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Gun Appreciation?

Because of recent shooting tragedies, the Obama administration is attempting to increase gun safety with new regulations. In response to that, a number of right-wing organizations declared Saturday to be “Gun Appreciation Day”, with activities across the nation.

With predictable results:

  • Three people injured and sent to hospital at a gun show in Raleigh, NC when a shotgun went off while the owner was removing it from a case. The show was closed for the rest of the day.
  • An accidental shooting at a gun show near Cleveland, OH, sent another person to the hospital with injuries to his leg and arm.
  • A person loading a gun outside a gun show in Indianapolis, IN shot himself in the hand when his gun went off accidentally.

You would think that people who presumably have some training in gun safety would not do this poorly.

And these weren’t the only moments of crazy. At a demonstration in Davenport, IA, a state representative told the crowd that “serving overseas in the Navy taught him the importance of allowing average citizens to defend themselves against dictators”. At a rally in Frankfort, KY, a Tea Party leader told the crowd “Your government is out of control.” And Senator Rand Paul announced that he wants to introduce legislation to overturn Obama’s recent executive orders on firearms, and also said that teachers should be armed at school.

I totally support the right of people to own guns, but I’d like to close the loopholes that allow violent felons and the mentally ill to easily obtain guns, and to require gun owners to receive gun safety training (just like drivers are required to have car safety training). But these nut jobs somehow think that the second amendment is the only part of the constitution that is exempt from any limits. And if you pass even the most benign regulations increasing gun safety, they start making vague and not-so-vague threats of violence.

Not to mention that these idiots are claiming that Martin Luther King Jr. — a man shot and killed by a gun — would be in favor of gun rights.

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21 Comments

  1. ebdoug wrote:

    New York overwhelming passed the felon law last week. If you buy a gun and give or sell it to a known felon, you go to jail. The gun in Webster, NY shooting that killed two first responders was bought by a neighbor to give to the known felon shooter. I love my state. We do not have mandatory car safety. Just have to pass a drivers test.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink
  2. Duckman wrote:

    This is a good snapshot of america as a whole. Always shooting itself in the foot

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:06 am | Permalink
  3. ebdoug wrote:

    I think of the retired policeman who went on a bike ride with a bunch of bikers. His adult son sharing his motel room went out drinking. When he came back, his sound asleep father grabbed his gun and murdered his son. Bet that ex policeman now being tried for murder wishes there were gun controls.
    Or in Pennsylvania where the Father took his7 year old son to a gun show to sell guns. One didn’t sell. Getting back in the car, the gun went off and killed his son.
    Your chances of being killed by a gun are 7 times more if you have a gun in the house. Just ask the dead mother of the Newtown shooting.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 8:18 am | Permalink
  4. Mike wrote:

    I believe the 7 times figure, but where did it come from?

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 9:16 am | Permalink
  5. Patricia wrote:

    I suspect that perhaps we might need to consider broadening our definition of mentally ill after gun appreciation day :)

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 9:26 am | Permalink
  6. A Longtime Reader wrote:

    “Because Martin Luther King would be pro-gun just as assuredly as Jesus Christ is pro-nail” paraphrasing loosely from Stephen Colbert

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Permalink
  7. Arthanyel wrote:

    Mike – the 7 times figure is accurate but, like many stats quoted in gun arguments, it is more misleading that helpful. If you have a bath tub in your house you are more than 10 times as likely to die from a slip and fall in the bathtub than if you don’t have one. So what?

    Criminals have guns in their house, and they are In the stat. Suicides that use guns almost always had the guns in the house, and they are in there too. And of course a lot of people are shot and killed through incompetence or leaving unsecured weapons out where children can get to them.

    So it would be nice if there was a corresponding statistic like “if attacked by a criminal or a mentally ill person, how much more likely are you to survive if you are armed?” and I suspect the stat on that would also be at least 7 times.

    Stories like the people shot at gun shows demonstrates how many incompetent people have guns. I do gunsmithing, and all people that regularly handle guns have two rules drilled into them religiously (and in most cases, painfully by their instructors):

    1) all guns are to be handled as if they are loaded, at all times, EVEN IF you just checked and they were not.

    2) never point the muzzle of a gun at ANYTHING you aren’t willing to destroy.

    If you follow those two rules, and the common sense #3 (any gun not in active use must be unloaded and locked up) then you won’t have any accidental (or even many intentional) shootings.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  8. Iron Knee wrote:

    Well put, Arthanyel.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 5:38 pm | Permalink
  9. Thatguy wrote:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2013/01/14/169164414/lack-of-up-to-date-research-complicates-gun-debate

    Here’s another interesting stat. That firearm in your home is 43% more likely to be used on someone in your family than on an intruder. But the NRA doesn’t want people seeing stats like this, so they go after the CDC and try to limit how much data we have at our disposal when talking about trying to curb gun violence.

    But I’m sure violent video games are the issue.

    Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink
  10. mike wrote:

    I’m not sure that having a gun increases your chances even if you are only considering home invasions, because with a gun you have a hobbesian paradox. If it is a burglar you would survive without a gun, but with one you might not. Overall though having a gun makes you less safe, period. I know a woman who isparalyzed from a gun accident, and I know nobody who saved themselves with a gun. I own a gun, and keep it at camp just for that reason.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 7:10 am | Permalink
  11. ebdoug wrote:

    Mike, it came from the Brady commission a few years ago so I don’t have the link.
    Mike I’m with you on the gun accidents. If I had a gun and someone invaded with a gun, I’d shoot. If I didn’t have a gun, I’d call 911. (or just 9 on my cell phone)

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink
  12. Arthanyel wrote:

    Thatguy: That’s another of the accurate, but misleading, statistics that gets thrown around in the debate. Suicides are in that number. Domestic violence is in that number. It is just not accurate to say that the mere presence of guns creates violence – because there are other places, like Switzerland, where there are plenty of guns and very little gun violence. And due to the number of loaded, unlocked, incompetently handled guns in the US, there are a lot of deaths that are accidental – AND AVOIDABLE – without getting rid of the guns.

    Mike – I know of many people that have “saved themselves” with a gun including myself. I posted a video link to an Arizona incident where an armed homeowner saved himself and his family from a home invasion attack by four armed criminals as one example. And see above – the mere presence of a gun does NOT make you “less safe”. The presence of a loaded, unsecured, incompetently used gun makes you less safe.

    EBDoug – if someone invades your home with intent to do you harm, and you have a gun, your chances of survival are very good. If you are unarmed, your chances are near zero. 911 is useless – assuming you can get the call in before you are killed, average police response time is 7 to 15 minutes and you will be long dead before they get there.

    There IS one point in all the “having a gun is more dangerous” argument that is valid (other than my points about loaded, unsecured, incompletely handled above) and that point is that the presence of a gun IN A CONFRONTATION is an escalation. It is DEFINITELY true that there are incidents where if the victim is unarmed they may survive (possibly with major injuries, or possibly with none) but if they draw a weapon they get killed. No good statistics on THAT one, but having been a police reservist I can tell you for a fact it is true. It is a minor point though – because in most cases were the victim gets killed because of escalation, it is because they were not competent and did things like show the gun but not fire it while the perp had his weapon out and already aimed.

    I have posted this before on other threads, but in a summary I have personally saved myself and my wife from a home robbery with a gun. I have buried three friends killed by violence (only one killed with a gun) that would likely all be alive today had they been armed. I have been on the street with a badge and seen what happens to people that attract the attention of predators and cannot defend themselves. I was in the middle of the LA Riots in 1992 and everyone I knew that was unarmed wanted to come to my house because they knew they would be safer there.

    So anyone who believes that people don’t need guns for self defense, or that just having a gun puts you in more danger than not having one, is operating from a limited perspective – and people that have had to repeatedly confront the reality of crime and violence know they are FAR better off if they can defend themselves.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Permalink
  13. Iron Knee wrote:

    Arthanyel, I think the goal should be to figure out ways to reduce gun violence without taking guns away from normal citizens. Unfortunately, the gun nuts seem to look at any regulation on guns as unacceptable and a call to armed insurrection.

    I think Obama is making a mistake by trying to ban assault weapons again. Bill Clinton said as much — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/19/bill-clinton-guns-_n_2512588.html

    I wish we would focus on closing loopholes that allow criminals and the mentally ill to easily obtain guns, increase safety training, end the stupid war on drugs that funds violent gangs, and bring back mental illness treatment programs.

    Oh, and a new one — remove lead from our environment.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink
  14. Thatguy wrote:

    There’s nothing misleading about it. The doctor in the article was looking at how guns were used, and that’s what he found. Why suicide and domestic violence wouldn’t be included also requires a little explaination. Don’t those count as gun violence when guns are involved?

    The overall point, I think, is that cases of guns being used for self defense are far fewer than cases where they are used for murder or especially suicide.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 4:12 pm | Permalink
  15. Arthanyel wrote:

    Thatguy: The point is that the use of the statistic is to make the case that the mere existence of a gun is a larger threat to person owning it than an assault – which is false. The mere presence isn’t the issue. We have to assume people that want to kill themselves (or their spouses) will do it anyway. And statistics on suicides and domestic violence in other countries that have tight gun controls (look at Japan as a suicide example) or a high prevalence of firearms (like Switzerland) show there is no correlation between the presence or absence of guns and either of these categories.

    The problem with these statistics (and the overall point you are trying to make about self defense) is that they are mostly poor or misused, or both. We have no statistic for “person was armed so robbers picked on someone else” or “burglars saw armed homeowner and fled” or “husband knew wife had a CCW and so thought twice about trying to shoot her” or any number of other events. And we have no data on “if he wanted to kill himself and no gun was available, would he have given up or just used sleeping pills”?

    IK – I completely agree with everything you say. The pro gun extremists resist EVERY attempt to address the violence problem, even the sane ones. And the pro gun control people want to take as many guns away as possible, regardless of the efficacy.

    What we need is universal background checks, competency testing, better mental health screening, and to beef up the BATFE to actually enforce the laws we have.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    One of the problems is that statistics collection regarding guns was strongly hampered in the 1986 Firearm Owners Protection Act. It isn’t simply a matter of there not being enough data or study, but it is illegal to do the studies needed.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  17. Anonymous wrote:

    I meant to include this link about the ATF…

    http://www.npr.org/2013/01/08/168889491/gun-control-advocates-say-atfs-hands-have-been-tied

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink
  18. Arthanyel wrote:

    Anonymous – correct. The extremists (including the NRA’s lobbyists) have been systematically undermining any attempt to get real data and systematically hamstringing every enforcement mechanism they can reach.

    Which is to say that they are evil.

    I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment but not allowing people to STUDY the problem or to enforce EXISTING laws is just wrong.

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:39 pm | Permalink
  19. Iron Knee wrote:

    Saying the NRA is evil is a pretty strong statement, but I can’t find a good argument to disagree with it. It is almost as if they were acting as lobbyists for criminals.

    And you and I are both in favor of gun rights!

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Permalink
  20. Arthanyel wrote:

    Obviously IK there are a great many NRA members that are not evil. But systematically working to undermine the system for sensible action? Blocking all attempts to fund non partisan, factual research on the problem? That IS evil.

    Some people (on the left wing) have been claiming it is because the NRA leadership is owned by the gun manufacturers and this is all a thinly veiled attempt to sell more guns – but the majority of the NRA funds come from memberships, and the majority of membership money is spent on things other than politics. THE NRA lobbyists don’t do what they do to enhance gun sales. What they ARE doing is the same “ends justify the means” insanity that has gripped the Republican Party and most conservatives. They are willing to move their agenda forward at ANY cost even if it is unscrupulous, immoral, or illegal – as long as they don’t get caught.

    Jon Stewart had a great expose on that last week, about how the BATFE has been emasculated. You should post that clip :-)

    Monday, January 21, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Permalink
  21. Thatguy wrote:

    Arthanyel I agree with just about everything you say, but again that one study is simply showing how the guns in a household in his area are likely to be used. Of course guns alone don’t create violence, but that isn’t what the article linked above is saying. It’s saying that usimg a gun to fend off assaults or intrusions happens a lot less often than using a gun to harm someone in the household in which it is being kept.

    I’d love to see more extensive research into this, as I believe gun ownership should be legal and can protect people, but I also think this assault on research by the gun lobby has led to a myth that having a gun makes you a lot more secure than it really does. To your point about a wife having a weapon to protect herself from an abusive husband: just having that gun only makes her safe if she can draw and fire effectively before he fires on her. There are a lot better ways to resolve a marital dispute (and most others) than starting a firefight in the living room. One could even suggest that our reliance on guns for protection as a society only exacerbates our gun violence problem.

    Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 1:44 pm | Permalink