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The control freaks are refuted by their own numbers. They lie, and they can't even lie competently; how pathetic is that?
David R. Campbell's profile photoKevin Prigge's profile photoAditya Kadambi's profile photoDick Davies's profile photo
So, in your opinion, what would work?
More armed citizens, not fewer.  Reversing the de-institutionalization of mental patients.  And while we're at it, an end to the racist and oppressive "War on Drugs".
Great post. However, while I'm certainly not for disarming citizens, you must also do two things.
1. Close all loopholes that allow purchases without background checks.
2. Implement required firearm safety and handling training with a single standard nationwide program. IE don't dump it off and let each state come up with their own program.
JoPa Mi
Yes I agree, ban on guns is probably the only way... genius.
Gun crime doesn't even show up in the first 20 leading causes of death in the US.  This fanning the flames by the news media of an incredibly unlikely cause of death is infuriating to me.  On the other hand, if we are going to be concerned about criminals with guns, it strike me that we need to do something that decreases the criminal to good-guy ratio.  Training people and giving the most calm and level-headed people that pass the course an automatic ccw sounds like the simplest way to do that.   Many countries regularly train all citizens to use firearms and we don't hear any horror stories there.

The media is quite good at making people believe that very statistically unlikely events are much more likely than they really are. All homicide is the 15th leading cause of death in this CDC study.

Breaking out the gun violence, one sees that the oft quoted numbers are often stated with the suicides mixed in and labeled only "deaths".
+Christopher Gaul Why "must" we do these things?  At this point, the burden of proof is on people who want to make forearms ownership more difficult.  I don't trust that requirements for training won't be administered in a way hostile to my rights. 

Check your premises.  If you don't require background checks and mandatory training for voting, or owning a printing press, why on Earth would you imagine the Constitution is actually consistent with requiring them for firearms ownership?
+Christopher Gaul, there is no other personal or real property that requires the approval of a bureaucrat to buy or sell. (No, cars don't count: there's no approval required before purchase.)

And mandatory training is a similar trap: all an anti-gun bureaucrat, like, say, Barack Obama's Department of Justice, would have to do would be to make it impossible to get or pass the training. (Again, cars don't don't need any sort of licensing or registration to operate one off of the public roadways.)
What slanted biased claptrap.  "Assuming Senator Feinstein gets her way, future mass murders would inevitably lead to calls for further restrictions. The goal of gun control is civilian disarmament."

Seriously?  That's not the goal of gun control by any stretch of any imagination.  Since the second amendment SPECIFICALLY states that it is LEGAL to have civilians armed, and a constitutionally protected right, that statement right there shows the batshit bias in the article.

Furthermore, every gun control article I've seen that has any sanity to it is looking to ban idiotic weaponry like assault rifles, large magazine clips, etc.  None of those are ever in evidence during domestic defense situations.  It is always concealed carry holders that make the difference there.  While I'm uncomfortable around most guns - I can't find a single sane argument for these sort of military weapons in the hands of civilians.
I concur with the need for a nationwide standard for firearm training and safety.  It amazes me that when I go to the range I see people who cannot shoot in a two-foot radius at 25 feet.  The "well ordered" phrase in the Second Amendment suggests training.

I also concur with the need for better mental health availability and care, including institutionalization for those who cannot care for themselves and lack adequate care & supervision.

Harmful laws, such as the war on drugs, anti-prostitution, anti-immigration, anti-gambling -- things that promote criminalization more than prevent harm -- need to be repealed as well.

Although it's medieval, public drawing and quartering for capital offenses might be a strong deterrent. 
+Dave Shevett The framers of the U.S. Constitution wanted military weapons in civilian hands. Study what they said and wrote about the matter, then come back when you understand why.
I'm happy to see that the statistics support civilian armament. But even if they didn't--even if 1000 innocent toddlers were mowed down weekly by madmen with muzzle loaders--those of us who consider the right to self defense to be a fundamental human right would not find civilian disarmament to be ethical or appropriate.
+Eric Raymond - I deleted my previous comment, as I had some falsely cited information, I'll continue research.  But I stil argue that phrasing military weaponry 'rights' in terms of 18th century definitions is inappropriate.  A military weapon nowadays includes, say, atomic bombs.  I 'military weapon' in 1750 was not much different than a musket, scaling up to cannons.   

Understand I agree with the second amendment.  I will never advocate for complete civilian disarmament.  Not in the current world culture.  However, I believe there is no civil or rational reasoning for civilians to own and bear high end military grade weaponry, under the auspices of 'personal protection'.  

(I could also argue that the 2nd amendment is specifically designed to support well ordered militias - a sort of 'rapid response' reserve fighting force, a concept that is vastly outdated in the modern age of instant communication, the national guard, local armed police, and military forces that can be on the spot within an hour).
"I can't find a single sane argument for these sort of military weapons in the hands of civilians."

I can find more than a hundred million of them.

Government has killed multiple orders of magnitude more people than crazed mass shooters ever have.
+Eric Raymond +Jay Maynard you've made a bogus comparison to further your argument falsely.
No, you don't technically need training to buy a car, but you do require training/certification to operate a car. Why, because in untrained hands they are dangerous and the roads would be littered with bodies. Aircraft. Same thing. More dangerous, more strict training and testing.
You guys are trying to cheat the argument by separating owning from operating. The fact that you did this pretty much shows you know your argument is bogus.
Give one good reason why safety training is a bad idea which would not improve a gun owning society?
I suppose none of you will want to talk about numbers for firearm deaths and injuries due to "accidental discharge" otherwise known as improper handling.
+Eric Raymond yeah, and a militia is a group of trained civilians. So there goes your constitutional argument.
+Christopher Gaul 1) cost, 2) who sets the bar?  There's two good, very good reasons.  As to 1, poor people disproportionately need to defend themselves.  We rich white guys pretty much don't have to worry about it.  For two, there's a danger of training becoming a poll tax.  Make it hard to complete, raise the bar until certain undesirable categories have trouble meeting it, etc.

Regarding your militia argument, I personally don't believe that the right to bear arms needs to rest on originalist principles, but since that seems to be what you're addressing, please refresh your knowledge of history.  The militia was all able-bodied adult males.
+Eric Raymond Who would you suggest pay for reinstitutionalization of the mentally ill?

One of the things about schizophrenia, is that it makes it hard to hold down a job, and therefore the mentally ill are probably not going to be able to pay for their own institutionalization.
+Christopher Gaul Safety training is a good idea.  Mandated safety training is a bad one.

Any law that gives a bureaucrat the means to prevent civilians from owning weapons by creating blocking requirements will be abused.  Gun-rights advocates have learned the hard way that this process has to be short-stopped by denying the legitimacy of the mandate to begin with.

Again, check your premises.  Would you support mandatory training requirements before voting or operating a printing press? If not, why not?  Ask yourself why those same objections don't apply here.

Oh, and about "accidental discharge".  Far more people die by drowning in swimming pools every year.  Do you want to ban swimming pools? Do you want federally-mandated training before any kid can go in the water?  If not, why not?
+Christopher Gaul, you only need training and licensing to operate a car on the public roadways. Stay on private property, and you can drive anything you want any way you want.

We separate owning from operating because it shows exactly why forcing bureaucratic approval of purchasing firearms is not parallel to governmental regulation of cars. It is purchasing firearms you and others want to regulate, and nothing else has any such restriction.

I'll happily talk about accidental deaths from firearms, which includes negligent discharges (I'll agree that "accidental discharge" is a misnomer). Why? Because the number has been monotonically decreasing for over 75 years.

And as for your militia argument, I refer you to the legal definition of the unorganized militia of the United States, in 10 USC 311: every able-bodied male citizen or male who has declared his intent to become a citizen between the ages of 18 and 45, excluding the armed forces, the organized militia (the National Guard), and some other government officials. Not a word is said about training there.
+Eric Raymond To your specifics, lets take a quick look...  "Would you support mandatory training requirements before voting or operating a printing press?" - Can either of these, in the wrong hands, kill many innocent people in a momentary fit of anger or insanity?  I'm talking immediate, not in a 'voting for obama killed millions' sort of argument.  Answer: No, so the comparison is invalid.

"Oh, and about "accidental discharge".  Far more people die by drowning in swimming pools every year.  Do you want to ban swimming pools? Do you want federally-mandated training before any kid can go in the water?  If not, why not?"  

First, your statistics.  "There were 52,447 deliberate and 23,237 accidental non-fatal gunshot injuries in the United States during 2000" (wikipedia)  "From 2005-2009, there were an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boating related) annually in the United States" (the CDC).  Hardly a direct comparison.  

Carrying your argument further, there are specific laws about swimming pool management to protect against this.  All swimming pools must be fenced with a latching gate that a toddler cannot reach.  A simple, effective safety mechanism. 
+Dave Shevett, I agree with the Heller decision that called arguments that the individual right to keep and bear arms only applies to arms of the late 18th century "frivolous". The purpose of the Second Amendment includes defending oneself against a government grown tyrannical, and for that, the citizens need to be able to have weapons of military utility. The Supreme Court decision that upheld the 1934 National Firearms Act's ban of sawed-off shotguns endorsed just this idea.

And you're right: comparing pool accidental deaths to all firearms injuries is hardly a direct comparison. The appropriate comparison is to accidental firearms deaths, which numbered 553 in 2009 according to the CDC. See .
+Ethan Blanton You're compassion for the poor is touching.

What a ridiculous argument. 
To go back to the car analogy, if you can't afford your drivers ed class, and driver's license test, how are you going to afford a car, gas, insurance etc.?
Same thing for guns. I suppose you propose the poor steal their firearms?
If you can't afford a $50-100 safety course and license, then how are you going to afford a gun, trigger lock, ammo, range fees etc.?
As for who sets the standard, again, this is ridiculous. There are already plenty of firearm safety courses out there. Taking the relevant parts from them and combining them into a sensible standard course would be trivial.
Your entire diatribe is painted with intentionallly emotive language, logical fallacies and misleading use of statistics.

You accuse people of wanting existing laws enforced properly of being gun bamners. You are clearly part of the problem, not someone interested in meaningfull debate about how to make children safer.
+Eric Raymond actually a federal law requiring pool safety training for the OWNER of the pool would be a sensible prerequisite 
+Christopher Gaul I see that you have a misconception about how much mandated safety courses often cost.  They are regularly in the several hundreds of dollars range, not $50-100.  $300 is not uncommon at all.  $300 doubles the cost of an inexpensive but practical used firearm and suitable ammunition -- so no, I don't think it's ridiculous at all.  Please do your homework before making such attacks.

Are you willing to let, e.g., the NRA or GOA set the standards?
+Christopher Gaul: Once you grant unelected government bureaucrats the power to define training requirements, there is exactly zero guarantee that they will take the approach you describe. They could easily, for example, demand that to obtain a license, the applicant would have to demonstrate proficiency by putting 50 rounds into the X-ring at 50 yards with a pistol. (For the uninitiated, this is essentially impossible.) We know this because we've seen it over and over and over and over.

You see, we have a very healthy distrust of bureaucrats when it comes to firearms licensing because of long, nasty experience. Bureaucrats hate an armed citizenry, and will do everything in their power to stop it. I live in a state that has shall-issue carry permitting, and my last renewal was blocked because I filed it too early - even though I filed it within the statutory period of time before expiration! Once I was permitted to file it, it went through with no problems.
+Dave Shevett , actually +JoPa Mi 's statement is an example of the gun control advocates wanting to disarm all citizens. This works in a utopian world. It doesn't work in this one. I lived in NYC in the 80s when zip guns were prevalent. Lots of gun control. Lots of shooting.

+Eric Raymond 's earlier point is still valid. The burden of proof is not on the gun owner but on those that want to further limit rights. How does this new bill prevent the school massacre? If someone could detail how the massacre would be prevented by this bill I'd start to listen. Instead the argument is turned and they ask us how having a gun would have prevented it. That's not the question, my right to own a firearm is guaranteed by my Constitution. 

And, sorry, a total ban on guns, as well as being a fantasy solution, is unconstitutional. And I've taken one oath in my life - to defend the Constitution of these United States. Remember, everyone you've sent to die for your sensibilities has taken this same oath.
Is that all you guys have to defend the indefensible, bad analogies?
Comparing gun ownership to voting is ridiculous.

Nearly every activity with the potential for injury has some sort of training and licensing requirements. This is so obvious to anyone that there are many cases where industries have formed their own certification and training processes before government even needed to.
If you want to make legitimate comparisons, compare to industrial machine operators, crane operators, pyrotechnics experts, demolition crews, electricians, mechanics, and on and on. In all these cases the need for training and certification was so obvious that in most cases it was initiated within the industries involved.

You're are trying to make an argument that guns aren't dangerous while doing your damndest to make them dangerous and sabotage your own argument.
Firearms in the hands of properly safety trained civilians aren't dangerous. Not more than any other household implement.
But removing that training ruins all credibility and factual basis for the argument. It's stupid and self defeating and if you guys had any sense you would be using the NRA to push for a training program of your design, operated by the NRA. Beating the anti-gun nuts to the punch and removing their argument. But instead we have this tea party type zealotry that argues any idiot should be able to walk out of Walmart with a box of hand grenades and an M249 SAW without even being required to read a manual. That's just asking for a disaster that will lead to the demolition of the Second Amendment. You are a bigger threat to gun rights than any two liberals.
+Dominic Amann without addressing any of your other statement, if you really want to make children safer please explain how this bill would accomplish that. A good starting point for the analysis would be to consider the events that have killed children and show a relation between the events and the point at which the ban would have resulted in that person not having a weapon.
+Christopher Gaul The issue isn't the monetary cost of the training, it's the abuse of such mandates to prevent 'undesirable' people from owning weapons.  Somebody upthread made an apt analogy with a poll tax.  Look at the history of the abuse of poll taxes for an analogy to how gun owners are justifiably certain this would play out.

James Madison: "The freeman of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle."
+Christopher Gaul Actually, numerically a really good comparison is car ownership because nearly the same number of children are killed each year by cars as by guns.

But people don't like that numerical comparison and like to call that frivolous. I think that is because it doesn't involve a killing machine that is scary. It involves a 2 ton killing machine we like and that goes well with our shoes.
+Christopher Gaul, guns aren't dangerous. People are dangerous.

I should have mentioned this before, since, among other things, I'm an FAA-certificated flight instructor. You don't have to have any bureaucrat's approval to buy an airplane, either. Indeed, there's a story on AvWeb just today about a guy who had apparently been flying a Beech King Air 100, a fairly complex twin-turboprop 8-place aircraft, for quite a long time without bothering to get more than a student pilot license - and that doesn't require anything more than an aviation medical examiner's signature on a form. (And maybe not even that, if you're a student sport pilot.) Guy crashed into a mountain in Montana a couple of weeks ago. No bureaucrat stopped him. The story is at .

Again, there is no requirement for training and licensing to own any other object, and for you to claim there is and then cite requirements on operating things is intellectually dishonest. Sadly, intellectual dishonesty is the gun grabber's stock in trade.
+Ethan Blanton I took a 3 day course and paid $100 so it's you that needs to do some homework.
I just checked and that course has since increased to a whopping $120 since I took it. Wow, what a hardship.
+Jay Maynard Yeah, just keep blathering on after I've pointed out how asinine it is to separate ownership from operating. You can buy a plane, but you damn well can't fly it without training or licensing. You're argument is false.
No, +Christopher Gaul, your experience does not translate across the entire US.  The amount of training varies substantially from state to state, and in many cases it is quite expensive.  When OH instituted their carry law, for example, their course (which at that time required 12 hours of classroom time as well as practical training, as I recall) ran about $300 including instructor time and ammunition.  Even $120 is, as previously mentioned, better than 1/3 the cost of a decent gun and ammunition.  This really is a poll tax -- or very much has the possibility of being one.  A point that I note you didn't bother to address.
+Christopher Gaul: You must not have read what I wrote, then, because the guy who crashed his King Air did exactly that.
See this is the problem. The kind of unreasonable insanity being spewed in this thread is exactly the reason the anti-gun lobby is gaining traction. It's this kind of nonsense that makes the general population label pro-gun people "gun nuts"   and side with the anti-gun people.
Look, let me be clear. Gun control as currently being discussed is a bad idea that benefits only an oppressive government. Personally I do believe that I should be able to own a P90, or SAW, or Mk48 or Macmillian TAC50 or whatever else I damn well please and own it without being hassled by authorities or classified as some sort of threat. 
However, only an idiotic zealot would think such ownership comes without risk or responsibility. I fully believe in background checks and thorough safety training as prerequisites to such ownership. Anything else is irresponsible. 
Just because you (think) you are a safe gun owner doesn't mean you are anyone else actually is. My family's safety means more to me then the inconvenience or cost to you of a safety course.
+Christopher Gaul: The guy had been flying it for years. This wasn't a case of someone getting in an aircraft for a joyride. He'd flown that aircraft into that airport hundreds of times, according to the chairman of the airport's governing board. If he'd been into one airport that wasn't his home that many times, how much flying had he been doing? One hell of a lot, that's for certain. And yet not once had he acquired the necessary license to do that legally.

No, that doesn't prove your case even a little bit.
+Jay Maynard It proves nothing then. You don't know if some part of the training would have given him the knowledge or skills to overcome whatever problem he faced.
It's a false anecdotal argument anyway.
+Christopher Gaul I suspect we would agree that responsible gun owners (and responsible pilots) would seek out training on their own because it would be unethical not to do so.
+Christopher Gaul: It proves that all the licensing and training requirements in the world won't keep people from outright avoiding them. No, neither I nor any pilot I know (and certainly no pilot I would ever teach) would do what that guy did. He did, however.

And actually, I can say with some certainty that having the required training for the operation he was conducting - a twin engine aircraft, at night, likely in instrument flying conditions - would have made it much likelier that he wouldn't have wound up in a ball of twisted aluminum on the side of a mountain.

Nobody here is arguing against training for gun owners. What we are arguing against is mandated training, with requirements set down by bureaucrats. That would be both far too subject to abuse and ineffective in keeping guns out of the wrong hands.
+Jason Azze Those people are not the problem and that's the crux of the argument that everyone is missing.
+Kevin Partridge: "Actually, numerically a really good comparison is car ownership because nearly the same number of children are killed each year by cars as by guns."

Actually, no. In 1999, "there were 3,385 firearms-related deaths for children ages 0–19 years. They break down as follows: 214 unintentional, 1,078 suicides, 1,990 homicides, 83 for which the intent could not be determined, and 20 due to legal intervention. Source: 2002 edition of Injury Facts." See

Compare that to 2136 children killed in car crashes in 2003 - but that's for kids under 15. See . Also, consider that the extra 5 years of age in the firearms number is quite likely to account for the vast majority of the homicides, due to things like gang violence.
+Christopher Gaul, if those people are not the problem, why punish them by subjecting them to a government mandate designed to destroy their right to keep and bear arms?

You cannot make a criminal or a crazy follow your regulations. All you can do is destroy the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.

And if agreeing to destroy that right is required for me to be reasonable, then I revel in being unreasonable.
+Jay Maynard Those numbers are close. Compare them to any other form of death of children. They are closer than other forms of death.

But what is your point in pointing out the 1200 child difference? A point I've tried to make before is that if you are trying to determine a proper action designed to prevent the most child deaths based upon legislating the operation or ownership of an object the car should be preferred. There are fewer cars causing the nearly the same number of child deaths. The car accidents are perpetrated by mostly law abiding citizens; citizens likely to be affected by new legislation. All murders are perpetrated by persons flaunting the laws and no form of gun control has ever prevented those acts. The "Gun Free Zone" sign on the school was a little less than effective.

What I've noticed is that people don't actually care about addressing the child deaths. They only care about addressing their desire to ban guns. Once you change the desired impact the dialogue concerning the comparison of cars to guns is no longer pertinent. Actually, at that point there is no dialogue. We want them, they don't.

Again, though, what was your intention of pointing out that there is a 1200 child difference in the numbers. I don't think the other facts presented are pertinent unless you have a specific point that would utilize them.
+Kevin Partridge, I'm agreeing with you. The numbers are lower for guns, for kids, than they are for cars, because of the vastly increased age range for guns. So if you want to save kids' lives, ban cars.
+Jay Maynard Understood. I'm a bit defensive because many folks on both sides avoid the actual discussion of utility. But I agree with +Eric Raymond in that gun owners don't actually have to prove utility. Our Constitution already gives us the right. To take away that right one has to prove that it is overwhelmingly in the favor of the populace to do so. We are far from that. 
Without following all the detailed argument. Isn't it, that regardless of US has a gun problem, it has a violence problem. Maybe they want to solve that, maybe they don't care.
+Frank Nestel So, let's assume that the goal is solving the US violence problem. The discussion starts with how much of the violence is committed by guns. Assuming that guns make up a large part of the violence, the next part of the analysis should look at what happens to the violence when guns are restricted (Chicago, NYC, and DC are good studies). Then we look at the options to inhibit the violence. This brings us to whether or not the proposed bill would have had any impact on a significant portion of the acts of violence. We can't just suppose it would. We have to show it would. Such an analysis did not occur before putting up "Gun Free Zone" signs nor do I know of any analysis for any of the other gun laws. I would sincerely like to see some.
To throw in my foreign opinion: I am under the impression, that countries with less guns per capita have less than a violence problem. Of course one can argue this is coincidence and not causality. It also looks to me, like getting any US citiziens to give back the guns is like a tough issue and will probably rather cause many illegally owned weapons.
+Adam Thornton Who will pay for reistitutionalization?  For starters, it can come out of the prisons budget.  Expecially after we abolish the drug laws, which will enable us to reduce the prison population substantially.
+Frank Nestel It's a false correlation.  U.S. non-firearms rates of violence are also higher in proportion; thus, it's not that the guns are causative, it's that the U.S. has a higher level of lawlessness of all kinds. 
+Frank Nestel That is untrue. Check the correlations in these graphs:


One interpretation of what is shown is that when there are fewer guns there are more killings by fewer people.

The only irrefutable interpretation of the graphs is that the presence of guns have no actual relation to gun violence... well, except the same relation as that of humans to human violence. Get rid of all humans and we end human violence.
+Kevin Partridge Interesting stuff, though instead of "guns per capita", I'd rather like to have seen "people with access to guns per capita".

The Gini vs. homicide thing is interesting too, why kind of all democracies world wide are currently manipulated to bias towards larger differences in wealth, is this a form of indirect suicide?

+Eric Raymond when the laws are good, lawlessness is a bad thing.
+Frank Nestel As a method of analysis I would rather see gun owners as a percentage of population but gathering that data is actually something we don't really want to enable. "People with access to guns per capita" is an even harder to metric to gather.
Logic is a funny thing, and it often doesn't work the way people think it does.  For instance, the statement that A implies B (or, "If A is true, then B is true") does not mean that B implies A.  Interestingly, though, logic turns out to describe a lot of the rules by which the real world works quite well.

What's the relevance of this to this issue?

Well, the assertion of gun ban advocates¹ is that guns cause crime, and more guns cause more crime, and less guns mean less crime.  On the contrary, firearms rights advocates assert that guns prevent more crimes than are committed with them, and that more guns mean less crime, and tighter gun control laws permit more crime by disarming victims.

We could state this logically as two assertions.  Let's say that G represents more guns and less ownership restrictions, while the inverse, !G, represents less guns and more ownership restrictions.  Likewise, let's use C to represent more crime, and its inverse !C to represent less crime.  Then, we can say that gun ban lobby advocates assert G -> C and !G -> !C_, while firearms rights advocates assert the opposite, that G -> !C and !G -> C.

I think we can all agree that these two sets of assertions cannot be simultaneously true (although they can be simultaneously false).

Now, the assertion that guns are a net soclai good — that they prevent more crimes than are committed with them — is a hard one to prove, because it's much easier to document someone who was murdered, robbed or raped than it is to document when someone was NOT robbed, murdered or raped.  "So, Mrs. Doe, exactly where and when was it that the accused did not rape you?"  The vast majority of rapes, murders, assaults and robberies are reported to police, because a crime was committed.  But do you call the police and report every time you did NOT get into a traffic accident on your way home from work?  Or do you just mutter a curse at the idiot who cut you off and didn't signal his lane change?  Do you call the fire department each day to report that your house is not currently on fire?  Neither do you call the police every time you spot someone walking towards you with that meaningful look, and you look him in the eye as you put your hand to your waistband inside your jacket or open your purse and slip your hand in, and he abruptly finds something he has to do on the other side of the street.  Almost nobody who has studied this can agree exactly how often it happens, because studies have to rely heavily on estimates and self-reporting.  But even the strongly anti-gun Clinton Administration's Justice Dept was reluctantly forced to concede that the results of its own study seemed to show that firearms were successfully used to defend against or prevent crimes at least 1.5 million times per year.  Other studies have yielded estimates range as high as 4.5 to 5 million.  Even the CDC, before being slapped down for wasting their budget on issues outside their charter, published a finding that admitted to a lower-bound estimate of around 850,000.

However, nobody has really hard numbers.  Because "crimes that weren't committed" or "crimes prevented" is a very hard thing to put hard numbers to.

The same, however, is not true of crimes that were committed.  So let's look at that instead.  And when we look at that, we find that there are indeed hard numbers on it.  They're all over the place, starting with the FBI Unified Crime Reports.  And those hard data show that crime rates in the US have been dropping steadily and consistently for several decades now.  There's our !C.  Nobody can argue with that !C and retain any credibility.  It's fully documented.  The hard data can't lie.

So, what about the left-hand side of our logical statements?

Well, over most of the last 20 years, Americans have been buying more firearms.  Over about the last five or six years, that has really kicked into high gear.  More Americans — and a greater proportion of American women — own firearms than ever before.  Americans are buying unprecedented quantities of firearms, ammunition and accessories.  Ammunition is flying off dealer shelves almost as fast as it arrives.  Brownells, a major distributor of firearms parts, gunsmithing parts and tools, and reloading equipment and supplies, just got in what would previously have been a 3.5 year supply of AR15 magazines.  They sold out in three days.
And the restrictions?  Over the last ten or fifteen years, the majority of the states in the US have passed shall-issue concealed-carry permit laws.  Some states have even eliminated the need for a permit altogether.  The Supreme Court has even overturned the near-absolute firearms bans of Chicago, Illinois and Washington DC as being in violation of the Second Amendment, and then slapped DC down again when DC said "Alright, you can have guns subject to these restrictions," then wrote up a set of restrictions that were almost impossible for anyone to satisfy.

So, we have both a major increase in firearms ownership, and a major reduction in restrictions upon same.  That sure looks like a G to me.

So, what facts have we got to work with?

We've got G, and we've got !C.

This doesn't prove that G -> !C.  It doesn't even prove that there is a causal relationship between G and C, because correlation does not equal causation.

But oh boy, does it ever disprove² G -> C, the gun ban lobby's assertion that guns inherently, automatically, and inevitably cause crime.

All together now:  "Oops."

¹  No, I'm not going to use the term "gun control".  Let's be honest here.  To outfits like the Brady Campaign (formerly Handgun Control Inc), the eventual goal is a complete ban on all private firearms ownership — they've stated it in their own literature — and any licensing, any training requirement, any one-gun-a-month restriction, any punitive tax, is nothing more than a step towards that end goal.  To the "gun control" lobby, guns will be "controlled" when all privately owned firearms have been confiscated and private gun ownership is a crime, and not a minute before.

²  Unless you're going to assert that there is some hidden effect, unrelated to firearms ownership and restrictions, which nobody has discovered yet, and which, through the magic power of unicorn farts, is causing such a staggeringly huge sustained reduction in crime rates that it is not only absorbing all of the extra crime being caused by all those extra guns but reversing the increase.  And if you're going to make that assertion, then all I can say is, if you can find and identify the Mystery Unicorn-Fart Factor, BOTTLE IT, because you just might have world peace in a bottle.  And I think we could ALL get behind that.
+Jerry L Kreps — Which, of course, has not stopped the weasels in the California Legislature from putting forth a Carolyn-McCarthy's-wet-dream worth of new anti-gun laws.  Nor will it.
I just went Trap Shooting today in San Francisco :)
+Phil Stracchino I think you are beating a straw horse. I don't think most people on the 'gun harm reduction' side, shall we say, are claiming that gun control would reduce crime rates, but rather that it might reduce death and injury due to their misuse, willful or otherwise.

That's not to say that gun restrictions are (or are not) efficacious, constitutional, or desirable, but as a matter of argumentation, it is good to be precise, as so many in this thread have been.
+Jonathan Abbey, except that the mantra of the gun banners, over and over and over and over and over and over, is "We have to control guns in order to reduce violent crime".  It's the constant drumbeat, and the rationale touted for every new "reasonable compromise".
+Eric Raymond Although I agree with you that:

1) more mental-healthcare institutionalization would end up institutionalizing people who would otherwise be imprisoned, and that this would be better both for those people themselves and for society, 


2) nonviolent drug offenders should not, on the whole, be imprisoned, and indeed the entire category of drug offenses should be reconceptualized

I think you're living on a fantasy planet if you think this can happen:

The prison industry has been largely privatized, which is something I suspect you applaud, given your stated belief in the proper role of government.

You can use prison labor as, effectively, slave labor.  That's a pretty easy sell to the populace; mutter some platitude about "paying back their debt to society" and no one really minds. 

It is much more difficult, politically, to do that with the labor of mental patients, whom you're at least claiming to try to treat humanely and therapeutically, rather than punitively.  How do you turn a profit from institutionalizing the schizophrenic?
+Adam Thornton, maybe we need to focus a bit less on turning a profit as the only possible motivation for doing anything.

(I know, I know, that's a hard sell these days, thanks to the Harvard School of Business...)
+Phil Stracchino Well, that suits me fine, but I believe that there is a proper role for the state in a great deal more of life than Eric and Jay do.

Here's another question about reversing de-institutionalization: how do you prevent that from becoming, effectively, a second prison system for the politically inconvenient?  If the state can have you forcibly committed, then that's pretty much prison-without-trial-and-with-indefinite-sentences, as long as they can find some doctors to diagnose as they say, right?  Hell, how do you keep it from becoming a second prison system for enemies of people-rich-enough-to-buy-doctors?
+Christopher Gaul Apparently you didn't read the article. It points out that Brady ratings are well correlated with reduced levels of gun ownership. So while you claim that you are not in favor of disarming citizens, that is evidently the result of policies you support. Can you explain this contradiction?
+Adam Thornton Prison labor is, in my experience, more along the lines of doing the household chores than profit-makong work.
+Russell Nelson Read it yourself.  The section that data is in disproves the theory that "Gun Control Eliminates 'Dangerous Guns' While Protecting the Second Amendment".  It does not.  It only reduces gun ownership.
If even one person does not have a gun when they need it, they have been disarmed.
Somehow we (gun owners) are back to defending ourselves which is not how this should work. So, for all of the anti-gun crowd, how exactly does the evidence support the assumed desired impact that the lives of children will be saved by the current proposed bill? After addressing that, and assuming we can find some impact on the lives of children, we can then ask whether or not this bill will have greater impact than a similar bill for other commodities. I suggest that if we find a similar correlation with other commodities it is only fair that all commodities with similar correlations get put on the same bill.

But let's start with determining the impact the bill would have had upon any of the previous massacres that resulted in child deaths.
We already know the answer int he case of the Newtown massacre: none at all.
Maybe I'm just fishing for acknowledgement.

But we have to have an honest discussion that doesn't include the words, "should," "could," "I believe," or (as Russell Nelson pointed out) "in my experience."
+Kevin Partridge, that was somewhat my point.  It is the arguments of the anti-gun lobby that reality has proven definitively false; it is they who should be having to defend their position.  (Unfortunately, their principal defense seems to be LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU.)

Larry Correia recently posted an excellent column ( in which he pointed out — among many other excellent observations — that every "mass shooting" in the last fifty years with more than four casualties, with the sole exception of the Giffords shooting in Tucson, occurred in a place where firearms were already prohibited.  Pointing this out to the hoplophobes yields only further LA LA LA LA LA LA.
After reading a lot of the comments here it struck me that the idea of an armed citizenry being able to fight back in the event of a U.S. government gone sour (am I understanding correctly), against the various U.S. military might be somewhat quixotic. Particularly if the purchasing is hardened up so they can know where all the guns are. I'd expect there are studies / plans etc somewhere about how to deal with a risen up populace. They are getting a lot of practice in this stuff. 
+Peter Cupit Yes, the military has such plans - and knows, from experience, that a civil conflict against civilians on their home grounds is messy, demoralizing, and dangerous out of all obvious proportion to the civilians' nominal combat power. This is not something any historically literate military officer wants to screw with - it's enough of a deterrent to really matter in the political power equation.

Besides, you don't need to imagine civilian gun owners going up against the 81st Airborne to find scenarios in which the check on government power is real.  Think paramilitary thugs, and cast your mind back to Germany in 1938 - if the Jews had not previously been disarmed by order of the state, the expected casualty cost of Kristallnacht might have been so high that the SA wouldn't have moved.
+Peter Cupit: I don't know if this applies to you or not, but I find it at least curious that many of the same people who were complaining about how we were wasting lives in Iraq and Afghanistan raise the argument that civilians can't fight well-equipped military forces. The same techniques that the jihadis use there can be used with equal effectiveness here, as long as the civilian populace is not disarmed. It is that exact capability that the Second Amendment exists to guarantee.
Actually, he sort of has a point. This is why restricting the types of weapons we own is in violation of the Second Amendment. Also, as Peter pointed out, keeping tabs on all possible armed and belligerent citizens is entirely not in our favor. 

But to further emphasize +Eric Raymond 's point, you don't have to think to Germany 1938. There are examples much more recent and on our own soil. The battle of Athens (Georgia, US) [] is one such example. There were small, isolated incidents as recent as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina that also involved civilians defending their property against armed "extensions" of the law.

Protecting ourselves versus tyranny does not necessarily mean the entire might of the US government. Although, as pointed out, that would not be an insurmountable problem. It has been done before. It would, however, be certainly more effective with armaments more closely matched to the possible opposition and without all of the dissidents being on a list that could be addressed before collective opposition were organized.
There is also the aspect that if the US military were ordered in defiance of the Second Amendment to go door-to-door and collect all firearms, the odds are very good that a lot of the military would refuse and actively oppose the order.

There is a rumor that Bill Clinton discussed with the Pentagon the idea of issuing an executive order revoking the Second Amendment (which would have been outside his authority, even for an executive order) and having the military go door-to-door rounding up all private firearms (thus also violating both the Fourth and Fifth amendments, and the Posse Comitatus act), and that the Joint Chiefs warned him that the probable result would be a large-scale armed uprising.  I don't know whether there is any factual basis to this story or whether it is entirely apocryphal.  It doesn't seem to me that even Bill Clinton could have been that stupid.

(Dianne Feinstein, now ...  I can totally see HER being that stupid.)
+Kevin Partridge: I didn't know about the Battle of Athens. Thanks for pointing it out.

And it's definitely worth noting that the Democrat-led government in New Orleans seized personal firearms in the aftermath of Katrina. This eventually led to 21 state laws and a federal law banning such seizures in an emergency. See .

If it was done in the past, it can and will be done again...
For those curious about real world gun control, in California I can get an illegal gun for pretty cheap. I wasn't even trying to get a gun connection so I don't remember the price. So, even in Los Angeles gun control doesn't work except make it harder for law abiding citizens.
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