The Curmudgeon’s Proposed Gun Law

There’s no creationism news out there at the moment, so we’ll go off topic and discuss gun control. One hears all kinds of proposals being advocated to deal with gun violence — some rather outrageous by our standards. Your Curmudgeon is a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, but we’re willing to see some changes made.

We’ve previously mentioned that the number of legal gun owners in the US is about 30% of the population. That’s at least 100 million people who legally own guns in the US. There are maybe 12,000 gun killings each year. Some are multiple victims of the same killer, so there are no more than 10,000 actual killers who use guns — and some of those aren’t legal gun owners. All murder is bad, of course; but we need to think about those numbers.

If as many as 1% of gun owners were killers, there would be a million of them. If the killers were a tenth of a percent, there would be 100,000 of them. But it’s only 10,000, which is one one-hundredth of a percent of all gun owners. Think about that.

Statistically, gun ownership seems to be an excellent predictor of lawful behavior — and, we must add, a look at history shows that prohibition of private gun ownership is an excellent predictor of tyranny. So the problem isn’t gun ownership, per se. Rather, the problem is that a tiny fraction of gun owners are crazy. So what’s to be done?

To begin with, we propose that no one should be allowed to own a gun unless he can meet certain requirements for enlisting in the US military. If the military doesn’t accept people who can’t meet those requirements, then why should they be allowed to own guns? Specifically, we think a gun owner must:

1. Be a U.S. citizen or Green Card holder who is fluent in English.

2. Have a high school diploma (or equivalent).

3. Have no criminal record (including juvenile offenses) and not be the subject of a restraining order. The military services have a provision for obtaining a waiver of those restrictions in some cases, but that’s not easy to do.

And we’d go even further. If someone has escaped conviction because of an insanity plea, we wouldn’t let him have a gun. Hey — it’s fair. He did the deed and admits that he’s crazy. No guns for him.

There should be a nationwide database where all of that information would be stored. Every county or municipality that grants gun licenses should have to consult that database and they should only allow gun ownership to those who aren’t in it — and who also meet our other requirements. Additionally, we’re not opposed to raising the minimum age to 21, which some are currently suggesting.

What about people with mental health problems? Obviously, anyone who has been adjudicated incompetent should be disqualified from being a gun owner — and that information should also be in the national database. Otherwise, mental health is a difficult issue to deal with. For example, some think “Darwinists” are mentally ill, while others have the opposite opinion. We may not need to incorporate additional mental health requirements in our gun laws. In general, anyone with a serious mental problem would probably be disqualified by one or more of the requirements we’ve already listed.

So there you are. Our proposal won’t solve all problems. Nothing will. However, we think it’s a realistic reform that could actually become law. We welcome your suggestions.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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56 responses to “The Curmudgeon’s Proposed Gun Law

  1. The very last thing you need is some Australian approving of limiting access to guns. It would probably be the kiss of death – we’ve never had a constitutional right to carry arms, and going armed in public has always been a criminal offence, here. But your suggestions seem eminently sensible to me.

  2. Who needs an AR 15 or any other kind of assault rifle for hunting? To turn the game into hamburger before it hits the ground? Assault rifles are for what their name implies.
    The assault rifle ban used to work, but Congress allowed the ban to lapse and will not renew it. It’s ridiculous to have someone wiith a handgun go up against an assault rifle.
    “Good guys” with assault rifles? Bullets flying in every direction? Most bullets hitting other people? Sounds like a Rube Goldberg solution to a problem that would be easier to fix by banning assault rifles, and anything in that genre, and not having them available for sale anywhere.
    We register cars. Why not guns?

  3. Mike Elzinga asks: “Who needs an AR 15 or any other kind of assault rifle for hunting?”

    How would you like your genitals to be referred to as a “rape organ”? A so-called “assault rifle” is also a fine defense rifle. The Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear arms” is not limited to the purpose of hunting.

  4. “we’ll go off topic and discuss gun control”
    If you Americans think it a good idea to increase population control by shooting each other down, who is this Dutchman to criticize you?
    There is no gun control in The Netherlands. They are simply forbidden, also for police officers and soldiers after work. So there are no gun shops. At the other hand homicide rates are considerably lower. The vast majority of the Dutchies want to keep it that way.
    At the other hand I’m aware that gun ownership in Switzerland and Norway is far more common and that homicide rates there are comparable to the Dutch ones.

    But I must admit I like The Donald’s latest proposal: equip teachers with guns. Me with Curmy’s son or grandson in my class: “Hey Curmy! Pay attention!” Bam, I shoot a bullet in his shoulder.
    I’m sure our dear SC, with his inbred dislike of the liberal (read: communist) softies of the Democratic Party totally will support this idea.

    “Statistically, gun ownership seems to be an excellent predictor of lawful behavior.”
    So is non gun ownership. I’d like to add a fourth requirement: being smart. Given this quote our dear SC is disqualified (of course I’ll be the one in charge).

    “There should be a nationwide database.”
    Waaaaahhhh! Only socialists advocate nationwide databases. The bottom of my worldview is gone. Our dear SC advocating governmental control! He’s a cryptosocialist! The USA are definitely lost, The Donald has come too late and does too little.

    “Nothing will.”
    OK, serious now. My suggestion is to try to learn from other nations. Find out how they do it. I know, it’s hard, nationalism, chauvinism etc. We Dutchies don’t like it either. But one might actually learn something.
    This is why I mention Norway and Switzerland now and then.

  5. Our dear SC definitely disqualifies to own guns. In my dictionary “mental health problems” ao include silly remarks like

    “A so-called “assault rifle” is also a fine defense rifle. ”
    Every single defense weapon also is a fine assault weapon.

  6. Perhaps the other rights should be conditioned by being of sound mind.

  7. @ my good Curmy

    The Second Amendment’s “right of the people to keep and bear arms” is not limited to the purpose of hunting.

    Sure, keep your muzzel loader and join a “well-regulated” militia. Defend the country by serving in the military like many of us have. That way we know that your intentions are probably good.
    The only people who benefit from the current situation are criminals and mentally disturbed people whose intent is to harm others. Nutcase Rifle Anarchy.
    .

  8. The AR-15 is a fine defense weapon if you are defending against attackers in numbers. ‘Bad guys’ don’t come after you in large numbers. Law enforcement people sometimes do come after an individual in numbers. So the AR-15 is a great defense weapon if you are defending yourself from law enforcement!

  9. I share mnbo‘s surprise to hear our Curmudgeon feeling his way toward a Swiss-light militia proposal for the USA. All I can say is, good luck with that!

    But I doubt there is a solution, because the problem is as intractable as trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube. Our world would be vastly safer if there were global nuclear disarmament–but I’m not holding my breath for that one, either.

    However, one good thing that could be done: abolish the NRA, which is increasingly behaving like an armed Fifth Column. You think I’m exaggerating? Well, here are the words of Mr. LaPierre on the NRA’s website splash screen:

    Help Fight the Socialist Wave

    “President Trump’s election, while crucial, can’t turn away the wave of these new European style socialists bearing down upon us … How about Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Bill DeBlasio, Andrew Cuomo, Corey Booker, Christopher Murphy and Keith Ellison … they hide behind labels like ‘Democrat,’ ‘left-wing,’ and ‘progressive’ to make their socialist agenda more palatable, and that’s terrifying.”

    —Wayne LaPierre

  10. Why bother with an AR-15 when the M2 is a much finer defense weapon. You can mount it in the bed of your pickup truck and defend the whole sub-division. Just like the founders intended.

  11. Michael Fugate

    Owning a gun or a pickup or dating a model won’t make up for your small hands – just saying.

  12. Guns don’t kill people, video games do.

  13. “Why bother with an AR-15 when the M2 is a much finer defense weapon.”
    But the M2 fires too slowly, this would be even better and it’s still “hand held”:

  14. The M2 is fully automatic. The AR-15 is semiautomatic.
    Also, the AR stands for the brand ArmaLite, not “assault rifle”. There is no real definition of an assault rifle. As such, debate on these typically ends up focusing on the clip size.
    I think I would add making making people responsible for the uses the guns they buy are put to, unless they report the gun as stolen.

  15. Very good op-ed piece in today’s NY Times written by Florida’s 18th Congressional District’s Republican Rep. Brian Mast: I’m Republican. I Appreciate Assault Weapons. And I Support a Ban.

    (I apologize for not tidying up the link. It never works when I try.)

    Congressman Mast lost two legs as a bomb tech while serving in the Army in Afghanistan, and has “fired tens of thousands of rounds …many in combat” with his M4, which he says is very similar to the AR-15. In a nutshell, he says we should “define what constitutes an assault or tactical firearm” and not allow them for future purchase, but not confiscate existing legally-owned firearms. He also supports universal background checks for all who would purchase a firearm, as well as improving the background check system, among other recommendations.

    He doesn’t mention anything about controlling the sale of ammunition, nor about limiting magazine capacity.

    Commenter Harvey above made a great point — an assault weapon is what you want if you are “defending” yourself from law enforcement. It is designed to kill a large number of people (not animals, as in hunting) in a short period of time. Just the thing for warfare — or creating terror domestically.

    SC mentions “prohibition of private gun ownership is an excellent predictor of tyranny.” Neither the UK nor the Netherlands seems to be ruled by tyrants, but that’s beside the point — with 100 million armed US citizens, the US will not be “firearms- free”. But more to the point — how could we possibly use our vast arsenal of firearms defending ourselves from a tyrannical government? How’s that working out for the Syrian rebels? Or for the CSA in the 1860s? Our own Civil War is not even close to what would happen today, unless all civilians have access to air power, M-1 tanks, cannons, etc., etc.

    [*Voice from above*] Worst looking link ever!

  16. “The political scientists Erica Chenoweth and Maria Stephen assembled a dataset of political resistence resistence movements across the world between 1900 and 2006 and discovered three-quarters of the nonviolent resistence movements succeeded, compared with only a third of the violent ones. [“Why civil resistence works”, 2011]”
    Pinker’s “Enlightenment Now”, page 405

  17. RSG,
    All weapons not intended for hunting would include all hand guns, is that part of the plan?

    Defenders of firearm ownership are going to cite incidents such as the Gustafsen Lake standoff in Canada in the mid 90’s as a time civil resistance would not have worked at all.

  18. Mike Elzinga says, “The only people who benefit from the current situation are criminals and mentally disturbed people whose intent is to harm others.”

    Wait, Mike. I’m not a criminal, and my mental disturbances are within safe limits. When a drunk got confused and came stumbling into our kitchen unannounced, I was displeased, but I had no intent to run get my grouse gun and harm him.

    Yet I benefit from the current situation in that it gives me the opportunity to take outmoded military rifles that have had their collector value irretrievably destroyed and convert them into hunting rifles: carving new stocks, doing modest filing and grinding, fitting new sights, rebluing, that sort of thing. Silly hobby, but each to his own taste.

    Then, in addition to hunters and us tinkerers, there are trap and skeet shooters with shotguns, riflemen who enjoy shooting at distant paper or metal targets, and pistoleers who compete in several target games.

    However, the Second Amendment is not designed to protect our right to sporting equipment. It was written in the aftermath of a revolution, and was ratified because many people at the time remembered how vital it was for citizens to help establish the security of a free state by taking up their personal arms.

    It is possible that nonviolent civil disobedience is more effective than violent revolution and that we could dispense with the right to keep and bear arms. I don’t think we should let down our guard, though. If the government were to disperse our peaceful assemblies and tear up our petitions, it would be high time to go home and get our guns.

  19. @ Retired Prof

    If the government were to disperse our peaceful assemblies and tear up our petitions, it would be high time to go home and get our guns.

    I’m not concerned about folks like you or even the government at this point (dispite the current White House). Watch Wayne LaPiere at CPAC this week. I don’t think LaPiere, or anyone like him, should have guns. These are Nutcase Rifle Anarcists. The NRA is no longer an organization about responsible gun ownership. They look more and more like characters that want chaos fed by high-powered weapons saturating every community. They have only one goal; sell everyone a gun and ramp up the paranoia.

  20. Mike, thanks for the vote of confidence.

    Back before the NRA became primarily a political organization, I was a member for the sake of helpful articles about my hobby. After their political turn, and long before they started veering hard right, I dropped my membership and quit taking their calls for donations. Maybe the fact that LaPierre is such a rabid nutcase will turn enough people against the Alt-Right to restore a little sanity to political discourse.

    I don’t have much hope, though. It looks as if reasoned political discourse has slipped our grasp.

  21. Tom B asks,
    “RSG,
    All weapons not intended for hunting would include handguns, is that part of the plan?”

    Not at all. I was just making reference to the claims of some that AR-15s and their ilk make dandy hunting weapons. That would be true only if your quarry were a large herd of people. Seriously – does a hunter need the capability to squeeze off thirty rounds without reloading?

    Handguns have a legitimate use for self-defense. They are less suited for mass murder than assault rifles, although their easy concealment makes them more suited for armed robbery. At least in that case, though, the intent is not murder; just money.

  22. Reggie Rolltide

    Background checks should be maximally extensive. Guns should be maximally expensive. Private ownership of assault weapons should be banned, although people have a right to keep their genitals.
    To the fantasists and hallucinators who want weapons in case the Government comes after them — good luck. You won’t win unless you and LaPierre invoke the right to own nukes. Second Amendment über alles! (I’ll leave for the Netherlands or Australia. You all can fight it out.)

  23. Think of all the things I have to do before I am allowed to own and drive a car.

    But I am greatly impressed by the argument that only “one one-hundredth of a percent” are murderers. Come to think of it, even less than one one-hundredth of a percent of schoolchildren are shot in their classrooms, so what’s all the fuss about?

  24. Paul Braterman says:

    But I am greatly impressed by the argument that only “one one-hundredth of a percent” are murderers. Come to think of it, even less than one one-hundredth of a percent of schoolchildren are shot in their classrooms, so what’s all the fuss about?

    Excellent question! I would say: (1) don’t bury students who weren’t killed; and (2) don’t punish people who didn’t commit any crime.

  25. I suggest that we, among all people, should be aware of the weaknesses of arguments from analogy.

  26. High rates of gun ownership are also associated with high rates of homicide and violent crime. It wouldn’t harm anyone if guns were a little harder to obtain, took a little longer to acquire, and there were a little fewer of them. We also need some federal laws to enforce consistency, making it harder to circumvent state and local laws.

    I also suggest a form of firearms insurance, operating a bit like life insurance, paying out to victims of violence involving that weapon, and returning a dividend to the owner upon lawful sale. This costs some money, but it’s money we are already paying through our taxes: ~95% of all firearms injury victims are on public insurance. We can shift that tax burden in a way that gives an incentive to responsible gun ownership.

  27. Tomato Addict suggests insurance as “an incentive to responsible gun ownership.”

    But that doesn’t seem necessary. 99.999% of legal gun owners don’t use them to kill people — except sometimes in self-defense.

  28. Michael Fugate

    Then why do they need guns if they never use them? If you aren’t killing something – what’s the point?

  29. Michael Fugate, aside from sporting uses irrelevant to the security of a free state, the point is similar to the point of fire extinguishers.

  30. OK, let the dividend pay out only if you sell to another insured owner – which means maybe the policy is on the person rather than individual weapons. Insurance companies would figure out the details, but it puts the incentive on selling only to responsible people.

    If you want to make “responsible” mean they are qualified for military service, or otherwise have adequate training, that OK.

  31. Dear Curmudgeon, I am a former US Marine infantry commander. I’m also disabled. The AR 15 and modern infantry rifles are designed for only one purpose. And that is the industrial scale killing of human beings. Now, while it IS possible that a zombie apocalypse might require a homeowner to be able to blow away a few hundred of the nasty little suckers, the fact is that these weapons of war have been used repeatedly for mass murders , at the rate of about 1 per month in 2018 so far. NO citizen of our republic should have the capability of eliminating scores of his or her fellow citizens because he or she is having a bad day. Mental illness will NEVER be eliminated from our society. And a “well regulated militia” does not mean any yaaaahoo with $800 can buy an assault rifle which is the current situation. The National Rifle Makers Association has done a great job of marketing these implements of war to american society and our cities and towns are saturated with these semi automatic human killing machines. This is a massive marketplace for gun and ammo manufacturers selling assault weapons. The profits are enormous.The mass murders will continue. These weapons should be collected up, bought back or turned in. America does not need a bunch of mass murders every month perpetrated by crazies owning these firearms.
    Changing the laws regarding their ownership will not change one indisputable fact. The more guns there are in a society, the more gun violence there will be. And when those guns include a mass killing device intended to be used in modern warfare, the violence will be horrendous.
    These weapons have no place in american society and their ownership is neither a right or a privilege. A Glock in every kindergarteners lunchbox is not the solution.
    I think american needs to ban assault rifles NOW. This is the no different than tobacco. When used for its intended purpose , the assault rifle results in dead humans.
    My Best Regards

  32. I am not a psychiatrist or psychologist, but my understanding is that mental illness is no explanation for mass murder. No more than is an omnipotent creator an explanation for the existence of the natural world.
    We like to believe that insanity means that anything can happen, and that means that we have an explanation for everything. Not so. If that were so, we would have an explanation for nothing.

  33. Theodore Lawry

    The SC says that the murder rate among gun owners is 1 per 10,000 per year. People live more than one year however. Multiply by 50 get you 0.5 percent of gun owners will kill someone sooner or later. That seems a very high price for what is at best a hobby or a creepy obsession. Statistically gun ownership as a protection doesn’t work.

  34. My original comment was sarcastic, a waspish response to America’s perverse sense of priorities. On reflection, I pose the question in all seriousness: the US has roughly 5 times the intentional homicide rate as the UK, but this steady background rate only attracts attention when it takes spectacular forms. Meanwhile, because of the way Congress has hampered research into the area, the US has no real knowledge base from which to formulate poicy, leaving people like us here, who should know better, reduced to swapping unsubstantiated assertions.

  35. AIUI Congress blocks all funding on understanding the need and abuse of firearms, the changes to their design,etc. This makes rational debate difficult. We are reduced to slogans and estimates without data.

  36. “a look at history shows that prohibition of private gun ownership is an excellent predictor of tyranny.”

    I think this is a problematic claim. There are countries today which have very strict gun laws, don’t have the gun problem that the US has and are not tyrannical.

  37. Just a thought experiment, if Mr. Cruz couldn’t get a firearm because of some restriction, what would stop him from plowing down 17 or more students in a beat up old car? Would people want to ban cars?
    I agree with SC the number of bad apples that own guns is astonishingly small. That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be some commonsense measures to keep guns out of the hands of crazy people. When these mass shootings occur we should look at where the system failed and redouble the effort to fix the problem
    In particular I think there should be peer nominated watch lists. If someone has multiple hits on the list and they try to purchase a fire arm their name is flagged and they will need to be extensively interviewed before they can purchase a fire arm. Yes the NRA isn’t going to like this, but keep in mind the NRA is mostly just a lobby to make sure that gun manufacturers can sell as many guns as possible.
    As for the 2nd amendment I would point out that the spirit of the amendment is to have a minuteman style army with actual weapons of war (the weapon in question would qualify). There is nothing about making sure you can have a gun collection as a hobby or to make sure you can have hunting as a hobby. So banning a weapon because it is a warriors weapon is at least a violation of the spirit of the amendment. This doesn’t mean (in my opinion) that the government can’t or shouldn’t keep them out of the hands of the young, the crazy, or creationists. (Ok that last one is a joke I mean mentally infirm.)

  38. Quite right Troy, We should see the 2nd Amendment in its historical context, as in what to do if the British invade from Canada or the slaves revolt or the Apache want their land back. Flintlock muskets all round, I reckon

  39. @ Paul Braterman:

    Meanwhile, because of the way Congress has hampered research into the area, the US has no real knowledge base from which to formulate poicy, leaving people like us here, who should know better, reduced to swapping unsubstantiated assertions.

    And what kind of people don’t want scientific data available for making decisions? It isn’t hard to ifigure out the “thinking processes” that went into a bill in Congress that forbids collecting data. It was portrayed as “invasion of privacy.”

    But criminals don’t like their “privacy” invaded and evidence collected; otherwise they might be convicted in a court of law.

    Let everything be “hearsay;” and let everyone make up their own “alternative facts.” This has been the trend in recent politics; exacerbated by the deliberate trolling of social media. There is a pattern here of tearing society apart. Who benefits from that? Who makes money? Who gets to sell weapons to all sides of a society splintered into warring factions? Who gets to exploit this issue by using fear tactics, paranoia, and xenophobia in political elections? Who gets to be supreme leaders? Who keeps the focus on fear and crowds out all discussions aimed at finding solutions to problems? Who funds these extremists, and why?

    This pattern has been developing for at least the last couple of election cycles; and its intensity has been steadily increasing. And it isn’t normal in any sense of that word. Congressional behavior has been mind-numblingly stupid for the last 6 or 7 years and is getting steadily worse.. Where do these ideological idiots come from, and why can’t they be voted out? Who was responsible for the last round of gerrymandering? What’s going on with K Street and Citizens United?

  40. Paul Braterman says: “Flintlock muskets all round, I reckon”

    I know you’re joking. Otherwise, your First Amendment rights would be limited to quill and parchment.

  41. The most common type of ammunition used in an AR-15 is .223 which is OK for animals the size of coyotes but is inadequate for a decent sized deer or anything larger for which larger, more powerful ammunition like 30.06 or .308 is used (and are both common).

    So I am not sure why the AR-15 gets assigned the title of “assault rifle”. Is it only because of clip size? Would it lose the designation if it were a bolt action rifle but still had a clip size of 30? And if only clip size were reduced, what number would be acceptable?

  42. @ Tom B:

    And if only clip size were reduced, what number would be acceptable?

    How about one? And raise the cost of ammunition to about ten million dollars per quarter round. Provide only Ikea assembly instructions.

  43. @Mike Elzinga

    I know some people with reloaders that would become very wealthy off your ammunition price increase.

  44. I thought it was also that research likely to provide arguments in favour of restricting gun ownership was (shock, horror!) lobbying, Let’s be grateful that they haven’t yet decided that research into climate change is lobbying against fossil fuels

  45. @och will
    Thank you for your service, and your well-stated thoughts. There really ought to be a reasonable middle ground, but neither side wants to give an inch.

  46. In accordance with the Geneva Convention, military rounds have bullets that are steel-jacketed. They are meant to disable and take out of the military theatre, but not necessarily kill.

    Hunting and law enforcement rounds, on the other hand, are either hollow-point or unjacketed lead bullets. They are designed to spread on impact, thus imparting their full kinetic energy within the body — be it animal or human. This is the ammunition available to the public.

    The bullet from an AR-15 (or other similar rifle) has a muzzle velocity three times faster than a typical hand gun round of the same caliber, giving it nine times the kinetic energy. That’s one of the reasons assault rifles are so deadly — they liquify internal organs. Other deadly features — 1) semi-automatic; 2) accepts a bump stock, making them virtually fully automatic; 3) handy size – the barrel is not too long, making them easier to carry, conceal, and swing around at multiple targets; 4) and last but not least, they accept large capacity magazines – making possible the murder of dozens of people without the need to reload. And even then, reloading is so quick, it doesn’t give an unarmed person much time to rush the assailant.

    If the Founding Fathers had known what modern weapons technology would bring forth, I wonder how they would have worded the Second Amendment.

  47. Dr. Braterman notes

    because of the way Congress has hampered research into the area, the US has no real knowledge base from which to formulate policy

    Data? We don’t need no stinkin’ data!

    We’ve got The Tweeter-in-Chief who has pledged, in the event of a mass shooting, to personally rush in, alone and unarmed, to neutralise the shooter–probably by using his unrivalled skill in the ancient martial art of Covfefe.

    [With apologies to our Curmudgeon for the link to the Washington Post]

  48. Which proves the slogan:
    Guns don’t protect people!

  49. “A lot of the individuals that helped protect others that day weren’t carrying firearms, which I think shows that you can be helpful in that process without it,” Presidental Press Secretary

  50. Tom S – and don’t forget the the Orange One claimed that he would have dashed in to help out, even if he was unarmed. Thus saith the 5 time deferment draft dodger.

  51. RSG,
    I agree semiautomatic rifles should probably go, I have no problem limiting the public to bolt action (making bump stocks useless) and limiting clips to 5 rounds.
    I do think talking about muzzle speed as an indicator of a rifle being labeled as an assault weapon is problematic though. The 30.06 has a muzzle speed of 2900 ft/s and the 7mm is 3365 ft/s, both are common hunting riffles and are comparable to the .223 muzzle speed of just under 3000 ft/s.

  52. I don’t have any opinion worth sharing in public about politics and firearms. But it amuses me when people make arguments which are self-defeating. The way that creationists so often make arguments which are contrary to their beliefs – such as how arguements for design, which turn out to be against creation from nothing by an omnipotent supernatural agency.
    In this particular case, whatever the facts of the matter are, there are people with the slogan, “Guns don’t kill people”, and they also suggest more guns as a solution to the problem of mass killings. Then I hear the president suggesting more guns – in the hands of teachers. Then he says that there were already guns in the hands of good guys did not work in this case. And how he would try to be of help, if he were present, even if he were unarmed. And his press secretary clarified that by pointing out that unarmed people might have been of help (where armed people were not, apparently).
    That seems to be a self-defeating argument: Guns do not protect people, no more than they kill people.
    I try to restrain my posts to creationism, but, given the prominence that the creationists give to self-defeating arguments, I cannot but comment on that when that crops up elsewhere in the news.

  53. There were 19,392 firearm-related suicides in the U.S. in 2010, and in in 2014, there were 8,124 total firearm-related homicides in the US, with 5,562 of those attributed to handguns.

    In UK, ONLY 1.8% of suicides are due to guns (and many of those will be shotguns).

    I think the US needs also to take into account the suicide deaths.
    Suicide deatgh per 100,00 people
    United States (more info) 12.6
    United Kingdom (more info) 7.4

  54. The US is around 47th in the world in suicide rate and well behind the suicide rates of Japan, Korea, and India which all have much more strict gun laws and lower gun ownership (strangulation seems their preferred method). It should also be noted that in 1993 the gun homicide rate was 7 per 100,000. In 2013 the rate was 3.5 per 100,000. During the same period the number of guns owned increased from about 150 million to 300 million.
    I am not an advocating that more guns prevent crimes (although even by the lowest estimates around 70,000 crimes are aborted each year through defensive gun use). Just pointing out that these things are ridiculously tough to study and there are so many factors to account for that simple rates are tough to interpret.
    This was a good repost of an article showing some of the available evidence and how the flaws/slants/adjustments give results that fit each sides’ predetermined narrative:
    http://reason.com/archives/2016/01/05/you-know-less-than-you-think-a/

  55. SC says 10,000 (1/100%) of gun owners are killers. What is the rate of killers among non-gun owners? Would be helpful to see the comparison.

  56. According to the latest figures that I could find, there were 5.3 murders per 100,000 per year in the USA . The number of murderers is probably lower (I’m guessing that there are more deaths than than than perpetrators).