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Guns are bad? Really?

As my distinguished colleague Spencer Madison pointed out, sometimes guns hurt people. Because of this, Madison seems to think that guns are bad. He elaborates that the constitutionally enshrined right of this country’s people to own them is bad as well. He is confident that the recent events he discusses will not have significant influence, backing his point by deploying a brilliant non-sequitur: “because people are extremely forgiving of the liberties a bunch of entitled slave owners gave us.”

How this should be an argument against the constitutional right to own guns is beyond me.

Cars hurt people too; far more people are killed in automobile accidents then in accidents involving firearms. According to the National Highway Administration, 41,821 people were killed in automobile accidents in 2000, whereas, according to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, part of the CDC, 776 people were killed in firearms accidents. I do not see Mr. Madison, or anyone else for that matter, arguing against automobile ownership, even despite the fact that there is no constitutional protection of car possession.

Why, then, are guns such a great societal evil? As the framers saw it, they (more accurately their ownership by the body politic) are the foundation of the Republic and our democratic and free governance thereof. George Washington said “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” As Jefferson explained, citizens should have weapons to protect themselves not just from the government, but from each other. “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes … Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” Whatever reason you believe more important, there are very real, legitimate, and necessary reasons for civilian ownership of firearms.

As Madison sees it, that right should be severely curtailed or eliminated (I can’t see clearly which he is suggesting through the thick coating of snark that envelops his prose) because, sometimes, bad things happen. This is the worst form of nanny-state politics I can imagine. The idea that we as a population should not be allowed to maintain the means to defend ourselves and our liberties because we can’t be trusted with those means is completely contrary to the ideals of the free society. In a civilization where possible harm to others is reason enough to curtail civil liberties, there would be no civil liberties. I count myself fortunate to live in a country where this is not the guiding philosophy of governance.

  1. J Pee says:

    The idiot who says, “next you’re going to tell me Obama is not a citizen” Has to be one of the lamest dirtballs ever. Playing the ol’ liberal, “well you don’t agree with me, you must be a crazy racist!” card. I wish idiots like that would (a) bury their heads in the sand so they couldn’t attempt to have a reasonable debate or (b) freeze themselves and plan to defrost in 2205, when the liberals win, invite every immigrant in the world to live in the country, then trap everyone in large cages where robots force them to make throwback Nike air force ones, Nelly edition… Yes… That’s more like it…

  2. Steve Toyota says:

    I agree with CJ, Guy, and those who preserve liberty over state-based tyranny and those who defend it (T-Mac, RLayne, etc.)

  3. Gsim says:

    Too quickly? This one couldn’t die soon enough as far as I’m concerned. I guess I’ll never stop being amazed by those who are so willing to chop up the Constitution and cede the rights and freedoms enumerated in it.

    CJ and others writing on behalf of perserving our liberties and rule of law: I commend you. It is good to fight the good fight on the battle ground of ideas, but a few bliss ninnies opinions on banning firearms and the ridiculously notion that defending yourself with a baseball bat is some how morally superior to a using a firearm just don’t matter anymore. The ownership of firearms and right to bear firearms in self defense is well secure in America and improving constantly.

    Those of us who support all our civil liberties have it well in hand. More than 30 states have adopted stand your ground ‘Castle Doctrine’ laws, with more being passed all the time. More than 35 states have progressive shall issue concealed carry laws. Nearly all states (48 of them) have some sort of legal pathway for the concealed carry of firearms by private citizens. Hell, in most of California you can get a license to carry a handgun any where you want. In Vermont (for decades) and recently in Alaska and Arizona anyone who can legally own a firearm can carry one without any license. Chicago’s decades old illegal law banning the private ownership of handguns just got stuck down by the courts. Firearm right supporters are seriously talking about the possibility of reopening the registry (closed in 1986) for fully automatic machine guns. I could go on and on.

    There are nearly 4 million dues paying NRA members, all personally donating gobs of cash every year to lobby for the protection of firearm rights. The Brady Campaign (which assimilated the bankrupt Handgun Control Inc and Million Mom March organizations) was 450k in the red in 2008. They are so broke-dick the Brady Campaign SOLD its membership list data to the highest bidder. The only reason the organization is still afloat and functioning is due to donations by the statist billionaire George Soros.

    The happy fact is, American gun owners are organized, diligent and happy to vote. The few enemies of our civil liberties are on the ropes and fighting a loosing battle. Gun control has failed in America, the people have rejected those laws and even if a law were passed that said “Mr. and Ms. America turn them all in.” It wouldn’t work. They wouldn’t get turned in and they wouldn’t bury them in plastic pipes either. There are more than enough committed lovers of freedom to understand the implications of soap box, ballet box and cartridge box.

    P.S. I am happy to report I’m recently returned to civilization after bathing in the blood of cute woodland critters. I splashed about like a child in a muddy puddle and bagged seven deer. The only thing sweeter than victory? Deer meat.

  4. Betz says:

    Thats the bummer of these kinds of threads …. just when they start to get good, they end all too quickly.

  5. Shadow says:

    This thread is entertaining. Oops, the pop corn is burning!

  6. Jim in Houston says:

    Jay —

    Bravo to you, Sir.

  7. Jay Knott says:

    CJ – I used to live near where Tom Paine was born, Thetford, England. So did Tony Martin, who shot an intruder in self defence in 1999. He got life imprisonment. That’s when I knew I’d joined Tom Paine – I’d become an American.

  8. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Remember when I said your argument was boring like 20 posts ago?
    Yeah, still boring.

  9. CJ says:

    And so T-Mac descends into poor ad hominem attacks and stereotypes before declaring he’s done not responding to my arguments.

    I don’t think calling the cops is for pussies, but it’s not a fail-safe by any means. They call it the thin, blue line for a reason.

    Anyways, what’s the fucking difference between defending yourself with a baseball bat and a gun, besides the fact that one is much more effective? Why is it morally superior to beat the shit out of someone with a baseball bat? Have you ever considered what your “baseball bat only” defense means for women, minorities and other frequent targets of assault?

    Here’s something that will blow your liberal mind: It’s a pro-gun organization for the LGBTQ community. Would you advise them to call the cops when a gang of thugs tries to bash them?

    You create numbers out of thin air and superficially respond to any actual arguments I present. Your argument has turned into a knee-jerk response against guns, presumably because they’re scary and make boom noises and you know as a good liberal that guns are BAD. You’ve put the bare modicum of critical thought into your arguments, unlike Mr. Layne. You have no desire to actually consider the implications of what you’re arguing for or what I’m actually trying to say. You’ve shown exactly what kind of garbage passes for political discourse in this country, and in the process made a fool of yourself.

    You live in a fantasy world, and I sincerely hope, for your sake, that no one ever disabuses you of your farcical notions of safety.

  10. Betz says:

    Funny …. T-Mac never really made – or refuted – any of the well-made points CJ made. All I heard (essentially) was “O RLY? HAHA K THNX BAI”. When you artificially try to have the last word by leaving the conversation, that does not really make your opinion superior. Call me a skeptic, but I don’t think we’ve seen the last of T-Mac … (See #6)

    I have been reading a lot of OC articles and comments on 2nd amendment and gun ownership rights, and really, a lot of the discussions arrive at a crux that was already hinted at earlier: Whether or not you completely trust your own safety – and that of your loved ones – in the hands of the government, ie the people who wield power over you.

    On the one hand, no one is arguing that safety and security should be in the hands of the people. That is what our police and military is for, and is probably the most important benefits that a government can provide, beyond civil rights, but I would argue that security takes precedence. Protection and security go hand in hand with civil rights; individual citizen’s cannot have rights without governmental sovereignty granting them, and a nation cannot remain sovereign without national security preventing others from infringing or violating those rights.

    However, as CJ has already stated, you cannot depend on the government to absolutely protect you from all societal ills. It takes less than 60 seconds – probably less than 30 – for a mugger to confront you on the streets and demand your wallet / phone / jewelry / valuables. Police Units are not going to be able to respond in time for you to call for help – and that is assuming that the mugger is going to grant you a phone call before they take your stuff.

    The right to defend yourself – personally defend yourself, without the need or aid of government appointed defenders (police, military, etc.) – is a correlation of the 2nd amendment’s right for citizens to bare arms. You can defend yourself with a baseball bat, and you can defend yourself with a gun. Your choice – whichever makes you feel safer.

  11. Jarhead1982 says:

    Sorry noone, these anti’s brains are wired different, even if they are harmed by an attack, they will blame someone else, or an inanimate object, but never themselves. It is a genetic virus called progressivous idiotus where emotional responses only matter, and facts do not. This is the same breed of people who at one time claimed the world was flat and we all know how that turned out.

    They believe the police are the only people who should be authorized to use violence to defend themselves, yet they complain not about the criminals who use violence at will. Especially since career criminals and gang members are responsible for 80% of violent crime in the US. USDOJ National Gang Threat Assessment annual report 2009

    They refuse to believe this even when multiple police reports (Chicago & NYC) show 76-80% of shootings occur where both shooter and injured were both involved in a criminal activity at the time of the shooting (usually drugs).,,

    They claim that for every successful defensive gun use, that 51 people die. Yet they refuse to acknowledge that the largest percentage of these are criminals shooting criminals, not innocent victims defending themselves and dying as a result as they so lamely infer.

    FBI UCR database reference # of people justifiably killed by citizens and police. Multiply by 51 and funny how those numbers come real close to equalling all people murdered by firearms as CLEARLY identified in the FBI UCR database.

    But anti’s don’t like to put ALL the context and details to their claims, it destroys their positions.

    They really do not like it when you have many examples of people NOT being killed but successfully defending themselves.

    Keep & Bear Arms
    Armed Citizen
    American Rifleman

    Funny how the 80 plus per month incidents listed there come from real police reports and media outlets not controlled by the NRA or pro gun organizations. Funny how the massive majority of these did not involve the innocent victim defending themselves dying, wonder why that is, lol, well, no, not really! P.S this doesn’t include all those incidents where 75% of crimes or incidents are not reported. But hey even the government admits that occurs, victimization reports 2008 of 4.8 million violent crimes unreported.

    Funny how that felons firearms use survey by the government even indicates that of all the violent crimes involving a firearm maximum 15% of the time is a shot fired. So if a shot isn’t fired, well funny how factoring in all the government facts (deaths, injuries, % of incidents, % of shots fired, % of hits) means over 1.5 million incidents. Uh there were only 1.38 million reported violent crimes of which only 381,000 involved a firearm per the government, so you can figure out what that means.

    Funny how those websites post so many of the only ones authorized committing murder, rape, drug dealing, assaulting people, shooting innocents like the 7 year old in Detroit this year, or a homeless man in NY or San Francisco. Yet they don’t cry for them to be disarmed.

    They put these claims out how the 8 million people who are licensed to carry concealed, kill or harm more people than the 1 million police do, but they never do proper comparisons. Lest we forget those police in Seattle, Pittsburgh and San Francisco ambushed by felons this year.

    Even their vaunted VPC published a report in 2009 where over 3 years they claimed 137 deaths by CPL licensee’s. Of course they didn’t present the proper context and details such as the person was not a felon, hadn’t used fake id to buy a firearm as multiple reports and studies show is 100% successful, that the government who is responsible for passing those fake identifications didn’t fail again, or that these were proper justifiable defensive gun uses.

    My shall we compare some of these supposed famous gun free zone incidents, some where someone broke the law to defend themselves and compare the results?

    October 16, 1991, Luby

  12. Jim In Houston says:


  13. noone says:

    For those who like to think they will have all the time needed to get the phone, and to call the local PD, and then to wait for them to arrive; for those who think criminals use handguns and similar weapons to commit their crime, I offer this story…

    Night, somewhere around midnight, an eighty year old family friend of ours was throw down his house staircase: the criminals who invaded his house wanted the location of his house safe, that he couldn’t tell because it did not exist, and the criminals thought the jump would loosen his tongue. The man, rather active for his age, ended up paralysed in bed because of the wounds sustained during the robbery, and died two months later, very likely as conseguence of the wounds received during the fall. The trauma
    on his wife and his children is still indescribable.
    No, neither him nor the other persones in the house were able to get on the phone.
    No, the criminals were not armed with a handgun or a shotgun or a rifle, but they had no reason to: they had knives, number and strenght on their side.
    Yes, it was a very rare event (even if in my country “hot” home invasion, those with persons in the house, are getting more frequent), those “5% or less”, the problem is, it happened.

    No, the state cannot protect you.
    No, the local PD will not be there when you need them to be, because their officers do not have ubiquity.
    No, telling yourself “I will avoid problems” is not enough, sometimes are the problems searching for you.

    Since I’am not a native english speaker, I apologize for any mistake in this short lines, and I hope I made myself clear.

  14. AD '07 says:

    Guy is off the grid, I’ll step in. I prefer the self-defense based need for personal firearm ownership.

    T-Mac, typically when you resort to personal attacks, it means you have no logical examples to further your claim.

    From an authoritative source (both are actually hostile to private firearm ownership):
    “The Task Force found insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws or combinations of laws reviewed on violent outcomes. (Note that insufficient evidence to determine effectiveness should not be interpreted as evidence of ineffectiveness.)”

    So you want to abridge the rights of citizens based on insufficient evidence?

    1. Self-defense is a human right, and also a recognized federally right(see McDonald v Chicago.
    2. Guns are an effective means of self-defense by eliminating a threat as evidenced by injuries inflicted with firearms.
    3.The conservative estimate from the Department of Justice estimates 1,5000,000 Defensive Gun Uses – **ANNUALLY.**-
    4. According to the American Medical Association accidental firearm deaths are:” Unintentional discharge of firearms (ICD-10 codes W32-W34) resulted in 776 deaths, while discharge
    of firearms, undetermined intent (ICD-10 codes Y22-Y24), resulted in 230
    deaths.” =(230+776)/4,000,000=0.025% of all accidental deaths. –

    There is not an evidenced-based argument for increasing restrictions on personal ownership of firearms to reduce crime. The empirical result of personal firearm ownership is positive for our citizens.

    And for the reality- There are an estimated 200,000,000 firearms in the United States owned by people who prima face believe they have the legal right to do so. Who will you send to confiscate them? The police to do your bidding? They laugh in the face of such a silly demand. Do not think that police officers are any more competent with firearms and should be the ‘only ones’ to posses them:

    The world isn’t terrifying to me- I’m the one with firearms and the training to defend myself and others. You are the one living in fear of inanimate objects.

    If you want to be a man in our society, you need to be able to defend yourself at the least, but also those around you can’t defend themselves. Do you have that capability without tools? If so, congrats, but the vast majority of Americans do not.

    Please don’t be an advocate for victim disarmament.

  15. T-Mac says:

    BTW, I think I’m done with this discussion. CJ, feel free to sit in your bomb shelter watch episodes of 24 all while using M-16’s with the trigger-guards removed to protect yourself against roving gangs/government agents, because calling the cops is for pussies and it’s your right as an American, our lord and savior Jesus Christ (who I’m absolutely sure exists!) said so.

    The world you live in must be terrifying. I’m done.

  16. T-Mac says:

    Also, Layne’s point is good–defend yourself all day long, just don’t use a gun.

  17. T-Mac says:

    CJ–On statistics, wait a minute…are you arguing that you are more likely to use a gun in self-defense than to have it used in an accident? That guns are SAFE? You actually want to defend that ground? Also, in terms of the impending government takeover…hold on, let me get under my desk, there’s a tank going by my office right now….OK, I’m back. Seriously? Look, you have no scenario beyond waxing Tom Paine about how the government could “take over,” or something, and what that looks like. That’s just an assertion, not an argument. It’s easy to point to big brother but that’s just a straw-man, silly, fictional story. You sound like a crazy militia member who plays war games in the woods and bombs government buildings. That’s just nuts.

    Rooster– 1. Not reading your NRA website. Find an objective source.

    2. Hypocritical? You don’t know what that word means. Police volunteer to be police. It’s their job. I wouldn’t listen to firemen complain about fire, either. I guess I need to defend…that police are good? Really? I need to defend that police should protect people? You know what the world looks like without police? I’ll use CJ’s stupid philosophy–Hobbs’s state of nature is nasty, brutish and short–no cops means people hurt others. Cops protect us, and this is good. Also, I would argue that people protecting themselves, people who aren’t trained and don’t know gun safety, will lead to more innocent death than a select group of people who know what’s going on doing it for me.

    3. I’m not weaker than you because I don’t want to use a gun. Smarter? Sure.

  18. Rooster says:

    Just fyi for those who would call the police for help [from something you should be taking care of yourself]

    1) [but you can Google it also if you want too]

    2) It

  19. CJ says:

    Appeal to authority? I only mentioned the founding fathers once. (Unless you’re talking about Tom Paine.)

    But is it really an appeal to authority to consider the intent of those who wrote the Constitution when trying to decide the scope of the Second Amendment? Funny, the Supreme Court seems to do that a lot. (Oh, I just made an another appeal to authority! Which is funny, considering I’m railing against the state.)

    And T-Mac linked to a maudlin video claiming owning a gun doesn’t stop crime. This was from a (fictional) presidential administration, and was followed by his statement that: “I

  20. RLayne says:

    CJ- No one is saying you can’t defend yourself. Not even T-Mac. But, we are saying perhaps you shouldn’t defend yourself with a gun if you don’t know how to use it or can’t follow safety guidelines while handling a gun.

    Second, Your appeal to authourity is breathtaking. Textbook example. Should I also praise the founding fathers for owning slaves? or making slaves 3/5ths of a person? You should read the text of the second amendment. There’s a lot of textual evidence and primary research that suggests that the states be able to keep guns. Moreover, we’re also talking about a time when guns were necessary for survival when there absolutely wasn’t any law enforcement or when simply folks needed to hunt. Your anti-state dogma is beginning to show.

  21. CJ says:

    Why I don’t like the government? Allow me to pass the mic to Tommy Paine: “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”

    Power corrupts. If you’re not inherently skeptical of the people who wield power over your life, I really don’t know what to say to you.

  22. CJ says:

    Ignoring the fact that you’re just pulling those numbers out of your ass, I’ve preferred the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared. If I had a family, you’d better damn well believe I wouldn’t take a 5 percent chance with their lives.

    P.S. If the government takes over the citizens’ right to self-defense, the citizens have no defense against the government. You don’t think the founding fathers drafted the Second Amendment just to protect us from burglars, do you?

  23. T-Mac says:

    CJ–Also, I actually would like to know why you don’t like the government. Can you please explain it to me?

  24. T-Mac says:

    CJ–your honest solution is for people to own guns that are much more likely to kill innocent people? I mean, you can dance around these numbers all you want, but the facts are the facts. A few things to consider:

    1) The likelihood that I’ll ever NEED to call the police because of some home invasion (or something…can’t help but notice you’ve never spelled that out) is very low–let’s say around 5%, which I think is being generous.

    2) The likelihood that I won’t be able to get to the phone (even though my cell is in my pocket all the time and right next to my bed when I sleep) is also very low. I’d say this is around 5% also, and again, that’s being really generous–it’s probably lower.

    Sorry for being a statistics thug here, but that’s a 1 in 40 chance that the scenario you describe would ever happen, at best, and I think the odds are even lower, probably 1 in 50 or 60, and that’s not even counting the chances that I’ll actually need to use a gun (as opposed to a baseball bat or something) against some vague attacker. Compared to the odds that the gun will be used to hurt someone in my family, and it’s no contest. I’ll go with the people I pay to protect me already who lock their guns up at night and my baseball bat for some minute chance that I actually need a gun.

    I’m not asking for government to solve all my problems–just this one.

  25. CJ says:

    @T-Mac And in the meantime before the cops show up? Have you ever seriously thought about what could happen in the minutes before the cops showed up? Or if you were for some reason unable to reach a phone?

    And yes, I do feel threatened by statist thugs who put all their faith in the government to solve problems. The more I talk to liberals, the more I want to join the NRA. (For the record, I don’t even own a gun right now.)

  26. T-Mac says:

    CJ–yes, the police WILL take care of it. Call them, they’ll come. Why is that so difficult? Also, why on earth would I, as a relatively anonymous internet commenter, be the reason you’re glad the 2nd amendment exists? Are you threatened by me or trying to threaten me? Either way, score one for gun control being good because that’s just nuts.

  27. CJ says:

    @T-Mac You’re right. It’s much better to be defenseless and just hope for the best. The police and the government will certainly take care of us.

    People like you are the reason I’m glad the Second Amendment is around.

    @RLayne There’s a lot going on here, but let me try and address a few points: First, if we’re to agree that societal factors play an important part in this, it doesn’t seem relevant to include other countries.

    Second, if we can agree that gun control does a poor job of reducing gun crime in urban areas b/c of poor policing and other factors, it follows that the best strategy in an urban area would be to own a gun. It’s simple game theory and is certainly not lost on those who have no problem breaking the law.

    This especially holds true if you’re physically vulnerable or an inviting target, like, say, a small woman. The statistics you quote above about women and gun murders would seem to point to, at least in my mind, a greater need for self-defense for women, not a need to curtail availability of guns to women. (In this sense, handguns are actually an equalizing force. Without access to firearms, conflict becomes a contest of brute strength. See also: War-torn areas of Africa)

    Listen, I’d love to live a gum-drops-and-unicorns world where everybody played “Imagine” and decided to live as one, but guns aren’t going anywhere, nor is the demand, especially among criminals, for them. Restricting access to handguns has been proven time and time again to make law-abiding people less safe.

    Widespread gun ownership is not the optimal outcome, but it’s the best choice given the two parties: (1) Citizens who wish to follow the law and need to defend themselves and (2) criminals who have no need to follow the law and wish to abuse citizens. Fun fact: That’s called a Nash equilibrium!

  28. RLayne says:

    Oh and CJ – those defense vs. homicide stats came from FBI Supplementary Homicide Report data in 1998. Those stats are cited in the VPC analysis. So, again…not their own numbers.

  29. RLayne says:

    @ CJ – I understand the background of the VPC. But, I don’t think there’s a single clean study out there. I cited those two in particular…because they involved an independent expert panel and a regurgitation of Texas statistics (so as not to be their own numbers).

    You’re right Chicago and DC have the highest rates of gun violence, but as you could probably agree there are other factors for those numbers like poverty, lack of police enforcement, etc. The game can be played the other way too…the countries with the strictist gun regulations also have the least amount of gun violence. EG Krug, KE Powell and LL Dahlberg did an independent study printed in the International Journal of Epidemiology that compared countries with restrictive gun laws and their incidents of firearm deaths. During the one-year study period, 88 649 firearm deaths were reported. Overall firearm mortality rates are five to six times higher in HI and UMI countries in the Americas (12.72) than in Europe (2.17), or Oceania (2.57) and 95 times higher than in Asia (0.13). The rate of firearm deaths in the United States (14.24 per 100 000) exceeds that of its economic counterparts (1.76) eightfold and that of UMI countries (9.69) by a factor of 1.5. Suicide and homicide contribute equally to total firearm deaths in the US, but most firearm deaths are suicides (71%) in HI countries and homicides (72%) in UMI countries.

  30. CJ says:

    Where are you pulling those stats on defense vs. homicide?

    Also, the VPC is a rabid anti-gun lobby. I would at least be pretty skeptical of any numbers coming from it or the Brady Campaign.

    It is a fact, however, that cities with the strictest handgun regulations (Chicago and D.C. in particular) have the highest rates of gun violence. (

  31. RLayne says:

    @ Bill – My worry is for my family. Guns in the wrong hands are more likely to create accidental death. Why should I have to worry that your 12 year old, without gun training, might accidentally discharge his concealed firearm? Further, Your son driving around your property is unlikely to have a run in with another vehicle to create an accident.

    Moreover, your scenario of someone protecting themselves with a gun is seriously miscalculated. Read the studies I cite above versus your hypothetical.

    My argument is simple. Guns are fine in hands where someone is well trained, knowledgeable, and uses safety precautions while using/maintaining a firearm. Unfortunately, that is not the case with a vast majority of gun owners. Until then, guns should be well regulated and restricted.

  32. RLayne says:

    Mr. Chapman could use a few statistics to bolster his claim. As of now, his argument that my fictional daughter will be able to protect herself with a gun is far fetched.

    In fact, in 1998, for every time that a civilian used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 51 people lost their lives in handgun homicides alone. Yet, there have been an increasing number of news reports that women are a prime target for the gun industry as first-time handgun buyers. Left out of those reports is the fact that in 1999 for every one time a woman used a handgun to kill in self-defense, 120 women were murdered with handguns.

    According to leading pro-gun experts the overwhelming majority of people who own handguns:

    1. Are ignorant of/or ignore basic handgun safety rules;

    2. Do not have the necessary handgun combat marksmanship skills to effectively defend themselves without harming innocent others; and,

    3. Are not prepared for the extreme physiological and psychological effects that the experts, many of whom have on-the-street law enforcement experience with firearms, agree inevitably occur in an armed life-or-death confrontation (the only situation in which lethal force is justified in self-defense). (

    Self-Defense as a justification for gun ownership is typically viewed as a myth.

    Further, concealed carry has been shown to exacerbate issues with vigilantism, accidental death, and arming those committing crimes. This isn’t the wild west. A 23-page study reports Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) information showing that from January 1, 1996 to October 9, 1997 Texas concealed handgun license holders were arrested for 946 crimes. Of these, 263 were felony arrests, including: six charges of murder or attempted murder involving at least four deaths; two charges of kidnapping; 18 charges of sexual assault; 66 charges of assault, including 48 cases of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon; and, 42 weapon-related charges. Six-hundred eighty-three were misdemeanor arrests, including: 194 weapon-related charges and 215 instances of driving while intoxicated. Texas concealed handgun license holders don’t stop crimes, but all too many of them commit crimes. (

  33. Ross Coyle says:

    I don’t know when Guy plans to weigh in here, if at all. The idea that we’ll be safer by making firearms illegal is just as stupid and ignorant as the idea that making weed

  34. Bill says:

    Mr Layne displays an amazing aptitude for shallow thinking. I can buy a car, drive it, let my 12 year son drive it, all with no license, no insurance, no registration. As long as I limit its use to my private property. You cannot say the same for firearms.

    Why do you believe it is morally superior to find a woman dead in an alley, strangled with her pantyhose than to find that same woman standing over the corpse of her dead assailant with a firearm in her hand? What or who gives you the right to tell other people they are not allowed to defend themselves from criminal attack? You have no claim to anybody else, worry about yourself and your family.

  35. Evan P. Thomas says:

    Guns aren’t going to be made illegal, but like anything potentially dangerous (including cars), they’re going to be restricted and given oversight.

    This isn’t going to change. Your arguments are boring. Both sides.

    Pragmatism > Idealism

  36. Rich says:

    Funny guy Mr Madison. He is using the First Amendment to trash the Second Amendment. Maybe if he were in Cuba he might not be able to write and publish. He might have to get Governemt approval, maybe even a 10 day waiting period while his article is offcially approved. China, Germany, Thailand, Russia, and many more Governents have killed millions without a means of self defense. The bottom line is if Mr. Madison does not trust us, why should we trust him?

  37. Andrew says:

    The Willamette debate coaches taking their talents to the Commentator forum is quite enjoyable.

  38. R. Chapman says:

    R. Layne neglected to point out how difficult it has become for criminals to earn a living since concealed carry has become acceptable. It has gotten to the point that they can’t even have a little recreational fun with his daughter because there is always the possibility she might have one of those evil guns to defend herself with. Even the courts have turned against them by allowing self defense as justification for shooting the miscreants.

    Guns, crime and well intentioned idiots will always be with us but it is the well intentioned idiots that are the most dangerous to the public’s safety.

  39. BHirsh says:

    Whether or not one views the right favorably, the fact is that a) it exists, b) it pre-existed the foundation of this republic, c) it is the natural extension of the right of self-defense, and d) we have it and will continue to have it whether or not anybody approves.

    Caterwauling one’s hoplophobia in pretentious sermons is not only a waste of time, it is tiresome. Perhaps it would prove more cathartic to strap on a sidearm and have a latte at Starbuck’s.

    Just sayin’….

  40. E. Zach Lee-Wright says:

    TRUE FACT Mr. Madison should consider: The state with the most gun control laws has a murder rate over four times higher than the state with the least gun control.

    Source: The Brady Campaign Scorecard grades California highest at a 79 while Utah is the only state to receive a zero score. The FBI Crime Report released Sept. 13, 2010 shows Utah has 1.3 murders per 100,000 while California has 5.3.

    The six states with the lowest murder rates have all adopted a policy of Shall Issue Concealed Carry for their citizens. California, Illinois, and New York have not. Those three have extremely high murder rates in their cities. It is quite plausible that Mr. Madison’s wish would lead to a higher number of murders and not less. And I am E. Zach Lee-Wright

  41. RLayne says:

    1. Albeit that the number of guns is as high as cars

  42. L. Landry says:

    The problem with the analogy to automobiles is that the number of accidental firearm deaths in the US is practically irrelevant to the discussion on its own. The total number of firearm deaths is relevant precisely because automobiles are not often used as weapons. You ignore the dangers of firearms as weapons, while simultaneously brushing aside the notion that many firearms are used almost exclusively for killing others.

    The firearm death rate in the US in 2006 was 10.2 per 100k, and that works out to be ~30k deaths if the US has ~300 million people. Once again, the issue comes down to use. Firearms kill almost as many people per year, and a vast number of firearms have almost no use value except to kill living things. I realize that handguns can be used for shooting targets as easily as they can be used for shooting people. But the point is that they aren’t used for shooting game, and they have no other additional benefit except perhaps to protect yourself from other people with handguns. It must be at least somewhat alarming to you that even those using handguns and assault rifles at a target range are practicing a skill that has no other value than to take human life?

    That, however, is not entirely the point either. Absent any reason to believe that firearm restrictions would have some external, material consequence, we have to weigh the value of the freedom to shoot at targets versus the benefit of reducing firearm deaths, regardless of our efficiency at enforcement. I believe that that calculus is fairly lopsided in favor of restricting firearm ownership.

    But, I don’t have to tell you this because you already believe it. It’s the same reason that even the most die hard supporters of gun ownership rights would never support the right of a private citizen to own a cruise missile. There are already limits to our rights to own weapons, and we universally accept the notion that the rights of the individual are secondary to value of social order. The only legitimate question is: where is the best place for that line to be drawn?

  43. Rockne Andrew Roll says:

    Mr. Layne,

    1) DOT estimates that there are 256 million cars in the country. ( The graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva estimates between 238 million and 276 million guns in the country. (

    2) We require licenses and registration and the number of deaths is still multiple orders of magnitude higher.

    3) Guns are made to place a projectile or projectiles onto a target in a specific manner. The user’s intent is not inherent in the design. The vast majority of civilian owned firearms in the United States are never used to kill or even attempt to harm other people.

    The analogy is admittedly not perfect, but it works reasonably well for the purpose of this argument.


    I think differences in culture are to blame for this. Most countries where firearms are illegal are places where weapons have been illegal for the populace to own for the majority of the time that firearms have existed, limiting illegal access to guns. Seeing as firearms have already been around, legally and otherwise, in this country for… well, as long as we’ve been a country, my point was more that outlawing firearms now in the United States would not have the desired effect.

  44. Ryan says:

    By your logic, we should expect extraordinary levels of gun crime in countries where firearm ownership is illegal. But is this the case? Nope.

  45. RLayne says:

    I wonder a few things about this car/firearm analogy:

    1. There are more automobiles owned and used by people. The number of fatal accidents per usage of autos is lower than the number of fatal accidents per usage of household firearms. Yes, the number of accidents for vehicles is higher in totality, but compared against ownership and usage it is much lower than firearm deaths.

    2. We also require that people driving vehicles have a license and follow strict rules in their operation. There is no federal or state requirement for gun safety courses. Most states don’t even require a permit.

    3. Cars aren’t inately made to kill people. Guns are made for that very purpose.

    Maybe the author of this post should consider a reframing of the analogy that is more suited to their argument. As is, this doesn’t hold much weight except to be hyperbolic.

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