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The Best Reporting on Guns in America

In the wake of last week’s shooting, we’ve laid out the most revealing reporting about guns.

Update: With today's shooting in Newtown, Conn., this article, first published July 24, 2012, unfortunately seems relevant again.

In the wake of last week's shooting in Aurora, Colo., we've taken a step back and laid out the best pieces we could find about guns. They're roughly organized by articles on rights, trafficking and regulation. And include your suggestions in comments.

Gun Rights

Battleground America, New Yorker, April 2012
Jill Lepore's thorough look at the evolution of U.S. gun laws — from the Second Amendment, to the 1968 Gun Control Act, to the N.R.A.'s rise to political prominence — is an excellent primer for the modern day gun debate. And provides great context for the articles below.
Contributed by @Corinneavital

Florida 'stand your ground' law yields some shocking outcomes depending on how law is applied, Tampa Bay Times, June 2012
The Tampa Bay Times analyzed nearly 200 "stand your ground" cases in Florida. Among the findings: Nearly 70 percent of defendants who invoke "stand your ground" went free. Seventy-three percent of those who killed a black person faced no penalty; 59 percent of those who killed a white went free.

Stand Your Ground Law Coincides With Jump in Justifiable-Homicides Cases, Washington Post, April 2012
Since Florida passed a Stand Your Ground law in 2005, more than 30 states have adopted similarly broad laws. Justifiable-homicide cases have also been on the rise nationwide.

Felons Finding It Easy to Regain Gun Rights, New York Times, November 2011
In many states the restoration of gun rights for convicted felons is now either automatic or left to the discretion of judges under vague standards. Standards are similarly lax for those with a history of mental illness — judges are often ill-equipped to make decisions without information about an applicant's mental health.

Trafficking

The Truth About the Fast and Furious Scandal, Fortune, June 2012
An investigation into the fallout over Operation Fast and Furious suggests much of what's been widely reported about the scandal is simply wrong. It doesn't seem the ATF intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels. Based on confidential ATF documents and interviews with law enforcement agents, the piece claims the public charges are "replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies." Fortune's follow-up answers some criticisms raised by Sen. Chuck Grassley, among others. Congress is conducting an investigation into Fast and Furious.

Realco Guns Tied to 2,500 Crimes in D.C. and Maryland, Washington Post, October 2010
As part of a larger look at firearms' paths from dealer to crime scene, the Post's analysis of gun-trace data for Virginia found that a handful of dealers sold the bulk of crime guns. Realco, the store featured in this piece, sold four times the number of crime guns as the next highest dealer. The kicker? It was all perfectly legal.

The Gun: The AK-47 and the evolution of war, CJ Chivers, October 2010
A nuanced, in-depth look at what is arguably the most lethal gun of all time.

U.S. Stymied as Guns Flow to Mexican Cartels, New York Times, April 2009
Before the ATF's efforts to monitor gun-trafficking across the U.S.-Mexico border became notorious, this article detailed how easy it was for straw purchasers to buy guns in the U.S. and get them across the border to Mexico, and how difficult it was for federal regulators to build a case against them. About 90 percent of the 12,000 guns recovered and traced in 2008 by Mexican officials came from U.S. dealers.

Regulation

Concealed gun law turns 10 years old, Booth Newspapers, June 2011
A decade after Michigan passed a law making it easier to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, hundreds of thousands have been issued. This multi-part series shows how regulations meant to keep track of who has concealed-carry licenses — and whose should have been revoked — are a mess. The New York Times has also analyzed the lack of oversight into the concealed-carry permit process in North Carolina, which loosened the requirements to obtain such permits in 1995.

Ineffective rules let gun stores endure, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, December 2010
The ATF is charged with inspecting the country's 62,000 licensed gun dealers. But it's rare for a permit to be revoked, and when it happens, stores often simply reopen with a new license in someone else's name, or sell guns on the side through their personal collections. (This Washington Post database lets you see which dealers near you have had their licenses revoked.)

Marc Mayerson

July 24, 2012, 3:23 p.m.

The book, Glock by Paul Barrett is essential and interesting reading.

Did you miss any .. It looks like the links were compiled by the Brady Campaign or the Coalition Against Gun Violence … Lepore’s piece in the New Yorker was a complete abortion … guns bad … gun owners evil rednecks … gun control measures are the “Lords Work”. I realize that journalists live in tight bubbles where reality and the thoughts of that stretch of land between New York and LA that some of us call America cant permeate, but you really could have done better.

University of Tennessee Law Professor Glenn Reynolds 2007 piece in the NY Post might be a good place to start : People don’t stop killers. People with guns do

The only answer to the violence of guns is make guns and ammunition no longer available.  Stop their manufacture and sale.  For defense, the military will have to manufacture its own.  Allow a person a gun and chances are he will revert to being a psychotic when the right conditions set him off.  Collect and destroy all guns, and outlaw them.  Compromise laws will be no more effective than the half-way attempts to get private money out of the election campaign process.  -  George Beres in Eugene, Ore.

@Mike H - you make a fair point that the collection seems to be slanted toward those that think we have too many guns in the country.  But I don’t thing the editorial by Professor Reynolds adds any real value.  It is just an editorial - lacking any real data to support his assertions.

Harold Kassel

July 24, 2012, 3:40 p.m.

I suggest guns be rented by regional armories after an extensive background check.Threre would be no assault rifles, extended magazines, gas masks, etc. , Guns in possession any other way would be illegal. Gun shops would be out of business. A limited amount of ammunition would also be sold by the armory. To purchases more, empty casings would need to be shown. Hunting is not a sport. It is pleasure in killing, but I suppose it cannot be stopped. Guns for hunting would be obtained the same way. Claiming a gun was lost would in a $5,000 fine, no exceptions.
It is pathetic to try to be masculine by owning a gun. If we did not have a pathological way of electing people to office, the NRA would not have so much influence.

@ Gary

Reynolds has written many scholarly journal papers on gun ownership and gun rights. That particular editorial is a pretty good summary of many of his papers. And if you don’t think the other links aren’t editorials as well, could I interest you in a bridge?

As someone who was shot in the head by a legally purchased gun, I think I have some special insight: the only difference between a gun owner and a criminal is often just opportunity. 
The entire 2nd amendment was written in order to protect citizens against forced service in the British military WHICH WAS COMMON AT THE TIME—thus the reference to guns being necessary for the safety of a state—and having a WELL-REGULATED militia—and I don’t mean the kind that swills beer and shoots at anything.
In addition, at the time the amendment was written, the blunderbuss was the weapon of choice I believe.  So, if any of you gun NUTS who care more about your weapons than the lives they may destroy, get your blunderbusses—all of them you want—and join a real well-regulated militia—like a branch of the military.  I want the regulated part to take precendence—NOW.

Don’t forget Alix Freedman’s 1992 story on Saturday Night Specials in the Wall Street Journal.

@ Mike H

Fair point on the Reynolds writings - perhaps it would have been better to cite some of those other articles than the particular one you chose?

And the articles cited above on the RealCo guns, the gun flow to Mexican cartels, the ‘stand your ground’ law and others are definitely not editorials they are reporting.  You may not agree with it - but that’s sorta irrelevant to the point.

Walter D. Shutter, Jr.

July 24, 2012, 4:17 p.m.

“The Best Reporting on Guns in America”? I don’t think so.  A lot of people don’t like guns;a lot of people do.  However, I don’t see any articles by the second group in your “best reporting” story.  Maybe pro-gun articles are only “second best”.

This does read like the Brady bunch wrote this piece; it’s embarassingly one-sided.  Perhaps a more balanced analysis would be useful: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/648703/posts

@ Nancy Terry

“the only difference between a gun owner and a criminal is often just opportunity”

Sorry Nancy, but that’s just garbage. My guns have killed fewer people than Ted Kennedy’s Oldsmobile, and I have had plenty of opportunist.

I see you emphasize the “well regulated” portion of the 2nd amendment, but you obviously have no idea what it means. In the 18th century lexicon the phrase “well-regulated” referred to an item being in proper working order. An item that was “well-regulated” was calibrated, functioning, maintained .. NOT controlled by the government.  The 2nd amendment was written so people could protect themselves from both criminal predation and organized tyranny.

Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. – James Madison

And if you want pull out the well worn canard that only firearms available in 1776 should be covered by the 2nd Amendment, let’s be consistent and apply it to the press as well which consisted of hand bills churned out 200 hundred an hour on manual line set style presses.

ISN’T IT AMAZING that whenever a drunk driver kills people on our streets and highways, the media and all others NEVER point their fingers at the CAR being the CAUSE of the carnage but at the PERSON RESPONSIBLE…..then whenever a GUN is employed in killings, it is the GUN that is the “problem”! ~ Crazy, huh?!!!

Bottom Line: “In order to overthrow a nation its people must first be disarmed” ~ Karl Marx (Notice that Marx mentions nothing about taking motor vehicles away from the people!)

@Keith H The free public article you reference is indeed interesting.  But the Mr. Dege (the author) describes a very narrow slice of the argument - and reaches (probably correct) conclusions.  But when you look at Mr. Dege’s list of research and his accompanying text you are led to believe that he has examined all the research on the gun debate issue which is far from true.  While his results are probably accurate - they are only accurate with framed in the extremely narrow way he sets up his research.  That seems biased to me…

I’ve seen good information coming from both sides.  The issue has become so polarized that it is difficult to have a reasonable discussion with anybody, which is very disappointing.  It is an issue that needs continual discussion.  I live in a region of the USA where guns are just about as common as dirt.  I grew up with close friends who have what can only be described as “armories” in their homes.  The only close calls we ever had were training people who had no experience with firearms.  So in my opinion guns to do not breed violence, they merely provide an effective tool/outlet for violent behavior.

It is my firm belief that bad people will do bad things regardless of laws/consequences. True punishment for crime has long since been replaced by a penal system so occupied caring for inmates that property crimes go largely unpunished (another unfortunate reality in the area I live in).

I wish that an unarmed populace was a safe populace, but before anyone really buys into that notion I would encourage them to research crime statistics from large civilized societies that have moved toward disarmament of the general population.  Reliable statistics are difficult to get to (they are slanted by both sides), but as far as I can tell, the results are not very encouraging.

The issue is complex and a true fix is simply unreachable without complete disarmament, which I believe is untenable.

In a perfect world, no tool of harm would be necessary, but we live in a flawed world where order must be enforced, and then the enforcers must be kept in check or they will eventually become despots.  History does repeat itself.  At least that what the last couple thousand years have been telling us.

You cant just COLLECT all the guns and ammo, thats illegal, you have to BUY them, just like Australia did.

LOL

You think the feds have the money to BUY 350 million weapons AND the ammo at fair market value, not to mention the costs incurred in managing that action.

When BANS go in effet EXISTING items are LEGAL to own and sell, so the only people that made out during the abortion known as the ASSAULT BAN were those that traded in existing guns and clips that solf for 10 times their price, and their have been millions and millions sold since odumbo got elected, lot more out there to be had when any ban goes into effect, I have tons of em :)

So many o us could care about any ban, we stocked up, new in the box stuff, to hand down, generation to generation.

Normally I give propublica pretty high marks on their reporting.  However, it appears the editing pen has slipped from its fair and mostly balanced reporting leaving the reader with series of social narratives written by a chosen few.  I’d like to suggest that propublica provide the opportunity for a “rebuttal” dialogue provided by the NRA or others of your choosing.  What’s fair is fair - however, this series was not at all fair to the subject matter.

Warner Anderson MD

July 24, 2012, 4:50 p.m.

Tough to have a reasonable debate when the air is full of stereotypes. I’m a gun collector, MD with anthro PhD. Yeah, I shot a guy once. He was a Syrian terrorist and had shot me and everyone on my health team from ambush. I deeply regret having to kill him - I’m not at all psychotic. BUT, in the context of Aurora the media repeatedly talk about thr shooting. Remember, he rigged his apartment with explosives. Now, would it have been better if he - in the absence of guns - had blown up the theater? The locos will find a way. In a society where citizens are defenseless, the person with a screwdriver is king.
This debate often reflects urban versus rural experience and world view. Response time for law enforcement arrival at my house after 911 call is 45 minutes. Would you want your wife and kids able to protect themselves?
Thanks in advance for civility.

For those that like to INTERPET the 2nd ammendment,

1- There is NO REASON given for WHY we can keep and bear arms, if there was a REASON they would have STATED it.

2- The types of weapons available at the time the constitution was drafted is irrelevant, they had HISTORY, they KNEW that MAN developed weapons, from rocks to sticks to spears to arrows to rockets to guns to cannons and THEY EXPECTED that development to CONTINUE.

Only an idiot would assume they meant arms were to be held only to defend against the British or they were to be limited to a certain type, if that were their intention they would have espoused it.

The also KNEW from their own history that he FIRST THING THE TYRANT DID was DISARM the people and provide arms to those that will rule over them

HENCE, the 2nd
Ammendment

Providing a means of defense against crime, States, The Federalists and Foriegn Nations.

It took a real genius to write those few words that have stood the test of time and constant attack by those that would become enslaved,

Harold Kassel sounds like Obama spending a few minutes trolling the net

I would second Peter de KAM’s comment.  I rely on ProPublica for unbiased reporting. This piece was discouraging.  Please broaden your research base and chase this issue just as you would one of the truly fantastic financial pieces you have been known for.  You do not have to go to the NRA for your statistics and research, just be aware that most educated readers have a clear understanding of where the Post and other news organizations have been gathering their information from.  Bias on this issue will be fairly easy to spot and will result in a loss of credibility.  That would be truly discouraging.

@tracing - your post sounds a lot like you are ‘interpreting’ the 2nd amendment.  Perhaps what you actually meant was that people who disagree with you are idiots?

My guns haven’t shot anyone. They are to protect me from government tyranny and people who wish to do me and my family physical harm. Remember the first thing Hitler and Stalin did was take all the guns under the guise of protecting you. It cost over 8 million their lives and started a world war. Without my guns I go from a citizen to a subject. I love my country and it citizens but fear my government and it’s self serving politicians lying to you each time they open their mouths.

The cover shot… a barrel of an assault rifle pointing at the reader? Probably not the best choice, catchy, but rather inappropriate for an unbiased article.  I almost skipped the rest when I saw that.

BING there we have it - our first Hitler reference!  Guess we’re done here….

i would hardly say Im interpreting anything, as Im not ADDING anything to the language that it not there,

Facts are facts and that one sentence means what it means, I have a right to keep and bear arms that will not be infringed by congress (infringed = limit)
There is no reason why I have this right
There is no detail as to what an ARM is
Or why I would have it, one , one thousand
It says ARMS
And I indeed have.. arms, as they instructed me to

Guns do not kill people. People kill people.

@ Thomas House - to quote Eddie Izzard “I think the guns help”

wow the “Gun Grabbers” are coming out of the wood work… How many people die in car accidents, How many die in gun accidents… How many people are killed by vehicle assault, how many are killed by gunfire… With the “gun grabber” logic we should outlaw all cars also. People also die do to ciggerettes, knifes, getting fat, STD’s… lets outlaw all them too….

Thank you for the recognition of Booth Michigan’s 10-year review of concealed weapons proliferation in Michigan.

Might I also recommend the MLive Media Group (formerly Booth Michigan) series last month on justifiable homicides in the state, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting? http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2012/06/justified_to_kill_an_mlive_spe.html

As a hunter, an ex-marine, and someone who lives on the west side of Denver (Aurora is on the east side), reasonable restrictions on weapons make sense!

No one needs a civilianized assault rifle (the AR15 is a variation of the M16) equipped with a 100 round drum magazine in order to hunt deer or elk OR to provide personal protection!

The .223 caliber (5.56mm) high-velocity round was originally designed to penetrate Soviet military helmets.  It was not designed to bring down a deer or an elk down with one shot, that’s why the venerable 30-06 is still the hunting rifle of choice.  As for needing a hundred rounds???  Only if you want to chop the deer into very tiny little pieces!

What about self-defense?  The fact is, unless you are a highly (and continually) trained police officer or a combat infantryman specializing in hostage rescue situations, the AR-15 and it’s ilk are not the weapon for you.  For home defense, you want an old-fashioned 12 gauge pump or semi-automatic shotgun - which is also usable for bird hunting and (in some states) deer hunting.  You do NOT need a hundred rounds!  The five shells you can fire without reloading is MORE than enough to chase off or take down an intruder.

I have talked with many gun owners over the years.  The ones who own some civilian version of an assault rifle justify it in one of two ways:

1) “It’s fun to shoot.”  These are relatively sane and honest people.

2) “I may need to protect myself against” (take your pick):
  a)  “roving gangs of murderous thugs armed with a small armory of military style weapons and I live in an area with inadequate police protection.”  (These people have been watching too many old crime/action-adventure movies…and believe them!)
  b) “a dictatorship-bent “guvmint” which is only kept at bay by their possession of a (probably) poorly maintained, junky assault rifle with a small hoard of aging ammunition.”  (These people are really around the bend and both fear and look forward to their own Waco, TX-style confrontation.)

To group “a” I agree.  Assault rifles ARE fun to shoot.  But they can be kept at registered and secured gun clubs.  They are NOT appropriate weapons for hunting or self-defense.

To the second group, I do NOT want you as a neighbor.  I do NOT want you carrying your firearms in public.  I do NOT want you anywhere in the same county as my kids at night.  You are NOT “protecting” us from anything…you ARE the danger!

The Second Amendment clearly states, “A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State”.  People in group “b” are neither a “Militia” nor (thanks to the NRA) “well-regulated”.  They are simply a danger to everyone around them.

@Lee - EXCELLENT!  I vote you the best comment yet.  Thanks for that..

brian morford

July 24, 2012, 5:42 p.m.

Ah yes Mr. Beres, let the governement take away and control all firearms in spite of the constitution and law.  That would work like just as well as the governement enforcing any immigration or drug laws as well.  Our government isn’t qualified to run anything and to think you will be safe with them in charge is pure fantasy.  If anything, why don’t you ask the governement to give every person in America a mental health screening and find them care and housing if found to be mentally incompetent.  Then the nut jobs who will use a gun knife or other weapon wouldn’t exist.  And, then you could ask the governement to screen any person who MAY be affiliated with a terrorist organization not to be permitted in this country.  This seems it would eliminate 90% of the possible scenarios for violence.
There will always be ways for illegal activity to occur with or with gun prohibition.  see how the kennedy’s made millions during prohibition running booze…But I guess that was OK.

think then think again

July 24, 2012, 5:54 p.m.

@PR “The Best Reporting on Guns in America”  - This is the best you could come up with?

We live in an unjust world full of ignorance, apathy and fear.  Educated only by what is told to you by who?  A reporter? A book? An expert?  Your government leader?  Your God?  A TV?  And like a small child you willfully accept, believe and breathe it as truth.

Here is one example of another country’s gun control option that has statistically proven itself to be far more successful than the USA; All while maintaining one’s own individual right to protect themselves with any means necessary to survive.  It’s kinda like a win/win option…

But don’t take my word for it.. Go visit the country for yourself, talk to the people who live there, see if they live in the same amount of fear as you and ask how it works and then question if it’s possible for America to do the same.  Who knows… You actually might learn something new and actually know it to be true for once in your life.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland

Lee Stevens: THANK YOU!!! (No further elaboration needed)

The NRA knows more about guns than you do. Why don’t you listen to them? Are you that bigoted?

“No one needs a civilianized assault rifle (the AR15 is a variation of the M16) equipped with a 100 round drum magazine in order to hunt deer or elk OR to provide personal protection!”

By that logic, no one needs a car either, after all, you can just take the bus.

“As someone who was shot in the head by a legally purchased gun, I think I have some special insight: the only difference between a gun owner and a criminal is often just opportunity. 
The entire 2nd amendment was written in order to protect citizens against forced service in the British military WHICH WAS COMMON AT THE TIME—thus the reference to guns being necessary for the safety of a state—and having a WELL-REGULATED militia—and I don’t mean the kind that swills beer and shoots at anything.
In addition, at the time the amendment was written, the blunderbuss was the weapon of choice I believe.  So, if any of you gun NUTS who care more about your weapons than the lives they may destroy, get your blunderbusses—all of them you want—and join a real well-regulated militia—like a branch of the military.  I want the regulated part to take precendence—NOW.”

Over and over and over again it has been shown that how liberal gun laws are has nothing to do with crime. Crime is a result of many factors: Economics, social, but the existence of a weapon is not a trigger to violence for any sane person; and any insane person may get that same trigger to violence from a hammer, or a kitchen knife. Gun laws hardly correlate to crime rates at all, and actually, in places were gun laws have been made more liberal (that means it easier to get guns) crime rates, especially homicide rates, have fallen.

By contrast, places with tougher gun laws, like Britain, have seen a rise all kinds of violent crime since banning handguns. so at best, their is no correlation between Guns and crime, and at worst (for the case of those “Against Guns”) Easier Guns actually does equal less crime.

As a person who owns several (3)  guns which I shoot for fun (at paper, thank you), I see no reason why I should have to keep them at an “Armory,” they are perfectly safe locked up in my gunsafe, which is hidden in my house to discourage possible theft. I have never seen any of my guns and felt the urge to commit crimes of any kind, let alone actually hurt someone, and quite frankly I find the line that I am a criminal waiting to happen extremely offensive. Being a gun owner, I am 10X more safety conscious about my guns than anything else in my life.

The main point is though, is that targeting guns is a waste of resources: other factors, like poverty and life fulfillment (education) actually have an effect on crime, while statistically, the prevalence of legally owned guns has either no effect, or actually a positive effect on crime.

Besides all that, banning anything, drugs, Guns, kazoos, anything, creates a black market. As long as the government allows legal gun ownership, it can retain control over who has guns; create a black market and criminals will still get guns, and the government sacrifices whatever control it might have had.

It seems to me that part of the problem is the all or nothing attitude that seems to exist.  Whenever I (and others like me) support additional governance on firearms we are immediately assaulted with accusations that we want to grab all the guns - which is not an accurate point of view.  Personally - all I’m advocating is some increased regulation with respect to gun ownership and use. 

Why is that so scary - our society regulates all kinds of things that we have a ‘right’ to have.  We have regulations around drugs and alcohol, around how we use cars, even how we interact with each other in many ways.  Many of us aren’t advocating a total ban on guns - we’re just suggesting that it may need some regulation and governance.

It’s a complex issues that needs complex discussion…

Free Men own gun’s slaves do not!

@Lee Stevens, Since you are so experienced as to “know” what people need and don’t need in the area of self defense to the point of blanket-covering all scenarios, may I suggest to you that what we certainly don’t need is someone telling us what WE need and don’t need, my friend! ~ Follow your own suggestions and allow others to form their own decisions based on their own personal experience in respect to the areas they reside in!
  I just happen to live in a high crime rate area that has gangs of thugs just waiting for an excuse to start looting and torching homes as they did back in the mid 1960’s, so please don’t tell me about “watching too many movies” and having to keep my “assault-style” rifle in some clubhouse safe!  Tell that to the two Koreans who used “assault-style” rifles to save their building from being burned down by rioters during the Watts riots!

Gary: Any specific suggestions?

The laws are quite strict on transporting firearms unless you have a specific permit, (just like how you need a license to use a car on a public road.)

I’m not belittling what you are saying, just asking.

I completely agree that in needs complex discussion. Part of the problems with Guns is that it’s a topic which brings out a lot of emotion. Many people find the very idea that people have Guns as bad and offensive, many Gun owners find that attitude offensive.

I think with Guns one thing that is important is education. Guns are just an object, that’s all, they are an object, like a car, or a ski-do, which can be dangerous if used improperly.

People go to far by suggesting Guns should be taken from legal owners, but others also go to far in suggesting that the government ignore the issue completely; people should be vetted before purchasing (which they are now, through a criminal background check) and educated about there guns; such as how to properly handle but also the appropriate uses for a gun for a civilian (shooting paper, hunting, and as a last resort in self defense) and good ways to keep Guns safe from theft and accidents (such as were to point the Gun, but also these rules:

RULE I: ASSUME ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY

RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET

A further breakdown of these sensible safety rules is available at: http://thefiringline.com/Misc/safetyrules.html.

Guns can be completely safe, this is evidenced by the fact that they cause less accidental deaths than many much more common items.

Re: Lee (who is Not Lee Stevens)

“Free men own gun’s (sic) slaves do not!”

Well, actually slaves often HAVE owned guns.  Some slaves were given “squirrel rifles” for hunting both for themselves and for their masters.  In the later days of our Civil War, the Confederacy actually tried out arming slave battalions to fight for the Confederacy.  Granted, they were promised a limited freedom in return, but the biggest and most important exception were the Ottoman Turk Jannissaries.  These slave soldiers were the elite units of the Ottoman Sultan.  Originally armed with swords, they were among the first Turkish units armed with guns.  They lasted for almost 500 years.

You can find other examples of slave soldiers throughout history.

In short, your comment is like cotton-candy.  It sounds great, but when you really bite into it, you find a lot of air and not much substance.  All it leaves you with is not much nutrition and a sticky mess on your face.

Lee Stevens—you got it right.  As you see from a couple of the responses, a reasonable conversation with some folks can’t be had.

Gary, WHAT makes you think that we don’t already HAVE laws and regulations to govern the sale and use of firearms, my friend???!

We are at the point where gun-owners are vociferously declaring: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH on “more” restrictive gun laws that do NOTHING but give criminals a higher percentage of victims!

Bottom Line: ENFORCE the laws we already have and rescind those that have only benefited the criminal while restricting law abiding citizens!

@ ANTICRIME - You miss the point entirely and you make incorrect assumptions about what constitutes a friend…

Of course we have current laws - but I’m confused about your use of the word ‘restrictive’.  What is really restricted with respect to the ownership of guns in the US?  You can buy unlimited assault weapons, you can buy guns today at your neighborhood gun show, you can carry concealed hand guns in many states by taking a very simple (hard to fail) course, in many states you can shoot people on your property and suffer no consequences and on and on….please tell me - what terrible gun owning restrictions are making your life so massively difficult that causes you to fear reasoned discussion?

Re: Anticrime

<sigh>

Okay.  Here is why a 12 gauge shotgun is better than an assault rifle for home defense:

1) You do not have to aim perfectly. 

In the middle of the night, when something wakes you up, you are in about the worst situation for forethought possible.  Unless you are highly and continually trained, your ability to accurately aim is seriously impaired.  A shotgun does NOT need precise aiming!  It’s spread pattern will cover a broad area, so being “close” is as good as a hit.

2) A shotgun blast, unless you are very close to the wall, will either not penetrate sheet rock, or will be greatly reduced in velocity.  This is very important, because it may be your wife, daughter, son, or mother on the other side of that wall!  A high velocity slug, be it 5.56mm, .30 caliber, 8mm, or 9mm is going THROUGH the wall.  And it will NOT care who is on the other side.

3) Most shotguns are simple, easy to use, and difficult to jam.  Assault rifles are not.  A Shotgun will WORK in that situation.

4) Since a shotgun is commonly used for hunting, you are far more likely to have experience shooting at moving targets with it.

I do not advocate disarming the public.  We are a nation of hunters, and in the country, a good rifle or shotgun is as much a tool as a hoe.

At the same time, allowing some one to get an high-powered military weapon (the U.S. Air Force used the AR-15 until the nineties), a 100 round drum of ammunition, 6,000 rounds of ammunition, and military/police anti-ballistic armor just because they have breathed air for 18 years is not responsible, certainly not the sign of being “well-regulated” (part of the 2nd Amendment), and verges on cultural insanity.

As Supreme Court Justice Arthur Goldberg said in 1963’s Kennedy v. Mendoza-Martinez decision: “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

You do not think you are getting enough police protection?  Then work with them to change that!  Arming yourself to take the law into your own hands just contributes to the lawlessness.  Remember:  Nobody were the good guys at the O.K. Corral.  They were just two gangs of thugs each fighting to control a small town.

Is that what you want for your neighborhood?

Gerard Wright has also written a compelling piece at The Global Mail on why a resounding political silence on gun laws follows each of America’s mass shootings.

http://bit.ly/LGDLp7

shane algarin

July 24, 2012, 8:10 p.m.

constitutionally, we have a right to bear arms…as in a rifle or musket….shoot, reload, pour gunpowder.

Nowhere does it say we have a right to AK47s to terrorize citizens with. It has been over ten years since we were attacked by terrorists. Is that not enough time for us to use some common sense? REGULATE GUNS!!!

@ Lee Stevens

All of which is fine and well but the 2nd amendment isn’t about hunting.

Robert Loerzel

July 24, 2012, 8:44 p.m.

Thanks for the list. I submit for your consideration a story I reported for WBEZ Chicago Public Radio tracing the evolution of Chicago’s handgun ban from the 1960s up until shortly before the recent Supreme Court ruling. The audio and transcript of my story are at: http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/evolution-chicagos-handgun-ban