Gun owners are the happiest people in the US

The Wall Street Journal reports that gun-clingers are not, in fact, bitter.
According to the 2006 General Social Survey, which has tracked gun ownership since 1973, 34% of American homes have guns in them. This statistic is sure to surprise many people in cities like San Francisco – as it did me when I first encountered it. (Growing up in Seattle, I knew nobody who owned a gun.)

Who are all these gun owners? Are they the uneducated poor, left behind? It turns out they have the same level of formal education as nongun owners, on average. Furthermore, they earn 32% more per year than nonowners. Americans with guns are neither a small nor downtrodden group.

Nor are they "bitter." In 2006, 36% of gun owners said they were "very happy," while 9% were "not too happy." Meanwhile, only 30% of people without guns were very happy, and 16% were not too happy.

In 1996, gun owners spent about 15% less of their time than nonowners feeling "outraged at something somebody had done." It's easy enough in certain precincts to caricature armed Americans as an angry and miserable fringe group. But it just isn't true. The data say that the people in the approximately 40 million American households with guns are generally happier than those people in households that don't have guns.

The gun-owning happiness gap exists on both sides of the political aisle. Gun-owning Republicans are more likely than nonowning Republicans to be very happy (46% to 37%). Democrats with guns are slightly likelier than Democrats without guns to be very happy as well (32% to 29%). Similarly, holding income constant, one still finds that gun owners are happiest.



  1. I suppose it must be more satisfying to imagine shooting someone for idiocy when you can actually fondle your weaponry while doing it….

  2. Jiminy Cricket! Guns are expensive and, if you plan on actually shooting the things, ammo costs add up fast (unless you make your own), plus it costs to go to the range. Owning a gun is a lot like owning a purebred pet: it’s fun, but it ain’t a hobby for the impoverished.

  3. its cheaper than video games.

    I have to say i own a gun, but i’m lazy so when i moved to california I left it with my father, and while i did enjoy shooting at the range I can’t say I miss it all that much.

  4. Target shooters of BB,

    Do you think about blowing someone away when you’re at the range? If I were practicing archery, would people assume that I was thinking about killing someone? My experience with target shooting is that it takes a lot of focus to put the bullet in the middle of the target. If I were fantasizing about shooting someone, it would almost certainly cause me to lose concentration and my aim would suffer.

  5. It’s likely that a significant percentage of that 34% have an old gun that was given to them from a deceased relative or something, never shoot it, and don’t even have ammo for it. Or they got it when they were going to be a hunter 20 years ago, went once, and discovered what a pain in the ass it is to actually hunt and put it away in the closet. These are the same people who would probably not blink twice, (or perhaps only twice) were their gun to become illegal and were asked to turn it in, or wouldn’t care if it became increasingly difficult to get ammo, or whatever method ends up (note the implication there…) being the way they deal with making guns a little more difficult to get in this country.

    What I’m saying is that it’s not the case that 34% of Americans are loony gun nuts who go bezerk when their constitutional right to participate in a militia is threatened.

    As to the connection between owning a gun and being happy, my guess is that there is some poor statistical correlation at work. Something like an increase in the sale of ice cream leading to more deaths by drowning.

    (they only SEEM related because they are both caused by hot weather…)

    Thus the comment by #3 about how expensive they are could play a factor, since guns are expensive, people with guns probably have more money, and yes Virginia, there is an actual statistical correlation between having more money and being happy. I read it a couple days ago in the NYTimes. Thus it is a fact.

    Happy Hunting!


  6. Is Herr Frauenfelder a gun owner? A Hillary Clinton supporter? Or does he have some other stake in extending the life of the debate over this non-issue?

  7. It could be that people who are in areas that allow gun ownership are, in general, happier that people living in areas that don’t allow gun ownership.

    I have several firearms, and I know that I would not be happy in any state that disallowed ownership, but only partially for the regulations themselves. Places like New York, Chicago, and San Francisco restrict firearm ownership the most. They also tend to have higher crime, higher real estate prices, higher taxes, and longer commutes than other places.

  8. I love my Beretta .40 S&W as well as my Chinese SKS ($150 for a capable target rifle isn’t bad!). I see gun ownership as a civil right, something to be respected as much as the first amendment. I don’t have any illusions of using them for self defense, I just love target shooting.

  9. Gun ownership is a good wealth indicator. The cheapest gun I ever bought was a used Mossberg 88 pump shotgun for $120, and the cheapest handgun was $200, a used Ruger 95 9mm pistol.

    Ammo and range time are also expensive.

    It’s not a hobby for those who struggle to make rent and buy groceries. Also, you are more likely to own a gun for protection if you have a home, a wife, kids, since you have something to protect.

    So basically, middle-class and well-off people tend to be happier and less bitter than struggling people. That’s really what this poll is saying.

    You could probably take a similar survey of people who own backyard pools against those who don’t and get similar results.

  10. All the people I know with one or two guns are fine.

    It’s the people that collect them and run drills as to when they are going to be victims of a home invasion that are scary. It’s like they want it to happen so they can inflict some kind of justice; their way of armchair vigilantism. Maybe they see some terrible things on TV and it’s their way of not really solving the problem, but hoping that there will be a chance when they can make a dent in it.

  11. I used to really enjoy target shooting (pistol and bow). I never felt the urge to go hunting; too much hiking for my tender, urban sensibilities. But target shooting was a hobby that my (now ex-)wife and I shared; I gave it up after we split and sold my pistols.

    As far as fantasies of violence go – there is a large divide between the stylized gunplay seen on TV and film and the rather grimmer reality – the idea that exposure to the realities of weapons would enhance or promote violent fantasies seems dubious to me.

    The relation between bore and degree of happiness is simple – those trapped by their macho self-image into target shooting with .50 caliber rifles and pistols can be seen weeping softly to themselves later as they grip their empty wallets; those who have graduated to the pleasures of a well-tuned Ruger MkII .22 caliber pistol leave the range whistling a happy tune!

  12. copiesofcopies (who signed up just for this one comment),

    Did Mark forget to call you to get approval before posting? We’ll have administration get on that oversight pronto.

  13. JamesMason #8, that was my first thought, but I read the post all the way to the end, where the author points out that, even controlling for income, the correlation still holds.

    Not that there’s not some other factor causing both things, but apparently it’s not mere income. Harrkev #10 has an interesting idea – perhaps the culture of the South (high concentration of gun owners there, based on my mucking through census data) leads people to want to own guns, and for those people to feel extra happy and socially comfortable – in general.

    In my case – all my male relatives own guns. They all live in Idaho. They’re shy, quiet guys who hunt for meat (not for fun).

    Interesting story, thanks for posting it.

  14. Ask them how happy they are with the government, which was the point Obama made, and I’m willing to bet you would get a much different percentage.

  15. Look. There is a certain amount of irreducible time between one’s perception of being threatened by another person and the arrival of the police. This period varies from place to place and time to time. During this period, an individual has a absolute right to defend themselves, and an obligation to defend their family and/or others similarly threatened. I have a handgun for exactly that purpose. It threatens no one who does not first threaten me.

    I don’t have possession of that handgun in China, where I presently live. That is because this government well understands that an armed population is more difficult to control than is the other kind. The passage in the Constitution regarding bearing arms was written by people who had just dealt with what they considered to be an oppressive government. Part of the reason Americans have the right to bear arms is to protect themselves from the tyranny of an out of control government, something like what we now have in the US. Before you jump to any conclusions, I am a left wing, Obama supporting, six figure income, CEO, and married for a grand total of 44 years, some of them happily (Thanks Al F.).

  16. Freedom makes people happy. Being able to defend your freedom makes people happier.

  17. @Antinous

    Just like you, I can’t really think of anything but the target when I’m shooting. I’m a very nonviolent person, but like most target shooters, I enjoy the relaxation and focus that comes from target practice. It’s like any other high-focus skill, and probably represents an instance of flow state.

  18. For a fascinating read on the subject of target shooting/focus/flow state; Zen and the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel (sp?). And yes, the title of this book (written in the late 30’s IIRC) did inspire the title of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

  19. #13 collect and run drills is spot on.

    collect, however, I dunno, (me)

    I am not obsessive, my guns are not like, oh, say, my super cool vintage balsa & tissue model airplane kit collection. (yes, I just scored an original Nobler in cellophane wrapping!)

    I actually have guns I have never shot, nor own ammo for.

    This was a topic of dinner conversation recently. The economy is going right straight to heck. The dollar is weak against the Euro. Stocks are plummeting like Paris Hilton’s panties when a photographer is around.

    What can an average person invest a medium amount of money in, that will continue to appreciate faster than depreciate, is easy to hold as an asset, and has use no matter what?

    Well, I cannot buy super exotic cars. Although I understand the Ferrari Enzo rises 25% in value every time some rich guy crashes one.

    I do not want to touch gold. The Hunt brothers taught us you cannot corner the silver market. So what?

    Guns. Not a chicom sks but something a bit different, a bit collectible. The .44 Magnum Dirty Harry used, for example. If you bought a Smith & Wesson model 29 in 8″ barrel for $500 in 1990, you got a deal. they are now running $1500 and up.

    So I have a proper gun safe, and every so often, I purchase a pistol or rifle, put it in the safe, and know, the value is appreciating. There is little maintenance cost. And if Zombies come for us, I stand a better than average chance.

    I am not sure if that makes me happier, or indulges any violent fantasies. But I know, if the dollar plummets in value, I will still be able to sell or trade some of these firearms for food for my family.

    It’s just a thought, I am not suggesting it as a total portfolio strategy.

  20. Not too surprising, the Amish are supposed to be really happy people too, it’s all a life style thing. The real question is would happiness increase or decrease on average among a group of non gun owners who where given guns for a year. I think I would be less happy to go Amish for a year, which is why I haven’t gone out and started living the Amish life style.

  21. Takuan: not very happy, I guess:

    In the U.S. for 2001, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 16,869; Homicide 11,348; Accident 802; Legal Intervention 323; Undetermined 231.(CDC, 2004)

    Also, there’s a positive correlation between gun ownership and suicide. That may be our answer – the gun owners left alive to answer the question are the happy ones. 16,000 per year is a lot. (That might sound flippant; I certainly don’t mean it that way, I’m just trying to be clear.)

  22. “Ridiculous,” .243 M77 spit.
    “You have so much to look forward to in life. You bought a new car. You may be saddled with debt for the next 5 years to be sure, but you got such a good APR.”

    Miguel swiveled around in his office chair; “You always knew how to cheer me up with depressing crap like that M.”

    .243 M77 turned away and watched her children play outside on a squeaking swing set. ‘5 years..’ she thought. Just 5 years ago she was new out of the box. Factory fresh, with a spent .243 Winchester cartridge tucked away in a neat little envelope nuzzled next to her.

    Only 2 years of freedom.. then what? A middle-aged, cheap, silver tongued Italian shotgun with years of experience whisked her away to a

    Motel 6. The rest was straight out of daytime TV. She would never see the 200-yard range again.

    .243 M77 piped up quietly, “Did I ever tell you about the crush I had on you?”

    Miguel’s typing paused almost imperceptibly.

    “It was at the club. You had just signed up and you were taking your first stroll around the ranges. You had some horrible looking thing with you, a crusty Remington with gaudy scope rings. I remember how she glinted in the sun, a slathering of Break-free on her worn, blued barrel. No doubt trying to cover up all those scratches.”

    “Ah, 700… I remember her. I picked her up at some seedy consignment shop. She didn’t last very long,” Miguel chuckled. “You broke me in though, M, you taught me how to be happy on the range again.”

    .243 glanced at the clock, Friday was drawing to a close. It was time for her children to leave, they were spending the weekend with their father.

    “I have to go, Miguel. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Hey, I’ll see you tomorrow at Ruger’s Barbeque, right?”

    “Sure, I’ll be there.”

    Miguel couldn’t help but smile as .243 M77 gently closed the door to his study. “A crush, eh?”

  23. Correlation does not imply causation. However, this could be self-skewing sample: very unhappy gun owners might be selecting themselves out of the sample.

    It would be interesting to do a similar survey of sleeping pill, rope or even thimble owners and compare the results.

  24. The majority of gun-owners I’ve known are of the, shall we say, hippy, variety? They believe in coddling the weak and helping the downtrodden. Yet they own guns. They also use sharp knives to carve their food… food they cook with that scourge of man- the all-consuming flame of Prometheus!

    I was in a European city recently, I was just as afraid of being mugged there as I was back home. Moreso, I might add, for in that city I was a tourist and therefore a target.

    It’s not the weapons we should fear, it’s other people.

  25. THIMBLE owners!?! I question your sanity, man. There’s a group you really don’t want to mess with.

  26. Ha ha, gun owners are happier because we know that we can take care of ourselves. I have never fired my gun at anything with a heart beat, but I was trained in the use of a gun. I am not a member of the NRA, but I am glad that they are out there fighting for the right to keep and bare arms. I do not ever want to shoot anyone, in fact if a dangerous situation should present itself I hope and pray that I never have to fire my gun.

    The thing is that places like New York, D.C. and Chicago have some of the toughest gun laws on the books, yet they also have some of worst gun violence. Chicago reported 26 shootings in one weekend, six are dead with 20 wounded.

    But of course I’m bitter, and I cling to my guns, religion, and intolerance. *sarcasm off

  27. I don’t buy the generalization that “an armed population is harder to control than an unarmed population,” it’s just the control is differently expressed. It looks to me like guns in the US serve symbolic purposes that prevent us from organizing to resist tyranny.

    At what point do we get or have we gotten armed resistance to government in recent years within the US? Mostly when there has been a fanatic religious group involved. It wasn’t gun ownership that fueled resistance, it was a rival ideology where those who held it believed in it enough to challenge the government in an organized way.

    Having a world view that supports organized resistance to government does not require guns.
    And judging from recent examples in the US, having guns AND a rival world view doesn’t seem to work out so well either..

  28. s rgstrd Dmcrt wh wns n K-47 nd shts n cmbt pstl/rfl mtchs, fnd trgt shtng qt rlxng nd mdttv. n cnnt b cncrnd wth nythng thr thn prtng th wpn – nt th dy’s vnts, nt n’s wrk. Jst y nd th trgt. Flw stt, s sggstd bv.

    nd t’s nt ncm, s th stdy crrctd fr tht:

    “Smlrly, hldng ncm cnstnt, n stll fnds tht gn wnrs r hppst.”

    dn’t fnd th stdy srprsng. Gn wnrshp s n mpwrng thng, nd mpwrd ppl tnd t b hppy ppl.

    t hs ls bn fnd tht chldrn tht wn lgl gns hv lwr jvnl dlnqncy rts thn chldrn tht dn’t wn gns. Crrltn nt cstn, f crs.

    http://www.ncjrs.gv/pdffls/rdl.pdf (p. 25)

  29. you know, the last Superbowl could have been memorable. If he hadn’t changed his mind at the last minute and turned around…well, 200 rounds of rifle fire in a packed stadium, those killed and maimed in the panic when everyone tried to leave at once when the shooting started…..

  30. I’m totally in favor of attractive people’s right to bare arms. (Just teasin’ ya #31, I know what you mean. Don’t shoot me!)

  31. Sstr Y, th frrm s th mst ffctv mthd f scd, wth smthng lk 70% f frrm scd ttmpts sccdng. S f crs w’r gng t hv lt f ppl ffng thmslvs wth frrms, thy hppn t b ffctv. f smn wnts t ff thmslvs, lt thm d t. Mst ppl try mltpl tms t kll thmslvs bfr sccdng. Hvng gn n th hm jst mns tht scdl prsn s gng t hv t try lss tms t kll thmslvs bfr sccdng. Ppl hv th rght t nd thr wn lf.

    MH, th whl “bn th gns t sv scdrs” rgmnt s cmplt nn-strtr.

  32. From what a friend who lived in Austin told me, its counter-intuitive, but the everyone owning a gun thing seems to work for them down there. Eh.

    But urinalpooper, you really don’t have much of a chance of being mugged at gunpoint in Western Europe. Seemingly the only people who shoot people in the UK are the police. I was mugged once in my many years in London, by a bunch of unarmed kids, whilst drunkenly wandering down back alleys late at night in a bad part of town absent mindedly looking for my mate’s house. They took my phone, and didn’t even bother noticing I didn’t have any money. Its the happy slapping you have to worry about.

  33. “y knw, th lst Sprbwl cld hv bn mmrbl. f h hdn’t chngd hs mnd t th lst mnt nd trnd rnd…wll, 25 prpn cnstrs xpldng n pckd stdm, ths klld nd mmd n th pnc whn vryn trd t lv t nc whn th xplsns strtd…..”

    “y knw, th lst Sprbwl cld hv bn mmrbl. f h hdn’t chngd hs mnd t th lst mnt nd trnd rnd…wll, 500,000 cbc ft f chlrn n pckd stdm, ths klld nd mmd n th pnc whn vryn trd t lv t nc whn th chkng strtd…..”

    “y knw, th lst Sprbwl cld hv bn mmrbl. f h hdn’t chngd hs mnd t th lst mnt nd trnd rnd…wll, 10,000 vnms snks n pckd stdm, ths klld nd mmd n th pnc whn vryn trd t lv t nc whn th btng strtd…..”

  34. JLBRAUN,

    You know the rules. You’re banned in gun threads until you participate in other comment threads. If you try to dominate the conversation, you know what will ensue.

  35. jlbraun, your thoughtful comment will bring such comfort to the parents of every depressed teenager who has “offed” himself with a gun. Weed ’em out of the gene pool, eh?

  36. JL, I mentioned an established fact. You,on the other hand, are just being boring.

    If you wish to debate, debate. That will require work.

  37. #34,
    So, how does it feel to have the political party that you support try to snuff out one of your favorite hobbies?

    Just wondering…

  38. I have a gun, but I can’t say it’s why I’m generally happy. In fact, I only have it through bizarre circumstances, not because I wanted it. I’d be just as happy a person without it. I’m pretty neutral about gun control, but I do wish there weren’t so many handguns on the streets.

    My youngest brother is a gun nut, NRA all the way, goes shooting, has a full gun vault, subscribes to magazines, whole nine yards. He’ll say he’s happy, but he’s usually discontented with one thing or another.

    So obviously there are different kinds of gun owners, with varying degrees of happiness, just like the general population.

    I’m pretty tired of studies like this. One small aspect of someone’s life or personality mixed with some emotion doesn’t really mean much in a larger societal picture. As we’ve seen on this board, people tend to see the word “Christian” and automatically there is a stereotype applied, completely ignoring the fact that there are different kinds of Christians, with very different beliefs and political persuasions. Any poll that says “X % if Christians think blah” says nothing, because some of those Christians are liberals, and some are conservatives. Same with gun owners; some are liberal, some conservative, some radical libertarians and others totally apolitical.

    Some are happy, some are depressed. Big whoop.

    Now that I think about, maybe some of the depressed gun owners shot themselves.

  39. Interesting study. One of the most pressing questions, however, is whether the mean temperature of said guns correlates to the owner’s described level of happiness, as was first theorized by British researchers over 40 years ago.

  40. 34% will sound quite low to some European friends of mine. I have a Swedish friend who asked me if I had a gun since he assumed all Americans had them. (I do not.)

  41. @ntns

    hv bn prtcptng n thr BB tpcs, sr.


    n 2005, thr wr 807 frrm scds n tngrs n th S. n th sm tm prd, 758 tngrs klld thmslvs by sffctn. Shll w bn rps, grdn hss, nd ntrnl cmbstn ngns?

    Th strns fnd tht th rt f frrm lcnss ws *hghly* crrltd wth th frrm scd rt, bt *ncrrltd* wth th vrll scd rt, n th ppr “Scd by shtng s crrltd t rt f gn lcnss n strn cnts”.

    RSLTS: W fnd strng crrltn btwn th vrg gn lcns rt fr th prd 1990-2000 nd scds by shtng (r = 0.967), nd nly vry wk crrltn, nd fr sm f th yrs ndr nvstgtn ngtv crrltn, wth thr mthds f cmmttng scd (r = 0.117) nd th scd rt n gnrl (r = 0.383).

    prsn tht klls thmslvs wth gn s jst s dd s n tht klls thmslvs wth rp, bt w wn’t cll t bn rps. nstd, w chng th cltr nd tlk t r chldrn s thy dn’t thnk tht kllng thmslvs s smthng thy shld prs.


    Wht stblshd fct ws tht?

  42. @hrrkv

    blv tht th Dms s whl hv mr ptntl t trn th S rnd. spprt Dmcrts lk Bll Rchrdsn, pr-chc, pr-nvrnmnt lbrl wh stll crrs cncld hndgn ccsnlly.

  43. @TIKUAN “let’s do a happiness survey of all those killed by guns”

    Or a happiness survey of all those people saved/defended by guns.

  44. #37 FYI I am not in favor of “gun bans,” whatever that means. I wasn’t arguing pro- or anti- guns, just proposing a hypothesis to explain the guns=happiness data.

  45. Why don’t you all have a look at the stats in #26 for a moment while I fetch something (don’t worry, it isn’t a weapon….much)

  46. let’s see; a link? a block quote? a link?…..nahh!
    too important to let the lazy pretend it didn’t happen:

    February 8, 2008 – 7:01PM
    Super Bowl massacre averted at last minute
    Gary Grado, Tribune

    A distraught Tempe man was within sight of the Super Bowl on Sunday with an assault rifle, but a change of heart kept him from unloading 200 rounds of ammunition on the crowd, court records show.

    Gun in Super Bowl plot was banned, now popular

    Drunkenstein’s bar name scares off Tempe

    Kurt William Havelock, 35, turned himself in Sunday to Tempe police and the FBI at the urging of family and confessed his plan, which he hatched in retaliation for the Tempe City Council rejecting a liquor license application for a restaurant and bar he owns.

    According to court records, Havelock is charged with mailing threatening communications in the mailing of eight copies of a “manifesto” explaining the planned massacre.

    “I will test the theory that bullets speak louder than words … I will slay your children. I will shed the blood of the innocent,” Havelock wrote. “No one destroys my dream. No one.”

    Magistrate Judge Edward V. Ross said in a hearing in U.S. District Court on Tuesday: “I haven’t read more chilling words, and I’ve been doing this a long time.” Ross found Havelock was a danger to the public and ordered him held without bail.

    Havelock on Sunday mailed copies of the manifesto intended for friends and media from a post office at 59th and Peoria avenues in Glendale, but authorities were able to intercept them.

    In the letters he says his family has been attacked and the futures of his children have been destroyed.

    In October, Havelock was before the Tempe City Council to get approval for a liquor license application for a restaurant called The Haunted Castle, a Halloween-theme bar where horror-theme bands and actors could gather to promote themselves, according to city records.

    Liquor licenses are typically rubber-stamped by city councils, whose votes are only advisory.

    The State Liquor Board makes the final decision.

    Council members, however, got word from a blog written by Havelock that the business would be called Drunkenstein’s and questioned him about it.

    Havelock said there would be a sign with that name but would be only one corner of the business at 6463 S. Rural Road.

    The council voted 6-1 to deny the application, which is still pending before the liquor board.

    “Alas, this all boils down to an econopolitical confrontation. I cannot outvote, outspend, outtax, or outincarcerate my enemies,” Havelock wrote in the manifesto. “But for a brief moment I can outgun them.”

    According to court testimony by FBI Special Agent Philip Thorlin and Havelock’s father, Frank Havelock, he bought an AR-15 assault rifle on Jan. 29 from Scottsdale Gun Club.

    Thorlin described the rifle as the U.S. military’s weapon of choice.

    Havelock began Sunday by going back to the gun club for target practice, but there was a private function and he couldn’t get in. Besides the rifle, Havelock was carrying at the time six 30-round magazines and 20 loose rounds.

    Thorlin said Havelock’s original destination was Desert Ridge Marketplace in northeast Phoenix. It’s unclear according to court documents why Havelock changed his mind about Desert Ridge and headed for Glendale instead.

    He drove to different post offices in the West Valley to obtain the envelopes and postage for his copies of the manifesto and mailed them before he went to the parking lot of Arena, which can be seen from University of Phoenix Stadium, where a host of activities were happening before the 4:30 p.m. kickoff.

    “He waited about a minute and decided he couldn’t do this,” Thorlin said.

    Havelock then called his fiancee and met his parents at his Tempe condominium.

    “He was very upset, he was sobbing hysterically,” Frank Havelock said. “He said, ‘I’ve done something terribly, terribly wrong.’ ”

    Frank Havelock believed his son was talking about financial problems he was having with his restaurant, which the elder Havelock learned about for only the first time on Sunday, but then he confessed about the letters and the rifle.

    Frank Havelock said he went to his son’s car and moved the weapon and ammo to his car and persuaded him to turn himself into Tempe police.

    When authorities searched Havelock’s car, they found another typed letter to police with a handwritten note at the bottom that read: “do not resuscitate.”

    Havelock has no criminal history, and a mental health evaluation conducted at his arrest found “no mental defects” that would warrant a commitment to a mental hospital, Thorlin said.

    Frank Havelock said he’s never had any problems with his son.

    Neighbors who live next door said Havelock lived with his fiancee and two small children and two large dogs. Martin Trump and Danny Q. Rivera said Havelock kept to himself and had a variety of cars, including a white hearse with a vanity plate that read “drtnap.”

    They were shocked to learn of Havelock’s plan to use an assault rifle on crowds at the Super Bowl.

    “The Patriots versus the Giants — do you see the ironic parallel? How many dollars will you lose? And all because you took my right to work, to own a business, from me,” Havelock wrote in his manifesto.

    “Perhaps ( Web sites) will print up some cool t-shirts like I SURVIVED SUPER BOWL XLII.”

  47. I recommend Jules Verne’s from the earth to the moon for a very entertaining, albeit dated, European perspective of rampant American gun ownership. Jules Verne didn’t think very much of Americans, apparently, to the point of stipulating that members of the American gun club averaged less then one arm each. You really have to laugh at the stereotype.

  48. of course, some city councils are not so lucky

    updated 2:02 a.m. EST, Fri February 8, 2008

    Five shot to death at City Council meeting in Missouri

    * NEW: Mayor was critically injured in shooting, hospital official tells AP
    * Newspaper: Gunman had filed lawsuit on right to speak at meetings
    * Gunman’s brother says “my brother went to war tonight”
    * Two of those killed were police officers; three were city employees

    (CNN) — A gunman killed five people and wounded two at a police station and City Council meeting in suburban St. Louis on Thursday night before officers shot and killed him, police said.

  49. @50

    Fr ngh, nd thnk thr’s sm mt t tht. Th scnd mst ffctv mthd f scd s sffctn, nd th mthds t sffct nslf r mr wdsprd thn gns. S f th nhppy wr ffng thmslvs, nn gn wnrs wld b ffng thmslvs s wll.

    Thr wr 15635 nn-frrm scds n 2005, cmprd t 17002 frrm scds.

    f 34% f ppl n th S wn gns, nd thr r 17002 scds by gn (ll gn wnrs), nd 15635 nn-frrm scds, thn frrm scds wld rmv prprtnlly lrgr nhppy bt f th gn wnrs thn th nn-gn wnrs. Fr t t b wsh, thr wld b nly hlf th frrm scds s thr wr nn-frrm scds.

  50. “let’s do a happiness survey of all those killed by guns”

    I dunno, Kurt Cobain seemed pretty happy; he was even on the TV! (and the walls and the couch)

  51. Gun owners have a 30% greater chance of dying from a gun in the home. John Kerry owns guns. A much higher percentage of Canadians own guns than Americans. Many gun owners are or were in the military. Amish don’t own guns. And the conclusion I should draw from this is?

    As far as the gun nut who thinks NYC and Chicago have some of the worse gun violence — wrong. Try Houston, Miami, Atlanta, DC, and Baltimore. And why does DC and Baltimore have some of the worse? One word — Virginia. Nice try.

    How many of the gun owners out here, and I could care less about most guns being owned, have actually used them to “defend their freedom?” Don’t justify your gun fetish on that kind of bull crap. People that own guns have a greater chance of dying than people who don’t from violence and no one has defended their freedoms with their guns.

  52. What does it mean the authorities were able to intercept the manifestos? I find that potentially the most worrying aspect of the article.

  53. @61

    “Gn wnrs hv 30% grtr chnc f dyng frm gn n th hm.”

    Src? f t’s vrnt f th Kllrmn mthdlgy, t’s bn dbnkd. Mst f th dcdnts n ths stds lv n vlnt nghbrhds nd hv flny rp shts. nd th stds dn’t vn cntrl fr whthr th gn th dcdnt wnd s th n tht klld thm! Ldcrs xcss fr scnc.

    “n n hs dfndd thr frdms wth thr gns.”

  54. I’m on the fence on this and I really don’t belong there. In the last 5 years 2 members of my extended family killed themselves with guns. Within the last 2 weeks a close relative shot a friend to death in a freak accident. I should be hating on the guns with the best of them, but I’ll still enjoy target shooting the next chance I get. I think we get accustomed to the danger and take them for granted.

    Oh, and that ‘protect the home’ argument: pure unadulterated bullshit. Accidental gun deaths in the home outnumber successful defenses of the home by orders of magnitude. The disconnect here is that anyone can imagine that revolver in their hand when a burglar breaks in but nobody can imagine that their son could find where it’s hidden.

  55. @65

    “h, nd tht ‘prtct th hm’ rgmnt: pr ndltrtd bllsht. ccdntl gn dths n th hm tnmbr sccssfl dfnss f th hm by rdrs f mgntd.”

    n 2005 thr wr 789 ccdntl frrm dths n ttl n th ntr S.

    Dsn’t t sm ldcrs tht thr wld b nly 7-8 dfnss f th hm wth frrms *n th ntr S* n tht yr, n rdr t mk yr sttmnt tr?

  56. I’m right up there with #7 and #34. I own a 12-gauge pump-action and a .40 Sig Sauer P226, and while I don’t get to the range as often as I’d like, I find target shooting to be relaxing and meditative. Good stance, place the sights, breathe evenly, squeeze; it’s almost like a form of yoga.

  57. “They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or antitrade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”

    Isn’t that the usual historical perspective? The economy starts to suck or society goes weird and the politicians hawk their usual fix-alls. People get bitter and become Know Nothings. Commie spies are executed. People complain in the expected manner and politicians are shuffled about. It’s not really “guns or religion or [etc.]” that we bitter people cling to, it’s whatever insignificant trope gives us a sense of self.

    That said, I’m not convinced gun-ownership-to-happiness is the correct correlation. Gun-ownership just seems more likely to be an expression of something else that does correlate to happiness. Besides, what self-respecting paranoid answers a survey?

  58. “Firearm suicide rates are strongly impacted by the rate of gun ownership. (Kaplan and Geling, 1998)”

    excerpt: “When place of committing suicide was added to the equation, it was found that victims killing themselves at home were over 2.5 times as likely to use firearms as those dying in outdoor settings (OR = 2.501, CI = 1.078, 6.051).”

  59. @26 cited the following statistics:

    “In the U.S. for 2001, there were 29,573 deaths from firearms, distributed as follows by mode of death: Suicide 16,869; Homicide 11,348; Accident 802; Legal Intervention 323; Undetermined 231.(CDC, 2004)”

    *Legal Intervention*? Is that what they call it when they shoot some elderly grandmother at 3 a.m. in the morning because their CI lied about drugs being in the house? Wow, what a euphemism.

    I’m waiting for the follow-up wherein we find that 34% of WoW player are still dateless losers who live in their mom’s basement (and I say this as someone who has way too many days played on his rogue).

  60. @68

    “Gn-wnrshp jst sms mr lkly t b n xprssn f smthng ls tht ds crrlt t hppnss.”

    xctly. wnng gn dsn’t mk y hppy, myb f y’r hppy y’r mr lkly t by gn. dnn.

    d thnk tht Sstr Y hs pnt, n tht gn wnng ppl mght b mr sccssfl n kllng thmslvs whn thy chs t d s thn nn-gn-wnng ppl, s nhppy gn wnrs mght tnd t b bl t kll thmslvs t hghr rts thn vrg. Tht wld b n ntrstng thng t lk t, n Frknmcs knd f wy.


    S? Dd t hm s jst s dd s dd tsd. Wht’s yr pnt?

  61. ctlly, rtrct tht. f thr r 200 mlln gns nd 130 mlln gn wnrs, thn th nmbrs r s lrg s t mk th scd nmbrs hv nglgbl mpct t crt s mny mr hppy gn wnrs. Smthng ls s t wrk.

  62. something else indeed

    “Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.”
    Frank Zappa

  63. I tend to wonder how many non-gun owners out there are unhappy specifically because they are surrounded by people who choose to have a gun around. I know it would irritate the crap out of me.

  64. @68,72

    If someone obtains a gun solely to commit suicide, they might not have time to answer any happiness surveys, but they may be counted in firearms suicide rates.

    Additionally, gun ownership provides access to more than just the owner. The whole situation is much more complex than the pro-skub/anti-skub dynamic allows.

  65. Of course, the fact that this article is in the spotlight at all is proof of the phenomenon that Senator Obama pointed to (albeit in a way that was offhandedly mentioned and so quickly taken out of context).

    Gun control, when compared to Iraq, the economy, health care, and the environment, could just as easily be a non-issue in this campaign. But those issues are complicated, and it is more and more difficult to have a simple one word “yea or nay” response, or a sound byte solution to any of it.

    As people become less confident in their future being better than their present, or bitter about their circumstances, they seem to gravitate to issues that divide us quickly and cleanly like gun control. Fear-based arguments (zomg! ppl has teh guns!1!, or wtf!? ppl want to take mah guns!) have a calming effect because at least you know where you stand. The media and the candidates themselves invoke these issues when they want to play us, and typically when they have nothing better to say.

    But the point is that they distract us from the issues that really matter, that have the power to unite us toward a solution, and that unfortunately are much more difficult to define.

  66. “Bt th pnt s tht thy dstrct s frm th sss tht rlly mttr, tht hv th pwr t nt s twrd sltn, nd tht nfrtntly r mch mr dffclt t dfn.”

    dnn. Gvn bm nd Clntn’s grgs nt-gn psts, t’s t thr bnft t sy thngs tllng ppl “w shldn’t b tlkng bt gns hr” – bcs tlkng bt gns cn nly hrt thm. t rmns t b sn f thy wll gn tk p th gn-bnnr flg f thy ttn hgh ffc. My mny s n “ys”.

    Gns mttr t m, tht’s fr sr.

  67. @76

    ” tnd t wndr hw mny nn-gn wnrs t thr r nhppy spcfclly bcs thy r srrndd by ppl wh chs t hv gn rnd.”

    Lss ppl thn y wld prfr, prbbly. :P

  68. @79…couldn’t disagree more. I don’t own a gun (mostly because I’m cheap and good guns are expensive), but Obama’s anti-gun position is an important issue. Obama’s campaign has previously said he supports Washington DC’s ridiculous handgun ban, and of course now is trying to wiggle out of that position.

    Oftentimes the positions a candidate takes on these sort of issues tells us a lot more than the policy speeches that other people write and the candidates regurgitate. For example, you can learn everything you’d want to know about the lying control freak POS that is John McCain by following his late 1990s vendetta against extreme fighting events.

  69. it’s hysterically funny how politicos that will live their whole, cosseted, safe,heavily fenced lives come out on the side of the need to have guns to “protect oneself”.

    Translation: “Let the peasants slaughter each other, in this compound we have law”

  70. Another example of how to lie with statistics…there is no explanation of the sampling error and whether the survey was a scientific one … I think I am going to shoot myself or go bowling…

  71. Wll, tkn, gvn tht mst f th njrs nd dths n yr scnd vd r frm ntnl rms nd nt frm ndvdl ctzn-wnd wpns, ‘d sy tht th ctzns cn b trstd wth ddly wpns mch mr thn stts cn. Smwhr btwn 18-20 tms s mny ppl hv bn klld by gvrnmnts thn by rdnry prsn-t-prsn mrdr.

    Thnks fr th scnd vd.

  72. ♫ Don’t try to understand ’em! ♪
    ♪ Disemvowel and then ban ’em! ♫
    ♫ Why? We’ve got reason on our side! ♪

    ♪ Shut ’em down, throw ’em out, ♫
    ♫ Throw ’em out, shut ’em down, ♪
    ♪ Troll on! ♫ ♫ ♫

    Thanks to Noen for the inspiration.

  73. Guns matter to me, that’s for sure.
    And there will always be some like you, for whom it is a pet issue. You’ll want to further the argument.

    But with the dollar in the crapper, an unprecedented budget deficit, a policy abroad that has another five countries in line for endless war beginning with Iran, the costs of health care skyrocketing with millions uninsured, and the earth’s resources less and less able to sustain human life, I would argue that there are more important issues that concern quality of life for the average American than the ability to get a carry permit or own an assault rifle. You may disagree.

  74. @#76 posted by Daemon , April 21, 2008 5:37 PM

    And how many law abiding, tax paying gun owners out there are unhappy because people like you blame guns for mans inhumanity toward man? they’re just inanimate objects that need to be treated with respect and caution, people like you would have parents lock their children up in the house until age 21 because the world is ‘dangerous!’

    Switzerland seems to do just fine giving every 20 year old male who hasn’t figured out how to get out of military duty a full automatic riffle and ammunition to use (against any foreign invaders, one hopes). Hell, they even let the kids (20 year olds) carry them around willy nilly (well.. respectfully, and it might not happen as much now as it did 30 years ago, but it still happens)

    Gttng klld by gn vlnc s fr lss lkly thn gttng klld by yr mthr wh dcds tht shs nt ‘rdy’ t brng y t trm nd gv y wy, bt gss nc yr brn y knd ls sght f ll th nfrtnt stff tht hppns t chldrn dpndnt f th cr f thr mthrs (nt: ‘m fr mthrs^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hwmns rght t chs, t ths pnt n my lf hr n rth, nd whl ‘m fr gn rghts dn’t ctlly wn, r pln t by, gn)

  75. Is there a corollary to Godwin’s Law about discussions tangentially related to guns, and abortion?

  76. #67

    “Good stance,”

    Lotus position

    “place the sights”

    about three feet in front you, eyes slightly closed

    “breathe evenly”

  77. Look, owning a gun, learning to use it well, and importantly when to use it involves the zen of personal responsibility. And with a gun, the stakes can be high, so the zen value is high.

    Being responsible enough to own a gun affirms you have a level of discipline. You might even be disciplined enough for self determination.

    What’s not to be happy about?

  78. Extending Takuan’s challenge, we should conduct happiness surveys of currently incarcerated former gun owners.

  79. I worked in federal law enforcement for 5 years and have kept guns at hand since I was 18. After reading this I understand why I’m so damn happy all the time. These facts are science. The only thing better then reading this science would be watching it on TV.

  80. naw, the stick thing you gotta pay extra for. Brother Tanaka’s kinky so they get him to do that part

  81. statistics can be so misleading. What does it mean, even adjusted for income people with guns were still happier? Is it relative income or absolute income? If the average gun owner making $20,000 a year in Arkansas is happier than the average person making $20,000 a year in New York City that doesn’t own a gun, and this is true for all incomes, can I say that even adjusted for income gun owners are happier?

    If so, it seems like the fact that more gun owners live in rural settings where the cost of living is lower would skew the results because the adjustment for income would be incomplete.

    To really have any experimental worth they would have take the guns away from people that have them and give them to people that don’t have them and see how it affected the average happiness. Anything less is worthless given how many factors are at work here.

    Finally, (and most importantly) it may well be that those of us that don’t own guns suffer decreased happiness because of the fact that other people do own them. In other words, my happiness may be low because I’m terrified of all the people that do have them. In fact, people that do own guns might be less happy due to fear of other people with guns, but simply be less affected because they also have a gun. Perhaps the average percentage of very happy people in a world with no private gun ownership is 40% for both former gun owners and non-owners.

    Trying to draw conclusions from a survey like this is worthless.

  82. @90

    ” wld rg tht thr r mr mprtnt sss tht cncrn qlty f lf fr th vrg mrcn thn th blty t gt crry prmt r wn n sslt rfl.”

    Ys, bt *n blnc*, btwn tw cnddts tht wnt nvrsl hlthcr, thnk kpng th nvrnmnt cln s gd thng, thnk gy mrrg s K, nd wnt t nd th wr, ‘ll pck th n tht prmss t kp thr cttnpckn’ hnds T f my gn sf.


    ” thght thy whp y wth stck whn y’r tryng t mdtt.”

    Sm schls sht y. Thy tnd t rn t f stdnts thgh.


    Hw ntlrnt f y. gh. Lbrls shldn’t ct n sch bgtd, nbcmng mnnr.

  83. wld sbmt tht sn’t t gd thng tht gn wnrs hv bn shwn t *nt* b th pr, nhppy, ndctd, ngry ppl tht s mny thnk thy r? Wldn’t y thnk t’s gd thng tht ppl wnng s mny wpns r rltvly hppy nd wll-djstd? r s t stll bd bcs t dsn’t cnfrm t yr prjdcs?

  84. #41:

    Suicide isn’t an opportunistic act. I feel for the parents of kids who have committed suicide with a gun, but they would have used another method if a gun weren’t available. There is no reason for us to change the rights we hold merely for the comfort of perception of others.

  85. apparent from legality, guns are a social evil. Good societies strive to eliminate such things from daily life. Perhaps some members will never overcome their dependence on the gun crutch – so be it. Not everyone is strong. But infecting children is BAD.

  86. #61

    I was trying to state that the areas of the country that have strict gun laws are not any safer that areas that believe in the 2nd amendment. Nice try.

    By the way I am not a gun nut, I rent a gun at a pistol range, a .45 1911 rents for 5 bucks and ammunition costs 11 bucks for 100 rounds. You can have a nice relaxing hour for under 20 bucks.

  87. #103 Number14 – I don’t think it’s useless to discuss studies like this, though – and your comment is really insightful. I hadn’t even though about the income/region connection, and I think it might be major.

  88. You can rent a gun? I don’t know whether that freaks me out because I wouldn’t have serviced it myself or reassures me because I wouldn’t have serviced it myself.

  89. The place where I go is an indoor range, they only allow handguns, no rifles or shotguns. They’ve also got an armorer on duty to make sure the guns are in good working order. If after three shots the sights are off you can adjust the way that you are shooting, and no, you cannot take the gun outside of the range.

  90. I wonder how happy motorcycle riders are, on average? I bet you they’re happier than non-riders! There’s even a similar (and even more inexplicable) resentment from non-participants.

    I wonder if they’ve just tapped into the whole “people with hobbies and interests are happier than couch potatoes” vein.

    @DougRogers: That’s a pretty ridiculous statement to make; there’s a lot of power and fear in a stick. You try getting hit with a stick every time you make a mistake in a routine, and tell me it doesn’t royally suck. You grow to fear the stick, and thus the stick has power over you.

  91. You can rent a gun while looking like a complete mental incompetent. 2 miles from here is Target Sports. A few years ago my then-girlfriend-now-wife and I and a male friend made a trip there as part of a rather blurry and irresponsible evening out. For fun we were dressed all in black, with long coats and had silly nametags. Our friend may have been carrying an inflatable novelty sheep or he may have gotten that later, but anyway it was confiscated at a bar six hours later. We looked like maniacs and they shouldn’t have trusted us an inch, but producing ID and a credit card was all it took to procure rented handguns, ammunition and range time for these three wacky strangers. America has a pretty lax attitude toward deadly weapons most times and places. I’m glad of that when I want to have a good time without being hassled but when I’m stuck in a 90 minute traffic jam in hot weather I wonder about the mental health of the people around me and just how easy it is for THEM to get a gun.

  92. I’m not a fan of indoor ranges. The noise is too much for me. I used to go to an outdoor one up in the East Bay Hills when I lived in San Francisco. It was serene. Well, as serene as a shooting range can be. We used to have to hold our fire to let deer wander through occasionally.

  93. dispel ignorance

    “The word “Keisaku” may be translated as “warning stick”, and is wielded by the jikijitsu. “Encouragement stick” is a common translation for “kyosaku”. In Soto Zen, the Kyosaku is always administered at the request of the meditator, by way of bowing one’s head and putting the palms together in gassho, and then exposing each shoulder to be struck in turn. In Rinzai Zen, the stick is requested in the same manner, but may also be used at the discretion of the Ino, the one in charge of the meditation hall. Even in such cases, it is not considered a punishment, but a compassionate means to reinvigorate and awaken the meditator who may be tired from many sessions of zazen.”

  94. Don’t mess with me when I’m smiling cause that means I have my gun with me…and I love to smile

  95. I’m shocked at the shocked attitude of this article and some of the comments here. You really are surprised that people have guns in their homes? In America.

  96. Takuan @ #69

    “Firearm suicide rates are strongly impacted by the rate of gun ownership. (Kaplan and Geling, 1998)”

    So if you don’t own a gun, it’s harder to kill yourself with a gun? As surprises go, that would be right up there with a study revealing that deaths by motor car were extremely rare prior to 1900.

    It does not, however, say one thing about the overall suicide rate. If the same number of people snuff themselves without guns via hanging, drowning, pills or what-not, there would be no overall effect on the net suicide rate, so this statistic would be valid but meaningless.

    I believe when you look at gun ownership vs. overall suicide rate, it does end up having a definite correlation, but a very small one. (This is probably because suicide attempts with a gun are more likely to succeed than with most other methods.)

  97. Mark:
    I think you’d be surprised how many Boing Boing readers are happy, well-adjusted, politically leftist, very well educated gun owners.

    I am not personally offended at all by the shocked and rather supercilious tone of your post because the fact that I own guns is not an important part of my identity. But I am a little surprised by the tone. I mean, you DID grow up in the US, right? Gun ownership is one of the uniquely weird aspects of our culture. If I recall correctly, the only places that come close are Yemen and Finland.

  98. I would like to comment, but am unsure of my qualification to do so. I am a UK citizen and have held one firearm ever, an L85 (or SA80) at an army open day.

    It is quite clear that in the US gun control is all but impossible, given the sheer numbers and years of the Right to Bear Arms. It has seemed to work in the UK (in some fashion) from the following facts:

    1. Assault Rifle used in Hungerford 14 killed(1987). Automatic weapons banned – No further mass killings with automatic weapons.

    2. 1996 Man kills 16 primary school kids and teacher with hand gun in Dunblane. handguns banned – No further mass killings with handguns.

    I know it’s tenuous, but it (seems) to have made things a little safer?

    OFC I live in the country and any Hot Fuzz fan will know, “Everyone and his Mum is packing here”

  99. I live in a very well armed part of the United States–Michigan. I’ve had a hunting rifle since I was 12. I don’t think it makes me feel any better; it’s just a tool that I have to keep clean and haven’t used in several years. But, if some dystopian future emerges (I don’t think it will) and the “Nazis” come to my door to take me off to summer camp, I’m going to leave this world taking a few of them with me.

  100. @118 bdn

    “thy r hppr bcs “thy rn 32% mr pr yr thn nn wnrs”.”

    xcpt tht f y ctlly rd th rtcl, y fnd tht thy nrmlzd fr ncm. Sgh.

    @124 nll

    “t s qt clr tht n th S gn cntrl s ll bt mpssbl, gvn th shr nmbrs nd yrs f th Rght t Br rms. t hs smd t wrk n th K (n sm fshn) frm th fllwng fcts:”

    xcpt tht dd by sslt wth crckt bt s jst s dd s klld wth frrm. Yr sslt nd mrdr rts vrll hv gn p, whl sslt nd mrdr wth frrms hs gn dwn. Th nmbr f frrms ffcts th frrm sslt nd mrdr rt, dh. Hwvr, thr s n crrltn btwn th nmbr f frrms nd th vrll sslt r mrdr rt, whch s rlly wht y wnt t brng dwn. nly chngng yr cltr cn chng tht.


    xctly. Nmbr f frrms nly ffcts th frrm scd rt ndpndntly. S th ppr bt strn scd rts ctd bv. Rdc frrms, vrll scds g nwhr whl frrm scds g dwn.


    “W lkd lk mncs nd thy shldn’t hv trstd s n nch, bt prdcng D nd crdt crd ws ll t tk t prcr rntd hndgns, mmntn nd rng tm fr ths thr wcky strngrs.”

    Cnsdrng tht th gn cmmnty s prtty tlrnt nd ccptng f ths wth ltrntv lfstyls, ‘m nt srprsd t ll. sht wth Wccns, fmnsts, lsbns, mnrts, gy mn, tttd pnk rck frks wth spky hr, nd gths.

  101. @126 JL

    My comment wasn’t suggesting a panacea for reducing violent crime, just pointing to events when gun owners go on a killing spree.

    I am not sure that I can forsee a dozen or so people being mown down by a guy in Cricket Whites and a willow bat. (Robot…maybe. DA fans know what I mean)

  102. #127

    “My cmmnt wsn’t sggstng pnc fr rdcng vlnt crm”

    Y sd:

    ” knw t’s tns, bt t (sms) t hv md thngs lttl sfr?”

    Y crtnly wr sggstng pnc, by sggstng tht bnnng slf-ldng frrms cntrbtd t lss cvln mss shtngs.

    t’s bvs tht rdcng th nmbr f gns wll rdc th nmbr f shtngs. t wll nt ffct th vrll rt f mrdr t ll. Thrfr, t’s flwd plcy.

    nd f y bn gns, mss mrdrrs g t bmbs nstd, bt y knw tht lrdy.

  103. I keep seeing references to correlation and causation. I got news for you, the people more likely to own a gun are also more likely to be self disciplined as well as disciplining their children. A disciplined, orderly life is more likely to provide you with the means to support yourself in a comfortable manner. Now I know wealth does not create happiness and I’m not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, but I have a decent house, my wife feeds me well, my children are well behaved for the most part (I bought them guns by the way and showed them how to use them.) and yes I’m happy. I’m not immune from depression or stress and yes I do go to the range and blow off a lot of steam from time to time. No, I do not imagine blowing some creep away. I do carry myself in a confident manner, I’ve been in some places where a white boy shouldn’t go alone in and I’m sure because of the confidence I exude I was unmolested. Fear breeds victims. No fear, no victim. Criminals are bullies, bullies are proven to be cowards and are looking for someone they can bully easily. Don’t give them that target. The little town in Georgia that requires every home to own a gun has seen a dramatic decrease in the crime rate. I guess I’d be happier too if I wasn’t a victim of crime.

    Any way short story long, correlation/causation it’s a circle cause leads to effect leads to cause leads to effect. It’s got more to do with the person not the gun itself.

  104. JL..

    I call non sequitur on that..

    Do you really think that people who go on gun ‘rampages’ would build a bomb instead? In my very limited exposure to mass gun killings, the individuals involved have been troubled, disturbed and most often loners. The bombers who have been an aspect of my life ever since I can remember were and are politically, ideologically and/or religiously motivated, working in groups towards a determined goal.

    I am finding it difficult to see the link. I don’t think that the same (I don’t like the word, can someone help with an alternative?) ‘Rampage’ can be easily conducted with anything else other than a firearm?

    The stats from Switzerland are interesting (2006) 420,000 Assault rifles (SIG 550s) held in private homes, 300 suicides, 34 Killings or attempted killings. So who knows?

  105. >> “Firearm suicide rates are strongly impacted by
    >> the rate of gun ownership.
    >> (Kaplan and Geling, 1998)”

    Accidental deaths by pointed stick are strongly impacted by the rate of pointed stick ownership
    (Python, 1969)

  106. Skipper: “and yes I do go to the range and blow off a lot of steam from time to time. No, I do not imagine blowing some creep away.”

    Respectfully, I think that using a firearm “to blow off a lot of steam” is what many folks fear. People can read “rage” into that. I think I know what you mean, however. To shoot well, I must relax and focus. In my experience, shooting is a mental skill. As with many mental skills, a calm and centered mind improves performance dramatically. Stress can lead to unpredictable results. If I need to focus and get something off my mind, the concentration required for a decent score often helps. At some point, perhaps I won’t need the external activity to engage the focus, but for now…it often works.

  107. #130

    ” m fndng t dffclt t s th lnk. dn’t thnk tht th sm ( dn’t lk th wrd, cn smn hlp wth n ltrntv?) ‘Rmpg’ cn b sly cndctd wth nythng ls thr thn frrm?”

    Thn y r nt thnkng ngh lk mss kllr (Ths s gd).

    ny cmbntn f prpn, gsln, ntrl gs, NF, dsl fl, TTP, nls, bll brngs, TNT, RDX, PTN, HMX, cn b sly md t hm. nd mn *stpd sly*. Th prcdrs fr mkng ths thngs cn (nd r) dn by 15 yr lds. Dvcs cn b cnstrctd tht wll kll hndrds f ppl fr $50 t th hrdwr str. Lnrs prmdtt nd r ftn smrt.

    f nythng, kllng ppl wth frrm s *hrd*. 80% f ths sht wth hndgn srvv t. 50% f ths sht wth rfl srvv t. Kllng wth bmbs s mr cst ffctv, sr, nd dsn’t rqr skll.

    Th grtst sngl-nstnc kllngs f ll tm r wth smpl bmbs, nt frrms.

    Cnfsctng gns wll rdc mss kllngs wth gns. t wll d nthng t prvnt mss kllngs s whl.

  108. I don’t want to own a gun. They’re dangerous and I don’t want one of the damn things around a house.

    However, I think that we’ve got to expect political instability ahead, and I want to be able to defend my family. Just like in the LA riots, the police will be overwhelmed.

  109. “It’s easy enough in certain precincts to caricature armed Americans as an angry and miserable fringe group.”

    I prefer my arguments without straw men, thank you very much.

    In any case, there isn’t much of a point to this article. The fact that they are talking about guns in general and not handguns pretty much detaches it from the political conversation in this country. Also, urban gun ownership and rural gun ownership are two VERY different things.

  110. not having my civil rights infringed makes me happy. i would bet that a lot of people here would get their panties in a wad if the government started to trim bits of the 1st amendment out of the constitution…myself included. i think it is a little nutty that people will argue for the preservation of some of our civil rights while they are ready to sign away others. if it was put into the bill of rights then i think it should be there to stay. period.

  111. someone really should be keeping track for the next catastrophe. The Katrina mess could have been a good study to show all the “good” guns do in times of trouble. Too late now. Best to have the study set up before hand, with ways to count the food, medical care and shelter the millions spent on guns creates.

  112. @ #61 posted by mikelotus:

    You’re right. Not many people here in this country have been forced to use violent means to defend their lives, let alone their liberty. On the other hands, ask some jews from the ghetto whether or not it was worth it for them to start shooting their oppressors or to just load themselves into the railcars when it came time to die.

    @ 136:

    I believe your assertion of rural vs urban gun ownership being different is incorrect. There are no differences. Practices of firearm ownership should be the same in both circumstances. I live in a *very* urban area, and I own scary “Assault rifles”. My handling of them would be no different if I lived in a suburb, or a rural area.

  113. @138

    “Bst t hv th stdy st p bfr hnd, wth wys t cnt th fd, mdcl cr nd shltr th mllns spnt n gns crts.”

    h, tht’s sy:

    Prvntn f thft f 1 gnrtr: $4000
    Prvntn f thft f 2 wks f fd: $250
    Prvntn f thft f pn mdctn: $150
    Prvntn f dth: Prclss


    Frrms r n ssntl prt f dsstr prprdnss. knw tht n rdr t hlp thrs s m bnd t, cnnt b hlplss myslf.

  114. @ JLBRAUN

    I tend to agree re: firearm ownership. It’s more about empowering yourself than just “owning a gun”. It’s one less thing you’ll be asking someone for later. There is no shame in being prepared for anything.

    Hell, if anyone here knows any Mormons, why don’t you ask them about their Rapture kits….

  115. “Hll, f nyn hr knws ny Mrmns, why dn’t y sk thm bt thr Rptr kts….”

    Y m th scrds ndrwrz?

  116. Sorry to arrive late to the “thrash”. JLBraun I am getting worried about your cricket bat phobia. You mentioned them before in your defence of gun ownership (bb passim). Truly and honestly, we have the cricket bat death thing under control now, especially in Scotland.

  117. Yeah, New Orleans was saved by guns alright, why I’ll bet all the survivors went out and invested in even more.

  118. @ #144

    Frnkly, Tkn, y r n dt. nd f dscssn wth y, pls lv.

    @ #143

    ‘m ttlly wth y n tht. dn’t blv rpns shld b llwd t wn wpns. ftr th crng thy csd n th 20th cntry, thy dn’t dsrv t vn wn slngsht.

  119. ? were we having a discussion? Well, now that you have drawn yourself to my attention, I suppose I’ll have to enroll you as well. She we begin with a lesson in manners?

    (tap-tap….come now,we are all waiting…..

  120. oh Antinous, will you not grant me at least this small amusement? I’ll spray everything with bleach when I’m done.

  121. antinuous,

    I’m not fucking with Takuan. If he fucks as bad as he spells, it is a lost cause.

  122. Takuan-sensei, I am hoping you are about to give a manners lesson that involves fireworks, Black Sabbath, showgirls, and plush animal fights. Because I think that would be very educational.

  123. Hw bt ths Tkn –

    Y’v gt prtty mth.

    nd t JLBRN –

    Nbdy skd y f y cndn my wrds. Nr d y spk fr nyn ls.

  124. Ah! Well! We have established he is a man of the land, possibly a defender of our porcine cousins – or a fan at least. How do you feel about banjo music, SPunky old chap?

  125. mmmmm, I THOUGHT you swung that way, goes with the long rifle fetish usually? Tell me, what does your bedroom look like? Apart from the rubber and implements, I mean, what is on the walls?

  126. I think you’re talking to that kid whose roommates filmed him cracking one off to World of Warcraft and posted it on YouTube.

  127. Swng wht wy? njyng bnj msc?

    mst ssm, frm yr rspns, tht y d ndd njy x hndls n yr nl cvty. Tht’s qt dsgstng. Hw d y vr gt th slvrs t? Y mst spnd gd dl f tm t th sln.

    nd n, dn’t lk bnj msc.

    My bdrm wlls r wht – wth th xcptn f “kll llgl lns” pstrs nd pstr cmmmrtng th S drppng nks n Jpn.

  128. you must be very,very angry by now spunky, I imagine you would like to take that gun of yours right now and teach me a lesson – wouldn’t you spunky?

  129. ngry? t smn pstng xtrmly bd mssgs n th wrst ngrsh ‘v sn snc lst sd Bblfsh?

    Gv m brk. Y gys nd t tk lssn frm 4chn f y wnt t strt nsltng. Y cldn’t mk grd schl stdnt cry.

  130. “kill illegal aliens” posters and a poster commemorating the US dropping nukes on Japan.

    and there we have it: A poster child for the NRA, right here, telling us how it is. Support guns. Support Spunky.

    Tell me spunky, do you, ah,own your own waterboard? You know just a little one…big enough to practice on the cat with? hmmmm?

  131. It would be awesome if he were an undercover pacifist posting this stuff as a form of performance art and political commentary.

  132. Ths ws ctlly gd cnvrstn ntl tkn strtd pstng strwmn. Trnd nt smthng rmnscnt f CL WP t tht pnt.

  133. yeah, but sadly he’s just another mouthbreather with a job at the fertilizer plant, boiling over with racial hatred and alone in the world except for some chinese-made firearms. We are so lucky he came to share. Actually we are. Too many gun nuts get a free pass since they usually manage to keep Elmo here safely locked in the barn when company is around. Spunky is s Specimen. A Prize Specimen.

  134. ” there’s a lot of power and fear in a stick.”

    The fear and power is yours not the sticks.

  135. I enjoy how Spunky criticizes Takuan for his spelling, and yet he can’t even spell the name of the person he’s addressing. It’s “Antinous,” you unavailing gobemouche. How’s that for an insult?

    Listen, Spunkers, I’ve been in and out of some people’s good graces here, but never in the entire history of the Internets have I seen a more egregious display of two-fisted wankery. If you’re as starved for attention as you appear, perhaps you could dig up Chuck Heston and play a game of “hide the axe handle.” Pry it from his cold, dead rectum. Seems right up your alley, anyway. And since we’re on the subject, with all your talk of splintery rectums, I’m alarmed that you can even spell “gun.”

    Perhaps you are correct in stating that JLBRAUN doesn’t speak for anyone else, but it does not help your cause when you ask Takuan to leave. You perpend to know what would better serve this discussion… your removal or his. Well, I’m casting my vote. JLBRAUN, Antinous, and Takuan can speak for me all they like.

    Within reason, of course.

  136. It is very clear that gun control is an absolute necessity. The never ending,mindless carnage the enormous medical expense, the danger to society at large when the extremely anti-social are allowed to stockpile arms and openly oppose the legitimate government.

    Gun control would still permit the sane and normal to enjoy shooting sports. A ban on guns in private homes would serve to disarm the criminals if the penalties were draconian enough.

    Time for all the sane people, gun user and gun-not-needer to band together against the real enemy: the gun NUT. They are easy to identify.
    Why, we just had one parade though.

    Support Sanity, Support Gun Control

  137. Tksh, Tkn (wh r mst lkly th sm prsn)

    G b ccksckrs lswhr. Ths cnvrstn ws splndd ntl y tw dts ntrd th fry.

  138. Nope.

    But witnessing firsthand your obvious obsession with guns, rectums, and cocksuckers (I think the preferred term is “lickspigots,” but I’m sure you’re still a hit with the ladies) I must admit: your insensate bravado smacks of insecurity and consternation.

    How does it feel to be so stupid? Does it hurt? Seriously, try to answer the question as best you can. You’re not being graded or anything.

  139. Wll, ‘m nt sr. ‘m nt stpd, s dn’t knw hw t fls.

    bsssn wth gns? Rctms? n th cntrry, fn sr, t s y ppl wh hv th bsssn wth gns, nd gn cntrl. t s qt bvs thr s sm strng ftsh tht bth y nd yr ngrsh spkng frnd shr n rgrds t hllblls nd bnj msc, nt t mntn th hmrtc mg f Rmb h dg p, nd hs rfrnc t Dlvrnc. bvsly y bth shr sm knd f ntmt xprnc. Prhps wth x hndls nd bnjs? Prhps nt.

    cldn’t cr lss whch wrds y prfr. n shld nvr sgr ct th trth.

  140. Well, I’ll give him this: he’s got staying power. Like a pit bull with a mouth full of porcupine, he just doesn’t know when to quit.

  141. The “truth” being that the United States “didn’t do a good enough job” in nuking Japan? Incidentally, I’m a white, 34 year old, Texas-born gun owner… not a gun nut.

    And you’re still a fly-swallower. Maybe a self-loathing homosexual, also. That’s the impression I’m left with, anyway, and I’m a pretty smart guy.

  142. this is old, just leave it for Teresa to flush, I’m sure she’ll get around to it. That’s what makes a you a little prick, spunklers. Honest, hardworking creative people now have to take time from their lives to wipe up your drool.

  143. You’re the lone something-or-other, that’s for sure.

    Born to milky white, Church of Christ-attending Bible-thumpers in Corpus Christi, Texas, attended Tuloso Midway HS, graduated with honors in 1991, attended Rice University, degree in computational lexicography. I have no reason to lie to an anonymous heap of putrescence like you, about my race or anything else. You think I’d be embarrassed to be Japanese? I’m more humiliated to think that you’re probably Caucasian.

    Oh, and I can spell.

  144. Jeez, I go teach for an hour and there’s a shit sandwich on the kitchen counter when I get home.

  145. say, you don’t suppose he’s one of those, do you? You know, they hang around outside bars picking fights they can’t possibly win because they – you know “get off” on being pasted?

    eewww….now I feel ickky

  146. Actually, I’m resourceful enough that I haven’t ever needed to use my degree. I’d love to compare bank statements with you sometime.

  147. It’s fish in a barrel without even the shooting to keep it interesting, which seems ironic in a gun thread.

  148. Y kp tlkng bt gttng ff nd sht lk tht. Lk mntnd bv, y’v gt sss.

    Mmmm. slss dgr. Mst lv t hv tht n hngng n th wll…. nd thn mntnng bnk sttmnts, nd cmprng. Snds lk y nd Tky-sn cmpr lts f dffrnt thngs.

  149. I think its great something like this is allowed to keep semiauto military rifles in the city. Bound to have a cleaning accident sooner or later.

    Think about it, this could the quiet, bald, wired guy next door. You know, the one that glares at your cat.

  150. What’s funny is that all his insults are based on incorrect perceptions about your identity. With any luck, he’ll accuse me of being a commie fag with hyperelastic collagen.

  151. No, good sir. You are in a losing battle with that kind of logic. You don’t know the first thing about me.

    I know everything I need to know about you, however. Ockham’s razor. In this case, the simplest explanation is that you are a lonely, ever-so-slightly unhinged imbecile with too much free time, not enough love as a child, or most likely both.

    And it is only too apparent that you are not very happy with the outcome. Best of luck with that.

  152. definitely someone well acquainted with the taste of gun oil. Spending night after night in his three story walk-up , suckling his 12 gauge and waiting for a reason….

  153. What’s really funny is that he calls my degree “useless” because I haven’t needed to use it. I make more money working from home, doing what I love… producing music. I imagine his career in the boll weevil extermination industry is every bit as gratifying.

    Of course, I could make almost as much money working for Webster’s, but who wants to hang out with old white guys every day?

  154. Ban guns in America, and we’ll only find different weapons to kill each other. It’ll be knives or broken bottles or sling-shots or whatever, but people will find different ways to do it.

    The tool is not the problem, the motivation and the reasons FOR that motivation is the problem. To ban guns is to put an off brand of band-aid over the festering wound that is caused by poor education, overcrowding, an increasingly useless economy, ever-failing health care, etc.

  155. @201:
    Ban bazookas, land mines and machine guns in America, and we’ll only find different weapons to kill each other.
    Does that make sense to you?

  156. betcha they’ll kill a lot slower and inefficiently though. Gotta save some lives. At least a partial ban, get the AK47s out of the hand of little Spunlky for example.

  157. @ #201:

    I agree with that position, mostly. As a gun owner, and as a free-thinker, I don’t believe that guns should be banned outright, but anyone who says that any form of gun control is a bad idea needs to wake up to the 21st century.

    Five school shootings this year, up from three last year… and the year’s not even half over yet.

  158. If you’re asking a card-carrying NRA member a bunch of questions about his gun, and then throw in a “are you happy?” — of course, he’s going to say “Yes!”

    Being macho, having your testerone upped by gun talk, you’re not going to say “I’m all weepy.”

    Meanwhile, he’s prolly a hell-in-a-handbasket type dude, fueled by the message-machine’s anger-de-jour.

    I mean, he’s going to think the happiness question relates to his ability own guns.

    How hard is that to figure out …

  159. @205 For some people, being better armed than the next guy is what happiness is all about.

  160. @211 I should be so lucky. I wish this point wasn’t so obvious that I feel foolish stating it. Lots of things are too dangerous to have in general circulation. Bazookas, land mines, hand grenades, machine guns. Nobody (sane) disputes that those should be unavailable. Handguns are on one or the other side of that line, depending on your personal experiences, politics, chip on shoulder, etc. The world did not end when automatic weapons were banned, large clips were restricted or concealed weapons constrained. And it won’t end if the line is moved further in the direction it’s been going to further restrict guns.

  161. JLBraun @47:@antinous

    I have been participating on other BB topics, sir.

    But that wasn’t the deal, and you know it.

    The deal was, you’re not allowed to comment about guns on Boing Boing until you’ve posted a number of comments on other topics equal to the number of comments you had at that point posted about guns.

    Also, that “talking about ammo” = “talking about guns”.

    It’s not hard for me to call up all the comment you’ve ever posted here and see the tiny number of comments on other topics before you reverted solidly to guns. What’s going to be tedious is disemvowelling every last one of them.

  162. @202 and 213 I’m afraid it does make sense to me, I think the intent of the second amendment was to enable the citizenry to fight somewhat effectively against governments. And while, no, the world won’t end, it’s a movement towards a more powerful state, and a weaker individual. Which, given the kinds of things governments like to do, is a cause of some concern for me.

  163. Just in case anyone’s interested, I am seriously not happy over having to disemvowel JLBraun’s posts.

  164. I warned him early on, ma’am. Some folks just won’t listen. And you haven’t even gotten to sfunk1x yet.

  165. This probably isn’t a very open-minded statement to make, but I’m gonna say it anyway: That’s because people stupid enough to think guns are a good idea are easily amused and don’t care about problems that don’t directly affect them.

  166. “I think the intent of the second amendment was to enable the citizenry to fight somewhat effectively against governments.”
    no – it was to make the ‘militia’ have to buy their own guns. nowadays, who ya gonna fight with that gun?

  167. I am seriously not happy over having to disemvowel JLBraun’s posts. Sorry, I don’t know what preceeded all this. Most of JLBraun’s comments address the issue without being trollish (unlike SFunk). And I didn’t see him dominating the conversation any more than Antinous or Takuan. What was his previous violation?

  168. Right now, I’m not planning to fight anyone. While I imagine there are many, many things that each of us dislike about our government, I don’t think violent opposition is necessary, or reasonable at this point. However, I think it is the people’s right to be able to prepare to protect themselves against a government that goes too far down the path of tyranny.

    There are a lot of different interpretations of the 2nd amendment, but the people who wrote the constitution expected the people to be able to take up arms and fight against a federal government that was oppressive and unjust. This is a quote from Noah Webster, a federalist, that is, a proponent of government power.

    “Another source of power in government is a military force. But this, to be efficient, must be superior to any force that exists among the people, or which they can command; for otherwise this force would be annihilated, on the first exercise of acts of oppression. Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any band of regular troops that can be, on any pretence, raised in the United States.”

    Also, “A people can never be deprived of their liberties, while they retain in their own hands, a power sufficient to any other power in the state.”

    It seems clear that the founders expected that the people could and should be in armed opposition to a tyrannical government. Drastically limiting the types of weapons it is permissible for a citizen to own helps keep this from being possible in any real sense.

  169. #222 MORDION

    I couldn’t agree with you more, that was well thought out and researched. A lot better than I could have done.

    Guns are always the weapon of last resort, I don’t want to shoot anybody, but it is nice to know that I can defend myself until the police arrive. There is no feeling worse than helplessness.

  170. @214

    “t’s nt hrd fr m t cll p ll th cmmnt y’v vr pstd hr nd s th tny nmbr f cmmnts n thr tpcs bfr y rvrtd sldly t gns.”

    Wll, th BB cmmnty s qt gnrnt n gns s whl, nd thght wld b bl t cntrbt th mst thr, whr thr’s ctlly smthng t tlk bt. Bttr tht thn m hvng 200 thr nn psts syng “cl pctr ZMG!” My cmmnts r tpcl, plt, thghtfl, nd nfrmtv. pprntly, tht’s nt gd ngh.

    Hgh-cmmnt thrds ls drv mr ppl t BB’s dvrtsrs thn mpty cntnt lk “Fnny bckwrds bs d”.

  171. JLBraun,

    You could just put in lots of links to YouTube videos and Google images with only spurious connections with the post. Apparently those are of much more value to BoingBoing than thoughtful disagreements.

  172. I’ve really got to agree with JLBraun on this moderation issue. I last read this thread when there were 130 comments and I found JLBraun’s posts civil, on topic, and interesting. I come back this morning and see all of them disemvoweled. Many of the posts surrounding his failed all three of these tests and were left as they were.

    I admit that I agree with him in terms of gun control, so I can’t claim the high ground with the whole “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” thing. I don’t think that invalidates my opinion, though.

    I think disemvowelling is a terrible moderation tool. It was funny and clever the first few times I saw it, but it got old fast.

    Regardless of whether or not an average human can figure out what the person was probably trying to say, the meaning of the post is made ambiguous. There is no way to be sure that a reconstruction of a disemvowelled post is exactly what the poster submitted. Yes, in most cases there is only one word that makes sense, but one can’t be sure.

    If we look at this from a creative commons point of view, the moderator is creating a derivative work by remixing the post, but is attributing that work to post creator is a way that suggests that they endorse that remix. The moderator is replacing the original post with a fundamentally different version without updating the attribution. I don’t think that is an acceptable state of affairs, especially considering Boing Boing’s “non-commercial sharing with attribution” CCL.

    If I could recommend an alternative to disemvowelling, I would pick ROT13. That scheme serves the exact same purpose of making the comment unintelligible to a casual reader but still available to someone who cares enough to decode it. I doesn’t change the content of the post, just the manner in which it is expressed.

  173. they do publish disemvowellers you know.

    As to JL, there is a history there, the terms were set and published and it would do him no harm at to follow them

  174. It seems clear that the founders expected that the people could and should be in armed opposition to a tyrannical government. Drastically limiting the types of weapons it is permissible for a citizen to own helps keep this from being possible in any real sense.

    Exactly. Which is why every American citizen has a constitutional right to keep a small arsenal of tactical nukes, amirite?

  175. Do you mean revowellers? I tried one. They are not nearly as good as a human, since the question is “What string of words would make sense here, given what I think this person is trying to say and the grammatical context?” For example, JLBraun’s first post becomes:

    “is registered democrat who wins in ka- and sheets in combat _pstl/rfl_ matches found target shooting quite relaxing and meditative in connote be concerned with anything there then operating the weapon i- not the _dy’s_ events not _n’s_ work just you and the target flow state is suggested above”


    It’s easy to guess what he probably means, but the content was changed, and the original message is not recoverable with 100% accuracy. Especially if you consider things like misspellings (unintentional or intenshenal).

    Obviously, the moderator has the right to apply moderation however she sees fit, and if there was some deal worked out that JL broke then I stop caring so much about that. I just think disemvowelling is a bad practice.

  176. Trs thght tht ws pstng “t mch” bt gns nd nt ngh bt thr thngs. BB rdrs r nfrmd bt thr thngs bt hrbr mch gnrnc bt frrms.

    vdntly, t’s nt ngh t b cvl, nfrmtv, nd thghtfl n n’s psts – t’s ls rqrd tht y hv t rgdly dstrbt yr psts qlly mng ll tpcs hr t BB, nd nt pst “t mch” bt ny n lst y gt yr psts rmvd.

    n cn’t pst mch t ll bt “MN mks Nrn pstr cl” r “lphnt phtgrphrs” thr thn “Cl!”.

  177. Yeah, this really is getting into silly levels of mod-drama. JLBraun’s far and away from any sort of trollish behavior, so it’s completely uncalled for. And telling users that they have to comment on all topics of conversation equally? This is getting to SA levels of pedantry, and I really, really don’t like the idea of BB turning into SA.

  178. JLBraun, I regret the necessity. I truly didn’t expect you’d ignore what I said. But if this is the consequence I laid out, then I’m stuck with it, no matter how much I dislike having to disemvowel that many well-written comments.

    SweetCraspy, RoseThornn, you don’t know the background.

  179. Teresa, perhaps you should rethink the sentence then. Even life-sentences come up for parole.

    A quick search showed the initial ban here, I guess. Based on his “old internet arguments”? It does seem awfully unfair when BB mainstay commenters can still get away with tired arguments not related to post.

  180. Saulgoodman @228 Nope, you’ve got me there, I don’t advocate the proliferation of nuclear weapons among the general population. If you push me, I’d probably also give ground on private possession of artillery and maybe even tanks and fighter jets.

    If (and it seems pretty clear that it was) the original idea was to enable the people to form into militia then we ought to be able to equip ourselves in a manner befitting a modern day militia. As a quick and easy rule, I object to the government stripping the people’s right to own anything that the same government sold or donated to the Afghan Mujahideen in the ’80s.

  181. If (and it seems pretty clear that it was) the original idea was to enable the people to form into militia then we ought to be able to equip ourselves in a manner befitting a modern day militia.

    I agree that the original idea was to allow the citizenry to maintain sufficiently well-armed militias to balance out the power of the federal government, but that ship sailed long ago.

    Hell, originally, there wasn’t even supposed to be a standing army–all the well-armed militias were supposed to get together voluntarily to form a larger force whenever the need for a national army arose, but we’ve moved a long way from that idea in the years since, and let’s face it, there’s very little chance of any armed militia acting as a meaningful counter-balance to US military power today.

    So, short of rolling back the clock and breaking up all the branches of the US military into state militias, haven’t we already long given up on that original constitutional right in all but name?

  182. K, s wht’s gd cmprms? Thgh m nt n xprt, d hv knwldg bt sbjct whr knwldg s srly lckng t BB.

    Cmmntng n thr tpcs whr my pnn s lrdy shrd by BB jst trns BB nt n ch chmbr.

    My cmmnts wr nfrmtv, tpcl, nd cvl. f thy rmn tht wy, wht ds t mttr wht tpcs r cvrd? f th rgnl pst nvlvs gns, s t nt lgcl t tlk bt th pst nvlvng gns n n’s cmmnt?

    Pls kndly rcnsdr.

  183. Well, first, merely because there’s now a standing army, and has been for more than 200 years, the 2nd amendment, and the idea behind it, is not invalid. If anything, it seems more valid, so I don’t see why we’d need to disband the army in order to allow citizens their constitutional rights.

    Secondly, just because the people have allowed their rights to be trampled on in the past doesn’t mean we should continue to do so. So, I don’t find the argument that we’ve long given up on a right to be a compelling reason not to demand it now.

  184. Well, first, merely because there’s now a standing army, and has been for more than 200 years, the 2nd amendment, and the idea behind it, is not invalid.

    Okay, you’ve stated what you think, and I understand it, so now just explain to me why I should think it, too–what reasons do you have to support the claim that the idea behind the 2nd amendment isn’t invalid now that the US military has tanks, nukes, anti-ballistic missiles, and all sorts of other arms we all willingly concede we have no right to keep and bear?

    If the point of the 2nd Amendment was to provide a mechanism for counter-balancing the power of the government (which, as far as I can tell, we both agree) then explain to me how letting me and my grandfather keep hunting rifles has anything whatsoever to do with the intent of the 2nd amendment? And I ask that as someone who isn’t pro-gun control at all. I just want to know how this argument makes any sense at this particular point in history.

    (What I meant about disbanding the armed forces, BTW, was that our forces would have to be broken up and reorganized into autonomous state militias, as they were back when the 2nd amendment was drafted, in order for the idea that any militia could function as a check on government power to hold water anymore. A citizen militia in this day and age has about as much chance of successfully standing up against the US military as the WSJ does of staying unbiased now that Rupert Murdoch’s in the driver’s seat.)

  185. “ky, y’v sttd wht y thnk, nd ndrstnd t, s nw jst xpln t m why shld thnk t, t–wht rsns d y hv t spprt th clm tht th d bhnd th 2nd mndmnt sn’t nvld nw tht th S mltry hs tnks, nks, nt-bllstc mssls, nd ll srts f thr rms w ll wllngly cncd w hv n rght t kp nd br?”

    Tht’s lk syng tht th rght f ppl t cntrbt t pltcl cmpgns dsn’t mk sns nymr, bcs dfns cntrctrs nd l cmpns cn thrw wy mr mny t thm t th pnt tht r ndvdl lttl cntrbtns wn’t mttr.

    Th pnt s tht ppl mttr, n mttr hw smll. nd wpns systms r rn by ppl tht r stll sscptbl t vn lwly .38 whn thy’r nt n th drvr’s st f thr tnk.

  186. I think it’s demonstrably true that a militia can stand up against a modern military. They likely can’t ever land a knockout blow against a state-backed army, but they can keep giving it a bloody nose until the state finds it too costly to continue. The US left Vietnam, the Soviets left Afganistan, there’s a strong push for the US to leave Iraq, etc.

    And even if I were to grant that a militia fighting a state-backed modern army was doomed to failure, I’d still say it was better to have fought that to have quietly done as that army demanded. (The only example I can think of off the top of my head would come dangerously close to invoking Godwin, so I’ll leave this uncited.)

    As far as hunting rifles specifically are concerned, I would say that a rifle (whether it’s a “hunting” “sniper” or “assault” rifle is largely a matter of interpretation) is still probably the single most valuable weapon in the arsenal of a militia or guerrilla group.

  187. jlbraun,

    The issue is that you don’t, or won’t, acknowledge the difference between conversing and making speeches. The point of comments is to stimulate the readers via discussion. When you posts ten of thousands of words on a single subject, endlessly rehashing the same points with minor reconfigurations, you have the opposite effect. You dull the conversation and the minds of the readers. Your comment history is nearly as vast as Takuan’s or mine, but you just keep saying the same things over and over and over. If someone disagrees with you, you argue with them. If someone agrees with you, you argue with them. It’s not a conversation. It’s you holding court.

  188. I’d just like to point out that since 1939 the state of the law on the right to bear arms is that it’s a collective, not an individual, right. That is, the people as a group (as distinct from the state) have a right to keep and bear arms, but no one individual does. That means that things like background checks and waiting periods and exclusions for felons etc. are perfectly legal under the current rulings of the SCOTUS, because they don’t prevent the people as a demos from keeping and bearing arms.

    The gun lobby wants to make it an individual right, and keep claiming (falsely) that it is. The SCOTUS has the ultimate right to read the Constitution and decide what its application is, and they’ve spoken on this topic.

    It’s perfectly legitimate to try to get the Court to overturn that 1939 decision. I would oppose such efforts, because I believe in gun control, and because the mention of the militia in the amendment makes it clear (IMO) that the interpretation as a collective right is the correct one.

  189. Your comment history is nearly as vast as Takuan’s or mine

    This may have been the funniest thing I’ve read all day . . .

  190. I would argue that the militia is mentioned more like this. Since we’ll need a militia, the individual people are going to need the right to keep weapons, in order to form that militia. But I understand your interpretation, Xopher.

  191. …well,”vast”is a little much… I always thought mine as just “big boned”….. (does this site make my ass look big?)

    Oh! and speaking of my divine cheeks, my new hooodie arrived and it’s GREAT! Anyone who doesn’t own one is a LOSER!

  192. Not mine, Mordion. The Supreme Court’s. Therefore the only one that matters (in terms of present law).

  193. JL

    I re-read your last few posts; You claim superior knowledge. I will grant you that in technical matters dealing with the physical characteristics of firearms. Insofar as the the use of statistical and other published information: no. You use it precut to fit an agenda,not as research.

    I think you can contribute here in the aforementioned specific technical details. I see no evidence of special knowledge or competence in the social aspects of firearms. This may explain why some see you as repetitive. I believe you understand you will win no converts here. Those who already agree with you have said so. I therefore re-extend my earlier invitation to you to re-examine your whole outlook on guns and social interaction.

  194. It’s experimental – I tried to choose an extremely well-known movie, rather than an obscure one, and then give it an extremely obscure clue. (Partially as an act of well-deserved vengeance for the Chevalier Paul Incident . . . )

  195. Sister, yes, in fact the news coverage surrounding that case was the reason I found out about the present state of the law. Prior to that I had believed the gun lobby’s lies that it was already an individual right that we gun control fascists were trying to take away.

    I’m not sanguine about this right-wing Court keeping the present interpretation intact.

  196. Me either my brother. It seems like the SCOTUS and the whole Federal judiciary is caring less and less about coherent legal arguments and more and more about the political concerns of their nominators. That’s become so obvious that it’s trite, but it still feels devastating. I had such high ideals about the law eight years ago.

    (Nice to meet you by the way!)

  197. ” thrfr r-xtnd my rlr nvttn t y t r-xmn yr whl tlk n gns nd scl ntrctn.”

    Grt. ‘ll strt rght nw. Whch vw f yrs d y wsh m t dpt?

  198. leave all your guns at home for one day, Out of reach. Inaccessible. One. Whole. Day. Plus you have to leave the house.

  199. h, nd wnt bkng, vlntrd s yth mntr, wnt t wrk, wnt t th gym, nd wnt sls dncng. ll wtht crryng gn.

  200. I would argue that the militia is mentioned more like this. Since we’ll need a militia, the individual people are going to need the right to keep weapons, in order to form that militia.

    The historical evidence and scholarship on this strongly suggest the right was provided specifically so people could maintain militias in order to maintain their ability to revolt against the federal government. The drafters of the constitution were all revolutionaries–revolutionaries who had recently launched a new country by their revolutionary efforts. And they strongly believed the revolutionary spirit, deep mistrust of government authority, and a decentralization of military force were needed to keep the government’s powers in check.

    The government has nukes now. And tanks. And chemical weapons. None of which were conceivable then. So by the logic of the 2nd Amendment as it was conceived, citizens should have the right to keep those kinds of arms as well.

    Any legally consistent argument for a 2nd Amendment-based individual right to bear arms, logically, should also apply to the right to bear nukes, chemical weapons, or any other arms the military might have access to. If we aren’t prepared to accept that on principle, then we don’t really believe in the 2nd Amendment on principle. It’s that simple. Either you believe individual Americans have an inherent right to keep any and all military arms–up to and including nuclear and biological weapons–or you only believe Americans have an inherent right to keep and bear arms in an empty, symbolic sense.

    I think it’s demonstrably true that a militia can stand up against a modern military. They likely can’t ever land a knockout blow against a state-backed army, but they can keep giving it a bloody nose until the state finds it too costly to continue.

    Not in a war on domestic soil. In a foreign country where the occupying force is on unfamiliar footing and stretched for resources, sure. But in a domestic conflict? No way. Imagine the civil war fought again today, only this time one side has tactical nukes, biological weapons, air reinforcements, and satellite communications, while the other side has only light assault weapons, rifles, pistols and bowie knives. Determination will only get you so far in a fight that lop-sided.

  201. Well now, that is all good to hear. You had a functional, enjoyable and social day -all without the benefit of sudden death lurking in your pocket.

    Now is this not a thing to be extended, encouraged in others and generally spread in every way possible? Is it not how we were meant to live?

  202. you said:

    “If you are capable of putting away your gun for a few days, why don’t you? I am interested in reasons of course – not just “I choose not to”.”

    Because my sister was robbed and could have been raped. Because my friend was stalked by a psycho. Because I had gay friends that received death threats. Because two friends in high school were raped. Because a guy in my dorm raped somebody. Because I had a friend who worked in a rape crisis center. Because in all of these cases, the police cannot and will not ever ever ever be there in time to stop anything, they can only take statements from witnesses, and maybe the victim if they’re still alive. Because if I need a gun, I will need it RIGHT NOW. Because the police (by law) are prevented from having an individual duty to protect any one person.

    Because in the end, bad things happen to good people, and those good people never thought it would happen to them.”

    what has changed?

  203. Leave all your guns at home for one day, Out of reach. Inaccessible. One. Whole. Day. Plus you have to leave the house.

    Odd. I try to get people to do the same thing but with make-up instead of guns.

  204. “ny lglly cnsstnt rgmnt fr 2nd mndmnt-bsd ndvdl rght t br rms, lgclly, shld ls pply t th rght t br nks, chmcl wpns, r ny thr rms th mltry mght hv ccss t. f w rn’t prprd t ccpt tht n prncpl, thn w dn’t rlly blv n th 2nd mndmnt n prncpl. t’s tht smpl. thr y blv ndvdl mrcns hv n nhrnt rght t kp ny nd ll mltry rms–p t nd ncldng nclr nd blgcl wpns–r y nly blv mrcns hv n nhrnt rght t kp nd br rms n n mpty, symblc sns.”

    Nt rlly. Th Mlt ct f 1792 clrly splld t wht rms r prtctd – mdrn rfl, sffcnt mmntn, nd bynt, whch mltmn r sppsd t prvd fr thmslvs. t prtty sccssflly lys t wht rms r prtctd – mltry ndvdl wpns, whch hv bn th fndtn f vry mltry r rblln n hstry. Th mlt ct dsn’t sy “brng cnnn” r ny thr rdnnc. t sys rfl nd mm.

    rdnnc dsn’t fll ndr thr th “mlt” cls f th 2nd, nr th 1792 Mlt ct, s t cn b rgltd. f crs, rdnnc lk rtllry, mrtrs, nd RPGs r lrdy lglly n th pssssn f rdnry ctzns f th S, ndr prmt – nd f crs n lgl prvtly wnd wpn f ths typ hs vr bn sd n ny crm by ctzn snc thy strtd trckng thm n 1934.

  205. “wht hs chngd?”

    Nthng. Sm dys dn’t crry t, t’s rndm. Jst lk y dn’t crry yr cll phn r wllt wth y sm dys, nd y dn’t mss t.

  206. gn, t’s n dffrnt thn lvng n’s cll phn bhnd. Y shld try lvng yr cll phn bhnd fr Jst. n. Dy. Y’ll b hppr, hlthr, nd lss lkly t gt nt cr ccdnt. S why dn’t y? Cn y lv t bhnd? r r y s ttchd t th flng t gvs y tht y’r pssssd by t nd cn’t gv t p?

  207. Ah I see, the impression you give today is someone considerably more at ease and relaxed than a month or two ago.

    Granted then the randomness of violence makes it a gamble that you will be unarmed one day when you would prefer not to, so then you must also have days when having a gun along might end in tragedy.

    How is this mortal calculus performed? Do you flip a coin? Rely on intuition? What about the luck of the others will you be among that day? Where is their choice?

    Are the odds for others greater you will save them from armed attack or perhaps accidentally kill them in gun accident? What does the experience of daily life support?

  208. h, ‘v lwys bn t s. t cms ntrlly t m. dn’t fl ny dffrnt whn pt t n, t’s jst smthng d.

    ndd, t’s gmbl. Lf s, nd s mch s w lk t grnt ttl frdm frm ccdnts nd crm, thy hppn. nd bcs ‘m knd, rsnbly trnd, clm, t-s, ld-bck knd f prsn nd nt vlnt crmnl, ‘m prbbly n f th sfst, mst nffnsv ppl t thr t b rnd.

  209. Whn t cms t gns, ‘ll dmt tht ‘m prtty CD bt sfty. chck th chmbrs f gns thr tms. nc by rckng th sld, nc by lkng, nd nc by stckng my pnky n. ‘m ls qt CD bt nt nglgntly pntng th gn t ppl r thngs.

    Mst gn wnrs knw r ths wy.

  210. h, nd th dgrm s wrng. Mst f th cll phn gns r md n Ygslv nd hv vry shrt brrls. ‘v sn svrl mdls nd nn f thm lk lk ths dgrm.

  211. The Militia Act of 1792

    Well, “The Militia Act of 1792” isn’t the second amendment–and it relates specifically to militias in the context of their service to the Federal government. Arguing that The Militia Act of 1792 provides a sound basis for an individual right to bear arms is even more of a stretch, because that act was clearly concerned with the role of local militias in service to national defense.

  212. N, n gn ccdnts. Nt sngl rnd tchd ff tht ddn’t g whr t ws ntndd. Whn strtd crryng gn cpl yrs g, md pldg t myslf tht f vr nglgntly pt rnd nt th flr r smthng by ccdnt, tht dy ‘d gt rd f thm ll. Thr’s n rm fr ccdnts n my bk. f crs, ‘d nvr spprt lw rqrng ths (s *lt* f plc nd mltry wld b t f jbs), t’s smply my wn prsnl stndrd.

  213. Tht’s rght, t’s nt th 2. Bt t prtty clrly splls t wht “mlt rms” r – ndvdl wpns. rgng tht rdnnc s prtctd by th 2nd s prtty slly.

  214. Wll, plcs lk trvlng n rpln trps t plcs tht gns r frbddn lck t n stl bx tht s ttchd t my cr frm, thn cn pt t n gn whn gt bck n th cr ftr my trp.

    Plcs lk th ntrr f crthss, sm thng.

    thrws, th sfst plc fr n’s frrm s n n’s hp whr t’s n n’s cmplt cntrl. Pttng t n lckd bx s scnd bst. N gn wnr knw jst lvs t p n shlf, nd dn’t thr.

    Plcs lk ppl’s hms t prty r smthng ( dn’t drnk whl crryng, f crs), y’d prbbly b shckd t hr ths, jst crry thr lk t ws my cll phn. ‘m lcnsd, chckd, nd fngrprntd sx wys frm Sndy wth th stt nd FB nywy, s t sk ndvdl prmssn frm vry prsn t th prty (” m crryng gn lglly. Pls chck th bx ndctng pprvl r dspprvl, nd whthr y wsh m t lv t bhnd.”) s jst ldcrs. “Cncld wpn” mns jst tht. Sm ppl gt frkd t by wpns ll t f prprtn t th dngr psd, nd cn vr crt dngr t thmslvs nd thrs. f ‘m spndng th nght thr, wll f crs ntfy thm.

    f str psts sgn syng “N Gns” (whch f crs nly th lw-bdng wll lstn t nywy), n my stt ths sgns dn’t hv th frc f lw, s try nt t ptrnz ths bsnsss wth my dllrs, bt ‘ll crry nt thm f rlly nd smthng. Thy cn nly sk m t lv f thy s my pstl, mrly wlkng n crryng sn’t crmnl ct.

  215. @249 I think we’re all arguing about what the law ought to be, not what it is, so, I’d say that the opinion of SCOTUS counts little more than that of any nine other people.

    @256 I’m curious, if there was a case before the court that was going to decide the legality of something very important to you, perhaps the legality of torture, perhaps abortion rights, maybe a free speech issue, whatever is most important to you, and one of the justices came to you privately and said that he or she felt that the law was on the other side of the issue from you, but that personally, he or she agreed with you, and was torn, would you advise them to follow the law or their conscience?

    @263 While I’m not familiar with the Militia Act of 1792, I’d say that its (or JLBrauns explanation of its) explanation of the type of arms that a citizen was expected or allowed to keep seems reasonable. I don’t think that forbidding the more dangerous and difficult to use heavy military hardware violates the letter or the spirit of the 2nd amendment. I think the amendment was intended to protect the possession of personal military armaments, not necessarily all military armaments of every type.

    As to re-fighting the civil war, I’d originally written a rather long bit about the different things that might occur given different situations, but I’m no military strategist or historian, so it was probably all a bunch of nonsense. Suffice it to say, I think there are a great many variables at play in a civil war, and only one of them is who is best armed. Depending on those other variables, I think a poorly armed revolutionary force could succeed in an overthrow of the government, manage to free a small piece of the country, win government reforms, or be completely defeated.

  216. I’m not sure if the disemvowelling JLBraun debate is still ongoing but I, for one, would be against his posts being tampered with. I disagree with his views but have read a number of his posts and always found them to be courteous and cogent, besides also being well written. And, if he wishes to post purely about gun control well, why not? If other topics are of no interest so be it; forcing someone to comment on things they don’t care about so they can post on things they do is illogical and unfair.

  217. Th rlvnt txt frm th 1792 Mlt ct:

    “Tht vry ctzn, s nrlld nd ntfd, shll, wthn sx mnths thrftr, prvd hmslf wth gd mskt r frlck, sffcnt bynt nd blt, tw spr flnts, nd knpsck, pch, wth bx thrn, t cntn nt lss thn twnty fr crtrdgs, std t th br f hs mskt r frlck, ch crtrdg t cntn prpr qntty f pwr nd bll; r wth gd rfl, knpsck, sht-pch, nd pwr-hrn, twnty blls std t th br f hs rfl, nd qrtr f [pnd] f [pwdr]”

    nd bcs ll ml S ctzns 17-45 nt n th rmd frcs r n th mlt ndr SC 10.311:

    “() Th mlt f th ntd Stts cnssts f ll bl-bdd mls t lst 17 yrs f g nd, xcpt s prvdd n sctn 313 f ttl 32, ndr 45 yrs f g wh r, r wh hv md dclrtn f ntntn t bcm, ctzns f th ntd Stts nd f fml ctzns f th ntd Stts wh r mmbrs f th Ntnl Grd.
    (b) Th clsss f th mlt r—
    (1) th rgnzd mlt, whch cnssts f th Ntnl Grd nd th Nvl Mlt; nd
    (2) th nrgnzd mlt, whch cnssts f th mmbrs f th mlt wh r nt mmbrs f th Ntnl Grd r th Nvl Mlt.”

    Thrfr w’r ll n th mlt, nd w ll nd t prcr mdrn rfls lk flly tmtc M16s nd sffcnt mm – nt rtllry, SMs, nd nks, slly.

  218. I don’t think that forbidding the more dangerous and difficult to use heavy military hardware violates the letter or the spirit of the 2nd amendment.

    Well, as a legal basis for decision-making, your personal judgment about what violates the letter and the spirit of the 2nd Amendment is about as rigorous and useful a criterion as a plate of beans. As far as I can tell, you haven’t offered any specific, clear guidelines for judging what does or doesn’t violate the spirit of the 2nd Amendment.

    Many, many other Americans look at the Bill of Rights and in good conscience reach very different conclusions using their own judgment about what does and doesn’t violate the letter or the spirit of the 2nd Amendment, concluding that bans on assault weapons, strict licensing requirements, waiting periods and all sorts of other limitations on gun ownership rights are consistent with the 2nd Amendment (since none of these measures are intended to prohibit law-abiding citizens from keeping and bearing arms).

  219. (since none of these measures are intended to prohibit law-abiding citizens from keeping and bearing arms).

    A far as narrowing down the limits, I think that there is a distinction between the words “infringe” and “prohibit”. I think that gun control laws can infringe the right to bear arms, even if they don’t prohibit it.

  220. “s fr s cn tll, y hvn’t ffrd ny spcfc, clr gdlns fr jdgng wht ds r dsn’t vlt th sprt f th 2nd mndmnt.”

    hv. ny wpn r smlr n rmy stndrd ss fr ndvdl sldrs s prtctd. thrs r nt nd cn b rgltd. Ths s spprtd clrly by th Mlt ct – mdrn hndgns nd rfls r ncssry t mlt, cnnns nd rtllry nd nks r nt.

    t’s vry clr, dn’t s wht th prblm s.

  221. “Mny, mny thr mrcns lk t th Bll f Rghts nd n gd cnscnc rch vry dffrnt cnclsns sng thr wn jdgmnt bt wht ds nd dsn’t vlt th lttr r th sprt f th 2nd mndmnt”

    h, th “Grg W. Bsh” tst, h? Whn yr tst s ppld t th 2nd, t gts ppld t th 4th, 5th, tc. nd w gt llgl dtntns, wtrbrdng, mltry trbnls nstd f trls, tc.

    Bsh s ndbtdly gld fr ppl wh thnk tht ndvdl “gd cnscnc” nd “jdgmnt” bt wht ds nd ds nt vlt th Cnstttn s K.


  222. the right to keep and bear arms, as formulated in the second amendment, is vague about scope, and doesn’t include any mention of a right to obtain arms in a timely or unrestricted manner. the right to keep and bear arms for lawful use is one thing; the right to obtain them is another. and the language of the 2nd amendment offers no specific guarantees about what rights an individual should have when it comes to obtaining arms. other provisions in the bill of rights are much clearer on such questions (right to a speedy trial, due process, etc.), but i don’t think there’s anyway you can get around the fact that the 2nd amendment is ambiguous. you might argue that setting the standards for obtaining guns unreasonably high is a de facto infringement on the right to keep and bear arms, but that claim isn’t spelled out anywhere or explicitly supported by any language in the bill of rights.

  223. Wll, s pr-chc ppl lk m sy: ” rght dlyd s rght dnd”.

    “y mght rg tht sttng th stndrds fr btnng gns nrsnbly hgh s d fct nfrngmnt n th rght t kp nd br rms, bt tht clm sn’t splld t nywhr r xplctly spprtd by ny lngg n th bll f rghts.”

    t’s nt vr gng t b splld t n th lw, t nds t b splld t n th crts.

    Th prblm hr s n f wht bss tst s ppld t th 2nd – strct scrtny r rtnl bss. Th 1st mndmnt hs strct scrtny – tht s, y cn’t hv lcnss t spk frly, nr hv wtng prds n pblshng smthng, bcs tht nfrngs th rght.

    Rtnl bss mns tht ll th gvrnmnt hs t d s sy tht “wll, thr’s rsn” nd pf yr 2nd rghts r gn.

    Hllr s nt gng t b th SCTS cs tht dcds th bss tst nr ncrprtn, thy smply r gng t dclr n ndvdl rght, thn thr frthcmng css r ndd fr ncrprtn nd bss.

    n thr wrds, t’s lng rd t h t gt cnsrvtv nd bgtd stts lk Clfrn nd Nw Jrsy t stp nfrngng n ppl’s 2nd mndmnt rghts, jst lk t tk lng tm t gt rcst schl dstrcts n lbm nd Msssspp t stp schl sgrgtn nd gt rd f clrd wtr fntns.

  224. but that claim isn’t spelled out anywhere or explicitly supported by any language in the bill of rights.

    There is also the question of what it means for a right to be ambiguous. I’m under the impression (based mostly on High School US History) that the Bill of Rights explicitly protects certain rights but does not in any way limit us to those rights. I know that the government has evolved since then, but I’m interested in your take on the issue.

    In your ideal of how the government should work, do you think that the space around the Bill or Rights (i.e. rights that are not explicitly protected but are dealing with similar issues) is open to legislation?

  225. I’m under the impression (based mostly on High School US History) that the Bill of Rights explicitly protects certain rights but does not in any way limit us to those rights. I know that the government has evolved since then, but I’m interested in your take on the issue.

    Any rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights are reserved for the people. That means, as I understand it, that the democratic process ultimately decides and the will of the people (i.e., majority opinion) should rule. And if at the end of the day, the majority opinion doesn’t square with your own personal interpretation of a particular right, then of course you still have every right to try to sway popular opinion in your favor using any form of honest argument you can muster on behalf of your position (using black op style tactics, propaganda, whisper campaigns and other Machiavellian tactics should be off limits, IMO), but it’s not proper to use deceptive or undemocratic legislative, judicial or other political maneuvers to impose your personal understanding of a particular right on others. That’s how it would work in my ideal system, and I believe that’s consistent with the founding vision.

  226. #283 thank you for your thoughtful question – I am actually pretty serious about judges interpreting but not making law, and following coherent legal principles when they do so. When I read cases with my students, I love to have them read cases where you naturally feel really bad for one side (sympathetic plaintiff, let’s say) but the judge finds for the other side. I try to make them figure out why, and how it might actually be the fairest thing in the long run.

    The concept of “fairness” has many meanings. I think the fairness of the judicial system is more important than me agreeing with the outcome of any particular case. For instance, I’m against forced birth, but I don’t think Roe v. Wade is a good legal opinion in terms of precedent and legal coherence.

    Honestly I don’t have a strong opinion about gun control or gun rights, but I do have a strong opinion about the Supreme Court being politicized.

    Thanks for asking. What do you think?

  227. I never got this bizarre American attitude of “what our ancestors wrote must be right”. It’s akin to the British debating heatedly over whether Wellington would have been pro-nukes or not.

    They lost the right to participate in your governmental processes when they stopped breathing. It’s up to you now.

  228. ” nvr gt ths bzrr mrcn tttd f “wht r ncstrs wrt mst b rght”. t’s kn t th Brtsh dbtng htdly vr whthr Wllngtn wld hv bn pr-nks r nt.”

    m, nt s mch. Y s sly dsmss thr wrtngs, bt thr “wrtngs” hppn t b *th lw*. Thy s ppl d nt nd nvr hv mbdd th lw thmslvs. Ys, thy wrt pnns nd dtrls, bt thy ls wrt lws, nd ths lws r stll n frc ntl thy r rpld.

    Th lw sys wht t sys: “Shll nt b nfrngd”. nd ntl tht lw s rpld, t stnds – nd nt bcs “m, wht r ncstrs wrt s crrct n mttr wht”, t’s bcs *t’s th lw*.

    llwng lws tht prtct rghts t “chng wth th tms” wtht dly gng thrgh th lgl prcss t chng r rpl ths lws lds t… wll, Brtn.

  229. yep, and whenever sane people want to limit the guns floating loose, the pro-gunners pull every questionable lobbying and bribery trick to thwart the democratic will of the majority to change the law.

    The gun lobby is anti-democracy.

  230. “qstnbl lbbyng nd brbry trck t thwrt th dmcrtc wll f th mjrty t chng th lw.”

    Lk wht, spcfclly? Y d rlz tht th prft mrgns n th gn mnfctrng ndstry r rzr-thn (4% s cmmn), tht th NTR frrms mnfctrng ndstry cmbnd n th S hs grss ncm lss thn hlf f McDnlds’ (ys, rlly), nd tht th gn ndstry tslf hs vrtlly n pltcl nflnc t ll s rslt? Gn mnfctrng nd gn rghts rgs CMBND nly gv $2.7 mlln t cnddts n 2002, cmprd wth jst n cmpny, Lckhd Mrtn, tht gv $2.4 mlln ll by tslf tht cycl! Th dfns ndstry gv $16,237,888, th hlthcr ndstry gv $95,438,510, th rl stt ndstry gv $233,218,247 (hly fck!) t l. n fct, gn rghts pls gn mnfctrrs wr #67 vrll mng ll ndstrs nd grps n th 2002 cycl, nd rnkd jst bhnd *dry frmrs* n trms f pltcl nflnc!

    gn, gn mnfctrrs nd gn rghts rgs hv vrtlly nl pltcl nflnc, nd s ‘v shwn, tlkng bt thm s f thy r sm hg mnlth byng pltcns lft nd rght s cmpltly ldcrs t ll lvls.

    “Th gn lbby s nt-dmcrcy.”

    r y kddng? wnng nd crryng gns s fndmntlly gltrn, fmnst, prgrssv, dmcrtc, nd Dmcrtc ct.

    Lbrls nd lftsts lk m knw tht cn n mr rg fr gn cntrl thn rg fr “clrds nly” wtr fntns nd lws prhbtng gy mrrg. t’s rl trvsty tht th gn cntrl lbl gt pstd n lbrls – *W* s pr-cvl rghts lbrls shld b th ns knwn s prsrvng frrms rghts!

    (nt: w’r wrkng n t. n th lst rnds f lctns, w btd 2-3 nt-gn Rpblcn gvrnrs nd rplcd thm wth pr-gn Dms.

    Why lbrls shld lv th 2nd mndmnt

  231. @286 I would say, and this is also just a personal opinion and not worth much given the vast quantities of beans out there, that the second amendment should be considered to protect any weapon designed to be used by a single individual against a single target, a target being either another individual or a motorized vehicle.

    @290 The 2nd amendment surely doesn’t say anything about obtaining arms. So, all we have to do is make it illegal to obtain them in any way, including inheriting them, and we haven’t violated the amendment at all, right? To me, this argument is as specious as the Chris Rock bit about the amendment not protecting the ammunition, just the weapons themselves.

    Also, you mention that various waiting periods, etc, are not intended to prohibit law-abiding citizens from owning guns. Aside from the fact that, to my knowledge, ‘law-abiding’ isn’t a prerequisite for receiving constitutional protections, I’m generally unhappy when the government chooses to punish people beyond their actual court given punishment.

    @294 I like that we have rule of law, that there is something that constrains the armed and uniformed and the state prosecutors from disposing of someone as they, personally, see fit.

    That said, I’m not sure how much it matters to me how the laws get there. If there is massive public and legislative support for a law that I find repressive and unjust, say, drug laws, it gives me no comfort that at least they’re not unconstitutional.

    At the same time, I’m glad to have Roe vs Wade despite the fact that I’ve never spoken to a legally-inclined person who felt that it was a solid legal decision.

    I suppose the power of the supreme court to create or destroy rights without having to worry about what the populace thinks it’s just too seductive for me, and that’s probably exactly why they should stick to strictly interpreting the law. But I don’t have to like it.

  232. So, all we have to do is make it illegal to obtain them in any way, including inheriting them, and we haven’t violated the amendment at all, right?

    no, but if we made it harder for someone with a long history of irresponsible or criminal use of guns to obtain them, then we arguably haven’t violated the amendment at all–but that’s for the will of the people to decide, because it’s not a matter specifically addressed in the bill of rights.

    definitely, making it illegal to obtain arms at all seems like a de facto infringement of the rights guaranteed in the 2nd amendment. but it doesn’t strike me as obvious that reasonable limits on how or when someone is allowed to obtain a gun are necessarily inconsistent with the rights to keep and bear arms provided for in the 2nd amendment. since the 2nd amendment isn’t clear on that question, any determination of whether such limitations are or are not consistent with those guaranteed rights has to be made by the will of the people–i.e., majority opinion.

    ‘law-abiding’ isn’t a prerequisite for receiving constitutional protections

    sure it is, sometimes. when you’re in jail, you no longer enjoy the expectation of property rights, protection against unreasonable search and seizure, or any other natural rights. and the right to vote, for instance, is often suspended in the case of potential voters with a criminal history. do i think that’s right? not really. but it’s been the practice in many states for many, many years.

  233. “n, bt f w md t hrdr fr smn wth lng hstry f rrspnsbl r crmnl s f gns t btn thm, thn w rgbly hvn’t vltd th mndmnt t ll”

    Bt sch lws hv bn shwn by CDC stdy t b nffctv nywy.



    (nd th fct tht th cppd t wth “nsffcnt vdnc” t dtrmn ffccy s tllng. Ths ws th lrgst nd mst cmprhnsv stdy f gn cntrl lws vr dn, nd thy fnd nthng. f thy hd, y wld hv hrd t crwd frm th rftps.)

  234. whether it’s an effective deterrent to crime or not, it doesn’t violate the 2nd amendment and it’s not unreasonable. so if the american people want to limit access to gun ownership based on criminal or personal history, it’s up to them. the majority rules, like it or not.

  235. @301 You may be right in terms of “reasonable” limits on the how and when of purchasing arms not being unconstitutional. I suppose I would hope for a strict definition of “reasonable” from the court, and would vote for no limits, but I wouldn’t scream too loudly if things didn’t go my way, especially if the limits were left to the discretion of the states.

    As far as the (slight) tangent that we’re on, I have a big problem with blanket, permanent punishments for entire classes of people who have been convicted of a crime. It would be far less unreasonable for the sentencing of a person guilty of multiple gun crimes to include a prohibition on their purchase of a gun, than it is to simply make it difficult or impossible for all people convicted of a felony, or even all people convicted of a gun felony to purchase a gun.

    But, I don’t think that is a 2nd amendment issue, and if it’s any kind of a constitutional issue, I can’t be bothered to try to figure it out right now.

  236. the majority rules, like it or not

    Untrue. Presidents are indirectly elected; Bush got in without winning. Presidents can veto, in which case 67% rules. The judiciary can overturn anything, in which case as few as five people can rule the whole country. And they could be five people who were chosen by a former president who didn’t win the popular vote in an election.

  237. “n lss thn yr, th bsc pltcl lndscp wll shft. W’ll s.”

    ndd, thgh whch wy s hrd t tll t th mmnt. Bt th Hllr cs wll b n by thn, wth hpflly fw 2nd mndmnt ncrprtn css chllngng th Chcg hndgn bn, th NYC vrtl bn, th Clfrn “sslt wpns” bn, nd th fdrl prhbtn n ctzns wnng nw mchngns. Hpflly, t lst n f ths wll gt thrgh bfr w hv frrm bgt n th Wht Hs gn (f vr).

  238. There will also be a heap of fresh bodies to go with all that legal wrangling.

    I wonder who among us, who now walks the living earth, will not see January 1st 2009 – because “it is important for ordinary citizens to own new machine guns”

    say, where’s Spunklers? …I…I MISS him….

  239. #308 (fnny)

    ” wndr wh mng s, wh nw wlks th lvng rth, wll nt s Jnry 1st 2009 – bcs ‘t s mprtnt fr rdnry ctzns t wn nw mchn gns'”

    Nt sngl n, nd ‘ll bt mny n t.

    Thr r xctly 333,320 mchngns n cvln hnds, nd thy’v bn rgstrng nd trckng thm snc 1934. n ths 74 yrs, thr hs bn prcsly tw mrdrs cmmttd wth lglly wnd mchngn, nd n f th mrdrrs ws plc ffcr mnlghtng s htmn.

    Wth cpl nmbrs fnd hr:

    ‘d sy bt 1/3 f 1 prcnt f th gns szd frm crmnls r mchngns. Sttstcs n mchngn mrdrs (vn ncldng ths wth llgl gns) r s vnshngly rr tht th nmbrs rprsnt sttstcl crsty mr thn nythng ls.

    T smmrz, lgl mchngns n pblc hnds ps zr thrt t pblc sfty.

    N n s dvctng tht w lt crmnls by mchngns, slly. Bt thr’s ls n rsn nt t rcgnz tht lw-bdng ppl hv rght t wn thm – nd s hs bn shwn, thy’r prtty drn rspnsbl wth thm.

    ps. Ws tht nt th nswr y wntd? :)

  240. What, now you’re dis-whatevering *all* my comments, even those on other stories?

    Mod-drama indeed. How pedantic and unneccessary.

  241. JLB @312: Teresa said she was going to do it if you ignored her. You ignored her. That was unnecessary.

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