As Multiple-Death Shootings Surge, Congress Looks Away

Monday, April 20, 2009 at 9:47 am
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) (WDCpix)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein sponsored the 1994 ban on assault weapons. Now, Feinstein says an immediate renewal looks unlikely. (D-Calif.) (WDCpix)

Last month in Southern Alabama, an unemployed twenty-something sheet-metal worker armed himself with two semi-automatic rifles, a shotgun and a pistol. He shot his mother and the four family dogs, and then drove to a neighboring town where he killed four more relatives, four passersby, and then himself. All in all, he sprayed more than 200 bullets across two Alabama counties. The ages of the victims ranged from 74 years to 18 months. It was the worst killing spree in state history.

Since then other parts of the country have suffered similar nightmares. Indeed, in recent weeks more than 60 people — including seven police officers — have been killed in multiple-death shootings from coast to coast. It’s just the type of headline-grabbing trend that might usually get congressional lawmakers screaming from the rafters for policy reforms, like banning military-style assault weapons and forcing gun-show vendors to do background checks on prospective buyers. Gun control advocates argue that such steps would help stem the more than 30,000 gun deaths that plague the United States each year.

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

Illustration by: Matt Mahurin

But that hasn’t been the case. Instead, the reaction from congressional leaders — even the most vocal gun-reform proponents — has been a long, strange silence.

It wasn’t always this way. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) was the author of the successful 1994 effort to install an assault weapons ban, which expired five years ago. Yet last week, less than a month after four police officers were killed in a shooting spree in Oakland, Feinstein told “60 Minutes” that, while she hopes to reintroduce the measure, “I wouldn’t bring it up now.”

Similarly, President Obama — who campaigned on a platform of renewing the assault weapons ban — reiterated his support for that prohibition during a visit to Mexico last week, but added that that he’s not “under any illusions that reinstating that ban would be easy.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is another long-time advocate for tightening gun laws. Yet pressed this month about the absence of any gun reform push in Congress, she offered only a vague explanation about the need “to find some level of compromise.”

Spokespersons for both Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said there’s no plan on the horizon for gun reform legislation this year.

The reason is no mystery. Although Democrats expanded their majorities in both chambers of Congress last year, they owe those gains largely to more moderate members, who picked up seats in a number of conservative-leaning states that have historically gone Republican. Indeed, when Attorney General Eric Holder in February announced his support for renewing the assault weapons ban, 65 House Democrats wrote to the White House attacking the proposal.

“Law-abiding Americans use these guns for all the same reasons they use any other kind of gun – competitive shooting, hunting and defending their homes and families,” the Democrats wrote.

Not only do those members not want to be seen threatening their constituents’ Second Amendment rights, but Pelosi and other Democratic leaders are bending over backwards to ensure that those seats remain Democratic in elections to come. In this political environment, congressional aides say, even a gun reform push from liberal Democrats would only divide the party and undermine other legislative priorities.

“What’s the sense in expending a good amount of political capital?” asked a House Democratic aide, who asked to remain anonymous due to the political nature of the topic. “You know you’re going to lose. You know you don’t have the votes … It’s never good when leadership loses a vote, and this is a vote they’ll lose.”

Then there’s the issue of lobbying. The pro-gun National Rifle Association is among the most powerful forces in all of Washington. In the 2008 election cycle alone, the NRA’s political action committee spent $15.6 million on campaign activities, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And the group keeps tabs on every vote even remotely related to gun reform, threatening lawmakers with poor NRA rankings if they vote against the lobby’s agenda.

The NRA did not reply to a call requesting comment, but the prowess of the gun lobby was in full display earlier this year during congressional debate on legislation to grant a voting representative to the residents of Washington, DC. That bill passed the Senate in February, but not before the NRA swayed lawmakers to attach language all but scrapping Washington’s gun control laws, which are among the strictest in the nation. Faced with the gun-policy wildcard, stymied House Democrats have refused to bring the bill to the floor.

The reason is simple. The combination of support from Republicans and moderate Democrats all but ensures that the bill would pass. “On this issue, the NRA controls the House,” said the Democratic aide. “It’s that simple. We’re in a political environment in which not much can be done because of the levels of power.”

That’s bad news for gun control advocates, who are pushing a series of reforms to tighten the nation’s gun laws. Aside from reinstating the assault weapons ban, advocates want to force all gun-show vendors, even those unlicensed, to conduct background checks on potential customers to prevent felons and other violent criminals from obtaining weapons — the same requirements currently in place for licensed gun sellers. A Senate bill, sponsored in the last Congress by Sens. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Jack Reed (D-Del.), would do just that, but it hasn’t resurfaced this year.

Another proposed reform would force gun makers to adopt a new technology that engraves weapons microscopically with their make, model and serial number — information that would be left imprinted on the bullet casing after the gun is fired. Such a proposal was pushed by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) in the last Congress, but it as well has yet to appear this year. All three reforms are supported by public service groups, like the International Association of Chiefs of Police, but have been assailed by the gun lobby as initial steps toward an all-out gun ban.

Lawmakers are insisting that gun reform hasn’t fallen off their radar, but some gun control advocates are growing impatient. “There are a lot of politicians,” said Doug Pennington, spokesman for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, “even in the face of the mass shootings over the past six weeks, who aren’t exactly sure how stiff their backbones are.”

The debate arrives as a wave of high-profile gun violence has swept across the country in recent weeks. On March 29, a heavily armed gunman killed eight in a North Carolina nursing home. A day later, an IT professional opened fire on his family in Santa Clara, killing six people, including himself. In Binghampton, N.Y., on April 3, a gunman walked into a community center and killed 13 immigrants before turning a gun on himself. A day later, a 22-year-old Pittsburgh man barricaded himself in his home with a stash of assault weapons, killing three police officers in the stand-off. The list goes on.

Michael Bailey, political science professor at Georgetown University, pointed out that, despite the gruesome trend, there simply isn’t the public outcry to inspire Congress to stick their necks out for something as controversial as gun reform. “As terrible as these tragedies were,” Bailey wrote in an email, “there doesn’t seem to be any appetite for thinking about them.”

Even without the recent spate of gun deaths, the debate would be timely. Last Thursday marked the two-year anniversary of the shootings at Virginia Tech that left 33 people dead, including the gunman. And Monday marks the 10-year anniversary of Colorado’s Columbine High School massacre, in which two seniors killed 12 students and a teacher before turning the guns on themselves.

In the absence of any federal movement, some state and local lawmakers have emerged in an effort to fill the void. Last week, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg visited Virginia to urge state lawmakers to pass a bill closing the so-called “gun-show loophole.”

“Criminals do not have the right to own guns, and the gun shows make it far too easy for them to acquire guns,” Bloomberg said. “In fact, it’s easier for a criminal to buy a gun at a gun show than it is for a 20-year-old to buy a beer or for anyone to rent a car.”

In Pennsylvania, Gov. Ed Rendell (D) has thrust himself into the debate as well, pushing last week for lawmakers to take up the assault weapons ban — a prickly topic in a blue-collar state where unlimited gun rights are deemed by many to be sacrosanct.

“They’re made for only one purpose,” Rendell said of assault weapons. “Not for sport, not for hunting, nobody uses them in a duck blind, nobody uses them at the Olympics. They are used to kill and maim.”

Advocates for gun reforms are quick to concede that the proposed reforms wouldn’t prevent many of the gun-related deaths that torment the United States. Only one of the guns used by the Alabama shooter, for example, would have been prohibited under the 1994 assault weapons ban. Still, they maintain, taking some steps to keep military-grade weapons off the streets — and all weapons out of the hands of violent criminals — would go a long way toward improving safety in a country where firearms kill more than 80 people every day.

“That’s not normal,” Pennington said of the enormous number of domestic gun deaths. “We shouldn’t treat that as just the cost of living in America.”

This story has been updated to note the anniversary of the Columbine killings is Monday, not Tuesday. We regret the error.



Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 7:12 am

April 16th marked the second anniversary of the Virginia Tech tragedy, which left 32 innocent victims dead, and survivors and family members still trying to cope with their grief. Four days later today, April 20th, is the 10th anniversary of the tragedy of Columbine High School, which left 12 students and a teacher dead. Gun violence in America is not a new problem, but it is a problem that Congress has avoided long enough. I urge the Congress and the President to honor the memories of all gun violence victims on the anniversaries of the shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine by taking action. One immediate step they can take is to close the gun show loophole and require Brady background checks on all gun sales.

Ben Miner
Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 7:59 am

So gun control groups concede that only a small number of crimes are committed using the guns they seek to ban but they still think a ban would help reduce crime? Sorry but that DOES NOT COMPUTE. Remember folks, gun control isn't about guns, it's about control

John B.
Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 8:31 am

Germany has many of the gun restrictions that gun control advocates are pushing for here, yet they've still had two major school shootings in the last decade.

Homestead Quest » Blog Archive » As multiple-death shootings surge, Congress looks away
Pingback posted April 20, 2009 @ 10:29 am

[...] Washington Independent: Last month in Southern Alabama, an unemployed twenty-something sheet-metal worker armed himself [...]

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 9:44 am

Support the Second Amendment and your Basic Human Right to defend yourself!

The police can not defend you in an active shooter scenario… If you want to live in such an encounter, only you and the citizens around you have any chance of saving your life. Myself, I relay on me!

The Second Amendment, use it or lose it!

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 10:26 am

Here are three points to educate you on why firearms are not an important issue.

1. Find one of the many subjects that are more important.
Number of deaths for leading causes of death
* Heart disease: 652,091
* Cancer: 559,312
* Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 143,579
* Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 130,933
* Accidents (unintentional injuries): 117,809
* Diabetes: 75,119
* Alzheimer's disease: 71,599
* Influenza/Pneumonia: 63,001
* Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 43,901
* Septicemia: 34,136
Source: 2005 data

And before you go say anything about accidental gun deaths know that only 789 accidental deaths were due to firearms and an additional 221 firearm deaths that were for unknown reasons.
Only 30,694 deaths can be attributed to firearms. That is including 330 for Legal intervention/war

2. “If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” Unknown
Criminals will always find ways to get firearms. Where there is a will there is a way. It will be law abiding citizens that will not have guns.

According to the 1997 Survey of State Prison Inmates, among those possessing a gun, the source of the gun was from -
* a flea market or gun show for fewer than 2%
* a retail store or pawnshop for about 12%
* family, friends, a street buy, or an illegal source for 80%

3. Its the sad truth, but the age that gun crimes spike is around 17. If anything is to be done it should only be education of gun safety for both gun use and safe keeping. Both teens and adults need training for how to secure guns. Safes, trigger locks, and gun cases are all important. An increase of their use will be a decrease in gun crime.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 10:27 am

I forgot to attach the source for point 3.

Independent Mind
Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 10:28 am

Blaming guns for killing people is like saying the spoon is the reason Rosie O' donald is fat. Makes no sense. To live in a FREE society, means you also have to deal with certain risks. To have no risks means you've given all your freedom away. Pretty simple.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:00 am

This isn't the wild west. Stop trying to take us back there.

These problems won't be solved with your kind of thinking, it'll only make things worse.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:17 am

Owning firearms isn't a signifier of a free society.

I don't have the freedom to own a tank. I don't consider that a bad thing nor would I consider the society I live in to be in shackles.

That analogy is no more ridiculous than yours, btw.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:26 am

Theres a difference between dieing of a heart attack and getting shot and killed. Do you need this explained?

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:34 am

Sorry, with respect to DC, the SCOTUS made it clear that there is an INDIVIDUAL right to bear arms. End of story.

It is used to the point of making it quaint, but what you need to do is enforce the laws that exist, NOT come up with a slew of new laws to not enforce (or mis-enforce like most other laws).

Cold, dead fingers, baby. Cold, dead fingers.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:41 am

You CAN own a tank. People can and do, for instance, own Sherman tanks.

If I had the cash, I'd LOVE to have a old German Tiger I tank. A US Walker Bulldog or Sheridan tank would also be pretty nifty toys.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:47 am

I live out in the sticks, clownpants. It would be at least 45 minutes (at best) before a single sheriff showed up at my door (after the wife and I were long dead and cold) if I had to rely on you city slicker whiner ways.

I know how to use my weapons. I'm military and I LIKE my guns. Suck it up.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:48 am

And to think, only one or two concealed carry students or Profs would have ended that nonsense LONG before a single cop dusted the powdered sugar from their donuts off their fat laps.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:52 am

Guns are insignificant as a source of death in this country. THAT is the point. You are simply focusing on the lowest and (seemingly) easiest target to try to sooth your stomach upset.

Focus elsewhere. Ban cars and you would save FAR more lives.

Ban cigarettes outright and save far more.

Ban electrical appliances in the bathroom (where they drop into bathtubs) and you would save more lives.

Keep your fingers off MY toys and means of self defense out here in the boonies.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:53 am

“If I had the cash, I'd LOVE to have a old German Tiger I tank”

if i had the cash i'd buy you a straight-jacket, as you are a few cards short of a full deck.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:57 am

You obviously have no appreciation for historical artefacts. I suppose you'd like to lock up my uncle for his owning a '28 Chevy roadster? Or my other desire to own a vintage biplane?

Oh, that's right, if it is “German” from a certain era, you automatically assume “NAZI” or “neonazi” right? No room in your black-and-white world for anything else.

I'm fond of Bf109s too, by the way, and somewhat less a Stuka (slow and plodding, you know).

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 11:59 am

funny you are so worried about being 'dead and cold' and yet that is exactly what your brain appears to be.

you may think that your arguments are legit, but you have done nothing but argue for your personal wants, which is both selfish and easily defeated. all i need to do is post that i think you shouldn't have guns and we cancel each other out. why don't you think up a better argument (provided one exists), but of course that may bring us back to my original point.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

So you would no doubt like to see my uncle put away for owning an actual '28 Chevy roadster too eh?

Oh, that's right, you no doubt live in a false “black and white' world where any interest in historical pieces like a German WWII tank must mean “neonazi” or just plain “NAZI” eh?

What do you think of a friend of mine who owns a Hessian rifle from the US Revolutionary War period? Nutcase too, I suppose?

By the way, I'm rather fond of Bf.109s too.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

Here's the argument to end them all: the 2d Amendment exists and the SCOTUS says it means INDIVIDUAL right to keep and bear arms.

It is really the end of the argument right there. Your own personal desires be damned.

Independent Mind
Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

Deener – Besides the obvious Preador pointed out to you, I never said owning a gun was a sign of a FREE society. Nice try to twist it, but not going to happen. I said “To live in a FREE society, means you also have to deal with certain risks. To have no risks means you've given all your freedom away”. Let me dumb this down for you even more so you understand.

In a free society, you are going to inherently deal with the possibility more often that someone or something can do you harm. If people has the right and freedom to do certain things, their is always the chance that someone will abuse that right, and do something illegal or even harmful to others. Now, in places where they dod not have that right, or are controlled to a higher degree, there may be less of a particular agreivance going on, but at what cost?! Someone has to have a strong oversight in the process, which means by proxy you have lost the right to something.

Now to your slanted, twisted point. You, being a typical gun control supporter, beleive by removing said weapons we can be “Safer”. Funny thing is, you fixate on one items that is responsible for fewer deaths in America than so many other items. Like what you say!? How about Boats, bicycles, cars, stairs, hangnails… many to choose from!!!

Point is….is it tragic? Absolutely. Should crazy individuals be behind bars? Absolutely. But don't deal with this issue as if you have some moral highground. There are to many smart people that will make you look stupid.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

I was simply addressing your point – law enforcement personnel are NOT around the corner for many of us.

Some of us actually know our ways around firearms (join the military sissy).

Finally, the end-all, be-all argument to shut you and your ilk down is this:
The 2nd Amendment exists and isn't going anywhere. On top of that, the SCOTUS has ruled clearly that the 2nd means an INDIVIDUAL right to bear arms.

As for opinions, yours is illegitimate when applied to anyone but yourself. Your opinion has no weight or force with me and it is no more unfair for me to demand that you be forced to own a gun than for you to try to demand that I give mine up.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

Semi-double post unintentional as the damn comment system here is sluggish and more often than not appears to NOT post comments when posted.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:37 pm

What's with comments here? I post a comment, it may take forever to show up so I end up writing again. After some LONG period has passed, I find that both comments posted.

How about changing the post system to be responsive?

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 12:55 pm

• outlaw any types of guns and only outlaws will have them
• guns don't kill people, people do
• Americans have the right to bear arms and defend themselves and their property
• there are a million other red flags that go unnoticed and neglected before that gunman ever pulls the trigger


This constant bickering and back and forth between us is F'ing STUPID!! SHUT UP AND CONSTRUCT! There are laws on the books that are not being enforced by judges that let career criminals out on the streets to do what they have been doing their whole lives. WHERE'S YOUR OUTRAGE FOR THAT? Philadelphia has lost 7 police officers in the past 2 years and every single last one of the scumbags that took their precious lives were career criminals that some dipsh*t judge LET OUT OF PRISON!! Do you think that any one of these scumsucking murderers would have better considered the consequences if guns were illegal? That's a big fat NO!

So instead of wasting everyone's time trying to get new and useless legislation through that would end up infringing on all of our rights to protect ourselves, how about we all join together and create one hell of a stir to get our second rate judges to do their jobs. Oh, and if the prisons are full – BUILD A NEW ONE. Need to create jobs – BUILD A NEW PRISON.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

if you see no difference between owning a classic car and a tank there is no reason i should debate with you. reasoning with unreasonable people isn't something i like doing.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 1:16 pm

probably sluggish as you are in the 'boonies' right? come back to civilization– that waters fine. though to do that you'd have to update most of your ideas as well, since most are 300 plus years old.

oh btw, calling me a sissy for never being in the military while you saying you have been in the military reeks of over compensation. if you were half the man you claim to be you wouldn't have to keep assuring us and reassuring yourself. i guess out in the woods where it's only you and your wife you are a pretty big man, but in areas were real people actually live macho posturing (with firearms) is 250 years out of date.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 1:30 pm

i'd also like to think living in a free society would also mean the right to live. guns are made for one reason and one reason only–to kill other living things. and in the case of automatic weapons, to kill other human beings. living in a free society does not immediately mean you only should be free to defend yourself, it means you shouldn't need to. people should respect your right to life– but since guns appeal to the most basic nasty desire of humans that is virtually impossible. you'll say you need them for defense, but that is a classic dodge (something you accuse deener of doing). your logic is simply this: you need a right to murder to combat murder, and you need the same murder weapons that the murderers have. an eye for an eye justice is about the most simplistic barbarianism in our world today.

sure you ended your post that a 'smart person will come along and make me look stupid'… lets be clear your simple view of the world will not be making be look stupid anytime in the future. i hope you have an ace up your sleeve that can help you here.

all this talk of independent freedom and i can only assume how you feel about legalization of all drugs (street drugs and medicinal), assisted suicide, abortion, ect. because these are also personal decisions/freedoms as well right?

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 1:38 pm

that rosie/spoon comparison is so simplistic it's laughable. so because a spoon is one instrument in which to put food into the body that is what made her fat? what if all the spoon put into her mouth was chopped up cucumbers? she could eat this all day more or less and never be fat.

she's overweight for many reasons besides a spoon–exercise/diet/age/gender/family history are all contributing factors. a gun, on the other hand, exists for one reason–to kill something that previously had lived. the only other reason i can think of if to carry around for macho posturing.

as i said elsewhere if you think this spoon analogy is a good sound one i'd recommend you buy some logic books with your next paycheck rather then boxes of bullets–it seems like it would be money better spent.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

And WHAT is congress supposed to do; pass even MORE worthless gun laws ? Totally ridiculous and this insults one's intelligence ! Keep these mentally ill people inside the hospitals the way that they used to. Make sure that citizens all over the country may legally carry a gun. Do away with those “gun free zones” which simply exist as WELCOME signs for any nut bent on carnage !

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 3:47 pm

im a republican and i cant find any fellow republican sites where we can make idiot remarks about liberals,then it hit me .WE ARE MAKING MONEY WHILE YOU WAIT FOR FALSE time for sites like this.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 5:36 pm

“Point is….is it tragic? Absolutely. Should crazy individuals be behind bars? Absolutely. But don't deal with this issue as if you have some moral highground. There are to many smart people that will make you look stupid.”

But you're obviously not one of them with the arguments you're making. You're comparing guns with boats? Cars? Are you kidding me? Do you think a car is made for the same purpose as a gun? Is this what I should expect from these 'smart people' you are referring to? This is a joke.

I'm not twisting anything you're saying; if you can't understand or think about the implications of what you say, then I'm sorry, I can't help you and its worthless debating with someone like you. To live in a society where you need 'freedom' to defend yourself isn't a free society at all, as was pointed out by YaDinka. You're answer to this problem is being approached by the wits of a child. Grow up. Or at least think about what it is you're saying.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 6:15 pm

Nice strawman. You can own a tank as long as it has no working guns or artillery. And by that same standard, by all means, collect as many guns you want – so as long as you can't fire them.

But you're comparing collecting antiques to killing someone. This is the mind I'm speaking to…

Act as hard as you want, you're still a stiff.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

You're still not seeing the difference. And I get the that its intentional at this point.

You're comparing natural causes to deaths by guns. I get it. People die. Eventually it happens. Diseases kill. Accidents happen. To compare that with someone shooting someone else is asinine. Its not (more often than not, anyway) an accident, its not a sudden, sometimes inevitable event (depending on your health, say) like a heart attack or cancer.

If you can't see the difference here, than reason stands no chance with you.

Comment posted April 20, 2009 @ 7:20 pm

or –surprise– actually REFORM prisoners in jail, rather then just lock them up and let them become better criminals.

how we treat prisoners needs to be reformed, also hard to build new prisons with half our politicians crying about any kind of spending.

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Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 10:21 am

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. -unknown.

I live in a med/small city in colorado, and recently witnessed a stabbing in the apartment complex I was in at the time. I subsequently called 911, and it took them 40 minutes to respond. I know that stabbings/shootings are on the top the department priority list, but in best-case scenarios you can still expect law enforcement to be there within 5 minutes, due to the fact that law enforcement IS NOT EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME.
People need to have the ability and take the steps necessary to protect themselves and their families. I know for a fact if the perpetrator of this crime had a gun (not a legally acquired one, that is) there would probably be a death to account for, as well as the possibility that he would look for witnesses as well. Even 5 minutes (not to mention 40) is plenty of time for a criminal to create massive destruction.
The point is: let the people who want to be responsible and learn about the operation of their firearms protect themselves and their families. If everyone knew and followed basic safety procedures with their guns (unload before cleaning, don't point it at yourself, etc.) most of the deaths due to guns would be eliminated. The only thing you do with a considerable gun ban is take the weapons out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.
Most of the deaths associated with guns is accidental, and therefore the analogy of the car on the highway is perfectly legit. Cars can be used as weapons as well, and although not designed as such can be just as deadly. I knew a student in high school who designed a crossbow to shoot ballpoint pens; the point is, where there is a will there's a way. anyone bent on destruction will accomplish just that, and if you believe any amount of restriction beyond locking up everybody is going to control that, you need to look farther into human nature. Many of the deranged individuals are involved in crimes because of earlier restrictions, physical or mental confinement, or abuse. Try tackling these subjects and ENFORCING current laws before making new laws. It is much more effective to change the cause of the problem than it is to stop it as it is already rolling. Guns are not the problem, take a look at society, and the restrictions that are placed upon it.
If guns were not hidden away, people would not be so afraid of them. If people were not horrified of guns, they would not be used to instill horror. If people were educated about them, accidents would not happen as often. More accidents happen on the freeway, and people are educated and trained in the use of an automobile. Owning a gun takes much more effort than legally owning a car.

John Hardin
Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

“Owning firearms isn't a signifier of a free society.”

If you are prohibited from owning arms then there is nothing preventing the state from turning you into a slave, or a corpse. That isn't freedom.

John Hardin
Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 12:21 pm

“That rosie/spoon comparison is so simplistic it's laughable.”

Actually it's pretty fair. Your own response illustrates that:

“so because a spoon is one instrument in which to put food into the body that is what made her fat?”

That's what the analogy is saying – Rosie being fat is not the spoon's fault, it's _her_ fault for her decision how to use (and how often to use) the spoon. Just like murder is the fault of the_murderer_, not the weapon the murderer chose to commit the crime.

John Hardin
Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 12:41 pm

“This isn't the wild west.”

Pity. There was a lot less gun violence in the Wild West. Do your research.

Oh, by the way: I call Ravenswood's Law on you.

“it'll only make things worse.”

Like it did at the New Life Church? Like it does at least 219 times _a day_ when armed citizens defend themselves against criminals?

Over the past two decades firearms ownership in the US has been steadily increasing while crime rates have been steadily decreasing (apart from those locations where strict gun control laws are in effect). When does the widespread carnage by gun owners start? (No, scattered nutcases don't count, they are not representative of the overwhelmingly vast majority of gun owners.)

John Hardin
Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 12:47 pm

I see no difference as long as the owner does not use their toy to hurt anyone.

It sounds like you'd be more willing to accept someone who owns a classic car intentionally driving it into a crowd and killing a dozen people than someone owning a tank with a working cannon and just driving it around on their property. Do you demonize the inanimate object, rather than _what is done with it_? Why?

Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 7:53 pm

Its 2009. In case you didn't check. Now bring you're thinking up to date.

Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 8:02 pm

Great link. Tells me a lot about you and how you do research. But if you're just gonna source an opinion, its no better than mine or any other.

Referring to the 'wild west' doesn't just refer to gun violence, its about the times. We've advanced. So should you.

Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 8:52 pm

glad that my points were all missed–so i'll repeat:
“that rosie/spoon comparison is so simplistic it's laughable. so because a spoon is one instrument in which to put food into the body that is what made her fat? what if all the spoon put into her mouth was chopped up cucumbers? she could eat this all day more or less and never be fat.

she's overweight for many reasons besides a spoon–exercise/diet/age/gender/family history are all contributing factors. a gun, on the other hand, exists for one reason–to kill something that previously had lived. the only other reason i can think of if to carry around for macho posturing.

as i said elsewhere if you think this spoon analogy is a good sound one i'd recommend you buy some logic books with your next paycheck rather then boxes of bullets–it seems like it would be money better spent.”

all you chose to address was this: “so because a spoon is one instrument in which to put food into the body that is what made her fat?” please re-read the sentences (and paragraph) that follows that point.

also you need to realize, if you do in fact love this spoon analogy, that Rosie is making HERSELF fat with the spoon, not others. if all guns were used for was self inflicted gunshots (i.e. suicide) i'd have little problem with that. as i believe if someone decides to end their life that is their decision. gun murders in this country involve people killing other people who do not want to die, so again this analogy fails, poorly.

please this time if you choose to reply, do some thinking before typing.

Comment posted April 21, 2009 @ 8:57 pm

people own guns to kill things.

yes if guns were just owned for antiques and never fired that would be fine. but obviously that is not the case, what you are arguing here you know is false– and not serious. so i won't take it seriously.

honestly i do not want guns to be abolished, i believe in the constitution, i just think obtaining a gun should be harder to do then open a bank account, or buy a pack of cigarettes. in many states this isn't the case. this is absurd, if you do not think this you are a fool, or a child. or both.

Comment posted April 22, 2009 @ 6:14 am

Are you unaware that “automatic weapons” have been restricted by federal law since 1934, are not readily available to civilians and have been criminally misused less than five times in the United States since the passage of the National Firearms Act?

Additionally, your argument that anyone has asserted a “right to murder to combat murder” is false, and you are lying when you make that claim.

Comment posted April 23, 2009 @ 10:10 am

The entire gun culture in the US is like a cult and all gun nuts are the members of this cult. It's quite difficult to convince sect members that they are wrong because the propaganda of the gun lobby has changed their brains too much.
The problem with gun nuts is that despite 10,000 firearm homicides a year they still claim guns provide security. This is so idiotic and outrageous that probably not even God could convince them how wrong and inhuman they are.
BTW, the 2nd Amendment allows guns for active militia members only.

Comment posted April 23, 2009 @ 8:32 pm

no matter what you do , you will never be able to stop random acts of violence. come on …..everyone but the government knows this. if you take away all the guns then steakknives will be used or baseball bats. there is nothing you can do now or in the future .except remain aware and have a keen sense of common sense. the police are nothing more than responders after the fact . and yes i have a few of those dreaded weapons. the only thing i'm guilty of is killing targets.

Tim Barnes
Comment posted April 24, 2009 @ 5:04 am

Don't simply take away the guns as this only applies a band-aid to the the symptom, fix the problem. Improve the US economy. People do these kind of things when they feel they are out of choices and are feeling very very low and depressed. Improve their situation. The problem with simply removing the guns, is that these people will continue to commit these horrible crimes with other weapons. ie: the UK is requiring that all large kitchen knives have their points removed. What's next? Regulating who can purchase base-ball bats? Should there be an international base-ball bat registry including background checks?

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John L.
Comment posted April 28, 2009 @ 1:09 pm

That's the dumbest thing I ever heard. You obviously don't know anything about the Bill of Rights.

The phrasing used in the 2nd Amendment is the same as used in the 1st Amendment… where different examples are strung together by the use of commas. In the 2nd Amendment, “A well regulated Militia” and “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” are both separate entities, just as in the 1st Amendment's “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, ……..,and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Get real, get the facts, & act like you've been somewhere before you open your mouth and 'remove all doubt'.

BTW, according to the Federal stats on automotive deaths each year, which average about 50,000 per year, maybe we should require that everyone prove a need to drive a car, which is a privilege, not a right guaranteed under the Constitution.
Let's also not forget that medcial accidents kill approximately 100,000 people every year, so maybe all medical professionals be registered as dangerous weapons?

John L.
Comment posted April 28, 2009 @ 1:26 pm

So is it murder if I kill someone attacking my wife or my kids? Don't think so. Have you ever been the victim of a violent crime? I was when I was a teen in NYC. My mother was twice when she was mugged and dragged for yards trying to hold onto her purse. To me, anyone who wouldn't be willing to kill some creep who's about to hurt or kill their family isn't even worthy of my contempt. You're just a piece of sh*t that isn't even willing to put down a rabid dog. All civilized societies recognize the need for self defense.
So what if it's 2009? Katrina was just a few years ago, where it reminded everyone that the 'law' doesn't exist in times of crisis. You fool.

curtis o'byrne
Comment posted May 2, 2009 @ 8:34 am

sounds like if his mother, or any of the other victims had a gun they could have stopped him. Sad that there weren't more guns in the hands of average citizens. just a bunch of people who think that if something goes wrong the police will save them, never-mind that an IDEAL police response to a 911 is twenty minutes. besides if there was no way for him to obtain a gun he would have used something else like a sword or an axe or a bow and arrow all are much quieter solutions. Besides The National academy of science recently as 2 years ago released a report that “NO Law or restrictions regarding firearms has ever reduced violent crime.

Comment posted June 7, 2009 @ 8:42 am

You can not compare guns to base ball bats. Its like comparing apples to oranges. The fact is that people who are depressed should not have access to a guns. Tighter controls work, look at other industrialized countries, those with tighter controls have less accidental deaths and less violent deaths due to guns. Concerned health care provider

Comment posted June 7, 2009 @ 3:42 pm

You can not compare guns to base ball bats. Its like comparing apples to oranges. The fact is that people who are depressed should not have access to a guns. Tighter controls work, look at other industrialized countries, those with tighter controls have less accidental deaths and less violent deaths due to guns. Concerned health care provider

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