90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The 33-Bullet Magazine: How Much Firepower is Too Much?

**Scroll down for a programming note about the guests in this show.

A Glock 19 9mm, with extended 33-bullet magazine (Flickr/RedBarnes)

Americans know shooting death and political violence.  Today is Martin Luther King Day.  A great leader, killed.  And Americans know guns.  There are about 85 guns in this country for every hundred humans.

The Supreme Court has now ruled gun ownership is a fundamental individual American right.  But do we need, do we have a right to, high-capacity magazines on a pistol like Jared Loughner used in Tucson?  Capable of unleashing nearly three dozen rounds in 15 seconds?

We look at debate now, over bullets.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, democratic Congresswoman representing New York’s 4th congressional district. She will introduce legislation to ban the manufacture and sale of high-capacity magazines like those used by the Tucson shooter. Her husband was killed and her son injured in 1993 when a gunman opened fire on passengers on a Long Island Railroad commuter train, killing six.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. He’s the former mayor of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Robert Levy, served as co-counsel in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, which resulted in the Supreme Court upholding the individual right to possess a firearm. He is chairman of the Cato Institute.

Tracee Larson, gun rights advocate and blogger. Former vice chair of the gun owners caucus of the Democratic Party of Texas.

A programming note from the On Point senior producer Karen Shiffman:

On Point stands strongly behind its guesting of the January 17 show focused on the gun debate and high capacity magazines.

Representing the gun control perspective, we brought Paul Helmke, executive director of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and one of the country’s leading voices from the pro-regulation perspective.

Representing the 2nd-Amendment rights perspective, we brought Robert Levy, co-counsel for the plaintiff before the U.S. Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller, the landmark case that established the individual right to firearm ownership under the 2nd amendment. Mr. Levy, chairman of the board of directors of the libertarian Cato Institute, was instrumental in mounting and central in arguing this historic case. While he is formally open to limits on high-capacity magazines, he sets a bar of gun rights caveats on magazine restrictions so high as to likely preclude implementation. Mr. Levy is one of the nation’s most prominent and high-impact gun rights advocates. (See his comments during the show below.)

In the middle seat, we brought Tracee Larson, a gun owner and self-described “strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment” who favors limits on high capacity magazines.

We spoke briefly with Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), whose then-imminent proposed legislation was the news hook for the show.

This panel represented a smart, serious and wide spectrum of the American gun, magazine, and gun rights debate. We stand firmly by it.

Here, from the January airing, is the heart of Robert Levy’s position on DC v. Heller and his strong challenge to limits on high-capacity magazines:

What the Supreme Court decision did was switch the burden to government. We have a constitutionally secured right, belonging to each individual. If the government chooses to compromise that right, the government has to jump through a number of important hoops. The first thing the government has to do is show that the regulation they propose is not going to unduly impede the use of firearms for self-defense. Second, we have to be sure that what seems to be modest steps don’t turn out to be the first steps down a slippery slope that do end up compromising core 2nd-Amendment rights. And third, and I think most important in the context of these high capacity magazines, the government has to show that its regulation is going to be effective in promoting public safety — particularly when weighed against lots of reliable evidence that past restrictions have not lessened the incidence of gun-related crime.

Note on terminology: We recognize some disagreement over the use of language (magazine v. clip) on this topic. Here’s what the NRA says in its glossary of gun terms:

CLIP: A device for holding a group of cartridges. Semantic wars have been fought over the word, with some insisting it is not a synonym for “detachable magazine.” For 80 years, however, it has been so used by manufacturers and the military.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Joetex

    Please understand that gun control and magazine control is not the issue here. Fewer bullets in a magazine will not stop the kind of tragedy that we’ve just experienced. It is only when we as a nation demonstrate that we are one, do we have a chance of stopping the desire to use bullets in our discourse.

    Just think of where we would be today if the shooter felt empathy for his fellow Americans, and respected their right to have a different opinion than him. These values in the shooter were clearly lacking. It is important for us to understand that if no guns existed at all, man would find a way to kill man. Our best hope for stopping this desire is to work on problems that feed the motive.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Joetex, don’t you think there might be a genetic disposition towards irrational violence, just as there is a disposition towards “irrational exuberance” and genes for homosexuality? Or albinos?
    Do you read your local papers? Don’t you notice — haven’t you noticed as long as you’ve lived — that people’s brains can devolve to the kind of helplessness that strikes out without having really any capacity left to make any sense of the world at all, simply asserting the eternal “I” against the meaninglessness of it all? As friends of Loechner’s were describing for us, in this instance, the man insisted to them on the validity of nihilism, that “Why call this cup a cup? It could be called anything.” And most of us are not crushed by this awareness. But some are.
    I don’t think you can legislate disposition, and if by some kind of eugenics a nation could do that, you’d eviscerate a lot of good along with a lot of bad. You have Shakespeare on the one hand (“Is this a dagger that I see before me?” no, it is a fiction, an image, sir); you have these undone by the same looseness of wit on the other hand. Maybe you have five in 100 with nervous systems/brains otherly-abled (we don’t say “disabled,” right?), and out of 1,000, fifty, because of this difference, become unusually and differently able to contribute; one or two of those become the jewel in the crown of our sense of humanity. And that leaves 950 to be a burden to ourselves and sometimes to others, and at worst a major threat.
    I don’t think you “feed the motive,” or starve it. I think you keep the children away from the swimming pool and that sort of thing, whenever possible.

  • nick from massachusetts

    A simple preventative measure to gun toting Americans is to make military service mandatory for every one as do many nations from Switzerland to Israel.

    If you have even been in the service, you won’t have the need to find your masculinity in a gun.

    When I see these people with their suped up assault weapons loaded with gadgets that no real or experienced soldier would ever need or even want, I just laugh at them. And walk around or go to a public meeting toting it so visibly – Gawk ! These descriptions for them flow from my mouth: “Loser” “Clown” “Can never get a date” “Too many movies, Too much TV”

    They are so pitiful that I almost feel sorry for them.

    It has nothing to do with whether or not you love guns, it has everything to do with reality. I love shooting, but to shoot, I don’t need a 32 bullet clip. Crap! Bullets cost too much today to be shooting that many!

  • nick from central mass

    How many bullets do military pistols hold?

    Try fitting a 32 round clip into a pistol and then into your holster. Duh !

    M1911 is what ? Seven rounds ?
    The Berretta? 8? 12?

    If the military does not need a 32 round clip, why on earth would civilians unless it is for some sort of pseudo-marcho-commercial reason.

    And frankly, bullets cost too much to be shooting that many that quickly. And not everybody reloads.

  • Beverly

    Any firepower is too much. The 33-bullet magazine should never have been available to anyone except police, bodyguards, & those in the military. Whose side are these judges, lawyers & lawmakers on anyway? (As if we didn’t know. They certainly aren’t concerned with OUR safety.)

    How many homocides could have been prevented if there were no guns in this country? Most of them, I’d wager. Mass murder, an American speciality, would be impossible without guns. If murderers were forced to strangle, smother, beat, poison or stab their victims, it would take them so long, that all the fun would have been taken out of it. Besides, they would, most likely, be apprehended after the first one or two victims.

    However, I’m not hopeful than ANY changes can be made. How can we try to regulate guns, when there are already so many of them in circulation? It’s like trying to put the genii back into the bottle. It’s too easy to get guns. If some federal regulations could be passed, (they probably couldn’t), it wouldn’t make a bit of difference. Illegal guns are readily available, so I think it’s already too late for this country. I have no solutions.

    As for Jared, we still don’t know what triggered, (Oops! Sorry.), the Tucson massacre, & probably never will. Jared might not even know. Even the President can’t know, for sure. NO ONE KNOWS, (whether they insist that there was or wasn’t a connection to the turbulant political climate.) His thoughts were very twisted, so he wasn’t able to distinguish between reality & the other thoughts that crowded his mind. Because of his illness, he couldn’t help himself. His parents let him down. His teachers, acquaintances, police department, neighbors, & friends (?) also failed him.

    How was it possible that someone like Jared could slip through the cracks?
    The warning signs were there, obvious to anyone who was interested.

    I’ve reported a lot of people, when they exhibit odd, suspicious behavior, (no matter where, no matter when), for a lot of things. I prefer leaving things up to the police, to decide whether or not the suspicious characters are up to no good.

    We should all be aware of what’s going on around us, & report suspicious behavior. We could save a life; maybe our own, or that of our child.

  • Beverly

    So many typographical errors . . .

    should be HOMICIDES, of course.

  • Flowen

    @ Our best hope for stopping this desire is to work on problems that feed the motive.

    Posted by Joetex, on January 15th, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Exactly so.

    I also agree with Nick, firearm experience and education should be more widely available…less stigmatized…less image charged. Of course movies would have to be better made without the cheap thrill crutch of unrealistic firepower as compensation for a rampant feeling of powerlessness in the populace.

    I also agree with Beverly: there will probably be little or no change. (BTW…I thought you were off to bed?)

    Firearms are not the problem…lack of wholistic equity in society, polarization of ideas, and frustration are the problems.

  • Beverly

    FLOWEN,

    I also thought, (hoped), I was off to bed, but tomorrow’s (today’s!) topics appeared, & I couldn’t help myself.

    I’d give almost anything to read just 1 haiku about now, then drift happily off to sleep. Don’t know if I’ll make it or not, but fingers are crossed.

    The food hour really sounds great too, but I don’t want to fall asleep 10 minutes into it. Think it will be really special, enjoyable, & comforting. Hope I’ll be able to listen, & go to the blog, VERY soon.

    Discord of any kind really troubles me, so I should probably not listen to the news ever again, & stick to things that make me happy. The trouble is, I see things that aren’t accurate, or maybe the President, (or Tom Ashbrook), being attacked, & I have to defend them. Sure am tired . . . falling asleep here.

    No haiku now, I guess. Tomorrow’s another day.

    Sleep well, everyone.

    Sleep well everyone, whether aided by haiku or not.

    Sleep well, everyone.

  • Abba

    I would like the Supreme Court to overturn the Second Amendment based on the concept that its ORIGINATION REPRESENTS AN ILLEGITIMATE BASIS FOR GUN OWNERSHIP TODAY. Once the amendment was overturned, the Court would require Congress to modify and replace it. Let us LEARN FROM this tragedy in Tucson: let’s work to grant ourselves True Life and Liberty!

    The legal basis for this change is this: the Second Amendment was PARTLY passed as part of a Compromise between the North and the South. The South was afraid that the abolitionists in the North could get the federal government to overturn their states’ rights to raise armed militias which they had been raising for slave control, especially in times of slave insurrections, since colonial times. Should we be living under the “SWAY” of a law that was started in the context of slavery? Didn’t this “freedom” represent LOSS of freedom for millions of individuals living in this land, at the time, who helped to build this country? Yes, we no longer allow slavery, but we are living, on a daily basis, with the VESTIGES of it thru the Second Amendment!!

    The Violence Policy Center website features a review of a scholarly work by Professor Carl T. Bogus, Roger Williams University School of Law, on this very topic: the context for the ORIGINATION of the Second Amendment. (I came to the idea on my own earlier, and only recently discovered this link.)

    My own suggestion would be that after the Supreme Court overturned the current Second Amendment, that a newly modified amendment would take its place. This one could possibly allow gun ownership (type of gun would be specified, and would be very low tech for forever) for hunters, but certification of gun owners and regulation of gun ownership would have to pass thru both environmental laws and mental health regulations. (certain animal herds need to be culled thru hunting to prevent over-population; opportunistic invaders and subsequent illness; starvation due to habitat reduction) Someone else on this site suggested that anyone who was rejected from the U.S. Armed Forces for mental health reasons would be denied gun access under all circumstances; as would other people with diagnosed mental illness; and those who had previously committed certain crimes, always including those who committed crimes with guns, even as youngsters.

    HOW MANY Americans are killed in gun violence every day in America??

    HOW MANY American children are killed in gun violence every day in America??

    HOW MANY are killed in gun accidents every day??

    HOW MANY people use guns to take their own lives every day??

    HOW MANY guns that are used in the drug wars in Mexico & the rest of Central America (our NEIGHBORS!!) are manufactured in the USA??

    IF we are TRULY a resilient nation, we can to RE-THINK the Second Amendment!

    (I apologize if this is slightly OFF Point, because you are discussing specific gun power today.)

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    If only there were what we used to call the kaffee-klatch, the socializing corner with refreshments, but the online version being the haiku corner.
    Flowen, have you considered the anger in Pakistan (or religious fervor or whatever it is), which is getting expressed in bombing after bombing, actually suicide bombing after suicide bombing after suicide bombing? It seems to me very short-sighted to be talking about the killing-machine (guns) of the past few centuries when the next century is likely to take us way beyond guns to bombs, to don’t-even-mention-it.
    And if you think the American populace is frustrated with their government, consider pretty much any other country on the planet — with a few exceptions. If you think you’d be the upper crust who get to lord it over everyone else in some retirement haven where everyone earns $2000 a year, thank the roll of the dice; what makes you think you wouldn’t be hauling water and polishing some idiot’s shoes? Oh, the frustration! Oh, the helplessness! Oh, the random shootings down at the waterhole and at the refuse pit where people socialize. Is violence proportional to helplessness? Or is it only here? How about Soviet Russia, where no dissent was allowed, and starvation was a political tactic? Did the secret police exercise all the shooting impulses on behalf of the oppressed part of the population?

  • Roxanne

    Guns are not our problem. the fact that we don’t see each other as thinking, feeling, rational human beings is our problem. Gun Violence isn’t the cause it is a symptom of something much more disturbing and wrong; our tendency to think of others as things.

    New Orleans, LA

  • Zeno

    Our society is saturated with guns, so to discuss a society without them is absurd…who is going to kick down all those doors and take them away?

    So, begin the conversation based in reality…No entity is “coming to take yer guns away”, and gun control based on the “society with out them” is a fantasy.

    Its all about control in the rational sense. Background checks and training for instruments of potential lethality. No need to quote any founding documents here, because we already try do this with all instruments that carry the potential of harming others. Cars, cranes, planes, etc.

    This is a corporate control issue. Does the gun lobby control the public safety or endanger it through its various lobbying entities? Absolutely.

    Most gun owners are responsible, although poorly trained. Do guns make society safer? No, of course not. If this were true guns would be allowed everywhere, but even Arizona bans them schools and public buildings. Even they know that a courtroom is NOT safer when saturated with guns.

    So the entire issue (which is quite rational) is background checks, training, and registration for all gun owners. It is corporate propaganda that states that those who do not pass will get one anyway, so why not let them BUY it. There is a reason we don’t want our children carrying guns, and that reason is applicable to adults as well.

    Its not about the lethality of the instrument, but EVERYTHING that did not happen before the individual gets ownership and use of the potentially lethal instrument.

  • cory

    During the past week I saw one of the conservative talking heads (I wish I could remeber which) lamenting the loss to “collectors” if this sort of oversized magazine were banned…

    Sheesh! Talk about priorities!

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • SteveV

    After the shooting came a time for reflection, people asking themselves what should be the response to such a senseless tragedy. According to a recent newspaper article gun sales in Arizona increased 60%, in New York 33% and nationwide 5%. And we already have 90 firearms for every 100 citizens. Guns and alcohol have been a part of our history since before the founding of our country. The vast majority of drivers are sober and responsible. The vast majority of gun owners are the same. Yet we will always have a small population of drunk drivers and nuts with firearms, causing death and injury to others. As the population increases, as people face more stresses in their lives, as resources dwindle, I don’t foresee us making much headway on either of these issues. We certainly should try, but I believe most people are realistic enough to understand
    they are likely to be disappointed in the outcome.

  • Yar From Somerset, KY

    It is fitting to talk about guns on the 50th anniversary of Eisenhower’s dire warning of the military-industrial complex.

    Why are we a society that tends toward violence?
    The simple answer is resources;
    We are a immigrant society that displaced a native people and use slavery both economic and direct to exploit the whole world while claiming our privilege as a gift from God.

    It is easy to see a direct relationship between guns and power. Two percent of the world population using 20 percent of world resources with relatively short projections to civil collapse unless we change our ways.
    While the quest for power is real, I don’t think it completely explains our obsession with the gun.

    I think the gun is closely linked to the sex drive. It brings home the bacon, it makes a mate feel more attractive, it gives options to all.

    Why else could old men send young men off to battle? Those that return have slightly better chance finding a mate, and those who sent them have a much better selection of mates.
    If guns and sex are related it creates a difficult paradigm to shift. Awareness is the first step to change. Gun control is not really the answer with Pandora’s evil already out of its box.
    I see the answer in building a society based on hope, where our youth see a better tomorrow, not where power is based on who has the biggest gun.

  • BHA – Vermont

    He fired 31 rounds and hit 19 people, some multiple times. He killed 6 of them. I recognize that “people with guns kill people” but if the clips were kept to 9 rounds, over half of those hit in Tuscon would not have been shot. THAT is enough of a reason to make it illegal to manufacture, sell (and oddly NOT in anyone’s proposed law) OWN a bigger clip.

    There is ABSOLUTELY no reason a 33 round clip MUST exist in the private sector. In what circumstance is a private citizen going to need 33 rounds they can pop off in a few seconds?
    - Certainly NOT target shooting. If you don’t want to reload the clip at the range (and just how long does that take, a minute, maybe 2??), buy 3 regular clips. And if you are shooting for practice, wouldn’t you want the gun to handle as it would in ‘normal’ circumstances? The big clip is heavier and longer. It changes the balance of the gun. I doubt anyone with a concealed carry license is going to put a Glock 19 with a 33 round clip in their shoulder holster.
    - Certainly NOT hunting, no one hunts with a pistol and no hunter needs 33 rounds in any weapon to bring down their prey. If they do, they need target practice not a bigger clip.
    - Certainly NOT for personal protection. If it takes that many to fend off an attacker, they have already left or killed you.

    The right to bear arms does not mean the right to have any weapon you want just because you want it.

  • Daniel

    The capacity of the magazine may have made it more convenient for the shooter but it did not cause this tragedy nor make it worse, the same effect could have been realized by carrying multiple weapons. It could have been worse if he decided to use a bomb. The Pakistani Taliban in recent memory, Hezbollah, and our home grown Timothy McVeigh. What’s next, out law fertilizer? Baking powder? Please. Violent, irrational people will always find a way to express themselves violently.

    The issues as I see them related to this shooting are:
    + Our dehumanization of those with which we disagree.
    + The ever increasing gulf between govt. elite and common people.
    + Our culture of helplessness.
    + The individuals(and cultural) desire for 5 min of fame.

    I’ll d/l the podcast later, sounds like a great show.

    Daniel
    Middlesboro, KY

  • BHA – Vermont

    Regarding the NRA -
    WHY do the politicians crawl on their knees to the demands of the NRA?

    Their membership is about 4 million.
    About 160 million people vote in 2004 and 2008.

    2.5 percent (assuming ALL NRA members vote and I am SURE many are under 18) of the electorate should NOT be driving laws that are incompatible with the safety of the general population.

    I’m not saying the NRA members should be ignored but we should not legalize assault capable weaponry for private use simply because they think there should be NO restriction on gun ownership and threaten the election of someone who does not agree with them in favor of one who does, regardless of each candidate’s stand on other issues.

  • Brett

    “WHY do the politicians crawl on their knees to the demands of the NRA?”

    Unfortunately, the NRA has a very powerful lobby whose endorsement/disapproval of candidates can mean careers enhanced/ruined in politics.

  • Brandstad

    Tom,

    Shouldn’t this conversation be put in context. Criminals will not be affected by a change in the law, and what guns law abiding citizens have is inconsequential to society.

    The Arizona madman was mentally ill and legally would not pass a background check to buy a gun.

  • William

    Prior to the movie “Lethal Weapon” I don’t remember this craze for some people to buy a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. I would like to see a show on the influence that Hollywood has made on our society with respect to violence and guns.

  • Enrique (Henry) Capurro

    I am a strong defender of the Second Amendment, having lived without one for 25 years i understand its importance. On the other hand, I understand the need to limit the capacity of magazines, to limit the sale of over-sized magazines and the sale of assault weapons (not all automatic weapons are assault weapons). One does not need an assault weapon unless one is planning to “assault” something–like a Government installation in an effort to overthrow the Government, defined as treason on the US Constitution–or defend the from country from invaders.
    We need a law that bans over-sized magazines and assault weapons from civilians. Exceptions to this ban could be tailored for people living in remote areas with little chance of getting help in a reasonable amount of time, or for Sarah Palin in case the Russians try to crash her family’s backyard BBQ.

  • Peter Lake

    Tom Ashbrook in his promo this morning referred to “32 round ‘clips’”.
    They’re “magazines” and his calling them “clips” betrays a profound ignorance about guns.

    It’s as if he spoke about the “pointy-end” of a boat.

    World War 1 was sparked by a student with a .32 calibre pistol with seven-round capacity.
    As a consequence 16 million people died and 21 million were wounded.
    It doesn’t take more than a single match to set of a firestorm.

    And no, you can’t take my guns.

    -Peter Lake, Marblehead

  • http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com Robert Farago

    This discussion is like the drunk looking for his car keys under a streetlamp because the light’s better.

  • geffe

    This should be an interesting show, and on Martin Luther King day as well. The assault weapons ban was lifted by the Republican congress and endorsed by Bush lets not forget that. If the ban was still in place Loughner still could have bought the ammo for his gun but it wold have had less firepower. There is no reason for any citizen to own any assault weapon or 30 round clip for a pistol.

    For those how say criminals will get them anyway or that people like Loughner will still commit these kinds of crimes and it’s not the weapons that kill, I think that’s a kind of warped way of looking at it.

    Daniel from Middlesboro, KY mentioned Timothy McVeigh and made a comment about the banning of fertilizer without know that the formula for it has been changed due to the Oklahoma city bombing. You can’t buy fertilizer to my knowledge, that can be used to make a bomb. It wont ignite the same way is what I understand.

    His other comment is one I hear often from people who feel the need to be armed: The ever increasing gulf between govt. elite and common people. What does this mean, really?

    I’m not sure how the elites in government are a threat.
    I’m more concerned about the elite plutocrats who seem to control how government works with lobbyist, as does the NRA.

    Ban the extended clip and ban all assault weapons, period.

  • Bob

    In Japan (which prohibits private ownership of guns) a man walked into a school in Osaka and killed 8 kids and wounded 13 more with a kitchen knife.

    Banning guns or magazines or anything else isn’t going to stop crime nor will it keep psychos from acting out on their impulses. You will NEVER be 100% safe. That is life. Be happy you don’t live in Somalia.

  • Yar From Somerset, KY

    By age 21 how many hours of first person shooter video games has the average person played? How many movie and TV gun deaths witnessed? How many news stories involving gun violence have been digested?
    We are a nation of rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air; violence is part of our national psyche.
    Why would anyone think a society that has yet to pass an equal rights amendment would intervene with the right to bear arms?
    Self control is the best form of gun control.
    We have much work to change in our psyche.
    Contrast the hours of violence witnessed with how many hours has the average person observes a positive healthy family?
    We are what we experience.

  • Dan

    @Brandstad,

    Are you actually saying that no law provides a deterrent effect? I don’t think you actually mean that, but that’s what you wrote.

    That the Arizona “madman” wouldn’t have passed a background check is immaterial: he was able to get his Glock without having to submit to a background check. Please deal with that fact before shooting your mouth off again.

  • Robert

    “The right to bear arms does not mean the right to have any weapon you want just because you want it.”

    Really? How about SHALL not be infringed?

  • Polly Ohman

    We were in England at the time of the Colorado school shooting. My comment is brief — ALL we heard from persons we knew and encountered, what we heard and read in media, had to do with Americans’ access to guns.

  • Luke Martin

    This is a slippery slope. First they will try and limit the magazine size then they will say what if the person has multiple guns – two guns with 10 round magazines… and you are back up to 20 rounds. Then we start the one gun per person argument. Stop this now.

  • Dan

    There are two points I’d like to raise about this “debate,” such as it is. 1) There is a single wing of a single political party in favor of stricter gun control; the remainder of our elected officials are more or less pro-gun, and 2) there is a single, very powerful anti-gun control lobby. We call it the NRA, and somehow, its long-term campaign that “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people,” continues to resonate. Sure, people kill people, but as Eddie Izzard noted, I think the gun helps…

  • Jeff

    Banning these magazines (NOT clips!) will not make us any safer, as those who are bent on murder or mayhem will find a way to do so. The same goes for banning any type of weapon. All gun control laws do is make it tougher for law-abiding citizens to purchase or carry firearms.

    That said, as a gin owner, I would be willing to compromise on a ban of high capacity magazines, maybe limiting them to 13 rounds. But doing so will do nothing to stop madmen and murderers.

  • Dan

    @Luke Martin,

    Surely you don’t believe in an unlimited right for individual citizens to own whatever weaponry they want. So at what point will you stop saying “Slippery slope!” and get down to specifics: what should we be allowed to own?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • retu

    What about Wtc #7???

  • Dan

    @Jeff,

    If you are so certain of the rectitude of your position, why are you willing to compromise? I don’t understand—you say that these laws won’t do anything, and then you turn around and say you’d be willing to compromise and make it so. Why?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Francis Janik

    I am from Vermont and I own high capacity magazines. I use these for target shooting.
    I have the right to carry a concealed firearm for self defense. I do not believe that banning these magazines, (not Clips as they have been referred to) will stop a criminal bent on killing. I would suggest that only an armed citizen could have stopped the killer in Tucson. We cannot expect the police to be everywhere. We have to take responsibility for our own safety.

  • Zeno

    “That said, as a gin owner, I would be willing to compromise on a ban of high capacity magazines, maybe limiting them to 13 rounds.”

    We already tried banning Gin. LOL (some typos are funny)

  • Bob

    @ dan: Why not? Owning a cannon doesn’t mean I’m going to start WWIII, it just means I’m a little odd. What people own really isn’t an issue, what people DO is the issue. Why don’t we address CRIME instead? As far as I know it’s illegal to murder people. If laws deter criminal behavior, how about we start enforcing some of the ones we have?

  • Andrew

    Hello, I just want to paraphrase Ice Cube: They are going to try and ban the AK my shi* wasn’t registered any fuc**** way. To me the ban will not do much.

    Andrew, Lexington, KY

  • Marion Olson

    From Wells, Maine -

    I would like to hear a justification from one of these gun advocates who believe that a high-capacity magazine should be legal. Can we please have someone come up with a legitimate reason for someone carrying a Glock for personal protection to have one of these? Never mind this nonsense about encroachment on their Second Amendment rights. Tell us why it’s needed!

  • Luke Martin

    “Surely you don’t believe in an unlimited right for individual citizens to own whatever weaponry they want. So at what point will you stop saying “Slippery slope!” and get down to specifics: what should we be allowed to own?”

    Everything. Why do you feel the need to control your fellow man?

  • Dan

    @Francis Janik,

    Unarmed citizens were what actually stopped Jared Loughner from reloading. How can you argue that “only an armed citizen could have stopped [Loughner],” when he was in fact stopped by unarmed citizens?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Victoria

    This argument that high capacity magazines are needed for the general public’s self defense is ridiculous. For example, who are you defending yourself from, Mr. Janik, with a concealed firearm? A bear? It took one day on September 11, 2001 for us to ban many items on airplanes, so this discussion of how “uncommon” it is for criminals to use them is simply irrelevant.

  • jack

    The Right is always defending the indefensible; this time they’re against gun control laws. (These people never tire of be on the wrong side of every issue.)

    Let’s see, criminals commit murder, so let’s abolish laws against murder. (same for all laws – abolish ‘em all!)

  • Larry Newman

    I’d like to reference William Falk’s Op Ed in The Week magazine of 1/21/2011. William speaks of the underlying reason behind resistance for gun control, namely, the “right of revolution” that is held by tens of millions of gun owners.
    In other words, “if the government decides to become tyrannical, our guns are to protect us against that” as explained by Chuck Norris, actor and NRA activist.
    As a non-firearm owner, I have a hesitancy to agree with this position. As an American, I don’t see exactly how I could disagree.

  • Jeff

    Dan-

    I’m willing to compromise because the gun owners of America should consider meeting the anti-gun types halfway on this. This is an issue that wouldn’t really affect the gun owners of America, because 30 round magazines on a handgun are frivolous (and rare). And maybe once the anti-gun types realize that these gun laws don’t really work, they will rethink their positions.

  • Bob

    Marion, why is a Porsche that can go 150mph needed? Why do you have to justify something’s existance through need?

  • Francis DeVine

    The “originalist” side of the Supreme Court by a vote of 5 to 4 overturned over one hundred years of court precedent regarding the second amendment and gun control. As true “originalist” wouldn’t they actually support the single shot type of gun available in 1787, instead of a 30 round clip?

  • shannon from Houston

    Mr Levy is right that a lot more people are killed every year with normal handguns than with guns with high capacity clips. But this is not a reason to outlaw these clips.

    In my neighborhood in Houston, young men rob people at gunpoint regularly, with normal handguns. If there was some way to limit the number of normal handguns too, to keep these aggravated assaults from happening so often, I would feel a lot safer walking around my university campus neighborhood.

    Carrying a gun to protect oneself from robbery or shooters is absurd. YOu can’t pull your gun every time you see a young man approaching you that you don’t know.

  • PW in TX

    The issue isn’t as much about guns as about personal responsibility and maturity. For decades we have been allowing ourselves the same latitude we allow small children. As a society we are failing when it comes to the degree of responsibility, maturity and education we demand of ourselves. The result? “Anything goes.” We find ourselves forced to live with ever-increasing violence, whether in our entertainment and culture, or in our politics. We’re stuck with “If I want it, I should have it!”

    When (I hope not “if”!) we go back to demanding more of ourselves, we won’t need props like guns. For the most part they are used as props — more often than not as props for egos than for self-defense. Depending on gun ownership for self-defense is nothing more nor less than proof that we are living in a disintegrating national community. The solution isn’t more guns, it’s more grown-ups.

  • Yar From Somerset, KY

    @Francis Janik,
    I live near a person that uses a gun with high capacity magazine to target practice near my house. I have on occasion heard a ricochet buzz over the house.
    What action should I take? If I make him mad am I making myself safer? Why does a person desire to shoot a targets in rapid fire in the first place?

  • Bruce

    All people who own hand guns are just plain sicko. Hand Guns are for killing people. Time to ban them all. The right to own guns applied to guns in 1776, a single shot the required an elaborate reloading. Time to get real and take a look at ourselves.

    Guns aren’t the problem its the people behind the gun. Right, and they are a sick bunch.

  • Steve L

    1. Why is one life less valuable than another based on the idea that one is elected to office?

    2. Following the Armageddon event the wackos fear, I don’t want those same wackos armed to the teeth any more than I want the gangsters armed to the teeth. I would rather see controls that keep heavy arms out of the hands of both.

    3. Any idea that an armed citizenry could stand against a rogue government military is laughable. They will just be target practice for the rogues.

    Those who want their way without any regard to the good of society are, by definition, sociopaths.

    If guns aren’t the problem, people are then pass more people control laws, MORON!!!

    Steve in Nashville

  • mark meunier

    can you imagine the blood bath that would have ensued if even a few more people in the Az crowd had had guns on them, like the gun advocates want ?
    One idiot starts shooting and everyone draws and tries to figure out who is the bad guy !!!!!!!!

    Oh MY God—-

  • Michael Thompson

    The ignorance of the discussion is obvious to those who understand guns. Example – “If he had a smaller magazine, he would have injured less people”. Well, on what basis does one assume that is true, given that a trained person can drop one magazine and replace it with another within 2 seconds. TWO SECONDS! Do you really think that within two seconds, the bystanders would recognize that he was changing magazines, approach him and render him ineffective? Even while being tackled he could complete the magazine transfer and begin firing. The argument presented by the guests make no sense.

  • Zeno

    Yes knowing that everybody has a gun prevents assassinations. That’s why Hinkley never shot at Reagan. That caller was an idiot.

  • Beverly

    TOM ASHBROOK,

    PLEASE ASK ROBERT LEVY WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO HAVE THEM.

  • John Hellinger

    Does anybody feel that his/her constitutional rights are in any way encumbered by the process necessary to own and drive a car? When they are required to pass a drivers license test and get a permit to drive it? That they are required to register the car every year or every second year as long as they own o9t? That they have to re-register the car when they sell it? That they are required to insure the car with full registration of the car’s IDs? Now – cars are not built to be a wapon and as such much less dangerous in their intent. Why in God’s name would the same requirements and procedures limit the constitutional right to own guns?

    New Jersey

  • Dan

    @Bob,

    That’s a whole bunch of nonsensical arguments all rolled into one—I’ll deal with your contentions in turn.

    1. “Owning a cannon doesn’t mean I’m going to start WWIII, it just means I’m a little odd.” A little odd? Okay then… But you’re being disingenuous, because a cannon alone isn’t the question here. What if you own a division’s worth of cannons? What if you own an aircraft carrier, nerve gas, a nuclear weapon? Are all those “arms” to be protected under the Second Amendment?

    2) “What people own isn’t really an issue…” That’s simply not true. We don’t let people own, say, nerve gas. We impose plenty of restrictions on materials that can be weaponized.

    3) “how about we start enforcing some of the laws we have?” Loughner’s been charged, so I don’t really know what you’re talking about. Good try, though!

  • Daniel

    Come on, the use of these weapons in Mexico by the drug cartels is not valid as an argument that US weapons are used illegally. Our laws prohibiting the substances that the cartels control create the economic demand for the cartels. With out our prohibition their funding would would vanish. Their existence is response to the lucrative black market.

    Besides, the laws of Mexico are Mexico’s responsibility. Not ours.

    Daniel

    Middlesboro, KY

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    There are now bullets that explode once they’ve struck, making them cause vastly more damage in the body. I remembered this when we heard the bullet that hit Giffords when through and out the other side. It seems it didn’t explode (or maybe it wouldn’t have gone through). I’m not a gun owner. But it seems that this sort of ammunition should be regulated as well.

    Meanwhile we can look at the NRA and how it functions very carefully. The idea the Second Amendment was designed to enable slave owners to chase down escaped slaves more effectively is chilling. Fruit of the poisonous tree indeed.

  • BHA – Vermont

    Really? How about SHALL not be infringed?
    Posted by Robert,

    Ok then: I want, and DEMAND due to my second amendment rights, to carry around a loaded rocket propelled grenade launcher. You know, just in case I am in a situation where I need to protect myself.

    The second amendment says shall not infringe the right to have firearms (and *I* disagree with the Supreme Court – I read it to mean FOR THE MILITIA)

    But it does NOT specify WHAT kind of firearms. There is nothing in the second amendment that says “ANY kind of firearm”. It says “firearms”.

    So I say we should read it strictly and only allow firearms that were available at the time the amendment was written. I’m sure they did not foresee handguns that could fire off 33 rounds in a few seconds.

    OK, so I don’t really believe that. But I DO think the government SHOULD have the right to restrict WHAT TYPE of weapon can be carried and WHERE it can be carried. No Saturday night specials, no assault rifles, no large clips.

    People certainly should be able to have guns for hunting. I’m suspect of the concept that carrying a concealed pistol into Starbucks is either a need or a right.

  • Spencer R. Rackley IV

    Paul Helmkie is wrong. Convicted assassin Sirhan Sirhan shot and killed Presidential candidate United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy in Los Angeles, California on 5 June 1968 with an eight-shot Iver Johnson .22 caliber Cadet 55-A revolver

  • Vanessa

    More guns? That is your answer? REALLY? You have got to be kidding me!

    What do these people with guns in their home think they need to protect themselves against? Is it just about having a right to own it? Or do you REALLY need a gun?

    I don’t get it.

  • Marion Olson

    “Because I want it” is not a justification.

  • Rob

    Yes, let us uphold the 2nd Amendment, but WITH LIMITATIONS. The “right of the people to keep and bear Arms” was written during the times of muzzle-loading rifles and difficult-to-use pistols – even the best soldiers could only get 2 or 3 rounds off in a minute! Today’s guns are weapons of mass destruction in comparison to those the framers of the Constitution were thinking about in the late 1700s.

  • Zeno

    The “hone use” comment was funny.

    Will there be a label on the magazine “UL approves this magazine for home use only” LOL

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    The opponents of gun and clip-size control claim that criminals or the mentally unstable will find a way to get what they want weapon-wise. Let them. I say why should we make it that much easier for them to get them just so the rest of us are not inconvenienced? I live in Kentucky and believe me, guns are way to easy to get as are modifications to turn a semi-automatic into an automatic weapon.

    Robert @ 10:08
    The “Right to Keep and Bear Arms” was written in the 1700′s and applies to the types of guns made then. Anything developed since then should be subject to restrictions and registrations. The beauty of a single shot weapon is you have to think first before you use it.

    Roxanne @ 6:29 Right ON!

  • Mark, MA

    We don’t live in Europe. Our constitution of government was created in reaction to the absolutism of European aristocratic excess and religious intolerance. To hold up Europe, which bled itself nearly dry twice last century, after four hundred years of fratricidal bloodshed that puts the modern middle east to shame is disingenuous and wrong-headed. They more or less killed out their martial classes in the world wars, but that has absolutely zero to do with the issues under discussion in the U.S. today.

  • Spencer R. Rackley IV

    The magazine ban is bogus.
    If the shooter had had a Webly 38/200 REVOLVER and a pocket full of speed loaders, he could probably have done more damage. A speed loader is a device that holds 6 rounds and allows one to load all 6 into the cylin…der at once. It is faster than dropping a mag and inserting another in a Glock 19. The Webly, being a revolver will NOT jamb.

    Spencer R. Rackley IV
    Charlotte NC

  • Jeff

    Elin-

    Bullets that fragment are actually safer for everyone than those that do not. A round that fragments upon impact will not pass through the target and possibly hit someone else.

  • Dan

    @Jeff,

    What? The idea, then, is that you’re going to support what you know to be a bad law so that others might see how bad a law it is? Are you willing to accept the possibility that you might be wrong, that banning high-capacity magazines might actually work?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • http://SlipperySlopeArgument scott harmon

    Slippery slope! Slippery slope!
    I have a variety of weapons. I believe in the 2nd. I do not think a little restriction ultimately leads to any slippery slope. This is such a worn out argument!
    No government officials will “eventually come and take everyone’s weapons and ammo”. And most importantly, (God forbid!) the NRA won’t suffer a lose of membership fees.
    Scott Harmon
    Charlottesville, Va.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Please, a clip is a strip of metal that holds cartridges to load into a magazine. A magazine is the box that holds the cartridges in the firearm.

  • Kim Locke

    My brother and I are listening and he just made the comment that most likely some of the people who were at the shooting own guns. But none of them defended themselves with their guns.

  • Sara

    Not to digress, but what about improving our mental health system, clearly a connection.

  • geffe

    I am from Vermont and I own high capacity magazines. I use these for target shooting.
    I have the right to carry a concealed firearm for self defense. I do not believe that banning these magazines, (not Clips as they have been referred to) will stop a criminal bent on killing. I would suggest that only an armed citizen could have stopped the killer in Tucson. We cannot expect the police to be everywhere. We have to take responsibility for our own safety.
    Posted by Francis Janik, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:18 AM

    Francis, how do you know if this? In the chaos of the shooting in Tucson could armed citizens have killed more people? Most likely yes. This argument is absurd, and you would most likely be shot or arrested by the police.

    This argument is so absurd, for the people who feel they need extended magazines for their toys you know what, to bad, do without. You can still go target shooting and fire away to your hearts content. It’s not only about gun owners. The stats clearly show that more people are killed by someone they know with a firearm than not.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    The weapons industry (gun makers) need to take a cue from the manufacturers of phones, for instance, so that they break one way or another in a few years, and a new one has to be bought.
    That way you don’t have to keep expanding your base of customers.

  • Ren Knopf

    The above responses are, to my thinking, pretty much on point. I wish they could be heard over the loud voices of those opposing gun controls. The 2nd Amendment has been seemingly cast in concrete by people who want it to mean they may buy and fire pretty much any weapon they wish to – not out of need. And “out of need” was the basis for the 2nd Amendment. Naysayers can read Jefferson on this point. Neither he nor Madison thought their work was written on stone. Both wrote of the probable furture need for their document to evolve with development of this country. So what is the real issue? Magazine/clip capacity is only part of the question Having guns isn’t the issue as much as what are we as a nation willing to do to curtail ease of access? So far, not much. Congress does not hear the pain and grief of the grieving over gun money’s siren song. What are we willing to do to make them hear? When do we evolve?
    Ren Knopf, Framingham
    (Note to Peter Lake: either term is acceptable, tho sometimes not technically accurate. Magazines are the usual term for the housing or carrier inserted into a weapon. Often a strip clip holding the bullets is used to fill a magazine. An M-1 Garand uses a clip to feed an internal, non-removable magazine.There’s nothing profoundly ignorant about interchanging these terms.)

  • steve m

    It amounts to permitted terrorism when gangs and others prone to violence have these weapons.

    Boston, MA

  • Glenn Sinsigalli

    The NRA has absolute command over this argruement. Any restrictions at all are immediately countered with the “slippery slope” arguement. Congress is cowed by the power of the NRA’s political clout. Nobody can give a good reason for a civilian to need more than 11 shots in a magazine. And the target shooter who commented earlier, boo hoo if you had to change magazines every 11 shots!! If congress had balls, they would ban ownership of these magazines and buy back the ones in circulation. Add a tax on guns to pay for it. If I was a politician the NRA would give me an F and I would flaunt it.

    Northeastern MA

  • Dan

    @Michael Thompson,

    Loughner was obviously not a “trained” shooter, as he was unable to change out his magazine as quickly as you say a trained shooter could have. Is there a reason you’re arguing about something that didn’t happen? The rest of us are trying to grapple with the facts as they are, not as we’d like them to be.

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Beverly

    ZENO,

    Right you are. What a stupid thing to say.

    Knowing that somebody else had a gun wouldn’t deter anyone hellbent on killing as many innocent people as possible as quickly as possible, since they invariably commit suicide anyway.

  • Steve L

    The “slippery slope” goes both ways. Where does the slippery slope of gun ownership stop?

    When do the rest of us stand up to the bullies?

    and BTW – I DO own a gun.

    Steve in Nashville

  • Michael Sullivan

    First to be understood is that in order to live in a society people must give up a certain amount of civil rights. In order to decrease the chances of incidents, such as the shooting in Tucon, AZ. we will need to either restrict the access to weapons or to freedoms of people with mental defect to buy them. The latter restriction means that we will need to force more people into medication or incarceration due to mental defect.

  • Peter Jones

    (from Boston area)
    This is a TOTAL waste of time worring about magazine capacity! A well trained shooter would not want to be encumbered by that terribly long magazine. Well trained, you can eject the empty magazine, and slam in another and release the slide – to load in the first round from the new magazine – all in well under a second. A large supply of magazines lets one repeat this operation as needed, while the pistol is not encumbered with the ridiculously long magazine.

    FAR more important would be to have a LAW requiring public disclosure of whatever Columbine grade mind-rape “legal” psych drugs the shooter was on. All to often, there is fear of violating the shooter’s medical privacy rights, or perhaps even more accurately, the press certainly would not want to offend what may be their largest group of advertisers – the DRUG INDUSTRY.

  • Barbara

    what about the slippery slope that we’ve already experience? the slope toward mass killings because of the high capacity magazines?

  • Michael

    Calling for banning this is dumb, I can see in national parks, Banning symbols is equally as dumb since as we should be well aware that it’s going to be abused once put into law.

    As someone said on last Friday’s show if it was a black,Latino or Muslim the who story would be on blaming rap music tougher jail times, republicans tripping over themselves to get anti-immigrations laws on the books, Dina T.R. would be on talking about terrorism and all on the right (Even the left) calling for Racial Profiling, since it’s a white male in his 20′s no such thing.

    BTW in AZ has about a 6 out of 10 chance if a crime is committed it will be a person who is white, yet there be no way in hell the republicans or right would call for racial profiling of whites.

    .azdps.gov /About/Reports/Crime_In_Arizona/

  • Bob

    Dan, pot. Kettle. Black. On the Strawman claim. OK, let’s bring it down then. I own an AR 15 with an evil high capacity magazine. I have never shot anyone with it. It’s existence does not turn me into a homicidal maniac. Should I so DESIRE to be a homicidal maniac I could do JUST as much, if not more, damage with a lever-action deer rifle. How does limiting an object I own make you safer? The Osaka incident shows if I’m crazy, prohibiting me access to guns doesn’t make you safe.

    Finally, as to the argument that a criminal could steal my gun and use it, yes one could. So let’s look at a country that has banned ownership of guns, like say Mexico. No gun crime there. Or say drugs in the US. We’ve banned them so NO ONE would smuggle them in. Right.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Springdale, AR

    The simple argument is that since gun ownership–not specific kinds or capacities, but small arms in general–is recognized in the Constitution, calling for limits on what small arms we can own is akin to calling for limits on the books that we can own or print. Would you accept a hundred-page limit on books? Would you tolerate certain kinds of books being banned? The rights are described in the same way.

  • BHA – Vermont

    “Do you really think that within two seconds, the bystanders would recognize that he was changing magazines, approach him and render him ineffective? Even while being tackled he could complete the magazine transfer and begin firing. The argument presented by the guests make no sense.”
    Posted by Michael Thompson

    Yes, BECAUSE THEY DID. He WAS stopped WHILE trying to change magazines. The woman who grabbed the magazine had ALREADY been shot. I imagine in her mind, what does she have to lose, might be seconds from death either way.

    And I do not agree with your contention that someone being tackled is going to have two hands unloading and reloading a gun as their head approaches the ground.

    The fewer rounds there are in a magazine, the sooner someone can take action. If not action, take cover. So yes, a 9 round magazine would have resulted in fewer people being shot.

  • Roger J – KUNI listener

    The corporate interests that support the NRA (and gun loving fanatics) want us to think, “guns don’t kill people; people kill people.” Here’s what is missing: “People with guns kill far more easily than people without guns.”
    The 2nd amendment issue is relatively settled. This issue does not question that constitutional right. But society needs to prevent unstable people from getting weapons of mass destruction. That is what high capacity clips are – weapons of mass destruction. They need to be eliminated from public “consumption.” Where is the Republican support for acting against weapons of mass destruction when the evidence of their use is undeniable?

  • http://WhatIfLimitedRegulationSavedAFewLives? scott harmon

    What If Limited Gun Regulation Saved A Few Lives? How About A Hundred? Or Thousands? What If?… Wouldn’t It Be Worth It? Your Weapons Will Not Be Taken Away! That Is An Old Baseless Argument.

  • mr.independent

    One thing that I also think needs to be discussed is a waiting period for the purchase of a firearm. We need better background checks. Gun shows are not regulated at all it seems to me and this is a huge problem.

  • Beverly

    What does this have to do with the NRA? Who’s talking about rifles?

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    With respect to Mr. Levy, the guests today are not experts in concealed carry or in self-defense tactics. You have no one on who can speak to these questions.

    Springdale, AR

  • Charles A. Bowsher

    What I heard from more than one source was that there was a person in the store who had a weapon, they came out front and by the time they got there the shooter had been disarmed and another citizen had picked up the weapon to keep it from Jarod. He almost shot this innocent person. He was stopped when someone else told the guy to put down the gun before he got shot.

  • Spencer R. Rackley IV

    The Second Amendment SCOTUS cases ARE NOT SET IN STONE. If one of the 5 Justices were to die or resign, the new replacement would probably be on the anti-gun side. Do you really believe that the gun-controllers would not do a fast run of a case to SCOTUS to roll back both Heller and McDonald?

    Spencer R. Rackley IV
    Charlotte NC

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Are there statistics as to the defensive effects of guns that make a lot of noise and appear to be shooting but don’t really shoot bullets? Paint-gun-type things? Apparently bandits robbing banks have found out the value of fake guns (knuckles in the hoodie pocket).
    If my residence were invaded and I “shot” a pseudo-gun, wouldn’t that buy me time to summon the police and scare some folks away?
    “Brandishing” a fake gun is the limit of what I’d be willing to do. I’d shoot a loud puff.

  • Bill Ryan

    I believe in the back of the minds of all the opponents to banning high capacity magazines is the belief or suspicion that some day they will have to defend themselves or their freedoms from an over reaching government. There can be no other reason. Because there is no other purpose for them. And as you move further from the city center and move outward to rural America you find that the opposition strengthens as their direct contact with their government lessens as their distance from the seats of power increases. The ensuing fear of an overreaching government where it isn’t necessary fueling a desire for protection.

  • Nathan Morton

    I think it is pretty clear that the 2nd amendment’s purpose is not to protect gun ownership merely for hunting or for one to deter burglars, it is for citizens to defend themselves against tyranny of a government with too much power….the constitution was written in the wake of a revolution against a tyrannical government. So, yes, the purpose of guns would be for them to kill people and deter undemocratic government behavior. I say this is a lefty liberal with no special love of guns. How we prevent murderous rampages and other crime in a free society requires some creativity but banning weapons outright isn’t the answer. Further, I don’t think it is doing anything for Democrats to be seen as the ones who “want to take away your guns”

  • Gina

    People should read the website http://www.gunowners.org

    This website reveals what this lobby is really all about. They believe, like the shooter in Tucson, Sarah Palin, Glen Beck, and others, that our government is our enemy. They think that if they have enough guns in their possession they will ‘protect themselves’ if the government comes looking for them. As Rachel Maddow pointed out on MSNBC recently, the U.S. military has far, far, more military might than any gun owner, or multiple gun owners. They have AIR power!!

    We call this guy in Tucson “crazy”, but that’s a wide group that believes as he did.

  • Zeno

    The Hinckley – Reagan shooting is an example of how a crazy man with a gun could NOT be stopped by 20 Highly Secret Service agents with training and machine guns. A labor official hit him on the head and SS tackled him to the ground.

    Hinckley was NOT shot.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Speaking of suicide, we have a debate going on in this country about allowing terminally ill patients to commit suicide with the assistance of their doctors. Most states ban such a practice. Can we separate the kinds of suicides?

    Springdale, AR

  • Lee Gaillard

    The basic problem is: The Second Amendment is irrelevant to today’s society.

    Should people be able to defend themselves? Yes.
    Should people be able to hunt deer? Yes.

    The Second Amendment was passed in 1791. The opening absolute phrase defines its reason: the necessity of militias. The populace needed to have that rifle over the mantelpiece to be able to join their militia on short notice.

    “The right to bear arms” in 1791 meant not 1) to own a rifle to go hunting, 2) or a handgun (there weren’t many then) for self-protection, but according to The Oxford English Dictionary, to carry a weapon as part of a larger organization or group.

    The National Guard and Army and Marine Corps have replaced militias; there are no ‘nobles’ in whose service ‘the peasants’ would today be asked to ‘bear arms.’

    Point being: delete the Second Amendment, decide on legal rights and appropriate safety restrictions to allow for personal safety, and go from there. Not easy…but it needs to be done.

    M-14s and megaclips in unrestricted circulation in a country with about 300 million weapons in individual possession makes no sense whatsoever and endangers its citizenry.

  • Francis Janik

    Dan, I am a skilled gun owner and i would find it difficult to unload 33 rounds in 15 seconds on target. I should have said that an armed citizen could have ended the killing before he could empty his gun. I ask the question…How could you defend yourself against multiple assailants? With a baseball bat? I don’t think so.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Mr. Helmke,

    Shotguns that could be concealed are illegal without a special class of license. Will you let me get one?

    Ms. Larson,

    Rights aren’t a matter of need. If I want a copy of Columbus’s log, a Koran, or the New York Times, I don’t have to explain my need for those.

    Springdale, AR

  • PW in TX

    The fallback argument for arming ourselves with heavy as individuals with extended magazines and other aggressive weaponry is that we “must” have arms in case we have to fight “the government.” They remind us of the American revolutionaries. This always makes me want to interrupt and remind the speaker that now, more than 200 years later, the government is us, not a foreign power. When we talk about “government” regulating guns, we’re talking about our option as a society to regulate weapon ownership.

    However onerous the federal government may feel to some, when we talk about — or threaten — aggressive action against our government, we’re really threatening our fellow Americans, our democracy, ourselves.

  • Dan

    @Bob,

    The “pot, kettle, black” thing rubs me the wrong way, not because it strikes home, but because it’s hackneyed. Moving on.

    Your lever-action deer rifle has the same rate of fire as your AR-15? I find that awfully hard to believe. Why even own an AR-15, then? I think you and I both know that the AR-15 is a military-style rifle designed to produce a high rate of fire, whereas your deer rifle is designed to place individual, penetrating rounds into game. How does limiting your ownership of a high-capacity magazine make me safer? Simple: you have to reload more frequently, and as the event in Arizona showed, a shooter is most vulnerable while reloading. You’re likely to get the jump on me and get off your first few shots, but your inability to keep shooting is directly related to my ability to stop you from shooting again.

    I didn’t say anything about anyone stealing your gun, and neither did you. You mentioned that we ought to “start enforcing” the laws we have on the books, and I said that Loughner’s already been charged. How are you getting from there to here?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Roy Silver

    The states with the highest percent of guns per capita have the highest gun death rates. Law enforcement rarely uses high capacity clips. They only use them on special occasions. Logic and facts do not support the claims that we are safer when high capacity clips are more readily available. More weapons could likely result in amateur hour at the OK Coral.

    Remember that someone with a conceal and carry permit was in Tuscon. He acted correctly and did not draw his gun on the one of the persons who wrestled the gun away from the assassin. This young man said that if he would have drawn his gun he felt that he would have been identified as a second gun man.

  • Michael Quinn

    My comments are not intended to be argumentitive, but rather meant to generate comment. I live in Vermont, considered the safest state in the Union. Vermont scores an 8 out of 100 on the Brady gun law list, meaning the gun laws are weak. How do so many guns in the hands of Vermont citizens result in such a safe environment with low gun violence? What is the association between guns and violence in Vermont?

  • G.T.Gerrard

    You can not legislate against a tool. The heart of the problem is lack of health care. There will always be individuals willing to act-out their own particular agenda no matter the consequences to them selves or others.

    Without local health care,mental as well,the unbalanced person will use what ever “tool” serves their purpose to get results.

    We can send billions overseas, yet taking care of our own citizens seems beyond some elected officials.

    The wake-up call is, the unbalanced individual acting out that resources need to be redirected internally.

  • Cathy

    Please note that there was another man with a gun in Tucson. He thought the the guy who finally ended the mayhem was the deranged killer and nearly shot him.

    The lesson from this incident is that more guns can easily lead to greater chaos and violence.

    (from Lowell, MA)

  • picante

    I don’t understand the arguement that these regulations on clip size won’t deter violence. So what? We enact ineffective rules all the time. It is better to pass the regulation that might not work than not pass one, which certainly won’t work.

  • Bob

    For all those mentioning Hinkley; you realize that Hinkley used a 5 shot revolver, right? The whole high capacity debate is moot.

  • Andrew Duback

    How many actual self-defense incidences are there where a gun owner was able to ward off criminal activity? Can your weight that number against instances of homicides and accidental deaths resulting from gun use?

  • Ren Knopf

    Note to Francis in Vermont. There was an armed citizen at the scene in Tucson. Please do not pretend to tell me that in the 15 seconds that elapsed that he, or you or anyone else was going to have been able to draw, locate and ACCURATELY fire in circumstances of surprise and panic. Reports of people at ranges trying quickly reload to somehow display that they could have quickly reloaded are just disturbing. To the credit of Vermonters – I’ve spent a lot time there and I have done range work with my daughter and her husband there – there remains in that state a respect for weapons similar to what I was raised with and that, frankly, seems lost elsewhere. Control and clear those who buy weapons. The awareness I’ve seen in Vermont and the need at the time of the 2nd Amendment are not the conditions today. Do not mix things up with criminal/gun metaphors. A gun didn’t kill John Lennon and a criminal didn’t shoot and kill in Tucson.
    Ren Knopf, Framingham

  • SM

    Any more than 10 shots is overkill (pun intended).

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Lee Gaillard,

    You said that I have a right to self defense. What gives that right a practical reality? The fact that I have weapons that are effective for the job at hand.

    Caller,

    The police: about 800,000 in America. The population: 310,000,000.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I believe it was Helmke saying guns in the home mostly kill children in the household playing with them.
    Statistics, please? Where from?
    I was babysitting once when a 3-year-old retrieved a small pistol (I think) from a bedside table and pointed it at me. The child was disturbed (next tried to push a chest of drawers down the stairs), and seemed mighty-man in about 30 pounds of human torpedo.
    I certainly believe home guns can be risky.
    Babysitters maybe should be armed too?

  • Dan

    @Francis Janik,

    Was the shooting in Arizona the action of “multiple assailants?”

    Are you regularly accosted by “multiple assailants” in the densely populated cities of Vermont?

    No?

    Then why are you bringing it up?

    Moreover, Loughner was obviously not as skilled a gun user as you. He also wasn’t trying to put any rounds “on target” other than the one aimed for Giffords; his target was anyone and everyone.

    Once again, how is your comment germane to what actually happened in Arizona?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • WMaher

    Well NPR, thanks for another lefty kangaroo court with a packed jury–absolutely no voices of principled opposition to the lefty NPR view. (But thanks as usual for brining on the one half-hearted, luke-warm pro-2nd Amdendment token, to bring “balance” to the program) What should be expected from government-run radio? In case you missed it, the government created tens of thousands of welfare plantations. How much gun violence emanates from these government-created hell holes(at a cost of billions)? Of course, the lefties don’t have to care much because they live in their gated communities far from the hell holes they’ve created.

  • Brandstad

    There is no need to fear law abiding citizens, only criminals that don’t pay any attention to the law.

    Criminals actions are not affected by a new law!

  • BHA – Vermont

    “calling for limits on what small arms we can own is akin to calling for limits on the books that we can own or print. Would you accept a hundred-page limit on books? Would you tolerate certain kinds of books being banned? The rights are described in the same way.
    Posted by Greg ”

    My have you run from any sort of legitimate argument. Yes, I am QUITE sure that tons of crimes are committed with books with more than 100 pages.

    Give me all your money or I will read ALL 150 pages of this book to you.

    ROFLMAO

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    No, Mr. Helmke, we’re talking about what would happen if the army became like what is in China or if the police become again like what they were in the South before Civil Rights.

    Springdale, AR

  • Beverly

    MR. INDEPENDENT,

    That’s right. If there was a 6 or 12-month wait to get a license, a thorough background check could be done, which would include contacting at least 10 personal references, neighbors, doctors, former teachers, counsellors, employers, etc..

    There’s no guarantee that anyone who obtains a license won’t develop a mental illness in the future, but thorough checks, strict rules, & not allowing guns to be sold at gun shows will all go a long way in the prevention of massacres.

  • Michael Thompson

    Over and over again I hear the guests use the verb “need”, as in “no one needs guns, magazines, etc.”
    Since when does a Constitutional right get limited by one’s “need”? Maybe a woman does not “need” an abortion – so maybe the state decides if she does; maybe those receiving government benefits do not “need” to vote – maybe a bureaucrat else can decide for them; if I do not “need” a large magazine, well that means someone is deciding for me. Constitutional rights subject to governmental approbation are not rights at all. Remember that our Constitution presumes that our rights are innate – they are not granted by the government and cannot be revoked by the government.
    By the way, why does anyone “need” a car that will go faster than the speed limit? Why does anyone “need” more than a billion dollars? “Need” is a dangerous approach to rights.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    BHA,

    Have you read a book by John Locke that advocates the dangerous idea that free citizens have rights? Have you read the works of Thomas Jefferson that suggested to students in China that they have rights? Have you read the works of dissidents in Eastern Europe that demanded rights?

    My point is that books are dangerous, and I love them for that.

  • BHA – Vermont

    “I would suggest that only an armed citizen could have stopped the killer in Tucson. We cannot expect the police to be everywhere. We have to take responsibility for our own safety.
    Posted by Francis Janik”

    Except that UNARMED men and a WOUNDED woman took him down. Your argument is false.

    And where in Vermont do you live? I want to stay away from anywhere you bring your concealed weapon. You might shoot me in your haste to stop some crime.

  • David

    States with strict gun control laws have *much* lower homicide rates than states where gun ownership is easy. Why are we allowing policy to be controlled by rhetoric and slogans, rather than observable facts?

    The rehetoric doesn’t even make sense. Typical, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Nonsense, people with guns kill people. (People with knives kill people too, but very inefficiently). You can’t do a lot to restrict the people, but you can do a lot to restrict guns in a rational world. Canada and the U.K. do just fine, very free societies.

  • Francis Janik

    Geffe,
    A skilled armed citizen would follow the same rules as a police officer by not shooting unless he or she has a clear line of fire. I would risk my safety before firing in self defense. Yes you could be shot by a police officer but you could also be killed by the shooter. Gee I guess that you would just stand there and take a bullet or how would you defend your loved ones and fellow citizens? What stats are you quoting?

    Francis, how do you know if this? In the chaos of the shooting in Tucson could armed citizens have killed more people? Most likely yes. This argument is absurd, and you would most likely be shot or arrested by the police.

    This argument is so absurd, for the people who feel they need extended magazines for their toys you know what, to bad, do without. You can still go target shooting and fire away to your hearts content. It’s not only about gun owners. The stats clearly show that more people are killed by someone they know with a firearm than not.

    Posted by geffe, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:35 AM

  • Mari McAvenia

    Dereck Z. Jackson recently wrote an op-ed, published in the Boston Globe, stating that 9 out of 10 shooting deaths of women and children- worldwide- happen here in the USA.

    I do not see how unrestricted gun-ownership bestows more “freedom” on American women & kids. Somebody please explain why being murdered by a gun-toting madman is so very All-American. To me, the wholesale shootings of American women & kids is an utter waste & disgrace. Nothing to brag about unless you’re insane to begin with.

  • David Henry

    I have a little but of different take. The 2nd amendment reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” How about if you buy a hand gun or assault weapon it is considered as volunteering for the well regulated militia? If you want to own one of these weapons you have to do two weekends a month with the national guard? The national guard can be in charge of assessing the mental state of its volunteers. If some one isn’t up to militia regulations in terms of their sanity, or standing as citizen, no gun for them. It might also cut down on people buying clean guns for others if there is some more citizenship responsibility involved.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    David,

    You haven’t looked at the gun crimes that go on right now in the U.K. People are getting killed by guns that supposedly don’t exist.

    When you ban guns, then the government has them, and really violent criminals have them, but the rest of us lose our ability to defend ourselves.

  • http://netzero.net Andrew Johnston

    As usual, Mr Ashbrook did not prepare himself for his “assault weapons” program.

    Why did he not have his attendees discuss how many deaths by gun there are in the US every year? The answer is more than 30.000 per year. The nearest country in the advanced, developed world to us is France. If one multiplies France’s population by three the total is similar to the US’s. The number of deaths by firearms would be around 1,500 per year.

    Thus the US must consider itself realisitcally for what it is, an underdeveloped, Third World, country, or bring itself to equality with the advanced world by changing its constitution from its stupid rigid 1780 stance.

  • Joseph Rice

    This discussion regularly arises, usually after a devestating event, such as the one in Tucson. We may as well face the face that the NRA’s grip on this will not be broken. So, my modest proposal is that we legislatively allow all guns, all the time, with the provision that this legislation is also tied to universal health care. At least we would get some good out of it, and not go through this futile charade every time there is a gun-related tragedy.

  • http://onpoint Jaki Reis

    It may be the people who do the killing, but in these incidents the people could not do the killing without the guns and the guns couldn’t do it without bullets. Certainly it should be obvious that it is rational to limit the number of bullets in a clip when that number is larger that one can rationally control in a highly charged situation. And any time a gun is drawn, it is a highly charge situation.
    Guns are used, wittingly and unwittingly, to kill people and this is the only purpose of guns. In the same way, people use, wittingly and unwittingly, cars to kill people. We regulate the use of cars more closely than we do guns.
    One of the strongest regulator of the use of cars is licenses and insurance. One must past a test to prove at least the barest understanding of how to drive, then purchase insurance, which registers your name address, etc. and keeps that info up to date, along with information on the make and model of the car.
    Surely, if passed through the insurance companies, similar identifying information could be determined for guns and strong regulatory rules would be put in place to minimize the insurance companies liability. At minimum, I imagine, a person could not walk into one Wal-mart after the other until he found someone who was untrained enough to not find his behavior an impediment to purchasing bullets.
    I think it would be interesting to track the changes in the regulations supported by the insurance companies and how those regulations correlate to lessened deaths in car accidents.
    Even deaths IN unmoving cars have been talked about extensively: leaving unattended children and animals in cars for extended lengths of time has begun to come under regulation. You can easily call the police when you find such a situation. Even though this can sometimes be taken to the extreme, as in the father who was arrested for letting his kids climb into the trunk of his car to practice opening it with the emergency latch from the inside, people readily accept that regulation of this is understandable. Also, such extremities do tend to work themselves out.
    At some point, I hope, guns will be seen to be at least as potentially deadly and damaging as cars and as such follow cars in being regulated more closely.

  • BHA – Vermont

    “or if the police become again like what they were in the South before Civil Rights.

    Posted by Greg Camp”

    So you are saying that if you lived in the south before the civil rights movement, YOU would have shot police officers?

    Somehow, I find that a bit difficult to believe.

  • Dan

    @WMaher,

    “Welfare plantations?” Goodness me, did it just get more racist in here?

    Could you please explain to me how Tucson, AZ, population 544,000, counts as a “welfare plantation”?

    Robert Levy was on today’s show. You might want to do some research on him. Then again, you might not, since reality doesn’t seem to suit your worldview!

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    I live near an armory and gun makers that produced the Civil War’s weapons, and I’m thinking the city that thrived with that business must have gone into overdrive after World War II (when it was surely producing at high speed). Overdrive in the sense of trying to keep in business when the Cold War required fewer rifles. What to do? Foster hunting. Publish magazines to inspire young men to love the woods and glory in bringing down bears and so forth (in very unfair combat). What else? Oh, foster the idea that everyone needs a weapon to defend themselves.
    If there were not industries in this bueiness (industries used to lots of profit and lots of demand), would the NRA be where it is today?
    I ask you. (This brings us to the next hour.)

  • PW in TX

    “How do so many guns in the hands of Vermont citizens result in such a safe environment with low gun violence? What is the association between guns and violence in Vermont?” @Michael Quinn

    A question in return (I don’t know the answer…) What is the correlation between gun ownership per capita and education per capita?

    “Of course, the lefties don’t have to care much because they live in their gated communities far from the hell holes they’ve created. Of course, the lefties don’t have to care much because they live in their gated communities far from the hell holes they’ve created.” @WMaher

    Gee, I know lefties who, like me, live in wide open ranch country in the left hand side of Texas and in other wide open rural areas but who don’t own a single hand gun.

  • http://WBUR.org Martin Ostro

    Your guests who have suggested that studies have failed to show that gun control laws have any demonstrable beneficial affect on violent crime, homicides, suicides,etc. The reason that it is so difficult to show the beneficial effect of gun control laws from state to state is becuase it is so easy to buy whatever you want in an ajoining state and circumvent the gun control laws in the state in which you live. If you look at the beneficial effects of gun control laws in Canada or the United Kingdom compared to the United States there is a significant difference because the gun control laws in Canada and the UK are very difficult to circumvent. There are many scientific studies that have shown this to be the case.
    If we were able to have uniform national, rational gun control laws we would have the low levels of violent crime, homicide and suicide seen in other indusrialized countires such as Canada and the UK.
    In terms of being able to prevent the government from imposing undemocratic measures, history, as recent as this week in Tunisia, shows that mass civil disobedience works much better that armd resistance in bringing down autocratic government.

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    BHA,

    I know of cases in the South when the cops pulled over blacks for the purpose of killing them. Many of the famous cases of lynchings were done with the complicity if not active participation of law enforcement officers.

    I’m not advocating killing police officers who do a difficult job with honor and appropriateness. What I am saying is that when law enforcement becomes a tool of crime and abuse, that’s a different case, and one that we in this country need to guard against.

  • Francis Janik

    Ben, I want to know who timed the shooter. I find it hard to believe that he unloaded his gun in 15 seconds. Yes it does take time to react and training and practice are required to do this. I will agree that it is not the gun but the person that kills. If you take away the 33 round magazine. He could have just carried multiple firearms and not have had to reload. I do not see why you are angry about my opinion. You live in one of the most restricted states and yet the gun crimes against the citizens of the Ma. are not safe. Good luck to you.

    Note to Francis in Vermont. There was an armed citizen at the scene in Tucson. Please do not pretend to tell me that in the 15 seconds that elapsed that he, or you or anyone else was going to have been able to draw, locate and ACCURATELY fire in circumstances of surprise and panic. Reports of people at ranges trying quickly reload to somehow display that they could have quickly reloaded are just disturbing. To the credit of Vermonters – I’ve spent a lot time there and I have done range work with my daughter and her husband there – there remains in that state a respect for weapons similar to what I was raised with and that, frankly, seems lost elsewhere. Control and clear those who buy weapons. The awareness I’ve seen in Vermont and the need at the time of the 2nd Amendment are not the conditions today. Do not mix things up with criminal/gun metaphors. A gun didn’t kill John Lennon and a criminal didn’t shoot and kill in Tucson.
    Ren Knopf, Framingham

    Posted by Ren Knopf, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:51 AM

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Francis, there is a store video that shows the shooting, per network news last week. It is in the hands of authorities and will be used at trial. It is not something anyone would willingly view — they say. But it would show the timing and sequences.

  • BHA – Vermont

    “but the rest of us lose our ability to defend ourselves.
    Posted by Greg Camp”

    - How many times have YOU defended yourself with a handgun?
    - How many of those times were outside your home?
    - How many of those times would a 33 round magazine have improved your ability to defend yourself vs a standard 9 round magazine?
    - How fast can YOU pull your concealed pistol and figure out WHO is doing the shooting? Because if he or she is facing you, you will probably be shot before you can get to your gun. Someone close has a better chance of jumping the shooter than you have of getting a CLEAR and CLEAN shot at him/her. Killing bystanders is not a very effective way of protecting them.

    These bizarre wackos aren’t playing by the old west gunfight in the street rules. There is no 1-2-3 DRAW!

    If EVERYONE were a sane, law abiding, moral person with more consideration for others than for their own desires, we wouldn’t need restrictions on things that cause harm to others. However, as you well know, that is not the case. Otherwise you would not feel the need to carry a gun for self defense.

  • Bob

    High capacity magazines were banned for 10 years under the federal AWB. Violent crime did not decrease per the FBI statistics for the period, further, violent crime rates are currently lowere nationally than they were durning the period when these bans were in place.

    Dan, I own an AR because they’re fun to shoot. They’re ergonomical and accurate and I can shoot a lever action as accuratly as quickly as I can a semi-auto. Just google cowboy action shooting if you don’t believe it can be done.

    Frankly magazine capacity is a non-issue in 99.9% of crimes. Unlike what you see from holloywood, most shootings involve less than 3 shots fired (again per FBI stats).

    Finally, what law dan? The one that prohibits mentally unstable people from owning a gun. Had Loughner been in the system as he should have been, he would not have been able to legally get a gun.

    I’m done here, I need to get some work done. Cheers all.

  • Donald Geffen

    Mr. Ashbrook, I strongly suggest that you stop using the term “second ammendment rights” during your discussions of the subject of gun regulation. The recent Supreme Court decision overturning long established precedent was just one of several very bad decisions and, over time will be, in its turn, overturned. I will not reargue the case here but note that if the second ammendment as clearly written had assigned the right to bear and keep arms to every person rather than the “people,” this would have implied that individuals can keep all arms, not just guns! Furthermore, the 2nd ammendment uses the words “shall not be infringed.” On the other hand, the first ammendment uses the words “abridging the freedom of speech” not infringe as incorrectly stated by your Cato Institute guest. The 2nd ammendment, therefore, is a stricter limit on the federal government and could be interpreted to mean that any regulation of arms is an “infrigement.” We may be stuck with the Court’s absurd ruling for a while but I suggest it deserves to be ignored as much as possible just as the Dred Scott decision was ignored by Republicans at the time.

  • francis Janik

    Victoria,
    I would not use a high cap mag to hunt. and for the record I do not own 33 round mags for my Glock. FYI Most serious gun owners know that these magazines unbalance the firearm making it difficult to carry discreetly. I just want the option to defend my safety as I see fit. If the shooter in Tucson had learned to reload a six round firearm rapidly what would your argument be?

    This argument that high capacity magazines are needed for the general public’s self defense is ridiculous. For example, who are you defending yourself from, Mr. Janik, with a concealed firearm? A bear? It took one day on September 11, 2001 for us to ban many items on airplanes, so this discussion of how “uncommon” it is for criminals to use them is simply irrelevant.

    Posted by Victoria, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:22 AM

  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    BHA,

    I have been fortunate, but then, I’ve lived in areas with little crime. I don’t want to get into a bragging contest and answer how fast I can draw and identify a target. One point that is taught in concealed carry classes is that the good guys don’t get to shoot without an immediate threat to life or limb. We know better than to spray and pray. I can’t speak to the series of events in Tucson, since the articles that I’ve read have left out the details. What I can say is that in many cases, a good person with a concealed handgun has the ability to stop a crime.

    As for your other point, though, most people are sane, but banning weapons only affects those of us who are sane and law-abiding. Criminals and the criminally insane, by definition, don’t comply with the standards of a rational society.

    By the way, the high-noon style duel that shows up in Westerns didn’t actually happen all that often in the real Old West.

  • BHA – Vermont

    Greg, I didn’t say there weren’t bad cops (and others) in the pre civil rights south (or ANYWHERE IN THIS COUNTRY TODAY), I only asked if YOU would kill the bad cops because you had a gun.

    Do you think that if the targeted black man pulled a gun on the bad cop, the cop would have said “Oops, my bad, I was looking for another guy with a car like yours”?

    Even if the black man had a gun and killed however many bad cops that had come to kill him, he would be tried and hanged for killing a police officer.

    It was a “lose no matter what” situation for the black men the bigots of the time targeted. And the situation was not changed by private citizens carrying guns. Nice time to point that out – Martin Luther King Day.

  • Anne Bergantz

    Would requiring gun owners to have a license and take a course for each type of weapon they own – hand gun, hunting rifle, assault rifle – be a solution that both sides of the issue could agree upon?

    We require automobile drivers to get a license and pass a course. The auto license does not allow you to drive a truck. You must get a truck license, and to get that, you must pass a course.

    Nothing is banned, but it assures the citizenry that gun owners are competent. In addition, it might screen people with mental health issues.

    This seems a reasonable solution.

    Anne from Orchard Park, NY

  • francis Janik

    Branstead, Bravo!

    here is no need to fear law abiding citizens, only criminals that don’t pay any attention to the law.

    Criminals actions are not affected by a new law!

    Posted by Brandstad, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:56 AM

  • Wes Furlong (Evansville, In)

    What this all boils down to is this: 1) if someone wants to shoot someone or massacre a substantial amount of people…they will find a way regardless of whatever amendment or law we make. 2) the banning of large capacity clips will make no difference because gunmen will just learn how to shoot, reload, and kill faster and more efficiently with limited firepower.

    Homemade bombs kill large groups of people everyday but that doesn’t mean the American government is going to radio shack to put a ban on basic bomb components, or going to home depot and banning the purchase of fertilizer.

    The bottom line is that the gunmen who are on edge, unstable, or whatever you want to classify them as…the people around them know good and damn well that they could be a threat but no one says anything. It’s a matter of personal responsibility to say something or report someone who you think might be a danger to the rest of us.

    Now you say that people fear an uprising of a corrupt government and you say that it’s not possible, however, anything is possible. Maybe not in the scope of what people would like to admit but nevertheless, possible. But the point remains, what if we have a home-front invasion, or somehow, a war broke out in the united states. Think about it.

  • Marc

    The argument that we shouldn’t ban 30 round guns because you can kill a lot of people by carrying multiple guns or a bomb is pretty weak. It’s like the argument that Obama isn’t so bad because look what an incompetent Bush was. They’re both incompetent. And if there are alternatives that duplicate the effectiveness of an assault weapon, ban them too.

    And I understand the slippery slope argument. However by defending these assault weapons the NRA (and others) are doing more damage to their case than the slippery slope could do. Speaking just for myself and a few friends at dinner, they’ve lost a few of those who would normally be on their side.

    I agree with the argument that only criminals will have guns if you were able to block those who could legally own one. Unfortunately, there are parts of the country where you need one to defend yourself. However, it just seems ridiculous that you need an automatic with a 30 round magazine (or whatever you want to call it) for protection.

    But it really bugs me that the extreme arguments of some gun owners has pushed me to side with a group that I really am uncomfortable with.

  • Francis Janik

    BHA
    Please read my other post to see why I would NOT endanger you when defending the lives of those around me. Many vermonters carry defensive firearms. I would suggest that you might feel safer living in MA. or NYC where only criminals have guns.

    “A skilled armed citizen would follow the same rules as a police officer by not shooting unless he or she has a clear line of fire. I would risk my safety before firing in self defense. ”

    Posted by Francis Janik, on January 17th, 2011 at 11:00 AM
    Except that UNARMED men and a WOUNDED woman took him down. Your argument is false.

    And where in Vermont do you live? I want to stay away from anywhere you bring your concealed weapon. You might shoot me in your haste to stop some crime.

    Posted by BHA – Vermont, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:59 AM

  • Brett

    As much as our society tries to legislate what is acceptable in society—what’s reasonable to ensure what is in the common good and what’s moral—we often fail. We also succeed in certain areas (as imperfect as we are, being human beings and all). Laws don’t prevent unlawfulness from EVER occurring, but they do often either curtail unlawful activity or provide a framework for consequences to unlawfulness. Again, though, laws don’t address all situations effectively.

    The legislation discussed this morning up for debate seems very specific and reasonable.

    Also, regulations on activities surrounding gun shows need some close examination as do gun manufacturers. Perhaps also some tougher penalties for someone found to be illegally in possession of weapons/accessories needs some examination? Enforcement of such laws is costly, sure, but what kind of society do we want to live in?

    I don’t know that every discussion of how to guide society need be subject to only philosophical analysis and ideological orientation, although many require practical application; sometimes a compromise involving two opposing sides is warranted to move us along. For example, when I hear someone who appears to be pro-gun (or however one wishes to be characterized) advocating for this legislation, no matter what other extraneous points they offer (points which I may personally be in disagreement with), this is a sign of an attempt to move forward in our actions if not our thinking.

  • Francis Janik

    Well said Bob.

    In Japan (which prohibits private ownership of guns) a man walked into a school in Osaka and killed 8 kids and wounded 13 more with a kitchen knife.

    Banning guns or magazines or anything else isn’t going to stop crime nor will it keep psychos from acting out on their impulses. You will NEVER be 100% safe. That is life. Be happy you don’t live in Somalia.

    Posted by Bob, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:04 AM

  • Charlie B

    I wish we could have heard more from Mr. Levy, who made great sense, but Tom silenced him and turned over and over to the people on the “correct” side instead.

    The nonsensical arguments reached their peak when Mr. Helmke brought up gun suicides in the context of this discussion. If you haven’t killed yourself with the first ten rounds, how many more do you need?

    If we want to stop crazy mass killers, let’s put the focus on them, not on their chosen hardware. McVeigh used fertilizer. The 9 11 terrorists used box cutters, and then airplanes. There are complex questions about how to identify dangerous people without infringement of rights. That’s the debate we should be having.

    With regard to the slippery slope argument, the people who want this ban also want many more restrictions, as they would freely admit. That doesn’t make them wrong about this, but it does make it reasonable to question their motives.

  • Mari McAvenia

    “Control and clear those who buy weapons.”- Francis Janik

    I have to flash some credential, here: Survivor of handgun violence.

    My late dad was a cop in the earlier years of his life. He got the job because he had been working as the small town force’s master gunsmith and auto mechanic. My father was already taking excellent care of the most beloved pieces of police machinery, so he was a naturally good choice for promotion to patrolman, you’d think.

    The house I grew up in was filled with guns of all descriptions. They hung on walls, lay on workbenches, littered shelves and table-tops. My father made his own ammo, too. Every sort. He taught me how to shoot a rifle when I was about 6 & a revolver at around 8. There was a professionally built backstop and target shooting range in the backyard.

    When he drank and fought with my mother all hell broke loose. Every weekend, all hell broke loose. My father had a drilled-in thing about reaching for one of his guns every time he “lost control” mentally & emotionally. Because he always wore a loaded weapon- usually an automatic Glock pistol- on his body (sometimes 2 or 3)it was easy to pull the thing out, point, cock and….yes, sometimes fire. There were bullets lodged in some of the walls in our home, also in all of the nearby trees, outside.

    Shaking in terror, those of us kids who could run fast got away without getting hit by a stray. The neighbors always took some of us in, while others hid out in the woods until daddy had calmed down.

    That was one form of gun-violence. The next step up the domestic gun-violence ladder involved grabbing me by my ponytail, jerking my head back, sticking the barrel of his Glock into my temple and saying, “I’m gonna blow your brains out.” I recall being a sneeze away from Kingdom Come while a drunken, enraged cop held me in a torture/stress position to prove a point. What was the point? I don’t remember. It could have been anything.

    When he was arrested for holding some unrelated kids hostage, at gunpoint, my father had to “get rid” of all his guns. He transferred ownership of them to his second wife, who obtained all the proper permits to make it nice n’ legal. The guns never left the domicile. My father was sentenced to serve one year in prison for possession of an unlicensed firearm. Thanks to Gov. Mike Dukakis, there was a mandatory one-year jail sentence for anybody in Massachusetts who carried an unlicensed gun.

    It seemed to me like a good idea to stay away from that particular residence for my entire adult life. My 23 year old son met my father for the first time just 6 weeks before his grandfather died. Walking up to dad’s memorial service, my son admitted to me that he feared some hand-guns might be in the church. Probably were. We got in and out quickly, just in case.

    Gun violence affects multiple generations of Americans in a very negative way. PTSD,in my case. Just because a law says that some folks can’t have them, believe me, they have ‘em anyway.

    In memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, I would like all Americans to consider the realistic public values of personal gun ownership over the freedom of all U.S. people to simply live as peaceful American citizens. Please just think about it.

    I mean, what did women and kids ever do to you that they deserve so much gun violence in this country? Cowboys & Indians no longer exist. They all died, riddled with bullets.

  • BHA – Vermont

    “As for your other point, though, most people are sane, but banning weapons only affects those of us who are sane and law-abiding. ”

    The point is:
    If large capacity magazines do not exist, the insane and criminals can not use them. As such, it affects all people who use guns. It also affects people who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when a lunatic decides to start shooting.

    I’m not claiming there will be no crime or random attacks by wingnuts, just that the carnage would be reduced and for me, that is enough to ban large capacity magazines.

    There is no NEED for anyone to have them and as guns owners here have said, changing a magazine or speed loading (I have done both at a range) doesn’t take much time.

    The inconvenience of honest, law abiding people having to reload is FAR overshadowed by any one of the people who where shot in Tucson.

    We are all constrained by limitations on all sorts of things for various reasons. I don’t see a 9 round magazine limitation as being onerous given the potential of a 33 round magazine in the hands of someone bent on killing.

  • Francis Janik

    Dan, Try defending yourself against 7 assailants with a six shooter. Why do law enforcement officers need high cap mags? Hmmm …

    @Francis Janik,

    Was the shooting in Arizona the action of “multiple assailants?”

    Are you regularly accosted by “multiple assailants” in the densely populated cities of Vermont?

    No?

    Then why are you bringing it up?

    Moreover, Loughner was obviously not as skilled a gun user as you. He also wasn’t trying to put any rounds “on target” other than the one aimed for Giffords; his target was anyone and everyone.

    Once again, how is your comment germane to what actually happened in Arizona?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

    Posted by Dan, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:54 AM

  • bob

    So Mari,

    You have a 23 year old son and when you were a child your police officer father used to threaten you and shoot up the house with his service weapon – a Glock. The first Glock wasn’t released until 1982 and it was first adopted by a US police department in 1989, a year after your son was born. I call BS.

  • Kevin

    Liberals, they are truly humorous… They are so quick to tell everyone else what they NEED. Oh the arrogance…

    Look at the logic here – liberals assume that if hi-cap magazines were banned criminals would not use them because they would be using illegal magazines to commit illegal acts.

    Ok, assuming our murderous criminal was a stickler for legal equipment only. Any experienced shooter can reload in less than 2 seconds or just carry multiple pistols.

    Do you people listen to yourselves? All the previous ban accomplished was to cause hi-cap magazines to increase in price.

    There are plenty of hi-cap magazines out there already, and they last practically forever by simply replacing springs and followers. So, now you have to pass laws that hi-cap mags that people legally purchased are now illegal to own and must be turned in. Good luck with that – sounds like political suicide to me.

  • Francis Janik

    Mari,
    Your story makes me feel for you and I understand why you feel this way. It is clear from your story that your father should have been restricted from firearm ownership. I am amazed that he was allowed to keep his guns, especially in MA.
    I to have experienced both physical and mental violence from my father who did not own firearms. I have also been assaulted by a criminal without cause. I happen to be physically disabled and because of my physical limitations I could not realistically expect to overcome an assailant. I take the responsibility of carrying my firearm seriously.
    I pray that I never have to use my firearm to defend myself or others but I am comforted by having the ability to possibly stop others from committing violent acts. I agree that individuals who choose to arm themselves should invest in training for safe use of firearms. I join you in your wish for a nonviolent society on this important holiday.
    Sincerely,
    Francis janik

    “Control and clear those who buy weapons.”- Francis Janik

    I have to flash some credential, here: Survivor of handgun violence.

    My late dad was a cop in the earlier years of his life. He got the job because he had been working as the small town force’s master gunsmith and auto mechanic. My father was already taking excellent care of the most beloved pieces of police machinery, so he was a naturally good choice for promotion to patrolman, you’d think.

    The house I grew up in was filled with guns of all descriptions. They hung on walls, lay on workbenches, littered shelves and table-tops. My father made his own ammo, too. Every sort. He taught me how to shoot a rifle when I was about 6 & a revolver at around 8. There was a professionally built backstop and target shooting range in the backyard.

    When he drank and fought with my mother all hell broke loose. Every weekend, all hell broke loose. My father had a drilled-in thing about reaching for one of his guns every time he “lost control” mentally & emotionally. Because he always wore a loaded weapon- usually an automatic Glock pistol- on his body (sometimes 2 or 3)it was easy to pull the thing out, point, cock and….yes, sometimes fire. There were bullets lodged in some of the walls in our home, also in all of the nearby trees, outside.

    Shaking in terror, those of us kids who could run fast got away without getting hit by a stray. The neighbors always took some of us in, while others hid out in the woods until daddy had calmed down.

    That was one form of gun-violence. The next step up the domestic gun-violence ladder involved grabbing me by my ponytail, jerking my head back, sticking the barrel of his Glock into my temple and saying, “I’m gonna blow your brains out.” I recall being a sneeze away from Kingdom Come while a drunken, enraged cop held me in a torture/stress position to prove a point. What was the point? I don’t remember. It could have been anything.

    When he was arrested for holding some unrelated kids hostage, at gunpoint, my father had to “get rid” of all his guns. He transferred ownership of them to his second wife, who obtained all the proper permits to make it nice n’ legal. The guns never left the domicile. My father was sentenced to serve one year in prison for possession of an unlicensed firearm. Thanks to Gov. Mike Dukakis, there was a mandatory one-year jail sentence for anybody in Massachusetts who carried an unlicensed gun.

    It seemed to me like a good idea to stay away from that particular residence for my entire adult life. My 23 year old son met my father for the first time just 6 weeks before his grandfather died. Walking up to dad’s memorial service, my son admitted to me that he feared some hand-guns might be in the church. Probably were. We got in and out quickly, just in case.

    Gun violence affects multiple generations of Americans in a very negative way. PTSD,in my case. Just because a law says that some folks can’t have them, believe me, they have ‘em anyway.

    In memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, I would like all Americans to consider the realistic public values of personal gun ownership over the freedom of all U.S. people to simply live as peaceful American citizens. Please just think about it.

    I mean, what did women and kids ever do to you that they deserve so much gun violence in this country? Cowboys & Indians no longer exist. They all died, riddled with bullets.

    Posted by Mari McAvenia, on January 17th, 2011 at 12:06 PM

  • Wes Furlong (Evansville, In)

    Marc,

    To say that that is a weak argument is pretty foolish. I don’t even own a gun, let alone a gun with a 30 round clip. Furthermore, I can agree that a 3o round clip for the average gun owner for leisure or sport is pretty pointless. However, the point still stands that whether you’d like to admit it or not, no matter what amount of gun banning or ammo banning laws we pass as a nation, the job will still get done by the hands of those willing to do the shooting.

    Again, I’m not saying that I agree with any of it but get real

  • Brett

    “FAR more important would be to have a LAW requiring public disclosure of whatever Columbine grade mind-rape “legal” psych drugs the shooter was on. All to often, there is fear of violating the shooter’s medical privacy rights, or perhaps even more accurately, the press certainly would not want to offend what may be their largest group of advertisers – the DRUG INDUSTRY.” -Peter Jones

    I’ve grappled with this issue for a long time (have been in the MH field for a long time), and I can’t think of a way to address this to the extent to what would appear to be your satisfaction. Perhaps, universities having to release information to the police about students who’ve demonstrated marked problems? Legislation of this kind is becoming part of discussion in many states after the recent events. Such legislation could be broadened to general society, but it MUST be based on behavior and not potential behavior in the future. Otherwise, as a society, we would need to engage in profiling or invading EVERYONE’s privacy. Anyone who has behaved oddly would be suspect.

    Hindsight is always twenty-twenty; Mr. Loughner appeared to have lost sight of reality so much that he viewed most people in the world around him—particularly those whom he considered to have some community authority—as silhouettes and not real. Yet, his use of language and defiance of societal conduct (before the fact) seems present in a lot of youth, rebelling, trying on various snippets of different ideologies, etc.

    I’m not sure what you have a mind to propose? There is a problem with some psychotropic medications prompting suicidal/homocidal thoughts in some people; most medications in most people don’t seem to have these unwanted effects, though. And, many who have had such thoughts while adjusting to medication don’t act on them and responsibly report them to their clinical supports.

    If Mr. Loughner had received some form of medical intervention in the way of evaluation and in the form of treatment consisting of medication, I suspect some reporter would have brought this to light. And, if it hasn’t been brought to light because of Mr. Loughner’s rights to keep his medical history private, some reporter would have found this to be true and would have reported it as such. What you believe, ostensibly, as Mr. Loughner’s rights being protected as a convenient excuse to protect big pharma, seems to be in your imagination (as much as I am not so inclined to defend the pharmaceutical industry).

    There are many scientific studies out now, some even listing specific medications with high incidences of prompting violent thoughts (Chantix™, the smoking cessation drug, is at the top of a few of those lists, btw). It is topical and pertinent in some form, just not in the exaggerated, conspiratorial way you suggest. If Mr. Loughner were taking something like, say, Zoloft™, this would have been too juicy a tidbit for a reporter to pass up.

  • peter nelson

    This discussion is a complete waste of time.

    The US has had tons of tragic shootings in recent decades – think back to the Texas Tower sniper or the JFK and MLK shootings, or more recently, Va Tech or Columbine.

    Yet liberals have failed to produce any sort of widespread grass-root movement against American gun culture (basically they’ve failed to produce any sort of widespread grass roots movement at all about anything that has anything close to the traction of the NRA or Tea Party.

    So I have no idea what anyone hopes to accomplish here. A committee decision of NPR listeners about whether people “need” 33 round clips has no effect on anything in the real world. Talking about the Supreme Court changing the Constitution to restrict guns makes about as much sense as Trekkies at a Comic-Con convention talking about whether they should try to build a transporter beam in their garage.

    As I said on Friday, daydreaming about some future liberal utopia in America, or complaining about the Tea Party or NRA’s lock on US politic is wasting time.
    Instead, follow Joe Hill’s advice on the eve of his execution: “Don’t Mourn, ORGANIZE!” How come The Tea Party and NRA are better at following the advice of a socialist labor leader than you are?

  • MartinSLC

    My opinion is a direct answer to the suggestion that weapons should be made mandatory for teachers.
    I have a solution to the problem. Make it a requirement that anyone who wants to own a gun should take a 10 week course in Social Science. If you want, make it a different course for the different the kinds of weapons. Then make it a requirement to take a test on the material, like for driving licenses. I am sure that the American Constitution will be amended within an year, as Americans would rather change their constitution that learn something new.

  • peter nelson

    @Wes Furlong
    What this all boils down to is this: 1) if someone wants to shoot someone or massacre a substantial amount of people…they will find a way regardless of whatever amendment or law we make. 2) the banning of large capacity clips will make no difference because gunmen will just learn how to shoot, reload, and kill faster and more efficiently with limited firepower.

    If this were really true then how do you explain why countries with tight gun control laws have a such a dramatically lower rate of gun violence than the US?

  • http://Kclu.org Mark Knoeller

    Where this shooting occurred they have vary lenient gun laws, and yet the gun carrying public was not able to prevent this from happening. The rational for for these laws are not supported by facts.

  • peter nelson

    In Japan (which prohibits private ownership of guns) a man walked into a school in Osaka and killed 8 kids and wounded 13 more with a kitchen knife.

    Banning guns or magazines or anything else isn’t going to stop crime nor will it keep psychos from acting out on their impulses. You will NEVER be 100% safe.

    But as long as you’re using Japan as an example, you can’t ignore that their murder rate is a tiny fraction of ours, so they’re doing SOMETHING right.

    Also, the “100% safe” criteria is a straw man. Where have you ever seen anyone expecting 100% safety? Most people would settle for, say, a 50% reduction in risk.

  • Francis Janik

    Yar,
    I would inform your local police that he is shooting in an unsafe manner. Let them approach him and resolve the issue. I would bet that they will shut him down. Even Vermont does not allow you to shoot in an unsafe direction without a proper back stop or in the direction of homes. I do not think that the size of his magazine is causing the problem. I would guess that his lack of training is the issue.
    Firing rapidly with ACCURACY is a defense skill. Spray and pray is a waste of expensive ammunition.

    @Francis Janik,
    I live near a person that uses a gun with high capacity magazine to target practice near my house. I have on occasion heard a ricochet buzz over the house.
    What action should I take? If I make him mad am I making myself safer? Why does a person desire to shoot a targets in rapid fire in the first place?

    Posted by Yar From Somerset, KY, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:26 AM

  • Mari McAvenia

    “I call BS.” – posted by Bob

    OK, Bob, glock, cock, lock, stock & barell. I don’t care what year some models of these murder weapons were made. All I know is that- by any other name- handguns throw terror into children. Bad scene, no BS. Now, go back to studying your gun-porn and memorize every little detail about your private gun fantasies, in minutia, forever.
    Seen it before. This type of “refudiating” personality is both boring and dangerous, in my opinion.

  • buddhaclown

    There have been many calls to address the issue of mental health recently, but the fact that certain subcultures of our society are armed to the teeth prepared to kill one another at any moment is already madness. A society where the majority of its citizens are preparing to kill one another, and spend so much time and money to make sure they have the capacity to easily kill one another, is not a mentally or spiritually healthy society.

    Of course, some here have said, “criminals will not be affected by a change in the law, and what guns law abiding citizens have is inconsequential to society.”

    This line of reasoning may have made sense in the 1950s, but today the real threat lies in the fact that far too many ordinary, law abiding, citizens have become potential criminals due to the fact that they are armed and ready to kill. All it takes is that they lose their temper, which can happen all too easily. It is madness.

    Personally, I’m not worried about professional criminals — their world rarely intersects with mine — I’m worried about, for instance, my two neighbors who are warring with one another, shooting their guns in the air to scare each other and killing each others pets, and who are just crazy enough to do something truly stupid one day because they’ve had too much to drink and are armed to the teeth. Both “law abiding” citizens, and both scarier to me than any mobster. I’ve basically been forced to move because of this madness. And in the part of the country I live, which has a heavy gun culture, this kind of madness is happening everywhere. I know people who have been shot because they were joking around with their guns, I have friends whom I was shocked to discover had stuck guns into adversaries’ faces and had threatened their lives. I know people who reach for their guns whenever someone knocks on their door. It is madness out here, and yet they love it, they want their guns and, honestly, I don’t think there is a single political issue they care more passionately about. They are sick, deeply disturbed, people who pass as ordinary law abiding citizens because it is the culture itself that has become mentally unhealthy. When the culture or subculture itself becomes unhealthy, the disturbed nature of the individuals of that culture go undetected.

    Of course, there are subcultures in America that are perfectly sane, but this gun loving subculture that makes up huge portions of our society are pushing insanity onto the rest of us — they want to freaking arm school teachers for crying out loud, these people are sick — and then they have the nerve to talk about “mental health issues”.

  • Francis Janik

    Bruce , Thanks for the complements :) but you are generalizing just a little.
    I do enjoy shooting my black powder single shot rifle.
    FYI You are not required to own a gun. I bet that is a relief to you.

    All people who own hand guns are just plain sicko. Hand Guns are for killing people. Time to ban them all. The right to own guns applied to guns in 1776, a single shot the required an elaborate reloading. Time to get real and take a look at ourselves.

    Guns aren’t the problem its the people behind the gun. Right, and they are a sick bunch.

    Posted by Bruce, on January 17th, 2011 at 10:26 AM

  • Brandstad

    AZ SHOOTER: BUSH HATER…

    New Reports show that the AZ Shooter was a bush hater.

    Does this mean that Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, Ed Schultz, and Montel Williams should be investigated or at least put up for public ridicule like Sarah Palin was?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/us/16loughner.html?_r=2&adxnnl=1&pagewanted=3&adxnnlx=1295272816-mzPTbiXmgfYK5d56DmiDjg

  • Wes

    Wow, it’s easy to tell who in this comments section has probably never even fired a gun.

    1) “Armed citizens didn’t stop the Arizona shooter.” That’s true. But Citizens did! People say, “this is what cops are for,” but the cops didn’t stop the shooter either!

    2) The Second Amendment first and foremost is about citizens being able to protect themselves from government, not hunting or whatever else. Anyone wanting to infringe on the Second Amendment really should know and understand this.

    3) Three of the four guns used at Columbine were 10 rounds or less. The most-fired gun at Columbine used 10-round magazines. I’m guessing most people reading this have never reloaded a gun with 10-round capacity, (or, from reading the comments, probably any other gun). You can reload really damn quick with not a lot of practice.

    4) Murders are at their lowest rate since 1963 or so in Washington D.C.. It’s been going down ever since the gun ban was repealed. National crime is down while citizens buy and carry more guns than ever. Funny how that works.

    5) Right after banning high-cap mags, what we Should do is ban shooting people so no one gets shot. I mean, it’s too bad Loughner wasn’t in a “gun-free zone” because then he wouldn’t have used a gun in one. And then we should ban marijuana and spend billions enforcing it so no one can get it. What’s that? These things are already banned, yet they still happen? Because criminals don’t care about laws? That’s so weird.

  • cory

    There are far too many morons and/or poor shots in this country to make private gun ownership logical. I’m not sure turning the Tuscon shooting into a 3 or 4 way gun battle really represents much of a solution.

    That being said, there are over 200 million guns in private hands in this country. That horse has pretty much already left the barn (and the ranch for that matter). All that remains is to harshly punish those who misuse them.

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • peter nelson

    I’m worried about, for instance, my two neighbors who are warring with one another, shooting their guns in the air to scare each other and killing each others pets, and who are just crazy enough to do something truly stupid one day because they’ve had too much to drink and are armed to the teeth. Both “law abiding” citizens, and both scarier to me than any mobster.

    It’s legal where you live to shoot guns into the air?

    I would move.

    I know people who have been shot because they were joking around with their guns, I have friends whom I was shocked to discover had stuck guns into adversaries’ faces and had threatened their lives. I know people who reach for their guns whenever someone knocks on their door. It is madness out here, and yet they love it, they want their guns and, honestly, I don’t think there is a single political issue they care more passionately about.

    Several people here, such as you, in the last few days have painted a picture of things just getting crazier and crazier and more and more violent out there in the US. The problem with this is that it doesn’t align with the fact that homicide and violent crime in general has fallen very dramatically in the US in the last few decades. The murder rate per 100K population was over 10 a few decades ago; now it’s between 5 and 6. (DOJ data).

  • Will White

    I’m neither a gun owner nor a gun rights advocate. Do want to ask the reverse question, that is. “When we had the ban on high-capacity magazines before, did the per capita rate of homicides by guns go down? That’s the real test of whether to do it or not.

  • cory

    P.S. I’ve been in uniform and used a variety of firearms.

    Leftfield, Wisconsin

  • bob

    Well Mari, when you make up something in a post about your personal experience it kind of calls into question the validity of the rest of your statements. Forgive me for being factually correct.

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    To say that laws are not always obeyed is not to say we should therefore be a lawless society.

  • Francis Janik

    Thank you Ellen,
    I am sure it is not pleasant to view. I had not heard about it.

    Francis, there is a store video that shows the shooting, per network news last week. It is in the hands of authorities and will be used at trial. It is not something anyone would willingly view — they say. But it would show the timing and sequences.

    Posted by Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA, on January 17th, 2011 at 11:19 AM

  • Dan

    @Bob,

    I wasn’t aware that the Second Amendment codified a right to bear arms because they’re fun to shoot.

    You say that in “99.99%’ of cases, the size of the magazine doesn’t matter. You’re aware that we’re talking about the 0.01 of cases in which it does matter—namely, the shooting in Tucson where the size of the clip certainly mattered to the 19 people who got shot. You do get that we’re talking explicitly about the small percentage of cases that you say we’re not talking about—you get that, right? Because if you don’t understand that, then what on earth are you doing here?

    What law? The law that says it’s illegal to shoot someone; that’s the law under which Loughner has been charged. “The system” to which you refer? It doesn’t exist. The military, for instance, is free to tell law enforcement agencies that it has rejected someone due to mental deficiency. But that’s all the law says; the military isn’t compelled to report its opinion that a person isn’t mentally competent to handle a weapon. That’s “the system” that you’re talking about, and referring to that as a “system” at all strains credulity.

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Dan

    @Francis Janik,

    I’ll repeat my question: are you regularly accosted by seven armed assailants at once? I’ve never been, and I don’t know anyone who has been. Yet this is where you’ve chosen to draw a line in the sand, a scenario in which a person with a six-shooter is surrounded by seven armed foes…presumably, seven armed foes who will not be intimidated after his fellow six criminals have been shot. One more time: how often have you found yourself in this situation?

    Law enforcement officials (outside the SWAT team) do not use high-capacity magazines like the one Loughner used. This was pointed out several times during today’s broadcast.

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • geffe

    There are far too many morons and/or poor shots in this country to make private gun ownership logical. I’m not sure turning the Tuscon shooting into a 3 or 4 way gun battle really represents much of a solution.

    That being said, there are over 200 million guns in private hands in this country. That horse has pretty much already left the barn (and the ranch for that matter). All that remains is to harshly punish those who misuse them.

    Leftfield, Wisconsin
    Posted by cory,

    I agree cory, it’s kind of moot really.
    But one has to wonder on the kind of mentality that thinks because it’s fun to shot semi-automatic weapons that it’s part of their second amendment rights.
    We have the right to own guns, but with this right comes responsibilities. Just as there are for owning and driving a car.

  • bob

    Peter, 50% reduction in risk has been achieved per the DOJ. Murder rates have come down 50% in the last 10 years – google it.

    My point in mentioning Osaka is that these types of killings are an abberation that are difficult/impossible to prevent. The subject of this discussion was the killings in AZ – an event analogous to Osaka. Gun laws didn’t prevent Osaka and they may not have prevented this man from doing what he did in some other form.

  • bob

    Dan, the system I refer to is the LAW requiring federal background checksthrough Nics prior to the purchase of a gun. Loughner had a history of mental instabilit which should have made him a prohibited person. Had the law on the books been followed/enforced – which was the point I brought up earlier, he would not have been able to buy a gun legally.

    As to the 2nd Ammendment, you brought that up, not I. I was just answering you question of why I would want to own an AR.

    Finally, so you’re advocating passing a law that would restrict thousands of law abiding people for the sake of POSSIBLY (see Osaka 2001) preventing .01% of crime?

    Sounds shaky to me.

  • buddhaclown

    It’s legal where you live to shoot guns into the air?

    I would move.

    ===================

    You probably live in an urban area where such things aren’t tolerated. The chances of someone getting shot by a stray bullet in Southern New Mexico are next to none . . . though, one of my other neighbors did go to prison for a time for accidentally shooting his gun while he was cleaning it. The bullet passed through the wall and killed his wife in the bathroom while she was taking a dump.

    +++++++++++++++++++

    Several people here, such as you, in the last few days have painted a picture of things just getting crazier and crazier and more and more violent out there in the US. The problem with this is that it doesn’t align with the fact that homicide and violent crime in general has fallen very dramatically in the US in the last few decades. The murder rate per 100K population was over 10 a few decades ago; now it’s between 5 and 6. (DOJ data).

    ===========================

    Again, I’m not talking about violent crime. I’m talking about how dangerous ordinary civilians have become (at least in some parts of the country). I know several people who have threatened other peoples lives at gun point, none were ever convicted of a crime, or even charged with one. What do you think these experts are referring to when they report that millions of Americans use guns for self-defense every year? It is exactly like what these people I know were involved in. I mean, I’m sure they would all say it was for defensive reasons that they threatened other peoples lives. One friend of mine, for example, stuck a gun in the face of his ex-girlfriend’s current partner because the guy came over to my friend’s shop and threatened him to stay away from his woman. My friend responded by sticking a gun in his face. And sure, it was defensive, and sure he got the message. But it is a sad state of affairs that this is the society we live in . . . because the fact is that something like that is not worth killing another human being over, and the mere fact that he threatened his life not only suggests he was prepared to kill, but is entirely disproportionate to whatever wrong was done. My friend is a “law abiding citizen” and an otherwise good and decent person. No crime was reported, nothing. Yet because he was armed, and felt empowered by that firearm, the moment he felt threatened he came dangerously too close to committing evil when really a thousand alternative ways of dealing with the situation would have sufficed. Like . . . actually talking with the guy perhaps? Guns make us less civilized.

  • Joseph

    I own firearms one of which is a Glock 19, I carry it every day with the standard normal capacity magazines 15 rounds and one in the chamber. I own magazines that hold 33 rounds, so what. The gun harms no one because it has no will of it’s own.

    I am against any infringement on my rights and if you intend to try to disarm me or diminish the usefulness of my arms I will resist. There are many law abiding citizens like me.

    I don’t think 10 rounds is reasonable, there is no such thing as reasonable restriction of a right.

  • Brett

    “New Reports show that the AZ Shooter was a bush hater.” -Brandstad

    You really had to pull the needle out of the haystack for that tidbit! …was that “new reports show” or was that something a past friend was quoted as saying for a news article? You make it sound as if there has been some consensus from analyzing evidence or something. …It does seem, though, that you are more comfortable going back to themes in other forums that you appear to have issue with than the topic today. At some point the ideas of Left vs. Right can only take the discussion so far, and flimsy false equivalent arguments only sparkle for a moment…at best

  • Francis Janik

    Dan,
    I once saved a woman from assault and possible rape by 7 intoxicated men who had her surrounded by telling them that I was armed when in fact I was not. I got lucky and they took off. To be clear this was not in Vermont.
    In Vermont I have been surrounded by aproximately 15 to 20 coyotes while soaking in my wood fired hot tub at night. I only had six shots on hand so I howled at them and they stopped yipping and moved off. I quickly retreated into my cabin here in the woods.

  • buddhaclown

    “I own firearms one of which is a Glock 19, I carry it every day with the standard normal capacity magazines 15 rounds and one in the chamber. I own magazines that hold 33 rounds, so what. The gun harms no one because it has no will of it’s own.”

    And you, and others like you, obsessively carry it around because of what? Seems either you are convinced that at any moment someone may try to harm you — in which case you are paranoid and feeding that paranoia — or you imagine that you yourself may want to harm someone — in which case you are criminal.

    I fail to see how either reason — paranoia or criminal intent — is mentally healthy for any individual, never mind for an entire society to actually advocate such craziness.

    For years I bought the gun rights advocates reasoning, but somehow I woke up and recognized it is just so obviously BS.

  • Jdberger

    I wonder if Reginald Denny would have found a 33 round magazine handy?

    Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to predict when you will be in extremes and need certain tools (otherwise we could all get better gas mileage by leaving heavy spare tires at home).

  • Alex Turner

    This issue aside, the fact that On Point bought this ridiculous “blogger” as a gun-rights advocate is sad. She’s a professional democratic operative and gun-control advocate. Gun rights advocate? I don’t think so.

  • Joseph

    I’m not paranoid, I’m prepared. I also carry a multi-tool and I have a small shovel and ice melter in my car in the winter. These are just examples, but in any case, I don’t see it as constructive to characterize your opponents as crazy or paranoid.

  • Dan

    @bob,

    Bob, one more time: there are a series of facts here, and some of us are trying to deal with them. Yes, there is a federal background check process—there are also many, many ways around that process, and Loughner found at least one of them. It wasn’t that we don’t enforce those laws, it’s that those laws are created in such a slipshod way as to allow someone like Loughner to get guns.

    On the Second Amendment question, I just wanted to make sure that you’re using your firearm as part of a well-regulated militia. Which you’re not. Lovely.

    Yes, that’s precisely what I’m advocating. That’s what MOST of our laws do. Most people do not commit murder, yet we have a whole bunch of laws on the books prohibiting murder. Are those laws “shaky” in your estimation?

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Dan

    @Francis Janik,

    So, the one time you saved a person from seven attackers was when you weren’t armed?

    Thank you for proving my point.

    Have a great day,

    Dan
    Boston, MA

  • Francis Janik

    Dan, I think that you missed my point. Even the perceived presence of a firearm can avert violence. The best possible use of a firearm in self defense is when you can stop the violence with out having to shoot. I repeat for effect I was lucky and I had a camera monopod with a pistol grip style camera mount in my hand. It was dark and when held the monopod level at the men in the dark parking lot it resembled a shotgun.
    Sorry to undermine your theory. You have a great day as well.

    @Francis Janik,

    So, the one time you saved a person from seven attackers was when you weren’t armed?

    Thank you for proving my point.

    Have a great day,

    Dan
    Boston, MA

    Posted by Dan, on January 17th, 2011 at 3:52 PM

  • buddhaclown

    “I’m not paranoid, I’m prepared. I also carry a multi-tool and I have a small shovel and ice melter in my car in the winter. These are just examples, but in any case, I don’t see it as constructive to characterize your opponents as crazy or paranoid.”

    ——-

    “Prepared” to kill someone. I’m sorry, but from my perspective ordinary people who are prepared to kill, and make sure that they always have the capacity to kill if they need to, are not much less dangerous than outright criminals because at any moment, anyone can snap or lose their temper . . . and people who have been carrying guns around their whole life, and have contemplated using them, have laid the groundwork for murder in that moment they do lose their temper. Jared Loughner was a law abiding citizens before he became a murderer. Why should I believe that you are any different? I trust that you are different, but do I know that? Just because you haven’t killed anyone yet doesn’t give me comfort knowing that you have the capacity to mass kill at any moment. Perhaps you’ll have a bad week and just snap one day. I’m just supposed to trust that you won’t? And if you do snap, it really wouldn’t be that big a deal, except for the fact that you’d be carrying a gun with you at that precise moment.

    There are just too many ordinary, law abiding, citizens these days who lose it, and because they have guns they end up killing people. We hear these stories day after day. Professional criminals will always be a problem. But they also aren’t the ones who are likely to shoot you . . . it will be an angry family member, or co-worker, people who would otherwise be harmless if they weren’t armed.

    It is ordinary Americans, like you, who scare me more than criminals. The fact that I, and many Americans like me, feel this way is truly messed up. Why should I have to arm myself just to defend myself against the possibility that you will lose it someday?

  • Joseph

    I see and police, are they not to be trusted either? So only criminals should have guns?

  • peter nelson

    Peter, 50% reduction in risk has been achieved per the DOJ. Murder rates have come down 50% in the last 10 years – google it.

    Why do I have to Google it – I POSTED it earlier in this same thread. (you should read before you post)

    But even with that reduction the US has a vastly higher gun murder rate than countries with strict gun control. Japan is a good example. So I meant a 50% reduction from what it is now.

    Even the suicide rate by guns in the US is higher than the gun murder rate in many countries.

    Also N.B. that the WAY we achieved our reduction in crime was by locking up 3 million of our population. No civilized country in the WORLD locks up such a large percentage of its population.

  • Beverly

    PETER LAKE,

    Who WANTS your damned guns?

  • peter nelson

    It’s legal where you live to shoot guns into the air?

    I would move.

    ===================

    You probably live in an urban area where such things aren’t tolerated.

    You didn’t answer my question. Is it legal to fire a gun in the air where you live?

    If so I would move. Even a .22 caliber long rifle round has a range of over a mile (it’s not lethal at that range but someone could still get hurt). I’m a target shooter so I seldom fire anything bigger than a .22 but I would never dream of firing one into the air.

    Obviously your neighbors are crazy and irresponsible and armed – why on earth do you live there?

  • peter nelson

    Again, I’m not talking about violent crime. I’m talking about how dangerous ordinary civilians have become (at least in some parts of the country)/i>

    But my point is that despite your anecdotal stories the crime rate has come down dramatically. So either you are hanging out with some uniquely crazy dangerous people or their crazy dangerous behavior is not translating into a general societal threat.

  • David Stewart

    I have been listening with amazement to your callers concerning the high capacity clips and firearms. What kind of country do you live in that you need a 30 shot clip to protect you. Your country sounds like it is falling apart. I love visiting the USA but if I need a assult rifle to be safe no thanks to living there. Its pretty sad that you feel that unsafe in your own home or town that you need to be packing any gun. Time to start putting some money into education, health care, parks, bike paths. Wait according to Rush that sounds like socialism! Who is running your country? The lobbyists? Good luck, thanks for the cheap cheese and beer

  • peter nelson

    I am against any infringement on my rights and if you intend to try to disarm me or diminish the usefulness of my arms I will resist.

    There’s no danger of that because after an event like this the liberals tie themselves into knots with hand-wringing and despair but they’re incapable of organizing any sort of effective national political movement so your gun rights are perfectly safe.

  • Beverly

    Isn’t one gun enough for anyone?

  • bob

    Dan, I’m afraid the SCOTUS disagrees with your interpretation of the 2nd Ammendment.

    The NICS worrks and shouldn’t be easy to get around, that is my point. Let’s use/enforce the laws on the books vs adding new ones of questionable value.

    Again you prove your adeptness with the strawman. Well done, however equating a prohibition against murder with a ban on high capacity magazines which would have a questionable effect on public safety is an excercise in reducto ad absurdem.

  • peter nelson

    To be clear this was not in Vermont.
    In Vermont I have been surrounded by aproximately 15 to 20 coyotes while soaking in my wood fired hot tub at night. I only had six shots on hand so I howled at them and they stopped yipping and moved off. I quickly retreated into my cabin here in the woods.

    When Taylor Mitchell was killed by coyotes in Canada a few years ago it was big news because it’s exceedingly rare for coyotes to attack humans. We have coyotes all over the place here in central MA and I’ve often encountered them hiking or walking elsewhere in New England. It’s a little scary when you consider that the eastern coyote has a significant % of wolf genes.

    But the bottom line is that humans are way bigger than coyotes’ natural prey so they’re afraid of us and I’ve always gotten rid of them the same way you did. It never dawned on me that I’d need to shoot them.

    Worry should be based on actual risk. Technically, there is some miniscule chance you might get killed by coyotes. Statistically you’re more likely to die from an infected splinter from your hot tub or some bizarre accident lighting the fire or felling the tree for the wood.

  • Carl from Chicago

    TRACEE HANSON

    Interestingly, a real gun blogger named Sebastian (who happens to know other gun bloggers) had never heard of Tracee Hanson, one of today’s interviewees.

    Turns out that Tracee’s blog just began this January, and currently has two posts. More importantly, she was on the Advisory Board for the American Hunters and Shooters Association, which is a false-flag gun rights group which claimed that it’s goals were “complimentary” to those of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. The Brady Campaign is the largest gun control group in the US, and it’s President is Paul Helmke, one of today’s interviewees.

    Either NPR was duped into thinking that Tracee Hanson is a gun rights advocate (she is not) or NPR was tricked by Mr. Helmke. Either way, it is safe to assume that Ms. Hanson does NOT speak for “gun owners” or “gun rights advocates.”

    NPR, please investigate these interesting facts regarding one of today’s interviewees.

    http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2011/01/17/astroturfing/

  • Francis Janik

    David,
    First off there is no such animal as a High capacity “clip” They are magazines.
    Where do you live? Where I live in Vermont we have very little violent crime. One reason for this is the fact that criminals do not like to risk their own personal safety when committing crimes. In a state like Vermont where we have many firearm owners crime is down. Of course it helps that we have a lower population than New York City or LA. I have owned firearms since I was in High school in the 1970′s. I was even allowed to bring my firearm to high school on the days I participated in school sponsored Rod and Gun Club. We were asked as young gentlemen not to bring ammunition. That may seem strange to you but it was normal in the days before all of the mass shootings that we are dealing with today. I do not want you to get a bad impression of our country. We like to ski and fish and snowshoe …etc.
    We also make some of the best cheese, beer, pickles and other products on the planet. When you come to visit you will not see the streets of our cities lined with guns but rather great ski areas, Inns and historic sites.
    Please come and visit our beautiful state soon. maybe you will want to try target shooting too.
    best
    Fran

    I have been listening with amazement to your callers concerning the high capacity clips and firearms. What kind of country do you live in that you need a 30 shot clip to protect you. Your country sounds like it is falling apart. I love visiting the USA but if I need a assult rifle to be safe no thanks to living there. Its pretty sad that you feel that unsafe in your own home or town that you need to be packing any gun. Time to start putting some money into education, health care, parks, bike paths. Wait according to Rush that sounds like socialism! Who is running your country? The lobbyists? Good luck, thanks for the cheap cheese and beer

    Posted by David Stewart, on January 17th, 2011 at 5:03 PM

  • jocelyn Thomas

    The 2nd amendment should be considered outdated. THat was in the time of the Wild West. Then, there is the debate; are we safer with more guns or fewer. Fewer is the answer. The more guns there are, the more guns are used.
    It just escalates. And the argument that gins don’t kill people is superficial logic. No guns, then nobody can kill anyone. The US, where I lived for almost two decades, is pathologically flawed on this issue. It is also a matter of an absence of a higher general education level. This symbolizes what makes America looked down upon worldwide. The right of the public to not be shot overrides that of the individual to bear any kind of arm. I wish the logic in conversation could go beneath the dumb slogans. But paramount is the realization that the amendment is so outdated it is frightening.

    Sincerely,

    Jocelyn Thomas

  • Carl from Chicago

    TRACEE LARSON

    My sincere apologies. In my post above, I misspelled the name of one of today’s interviewees. Her name is Tracee Larson, NOT Tracee Hanson.

    Again, my apologies for that mistake.

  • Francis Janik

    Ok Peter now you have me laughing out loud. Please note that we have many large carnivores in our wilderness including catamounts fisher cats etc. The coyotes were hunting that night and the only reason that I told the story was to give Dan something to laugh about. The main danger would be an animal that was infected with rabies. He kept demanding an answer to his question. A hungry carnivore can be quite dangerous if you are looking like a hot meal as I was. Packs of coyotes bring down deer that are much larger than i am. The cats are here and they would be more likely to attack a human. Just ask the mountain bikers in California.
    Please note that I did not attack them.
    PS I never got a splinter from my snorkel hot tub and it really helps my bad back and 35 year old artificial hip.
    Cheers
    Fran

    To be clear this was not in Vermont.
    In Vermont I have been surrounded by aproximately 15 to 20 coyotes while soaking in my wood fired hot tub at night. I only had six shots on hand so I howled at them and they stopped yipping and moved off. I quickly retreated into my cabin here in the woods.

    When Taylor Mitchell was killed by coyotes in Canada a few years ago it was big news because it’s exceedingly rare for coyotes to attack humans. We have coyotes all over the place here in central MA and I’ve often encountered them hiking or walking elsewhere in New England. It’s a little scary when you consider that the eastern coyote has a significant % of wolf genes.

    But the bottom line is that humans are way bigger than coyotes’ natural prey so they’re afraid of us and I’ve always gotten rid of them the same way you did. It never dawned on me that I’d need to shoot them.

    Worry should be based on actual risk. Technically, there is some miniscule chance you might get killed by coyotes. Statistically you’re more likely to die from an infected splinter from your hot tub or some bizarre accident lighting the fire or felling the tree for the wood.

    Posted by peter nelson, on January 17th, 2011 at 5:19 PM

  • geffe

    I am against any infringement on my rights and if you intend to try to disarm me or diminish the usefulness of my arms I will resist. There are many law abiding citizens like me.

    I don’t think 10 rounds is reasonable, there is no such thing as reasonable restriction of a right.

    Joseph people like you sound a bit unhinged.
    To use threatening language like you are is worrisome.
    I don’t know about anyone else but I’m glad you don’t live near me. If you were my neighbor and started peaking to me in this way I would call the cops. The right to bare arms is not a joke. It’s also not legal to resist, by the way.

  • geffe

    Rachel Maddow has come topical commentary on this subject:
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#41011447

    Nothing will be done, as Peter Nelson has so clearly pointed out. As a nation we have distorted the 1st and 2nd amendments into things our founders never intended.

  • bob

    Jocylen, if an ammendment is ‘outdated’ you get it repealed by passing a new ammendment. Like Prohibition. Otherwise its the law or the land. You don’t get to pick and choose.

  • buddhaclown

    “You didn’t answer my question. Is it legal to fire a gun in the air where you live?

    If so I would move. Even a .22 caliber long rifle round has a range of over a mile (it’s not lethal at that range but someone could still get hurt). I’m a target shooter so I seldom fire anything bigger than a .22 but I would never dream of firing one into the air.

    Obviously your neighbors are crazy and irresponsible and armed – why on earth do you live there?”

    ================================

    Like I said before, we are moving, it is beautiful country out here, which is a shame. As far as whether it is legal or not, I’m not sure. What I do know is that on many occasions the cops came out to deal with these warring neighbors and that back and forth lawsuits have been going on, but no one has gone to jail, so if it is illegal, no one seems to care, including the law. The cops told one neighbor just to kill the dogs if they came on his property again, which he did, and the law also sent someone out to measure the distance between the neighbors houses to see if they were far enough from one another for the gun shooting to be legal and they never did more than that (so presumably it was legal). I also know that people shoot guns all the time out here, mostly for target practice, sometimes to kill critters, so if there are strict laws, people out here don’t really know about them, including the cops.

    Maybe where you live everyone is super responsible and only ever fire their weapons on a sterile shooting range, but out here in the Wild West people live and breath with their guns, everyone owns a gun, everyone is prepared to use a gun, most people hunt, most people are anti-government and pro-NRA, and militia groups abound. This is gun central USA, just like Arizona, and maybe in your neck of the woods there are tight regulations and only crazies pull out their guns and shove them into peoples faces . . . out here it is considered your god-given right to do so if you feel the need.

  • Beverly

    WMAHER,

    You know very well that only Republicans can afford to live in those places.

    By the way, your posting is incomprehensible. To which hell holes were you referring?

  • Edward Zaspel

    high capacity clips are good for recreation.

  • http://challenginglachesis.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Considering the freedoms allowed regarding guns in AZ, I’m surprised that no one in the crowd did shoot back. I wonder if a Republican crowd would have been different.

  • Bush’ fault

    “As I said on Friday, daydreaming about some future liberal utopia in America, or complaining about the Tea Party or NRA’s lock on US politic is wasting time.
    Instead, follow Joe Hill’s advice on the eve of his execution: “Don’t Mourn, ORGANIZE!” How come The Tea Party and NRA are better at following the advice of a socialist labor leader than you are?”

    “…after an event like this the liberals tie themselves into knots with hand-wringing and despair but they’re incapable of organizing any sort of effective national political movement so your gun rights are perfectly safe.”

    Exactly, peter…thank you

  • http://www.bookofzo.blogspot.com Joshua Hendrickson, Talent OR

    #uc* it. Let’s just make gun ownership mandatory and murder legal. We’ll bring this whole stupid world to an end nice and quick and be done with useless debate.

  • Pat

    Just curious, what else does Tracee Larson do besides blog? Is she an expert or is she considered an “everyman” on guns? What qualifies her as an expert?

  • david

    How much firepower is enough is the question of the day?
    My question is, how many people does a person need to kill before his life is required as punishment???????
    We can beat around the bush all day long for solutions, but I still maintain a life for life in murder cases will go far in solving the gun issue.
    I have guns, I have respect for the laws, reason I do is my parents. They taught me the meaning of right and wrong and I thank them for that.
    Have guts America to solve the problem, rid the nation of the evil!

  • Wes

    Anyone who thinks the Second Amendment is outdated or only about “militia” or whatever else should read The Federalist Papers and similar things. You will read quote after quote about “all private men should have arms,” etc. It will be Quite Clear to you that the Founders didn’t just mean for “militia” to have guns.

    As for Tracee Larson, wasn’t she affiliated with that false-flag organization, American Hunters and Shooters Association? Why yes, I do believe she was. If NPR didn’t know about her background, then they are pretty naive. And if NPR did know about her background, then, as Ricky Ricardo would say, “NPR, you have some explaining to do….”

  • http://challenginglachesis.blogspot.com Dave Eger

    Do people really hunt bears?

    Also, outlawing hunting is a very bad idea for ecological reasons.

    What I’m really interested in discussing though is something that one of your callers and one of your guests touched on, that there are much deeper sociological issues that would drive someone to violence against their fellow citizens. I feel like more effort needs to be put into controlling the fires of rhetoric, so we can all sit around and roast marshmallows and chat pleasantly, rather than just throwing more fuel on them until everyone has to get up and move because they are being roasted themselves.

  • Dee

    All this talk about banning hi-cap magazines is total bunk! Even if they were all banned tomorrow humans will always find better and more efficient ways of killing each other. That is human nature!
    Law enforcement should be banned from carrying hi-cap mags due to the fact that most instances of police brutality involve a full mag dump on an unarmed, typically non-white, individual!
    Even if the transfer of hi-cap mags, let alone the purchase, were made illegal, then it would create another illicit trade (prohibition any one?).
    In conclusion, look at all the most recent mass shootings: Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tuscun. Hi-cap mags may have been used in most of those incidents but there was one factor all of them had in common; mental illness. The perpetrators were all mentally imbalanced and should have received help!

  • Dan

    @Bob,

    I’m aware of the Supreme Court’s recent rulings, and I respect them, but those decisions merely said there’s an individual right to bear arms independent of a well-regulated militia. My question, then, is if the point of protecting gun ownership isn’t to arm a militia, then what, exactly, is the point of gun ownership? Canada, for instance, has enshrined a right to hunt and fish, and hunting rifles are legal in Canada. Lots of other guns, however, aren’t. You seem to think the Second Amendment doesn’t imply a right to own guns because they’re fun to shoot. What, then, *does* the Second Amendment imply is the reason for protecting gun ownership?

    I didn’t present a straw man argument, which makes me question whether you know how to use that phrase. You said it’s silly to design a law that only covers 0.01% of all cases; I said no it’s not, most laws are designed with the intention of preventing or deterring a worst-case scenario. I brought up murder because billions of people walk past one another billions of times every day, and most of them manage not to commit murder. We still have a prohibition against murder, though, even though when you consider the number of times it could happen, it happens an incredibly small percentage of the time. So no, that’s not a straw man argument at all.

    It’s not a “reducto ad absurdem” (sic) either. We are both talking about laws that concern themselves with actions that, when considered as a proportion of all the different ways humans can interact, take place only a very tiny percentage of the time. One of us recognizes that; the other misspells phrases from Logic and Argumentation 101.

    As for NICS, I’m simply done with repeating myself. There are many, many ways to get around a background check, and clearly, Loughner found one of them. If you have suggestions on reforming that system, I’d love to hear them.

    -dan
    Boston, MA

  • Ellen Dibble, Northampton, MA

    Peter Nelson at 5:07 posted: “There’s no danger of that because after an event like this the liberals tie themselves into knots with hand-wringing and despair but they’re incapable of organizing any sort of effective national political movement so your gun rights are perfectly safe.”

    There is a reason of course, and it’s not that the Democrats are the left-overs that didn’t make it into any of the main-dishes that churn up lobbyists. Oh, that’s your answer. Once the guns (ammunitions, weapons, automobiles, stethoscopes) become profitable, the representatives begin to organize and lobby. It seems to me the profitable interests in this country do a little better lobbying the Republicans because the Republican party is a little easier to lead around by the carrot-and-stick, by the whatever-it-is lobbyists dangle at them.
    Maybe Democrats under Pelosi are like the cats that cannot be herded, not even by organized and moneyed profitable interest groups. Maybe that defines Democrats: “not herd animals.” But look at Tunisia: they had an entire revolution, not by being organized or having leadership, but by having cell phones and Twitter accounts.
    Apparently organization is becoming passe (passay, accent aigu, French for “so yesterday,” outmoded).

  • Dana

    It’s hard to read all the post but I agree with all suggesting that the purpose of the 2nd amendment is not personal self-defense or hunting, it is defense against the government, be it federal or the state militia next to your state. Therefore, the law must allow a reasonable defense against military equipment (and of course not that many people would participate in such a defense so allowances must be made). The only answer to the 2nd amendment is to eliminate all military presence within our borders. I’m for it.

  • bob

    Dan,

    You like taking this to the level of personal insults, don’t you? Does that somehow make you feel better? Insult faceless people on the internet to make you feel more secure in your intellect or by making an ad hominem attack do you hope to invalidate my points?

    When did this discussion get to be about the purpose of the 2nd Amendment? YOU are the one that keeps trying to bring it there, I’m talking about whether or not regulating the size of ammunition magazines will make the American public safer or not.

    Straw Man Argument: “Presenting a misrepresentation of the opponent’s position and then refuting it, thus giving the appearance that the opponent’s actual position has been refuted.”

    My position is that a magazine restriction law is 1) of questionable benefit in that there is NO evidence that any magazine size laws have ever prevented a crime and 2) less than 1% of all gun crimes even involve more than 3 shots fired – so with BOTH of those factors considered you’re proposing a law that adversely effects thousands of people without any evidence at all beyond your own speculation and conjecture that it will make me or anyone else safer.

    Feel free to address it directly.

  • bob

    Let me offer this to you all. The question at hand was whether or not a restriction on magazine size will make the American public safer.

    From 1994 through 2004 the US had an ‘assault weapons’ ban that, among other things restricted the sale of ammunition magazines larger than 10 rounds.

    During that period there were 6 mass shootings – including Columbine.

    Sadly, magazine restrictions are not going to prevent these type of things from happening.

    In 2001 a man in Osaka Japan killed 9 students with a kitchen knife and stabbed 13 more plus 2 teachers.

    Gun bans are not going to prevent these things either.

    You may not understand why someone would want to own a gun. So long as that gun owner follows the laws, what difference does it make?

  • Mari McAvenia

    From Quincy Point, MA:

    While some handgun enthusiasts may get a warm, fuzzy feeling from knowing that two other kids got the chance to see because of these ghastly automatic devices:
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2011/01/christina-taylor-greens-corneas-save-eyesight-of-2-children/1

    I hope that the beneficiaries of Christina Taylor-Green’s corneas grow up to see things in a very different way. I pray that they will work to eliminate handgun violence, in all its ugly forms.

  • Tim

    I listened to the re-broadcast of this show and am quite in shock at the lack of knowledge displayed, even by the “gun advocate”.

    There is a very slippery slope here in that a large number of guns that were produced both pre-ban (1994 AWB) and definitely post ban are natively > 10 round magazines. I have since the ban owned and still own several handguns, where the magazine was fully enclosed by and not extending past the handle, whose native capacities were between 12 and 19 rounds plus 1 in the chamber. If this ban were to go into effect it would essentially ban these firearms, as they could be transfered…. sans magazine. Defacto cun control…. period.

  • Beverly

    Let’s get it over with. The end of civilization (?) is nigh. Why drag it out?
    Killing every American now will be the most humane solution. Wouldn’t we all rather have our lives taken from us now, than to die slowly, because we will have only poisoned water to drink, only contaminated/genetically poisoned food, that’s unsafe to feed to our children, air that can’t be breathed without burning our nostrils, & causing painful sores. It causes our eyes to burn so much, that we can’t keep them open. (No more “Dancing with the Stars”, or anything else.) At least that’s how we’re being poisoned if we live near the coast, just about anywhere in the world. We have offshore drilling, you know, constantly leaking. (It can’t be prevented.) We’ve also had so much oil leaking from tankers, that we’d be foolish to the extreme if we ate seafood. All sea life will soon be extinct, all food & water will be deadly, from poisons intentionally incorporated into crops, & acid rain.

    Our oceans are becoming as bad as the Niger Delta, where, thanks to oil, no life has been able to exist for years. Our children are dying from cancers, & asthma; their tender lungs are no match for our air pollution. The most humane way to do away with us would be to just shoot us, starting with the babies, who are most susceptable to toxins, starvation, & dehydration. Besides,they’re completely innocent. Why make them suffer a long, lingering death? Let’s put those guns to use.

    We’re the ones who turned this once-lush, beautiful, perfect paradise, (entrusted to us by our creator), into a dead zone, because of our greed; the unquenchable thirst for oil, & riches. Our mountain peaks, a very important part of our fragile ecosystem for thousands, if not millions, of years, are being destroyed! Instead of cherishing this perfect home, which has bestowed upon us, we’re blowing it up. Birdsong is no longer heard, where there once were breathtakingly beautiful mountains, teeming with life. They have been flattened! In their place, are silent, lifeless, ugly mudflats, toxic air & drinking water. Why was that allowed to happen?
    The best thing we can do right now is get it over with. They shoot horses, don’t they?

  • SarahJane

    No profit motive here. This is (or will end up being)an attempt once again, to control behavior – whether by banning guns, or alcohol, or narcotics or smoking or (more recently) trans-saturated-hydrogenated-whatever-they-are fats or sodium. And once again the majority of people will obey whatever law is enacted to “ban” whatever it is that offends us.
    Why not ban political rallies? If the event in Tucson hadn’t been organized in the first place, then Jared Loughner would have had nowhere to go.
    Why not ban automobiles? If not for transportation, attendance at the event in Tucson could have been easily reduced by half.
    The conversation always starts with justifying why we should take something away. Why is that?

  • at

    How to make a bunch of money!

    Every time that the anti gun movement starts up again, the firearms dealers and others make a killing.

    I you want to make money you don’t even have to be a fed firearms dealer, all you have to do is get a wholesale price on high capacity magazines just before the law goes into effect. Then just got to the gun shows and your magazines will be grandfathered in since they were manufactured before the law passed and they are now the mags you payed 10 a piece for are worth eighty.

    So keep passing those laws and then letting them expire and you keep making the high capacity mag manufacturers rich, and people who would never have wanted or bought one will now buy them because they think that it’s the last chance. (until next time)

  • at

    Actually you do not have the right to bear arms. The firearms that Americans are allowed to own privately without a federal permit are not used in wars even though some of them look the same as weapons that are. If we really had the right to bear arms every responsible adult would be allowed to own the types of small arms that are actually used in armed conflicts, like the Swiss do.
    In all my years of listening to NPR I have never once heard a commentator on either side of the issue use the term assault rifle correctly. The assault weapons ban did not ban any assault weapons — they were all already banned long ago. It just banned semiautomatic rifles that were made in the style of an assault rifle. As for the 33 round glock mag it is from a glock 19 (I think thats the right model) which no one other than dealers holding samples that they sell to law enforcement are allowed to have. A glock 19 is a machine pistol. The mags were 18 dollars before the last “assault weapons ban and were selling for eighty or more dollars after it went into effect.
    I don’t understand why otherwise intelligent people cannot understand these basic functions of firearms. When it comes to killing loads of people I think that tobacco has gone way beyond gun violence, and what have we really done about that? Nothing. At least a gun can protect you in your hour of need, what can a cigarette do but make you sick and kill you and let everyone around you know that you are addicted, deluded, and stupid. The whole purpose of the right to bear arms was to protect the citizens from the government. Obviously a group of guys with the types of firearms that are legally available wouldn’t last very long against real battlefield weapons. Except maybe for well practiced snipers, and even their days are quickly coming to an end because of tech that can locate and negate them rather quickly. You used to be able to order a sub-machine gun mail order from Sears. And I don’t see any historical evidence other than for bootleggers and bank robbers that people just went nuts and started shooting each other.
    As far as I am concerned you don’t need more than ten rounds in a pistol. Now banning hi cap mags in rifle mags is another thing, because if we had to rise up against some rogue person who got in power that is the best we would have to fight against things like gunships that can see you through walls in the dark, kill you through walls, and cut your whole home down around you in about two seconds. In other words we are already desperately helpless in the face of a military coup or martial law because of bogus threats.

  • Mark

    If this guy chose to use an automobile to run down and kill a group of people, would we then say oh, it’s time to ban cars?

  • vulturesign

    The NRA and Robert Levy point to the National Academy of sciences 2004 report as proof there is no connection between gun control effort and crime levels. However, this is NOT what the report says. Instead points out that there was conflicting evidence and that more research and better methods were necessary.

    http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=10881

    Why hasn’t this research been undertaken?

    Their 2004 report calls for the development of a National Violent Death Reporting System and a National Incident-Based Reporting System. No single data system can answer all questions about violent events, but it is important to start collecting accurate and reliable information that describes basic facts about violent injuries and deaths.

    Why hasn’t this been done?

  • Beverly

    MARI McAVENIA, (9:30p.m.)

    Amen.

    

  • Roland

    I don’t like automobiles. 40,000 people die on America’s highways each year. Nearly three times the number that are killed by gunfire. Senseless, preventable deaths. It has been proven that lower speeds reduce the number of traffic accidents and deaths. All automobiles should be mechanically governed so that operation at speeds above 35 mph is impossible. And since alcohol is often a contributing factor, ignition interlock devices should be mandated on all autos operating on public highways.
    Maybe one of you people will read this and realize how ridiculous you sound, but I’m not terribly hopeful.

  • Beverly

    DEE,

    They DON’T receive help though, & it seems very unlikely that things will change any time soon.

    Our legislators don’t even want to let us keep what physical health care we have. Is there even a remote chance that they will allow treatment, or any help at all, for those who are MENTALLY ill?

    Pigs might fly.

    Mental illness is on the rise. Incidents like this are becoming more & more common, each one vying with its predecessors, to be ever more diabolical, by leaving unprecidented numbers of victims in its wake.

    What’s the solution?

  • Beverly

    ROLAND,

    You are SO right.

    Those measures would go a long way toward helping to prevent many premeditated massacres which use automobiles as the weapon.

    Well done.

  • SarahJane

    Thanks at (6:49 AM) for spending however many words justifying why something should be taken away.

  • Rachel

    Nothing has changed regarding guns in America or the amount of murders. On average we have 15,000 – 20,000 murders every year. We should be so embarrassed by our failures to change this.

    I don’t hold out hope that things will be in better in the future. I am working to save enough money to retire to another country and live in peace.

  • Beverly

    RACHEL,

    Great plan. I envy you.

    Better health care, also no NRA or Tea Party, (unless they’re genteel ones, with loose tea & crustless cucumber sandwiches), in Europe.

  • Sara M.

    Tracee Larson is no gun rights advocate and her blog is a fraud. See: http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/2011/01/17/astroturfing/

  • Duke

    I’m a member of MAIG and I pray every day for a high profile mass murder.

  • d’Arcy

     What drivel this program was!

     To begin with, let’s put any commentator, e.g. Ms. McCarthy, using the terms “sensible”, “reasonable” or “responsible” into a virtual “Penalty Box” (mike OFF) for 10 minutes. Using such terms is language war, intending to cast anyone who offers a less onerous proposal as unreasonable, irresponsible or lacking sense.

     I don’t remember whether it was on an “On Point” or a Diane Rehm last week but one commentator or caller pointed out that in a panic situation the difference between 10 and 11 rounds in your weapon can make the difference as to who prevails.

     Rep. McCarthy wants to make large clips available to law enforcement and military. Why? If a civilian is limited to 10 rounds in a clip, why not law enforcement. In that case military should be issued large clips only when fighting in a foreign war. Even the restrictions there are red herrings as the M-16 is a 0.223 caliber, which is much smaller than a 9mm (similar to a .38).

     Tom kept calling for an account of the use of “‘large capacity” magazines in individual defense situations. Straw man! I doubt that until today anyone has even thought to check the capacity of the clip in the weapon of a home defender or police officer that uses a weapon in self-defense.

     A guest on another program (the same as above?) pointed out that cops using a Glock usually use a 15-round clip.

     A law saying that a legal owner of property can’t transfer that property to another is anathema to American values. It goes against the Declaration of Independence (pursuit of happiness) and the Bill of Rights (deprivation of property).

     Can you say Amadou Diallo? As I recall the NY cops shot at him 41 times, hitting him 14. The Tucson shooter (Loughner) shot 31times and hit 19 targets, some of them more than once. In another NY case the police fired many times at an unarmed person, missing him more times than they hit him.

     Actually, an armed bystander in Tucson has come
    forward to say that he ran toward the scene arriving after the shooter was subdued and experienced a degree of confusion as by the time he arrived one of the other bystanders had control of the shooter’s weapon. No word on the size of his magazine.

     Baloney! The claim that until 1968 the only repeating guns were six-shooters is totally BOGUS. The semi-automatic self-loader (“automatic”) arrived in the early 1900s. Check the old radio detective shows!

     My instinct says that Loughner’s plans went awry in more ways than one. I suspect that he expected to be killed by the security detail he didn’t know Representative Giffords didn’t have, or certainly by mall security.

     You will note that while at first (at least by All Things Considered time that Saturday) the incident was blamed on “rhetoric”, the “rhetoric” on the incident has shifted to blaming equally “mental health” and ammo magazines.

     BTW, how many times have you heard Loughner referred to as “crazy” or “a nut case” on “On Point”, other shows or in the paper? I think I saw one letter-to-the-editor that began by claiming Loughner is a crazy person overlooked by the “mental health system” and ended by calling for his execution. In case you haven’t heard, we don’t execute “crazy persons” in this country. We do, however, have an “insanity” defense which I’d bet Loughner’s lawyer uses.

     Unfortunately, people do kill people, even without guns. Last week there was a triple murder/suicide near Detroit. Preliminary evidence is man stabbed his wife, strangled his two kids then lit a grill in the closed cabin of his SUV.

     Also in Detroit this weekend, a teenager brandishing a gun with robbery and/or carjacking on his mind approached a car at a convenience store just as the occupant was about to leave the car. Unfortunately for the kid, the man in the car was a retired cop with a legal piece. No word on the type or magazine capacity of either weapons or.

     Mention of the alleged weapons trafficking across the U.S.-Mexican border was another red herring. Many of the weapons describer (elsewhere) as being used in the Mexican Drug Wars are illegal in the U.S. and thus were introduced into Mexico by other means or were obtained illegally in the U.S. before being smuggled to Mexico.

    Ann Arbor, MI

  • http://www.sigforum.com tanksoldier

    With all the hundreds of established and credible gunbloggers out there, you couldn’t have one of those people on. YOU had to go with a shill for the gun control mob. The “American Hunters and Shooters Association” is a front for the Brady Bunch… but you knew that. NPR’s credibility takes ANOTHER hit.

  • http://www.dogoodgauge.org The Do Good Gauge

    Please allow me to share a thought about civil discourse. Respect comes easier when focus is placed on the theoretical aspects of an argument and when the goal is to seek a democratic truth. In the aftermath of the tragedy in Tuscan Arizona much talk has been about gun regulation. Gun control is not my debate, but I’m willing to facilitate a broader solution.

    Many panelist in programs like the On Point, the Diane Rehm Show, and Talk of the Nation bring up numerous facts in attempt clarify a passionate point of view. In these passions there are cases of logical fallacies which could easily be corrected given the time and opportunity.

    My suggestion is to publicly develop a comprehensive book or essay on the topic of gun control. Participation would come from articulate individuals similar to the ones on programs like this. Each individual would develop coherent arguments to plead his or her point of view. The public would measure the worth of each argument, provide validity checks, and supply reference material to support or invalidate each argument. The public would be able privately interact with panellist with similar points of view. This provides a positive re-enforcement system. The goal of this exercise would be to develop a comprehensive, coherent, respectful solution for gun regulation reaching a broader consensus of acceptance.

    The outcome would be worthy of publication. Credit would be provided for participation. As a new venture, participants would have a voice in how the revenue acquired in the effort is deployed. Participation is required for such an effort. Suggestions on how to obtain a publisher or media support would be appreciated.

    As a computer scientist I’ve developed many tools to facilitate this project. Please share the idea with others. Visibility is required to advance the suggestion.

  • Beverly

    DUKE,

    You’re a very sick puppy.

  • Sigivald (Or-a-gun)

    There are now bullets that explode once they’ve struck, making them cause vastly more damage in the body

    Not so much.

    There’s Raufoss explosive ammunition for .50 machine guns, and civilians can’t buy it, because of Federal law (the National Firearms Act of 1934, 18 USC 921ff, classifies it as a “Destructive Device”).

    There are no “explosive bullets” for handguns or other rifles to my knowledge, and if someone invented them, they’d be just as illegal for civilian ownership as the Raufoss rounds, with a $200 Federal tax stamp and background check required for each one.

    Knowing is half the battle, so to speak.

    (The idea that the Second Amendment has anything to do with Slavery is completely unfounded, as well.

    Gun control’s racist roots, however, are actually documentable.

    Interesting how these assertions and ideas are uniformly both unsupportable and in the same direction, isn’t it?)

  • Dan Parker

    Tracee Larson is a “gun rights advocate”? What will NPR claim next…that Simon Wiesenthal was a “Nazi sympathizer”?

    The dishonesty is appauling. Don’t you people have ANY shame?

  • John

    Way to go NPR. That sure was a balanced debate. Tracee Larson is about as “pro-gun” as Dick Cheney is pro abortion.

    Keep it up, and when the tide turns in 2012 maybe we can finally get your charade off the government dole.

  • Dan Parker

    - “Nothing has changed regarding guns in America or the amount of murders. On average we have 15,000 – 20,000 murders every year. We should be so embarrassed by our failures to change this.”

    Even more embarrassing is so much propensity toward ignorance and mischaracterization of the facts. Interestingly…according to the FBI total murders and “non-negligent manslaughters” for 2009 were represented by the low-end of your figures (about 15K), for a rate of about 5.0 / 100K in population. That rate has been in steady decline ever since 1991, including after the sunset of the AWB (including it’s ban on high-cap mags) that so many of you want see reinstated. Even the report commissioned by Congress concluded that the ban had virtually NO impact on crime rates.

    - “I don’t hold out hope that things will be in better in the future. I am working to save enough money to retire to another country and live in peace.”

    Let us know if you need a ride to the airport. You could try Russia, where civilian ownership of firearms is severely restricted. Although, they have far and away the highet murder rate on the planet (the U.S. doesn’t even make the top 10). Huh. Go figure.

  • Dan Parker

    - “My question, then, is if the point of protecting gun ownership isn’t to arm a militia, then what, exactly, is the point of gun ownership?”

    This view completely misses the most salient point of Amendment II. It’s true that the founders’ stated reasoning for explicitely enumerating “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” was to ensure that the state could call forth a “well regulated militia” (and no, “well regulated” did not mean – in the language of the period – controlled by the state…it meant “well equipped”) if/when needed. But you miss the fact that the justification for providing extra protection for the right…and the existence of the right itself…are two completely different things. Anyone with even the most basic familiarity with the FF’s philosophical leanings, their writings, the history of English common law, etc. make it *abundantly* clear that the individual right to keep and bear arms for multiple reasons (hunting and self-defense, to name the two most obvious) was considered a fundamental, inalienable one.

    That the state had a vested interest in making certain that the right was not infringed is irrelevant with regard to the intrinsic nature of the right itself. Why this is so difficult for so many to understand, I do not know.

  • Dan Parker

    - “I live near a person that uses a gun with high capacity magazine to target practice near my house. I have on occasion heard a ricochet buzz over the house.
    What action should I take? If I make him mad am I making myself safer? Why does a person desire to shoot a targets in rapid fire in the first place?”

    So…let me get this straight: You have someone target shooting near your house (almost certainly illlegaly), and you think the problem lies with the capacity of the ammunition magazine he’s using?

    And your claim that you’re hearing “ricochet[s] buzz over” your house is dubious at best.

  • Mike

    This is the kind of garbage that made me decide to stop contributing to NPR.

    If you’re going to frame something as a debate, it needs to be a debate, not a bunch of people who share the same ideals sitting around a table talking.

    I am sorely disappointed with NPR for putting a “false flag” anti-gunner up as a pro-gunner, and then allowing her to represent one whole side of the “debate”.

    THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR PRODUCING THIS PIECE SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES.

    “Tracee Larson was previously a member of the Advisory Board of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, a “false flag” organization that pretended to represent gun rights while actually calling for more gun control.

    AHSA was founded by millionaire Ray Schnoenke, a leading contributor to Democratic causes. Schnoenke previously also contributed to Handgun Control, Inc. the predecessor to the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.”

  • http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-detroit/rob-reed Rob Reed

    Tanksoldier has it right, the AHSA was a shill for the gun control crowd and Tracee was a blogger for the AHSA. What’s that say about NPR picking her to represent the pro-gun side?

    Read my take on this here:

    http://www.examiner.com/gun-rights-in-detroit/npr-identifies-false-flag-anti-gunner-as-a-guns-right-advocate-on-show-1

  • Francis Janik

    Tom Ashbrook, Where is your coverage of The SWAT team in Framingham MA who according to The Boston Globe shot an un-armed man. Did the SWAT officer have a high cap magazine? I bet he did. I will not contribute my money to NPR when it acts in a biased manner no matter the issue involved. I work as a freelance press photographer and if I faked an image I would be dis-credited. Tom by using Tracee Larson you are hereby dis-credited.

  • John Bucsek

    I agree with Mike. Reporting like this is a reason NOT to support NPR. This piece was a one sided against gun owners. The email where NPR is looking for a gun owner is support of the bill is out on the blogs. So NPR had no intention to listen to those of us that support the right to defend ourselves.

    A question I’d like to see answered, If the killer had instead rammed the crowd with a car killing 6 and injuring a dozen, would we now be debating how to ban cars? or demanding that more stringent licensing requirement be put in place?

    More people are killed by cars each year than by firearms, yet I see noone trying to reduce those numbers by banning cars. On a daily basis I have more to fear from cars and other drivers then from firearms and their owners.

  • Rob K

    I have just written my congressman demanding that NPR be defunded. This sort of mendacity should not be funded from the public treasury:

    “We’re looking for a gun owner and 2nd Amendment supporter who is not opposed to the forthcoming McCarthy bill re: limiting magazine capacity. I’d be very grateful if you could put me in touch with any gun owner who is not opposed to regulation. Let me know if anyone comes to mind.”

    –XXXX, in email seeking a “gun blogger” to appear on the program.

    Sound like he’s interested in a real, fair debate? It doesn’t to me.

    ____________________________________________________

    PROGRAMMING NOTE: We strongly object to this email being taken out of the full context of the show. A strong gun rights advocate was already booked for the show, and this query was seeking an additional angle — a perfectly legitimate journalistic endeavor and standard practice among responsible news organizations. Please see the note near the top of this page about the guests in this show.

  • Noah D

    From: XXXX
    To: XXXX
    Sent: Fri, January 14, 2011 1:32:22 PM
    Subject: NPR show On Point needing progressive gun guest

    Hi Mr. Blogger,

    My name is … and I work for the NPR program On Point with Tom Ashbrook. I’m writing to ask if you’d be able to speak as a guest on Monday, January 17. We’re looking for a gun owner and 2nd Amendment supporter who is not opposed to the forthcoming McCarthy bill re: limiting magazine capacity. I’d be very grateful if you could put me in touch with any gun owner who is not opposed to regulation. Let me know if anyone comes to mind. Thanks very much.

    ___________________________________________

    PROGRAMMING NOTE: We strongly object to this email being taken out of the full context of the show. A strong gun rights advocate was already booked for the show, and this query merely sought an additional angle — a perfectly legitimate journalistic endeavor and standard practice among responsible news organizations. Please see the note near the top about the guests in this show.

  • JF

    The thing I’m amazed at from the broadcast for one was the lack of research done and the incorrect statements your guests made. You had to ask what the magazine looked like and how it worked? Do you have the internet? Did you actually look into the technology or just figure it was bad and didn’t bother. (And not having any gun owners on the panel that were against the bill was very one-sided. I saw you were only looking for pro-gun people who were for the ban on thrtruthaboutguns.com, which I don’t agree with)

    The people who are for more restrictive gun laws have no idea what they are banning. The congresswoman who is introducing the bill was interviewed on another bill she was introducing and wanted to ban barrel shrouds and couldn’t even tell the interviewer what they are or why it was bad.

    Tracy Larson who said that ‘high-cap’ magazines were ‘more powerful’ and had ‘more kick’ has no idea what the hell she’s talking about. They carry the same cartridges which have the same amount of power, it’s just more of them. Yes, they are unwieldy and that could have been whey they were able to tackle the shooter while he was fumbling with his gigantic magazine. A tactical reload of a pistol with a standard magazines can be done in less than 1.5 seconds, and that is not enough time for someone to react to the stopped shooting, come up from cover and attack. So if he had a normal magazine, he could have actually inflicted more damage.

    On another topic one of your guests mentioned the ‘plastic gun’ thing – it’s ridiculous – as it’s just the frame that is plastic, the barrel and slide (over a pound of metal) are not plastic and have no trouble being detected. And when people talk about ‘cop killer’ bullets they think it’s hollow point bullets that go through ballistic vests easier, when in fact they actually stop sooner and are the best tool for personal protection because they limit over-penetration. (Yes, I think steel-core, armor-piercing bullets that go through vests should be regulated.)

    And why limit to 10 rounds? Why not 8 or 12 or 15? What number is so outrageous and unneeded and what number give a person the best chance to defend themselves and their family. If you’re a petite woman alone at home and 3 armed men enter your home, you’d be glad to have 15 or even 30 rounds. How often does that happen? Not often, but neither do these types of shootings.

    A ‘standard’ capacity pistol magazine is one that does not extend past the butt of the gun and is designed to hold that many. In the case of most modern pistols that’s 12-19 rounds. If you HAD, HAD to ban the amount of bullets in a gun, at the very least make it whatever fits naturally into the pistol and make ‘extended’ magazines more regulated, so that competition shooters and others can still get them. Not that I would support a law that will not do anything anyway.

  • On Point staff

    STAFF NOTE:

    For a response to questions about guests in this program and Mr. Levy’s position, go to the top of this page.

    We cannot moderate this discussion indefinitely. We encourage you to join us for our new shows each day.

  • Brillantkaeble

    Gawd, I knew this country has some socialist types but no guns! Maybe ya need reedjaction by Jack Bauers grandaddy. Wat say ewes.

ONPOINT
TODAY
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Sep 1, 2014
Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

 
Sep 1, 2014
This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: August 29, 2014
Friday, Aug 29, 2014

On hypothetical questions, Beyoncé and the unending flow of social media.

More »
Comment
 
Drew Bledsoe Is Scoring Touchdowns (In The Vineyards)
Thursday, Aug 28, 2014

Football great — and vineyard owner — Drew Bledsoe talks wine, onions and the weird way they intersect sometimes in Walla Walla, Washington.

More »
Comment
 
Poutine Whoppers? Why Burger King Is Bailing Out For Canada
Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Why is Burger King buying a Canadian coffee and doughnut chain? (We’ll give you a hint: tax rates).

More »
1 Comment