Gun Safety

I’m not a huge believer in reframing, but I do like “gun safety” instead of “gun control”. Easy availability of assault weapons is a safety issue for everyone.

None of the gun owners I know would recommend an assault weapon like the one used Friday, or the one used in Portland, or the one used in Aurora, all variants of the M-16, for “home defense”. Those weapons all fire high-energy rounds that can penetrate walls and ceilings, and the occupants therein.

So why don’t we drop the “home defense” bullshit and restrict those guns to the shooting range. If you must own an AR-15 or Bushmaster or AK-47, it should stay locked in your personal gun cabinet at the range, never to leave. If you change ranges, a bonded courier can take it to the new one. The same is true of the high-capacity clips for your Glock, your 100-round drum magazines, and all the other expensive toys that let you bang off a couple of dozen rounds in a minute. Yeah, that’s expensive and a nuisance. So are the laws surrounding other potentially unsafe pursuits.

This seems like a pretty simple compromise but I’ve never seen it mentioned. I don’t really care what people do at a gun range – I just don’t want schools, shopping malls and movie theaters turned into gun ranges.

88 replies
  1. 1
    Joey Maloney says:

    I want some legislator to introduce a bill that outlaws unregulated possession of any weapon invented after 1783, explictly on the grounds that it satisfies the “original intent” of the Founders.

  2. 2
    Derelict says:

    It pains me to type this, but the fact of the matter is that we will not be changing our gun laws in any way that regulates guns even slightly. The power of the NRA–real or perceived–combined with the power of the arms industry and America’s overall love of firearms means we will never take any substantive steps to rein in guns.

    And as hard as it is to believe, the most utterly stupid idea–that we need to arm teachers–is the one that’s actually gaining traction.

    So, no, its doesn’t matter how many children die, or how many families are shattered. America will never do anything other than make guns more and more easily available, and more easy to carry and use.

  3. 3
    mark says:

    Best article I’ve ever read. Serioulsy. We worship Moloch, god of guns by Gary Wills:

  4. 4
    Elizabelle says:

    Great idea re leaving the weapon locked at the range. And the gun owners themselves can bear the cost of top-flight security so that the range cannot become the source of stolen and diverted weapons.

    Interesting blogpost by Paul Krugman.

    Whistling Past the Gun Lobby

    President Obama’s coalition won without the white rural South. Perhaps we can win on gun safety issues without them too?

  5. 5
    sheithappens says:

    Cole hit on something in his last post which was probably a fluke but may as well run with it.

    To win the messaging war on this the way to go is to label the gun freaks as people who are cowards with insecurity issues. That is a kick in the balls for a redneck. How are they gonna respond to that? You have them boxed in with nowhere to go in the debate.

    Seriously, just keep hammering the right on that. I’m sure there are scientific studies that prove it because I happen to believe it is mostly true but doesn’t matter. Facts never matter when debating the right. It’s all about always being on the offensive and turning it into a pissing contest.

    Right wingers hate being called insecure cowards because…well a lot of them probabyl are that’s why. So that is the way you argue gun control. Not because it’s a danger to society, but because REAL men don’t need guns that’s why.

  6. 6
    Elizabelle says:

    I’m getting an ad for Concealed Carry magazine.

    Another ad has a white guy in a ski mask pointing a gun at me.

    What a thrill reading NRA and rightwing fantasy sites must be.

  7. 7
    beltane says:

    @Elizabelle: There also needs to be some kind of civil penalties involved like there are with illegal drugs. You want to own guns, fine. You or anyone else hurts someone with a gun you own, you forfeit your house. Tough civil penalties are the only thing that will put the “responsible” into responsible gun ownership.

  8. 8
    Jon says:

    They either want to play WOLVERINE or Navy Seal. Just look up all the “tactical” gear they sell at gun stores. No one needs an FBI agent Halloween costume to go with their home defense gun, much less their hunting gear.

    Ban everything that doesn’t require a reload after three shots. Ban handguns. Problem pretty much solved. Ask England.

    The next argument the totebaggers and NRA folks bring up is that then they’ll make bombs! The techniques required to make even the most rudimentary bomb make the comparison one between a bike you have to put together yourself (the bomb) and a Ferrari someone gives you the keys to.

  9. 9
    Rosie Outlook says:

    I’d go along with that, Mistermix, since by far the best home defense weapon is a pistol-gripped shotgun, followed by the largest caliber handgun you can control. But I fear that the idea is so sensible that neither side will have much use for it.

  10. 10
    cathyx says:

    It’s not the individual voters who are holding up gun control legislation. Just like it’s not the individual voters who are holding up expanding medicare for all. We should all know this by now.

  11. 11
    Jennifer says:

    Better yet, why not just recognize that there is no need, or right, for any private citizen to possess one of these types of weapons, and take them off the market?

    Sure, I know your average small-dicked rightwinger gets a stiffy from pretending to be some sort of paramilitary hero by handling/shooting these things. That’s not sufficient reason for them to remain legal and available.

    They aren’t the majority, and even though they’ve got some wealthy and powerful lobbying interests on their side, it’s high time we stopped letting them and their neuroses dictate the law of the land.

  12. 12
    beltane says:

    @sheithappens: Nothing more cowardly than hording guns from fear of scary people and black helicopters. So sad they’re too big to hide behind mommy’s skirt but the time does come when they have to grow up and act like men.

  13. 13
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    This seems like a pretty simple compromise but I’ve never seen it mentioned.

    Isn’t this the British system? You keep your hunting rifle at a licensed gun club and check it out when you go hunting.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    @Jon: A bomb is not a prosthetic phallus and so will only appeal to a much smaller subgroup of nuts.

  15. 15
    c u n d gulag says:

    I read an interesting idea this morning. And I can see some potential on selling this idea to politicians (either that, or I’m delusional again).

    Treat gun ownership like owning cars and driving them.

    Create laws that demand that all gun owners not only have to go for mandatory training, they have to pay forlicenses/permits annually, and they also have to have “Gun Insurance.”
    You have a simple hunting rifle? Very low rate.
    You have a Glock? Very high rate.
    You have an assault rifle? Very, very high rate.
    Got a teenage boy, or several? Very high rate. Even higher, depending on the type of gun.
    Have a young, white, adult male, late-teens to mid-20′s (the typical psychiatric profile of a mass murderer who uses guns)? See “teenager” above.
    Have a gun accident in the house? No guns, no insurance, for 5 years.
    Guns stolen, and it’s unreported within a specified time? No guns, no insurance for 10 years.
    Someone in the house has serious violent psychiatric issues? Either no guns, no insurance – or prohibitive pricing, to keep guns in that house.
    Be caught drunk or high with a gun? Lose the gun and insurance for X# of years.
    Fire, or even point, a gun at a person, when it’s not a clear case of self-defense? Permanent revocation of gun permit and insurance.

    So, like with cars, you want to insure an old clunker, or a family car? Low rates.
    You want to insure some sports car that’s about as fast going 0 to 60 as a rocket? Ok – but you’ve got to pay the price. Give a teenager access to that sports car – even higher price.

    This way, if you want a gun? Fine, you and everyone in the house has to be trained. You pay for the training. You pay annually to renew that license. And you pay for the insurance. The more training, and the more people trained, the lower your rates are.

    Right now, in some areas, it’s easier to buy a gun, than it is to get certain decongestants and antihistamines.

  16. 16
    Jon says:

    @beltane: Emphasis on the BLACK helicopters. Back when they thought it was teh blaaaaah in the “urban” areas with the machine guns, boy oy boy, we let Clinton pass a law for that. No problem.

    That’s what “law abiding citizens” means: it means guns for white people.

  17. 17
    Halcyan says:

    @beltane: Fat lot of good it would do here holding the mom accountable for what happened with her guns. Oh wait.

  18. 18
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    To you a “simple compromise” is a direct assault on the FREEEEDUMBZZZZZZZZ!!!! of gun nuts everywhere.

    Somebody likened how we changed the entire culture of tobacco in this country despite all the big money behind it. Took 50 years to get to this point. I expect any effort to change the gun/violence culture in this country to take about the same amount of time.

  19. 19
    JohnK says:

    The goobers right to play post apocalyptic fantasy is taking my right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This isn’t 1790 and the weapons in this civil war aren’t firearms.

  20. 20
    Ben Franklin says:

    Maybe you’re putting the cart before the horse. McVey used fertilizer…..Mohammed Atta used box-cutters and a jet. Let’s get to the source of nuttery.

    WASHINGTON — After the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona and others at a supermarket in Tucson in early 2011, the Justice Department drew up a detailed list of steps the government could take to expand the background-check system in order to reduce the risk of guns falling into the hands of mentally ill people and criminals.

    Most of the proposals, though, were shelved at the department a year ago as the election campaign heated up and as Congress conducted a politically charged investigation into the Operation Fast and Furious gun trafficking case, according to people familiar with the internal deliberations. It is not clear which, if any, of the conclusions were relayed to the White House.

  21. 21
    jayackroyd says:

    NRA’s actual power to affect elections is diminishing.

    There’s an argument that embracing gun safety boldly will help the Democrats a great deal more than trying to hang on to the aging white male demographic by acting timidly.

  22. 22
    Jennifer says:

    I’d also like to see a multi-billion dollar lawsuit filed by the parents of these kids, and taken on by a very powerful attorney. Said lawsuit grounded in the fact that the only real purpose of the type of weapon used in the killings is what it was used for…killing people. And let the gun manufacturer defend their “right” to profit by selling to the general public a product that is intended for a sole purpose which is illegal, i.e., murder.

  23. 23
    PeakVT says:

    @Elizabelle: The problem with the whistling past Dixie strategy, at least in this case, is that the gun culture isn’t an exclusively southern white phenomenon. It extends into the Midwest as well, where a lot of union members are also gun enthusiasts. (True gun nuts are already Republican voters.) If the Midwest was solidly blue at all levels then the Democrats could afford to lose some voters over the issue, but that’s not the situation at the moment.

  24. 24
    Ted & Hellen says:

    If you must own an AR-15 or Bushmaster or AK-47, it should stay locked in your personal gun cabinet at the range, never to leave. If you change ranges, a bonded courier can take it to the new one.

    But such a rule would inhibit the ability of the gun fetishist to fondle, stroke, and comfort his Precious each time he moves it to a new Gun Sitter, and would thus surely be unconstitutional.

    Gotta disagree with this talk of reframing to “gun safety.” Fuck that bullshit. Why are we forever backtracking and trying to placate right wing freaks, goddammit?

    I want to see terms like “Child Mass Murder Prevention Laws” along with “Lethal Weapon Control.” These are killing machines never imagined by the framers of the constitution, for god’s sake.

    Quit playing the Right’s game! “Gun safety” my ass.

  25. 25
    WereBear says:

    @sheithappens: To win the messaging war on this the way to go is to label the gun freaks as people who are cowards with insecurity issues. That is a kick in the balls for a redneck. How are they gonna respond to that? You have them boxed in with nowhere to go in the debate.

    I agree. Our biggest problem right now is how the maniacs have put us all in the asylum. They have normalized the crazy!

    Let’s arm teachers.
    Unions are bad for workers.
    Tax cuts grow the economy.
    Rich people do everything.
    Sex education is the only reason young people have sex.
    There is a war on Christmas.

    This is all insane. Yet we have paid shills, day after day, drip after drip, acting like this insanity is normal. It’s to be expected. It’s what we should think.

    That has to be pushed back, ruthlessly ridiculed, and society-shamed until these idiots are herded back into their dark grimy corners.

  26. 26
    jayackroyd says:

    @Jennifer: I think MM is trying to propose something that is obviously correct public policy–and any arguments against his idea expose the insanity involved in wanting a military weapon designed to kill many people at once in your home.

    You can say you love the power at the range, but there’s no justifiable reason for having one at your bedside.

    But I agree with you! If it were up to me we’d ban handguns, and assault weapons. Stick with hunting rifles and shotguns. If you really think you need a gun for home defense, the shotgun should be your weapon of choice anyway. Myself, if I were worried I’d install an alarm system and keep dangerous shit like shotguns in the garage.

  27. 27
    Petorado says:

    Funny thing is, the whole premise of the Iraq war was that there was this crazy guy who some people said had these bad weapons that could lead to mass deaths and we should take them away from him. Same thing right now with Iran and even in Syria.

    People in this country can be convinced that some weapons are too dangerous for everyone to have and that we will be safer if we deny crazy people the ability to obtain them.

  28. 28
    Ted & Hellen says:

    Also, please stop using the all-inclusive “WE” when referring to behaviors such as gun fetishism and other right wing bullshit.

    There are MILLIONS AND MILLIONS of Americans who have nothing to do with it.

    There is an annoying article on Slate right now baldly stating that mass shootings are the fault of all of us. Bullshit. I think Wayne Lapierre or whatever the fuck his name is bears a little more responsibility than my mother.

  29. 29
    snoey says:

    If you want to carry some concealed personal protection carry bear spray. You don’t have to aim much, and nobody is going to be interested in shooting each other after you push the button.

    It’s not going to be much fun for you either. If that bothers you you should think hard about whether you’re trying to save your life or to live out a movie scene

  30. 30
    Anton Sirius says:

    @c u n d gulag: I’ve been thinking much the same thing. Make ‘gun license’ have the same basic meaning as ‘driver’s license’, right down to the long wait at the DFR (Department of Firearm Registration) office.

    Of course the reflexive counter-argument is that you don’t have the constitutional right to drive a car. But I think a strong case can be made on constitutional grounds for something like that, and/or mistermix’s ‘leave your heavy weapons at the range’ idea, by focusing on the “well-regulated” part of the Second Amendment that the NRA tries so hard to ignore.

  31. 31
    Lolis says:

    The term gun violence prevention is even better.

  32. 32
    Elizabelle says:


    A point, but don’t those Midwest union members (and even farmers/rural types) send their kids to public school?

    Or parochial school? (And I haven’t heard anyone calling for arming Mother Superior yet).

    Separate them out, gently, into the spectrum of responsible gun owners, even gun “enthusiasts”, and gun-right-nuts.

    We can target too.

    Not only with weapons.

  33. 33
    WereBear says:

    All these outraged, responsible, gun owners, just point us to the group you belong to that is pressing for more safety, more training, and more responsibility; you know, the kind you already practice.

    Pick any one! We will eagerly join with you in your support of such an organization.

  34. 34
    SRW1 says:

    What about an obligation for a regular demonstration of fitness to own and handle guns? After all, that ‘well-regulated militia’ thing in the 2nd amendment must mean something, or mustn’t it?

  35. 35
    Halcyan says:

    @PeakVT: I think you are sort of assuming that gun owners are against gun laws, and I think that is an incorrect assumption.

    Just as there are plenty of folks across America, not just in the south, who think like the southern white male, there is now evidence that it is a losing coalition.

  36. 36
    beltane says:

    @Anton Sirius: The 2nd Amendment could, in the minds of non-wingnut justices, be interpreted to mean that those who keep and bare firearms must also be active National Guard members. Their rights extend as far as their membership in a well-regulated militia.

    Pampered suburban ladies hording assault rifles in anticipation of the zombie apocalypse just doesn’t meet the standard.

  37. 37
    Elizabelle says:

    Very honestly, this is about the worst timing possible for the NRA.

    The massacre of cute little first graders, and their teachers and principal, in an elementary school.

    The same week a lone gunman shot up a shopping mall, during the Christmas shopping season.

    A few weeks after President Obama was re-elected, and the Senate stayed Democratic. Which proved individual voters can be powerful, and don’t trust a lot of the conventional wisdom, or conventional media.

    Just after an election in which many people were aware of, and concerned about, voter suppression (your rights and voice don’t count), and Citizens United and its emphasis on buying elections and the Congresscritter they preferred.

    This is a perfect storm.

    Aimed right at Wayne Lapierre and his ilk.

    About time.

  38. 38
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Anton Sirius:
    Yeah, and I can see how these 2nd Amendment gun fetishist’s will put this:
    “We all have 1st and 2nd Amendment Rights. If you’re free to go and shoot-off your mouth everywhere, I should be able to go and shoot-off my gun anywhere!”

  39. 39
  40. 40
    Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason says:

    @c u n d gulag: Good ideas all, but how do you do this against the phrase “The right to bear arms shall not be infringed.” Every one of these things is an infringement.

    This is where we’ve been stuck for decades.

  41. 41
    4tehlulz says:


    David Gregory, host of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” noted on the show Sunday that pro-gun rights senators in the new Congress had declined to go on the show to discuss guns two days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

    “We reached out to all 31 pro-gun rights Senators in the new Congress to invite them on the program to share their views on this subject this morning,” Gregory said. “We had no takers.”

  42. 42
    JohnK says:

    @Derelict: if Nancy Smash gets the gavel, laws will be passed.

  43. 43
    PeakVT says:

    @Elizabelle: I agree that gun enthusiasts could be separated from gun nuts over time, but the former can’t be dismissed in the short term. (I’m making the assumption that there won’t be many people having an overnight change of attitude due to the latest massacre, which I think is reasonable to say, unfortunately.)

  44. 44
    leeleeFL says:

    No, your analogy is wrong. I can’t use free speech to incite violence. Use of a weapon to commit violence is surely in that catagory?

  45. 45
    beltane says:

    @4tehlulz: Of course they wouldn’t agree to show up. They don’t have the courage of their convictions or any other kind of courage for that matter.

    Notice how the always-ubiquitous-in-the-time-of-tragedy Sarah Palin has been strangely quiet.

    Cowards, all of them.

  46. 46
    Jennifer says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: It doesn’t specify the type of arms, and at the time it was written, about the most powerful personal armament was the barrel-load musket, good for a single shot about every couple of minutes, maybe every minute if the guy handling it was particularly adept at re-loading.

    There’s nothing in the Second Amendment that guarantees private citizens parity with organized armies in terms of the types of weapons they have the right to possess. The US has both nuclear and conventional missiles – but private citizens aren’t allowed to own these arms. That’s an “infringement” under the broad definition you’re using.

  47. 47
    Ben Franklin says:

    No takers, eh. emotions runs high.

    Fact is; we do a terrible job, as a country, providing support for mental health services.
    We have schizos, homeless on the streets. We discharge criminals when prisons or jails get overcrowded. We don’t stay alert in our neighborhoods for people who are a couple of sandwiches shy of a picnic…”He was so quiet, and he kept to himself” is what friends and neighbors routinely say about an exploded nutcase.

    Cart before horse. Because that’s what we do when emotionally charged and want to do something, something……

  48. 48
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Even if we cannot stop people from purchasing guns, I don’t see why there cannot be requirements placed on people who own guns in order to promote safety and accountability.

    Require registration of serial numbers with the state when ownership is transferred, require annual updates of contact information for registered gun owners, and mandatory reporting of stolen guns (with civil and/or criminal penalties if unreported guns are used in the commission of a crime). That’d be a good place to start.

    Sure, there’s a contingent of gun nuts who think firearm registration is the first step to Nazis, but fuck them. When Democrats made no serious efforts at gun control legislation after Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the back of the head at a political rally then I think we’re a long way from “false flag operations designed to TAKE OUR GUNZ AWAY”.

  49. 49
    Elizabelle says:

    AP’s got a backgrounder on Chuck Hagel up on their wire feed.

    He about to be nominated for something?

  50. 50
    beltane says:

    @Elizabelle: Sec of Defense I think.

  51. 51
    Scotty says:

    In terms of phraseology, I wish “deadly assault weapon control” would be used in place of “gun control”. It really frames the debate in terms of the control over firearms that most people are thinking about. These are the weapons that need to be dealt with, and I think you would pull more gun owners who are simply hunters over to your side.

  52. 52
  53. 53
    phillygirl says:

    “Gun safety” implies that guns, like cars, are perfectly acceptable, useful things, if only the goobers who own them would learn to shoot straight. That’s a lie. And “gun safety” laws will accomplish nothing. I might be ok with muskets, or an 1789 hunting rifle, but unless we pry anything else from their cold, dead hands, lunatics will hunt down 6-year-olds. That’s our political reality, and the one we’re gonna be stuck with no matter how delicately we reframe it.

  54. 54
    PeakVT says:

    @Halcyan: No, I’m not making the assumption that all gun owners are against all gun laws. I’m just saying that there are enough swing voters in gun-friendly Midwest states that forming a national coalition to pass gun control/safety legislation is more complicated than just ignoring Dixie.

  55. 55
    PeakVT says:

    @Elizabelle: Defense is the rumor, unfortunately.

  56. 56
    beltane says:

    @phillygirl: Better their hands are cold and dead than the hands of a child who has his or life ahead of them.

  57. 57
    amk says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    Create laws that demand that all gun owners not only have to go for mandatory training, they have to pay for licenses/permits annually, and they also have to have “Gun Insurance.”

    Win/win all around. Lotsa money (given the no. of guns being bandied about around 300 million) every year for the fucking fiscal debt cliff and a fight/fight between insurance lobby and the nra thugs. Bet the insurance industry covers all those ‘background checks’ and keeps track of all the nutcases and makes sure the guns into their itchy fingers.

  58. 58
    whidgy says:

    None of the gun owners I know would recommend an assault weapon like the one used Friday …. Those weapons all fire high-energy rounds that can penetrate walls and ceilings, and the occupants therein.

    No. Any qualms about the suitability of such a weapon for home defense springs from its lack of maneuverability, lack of a way to store it for quick access.

    Wall penetration is as much a problem with pistol calibres that are commonly recommended for home defense – such as a 40 S&W. There are tons of studies on this on the interwebs.

    Any round with sufficient power to penetrate into a person, will sail through two pieces of drywall.

  59. 59
    Mike G says:


    You want to own guns, fine. You or anyone else hurts someone with a gun you own, you forfeit your house.

    Require gun owners to carry insurance against causing injury or death, just like with owning a car. Then the insurance companies can sort the risk levels and costs, refuse to insure the mentally ill, etc.

    And it’s a “free market” solution which will generate profit for corporations, which will peel away opposition from some of the Repuke whores.

    On edit: amk said this already.

  60. 60
    JCT says:

    @4tehlulz: Why, you don’t think these pro-unregulated gun access guys are CHICKEN do you?

  61. 61
    gelfling545 says:

    @Derelict: I was stuck in the waiting room of a local tire store this am because of course the punctured tire was irreparable & therefore subjected to the ghastly “news” shows. First some fool let John Bolton talk on tv (“Obama has no interest in foreign policy”) which was bad enough but then they turned to the hideous events in CT. Some female news reader on I have no idea what program was stating that “Some say” (and I wish she’d named names because I would track these some down to spit on them)that teachers and perhaps even students should be taught to ATTACK when threatened and at least the implied suggestion that teachers didn’t do quite as much as they could have (“What else could have been done?”) in fighting off an armed man! Sweet God, what the hell is WRONG with us?

  62. 62
    Dave says:

    Um, all rounds from a firearm will penetrate walls. A 22LR will go through wall board. Any medium caliber handgun (i.e. self-defense type round .380, 9mm, 45 acp, 357 mg, 38 spcl, etc) will go through walls or cars. See

    And how does requiring a bonded courier stop somebody from deciding to break the law? It doesn’t.

    This is a magazine:

    This is a clip:

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:


    Oh, well, if there’s no way to prevent every death from guns, then let’s not do anything at all to regulate guns and send our kids to school wearing body armor every day. Problem solved!

  64. 64
    whidgy says:

    @Mnemosyne: The OP made a factual statement. Dave (and I) addressed that.

    Now you pop up, not address the facts at all, throw up some sort of strawman and add a dollop of sarcasm.

    You aren’t helping yourself.

  65. 65
    whidgy says:

    @Mnemosyne: The OP made a factual statement. Dave (and I) addressed that.

    Now you pop up, not address the facts at all, throw up some sort of strawman and add a dollop of sarcasm.

    You aren’t helping yourself.

  66. 66
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason:
    As part of ‘a WELL-REGULATED MILITIA.”

    How many of the 300 million guns, are owned by people who are part of “well-regulate militia’s?”

  67. 67
    Ejoiner says:

    And I’ve just started defriending “Friends” on FB over this. I’ve had several post warnings today about how Costas had better not try to talk about it during sporting events since they want to see a game and not hear liberals whine about gun control laws.

    For me this is a breaking point – I do not want to associate with nor hear from anyone who wants to defend our current status quo. England and Australia solved this issue quite nicely back in the late 90’s and we can do the same. End of conversation.

  68. 68
    Redleg says:

    I agree completely. Military style assault weapons are virtually worthless for “home defense” unless you want to shoot through walls and kill members of your own family.

    From my pragmatic, sensible, and progressive mind, it should be easy for most people to agree that we need very strict limitations on assault and other high-capacity weapons. BUT, of course we have the winger/NRA idiots who insist the solution is to put more weapons of this type into the hands of poorly trained weekend warrior-type clowns who have fantasized about wasting people in the upcoming race wars.

    Enough already.

  69. 69
    whidgy says:

    @Redleg: Redleg – any weapon that will penetrate into a person enough to cause damage is going to be able to go through two sheets of drywall.

    There are valid arguments against “assault rifles” but this isn’t one of them.

  70. 70
    Beth says:

    Good article at Daily Kos making a case for pushing for

    Gun Violence Prevention

    to be handled as a public health issue by the CDC and others. There are known protocols and principles for dealing with prevention, such as “Gun Violence Reduction” as a first goal.

    I recommend the whole article:

  71. 71
    Redleg says:

    This is true if you’re using full-metal jacket or ball ammunition. If you use frangible ammo for a handgun, the penetration of walls and harm to people on the other side of walls will be fairly small.

    Most of the ammo for military style assault rifles is metal jacketed and designed to remain intact as it penetrates the body, wall, whatever.

    All I am saying is that for home defense, there are much better choices than assault rifles- unless you plan on shooting someone out in your backyard.

  72. 72
    whidgy says:

    @Redleg: Agreed, but that’s about ammo choice, not the calibre or type of weapon.

  73. 73
    spacewalrus says:

    @Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason: If we can’t get passed that–and let’s start by acknowledging that the Founders had no conception of these weapons, so what they wrote a couple hundred years ago is kind of irrelevant–then this country should pack it up and quit, because we’re done. It’s bad enough that we rationalize the slaughter of anyone so that someone can hit the range on the weekend and get off with their military assault-weapons. Because it’s not as if we’re talking about criminals with weapons acquired illegally, is it? We’re talking about criminals-to-be being able to legally purchase weapons designed to make the killing as efficient as possible. As far as I’m concerned, someone’s hobby does not fall under “right to bear arms.” Get a new fking hobby.

    If gun enthusiasts aren’t willing to change after what happened on Friday, then they’re part of the problem. If they’re unwilling to give up some weekend fun and their paranoid survivalist fantasies so that we can have a safer society and make it a little harder for something like this to happen again, then fk ’em. Every last one of them, because the blood’s on their hands for supporting this industry and having an unhealthy obsession weapons.

  74. 74
    Redleg says:

    it’s also about type of weapon. Assault rifles have higher muzzle velocity and penetration power than typical handguns and also have higher capacity magazines. With handguns you get more choice in the type of ammunition you use whereas for assault weapons ball ammo is much more common than other types (e.g., softnose).

    Unless the person is very well trained, assault weapons will be harder to use indoors and in confined spaces. Having said that, handguns, because of their shorter length, can be particularly dangerous to the shooter and to others in the area.

    I wouldn’t advocate for a person to have ANY gun as home defense if that person weren’t well-trained in its use and aware of the many things that could go horribly wrong.

  75. 75
    whidgy says:

    @Redleg: We’re saying the same thing.

  76. 76
    whidgy says:

    @Redleg: We’re saying the same thing.

  77. 77
    Redleg says:

    whidgy, I’m glad to hear it!

  78. 78
    talabama says:

    Nope, depending on the bullet a 5.56mm (223rem) in the AR can have lower penetration than a 9mm from a handgun. Here is some data. Here is some more information to sort through. Penetration is a function of not only muzzle velocity but bullet design. A standard round nose lump of lead is going to have more penetration out of the same gun (assuming same powder etc) compared to a hollow point design, which is designed to deform and dump most of the energy on impact. AR bullets are faster, but were also designed to fragment, which deposits most of their energy on impact. Of course there are exceptions of special 223 bullet designs.

    @Redleg: The length of the rifle should not be a concern, because you should not be clearing your house ‘dropping tangos’ or whatever. The plan should be something along the lines of: gun pointed at the bedroom entrance with with 911 on the line.

  79. 79
    Jason says:

    @Jennifer: Our man Justice Scalia has considered the case of whether civilians have a right to own a MANPAD (shoulder launched air defense missile) and declared it a perplexing example, one that he will “have to think about.” The wingnut interpretration of the second amendment really is that expansive.

  80. 80
    Tonal Crow says:

    We’ve got to put the “well-regulated militia” clause back into the 2nd Amendment. You’re a member of the National Guard, you get to keep a suitable weapon at your home and use it in National Guard drills. You’re not, you don’t. Enact it, let the Supreme Court strike it down, enact it again, rinse and repeat until they get the message.

  81. 81
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Jason: Then why the hell not personal nuclear weapons? They’re just “arms”, and the NRA tells us that arms don’t kill people, people do.

  82. 82
    Jason says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    Exact quote:

    “Obviously, the Amendment does not apply to arms that cannot be hand-carried — it’s to keep and ‘bear,’ so it doesn’t apply to cannons — but I suppose there are hand-held rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes, that will have to be decided,” Scalia said.

    I think Scalia would argue that suitcase nukes are not really “bearable” because they are more like backpack nukes, or aren’t “arms” as read by an original understanding of the amendment, or perhaps the “well regulated militia” clause is intended to set a context to permit only weapons that can be used in self-defense or legitimate conventional warfare. Some kinda no-true-scotsman thing.

    As far as the registered member of the national guard goes, again, the Supreme court has held that the 2nd amendment does not establish a right to bear arms, but simply reflect a pre-existing traditional (or immanent) right to bear arms, one of those protected by the ninth and tenth amendments.

  83. 83
    talabama says:

    @Jason: My two cents? Police are a civilian force expected to occasionally (almost never) need deadly force to do their job. Given that -if used – they probably will use such force in populated areas, we don’t equip police with rocket launchers, nukes, etc. I think thats a rational criteria: whatever the police can use, any other citizen can also own. This should demilitarize the police, and should tether firearm capacity to some quantified assessment of risk.

  84. 84
    Ruckus says:

    I thought that was black people and scary helicopters.

  85. 85
    Ruckus says:

    Killing Control.

    There are too many angles to the issue to only discuss one type of weapon. Mental illness comes to mind. If one is going to have any discussion why limit it? This is about the ability to kill but especially about the ability to do so rapidly and with great force. Let’s have that discussion, not about which model or type of grip or whatever is allowed. Let’s have a discussion about more guns has not stopped one mass shooting but has made it easier to accomplish. Let’s have a discussion about how different this country is now from how it was 200 or more years ago. Let’s have a discussion about who is bankrolling the pro gun lobby and why. Let’s have a discussion about responsibility, like we did with public smoking. I think you get the picture.

  86. 86
    Ruckus says:

    Wouldn’t be great if they all got out of the health care business and into the gun owner business? We could have single payer and those so interested could have their guns. Wouldn’t be the government telling someone they can’t have a gun because the risk is too high, mental health could be covered and acted upon because the insurance industry would demand it.
    Sounds like a win win.

  87. 87
    Pseudonym says:

    @Jason: But the Second Amendment claims that it is the right of the people to keep and bear arms, not just the right of an individual person, so why should crew-served weapons (e.g. Davy Crockett recoilless rifles launching Mk-54 nuclear warheads) be excluded as long as they could be borne by a group of people?

    I suppose in Scalia’s view we’d have to dig up a bit of history to determine how the text of the amendment was interpreted at the time of its ratification. (Though since states can ratify amendments at different times and may have their own dialects of English this is still problematic for the textualist approach.) In doing this, though, we have to try to get into the heads of people living hundreds of years ago and try to understand whether they would think the wording of the Second Amendment would apply to weapons they couldn’t even conceive.

    I am not a lawyer, and I’d be interested in hearing more discussion of Scalia’s and other justices’ and commentators’ conceptions of originalism or textualism. My impression though is that for one thing it’s very vulnerable to cherry-picking writings and quotes from one side when there are differing views on the interpretation of laws even at the time of their adoption. The other issue I have is that we are trying to interpret the views (and hence the prejudices) of people who lived up to hundreds of years ago and extrapolate them to much-changed present-day circumstances without taking into account how those views might have changed with the evolution of society and thinking.

    Scalia and his acolytes seem to enjoy going back in time to pick interpretations of laws that fit the prejudices of those times if that suits their cause. I suppose it means that we could pass the exact same laws or amendments today with the exact same text and in his view they would have different meanings. Maybe that’s even true. Does anyone have suggestions for readings on these sorts of questions of, I guess, legal philosophy? Something targeted towards an emphatic non-expert?

  88. 88
    Andy says:

    I proposed something similar on my Facebook page.. instead of a gun range, I proposed that you are allowed to store one handgun or one rifle at home for self defense. Any other guns you have, or any more powerful guns, would be need to stored at a “citizen’s militia,” or at a gun club. You can own 30 assault rifles, but they all need to be stored in at the gun club or militia. Of course, you would need permits to transport guns anywhere else, ie for sport, hunting, move to another city, etc. All these guns would need to be registered at that location.

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