearms, Americans still sit idly by waiting for CNN to bring the latest breaking news about another killing in a public school that “must not be safe enough” to prevent such horrific actions.  Instead of focusing on the weapons of death that serve as a common thread among these killings, newscasters and other experts continue to comment on safety in our schools and the measures that our schools need to enact to keep our children safe.  This is as acceptable as telling an assault victim that if she would have been wearing slacks instead of a skirt, this never would have happened.

But it doesn’t matter what I say here because Americans believe that my rights (Second Amendment, dammit!) to own a gun are more important than the lives of defenseless children.  People need to be more responsible with their guns, right?  It’s always someone else’s problem in some other town … until it’s my town, my school, my child.

It doesn’t matter what I say here because in some unsuspecting town across America, on some sad day in the near future if history is our guide, children will once again be shot and killed by a legally purchased and registered gun.  That’s simply the price of retaining our second amendment rights, and if the rest of America is okay with it, then I should be too.

So can we please stop pretending to be so upset and surprised when it happens next time? (Probably within six months.)  Why should the news channels break in with 24/7 coverage, and why should the President travel to the small town to console the parents?  Isn’t this the America we’ve ordered?  Aren’t the deaths of a few innocent children on American soil the price we must pay to preserve the founding document that guides our every action as Americans and is ultimately inflexible, unyielding, and unable to be amended? [sarcasm fully intended]

This anti-gun post doesn’t matter because instead of reducing the manufacture and access to guns, the response of in America is to make more, sell more, and hide more guns.  Instead of eliminating these tools invented to kill more efficiently and effectively and later described as a “tool of peace” (by threatening to kill you if you don’t cooperate – conversation be damned), Americans, including here in Ohio, have sought to expand the list of places that we can stealthily take our guns by expanding concealed-carry laws to even more public places.

And this post doesn’t matter because when I ask a friend to explain to me why they need their guns, the conversation immediately goes awry and I become a liberal anti-gun anti-American as apparently such a question is tantamount to treason and I should be taken out and shot.

And this post doesn’t matter because if America doesn’t care that our children are gunned down as they are going through their morning routine, likely finishing up changes to the calendar and the daily weather report, then why should I?

If we are unwilling to understand that our selfish wants and desires are resulting in the senseless killing of other innocent Americans in classrooms, shopping malls, sidewalks, movie theaters, college campuses, and even one-room Amish schoolhouses, then I  give up — my one opinion won’t change anyone’s mind…

…and this post simply doesn’t matter.

  • I like how you are so dismissive of civil rights you don’t think people should be able to exercise. I also appreciate how you gloss over the fact that those guns were not legally possessed. It really does help ones argument to simply ignore facts that don’t fit within the narrative, huh? Instead of rewriting the constitution to fit your views, how about we instead talk about how we get sick people the help they need? Why don’t we talk about how it’s already illegal for crazy people to have firearms, but the fact that someone has been committed can’t be reported to NICS because of health privacy laws? Could we also maybe talk about ways to ensure that people who are or have a great potential to hurt themselves or other are hospitalized and/or closely monitored to ensure that a person is mentally disturbed can’t take another persons legally owned firearms and commit a terrible act? No, you’d rather talk about taking away my right to protect myself against the sort of people who make a conscious decision to hurt other people, often times with an illegally acquired firearm.

  • gregmild

    Thank you, David. I don’t think the families of the dead children in Newtown care much about whether the guns were obtained legally or illegally, but feel free to inquire and get back to us all.

  • Nice strawman.

  • gregmild

    And by rewriting the Constitution, do you mean the way prohibition occurred with the 18th and 21st amendments?

  • I suppose I do. But as you’ll recall, the 18th took away a right and the 21st gave it back. All of the other ones have expanded rights rather than take them away. I’d hate to think what sort of precedent that would set.

  • gregmild

    Back at ya.

  • gregmild

    Let’s not get caught up in this tangent since it’s not a big deal, but did the 18th actually take away a previously established Constitutional right? And didn’t they both rewrite the Constitution to fit the views of Americans at the given time?

  • Darrell Rudmann

    I have some issues with the notion that “crazy people can’t have firearms.” I am a psychologist. We have no standard definition for crazy, which is not a clinical term. Which of the dozens of disorders make someone ineligible to own a gun? Who decides this? There’s no blood test. Or take “emotionally disturbed.” Even fuzzier.

    There’s certainly no centralized national tracking system for mental health disturbances, so I don’t know how there’s any practical value in expecting that to work as a screener (hence only criminal background checks, if applied at all). Plus, people develop mental problems often rapidly and under duress. I am sure you feel today that neither you nor anyone in your household will have a breakdown or suffer a severe mental illness. But no one ever does. It’s not like we can require gun ownership to undergo repeated mental health checkups. How often would they need to do this? Yearly? Monthly?

    I like how Canada requires 28 days plus 2 others to vouch for someone who wants to purchase a gun. I suspect the people who are truly disturbed (Virginia Tech, Aurora, etc.) will have a much more difficult time getting others to vouch for them in this way.

    Actually, what I am seeing reported is that most mass shootings are
    usually done with legally acquired guns. The idea that murders and
    suicides are mostly due to illegal weapons appears to be a myth. It
    makes sense: our laws are so weak that there’s no real distinction
    between legal and illegal ownership anymore.

  • midview132

    As I listen to the debate and news medias go on mass hysteria that we should have more guns to prevent this type of thing, I am drawn to the fact that we finally have the Affordable health care act in which all people will have access to the mental health tools they need. Yet the people that use the argument that guns dont kill people crazy people do are the same group of people who are speaking out against Obamacare if you will. Now we can fight this battle one way or the other but you cannot have both ways. Either we take away gun owning rights, or we have health care for everyone in which people can get the supposed mental health they need which, after all, wont that prevent gun violence, if you follow the arguments of some?

  • Stick

    Since the Constitution does not grant rights, it can only be used to take away those rights that the founders said were inalienable. So, yes, the 18th took away an inalienable right of the people, and the 21st undid that injustice.

  • Stick

    Your argument is the very definition of false dichotomy. Well done.

  • I saw something that suggested that 97% of those involuntarily committed for mental illness do not show up on the federal database. Almost 3,000,000 that should be barred from buying a gun aren’t becuz of HIPAA and the lack of any requirement to report commitments. of course, that three million only represents a small fraction of America’s mentally ill, not even counting the millions that are sitting in jails and prisons “getting their mental health treatments”.

    Yep, in the last 30 years 80% of guns used in mass killings were legally purchased.

  • Stick

    Well said, David, well said.

  • Stick

    I’m sure the parents of these dead children feel as bad as the parents of the children lost in the Oklahoma City bombing which used fertilizer and diesel fuel, not guns. Should we outlaw those things because those parents experienced the same terrible loss?

  • You raise some very interesting points, most of which I’m not qualified to comment on. I’m well aware that ‘crazy’ is not a technical term but its colloquial meaning is well known. However, question 11f on the ATF Form 4473 (Over the counter transaction record) asks if the buyer has ever been “adjudicated mentally defective.” certainly that has some legal weight and a specific meaning in the context of your profession. The Canadian option isn’t a bad one, but I feel it might overburden the average citizen.

  • I’m all for Obamacare, I just wish it went further. I want the US to have UK-style NHS healthcare. Failing that, the Canadian system wouldn’t be terribly difficult to implement, we could just put everyone on Medicaid.

  • Sarah

    We do this every time. A shooting tragedy occurs and we argue gun control via restricting the types of weapons covered under the 2nd amendment, or gun control via denying a group of citizens their entire 2nd amendment rights. Maybe it’s a thoughtful compromise between the two.

    For myself, the parsing of constitutional rights is always a slippery slope and as a member of a minority group I find it hard to support. I think I understand the want, but it has historically been done in reaction to fear and has only worked to increase the stigmatization and discrimination the group in question already faced.

  • Sarah

    The language you’re using refers to a legal -not medical- designation assigned, when a person is declared unable to adequately make the decisions needed to ensure the proper care of themselves, by a court of law. It does not mean they require ongoing mental health care or that they pose a physical danger to themselves or others.

    I worry about the growing bias against those who need or seek mental health care. The majority of which are not outwardly violent.

  • mrgavel

    Since the time of the Oklahoma City bombing how many children have been killed at schools by guns and how many by fertilizer bombs? I am just curious if you have researched those two figures. I can’t recall any children being killed at a school by a bomb, but maybe I am not that aware. I can, however, think of several instances of children killed at schools with guns since the Oklahoma City bombing.

  • No modern civilised society should need or want armed citizens. Guns are not like knives, cars, gasoline etc that have a legitimate primary purpose, they have one purpose as that is to kill or severely injure another living thing.

    Pretending it’s a civil rights issue is silly. Firstly it’s not as if you can have literally any weapon you want in the US. You can’t have tanks or rocket launchers so why put up with your ‘rights being infringed’ there? Why would removing guns (at least military grade ones for a start) be so bad when there is a whole host of other ‘arms’ you aren’t allowed to have?

    Secondly, I take my civil rights seriously and as someone from a relatively gun-free country (compared to the US) I see it as my right to be able to go to public building with the knowledge that no one is armed.

    The thought of living in the ‘wild west’ fantasy land the NRA want to create where everyone is armed and you have a clear distinction between the ‘good guys’ and the ‘bad guys’ like some bad film is not only ignoring the reality of humanity but it would be a very scary world, and one I wouldn’t want to live in.

  • Jor Dough

    Regardless of the horror that unfolded in Newton, Connecticut last week,
    guns and so-called assault weapons are here to stay if we do nothing as a
    nation. Their deadly effect and the senseless slaughter that occurs with their use on innocent victims can
    easily be mitigated and, over time, the presence and use of firearms
    when incompetent malcontents seek retribution for their difficulties on the
    innocent may be reduced

    How? Taxes.

    Firearms that fire powerful ammunition with high muzzle velocities that deliver
    high muzzle energy over a significant range and have the capability to be
    loaded and function with high-capacity magazines or “clips” should
    have substantial taxation associated with any sale of such a firearm.

    weapon that is a “sporterized” version of or variant based on
    a current of former weapon used by military forces is an assault
    weapon. Weapons that can fire military ammunition, e.g., NATO 5.56 or
    7.62 mm, or 7.62×39 (AK ammunition) or ammunition of similar military
    designations may be an assault weapon. Weapons
    that cycle and fire semi-automatically; cycling ammunition from a
    magazine or
    “clip” through a firing cycle by a single trigger pull of the shooter
    for each shot until the magazine or “clip” is empty are assault
    weapons if it can be fitted with a high-capacity magazine or “clip”.

    Taxation should be in an amount per gun sale, new or used, equal to the amounts
    that this nation expends in establishing, training and equipping law
    enforcement and other agencies for squads that are required to respond to and
    resolve “shooter” situations – we know what it costs us. We
    should designate an amount taxed on transactions involving these weapons for
    mental health since their use by the mental health challenged “shooters” seems
    so prevalent.

    Why not make the manufacturers and purveyors of such weapons and ammunition
    foot the bill we pay to clean up the butchery these weapons provide their
    users? Don’t pay the taxes when the transaction occurs then face the
    criminal and civil penalties afforded to tax delinquents not unlike, but more severe and immediate, than those on

    We have limitations on how much decongestant cold-medicine we can buy at a
    pharmacy, limitations on driving a vehicle, insurance and “financial
    responsibility” regulations for vehicles, limitations on flying an airplane and
    many other sensible restrictions on freedoms in how we operate both personally
    and commercially.

    We require enormous reporting of hazardous materials by generators of
    hazardous waste, storage of it, transport of it, treatment of it, and
    disposal of it – to protect the public from it. There is both civil and
    criminal liability for mishandling hazardous waste and materials. We
    require long term high dollar amount bonds to be posted by operators of garbage
    and waste dumps that cover the expenses possible many years after these sites
    are closed

    The same types of, even more, stringent requirements should be placed and
    enforced upon those who choose who make, sell, possess or utilize these weapons
    of such great lethality. That is no infringement on their specious claims
    of a right to own and use such weaponry but, only places the expense society
    has upon their shoulders along with affirmative duties with regard to their
    responsibilities in owning these lethal implements.

    liability should be delineated in the law and extend from
    manufacturers to merchants to so-called trainers and gun ranges (where
    skill with these weapons are honed) to owners for the proper uses
    handling and storage
    of these lethal weapons. Fail to follow the law and your weapon will be
    confiscated and destroyed, your business closed – much like the IRS now
    does to delinquent taxpayers
    when assets are seized.

    We know the “right” hates taxation and maybe the expense will temper
    their lust for powerful weaponry. If they want they can pay for it.
    When that happens these things will slowly fade away sine we know they want
    lots of things and don’t want to pay for any of it.

  • Bob M

    Because fertilizer and diesel fuel only exist to make bombs?

    Of what other use are guns? This is a gun owner asking.

  • Bob M

    Perhaps someone purchasing a death-dealing device ought to be over burdened.

  • > Any weapon that is a “sporterized” version of or variant based on a current of former weapon used by military forces is an assault weapon.

    This is a problematic statement. Virtually every firearm in common use (excepting .22 and a large percentage of handguns) began its design life as a military weapon. Many of them share calibers with military weapons. Most popular civilian rifles are essentially identical (except with the use of synthetics) to military rifles from 80-90 years ago. More modern firearm technologies (detachable box magazines, the AR-15 pattern receiver) are migrating into small-game hunting (specifically varmint control) because they are useful.

  • So then we are also going to tighten the regulations for getting drivers licenses and buying automobiles?

  • So let me get this straight: You want to use taxation to deny people a constitutional right? That sounds a lot like poll taxes to me.

  • It is a civil rights issue. Pretending the constitution doesn’t say “The right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is silly. And having the only arms in the hands of the government has worked out so well for a lot of people, hasn’t it? I’m sorry you don’t take the right to defend oneself seriously, but I do and it’s one I’m going to hold on to.

  • Bob M

    Given the way many people drive, that might not be a bad idea at all.

    With a few possible exceptions, automobiles are not designed to kill either the occupants or other nearby drivers/pedestrians. That is not the purpose of an automobile.

    The same cannot be said for a firearm.

  • Greg,

    It seems like one of the main points you mentioned has not even remotely been engaged in the comments.

    > And this post doesn’t matter because when I ask a friend to explain to me why they need their guns, the conversation immediately goes awry and I become a liberal anti-gun anti-American as apparently such a question is tantamount to treason and I should be taken out and shot.

    The response we continue to see to “why” is always an “academic” discussion about rights, but never a real discussion. People talk about the “right to self defense”, while failing to acknowledge that statistically the odds of needing that (provided you aren’t pal-ing around with drug dealers) are less than the odds of you being struck by lightning. “More guns” is almost certainly not going to solve these kinds of problems. You have to attack it from the opposite direction.

    That said, I *will* provide an answer to “why do I need my guns”. I live in the country. Not quite in the middle of nowhere, but we are served by the county sheriff. The county sheriff is not coming out to deal with a rabid raccoon. Nor are they going to be able to help if the coyotes decide to try and turn any livestock we have into snacks. There is no “animal control”; that is my responsibility out here.

    Could I handle these problems with something other than a firearm? Maybe. It’d be a lot more difficult with a crossbow or recurve bow.

    Hunting is actually a necessary activity, too. There are no longer apex predators in Ohio (and many other areas), and deer populations can easily grow to destructive sizes. Additionally, there are some animals that are simply pests (like wild hogs, which spread disease to commercial farming operations and destroy crops) that ODNR encourages to be shot on sight. Again, *could* be done with bows, but it is more difficult.

    I think a case *can* be made for rights-based support of firearms use – even from a left-wing perspective! But making that case basically just avoids engaging you at all, which is not productive.

    As I said elsewhere, we NEED to be having a discussion. If we as a society want the state to regulate firearms ownership (which, as you point out, we may not), we can do so much much more effectively than we do now.

  • My dad provided many meals for us, thanks to his hunting skills. I have no problem with someone owning a rifle for hunting, or a hand gun for self defense. But I know of no one who goes hunting with an assault rifle, do you? Or of a hunter who needs ammunition made to penetrate a bulletproof vest. These things are made only for killing people. And as a civilized nation, why is it wrong for us to want to regulate and restrict the sale and use of things made only for killing people.

  • I’ve put a lot of holes in a lot of cans… But that’s not really germane to you question. I personally believe that everyone has a right to defend themselves against those who would do them harm. Guns make that significantly easier. Like the stupid cliche says, God made men, Sam Colt made ’em equal.

  • Actually, I know of many people that use assault rifles for wild boar hunting. Those things are mean and tough. You need a semi-auto high power rifle to take one down. And there is simply no sense in reinventing the wheel on those things.

  • Jor Dough

    Don’t be silly. It’s not a “poll tax” to require those users and consumers of our infrastructure (Public Owned and operated) to pay higher fees and – “taxes” for the extra burden they impose. Examples: Turnpike tolls for trucks. license plates for trucks, excise taxes on tires, Federal HVUT, Pilot’ Licenses, Commercial Drivers License, Severance or depletion taxes on underground natural resources, Aircraft owners required inspection and maintenance, compliance with federal hazardous waste generation, storage, transportation and disposal regulations, higher tuition for grad schools and professional schools at public universities, higher out of state tuition for non residents at public universities. The list is endless.

    It is only fair to require those who wish to assert their (arguably specious) “right” to own these instruments of lethality to be responsible for their manufacture, sale and use and the inevitable cleanup of the butchery and slaughter they enable.

  • Jor Dough

    No problem at all. Sporterized versions or variants of current or former military weaponry would only be ‘assault weapons’ if they used or could use high capacity magazines or “clips’ and fired ammunition that provided substantial down range lethality from high muzzle velocities and energy at longer ranges.

    Caliber has little to do with the description. 9mm, 357 Magnum, 38, 38 Special and 380 auto are very similar in caliber yet are vastly different in lethality, particularly at longer ranges. Similarly the 5.56 Nato and 223 Remington fired from many M-16 based AR 15’s and their kin is similar in diameter and caliber to 22 rimfire ammunition and far more lethal at any range.

  • Jor Dough

    Red Herring argument with a partial quote as a reference since the US Constitution actually says”A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

    None of the morons who slaughtered children and innocent people in recent BushMaster massacres were a member of any militia well regulated or otherwise. To suggest otherwise is a HUGE insult to law enforcement officers, veterans and people actually serving under arms for our nation

  • No, you just think that rich people should be the only ones with guns, which is why I brought up poll taxes. What you should have learned in K-12 about poll taxes is that they were used to keep blacks and other poor people from voting.

  • Jor Dough

    Your words not mine! Uhh, You have no idea of what I think about anything.

    Nevertheless, you raise an excellent point that is financial responsibility.

    Persons who want to own an assault weapon should be required to post a non-interest bearing bond in an amount sufficient to satisfy any claims of harm or damage caused by their use of the assault weapon or the use of it by any other person – it would be a large number considering the evidence we have of the death and destruction these lethal implements can visit upon innocent children and others and the excessive cost for response to and the aftermath of these slaughters.

    It would not be unlike financial responsibility regulations for automobile owners and many businesses now regulated by similar rules and laws. No different than when you rent a car and have to insure it or provide proof of insurance.

    Financially responsible people may tend to not be so reckless and wild with assault weapons if they owned them. I can’t seem to recall an incident where an assault weapon was wielded by a “rich” person i.e., someone in the 1% making more than $250,000 net income for tax purposes or whatever your definition of rich is.

    Rights are not free of cost for society and those who wish to exercise them to the extremes, such as with assault weapons, should be held accountable and responsible in all possible ways for their actions by them or others with that weapon for any deleterious outcomes by their uses of these lethal implements. It’s only fair and just.

  • Admin

    Greg I don’t own a gun. I’ve often considered it and I like knowing I can get one if I want it. I don’t really need it except to “protect” my home and family but knowing how groggy I am when I’m suddenly awakened, I’d probably be doing any assailant a favor by injuring myself. Like oil, there’s too much money in selling weaponry for that segment of the economy to be limited as much as it should or could be. I’ve remarked elsewhere that this murderer needed psychological help. I truly believe that and I’m saddened that for whatever reason it doesn’t seem that he received it. A father of two, I can only imagine the anguish of the families left behind to contemplate all that their beautiful children will never get to do or be. So do I support gun control? Not really. I guess I don’t really know what to think… but I know we have all been diminished by this latest atrocity. It’s unthinkable.

  • athenap

    You do know that the regulations for getting and operating an automobile are more onerous than getting and operating a gun, right?

  • athenap

    > And this post doesn’t matter because when I ask a friend to explain to me why they need their guns, the conversation immediately goes awry and I become a liberal anti-gun anti-American as apparently such a question is tantamount to treason and I should be taken out and shot. <

    This is exactly what I don't get–the idea that if the right is in the Constitution, then that automatically seems to absolve the bearer of all responsibilities that come with that right. I'm guaranteed the right to the pursuit of happiness, but I'm still very responsible for making that happiness happen. In fact, should I fall on troubled times and not be able to pursue my happiness, the same crowd would set themselves on fire over the idea that I might receive some help from a government agency with food or shelter. Yet the calls for absolution of responsibility or consequences for the Constitutional right to a firearm are unassailable.

    Even bringing up the idea that maybe we should be a little more careful with the freedoms of guns to move about the country, and maybe think more about making it so that *people* have an easier time than the firearms engenders a fierce kneejerk reaction that would be incomprehensible in any other subject.

    Try it. "Providing for the general welfare" would engender Congress to levy taxes for universal healthcare. We get a lively debate with much mud-slinging and end up with something that nobody's happy with, but that maybe inches us towards better. Try the same thing with responsible restrictions on the movement of weapons, and we go from zero to conspiracy in 2.3 seconds, with no in-between. It's baffling.

  • Cthulhu0818

    We already do. And regulations on cars regarding their safety features and the way they’re driven recieve tons of scrutiny every year. The penalties for driving drunk have increased exponentially down the years, as well as (And this is important) public perception of driving while intoxicated.
    On the other hand, gun safety technology has stalled at the 1900s level and there is evidence that the Gun Lobby has intentionally stalled any forward movement on making guns proprietary because it would interfere with rapid transfers and sales.
    As a former Military Police Investigator, Civilian LEO, and Combat Veteran, I advocate adapting the Australian model and we encompass a complete paradigm shift on how we view guns, and gun ownership. We also need to overhaul the 2nd amendment.
    And before you fly off the handle, remember this. If the extreme members of the gun club won’t compromise, all they do is paint themselves into a corner that ends with them having NO guns at all.

  • Gus

    I read your article maybe you should read your history book again, after the civil war freed slaves were routinely murdered in their own homes because they lacked the means to defend themselves. Jim Crow laws made it easy for hate groups to do as they please and impose barriers to owning weapons. No hanging just murdered in their own homes of course the press did not published this fact because it was not as attention grabbing as a hanging this went on till the 1970’s . Now go forward to 2013 children die in minority neighborhoods every day because of criminals who do as they please and the police will not give it much attention, but heaven forbid it is a affluent white neighborhood in the North East !!!! Tell me do 20 lives make up for the unknown numbers killed by criminals all year long. I would rather defend any child instead of picking and choosing which ones live and die because of where they live because they are poor or minority who rarely are entitled to good safe neighborhoods and police protection. So Greg what makes you special and our Washington DC politicians who have armed guards 24/7 ??? The 2n Amendment is to protect the people from government of the corrupt not just educated , white , wealthy,, people . I also wonder why you exaggerated as to when having a conversation with a conservative claiming they would kill you if you did not agree, needles hyper-pole does not help your one sided article !!! America only seems to care when children are killed when white main stream media make it a issue , go live in a ghetto for a year without protection of any sort and write this article again with real facts !!!!

  • I visited blog and read your opinion on this blog.How to say ,I don;t know but way and writing skills is so nice on topic.thanks for aware on this.

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