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Sanjay Sanghoee is not your run-of-the-mill anti. He has only recently started writing on the subject of gun control. He has an MBA, is a published author, a banker and columnist on Indian politics, art and culture. In short he is not a professional blood-dancer permanently sucking at the Joyce Foundation teat. He does, however, have one requisite skill of the professional anti down pat: he can lie like a sonofagun. To wit: the opening paragraph of his latest piece at HuffPo After Three Shootings, America Needs Zero Tolerance on Guns . . .

My first reaction to the killing of a cop and a civilian in Texas by a man armed with an automatic gun was disbelief. First Colorado, then Wisconsin, and now this, all in a space of weeks. This can’t be happening, I thought. Are we turning into a nation of trigger-happy psychopaths? I really hope not.

The Texas shooter was not armed with an automatic weapon; according to police he had “several long guns and pistols.” A story from The New York Times reported that he idolized snipers like Gunny Hathcock and Russian Vasily Zaytsev, had pictures of “assault rifles” on his Facebook page and posted back in May that he had purchased a Russian Mosin-Nagant ; a bolt-action rifle with a fixed internal magazine. Heck, that doesn’t qualify as an “assault weapon” even in California.

Once past the lying part, Sanjay jumps in with his suggestions on how lives can best be saved:

There is a lot of quibbling over which weapons should be available to private citizens and which should be banned. I know there are vast differences between different types of guns, but when it comes to deadly weapons, nuances don’t matter. We are not talking about complex financial instruments here, but things that are used to kill people. If the real purpose of guns, as ratified by the Supreme Court, is defense of one’s home.

Screech go the brakes! No Sanjay, defense of the home is only a very small part of the “real purpose of guns.” The reason that was the primary thrust of the ruling in the Heller case was because that was the primary thrust of that case.

Just as Brown v. Board of Education was preceded by a bunch of narrower, more limited cases and rulings. So it’s going to be a long road until the court rules that the Second Amendment means what it says. The complaint in Heller was:

… Respondent Heller, a D. C. special policeman, applied to register a handgun he wished to keep at home, but the District refused. He filed this suit seeking, on Second Amendment grounds, to enjoin the city from enforcing the bar on handgun registration …

Hence the narrow ruling. But back to the matter at hand . . .

As for the classification of guns as “things that are used to kill people,” the same could be said of any number of items. Cars are used to kill people, but everyone knows and accepts that they are a useful tool as well. Likewise gasoline, knives, baseball bats, even rat poison. I take daily doses of the rat poison/blood thinner Warfarin so I don’t get blood clots and stroke out.

The point is you can’t do a cost-benefit analysis without looking at the benefits. So what are the benefits of guns? Well, how about two lives saved by DGU[1]s for each life taken by a CGU[2]? Don’t believe me? Well, here are the facts.

According to the Kleck-Gertz study from the early 1990s, there are between 2.1 and 2.5 million DGUs annually. Now there are a lot of people out there who deride this number as ludicrous. They’re unable or (more likely) unwilling to accept that Dr. Kleck is not a shill for the Gun Lobby™. This, despite the good doctor disclosing in his 1997 book Targeting Guns (quote from

The author is a member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, Independent Action, Democrats 2000, and Common Cause, among other politically liberal organizations He is a lifelong registered Democrat, as well as a contributor to liberal Democratic candidates. He is not now, nor has he ever been, a member of, or contributor to, the National Rifle Association, Handgun Control, Inc. nor any other advocacy organization, nor has he received funding for research from any such organization.

But skeptics will always be skeptical and antis will always prefer their own “reality” so let’s go ahead and throw the K-G number out in favor of a more conservative one.

Let’s use the numbers from the study which was commissioned by the Clinton DoJ shortly after the K-G study came out (to refute the K-G numbers maybe? If so: Oops!). That study, conducted by Drs. Philip Cook and Jens Ludwig (who both have a long record as very strong proponents of very strict gun control) concluded that there were 1.46 million DGUs per year.

I imagine that some may find even this lower number dubious, probably preferring to rely on the numbers from the National Crime Victimization Surveys which show between 50,000 and 100,000 DGUs per year.

Unfortunately for those hopeful doubters, the way the NCVS is structured means that it seriously undercounts the number of DGUs. I’ll let Tom Smith explain:

First, it appears that the estimates of the NCVSs are too low. There are two chief reasons for this. First, only DGUs that are reported as part of a victim’s response to a specified crime are potentially covered. While most major felonies are covered by the NCVSs, a number of crimes such as trespassing, vandalism, and malicious mischief are not. DGUs in response to these and other events beyond the scope of the NCVSs are missed.

Second, the NCVSs do not directly inquire about DGUs. After a covered crime has been reported, the victim is asked if he or she “did or tried to do [anything] about the incident while it was going on.” Indirect questions that rely on a respondent volunteering a specific element as part of a broad and unfocused inquiry uniformly lead to undercounts of the particular of interest.

There’s another problem with the failure to directly inquire about DGUs: the DGU question is only triggered by someone saying they were the victim of a crime. If someone came towards me with a knife saying “Gimme your wallet,” and I put my hand on my weapon and replied “I don’t think so, Skippy,” causing the assailant to retreat, was I actually the victim of a crime?

Before I started researching these issues I would have told the NCVS interviewer that no, I hadn’t been the victim of a crime so they never would have learned of my DGU.

So to try to figure out how many lives were saved, I turn once again to Kleck and Gertz’s article Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun[3]. They found that 15.7% of people involved in a DGU believed that they “almost certainly” saved their life of someone else’s.

That might strike some people as an awfully large percentage, but if you take into account the fact that most locales regard the mere act of pulling a gun as using deadly force and combine it with the fact that most places also require someone to be in “reasonable fear of imminent death or great bodily harm” before he or she can lawfully use deadly force, the number seems more feasible.

In addition to the “almost certainly” pool, The K-G study also found that 14.6% of respondents believed that someone “probably would have” been killed if not for their DGU.

Because I want my numbers to be distinctly conservative let’s say that 9 out of 10 of the “almost certainly” folks were wrong, and let’s say that 99 out of 100 of the “probably” people were also incorrect. That means we can state with a fair degree of certainty that at least 1.716% of the 1.46 million DGUs saved a life.

Doing the math that translates to over 25,000 lives that are saved annually by guns.

So we’ve determined that at least 25,000 lives per year are saved by DGUs, and according to the CDC, between 1999 and 2009 there were an average of 11,800 gun-related homicides annually, which means that for every criminal homicide with a firearm there were more than two lives saved by DGUs.

Keep in mind, however, that this statistic is completely irrelevant since the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.[4]

But let’s allow Sanjay to continue:

If the real purpose of guns, as ratified by the Supreme Court, is defense of one’s home, then anything that can be used to fire dozens of rounds a minute, accommodate high-capacity clips of ammunition, or spray bullets, should not be in the hands of civilians. Period. There are no legitimate uses for such weapons in civilian life, regardless of whether you need to pull the trigger once or multiple times. So stop the quibbling and let’s agree on something reasonable on this front.

So with that ‘dozens of rounds a minute’ criterion, Sanjay is saying that virtually all modern metallic cartridge firearms should be banned (except for cops), because any magazine-fed semi-auto can easily fire that many shots (even limited to 10 round mags).

In addition, since the advent of various kinds of speed-loaders, revolvers (24 shots and 3 reloads in 40 seconds) and even shotguns have also become that fast (in the shotgun video you can see he loaded 8 rounds in under 10 seconds).

As for whether there are legitimate uses for weapons like these 1) ask the inhabitants of L.A.’s Koreatown or post-Katrina New Orleans or indeed, anywhere that law and order has broken down and 2) the freedom to own and carry the weapon of your choice is a natural, fundamental, and inalienable human, individual, civil, and Constitutional right — subject neither to the democratic process nor to arguments grounded in social utility.[5]

Now the problem with Sanjay’s something reasonable is that most antis (as shown in their amicus briefs in Heller) believe that a complete ban on operable long guns and all handguns fits their reasonableness criterion. From the Violence Policy Center‘s brief:

If the Court were to hold that private individuals unaffiliated with a militia have a Second Amendment right to keep handguns for use in their homes, the Court should also hold that such a right is subject to reasonable restrictions, and that the District of Columbia’s handgun ban is an eminently reasonable restriction.

From The American Academy Of Pediatrics, The Society For Adolescent Medicine, The Children’s Defense Fund, Women Against Gun Violence And Youth Alive!:

Because of the proven harm attributable to handguns and especially because of the unique risk handguns create for children and adolescents, the District of Columbia reasonably enacted legislation to mitigate a pervasive public health crisis. The reasonableness of the District of Columbia’s attempt to preserve the public’s health is confirmed by both domestic and foreign data.

In all there were 20 briefs filed supporting the view that a complete ban on handguns constituted “reasonable” regulation.

Sanjay has more, but it’s mostly rehashing what he offered above so let me close by actually agreeing with Sanjay on something reasonable: If you don’t try to take our guns away we won’t shoot at you.

[1] Defensive Gun Use

[2] Criminal Gun Use

[3] Northwestern University School of Law, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, vol. 86, issue 1, 1995

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  1. “…anything that can be used to fire dozens of rounds a minute…”

    Dozens, huh? The minimum number of rounds to be defined as “dozens” is 24. 24 rounds in a minute is only one every 2.5 seconds. 36 rounds in a minute is still only one every 1.67 seconds. I know a six year old that can fire a bolt action faster than that.

  2. . The anti gun crowd can never accept facts as reality . They can only lie and smear to fit their agenda.

  3. Bravo Bruce. To bad the huffington post would never publish this as a rebuttal article. You would think that folks would want some sort of reasonable discussion.

  4. I know hippies in Oregon that own semi-automatic rifles and more, and vegan tree-hugging women living here who can knife fight. There are plenty of people working in corporate America that share many of the popular liberal beliefs on guns, the environment, etc. A bit too much might be being made of him as being a ‘banker’ which can have many specific different job titles. He is different in that he puts his politics out there in public.

  5. Complex financial instruments are misused far more often and injure/victimize far more people than citizen owned firearms ever will. Clean up your own house Sanjay.

  6. well like the ole saying goes…If you don’t like it here….go back to where you came from…

  7. How about our smiling Sanghoee move to a more dangerous part of town and mingle with the locals more. Carry his groceries down a street with a few hoods watching him. Greet the nice little boys on his step to the building as he fumbles for the key to his door. Clearly he has more faith in the good nature of men than others so he should be ok.

    It’s nice to read these suggestions, since that is what they are. We already settled the debate on gun ownership so he can bitch all he wants and call for dialog all day long. We’ll get right back to him on that once we solve a few other problems, like lenient judges who catch and release violent offenders and backwards laws which turn victims into perps for defending themselves.

    Meanwhile, somewhere, someone is using a firearm to defend themselves and thanking God they decided to purchase a tool rather than call 911.

  8. Nothing really more to say that Bruce hasn’t already hit. None of this will make a difference; this pile of excrement doesn’t want truth or facts, he wants to soothe his demented psyche and promote his twisted agenda, no matter the cost. People like him are the reason I own guns.

  9. Bruce, I hope you sent an email to this turd along with a link to your rebuttal, so he can see what a fact-based argument looks like.

    • I was about to ask if Bruce ever sent these rebuttals to the original authors, and if so, if he ever once got back an intelligent response or admittance of defeat. I’d love to see some responses. Knowing antis and the mental defects that drive them I predict lots of childish tantrum-throwing and ranting.

    • As a former souvenir vendor at Shea Stadium, I can honestly say that is a Yankee cap. Therefore, his IQ is very much south of room temperature. Maybe in the negative number range.

    • Ralph,
      I agree that Sanjay is an idiot, but you do need to get your vision corrected to better than minute-of-moron since any Bosox fan can spot (and smell!) a Yankees lid a mile away.

      • I have a whole bunch of Yankee caps, and they’re all such an inky dark navy blue or black. Sanjay’s cap is Mets blue. Yecch. And the NY is all wrong, too.

        Hey, maybe it’s a New Delhi cap. Do they still have a cricket team?

  10. What does his background or resume have to do with making his OPINION about guns more or less relevent then anyone elses? Does his MBA make his opinion more valid? Does his arts column make his political opinion more importent?

    NO……across the board, but their ego’s don’t allow them to believe that, and therein lies the problem.

  11. Probably most people would describe me as a backwards conservative type, but on this issue I’m actually with guys like Sanghoee, Rosie O’donnell and even Michael Moore. I believe that only the police, the military and the people who protect me, my family and our home should be allowed to own, possess and use firearms. Of course, O’donnell and Moore are wealthy and important, so they pay other people to protect them, their families and their homes. I’m not wealthy or important enough to pay for armed security, so I just do it myself, but luckily since I own and carry a weapon to protect myself, my family and my home, I still meet my own requirements to possess a weapon, so I can still be consistent in my views and my actions.

  12. Am i the only one getting tired of these sophisticated, dressed up boat people from corrupt 3rd world countries with barely 25 yr old constitutions, coming to lecture the American citizen on everything wrong with our constitution? (e.g fareed zakaria)

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