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My thoughts on guns in the aftermath of Newtown: "The Riddle of the Gun"... http://bit.ly/12ZwHzc
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I'm fascinated by the NRA argument that more guns will make us safer. I guess the Secret Service should arm everyone at Presidential events, to foil assassins. At the airport when boarding airplanes all passengers should be armed, to prevent hijackings? We should let every nation on the world including Iran become a nuclear power. We should give everyone a penis to stop rape.  It makes perfect sense, no?
 
really enjoyed this read, its nice to see a non-emotional approach to this issue and one that i agree with. i would think psychological tests are closer to the answer we need.
 
+Alan Williamson

I do not believe the argument is arming everyone will make everyone safer. The argument is arming some people in gun free zones might make people safer.

Assuming the worst and you are trapped in a building with an armed psycho on a killing spree, and the shooter spots you, you could try to rush them, maybe beg for mercy, or if you had a gun, you could try to shoot them. Which choice gives you and the other potential victims a better survival chance?

Thinking less guns in all situations makes us safer makes no sense to me. Owning a gun, personally, is a different story and not everyone should own one. Sane rational people can own them without endangering anyone's life however, and in a worst case scenario, they would have more options than hoping the cops arrive in time.
Sam Moore
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+Sam Harris you seem to be fully aware of one's effectiveness without a firearm, but ignorant of effectiveness with a firearm. With all respect; Where is the consideration for ones ability to act in crisis? Using any tool when in these situations has to be difficult without specific training. Simply target shooting once a month can not address this. Even tactical training once a month would not. It sure would be better than nothing. But at what cost. Like you said it is costly.
With that said it comes down to weighing cost/benefit. For me the cost is too high to have so many guns in the hands of so many undertrained hands people.
 
One aspect I see regularly overlooked when people talk about arms as a symbol of freedom (the legendary "American arm culture") is that many appear to naively think of physical violence as the central element that they need to protect themselves against to preserve their freedom.
We live in the 21st century where control is exerted not by physical means (i.e., violence), but ideologically. Sadly, the voices that ask for knowledge and better education as a means to reclaim and preserve their freedom are rather rare...
 
Most European countries have only very small numbers of privately-owned guns because of Europe's specific history. Therefore, it is quite misleading to compare European gun violence with numbers in the USA. The USA will never be able to get rid of its 300 m guns, whatever the policies. Any solutions will have to deal with that instead of looking with envy at European crime statistics. 
 
One problem I see with arming people, even highly trained guards, is that unless the situation require deadly force than they are more harm than good. Example: someone is getting beat up by two other people, you must now either engage them with your hands where it's possible that they take the gun or hope that they'll back down when you pull your gun (otherwise you'll probably be charged with manslaughter or get your gun taken from you). So unless you're faced with deadly force then guns have no place in self defense (and when you are they're indispensable, how's that for a dilemma?).
john gury
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"A world without guns, therefore, is one in which the advantages of youth, size, strength, aggression, and sheer numbers are almost always decisive. Who could be nostalgic for such a world?"
Native Americans.
 
+Sam Moore

By "costs" I believe he was talking about the actual financial costs of shooting and staying in practice. It is expensive, around .35 a round and up usually. (rather than the risks of owning one as a "cost")

I agree with Harris that not everyone should own a gun. If somone has problems with depression, kids in the home, or any issues with self control at all, they are far better off without one. If however someone wants/needs to be able to defend themselves, like Harris, the risks of owning a gun are far less than not having one.

Cartoonists and writers have been killed by religious nuts before. At least if they come at him with a knife, he has a good chance to defend himself. Rather than someone seeing the stabbing and dialing 911, and then the cops showing up sometime later to clean up the mess. 
 
I'm aware of what he is speaking about. He also mentions the cost of time. I am adding the cost to humanity, yes.
 
Great read, you talk about how you frequently train, imagine if that was required more sternly for gun ownership? 
 
+Sam Moore

I agree that anyone that thinks a gun is more dangerous to own than not having it around, is totally correct. Statistics show that in general most people are better off not having one. Yet, with 300 million or so of them around in America, they are not going anywhere in any of our lifetimes. No ban or law is going to change it. Beyond that, the strictest areas of gun control oddly have the most gun violence. (in the USA)

I think if someone wants to own one for self defense, and in their mind they feel it is worth the risk, I support them. Including the teachers that are now arming themselves and training. As mass killers are not brave at all and shoot themselves once confronted, at the least, they don't want to take responsibility for their actions and don't want to risk being taken alive.

How often do they shoot it out with cops? Almost never. So a trained concealed carry gun owner could also stop a mass shooting. By presenting the killer with the risk of being caught alive and punished, humiliated, or by simply shooting them.
 
But owning something so potentially dangerous for the momentary "what if" is a little impractical. Especially when considering the total costs. IMO
I'm not going to attempt to represent stats. Some of your statements +James Clayton may be inaccurate, and hinge on statistical interpretation.
 
+Sam Moore

"The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5. The reason is simple. The armed civilians are there when it started."

Cops used to surround areas with mass shootings and wait for backup, now they charge in once they have two cops. Because the shooters off themselves as soon as they are challenged rather than killing more innocents. The recent mass shooting in a mall had the shooter kill himself once a civilian merely pointed a gun at him. Only a couple people were killed instead of dozens.

You don't think you should own a gun and I agree with you. If someone does not feel comfortable with guns they likely could not defend themselves with it anyway. Do you think Sam Harris shouldn't be allowed though, or a teacher if she feels safer and trains with it? That armed guards would not provide more security just because guns are bad?

Does a "just say no" policy ever work in the real world, ever? 
 
i agree with +Sam Harris on a lot of things....i have to take exception with him on this one though.
 
I thought the man had a degree in science.  Doesn't he know how to use statistics to make the decision that somehow a gun is going to protect him from something that has very little statistical chance of happening to him?

It's like basing your retirement on winning the lottery.

There are far far far better things to do to protect yourself than keeping a gun and training with it.  And one is to advocate for guns to be made illegal.

And just to clarify, I'm not in favor of making guns illegal, I just know it would work far better than getting a gun.
 
I love guns, and one thing that I notice those who don't have in common is a lack of understanding of guns. People shouldn't be afraid of them, because that means they will never understand them and therefore they will always be dangerous. If you're afraid of driving, driving becomes much more dangerous. If you're afraid of guns, guns are much more dangerous. 

I have overcome my fear of guns and now love them... I've yet to fully appreciate cars, though!
 
good gun for looks like
I like thise gun
vinod Sharma India , noida 
 
Loving guns, which I do, doesn't make them less dangerous.  Believe me, the assumption they are not, when you are a woman makes it far more likely you will die by one.
 
+Alan Williamson that was a very very very sexist argument you've made, and I'd like to ask you to reconsider your phrasing.
 
I agree with this gun for lot of things
I have to take exceptions with him on these one though
India noida 
 
+Kate Childers I am not one to fall victim to "but I'm a girl" style arguments. I would like to point out that it's not just loving guns, but truly understanding them, that makes them less dangerous. There are rules to follow, and knowing them and understanding them makes gun ownership and use safe. 
 
At least this is one of the better takes one recent issues with violence. I think focusing on guns for the most part in general is a mistake. I think the world is better served focusing on factors that cause people to harm other people. The means in which another person harms another is irrelevant. I would rather not give people opportunities to get creative in their methods of killing. Knowledge seems the best way to overcome fear. You know why guns seem to be okay with most conservatives? Because, they are familiar with them. They usually grow up around them and have a better education about them. Liberals on the other hand do not. Liberals tend to be better with civil rights issues, why because they have more education about them. Hmm . . . I seem to see a pattern here. Educate yourself.
 
Oh bull shit.  A jerk with a gun, is a jerk.  That's what makes them dangerous.  If there's a jerk living with you, he will use that gun to throw his demands around sooner or later.
 
You really think all jerks are like that all the time?  When you marry them?  When they aren't drunk?

It's hardly that easy +Erik Granger Most people love a jerk in their lives at some point, many live with them because they have no choice, many have them as children.
 
+Kate Childers
....? If your kid is a jerk you messed up somewhere.
 
okay so it's someone else's fault if your kids are jerks. You're an adult, right? Why are you acting like such a victim? You're fully capable of leaving bad situations if you so choose, and fully capable of choosing who you marry. You don't live in India as far as I know, and arranged marriages fell out of fashion long ago. If your spouse is abusive, then a gun isn't going to make them more or less abusive, if they're going to murder you they'll do it, unless you're smart enough to not live with assholes.
 
+Kate Childers

Rape increased 29.9% in Australia since their gun ban. Shootings are down, which is good, but violence against women has gone way up. Wouldn't a gun be a potential equalizer for a woman? How would less guns equate to women being treated better?

In America, even if all guns could be banned, (which isn't possible IMHO) do you really think women would be safer? That abusive people would not be abusive without guns?

I am not trying to be confrontational, I honestly don't understand how less guns would make women safer. My assumption is that they are an equalizer and can give someone the chance to defend themselves against a physically stronger attacker.
 
I dont give a damn bout what people think of guns good or bad im keeping mine 
LL Pete
 
I read somewhere that right wing bloggers have taken to deliberately making spelling and grammatical mistakes so nobody mistakes them for an educated elitist.
 
" And those who are horrified at the idea of stationing a police officer in every school should be obliged to tell us how long they would like to wait for the police to arrive in the event that they are needed. "

Here is a different perspective: 

"But their presence has effects that help transform the school from an environment of academia to a site of criminal law enforcement. Issues that might otherwise be seen as mental health or social problems can become policing matters once an officer is stationed in a school. Arrests for minor infractions, such as fistfights in which there are no injuries, go up."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-nras-faulty-school-security-proposal/2012/12/30/b5b73fc0-5054-11e2-950a-7863a013264b_story.html

I also see repeated references to how a good guy could make a difference. Well, a good guy is a good guy only until he or she messes it up. Consider the sheer number of gun owners, or schools, and we start realizing that goodness comes in shades and grades.
 
LOL, it's that black and white is it?  I'm glad you know how to predict when a guy is going to get abusive enough to be dangerous, because I don't know anyone else who does, and if you are saying the moment he becomes a jerk, his entire family should walk on him and his kids taken away, well then - you personally probably qualify for that already. 

No, there's no black and white moment, theres never a good moment.  Women and children in that situation rarely have much power nor the funds to leave or often the legal status to have the guy thrown out.  If you are married to him and have kids, legally you have to go meet with him and let him have the children on a regular basis.  Abusive people are extremely good at keeping those they abuse around - they get more dangerous the moment they think you might want to leave.

You really need to learn at least a little bit about how that all works, since you obviously have no clue.
 
No +James Clayton there is no way for a woman to get away from a gun.

Believe me, I've already spent a very long time trying to figure out how best to handle that.  Legally I couldn't get him out of the house. Once he's moved out, you never know when he will be back and where you will find him.  Knives you can at least run away from and have some chance.  And I don't know that I believe your statistics.  Lots of hay was made out of the Australia ban from the right wing sites that have little to do with reality.  Personally I would rather be raped a dozen times than face a gun between me and my baby ever again.
 
"there is no way for a woman to get away from a gun."

That is a self-limiting mentality. This is why we need feminism, folks.
 
OK - tell me how to get away from a gun in the hands of your drunk raging husband whom you still love who has your baby in his arms.
 
You should never have put yourself in that situation woman
 
I think that more focus should be put on the reasons why one would want to commit a mass shooting. I think it says a lot about our culture when we can't focus on the causes of these incidents. Rather than focusing on the guns, why can't we get to the root of the actual problem?
 
LOL nice try.  I'll write that down that I should have a crystal ball to know what would happen and how stupid he would get.  Tell me, do you hire yours out? 
 
+Kate Childers

Ok, what do you think about a woman that wants to carry a concealed weapon because she wants to protect herself from psychos like that? Maybe she doesn't want to get raped, no matter what. Many women do concealed carry and I imagine they feel much safer having the protection.

I come from a very different background. My wife is a gun owner, serves in the military and is actually a top shooter. She can shoot better than any guy I know. There is little to no chance any potential attacker would have against her. If some psycho or jerk tried to attack her, they would be in for quite a surprise.

We are not alcoholics or abusive to each other, ever, so there is no risk to us from being gun owners. You have my sympathy for what you went through, but most men are not like that at all. I also understand abusive relationships are not as simple as they would seem to outsiders, but if he pulled a gun on you, that is just cause to have him arrested and kept away from your children.
 
Good read and as always Sam Harris is able to put dogma and taboo aside while presenting a rational argument. I wonder though if we can extend this line of reasoning to argue that putting sanctions on countries beefing up their nuclear capabilities is premature as well?
 
i suspect +Sam Harris has a much different view of personal protection than most - he must receive the occasional (or frequent?) death threat for his work (which incidentally i admire).  so consider the lens through which he views the issue while reading.   also consider his commitment to logic, thoroughness and education, and you get the rational conclusion that his guns make him safer.

however, i'm pretty sure the average person has neither the same amount of risk to defend against, nor the same abilities as Harris, and that's where the argument gets weaker.   of course, plenty of those folks just described are already armed...and probably a liability to themselves, their families, and any stranger they'd try to defend.  
 
+Kate Childers my god this shit gets even wilder as we go on. You're dead-set on being a victim. Even if all of this DID happen to you, which I doubt, seeing as it's becoming even more bizarre as you continue to post, it has absolutely nothing to do with gun control. Is your argument "Crappy people exist THEREFORE guns should be illegal?" If so, that's a stupid argument, because crappy people don't follow laws and we're never going to have a gun-free US. 

You're drawing off of emotional appeals to convince people of a point that bears no weight on it's own, using your sex as a weapon of argument, which infantilizes all women, everywhere. The entire premise of female equality is being battered by you, as you perpetually trump up your victim card to obscene and grandiose heights. 
 
+mark ring

Agreed. Not everyone is in the same situation. Some live in dangerous neighborhoods, have dangerous jobs, or a business that might be robbed. Not all situations are the same.

I don't think most people should just go out and buy guns, but at the same time, they can be very effective for self defense for those that feel they need it.
 
+James Clayton most gun murders in the home, by a huge percent are by those men and women who do do that.  So it's a far far larger problem than your woman being hassled on the street or raped.  If she gets raped, it will most likely be in a situation where she won't have her gun near her - it will be someone she knows and trusts and probably already has had sexual contact with - if she is in the greatest percentage of women who are raped. 

That's just basic statistics on the issue.  So that she wants to carry a gun is really neither here nor there with me.  I've owned guns, I'm a damn good shot.  They never made me feel safer because when the situations came up, the last thing I wanted was another gun around to make him feel more threatened than he did and more likely to do something stupid.
 
+Erik Granger, it doesn't seem to me that +Kate Childers is stating "crappy people exist therefore guns should be illegal"... It looks more like not everyone should have one, at most that most people should not have one, but more probably that she would prefer that her husband didn't have one. Not every person shows his jerkiness at first date, and when you are married with children, things get more complex than that. It takes some time for love to go away. It is not simple to contemplate the action of shooting the father of your child, possibly to death, even if you no longer love him and feel threatened by him. Besides, even if you live in a "Stand Your Ground" state, there are legal and moral implications. Like she said, it is not this black and white. 
 
+Kate Childers

I just think different people have to make their own choices for self defense. Having a gun isn't a guarantee of safety, no doubt, but not having one does make you more reliant on police or help from someone else. Just as a gun might not be around, a phone might not be around, or police, or even witnesses.

Some people make the choice to own one and are very aware of the dangers, of owning one or not. If someone thinks it is more dangerous to have around I think they should trust their instincts and stay away from them. Those that feel they can train with it and that it will provide more security, I think they have every right to protect themselves, and shouldn't have their rights taken away by people that feel differently.
 
Finally someone summed it up u r absolutely right james
 
Except +James Clayton you have no control over whether other people who live with you decide to have a gun or not when guns are legal.

Your parents may have that gun and daddy may drink, your crazy brother who does drugs may have a gun and bring it over when he's high, the insane neighbor may have a gun.

You far over estimate how easy it is to control that.
 
His more guns less crime reasoning is somewhere below the significance level of a more mosques less crime argument. Of course he is also in favor of preemptive killing of Islamic terrorists based on belief criteria as part of his deep expert insight into how to control that kind of criminal behavior. I will not be confusing him with James Q Wilson or Zimbardo anytime soon that is for sure.
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many comments ago in this thread, but +Kate Childers doesn't deserve to be belittled or judged for winding up in a crap-o domestic situation.   consider what it feels like to be in a relationship gone bad with a kid you love in the middle.

and by the way, every parent knows jerk kids don't necessarily come from jerk parents.
 
+Kate Childers

People take drugs even though they are illegal. Even if guns could be banned in America, which isn't going to happen, people would still have guns. They would just all be illegal with no registrations, no tracking, and no limits to what illegal guns people might have. (might as well convert those AR-15s to full auto then)

Yes, some people would turn them in, the most honest law abiding people that are the least likely to cause any problems. Still, millions of guns would be out there. Anyone crazy enough to pull a gun on someone for no good reason, would be crazy enough to buy and own an illegal gun.

Any man abusive enough to pull a gun on his girl would also be abusive enough to pull a knife on her. I think Harris went through the complexity of the problem quite well, and how a simple solution (like banning guns) isn't really workable.
 
A knife doesn't kill so easy +James Clayton as you have heard, there was a man in China who tried to attack children in a school with a knife - none died.

People will have guns - for a while.  Sooner or later there would be many less and that won't start until we make them illegal.  At any rate, it's a lot easier to make sure your man doesn't get a gun if it wasn't legal, and wasn't part of the culture, and part of his manhood in this country.

I've never been all that impressed with Harris.  For a man with a graduate degree, he doesn't handle complex situations well with degrees of moral wrong or right.  Or really argue atheism that well. 

Banning guns has proved over and over that it does work quite well.  It's foolish to ignore that and frankly as someone who doesn't think we should ban them, people like you don't do the situation any good when you can't see that it's not a black and white problem.
 
+Sam Harris I guess in America you are driven by fear. I cannot explain you obsession with guns and killing people any other way. 
 
There are anti-car people +Michael Brokate don't be silly.  But there is a lot of practical need for cars.  There is not a need for guns.  Guns were made for killing and handguns were made for killing people.  Why do you want your guns so bad?
 
Just to put this into perspective.
German police shot only 85 bullets in all of 2011 out of this 49 warning shots, 36 shots on suspects. 15 persons were injured, 6 were killed. 

That's all. In US the same year  84 shots fired at one murder suspect in Harlem, another 90 shot at one fleeing unarmed man in Los Angeles. 

This is insane. If you think it is normal than you are insane.
 
Target shooting is not important, nor is it the only way to bond with your son.  Paint balls work just as well.

I could possibly agree with you about hunting, but you need a rifle or shotgun for that.  There's no need for handguns there, and it's still just a hobby.

And everything kills.  Even water.

Living is a death sentence.
 
Quoting the article itself: "The amendment seems to have been written to allow the states to check the power of the federal government by maintaining their militias. Given the changes that have occurred in our military, and even in our politics, the idea that a few pistols and an AR 15 in every home constitutes a necessary bulwark against totalitarianism is fairly ridiculous. If you believe that the armed forces of the United States might one day come for you—and you think your cache of small arms will suffice to defend you if they do—I’ve got a black helicopter to sell you."
 
Self defense by gun is rarely used, so it must not be very important.  Damned statistics again.

And if there wasn't hunting by gun, we would have something else to spend our time on.

It used to be big where I grew up.  I used to hunt with my father.  My current husband bonded with my daughter over video game shoot em ups.

It's not that important and it's not an argument.

And I do have a life.  If you pardon me, I'm going to go live it right now.

:)
 
Lots is not often in the scheme of things.  Anecdotal evidence is not evidence.
 
But I'm out of here for now.  Like I said.  I have a life.
 
+Nestor Melo She's talking about her spouse having a gun. Here's a list of possibilities:

-She's scared if her husband got a gun that he'd use it to get his way in the relationship

-Her husband has a gun and does use it to get his way in a relationship

-Her husband does not have a gun and wouldn't one to get his way in a relationship and she isn't worried about it.

For all three she's applying her personal situation to everyone despite the fact that what happens in HER house has absolutely nothing to do with what happens in everyone elses house, and it isn't an argument at all, it's pretty much just her using feelings to try to convince people of the illogical instead of, you know, making actual arguments. It's lazy. 

She doesn't even have a real opinion, she's really just expressing her feewings. 
 
Canada just legalized concealed SUVs. Now I can carry my running car into any school and travel at the speed of sound. Soon it will lead to a repeat of these kind of massacres.

Oh wait, no it won't, because that's fucking nonsense. Cars are nothing like semi-autos.
 
+Kate Childers

I never said it was a black and white problem. The only thing black and white about it is the only real "solution" is a total gun ban, and anyone honest already knows this. I doubt you realize what it would take to seize hundreds of millions of guns, but it would take a total police state to do it. If you think we lost freedom in the war on terror, the war on guns would destroy whatever freedom we have left. For only the "feeling" of security.

It isn't like the police would disarm that shoot unarmed people even now, or the gangs, or cartels, or criminals. Just a home grown war on people worse than the war on drugs or the war on terror. If you support the police really cracking down on the poor, big time, with right wing militia terrorists all over the place, blowing stuff up even if they lose their guns... then I guess it sounds like a good plan.


 
I dont even know why are still talking about guns..some people want to make it political
 
+Erik Granger I was hoping +Kate Childers  would clarify some points, but I think that it is more likely that it is related to domestic violence than "getting his way in a relationship". Surely it not a case that could possibly be taken as representative of what happens in every house, but it is representative of some of them, surely more than a few. Point is, whoever is prone to domestic violence is not someone that we should blindly trust the right to bear arms. That is why, for example, in Florida, know for "Stand your Ground" laws, "People accused of domestic violence must surrender their concealed weapon licenses along with 
their guns and ammunition"
http://www.ncdsv.org/images/Judge%20Closes%20Gun%20License%20Loophole.pdf
 
 
Thanks, +Sam Harris for presenting the most reasoned, least hyperbolic, analysis of this issue that I have seen in a very long while. Perhaps we'll get lucky, and this can lead to a much better discussion of what can be done to save lives here in the USA than has occurred to date.
 
+Nestor Melo

That is the one point I disagree with Harris on. We had a hell of a time in Iraq against a few poorly armed insurgents. Assuming there was a massive right wing rebellion in America it would go way beyond the simplicity of US air power vs some rebels running out in an open field with AR-15s.

One rebel blew up a building killing around 180 people.(Mcveigh) They wouldn't fight in the open but rather attack from within. You wouldn't know who they are. We can't use air power against rebels living hidden among us, only door to door combat would work, if they could be identified, and each attack could inspire more rebels to join.

Americans would be far more sophisticated in how they resisted. US forces would be far less likely to obey orders firing on other Americans as well. Heck, many of those forces might even join a rebellion, as that has happened numerous times throughout history and even now in Syria. (that are resisting despite mostly being unarmed to start with - against tanks, planes, and a governement willing to torture and do anything possible to win)

 
+James Clayton , I don't think that the only real solution is a total ban. From that to, going extreme, mandating every one to bear arms at all times there is a broad spectrum of possibilities. I agree that several ideas being discussed are ineffective not to say undesirable, but, for example and to be very specific, something that a lot of people could agree is that those adjudicated mentally ill by a court shouldn't ever get a gun. Similar argument could be made for children, or who have an active judicial restraining order. 
 
Sam Harris attempts to make his case for more guns in schools by presenting a false choice -- namely that in the absence of guns, the only other possible defense  is to ...throw furniture.  Really?  Ever heard of a Taser?  ( http://bit.ly/VCRwdi  )  If the gun manufacturers want to stay in business let them put some R&D $$ in the development of more such non-lethal technologies.
 
+Nestor Melo

Totally agree there. Some people need to be kept away from guns as best possible. We can't stop them all that way, but waiting periods, background checks, and restrictions on potentially dangerous people legally owning guns is something the majority could agree on.
 
If u could get the guns from the crooks, personally a ban doesn't bother me. That's not going to happen, so why ban me from having my own legally obtained weapon for my protection. As a former soldier, and service connected disabled vet, army, I think I can handle it. Change the illegal possession and use laws, punish the offenders. Duh.!
 
Hello +Sam Harris
I'm a former Marine, and a non-gun owner (love the machines, but don't want to pay for them). We think a lot alike on this topic, but I feel you overstepped logic once when you said the only way to stop an assailant with a knife is with a well trained person with a gun. You discount mace, stunners, a baseball bat, a distraction and a kick in the balls, etc.

I have an idea for a solution in a blog of mine that I think you might benefit from reading.
http://keeneyefortheobvious.blogspot.com/2012/07/killer-gun-control-idea-vernacular-use.html
It doesn't effect the current perception or application of 2nd amendment rights by gun owners or enthusiasts. It addresses your idea of better engagement of the mentally ill prior to a massacre, but it doesn't lock them up. I think it could solve a lot of the preventable incidents.

Another point of contention I had with your very well written and clearly well thought through blog was that you didn't address the idea of energy required to commit crimes with the various non-firearm methods described. As I understand it you are a Physicist or a reasonable equal to one. The energy required to murder with firearms is orders of magnitude smaller than any other method, and firearms allow the victim to be attacked at distance, where knives are at arms length. 

P.S.  heard early news about a study from a Pennsylvania University indicating that a "good" person who is armed in a bad situation is 4.5 times more likely to be shot by the assailant than the other people involved.
 
+James Clayton I agree with everything you said. The only thing I question is why you wasted so much of your time talking to a man hater that clearly isn't going to change her view any time soon?
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+Michael Rupp Thanks for your service. I disagree with that a person should submit (key word) to a psych test. I do, however, have NO problem with a small (5 day) waiting period.  You may not require submission to purchase a firearm and you may not require a permit. To do so is a restriction based on intent to make it difficult to exercise your rights. A waiting period would suffice to let the impulse buyers re-think their choice and the guy who just got fired have a few days to cool his heels. You'll still get your weapon, but you have to wait a bit. Please read Larry's post that I linked in a post above.. you will begin to re-think your position, I can promise you this.  Remember, 2A is not for hunting ducks. 
 
The risk...without gun is safer than with gun at home. 
Jim L.
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+Wulin Teo really?  Is this a personal expression of your irresponsibility or just fear of guns? or both?
 
+Wulin Teo tell that to the crack head kicking in your front door to steal your tv. Our maybe you could make a cup of tea for him and talk about his life choices.
 
+Jim Losi But the nuance of my psych test is that you aren't prevented from owning the firearms even if you are crazy. If you are sane, the test is not released, if you are a risk to society due to your mental malady, then society gets to know publicly that you are a risk and need to be engaged with because you are armed. If you want your mental illness private, then don't own a firearm. If you have them without a test, then you can have some prison time in your future.

I think all responsible gun owners want the crazy people prevented from hurting innocent people. This would go a long way towards that.
 
Obviously, doesn't live in or near any medium to large city's in the USA.
Or had to travel by bus any distance..lol
Jim L.
 
+Michael Rupp If you have a history of psych issues, this is generally already noted. I will not relinquish my right under any assumption that I might need to be evaluated. 

If you are mentally disabled beyond being able to live unassisted, you not going to own a weapon of any kind. If you are the parent or relative of anyone with issues, they are your responsibility, not mine. It's your job to correct their environment, not mine. I will not adjust my life and my rights for them or anyone else. Requiring submission is tantamount to "if you have nothing to hide, then you shouldn't have a problem with it" and this country we are innocent first and always.  Have you read Larry's post that I linked to?  please do read it.. it's important that you do. Short of begging.. please do it. 
Jim L.
 
I just wanted to clarify my point with a waiting period. I know that a lot hard core owners will say it's just one step closer to a ban. I would agree with you. Though my statement is not for sake of reducing crime on a massive scale. I just don't see that happening. I think it will service the individual better in cases where an individual is not thinking clearly about their actions and they are making irrational and spontaneous choices that could lead up to a bad outcome. A person who is committed to acting evil is going to follow through no matter what and a waiting period won't stop them. A gun ban won't stop them. They'll find a way to do their evil.  I honestly think that the dad of 4 who just got a pink slip and doesn't own a gun might not do something stupid if he has to wait. The time needs to be reasonable, though. 3 days min. No more than 5 days and that can't be changed. If attempts to change it to a longer time frame were made, then I would seek to remove that altogether. 
Jim L.
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Here's a great interview with a great philosopher, Stefan Molyneux on gun control 27mins.  Highly suggested watching. Gun Culture
 
The guns are only partially at fault.

This is more of a social problem, more social programs are required.

Teachers should also help identify children and families that have problems so they can help them seek help.
Social problems should be solved socially, laws can only do so much.
Jim L.
 
+Jiacheng Khoo You've just made "the gun" into an animate object. You sir, should be running the insane asylum with that kind of magic trick. 
 
2nd amendament is out of fashion my friends... guns should not be obtained by people so easy, ir should be allowed for people who carry values, authorities, hunters or political persons and every gun applier should obtain a paper from a shrink that he is in good mental status and he has founded reasons of having a weapon, also the criminal record must be checked. The people have authorities, police, that can defend them otherwise what is the reason of spending money on the police force. All these killings in the US is triggered by the right of owning a gun in the 21 st century, how can you arm people more? It's crazy! 
Jim L.
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+Andrei Mataoanu Clearly you have NO idea what it means to be an American. The authorities are our SERVANTS. They SERVE US. When a person is charged with a crime, then the justice system takes over. I am my own first responder and I do not rely on the police to save me. Only slaves do that. 
 
+Sam Moore just so you are aware US military reservists only train for 3 day a month to maintain thier combat readiness skills. Before deploying into a combat zone they will receive move training but one weekend a month is enough training to be able to intelligently act in a crisis according to the military. So, while I agree that owning a gun and being able to use it effectively and safely ( for bystanders ) are two very different things. I disagree with your assertion that it would take such monumental amount of training to achieve this level of proficiency. 
 
I think when respect, for each other and ourselves, due to laws greatly
reducing consequences of ones actions,,and laws stopping innocents from
retaliation, this situation was made and enhanced.
 
+Mikey Shrooms come on man... hoe can you rely on others common sence when some of those people come with light guns in schools and kill people... Light guns should be allowed only for authorities and maybe politishion and state representatives
Jim L.
 
+Andrei Mataoanu It might actually help to understand the background to the story.  He wasn't able to get a gun ANYWHERE. His mother had guns and he killed her to get them. Insane is insane, bro.. nothing going to change that. 
 
Huh?.....talking about guns again?...
I love to hear about it, but....
Don't hurt anyone, PLEASE 
 
It's amazing to me how our society has become so Constitutionally illiterate. If you want to ban arms then do it the correct way: amend the Constitution.
But why stop at the 2nd amendment? I definitely think we need to look at the 1st amendment, especially with the advancement of social media. 
 
Ever waited on the police. They're way overloaded always busy, and have prioritys they have to live up to. I commend them ...going to do my part as a law abiding citizen,too. If most did, instead of excuses, the prob would be reduced. By deterrence,not gun violence.
Jim L.
 
+Walter Wojciula No gun control nutter wants to face reality. It's all supposed to be pretty, and nice.. and everyone is suppose to play well together and no one is supposed to have mental issues blah buh blah buh blah..  Reality escapes them. I wonder how they function in daily life. 
 
+Walter Wojciula police should defend you man, you should think as souch and you have to understand that thenright to a gun in the hands of a retarded idiot will harm others, dont mix that up with car accidents or drug abuse they are not the same... The right to life it's for everybody, the right of taking life in it's God hands not idiots with guns.
 
+Mikey Shrooms Man the police in your country is much better then in our country and we don't shoot eachother daily because we have a gun control law, not all are suposed tobgave a gun, never to say that machine guns are sold to normal people in the US, WTF are you doing with a gun that shoots war ammunition, beside colecting it? Shoot what? Trees? People in schools? Come on... Let's be honest....
Jim L.
 
+Andrei Mataoanu The police? should and "hey, bad guy, let me call the police and you can wait 10 mins before they get here before you mug me" are two different things. If someone is trying to deprive me of my life and liberty, you are saying I should wait for the police. I can't tell if you're a troll or just an idiot. 
 
U be the victem,dude. Not me,wasn't raised like that. I mess with nobody, I
expect only the same. Or will deal with it if not.
 
Great piece. Should be read by more people.
 
I don't give a fuck what other people think.  My right to acquire whatever property I peacefully trade for, especially if I use my body to do labor, is an absolute inherent human right; I own my body, and I alone get to decide what I do with it.  That includes getting and using guns.

Gun control, therefore, is a Crime Against Humanity!
 
How much do you want for it ?
 
+Mikey Shrooms I know man but guns in 21st century are not an answer they should benused only by certain people under a previouse check, if a nut will not be able to buy a gun then you will not need a gun, he will be armed maximum with an axe, much more controlable by the authorities and sorounding people. I was in the army I shooted guns so I'm not speaking as a flower power man. Guns should be used only for hunting and in wars, that is my opinion, otherwise people will kill eachother with them during peace time... You are making thr life of a nut, when killing people very easy... by him owning a gun...
 
Guns are not importaint but peace is very importaint in the world.
 
+Bradford Walker it's not about the right to aquire a gun man, you can aquire one but only after your criminal record is checked and also your brain is checked by a shrink, so you don't go and kill people in schools or on the street, is that common sence or what? When you need a gun is bad it means that you live in an uncertain areal with people shooting eachother, so in order to do something people should be disarmed and then controlable rearmed. Much more safer then "it's my right! and I do wtf I want", this is not responsable and resonable.
 
Your argument failed as soon as you said you had several guns! Gun freaks are a big part of the problem and do not belong in a medern society!
 
+Sam Harris Now you've mentioned Steven Pinker, whose wonderful "Angels" book I've just read: I agree with Pinker's Leviathan theory, that is, a society becomes less violent when executive force is delegated to a third party disinterested in personal conflicts. That third party is the state (Pinker's Leviathan). When the gun issue is viewed through Pinker's glasses, it only remains to say: "How do we deal with the problem that America, unlike Europe, did not disarm its citizens before becoming democratic?"
 
+Andrei Mataoanu No, no man (let alone a fiction, such as government) has any say in what I do, including property use and acquisition.  I am a free man with inherent rights, and I act always in inherent jurisdiction; the price is that I accept unlimited liability for my actions, and that is a far stronger constraint than any rule made by a man or something less than a man- such as corporations or governments.
 
Regular, honest people aren't the ones needing regulated. The criminals and
nuts will get whatever they want, on the street or go steal it. Oh yeah if
u was protecting ur own house,that wouldn't happen either. Punish the
criminals,not the honest person. Clean up the streets,then we talk.
Wouldn't feel the need if there wasn't a reason,as much as I personally
dislike being put in that spot, I will be prepared. And alive.
 
+Bradford Walker It's not about the government "having a say". It's about the government dishing out incentives and punishments that change free people's cost evaluation of their actions. You are still free to murder someone - it's just that the government is free to screw you for that. 
 
I like how no-one ever mentions that the über-bitch Feinstein has a CCP. This tragedy is being used to scapegoat gun ownership and tge mentally ill so the fascists on capitol hill can disarm us. If we have no weapons we are more easily kept in check.
 
+Carsten Führmann It's already a Natural Law violation to do harm to others or damage their property without a lawful cause.  There is nothing a government can do that can't be done without it.
 
People, look at history. When the general populace was disarmed,in the name
of public safety,serious shit happened, and nobody had a way to stop any of
it. America was founded on the notion of taking no shit,from nobody. Still
is, I think.
 
+Bradford Walker :-) than you don't belive in the govermant and you don't belive in the police authoritie of controling crime, by having a weapon is to take law in your own hands, is'nt this right? Why do you need the police or t laws for? As for living free... For how many laws are in the US I don't think you are free, if you move to the N pole maybe you can call yourself free but until you are not under a state you will never be free, freedom in a state it's relative. You can own a gun but only if you are checked as I said so the state can eliminate any doubt that you or others are safly armed and with a realistic reason. For example, I don't think that an individual should own a heavy machine gun with the right of buying unlimited war ammunition, what do you do on peace time with souch a gun? besides colecting it or shooting it in a controlable environment? 
 
+Mikey Shrooms are some tribes atttaking you? Are the indians on your back yard? I think not, we are in 21st century man, we have police we have 911 and you have an army that is defending your teritory, best army in the world, so why the need of guns? For individuals? If you call yourself civilised? 
 
I don't one one and I still don't want one, guns during peace time for protection is lame and retarded.
 
Perhaps the article has a point, but on a societal scale life becomes safer if guns are highly controlled. I have lived in a number of countries over the past years. It goes without telling that of these the US had the loosest gun laws. Of course I could have armed myself, but somehow I feel that a criminal (who has a much higher expectation of getting into a violent situation than I usually have) will always be better armed and better trained. If too many guns are around even the police become a threat because they have to act more ruthlessly. I felt much safer in countries such as the UK, or Denmark and even living Inida, where the police are not generally armed with firearms.
 
I thank God for chosing me to be one of your best
 
Please get over your adolescent self obsessed over valued ideas about individualism. Guns kill vulnerable people because flawed humans exist. Why not take a pragmatic modern collective decision to take guns off the streets. Grow up America and stop diverging from the rest of the western world with your fundamentalist individualism
 
+Sean Montague I agree and it's not only individualism they want to tell us that is there right since the constitution was born, only that they are in 21st century and don't need guns, the country is under control they have a powerfull army and police task force, it's an old principle to have a gun to defend yourself because then you had indians and bad people and also no police those times were hard and needed the use of a gun but now it's just lame...
 
Got nothing to do with the I. Issue, liberalist extreme laws that coddle
the criminal,punish u if u resist, and now want to stop u from even having
that choice, but thugs will have em. So will I, and if laws didn't stop
people from getting involved, they probably would and this discussion would
be pointless.
 
Career criminal thugs still get guns everywhere. They don't fit the profile of the people who shoot up schools or cinemas. A drug addict will most likely carry a gun to rob a pharmacy in the states, here they don't tend to. The criminal will shoot before a normal person, the figures don't verify the defence issue anyway. Just over valued individualism 
 
Excellent article. ..objective. .unemotional and balanced...no one should ever have to wait on a 911 response in a life threatening situation. It's over too fast..
 
+Bradford Walker Nature doesn't make laws - people do :) I'm saying this in jest - but seriously: whatever natural laws there are - when they don't deter bad behavior, they're insufficient.
 
+Mikey Shrooms Are you talking about the "liberalist extreme laws" that are in place in almost all other western countries? And work well there.
 
Owning a gun when someone wants to do you harm does not make you safer - it just makes them rethink how to harm you.  
Someone getting into range for a good firing solution with THEIR legally owned gun is easy, and they could get off several shots before you pull your AK47 from beneath the pillow....  ;)
 
The AK I'n the safe,with a few others, a glock, on nightstand,ready if needed, fair warning at my door. Trying to be fair...hate to drop somebody in my home just to find out he didn't really want to be there,or not just then,or whatever excuses can be dreamed up. 
 
We'll you can ues them for hunting

 
I guess it may be because it's easier to kill someone with a gun than with a taco or marshmallow?
 
A taco or marshmallow isnt going to stop a rapist high on meth...especially with 911 response times that average 23 minutes in the US
 
+Mikey Shrooms. I m not a liberal or a conservative or any sort of idealist. I m a hard headed pragmatist. Read the figures from around the world on homocides, and compare different countries. We re not preaching, my own country is in a bit of a mess at present but I still think America needs to really tackle this issue more firmly. I hope you realise it's not meant disrespectful to comment
 
I dont think guns should be banned. But I do think the 2nd amendment should be revised, because people abuse the right to own a weapon. A home with 100 guns is uneccessary there should be a limit on how many guns you are allowed to own..and or allowed at one address...

We do need the ability to properly arm ourselves, but we don't need the ability own a complete armory in our homes...
 
I've lived in Iowa for 36 of my 38 years and been around guns for most of it. I can't say I've ever felt a "gun centric" vibe. They were always there, you knew what they could do and it wasn't a big deal. They are tools. Every person who I've shot with has been very conscientious about safety. When showing me a weapon people always told me about it in detail and made sure I understood it before letting me handle it. Safety always on unless shooting. And the most important rule of all, never point one at a person. I guess the only gun culture I've experienced is one of education and respect for what they can do if handled wrong.
 
The inability for people to comprehend that guns and gun violence are two different issues is what continues to amaze me.  The mere possession of a firearm does not make anyone dangerous, no more than having a knife in the kitchen - shall we put a limit on knives as well?
 
I have heard plenty of people bring up the home invasion argument having a gun for intruders is all fine but what if you aren't home? I live in a place where gun violence is common and most of the guns around here stolen from legal owners  that have numerous weapons in their homes.
 
Is the title a reference to Conan the Barbarian and the Riddle of Steel?  Wow... :-)
 
The police cannot protect you they can only be there after the fact to fill out a report you give up your guns you become a target not only by the criminals but also big brother look at canada and australia they took their guns and crime in these country skyrocketed i refuse to be a victim i will protect myself 
 
Actually, neither. Live life, knowing, aware of the dangers, prepared, but
not obsessed or,paranoid . Guns not the issue,the punk behind it is.
 
Just as an aside to this discussion, coming from the North of England, and not really being able to understand the need of  having guns in the house, would you think we  over here would be better off if we all own guns to protect us from our ruling classes,and criminals which in  a lot of   cases are one of the same kind,  Bye the way I'm not being facetious,would really like to know.
 
Actually my comments seems too short, but most of them are more likely as possibl.
 
No, early in ur history guns were banned, so they're not near as common as
us. And there's a handle on black market guns there. From what I've
read,never been there tho and no expert on anything.
 
Hi +Scott Bunn  could you give me a reference for the crime in Canada and Australia skyrocketing due to gun control?
 
+Thilo Gross goggle gun control in canada and australia before control and after you will see for yourself 
 
+David Robertson we are talking about statistics not numbers join in the talk not just inject a opinion like joe biden
 
All I'm going to say is this:
You may not be comfortable with me having a gun, but neither is that person who is thinking about starting a mass murder at the mall. I know it makes me a target, I know I put myself at risk, and I accept this. Why? Because the wrong people have guns, they will always have guns. If I give mine up, there's a chance, no matter how slight, that someone around me could be victimized by the actions of another, and I can't live with that. Regrettably the need for a means of extreme defense will always be needed, and some of us good guys are willing to bear that burden.
 
We had 3 people here killed with a hammer and 1 with a knife why didn't anybody see that on national news why aren't the media putting this on the news and call to outlaw hammers and knives because it does not fit their agenda with proper propaganda this media can make you believe 2+2 is 6 
 
I will fight to my death to protect my right to own a gun....not to mention my right to defend myself. 65White female AMERICAN
 
This is the first article I've read in weeks that actually tried to think though the issues involved instead of just spouting off a canned extreme political viewpoint.  I take my hat off to you for trying to be a reasonable voice in the middle of unreasonableness. #Sam Harris
 
I'm watching I D channel right now a woman killed her husband by putting antifreeze in the turkey baster. Maybe we should put that on the list of deadly weapons to ban. 
 
In our constitution the 2nd amendment for the right to bear arms ultimately protects the other 9 remove the 2nd amendment and lose the other 9 wake up people
 
Finally...sanity amid all the erratic knee jerk reactions. My right to near aems protects all my other rights.
 
It was part of our constitution that the north eastern part of the Ireland was inherently part of the country. This was given up in a referendum to find peace, and it was painful but necessary. Constitutions can be altered in democracies, people are more important than ideas. 
 
I don't know what yall did in ireland but my rights under this great constitution of ours will not be violated 
 
Less than lethal products may be an option. What if everyone carried a means of incapacitating someone at a short range? Granted, such products are not perfect, but they have been gaining popularity with military and law enforcement agencies.
 
But it's not a violation it a sensible peaceful compromise. Times have changed. Agree in a vote to restrict guns quite substantially, too many vulnerable people are being hurt in this love affair with guns. Rights carry responsibilities. Would nt be beautiful if ye all chose collectively to make things safer. Our country is a better place since the political violence stopped (for the most part)
 
I can make my world safer i have guns to see to it no need to vote our forfathers already voted
 
What ever happened to guns for hunting. Really who needs guns that lets off more than 6 rounds. Too many people being killed over the silliest things. 
 
+James Clayton can you cite a reference for that 29.9% rape increase in Australia statistic? It seems highly suspect to me because most people here never carried guns to start with.
 
I must say, regarding this issue, the conclusion of our multiple experiences in Iraq, is that it is almost impossible to prevent EVERYONE from owuning guns, and usually the efforts made in that direction end up by diarming the peoole that are following the rules and the law, and leaving the guns in the hands of the people that have the will to use the weapons and the capacity to breach the law. Which may simply be reduction in the number of guns, but magnification of it's danger.
I think the solution is not just by fighting owning guns, but many measures should be made as well, including the proper awarness and media efforts and rather more effective punishments against transporting guns and carrying weapons in the streets.
 
Bad people will get guns whether they are legal or not. Alcohol and cigarettes have killed more people than anything, but i don't see anyone trying to get rid of that! A tragedy happened because some but job went crazy, not because guns are legal for law abiding citizens. 
 
+Pete Haworth what about your liberal tv and video games that is worse than seeing me with a gun i am sorry if you don't like it we are a free people and you cannot stop that or the media
Ryan Ng
 
People will find ways to get guns. You can't get rid of them completely.
 
The Constitution is not multiple choice. Those who think our society has progressed far enough that we may give and take from it what we choose are mistaken and very poor students of history. You cannot limit the rights of some to appease the fears of others. That is starting down a dangerous path that could lead in any direction. Like it or not it is what this country was built on and what has seperated it from many others. And it is what will continue to set us apart. 
 
Great read. It is so nice to see a non emotional explanation on this topic.
Frau M
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Sam, if you've read Steven Pinkers book, why do you not agree that the power to hold weapons should be that of the Leviathan, i.e. the State? You skip over that bit so very lightly in the beginning of the article - I wish you'd explain that better and not just from a private point of view. Thanks!
 
You cannot stop murders or violence if guns have never been made there would still be murders read your bible they tell it bettrr than me
 
people kill people no matter the tool or technique, most people are too afraid engage in such conflicts and without such tools the bigger stronger faster person would have the advantage, but entertain this thought of having a gun and the person next too you having a gun, you would be afraid of getting shot and so would the next person and the next and the next, it would level the playing field, and expect a lot more people defending themselves rather than becoming victims 
 
+William Andrew Channell. No way is perfect. +Pete Haworth. Yes I am concerned. Very concerned. But most of the statistics dont account for the demographic in which the majority of the "gun violence" is located. We cannot legislate criminals and gang bangers. We can however do what we can to change that trend. But we need to find away that doesnt limit law abiding responsible people or criminilze them for the actions of a deranged evil lunatic
 
oh and Hitler the nazi German he was against guns and outlawed them too then guess what happened he took over and then guess what happened, we should learn from history 
 
+Jeremy Osborne My main point is that you really didn't make any sort of argument. You basically seemed to be saying:

"You can't start taking taking guns away from people because the Constitution."
 
I was raised hunting,not poaching my father educated me to hunt food and protect to never show your guns otherwise...
 
Pretty simple stats to research folks. Areas with higher gun counts have lower crime rates. This isn't rocket science. 
 
The problem with guns in the U.S. is not guns themselves, is that people over there are too damn scared of other people. I am not afraid of my fellow citizens. From time to time, someone may go nuts and kill people, and it could happen to me, but the probability is so small that it doesn't frighten me. And, because I am not scared, I don't need a gun. I am not afraid of other people, and other people are not afraid of me. We live in a society. I think that is the best way to keep violence to a minimum.
 
Well with defect we have we better keep our guns o if society would quite harrasen people with mental disabilities and help then with the money from the prison systems obuy the wa y we spend more money on prison s than school's 
 
+Sam Harris Thank you for your calm and concise reasoning. I do, however, have a few questions for you:

1. You describe a world where knives wielded by the strong would become a problem because of things like people hesitating to help victims, the necessity for physical strength or agility to defend one's self, etc. Valid points, but I have a feeling you would rather be attacked with a knife than a firearm. There are more ways to escape a melee attack than there are from what is essentially a 'kill button'. What are your thoughts on this?

2. Gun ownership for protection at home ultimately becomes a trade-off. We choose to play along in this 'arms race' so we can ensure the safety of our loved ones at home. This perpetuation of firearm proliferation creates an environment where the availability of guns is so high it becomes easy for a criminal to purchase them, funded by petty crimes. A gun at home would protect you from this intruder, so long as you shoot first, but it is still necessary to go out into the world. We have chosen this sense of protection at the price of contributing to a world we are justifiably afraid to go out into sometimes. Shouldn't the increased safety for everyone at all times in society trump the partially-true sense of security we get with a home-bound firearm?

I'll leave it at this for now. I am a big fan and hold a lot of respect for you as a public figure. Keep it up. 
 
Ban psychotropic drugs. Guns are not the problem. And for those of you eurofags in this thread, look at your violent assult stats compared to the stats in thr US. You can't focus on 1 set of numbers and have the answer.
You can't choose your statistics, you have to look at the big picture.
 
It's easy to control guns, it's people who are fractious.
 
I forgot there other way of killing people from the mentally enpared gas form cars 1gallon of gas lot allon 20 can do massive kill I know case I got burnt standing 20 feet away from 2 gallon of gas on humid day burning brush pile on my farm it was a explosion I was burnt all over my body this is just a excuse to disarm USA and we are heavily arm no one will ever mess with use and our children
 
SRory Sam but those is just nonsense. In all of your 'in a world without guns' quotes you are forgetting that in most of the world it is illegal for most people to own guns yet there are less murders and rapes than in USA. This proves your rhetoric is inaccurate propaganda. 
Matt L
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I think we should really outlaw people's ability to watch TV more than x hours of the day. Maybe the average American wouldn't be so stupid
 
+john lira that's not relevant. if you make ready available deadly weapons that are exclusively designed for the purpose of killing others, you are increasing the likelihood that they will be used. you can kill me with a car, but that not being its primary use, it is likely you will only hurt me, i might see you coming, i might be able to jump. you can kill me with a knife, but i can try to fight you and you have to be really close to me, you can push me off a building but the situation needs to have happened, etc. guns are designed to make killing very very easy and in America it is incredibly easy for ANY member of society to kill a lot of people incredibly effectively. I agree universal access to mental support in the US is abysmal but it's fascinating that they still prefer to give them all a gun, rather than giving the population psychiatric evaluation and treatment.
 
+Charles Fazakerley That is exactly the problem. Most countries simply NEVER had millions of guns in private hands, in most cases non-democratic governments made sure that people did not have guns with which they might oppose the regime. Therefore, there never were lots of guns and therefore even most petty criminals see no need to arm themselves with guns. For the USA, in my opinion, it is simply too late, you will never get rid of all the guns. The measures proposed by Harris may actually all that CAN be done at this point... 
 
+James Clayton took a while to find the source for the dubious statement "The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5." but ,,,http://larrycorreia.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/an-opinion-on-gun-control/
The FBIs definition for mass murder is 4 murders, so I'm not sure how 2.5 injuries can be considered a mass shooting.
Mr. Correia provides no source for this statistic, which makes it even more questionable.
His opinion might make sense if he advocated crisis training for teachers but..."But teachers aren’t as trained as police officers! True, yet totally irrelevant. The teacher doesn’t need to be a SWAT cop or Navy SEAL. They need to be speed bumps."

I'd much rather that the teachers act as shepherds guiding the students out of the school or keeping them quite in a utility room.
 
+Pete Haworth , there will never be a society free of crime and guns. To believe we would ever get there is crazy! 
 
+john lira "According to [U.S.] Justice Department figures, in the past five years 94,000 weapons have been recovered from Mexican drug cartels, of which 64,000 -- 70 percent -- come from the United States."
A common misconception is that firearms are illegal in Mexico and that no person may possess them.[3] This belief originates due the general perception that only members of law enforcement, the armed forces, or those in armed security protection are authorized to have them.
 
I'm truly sorry to hear that you feel that your life is in danger. I can see how publishing this article can send a message to your harasser.

While we can not completely eliminate guns and crime, we can certainly try. Law of large numbers says that reduced numbers reduces the number of outcomes. In short: gun by-backs help in this matter. Logically the savings from the reduced carnage of gun crimes could far outweigh the initial cost.

I'm also slightly surprised that as a determinist that you made no mention of additive factors such as violent graphic/realistic 1st person shooter video games, and the many other causes for why our U.S. culture is so comparatively violent to other nations. 
 
North Korea is looking for the NRA backing. Nukes don't kill people, people kill people. What a crazy argument.
 
+john lira do you think other countries don't have psychotic members of society? we do. never use that argument again, can you see why it's a silly thing to say? in your example, another gun would only kill them AFTER they've murdered your family. how is that a solution??? Part of the solution is to be honest and recognize that the only reason you want to have a weapon designed to kill is because you think you have the right to kill and you would like to try it once. for this reason, you look for weapons. you are exactly the type of people we are trying to stop. you. personally you!
 
+Sam Harris  - Thank you for publishing a balanced viewpoint on gun violence in America. Could you point me to any trusted sources that breakout the relationship of gun violence to type of crime committed. I suspect there is a major correlation between drugs, gangs and inner city impoverishment. As you articulated, if we somehow removed the incentives provided by illegal drugs ($$$, power, peer pressure, self worth) and provided long term replacements we might have a different society in 25 years. I have thought that young people should have mandatory military training which might provide an avenue.
 
Canada spent billions trying to register guns REGISTER not get rid off.Canada has far fewer people and tiny amount off guns compared to USA.Gun registration was scrapped last year after wasting years of resources and billions of dollars yes billions in little old Canada.
 
You should get all your facts right before publishing an article, Adam left the AR in the back seat of his car. He used 2 semiautomatic handguns. 
 
A well written thought provoking read. 
 
You have a warped caveman/dark ages view of human nature!
 
I see so many ( What I think is funy) What I think is ridiculous is the simple minded comments on gun control and gun violence. #1 you can't control my gun only I can.# 2 I have never seen a violent gun only the person in control of it. To ban or control a gun is to knowingly put guns' into the hands of criminals. JUST LIKE THE BAN ON ALCOHOL and DRUGS.
 
Where I come from, bullets have permits to. One that has a fire arm can only shoot it on a shooting range. Then the capsules are tagged as legally shooted, so it can be issued a form to to be used to acquire new bullets. Off course hunting ammunition doesn't follow this procedure and most crimes perpetrated with fire arms are committed with hunting arms or with hunting ammunition.
 
#1. We are not most other countries. We are the United States of America. We will not follow the rest of the world and be like you. No we will NOT conform to a weaker society, like the rest of the world has always been. We will not be like YOU ( rest of the world ) Take away are guns and take away the power and intimidation of our Citizen militia ? NEVER !

Now, i know this comes off as an ignorant typical redneck american reply, but really I grow tired of being sensitive and politically correct. We are the United States and yes, you all can slam the U.S. all you want for being crazy, gun freaks, but in a time of crisis's you hope we are there ! 
 
I think it's funny we are trying to ban assault weapons when an assault weapon wasn't even used. Misleading statements Pete( referring to the article). Blunderbuss? Ok. Big difference there. 
 
Guns go way back ,try looking into how socalled moviestars and videogame creators,maybe you all should realize,the guns dont have a mind of their own!. Hmmmm,guess thats true of the hollywood crowd too.
 
There's much that's commendable in this article and much that is (I trust) unintentionally misleading to the reader, but buried in his 3rd footnote Harris makes a point that carries with it an implication he doesn't seem to fully appreciate. He writes, ""as is the case with many social problems, gangs answer to a need that they themselves create."   Substitute the word 'guns' for 'gangs' and the core of the US's problem is revealed.
 
All guns are assault weapons, their only purpose is to assault and kill the thing the user is shooting at.
Every gun that is capable of shooting more than once without reloading should be banned.  
If you want effective home protection use a blunderbuss because you will actually hit what you're shooting at unlike handguns which have a 80 to 90% miss rate in real life combat situations. 
 
People are talking about gun control , the guns are already on the streets. What we need is bullet control .
 
This is Irrational.
What 'Ethical importance' ??
You have a magical crystal ball, that knows exactly what the world would be like if everyone were to not own a gun. You must be incredibly gifted
Please talk to a shrink
 
+Ken Shields You don't need a crystal ball. You just have to look at the places where gun ownership is lower. The numbers speak for themselves.
 
Ok David, I stand corrected there. It also said police aren't sure what weapons were used on the kids. This was an awful event, I have 3 kids 8 and under, it was difficult for me when it happened. I also know that trying to take gun rights away won't stop criminals, after all that school was a no gun zone. 
 
Why are most anti gun people due to the killings also pro abortion? 
 
Why do most pro gun people bring up irrelevant and unproven factoids instead remaining on topic?
 
+john HARLOW  I don't think you'll find too many people who are "pro-abortion". A similar question could be asked: "Why do most people who want to limit government meddling in their lives want legislation to make abortion illegal?". Surely the ability to choose is part of the freedom these people tend to go on about...
 
+john HARLOW  Oh, John, John, John...

Because having an abortion is just the same as killing school-age children with assault rifles.

When you have something to contribute to this conversation, come back.
 
Kohn probably said that because most who want the awb are liberal ans most liberals are pro choice.
 
Truly appalling piece. I am so bitterly disappointed by it. I'll be interested to see the nationality split in those who share my disappointment, though.
 
Guns dont kill people, they protect people, it's only when they get
into the hands of stupid people do they kill. Enforce the death penalty
in every state, and homicide's will be a rare news headline. When the cowards know they will be killed for killing and not room and board for life you will seldom hear of homicide and gang hits by guns. Every state would save a billion a year or more. I am talking about total guilty killers the ones who admit the ones we know committed  cold blooded murder. I dont want to hear they say its inhumane or there too fat to hang the needle doesnt kill instantly. To all the people who say its wrong to to put someone to death because its cruel. Only a small fraction of those killed are killed instant.  
 
So theres like 254.000.000. registered cars in the U.S right?,300.000.000,licened firearms right?,probably as many laying around,and some of those ,grow legs jump up and shoot people by themselves right?,seems like we should ban cars!,they kill 40,000 a year,yes,a whole lot more than guns kill,not sure if theres always a nut behind the wheel tho?????
 
Others have made some very good counterarguments so I won't rehash.  But here's a few more.  First, this is not about compromise between two radical end member opinions.  This is about facts.  The author of Moral Landscape of all people should know this.  The correct answer does not necessarily lie somewhere in the middle or with the majority opinion.  It may very well be at the extreme.  So, let's approach this problem based on data and on what drives us toward betterment.  Second, using the argument that are too many guns is just an excuse to get out of doing hard and difficult work that will need to applied over long time scales.  Just because it's hard or because it will take a long time doesn't mean it shouldn't be done (e.g., Ozone hole).  Yes, there are way too many guns in the U.S.  Yes, it would take a long time to get rid of them.  That doesn't mean we should throw up our hands and give up if the facts drive us toward a solution that demands removing those guns. Third, there seems to be this misconception that the entire world is based on linear relationships.  Reducing guns by 10% will not necessarily reduce gun murders or crime by 10%.  It might even cause gun violence to rise temporarily.   The more realistic scenario is that there is some minimum threshold below which the effects will kick in.  250 million guns is probably not statistically better than 300 million guns.  This is why regulating some small fraction of specific firearms is a mostly useless exercise, although it looks good for a politician to be doing something.   But 10 million guns is almost certainly better than 300 million.  We need to have a long term goal of reducing guns by orders of magnitude.  This is supported by the facts, not by opinion.  The fact is that lower per capita gun ownership leads to statistically significant reductions in gun violence.  This holds globally as well as well as when comparing state by state in the U.S.   Sam can argue until he's blue in the face about his opinion, but the facts are the facts.  Lower per capita gun ownership is highly correlated with reduced gun violence and murder.  
 
I think the one and only advantage of gun is to shoot and kill Animals NoT humanbeings. The others are disadvatages..... 
 
+kevin holkeboer I'm aware of army reservist and swat teams and blah blah having training. I am also aware of the type. If anything it demonstrates the quality of reservist  It is bad reasoning to suggest that reservist get this weapons training and are able to perform, so something similar would extrapolate to gun owners. Thereby making the US safer. One could make the argument that more gun violence/accidents happen on military bases (per person) then in civilian life. But that would be as bad reasoning as your example.
All these people talking about cars... in the case you have not been reading/watching the news, cars kill so many people manufacturers are investing millions trying to get the error out of operating them. Namely us.
While training will help, you will not be able to overcome the nature of a weapon and the nature of humans.
 
Why is it wrong to strive to live in a world where it wouldn't matter how many guns someone owned, because most people wouldn't dream of hurting another. Why is it everyone decides that it is okay with them to keep people in poverty and poorly educated? Both of which have more to do with people hurting each other than the tools they use. I will note that this is one of the few times that liberals disappoint me more than conservatives. Which in this day in age says a lot. I love how these so called, “Liberal” people start acting like bullies and want to take everyone’s rights away. Calling people, “gun freaks” does not increase the power of your argument, in fact it does the opposite. (By the way and not that it matters, yes I am familiar with guns, but I personally do not own one. Not opposed to it , just have other priorities.)  Personally I expect better from my fellow humans and you all can do better, me included.
What are the triggers that push people over the edge? Most of the people that go into military service end up with varying degrees of P.T.S.D. And no one is shocked when they lose it. On the other hand you have a lot of people being bombarded with bad and misleading information and taking there chances of a bright future away. Focusing on guns is not the answer to the problem and it is not too much to expect to make things better without infringing on peoples rights or making more useless laws. Think about it.
 
European violent crime stats all increased when guns were removed from the public in England it climbed 200% in one year and in Australia it was 500%. By civilians having guns the risk to criminals committing crimes is higher and therefore deterred by that fact. I think there needs to be something done to treat mental illness because that seems to be the common link here you have millions of gun owner doin the right thing and these oneies and twoies who are mentally unstable committing these heinous acts 
 
+alan daniel Just ask yourself this: (1) what would happen if there were suddenly no guns (as in many western countries), and (2) what would happen if there where no cars. Answers: In the first case not really much, in the second case: the middle ages.
 
+Jacob Bottoms cite that claim.  I've heard exactly the opposite.

And don't bother using a right wing site, they cannot be trusted.
 
I dont know why I started this can I am not a religous person but I do believe in god or something, some one whatever mor advanced than we are. I haven been to church in 25 years or so. I do know it is written in the Bibal ,"Eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."  Now this should not be hard for any person with a fragment of a brain, and most likley talked about in every church dont do to another you wouldnt want done to you. If thats the way we all lived by we might not even need cops. I'm sorry i"m joking about that. It's I really 
am convinced that the gang bang murduring each other
and any one else that takes a life of another and we know it was murder not fearing for their life should be put to death.
Gary Ridgeway he has told all he knows the paint fumes that piece of crap inhaled has ate what little brain he has left. We know what he did fact and he admitts it. I dont care and neither should any one else that we made a deal with him
I will bet my life he made plenty of deals with a lot of the girls he took raped and killed ruthless for his sick satisfaction. Kill him lethal injection. These stains worthless pieces of crap should not be allowed a free ride for life nor should he ever be granted the right for internet or try to justify to his son why he is the what he is. He shouldnt be allowed to see any one at all. I feel sorry for his kid and I hope he doesnt even want to see his dad. He should be put to death. It cost the state for an average prisoner fifty thousand a year. Ridgeway has cost this state hundreds of thousand's could be millions and probably is. we could save 50 or 60 grand a year on that worthless piece of crap.
He didnt even use a gun and thats my point. Death should be the price you pay, for killing in cold blood his life he should pay.
  
 
Killing is killing death is death
 
I found this very interesting! Thank you for presenting an enlightened discussion about how guns are perceived. 
 
I'm an englishman, mr. Bottoms...where the hell do you get your inflated figures?
 
Sam,
That is one of the best thought out and cleanest arguments that I have seen from both sides of the fence.   I agree 100% with everything that you said.    Thanks for posting that well thought out article and I hope that others will take the time to read the entire thing.
 
Very well done Mr. Harris.
 
A nice piece from Harris, even though I don't agree with the conclusions he draws. I understand the recreational use of guns (hunting and shooting ranges) and I understand the self-defense argument (as unlikely as it is a person would ever need one). And I take the statistical point that 20 dead children out of tens of millions is low. But I still think 20 dead children is a high cost to pay. And I certainly don't understand the fetish some have with guns. I do not wish to own an instrument of death, which is what a gun is (knives have functions other than death -- a gun is only good for one thing). I don't think I'm putting my family at risk by not owning one; I'd say the reverse would be true.
 
I always thought men who are obsessed with big guns... well, you know.
 
My only issue with the mental health argument is that it will NEVER be solved, because you can't legislate mental health.

The people that need mental health services the most in my opinion are religious conservatives; and they are the least likely to get it.

Stricter regulations are the only realistic means of reducing gun violence.

#stupidgunarguments
 
Sam, that is your right to think that.   And if you don't feel that you shouldn't have, don't want, or don't need a gun that is your prerogative.  and I would agree that you shouldn't be forced to have one.    As long you allow me to exercise my rights provided to me by the constitution that I took and oath to defend, even if you don't agree with those rights, I don't see any issues with that.  The biggest issue right now is that there are too many people in this country that feel that no one should have guns and want to take them away from everyone.   I don't agree with that.   There is a small chance that my life will ever be put in danger by some maniac that wants to harm me, but I want the ability and tools to be able to protect myself and my family should it ever happen.   If you don't try to take that right away from me, then you and I can be good friends even though we don't see eye to eye on this particular issue.
 
+Chaitanya Marvici but the fact that guns are legal gives so many people a much greater opportunity and motive to hurt you.  They are most likely to be used in domestic violence when murder occurs and domestic violence is the most common reason for death by guns.

You may feel like this could never happen to you, but what about your sisters - your daughters - your friends.  Are you willing to put them in danger so you can pretend you are more safe because you have a gun?
 
I think gun ownership is not an automatic right, I think it should be a relatively rare privilege for those who need them and are highly trained and reliable at using them. I can't understand the constitutional arguement as democracies change rules, that's democracy. I think governments should be pragmatic not ideologues, and the statistical evidence for self defence seems sparse. But if gun availability is not the problem what is? 
 
Chaitanya, the constitution argument is an interesting one, because I am one who thinks as grand of a document the constitution is, it is also flawed and a product of its time. In other words, it is no longer the 18th century and perhaps having an armed citizenry is no longer a good idea (I also happen to think the second amendment refers to an armed militia, not something like concealed weapons). But I don't think you have to worry about losing your right to bear arms in your lifetime. I think in a couple of generations people will not have the same appetite for owning guns and they will eventually decide, as a body, they no longer want guns rampant in our society, and the United States will then catch up with other countries in that regard.
 
as long as there are guns and weapons of death we are still just monkeys hitting each other with sticks
 
First off, that argument only works if you truly believe that removing all of the guns from everyone's hands will result in a rosy safe world.   Even if there was a way to remove all the guns from this country, which is completely impossible, there are many others ways that I or members of my family can be attacked or hurt.   This is NOT a safe world.  There are many ways for people to hurt others in this world.   As for putting them in danger, that's very simply a matter of perspective.   You feel that I am putting them in danger, and I completely disagree.   I feel that on the off chance that someone breaks into my house with the intention of doing me or my family harm, that I at least will give my family and I a fighting chance to come out of the situation alive.   We have even created and run through home invasion scenarios that involve EVERY member of my family and we practice these on a regular basis.   So I don't pretend that I am safer, I know for a fact that I and my family are safer.   As for domestic violence, MOST of those attacks occur with knives out of kitchen and not with guns in the house.   I would rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6 should something ever happen.   You might have a different feeling about that, and that's ok, But you can't take away my right to defend myself and my family just because you have a different point of view.
 
very very true and I will add if my life was ever threatend by an in truder that I believe was going to kill me my family or a neighbor that couldnt defend themselfs left with life or death choice I would be glad I could stop sensless killing. Here is a good one I have never carried a gun unlawfull I have a C.C.W. I will say if guns were banned I would be an outlaw and those walking in the mall minding their own buisness when some freak pulls out a rifle and opens fire on a crowd of people there is no choice but  to shoot to end the threat of fatel injury loss of life. In the Muldanado or whatever that freak is called he would have been dead the second I pulled my gun and just like cops are trained end the situtation as fast as possible. Never pull a gun unless you are 100% sure you can use it, let that be a warning for any one with a doubt in their mind because you shouldnt have one . 
 
+Sam Vicchrilli While I do agree with your statement that the Constitution is an old document, it's still the foundation of our country with over 200 years of history behind it.  The intention of the Constitution and the bill of rights, while being older, is to make sure that certain things don't ever occur again.   When I joined the military, I took and oath to support and defend that document, just as the president did and every other public official does when they get elected into office.  It's called being sworn in.   Even if there are public officials or military that don't agree with it, we ALL took an oath to support and defend it. It's the foundation of this country and you can't pick and choose those items that you want and leave the rest in the dust.   It doesn't work that way.
 
+Chaitanya Marvici that's a nice fantasy, but you are wrong.  Most murders by guns happen at home and because of domestic violence.  Knives are hard to kill with, a gun around makes it far more likely that death will result.  Sure removing the gun won't stop domestic violence but hey, perhaps you don't care if your daughter is killed by her husband.

And no, you aren't safer.  Your gun is statistically not likely to save you from anything.  Home invasions on families not involved in drugs are almost nonexistent   Yes, they happen, but not very frickin often at all.  You are putting in all kinds of effort for something as unlikely as winning the lottery big time.

So basically all your work is for nothing.  You would have a far better result if you made sure your community was adequately staffed by police so there was little likely hood that someone would try anything in the first place.
 
So it is just a matter of time untill the next mass shooting as it was a matter of time from the one before that. And while you do nothing about dissarming your nation it wiill be just a matter of time until the mass shooting that follows that. 
Jim L.
 
+colin pyper We are not supposed to be disarmed. Please spend some time reading our Constitution before you open your trap. You just sound like an ignorant jerk when you have no clue what you're talking about. 
 
+Kate Childers Wow.   Saying that I don't care if my daughter is killed by her husband is just so far out there.   This is exactly why people like me can't have a reasonable discussion with people like you.   That statement is so far from the truth, that I shouldn't even be acknowledging it.   But I have a completely different view of life and liberty and safety than you do.  I KNOW that the government can't keep me and my family safe and I have a plan to give myself a fighting chance on the off chance that something does happen.   

Anyway, if you want to have a reasonable discussion with me about it, then i'm game.  But if you want to throw out insane statements, make accusations, and diminish my effort just because I have a different point of view than you, then this conversation is done.   

Grow up.   Realize that a difference of opinion exists and we don't have to agree with it, but we do have to respect other's opinions and not resort to name calling and belittling others.
Jim L.
 
+Jah-Anshan L'Andau So, the 90+ million gun owners in America (legal owners by current illegal laws) haven't gone out of their way to shoot anyone. Your argument is garbage. 
 
+Kate Childers You are correct in your prior realization of the idiocy of Sam Harris. They have backed off touting him as some kind of intellectual heir to Richard Dawkins after getting a good look at some of the nonsense and illiterate pop cultural pseudo science palaver and howlers he spews out on a regular basis. They may as well put a fathead blowhard like Penn Jilette up to debate creationist  Billy Bobs for frat boy entertainment at second rate colleges. Or have him take on Ann  Coulter or Herman Cain in the intellectual big leagues. 
 
+Sam Moore And Sam that is your right.   But remember that millions of Americans have served and died to support and defend that document.   Even if you think it might be outdated, their effort to give you the freedoms provided by it are not.   :)
 
Sam I found your article well thought out and informative...well done!
 
No one served for me, they served them selves. They even got paid to do it. I have and will continue to fight for my rights. Not yours. 
+Chaitanya Marvici 
Jim L.
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+Kate Childers You want to talk about fantasy? If you remove the gun, the insane "significant other" will use a different in-animate object to kill/hurt/maime. If ban that, then they will find another.. maybe a snow-globe this time. You REFUSE logic. You REFUSE reason. It's not the weapon, it's the crazy person in the relationship that is the cause. P E R I O D. Remove the crazy, remove the risk. Don't shack up with mentally unstable, alcoholic, wife-beaters and you won't endanger yourself. 
 
+Sam Moore So the hundreds of thousands of Americans that died to keep Hitler from taking over the world did it for the money or for themselves?   That statement is just ludicrous.   I'm curious, what rights are YOU fighting for?   I know what I am fighting for, but i'm really curious what you are fighting for?
 
I'm an activist. Look at my profile you will get the picture. Those people you speak of in WW2 were fighting for their lives, being drafted and all. Please save your tawdry evaluation of my person.
EDIT:
You don't need a gun to fight for the rights of all people. But you do need a gun to shot them.
 
+Jim Losi   Ah, the rant against statistics.  So illogical I am for using them.  That's not reason apparently.  I'm not sure what you are thinking is reason, but reasonable people disagree.

And I'm also glad you can remove the wife beaters, because usually the wives and children have a hard time doing that.  Wives are beat down mentally and if they try to leave, well out comes that legal gun she cannot prevent him from buying.

You might want to go do some volunteer work at a safe house dear.  Learn a bit about what you think you know all about.

Unless like pretty much all other big machismo guys, you really don't give a rat's ass about understanding the situation.
 
+john gury I much agree.  I bought his book and thought - this is what the fuss is all about?  This is just the bare basics we all know, and not well presented either.

Dawkins I love.  He knows the science and grinds the foolish within it's gears.
 
Look folks you can't legislate guns out of existence. Look at the recent shootings in California, and they have some of the tightest laws in the country. Guns don't kill, but people have, do and will no matter how many laws you in act. Live with it!!!.
 
+Sam Moore Ok.   They were fighting for their lives.  What would have happened if they had let Hitler win?   We would have lost our liberty, our freedom and ability to truly be ourselves.  

You say your an activist?   An activist for what?   You haven't served in the military, you haven't served in a elected office, and you were born into a country that many people died to give you the rights and freedoms that you have.  And your an activist for what?   And i'm not evaluating your person, i'm honestly trying to understand it.   I know that we don't agree, but I at least can give you the respect that you deserve.   And I expect the same from you.  I simply asked a question.  What are you fighting for?   What are your beliefs?   Why do you feel that it's necessary to take away rights that were given to both you and me hundred's of years ago?   Please enlighten me!
 
You can't say that when you can drive an hour to Nevada.
 
OK +Chaitanya Marvici very nice exchanging words. None of this is appropriate for Sam's post. We would 500 this and lock it down. Not to mention all the strawmen you are beating.
Jim L.
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1
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+Kate Childers I have a degree in Psychology. One thing I learned from that is that people PUT themselves in situations that they know are dangerous and refuse to use logic and reason during the initial courting. They are duped, and conned because they refuse to listen to their environment and those around them and they swing right along with normalcy bias. I've been the victim as a child and I can spot it immediately. When I warn people, they refuse to listen. If they refuse to listen, I can't force them. If they continually put themselves in harms way because they are unwilling to address their cognitive dissonance over what they want it to be and what it truly is, then that is the sign of a larger issue; quite frankly, it's an issue I pin on "skittle shitting unicorn" promoters of people (often relatives and parents) that everything is going to be perfect in life.  WAY too often the individual is not prepared. So I don't blame them, I blame those who raised them without the direct necessary skills in which to prevent themselves from entering such dangerous situations.  Quite frankly, if my sister was ever in a situation where I knew her "sig other" was abusing her and she wouldn't get rid of him, then I'd be obliged to fix it. The crazy can always be removed.. you have to have the balls to do it. Wife-beaters are chicken shit assholes and when confronted are cowering pieces of shit. My father put his brother-in-law in  line after he beat my aunt. The problem can be stopped. People just have to the courage to do it. 

I digress.. your statics would be filled with the next available object that can do harm. If you can't see that, then you're nothing but a shill for the anti-gun crowd. Evil commits to evil every time. 
 
+Kate Childers Dawkins was also smart enough not to take too much part in the shameful and disgusting neo con war mongering that fed into the invasion of Iraq which Harris and Hitchens were so big on - being the manly men that they are - so concerned and involved with the defense of western civilization and crusading for things like Islamic women's rights. 
 
+Jim Losi with an attitude like that, don't go into the business.  My mother taught psychology and I have a certificate in emergency counseling as well as training in domestic violence.  

As I said, try volunteering and you might get a little more education in how it actually does work.  Alcohol damages the brain and in a fair percentage of alcoholics creates an anger response.  There is no specific signs of when or if the person will become abusive, but abusive people are experts at retaining the people they are abusing.

In other words - get some real life experience before you blow off your mouth about it.
 
+clifford lowe

Statistics can be used or twisted to show whatever bias either side likes. I actually admit owning a gun is statistically more dangerous than not owning one, however, I do not agree that the best defense in a "what if" situation is no defense, or hoping the cops get called, arrive, or someone hears the gunshots in time for the paramedics to save the shooting victims.

If the problem is a mass shooter killing people in a gun free zone, a place with best case ten minute police responses. Then to me it is obvious an armed guard, a paid policeman assigned to work there, or a concealed carry teacher or person would be the best chance of survival for the most people.

People could still try to hide in utility closets, play dead, beg for mercy, or best of all run like crazy if they have a clear safe exit. It only took the Sandy Hook shooter a couple minutes to kill everyone. There is no possible chance police can respond that quickly if they are not already on site. So if the argument is less guns will protect us from guns, it needs to be more clear how this makes sense when someone willing to kill themselves can certainly obtain a gun illegally.

The counter argument against the NRA, or using good guys with guns to defend against bad guys with guns, mostly seems to be "just have less guns in society". To me that is rather naive and ignoring how many guns are out there. Although non lethal forms of defense are also a good choice, and better than nothing or rushing the shooter. Prevention with better mental health treatment, preventing bullying, I think are also good ideas. In the end though, if someone is willing to kill themselves to kill others they can find a way to do it.
Jim L.
 
+Kate Childers I have a background in Neuroscience. I opted not to go into the field because it's filled with quacks and weirdo's who think the entirety of human emotion is some sort of disease and can be qualified and quantified. I know that humans are so variant that this is not possible. This science has a long way to go.   But thanks for your suggestion. I will remind the people I counseled who had TBI's and went on to lead successful lives because I helped prepare them for life with a TBI that I don't know what I'm talking about. I will especially tell one of them that his saving his own life by virtue of me empowering him to use rational thought, reason and logic was just a ruse. 

I have real-life experience. I was one of the FIRST counselors for TBI in the north country in NYS out of SUNY Plattsburgh. One of the pioneers of the THINK FIRST for KIDS program and published with my peers on a study of Alzheimers.  

But I gots nuttin... nuttin by logicz and reasonz.. 
What ever.. you're a troll. Go buy a gun and get some experience before you carry on about something you appear to have no clue about. 
 
+Jim Losi Um, you really have a problem with basic logic don't you?   And apparently little experience on the net if you think I'm a troll.  
Jim L.
 
+Kate Childers having been an admin at Majorgeeks, one of the largest online forums, I seriously doubt that. Your logic sucks. I deal with logic on a daily basis as a software developer. I can tell you without any doubt that your correlation and causality graphs are complete bullshit. 
 
+William Andrew Channell not so! Look at south africa,congo,syria,Irag and the list goes on and on. These countries have very strict gun control.Guess what? Only criminals,terrorist and military and or police own guns. Scotland yard and royal rule is about the most lame example of succesful gun control I could imagine.
 
+Jim Losi We are all really  impressed by your having been  an admin at a place like Majorgeeks. No doubt you are a top level developer with advanced degrees from a major university in math, statistics and computer science. 
Jim L.
 
+john gury This kind of correlation doesn't require a degree in mathematics, but thanks for being a dick all the same. I'll just move the abacus bead for dicks to the +1 side.. 
 
The rest of gun loving america gotta follow the golden eagles...play rugby...bash the crap outta the other guy for 80 minutes when ref blows whistle end of game you look the man in the eyes and shake his hand then go have a beer with him...a bit of bullshit friendship a lotta kai a few more beers then you get to did all over again next week...no guns in rugby only people dealing with their issues! Kia ora! 
 
@Kate Childers I am a victim of domestic abuse and you're babbel is one sided. I own guns and guns have nothing to do with domestic violence except being one of the weapons chosen by the perp. If you are convicted of even misdemeanor domestic abuse it's against the law to own a gun period! Besides this about gun control not domestic violence.
 
+Jim Losi You are welcome, or as they say here in Brazil, a nation with very interesting gun laws which I am sure you know all about, nada. 
 
Well, I guess I got told by a self proclaimed software developer no less.  Using statistics to make decisions is not logical.
Jim L.
 
+john gury Brazil where the gov't decides if you can keep your guns and makes you pay a hefty "tax" on it too. Other than having never visited Brazil, not that I'd want to as it appears to be end result of where we're headed; No thanks. +Kate Childers self proclaimed like you proclaim your expertise in counseling. Your statistics are correlations. They are false correlations and are used as talking points by logically bereft people like yourself. It's like saying (and I enjoy this example) more lemons are imported from mexico each year. Each year there are less traffic related fatalities. Therefore more lemons imported = less traffic fatalities.  That is the argument you submit. It's absurd. 
 
+Kevin Lybrand Come on. Seriously? Are you really going to ignore every other factor and single in on gun control in those countries you listed?
 
+William Andrew Channell isn't that what you did? You said look at other countries with less guns. Who I ask is going to control guns in the U.S.? We need strict prosecution and enforcement of existing laws. Quit letting mental criminals out of prison and tieing the hands of prosecutors. Thats the solution.
Jim L.
 
+Kate Childers "Banning guns has proved over and over that it does work quite well."  HORSE SHIT.. 
 
Well +Jim Losi is you only rely on right wing web sites, I can see where you would get that opinion.
 
There is NO solution. The Genie has been long out of the bottle and you will not get the guns back, guaranteed. These senseless shootings will go on as log as humans inhabit the earth ans especially here in the United States. So, get over it ad move on!!
Rick Johnston 
Jim L.
 
+Kate Childers Quick to judge, but I am not a republican, nor am I a democrat. I don't do mainstream media. Zerohedge, however, is my favorite site these days. Thanks for playing "judge a book by its cover" .. FAIL!
 
+Kevin Lybrand No, that is not what I did. You took countries with recent or current violent struggles, internal armed conflict and/or civil war, and pointed out that gun ownership is illegal there. If the US fit that profile, then yes, we would have a great comparison. However, the US is a developed country with a stable government and no recent or current violent conflicts. And if we compare the effects of gun control in similar countries, the results are very clear. And I'm not just talking about Europe. The most similar country we can compare the US to is probably Australia. Do some research and see what happened to guns and crime in Australia.
 
I read some comments from posters on google plus. Some of them own guns. I think to myself I would nt let some of these people be in charge of the television controls never in charge of a weapon !! Gun control folks it's only sensible 
 
If I lived in the U.S I would feel safe for my kids knowing that there is 55 million other kids for a gun man to choose from haha stupid.
 
Very nice read Sam, you have obviously thought about this problem in great detail.  I too believe there is no one single answer to the problem.  There was a reason, back in the mid 1800’s that Colt created the Peacemaker .  It was the 911 of it’s time.  Be thankful you live in a country where you can decide how you use the 911 system.
 
I just included Australia. I said Royal rule. I do research daily. What evidence other than media that Australia has less violence. The population of Ausralia is the % difference. So if you think were not struggling and were not effected by terror where have you been? One more thing. What do you think brought us to the point of civilization or as you put it profile, GUN CONTROL? Cmon man. Take gun rights from American citizens and we will soon become undeveloped and on the same profile.
 
The greatest armed force in America other than the military is not police or the criminal. It's the hunter. Known fact.@William Andrew Channel
 
Where were all the guns to save those kids? Ummm .Hey if guns were banned,he would have had less access to a gun and that =kids still going to school.If that's not reason enough to ban guns then I'ld hate to imagine what will be.
 
+Jim Losi That linked article you urged me to read was very long and did not refute what I said, nor were the ideas in his blog and mine mutually exclusive. Doing both could be better than doing either alone. He did stretch the truth a few times and the reason I caught it was because I had investigated claims made on my YouTUBE video about this. That didn't make what he wrote invalid, it just showed he has a bias that he doesn't know about. (e.g. China stabbing incident had no fatalities and mainly minor injuries)

You think the crazy test I suggest is saying, "if you have nothing to hide, let us search your house." Your emotional attachment to your side of the debate has clouded your judgement. snark=> Perhaps you were in line with the protesters when Bush and the republican majority after 9/11 came up with the Patriot Act and decided to spy on Americans using the private info for political gains. <=snark Maybe you really do care about a right to privacy. Maybe you do think this idea is an invasion of it.

How you fornicate, pray, eat, etc. is your private business. What you do with your car is different; its in the brackish waters of public business. The risks associated to your liberty and pursuit of happiness in a car can negatively effect somebody else's liberty and pursuit of happiness. Thus, reasonable people have devised tests, and other conventions of traffic to minimize the risk of harm while maximizing the liberty. Insurance is mandated for the planned reckoning for damages that will be done probabilisticly. How is a firearm different than a car? Your firearm isn't as safe for the public as your jiz on the mattress. It's something that requires a great deal of respect and reasonable assurances to the public that it won't be used to harm innocent victims. You are so offended that you have to take a crazy test that you will protect the actual crazy armed people's right to be a threat to the meek? 

Look, I'm thinking about keeping it free for ill advised people to own useless firearms so their neurotic fears can be quelled. I'm also thinking about the fears of those that can't leave their house without fear because of the bravado of CCW enthusiasts that are out looking for trouble and inventing it when they wait too long. If you really thought about my idea, you could have said it wouldn't have prevented the Sandy Hook massacre because the assumed to be sane mom was the gun owner, not the mentally troubled murderer that came from her loins. Public knowledge of the crazies with firearms would go a long way to stopping the Network TV worthy tragedies and many other impulsive homicides that only make 5 seconds on a local TV news show.
 
Be proud americans.
Don't concern yourselves with being liked by the rest of the world.
Rest of the world and Obama Liberals want to weaken this country.

A horrible incident as this is not going to change American Citizens RIGHT to bear arms.

So stop with the,

" oh if there were no guns, what a nice world this would be "

All we can do is educate people.

Maybe, jus maybe, since this tragedy another mother with a mentally unstable son or daughter has gone out and bought a safe for her guns. Maybe she got rid of the guns completely. Maybe, parents are now seeking help for their child. This is what we should be hoping for and discussing, Not guns.

YES, guns kill !
That was the whole design of the gun.

American citizens are free to bear arms, and that will NOT change.

GOD BLESS AMERICA
And those who support Americas way of life.

And if you don't,
So be it.




 
Interesting article.  Written in a language designed to make the reader  imagine that the author is unbiased and has looked fairly at all angles in this debate. Unfortunately, I have yet to see a single article on this issue that has left out most bias. Perhaps we can get to a solution on this problem when people can openly and honestly discuss this problem in the light of challenging their own biases.
 
God bless the parents of those poor children
 
Ok 20 children killed in newtown ct how many abortion clinic drs are there in the usa i don't know but i can ask you how many children are killed daily by the ama sucked out of the womb kicking and screaming trying to live and this is legal and you say pro choice well as a gun owner i also should have a pro choice decision to buy a gun or not but you liberals take one incident by a crazy man to justify you to claim you want all guns removed from society who do you think you people are we pay the bills for you we cut our money off the rest of you will wither on the vine like your utopia california
 
+Peter Rau we have 911 now because it is a better option than just blowing your neighbors away with a Colt Peacemaker. It seems poorly worded to imply that ones personal firearm should be used for vigilantism instead of using legitimate authority (police). I don't think that is what you meant, but it is an example of a statement that can be construed very poorly.
 
I think your article here, Sam, is as close to my own thoughts as I have seen on any other site or article.  Thank you.
 
Still self-serving Sam? No mention at all of the statistics of nations with gun control? That's not a "reasoned argument" that's avoidance of facts. This is why I regard you as a fake intellectual. 
 
+Kate Childers Thank you for trying to insert reason and fact into this conversation. It's sad that the OP, who claims scientific credentials, managed to be completely blind to the actual statistics surrounding gun injury and death. 
 
+Hardingtin Steele. Patriotism is very admirable. But your brand of patriotism is qualified. I m not American but is caring about a country' s reputation internationally not patriotic. Does the social worker in Detroit or New Orleans working tirelessly in drugs infested areas, not have a hugely difficult job. Is the Californian liberal who employs hundreds in a business they created with their imagination not a patriot. You seem to think the only American patriots are hard right Christian, pro gun freedom, republican and conservative. I have witnessed nationalist thinking when people obsess about who owns a country and forget about what's best for their country. That's very harmful. 
 
To all those who maintain that the supply of guns and the will to hold on to them is beyond solution in the US there are plenty of  easy economic solutions to reduce that supply significantly with certainty  that would make everyone happy. Unfortunately they already spent it all bailing out companies like GM, investment banks, cash for clunkers, pointless warfare in the mideast and loser green energy projects. Even an idiot like Sam Harris would give up his guns if  the trade in value were high enough or there were enough tax credits tagged onto his next stupid book. Still there are plenty of other interesting economic approaches which are certainly required, but which our political class is too stupid and craven to deal with,  along with the the other obvious things like serious behavior modification, dealing with the various media interests marketing violence as entertaining appealing behavior and so on.  But don't give up hope since we have Joe Biden  in charge of the blue ribbon panel with all solutions on the table. 
 
+john gury I see a lot of complaining there, John, as well as you making it pretty plain that you think large classes of people are all idiots, but I don't see you proposing any concrete, constructive solution details--just claiming that they exist. "Even an idiot like Sam Harris", as you put it, had more constructive to say--and that was without insulting anyone directly.
 
in my opinion sam makes two mistakes. the first is the implication that having a gun is a deterrent and protection against being shot; that murderers are stupid as well as crazy. in the case where a perpetrator knows a weapon will be present, he would logically take out the armed individual[s] first by surprise attack. we're, after all, talking about individuals who are emotionally disturbed, not necessarily mentally challenged. most recently shooters have been showing up on the crime scene in body armor, thereby ensuring they will have protection in case an armed individual is encountered.

the second is in announcing to the world that he is, himself, armed; thereby increasing the chances he will be shot in the back.

beyond than that, i'm somewhat appalled at his treating of victims as statistics. as long as there are guns of any kind available there will be gun murders. but it's reasonable to assume that more people will be killed in a single event when the perpetrator has easy access to extended magazines and higher firepower. the fact that these events may be relatively uncommon is little solace to the victims and those close to them.
 
+Scott Gomez So I suppose Sam Harris, who proposed nothing substantive whatsoever in several thousand rambling words, is more constructive than I am to simply point out there are not only basic economic solutions that are not even being discussed but multiple other approaches that would not offend anyone's delicate sensitive feelings about firearms. So do not tell ME that I have nothing constructive to add when it is in fact YOU who are contributing nothing here, much like Sam Harris. 
 
If we monitored and restricted the sale of ammunition with due diligence most of those millions of guns would be expensive lumps of metal in 20 years. Ammunition degrades over time, is manufactured by a limited number of factories, is heavy, and easy to detect with x-ray equipment.

We've already outlawed lawn darts, brass knuckles, switch-blades, sword canes, and nunchucks. So what's the problem with eliminating the sale of ammunition for these semi-automatic assault weapons? They provably, kill children in large numbers. 

So yes, I also think large classes of people are idiots. It's an easily provable assertion. 
 
umm...when entering into this discussion, one might want to take into account the possibility that they could find themselves quoted in one of sam's future writings....i'm just saying.  :)
 
My points, +john gury and +John Poteet, which I perhaps made poorly, were that there's nothing here that proves either of you to be less idiotic in one way or another than anyone else, and secondly, that if you want to engage people in some sort of reasonable discourse, you might try an approach that doesn't call them (or other people whose opinions they may respect) all out as idiots from the start (regardless whether you might think them so).

And that goes for both sides of debate, and includes me, also. :-)

More often than not, just who appears to be an idiot resides solely in the mind of the reader or listener, and has no provable basis in fact. If a reader or listener has to wade through yards of invective and name-calling just to find the one inch worth of good points someone might make, I can guarantee that many folks who otherwise might have been interested in something that person had to say will have given up reading long before said person ever got around to saying it.
 
+John Poteet I used to reload shotgun, rifle and pistol  ammo so you don't have to rely on the factories to do it as it is not a particularly high tech process. Ammo has always come up as something to regulate, tax, outlaw etc. and there are ways to do things like put compounds in the powder supply to make it degrade faster if they really felt like doing it. I don't think that is  the most productive approach economically and has proved impractically controversial as your basic 9mm or .223 round is pretty ubiquitous and is what feeds such a wide range of semi- and full auto firearms. The task that everyone seems to agree on is one of reduction of supply and access by irresponsible individuals to weapons first and of course ammo goes along with that but is easier to come by for a dedicated individual. Access is a big one economically  as there are lock up and non owner disable incentives of all types from homeowner insurance to manufacturer installed systems etc that have been around for years but not treated with big money and power behind them.  
Oh yes, Harris makes an idiot and annoying holier than thou argument about how HE as a responsible gun owner gets substantial training every month with super qualified "professional" expert shooters as part of his deep concern about safety and ethics to REALLY safely defend his family unlike all those implicitly irresponsible owners unlike himself. That is ridiculous and self serving on multiple levels not the least of which being a major advantage of firearms like handguns is that are easy to quickly train total novices to be quickly effective with for basic defense along with common sense safe handling.  But of course idiot factor along with can't fix stupid, brutish, violent, crazy,  criminal, and more enters into it, which no quantity of regular pro training can deal with. Yet another obvious problem with his seeking professional coaching. So I have to assume Sam Harris is an idiot with a gun despite whatever he writes about his training. Of course that is something you assume about everyone with guns until they prove otherwise but in  his case you would want to be extra careful. 
 
+Scott Gomez You don't find it curious in any way that Sam Harris, founder of Project Reason "a 501(c)(3) nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society" neglected to mention the effective gun control experience(s) of perhaps a billion people on three continents with numerous governments and varied degrees of control? 

It's not like there's a lack of research: http://goo.gl/zfHvD

The U.S. has roughly 5% of the global population. How exactly do you have a reasoned argument when you eliminate 95% of the data? 
 
+Scott Gomez FYI on the assumption of idiocy vis-a-vis Sam Harris. How about taking what someone writes about his enjoyment and deep insights while taking any number of psychoactive and  hallucinogenic drugs at face value? Idiot or not, judging him on the basis of what he writes I think he might not be someone you would want running around with any guns in hand that is for sure.  Oh, but he has all that top professional training. Uhh huh. They won't be making him an FBI or CIA agent anytime soon I can assure you of that. 
 
"I used to reload shotgun, rifle and pistol  ammo so you don't have to rely on the factories to do it as it is not a particularly high tech process." +john gury (emphasis added, J. Poteet)

"Used to;" exactly my point. I assume you were using manufactured powder, bullets and primers also. Are you going to tell me you have the equipment to make precision primers? I don't think so. 

Would you be willing to risk federal prison time in order to maintain an unregistered, untagged and unrestricted supply of ammunition if limited amounts of licensed ammunition were readily available with a check of your I.D. and status? Not likely. 

Thank you for playing. 
 
Very good +Sam Harris I'm very pleased to see reasonable, rational thought is still present somewhere. You've gained a follower. The world needs more people like you.
Jim L.
 
+Michael Rupp Your entire argument is rendered moot once you understand "Innocent first". This is something I don't think you are willing to grasp. Look, as soon as the job of the police gets easy, it's a fact that our rights get eroded. The only way that their jobs get easy if this happens either by force, fraud, weakness or indifference. It's not up to me to prove anything. It's up to them. End of story. 

For the record, I am VERY VERY anti-Patriot act, NDAA, CISPA.. I didn't vote for anyone on the ballot this past election. I don't buy into the system. That is not to say I didn't vote.. I just didn't vote for those two clowns. 
 
+John Poteet Used to reload, at that time we were supplying a group from a skeet and trap shooting club with about 500 members and the shells got expensive even back 30 years ago even buying in cases out of trucks from Federal, Olin and everywhere else. Now I have enough ammo for the guns I rarely shoot safely stocked, with non corrosive sealed pirmers- not that cheap Yugo/Soviet and Chinese crap they periodically dump  - to last a lifetime. I'm hardly alone in that regard too in the US of A and there are pretty substantial numbers of people who will take things like basic .22 lr rounds in lieu of cash if you are not aware of that economic fact. Cases of good .22 lr have been a pretty good investment return too fyi even if you don't own any guns. Regardless, I'm not saying that ammo is not something to think about, and leave it at that. Yes I can live without hollow points, glaser frag rounds etc. (I don't think cops should have them either)  but I would be willing to risk whatever penalty to have things like .22, 9mm, shotgun shells, .223, 30-30, and all the other basic essentials. Pretty much a non-negotiable, cold dead fingers issue too for everyone I know with guns in the US. That is what I mean about an impractical  approach on any number of levels. 
 
+john gury You're exactly the guy I think needs a visit from the ATF with an APC. Cold dead fingers is fine with me. I'm sick of dead kids and you're the guy spreading the poison that's killing them. If your house goes foom because you resist, cool; less paperwork. 

The small number of individuals hoarding guns and ammunition for purposes other than hunting, licensed security work or law enforcement are the source of these rampages where hundreds of rounds are fired. They're all sane and law abiding until they're not. 

Anybody with a "lifetime" supply of ammunition is dangerously mentally ill in my book. At least if they're under 80 years of age. 
 
+John Poteet Not especially curious, given the argument he was presenting here. Had this been a book length treatise, then yes, I would have expected a much more in-depth treatment.
 
+John Poteet Then you had better turn the ATF, FBI, CIA, IRS and the armed forces of the US loose on the entire state of Texas you fucked up fascist moron. I offered some very practical advice for this reality in the US and you come back with a a load of total bullshit as well as making threats. Go fuck yourself you ignorant piece of human shit. 
Jim L.
 
+Alok Tiwari and if someone couldn't afford the insurance, you strip them of their right? That's just about the most absurd thing I've heard yet. How about you carry the insurance so I don't have to pay higher taxes on your inability to secure yourself which requires more police to do this for you. Accountability.. sure.. YOU take of YOU so I don't have to pay for it.
 
+John Poteet  I'm pretty sure you and +john gury are on the same side.  I think you have to read more of what he wrote and perhaps a bit more carefully.
 
Look, according to the efficient market hypothesis, the market will price the liability insurance at exactly the right level: if someone owning a gun adds minimal or no risk to the rest of society, the price for them will be zero or extremely low. Surely the private sector and capitalism (i.e., efficient markets) can handle this.

Or do conservatives not believe in efficient markets and capitalism anymore? (And I do carry life, health, car, and renter's insurance.)
 
+john gury Exactly. You think you're going to host a replay of the Civil War with some sort of TEOTWAWKI standoff at the county line against hordes of unarmed urban zombies. The truth is that you belong to an aging, rural and increasingly isolated demographic that has some very odd views about your rights vs. the rights of the non-gun owning majority. 

The entire state of Texas does not support your views because at the very least hispanic and black Texans understand that, for them, open-carry is the fastest way to an open casket. Forty-one percent of Texas voters went for President Obama and considering your local politics, that's a fair estimate of the fraction that would support some form of increased gun control. The demographic trends are that Texas will be a blue state by 2020. 

+Jim Losi Gun owners are the threat to the rest of us with clearly quantifiable costs in death, disability, hospitalization and law enforcement costs. You impose the risk to others; you pay. 
 
+Kate Childers Please, don't put me on the same side as someone who just wrote how he wants feds to kill me, destroy my home, and more. since I am deranged, responsible for spreading the poison that is killing our kids, etc. I think it is fair to say I share very little in common with him other than a very justified dislike and hope for him to be pepper sprayed by his local police in the near future. 
 
(sigh)  I never do understand how come some of those who post here take things so personally.  Not to diss either of you, but it's a discussion, not a fight.  There's no reason for getting mad in the first place.  I was getting that you were both pretty close in what you were saying, so I didn't quite understand why you both suddenly were at other's throats.
 
+Kate Childers Whatever. Read the text record. I think it is very clear who is rational, offering intelligent solutions and has some experience in the topics being discussed. 
 
"Now I have enough ammo for the guns I rarely shoot safely stocked, with non corrosive sealed pirmers- not that cheap Yugo/Soviet and Chinese crap they periodically dump  - to last a lifetime."

"I would be willing to risk whatever penalty to have things like .22, 9mm, shotgun shells, .223, 30-30, and all the other basic essentials. Pretty much a non-negotiable, cold dead fingers issue too for everyone I know with guns in the US" +john gury 

IOW he believes his right to an arsenal and unlimited, unrestricted ammunition is above the law of the U.S. and he's willing to defend his personal exemption from the law with deadly force. 

I've known a few people like this. Without exception they are erratic, paranoid, angry and deeply, deeply racist. They view themselves as personally above the law should they ever decide that compliance is a nuisance to them. They regularly threaten people around them. 

Without the guns they're blowhards. With the guns they represent the ever present threat of random explosions of deadly violence. Like this guy: 

http://fox40.com/2012/12/05/suspected-white-supremacist-arrested-found-with-weapons-cache/

or this guy....

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/12/lapd-guns-seized-when-man-arrested-for-alleged-school-shooting-threats.html

There's the guy who was using this instead of fireworks..

http://www.insidebayarea.com/breaking-news/ci_22307005/gunfire-detection-system-leads-opd-big-gun

Or thousands of others. It doesn't stop until we stop it. 
 
Yes, you cannot infringe. The second amendment is clearly sacred. It was written down by the holy Founding Fathers who were perfect men with perfect knowledge and wisdom. Clearly, letting a nation's guiding document evolve to better suit changed circumstances would be tantamount to compromising principles that should never ever be compromised. (Incidentally, that's exactly how religious fundamentalists treat their scriptures.)

(I'm hoping that one of these days someone might notice the word amendment after the word second.)
 
+Alok Tiwari They've yet to notice the words "well regulated" even when the Supreme Court has clearly stated that clause can be used to ban all sorts of weapons; shuriken, blackjacks, sword canes, brass knuckles, any sort of leaded or weighted can or stick or concealable knife. 

California's 2008 Dangerous Weapons Control Law
http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/dwcl/12020.php
 
+Alok Tiwari I liked your point about insurance and agree with the idea of a living Constitution, but we should not take them lightly, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, or any of the amendments.
Jim L.
 
+Alok Tiwari Perhaps you will also understand that the Constitution considered for rejection by some (anti-federalists) unless the Bill of Rights was added. Certain, Unalienable rights. Rights not bestowed to us by any man or piece of paper. Rights that cannot be taken away by man. They may be called amendments, but they were created for a reason and inserted before it was completely accepted by everyone as the law of the land. The order in which they were added was also no accident. If you're so hung up about being  free, just wave the white flag and tell your gov't that you are willing to be a slave. But that won't be me.. 
 
I don't for a moment suggest taking taking these things lightly, but to treat them as immutable strikes me as dangerous. By all means, make these guiding documents somewhat hard to amend but let's not be fundamentalists about it. Let's take an empirical, scientific approach to things.

Above all else, let's debate. (And I'm not even a U.S. citizen. I'm sure that disqualifies me from saying anything on the subject in some people's eyes.)
Jim L.
 
+John Poteet I do not think "_well regulated_" means what you think it means, nor does the supreme court; which has proven to be unable to avoid creating policy in many cases where enforcement should have been the case. Instead, they overstepped their bounds and "created law". Shame on them. 

Well regulated meant that the entity, in this case it was the militia which in turn was the populace, was to be properly provisioned with the necessary arms. 

well regulated , having been in use since before 1789 has been duly noted with proper context that means exactly what  I said. Texts of the day clearly support the context of well regulated meaning "proper working order" or "properly working" or "properly conditioned".  It did NOT, I repeat, did NOT mean "governed" or "restricted"as the term is so often used to today to mean as such.  
 
+Jim Losi, I am not a lawyer, but as I understand it, all amendments, including the Bill of Rights, went through the ratification process, and it is not the case that they cannot be taken away by man, it would take the same ratification process to change it. The original proposal included 12 amendments, but only 10 were ratified. Of these two, one became the 27th amendment 203 years later, the other one was not ratified until today.
The process the change this is hard, as it must be, as this is our protection against encroachment, but it is not impossible.
Jim L.
 
+Alok Tiwari It certainly does disqualify you from having an any say in how our country should operate. You can have your opinion.. feel free to display it freely and openly. No one has to read it, or like it..but you have every right to it. I support this. 
The constitution is is not immutable as it allows for changing. If that is what the country wants then the country can have a constitutional convention over it. It's a long process, however.  But I caution that the Bill of Rights was the one thing that provided the people with the ability to remain free from tyrannical rule and any attempts to change this will be met with extreme resistance. I'm sure you can already see this. 
Jim L.
 
+Nestor Melo I agree with you on technicalities, but if you dare attempt to deprive me of my freedom, not given to me by man and thus irrevocable by man, then there will be a fight. I say this as an example only.  You cannot tell me that you don't feel that you should be a free man, with free will and not under the thumb of tyranny. If you don't agree, then you simply won't understand what a free man is supposed to be. 
 
+Jim Losi Oh, ok. Please acquire a sword cane or any of the other banned weapons come to California, display it in front of a police officer and watch the judge blow you off when you try your argument as you collect a felony charge. 

The Supreme Court has been very clear that all sorts of restrictions can be made on who gets to be included in the "militia" and what kind of arms they can carry. 
Jim L.
 
+John Poteet I don't much care about what the SC says about what I can read in plain English. No man or body of men has dominion over me unless I consent to it. 

I also know I shouldn't shit where I eat. That being said.. 

"That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security"

...we are in the suffering stage. 
 
+Jim Losi You're spouting the philosophy and cant of the Sovereign Citizen's Movement known for spawning terrorists. Welcome to the watch list. 

You're not a revolutionary you're a suburban white guy with delusions of grandeur. The closest you're ever going to get to challenging the status quo is railing at Obama from the safety of your backyard. If you think your little toys are going to do crap against a Federal Government armed with drones you're in big, big, trouble. 
Jim L.
 
+John Poteet I'm all scared now. The only thing I'm interested in is protecting my own. I have no delusions of grandeur. I do, however, have a strong opinion of what is right and proper. I don't know where you think I think I'm some sort of revolutionary. Posting snippets from the DI is nothing more than a reminder for some and at most an education for others. If feeling strongly about something moves you to give me a label, then let me label you as well.How about "Ant-American goon". I like that. Fits you well. 

I've only basic knowledge the movement you speak about and quite frankly, they are a little too anarchy for me. I'm an American. I'm not Democrat, Republican, Tea Party.. I'm American. I follow the constitution as expressed in plain English. It's not my fault if others can't read. 
 
+Jim Losi
I don't dare taking anyone's right away. How could I? My point is that there is a perfectly democratic and Constitutional way to review the Constitution, if we as a Nation desire to do so, including its amendments, as hard that process is. This is not a technicality, it is part of it.
And does not help claiming these rights were not given by men, as nobody is above the Constitution.
 
Noted, anybody who disagrees with conservatives is anti-american according to conservatives. Too bad; y'all lost the election and the demographics say you're going to lose for a while until you can get over the racist and crazy taint. 
 
If this debate is about freedom in general then I would like to ask what freedoms and civil liberties do you have in the USA that we don't have elsewhere leaving this issue of gun ownership aside. Where I live we have so much freedom it's not funny, it will take generations to clear up the mess of not having enough regulation in the banking planning and construction sectors. These guys acted like they were in vegas from 2000 to 2007. In general I actually think we have petty rules and regulations about trivial stuff. If you're one of these "I know my rights" obsessed individuals don't forget your responsibilities to other people. That seems to be lacking. 
 
+don harrison The US is not AU or Canada and much more similar to Brazil where I am right now. Brazil is probably the best major nation example of what the US is headed for, and in more than just guns and violence - only with even larger groups of fascist but fortunately still impotent raging escroto like +John Poteet to deal with   Here in Brazil fascist escroto (and escrotina) are much more powerful and span both the right and the left.  
 
I least i don't need nine or ten guns to replace my wilted manhood eh +john gury. I'm also not one to compare my nation to one just barely rising out of poverty-stricken, third-world, neo-colonialism. Hell, Brazil is still killing it's indigenous population and stealing their land; a project the U.S. finished 100 years ago. 

You can't win on facts; they have liberal bias. All you have left is fear and bluster and people are sick of that. 

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/10/world/americas/in-brazil-violence-hits-tribes-in-scramble-for-land.html?_r=0
 
+Alok Tiwari One key component missing for market efficiency vis-a-vis gun economics in the US is of course information.  Obviously there are numerous historically real and increasing incentives to be less than transparent about gun ownership which covers everyone from criminals to law abiding citizens. Also, you have the insurance effect going in the wrong direction. What you want to do as social policy and insurance business policy is to create incentives to do things like lock up guns, give discounts for gun safes, trigger locks, safety training, etc., not make that more expensive via taxation or ridiculous lawyer cookie jar victim funds, penalties and new classes of crime. That is where the gov can be beneficial if they had even rudimentary economic and political understanding.  Just look at the health care system they came up with for proof of that.  
Regardless, what you want is to reward responsible compliance and not do things like make it a more expensive insurance policy addition. That is the make gun ownership prohibitively expensive approach which just penalizes the wrong groups. Even if you believe in the "make gun ownership more expensive!!!" approach there are more interesting and effective ways to do that which don't create perverse effects. Perverse effects like giving responsible people incentives to own unregistered saturday night specials for defense. 
 
+don harrison I don't really accept the view that the US is so out of control relative to many other parts of the world in any number of commonly held perceptions--perceptions that get distorted by a combination of US self absorbed fixations, media whore mongering, absurd relative moral valuations (eg. ok to drone murder innocent children, women and families with little attention or outrage-destroy/destabilize entire nations, napalm attack villages, etc) and acceptance of idiocracy as normal.  Plus when the US overreacts driven by the most obviously moronic, uninformed and tyrannical members, some of whom are well represented in this discussion, it messes up the entire planet with things like treating everyone's grandmother like a potential terrorist.   
 
+John Poteet "I'm also not one to compare my nation to one just barely rising out of poverty-stricken, third-world, neo-colonialism. Hell, Brazil is still killing it's indigenous population and stealing their land; a project the U.S. finished 100 years ago. "   
...
But you are one to insult a nation the size of the US with a few hundred million people. However, it is informative that you openly reveal what an ignorant, belligerent, ugly American fool that you are, which is independent of political labels. 
Jim L.
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+Sean Montague Great question. I hear this question all the time. If this was 30 years ago, I'd be able to give you a list of current relevant items. However, our country has turned to such a leftist pile of steaming, tyrannical, shit, that I don't recognize the country I grew up in. We've succeeded in creating generations of people with nothing but indifference for eachother. We've succeeded in creating a psychological disease out of every emotion known to man. We've succeeded in convincing people that you can have what I worked hard for and feel entitled to it. We've convinced people that debt is wealth and "stuff" is all you need. I can honestly say that I think many other countries are more free than we are. We have rules and laws for damn near everything. You can't capture rain water in some places in this country. REALLY? It boggles my mind. Further, it makes my eyes bleed to think that wanting this type of stupidity and control to vanish "yesterday" is somehow "revolutionary" or incite to revolution. No, this is just me wanting to return to where we came from. 

I have America, the one I grew up with in my heart. My children will not have this same concept as I do. That's what scares me the most. I know things change, but our basic laws are very clear and well defined, yet there are those who think that we should all just be tied up so there is no risk to anyone. Scare mongers and fear mongers have ripped reality from people and pressed an emotional button or three in an attempt to promote their agenda and turn this country into an Orwellian Society. Well played, I say.. well played. You got us. 
 
Well said Jim.

I love the liberal come back to all real true grit americans is always,

Hardline bible thumping conservative Republicans.

That's always sorta their
" I rest my case "
type of cynical reply.

Because if they believe in that fairy tale book, they just have no common sense.

Of course whatever they say is always logical and correct, because they are the smart guys.

Now back to the issue at hand.

the radio this morning, it was said that deaths by clubs and hammers were more then rifles. Are we going to ban hammers now ?

The issue is not Gun control, but actually it is Mental Health control.

Why am I the only one who see's this ?

Mental health can not be controlled ?

How about values ?

How about extreme laws on people who at anytime pull a firearm in public without due cause ?

Why are we not talking about these type of things ?

Why ?

Because this naive lil world, who think man can live peaceful and without quarrel, want to take advantage of any tragedy possible to push their agenda.

Sadly, that is why.

Jim L.
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+Taurus Londono I think you are misplacing admiration where it does not belong. I loathe the over regulatory system that we have now. The micro-laws that make everyone a criminal. I have to wear a seat belt, a helmet, I have to have a license to drive using means of the day. I have to have a hunting license.. EVERYTHING is freaking licensed. THAT has to stop.  If I want to go hunting, guess what.. I should be able to get up and go out in my back yard (metaphorically speaking) and go hunting. We are also part of nature.. 
I have to have "permission" for too many things that are inherent rights.  I need a permit to protest.. a permit for a gun.. a license to hang a business sign on my front door so the man can take my cash. Haven't you had enough? as long as I pay property taxes, I am renting.. had enough yet?  as long as I pay income taxes, I am paying for the right to exist freely. Still think we are free?  This is just a big free range farm where we have enough freedom to think we are free but we are not. 
 
+Taurus Londono " The US has a unique (and ever-shrinking) dearth of regulation."  Like in health care for example. 
Jim L.
 
+Taurus Londono Because the SEC is really taking it to the HFT's.. mmmm hmmm. Because the FED is saving money instead of monetizing the debt. That money has nothing to do with being a slave to the system, especially when the purchasing power of the dollar is so weak that it's a damn near requirement to have both parents working lest you struggle until your finger nails are pulled back from your digit as you scrape through daily life. 

Look, regulation, deregulation.. It doesn't mean shit unless you do it right. Saying you deregulated something (see the castration of Glass-Steagall) doesn't mean that it's a good thing just because you can tag it with "deregulated". Come on now.. 

I would like you to enumerate the "more free" aspects as compared to our counterparts from previous generations. I'm willing to bet that the "Freeness" of these items has shifted quite a bit from personal liberties to societal liberties. I'm more for the individual.. 
 
+Jim Losi. Thanks. You have a great country we owe you a huge debt of gratitude for helping in the peace process particularly. That's American values at the greatest using diplomacy to sort out problems other than force. We have a really stupid relationship with alcohol similar to America s relationship with guns and the freedom drum gets banged by the drinks lobby every time someone tries to curb the insanity. You give most to charity per capita, we re second, I don't think anyone sensible in Europe is really anti American, but we don't agree with gun availability that's all. 
 
Has Sam Harris weighed in with his opinions on Gay marriage yet? That is another good topic where the economic  realities, agendas, costs and fairness issues have been almost completely ignored by everyone involved under the banner of civil rights and justice for personal choice behaviors. Of course no real cost calculations have been done and the rights of those being imposed on, like heterosexual singles,  to subsidize the behaviors of others are completely ignored, dismissed as hostility and worse. I view it in the same way as subsidizing the religious practices of others via taxation advantages, and worse in areas like de jure protection of criminal behaviors. 
 
violence is the sign language of the inarticulate.
 
violence is the last refuge of the incompetent~mayor salvor hardin
 
+Sanooj Surendranath " As someone who deals daily with the deluge of data currently inundating the marketing world, I can say based on experience that this kind of record-keeping would be an inconsequential task to set up, and the data science to analyze it trivial. "   Uhhh right.
The Forbes guy has some very basic misunderstandings about how insurance works. Worse than the typical writer who has no concept of the the triple world domains of finance, insurance and gambling. 
 
Has any one ever thought of people that buy guns off the 'Black Market' for not all guns used are used legally? So even making laws wont always prevent those that don't care to follow them especially if they are skilled in making a hand made weapon.
Pipe bombs and other home made bombs are illegal too but that does not stop people from using them what ever they want to blow up. Insane people get often ignored until it is to late for Dr. Jekyll to come back to not being Mr. Hyde.
Also it would be nice if we got ride of all atomic bombs and biological weapons because they are useless as well as recreational weapons, but people wont.
 
There is absolutely no need for guns in a civilized society. Living in fear of the "most aggressive men" can be deterred  by the most rational men cooperating and protecting their local communities. If your still fearful try non lethal technologies and securing your home's entry points etc. There are so many solutions to this problem, that guns should become irrelevant. 
 
I tend to agree with you on a lot of your points, Mr. Harris. Your essay "Lying," I thought, was particularly great. Unfortunately, in this instance, I can't say that I agree.
One of your points for having guns is to stop people with knives, but later you go on and say that knives represent only 13% of murders, although you still argue that a world without guns would be a worse one.
You also say that a "good" person with a gun would be useful in a situation where there is someone on a murderous rampage, but you also state that you can't expect to prevent those situations and mass killings represent a very small percentage of murders.
Your argument seems a bit unorganized in this article, honestly. You make some excellent points, but you present rather ideal situations for the use of guns, like the video with the clerk who decided it was okay to open fire in front of a mother, a child, and a co-worker. Now, I'm not saying you can know for sure that the thief wouldn't have opened fire, but he certainly escalated a situation that was likely just to be a robbery. In that situation, he was lucky that only the thief was injured. The thief's two bullets luckily missed their target and the shooter was accurate with all three of his. You cannot expect all situation to go a smoothly as this one, and even then, that child is likely traumatized and could even be partially deafened by the gunshots.
I'm very conflicted regarding this debate, but I certainly don't think the existence of guns is a good thing.
 
I tried to avoid all media coverage of the shooting, but it was like trying to avoid background radiation. In any case, thank you for this well-reasoned (and preciously written!) piece. I am always impressed by the power of admitting what we do not know about solving a problem and picking up the accounting from there. Seriously, this is good.
 
Why live in fear period? People are going to be emotional and have those emotions be the reason of deciding things more often than not. Nothing to fear but fear itself but rather effort to use logic instead.
 
I like the +Sam Harris idiot arguments that society and all human existence was in a state of nature before the civilizing spread of firearms. Women were defenseless against rapists and so on. He is fond of using rape in his far flung polemics. Rape is natural, etc. which he then feels compelled to defend with his half baked and witted understanding of evolutionary biology. 
 
Hi friend how are you? Then tell me about your work and life.
 
I care about drones +Steven Kitchen but nothing really can be done for me to change the minds of others in stopping people from killing one another. Even that to prevent any other beast or animal from killing me mind over matter only. As I may walk in their territory some day I do think even if they may attack for what ever reason ( who or what ever) I still will fight back for it is but in nature that creatures do this in reaction to saving themselves from harm. Still I wish better ways for all life on this planet not to have to suffer, flight, and fight it is but humans that perhaps can find better ways some day if at all.
 
This is one of my favorite examples of Harris at his deep thinking best:  " A world without guns is a world in which no man, not even a member of Seal Team Six, can reasonably expect to prevail over more than one determined attacker at a time. A world without guns, therefore, is one in which the advantages of youth, size, strength, aggression, and sheer numbers are almost always decisive. Who could be nostalgic for such a world?"
Yes, before guns civilization was in a state of abject anarchy. One in which  the advantages of youth, size, strength, aggression, and sheer numbers were almost always decisive.  Who could be nostalgic for a world which did not have guns for law and order?  A world where you had to take refuge in city states, the church or the Roman army for any kind of reasonable security. And those were savage times too where men and women were raped with impunity even in places that had the rule of law as a draconian reality. Even by today's enlightened standards where rapists are swiftly deterred since they never use guns. 
 
It's flat out silly +john gury no one has ever suggested a world without guns, just a world where guns are only allowed to be legally bought by the peace keepers.
 
Who do you consider the peace keepers? Are you saying only military and law enforcement should own guns? Just asking
 
That is all that has been suggested +Dean Cole - Military and Law enforcement.  No one suggested that guns be removed from existence which is  impossible anyway.  So what was the point of him thinking about there being no guns?
 
+Kate Childers That is history according to Sam Harris unraveling the riddle of the gun, and not exactly the committee on social thought at the U of Chicago crime lab on gun history. I don't think he will be invited to speak there anytime soon. 
 
I guess I would be more concerned with how you would eliminate the guns already out in private hands. The current laws being suggested don't even go as far as thinking about this. Guns will always be readily available in this country. Even if you ban all guns you will have to grandfather in the roughly 400 million guns already purchased. I have a gun my grandfather owned. It is over 50 years old. Guns don't get old and stop shooting. I don't think there is a way to get to what you are wanting. 
 
+Dean Cole Not that I think you have much of a point as grandfathering is not necessary   but it's not my suggestion.  Gun control is not really something I think is all that important.  I just think +Sam Harris is an idiot for getting the issue completely wrong.
 
People that get them illegally often have more power over others than government and law alone. There is those that play politics and so the legal system and the governments of all types are easily corrupted b y such powers. Guns are only part of the issue with things.
Human trafficking, drug trafficking, and many other things of the like more than likely have those with illegal guns. So then even that does not prevent rape or killing to rid of guns. Then what do we do from all we know to change for the better other than destroying guns? If there is no real solution to be found to stop illegal guns (weapons and bombs) being made and distributed what do you expect others to do but fight back by any means?
 
I suspect with the advent of 3d printers this issue is going to be impossible for any country to legislate any longer any way.
 
What I find dumb is not words and thoughts by any means as much by those that do attempt to force every teacher to have a gun. At least by what I have seen on local news that all teachers a required to have a gun permit at least at one local school. Very dumb and only adding to trouble I do believe.
 
+Jennifer Isaacs  Anyone that suggests that is stupid beyond the ability to reason with.  The same with having cops at all the schools.  In the end it would be nice if both sides would work to eliminate the one thing that seems to effect both groups and that would be gun deaths.  Find the single most cause of gun related deaths and see if there is a way to make a dent in that.
 
Unfortunatley +Dean Cole the single greatest cause of gun related deaths is family violence.
 
Not every one should have a gun. Then as to arm all teachers  ... they can't even be sure not to hire pedophiles so why would I trust them with this kind of thing?
 
Obviously it is a big complicated multidimensional social problem. Current approaches, which in no way involve the idiotic rantings of UCLA Phd. Sam, involve everything from public health to economics, social policy and law. Like here where serious people, no pop author clowns allowed, deal with these problems:  http://crimelab.uchicago.edu/
 
A big reason that theirs a demand for so many guns in America is 1 they are a demi-god under the control of the owner, and 2 their promised benefit is priceless as well as empowering.

1) We are all familiar with human power and we record our limits at the Olympics and other such events regularly. Something I have noticed in all humans so far is a desire to have control of a power that is beyond human capacity. Prayer is one form of this desire. Attempting to telepathically communicate to a loved one is another form of this desire. Watch X-Men to find you have these desires too.
I have learned to respect anything, or being that can help me or hurt me in my life. Because of that I notice what is a power greater than human limits that I control. A car, a climbing harness and rope, and yes obviously a gun. A gun, unlike whatever god's people pray to, will immediately answer a certain kind of prayer. Thus, that piece of metal and combustible chemicals is a demi-god. Only $400.00 for a great demi-god? What a bargain!

2) Due to the fallacy of misleading vividness, a large number of gun owners have seen a threat to their loved ones, and/or their way of life, though its statistically baseless in all cases, its very real and imminent for all of the people involved. I'm not just talking about the black helicopters, I'm talking about the "urban" boy that seeks to procreate with their lily white daughter, I'm talking about the Sharia Law thugs that will chop off American heads for eating roasted pig and forgetting to pray to mecca daily, and yes I'm talking about the commie bastards that are coming to steal their gold coins and murder their family too. This leaves the potential gun buyer a priceless gift of saving their family, for a fixed, and semi-free market price of a pistol.

Many people have an unfulfilled need to be a hero. Gun ownership appears to them as a step of preparedness towards fulfilling that basic need. I believe part of getting the gun problem under control is to get gullible people a bit closer to reality; don't let them buy flood insurance when they live in the mountains. If they already leapt into the deep end, ask then what else they could have done with the money they spent on their 3rd, 4th, ..., firearm.
 
Or it could just be the notorious phallic symbol.
 
+Michael Rupp I think most people who like to own guns were raised around them and it reminds them of spending time with their dad.  My dad got me my first 410 shotgun when I was 11.  We used to shoot targets in the backyard.  It was fun.  I think with most people it ends there.
 
+Dean Cole You don't sound like the kind of person I was talking about. You said most people, and maybe that's right, but you should distinguish between most people that possess a firearm, and most firearms. I think the rate is 88 guns per 100 people now, but only about 40% of all people have a gun in their home, so your experience cannot be most people, but it might be most gun owners.

So 6 of 10 American people are unarmed, and 4 of 10 have 2 or more weapons each. By comparison the US Troop Strength is about 2 million, and we have about 3 million firearms total. Thus, US Citizen gun owners are more armed than our armed service members; that's neglecting the warehoused firearms in case we up the troop numbers. With a population of 313 million in the US, it would seem that we have way too many guns in circulation. Anecdotally, I don't know any living gun owners with more than 1 firearm, so I assume a few people are very gun crazy and set down a lot of cash to have things that they will ultimately never use for the reasons they bought them. Some people will try to find a reason to use them to justify owning them. My point was about the ludicrous drive to own firearms.

I never complain about the hunter owning a tool to get food. I never complain about the stalked celebrity packing heat. I never complain the people too poor to leave a dangerous neighborhood. I'm just complaining about the rest of the owners; them and the diabolical advertising campaign that put them into that irreversible state of mind.

Still, your dad could have gotten you a, "Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle," instead of the 410. Learning to aim is the same no matter how things come out of a tube. And what is the goal of learning to aim? From what you said, it has no end, no reason, but for most, the target they practice on has the silhouette of a person on it. 
 
I got the BB gun when I was 8. The shotgun was to shoot clay targets. My dad used to bird hunt and he wanted to teach his son like grandpa taught him. I unfortunately can't shoot animals. I've never shot one so I'm not much of a hunter but I do like to shot. 
 
+Dean Cole Same here. I would have got the expert badge at Parris Island but the D.I. who hated me stole my glasses on qualification day, so I was awarded the marksman "toilet seat" badge. I like to aim, but never got hungry enough to shoot my own food.

I owned a couple guns in my youth by happenstance, but found it to be a foolish waste of money. I sold one to a collector, and the other to a security systems guy.
 
I have gone hunting and shot a pheasant with my dad.  Pheasant is more than a little gamey though.
 
The first time I ever got a chance to learn how to shoot was when I was in my High School Army JROTC class. We went to a competition and won the finals. I had to be sneaky about getting on the team because my mother never wanted me to hunt, fish, or use a gun for sport. She eventually let me on the team though.
 
They did not kill people with their own hands but as opinions of self defense I wouldn't even blame a monk to stop some harm. The problem isn't opinions but rather people not doing anything to stop harm in reality. All talk and no action.
"There is no greater breach of the public trust than knowingly misleading the country into war. In a democracy, we simply cannot tolerate the abuse of this trust by the government.”
 offshore
 Senator John Kerry quotes (American Senator, b.1943)

Sam did not tell soldiers to march into battle by force and arrest them for treason if they do not follow every order.
 
Wow. Excellent analysis, position, and post! Thank you!
 
Well know the Boston bombs, taking our gun will take away our rights and the nuts in the world can still do there thing ! Proven Boston bombing ! God help America!
 
Whoa. Settle down, Hoss (Awesome name, BTW). Not making a compelling case for letting you carry a lethal weapon, there, Son. Although I do agree with your final sentiment. "God help America", indeed.
 
Fear in fight and flight seem to be the guide to the living in these things first. Sad I do think. 
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