Why an Assault Weapons Ban Won’t Make a Difference

By Duwain Whitis

I was sickened by what happened in Newtown, Connecticut and the only way I can make sense of it is to put it into perspective. Events like this are tragic, but they are a statistical blip and don’t make for good public policy decisions. A 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control is an instructive place to start. It lists the causes of deaths in the US in 2009, when a total of 2,437,163 were recorded. From Table 10, some specific causes of death for 2009 included . . .

  • Motor vehicle accidents 36,216
  • Falls 24,792
  • “Accidental” discharge of firearms 554 (the quotes are mine)
  • Accidental drowning 3,517
  • Fire/smoke 2,756
  • Poisoning/toxicity 31,758
  • Unspecified accidents 15,613
  • Suicide by firearm 18,735
  • Other suicides 18,174
  • Homicide by firearm 11,493
  • Other homicides 5,306
  • Legal intervention 395
  • Undetermined firearms deaths 232

Parsing this, firearms accounted for approximately 31,000 deaths in 2009, of which just over 60% were suicides. Table 11 of the CDC report shows an overall suicide rate of 12.0/100,000. Canada reported a suicide rate of 11.5/100,000 for 2009. Britain reported a rate of 17.0/100,000 for men and 5.3/100,000 for women in 2010 with rates relatively consistent from 2006 to 2010, the study period of their report. According to a Huffington Post article, Japan’s rate was 24.4/100,000 in 2009.

Western countries with varying firearms restrictions have similar or higher suicide rates, suggesting that suicide rates are independent of the means available. So if guns weren’t available here in the US, the suicide rate wouldn’t be materially affected. That’ means we can remove suicides by firearm in the total number of firearms deaths since they would likely have happened anyway. That leaves about 12,000 firearms deaths, with most being homicides.

According to Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s press release on December 17,

A Justice Department study found the Assault Weapons Ban was responsible for a 6.7 percent decline in total gun murders. However, since the 2004 expiration of the bill, assault weapons have been used in at least 459 incidents, resulting in 385 deaths and 455 injuries.

This is blatant cherry-picking of the stats and her press release doesn’t bother to cite the actual study. For the sake of discussion, let’s take the numbers (but not her claims) at face value.

In eight years, that averages to about 48 deaths per year due to “assault weapons.” That’s only 0.4% of firearms homicides using the 2009 CDC data. If these numbers are correct, then a reinstituted “assault weapon” ban can have only the smallest effect on firearm homicides.

What about her claim that the 1994 AWB was responsible for a 6.7 percent decline in gun murders? The 2011 Department of Justice Report I looked at doesn’t seem to support this and makes no reference at all to “assault weapons.” Homicide rates climbed from between 4 to 5/100,000 in the late 1950’s to just over 10/100,000 in 1980. Quoting from the report:

In the last decade (since 2000) the homicide rate declined to levels last seen in the mid-1960s:

  • The homicide rate doubled from the early 1960s to the late 1970s, increasing from 4.6 per 100,000 U.S. residents in 1962 to 9.7 per 100,000 by 1979.
  • In 1980 the rate peaked at 10.2 per 100,000 and subsequently fell to 7.9 per 100,000 in 1984.
  • The rate rose again in the late 1980s and early 1990s to another peak in 1991 of 9.8 per 100,000.
  • The homicide rate declined sharply from 9.3 homicides per 100,000 in 1992 to 4.8 homicides per 100,000 in 2010.

The report shows no increase in homicide rates after expiration of the AWB in 2004. The Bureau of Justice Statisics shows the sharp decline in non-fatal firearms-related crime since 1993. Note that there is no lasting increase after 2004 when the AWB expired.

 

How do these falling homicide and firearms-related crime rates relate to the number of firearms in public hands? It seems they don’t. According to the FBI’s National Instant Check System (NICS) statistics, the number of background checks for firearms purchases from Federal Firearms Licensees went from just over 9,000,000 in 1999 to almost 17,000,000 for 2012 (as of November 31) with a total of almost 158 million since December of 1998 when the system went into operation. The vast majority of these checks probably resulted in the sale of new firearms.

The actual numbers are uncertain, but it is probably safe to assume that at least 100 million firearms entered civilian ownership in the past ten years. Current estimates are that Americans own 270-300 million firearms (there are numerous sources for these estimates). That means there are likely 50% more firearms today than there were just ten years ago — yet firearms crime hasn’t risen. There seems to be no connection between gun ownership and gun violence, in spite of many writers’ efforts to compare US ownership rates to those of violent third world countries.

Even if we assume that gun control would be an effective way to reduce homicides, how effective is it? CNN had a bubbly, optimistic story on December 16 about Australia’s gun control initiative after a mass shooting there in 1996 that killed 35. The story reports that the firearms homicide rate declined by 50% down under following implementation of strict gun control laws. That may be the case, but according to Australian Government data, homicides peaked in 1999 at 344 and declined to 229 in 2010, a reduction of 34% in actual numbers.

According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) statistics, the number of homicides in the US also fell during the same period, from 19,645 in 1996 to 12,996 in 2010. That’s a decline of… (wait for it…) 34%, the same decline as seen in Australia — with now AWB here. Oh, and knives are now the leading murder weapon of choice (39%) in Oz according to the same Australian report.

The ugly truth is that homicide rates vary greatly by social and economic class according to the UCR data. But that’s a topic for an entirely different conversation about guns. There’s a reason the citizens of Newtown felt safe. Unfortunately, mass murder by deranged persons is a fact of life, even in supposedly safe locations. The most deadly mass killing at a US school occurred in 1927 in Bath Township, Michigan when a begrudged individual set off bombs, killing 38 at an elementary school. While he used a rifle to set off the last blast, he did shot no one.

Our media fixate on sensational stories and our politicians react to the resulting public agitation. As I said at the beginning, events like this are tragic and sickening, but they don’t make for good public policy decisions. Think 9/11 and the hastily-passed Patriot Act which gave us TSA security theater and a growing surveillance state. More restrictive firearms laws enacted after a horrific crime will only serve to restrict the rights of law abiding citizens without any a meaningful effect on actual crime rates.

It’s easy to be willing to restrict the rights of others that we don’t exercise ourselves. If someone has no interest in firearms, and many urban dwellers do not, it’s easy for that person to say the Second Amendment doesn’t matter and guns should be restricted to law enforcement and the military. But selectively trampling on rights is a dangerous road, particularly with virtually no demonstrated public benefit.

 

59 Responses to Why an Assault Weapons Ban Won’t Make a Difference

  1. avatarAharon says:

    Using gun-grabber mathematics and logic, if Japan allows its citizens to own guns and keep them at home then their high rate of suicide among their population should decrease.

  2. avatarWilliam says:

    PLEASE stop feeding the hysteria by saying stuff like “tragedy”; OF COURSE it was! But they’re trying to get you to play along in THEIR game. DON’T DO IT.

  3. avatarBruce says:

    With just a little clean up, this should be sent to the President, governors, congress (both federal and state) and everyone else in a leadership position including police officials. Very nicely done Dan.

    • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

      I would be willing to donate money to print something similar to this post – or a similar point by point refutation of all the misinformation – in a major news paper or two, as a full page ad.

      I am serious!

      • avataruncommon_sense says:

        I suspect many more people would be willing to donate as well. Finding sufficient cash to print this information on the front page of a newspaper isn’t the problem. The problem is finding a newspaper that would actually print it.

    • avatarRokurota says:

      Dan isn’t the author. Very nicely done, Duwain.

    • avatarJon says:

      Very nicely done. I agree with Bruce too. Unfortunately, they aren’t interested in facts or data which is readily available, only pandering for elections. Few politicians concern themselves with effective policy any further than their agenda and elections.

  4. avatarLance says:

    I point to David Kopel Piece yesterday. Shows AWBs are crap just made to make us miserable. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323723104578185271857424036.html

    I liek the point. Connecticut followed in 1993. None of the guns that the Newtown murderer used was an assault weapon under Connecticut law. This illustrates the uselessness of bans on so-called assault weapons, since those bans concentrate on guns’ cosmetics, such as whether the gun has a bayonet lug, rather than their function.

    What some people call “assault weapons” function like every other normal firearm—they fire only one bullet each time the trigger is pressed. Unlike automatics (machine guns), they do not fire continuously as long as the trigger is held. They are “semi-automatic” because they eject the empty shell case and load the next round into the firing chamber.

    • avatarLance says:

      Just shows that scum like Obama Feinstine dont care about the issue they just want to take every freedom away from every American.

      • avatarJohn Rand says:

        Obama and Feinstein aren’t just randomly doing this. The people who voted them in are asking for this. The majority of people who vote in the US (many of which are even citizens) have voted to have their liberties taken away. They wish to be taken care off by their king, and they’re fine indenturing their children to foreign powers and enslaving the able people to the disabled.

        The people to talk too about this are standing all around us in public. Politicians don’t just randomly decide to do things. They do whatever is in their enlightened self-interest in regards to their political and personal careers.

        It’s always useful to mail our representatives to explain our standings on things, but it’s equally important to talk to our neighbors on the subject. It’s easy for them to get behind something when it’s faceless.

        • avatarBuuurr says:

          I couldn’t agree more. Last election we had a bill on the ballot to increase the amount of money home owners have to pay in the form of a straight bill that is back dated to 2011. This new’ ‘tear away’ is about $2000 a year more to pay on a house valuing roughly $150,000. The back dated portion is to be collected with the first months payment so we have to pay out about $2500 in the new year for public schools. We don’t send our kid to a public school (mainly because they suck in this area and despite paying almost five times in support to these schools when compared to Texas our grades and dropout rates remain the same) and never intended to but because we own a house in this area we have to pay.

          The ironic part was that the people who pushed this down our throats were not home owners and many (our neighbors at least) did not even have kids and three are gay with homes and no kids. One of the most outspoken guys about this in our area was a gay male aged about 24 years. He would go around putting up flyers to support it and whatnot and tried to convince me this was best for the people (TV ad slogan). We tried to tell him that he is in favor of a tax that does not affect him and his bills would go up. Turns out that many of the folk thought that the bill was for homeowners that HAD children that were ATTENDING school. Nope! It was for ALL home owners and we are all waiting to see what it really entails when we get the new bill.

          I second your advice to talk to those around you and the people in your area. Sometimes, however, they are just too ignorant to know what the hell they are fighting for and don’t want any resistance on the subject. The democrats sent this one our way veiled and secret let me tell you. People were discussing it and trying to figure out what it meant and how it would be rolled out (radio and TV had many debates about it – whatever it was). Yet it passed. Sad.

      • avatarKevin from Jersey says:

        Not every freedom, just the ones most conducive to Mass Murder.

    • avatarBiofire says:

      Great article by Kopel. Thanks for the link.

    • avatartre says:

      I would be willing to donate.. also yet on the news have they called the guns stolen.. they say “they were legally owned by his mom” and he stolen

  5. mmm look at all those melons waiting to get blown apart.

  6. avatarjwm says:

    The anti’s have made this an emotional issue. 20 children were murdered. We aren’t going to sway any opinions by quoating dry stats, even if they’re correct.

    We need to make this emotional as well. Show that we have a way and a plan to protect those innocent victims by putting armed volunteers on our school grounds.

    The anti’s only plan so far is to ban further production of a product that’s already in common usage and available nearly everywhere. Their plan will not protect the children.

    • avatarJohn Rand says:

      Why do you feel it’s necessary to put armed people in the schools? Do we have monitors on every corner looking for drunk drivers? Do we string lightning rods around the country to stop all the lightning deaths? Maybe assign a person to every elderly person to help them walk around so they don’t fall?

      We as a society have lost sight of the fact that things happen. We think if we just scheme and plan, educate and engineer, we’ll be able to solve accident and evil. How many lives would you indenture to the children just because they’re children? Is someone’s live more important the younger they are? If parents are uncomfortable with public schools, then home school them.

      Putting armed people in a school is just Homeland Security all over again. It’s expanding the police state to try to deal with the exceptions.

      • avatarjwm says:

        Armed volunteers are not expanding the police state. As a father and a grandfather I choose to set a higher value on kids than adults.

        How you prioritize your values is up to you. I’m sure that if the government got out of the way it wouldn’t be difficult to find enough like minded adults in each community to protect all our schools at little cost to the government.

      • avatarWyatt says:

        I thought we were suggesting people who are going to be in schools be allowed to arm themselves, nothing more.

        Lift the ban on armed self-defense in schools.

        • avatarTyler says:

          Stop violence with more violence. Sounds a lot like war to me

        • avatarCarlosT says:

          No, it’s armed self defense. It’s allowing people the option of fighting back rather than just curling up and getting killed while they wait for “the good guys” to show up.

        • avataruncommon_sense says:

          Good people have always been at war with evil people … some just don’t realize it.

        • avatarBruce says:

          Usually the only way to stop violence is with violence. Starting a discussion group normally won’t work.

        • avatarjwm says:

          I don’t know what “we” were suggesting, Wyatt. I’m suggessting a way to protect schools at little cost to the tax payer and it gives protection even to the class rooms where the teachers are unwilling or unable to use a gun.

          The teachers that want to be armed, as well as all school staff members, should be. But those that simply want to teach will be covered also.

  7. avatarThomasR says:

    If one goes by suicide rate as determining a societies level of happiness, western europe generally has a higher rate of suicide than the U.S., I would guess the socialist utopia they’ve created over there isn’t so idealic.

  8. avatarMichael B. says:

    So, I was looking at this list:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate#By_country

    Germany has a lower rate of homicide than the UK despite looser gun control laws and the occasional mass shooting.

    Shove that in the face of every idiot that tries to compare us to Britain.

    Also, this wonderful article by Thomas Sowell:

    http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_22232251/thomas-sowell-gun-control-zealot-either-ignore-facts

  9. avatarBad Matt says:

    The Chief of the Santa Monica police dept once told me that crime levels were the function of demographics, particularly the number of 18 to 35 year old men. That’s probably behind the figures in this article.

  10. avatarRalph says:

    This isn’t about “assault weapons.” It’s about power and control. Washington wants more of each, and some of us think it already has far too much of both. If Washington owns the monopoly of force, then it no longer has to worry about any further Ruby Ridges or Wacos. It will be able to kill at will.

    If power truly corrupts, then Washington is as corrupt as North Korea. And there’s nobody to blame except our fellow Americans, who vote these abominations into positions of power in exchange for crumbs off the table.

  11. avatarMichael C says:

    Looking at the data listed from table 10, it seems that it would be far more effective to ban motor vehicle accidents, poisoning/toxicity, falls, suicides, and unspecified accidents than to even consider banning or restricting firearms. After all, there were twice as many deaths from falls and three times as many deaths from motor vehicle accidents as non-suicide deaths from firearms in 2009.

    • avatarpsmcd says:

      This has nothing to do with statistics or ratios nor anything to do with logic and reason. This “knee-jerk” is entirely based upon firearm related deaths of white, middle class children within the continental United States. Were it otherwise, these bleeding hearts would have run dry long ago.

  12. avatarJ says:

    No no no no. If we ban the human right to speak, no speech what so ever, you will not have any bullies. They won’t be able to bully the children without words.

  13. avatarJay W. says:

    Thanks for examining DiFi’s statistics.

  14. avatarPatrick says:

    In the wake of the Connecticut shooting rampage, Gov. Cuomo and legislative leaders are quietly negotiating a package of tough new gun laws that they hope can be voted on within days, the Daily News has learned.

    At the center of the talks is a proposal to expand the state assault weapons ban to include all firearms with clips of more than seven bullets, sources said.

    That proposal would have outlawed at least one of the assault weapons that Adam Lanza used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday.

    Lawmakers have been told to be prepared to return to the Capitol as soon as Thursday if a deal can be pieced together, sources said.

  15. avatarDave Randel says:

    Reading the same statistical report as above….from the Centers for Disease Control … anyone notice that the “drug related” deaths from overdose exceed the deaths by firearms for all types…… and Colorado and Washington State just passed laws making marijuana legal…. hmmmm “states rights” trump Federal?????

  16. avatar40&2000 says:

    They know it won’t make a difference. In a few years when there is no change in the homicide rate they will say that they didn’t go far enough. They will then push for more “common sense” restrictions.

  17. avatarDerryM says:

    Once a new AWB is put in place by Congress (not saying it’s a done deal, but just thinking out loud) where specific guns and features are banned, there is nothing to keep Congress from adding to the list of prohibited guns and features. That means every time some whacko uses a gun not on the lists to kill a few people, they can just add it to the lists on another knee-jerk reaction to make it look like they “addressed” the issue. Handguns can be added (if not already on DiFi’s proposed lists), the number of magazines you can legally possess, or speed-loaders for revolvers, calibers could be included, and so on.

    The fact still remains that the root causes of the Newtown, CT. incident is not the firearms used, but a broken, ineffective Mental Health Care System and the woefully inadequate Security of Public Schools. The Politicians will, however, go for the AWB Law because it’s the easiest to whip the General Public into an emotional hysteria over, the easiest to Legislate and looks MOST like they did something that the GP supports (despite what the Polls may show).

    A new AWB will not prevent the next whacko, gun-involved shooting while mentally ill people are not properly cared for, and, if needed, restrained from acting/moving freely in Society and the Public Schools are wide open target/news media sensationalism rich environments. There’s no getting around that hard, cold fact.

    A new, permanent AWB will just create a huge Black Market in “contraband guns” and gun-involved crime could actually get worse. This pattern will repeat itself as long as the Government and General Public refuse to recognize and address the underlying causes that create and facilitate mental illness driven violence.

    Several specific incidents are being continually cited, but they are so few, tragic though they may be, that to use such a small number to justify (rationalize) disarming the far, far vaster Majority of Law-abiding Citizens indicates a deeper, more sinister agenda that underlies the refusal to address the real causes.

    As Ralph said, above, it IS about “power and control”…nothing more…nothing less.

  18. avatarSilver says:

    Excuse me, this is America, we’ll have none of your facts, logic, or spiritual courage here.

  19. avatarإبليس says:

    Any idea on the number of 30-round magazines in America?

  20. avatarCasey T says:

    So, I just have to point out that the assault weapons ban Feinstein is proposing would not have stopped the shooting. So how is this a good thing? I won’t say why because I don’t want the grabbers to know but are they that dumb?

  21. avatarLarry says:

    Guys and Gals,

    We all need to contact our representatives and tell them very clearly that we will not vote for them or support them if they pass anything that looks like an assault weapon ban or any other gun ban.

    We have the numbers and commitment to win this game.

    The liberals/progressives/anti-gun folks talk a good game, but in terms of action they aren’t nearly as committed as we are. Figure, there’s probably 10MM – 20MM what they term assault weapons (sporting rifles) in America. Even if only half of us take action, that something like 5-10MM people. Assuming we distribute evenly across all 50 states (we know that’s not likely true given the Republic of California, NJ, NY, CT, etc) that’s roughly 100,000 – 200,000 letters/phone calls/emails, etc. to our representatives. Elections are won or lost by landslides with those types of numbers. It WILL get their attention.

    Let’s unite on this and continue to push them to make the right decision until the threat has passed. Take the time and contact your representative. Phone calls are probably the most effective.

    Pass this message along to your freedom loving friends.

  22. avatarDave says:

    It is also worthwhile to remember that the overwhelming majority of murder victims in the US are also criminals:
    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-08-31-criminal-target_N.htm

    If you neglect the number of murder victims that are also criminals, the murder rate in the US is about 1/100,000, the same as the average in western Europe.

  23. avatarRob says:

    From an about.c0m article, an average of 55 ppl are killed by lightning each year. So per your article, quoting Feinstein AW’s are less dangerous.

  24. avatarJesse says:

    Serious question, do these numbers include any deaths by police? I’m wondering if that 400 or so deaths by “assault rifles” includes things like SWAT teams doing raids and etc. I think everyone can see where I’m going with this.

  25. avatarfounder says:

    Why has this become a federal issue? What has happened to states rights? The constitution is explicit in both of those issues.

    By the way, 28 people die every day in DUI related automobile wrecks. Should we reinstitute prohibition? If we could save just one life… i believe that’s the mantra

    • avatarKevin from Jersey says:

      When weapons are traded across state boundaries, it is interstate trade subject to federal jurisdiction in even the most extreme version of states’ rights. Given the facts of diversified manufacturing, very few manufacturers are interested in selling and manufacturing in one state.

      As to what happened to states rights, the internet and international trade virtually ended the ability of states to regulate business other than the race to the bottom of states (and countries) bidding against each other to offer businesses the best deal they can to relocate into their state. Bids including: eliminating taxes, giving subsidies, reducing or eliminating product liability, eliminating employee protections, eliminating liability for polluting the common (either by easy bankrupts laws, short statutes of limitations, or statute). Meanwhile intrinsically local businesses like local services and agriculture end up paying the bill for these more flexible providers of jobs. If you do not believe this, please examine just two corporations – Boeing and AirBus. One is our subsidized corporate cow and the other is Europe’s.

      The USA is a the world’s greatest engine for growth due to (1) flexibility in the workforce, (2) the reliable rule of law, (3) free flow of capital and (4) transparency in government and corporate reporting and governance. Those four are great reasons to live in America. But I offer a few more (5) the liberties granted the great freedom of Religion, Conscience, Press and Expression protect us all for the tyranny of the majority, (6) The beauty of this country and it’s mostly Clean Air and Water, and (7) the many other legal protections we have instituted to protect ourselves from the many individuals (Corporations or people) who would do anything for a buck and never take responsibility for the actions – say by bribing employees (government or corporate) to win contracts, spiking diet supplements with dangerous drugs (without informing their customers), using lead paint on little children’s toys (without informing their clients), selling counterfeit cancer medications (without the listed active ingredients), selling stocks with falsified financial records. I have mostly listed the libertarian position on item 7 as issue of fraud but we also successfully restrict some of the worst forms business by statue/regulation as well (racketeering, slavery, drugs).

      If this suggests that government regulation, anti-trust, and strong common law liability enforcement are among the good things in America, go to the head of the class as a good American. If the rational left and right in America have differences on the extent of where we are and where we should be but are willing to work together to resolve their differences (not as black and white but as the true shades of grey they really are), this represents healthy debate. If your starting point is that those that do not agree with you are devils, fools, thieves and slackers – some are and but many are on your side as well. Villifying the majority of your opposition is just plain old bigotry. Such an attitude is your absolute right, but it does not build America. It is the road to despotism and demagogues. Lastly, if you believe your opposition has the monopoly or even a clear majority of the crooks in politics, you just don’t know how charming and agreeable the best confidence men are. Be sure crooks are willing to adopt whichever position gets them to their chosen elected position to where they can best steal.

  26. avatarKevin from Jersey says:

    What right do people have to bear arms outside of those willing to serve in the state militia? What constitutes the protected arms in the second ammendment? If it is muskets and flintlocks of 1790 – your can have them. If is nuclear weapons or even RPG, we don’t need them and have every right to regulate or even ban their sale use and possession. Why did we outlaw opium? Assault weapons are designed for mass murder. Any question about that? Do we have to wait for the mentally unstable to go a movie theatre or a grammar schoool before we do something about their right to purchase the arsenals and armor designed to enable mass murder. Do we need to be the major supplier of weapons of choice used to make our neighbor Mexico have among the highest murder rate in the world. How much morality is there in $200 billion arms industry that wants to make sure that the guns of choice used by worst criminal cannot be traced back to the dealers and manufactures growing rich off supply them arms? We need to be able to follow the money. If we are unwilling to do that, our only moral choice is to end the manufacture of the weapons of choice used by the worst criminals and worst mass murderers.

  27. avatarKevin from Jersey says:

    I personally know of two unstable people with arsenals of more that 50 weapons each including Assault weapons. One lives two doors down from where my kids are every afternoon. Nothing outside of new laws will reduce this threat today or in the next 5 or 10 years. They are not criminals, just antisocial, withdrawn, depressed and mentally illl. The risk associated with these individual would be much less if the most effective weapons for mass murder were removed from their possession. This can only be done by a new law banning those weapons.

    Just because we can’t prevent the smuggling or manufacture of drugs (or guns designed for mass murder) into this country, is no excuse not to try.

    • avatarpat says:

      Assault weapons (which are fully auto, by the way) are not generally legal (though some own machine guns and were heavily checked…and none have been used in any crime). If you remove the semiauto/magazine interface, you remove the ability to more effectively engage in asymetrical (Gorilla) warfare with a possible corrupt future regime (the second amendments main purpose) as well as the (unlikely) protection from a foreign enemy. These guns are used FAR more in home defense instances than in the RARE event seen last week. WE are the militia.

      • avatarKevin from Jersey says:

        So the reason we need assault weapons is to “defeat” the US ARMY? You need quite a bit more to do that. As for a well regulated militia, that is quite different than any wacko that can convince a gun show “dealer” to take their money.

        Once again, the muskets and flint locks used in the revolution are a bit different that an assault rifle with clips of 10-100 round that change out in 2 seconds. What is your definition of arms – why not nuclear weapons and nerve gas? If the goal is being a credible threat to some future undefined US Army. What in you considered opinion would you and a few hundred thousand of your best gun toting buddies need to take out the US Army? I think that argument is specious both in the concept of taking out the Army and extending the definition of arms from 1783 to how wars are fought in 2013.

        In 1783, there was no standing army and a great bias to having one at all. I think you can agree that concept and need and purpose for militia in 1783 and the need and purpose for a standing army in 2013 are related. Once we moved to a standing army, the need for a militia is significantly reduced. As for the concept that the Militia was to check the power of government, how about protecting the populous from the British, Spanish, French, Indians, pirates and criminals. I think the truth was that those were the compelling reasons for a well regulated militia. BTW – what does the work “regulated” mean to you? I think it means a militia that could be controlled by the State and/or Federal government. I don’t think they wanted more of Shay’s Rebellion. They want a militia that the state could call out to oppose enemies foreign or domestic. Militia specifically because they wanted no part of a standing army. I think it quite reasonable to define the current standing Army and its reservist as taking the role our founding fathers assigned to the Militia. In fact, one Webster definition of Militia is “a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency.” Add the qualifier of “well regulated” and that really sounds like the national guard to me.

        Bottom line, a few hundred thousand guys with assault weapons is little threat to the US Army. The National Guard is a well regulated Militia. Any one without a criminal record or psychiatric record includes plenty of people who will develope one or both. Why do we need to arm these crazies with weapons designed for mass murder?

  28. avatarThabo says:

    What on earth does a civilian want to do with a semi-automatic gun (other than shooting people)????? Its no use for hunting; its no use for self defense (because you are not warned when you’re going to be attached and you don’t carry the thing with you for that surprise moment). WHY?

    • avatarKevin from Jersey says:

      The NRA crowd won’t answer this, but let me give it a shot. Individuals feel powerless in their every day lives so they buy a gun. They get a thrill from the idea that a powerful weapon gives them power over life and death. As mentioned in the article, the most common use of gun for their intended use (killing things) is suicide, so ultimately many individuals discover that the gun gives them no more control over their real problems than not having a gun.

      Look I remember reading a book about all the ways you can create trouble for your enemies. I did not do the things it suggested, but just know how I could made me feel better as I could do something – I just chose not to.

      The problem with guns designed for mass murder, is that some people will actually use them for their intended purpose.

      • avatarWill says:

        So, every gun purchase isn’t to put food on the table, protect family and property, protect the innocent from madmen, or deter tyranny? It’s for the purpose of suicide? It’s to give a mass murderer the power to kill many?

        YOU’RE MENTAL believing tripe like that. (I’ve come to the conclusion that you are mental, and probably a shill.)

        • avatarKevin Jennings says:

          At least I know what a shill is. The key issue is powerful weapons. Why does someone need a 50mm semiautomatic with armor piercing ammunition?

          I never said I oppose all gun ownership, just the most ridiculous military style weapons – do you really need a AK-47 to shoot bambi? Go hunting with a shot gun, or bear hunting with an appropriate weapon but when you need a clip with 100 rounds, it is not to put food on the table or even to protect yourself from a burgler. It is to feed your feelings of powerlessness.

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