Janine di Giovanni
Janine di Giovanni (courtesy yale.edu)
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Janine di Giovanni is a “senior fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs” and she decided to pipe up for more gun control in the wake of the Santa Clarita school shooting. But let’s be fair; maybe she’s just incredibly ignorant of the subject on which she chose to pontificate. It’s not like that would be unusual.

Still, you’d think an Ivy League “senior fellow” would at least do a few cursory web searches before pressing ‘publish.’ This calls for a good old-fashioned fisking . . .

After yet another school shooting, America needs a national epiphany on gun control

Last week there was yet another high-school shooting in the US; another round of senseless killings; and another set of families who are planning funerals instead of the upcoming Thanksgiving holidays. Three teenagers at Saugus High School in California, including the shooter Nathaniel Berhow, are dead.


The opposition to gun control in the US is fierce, even if everyone knows that if guns were more regulated, there would be fewer incidents like the one last week in Santa Clarita, California.

Dancing in the blood, singing for more gun control. But what kind?

What will it take to curb this gun culture? Stricter background checks and a ban on automatic weapons, for a start.

Newsflash: California already has strict universal background checks.

And the shooter didn’t use an automatic weapon. Police say he used a semi-automatic .45-caliber handgun. It was unregistered, which means however he obtained it, he did it unlawfully and he bypassed the mandated background check.

With the exception of a relative few actual automatic weapons already registered with the federal government in 1986, automatic weapons have been banned in this country for decades. For us civilians anyway.

Just how many existing gun people control laws — California pretty much has more such laws than any other state; everything on most victim disarmers’ wishlist except an outright total ban on everything — did the shooter break? Let’s tote them up . . .

  • He was under-aged; he could not lawfully possess a handgun.
  • He was under-aged; he could not lawfully possess ammunition.
  • His weapon was not registered.
  • He skipped mandated background checks on both the firearm and the ammunition.
  • He carried the firearm concealed without a license.
  • He carried the handgun into a gun-free school zone.
  • He assaulted five people with a deadly weapon, murdering two of them.
  • He committed suicide, another crime… unless you let a doctor help you. In California, suicide by gun bad; suicide by doctor, good. (Assisting or encouraging someone else to suicide is a crime under Penal Code 401, but the suicide itself apparently is not a crime.)

Possibly the only gun law he obeyed was the magazine capacity limit, since reports say he only fired six rounds, saving the last for himself.

At last report, it’s unknown how the chumbucket obtained the handgun he used. Reports say his late father’s firearms had been confiscated and destroyed years earlier due to a protective order (and possibly an adjudication of mental illness; that wasn’t completely clear).

If the shooter bought the pistol, it was done unlawfully. If he stole it, well, duh. If he built the gun, he broke another age restriction law and failed to register it. If he found it laying in the street, keeping was still unlawful.

Ditto for the ammunition.

According to a recent study in The American Journal of Medicine, the firearms homicide rate is 25 times higher in the US than in other high-income nations.

That’s utterly false. The result of cherry-picking nations. In fact, if you look at all countries, we’re slightly below average. And the US is experiencing generationally low firearm homicide rates.

The data is shocking. About 38,000 people die a year from gunshot wounds. It is the number one cause of premature death in the US.

WISQARS disagrees.

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents, all intents: 40,464
  • Firearms, all intents: 39,773

The CDC says the leading causes of death are:

  • Heart disease: 647,457
  • Cancer: 599,108
  • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 169,936
  • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 160,201
  • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 146,383
  • Alzheimer’s disease: 121,404
  • Diabetes: 83,564
  • Influenza and pneumonia: 55,672
  • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 50,633
  • Intentional self-harm (suicide): 47,173

Of course, that list ignores another biggie. Medical errors are estimated to kill 250,000 people per year. Some estimates put that number as high as 400,000 per year:

“You are 6.47 to 11.38 times more likely to die by medical professional than by gun. Those medical professionals who arrogantly deign to tell us firearms are the problem.”

OK Ms. di Giovanni, go ahead and admit what you really want. But be prepared to explain how you’ll do it.

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    • Those are not mistakes, those are deliberate lies aimed to raise anti-2A sentiments. Just another piece of leftist public disarmament propaganda program. Gun grabbers lie, water is wet.

  1. So, speaking as a Saugus High School alumnus myself who is personally heartbroken at this situation, I am angered that this dumb woman chose to gloss over the names of the victims, but identified the criminal shooter by full name. The best way to help combat copy-cats is to keep the spotlight off of them as individuals and deny them the notoriety they seek.

    • the word chumbucket in the article will take you to nonadventures.com. where your point is made humorously.

  2. I see that heart disease is still the #1 killer. Even my doctor knows that. fortunately, as he and I monitor my cholesterol to keep it in check, he never turns to me during an office visit and says “so I see your number is a little high this time around…do you have any guns in the house?”

    • It’s interesting that three of the items on the list are directly related to being overweight or obese and a good chunk of #2 is as well.

      Heart disease has a bunch of “sub problems” such as atherosclerosis which are almost all directly related to our increasing waistline.

    • That list is incomplete and therefore inaccurate.

      Abortion is the number one killer at over 600,000 abortions every year, on average.

      • No, it isn’t. I’ve lost older members of my extended family to it.

        High cholesterol runs in my genes. Apparently diarrhea runs in yours.

        • The link behind the number and mortality is pretty low. There is likely some other linked causal factor.
          Statins have been shown to have net negative impact on longevity even if they do reduce the numbers. Dietary intake isnt well correlated with blood levels.
          An unfortunate amount of medical practice is gaming metrics.

  3. It is NOT illegal for a minor to own a firearm in California, but a minor cannot purchase one. It is NOT illegal to conduct specified intrafamilial transfers without a background check. It is NOT illegal for a minor to possess ammunition–but a minor cannot purchase ammunition. It is theoretically possible for this young man to have received a firearm without a background check through inheritance from a parent or grandparent that was initially acquired prior to 1991. It is NOT illegal in California to commit suicide (although for some reason it is still illegal to assist someone to commit suicide).

    The OP is as bad as the bimbo who wrote the opinion piece.

    I am not entirely clear on the status of “unregistered” firearms in California–I seem to recall that a law was proposed that would require retroactive registration of previously (legally) unregistered firearms. Handgun “registration” was not required prior to 1991, and long gun “registration” until 2014. I use ” ” because only “assault weapons” are “registered,” but the State says that the Dealer Record of Sale maintained by the Department of Justice is not “registration.” (If it walks like a duck…)

    • Yeah, those jumped out at me, too:
      “* He was under-aged; he could not lawfully possess a firearm.
      * He was under-aged; he could not lawfully possess ammunition.”

      Maybe if we replace “firearm” with “handgun” and “ammunition” with “ammunition suitable only for a handgun”, the OP would be [closer to] correct. But it’s generally not unlawful for a minor (person under 18 years of age) to possess a firearm or ammunition.

      The OP is almost as bad as a case here in CO a couple of years ago. An 18-year-old female student had a loaded handgun in her vehicle, on [public] high school property. The Sheriff initially said she was charged with the crime of “juvenile in possession of a handgun” – even though the statute expressly defines “juvenile” as someone under 18 years of age. Here in CO, it’s perfectly legal for an 18-year-old to walk down the street openly carrying a handgun. She’d have to be careful of the federal GFSZA, of course.

    • Mark,

      You are correct on all points except for the retroactive registration. That would be tantamount to the State coming in to your home to gain knowledge of your private property. If a handgun was purchased beginning 1991 or gifted within family beginning 1993, or a long gun was transacted in any form beginning 2014, registration is legally required. Any arms owned prior to those dates are not subject to registration due to grandfather provisions. Even our onerous serialization law allows for pre-1968 guns (such as one of my guns from the late 1950s) which was not serialized by the manufacturer to be exempted.

      • I just remember the bill that would have required serialization of unserialized firearms, but not the outcome. There was a lot of opposition. I don’t own any that fall into that category.

      • You missed his point entirely…. There are only two types of guns that are registered in California: assault weapons and .50 bmg rifles. All other firearm records are from the DROS (dealer record of sale) system, which only records transactions processed through state licensed FFL dealers. He pointed out that California attempted to pass a bill that would require registration for all guns but the bill fell through.

        It is a common misnomer in California amongst law enforcement, politicians, media, and, consequently, the public in referring to the DROS as a comprehensive state registration. Even the courts have recognized that the DROS is an unreliable source for proof of ownership and requires sworn affidavits from several sources with supporting documentation to prove ownership or lack thereof to prosecute a case.

      • Not correct.

        Registration, or the CA version of that, creating an entry in CA’s Automated Firearms System (AFS), is not required. Such a record is created as an artifact of the DROS (Dealer’s Record Of Sale) and of the numerous ‘voluntary’ registration paths CA offers.

        A handgun not transferred since 1990, or a long gun not transferred since 2013 (each year being the beginning of required use of a CA FFL or voluntary paper).

        Ownership, possession, and use of guns not in AFS is legal and common.

        There is a sentence enhancement for the crime of unlicensed carry of a concealed weapon (or loaded weapon) if that weapon is not in AFS as belonging to the carrier.

        • Sorry, missed a clause – “or voluntary paper)” will not have an entry in AFS and such entry is not required.

        • AFS is just the umbrella system that DROS is a part of. AFS also covers concealed licenses, law enforcement entries of crime guns, ballistic data from forensic labs, registered weapons (assault weapons and .50 bmg rifles), and VOLUNTARY declaration of ownership entries. These are only STATE records and aren’t considered absolute or comprehensive. The records in and of themselves cannot be used for prosecution but are used to point law enforcement in directions for investigative purposes….. I (and lots of other Californians) try to keep my guns off these lists as much as possible. Lots of people have received visits from DOJ for various administrative discrepancies turned criminal investigations. By owning guns that aren’t on any of these lists you run the “risk” of being accused of the non-crime of possessing an “unregistered” weapon. It’s a non-crime because only “assault weapons” and .50bmg rifles are registered.

    • CA Penal Code 12101 (a)(1) says it’s unlawful for a minor to possess a handgun, with certain exceptions. Going to school isn’t one of them.

      12101 (b)(1) says it’s unlawful for a minor to possess live ammunition, with essentially the same exceptions.

      Suicide: That may be correct. Penal Code 401 makes it a crime to assist or encourage someone *else* to commit suicide (except for doctors under the “death with dignity” law).

      Firearms possessed prior to 1991 do not need to be registered. Long guns (except “assault weapons” were not registered until… 2007? I’ve forgotten the year.

      Some reports indicate the shooter built his handgun. California does require you to serialize and register homebuilt guns now. I think that passed in 2018.

        • Because there is a law of course! The law now stipulates that if you purchase an 80% lower, you MUST apply for a unique serial number from the California DOJ and MUST engrave that serial number onto the receiver PRIOR to beginning the build to the same standards as required by federal law of manufacturers. Being found in possession of an unserialized AR or other 80% firearm is presumptive evidence of a violation of law, as is possession of any firearm that would be defined as an “assault weapon” under the Penal Code that was not registered with the State prior to July 1, 2019. These are two separate offenses.

          Or to put it another way, the only enforcement is if you are found to be in possession by a police officer. Police officers (or USFS officers) have been known to inspect firearms at public shooting facilities. Otherwise there is now way at present to enforce the law. But they are working on that as well, since starting in 2025, we will only be allowed to purchase specified firearms parts through a licensed firearms parts vendor, with a required background check (the same as for an ammo check).

  4. If she thinks it’s bad now, she needs to remember the early 1990s when the crime rate was double its current level and there were half as many guns in private hands.

  5. So many people are impacted every year by The Dumb. Every age group, race, faith, and socioeconomic group can suffer from The Dumb. The Dumb is contagious, and it’s symptoms are compounded by willful ignorance and blind following of agendas, but it can be fought. The Dumb can be fought with facts, data, experience, and exposure to new ideas. Do your part to stop The Dumb!

  6. Cleaning out my office desk a few weeks ago I found one of the notes I had given each of my children to carry when they were minors (in commiefornia)

    “(Kid Galt) has my permission to possess firearms and ammunition.”………signed, parent.

    They also had hunting licenses since they were y o u n g…………

  7. This woman is emblematic of those in the ruling class who see themselves as our rightful betters. They think their having attended prestigious schools makes them more enlightened than the rest of us and, therefore, better able to formulate the rules and regulations they seek to impose on us “for our own good.”

    The problem is that people like Janine di Giovanni are nothing but highly credentialed, arrogant idiots, people with opinions about everything but without actual knowledge.

    • I am also an Ivy grad from a similar prestigious university. Some of the required readings of all freshman students at my school were the classic philosophers and although they did not seem relevant at the time, they seem quite relevant now. John Locke is very interesting reading for anyone interested in the origins of the US Constitution.
      Not everyone with an Ivy education ends up as a political liberal. I believe that if one actually understands the required philosophy readings from my own school, it is easiest to support libertarian views. It is also difficult not to support Constitutional rights.
      The problem as I see it is that although people may share the same education as I do, they may not be willing to live by what they learned much as the Communist governments do not actually follow the Communist philosophy.

  8. Some of the stupidest people I have met are ivy league graduates. They did the “paper chase” but have no life experience. And no common sense. The schools should be reminded of the black slave labor that was used to build the schools in the first place. Today Homeschoolers are out performing everyone including the ivy league.

    Is she an example of an immigrant allowed to come here who hates the American Bill Of Rights?

    Does this “senior fellow” even know there are shooters on her campus????


  9. You know what’s a bigger killer than the misuse and abuse of firearms? SECOND HAND SMOKING!

    That’s 41,000 people dying each year from smoking and they don’t even smoke.

    But that’s a little number, the big number is 480,000 at a cost to the economy of about $326 Billion a year.

    Numbers from the CDC:

    So, if you are looking for something to ban to have a fast, sure and certain impact upon human suffering …..

      • My mother who is in her late 70s had her lung capacity checked after she was feeling out of breath on a short walk and even getting dizzy spells. Her lung capacity was 60% of what would be normal.

        She never smoked ever!

        But her father was a smoker and would smoke around her and her brother and sisters. I actually avoid being around smokers as much as possible as it can trigger an asthma response.

        So YMMV.

        • Thats a real stretch there…if a doctor expressed that i would caution you to remember doctors have opinions just like the rest of us assholes.

  10. Leftards do not put much faith in truth or facts as it disputes their agenda,much easier to just make chit up.

  11. HEY LADY, what would you say had it been a big blade? Could have killed just as many in the same amount of time. Metal detectors don’t register Molotov cocktails. Just saying.

  12. The “Ivy League” is a silly place to look for “thinking” today. Yale, Harvard, etc are all about producing a new generation of swamp dwelling entitled “royalty”. Not developing merit.

  13. I’m always amused\dismayed by the way they cherry pick their selection for countries to look at in terms of gun violence. If your hypothesis is that gun control works, wouldn’t you want to examine countries on a basis of how much or little gun control they have and compare that to their violence rate? Yet that’s never what they do. They avoid that question like the plague. Instead they choose their selection based on things like ‘wealth’ or sometimes on nothing at all (because they don’t want to say “1st world countries” as it’s no longer PC). Somehow they always make sure to avoid having countries like Mexico under examination. You know, countries with much stricter gun control than the US but rampant violence.

    It’s ALMOST as if they realize that gun control isn’t a determining factor in violence… when it comes to what countries they look at. But then it IS a determining factor when they finish that sentence and move on to the next one where they exclaim how obvious it all is that the US has the highest violence and lowest gun control- when you remove all the countries from examination that don’t fit the mold. This is what you get from people that have enough education to sound like they know what they’re talking about but not the intellectual honesty to actually follow the correct method.

  14. When you read this woman’s CV, it leaves you wondering “Why the hell should anyone pay any attention to her?” She has a long list of credentials… and nothing else. Very little real-world experience in anything other than standing around, going “tut-tut” and writing about it.

    Her CV reminds me of Max Boot’s.

  15. I was thinking about all this last night and I realized just how much death has been around me in a direct way throughout my life time.

    I can say without any doubt that no one within my sphere of influence (family/friends/associations/co-workers) lost their lives to gun fire. Who knows? Anything can happen. Tomorrow is a new day. But it’s nearly all been about heart disease, alcohol, drugs, cancer, and motor vehicle related. My own genetics are predisposed to cancer and heart disease.

    Truthfully, of all the things in this world that can take my life from me….gun fire is pretty close to the bottom of the list of worries.

    • While proof reading this after posting, I remembered one guy that put a gun to his head. His debilitating cancer became to much for him. I met him and his wife two or three times at parties but never really became all that close to them.


      • I have two.

        A while back, a former co-worker and most of her family died in a house fire. I only knew her and her mother but her mother died a few months later.

  16. “The opposition to gun control in the US is fierce, even if everyone knows that if guns were more regulated, there would be fewer incidents like the one last week in Santa Clarita, California.”

    It is hard to reach reasonable conclusions when your premise is a flawed assumption.

    Everyone knows there would be fewer such incidents if guns were more regulated? Really?

    How does everyone know this, can you demonstrate that it is true? Everything else she says, in support of this premise is nonsense because she is arguing to support a conclusion whether it is true or not.

    She might as well have stated, “Everyone knows there are alien spacecraft being stored and studied at Area 51 and that work gave us the technology to create the internet.”

  17. “The opposition to gun control in the US is fierce, even if everyone knows that if guns were more regulated, there would be fewer incidents like the one last week in Santa Clarita, California.”

    Put another way I think we can say that Americans regard liberty and freedom as being more important than somebody’s need to be safe.

  18. And 125,000 children killed everyday but, those lives don’t matter to retarded people……..needing rope burns.

  19. Those numbers are pure fiction. Confirmed flu cases number far less than 10k per year, usually in the 3000 neighborhood. Interesting, but not surprising, how the CDC omits medical care from its list, killing as many as 225,000 by some sources.

  20. Being on the far side of 70 I know my time is on the short stroke. So contemplating death is a given. I have came to the conclusion that once you are dead I don’t think it matters how you got that way. Maybe at the moment it happens pain might be a consideration. But as long as it’s quick probably not a whole lot. People live with excruciating pain for years. So in conclusion I don’t think it matters a whole lot if it’s a .22 or 50 cal. Or ,.38 revolver, assault weapon or slingshot, to the victims. Probably not much hierarchy in hell or heaven conversations; “Hey Bill, I got shot with a derringer. ” Yeah Larry wife cut off a prominent part of my anatomy with pinking shears, doctors sewed it bck on but it got infected at the hospital and I died of sepsis. “”Top that. “

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