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Shooting Your Mouth Off About Guns

This is instructive. I tweeted this:

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js [3]

change_me

And, predictably, there were people who … didn’t get it. Check out this exchange:

Ms. Smock, Ed.D., sallies on, undeterred, with the ardor of Bertie’s Aunt Agatha [4], for several more entries. It’s really funny, but there’s something important here, both in the media report and in Aunt Jessica’s reply.

There’s an intense campaign against guns underway in wake of the Florida shooting. I think it is perfectly reasonable for people to be talking about and advocating for restrictions of gun availability. But there are a lot of folks on the right who believe that the left is in a state of moral panic about all this, such that they want to go after all guns, period.

Things like the NBC media report — showing a pump-action shotgun and describing it as an AR-15 — bolster those fears. It might seem like a small thing to you, but there is a meaningful difference between a pump-action shotgun, which is a standard hunting weapon, and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle [5]. That TV piece is like prefacing a report critical of Evangelical involvement in Republican politics with video of a Catholic archbishop saying mass. You would imagine that the journalist who prepared it isn’t particularly interested in what she’s reporting on, but rather simply wants to get Christians out of politics, period.

And of course Aunt Jessica’s hissy fit over the whole thing, even when it is explained to her, only makes the point stronger.

I am one of the 57 percent of members of gun-owning households who supports stronger gun control measures [6], though I’m not certain (yet) where I would draw the line. CNN describes its poll results like this:

There is widespread support for several specific changes to gun laws, including 87% who back laws to prevent convicted felons and those with mental health problems from owning guns; 71% who support preventing people under age 21 from buying any type of gun; 63% who support a ban on the sale and possession of high-capacity or extended ammunition magazines (up from 54% in October, a new high in CNN polling); and 57% who back a ban on the manufacture, sale and possession of rifles capable of semi-automatic fire, such as the AR-15, the same style as was used in both the Parkland and Las Vegas shootings (up from 49% in October).

I’m not sure what I think about banning the manufacture, sale, and possession of semi-automatic rifles. I want to know more. The rest of it I support, though I’m open to arguments against them. The point of this post, though, is to state how suspicious I am of the media’s general reporting of the story.

There are notable exceptions. Here’s a good, informative piece from The Atlantic, written by a Florida radiologist [7], who talks in detail about how and why the wounds from an AR-15 are dramatically more severe than wounds from other firearms. That’s a useful article, because it makes a reasonable, detailed case for why the AR-15 is different from other weapons. It’s the kind of thing that adds to our capacity for informed debate around guns and whether or not we should restrict them. Seems to me that that’s not typical though.

UPDATE: Reader Daniel (Not Larison) writes:

Rod wrote:

There are notable exceptions. Here’s a good, informative piece from The Atlantic, written by a Florida radiologist, who talks in detail about how and why the wounds from an AR-15 are dramatically more severe than wounds from other firearms.

I just read the article, Rod.

Why is he comparing a round fired by an AR-15 to a round fired by a handgun? That’s highly deceitful. It’s a classic apples and oranges comparison.

Why not compare the AR-15’s wounds to that of, say, a 30-’06 or .300 Win-Mag fired by a typical hunting rifle?

I’ll tell you why he doesn’t…because if you did, you’d see that yes, rifle bullets are more damaging than pistol bullets. They are, by definition, vastly higher powered.

So it you propose a “reasonable” gun law that banned “high velocity weapons like the AR-15”, you would, in fact, ban pretty much every hunting rile that exists.

I think we could reasonably discuss things like:

*Banning high-capacity magazines (with and exact definition of the number–like, say, 10 rounds)

Other things discussed, rarely with a thought of the impact:

*Banning fire arms with the capacity to accept detachable magazines (though that would ban an exponentially higher number of firearms, and would ban nearly every semi-automatic handgun)

*Ban all semi-automatics (which would be also exponentially more guns, including many popular shotguns, hunting rifles, etc.

But people will continue to argue in ignorance and with emotion.

Thanks for this. You are teaching me something I didn’t know. I do not favor banning hunting rifles.

189 Comments (Open | Close)

189 Comments To "Shooting Your Mouth Off About Guns"

#1 Comment By JonF On February 27, 2018 @ 7:08 am

Re: You can’t form a militia with hunting weapons, and can’t preserve the security of a free state with hunting weapons.

Why not? They did exactly that in the 18th and 19th centuries. But more to the point, the “militia” today is the National Guard. And even if states wished to form up some other armed body and designate it a militia it would have to be formed under the authority of the several state legislatures. I would have no problem with military weaponry being issued to persons who are duly inducted in a formal military company and then properly trained in the use of those arms. That however does not apply to random citizens who have no such affiliation.

#2 Comment By muad’dib On February 27, 2018 @ 7:32 am

The people can’t form those necessary militias without military weapons. The intent of the founders was so that the people could have military arms, to preserve the security of a free state.

In which case [8], [9], [10] should all be available at your local gun shop. What do you call a militia that cannot defend itself against armored vehicles and low flying aircrafts? fantasist? nutjobs? reanactors?

#3 Comment By sally On February 27, 2018 @ 7:49 am

I think the stakes are quite high this time around, for both pro and anti NRA people.

In most western countries, guns are a settled issue and there is no equivalent of the NRA. The people with guns are happy with their guns and aren’t seeking any legislation to increase availability of guns. The people without guns are also happy to let the gun people have the guns and aren’t seeking legislation to reduce gun numbers. The people with an interest in increasing gun numbers aren’t gun owners but gun manufacturers, and for whatever reason they dont have the power or reach that the NRA does.

The US isnt unique in having greater gun penetration (its lower than Switzerlands after all), its unique in that the manufacturers have a lobby and power, and a profitable business model exercised through it.

A previous commenter makes an interesting point about compromise vs steadfastness. Sometimes one is more effective and sometimes the other, on any side of any case. I think the NRA has pursued a winner takes all approach, and its worked well for them, but the worry for them must be the parallels with the tobacco companies. I think compromise might have worked for them 30 or 40 years ago (I dont think there would be such a a strong anti-gun faction if people just had handguns and there weren;t such high powered weaponry in circulation), but in a way both the pro and anti NRA factions grow in strength (and over time its actually become pro and anti NRA, rather than pro and anti gun per se)

I think the interesting stats to see would be

a) guns per capita in each state over last 25 years
b) percentage of population with a gun in each state over last 25 years
c) guns per owner in each state over last 25 years

a) isnt really that important, but b ) and c) are. If b is increasing and c decreasing the compromise is a workable solution for NRA, but if b is decreasing and c increasing then compromise makes no sense for them.

If anyone has good access to any data like the above, I’d be super interested to see it!

#4 Comment By Phillip On February 27, 2018 @ 8:07 am

Hi GregR,

Thank you for your response.

I like your idea of a tiered FFL.

I don’t really like the perpetual liability idea. Would car companies or dealerships be able to stay in business if they could be sued by the victims of drunk drivers?

#5 Comment By Chuckie On February 27, 2018 @ 9:28 am

I’ve read many comments regarding the potential (or not) for compromise. True compromise in the legislature would look something like one side giving ground via increased gun control (higher age limits, disallowing semi automatic rifles that “look” like automatics, bump stocks, etc.) while the other side gives ground on something reasonable and meaningful like voter ID. Like it or not, true compromise will not happen.

#6 Comment By sally On February 27, 2018 @ 10:35 am

Chuckie, I think the problem with this type of compromise is its cross-topic. It presumes the sides on topic A are the same as on topic B (they might well be for politicians but not necessarily for voters. Eg Increased gun control in return for looser regulation on river pollution. But for many they may only care about one of those issues – or they may want to ban guns AND pollute rivers. Or they may want looser gun control and harsher regulation on polluters

Second problem with compromise here, is that both sides now see this as a winnable game, I think compromise is a tougher sell now than 20 years ago on this one

Incidentally, voter id stuff is an interesting one, with voter participation at record lows that could have unintended consequences like opening the door to mandatory voting

#7 Comment By Steven On February 27, 2018 @ 11:12 am

Imagine there’s a nice urban community. Public transportation is readily available, and the community is laid out in such a way that people can walk or ride their bikes most everywhere they need to go. One afternoon, a drunk driver in a F-150 plows through a cross-walk and brutally kills and maims several children.

The citizens are outraged, and the families of the children are traumatized (justifiably so!) and in sincere, and emotional pleas, they express their frustration and decry the rampant destruction caused by privately-owned vehicles.

Several studies show that — sure enough! — a car traveling 50 MPH makes short work of bicycles and crash-test dummies. Within a few days, auto manufacturers are demonized, and gorilla ads start cropping up which equate Ford with terrorist organizations.

Mass media gets involved, and a major news outlet hosts a Town Hall to facilitate civil discussion. The crowd goes wild in support of the ironic hyperbole when a politician dismissively mentions that we might as well try prohibiting ownership of cars with automatic transmission. The person who made that statement is then told he looks an awful lot like the driver who killed those children, and the audience shakes their head and boos the politician. They ask him why he accepts blood money from those evil auto manufacturing lobbies. “Why does he hate children?”, they being to wonder amongst themselves.

A panel of researchers concludes that “No one truly needs anything with the destructive power of an F-150,” and to drive the point home, a video circulates of a black minivan crashing through a cart of watermelons.

Once the dust settles (a bit), the self-described sensible crowd decides that reasonable, common-sense solution is to start by outlawing F-150s. They seem flabbergasted when personal vehicle owners (many of whom don’t even drive F-150s!) aren’t willing to make this simple compromise. These same folks become rather dismayed and defensive as people start pointing out the flaws in their plan. Ostensibly, they’re looking for solutions and compromise, but heaven-forfend anyone challenge the details of their grand, naive design.

That’s satire, but I think it’s a fair allegory to show how the “sensible”, “common-sense” solutions of some gun-control advocates sound to people who don’t share their predispositions.

#8 Comment By cylindrical crown On February 27, 2018 @ 12:15 pm

Everyone conveniently forgets the elephant in the room: enforcement. It may be fairly easy to stop the manufacture of certain weapons. It is an entirely different thing to confiscate existing weapons.

When motivated citizens refuse to turn banned weapons in (and become criminals with nothing to lose), who will charge into their homes day after day, year after year to collect the weapons? The local police? Their primary motivation is to get home safely at the end of their shift. Certainly not the state police — they will be guarding the state officials. The military? They will be guarding the Federal officials. Volunteers? Don’t make me laugh.

Does anyone think these newly minted criminals will wait at home for their turn to be assaulted? Or do you think they may become “frisky”? I’d bet on the latter.

Choose wisely America; once the genie is out of the bottle, there will be no getting it back.

#9 Comment By Hound of Ulster On February 27, 2018 @ 12:19 pm

@Steven

The difference is plain; guns are designed, especially the types under discussion here (seriously, gun advocates stop trying to conflate the AR 15 with a 30-06 bolt-action hunting rifle. It’s like comparing a Masarati to an old pick-up truck) to strike as many targets as possible, from as far away as possible, as fast as possible, with as much stopping power as possible. An F-150 truck is designed to get you from point A to point B within a reasonable time in the most fuel efficient way possible. You, other gun advocates, have stop using these sorts of really dumb comparisons. Guns are not the same thing, it seems,as a truck, until it is the same thing as a truck, at whatever time that best serves the rhetorical interest of gun rights absolutism.

And yet we can’t impose the same sort of training and licensing requirements for the gun as we have for the truck, even though you claim they are the same thing while at the same time claiming they are NOT the same thing, because freedom that’s why!

Your arguments would make an Ancient Greek Sophist proud in their self-serving circular reasoning and gainsaying.

You keep talking like this, and full repeal of the 2nd Amendment will start to sound like a reasonable position.

#10 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 27, 2018 @ 12:34 pm

JonF is on the right track, but he throws in a few misapprehensions. The National Guard is not “the militia.” It is a more tightly organized, quasi-professional military force that was instituted to phase out reliance on the militia. In large part, this was done because the militia refused to fire on striking union workers, who were often their cousins or even co-workers.

The original point of reliance on a militia was that it put limits on the tyranny a government could exercise in the face of popular disapproval. Militia units were, originally, almost all able-bodied males of a certain age, who all kept their guns at home (where they could also use them for hunting and self-defense — they were personal property, not issued by the state), and reported for duty when called.

#11 Comment By PrairieDog On February 27, 2018 @ 12:41 pm

sally,

You are correct when you note that “In most Western countries guns are a settled issue and there is no equivalent to the NRA. In most Western countries, current governments, though democratically elected, claim most of the powers over their society claimed in the past by their former divine-right monarchs. In most cases, the political classes was able to impose restrictive gun laws on the population with little debate or controversy. Only in the US has there been an organized, effective and timely opposition. In most countries the national shooting sports organizations have been controlled by members of the same political class that controls government and administration, rather than grass roots representatives.

And I agree with cylindrical crown: enforcement of sweeping gun laws is much easier in the abstract than in practice. Are Americans willing to accept restrictions on their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights to make possible practical enforcement of sweepingly restrictive gun laws?

#12 Comment By Steven On February 27, 2018 @ 12:48 pm

Hound of Ulster,

I don’t remember saying any of the things you said I did. So, I’d recommend a different approach if you’re trying to convince me that I’m wrong.

But you do seem to be doing a fine job convincing yourself you’re right and reasonable, though, which was kind of my point.

#13 Comment By GregR On February 27, 2018 @ 1:22 pm

J Harlan,

No I don’t think full auto pistols and shotguns are currently a problem, mostly because without a FFL you can’t buy one. And I absolutely do not think that police should have fully automatic weapons at all. The amount of destruction a fully automatic weapon can bring to bear is phenomenal and simply should not be handed over to anyone but the military.

#14 Comment By Cato On February 27, 2018 @ 2:29 pm

@Hound of Ulster

“The difference is plain; guns are designed, especially the types under discussion here (seriously, gun advocates stop trying to conflate the AR 15 with a 30-06 bolt-action hunting rifle. It’s like comparing a Masarati to an old pick-up truck) to strike as many targets as possible, from as far away as possible, as fast as possible, with as much stopping power as possible. ”

Um, no.

#15 Comment By Lord Karth On February 27, 2018 @ 5:51 pm

muad’dib writes:
The people can’t form those necessary militias without military weapons. The intent of the founders was so that the people could have military arms, to preserve the security of a free state.

In which case Manpads, RPGs, Laws should all be available at your local gun shop. What do you call a militia that cannot defend itself against armored vehicles and low flying aircrafts? fantasist? nutjobs? reanactors?

It seems to me that the Iraqi resistance was able to give the American Imperial occupying forces a great deal of grief with relatively low-tech weapons. The Afghans are doing the same.

Focus on the people, not the weapons.

Your servant,

Lord Karth

#16 Comment By Rugeirn Drienborough On February 27, 2018 @ 6:12 pm

Rod,

If you’ve learned something about wound ballistics, perhaps you’re ready to learn about something else—the utter ordinariness of box-fed semi-automatic rifles.

They go back over 160 years, and have been available to the civilian public the whole time. One of the best of them all, the M1 Garand, was developed in the 1920’s and still is in widespread civilian use to this day.

Go to the national rifle championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. what are many of the most advanced competitors shooting? Highly developed box fed semi automatic rifles, mostly AR-15 derivatives. Why? Because a semi-auto offers a competitive target shooter many advantages, particularly that you don’t have to disturb your carefully crafted hold on the gun to chamber the next round.

For similar reasons, semi-autos are rapidly gaining ground for hunting. The ability to place a quick, accurate follow-up shot can be the difference between a target animal that dies quickly and can be easily found versus one that dies slowly and is never found at all. The semi-auto is very good for this.

The demonization of the gun is a very effective way to avoid talking about the real problem: a culture that celebrates, glorifies and fetishizes violent behavior of all kinds, in which violence is a deeply rooted element, in which the real answer to the question, “What is the problem?” can be answered without a single word by looking in the mirror.

We think it’s normal that watching people die violently is part of our everyday entertainment. We think it’s normal that in our news media, “If it bleeds, it leads.”We think it’s normal that our nation maintains the ability to ensure the untimely death of every person on the planet. We think it’s normal that a child calmly says, “I can’t do that. My mom and dad would kill me,” None of these are causes of the violence within us; rather, the are signs and symptoms of it.

We don’t want to look that in the face.

That’s why we take perfectly ordinary guns and dress them up in our minds as demonic “killing machines”, “military grade”, “weapons meant only for war”, “high-powered dealers of death” and all the rest of it.

When you focus on what’s in our hands, you don’t have to think about what to Universal when you focus on what’s in our hands, you don’t have to think about what’s in our souls.

#17 Comment By Optatus Cleary On February 27, 2018 @ 6:23 pm

The “defense against tyranny” argument is often misunderstood. No one thinks that armed citizens with the guns that are legal could defeat the US military. It’s meant to make oppression unfeasible.

Imagine if every Jewish family in Europe had had a gun. No matter how much the Nazis may have wanted to exterminate them, they would have known that for every Jewish family they arrested, they risked losing at least one Nazi. This is the point of the “defense against tyranny” argument: not that you can defeat the military if they come for you, but that they won’t come for you if they risk losing some of their own when they do.

#18 Comment By Craig On February 27, 2018 @ 6:34 pm

No doubt, high velocity rounds from any kind of rifle are more damaging that low velocity rounds from a handgun. But the nature of the round is not the entirety of the argument against weapons like the AR-15. The AR-15 combines the high velocity military round with a fairly compact rifle that can take a large magazine that affords rapid reloading. That makes it, and similar weapons, uniquely useful for mass killings.

Why the comparison to handguns? Because most killings are by handguns and not rifles, for the simple reason that it is much more convenient to conceal and carry a handgun. Viewed in isolation, it might seem like an unfair comparison. But I think the relatively lethality of the two kinds of weapons/ammo is a legitimate part of the debate over what kind of weapons should be widely available in civilian hands.

Someone upstream also pointed out the difference between hollow point and full metal jacket bullets. Just think: as a civilian you can buy hunting bullets for your mass killing spree that have been outlawed by the Hague convention because the gruesome nature of the wounds makes them unsuitable for warfare. Now that is freedom! But fear not: slender high velocity rounds have a reputation for tumbling on impact, producing damage similar to a hollow point (I don’t know if this is true or even unique).

When it comes to handguns, you can raise similar concerns about rates of reloading and magazine capacity, irrespective of bullet velocity: a Glock with 33 round magazines (used by the shooter in the Gabby Giffords shooting) is a much better weapon for mass killings than a single or double action revolver that has to be reloaded after just 6 or 8 shots (10 if using 0.22 ammo).

In so far as the Heller decision goes, it seems that Scalia walked a fine line: He wanted to treat the operative clause about “the right to bear arms” as not being restrictively limited by the prefatory clause about a “well regulated militia”, so as to turn the second amendment into a protection for an individual’s right to bear arms. Yet it also appears that he did not want to recklessly create a right for individuals to possess weapons of any kind, regardless of capability or circumstance. Of course, if you want to embrace the second amendment as an individual right which allows you to own military capable weapons for purposes of forming a militia, then logic suggests that you are still subject to the “well regulated” part of the prefatory clause.

I’m not a constitutional scholar, but I harbor suspicions that the wording of the Second Amendment might have been purposefully vague, a compromise that would satisfy both Federalist and Anti-Federalist positions. That would leave more room for interpretation by courts today.

God help us if a more conservative court, legislating from the bench, expands the right even further, thereby turning the US into an armed camp, where everyday disputes and encounters are overlain by the threat of escalation to lethal violence via the gun. Given expansive stand-your-ground laws, we may create a society where the proper response to conflict is to shoot first, and then alibi second with the phrase “I was in fear for my life” (because if you don’t, you may the one who gets shot first).

#19 Comment By GregR On February 27, 2018 @ 6:39 pm

Phillip asked:

I don’t really like the perpetual liability idea. Would car companies or dealerships be able to stay in business if they could be sued by the victims of drunk drivers?

I should have been more clear. You are only responsible for a weapon until such a time as it is reported stolen or transferred to another person. Just like with cars, once you report it stolen it doesn’t matter who is driving it, but if you lend your car to a drunk driver you are on the hook. So a gun dealer is only responsible for it ups to the moment it is legally sold to someone, but if they transfer it under the table to an unsuitable buyer it is still their problem.

#20 Comment By Matt On February 27, 2018 @ 8:30 pm

“Why not? They did exactly that in the 18th and 19th centuries. But more to the point, the “militia” today is the National Guard. ”

Jon F, the Flint lock was the deadliest bearable weapon a soldier could carry back in the day. There was relative parity between the British military and colonial militias.
With technological advances that parity should have remained the same for bearable arm.
The constitution does not put limits on the lethality of those arms.

The National Guard is not the militia, it is an adjunct of the armed forces. The militia is strictly a force of the states not a national entity, and not an adjunct of the national armed forces.

#21 Comment By Matt On February 27, 2018 @ 8:48 pm

“I would have no problem with military weaponry being issued to persons who are duly inducted in a formal military company and then properly trained in the use of those arms. That however does not apply to random citizens who have no such affiliation.”

Jon F, you don’t understand the constitution here. The states don’t issue arms to the militia, never have. The second amendment acknowledges the right of the PEOPLE TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS so they bring their own weapons.

The national armed services issue weapons, but militia keep and bear their own weapons.

The national armed services are the standing armies the founders were worried about like the British standing army. That’s why the people were armed to be able to form militias in their states to defend against national standing armies.

Militias are Necessary for the preservation of a free state.

#22 Comment By Matt On February 27, 2018 @ 8:58 pm

“In which case Manpads, RPGs, Laws should all be available at your local gun shop. What do you call a militia that cannot defend itself against armored vehicles and low flying aircrafts? fantasist? nutjobs? reanactors?”

Yes, now you are getting it. A militia should have those weapons if it is to be able to seriously defend its state.

If the redcoats had armoured vehicles and aircraft, the colonial state militia would have had RPGs and stingers.

#23 Comment By theMoeSzyslakConnection On February 28, 2018 @ 2:11 am

Why is he comparing a round fired by an AR-15 to a round fired by a handgun? That’s highly deceitful. It’s a classic apples and oranges comparison.
Why not compare the AR-15’s wounds to that of, say, a 30-’06 or .300 Win-Mag fired by a typical hunting rifle?

I guess “apples and oranges” are in the eye of the beholder.

It makes sense to compare “assault” rifles and handguns because these are the weapons used to kill people.
Other than Charles Whitman in 1966, when has a lunatic ever used a bolt-action hunting rifle to shoot up a school? Mass shootings, drive-bys, robberies, …, whatever. For killing people, semi-automatics (or automatics for those who can get them) are the weapons of choice.

#24 Comment By Phillip On February 28, 2018 @ 8:33 am

GregR, thanks for the clarification. That is indeed much more reasonable. There could be a timing issue on when it gets reported stolen, but the principle of punishing illegal arms sales is sound.

A bit like going after Capone for income taxes.

#25 Comment By JonF On February 28, 2018 @ 12:27 pm

Re: The National Guard is not “the militia.”

Nowadays, I can see your point. However the National Guard was created out of state militias and it remains a body that is generally under state authority, except when imprudent folk in Washington decide to raid it for their foreign adventures (IMO, this should not be allowed– the Guard should never be deployed away from American soil).

Re: The original point of reliance on a militia was that it put limits on the tyranny a government could exercise in the face of popular disapproval.

This is somewhat true, but it needs more detail. The Founders were leery of having a standing army since it could be used to oppress the people. Or it might nurture popular generals like Caesar and Cromwell who might use it to overthrow the government and set themselves up as dictators. The initial hope was that the infant US would not have a standing army in peacetime, or only need a very tiny one with local defense needs being tended to by state militias. However the US was not Switzerland: it had long, open and poorly defined borders and seacoasts and in many places there were native folk who were disinclined to accept their continuous dispossession. And the powers of Europe remained a menacing presence in the New World, notably Britain to then north and in the Caribbean.

Re: Militia units were, originally, almost all able-bodied males of a certain age, who all kept their guns at home

Hand-held firearms were kept at home, and doubled as hunting weapons. That saved the states from having to purchase weaponry and ammunition. Militias however were never universal for males: slaves and indentured servants were excluded, and the members had to be able to outfit themselves, which excluded the poor. And I believe there were some religious restrictions (no Catholics need apply) inherited from British law at the very first, much as there was with the franchise itself or eligibility for jury duty.

#26 Comment By TTT On February 28, 2018 @ 3:39 pm

Steven:
A panel of researchers concludes that “No one truly needs anything with the destructive power of an F-150,” and to drive the point home, a video circulates of a black minivan crashing through a cart of watermelons.

Do you have any idea how many cars in the world are NOT street-legal?

If we could upgrade gun ownership to the challenge level of car ownership – mandatory proficiency tests, registration, tracking, and INSURANCE – I’d call it a win. Increasingly more Americans would. And you may yet see the day, especially if gun advocates keep insisting that they don’t need to change anything at all ever.

This is an owngoal of the sort when Marco Rubio said “Why not just ban all semi-autos?” and the whole crowd said “Yes please!” I believe that is a majority American position now.

#27 Comment By PrairieDog On February 28, 2018 @ 4:34 pm

ITT,

Most of the restrictions and regualtions on cars apply only on the public roads, you do not need license/title/insurance if you only keep and operate your vehicle on your own property. Also, there are no requirements that a person have a driver’s licenses, or be any minimum age to purchase a car. I have a friend who is blind and has owned a number of vehicles over the years.

#28 Comment By Siarlys Jenkins On February 28, 2018 @ 7:49 pm

JonF is somewhat right, but his facile summation needs more detail.

I note first that, thanks to a modest volume Professor Tighe was kind enough to send me, I have a much higher opinion of Oliver Cromwell than I used to. Comparing him to Caesar and saying he used the army to overthrow popular government is quite a stretch. He eventually dispersed a rump parliament that refused to adopt legislation for new elections to replace itself with a more representative assemblage. He sought to widen the franchise. And during his term as Lord Protector of the Commonwealth, several parliaments were elected.

Aside from artillery, hand-held weapons were the primary weapons of war a milita, or an army, needed. And as I’ve noted, militia units not only owned (collectively) their own artillery, but individual officers often stored the artillery, or even “owned” it, having made the financial outlay to purchase it for militia use. (This was also true in Ireland circa 1798, and made a modest, if insufficient, difference in the firepower available to the revolutionaries of that year. Yes, I know the French expeditionary force had more and better artillery, but some militia units owned their own — usually a Protestant member of the United Irishmen owned it, since Catholics weren’t allowed to.)

Militias however were never universal for males…

Indentured servants most definitely served in the Massachusetts and Virginia militias in the 17th and early 18th centuries, and sometimes their masters were required to provide arms for them. Slaves sometimes did, and free men of color absolutely were required to do so. Owning firearms was not such a financial burden, because except for a few town dwellers, a firearm was a necessity of life. Sometimes, Indians who remained settled among the colonists were also part of the militia.

The National Guard was created to REPLACE the state militia with a more tractable force.

#29 Comment By PeterK On February 28, 2018 @ 9:30 pm

‘I’m not sure what I think about banning the manufacture, sale, and possession of semi-automatic rifles.”

you do realize that the vast majority of rifles are semi-automatic? or are you just referring to those rifles that cosmetically look like a military rifle? you are doing the same thing that those opposed to guns do ie you use incorrect language.

#30 Comment By VikingLS On February 28, 2018 @ 9:41 pm

“This is an owngoal of the sort when Marco Rubio said “Why not just ban all semi-autos?” and the whole crowd said “Yes please!” I believe that is a majority American position now.”

If it IS it’s because they don’t understand that semiauto includes the vast majority of modern guns, not just “assault rifles”.

#31 Comment By Steven On March 1, 2018 @ 9:28 am

@TTT,

re: This is an owngoal of the sort when Marco Rubio said “Why not just ban all semi-autos?” and the whole crowd said “Yes please!” I believe that is a majority American position now.

I feel like you sort of missed the point I was trying to make. While I definitely fall more on the less-restrictionist side of the aisle than some folks here, I wasn’t really offering any sort of case regarding the restrictions I would support. I think you’ve made some assumptions there.

First, though, as a bit of an aside: I think you’d be surprised about how much support a position like a semi-auto ban actually has. Perhaps I’m the one who’s in a bubble rather than the CNN crowd, but latest Rasmussen polls I saw indicated that people blamed government failures (54%) for the latest shooting more than they blame guns (33%). Among parents of school age children, only 23% blamed inadequate gun control. I think the more time the dust has to settle and the more people learn about what “semi-auto” actually means, the less support something like that is going to have. I think the more-introspective members of the CNN audience may one day be embarrassed by their outburst.

A man can dream, can’t he?

What I was trying to say was that people are making some emotional pleas out of ignorance, which is understandable to an extent, and even standard fare in a lot of policy debate among the masses, and especially when the debates come about due to tragic circumstances. As they say, though, “hard cases make bad laws” It’s easy for the “guns are icky” crowd to toss around these sort of “sensible” demands, because they don’t understand the implications, and those negative implications probably won’t affect them anyway.

Regardless of how popular (or not) the suggestion may be, though, to semi-auto gun owners everywhere (and, even to many of us who don’t own guns) it’s a ridiculous demand to make, and the fact the people don’t recognize how ridiculous it is shows, I think, a certain ignorance on the part of those who keep insisting it’s not.

#32 Comment By KurtV On March 1, 2018 @ 3:51 pm

If you don’t even know that rifles are more powerful than pistols, why are you writing on this subject? The AR-15 is a frigging varmint rifle. Many states don’t even allow them for deer hunting. You support gun control out of ignorance.

#33 Comment By John Spragge On March 1, 2018 @ 3:51 pm

Quoting JonF:

“Re: You can’t form a militia with hunting weapons, and can’t preserve the security of a free state with hunting weapons.

Why not? They did exactly that in the 18th and 19th centuries.”

That’s a popular position, particularly in the United States. It’s also mistaken. The American Revolution was *not* won with hunting rifles. A Kentucky rifle takes about a minute to load, and a redcoat (or loyalist) can cover the (accurate) range of a Kentucky rifle in that time with bayonet. Also, the pictures of Hessians in most American history textbooks show grenadiers, which is misleading. The British hired Hessian line troops, but they really wanted the military forest rangers, the Jaeger Corps. Those troops had quick loading rifles with sword bayonet mounts. As well, a high proportion of the frontier dwellers and the First Nations stayed loyal to the crown.

The American Revolution was won (well, actually, the decisive battle was a naval engagement between the British and French fleets with few if and Americans involved) but to the Extent American troops won, they won with conventional smooth-bore muskets (military weapons) and conventional European infantry tactics.

Just to be accurate about this stuff…

#34 Comment By KurtV On March 1, 2018 @ 4:08 pm

Here’s a guy with a lot more experience with wounds from 5.56mm than your Florida radiologist,(hand picked by the Atlantic): [11]

#35 Comment By John Spragge On March 1, 2018 @ 4:15 pm

Quoting Steven:

“A panel of researchers concludes that “No one truly needs anything with the destructive power of an F-150,” and to drive the point home, a video circulates of a black minivan crashing through a cart of watermelons.”

Don’t laugh. The Dutch kicked their auto addiction when they started to refer to the children killed by traffic violence as “kindermoord”. The Dutch still drive; they just have an expectation those who use motor vehicles will do so in safety, and those who can use the alternatives (bicycles, public transit, etc.) will do so. They gear their infrastructure planning to rail and cycling and away from the private car. As a result the Netherlands has a third the traffic death rate of the United States, and they reap significant health benefits as well.

For a glimpse of the underlying attitudes, go to you-tube and search for “when cyclists matter”. The top video should contain an account of a crash in Den Bosch. It has a definite “drug kingpin caught with a stash of child porn” vibe.

The moral: no technology justifies the sacrifice of human life.

#36 Comment By GregR On March 1, 2018 @ 4:55 pm

Phillip says:

GregR, thanks for the clarification. That is indeed much more reasonable. There could be a timing issue on when it gets reported stolen, but the principle of punishing illegal arms sales is sound.

A bit like going after Capone for income taxes.

Were deal with this is law all the time via things called presumptions. Basically the law assumes that if a car is titled in your name you are aware of what is going on with it and thus are responsible for any damage someone causes. If you report it stolen the presumption switches, and you are now presumed not to have control over the thing and thus not responsible for what happens with it. In either case you can certainly rebut the presumption (with very few exceptions), by saying well I hadn’t reported it stolen because I wasn’t aware it had been stolen.

The standard for debuting a presumption depends, but generally is just more likely than not, or a ‘reasonable person’ issue. So if your car was stolen at 1:00am and was used in a vehicular manslaughter at 4″:00am its a pretty good bet that you won’t be on the hook, since few people check on their cars in the middle of the night. However if your car was stolen six months ago and you haven’t reported it stolen it may be harder to justify. Particularly if the driver was your kid.

#37 Comment By KurtV On March 2, 2018 @ 12:54 am

Denmark’s bicycles? What an absurd comparison. If you think rifles should be regulated to save lives, why you don’t want to regulate knives? According to the FBI, knives are used in homicides 5 times as often as rifles of all types, combined. Blunt objects, as well as bare hands and feet are also used more often. I’d think that you’d want to address the bigger problem. If not, you’re just talking nonsense because you’ve watched too many Hollywood movies.

#38 Comment By PeterK On March 14, 2018 @ 10:16 pm

” I do not favor banning hunting rifles.”

then you need to realize that the AR-15 is a hunting rifle. It is the rifle of choice in Texas for hog hunting especially since you can use a 30 round magazine when shooting at a herd of hogs that numbers up to a hundred or more. A semi-auto is preferred over a bolt action rifle for this type of hunting.

as for limiting the size of magazines I guess you weren’t aware that the Parkland shooter was carrying only 10 round magazines. it takes only seconds to change out an empty magazine. California has a law that says magazines for AR-15 must be fixed in place. well guess what folks have found away around that
[12]

#39 Comment By PeterK On March 14, 2018 @ 10:18 pm

KurtV wrote “The AR-15 is a frigging varmint rifle. Many states don’t even allow them for deer hunting.”

which ones