Mass killings are like airplane crashes: by the time they happen a bunch of things have gone wrong. The mental health system, law enforcement and a whole host of other social institutions may have failed. Violent movies and video games, a society that’s been at war for more than a decade, media that obsesses on every twist and turn of the killer, and other social factors yet to be discovered might all have done their dirty work. All those things may need to be addressed, but let’s not forget the one common factor, easy access to lots of rapid fire guns, and then consider this:

On April 28, 1996, a gunman opened fire on tourists in a seaside resort in Port Arthur, Tasmania. By the time he was finished, he had killed 35 people and wounded 23 more. It was the worst mass murder in Australia’s history.

Twelve days later, Australia’s government did something remarkable. Led by newly elected conservative Prime Minister John Howard, it announced a bipartisan deal with state and local governments to enact sweeping gun-control measures. A decade and a half hence, the results of these policy changes are clear: They worked really, really well.

At the heart of the push was a massive buyback of more than 600,000 semi-automatic shotguns and rifles, or about one-fifth of all firearms in circulation in Australia. The country’s new gun laws prohibited private sales, required that all weapons be individually registered to their owners, and required that gun buyers present a “genuine reason” for needing each weapon at the time of the purchase. (Self-defense did not count.) In the wake of the tragedy, polls showed public support for these measures at upwards of 90 percent.

What happened next has been the subject of several academic studies. Violent crime and gun-related deaths did not come to an end in Australia, of course. But as the Washington Post’s Wonkblog pointed out in August, homicides by firearm plunged 59 percent between 1995 and 2006, with no corresponding increase in non-firearm-related homicides. The drop in suicides by gun was even steeper: 65 percent. Studies found a close correlation between the sharp declines and the gun buybacks. Robberies involving a firearm also dropped significantly. Meanwhile, home invasions did not increase, contrary to fears that firearm ownership is needed to deter such crimes. But here’s the most stunning statistic. In the decade before the Port Arthur massacre, there had been 11 mass shootings in the country. There hasn’t been a single one in Australia since.

Part of the problem with the assault weapon “ban” was that it grandfathered a ton of weapons. A new ban would be even less useful if we don’t buy those weapons back.

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60 replies
  1. 1
    Handy says:

    We can also look to Japan. There are ways to make gun control work.

  2. 2
    GregB says:

    I would like to see a compare and contrast to the response between 9/11 and Sandy Hook.

    It seems it can be boiled down to: 9/11 changed everything, we must do whatever it takes. Sandy Hook, nothing can be done, some people are bad.

  3. 3
    Face says:

    A new ban would be even less useful if we don’t buy those weapons back.

    So you expect the paranoid gun nuts who own these assault weapons to voluntarily offer to sell them back to a Negro in the Black House so that he can imprison them and enact his soc!al!st agenda?

    Part of any “solution” to the problem is trying to understand just how fuckin whacked most of these gunners are. They’re not giving up their arms for any price.

  4. 4
    gnomedad says:

    No, no, no, it was a total failure!!! (warning: Breitbart link)

  5. 5
    Van says:

    As an option to buyback you could require such guns to be kept at specially licensed shooting ranges that have good security systems. The owners could then get their thrill of shooting them at the range but they would be out of reach for rampages and such.

  6. 6
    Triassic Sands says:

    Any federal funds used to buy back assault rifles will, naturally, have to be offset by cuts to programs for the poor.

  7. 7
    JCT says:

    Great post – the buybacks are crucial because one of the biggest arguments for allowing gun show private sales is that it enables owners to personally sell their firearms. Otherwise they were dependent on gun shops where they were routinely lowballed.

  8. 8
    Punchy says:

    First it was Hurricane Sandy. Now Sandy Hook. If I lived in any town named Sandy, or lived on the beach, or was married to a woman named Sandra, or enjoyed pecan sandies, I’d suddenly pay more attention to my surroundings and spouse.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    Guns make it all so easy, so effortless and so hands-off. Other forms of murder require the type of physical and psychological commitment to killing that even most would-be murderers don’t have, but with firearms death is almost as simple as flipping a switch.

  10. 10
    Cassidy says:

    I sent this off to my rep and senators this morning.



    I wanted to know what you as my representative are going to do about gun control in response to this latest tragedy. I’ve noticed you have an A+ rating from the NRA.

    As a concerned citizen, I demand the right to go out in public and not be killed by another citizen who has hoarded guns and ammo, legally, and then one day decided to lose control and give in to the irrational fear and paranoia that permeates the gun fetish culture.

    My right to live and be safe in public is more important than one paranoid, delusional individual’s right to hoard high powered military style assault rifles and concealed handguns with extended magazines. We need responsible, sensible gun control reform in this country. As a Veteran with combat experience in Iraq, I understand that a gun is a tool that when used properly results in something being killed. That is its purpose. It is not a fetish or a totem or some sort of surrogate for bravery. It’s a tool and they are not being used properly in this country.

    This has nothing to do with criminals getting access to weapons. This is about loose rules, loopholes, and the legal procurement of deadly weapons of mass destruction being turned on citizens. We need a national registry of firearms. We need a national ban on handgun and military style weapons. We need microstamping of ammo. And lastly, we need a cultural shift away from the fetish hoarding of guns back to the guns as tools mentality. A single household does not need an cache of weapons and ammo; a single rifle, shotgun, and revolver should easily address the needs of any one family. We need a national firearms policy.

    In the wake of these tragedies, that are becoming more frequent, it is finally time for us to decide whether we want to be a country full of heavily armed gun fetishists. How many children does the tree of liberty require?

    Will you, Sir, be brave enough to face the NRA and their lobbyists to help make the citizens of this country, and your constituents safer? I’m hoping you will.


    John T. Cassidy

  11. 11
    RSA says:

    Mass killings are like airplane crashes: by the time they happen a bunch of things have gone wrong.

    I’ve been thinking along the same lines. Here’s how I imagine a security-minded person might see it:

    Adam Lanza’s condition might have been identified in time. (Mental health care is notoriously underfunded in the U.S., though, and there remains a good deal of stigma associated with mental illness.)

    Lanza’s access to guns might have been limited. (This is the gun control issue.)

    Lanza might have been prevented from entering the school building. (This has to do with procedures and infrastructure. Lanza apparently shot his way in. Schools might be “hardened” like airports in a lot of ways, with the associated security precautions and waiting times, e.g. for parents in cars dropping off and picking up kids.)

    Lanza might have been handled by security personnel. (We’re talking about something comparable to the TSA–not night watchmen to prevent burglaries, but people prepared to combat extraordinary violence.)

    Lanza might have been handled by armed schoolteachers. (Right…)

    No easy solutions, but of course the most obvious one is reducing the number of guns. When I hear people say that the answer is more guns, I think, “Gun owners in the U.S. constitute about 2% of the world’s population, and they own about a third of all the guns in the world. That’s not enough?”

  12. 12
    Walker says:


    I don’t understand this argument. No one has a right to get an acceptable price when they make a sale of anything.

  13. 13

    Rookie Cop shot and killed in Georgia. Pity he wasn’t armed, he could have defended himself. Oh wait….

    For those of you on Twitter follow @GunDeaths they are collecting and posting all of the gun deaths around the country. I tweeted them this story this morning which they have since retweeted.

    Marine charged in fatal shooting

  14. 14


    Both Limbaugh and Hannity were making the argument yesterday that if someone wants to kill a bunch of people they will find a way, they cited Oklahoma City and the worse school killing in history (from 1912 or something?) where dynamite was used.

    The problem with that argument is that those approaches need careful planning, you have to research how to make a bomb, then have access to the ingredients, and then have to plan where you are going to place it and when you are going to detonate it.

    Guns, especially assault rifles, MAKE IT TOO EASY, and that is the point that every sane person in this country is making.

  15. 15
    me says:

    This post broke the page layout.

  16. 16
    Stooleo says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t see America going along with an Australia type plan. Gun nuts would lose their collective shit.

  17. 17
    Tom Levenson says:

    @Face: This is not in fact true. Some won’t. But some will. (A straw in the wind. An immediate post Sandy Hook gun buy back in SF and Oakland dramatically exceeded organizer expectations.)

    Also — gun regulation is not a cure for gun illness. It is a partially effective response. Being asked to provide a cure is a way of ensuring nothing gets done.

  18. 18
    beltane says:

    @RSA: The Washington Post reports that Nancy Lanza had MS. While MS does not cause mental illness per se, as a neurodegenerative disease it can cause depression, paranoia, altered/strange perceptions, and other manifestations of neurological impairment. There are many other medical conditions that cause similar symptoms. Perhaps the ability to maintain certain classes of firearms in one’s home ought to be contingent on the results of an annual physical. My grandfather disposed of his guns before his Parkinsons reached the stage where he became convinced my grandmother and her invisible accomplices were trying to murder him. If he hadn’t there is a fair chance she would not be living today.

  19. 19
    YellowJournalism says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: And in this case, the shooter would have needed to find another way into the building since he used his high-powered rifle to get in.

  20. 20
    Feudalism Now! says:

    The buyback is key. Maddow had a good rundown of gun regulation passed in the last 25 years. St. Ronnie of the Raygun signed off on cop killer bullets ban and regulating the composition of firearms to be detectable (no plastic guns). These regulations were passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Only Darth Cheney and 3 other congress critters opposed. Assault weapons ban was passed under Clinton after a much less horrific attack than Sandy Hook.
    The buyback portion is key. These weapons need to be reduced in the population. The cold, dead handers will not part with their wubbies, but there are enough gun hoarders that might like to clean out the gun locker. Renewing the AWB is a small step. There needs to be a push to get the states to get stricter on who can own guns. 19 states do not restrict mentally ill people from owning a gun. There is no list that they follow. Federal law is nice, but the teeth of regulation is the states and we are behind the 8 ball to push meaningful gun regulation reform in the face of republican dominated state governments. There needs to be a 50 state strategy to tighten up and codify state regs, so we don’t have border hopping gun nuts. Internet sales and gun show owner to owner sales need to end. It is going to take a lot of effort and will to do, but it can be done, even in the face of republican and blue dog intransigence.

  21. 21
    Scotty says:

    Would it be worthwhile to propose a gun control measure similar to the one Australia did for a ten year period and then measure whether or not to keep it in place by comparing percentages on gun, burglary, robbery, rape, suicide, etc. related crimes during those ten years? If crime rates for those things go down then you’d keep the law in place. If not you go back to the drawing board.

  22. 22
    Trakker says:

    Australia didn’t have an NRA, loaded with manufacturer’s cash and 4 million armed madmen ready to throw a national tantrum and frighten the rubes into swarming their Congresscowards. In other words Australia is a rational nation. We went over that cliff years ago.

  23. 23
    the Conster says:

    Automatic weapons are tightly regulated and federally registered. How many mass killings have there been in this country with automatic weapons? None? Oh.

  24. 24
    lonesomerobot says:

    Lost a facebook friend over this exact topic. I used to live in Australia and pointed this out (also that the majority of Australians are quite happy with their gun laws, thank you very much).

    He responded by posting this video – – which is literally an NRA propaganda piece, with the comment, “Of course, many Australians completely disagree. As gun ownership has expanded and gun crimes dropped here in the US, Australia has seen dramatic INCREASES in gun crime since they instituted their ban.

    In Australia armed robberies increased by 69%!!!!!!!!! Assaults w guns up 28%, gun murders up 19%!!!!!! and home invasions up 21%!”

    So many exclamation points! When I noted his “statistics” were completely unsourced and inaccurate, with an accompanying link to the Snopes article referenced in the Slate article here, he threw down the gauntlet: “Pass your laws and see how many obey it in America. Make people like me felons, and force us into a violent confrontation over it. I wont thank you for it.”

    Then, of course, he unfriended me. Seriously. The passage of common sense gun safety regulations is going to “make” him a felon and force him into violent rebellion. I do wish I could have made him scream, “Wolverines!” though.

  25. 25
    RSA says:


    The Washington Post reports that Nancy Lanza had MS. While MS does not cause mental illness per se, as a neurodegenerative disease it can cause depression, paranoia, altered/strange perceptions, and other manifestations of neurological impairment.

    Thanks for the information; I didn’t know that about Nancy Lanza or MS.

  26. 26
    elmo says:


    Lanza might have been handled by security personnel. (We’re talking about something comparable to the TSA–not night watchmen to prevent burglaries, but people prepared to combat extraordinary violence.)

    I thought about that myself, at least in part because that’s the industry I’m in. Then I looked up some numbers.

    The Department of Homeland Security, Federal Protective Service, engages contract security to provide armed guards for Federal buildings and offices (like US Atty offices, SSA offices, IRS offices, etc.) These guards undergo training similar to police officers.

    The entire contract security force protecting every Federal building and office in the entire U.S.: Approximately 13,000 armed guards. Cost: About $1B.

    Public schools in California alone: Approximately 10,000.

    Extrapolating on the back of a napkin based on population, there are probably in excess of 100,000 public schools nationwide. Put an armed guard in each school, that’s going to cost more than $8B a year.


  27. 27
    beltane says:

    @Litlebritdifrnt: They’re kind of “shooting down” their own argument there. Guns are rarely the weapon of choice for committed, ideologically driven terrorists such as McVeigh. We’re not talking about plotters here. We’re talking about people under severe psychological stress who have mostly lost their grip on reality. These people will lash out with whatever weapon is available at the time, even their teeth if need be, but are rarely able to inflict mass causalities before being subdued.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    mattminus says:

    That Australian solution would never pass constitutional muster here. We have an almost insurmountable structural problem preventing us from passing any meaningful reform.

    How much differently would the scenario have played out if the shooter didn’t have a bushmaster or whatever it was? I suspect that sort of limitation is about as far as you are realistically going to get.

  30. 30
    Soonergrunt says:

    @mistermix, top:

    Part of the problem with the assault weapon “ban” was that it grandfathered a ton of weapons. A new ban would be even less useful if we don’t buy those weapons back.

    The other problem with the Assault Weapons Ban is that it didn’t actually ban any actual assault weapons. It banned weapons based on what they looked like, and not what they did. It was a real victory for the NRA and the gun nuts.
    It banned weapons that had bayonet lugs and pistol grips and collapsible stocks, and it did limit magazine capacities, which last part was probably the only thing about it which was marginally useful, but it didn’t ban the actual assault weapons themselves.
    Weapons that used a semi-automatic action to chamber another round as part of the shooting mechanism can be repeatedly fired as fast as the shooter can pull the trigger until the magazine runs out. Which brings us to the other primary feature of an assault weapon, the detachable high capacity magazine. A marginally trained shooter can drop an empty and replace it with a full one in less than 2 seconds, giving him another large bin of ammo to shoot at panicked Kindergardeners. He doesn’t even have to manually work the bolt on most of these because it locks open when the magazine runs out and simply pressing a catch on the receiver lets the bolt forward, chambering another round. Hell, you can release the bolt on a M-16/M-4 type weapon just by slapping the bottom of the magazine to seat it properly.
    You want to ban assault weapons? Ban anything that either feeds from a detachable magazine or has a semi-automatic action. Everything else is eye-candy.

  31. 31
    Trakker says:


    “In Australia armed robberies increased by 69%!!!!!!!!! Assaults w guns up 28%, gun murders up 19%!!!!!! and home invasions up 21%!”

    I’ve battled those bastards (NRA/gun nuts) for 38 years and have never encountered an organization that gets away with so many outright lies, and those lies go viral and never die. Same with the myth that in Switzerland and Israel almost every household has a gun. Not so it turns out, but the myth lives on and the gun nuts refuse to acknowledge it.

  32. 32
    lonesomerobot says:

    @mattminus: You know, although I agree, I still think we have to try to change things with the knowledge that it’s not going to happen overnight. If we can neuter the NRA — or as Cole said, make it as toxic as the KKK, we’ll be off to a good start. The point is that if we are strongly against the obscene gun culture in our country, we can’t start our opposition by negotiating with ourselves.

    The NRA certainly don’t do that, they start every argument with a blanket statement that the true aim of “the government” is ultimately to take all our guns. I actually support the Second Amendment, but I think the unlimited definition the gun lobby would apply to it is ridiculous and needs to be acknowledged as such.

  33. 33
    Cassidy says:

    @lonesomerobot: These people are just looking for an excuse. I was talking with my wife last night, I’ve owned guns. I sold them when I was unemployed, and I have been looking as I’d like to own them again. I like shooting. I never carried in public. I never kept loaded weapons in the house. I have a dog and a hammer for that. As I’m looking at a career in firefighting, I have been looking to get a shotgun for the house and when I’m not around, but really just that sound of chambering a round should be enough of a deterrant, tbh.

    The only reason I feel that I “need” to have weapons and ammo is in case these assholes really lose their shit one day. That’s it, to defend myself from the gun nuts. This is just fucking crazy.

  34. 34
    Trakker says:

    BTW, if you use Facebook frequently, friend the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Their updates on gun violence and gun control articles are more robust than the Brady Campaign’s.

  35. 35
    beltane says:

    @Trakker: Thank you very much for that link. The Israeli system seems quite compatible with the concept of a “well-regulated militia”. All firearms must have an Interior Ministry permit and identifying mark for tracing. 40% of applications for permits are denied.

    There is nothing in the 2nd Amendment that would seem to offer special constitutional protections to paranoid anti-government conspiracy theorists stockpiling guns for the End Times.

  36. 36
    CaseyL says:

    We don’t expect any action until the next Congress is sworn in, right? (Feinstein has said she’ll introduce a new assault weapons ban then.)

    OTOH, the next Congress will have a slightly reduced level of wingnuttery. OTOH, delay means a month in which the sense of revulsion and resolve can fade, and the gun lobby can work on its pet legislators.

    What can Obama do on the Executive level? I’ve heard that AFT’s budget is going to be reduced significantly, which would make beefing up their investigative and enforcement capacity impossible. Is enforcing the pitiful few gun control laws we have within the FBI purview?

    If only Obama would/could declare gun massacres a threat to national security, and the NRA a terrorist organization!

  37. 37
    whidby says:

    Mass shootings with assault rifles will account for 30 or 40 deaths this year. So far this year 28 people have been killed by lightning strikes in the US. On average 50-100 people are killed each year by lightning strikes in this country.

    So a ___rational___ inquiry about gun violence would look to see what the greatest dangers are, not what the most sensational crimes are. As in:

  38. 38
    Soonergrunt says:

    @whidby: So then I’m sure you’ll join me in my quest to ban everything that’s not a single action revolver or a lever-action or bolt-action rifle.
    Because that would cure all the problems.

  39. 39
    JCT says:

    @Walker: It’s not *my* argument — it’s one of the many arguments raised by gun owners in support of gun show selling.

    I could care less whether they get their desired price, but in this “Ebay society” the gun owners have become used to being able to sell their guns without having to go through a dealer.

  40. 40


    Part of any “solution” to the problem is trying to understand just how fuckin whacked most of these gunners are. They’re not giving up their arms for any price.

    Part of the solution has to be social pressure.

    We need a culture where gun-nuts are reflexively looked at by the majority with the same leery side-eye we reserve for UFO enthusiasts, goldbugs, people with 300 cats in their apartment, etc.

    Wouldn’t fix the problem overnight, but in the long term we’d end up with fewer gun nuts out there.

  41. 41
    Elizabelle says:


    Terrific letter. 3 cheers.

    The Christian Science Monitor has a good article up on what happened in other countries after gun controls:

    The UK actually saw a temporary rise in gun violence after its 1998 handgun ban.

    “The irony in the U.K. is that in the four years from 1998 when handguns were fully banned, gun crime continued to rise,” said Peter Squires, a professor of criminology at the University of Brighton. [It was due to urban street gangs.]

    In the long run Squire thinks the change in law did make a difference. Gun crime in Britain has been falling since its peak in 2002 — a decline also seen in other Western countries — and there are now only a few dozen firearms homicides each year.

    But, he said, “for the first four years it played into the classic NRA script that gun control has failed.”

    Switzerland, with its high rate of gun ownership? They may have guns under their beds, but they don’t have much ammo. That’s kept at the military depot. And “most adult gun users have military training.”

  42. 42
    SatanicPanic says:

    @mattminus: We did manage to repeal a constitutional amendment once, so it’s not impossible.

  43. 43
    Sterling says:

    @Feudalism Now!: Clinton’s assault rifle ban was deeply flawed. It didn’t eliminate sale of semi-automatic, magazine-fed weapons. Connecticut still has a similar ban on the books with the same omission, so I can still buy an AR-15 variant here with a good sized magazine. I just can’t get one with a folding stock, flash suppressor, or bayonet lug (because the risk of mass bayonettings is so high).

  44. 44
    Cassidy says:

    @Sterling: And your barrel ahs to be at least 14.5 inches vs. the standard 14 in carbine length the military and law enforcement use.

  45. 45
    NCSteve says:

    It worked in Australia because Australians are marginally saner, on average, than Americans and by and large wanted it to work.

    That’s the real difference between us and them on gun control: they don’t have the same kind of 27% problem.

  46. 46
    JCT says:


    You want to ban assault weapons? Ban anything that either feeds from a detachable magazine or has a semi-automatic action. Everything else is eye-candy.

    The high capacity mags are a huge part of this — hence the screaming from the gun nuts whenever it is brought up. The bottom line is that the carnage in Newton was a result of that Bushmaster and it’s ability to spray 30 bullets/mag and the quick change capability. No hunting use — it is simply a dangerous toy for these guys to get off on. I was horrified when the Tucson shooting didn’t result in more attention being paid to those 30-round handgun mags.

    I say this as a life-long target shooter and gun owner. Yes, the guns live in a $2,000 cement bolted manual combination safe, trigger locked and the ammo on the other side of the house. I have never shot at anything besides a bullseye or squares for scope adjustment.

    At the range I am surrounded by some of these nuts, rapid firing from 19-round mags on a semiauto pistol. And it’s all about getting their jollies because there is no point to this -besides fueling their paranoid fantasies.

    When I was growing up the NRA was about gun safety, hunting and sport. Now it is about $$ and fueling paranoia and hatred. And Newton is the end result. This event needs to be hung around their neck.

    Getting rid of semiauto actions and those hi-cap mags would be a great start.

  47. 47
    lonesomerobot says:

    @Trakker: Switzerland has the highest gun mortality rate in Europe (about 6 per 100,000), which approaches the rate in the US.

    When a wingnut wants a “fact”, they find one that agrees with them whether it’s true or not.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:


    IIRC, a bystander was able to tackle the Tucson shooter when he stopped to reload. So, yes, I agree that getting rid of high-capacity magazines needs to happen immediately.

    I know that “hunters” will complain that they need them, but if you need 20 bullets to take down a deer, you don’t have any business calling yourself a hunter.

  49. 49
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Cassidy: awesome, Sir.

  50. 50
    Soylent Green is FReepers says:

    @RSA: Add to this, Lanza’s mother might have kept her guns properly secured. Why don’t we have an expectation in this country that, if you have a gun, you have a responsibility to secure it?

    Thank you for these links, mistermix, it’s good to see some actual evidence of effectiveness.

  51. 51
    Whidby says:

    @Soonergrunt: I’d go further and ban anything except single shot rifles and and double barrel shotguns for hunting because there are way too many people who spray and pray when hunting.

    Of course this would have a limited impact on crime and would run afoul of Heller.

  52. 52
    roc says:


    I know that “hunters” will complain

    No sportsman has a legit beef about laws on magazine size.

    Hunters don’t even bother going into the field with more than a few rounds ready to go. It’d be stupid, careless and pointless. You’re not getting more than maybe a couple shots off at a single target. And after that, you’ll have *plenty* of time to reload (either because you hit and have a lot of work ahead of you, or you missed and nothing’s coming your way any time soon).

    And very few ranges allow rapid bursts of semi-auto fire, or even sustained semi-auto fire. Most have flat rules against even having more than a few rounds in a magazine. (It’s flat-out unnecessary and unsafe)

    The only time a responsible enthusiast gets to squeeze off a bunch of rounds tends to be at a full-auto shoot, and those are already tightly controlled because of the weapons involved. (notably: no-one’s going on gun rampages with those weapons.)

    I realize you sarcasti-quoted “hunters”, but I just wanted to underline it. *Actual sportsmen do not care*. The others are either poseurs or have a dangerous level of disrespect for firearms.

  53. 53
    LanceThruster says:


    I appreciate your informed breakdown of the options.

  54. 54
    LanceThruster says:

    The Rude Pundit talks some sense.

  55. 55

    I’d say Limbaugh’s argument is BS: If you buy a truckload of palm fertilizer and a couple of barrels of diesel fuel on the same credit card, you WILL be getting a little visit from men in very nice shoes.

    Guns, however, are ubiquitous. And there’s no real way to know beforehand which gun owner/thief is going to be the one to go shooting people. This makes guns a special case (assuming that prevention is your priority).

  56. 56
    Mnemosyne says:


    *Actual sportsmen do not care*. The others are either poseurs or have a dangerous level of disrespect for firearms.


  57. 57
    mandarama says:


    Hunters don’t even bother going into the field with more than a few rounds ready to go.

    Thank you for saying this. I was saying something similar to Cassidy in another thread, since I grew up in the rural South. One of the stories my granddad used to tell was that as a boy, he would be sent out rabbit-hunting. His father would give him four bullets, and woe be unto him if he didn’t come back with at least 2 rabbits for supper.

    But generationally, I don’t know…many people on my FB feed from back home–in their 40’s, like I am–post photos all the time of their semi-automatics. I don’t know if they’re hunting with them, though they claim to (I’ve been scrolling past their buck pics and not looking at their weapons in those). But they definitely are really into them. I said in that earlier thread that several of them went out this weekend to buy new guns as a result of the CT news.

    As Nina said it, though…”Evry’body knows about Mississippi, goddamn.”

  58. 58
    Mnemosyne says:


    With friends, I wonder if mockery would help. “You needed a semi-automatic with 20 bullets to take down one deer? What, was it on PCP?”

  59. 59
    Mike Jones says:

    Look up the Broad Street Pump story, if you’re not familiar with it. The Soho neighborhood of London was having outbreaks of cholera, often fatal. People didn’t understand the disease. There were varying theories of what caused it and how to prevent it. Nothing worked until John Snow recognized the common factor: all the cases involved people who’d been getting water from the Broad Street pump. His answer: shut down the pump. They didn’t have to “cure” cholera, or even understand the details of the transmission mechanism in order to stop the stream of deaths.

    This strikes me as so similar to our problem with guns. There’s a lot of debate about why Americans are so violent and nobody has a really good handle on how to deal with that. But there’s one thing in common here: easy availability of guns. If we do something about that, we can stop the stream of gun-related deaths while we figure out what to do about the other things. We have got to stop the flow of guns.

    Shut. Down. The. Pump.

  60. 60
    dylan says:

    As an Aussie that lived through the gun buyback experience here, let me assure you that we have our fair share of gun nuts, who did indeed go crazy at the scheme.

    Sales of gun safes exploded overnight, and companies that had previously been making primarily water tanks were suddenly being commissioned to bury them all over the country and fit them with gun racks so people could hide their weapons from the government.

    The “gun nuts” are not who you should be afraid of, and they certainly do not deserve your respect. They make noise, and many will hide their weapons away rather than give them up, but you will be safer for it.

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