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Christopher Ingraham (courtesy washingtonpost.com)

“[Child Access Prevention] laws are less about punishing negligent gun owners after the fact and more about nudging responsible ones to prevent something terrible from happening. Laws help shape societal norms. If six little kids have been able to get hold of grandpa’s gun and shoot someone with it this year, it suggests that many folks have a dangerously casual attitude toward leaving loaded guns out in the open.” – Christopher Ingraham in Why toddlers keep shooting people with their grandparents’ guns [via washingtonpost.com]

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155 COMMENTS

  1. what a moron. if they are RESPONSIBLE then they wouldn’t leave it lying around. EXPLETIVE DELETED GCAs (Gun Control Advocates) are EXPLETIVE DELETED. They lack even basic analytical skills.

  2. “Laws help shape societal norms.”

    Wrong. WRONG. WRONG!

    If one looks at the ‘structure’ of societies, laws are shaped from the values, mores and norms of that society. Laws are “internal” to the structure, not outside it shaping it.

    This is one of the most common, and frustrating, misunderstandings of the role of “law” on society that exists…that laws ‘shape’ norms. This is simply a variant of “legislating morality,” and it’s pretty clear that that does not work. Ever.

    The belief (or claim) that laws can shape social norms is as Statist a view as one can get. That the State is SUPREME, even above the society that creates and operates that State is just absurd.

    It’s so far from anything that makes even the first sense that I wonder if these nincompoops know this but intentionally misrepresent the nature of law in social structure as a means to manipulate.

    Society does not conform to their desired norms, so they use all the social institutions to ‘correct’ that … education, law, economy, etc. Like most things “Progressive,” they’ve got it exactly backwards. Those things are determined by the values of the society.

      • This. The same could be said regarding the anti-drug laws, the anti speeding laws, the anti murder laws. The good people aren’t going to sell hard drugs to kids, the good people aren’t going to be driving 50mph over the speed limit, and the good people aren’t going to murder but those that will do any of these things are going to do them regardless of the punishment.

        Not to say that we shouldnt have laws in place for these things, but rather, the point of the laws in place are to punish and legally remove people that do these things from society so they don’t have a chance to do them again. Not to shape their twisted morality. There is no evidence for this being the case.

        • Contrary to popular belief prohibition did indeed work. The idea was to get people off of hard liquor and it did just exactly that because hard liquor became so expensive that working people turned to drinking more beer.

          The “Roaring Twenties” and the Prohibition era are often associated with unchecked use and abuse of alcohol, yet the statistics tell a different tale. According to a study conducted by M.I.T. and Boston University economists in the early 1990s, alcohol consumption actually fell by as much as 70 percent during the early years of the “noble experiment.” This included consumption of all alcohol not just hard liquor.

          It was big money that got the law receded. The Government realized that the underworld was making money tax free that would be paid to them if it was legalized. This is also the same reason Marijuana is being legalized in so many states today. Just as the Government woke up to how much money they were missing out on during prohibition the shock today of the money the Government is making on weed sales is like history repeating itself again in some ways.

          So the argument will then be did keeping marijuana sales illegal reduce consumption. The answer is actually yes as studies show that in other countries where it was made legal it then dropped the prices and that consumption did indeed increase both because of the price and that it was now legal to use.

        • “According to a study conducted by M.I.T. and Boston University economists in the early 1990s, alcohol consumption actually fell by as much as 70 percent during the early years of the “noble experiment.”

          OK, I’ll bite. How the heck are we supposed to believe that MIT et al could determine in the early 1990s just how many people were defying a federal law 70 years earlier? Did the criminals leave documentation of their felonies for posterity? That does not seem likely, nor does this supposed “study” seem authentic. Statistics can say anything you wish them to, if you just make them up. Do de term “gullible” strike a familiar note?

          • The reason MIT and Boston are respected universities is that they do not make stuff up and their research would not be research if not backed up with verifiable facts. If you want an answer to your question you would have to study their report and then and only then could you critique it and have people read your opposing view point if it too was based on research that would give a counter view to it. Right now you have none.

        • “The reason MIT and Boston are respected universities is that they do not make stuff up and their research would not be research if not backed up with verifiable facts.”

          Flag on the play. Appeal to Authority Fallacy.

          Sorry. Their supposed reputation in YOUR mind does not constitute data.

          Answer the question asked. How do they KNOW who violated the laws in at that time? Not estimated, not conjectured, not modeled somehow. What measured data do they have?

          You do have a citation to such measurements, right?

          • I would say before making a fool of yourself you should have looked at how they conducted their research and the methodology they used. Then and only then you would have had to conduct your own research to try and disprove them. I have seen in the past just such critiques and often it boils down to nit picking not anything of major importance in regards to the overall validity of the findings unless we are speaking of politics then both sides must be studied to get at even a semblance of the truth of the matter.

            • I would say before making a fool of yourself you should have looked at how they conducted their research and the methodology they used.

              Since you’re the one who cited the research, did you provide the source, to allow for such analysis?

              • Now your engaging in tit for tat. No University would get government research money which they take and reap often huge monetary rewards if their research was not conducted according to established norms and had no validity. If your right wing paranoia leads you to believe that all University research is invalid because it may have some Liberal people conducting it then its up to you not me to do the leg work to prove or disprove your paranoia. I personally would not waste my time trying to prove that a statistic conducted by MIT might have been 69.999 per cent rather than the more accurate 70 per cent. That is right wing nut grade paranoia.

              • Now your engaging in tit for tat. No University would get government research money which they take and reap often huge monetary rewards if their research was not conducted according to established norms and had no validity.

                So, instead of producing the research you cited, you’re going to double down on the appeal to authority fallacy?

                If your right wing paranoia leads you to believe that all University research is invalid because it may have some Liberal people conducting it…

                Straw man arguments are also a logical fallacy.

                …then its up to you not me to do the leg work to prove or disprove your paranoia.

                No, that’s not how this works. You cited the research, so it is not our job to do your leg work to produce the cited research.

                I personally would not waste my time trying to prove that a statistic conducted by MIT might have been 69.999 per cent rather than the more accurate 70 per cent. That is right wing nut grade paranoia.

                Apparently, you won’t even waste your time producing the research in question.

      • %jlp says:

        February 10, 2016 at 16:48

        Contrary to popular belief prohibition did indeed work. The idea was to get people off of hard liquor and it did just exactly that because hard liquor became so expensive that working people turned to drinking more beer.

        The “Roaring Twenties” and the Prohibition era are often associated with unchecked use and abuse of alcohol, yet the statistics tell a different tale. According to a study conducted by M.I.T. and Boston University economists in the early 1990s, alcohol consumption actually fell by as much as 70 percent during the early years of the “noble experiment.” This included consumption of all alcohol not just hard liquor.

        It was big money that got the law receded. The Government realized that the underworld was making money tax free that would be paid to them if it was legalized. This is also the same reason Marijuana is being legalized in so many states today. Just as the Government woke up to how much money they were missing out on during prohibition the shock today of the money the Government is making on weed sales is like history repeating itself again in some ways.

        So the argument will then be did keeping marijuana sales illegal reduce consumption. The answer is actually yes as studies show that in other countries where it was made legal it then dropped the prices and that consumption did indeed increase both because of the price and that it was now legal to use.

    • There’s “shouldn’t” versus “doesn’t” and I’m not sure you can say that laws DON’T help shape societal norms. I’m not talking about morality, which derives from natural laws, but “safety” – the example that first came to mind was seat belts and car seats. As folks on the, ahem, later portion of their century of life they get to shoot for on this earth have seen, seat belts and car seats have seen utilization climb greatly as a result of ever more stringent laws mandating their use (effectively, criminalizing their non-use). Today, there is clearly an increased societal norm to use these devices than existed in the 60’s and 70’s. It’s hard to fathom that the laws didn’t push that change.

      • That’s just people responding to incentives, in this case, negative incentives. That’s not the same thing as actually changing societal norms.

        The proof? Look at people’s seat belt utilization when there’s little risk of punishment. Many people live in neighborhoods where the mail is delivered not to their specific home, but to a bank of mailboxes on the street. Watch sometime and you’ll see people stop, unbuckle their seat belt, exit their vehicle, retrieve their mail, re-enter their vehicle and drive home without buckling up. They figure they’re not going very far, very fast, and there are no police cruisers in the neighborhood to catch them, anyway. So why bother?

        You’ll see the same at the neighborhood drug store, grocery store, or convenience store, especially later at night. People figure they’re not going very far and aren’t likely to get caught, so they skip the seatbelts. They’ll even go without strapping in their infants in car seats under these quick trip circumstances.

        You’re far less likely to see this behavior on the morning commutes or while dropping off kids at school, because there are more police or others who would turn them in and they’d suffer the disincentives. That’s not a change in societal norms, though, just in one’s risk/reward calculation.

        • Jonathan – Houston,

          I believe both factors come into play. This seat belt example is an excellent example. I remember when my state enacted seat belt laws. Prior to enactment, my family rarely used seat belts. After enactment, my family always wore seat belts. At this point, even if there were no seat belt law, I would always wear my seat belt. And the explanation is two-fold:
          (1) A law led me to view wearing a seat belt as “normal” and I am now “comfortable” wearing a seat belt. More than that I now feel “uncomfortable” when I do not wear a seat belt … even if I am just driving around private property.
          (2) There is substantial demonstrable benefit to wearing a seat belt in a vehicle crash. Therefore I want to wear a seat belt.

          So, the law got me started and a significant demonstrable benefit keeps me coming back for more.

          I believe the same could apply to child access prevention for firearms. Parents who have a lackadaisical attitude to firearms storage will now feel an incentive to make sure irresponsible children cannot access the family’s firearms. After doing that for a while, it will become second nature and the demonstrable benefits will cause parents to embrace the requirement and keep doing it.

        • Uncommon Sense is correct. Laws do change behavior. Seat belt example is perfect however remove threat of a ticket how many would comply? In the case of securing weapons, government mandates additional paperwork, requires storage of documents, punitive action after a tragedy and jail. In addition government now has a foundation to implement, as Canada does, inspecting firearm storage in homes.

          Suppose you receive a speeding ticket, it’s not a reach for government to determine you may be equally negligent in firearm storage, triggering a knock at your door.

        • “Laws do change behavior. Seat belt example is perfect however remove threat of a ticket how many would comply?”

          I picked up a shiny new, very fast car in the spring of 1971, and the bride and I agreed that given it’s purpose (extralegal) we would pick up seat belts right at that moment. When travelling, even less law abiding, we fastened the shoulder harness as well. I’m not sure exactly, but I think it was a decade before anybody finally passed a law requiring it. We have worn them ever since, including a 6-year stint overseas, where they were not required. Darwin and I agree, they should not *be* required. People with sense would still wear them, just like all with sense leave their seat belts fastened on airplanes.

          The question concerned “grandparents”, and the answer is that they are no longer accustomed to small children, or undisciplined children, being around the house, and when you don’t move as fast anymore, you need to keep your guns closer.

          • Sorry but Darwin most likely would not have agreed with you. I base this on the fact that studies done in regards to the educational level of people show that the higher level of education the more likely that they are to believe in the use of safety devices and far more likely to state that no adult has the right to act so irresponsible that it leads to the death or injury of anyone not only children but other adults as well.

            I should have added earlier that even if it is legal in your state not to lock guns up that are loaded when there are children in the house this does not make you immune from lawsuits over the death or injury of anyone, not just children. Suppose your wife is sick and incapacitated. You hire a maid to come in and do some mundane cleaning. When she is cleaning she bumps a Glock or other such pistol that has no manual safety that may even be laying under a piece of discarded clothing. The guns trigger catches on something and fires off either injuring her or killing her. Then you are going to be sued big time and lose easily so what good will it do you if it was legal to keep a loaded gun in the house without at least a proper trigger lock on it. No jury I know of would give you any leeway on that one. You would pay out big money over that one and if it happened to be a visiting child you would not last longer in court than a snow ball in hell.

            No law is a panacea as there are always Morons who will not listen to reason but there are many people when faced with the loss of finances and personal freedom that will indeed change their behavior when it comes to locking up guns when children are in the house. Some children left alive is always better than no children left alive and no sane person would argue against that statement.

        • Actually, no, Uncommon Sense is not correct. Over 300 million people in the country. You can find an example of anything with anybody, including yourself.

          We’re talking public policy here, so anecdotes don’t cut it. We have to focus on the major factors, not sporadic influences. If laws were oh so effective in transforming social norms, the underlying beliefs and adherence to them for their own sake and not just because of incentives, then a helluva lot more bad behaviors would have vanished already. They do not because the beliefs and adherence haven’t taken root.

          You can deny this, but it’s silly to do so. The proof is in how people behave when no one’s looking, no one’s listening, and no one will ever find out. It’s not pretty. You using seatbelts now without force of law compelling you now is just habit. It’s imprinting, not a change in core beliefs, because seatbelt usage is trivial to accomplish. There’s no significant conflict between beliefs and benefits to overcome. The habit is easy to follow.

          But, hey, I’m open-minded. Let’s hear your long list of serious laws, not chicken crap seatbelt usage, that are so inveterate that you’d be comfortable abolishing and trusting in the social norms they’ve allegedly instituted.

          It’s been some six decades since Ike’s civil rights laws. Surely racism has been excised by now, right? Repeal the laws and let’s all live in integrated harmony! Laws against murder, burglary and robbery have been around for a while. Are you willing to give up your guns and leave your doors unlocked, or are you starting to doubt that whole “laws transform beliefs” theory?

          • quote:————-You can deny this, but it’s silly to do so. The proof is in how people behave when no one’s looking, no one’s listening, and no one will ever find out. It’s not pretty. You using seatbelts now without force of law compelling you now is just habit. It’s imprinting, not a change in core beliefs, because seatbelt usage is trivial to accomplish. There’s no significant conflict between beliefs and benefits to overcome. The habit is easy to follow. ———————-Quote

            Horse manure it matters not what changed peoples behavior rather than that it has changed their behavior and by changing their behavior seat belts, trigger locks and other safety devices to numerous to mention have saved many lives and continue to save lives. You would be the first to go back to cars without safety glass or children riding in their mothers laps so you would not have the added expense of buying a child safety seat. It matters not whether people believe in what they are doing but that they do it and do it they have as history has proven your insane rants wrong. When its the law most people conform to the law especially when they begin to realize that yes seat belts save lives (often their own) and trigger locks do too and to bad if its inconveniences you for I second taking it off. I have used them for years and I assure you they are not a left wing Communist conspiracy.

            Your real problem, one you will not admit to is that you do not want to be inconvenienced no matter how many people get killed or how many peoples lives are destroyed as your Narcissism is paramount and to hell with everyone else.

    • Spot on, JR.

      Laws are coercive by nature. They punish behavior, they do not shape or reinforce morality.

    • If you didn’t post this on the WP site, you should. People that consistently read WP to reinforce their political opinions need to see this kind of thinking to even begin to pull their heads out of their asses.

      • I don’t post at WP, but feel free to plagiarize at will. It’s the message that counts, not me saying it.

    • If I read your rant correctly you do not think that there should be any laws that punish Morons who leave loaded guns lying around for children to pick up and shoot themselves with. Well lets face facts laws do indeed change societal behavior and your rant flies in the face of history.

      Remember how many idiots used to fight tooth, nail and claw the laws that made people wear seat belts or motorcycle helmets. It was all supposed to be a Left Wing or an Insurance Company conspiracy. Decades later most people would not think of not wearing their seat belts or putting on their motorcycle helmet. The same is true with the new gun laws that penalize Morons from ending up killing their children or worse someone else’s children. Making an example of them by sending them to prison sends a loud and clear message that if you do not act like a responsible gun owner you will not only go to prison but never own legally another firearm the rest of your life. That alone is enough many times to get through to some of these cement heads in regards to them having no regard for the lives of children. When there neighbor goes to prison the dim light bulb comes on in their heads and they know they will be next if they do not obey the law designed to protect children.

      • The federal government has no authority to require anybody to protect his/her own life by wearing seatbelts, helmets, bulletproof vests, or anything else. It is simply not their business, but mommies insisted we pass a damn law instead of taking junior’s keys away until he learned to behave.

        • No we are level headed realists who well aware of History in regards to what has shaped our past influenced and often dictated the future. History is something the radical right often lacks knowledge of and when they do have some knowledge of it the knowledge is not often complete and what little of it they have is misunderstood. Is it any wonder the Conservatives think Hitler was a liberal.

          • No we are level headed realists who well aware of History in regards to what has shaped our past influenced and often dictated the future. History is something the radical right often lacks knowledge of and when they do have some knowledge of it the knowledge is not often complete and what little of it they have is misunderstood. Is it any wonder the Conservatives think Hitler was a liberal.

            Quoted for posterity, as some of the most elitist bovine excrement I’ve read.

            It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.

            – Ronald Reagan

            • I like your quote form Reagan. History proved he was the biggest enemy of working class people we have ever had as a resident. His trickle down economics really worked great by destroying the working class and letting every penny flow down over the rich and powerful heads. We ended up without even on trickle. You could not have picked a worse example to quote.

        • “No we are level headed realists “

          Only in your own mind, after you redefine level headed realist as “agrees with me.”

          It is often said that Progressivism is a mental disease. Your State-loving commentary on this page certainly supports that hypothesis.

        • Reagan was certainly conservative, and more certainly wrong about a lot of things. But he had liberals pegged, which is why the quote is so biting. He was a Californian governor; he knew all about progressives, and this is why he was so successful (if you call his policies successes) in working with them. He was able to craft emotional appeals to his proposals, and rope as much liberal support as he needed by exploiting their ideological weakness.

          Peace through forced disarmament. Strength through feminization. Solidarity through diversity. Wisdom through censorship. Inclusion through stratification. Toleration through castigation. Living. Contradictions. Every last one of you.

          All it takes to fool a liberal is to phrase something so it ‘sounds’ right; there is no analysis of cause, effect, or even whether or not the promised result is likely or possible. “Free health care, yo!” Now it’s gonna be “free college, bro!” Conservatives are bad about this, too; phrase something so it sounds like an enemy they’ve been set up to oppose will be harmed or hindered, and they’re yours. Too many Americans are in it for either free shit or to hurt other people. Libertarians just want to be let alone, and believe it or not most Americans are probably libertarian (i.e. too lazy to actively pursue imposing their views on others, themselves) but have shacked up with political parties with more ambitious goals.

  3. “Research shows that these laws work. A 2005 study found that in 10 states, the laws prevented 829 injuries in 2001, saving $37 million in medical costs”

    Maybe it’s just too early in the morning, but I’m trying to figure out how they think they know that…
    Are they sure it wasn’t 828 injuries and $36.925 million? I’m getting another cup of coffee.

    • I imagine they could only estimate the benefit.

      Suppose a state had been averaging close to 50 injuries a year prior to enactment. After enactment, injuries immediately dropped and settled down to an average around 20 injuries per year.

      Thus, it would be fairly reasonable to claim that the state’s safe storage law prevented 30 injuries per year. And the monetary savings would be the average cost of an injury times those 30 injuries that did not happen on average.

      Such an analysis and claim is quite a bit more dicey if the trend had been steadily decreasing for decades (as is actually the case in the United States) and if additional factors could be responsible for the decline (like a sudden large push for more training or public service announcements).

    • TIO, statistics are much easier to understand if you make them up yourself. See, now? That one is pretty obvious, yet you can bet that our government paid someone handsomely to falsify it, and has not figured that out, yet.

      • Once again until you would review the study in its entirety engaging in your own wild speculation that it just has no validity shows that it is more likely you rather than they that are as you say, making stuff up.

  4. “[Child Access Prevention] laws are less about punishing….

    Nope. I had to sign 2 documents stating ability to lock my weapons. Something about becoming a felon if I didn’t. That’s punitive.

    • Wait, wait, wait. WTF are you taking about? Sign what? Where and when? I have missed something, here.

  5. The idea that you don’t, as opposed to can’t, legislate morality is part of the faux Libertarian assault on the rule of law. All law is moral based. We don’t outlaw the unwarranted taking of life for some utilitarian reason. We outlaw it because we believe it is wrong. Law is the embodiment of a society’s moral code.

        • Exceptions don’t define the rule.

          As a society, we don’t like ‘crime.’ Just because some people fall outside that belief does not mean the moral value is absent.

          A society is a collection of individuals. Humans are not insects.

          As such a collection, there is a “norm” of behavior with certain societal pressures…things like picking your nose in public. There are behaviors that have more serious pressures…mores…

          Then there are “values.” These are defined as consensus beliefs regarding right and wrong. These are things that the collection as a whole holds “proper,” but there are ALWAYS individual exceptions.

          Some individuals are permanent exceptions. For example, someone that does NOT value human life and things killing for any purpose is a-ok. That such people exist does not negate the fact that the huge, vast majority of the society does value human life.

          Some individuals are temporary exceptions. These are situational criminals, such as crime-of-passion murderers. They value human life in general, but lost that value for a period.

          Laws do NOTHING to stop any of this, and no legislation can possibly change it. ALL laws can do is punish the violations after the fact.

          It is both theoretically (in social theory) and practically impossible to legislate morality. But that’s not the same thing as saying all laws are 100% aligned with every moral or every human act 100% of the time.

        • Demonstrably false. Do you go to the bar and get smashed and get in your car and drive off? I bet not because it puts you at legal risk. Of there were no law against driving while impaired I bet you would since your judgement is impaired. Just because not all are deterred doesn’t mean laws don’t deter.

        • “Demonstrably false.”

          Wrong. I’ve got 100+ years of social theory research to back me up, plus 10,000+ years of actual human observation of societies.

          “Do you go to the bar and get smashed and get in your car and drive off? I bet not because it puts you at legal risk.”

          Nope. You are wrong. I don’t do this because I think it is wrong to do it. That you are wrong is exemplified by the myriad of people that do it despite the “legal risk.”

          “Of there were no law against driving while impaired I bet you would since your judgement is impaired.”

          You’d lose that bet.

          I don’t drink and drive at all at this stage in my life and it has NOTHING to do the law. In fact, the law says I CAN drink SOME and drive, so long as I am below the state’s defined “legal limit.”

          But I don’t even though the law says I am “allowed” to. Why do you think that is?

          Hint: It has nothing to do with the law. My behavior is not determined by the law, just like those that get to BAC = 0.30 and drive anyway despite the law.

          “Just because not all are deterred doesn’t mean laws don’t deter.”

          Laws can deter, but they cannot dictate what is “right” and what is “wrong.” An individual’s view of right and wrong is what (collectively) determines normative behaviors across a population.

          We are not talking about individual decisions to do or not do something. For a law to determine behavior, the drug war, prohibition, CT “assault weapons”…all these things would be done deals.

          If the law had the power this guy is suggesting, there would have been no “blowback” from Bloomberg trying to outlaw certain sized sodas and stuff like that.

          Separate individual exceptions and behaviors of an individual from collective “normal” and you will see why what he is saying is factually and demonstrably impossible. It has been tried and failed throughout human history.

          Or, you won’t see it and you will stubbornly cling to some nonsensical belief that The State can tell people what to believe, how to act … if we only had the “right set of laws” to make it happen.

          I don’t care.

        • “What you can’t legislate is moral behavior. That is why we have criminals.”

          Criminality and morality are not synonymous… I can cheat on my wife, which is immoral based on my beliefs, but not illegal based on our society.

          Behavior is punishing or reinforcing, at its basis, period. Laws are punitive (i.e.,coercive) in nature, and coercion is always a negative/ punisher when dealing with the function of behavior. A law cannot reinforce “morality”, it can only punish “immorality”, both being highly subjective concepts.

          It’s not my opinion, it’s a fundamental princple of behavior science. One does not have to know or understand the function of behavior for it to function.

        • You can legislate morality, but all you’re really doing is punishing immoral behavior. They are not at all the same thing, and instead of pushing society towards morality, excessive morality laws tend to result in very a-moral people who no longer rely on themselves to determine right or wrong as individuals. Which is why the most effective laws are those involving demonstrable damages, since punishing those who cause damages is a universally-agreeable moral intrinsic to the human condition.

      • I think it kind of goes both ways. Malum in se laws are on the books because we as a society see an inherent “badness” in certain things: Murder, rape, rooting for the NY Yankees. But we also have malum prohibitum laws, which are a paean to our inner tyrant. When people let their inner tyrant run wild, they become criminals, or worse, politicians. They then pass laws regarding any and all things: Banning 32 oz. Big Gulps, blue laws, gun waiting periods, mag bans, etc. Worse sill, we let them set up bureacracies under the Executive Branch of government run by mini-tyrants who believe that they have the power to create whatever laws they want with no accountability.

        Our master barristers Paulsen or Dirk Diggler could probably go into it better than me. But I could’ve sworn that barring an intentional act of negligence (like driving 140 mph down a city street) mostly these kinds of things fall under civil actions and not criminal ones. If we outlaw being a dumbass half the country or more will have to be locked up.

        • The point is, though, the malum prohibitum are always colossal failures with widespread non-compliance.

          They simply do not alter the behavior they are designed to prevent. In some cases, they make it worse and more widespread.

    • “All law is morality based.” Wow, you are delusional. So it’s moral to kidnap and throw someone in a cage for possessing a leaf some assholes in suits in Washington decide they don’t like?

      • Typical faux Libertarian thinking. I guess it’s ok to toke up and do damage to someone else or become a social burden because personal autonomy or something.

        • If the planet was fermented and drank instead of cut up and smoked would you feel it to be more in keeping with moral standards?

    • “Law is the embodiment of a society’s moral code.”

      I could believe that between 100 and maybe 1000 laws governing a society fit that description, but here in America we are working on hundreds of times that many. That has left the expression of a society’s desires and gone directly into government gone wild, controlling the public for government’s benefit.

      • Child safety laws are not the Government controlling the pubic for their benefit. That is so moronic is laughable. Rather it is a government that is taking car of the minority of its citizens that do to lack of education or responsibility are putting children at risk of death or injury. If we take your position further its a government conspiracy that requires child safety seats as it is the right of the mother to hold her child in her lap during an auto accident that due to her ignorance actually will crush the child between her and the dash board. But right wing fanatics will scream its her right to freedom to maim or kill her own child by not obeying the law. Sane people shake their heads in utter astonishment that anyone would for a moment adhere to such nonsense.

        • I fully believe people have the right to be stupid and the freedom the suffer the consequences of their stupidity without a modicum of sympathy from the rest of us.

          • Do you even realize what you have just stated. Taking this philosophy farther would mean that everyone has the right to act stupid and speed and crash into innocent people and kill themselves as well as others. This is no different than saying people have the right to kill or injure other people because they are too lazy and shiftless and cheap to buy and use a trigger lock.

            • aking this philosophy farther would mean that everyone has the right to act stupid and speed and crash into innocent people and kill themselves as well as others.

              No, that’s actually saying something completely different.

              Everyone does have the right to act stupidly. No one has the right to cause harm to another. Thus, when one exercises the right to act stupidly in a manner that causes harm to another, then the one who acted stupidly is held responsible for the harm caused.

              You cannot stop people from acting stupidly. Prior restraint is an unconstitutional and immoral violation of individual liberty.

              This is no different than saying people have the right to kill or injure other people…

              That’s a nice Straw Man you’ve got there.

              …because they are too lazy and shiftless and cheap to buy and use a trigger lock.

              A trigger lock is not some magic talisman, and doesn’t take the place of personal responsibility.

              I intentionally and willfully do not own, and will not use, a trigger lock. If a firearm in my house is loaded, it is loaded for a specific purpose. Otherwise, it is unloaded. Thus, it is counter-productive to put a trigger lock on a firearm that is loaded for specific purpose, and it is pointless to put a trigger lock on a firearm that is unloaded.

              Your desired “safe storage” laws would make my household less safe, not more safe.

              • quote————————No, that’s actually saying something completely different.
                Everyone does have the right to act stupidly. No one has the right to cause harm to another. Thus, when one exercises the right to act stupidly in a manner that causes harm to another, then the one who acted stupidly is held responsible for the harm caused.

                You cannot stop people from acting stupidly. Prior restraint is an unconstitutional and immoral violation of individual liberty.——————–Quote

                Without even realizing what you have just stated you actually just agreed with me. The new laws would do exactly what you have just stated. Make people legally responsible for causing harm to others which traffic laws already do and safe storage laws would do exactly the same and people would know exactly what would happen to them if they failed to obey them. Having no law lets people assume there would be no consequences or that since there is no law that would be an argument for acquittal or a slap on the wrist in court. And your nonsense about unconstitutional is pure balderdash as you are saying people have the right to harm others because it might infringe on your constitutional freedom to commit death and destruction. We already have laws against shouting fire in a theater which according to your twisted thinking is against constitutional freedom of speech. No constitutional right is without sane limits otherwise we would even be allowed to own our own personal nuclear weapons to be used on our neighbors if their dog happened to shit on our property.

              • Without even realizing what you have just stated you actually just agreed with me. The new laws would do exactly what you have just stated. Make people legally responsible for causing harm to others…

                So, your contention is that, without safe storage laws, a firearm owner is not legally responsible if/when a firearm he owns is negligently unsecured and subsequently used to cause harm to another?

                Having no law lets people assume there would be no consequences…

                Apparently, that’s exactly what you’re saying. Do you really think that’s true? A firearm owner cannot be held responsible for negligent manslaughter (for example) without safe storage laws being in place?

                And your nonsense about unconstitutional is pure balderdash as you are saying people have the right to harm others because it might infringe on your constitutional freedom to commit death and destruction.

                Please review the definition of prior restraint (you know, that which I actually said was unconstitutional?) and get back to me.

                We already have laws against shouting fire in a theater which according to your twisted thinking is against constitutional freedom of speech.

                There are no such laws. Are you saying that there are actually laws that make it illegal to shout “fire!” in a theater? What about if the theater were, you know, on fire?

                There are laws against causing harm through the exercise of the freedom of speech. But even under such laws, the harm must be committed before those laws can be brought to bear. Those laws cannot prevent the harm by preventing the exercise of the freedom of speech. (Remember your homework assignment: prior restraint.)

              • Quote: So, your contention is that, without safe storage laws, a firearm owner is not legally responsible if/when a firearm he owns is negligently unsecured and subsequently used to cause harm to another?

                Having no law lets people assume there would be no consequences…

                Apparently, that’s exactly what you’re saying. Do you really think that’s true? A firearm owner cannot be held responsible for negligent manslaughter (for example) without safe storage laws being in place? Quote:

                You remind me of a drowning man grasping at straws along the bank. Admit it you have lost and be man enough to admit it. Now in your desperation you posting nonsensical replies trying to twist what I have said not once but numerous times. Laws change behavior for the majority of people while a lack of a law leads many to believe that they can get away with reckless behavior because there is no law specific to their behavior which does not necessarily mean that they cannot be sued but that does not mean the law suit will always be won just that most of the time it will be won. The problem is without the law prison time is not assured as it should be and would be with a specific law. History has already shown that. I cannot make it any more simple than that.

                Quote:————————-There are no such laws. Are you saying that there are actually laws that make it illegal to shout “fire!” in a theater? What about if the theater were, you know, on fire?————————

                More desperation with nonsensical replies. If there was a fire no one would be charged for yelling fire and if there was no fire, yes dear genius there is a law that would put you in prison for saying it. Just off the top of my head they could get you for inducing panic which would result in loss of life or injury even if the particular jurisdiction did not have a law specifically mentioning the word “fire”. So what you are attempting to do is play a game of semantics while trying to ignore the truth of the original statement which was Constitutional rights in general including freedom of speech are not unlimited because they never were intended to be, common sense would tell anyone that. I might add there have been plenty of people sent to prison for using racial epitaphs as well which according to your twisted view is a Constitutional right that has no limits. Jail time for actions proven to be hate crimes are often clinched when the accused was proven to use racial epitaphs while committing said crime which often carry stiffer sentences than if the same crime was committed but no racial epitaph was used. A crime of passion can often be proven which can carry less jail time than the exact same crime committed while using hate speech. So do you have unlimited freedom of speech in all cases. No you do not as court cases and the law prove that beyond a doubt.

              • Laws change behavior for the majority of people while a lack of a law leads many to believe that they can get away with reckless behavior because there is no law specific to their behavior …

                Spoken like a true Statist, and demonstrably false. Case in point: 100,000,000 firearm owners, with 350,000,000 firearms, almost all of which existing in states without your safe storage laws – and there is no bloodbath of accidental deaths due to irresponsible/unsafe firearms storage.

                If there was a fire no one would be charged for yelling fire…

                But, according to you, there are laws that prohibit “yelling fire in a theater”.

                …and if there was not a fire, yes dear genius there is a law that would put you in prison for saying it.

                [citation needed]

                Just off the top of my head they could get you for inducing panic which would result in loss of life or injury even if the particular jurisdiction did not have a law specifically mentioning the word “fire”.

                So, the offense would not, in fact, be “yelling fire in a theater”, but rather inducing panic – and the law in question would involve inducing panic, and not “yelling fire in a theater”.

                So what you are attempting to do is play a game of semantics while trying to ignore the truth of the original statement which was Constitutional rights in general including freedom of speech are not unlimited because they never were intended to be…

                No, what I am attempting to do is to point out that a) prior restraint (i.e. laws against an act on the basis that it might cause harm) is unconstitutional, and b) actual laws involve harm actually caused through an action that coincidentally may involve the exercise of a right.

                An actual harm must be demonstrated in order for the exercise of first amendment rights to be deemed unlawful. That means that the exercise must take place first, and any law that prohibits the act from taking place in the first place is unconstitutional.

                You do realize sane people are reading your bizarre comments?

                Yes, I am aware that, fortunately, more people than just you are reading my comments.

                I suggest you take a visit to the grave yards of children and tell that to grieving parents who’s children got shot by other children that had access to guns due to right wing nut cases like yourself that acted irresponsibly by not keeping loaded guns out of their hands.

                Keep waving those bloody shirts!

                You can ignore the dead in grave yards but sane people do not.

                For every one person who dies accidentally due to negligent discharge of a firearm, about 250 people die accidentally due to other causes. Why do you ignore all of them in the grave yards?

              • I am not even going to respond to this rant. I think you are so over the top in nonsense that it is better to let people read through the rant and shake their heads.

              • I am not even going to respond to this rant. I think you are so over the top in nonsense that it is better to let people read through the rant and shake their heads.

                Translation: “I can’t articulate a coherent response, so I won’t even bother trying.”

                Thanks for playing.

  6. So wait. We have current laws on the books to deal with situations like a kid accidentally shooting someone. We can charge the parent or grand parent with reckless endangerment or some similar charge. But now the answer to preventing future incidents is……….more laws.

    He is right when he says these laws he proposes are not about punishing negligent gun owners, because we could be putting an emphasis on it now with appropriate charging. These laws are all about punishing all gun owners because it makes him feel superior. It also spares him having to make a judgment on individuals, instead allowing broad brush harassment of a group of people he doesn’t like.

    • Very well said.

      If a society “valued” a certain behavior, that behavior would occur regardless of the laws. That laws are “needed” to try to get people to behave certain ways is indicative that the individual people that make up that society do NOT value that behavior.

      And, his argument fails completely on another level anyway: no matter what laws are on the books, there are ALWAYS people that break them. Murder, armed robbery, rape, forgery, theft…all against the law. Yet all of these happen every single day.

      All laws CAN do is provide a mechanism of punishment. He’s just wrong.

  7. Hold on just a minute. So you’re telling me that the possibility of a small child shooting and killing themselves or a family member or friend ISN’T a deterrent to these negligent gun owners, but a new law WILL be? This guy has a rather deficient understanding of human psychology and motivation.

    • This!!!!!^!*{>|%

      I was about to comment but you beat me to it. If a parent or guardian is not willing to protect (or educate) their children on guns resulting in their death, they probably aren’t going to care about a law that says they need to.

      • Actually you just answered your own question. No the senseless death of children has no affect on other irresponsible gun owners otherwise they long ago would have changed their behavior. Child accidental shootings prove that over and over. Really what have you been drinking today? You can only get through to a Narcissist when something affects him personally like jail time and loss of his money. The death of other children other than his own means nothing to him and sometimes even the death of his own children affects a Narcissist not a wit.

  8. Put simply, he wants us to acknowledge that we share in the guilt of criminals who use guns.

    Like how he acknowledges his liberal nonsense inspired generations of Americans to embrace the culture of lawlessness and disrespect that breeds most violent cr…. oh, wait…

  9. They nudge responsible owners to prevent something terrible from happening? So being indirectly responsible for some innocent person being killed isn’t enough of a deterrent? But the fear of being punished for violating storage laws is? That’s really selfish.

  10. It seems that the Wapo continually cr_ps out journalists that think they speak for us, or that think we believe they have the slightest notion of gun possession/care/storage, etc.

    Don’t even click the link.

  11. Why is it these people think some law on the books is more of a deterrent than actually injuring or killing someone with negligence? How can you be so blind?

    • I think one simple answer to how they can be so blind is an individual vs State thing.

      The (excellent) suggestion that “not wanting to hurt someone” is a deterrent is “individual.” It comes from the heart of a person. It’s not “collective” and there is really no way to determine it or force it.

      Or control it.

      A law, on the other hand, is a collective “solution” dictated by the State. To suggest this assumes the State has “all power” over individuals, even and including a falsely assumed power to guarantee 100% compliance with the collective’s rules.

      There simply is no room for “individual” in the Statist thought process…that if something is against the law, it won’t happen.

      That this is never born out by practical reality is irrelevant. The selling of the State as the solution is all that matters.

  12. Part of the problem is the “modern parenting” where children have NO boundries and do whatever they damm well please. I’ve had friends come over with their kids. Ages 2 – 12 and they just wander the house going into rooms and plundering around, until I or my wife catches them. We watch all children like hawks now.

    • Exactly
      “it suggests that many folks have a dangerously casual attitude toward leaving…” …their young children irresponsibly unattended!
      FIFY

  13. Nearly 1000 children drown in backyard pools and most are ages 1-6. 250 kids drink drano and eat advil. 120 fall out of windows and 35 die from being left in hot cars….responsibility extends waaaaaaaaaaay past firearms. Pools kill nearly 20 times as many kids as accidental firearms discharge when not monitored or secured by adults

    • And all too often even when children are being watched. Not all adults are capable of truly monitoring the activities of children. Have you ever tried to keep track of an active 2 year old? Now consider that many of the caregivers and watchers are elderly, disabled in some way, and can’t move as fast as a child. Add to that the all too common over indulgence of many relatives for childish antics, and the prescription for tragedy is evident.

      I told my son that I could not care for his small sons alone, since I’m partially disabled and mostly deaf. The two boys are wonderful and I love them too much to take a chance on not being able to keep up with them.

      Reasonable, responsible people take every precaution they can to prevent accidents and potential hazards of all kinds, including finding appropriate care for children when they are not present. Irresponsible people never will make that effort, regardless of the “law.”

  14. For what grandparent is incarceration a greater punishment than the agony of not only losing a grandchild, but bearing responsibility for that loss through one’s own negligence?

    If the prospect of losing that grandchild is not sufficient incentive initself to secure your firearms either on your person or via another effective means, then no law is going to “nudge” you in that direction. You’re already too stupid or too callous to be influenced.

    Such laws are entirely punitive. I’m not arguing for or against such laws on that basis, just that such laws largely serve society’s retaliatory purpose. They don’t shape societal norms on guns. They reflect societal norms on vengeance.

  15. As always, the statists of the left (and right) want the government to inflict more violence against the people that government is supposed to serve. That’s exactly why the Second Amendment exists — as a check and balance against government violence.

    The Founders were big on checks and balances. It’s amazing how smart they were.

  16. I believe safe storage laws (child access prevention) are generally part 1 of a 2 part plan. First pass the safe storage law, later when the uproar over the initial law dies down pass the second part, mandatory and unannounced inspections of homes for verification that the law is being followed. Anti gun forces in Washington state were at one point trying to push just such a law through. Since it really is impossible to know which house may contain a firearm I can only assume that the plan was to go door to door and try to inspect every house if the law passed. I also believe that these laws have absolutely nothing to do with safety and as usual everything to do with making the RKBA as difficult and expensive as possible, so as to discourage as many as possible from owning a firearm or to turn the firearm owner into a criminal who’s guns may be taken away for not following the law.

    • Now mind you i am not apologizing or making excuses for The People’s Republic of Kommifornistan.

      However Ca has for longer than I’ve been a gun owner had CAP style laws. The plus side is that each and everyone one of them require the injury of a child or injury by a child before the specific statute has been violated.

    • “mandatory and unannounced inspections of homes for verification that the law is being followed”

      Another reason to fight tooth and nail against any form of registration. If anti-gun fools are invaded by a dozen police searching every room for an unsecured gun two or three times in a year, I can guarantee that shit will STOP! OTOH, once gunowners are separated from actual citizens, out there on the fringe, they can be persecuted at will, as hard and as often as necessary to make them surrender their guns to the local recycling service, the cops, who will be selling huge stores of guns and ammo.

      • Quote——————-“mandatory and unannounced inspections of homes for verification that the law is being followed”
        Another reason to fight tooth and nail against any form of registration. If anti-gun fools are invaded by a dozen police searching every room for an unsecured gun two or three times in a year, I can guarantee that shit will STOP! OTOH, once gunowners are separated from actual citizens, out there on the fringe, they can be persecuted at will, as hard and as often as necessary to make them surrender their guns to the local recycling service, the cops, who will be selling huge stores of guns and ammo.———————Quote

        Wow you have now twisted a child safety law into full blown paranoia over registration and jack booted storm troopers breaking down your door none of which were part of the discussion or proposed law to begin with. Even in European countries that have had such laws for decades and have far less guns than the U.S. there is not enough police or money to break down peoples doors over a law mandating child safety locks. Austria has had such a law for years a people still buy guns every day there.

        • But in the UK licensed gun owners go to jail for not having their gun cabinet properly locked when the bobbies stop by for an unscheduled firearms check. In New York the police can do a firearms check on licensed owners without a warrant. It’s not that much of a stretch. Education and PSA’s on the media, gun safety taught in schools, will do far more in further reducing the number of child involved firearm incidents than more and more statutes.

          • I would agree with you that educational programs are always a benefit but I would not be opposed to inspections because we should send people to jail that leave loaded firearms laying around for children to pick up. If they are obeying the law and have the gun in a desk safe or have a trigger lock on they have nothing to worry about and after a few sensational news stories the rest of the Morons will be scrambling to obey the new law “or else”. Its a shame it had to come to this but irresponsible gun owners brought all this on themselves.

            • …but I would not be opposed to inspections…

              Have you ever even read the Constitution? PROTIP: skip ahead to the Fourth Amendment.

              …because we should send people to jail that leave loaded firearms laying around for children to pick up.

              (Brought to you by the Department of Pre-Crime.)

              If they are obeying the law and have the gun in a desk safe or have a trigger lock on they have nothing to worry about…

              Spoken like a true statist: if a citizen isn’t breaking any laws, then he has nothing to fear from the government violating his rights to look for unlawful activity.

              Fourth Amendment: read it. Then read the Fourteenth Amendment.

              Its a shame it had to come to this but irresponsible gun owners brought all this on themselves.

              Brought what, exactly? And how have “irresponsible gun owners” brought it upon themselves? If the best safety record of any group is sufficient to bring about violations of gun owners’ civil rights, then what of other groups with far worse safety records?

              • Quote—————————Brought what, exactly? And how have “irresponsible gun owners” brought it upon themselves? If the best safety record of any group is sufficient to bring about violations of gun owners’ civil rights, then what of other groups with far worse safety records?—————————Quote

                Only a mentally ill person like yourself would ignore the body count. Remember when you posted that the body count was not high enough to persuade you that it was worth the inconvenience to use a simple trigger lock or desk safe.

                Statistics on dead children as well as numerous reports every year complete with grieving parents not only on TV but on computer that millions of people have seen except you of course who continue to deny any of this ever happens.

                People are on the sane side while you babble about maybe this would happen and the home owner would be found dead with a handgun with the trigger lock still on. Show me the legions of documented cases of this. You can’t now matter what bizarre excuse or propaganda twist you come up with.

                I have followed the gun issues since 1962 so don’t even dare to give me any of your usual paranoia or fantasies. The facts are child killings happen and continue to happen and your paranoia is a fantasy of what might happen some day. I think the death ratio favors the children since its “Many cases to your “Zero” side of the equation. Again where are all the dead people with trigger locks still on their guns?

              • Only a mentally ill person like yourself would ignore the body count.

                What body count?

                No, really: what is the actual number (with citation, please)?

                Statistics on dead children as well as numerous reports every year complete with grieving parents not only on TV but on computer that millions of people have seen except you of course who continue to deny any of this ever happens.

                You and I both know you won’t provide those statistics; so I’ll do it for you.

                Here are the latest numbers from CDC (2013):

                http://www.cdc.gov/injury/wisqars/pdf/leading_causes_of_injury_deaths_highlighting_unintentional_injury_2013-a.pdf

                <1 years: Accidental Firearm not in top 10 (#10, Unintentional Fire/Burn, has 17)
                1-4 Years: Accidental Firearm not in top 10 (#10, Unintentional Struck By/Against, has 33)
                5-9 Years: Accidental Firearm #10, 15
                10-14 Years: Accidental Firearm #9, 24

                Note: the numbers for 2014 are similar, but you have to use a web-based query to get them:

                <1 years: Accidental Firearm not in top 10 (#10, Unintentional Struck By, has 4)
                1-4 Years: Accidental Firearm #10, 22 (1.8%)
                5-9 Years: Accidental Firearm #9, 14 (1.9%)
                10-14 Years: Accidental Firearm not in top 10 (#10, Unintentional Struck By/Against, has 13)

                So, of all children that’s a total of 39 (2013) or 36 (2014) killed accidentally per year, due to unintentional firearm discharge. The children who shot themselves or another child are a subset of that number. Those who did so because of an unsecured firearm a a subset of that number.

                There’s no “body count” here. Your appeal to emotion fails.

                People are on the sane side while you babble about maybe this would happen and the home owner would be found dead with a handgun with the trigger lock still on. Show me the legions of documented cases of this.

                I don’t need to do so, in order to assert that I have the right not to be forced to assume that risk.

                The facts are child killings happen and continue to happen…

                No, they don’t. See that actual statistics, above.

              • Mister you are really not playing with full deck. I am beginning to think that you really believe all this nonsense that you post. Your alone as no one who has a TV set or computer would not be aware of the problem. We see it all the time on the news which of course you will say has conjured up everything that they report on. The problem does not exist because you refuse to believe it does exist. Sorry that’s no reality and 300 million people who watch the news would recommend you see a psychiatrist

              • I am beginning to think that you really believe all this nonsense that you post.

                Why, yes: I do believe the CDC statistics that I cited and quoted. Your move, Captain Ad Hominem.

              • Quote:—————————Fourth Amendment: read it. Then read the Fourteenth Amendment.—————-

                The New York law obviously passed Constitutional muster.

                And remember the Constitution does not mean what is says it means. It means what the Supreme Court says it means regardless of the Founding Fathers intentions even if they were spelled out in plain English. Now neither you or I will agree this is the way the Supreme Court should behave but that is the way they do behave and the side that has the most Justices is the side that will twist the Constitution any way they want. History has proven it many times and both each side of the Court are as guilty as the other.

                Some background info on the 4th Amendment.

                Fourth Amendment case law deals with three central questions: what government activities constitute “search” and “seizure”; what constitutes probable cause for these actions; and how violations of Fourth Amendment rights should be addressed. Early court decisions limited the amendment’s scope to a law enforcement officer’s physical intrusion onto private property, but with Katz v. United States (1967), the Supreme Court held that its protections, such as the warrant requirement, extend to the privacy of individuals as well as physical locations. Law enforcement officers need a warrant for most search and seizure activities, but the Court has defined a series of exceptions for consent searches, motor vehicle searches, evidence in plain view, exigent circumstances, border searches, and other situations.

                Lets re-read the last part.

                “but the Court has defined a series of exceptions for consent searches, motor vehicle searches, evidence in plain view, exigent circumstances, border searches, and other situations.”

                Which means they can do anything they damn well please and have as long as the Court upholds it. And obviously they did in the New York Law. So your 4th Amendment is meaningless in the real world and the Constitution cannot jump out of its glass case and come to your aid. As Mao Zedong once said “Power comes out of the barrel of a gun” and the Court is backed up by plenty of Military and Law Enforcement guns all aimed right at you. That’s reality.

              • The New York law obviously passed Constitutional muster.

                There’s a New York law that authorizes non-probable-cause searches (i.e. “inspections”)?

                And remember the Constitution does not mean what is says it means.

                You may wish that to be true, like the good statist you are.

                History has proven it many times and both each side of the Court are as guilty as the other.

                The difference between you and me is that you not only seem to be okay with that, but desire to see it taken even further.

                Law enforcement officers need a warrant for most search and seizure activities, but the Court has defined a series of exceptions for consent searches, motor vehicle searches, evidence in plain view, exigent circumstances, border searches, and other situations.

                Which of those exceptions apply to inspections of homes to verify conformance to firearm safe storage laws? Which such law in New York has passed constitutional muster in that regard?