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“I’ve been a student. I have children who are students. I also own guns. And from my perspective, I’d rather think of schools as gun-free zones. There’s just no good reason to bring a gun to school.” – David Kennard in Kennard: Leave your guns at home bill [via]

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  1. Boy if you could have just told that to Adam Lanza in 2012 David. Things might have been different. It would be 27 dead after he shot you in the face like he did his mother. Did I hurt your feeeewings?

    • We absolutely don’t want guns in schools unless we need them to protect the children from mass murderers.

      Isn’t that clear enough for you?

      • James is only criticising David for his ignorance on how evil works. Just stating that a school is a gun free zone is not enough to prevent violence of criminals.

      • How about “No Open Carry in schools except by police officers,” and we allow teachers and staff to carry concealed after going through a state-administered screening process (and teachers and principals should be screened on teaching ability and temperament before they get a job to begin with). There should be at least two real police officers with real guns, tasers, and batons in every school between one hour before opening and one hour after closing.

    • “Leave your guns at home bill”

      If we can keep you from bringing them to school(s) we can keep you from leaving home with them.

      I helped elect my representatives to tell this representative (and people like him, and his voters alive/dead/imaginary) TO F OFF. They are wasting their very few opportunities.

  2. Well that’s some unassailable logic right there.

    Just put up a sign saying that and the criminally deranged should just turn around, go home, and reconsider their life choices.

    • That would be a refreshing sign, ‘Criminally deranged not welcome here – Go home.’ Unfortunately the sign they put up just says ‘No guns’, so even the law abiding deranged criminal will simply stab his professor to death for giving him an F instead of shooting him.

      And they call it ‘higher education’!

    • When we were kids, my little brother and I shared a bedroom and bunk beds. Even from the safety of the top bunk, he still couldn’t sleep at night until we put a sign on the bedroom door that read “Monsters keep out!”

      I’ll give him, a then four year old, a pass on the misguidedness and effectiveness of that countermeasure, especially since by age five he had torn down the sign himself, but what is this David Kennard’s excuse?

  3. So the presence of legal arms on campus somehow compromises the quality of education the students receive? How would you even know one was around? Concealed means concealed.

    Maybe if your child/student is so mentally single digit they can’t focus on the lecture and can only fixate on a gun, it harms the quality of education. But that would be the student’s fault, not the policy.

  4. Why in the world would any thinking, rational person want to send their children into these killing zones? Even if they were not also government indoctrination centers, police/nanny state victim training zones, and so much more that is evil.

    Parents have the only legitimate authority to educate their children. They have sole responsibility for seeing to the child’s safety as well. There are many viable alternatives to “public school.” They simply require the guts and determination to use them as a rational priority.

      • All of the other evils of government “school” go on day after day, year after year regardless. There is simply no good reason to send children or young adults into this environment.

        • 100% in agreement Mama Liberty. My kids are all grownup but toward the end of public school crap creeped in(left-wing weirdo BS). My grandkids and nieces & nephews are all home schooled and everyone is doing great. I know it’s a sacrifice but well worth it.

      • But there is a not insignificant chance of them being molested by a teacher, not to mention the high probability of receiving a near useless education and a success-stunting liberal indoctrination. There are plenty of good reasons to keep your kids out of the clutches of the public school system.

        You can hold up the numerical rarity of school shootings to mock the idea of allowing adults the freedom to defend themselves, yet this country hasn’t had a school fire resulting in ten or more deaths since the 1950s. Would you also advocate removing fire extinguishers and sprinklers as wasted expenses and ending fire drills as distractions from class time?

      • For now. Wait until the seeds of Islam have firmly taken root here. It will be a terror attack every month just on the schools alone.

      • There is almost no chance of your child being killed in a house fire; Might as well get rid of those extinguishers. There’s little likelihood of a child dying of measles; Let’s dispense with vaccinations. There is an infinitesimal chance of your child dying in a car crash; No seat belts for you!
        Although the percentages tell us that most tragic violent deaths are rareties, that should not mean that we blithely ignore that they can and do happen.
        The day that the house catches fire, the moment a virus takes hold, the instant two cars collide, the second the madman visits the school, it becomes far too late to take reasonable and prudent precautions. Taking those reasonable precautions means that you no longer have to keep the children at home, hiding under a bed.
        You personally can choose to believe that nothing can happen to you or yours; I think that I’ll avoid your company–your chances for survival aren’t good.

  5. “There’s just no good reason to bring a gun to school.”

    Ignoring the obvious counterexamples, let’s consider this at face value; I suspect the gentleman failed to think his stance’s implications through to their logical conclusions.

    If there is no good reason to bring a gun to school, by default the only reasons to do so must be neutral or bad.

    The neutral cases we don’t need to worry about.

    What do we do about the bad reasons? I submit that leaving a “bad reason’s” target defenseless is not a good idea, let alone acceptable; we know all too well what that result looks like.

    Defensive postures and solutions are fine in and of themselves as part of an overall approach, but left to its own devices “bad reason” will keep on trying to kill and maim until actively stopped, so a purely defensive strategy is not optimal. What, then, is the most effective way to stop “bad reasons” early? I submit that the best defense against the “bad reason” is to have guns already on-site, along with a stock of defensive gear (body armor, helmets) and make sure the people who are usually at the school, are trained to use them. That is, assuming “good reason” and “neutral reason” aren’t allowed in.

    It also suggests to me, in a cynical sort of way, that a school with a marksmanship or trap team constitutes a potentially much harder target for “bad reason” than a school without.

  6. I would like to believe in the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and unicorns… but somewhere along the line I became an adult.

  7. “I’d rather think of schools as gun free zones.”

    I’d rather think the Chinese don’t have a growing navy, nuclear subs, and ambitions on the world stage – but they do.
    I’d rather think we could e-print our way out of 2 more economic cycles, but I just don’t see $80T in debt as believable.
    I’d rather think lots of neat fantasy, but unfortunately, reality is well, real.

  8. Indeed! How are we supposed to indoctrinate your children with our statist propaganda while they’re allowed to exercise their God given civil rights right there in the classroom?

  9. What about student in collage who now have to be disarmed when commuting?
    ““We already have tight security at most of our schools, who I believe are doing a great job”
    What collage do you know of where anyone off the street cant just walk into just about any building during normal school hours? How many high and elementary schools do you know of that can actual keep out someone who is armed. Here is a hint, glass doors don’t work even if they are locked. And how many actually have locked doors when students are going in and out during the start and the end of the day?

    • Sandy Hook’s doors were locked remotely as the killer approached, unfortunately the wall beside the door was glass bricks, probably did not take a full mag to destroy, killing the principal and the counselor into the bargain. If they had put on vests and picked up shotguns before going to challenge the killer, their heroics would have actually meant something.

  10. Actually, you REALLY think of schools as “victim concentration points”.

    It’s not the idea of a mass shooting that bothers you.

    It’s the idea of somebody shooting back.

  11. Within his own writing, emotion is elevated above the logic of his analogy.

    “The simple fact of the matter is that someone set on harming others will find a way to do it. Arming students, teachers or visitors won’t change that.” Exception being when they kill an active murderer and save lives.

    “A couple of years ago when a fox ate half our flock of chickens, they [his children] watched as I loaded the shotgun and the .22 and set them next to the window overlooking the chicken coop the next night. In the morning they saw me unload the guns and lock them away again.”

    Active shooter…fox…students…chickens…Mr. Kennard stands over watch with a rifle to kill the fox. Evidence Mr. Kennard values protecting chickens more than students.

    • I’m thinking that someone determined to harm others will *NOT* find a way to do that if he is dead. Saying otherwise is moronic.

  12. “There’s just no good reason to bring a gun to school.”

    Oh? Exercising our rights is not a good reason? Being able to effectively defend yourself, students, and staff from an attacker is not a good reason?

    More importantly, why does Mr. Kennard think that enthusiastic public support is a prerequisite before someone can exercise a right?

  13. I guess my only reservation about guns at schools (read that to mean in the hands of college students) is that few of us would argue that college students are the most mature, thoughtful and considered of people.

    They’re essentially over-promoted and androgen-hormone-drenched high school students and will be for much of their college terms. So, I think allowing them to carry on campus has its risks.


    • Bulloney. I had my own semiauto rifles in high school and a .357 Magnum in college, never had any inclination to shoot classmates or professors, either one. I was not inclined to carry at the time, *because I expected adults to protect me!!!* Assuming schools would become killing grounds, as usual, ignores the fact that there are states with no carry laws NOW, and they have colleges, and those colleges do not have big murder problems. Inventing imaginary problems where none actually exist is the realm of gun grabbers, has no place here.

    • 1. You’ve been watching too many movies.

      2. Campus carry or not, these same individuals, whose rights you would arbitrarily deny, may carry concealed everwhere else the law already allows. You’re denying carry in a place, based on the individual (or rather your prejudiced caricature of an individual), but that individual may already carry elsewhere and there’s no evidence of them running wild and shooting people.

      3. In most states and cases, license eligibility starts at age 21, which generally means college seniors at a minimum. If they were drunken hooligans as you allege, they’d have flunked out or been kicked out by then, or would be ineligible for the carry license itself.

      4. We’re really talking about grad and professional school students; i.e., future doctors, scientists, lawyers, professors, etc., the smartest, most determined students with the best records and the most to lose.

      5. Many college students are returning veterans using their G.I. bill money. What? You’ll give ’em a gun to traipse around Tora Bora defending our freedom, but you won’t let them carry a side arm late night in the library parking lot to defend themselves?

  14. Hi all, I’m a new poster to TTAG. I am a medical student who is interested in the issue of firearm fatalities. I am training in an academic medical center where the conversation about firearm-related injuries and mortality tends to lean left, which is to say that the views I’m learning about in the comments on this site are underrepresented around me. It seems to me that folks who own and are passionate about guns wouldn’t be opposed to seeing less people die as a result of firearm injuries, and it makes sense to me to approach gun violence from a public health framework (that is, trying to study how such deaths happen and then proposing measures to prevent those deaths).

    However, I also see many criticism of this “public health” approach recounted here. One is that gun-related injuries is not a leading cause of death compared to, say, heart disease. My thought there is that the fact that guns are not themselves a leading cause of death shouldn’t prevent us from studying how some of those deaths can be prevented (particularly suicides, which make up the bulk of those deaths).

    Beyond that, I’m here to admit that I am not a part of the gun community but am genuinely seeking to learn where you all think folks in the medical/public health community who are interested in reducing gun-related deaths are going wrong. I think our society can do better than 33,000 deaths from firearm-related injuries annually and am looking to learn how to advance that view in a way that helps everyone rally around finding ways to get us there.

    I’ll be re-posting this comment under a few posts in hopes that someone will see it and respond. Please don’t take it as spam or a false flag. Thanks in advance for your engagement, folks.

    • Here’s a first and obvious response to your concept of ‘gun violence’ as a ‘health problem’. There is no such thing as ‘gun violence’. Gun violence is a made-up idea postulated by people with an agenda. The reality of the world is that we have 1. Suicides (22,000 of your 33,000). We have 2. Violence perpetrated by criminal actors primarily related to organized crime (gangs). That accounts for a further 8-10,000 of your statistic. Finally 3.) we have domestic violence and accidents covering most of the remainder. Studying guns is no more efficacious in fixing these problems than studying stubbed toes will help you cure cancer. This is why we deride people who suggest ‘gun violence’ as a medical issue.

      • Jomo, thanks very much for that reply.

        To your point, I agree that it’s useful to stipulate that firearms do not independently cause death; rather, they are used as tools in fatal incidents. I also agree that greater focus on suicide prevention, for example, would necessarily decrease the number of firearm-related deaths by reducing the number of incidents overall and therefore the number of incidents in which firearms were used as a tool.

        However, it strikes me that firearms are particularly lethal tools. This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist or be owned, as they are not the only lethal tools in existence and humans should generally be entrusted with the responsibility to use tools safely. However, do you think there’s room for a two-pronged approach to these issues? For example, for the 22,000 suicides in which firearms are used, is there room for trying to figure out how to divert people to less lethal means of attempting suicide while also focusing on suicide prevention by way of mental health care, etc?

        The problem I see with the stubbed toe analogy is that while stubbed toes and cancer are entirely unrelated (as far as we currently know), meaning that studying one is irrelevant to preventing the other, the mode of suicide attempt is actually shown to be related to the likelihood of success.

        • TheNewGuyMD,

          “… the mode of suicide attempt is actually shown to be related to the likelihood of success.”

          While that is true, you are “missing the forest for the trees”. Here is a pearl of wisdom that I offer free of charge: the mode of suicide attempt reflects how determined, intelligent, and resourceful the practitioner is. To a lesser extent, it might also reflect the personal style of practitioner.

          As you should well know, many suicide attempts are “cries for help” or expressions of deep anguish. People in those categories are not determined to die and will purposely choose what they understand to be non-lethal methods, such as swallowing some pills.

          People who are determined, intelligent, and resourceful will find and employ available methods to succeed. Guaranteed suicide is as simple and easy as stepping in front of a high-speed train or semi-truck. Other options are equally simple and guaranteed.

          If you are interested in reducing suicides, focusing on firearms is a waste of limited resources. Japan, where private ownership of firearms is utterly non-existent, is testimony to the fact that a vibrant suicide culture does not require firearms.

          Given the above, laws which impact everyone’s ability to keep and bear arms are improper and unjust.

        • US is correct. It’s called “means substitution” in the literature. Determined people do indeed utilize effective means to kill themselves, because they’re determined. Remove or make more difficult the acquisition of a particular method, and a determined person will just find another effective method.

          The major problem with approaching this as a public health problem, aside from the obvious fact that this has its origins in areas other than public health, is that the people pushing that approach are antigun activists. They already have the conclusions; niw they need an official rationalization. They want science in the form of public health to lend a mantle of legitimacy to what, stripped down, is nothing more than their personal politics and preferences for denying others their freedom.

          Authoritarians have pulled this stunt for millenia. They always appeal to some higher authority as justification for imposing their will. This is the dirty little secret behind the divine right of kings, dictatorship of the proletariat, etc., and now, junk science. They’re all selfish statism masquerading as righteous officialdom.

    • If you could somehow magically take away the gang violence and then convince people to stop killing themselves the problem of people dying from gunshots would be gone. However, gangs be made of gangsters and they are going to do what gangsters do, try to be the top dog and people who are going to kill themselves will find a way.(Just look at Japan or South Korea) Guns may make it easier, but people always find a way.

      • Hello! Thanks for that reply. I won’t repeat everything I wrote to the commenter above, but your point is valid. In a world where we could eliminate suicidality or gang violence, the problem of gun violence would be gone. However, in an different hypothetical world where drunkenness was impossible to achieve, drunk driving accidents would also be eliminated. Because we don’t live in that world, we’ve adopted various kinds of measures to try and reduce drunk driving deaths. Is there value to adopting a similar multi-pronged approach to the problem of suicide, for example?

        • “we’ve adopted various kinds of measures to try and reduce drunk driving deaths. Is there value to adopting a similar multi-pronged approach to the problem of suicide, for example?”

          Like what? Anything we might reasonably adopt for suicide wouldn’t have anything to do with firearms.

          The measures we use to combat drunk driving are:
          a) enacting legislation that makes drunk driving a crime;
          b) making pariahs out of those who drive drunk;
          c) education; and
          d) treatment for alcoholism.
          (not necessarily an exhaustive list – these are just off the top of my head.)

          (a) and (b) probably wouldn’t be well-accepted by the mental health community if we tried to apply them to suicide.

          (c) seems kind of silly. What person contemplating suicide needs to be educated about the potentially lethal effects of trying to kill yourself?

          (d) … Maybe. It requires identifying a potential problem then getting the individual into treatment. It would seem to be harder to identify a suicidal person than a drunk. And, currently, if we’ve identified a potential suicide and had him committed (or otherwise adjudicated as a mental defective), he can’t lawfully possess a firearm.

        • About “d.” … You cannot expect treatment to have any effect other than possibly speeding up the suicide, if the individual does not want to be treated.

    • Bottom line here: There is no way to reduce violence by disarming the victims. This isn’t just about deaths caused WITH a gun (not “by”). This is about the right of every human being to defend themselves against attack, whether the attacker uses a gun or his bare hands.

      This isn’t a medical or “public health” issue. It is a fight for survival against those who would render us helpless and easy victims – for muggers and tyrants.

      I’d suggest you find a chapter of Pink Pistols (regardless of your orientation), and discuss with them why they think they need to be armed.

      • Wow — I hadn’t even heard of PinkPistols. That’s a really great suggestion. Thanks very much for that! They would have something valuable to say to folks on the left, particularly because the left already lends a sympathetic ear to LGBT issues. Perhaps they are the vehicle needed to represent the views of gun owners to those on the left! Great idea. Thanks for that.

        • You are most welcome. 🙂 As a retired medical professional, I understand your desire to “do something” about something like this. Over my 30 year career, and into my 10th year of retirement, I’m happy to say that I no longer think the medical profession can fix everything… and not even a lot of things. We can help each other voluntarily, but I guarantee you nobody is going to be truly helped with interventions using force or fraud. Just changes the problem to something else, usually affecting more people.

          In addition to the Pink Pistols, you might consider attending a few meetings of a local gun club. Then you would meet the people who know why they own guns and shoot. Depending on where you are, you may or may not meet many who actually carry a gun, but they may be able to help you see their reasons even for that if you ask nicely. 🙂

          I carry a gun at all times, except in the shower and in bed. I have excellent reasons, and don’t need any reason at all. Read this to understand where I’m coming from:

    • One issue that you may not have considered is that the premise of “studying guns as a public health issue” is often used as a fig leaf by anti gun advocacy groups. Pro gun people now distrust any such study or attempt at study because so many biased “studies” with shoddy methodology have been done to reach a preconceived conclusion. If you want pro gun people to trust public health research, the bias needs to be removed. Show us that you aren’t just a paid resource of The Trace or Moms Demand Action and maybe we will begin to trust public health research. Of course anti gun groups are far more likely to give you funding, so that could be tricky.

      I would also suggest that you stop trying to treat gun suicides as any different from suicide by some other method. In rough terms, there are about 38,000 suicides annually in the US, and about 20,000 are with guns. So about 53% of suicides are committed with guns. One fallacy often advocated by anti gun groups is that the 20,000 would be saved if only they had not had access to a gun. This defies logic and human nature; we must assume that they would resort to some other method if they could not get a gun. Perhaps they would be less successful, but the 18,000 that died by some other means are just as dead as the 20,000 who shot themselves. My point is, if you want to reduce suicides, you should look at WHY people commit suicide, not HOW they commit suicide. You can never remove all the possible methods, so it’s foolish to focus on one (unless you have an agenda). Figuring out why people kill themselves and how to intervene early will save more lives than figuring out how to make it harder for everyone to get guns.

      Lastly, I would suggest you forget about the term “gun violence,” because it is false concept created for propaganda purposes. It lumps suicide and homicide together, which are two completely different phenomenons caused by completely different factors. The only purpose in putting them together is to make guns seem to be as large a problem as possible, and gun control the best solution possible. Here’s the thing: if you look at national data for the last three decades, gun control laws have waxed and waned, violent crime has trended steadily down, and suicides have remained relatively steady. The obvious conclusion is that gun control has very little impact on the behavior of the national population. It isn’t stopping crime, because crime went down regardless of whether gun control was tightened or relaxed. It isn’t stopping suicide either. So it has no measurable impact on deaths on a national level. The logical approach is to separate homicide and suicide, dig into the causes of each, and try to find ways to intervene.

      • DetroitMan,

        Your first point is something I absolutely had not considered whatsoever. I’ve been truly confused by opposition to this concept, as I had been thinking, “Calling something a public health issue doesn’t mean demonizing it outright, it just means finding ways to make it safer — after all, that’s the public health approach to car safety!” However, the experiences of gun owners are that the “public health” framework is often used as a false flag and thus they have reason to be wary of a person like me touting it as a reasonable, apolitical approach.

        To your point about suicides, I often think about a psychiatric patient I once cared for here at school who had slit her throat with a boxcutter, taken two bottles of pills, chased those with some liquor, and drove into the woods waiting to die. She was most certainly determined to die, and yet she didn’t (which is how she ended up at my hospital). She was found in her vehicle by a state trooper and rushed to the ER. Had she eaten a shotgun instead, she would have had no such luck. Cases like these suggest to me that firearm restrictions might prevent some deaths even amongst determined actors.

        However, what I’m now considering after hearing from you and others today is while it’s true that there are patients like her who could be “saved” by stricter gun laws, the number of such patients may not be sufficient to justify imposing additional regulations on the entire population, and our legislative energy could be applied in ways (i.e. mental health, etc) that would save those particular patients and many more suicidal people more generally.

        • TheNewGuyMD,

          I have to chime in on your comment, “… while it’s true that there are patients … who could be ‘saved’ by stricter gun laws, the number of such patients may not be sufficient to justify imposing additional regulations on the entire population …”

          Many others have pondered such a line of thinking. Here is the problem. Of course it is unspeakably tragic when a person sets out to kill themselves and succeeds — it is similarly tragic to burden everyone in an attempt to prevent someone from intentionally harming themselves. What if firearms did not exist and every year 100,000 suicidal people drove their cars into highway overpass pillars at 40 mph to successfully kill themselves. (Since they are suicidal, they would not wear a seat belt and they would disable the airbag which means a 40 mph impact into an immovable object really would be lethal.) Would it be okay if government mandated that all new cars and all existing cars be modified so that they cannot possibly drive faster than 32 mph? After all, we would prevent 100,000 suicides every year! Sure, it would suck that everyone was limited to 32 mph speeds on the roads. That 45 minute commute to work would now turn into a 1 hour and 30 minute commute. And that 10 hour drive to visit out-of-state relatives would now be a 20 hour drive. But it would be worth it, right? Or would it?

          Once again we see that a typical Leftist solution which was intended to reduce human suffering violates various aspects of the sanctity and dignity of human life. In this particular case, the Leftist solution ends up stealing everyone’s time as well as everyone’s joy who likes to drive fast for the simple thrill of it. Stealing our time and joy is heinous. Not only that, Leftists would be stealing our time and joy to interfere with someone’s right of self-determination — which includes their right to end their own life if they so choose. An even more subtle attack on our human dignity: the Leftist solution states loud and clear, “You only get the avenues of self-determination that Leftists have declared are okay. If you want to refuse treatment at a hospital or issue a ‘do not resuscitate order and kill yourself, we declare that okay. But if you want to kill yourself — especially with a firearm — we declare that not okay.”

          And up to this point, I have only discussed the philosophical error of the Leftist 32 mph maximum speed suicide solution. Consider pragmatic failures of the 32 mph maximum speed solution:
          (1) How many critically ill/injured people will die because it takes too long to get to the hospital now that all cars can only go 32 mph?
          (2) How many people will die from stress related conditions (such as heart attack) because of the additional stress that their increased driving time puts on their lives? How many people, who are now sedentary an additional 30 minutes to 1 hour every day due to increased drive time, will develop diabetes or become obese and suffer serious health conditions or die prematurely in related diseases? What is the public health cost of that?
          (3) How many people will find a simple way to defeat the 32 mph speed limiter and go faster anyway? Remember, people are resourceful and our nation is full of shadetree mechanics and garage tinkerers.
          (4) How many suicidal people will find other simple methods (like tying a thick rope around their neck, to a tree branch, and then jumping out of the tree) negating any imagined benefit in the first place?

          Oh, and I am not even convinced that stricter gun laws would actually save lives. Sure, it might shift deaths from one venue to another. But would it actually decrease overall deaths? That is an entirely different discussion.

        • Can’t resist, tho I’ve tried. A high school friend had a 15-yr-old daughter, who had attempted suicide a couple times before she hung herself with a bedsheet. She was “rescued” by some medical professional, spent the next 40 years as a vegetable requiring constant care 24/7, before she died. Around a week after her daughter hung herself her 12-year-old son got hold of a gun and blew his head off. Which is preferable?

      • Right on. Proposing “studies” of firearm injuries under the guise of “public health” has been around for a couple of decades, with the intent to manufacture a job for oneself on the taxpayer’s tab. The results are always the same, confiscate all guns. My recommendation would be to find another subject to study, I respect your sincerity but there is no “there” there. The way to prevent suicides with guns is to prevent suicides! The way to prevent gangland violence with guns is to prevent gangland violence. And so on. Guns are not designed to be non-lethal, nor will they be in the future.

    • Your openness and willingness to engage is refreshing, so I hope you will take my comments as they are intended, and not in a negative way:

      A society has limited resources. Our society, in particular, has some acutely limited resources in the area of healthcare (as anyone who has had to wait a month or more for an appointment to see their doctor knows all too well). Focusing those limited resources on the 22,000 “firearm” suicides (you might as well forget the 10,000 or so homicides, as a public-health approach is not going to make any headway there) is a poor return on investment, when those resources could be focused on the 600,000 killed by heart disease, or the 500,000 killed by cancer, or the 250,000 killed by preventable mistakes made by your fellow doctors.

      That’s not to say we should competely ignore suicides, but the attention focused on “gun violence” (a term that is ridiculous in its specificity – is someone who is shot more dead than the fellow who was stabbed?) is far greater than the numbers warrant. It should also be noted that deaths from the three categories above (heart disease, cancer, and medical mistakes) are on the rise, while deaths by gunshot have been declining for decades. I’d rather see the medical community focus on those bigger problems, even if they don’t come with the media coverage that guns bring.

      (I admit to being biased in this regard, as I have lost several people close to me to cancer, and known more who have managed to fight and win that terrible fight, while I have never known anyone or even known anyone who knew anyone who was shot to death.)

    • TheNewGuyMD,

      Desiring to understand and reduce human suffering (specifically murder and suicide as you mentioned) is honorable. Where Leftists fail: most of their policies intended to reduce human suffering violate various aspects of the sanctity and dignity of human life, especially self-determination, and introduce suffering where none previously existed. That is not honorable.

      Think about it. Self-determination is so paramount that the medical profession ethically and legally recognizes self-determination as the right of patients to refuse treatments, get second opinions, discharge themselves against medical advice, and issue “do not resuscitate” orders. Yes, the medical profession recognizes a patient’s right to self-determination even when life and death is at stake.

      And yet Leftists often declare that they alone know what is best for the masses and seek to dictate how the masses must live their lives — a direct violation of others’ right to self-determination. This is quite simply evil. It is an abomination when Leftists dictate what, how, when, or where good people can own or carry items that those good people have decided are the best items to own/carry for their happiness or survival.

      Violating a person’s right to self-determination is a horrible crime. It is a horrible crime when a rapist dictates with whom a woman will share her body. It is a horrible crime when a mugger dictates with whom a man will share his money. It is a horrible crime when a supremacist dictates where a minority can go. It is a horrible crime when a government dictates what religion someone can practice. And it is a horrible crime when Lefitsts and politicians dictate terms of survival, including what objects we may or may not carry and use to defend our lives.

      Above and beyond the deep primal wounds that Leftists inflict upon us when they violate our right to self-determination, Leftist policies that disarm us cause significant physical injury and death. Countless people, who were disarmed by law against their will and brutally maimed or killed, would have fared far better with a self-defense firearm. Of course no one knows the exact number. Then again, no one knows the exact number of lives that would have fared better without firearms. Regardless, violating our right to self-determination is not a righteous solution.

      In closing I will illustrate the simple depravity of Leftist policy:
      — Okay: someone refusing medical treatment which guarantees their death
      — Not okay: someone using a firearm which guarantees their death
      — Okay: acting to prevent murders (enacting gun-control laws)
      — Not okay: acting to prevent murders (enacting concealed carry laws)

      Hopefully, you noticed the common element in all of those examples. Leftists only want what they want. Facts and self-determination be damned.

    • TheNewGuyMD,

      Moving beyond suicides, let’s look at annual murders with and without a firearm.

      In 2014 or 2015, there were something like 13,000 murders. The attackers used an edge instrument to kill about 3,500 of their victims and a firearm to kill about 8,800 of their victims. A frequent claim from Leftists: we could dramatically reduce the murder rate if we seriously reduced firearm ownership! Oh? Various sources tell us that violent criminals gangs perpetrate about 80% of all murders … and criminals are the murder victims in about 80% of the murders. Pro-tip: violent criminal gangs will continue to murder their enemies whether firearms are available or not. Young, strong, fast, and ruthless gangbangers are quite capable of inflicting mortal wounds within seconds with bludgeons and edge weapons. Eliminating firearms may reduce the murder rate somewhat among gangbangers. What it will not do is drastically reduce the murder rate.

      How about domestic disputes that end in murder? How many of those can we eliminate if we eliminated firearms? Answer: none. As with suicides, a determined domestic attacker will succeed. How many women can fend off an enraged spouse with her fists? How many woman can fend off an enraged spouse who stabs her or crushes her skull while she sleeps? How many woman can shrug off a fatal dose of poison that her enraged spouse put in her milk while she wasn’t looking?

      At best, eliminating firearms may slightly reduce the number of murders that would have happened with firearms. But what about unintended consequences? How many murderous attacks that take place now, which do NOT end in murder because the victims use firearms to successfully drive off their murderous attacker, would end in murder if firearms were banned and those victims were unarmed? How many attacks that never take place at all right now, because the tentative attacker decides not to attack out of fear that the victim is armed, would take place and result in murder if firearms were banned? And if firearms were widely known to be widely banned, how many more criminals would be emboldened to attack with alternate weapons? How many more serious injuries and murders would those produce than we already have?

      And then we have to ask if pervasive implementation of firearms restrictions and/or bans are even possible. Mexico, Brazil, and South Africa tell us an emphatic “NO!”.

      Given the highly questionable potential improvement (and degradation) to murder rates with the implementation of firearm laws/bans and the futility of implementing firearm bans, it makes no sense to pursue firearm laws, restrictions, and/or bans on a strictly pragmatic basis alone. Instead, we should apply our nation’s limited resources to the root causes of murderous intent.

      • US,

        First please let me express my genuine gratitude for the depth of your honest engagement. As with all my professors, I consider your efforts an investment in my education. I am all the more grateful as you are a complete stranger with no claim to my tuition dollars! Despite my being at a high-powered elite institution, this is perhaps the most learning I have done all year. This is the unfortunate reality of polarization in higher education, but also across society broadly. Simply put, my conversation with you (and others) today has shown me just how my education is failing me by denying me substantive engagement with a broad array of viewpoints.

        I am still reading and processing your comments, so forgive my brief reflections (I’ve literally bookmarked this page to come back and continue rereading later!). For now, I am meditating on the following: “Most [Leftist] policies intended to reduce human suffering violate various aspects of the sanctity and dignity of human life, especially self-determination, and introduce suffering where none previously existed.”

        This is a really basic framing that I had not considered: All gun owners are interested in seeing less gun deaths, and opposition to additional gun laws does not mean indifference to gun deaths. Those on the left often emphasize the potential benefit to society of imposing regulations that may reduce gun-related deaths, but fail to fully appreciate the costs to society, particularly in terms of the value of lost self-determination. It’s true that legislation can theoretically reduce the number of gun deaths in an absolute sense (indeed, a hypothetical extreme where being seen holding a gun was punishable by death would certainly disincentivize gun ownership, legal or illegal, and therefore reduce the risk of gun deaths), but what must never be forgotten is that gun owners are balancing the potential value to society with the cost to society of infringing upon the right to self-determination.

        This is not the first time I’ve heard this concept, but I’ve mostly been exposed to it by writers who introduce it in order to dismiss it as a right-wing rationalization of a bizarre gun fetish. I’ve not heard it articulated so thoughtfully by a gun owner and therefore haven’t considered it so carefully until now.

        I’ve got to stop browsing TTAG for today and get to some schoolwork, but thanks again for your honest engagement.

        • TheNewGuyMD,

          My sympathies for your learning institution’s one-dimensional presentation of life. My accolades for seeking the truth with dogged determination and an open mind! And thank you for recognizing that members of the “gun culture” want a world devoid of all aggravated assaults, murders, and suicides … regardless of whether or not a firearm is involved.

          And yet a conflict of monumental proportions exists between Leftists and the gun culture. The answer lies in a simple explanation of how our minds work. The Leftist mind operates on altruism, fantasy, and emotion. Leftists see the world as they want it to be and what it could be. Altruism defines their utopia. Fantasy eliminates any barriers that stand in the way of their utopia. And emotion drives them to actually pursue utopia.

          As applied to murder and suicide with firearms: altruism inspires a world vision where murder and suicide with firearms are no more. And because the altruistic vision is altruistic, everything must be subordinate to it … even our right to self-determination. Fantasy says that better laws will work this time. That government will not be impotent or inept this time. That society will finally embrace their utopia and work with government and Leftists to achieve utopia. And some law or technology or public relations campaign will always appear just in time to save that utopia whenever some new development threatens that utopia. Finally, emotion tells Leftists how good that utopia will feel, how good it feels while still working to achieve that utopia in spite of having not yet achieved it. Emotion also tells Leftists how bad it will feel to abandon the road to utopia. And for those reasons, Leftists soldier on no matter what happens.

          The gun-rights supporters also embraces altruism, fantasy, and emotion like the Leftist. Unlike the Leftist, however, the gun-rights supporter sees the real world as it is and ultimately tempers their altruism, fantasy, and emotion to fit the real world. The gun-rights supporter understands the appeal of a world without murder or suicide involving firearms, and yet knows that such a vision is impossible. The gun-rights supporter knows that alternate methods will fill-in for many of the murders and suicides without firearms, resulting in no (or little) net gain. Gun-rights supporters know that our very same governments and laws which are unable to reduce the availability of illegal narcotics will be equally unable to reduce firearm availability. Finally, gun-rights supporters know that government agents will almost never be there to protect them and their families from violent attackers with alternate weapons, which means that they will be unable to stop violent attackers from maiming and murdering them. In fact gun-rights supporters even see that many more violent criminals would be emboldened to attack if they have no reason to fear their victims who would ostensibly be unarmed. For these reasons gun-rights supporters are unwilling to give up their right to keep and bear arms … because giving up their right to keep and bear arms means giving up their ability to effectively defend their lives and property from attackers … and that means giving up their right to self-determination.

          That is the conflict. Leftists are demanding that other people — who see the world as it is — give up their rights for a world that can never be.

        • MD, I would love to see you bring the concepts you have picked up here to your associates and professors, but have to advise you against it. With no direct evidence, myself, I firmly believe your grades would suffer to the point of damaging your future.

    • ” …am genuinely seeking to learn where you all think folks in the medical/public health community who are interested in reducing gun-related deaths are going wrong.”

      So, it’s the fact that lives are being lost is what concerns you,TheNewGuyMD?

      I just want to make sure we’re on the same wavelength here before exploring this more in depth, OK?

    • It seems to me that folks who own and are passionate about guns wouldn’t be opposed to seeing less people die as a result of firearm injuries, and it makes sense to me to approach gun violence from a public health framework (that is, trying to study how such deaths happen and then proposing measures to prevent those deaths).

      Has the public health approach been used to study other crimes, like burglary, fraud. or rape?

    • As has been pointed out, the reason people here object to the “public health” approach to the issue of gun related deaths is that such studies are politically motivated hit pieces of junk science or done by people unbelievable incompetent. Let me give you a few reasons why most of us believe that.

      1. Many public health studies are funded by gun control advocates.

      2. They use terms like “gun violence” when referring to suicides. While a suicide with a gun is a violent death, so is death in a car crash, but if you refer to such deaths a “car violence,” people will look at you funny. The use of the term shows that either one is trying to prove a point or one is already drinking the kool-aid of those who are.

      3. They never look to the public health benefits of firearms. Several peer-reviewed academic studies have put the number of defensive gun uses (DGU’s) at 2 million per year. Public health studies never even attempt to address how many lives are saved. This is a difficult question because the number of lives saved cannot be directly measured. How many of the DGU’s actually saved a victim’s life, how many victims were saved, how many cost the life of an attacker, which life should we as a society value more?

      4. They seldom look at the cost or effectiveness of gun control laws. Virtually every gun control law we have only effects people who would follow laws. The vast majority of criminals get their guns outside of official means. Most criminals are already participants in black market trade.

      5. Public health studies look at how laws effect suicide with guns, but not overall suicide.

      6. Same with homicide.

      7. I’ve never heard of a public health study advocating suppressors. Shooting guns, without proper hearing protection, is really bad for one’s hearing. Suppressors reduce the sound firing guns make to “safe” hearing levels. They are illegal to own without going through a bureaucratic nightmare and paying the government a $200 tax per item. (The tax was instituted during the Great Depression when it was a much heavier burden). The public health benefit of legalizing suppressors is not hypothetical. Any costs would be. Suppressors are supper easy to make, so outlawing them doesn’t really have much effect on crimes that are planned out.

      Check out “The war on guns : arming yourself against gun control lies ” by John R. Lott Jr. It goes into most of these points. He is an economist. He does statistical analysis of the effect of gun control on crime. (Skip to the second to last paragraph as to why I find him a credible source on the issue).

      Years ago, when I was in college, I read his book “More Guns, Less Crime” as part of a paper for an advanced statistics class. I did my own study using census data and state laws. I found an inverse correlation between gun laws and violent crime. It was significant at the 90% level, but not at the 95% level. (I don’t remember any of the other numbers). I reviewed a lot of the literature available at the time. Most of the literature agreed that gun control doesn’t work.

      Virtually all of the criticism of Lott’s work was (at the time I reviewed it) ad hominem attacks on him, many simply false. I no longer have the time to check footnotes and critical sources of the non-fiction I read, so I can’t tell you if his critics are still full of it or not; I just assume that they are.

      I have, however, seen a public health study out of a Bloomberg (former NYC mayor who is a billionaire who outspends the NRA on gun law activism by a factor of just over 6) funded medical school department that said that universal background checks may actually increase suicides with firearms, so they can’t all be that bad. (The premise was that people couldn’t take the guns out of the house when another resident was suicidal without first complying with the law).

  15. I’d rather thing of schools as places where kids can get a decent, basic education without being bombarded with liberal nanny-state bullshit that costs way more than it’s worth. I guess we’re both going to be disappointed.

  16. “There’s just no good reason to bring a gun to school.”

    Then why do they call 911 to summon men with guns during a school shooting? Oh, because those men can end the carnage more quickly if they, too, are armed? Oh, so assuming this fellow is not pro-kindergarten carnage, then there actually is a good reason to bring a gun to school.

    His basic quarrel then is with the timing and manner of bringing guns to school, not with guns at school. I prefer being proactive, so armed volunteers can preempt or end the attacks immediately. He prefers reactively, so schools are left vulnerable until armed agents of the state can show up and stop the attacks eventually.

  17. This city slicker, bred, born and life time liver in the Burbs, has no Idea of what life is like outside his own tiny world, nor how rural livers operate, House guns (house protection), Plinkers {fun Guns) mostly .22’s, Barn guns (Left in Barn) Why? (Rabid skunks, wolves, coyotes, crazy pigs, fox, butchering etc. this fellow knows doodle squat! why give credence to this SOB by publishing his manifesto!

  18. “There’s just no good reason to bring a gun to school.”

    Unless someone wears the color blue and has a shiny thing called a “badge” then:

    “We need a law enforcement presence at our schools.”

    . . . and a gun magically becomes not-a-gun 🙂

  19. “And from my perspective, I’d rather have flying unicorns that shit rainbow ice cream with peace and love sprinkles”.

  20. Wow.

    ” … I’d rather think of schools as gun-free zones.”

    The joke goes: “Abe Lincoln was asked: ‘If you call a dog’s tail a leg, how many legs does it have.’ He replied: ‘Four. Calling it a leg doesn’t make it one.””

    That perspective-guy would “rather” think of schools as gun-free doesn’t make it so. Unless he’s god, or maybe The Green Lantern.

    This is the fallacy of gun bans, and a great many other prohibitions.

  21. “There’s just no good reason to bring a gun to school.”

    Sadly, there are plenty of bad reasons walking around out there. But you’ll never get all of them off the street, Dan. Until then, schools should not be exceptions to laws authorizing law abiding citizens to carry a firearm.

  22. Most of the school shooters have been students at their own schools. So from my perspective, I’d rather think of schools as student-free zones. There’s just no good reason to bring a student to school.

  23. He defined himself as a perfect FUD.
    Don’t need anything for self defense. Guns are only for limited recreation or guarding the chickens, definitely not for protecting your family.

  24. Good reason to bring guns to school: teach children gun safety so that they don’t accidentally kill themselves or others.

    Also, was “leave your guns at home bill” an intentional Johnny Cash reference?

    “Don’t Take Your Guns To Town” chorus:
    Don’t take your guns to town son
    Leave your guns at home Bill
    Don’t take your guns to town


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