US House gun control bill
From left, Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., and Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pa., celebrate as the House Judiciary Committee passes the "Protecting Our Kids Act," a series of Democratic gun control measures. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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By Mark Houser

America has a violence problem. Unfortunately, the conversation about how to address that problem is dominated by the gun-control paradigm: the idea that the solution to American violence is more gun control. That’s worse than unhelpful — it’s actually getting in the way of more productive thinking and real solutions.

If we’re really serious about tackling American violence — and not just punishing, spiting, or marginalizing gun owners — there are other ways to look at the problem and develop effective solutions.

What’s wrong with the gun control paradigm?

First of all, gun control doesn’t work as intended. Any connection between gun policy and violence is pretty tenuous. Making the case for gun control by comparing peaceful western Europe to (comparatively) violent America is, under even modest scrutiny, simplistic to the point of being unserious.

But even if gun control was effective, it would still be problematic. Because gun control burdens the free exercise of the constitutionally-protected right to bear arms, it is always subject to compelling legal challenges and is flatly rejected by a significant proportion of the population. In addition, the enforcement of stringent gun control invariably inflicts commensurately heavy burdens upon other civil liberties — especially in poorer communities and among marginalized populations. Gun control’s coexistence with the values of a free society is, at best, an uneasy one.

Take, for example, the often-proposed idea of “universal background checks,” a policy which would, for example, prohibit someone from selling a firearm to his friend without a background check. Consider: these are transactions which can take place in a garage. A basement. Anywhere.

What kind of Orwellian apparatus would be necessary to meaningfully enforce such a prohibition against anyone but the most peaceable and diligent of gun owners? The War on Drugs gives us some indication of what would be necessary and also how it would nonetheless fail miserably. Just as drugs won the War on Drugs, guns would win the War on Guns — with at least as much collateral damage to our communities and civil liberties.

And gun control is even less viable in the particular context of the United States. Consider the 400 million guns already in private circulation, plus the totally irreversible and ever-increasing ease of self-manufacture. No matter what laws are passed, widespread distribution and access to firearms is an immutable fact of American society — especially for people who are willing to break laws, a category into which all homicidal people fall.

Finally, we must acknowledge that guns are used defensively with considerable frequency. A low-end estimate from Harvard’s David Hemenway is 55,000 annual defensive gun uses (DGUs), while other researchers have reached estimates exceeding 1 million DGUs. In any case, we should not be dismissive of DGUs or gun control’s potential to diminish individuals’ ability to protect themselves.

But if gun control isn’t the answer to tackling violence in America, what is? The following four observations about American violence suggest some promising alternative paradigms.

#1: Suicide accounts for most American ‘gun violence’.

If you visit the statistics page of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, you’re immediately confronted with an enormous banner: “41,000 AMERICANS DIE FROM GUN VIOLENCE EVERY YEAR — AN AVERAGE OF MORE THAN 110 PER DAY.”

However, that banner omits the fact that most of those deaths are suicides. A report in the Harvard Political Review noted that suicides accounted for nearly two-thirds of 2019’s gun deaths.

If we meet gun control groups like Giffords on their own terms and accept the inclusive statistic of “gun deaths” as our metric, it’s clear that gun violence ought to be addressed primarily through a suicide-prevention paradigm.

Can gun control be part of a suicide prevention strategy? It’s hard to see how. Virtually any sort of firearm would suffice to take one’s own life, so there’s no hypothetical situation in which something like an “assault weapons ban,” magazine capacity restriction, or any other feature-based limitation would make a difference with respect to suicide.

Moreover, gun control measures — such as red flag laws — that seek to deprive people of their guns on an ostensible mental-health basis can actually deter struggling people from seeking the help they needIn this sense, a gun-control approach to suicide prevention is not merely useless — it’s actually counterproductive.

There is an enormous amount of literature on suicide prevention and the best ways to help people who are struggling with mental health issues. Discussions of different medications, cognitive therapies, wellness practices, and other measures are far beyond the scope of this essay. But it’s clear that this is where our resources and efforts should be focused.

Attempting to stop suicide by imposing gun control is like trying to stop drunk driving by banning cars: it’s a completely implausible “solution” that elides the actual problem at hand.

#2 Partner and family violence matters more than you realize.

The focus of the gun control lobby is the proverbial “mass shooter,” some deranged, antisocial individual who carries a “military-style” rifle into an ostensibly safe place — like a school or grocery store — and slaughters innocent people. He often has hateful or bigoted motivations for this act. His premeditation, preparation, and strong motivation make his attack especially deadly and extremely difficult to preempt or stop.

Such shootings do happen. Fortunately, they are incredibly rare and account for a vanishingly small proportion of the homicides that the U.S. experiences in a given year — about 1.5% in 2019. And of those, a large proportion are gang-related — certainly concerning, but not wholly aligned with the gun controllers’ narrative.

Now, consider these facts: almost two-thirds of young child murder victims are killed by their own parents. Nearly half of all female murder victims are killed by their partners or ex-partners. And while it’s common knowledge that most victims of homicide are killed by someone they know, a surprisingly large proportion — perhaps as low as 1 in 8, but possibly as high as 1 in 5 — are killed by an actual family member. Conservatively, a given homicide victim is about five times more likely to have been killed by a family member than killed with any sort of rifle.

The gun control movement’s resources and efforts are overwhelmingly guided and driven by the “mass shooter” scenario, hence their fixation on policies like assault weapons bans and magazine capacity restrictions. But, even if such policies could be meaningfully implemented and enforced (they can’t), it’s hard to imagine those sorts of policies having any bearing on partner and familial violence.

David Hogg, third from right, Parkland school shooting survivor and co-founder of March for Our Lives at a rally outside of Sen. Marco Rubio’s Miami office calling for gun reform, Friday, June 3, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

As with suicide, the specific features of the firearm in question are a trivial matter — especially compared to a willingness to commit violence being present in a partner or family member. Almost by definition, those are the people to whom we are most vulnerable. The particular nature of the weapon isn’t critical. This is also evidenced by the fact that guns are used in a significantly smaller proportion of familial homicides than in homicides overall — lesser weapons suffice.

The mass shooter fixation — and the gun fixation more broadly — is utterly unhelpful when it comes to actually curbing partner and familial violence. Instead, resources and efforts would be much better spent if they targeted partner and familial violence. Organizations that help women to escape dangerous relationships or address other aspects of domestic violence are poised to do much more good than organizations with broad and quixotic disarmament missions.

In terms of how tax dollars and law enforcement’s efforts are expended, we shouldn’t allow the state to pursue general and arbitrary crusades against peaceable gun owners. Instead, we should demand protection and assistance for the children of abusive or criminally neglectful parents, the enforcement protective orders against criminally dangerous exes, and material support and safe refuge for at-risk people. Even people — including myself — who have reservations about the government’s ability to execute such efforts efficiently and effectively should find them vastly preferable to an as-costly but much more destructive War on Guns.

These are all merely suggestions, of course. There can be a robust policy debate regarding how best to address partner and familial violence, and this essay makes no pretense of having the final answers to that problem. It is certain, though, that this is a more fruitful area of inquiry than the gun-control paradigm.

#3 Prohibition II isn’t helping.

The failure of the United States’ experiment with alcohol prohibition has been well-documented. An unintended consequence of Prohibition was a dramatic increase in violence: without access to legal means of resolving conflicts, people involved in the illicit alcohol business — for which there was a massive consumer demand — handled their disputes and protected their interests with gunfire.

While romanticized depictions of bootleggers and mobsters have made for entertaining fictional fare, the true story hardly evokes nostalgia. The nation’s homicide rate increased over 40% during Prohibition. The violence was especially pronounced in large cities, which experienced a homicide rate increase of nearly 80%. Even as more resources were directed to law enforcement, the rate of serious crimes soared and prisons overflowed. Had Prohibition been allowed to continue, it’s likely that the already-disastrous situation would have deteriorated even further.

The White House is illuminated with orange lights in honor of National Gun Violence Awareness Day, late Friday, June 3, 2022, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Fortunately, Americans realized that the costs of Prohibition were too high. Repeal was the clear solution. With the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment, the nation’s homicide rate dropped precipitously, falling to well-below pre-Prohibition levels within just a few years.

Unfortunately, we seem to have forgotten the lessons of Prohibition. The War on Drugs, ostensibly fought to make are communities safer, has in fact made them more violent. Noah Smith (who’s certainly no champion of gun rights), writing for The Atlantic, observed:

Legal bans on drug sales lead to a vacuum in legal regulation; instead of going to court, drug suppliers settle their disputes by shooting each other. Meanwhile, interdiction efforts raise the price of drugs by curbing supply, making local drug supply monopolies (i.e., gang turf) a rich prize to be fought over. And stuffing our overcrowded prisons full of harmless, hapless drug addicts forces us to give accelerated parole to hardened killers.

In short: it’s Prohibition all over again. But the effects of Prohibition’s modern-day incarnation are even more insidious. After waging the Drug War for decades, we must also consider its secondary and tertiary consequences. As Thomas Eckert points out, the Drug War contributes to family disintegration, poverty, and gang recruitment. As we will see further in the next section, underlying sociological issues like this are key elements of American violence.

#4 Guns don’t beget violence, but poverty and despair do.

Poverty and lack of opportunity are strongly associated with violence. That’s fairly obvious if you simply look at the geographic and demographic distributions of violence in America, which The Reality of American Violence addressed. Academic research on the subject has come to the same conclusion (see here and here). Despite being gun control advocates, these researchers understand that there are underlying sociological drivers of violence that transcend “guns” and warrant our attention.

To be sure, most people will readily accept that poverty and despair are associated with violence — that’s unsurprising. However, they may see the problem of poverty as impossibly vexing and intractable. Implementing stricter gun laws might seem more feasible by comparison, even if it doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Part of the appeal of gun control is the simplicity of its narrative: it seems to be a straightforward, tidy solution to a serious problem.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Alas, that isn’t so. You may refer back to The Reality of American Violence once again to see why the “get rid of the guns, get rid of the gun violence” narrative is misguided. There’s nothing straightforward, tidy, easy, or simple about attempting to address violence through the means of gun control.

On the other hand, there’s a lot that we can do to reduce poverty and create greater opportunity. Many of these measures already have — or could plausibly attain — broad-based, bipartisan support. There are sound steps to be taken that are both feasible and meaningful. Michael Tanner of the libertarian Cato Institute presents a compelling array of such policy reforms in his book, The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor.

As a libertarian myself, I’m particularly sympathetic to Tanner’s approach to poverty reduction and opportunity creation. But regardless of whether you favor Tanner’s ideas or different ones, the essential point to recognize is that violence is largely a symptom of underlying social conditions. Gun control not only fails to fix, but often aggravates those conditions. Again, any critic of the “War on Drugs” should be able to see how a “War on Guns” would have (and, in some places, already has had) similar effects on individuals, families, and communities.

When speaking of reducing violence by building prosperity, it’s encouraging to know that we’ve already done it, to a very large degree. That’s an inescapable conclusion of Steven Pinker’s The Better Angels of our Nature. Now it’s up to us to make sure that that progress continues, especially on the margins of society where it’s most needed — that’s also where the violence is.

Conclusion

Under scrutiny, gun control is not a policy idea to be taken seriously. Especially with the widespread adoption of 3D printing and other means of self-manufacture, gun control, already of highly dubious efficacy, will gradually be rendered wholly impotent. Gun control policies will burden only the upstanding citizens who, in good faith, try to abide by them, and are nonetheless ensnared. If we want to get serious about addressing violence in America, there are much more promising ideas to consider.

 

Mark Houser is an independent researcher who writes about the right to bear arms and firearm policy. 

This article was originally published at marklivesthings.medium.com and is reprinted here with permission. 

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50 COMMENTS

  1. The Democrat left is actively making this country poor so the best way to lift the most people out of poverty is to give Democrats less power.

    Schools are NOT safe places. Neither are any of the other ‘gun free zones’.

    The only gun violence done is the violent act of Dicks Sporting Goods destroying their stock of AR’s rather than selling them.

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    • Some Republicans, on the other hand, seem like they’re getting ready to squander their looming midterm blowout by “reaching across the aisle” to sign on to gun control action… in other words, commit electoral suicide. Good luck with that strategy.

      • There ae some RINO’s who are willing to squander what we have achieved so far. It is time for real Republicans to put these RINO’s out to pasture?

        • Never underestimate the GOP’s ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

          The GOP doesn’t usually actually say what they think about guns and their vision for them other than “we support the second amendment” around election time. So while the Democrats are just waiting for the next bloody event to file their just do something gun control, Republicans can’t do much other than stall, hide, or remove pro-gun bills.

          Of course I contacted Rick Scott and Marco Rubio to tell them to oppose any gun control. Rick sent me his nice screed on how after Parkland he got red flag laws passed with due process (along with age limits and bump stock bans, waiting periods) and how he and Rubio are excited to work on Federal Red flag laws. I might as well have written a Democrat. If there are eight more Republicans like Rick Scott and Rubio in the Senate we are so hosed.

  2. Very well done and insightful – I especially liked that the author cited sources that would be considered rock-solid by the Left. And overall a useful start to talking about the real problems we have with violence. I may take exception to the conventional libertarian views on illicit drugs – there is a valid role for a level of prohibition and control of addictive drugs, just like there is for other potentially dangerous “consumer items” that lead to food safety standards and the like – but otherwise mostly good stuff here. Pointing out the Left’s obvious lack of seriousness about problematic violence is much needed – the areas of the US with the worst violence problems have had nearly ever facet of everyday life under their control for decades – government, education, unions, entertainment, the arts (find me even a community theater director or dog warden who’s voted for anyone without a “D” by their name…) – all run by folks on the Left for a very long time. Some of the most violent cities in the US aren’t just under Democrat control for decades, the STATES they’re in have been as well! The political left has zero interest in solving the problem (the don’t appear even marginally interested when it’s darker skinned folks shooting each other over gang turf) – they’re goal is to disarm their political opponents and nothing less. And this will NEVER change until the voters who keep these people in power decide to do something about it.

  3. RE: “Gun control’s coexistence with the values of a free society is, at best, an uneasy one.”

    Uneasy? About as easy as coexisting with slave shacks, nooses, burning crosses, concentration camps, gas chambers, swastikas and other such insanity associated directly or indirectly with Gun Control.

    • Furthermore, The well meaning long winded writer Mark Houser has his Conclusion and I have my Conclusion…

      1) The Second Amendment is one thing.

      2) The criminal misuse of firearms, bricks, bats, knives, vehicles, etc. is another thing.

      3) History Confirms Gun Control in any shape, matter or form is a racist and nazi based Thing.

      • Agreed . Any form of control/limitations put upon the 2nd Amendment violate “shall not be infringed” therein the constitution. This cacophony of
        reasonable this or that limitations is the camels nose in the tent !. Once the fetid federal god started to feel/flex it’s power(s) and indulge thoroughly in it’s corruptions America started to see the constitution abridged and “interpreted other than the founders intended”. There was a time for over 150 years since the founding of America that if a man did his time from his crime he got his rights back and a chance to start over. Now we have this draconian system of forever keeping a man in check with his past record. People change and mature… not all are recidivist violent monsters/criminals. But the ones we let out now and slap on the wrist have for the most part zero intention of getting straight and or doing right. Our once vaunted educational system has morphed into a govt program of low quality , high equity indoctrination. Nothing good has or will ever come form this dumbed down curricula…it only encourages more savage base doings amongst those given barely enough education to talk or think coherently. At this point and time it sure appears this is the goal of our corrupted govt to obtain a largess of minimal thinking “people” whom will willingly give up our constitution for taxpayer funded entitlements and preferential treatment based on the flavor of the day politics. There is no win in this except for a big bloated and corrupt apparatchik like govt in decay.

  4. “Especially with the widespread adoption of 3D printing and other means of self-manufacture, gun control, already of highly dubious efficacy, will gradually be rendered wholly impotent.”

    Less than $50 at Home Depot can get you the materials for a shotgun. Not a SAFE one, but an operable one.

    However…once cannot just conjure up shotgun shells. I’m talking from zero, the a HD shotgun.

    Please, tell me I’m wrong, and educate me.

    • Not much of a shade-tree mechanic, are ya, Lost??

      Got any horse manure around your area, Lost?? I can extract potassium nitrate from horse manure. Don’t know what potassium nitrate is?? I’m beginning to see the picture.

      If you need Federal to acquire a functional load for a firearm?? You are the definition of the entire concept behind “gun control” . . . an idea so obviously, brain-dead stupid, only idiots like MinorIQ and dacian the stupid could seriously entertain it.

      • Well, that was entertaining to read. From a request for input to full-on broadside firing in a matter of moments. What a guy.

        I am not stupid, but I have never mixed my own compounds. I have different skills.

        So, provide insight (as per my request) or move along. Go harass someone else. Thanks.

        • “Skills” can be learned, son . . . that’s what “education” and “maturity” are all about. I would far RATHER purchase my ammunition from CCI, Hornady, Federal, et al. than load/manufacture my own – it’s easier. But your question started with the (false) presumption that “. . . once cannot just conjure up shotgun shells . . . “. Yeah, ya kinda can. OR, (and here’s a brilliant bit of insight for you) you could actually design/construct your homebuilt to ACCOMMODATE an existing caliber!!! Mirabile dictu!!

          Or, you can posit “imponderables” that are “imponderable” only to very limited minds, and then get all huffy when people point out your lack of mental flexibility. But you do you, and have fun doing it. FWIW, I was making homemade explosives, etc. when I was in grammar school. It ain’t rocket surgery, champ.

      • And primers? I know how to make 100% effective primers, without making fulminate of mercury or any other highly unstable explosive, but do you or many others?

  5. The breakdown of the family, with a large number of fatherless homes, is a major contributor to gang violence. This is a cultural problem, not a legislative one. But ending multi-generational welfare and the war on drugs would be a good start.

    The real cause of our cultural decay is that the political left is a godless death cult, lurching from one apocalyptic idea to the next, from the population time-bomb in the 1960s, global cooling in the 70s, to Reagan-is-going-start-a-nuclear-war in the 80s, the hole in the ozone, peak oil, Y2K, global warming, gun violence, and now covid.

    • All roads of the destruction of family in the USA, western societies and metastasizing to the rest of the world, lead to feminism and women voting. Women are the easily manipulated, by marxism, weak link in family and society. Easily proven fact.

      Feminism is cancer.

  6. Papa Sierra, I don’t know when I’ve heard a more succinct definition of the last few decades. And they wonder why we prepare for the future. After all, the government is the cornucopia. Why worry?

  7. The fixation on mass shootings to the exclusion of all other types of violence is proof of the staggering racism of the left. A 5 year old, inner city black girl is killed by stray gunfire from a nearby dispute between gang members? Crickets.

    A five year old, suburban white girl is killed by a pathetic loser while at school? National news and demands for change. Utterly disgusting; leftists truly are reprehensible

  8. quote——————-Take, for example, the often-proposed idea of “universal background checks,” a policy which would, for example, prohibit someone from selling a firearm to his friend without a background check. Consider: these are transactions which can take place in a garage. A basement. Anywhere.

    What kind of Orwellian apparatus would be necessary to meaningfully enforce such a prohibition against anyone but the most peaceable and diligent of gun owners?————————-quote

    Come on cut the Far Right bullshit.

    The average law abiding citizen would indeed obey the law because he knows if he was caught he would be arrested, jailed, heavily fined and lose all of his gun rights for life. EVERY CIVILIZED NATION ON THE PLANET HAS SUCH LAWS AND THEIR LOWER HOMICIDE RATE WITH FIREARMS PROVES UNIVERAL BACKGROUND CHECKS WORK AND WORK WELL.

    QUOTE———————-In addition, the enforcement of stringent gun control invariably inflicts commensurately heavy burdens upon other civil liberties — especially in poorer communities and among marginalized populations.—————QUOTE

    Totally false.

    Poorer communities suffer most from gun violence because states with lax laws ship in thousands of guns to big cities and states with tough gun laws making those laws totally useless. Any criminal or psycho can get all the illegal firepower they want through the use of second hand gun sales. Two Chicago studies as well as numerous police tracings in other states and cities proved this beyond all doubt. Law Enforcement has stated that there is even a thriving IRON PIPE LINE that funnels in thousands of guns from the Southern U.S. into the Northern U.S. Its pure insanity and no other civilized nation puts up with such madness, mass murder and chaos.

    quote—————– is that violence is largely a symptom of underlying social conditions.————–quote

    We finally agree on something but you failed to mention that the Republicans have consistently cut funds for public radio, Pubic educational programs, affordable higher education, a fair and even tax program to finance primary and secondary education so that poorer districts do not get short changed (as Canada has which is superior) vocational training, job retraining, a European style livable wage, a guaranteed annual wage, health insurance, drug coverage, home tutoring, the list is long and sad.

    quote————————America has a violence problem.————-quote

    In every university study done they have found that more guns means more violence and death. If more guns made us safer the U.S. would be the safest nation on earth. In reality it is the most violent of all the Industrialized countries because of the easy access to handguns and assault rifles of mass destruction.

    • “In every university study done they have found that more guns means more violence and death.”??? LOL

      I have dozens of guns. No violence around my house. EVER!

      Common sense is something you don’t do, apparently. Your flat Earth, tired, marxist propaganda drivel has been debunked over and over. You’re a useful idiot for the bolsheviks, we get it.

      You love guns, but only in the hands of your god, your beloved corporate government. Real Americans know that the people are the government and we are the ones that should be armed.

      Peasants like you crave being in submission to your masters. You’re a feckless coward, obviously.

      Go file your 5th Amendment violating self confession tax return, slave.

    • dacian, the DUNDERHEAD, I have another RED HOT NEWS FLASH for you. Criminals are not “law abiding citizens”. That is why we all them criminals? Your Background Checks don’t work now. What makes you think making them “universal” will change anything? You can’t be this naïve?
      When this ploy doesn’t work, will your next “plan” be “gun registration”?

    • Spot on Dacian. It is a shame that the replies to your comments are not so well thought through. I would take issue with the first point made in the article about comparing the gun death rate to Europe.

      “Making the case for gun control by comparing peaceful western Europe to (comparatively) violent America is, under even modest scrutiny, simplistic to the point of being unserious.”

      Actually, this comparison is extremely serious. Europe doesn’t have less incidents of violence they are just a lot less deadly. You don’t even need to leave the US to get the same results. There are many studies to prove that more lax gun controls lead to more gun deaths. Such as this one reported here:

      https://edition.cnn.com/2022/01/20/us/everytown-weak-gun-laws-high-gun-deaths-study/index.html

      I am sure many of you will say ‘oh but this is the liberal media.’ You don’t need to be get that detailed to see the problem just compare the graphic of deaths by capita on this site to say this other site that shows the gun ownership by capita.

      https://matadornetwork.com/read/mapped-gun-ownership-us/

      Go and get your own data but don’t cherry pick the outliers as some republicans have recently done.

      It really is that simple, the longer you hold on to your rifle the more of your children will die.

  9. The shootings carried out by these 18 year old’s have one thing in common. They all had juvenile and mental health troubles, before they turned 18. After their 18th birthday, their records were sealed, so they could they legally buy a gun. A background check found no derogatory information. After their mass shootings, we find out they were all psychopaths and reprobates. Stop sealing juvenile criminal and mental health records.

    • I’ve toyed with the idea of extending juvenile convictions for serious crimes into adulthood so they are unable to buy a gun as soon as they turn 18, but then I remembered that the Broward County FL school district simply decided to stop reporting students’ crimes to the police in order to make their schools seem safer, which lead directly to the death of Trayvon Martin (who should have been in jail that fateful night for possession of burglary tools and womens wear jewelry) and the Parkland school shooting. I’m torn on the idea, but at this point am unwilling to give an inch to the left due to their dishonesty and treachery.

  10. The whole point of their gun control is to disarm the law-abiding citizen who is the TERROR to tyrants that want you disarmed so they can STEAL your stuff like a true commie and criminal they are.

    I can’t believe people fall for their shenanigan. They are practically telling you they are coming for your “stuff” with gun control.

  11. NOT COMING FOR YOUR GUN.

    STILL BELIEVE SHOULD MAKE IT A LAW THAT ANY TEENAGER / ANY KIDO UNDER 21 CAN ONLY BUY A 22LR PISTOL OR RIFLE .

    WANT ANY LARGER CALIBER THAN A 22LR , JOIN THE MILITARY AND STOP LIVING OFF MOM AND DAD , ALSO GET THE HELL OUT OF THE HOUSE AND GET THEIR CAR ON THEIR OWN . THAT’S WHAT I WAS TOLD AND HAD TO DO . MADE IT JUST FINE , CALLED GO TO WORK FOR IT . GET A JOB . O’ I JOIN MILITARY , GOT FIRST TASTE OF AN M16.
    PAYING JOB , 30 DAYS VACATION , AND 30 DAYS OF HOLIDAYS FIRST YEAR , BEST JOB I EVER HAD , AND SERVED MY COUNTRY GOOD OLD USA .

    • NTexas,

      Son, when I was 17, I was on my own . . . didn’t take bupkus from mom and dad. Maturity to safely and competently handle a firearm is NOT an arbitrary age; it is a state of mind. Sure, teenagers are generally sufficiently hormone-addled to be a little unstable . . . but even that is a VERY individual thing. But IF you are going to set an arbitrary age for “adulthood”, then at least be f***ing consistent. If you can VOTE at 18, then you can drink at 18, enlist at 18, buy a gun at 18, and drive at 18. This whole (Leftist/fascist) nonsense that “we can pick and choose when we’ll ‘allow’ you to do ‘X’ is pure Hitler/Stalin/Mao reincarnated. Not a fan of arbitrary ‘age limits’, but IF you’re going to go down that stupid road, AT LEAST have the mental discipline to deal with your obvious, inherent logical inconsistencies. A knowledge/skills test would at least be internally consistent; an age limit is just codified prejudice.

      On another note, STOP F***ING SHOUTING AT US, YOU INCOMPETENT MORON!!!!!

      Oh, and have a nice day, you @$$clown.

    • Stay away from the hard stuff until after sundown. Going thru life fat, drunk and stupid is no way to live son.

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  13. “#4 Guns don’t beget violence, but poverty and despair do”

    WRONG!

    Inabiility to parent, greed, envy, entitlement, in addition to materialism promoted by Madison Avenue, the “gibs me dat” culture inculding the “you’re a victim” mindset is a major cause of violence among a particular segment of our population. They killed each other over street corners, Shearling, 8-Ball, Nithface coats, Timberland boots, Air Jordans, gold chains, boom boxes, and of course looking at someone or stepping on their $200-$300 kicks (shoes/sneakers) and now vehicles. Some will never chabge, they’ll resort to rocks and clubs.

  14. Why the hell am I thinking about motorboats?

  15. I agree with Crimson Pirate and Ted Kennedy’s Mechanic above. Gotta quibble with point #4. This idea that poverty causes crime is left wing BS.
    I agree with the author on this issue but I hope he isn’t a “lolbertarian”

  16. The only answer with any realistic chance of success is reducing the size of government. Anything else and you just give the government a new power that will be abused.

  17. Horse Manure!
    America doesn’t have a violence problem, a certain segment of the population has a violence problem…..

  18. The ONLY type of gun control we need is hitting your target. Everything else is BS and UNCONSTITUTIONAL!!! The “gun control” freaks should learn why their “ideas” are NOT valid. We need to have more mental health treatment that doesn’t cause suicidal tendencies in the patients and family violence protection than “universal gun registration”-a.k.a. gun confiscation.

  19. Make gun crimes instant death penalties!!! Gun crimes would be almost nonexistent!!!

  20. The author of this essay excluded one of the possible solutions of ending “violence” of any kind, with guns or otherwise. It’s something we’ll call “the former solution” – when the punishment fit the crime. In the 1800s and a little into 1900s, violent and irredeemable criminals were publicly dispatched on the gallows for all to see. My solution is simple – misuse a firearm (or any weapon) with the intent to do another harm and “swing” in the town square – for everyone to see. Nobody wants everybody to see them whining as they’re led up the 13 steps and having the noose put around their neck, all the time silently hoping that the hangman did his math right so that there’ll be clean break and that you won’t strangle, or that the drop isn’t too long and your head is ripped off Blackjack Ketchum style. I think that there’s deterrence value in this approach because it would end the problems of recidivism and the cost to the taxpayer of long-term incarceration. But we’ve somehow gotten too “civilized” for such effective methods of violence preventions nowadays.

  21. I won’t discuss (the other commenters already did that) the merits or lack thereof in the article. I WILL point out that calling little hogg a ‘survivor’ of the Parkland atrocity is just flat out wrong*. The author of this opinion piece lost most (all?) of their credibility by doing so.

    * in case people have forgotten he was NOT even on campus that day.

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