NRA says gun control advocates "exploited tragedy", blames media, calls for armed guards in schools

C-Span/Screengrab by Andrew Kaczynski

At a press conference where he would not take questions from reporters, the National Rifle Association's Wayne LaPierre said that gun control advocates have "exploited the tragedy for political gain", that every school should have armed security guards, and that the media is "complicit" in making it impossible to prevent school killings.

Too many in the national media ... act as silent enablers and complicit co-conspirators. rather than face their own moral failures, the media demonized lawful gun owners, amplified their call for more laws, and fills the media with misinformation and dishonest thinking that ensures the next tragedy is only a news cycle away. ... They don't know what they're talking about. It's time for us to assume responsibility for our schools. The only way to stop a monster is to be invested in a plan of absolute protection. The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.

Cold, dead hands.

UPDATE: Here's a transcript of the NRA spokesmen's speeches.


  1. And again I say: an unarmed grandma is the reason the shooter was brought down in the Giffords shooting in Tucson.

    My fervent hope is that enough people react with horror at this egregious NRA response that we finally see actual resistance.

    1. They know it’s only going to play well with the already-converted. Which is probably why they resorted to the classic Friday-afternoon News Dump tactic.

  2. Let’s just arm all the kids, give them body armor backpacks, and see what happens. Obviously the solution the tragedies like this is more guns. It is WAY too difficult to buy and stockpile guns now, so we definitely don’t need more regulation.

    (Yes- that was sarcasm. I realize some people will think it’s a good idea.)

  3. Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.  But when you consider how many stupid, clumsy, incompetent and outright brain-damaged people there are, you start to understand why so many people get killed by gunfire.

    1. Easy access to guns makes it too easy for anyone in any state of mind to get one.  And with a gun a split second mistake will result in a something you can never take back no matter how much you may or may not regret it.

      The old west people like to look back fondly upon as a gun golden age was full of petty revenge shootings, ambushes, drunken killings, painful lingering deaths from wounds, etc.

      1. In fact the violence was so bad that as western towns grew in population, they generally instituted quite strict gun control, forcing people to hand over their guns to the sheriff within town limits.

    2. Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.

      And when they have easy access to semi-automatic assault weapons with high capacity magazines they kill lots and lots and lots of people.

    3. I was reading about (yet another case) where a man was killed when his dog caused his gun to go off.  Guns don’t kill people, dogs do.  And the number of people who are killed by accidental discharges.  Guns don’t kill people, random chance does.  Oh hell, guns do kill people.

          1. I want to live in a world where drive-by shootings are replaced by gang members running up to each other’s houses and just throwing bullets at each other as hard as they can.

      1. Even then, though, you can say it’s the person who killed due to negligence of keeping the gun loaded, having the safety off, having the gun lock off, keeping the gun in reach (of dogs), …

        1. The “guns don’t kill people, people do” slogan implies “people die due to human intentionality,” which simply isn’t true.  If it doesn’t mean that, then no man-made object or substance can ever be said to kill anyone.  “Pollution doesn’t kill people, people do.”  Heck, by that logic, you could, for the most part, say, “Earthquakes don’t kill people, people do,” because deaths are caused by collapsing buildings that hadn’t been built strong enough to withstand the quake.

          Also, given that a certain percent of those accidental shootings were due to police officers, then apparently no one can be trusted with guns.

          1. I hate blanket slogans like that…  More my position: Guns kill people when used intentionally by a person, or unintentionally through negligence of proper handling and care by the owner.  But that doesn’t fit well on a bumper sticker :)

  4. The NRA is complaining about exploitation.  Haha that is rich!

    How dare people be more concerned about lives than guns.

    1. The NRA calls for 100k+ new armed volunteers to protect our schools (volunteers because government = bad.)  And who will train and certify them?  The NRA humbly suggests… the NRA.

      1. Some overweight, dozing geriatric with a gun would have been dead within seconds of this focussed, armoured and driven shooter – it would simply have added one more death to the toll. And can you imagine an NRA volunteer sitting inside an inner city school where the majority it black or ethnic??

        1. Not before killing a bunch of children with “friendly fire.”

          Though of course they would never say it, the NRA wants a return to real gun control efforts more than anyone… then they can get millions of additional contributions from the McVeigh worshiping militias and from the manufacturers.

          They and the rest of the far right portray themselves as at war with the government. It’s their shtick  and it’s going to get many, many more people killed before the “greatest generation” fades and them with it.

  5. “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” 

    Clearly a logic fail.  Why downplay what a good guy with a grenade can do? I blame the so-called “media” for not calling out the NRA on their anti-grenade agenda.

    1. I’d rather eliminate all weapons that leave the hand.  Unfortunately, criminals (in and out of uniform) are unwilling to comply.  I think they are all cowards; back in the day a policeman only needed a billy club.

  6. Dear America…you are totally screwed.  The NRA was given preferred status not only in your constitution but in your political arena.  You have adopted “victim” attitude and are stockpiling assault rifles to hunt one another into annihilation.  And all this you do in the name of god.  Pathetic.

    1. The US can be increasingly compared to the attitudes you’d find in a 3rd world country – on so many levels, and the rest of the world knows it.

      1.  True – look at all of our military boy toys and then we wonder why there is no money for schools and infrastructure.  Perhaps if we stopped paying for the defense of Europe, the Mid-East and parts of Asia… we would have money to take care of those in our own country.  When North Korea spends money on rockets while the people starve we say it’s terrible… we are no better.

  7. So what happens when one mentally ill armed guard goes off and shoots a bunch of school kids? do we then need armed guards to watch the armed guards?

    Reminds me of that Looney Toons where Elmer Fudd calls down to Daffy Duck because there is a mouse in his room…

    1. Why do people always result to the hypothetical when we talk about gun restrictions? “What if, what if what if?” We are not talking about a movie, its laws. We do have facts and data of gun laws and their effectiveness, you know. Australia is one. The Swiss have specific laws and loads of guns yet little shootings. But here, if we prepose something, anything, it has to be a 100% or No Deal situation.

      I mean if nearly 40% of guns sold in the US are done with no background check, then closing that loophole would help, right?Name one thing in your life you do that is 100% all the time. No one can.

  8. So let’s assume the NRA isn’t just being cynical and trying to protect the interests of the gun industry.  Keeping in mind that most NRA members support limited gun control measures beyond what we have currently.

    Having an armed guard in every school certainly doesn’t preclude other measures.  We can still adopt a meaningful assault weapon ban, limit the size of clips, close the gun show loophole, and change laws that currently prevent ATF from releasing statistics on gun crime.

    Presumably the NRA is in support of all these ideas, along with their school armament plan. Or at least they should be.

  9. Not my country, but it might be worth mentioning that at Columbine there was an armed police officer assigned to the school who had little effect even though he traded fire with the attackers. The ‘avenging angel with a gun’ scenario is a wet-dream of the gun rights lobby. 

    Not sure what’s happened to my profile – my name is David, and I’m from the UK, so I’m speaking from the sidelines.

  10. Yeah, our idiot sheriff is suggesting armed officers in all schools.  So you have some “officer” guys sitting around on the payroll doing nothing for forty years until retirement.  Except that maybe one day, maybe, one in a thousand chance, some madman attacks.  Like an attacking madman won’t know his first bonus points are for head-shot to the officer…

    1. Yep. happened in Fall River, MA this week.  (to paraphrase) “yes it will cost money, for overtime and all, but it’s for the children’s safety…”

      1. My understanding is that she wasn’t a teacher but that the media latched onto a rumor (see other discussion thread here)

        1. You are correct. Seems she was a financial trader. Seems rumors and “facts” fly through the air just like… well.
          I still stand by the idea of arming teachers is the most insane thing.

          1. Arm the kids instead – then anyone trying to slaughter a classroom full of 6 year olds will find themselves facing an entire platoon of assault weapons.

            The class could have projects and sing songs… ‘this is my rifle, this is my gun, one is for fighting, one is for fun…

            Has to beat Kum-Bai-Fucking-Ya every time surely?

  11. I’m sorry but this has to be said. You Americans are approaching insanity. You listen to the NRA? You want to arm everyone? You want to continue an arms race because everybody has weapons?

    The vast majority of the human race makes guns extremely difficult to get. We have incredibly low gun violence. We don’t have the incredibly high gun violence that you do. We are not insane!

    Wake up America!

        1. Every other pollster tracking that number shows a substantial drop over the last half century.  Including most importantly, the GSS, which is basically the gold standard of this stuff, doing yearly 50,000+ census-style interviews.  Gallup just throws the question in occasionally with their (horrible) political polls.

          1. Really, does it matter whether you have 290 million guns or 200 million guns – it’s a SHIT load of guns.

    1.  As a Canadian, that’s exactly how I feel when I read this stuff. The only thing that comes to mind is “these people have gone completely insane”.
      I read all these comments and I don’t even see how this is an argument at all.

    2. You Americans are approaching insanity.

      When it comes to gun policy we’re not just “approaching” insanity. We zoomed past insanity so long ago that it’s just a distant speck in our rear-view mirror on the drive through bloodbath county.

      1. Hmmm. Drive through bloodbath county huh?  what is this, mad max?  I’m 39, have lived in a metro city for roughly 14 years, and never have even heard a gun shot…

        1. I could tick off a number of neighborhoods you probably don’t live in, then.

          It’s true that most Americans won’t get shot (or shot at) in their lifetimes. Our rate of gun violence is just a “bloodbath” compared to, say, pretty much any other developed nation on Earth.

  12. This is the moment in NRA’s history when they really need someone like Charlton Heston.  Instead, they have Wayne LaPierre.

  13. @boingboing-3dc2c2f6a6a75cba6bc726b4545e788c:disqus

    I was hoping the NRA would do something useful at this press conference.  They needed a home-run in the “let’s all work together” sense.  What we got was a C- performance.  It has been too easy for too long to dismiss gun-banners as irrational idiots proposing legislation and solutions written with their hearts and not their brains, people who didn’t understand our history and how this country came into existence.  It has been easy because, well, it’s been the truth.

    It’s hard to get people to work with you when you’re openly contemptuous of their opinions and motivations: “irrational idiots…with their hearts and not their brains” indeed.  From another perspective we can say the problem is “irrational idiots whose penis extenders and John Wayne fantasies are more important to them than the lives of innocent people.”  There’s dozens more ways to frame the argument so that one side or the other is entirely in the wrong.  This is the opposite of “let’s all work together”.

    If you really wanted to work together you’d try to understand the perspective of your opponents instead of immediately dismissing it as brainless, sentimental nonsense.  Unless you’re willing to admit it’s possible for you to be wrong on some points and your adversaries to be right on some points there is no grounds for working together.

    I sincerely hope you’ll reconsider your attitude, here.

    1. benenglish, you’re getting deleted not because you’re a reasonable advocate of gun ownership but because you’re in fact being unreasonable.  There’s plenty of arguments against gun control that aren’t being deleted so you should be able to see pretty clearly that it’s not your position on the issue that’s getting your comments deleted — it’s your intemperance and insistence that your adversaries are mush-brained fools that is getting you deleted.

  14. I’m not an American. I’m from Ireland. But the entire world is watching, we all know about these shootings, and the NRA etc. And we are all appalled. The idea that teachers or guards should be armed to prevent these killings is totally absurd. Who owned the guns the shooter used? A teacher in the school. More guns, means more access to guns, and the “criminally insane” don’t need to own the guns they use, they just need to gain access to them.

    Also if you think your constitution is perfect, why not take the second amendment seriously. The right to bare arms. Does this include nuclear warheads? Obviously not. Guns kill people. End of story. You can blame the shooter all you like, but the fact it is, he probably wouldn’t have tried to do what he did if there were no guns. If he tried to do it with a knife, how many people do you think he would have killed?
    If you think that arming guards at every school will deter these people, you have to think, how far will it escalate? Do you think the shooter would have just decided to try anyway, or do you think he would have waited for the children to leave the school? At the end of the day, no child’s life is worth the “right” to carry an instrument of death, just cuz you want to. Much less the lives of the 18 children, and the 6 adults, who died at this single incident.

      1. Yeah I was looking for something online to quote that, but yeah it was the media grasping at hearsay and presenting them as facts

        1. They were, apparently, all bought legally by the shooter’s now deceased mother. That’s right: an armed teacher of the type the NRA is suggesting would have protected the kids.

        2. Well if he got the weapons from another source, what’s to stop the new guards in schools from having mentally unstable relatives from taking advantage of the gun guards guns?

          The more I read about this story, the less I understand why this issue is even being debated!

  15. @Brainspore:disqus  my next-door neighbor was one of those law-abiding folks who happened to be a gun enthusiast. I didn’t fear being shot by him.

    -since it’s nested so deep I can’t reply directly-

    I don’t think extreme gun control would do much to curb gun violence.  If someone wants a gun to commit an illegal act then they will find someone willing to sell it to them.  Your neighbor acquired and owned those guns legally, so beyond making it harder for that to happen nothing would change with the number of guns they owned.  However, and I think this is an important distinction, they were negligent in their storage of said weapons.  Obviously if the criminal broke in and spent a coupe of hours and used excessive force to open a gun safe then the home owner took all reasonable precautions in storing their weapons safely.  Outside of a single firearm kept for home defense all other guns should be locked away.  Now obviously we don’t need to police people for it, but when your neighbor reported the break in and it was (or maybe wasn’t) found that the guns weren’t secured properly they should be punished for that.  Their guns should be take away, and their right to bear arms heavily restricted.  I think putting accountability and responsibility back on the gun owners is the first step in curbing instances like this.

    1. If someone wants a gun to commit an illegal act then they will find someone willing to sell it to them.

      Particularly if they live in a society where such guns are plentiful. Most gang members in the UK or Australia would have a much more difficult time finding a seller than a gang member in America.

      Your neighbor acquired and owned those guns legally, so beyond making it harder for that to happen nothing would change with the number of guns they owned.

      Exactly why I advocate doing just that. The need to reduce gun violence outweighs the need of any one citizen to have a vast personal arsenal.

      However, and I think this is an important distinction, they were negligent in their storage of said weapons.

      If you are suggesting that gun owners should be subject to criminal penalties for not properly securing their gun collections then I support that idea. But if someone collects guns as a “hobbyist” then they will likely want to keep them on display, which makes it much less likely that they’ll be well-secured. A glass display case is a lot easier to break into than a gun safe.

    1. Yeah for me, besides the whole “do we want police in our schools?” (no) it’s the “who’s going to pay for it”?

      Ooh let’s have fun with math!

      98,817 public schools in America Say, 10 hrs a day for a police officer (have to get there before school opens and stay until the students go home)Median salary of a police officer: $54,230 +benefits, assuming 30% = $70,499 (though benefits are probably more than that for police officers)If you have to hire new officers, then yay more jobs for the economy! except that would be almost $7B/year… ($70,499*98,817)

      If you use overtime officers, then it breaks down to roughly $40.67/hr ($54,230/2000 (hrs/year) * 1.5 (overtime rate)).  For a total of ooh $7.2B/year (98,817 schools* 10 hrs/day * 180 school days/year * $40.67)

  16. We are in an arms race with ourselves. How can adding more guns possibly reduce gun violence? That makes no sense. And how can anyone try to take guns out of the argument when people(kids) are killed by a gun? It is a direct causal link, and saying that better control on guns wouldn’t have stopped this tragedy is the biggest lie that I can’t believe so many people can accept.

    Anyone remember the cold war? Kids learning how to hide under the desks in case the bomb drops? The US and Soviet Union adding more and more nukes till we almost blew up the whole freaking world.

    Now we have kids learning lock-down procedures and needing metal detector and now wanting armed guards at our schools. Saying we need to arm the good guys against the bad guys. What is this place, the Wild West?? We are becoming more and more paranoid and arming ourselves against our fellow Americans!

    1. Interesting concept – a cold war with ourselves.  Once Russia went away as the “bad them”, who else do we have but ourselves?

  17. I don’t really believe guns themselves are the problem; guns have always been here.  Rather, it’s our attitude towards guns in the USA. They have become fetishized and worshiped, and the NRA is as much to blame for that as the media or Hollywood or video games. 

    Putting armed guards in schools wont solve the problem, it just makes another issue for a gunman to deal with before he goes on his massacre– he will include killing the guard first in his plans.  Plus, who’s to say that the guard himself won’t go crazy and start killing.

    But ultimately the NRA is a roadblock to rational discourse on guns.  For LaPierre to accuse us of taking advantage of tragedy to pass anti-gun legislation is irrational, it’s like saying we can’t pass new workplace safety regulations after the death of a hundred workers in a factory fire — well, WHEN IS the time to discuss these matters?  And isn’t he using the tragedy to advance his own political views?– putting armed guards in every school promotes legal carrying of guns. 

  18.  I guess that y’all didn’t hear the same announcement that I did… 
    NRA asks Congress for massive Federal tax on Ammunition and Firearms.

  19. I thought the NRA’s conference was completely tone-deaf and will only spur the growing movement toward more gun laws. I vote this stupid idea is a recipe for more TSA style security theater. 

    I grew up in Alabama. When I was a teenager, there was a boy in the same grade in me at the local public school who was in a highly publicized shooting. One boy had brought a gun to school to show to his friend. He had the gun in his car and showed it to the friend after school, out back of the school near the track area. The kid who brought the gun to school accidentally shot the good friend he was showing the gun to in the jaw (he lived). Immediately after the shot was fired, the coach took the gun away from the now very upset kid who had fired the weapon. The coach put the gun back in the car. Then the horrible thing happened. The kid who had fired the weapon got back in the car and killed himself. This story ended up in People magazine and made the people in my town look like total hicks. 
    Anyway, having put some thought into this issue before because I knew a shocking number of victims of accidental shootings, if there was a school shooting I doubt armed guards are likely not to be in the right place at the right time. Schools are big, especially high schools. Two people could not properly cover any school. 

    Yes it would be TSA level employees hired and yes, I do know what’s involved in properly using a weapon for law enforcement. It’s unlikely a volunteer school army would consist of properly trained people, especially considering that many police forces fail to train their people on real shooting techniques. Witness how many people the NYPD sprayed with bullets during their take down of the shooter at the Empire State Building – NYPD doesn’t shoot much and it showed. So now, every school is going to have some crackpot who is armed but doesn’t know how to shoot properly “guarding” their school. Yeah, security theater all the way.

  20. The gun industry’s first response:
    “Hey!  We can make *money* off of this!”

    I don’t know how to express the depth of my contempt for these people without resorting to truly vile obscenity.  I despise them far more than the shooter himself, who had the excuse of psychosis. They are boring, vulgar, mercantile tools who pay their mortgages specifically by ignoring the difference between bean count and body count. They have nothing to say on this matter; they have opted out of the social contract.

  21. My deepest hope is that we take this opportunity to practice empathy and compassion for our pro-gun brothers and sisters. I hope anti-gunners can deeply listen and try to understand.

    The world is a scary place.

    How do anti-gun people deal with fear?

    On another note, I wonder if a proposed time-frame might be useful in discussing firearm disarmament in the U.S. As passionate as some of us are, I believe that it may take a good ten to twenty years of gradual change to seriously bring down the number of guns. 

    Nuclear disarmament does not happen over night.

    I understand the fear some citizens have toward their fellow citizens. I understand the fear that we have toward trespassers in the night. The fear and distrust we have of the government. 

    Is it acceptable to be afraid?

    From what I understand about non-violent conflict resolution, it is important to find common ground. And it is important to deeply listen to each other.

    Isn’t this a time to acknowledge our shared humanity? Isn’t this an opportunity to withhold judgement long enough to risk deep understanding?

    I get a sense in all of these discussions that pro-gunners just so desperately want to be heard and understood.

    I am a peaceful person, but I admit I am afraid a lot of the time. I wish I didn’t agree with certain pro-gun positions, but sometimes I do. I would like for there to be no gun violence. But we have so many guns and so many criminals and so many broken systems. If there was a ten percent chance of a deranged killer coming to my door, I would be more inclined to own a gun. If there were a ten percent chance of a killer arriving at my child’s school, I would be inclined to want to have an armed guard at the school.

    That is fear working in me. How do I deal with the fear?

    Perhaps armed guards are a part of a solution. Maybe in ten or twenty years we will have been unable to change our culture, we will have significantly reduced the numbers of criminals and the deranged who have guns/access to guns. 

    Perhaps the police will have fewer guns. Perhaps the government will be more transparent, perhaps we will more and better political choices at election time. Perhaps then the law abiding will be more willing to slow down the rate at which we buy guns.

    Is this possible? What would the deep changes in our culture look like that would free people of the fear?

  22. These Walter Mitty protectors will be so busy fantasizing about using their gun to thwart an attacker, that a real threat will likely waltz right on in…

  23. Well, you could put armed guards in schools, but then you are trading death by mass shooting for death by accidental discharge. It’s not really a net gain.

  24.  When schools barely have enough funds to cover books and educational supplies, paying an armed guard, never mind one that’s well trained, can be problematic purely on a financial level.

  25.  Prolly because grade school children shouldn’t feel like they’re living in a 24/7 warzone, and we shouldn’t have to pay the absurd amounts of taxes it would take to fully fund armed guards in schools where we can’t even afford text books and teacher salaries.

    Why shouldn’t there be reasonable gun laws?

  26. I wonder if a security guard, standing at the doorway of Sandy Hook elementary, thinking how easy his job is, would have suspected and been able to stop the shooter anyhow. 

    If anything, we’d probably have had one more dead person that day.

  27. Why shouldn’t there be armed guards in schools?

    Better question: why is it that we even need to consider the need for armed guards in schools, when most other societies are able to prevent school massacres without them?

  28. Easy one!  Because when there are no armed people willing to kill in the school, you might have a tragedy if one shows up.  Pursuing a policy of emplacing armed killers will guarantee it.

    When I was a child, there were no cops in the local schools.  Several times children brought their parent’s guns in; in each case the gun was confiscated, the child’s parents were informed, the parents applied limited, disciplinary corporal punishment, and these children have gone on to lead useful, productive lives.  Now, though, there are armed cops in all the local schools, and kids who make bad decisions or mistakes that create “teaching moments” are assaulted and placed in the school to prison pipeline.  Unless they are wealthy white kids, of course!  In those cases every kid in the school learns the lesson that the wealthy and privileged are not subject to the rule of law, and behavior that’s considered punishably sociopathic in the poor is perfectly OK for the rich.  These things are the inevitable and proven results of placing armed guards in schools.

    This is all rather well documented, too.  Check out the cites on the ACLU’s fact sheet or the wikipedia page or any of Skiba’s papers.

    LaPierre is a nut and a disgrace to the American political discourse.   That doesn’t mean he’s entirely wrong about the shameful exploitation of this and other tragedies by anti-gun fanatics and schoolyard authoritarians. Our children are being harmed – provably harmed! – by the policies these people advocate.

  29. The number of children shot in schools was at most about 1% of the kids killed by firearms this year.  Most of those children were killed in their own homes or by their own family members.  In other words, the kids are much safer in an unprotected school than they are anywhere else.

  30. Hard to get an AD when you leave the gun in the holster, but I guess you are assuming everyone hired would be TSA-level nitwits. Reasonable, I guess. 

  31. How many nations on earth need armed guards in schools?  Only failed states such as Afghanistan, Somalia, and the United States.  In civilized nations, the state is able to control the criminally insane through subtler means, such as medical care and law enforcement.

  32. In Boston we have actual cops stationed at every high school, but they are mostly around to keep the kids from getting violent with each other. I don’t see how we could afford cops at every school without impacting the resources available for education.

  33. And if the gun’s in the holster, the NRA volunteer will be dead before he’s had time to realise that there’s an attack.

  34. Put armed guards in every school in the nation and I guarantee that more than a hundred rounds will be accidentally discharged per year.

  35. LE is far better trained than your average armed civilian, and far more expensive to employ. And last I checked Accidental discharges outnumbered “Defensive gun uses”.

  36. That’s the point, the armed police ARE the armed guards. They are trained in specific situations, get regular certifications, and do this for a living. They are our trained militia. If everyone has a gun, then we live in a constant state of threat and fear like some parts of the Middle East. Are we not civilized past the concept of settling conflict amongst ourselves with a weapon? Who wants to live like that? Who wants that quality of life? 

    Seems like gun owners are the most fearful. They buy hoards of guns when people threaten to ‘take them away’, they want to intimidate by carrying firearms on their person in the open like the sherif of the wild west with none of the responsibility of that kind of service. Seems like these people are just a big built in buying block for the gun lobby. They are doing exactly what these gun people want.

  37. that’s right. I am sure many of the same people who want armed guards in their kids’ schools are the same ones that believe their taxes are too high.

  38. So fire some teachers. I mean, go into any school and you’ll find dozens of them. Why on earth do they need so many? I mean, one or two, I could understand, but schools are just full of them, and I’m sure they’re not all needed. Especially given that experience has shown that teachers are nearly useless at stopping armed attackers. 

    “Fire a teacher, hire a gunman – because the safety of our kids comes first.”

  39.  Oh, we’re sorry that the deaths of those children is making you feel all ow-ey. And we really appreciate your propagandizing for the gun manufacturers.

  40. there is no greater penalty than being shot with your own gun.  There is no innocence when it comes to firearms.  If you own one, particularly an instrument that is meant only to kill human beings, you are in fact the author of your own obituary.  We in Canada are very conscious of the fact that our increasing firearm problems are being imported from the United States of America. Your great love of violence is destroying our country and the rest of the world.  Where is the shame?

  41. Your “anti-gun propaganda” is really just people trying to find solutions.

    And what penalty is going to prevent gun violence when the perpetrator is planning to kill himself afterward?

  42. No one is saying there is a ‘magic law’ that is insane. What is with this all or nothing way of thinking? No one follows laws they do not want to. If you don’t want to drive on the correct side of the road, you dont. You lock your door, right? Why? Does that keep people out of your car? Of course if people want to do something they do it, duh! The key is making deturants. If its more challenging for something to be acquired, less people will put forth the effort to acquire it. 

    The argument that defaults to ‘well, we cant stop is all so why try’ is insane. The NRA right now is like a child who has been eating candy 3 meals a day for 20 years, and the bad teeth, the hair falling out, and the bad skin are the gun tragedies. Now the nation is saying, ‘you can still have candy, but lets put some veggies into your diet,’ and they are having a fit.

    We make people jump through hoops to vote, even take away that right in some cases, we seem to have no real qualms about search and seizer, but the ability to own and carry an assault riffle trumpets everything? Comeon.

  43. A magic law does not exist that will stop people intent on doing harm to themselves or others. If you’re planning on taking a life, a feel-good law is not going to deter you.

    I don’t expect a “magic” law. I expect effective laws, like the gun-control laws that Australia enacted after the Port Arthur massacre in 1996. They haven’t had a mass shooting since, yet people can still hunt and stuff! It’s not wizardry, it’s common f***ing sense.

  44. I really think the “magic law” should do with mental health treatment…  Take some of the money away from the prisons and move it into mental health.  It is thought that 1 in 6 people in prisons have metal health problems,HRW,,USA,3fe482a57,0.html
    Hey look at that – a reference

  45. Frankly, if you the type of person that identifies yourself as someone “who take[s] the 2nd Amendment seriously” I don’t you near my kid.

    “I take the 2nd Amendment seriously” is damn near synonymous with “I believe that most situations can be solved better with a gun”.

  46. However, most LE would be severely embarrassed by the safety, speed, accuracy, and professionalism displayed by those armed citizens who take the 2nd Amendment seriously.

    Then why do I only ever seem to hear from the idiots who think that opening fire on James Holmes in a darkened, crowded theater would have been a great idea?  Why didn’t I hear any of these safe, quick, accurate, and professional gun enthusiasts shout down those idiots and tell them the grownups are trying to talk?

    These responsible gun owners I hear so much about never seem to actually take part in these discussions.

  47. It’s not the “average armed citizens” that worry me. It’s the bad guys who steal their guns and murder innocent bystanders with them.

    Like the woman who became the first victim of this massacre, my next-door neighbor was one of those law-abiding folks who happened to be a gun enthusiast. I didn’t fear being shot by him. But after his house was broken into and his collection of dozens of firearms was stolen I feared what the now-well-armed criminals in my community might do with them.

    You can’t make it ridiculously easy for law-abiding folks to own guns if you want to keep them out of the hands of criminals.

  48. Oh, of course. The reason the U.S. stands alone among developed nations for gun violence is that we don’t lock up enough people. It’s all so clear now!

  49. They are trained in specific situations, get regular certifications, and do this for a living. They are our trained militia.

    Exactly. They are people who are so dedicated to living a life of violent conflict that they volunteer to be poorly paid and put in danger while working with violent criminals both in uniform and out.  I do not want my children to be in the care of strangers authorized to shoot people.  It’s wrong and evil to force me to do this.

  50. previous bans didn’t prevent shootings.

    Previous bans didn’t prevent shootings because the kinds of bans we’ve put in place are ineffective:

    * Banning a certain type of weapon within city limits doesn’t deter gang violence when those weapons are readily available a short drive away.

    * Requiring a criminal background check for certain kinds of gun sales won’t prevent criminals from buying guns if they can pick up the same weapon at a gun show.

    * Even if criminals or mentally ill people are prevented from buying guns, they can easily steal them from the many law-abiding people who own them. You can’t make guns ridiculously easy for law-abiding people to get and still make them hard for everyone else to get.

    The only way gun regulation works is if we do it the same way most countries do: restrict ownership for some or all kinds of guns for EVERYONE. Just like we do with things like explosives or biological agents.

    Where I come from schools do have doors and guards, and nobody even questions if that’s necessary. It is.

    That’s the problem we’re trying to CHANGE, sport.

  51.  When you argue that mental illness is the problem you are in fact arguing for gun control.  You seem to agree that the trick here is to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.  There is no way to do that except extensive background checks and even psychological assessments of gun purchasers.  These are all gun control policies that it seems like everyone could agree to, so I don’t understand why this discussion is so adversarial.  When pressed, any responsible gun owner will admit that some basic precautions have to be made regarding who can buy guns so I don’t understand why we can’t have a serious conversation about what those precautions should be.

    Why “shut up libs” instead of “OK, here are the revisions to current gun control measures I as a responsible gun owner think would be reasonable”?

  52. Did you know that when you cut and paste from NRA talking points, it is immediately obvious from the typography?  Also, the logic.

  53. Canadians can’t resist our wanton, gun-crazy, ultraviolent culture?   Shameful.   We look to our neighbor to the north as a shining example of how to behave ourselves when we travel.  For the record, I’m fairly ashamed that so much of what defines the USA is based on violence, but that’s just something a lot of us have to live with.   Then again, there are a lot of us who don’t give a puckered frog’s arse what Canada, or the rest of the world, thinks.   Usually those are the ones defining the culture, so there’s that to deal with as well.    Also, I don’t own a firearm.   I used to, but then I became less and less comfortable with having it in the house, even very well secured, so it was reduced to tiny bits after about an hour with the bandsaw.    I didn’t want the responsibility anymore, and selling it was just passing the buck.     

  54. Because they could impact the profits of gun manufacturers.  Did we learn nothing from Big Tobacco?  Nothing at all?

  55. There are several hundred accidental discharge deaths, many of the children, every year.  They just don’t happen all at the same time in the same place, so they get local media attention at best. More guns = more gun deaths. It’s a fact. Get used to it.

  56. “More than a hundred” could be debatable, but read “News of the Weird” sometime for a summary of all the people who accidentally shot themselves, or go ask the guy who made the mistake of hunting with Dick Cheney.

    Then there will be the non-accidental shootings from when guards’ guns are swiped, when a guard gets angry at a student who is acting up, when the guard is the “insane” person who shouldn’t have a gun to begin with.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the problem with the argument for “legitimate” uses of guns is that you can never know what a gun will eventually be used for.

  57. As far as I know there are no official statistics for accidental discharges because there is no reporting requirement unless the bullet hits someone. 

    That said, the accidental discharge rate for properly maintained guns in a holster is very very low. 

  58. “That’s the problem we’re trying to CHANGE, sport.”

    Making something illegal with stiff penalties totally works; it’s why we have so little drug use and copyright infringement in the United States.

  59. And how is it that every other developed nation on earth seems to have controlled their rate of gun violence if laws designed to do so are all destined to fail?

  60. But it’s incredibly stupid to assume that laws which have been effective in every culturally similar country on Earth would be completely ineffective here because our nation isn’t exactly the same.

  61.  To make this an argument you would need to adduce some evidence that the places in question are different in ways that actually make a difference to the policies in question.  Simply pointing out that something is possible does not establish it as true or even as likely.

  62. We’re not culturally similar to any other western nation on earth when it comes to guns and violence.  It makes us different in this regard from other countries we share things like language and religion and legal systems with.

  63. We’re not culturally similar to any other western nation on earth when it comes to guns and violence.  It makes us different in this regard from other countries we share things like language and religion and legal systems with.

    I disagree.  Europe has a longer history of gun violence than the US, very rich and long military traditions, and a very long tradition of hunting.  I really don’t think the US is nearly so exceptional in this sense as gun control opponents so often claim.

  64. @twitter-410326822:disqus :

    We’re not culturally similar to any other western nation on earth when it comes to guns and violence. 

    We were once very culturally similar to Australia in that regard. The turning point came after the aforementioned massacre in 1996, when their nation collectively decided that an unrestricted right to bear arms was less important than preventing similar tragedies.

    Even so, the first and only time I ever fired a real firearm was in Australia back in ’98 (it was a shotgun on a ranch). They found a balance that worked for them. I hope like hell that we do the same.

  65. When you say different, do you mean somehow inferior to the rest of the world? I don’t mean this as an insult, but I’ve heard this before and I think it’s just BS.

    We can’t implement universal healthcare because we’re different.

    We can’t have sensible gun control because we’re different.

  66. Dude, you come on here whinging about how the NRA is being treated unfairly, about how the NRA is just a bunch of concerned citizens, and you pretend that they’re anything other than the gun manufacturers’ interest group. What do you expect? Oh, and by the way, the NRA’s pressure to keep people-killing guns readily available is directly responsible for the deaths of 10s of thousands of Americans, as well as the deaths of those 20 babies in CT. About whose deaths you said nothing.

  67. I love it when people moan about ‘politicising’ an issue. Here’s news: everything is affected by politics. When you do a shit in the morning, that colour is down to some food standards legislation. This issue is already political, and obviously a problem, people are just looking for ways to stop this happening again.

  68.  Then why are you being so adversarial?  It seems from this comment that there’s a lot of grounds for agreement.  Responsible gun owners all seem to favor some form of gun control, often stricter than the current regime, but when people you perceive as being on “the other side” try to talk to you about it you guys go off the deep end.

  69. Because, of course, flipping a coin in the air every day in every school in America is a recipe for a guaranteed tails. The appeal to probability is a formal fallacy.

  70. Particularly when they’re the lobbying group responsible for ensuring that Americans have easy access to semi-automatic assault weapons and high capacity magazines.

  71. In other words, only a fool would object to the NRA’s agenda, and smart people who don’t believe in boogeymen adopt their policies part and parcel.

  72. Perhaps if they had offered some actual sense of responsibility and thoughtful consideration, and not acted in a way perceived as antagonistic by the majority of the [grieving] nation, they would be less like the “bogeyman” they are being treated as. 

  73. … and if more money were spent on mental health services, perhaps someone would have been well trained to assess the shooter’s situation and respond accordingly.

  74. It is, but that doesn’t make all instances of it’s use correct. As humans we have the ability to draw logical conclusions from known facts, I think in this case the original poster is correct, a determined gunman knowing of the presence of the guard would most likely shoot him first.

  75. But the anti-gun folks are going to have to stop throwing out disingenuous nonsense before any such productive conversation can possibly take place.

    Likewise for the pro-gun side.  This “For thee, not for me” bullshit is exactly the problem with your position I’m trying to describe.

    You’re also characterizing the entire pro-gun control side of the argument as being equivalent to the most ill-informed and least-willing to compromise.  Would you like me to make an equivalent assumption about you? 

    As far as reasonable measures, increased uniformity of gun control measures across states; certification for gun ownership with expiration dates (so it requires renewal, i.e. continued demonstration that you are competent to responsibly handle a firearm); closing the gun show loophole.  Sound pretty reasonable to you?

    Just one point that I’d like to see you be able to grapple with: the second amendment is not really the issue, here.  The second amendment is about defending oneself from government oppression but that’s simply not reasonable in the 21st century.  You cannot defend yourself from the US military with household firearms.  That’s not really why you want to own guns and it’s not really why you oppose gun control.  Can you admit that much?

  76. As a European, can I just ask why the 2nd amendment is so important to you?

    I’m curious to find out what drives you (and many others like you) to uphold owning weapons designed to kill and labelling it as civil liberty, or freedom. What the rest of the western world has trouble understanding, is how the ownership of weapons designed to kill, outweighs the lives of your fellow citizens, including children.

  77. Exactly. When you make it easy for law-abiding people to own those guns, you make it easy for criminals and psychos to get them too.

  78. Volunteers like Pusley?

    The people who volunteer to do this are liable to make paedophile priests look like saints.  How much will it cost to screen them?

  79. And can you name even one instance in which a law-abiding citizen prevented a tragedy with an assault rifle? Preferably an example in which an ordinary firearm wouldn’t have done the job just as well?

  80. Well, personally, I wasn’t relying on statistics, just the youtube videos I see of cops shooting themselves.  I figure most such incidents don’t make it to youtube, but I can’t prove that.

    Hey, let’s google for cops shooting themselves… look, “About 65,600,000 results” in 0.49 seconds!

    (rolls eyes – Mark Stephan) and if you actually look at the Google results, you’ll see… cops accidentally shooting themselves and others. But I guess that does not fit your pre-existing ideas so you won’t bother to look.

  81. (rolls eyes – Charlie B) and searching for “Abraham Lincoln was an alien” brought up about 8,960,000 results!  I never knew…

    (hahaha interestingly enough, the first link: “Was Abraham Lincoln an alien from outer space? – Yahoo! Answers”)

  82. I’m just basing that off local reports of local law enforcement officers injuring themselves.  Which is probably an undercount, as they don’t all end up in the paper.  Though I’ve seen statistics for LA that indicate they have an annual rate of about 18 accidental discharges that result in injury each year.  That’s not even counting when they deliberately shot someone who turned out the to be the wrong person – i.e the crime victim rather than the perpetrator, which also happens with alarming frequency.

  83. I’m not defending assault rifles.  I think people who see guns as important for self defense are mostly delusional.

    I’m pointing out that people have a horribly fucked sense of what murder looks like in this country, and therefore what’s going to be effective in reducing it.  

    Even if everything worked out perfectly, and you banned assault rifles and you banned high capacity magazines, and people all over the country turned them in, and they were never used in another shooting again, you’re talking about at best, a couple percentage points drop in the murder rate.  Which would be good, sure.  But it’s a drop in the bucket.

  84.  Did you read the same post I did?  Where’s the reference to fairness that you saw?  I don’t see any.

  85. I’m not defending assault rifles. 

    Well the NRA is. In my mind, their unwavering stance that ordinary citizens should have unfettered access to a weapon with such an overwhelming harm-to-benefit ratio proves that they deserve every bit of the “boogeyman” status they’ve earned.

  86. You’re probably right on the psychos thing. 

    I think criminals will get them either way (purchase second-hand or possibly on the black market).  I think of Mexico’s drug war that is taking place now.

  87. Because there’s a difference between rationally trying to find a solution and the bumper-sticker responses both pro and anti-2a people use when  trying to persuade you to their point of view.  The latter (the bumper sticker responses) is what I’m adversarial towards.   It’s not helpful.   I’ve already mentioned that I don’t own a firearm, but that the issue isn’t black and white for me.      That’s the deep end?

  88. Care to take a guess where those Mexican drug cartels are getting most of their weapons?

    Yes, you’re right that we probably won’t ever be able to keep guns out of the hands of criminals completely, but we don’t have to make it so ridiculously easy. Just look at Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. (OK, pretty much all of Europe) etc. etc.

  89.  You’re telling me conservatives don’t act like they’re all-knowing perfect people?  That they’re never self-righteous?  I’m laughing my ass off because of how many self-righteous, arrogant conservatives I know who think they know what’s best for everyone else and what everyone else should believe.

    Hint: you’re telling people what they should believe right now.

  90. Here’s an example of you being snide and dismissive instead of honestly confronting a serious argument (that more guns means more accidental deaths; a cursory look at gun death statistics will support that contention):

    Um, no. There’s never been a case of 100+ rounds fired and 20+ deaths resulting from accidental discharge from a semiautomatic firearm.

    Plus, this comment is a lot more reasonable than your previous ones. Yes, both sides have contingents flinging bumper sticker slogans unhelpfully at each other; initially you were trying to say there was more of it on the pro-gun control side. The implication is that this side needs to “clean up their act” before any progress can be made. benenglish was making the same argument. It’s unreasonable because the pro-gun control side is no more uniformly unreasonable or capable of reigning in its most extreme members than is the anti-gun control side. You should probably be appealing to the more reasonable pro-gun control people rather than trying to alienate the most extreme pro-gun control people.

  91. This thread is about violence internal to the USA — a police matter, not a military matter.  Unless you think the military should be the police or vice versa this is not immediately relevant to the argument here.

    FWIW, I agree with you on this score.  A lot of people disagree with both of us and think the illegal drone terrorism campaign in Pakistan is necessary.  If this is the issue you want to argue about then you should go argue with the people who think the drone campaign is necessary.  I doubt many people here will disagree with you when you say it is not, but I can understand why they’d be frustrated that you’re trying to derail a conversation about police matters by making it about military matters.

  92. Drone Strikes:
    In last 8 years: “Estimated as between 1,908 and 3,375″, “Children reported killed: 176″

    The Centers for Disease Control says 11,493 people died from gun homicides. 5 Average number of child deaths in gun-related accidents or suicide EVERY DAY
    9 Number of kids under 19 years old killed by guns EVERYDAY

    “More children and teens died from gunfire in 2008 and 2009 — 5,750 — than the number of U.S. military personnel killed in action in Iraq and Afghanistan.”

    We are so much better at killing right here at home.

  93. And what is the measure of effectiveness we’re in pursuit of – zero gun-related deaths? I don’t see that ever happening, as much as it pains me to say.

    That is exactly the unrealistic expectation that Brainspore is arguing is a straw man.  Why are you pretending that Brainspore said essentially the opposite of what he actually said?

  94. You’re acting as if this is a problem no other country has ever had to deal with. It isn’t, and meaningful reductions in violence have been accomplished with a number of different gun control laws. How much is too much? That’s a value judgment, but a reasonable analysis of the cost/benefit of any one kind of gun would be a great place to start.

    Example: semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity ammo clips have been responsible for a number of tragedies, but I haven’t heard even a single anecdotal story in which one was instrumental in preventing a crime. Cost/benefit analysis: ban the damn things.

  95. Being pessimistic and saying it can never happen just prevents us from even trying.
    And being offended by the invasive oversight of a an ineffective government, but demanding the same government to put armed guards at our schools makes absolutely no sense,

  96. Yes, I wish a lot more conversations like this one were happening right now rather than what StJon correctly characterizes as both sides screaming bumper sticker slogans at each other.

    An expiration date would simply add bureaucracy and expense where none is required.  Violations of certification are currently addressed by the failure to be able to subsequently pass the background check.  I would be in favor of making sure the background checks are accurate and changes to the eligibility status of an individual actually get followed up on.

    I know other responsible gun owners who think periodic renewal is actually a good idea, and I tend to agree with them.  My main motivation here is that — just to riff on a currently favored argument from the gun advocate side — mentally ill people aren’t born with stamps on their foreheads marking them as such.  It’s very common for the symptoms of mental illness not to manifest until well into adulthood by which time someone may have already acquired a firearm and a license.  I think renewals make sense because of the logistic impossibility of doing the eligibility status followups that you mention.  I just can’t imagine an oversight process capable of handling that complex of a problem; expiration and renewal forces individual gun owners to take the responsibility to demonstrate that they’re capable.

    Further, I do not trust the anti-gun folks to come up with any definition of “continued demonstrations that you are competent to responsibly handle a firearm” that doesn’t put the bar impossibly high.  I won’t dismiss the idea out of hand but I think we’ll be arguing over language for a decade.

    I don’t think the definition should be made by “anti-gun folks”, I think it should be reached through compromise from reasonable conversations like this one.  You’re probably right that it wouldn’t be easy but given the fact that firearm safety experts should have the most input and most of those are responsible gun owners I think there’s grounds to believe in a reasonable compromise, here.  I think educating “anti-gun folks” who simply don’t know much about guns would have to be a big part of all of this.  (For my part, I’ve been considering taking a class and renting a gun at a range.) 

    Fair points on the “gun show loophole”.  I happily concede that the real problem is unlicensed and unaccountable sellers.  Maybe the lack of a federal standard on this issue could be addressed as a part of making state gun laws more uniform (although I would rather see states voluntarily do so that see the federal government mandate such a thing, maybe cooperation between state and federal is possible).

    As an aside, what reasons did you assume I had?

    Basically, something like this:

    f you’re curious, I shoot because it’s what I did with my father who died when I was young and I feel closer to his memory every time I shoot one of his guns.  I shoot because it’s a mind-clearing exercise in a crazy-making world; they don’t call it “Republican yoga” without a reason.  I shoot because my youthful dreams of Olympic glory have never died.  I’ve relegated them to the file in my head where I also hold the dream of banging Princess Di (Hey, it coulda happened!  She was single for a while!), iow the things I’ll never achieve but still think fondly of.  I own guns because they are marvelous historical artifacts. 
    There’s more, but I hope you get the picture.

    I think those are good and honest reasons for being a gun owner and I really respect you putting them out there.

    Thanks for helping me believe we’re not completely fucked in terms of talking across political divides.  I really do respect your position, especially now that it’s been spelled out a little more clearly.

  97. I think originally, it had to do with our war for independence how it was fought by militias.  (my feeling) is that it is based on a general distrust of government, and for our “right” to revolt and regain our liberty if it comes down to it.  It’s been talked about in this thread about whether or not that makes sense anymore when we spend so much arming our military if we could ever take the country back from a military state…

  98. Because in 99.9% of schools around the US, these NRA volunteers will spend every hour of every day sitting on their ass doing nothing, unlike a LEO who spends their working days out dealing with shit. I’m making no comparison between the gun-toting rich white guys and real police or military who are trained and justified in owning and using weapons.

  99. Wasn’t this person a 20 yr old adult who would have been out of school years before, and pulled out of school and ‘home schooled’ (which to someone from the UK seems like a fucking recipe for disaster regardless). In which case – the arsenal-building, apocalypse-fearing mother was probably the only person that could see any of this coming – and maybe shouldn’t have been quite so keen on training Junior to be firearms proficient.

  100. I’m pretty sure it couldn’t be won with assault rifles! Tanks and jets and rockets would clearly win!

    If this is the case, would you not agree that it’s time to re-asses/scrap the amendment altogether?

  101. “All I’ve seen since minutes after that tragedy occurred has been a relentless sleet of anti-gun propaganda and one or two thoughtful pieces on mental health and restriction of access to firearms by those suffering from mental health issues, which the NRA has supported since 1968.”

    Please tell me what this sentence is, if not a complaint about the NRA being mistreated.

  102. I would also agree that it’s a human right to revolt against an oppressive government.  As to if current weapons in the hands of civilians could win against the U.S. military, well, it’s debatable if Al Qaeda and the Taliban are winning (or have won).  We lost in Viet Nam also…  In those cases, tactics count for a lot as well.  But then again using such tactics, you could probably win (or hold off) such a military using smaller arms…
    As you can see, I’m not on a side, I just like the thought exercise and debate :)

  103. In which case, the 2nd amendment should be read as giving each US citizen the right to own tanks, military aircraft, ICBMs, and nuclear weapons.  I hear what you’re saying about the right to rebellion but I think it’s just naive to think the 2nd amendment still applies under the current technological regime.

    I do think there are legitimate reasons to want to own guns but I don’t think defending yourself from the black helicopters is one of them. There’s a sort of romantic appeal to the idea but I can’t see where that’s anything but John Wayne-style adolescent fantasy.

  104. “groups out there using a tragedy to push an agenda.”

    Yes, like the NRA using this tragedy to promote gun sales.

  105. Yes, if having a private stockpile of assault weapons was an effective deterrent against the Federal Government then the events at the Branch Davidian Compound would have unfolded very differently.

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