America is a big country with lots of people. Right now, hundreds of thousands of Americans are cleaning their guns or bustin’ a few caps at the range. And? And nothing. This lack of news is not news to TTAG’s Armed Intelligentsia, who understand that the vast majority of Americans do nothing wrong with their guns. Hell, most of them do nothing at all with their guns. The firearms are just . . . there. That said, in a country this big, someone somewhere is doing something stupid with a gun right now. To wit: our Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day series is never hurting for raw material. Gun grabbers can always find some firearms-related bad behavior with which to paint most if not all gun owners as gunloons and, thus, enable new gun control laws. For example . . .

MEMPHIS (AP) – Memphis police say a man brought more than a gift to a child’s birthday party.

Joseph Hayes, 48, of Memphis, has been charged with aggravated assault after police say he brought a gun to the party Saturday because his children didn’t get any ice cream or cake.

A police affidavit says Hayes became upset and began yelling at the victim.

Police say Hayes went to his apartment and returned a short time later with a small black handgun tucked into the back of his pants.

Hayes approached the host, lifted up his shirt and said, “I ain’t scared to go to jail, just take care of my kids,” The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported.

Obviously, we don’t know the whole story. What kind of cake? What flavor ice cream? But even if Mr. Hayes had more reason to brandish his firearm than a simple squabble over birthday party resources, responsible gun owners can’t deny the fact that there are people like this out there, somewhere.

The question is, so what? Given the “gunloons” statistical rarity, and the obvious (to many) advantages of an unabridged Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, does the existence of a tiny population of irresponsible gun owners mean we have to change our gun laws?

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33 Responses to Question of the Day: How Many Gunloons Are There and What Should We Do About Them? If Anything . . .

  1. I’d sternly advocate the repeal of the National Firearms Act and Gun Control Act, followed by the litany of infringements in the 1980s and 1990s. That’d be a great start.

    If our culture promoted personal responsibility and teaching people from a young age about what’s what instead of trying to shelter them into a perpetual state of infancy, maybe morons like that would be even rarer.

  2. There are “loons” involved in almost anything you can think of: “carloons” who drive while under the influence, text while driving or otherwise turn their car into a deadly missile through their own actions (or inactions); “cyberloons” who destroy peoples lives through hateful and slanderous posts on various sites or through other cybercrimes; there may even be “toasterloons” who think about murdering someone by dropping a toaster in their bath water. The point is that no matter where you look, there’s someone doing something stupid with something to the detriment of someone else. I don’t understand why our society has suddenly become so fixated on people doing stupid things with guns that they don’t think anyone could ever use one responsibly.

  3. You called it Frank, there will always be loons and no looney laws will ever change that fact.

  4. RF says: “Given the “gunloons” statistical rarity, and the obvious (to many) advantages of an unabridged Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, does the existence of a tiny population of irresponsible gun owners mean we have to change our gun laws?”

    My source says Ask Again Later. The general public & body politic will continue to perform its informal cost/benefit analysis. If it perceives a shrinking number of gun owners performing increasingly stupid acts with them, you can expect more restrictions. But if this declining demographic is viewed as sitting in the corner not hurting anyone, it will probably be left alone.

  5. I read the story and looked for the following details, which were not there.

    Is this guy a previously convicted felon? (If I had money to bet with, I’d bet that he has a record).

    If he is a previously convicted felon, and an awful lot of folks who so quickly resort to threats of extreme violence over such small matters are, then his owning of the gun would not be just irresponsible, but downright illegal.

    If it turns out he has a felony record, would calling somebody illegally in possession of a firearm a “gun owner” be the correct language to use?

    • “Is this guy a previously convicted felon? (If I had money to bet with, I’d bet that he has a record).”

      I’d call that a safe bet. “I’m not afraid to go to prison” isn’t something normally said by people who haven’t been there.

      • Yep. I am terrified of going to prison. Running afoul of the BATFE&RBFs(&GHs) keeps me up at night.

        • Same. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time. I don’t know about you all, but I’m still young and handsome.

          What’s an RBF or GH?

  6. Loons are a visible exception, not the unobservable “rule”.

    In an “innocent until proven guilty” free society you can’t protect yourself against “crazy” using laws, or any other mechanism which requires a cooperative understanding between individuals and society at large, because loons don’t care about that cooperative understanding. That is one of the metrics by which we measure lunacy.

    You can either give up the philosophical imperative for “innocence until proven guilty” and free society by having draconian restrictions to protect against the anomalous loon (and has anyone asked themselves what it would take to truly accomplish that level of protection? Have a bodyguard follow you around in case a loon jumps you?, divide people up into individual sealed compartments so no two people can get their hands around each others throats, for fear that one may be a loon?)

    OR you can let people have the means protect themselves against the anomalous loon. The price of freedom is a little bit of uncertainty, a little bit of risk.

    -D

  7. Everything in the Bill of Rights can be abused.

    The First Amendment allows the KKK, WBC and Code Pink to demonstrate
    The Second allows for the possibility of gunloons
    The Third… well, ok, almost everything can be abused
    The Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh and Eighth allow guilty people to escape punishment, or ensure that the punishment is in some cases insufficient
    The Ninth and Tenth could conceivably hamper the functioning of the Federal Government.

    As a society we recognize that the benefits provided by these protections outweigh the cost of their occasional abuse, and so our answer has been to respect these rights for everyone. We eschew prior restraint and instead punish individuals for their transgressions. I see no reason to change that approach.

    • hallelujah. I’d rather be a half dead guy with no healthcare in some crazy place (like a Johannesburg or something) then be “safe” in the ussr one wrong word away from a gulag.

  8. It is just a glaring example of the growth of a criminal society. It is a all time increase of sociopaths walking among us. All they care about is what is in it for them and theirs. They’re use to getting free money, etc. from the government and that mentality came from their parents. Don’t believe it? I recall a shooting at a bar outside St. George, SC, in the 90’s. A penny, a freaking penny, was on the bar between two patrons was the cause of the argument between the two men. Two men who were carrying illegally and had criminal records. Not so terribly far away is the project apartments where generations live off the governments and supplement their incomes with drug dealing. Nearby is an unofficial little town called Hudson Town. It is a crack neighborhood where police cars won’t go in alone. The local cops make little enough to actually qualify for welfare. The Sheriff’s dept. makes more, but while I was working there, several female deputies had children as single moms, to get welfare also. I actually heard the conversations. I was working hard to support a crippled wife and two stepdaughters. I received no subsidies. How much more budget would the government have if these undeserving types did not use our tax dollar to live free. Mind you, this isn’t racial, this is character based. and it is a travesty that will run this country down. just like the Roman Empire.

  9. this guys sounds like an ex-con, and i seriously doubt this weapon was legally owned. this seems less gun looney and more like hood criminality to me. btw what in god’s name happened to that glock in the picture, was it microwaved?

  10. I’d rather face the small number of loons like this guy than face a police state. You could confiscate all the guns and give all the power to the police and buy some measure of safety from this sort of fellow. I don’t think that is a very desirable option. He would still be out there and would still be a threat and would still possibly have gun. You would just be disarmed.

    Jason B

  11. The way I see it (looking through the eyes of an anti) is that gun loons are so rare we shouldn’t even worry about them. The chances of encountering or even having an issue with a gunloon are so low that I am more likely to die of diabetes or heart failure. I think that fear of gunloons is spawned from paranoia and fantasy.

  12. Did you actually ask how many gunloons there are? Have you really bought into that line of crap? Geez, RF, sometimes I think you’ve been sniffing too much Hoppe’s No. 9 when you begin to embrace the enemy’s lexicon.

    I know a guy who builds model trains. He might have a thousand of them in his basement, all lovingly crafted by hand, and he spends hours running them. Would anyone call him a train-loon to his face? I used to collect coins. I had thousands. Did that make me a coin-loon? Attaching a pejorative suffix to any noun is merely a way to degrade a class of people (everyone who likes guns) through an ad homonym attack. In Internet terms, it’s a flame and nothing more. Can we not expect better from TTAG?

  13. “He might have a thousand of them in his basement, all lovingly crafted by hand, and he spends hours running them. Would anyone call him a train-loon to his face?”

    Not to his face, but I might refer to him in that fashion if he was dead set (no pun intended) on misusing his trains to hurt someone somehow with malice aforethought.

  14. “misusing his trains to hurt someone somehow with malice aforethought.”

    Well, they’re model trains so I think we all can sleep well tonight. But the wingnuts don’t use the word “gunloon” to mean anyone who uses a gun in a criminal manner. They use it to describe anyone, law abiding or otherwise, who likes guns.

  15. “To wit: our Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day series is never hurting for raw material. Gun grabbers can always find some firearms-related bad behavior with which to paint most if not all gun owners as gunloons and, thus, enable new gun control laws.”

    If the above statement is true,why would you run a series on irresponsible gun owners and help “to paint most if not all gun owners as gunloons…”? I doubt any of the TTAG gentle readers are irresponsible types.

    After all,there must be stories of responsible and lifesaving uses of firearms.Can you post any of those?

  16. Well, there’s the problem. You can find many more examples of citizens doing stupid, irresponsible, and criminal things with firearms than citizens using firearms to defend themselves.

    Statistically, a gun in the home is far more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or accidental shooting of a family member or guest than to defend against a criminal intrusion. These numbers are why the medical profession and safety organizations are essentially opposed to guns in the home. It’s not like they just pulled an irrational fear out of thin air, as gun loons would like to believe. It’s a legitimate safety issue.

    I’m not sure TTAG’ers can be let off the hook so easily. I see unsafe gun practices endorsed here on a regular basis. People do the dumbest shit and then brag about it. Of course, when they ND they leave out that part of the story. NDs are the most underreported aspect of the gun world. As we all know, almost nobody reports an ND if they can possibly help it.

      • His stats would be largely bunk. Either funded through the VPC or the Brady bunch.

        “You can find many more examples of citizens doing stupid, irresponsible, and criminal things with firearms than citizens using firearms to defend themselves.”

        For every negative story that makes the headlines, one can find 5-10 positive stories. Your side just never looks and is obsessed with the negative.

        “Statistically, a gun in the home is far more likely to be used in a homicide, suicide, or accidental shooting of a family member or guest than to defend against a criminal intrusion.”

        False. This often used mantra is from the Kellerman study that has been widely debunked. Study doesn’t look at non criminal gun ownership. Only behavior found within those engaged in criminal activity. In other words, if one doesn’t associate with gang or drug activity, is educated, or lives outside of the inner city, the chance of misuse drops to almost a statistical zero.

        “These numbers are why the medical profession and safety organizations are essentially opposed to guns in the home.”

        The medical professions draws its conclusions from the CDC which has never looked at the issue from a cost/benefit analysis point of view. It almost always looks at the negatives, hospital costs, injury, and loss of life. It has never considered the lives saved, value of property not damaged, of the hospital bills not incurred via defensive use of firearms.

        Even the FBI with recorded incidence of self defense vs criminal misuse puts ownership in the positive category many times greater than the negative. And that’s not even considering John Lott or Gary Kleck’s work. If the latter two’s work is even remotely close the benefits of gun ownership far outweigh the cost.

        I’ll even provide a link for some of it.
        http://www.haciendapub.com/edcor6.html

    • It is an observability issue. When people do dumb criminal things they lose their right to privacy regarding the details of their crime. When people defend themselves within the confines of the law, they are not criminals, and they retain a right to privacy about the incident, which exists for their own protection. Most people don’t want to publicize a “clean shoot” because of the potential harm that can come to them in the form of retribution or social stigma, and most police departments honor wishes such as this.

  17. Every day, I see car loons on my local roads. Some have far more horsepower than they could possibly, responsibly use, but most do not. They generally go 20+ mph over the limit or more, abruptly changing lanes… only to end up at the same stop light I’m at.
    All it would take is one slip of the steering wheel, a patch of ice, or a slick of oil to cause a huge chain reaction accident that could kill several people and tie up traffic for miles, and hours.
    No one, and I mean no one seems the least bit interested in taking away the “right” of these people to operate a motor vehicle, even though the possibility that they might cause harm or death to others is an order of magnitude greater than that of someone who legally owns and/or carries a firearm.

  18. Scott says: “For every negative story that makes the headlines, one can find 5-10 positive stories. Your side just never looks and is obsessed with the negative.”

    Oh no. More like the other way around. Don’t take my word for it. Try doing a daily Google news search yourself for a few weeks and see what you find. DF knows I am telling you straight. He scrapes the web several times daily for gun news. Don’t you think he’s looking for feel-good DGU stories?

    Actual defensive gun uses are rare. The gun loon lobby gets around this disappointment by claiming that a) citizens rarely report them and b) the “mainstream media” deliberately suppresses the stories.

    • “Oh no. More like the other way around. Don’t take my word for it.”

      I don’t take your word for it because I know you’re full of it. You could easily goto armedcitizen.com or keepandbeararms.com and see story after story everyday contrary to your assertion. Face it, proponents of gun control are obsessed with the negative. They gravitate to it never taking a balanced approach. Its shameful and dishonest.

      “Actual defensive gun uses are rare.”

      The FBI with actual incidents reported overwhelmingly show that this assertion is false. Even Dr. Lott, and Kleck’s peer reviewed work reinforce that your assertion is fiction.

    • Seriously? Are you that naive? You mean I should have reported the 2 times I prevented a crime just by exposing my firearm to criminals? And who should I have reported them to, the police? The reporters? To what end? The criminals went away and I was left alone, no shots were fired, I didn’t even clear leather/kydex. Should I suddenly call attention to the fact I am armed to every idiot just so people like you can read a report about it? What world do you live in? I truly believe there is an incredible amount of these non-reported incidents of self-protection with a firearm. I’ve had 2 and never reported them. Your view of reality is off. In my line of work we call that psychosis.

  19. Lunacy & stupidity; two things it is impossible to curtail through legislation.

    Unfortunately that doesn’t stop legislators & politicians from trying, because they’re mostly lawyers & thus incapable of seeing any solution outside of new laws.

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