Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J. gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, to criticize the sale of high-capacity magazines for assault rifles that are sold to the public. A previous federal ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines was allowed to lapse in 2004. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The week after 71 innocent moviegoers were shot with military style weapons in Aurora, Colo., gun sales in that state increased by more than 40 percent compared to the previous week.

Similar trends occurred after the massacres at Columbine High School (36 students shot, 13 killed), Virginia Tech (52 students shot, 32 killed) and many other high profile mass shootings.

The gun industry reaps major financial benefits from daily gun violence and more high-profile mass shootings.

But the post-shooting uptick in sales is not just a result of scared civilians taking up arms. This spike is fueled by the National Rifle Association and gun industry merchants who — through misinformation and clever public relations — convince gun owners to buy increasingly powerful weapons before, as they say, Democrats enact gun bans and confiscate all the firearms.

Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.

History has shown us that in the aftermath of a mass shooting, calls for common sense and responsible changes in national gun laws fall on deaf ears in Congress and are routinely met by a strong conservative backlash supported and funded by the NRA. The group encourages people to be prepared to violently defend their constitutional right against illusory threats from law enforcement, or “jack-booted government thugs” in the words of NRA executive director Wayne Lapierre.

Gun owners and supporters show their support during Gun Owners’ Lobby Day in Springfield, Ill., Thursday, March 10, 2011. (Seth Perlman/AP)

And the greater the public fear – the bigger the gun sales. No matter what they say to the contrary, the gun industry reaps major financial benefits from daily gun violence and more high-profile mass shootings.

Growing membership and flowing donations aside – the NRA also has a new and lucrative relationship on Wall Street with a private investment company called Cerberus. Cerberus — along with its subsidiary the Freedom Group — is managed by financier Stephen Feinberg. Feinberg facilitated the acquisition of several notable gun manufacturers including Remington (maker of the 12 gauge shotgun used in Aurora), Bushmaster (which makes the XM15 used by the D.C. sniper), Dakota Arms, Marlin Firearms, and DPMS Firearms.

With a collection of gun and ammunition manufacturers aligned and under one roof — the formidable Freedom Group has joined with the NRA to fight against a federal ban on assault weapons, simple and effective manufacturing and safety standards, background checks for all gun sales and gun legislation that might help law enforcement solve gun crimes and curb preventable gun violence.

With close to $80 million in political spending since 1990 (including nearly $40 million in donations from the gun industry alone), the NRA has such a strong grip on Congress that they’ve even successfully blocked gun safety regulations by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. How an agency that oversees every consumer product — from toy guns to teddy bears — is prohibited by Congress from regulating real firearms is beyond me. But that’s a topic for another day.

The exceptional treatment granted to the gun industry as a result of its political contributions, influence and intimidation has perpetuated a deadly — if profitable — cycle of gun violence. Just as assault weapons have immense stopping power, so does your vote. With 150 Americans shot and 83 killed every day by firearms, our elected officials need to be called to account.

Editor’s note:
Stop Handgun Violence unveils a 252 feet by 20 feet billboard above the Massachusetts Turnpike on Friday, Oct. 19, 2012. The co-founder of the Newton-based group, John Rosenthal, owns the billboard and has been using it to post eye-catching gun-control messages since 1995.

(Courtesy of Stop Handgun Violence)

Tags: Election 2012, Law, Security

The views and opinions expressed in this piece are solely those of the writer and do not in any way reflect the views of WBUR management or its employees.

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  • Kevin Baker

    “The week after 71 innocent moviegoers were shot with military style weapons in Aurora, Colo., gun sales in that state increased by more than 40 percent compared to the previous week.”
    I would say that, given this information, the American public has come to a definitive conclusion regarding “gun control”: We’ve had the discussion over decades, and your side lost. It lost because your arguments were either illogical or mendacious or both.
    For example, your organization is named “Stop Handgun Violence”, but now you’re advocating restoration of the Federal assault weapon ban, a ban that affected mostly long guns (and not the Remington 870 used in Aurora). Your billboard states “5736 Kids Killed By Guns,” yet the number killed with handguns (not affected by the “ban”) hugely exceeds those killed with weapons in any way affected by the “ban.” I put “ban” in quotes, because in fact the law didn’t actually ban guns, it banned certain model names and certain features. Guns were still made and sold without those specific features during the ten years the law was in effect. My first AR-15 was manufactured and acquired during that period. It was perfectly legal. It just had a fixed stock and no bayonet lug.
    You claim that “…National Rifle Association and gun industry merchants … convince gun owners to buy increasingly powerful weapons before, as they say, Democrats enact gun bans and confiscate all the firearms. Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.” So you admit the “Assault Weapon Ban” wasn’t a ban?
    The gun control argument always boils down to “There are too many guns!” Or, put another way, “More guns = more crime.” Aside from the fact that the last twenty-plus years of declining crime in the face of increasing numbers of guns here in the U.S., taken logically if your position is “there are too many guns,” then the only answer to the “gun violence” problem is reducing the number of guns. If my logic is in error, please point the error out. Therefore, reducing the influx of new guns can only be a first step in an ongoing effort that must – logically – end in reducing the number of guns in America. How do you plan on doing this if “confiscation” is off the table? Otherwise, your arguments are moot.
    And the American public is aware of it.

  • SeanSorrentino

    They’re like bad pennies, gun grabbers keep turning up. I agree with Kevin Baker, Americans have decided what they think of people like you. They’re spending their hard earned money buying the very guns you hate so much. At $800 and up, AR pattern rifles aren’t cheap, but they are flying off the shelves. How many people can you gun grabbers get to give you even $80? We’ve got millions forking over real hard cash to buy guns and you guys can’t keep the lights on in the Brady Campaign headquarters. Peter Hamm and Dennis Hennigan have both left the anti-gun Brady Campaign, probably because Brady has a negative bank balance and can’t pay them. That ought to tell you something.

    You can’t get the votes to pass your anti-gun laws. It’s the kiss of death to a moderate Democrat to support gun control, and Republicans won’t touch it. Time to face facts. Gun control is a dead parrot. It’s not pinin,’ it’s passed on! It has ceased to be! It’s expired and gone to meet its maker! It’s a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you didn’t keep writing stupid editorials it would be pushing up the daisies! Its metabolical processes are of interest only to historians! It’s hopped the twig! It’s shuffled off this mortal coil! It’s run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible! This…. is an EX-issue!

    Heller has put a stop to your foolish laws, Alan Gura is gunning for the rest of them, and your hired gun leadership is abandoning the gun control groups like rats leaving a sinking ship. Welcome to the new reality. We’ve got the votes, we’ve got the money, and we’ll keep getting the guns.

    And there’s nothing you can do about it.

  • Kenneth Hall

    “Called to account?” They were…1994 ring a bell?

  • Joe Beararms

    I love how gun control advocates insist they don’t want to ban all guns, when their very logic makes it crystal clear that an all out ban is the end goal.

    James Brady was shot with a .22 revolver. Any gun owner who thinks the antis are going to stop after an AWB is naive.

  • Joe Beararms

    Obama really should take credit for the boom in the gun industry. He is the best firearms salesman of all time!

  • DJMoore

    The Colorado shooter’s most potent weapon was the sign posted outside the theater forbidding patrons to carry their weapons, the only theater in the area to do so. He knew no one would be able to shoot back.

    You insult your readers by blaming the NRA for our decision to exercise our Constitutional right to arms. We do our own research and make our own decisions, thank you very much.

    In any event, why should we reject the NRA, and other groups seeking to put power into our own hands; and take advice from you and the groups you support, who wish to turn us all into helpless victims?

    Speaking of research, I checked the “Kids killed by guns” statistics from WISQARS, the web front end to the CDC mortality database, for the last year available, 2010. I only looked at the top ten causes of death. Accidental gun deaths don’t appear there. As for gun homicides and suicides:

    Of real kids, little kids, kids from birth to 12, there were 131 homicides, and no suicides.

    Of kids 12-15, there were 197 homicides, 32 suicides.

    Of “kids” 16-18, there were 936 homicides and 401 suicides. Kind of a jump, huh?

    I don’t think someone over 18 can legitimately be called a “Kid” anymore. And of course, the jump in numbers after twelve, and the huge jump after 15, likely reflect gang members, “kids” setting out to kill other “kids”. You want to fix that, fix gangs. Good luck getting everyone to sit down over crumpets and tea.

    I don’t know where you got your 5736, but I bet anything you either included gangsters between 18-21 or older, or you just flat lied.

    I bet you didn’t include lives saved by parents and yes, children, who were able to defend themselves with guns, often without firing a shot.

    You care nothing about saving children, or about fighting crime, or about peace and love and rainbows.

    You are on the side of the robbers, rapists, and murders who ignore your laws anyway.

    You are on the side of the tyrants who kill by the millions, all in the name of “just trying to help”.

    Your mouth is running; you might want to look to that, because people are beginning to notice, and they don’t like what they hear.

  • Kevin Baker

    Yeah, let’s look at that number, “5736 kids killed by guns since the 2010 elections.”
    Seriously? That’s from November of 2010 to October of 2012. As DJ Moore asks, where did you get your data? I’ll check the Centers for Disease Control’s WISQARS database too, but it has data only through 2010. (You do trust the CDC, right?) Over the two year period of 2009-2010, the number of children 17 years old and younger killed by gunshot, all intents, is 2,729. And you want us to believe that the number for 2010-2012 is more than double that?
    This is another thing I just don’t get about gun-control supporters – the sheer bald-faced mendacity. I mean, 2,700 deaths is nothing to be proud of, but you have to inflate the numbers anyway? I call it the “Scary Numbers Game.” What’s with that? For example, in 2000 Jean Hanff Korelitz writing for in her article What a Few Good Women Can Do claimed that 4,000 children a year were killed in firearms accidents. In 2009, the website Momlogic posted an article claiming the number of accidental deaths of children by firearm was 500 – a fourfold decrease! They, of course, didn’t refer to Ms. Korelitz’s earlier piece. They just thought 500 was scary enough.
    Neither was even close to accurate.
    And accidental death by firearms – for ALL age groups, especially children – have been declining for as long as we’ve been keeping record. In point of fact the number of accidental deaths by gunshots for children 17 and younger has declined from 150 in 2000 (again, nothing to be proud of) to – wait for it – 83 in 2010.
    All of this in the face of the FACT that well in excess of 35 MILLION new firearms entered the civilian market over those eleven years, including “assault weapons” and “pocket rockets.”
    And here we have another example – a number given without a source, plainly stated, that is easily proven to be false, given to gin up support for a cause that is lost.
    It’s sad, really.

    • John Hardin

      Don’t forget this, either:

      The general public thinks this number just includes children up to age 15 or 16, killed by accident.

      To inflate the numbers, the “kids” they cite usually include ages 17-19 (if not all the way up to 21). This age bracket, when killed by gunshot, are typically engaged in a crime of violence at the time, or are shot because they are members of a gang, by members of another gang.

      Lying with statistics, indeed.

  • Francisco_dAnconia

    Has gun control made Chicago safer?

    • John Hardin

      …or Great Britain?

      • Engineer

        Yes, absolutely. 40-fold less intentional gun homicides, according to United Nations Office on Guns and Crime. What did you think?

        • Kevin Baker

          40-fold less than before gun control there? I think not.Gun control began for real in the UK about 1920 with the Firearms Act, requiring registration of all rifles and handguns and restricting their possession to people who could prove they had “good reason” for them. Shotguns and air guns were exempt. Machine guns were covered under the rifle provision. There were 313 homicides committed in England and Wales in 1920, a tiny fraction of which were by firearm.In 1937 Britain banned short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns and fully automatic weapons – banned as in “Mr. and Mrs. British Subject, turn them all in.” There were a total of 361 homicides in England in 1936.The 1953 Prevention of Crime Act made it illegal to carry an “offensive weapon” without being able to demonstrate a need for it. Offensive weapons included knives, pointed objects, and tear gas along with firearms. Ownership of a handgun for self-defense was no longer considered a “reasonable need.” There were 327 homicides reported in 1953.The Criminal Justice Act of 1967 (later consolidated into the Firearms Act of 1968) required owners to register their formerly innocuous shotguns, and gave the police the power to refuse registration if they felt that possession of a shotgun by the registrant would “endanger public safety”. Now all firearms were subject to licensing and registration, and two types had been banned. There were 412 homicides recorded in 1967.At the time of the 1987 Hungerford massacre, there were a total of 159,000 firearms certificates held by English citizens, and only a small percentage of the permit holders owned semi-automatic rifles. There were 861,300 shotgun certificates on file. The law shoved through Parliament and enacted in 1988 banned all semi-automatic rifles and all pump-action rifles as well. Owners of shotguns that could hold more than two shells were now required to get the more stringent Firearms certificate. British Home Secretary Douglas Hurd reportedly told an audience that most the provisions in the 1988 Firearm Act had been (not surprisingly) prepared long before Hungerford, and the government had been waiting for the right moment to implement them. In 1987 there were 621 murders reported. Firearms were used to commit 78 of them. The Hungerford Massacre represented over 20% of those 78 deaths.In 1996 Thomas Hamilton took four handguns and several hundred rounds of ammunition and went to a school in Dunblane Scotland where he proceeded to kill sixteen children and a teacher. This isn’t the place to address how Thomas Hamilton got those firearms and ammunition, but safe to say, the predictable result was more banning. The resulting Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 banned all handguns over .22 caliber with effect from 1 October 1997. Between 1 July and 30 September 1997 110,382 of these larger caliber handguns were surrendered in England and Wales, while 24,620 smaller calibrer handguns were handed in voluntarily in anticipation of the ban being expanded. It was. As of February 1, 1998, all handguns with very few exceptions were banned.Alun Michael of the British Home Office announced after passage of the Act: “Britain now has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. We recognize that only the strictest control of firearms will protect the public.”In 1996 there were 670 murders in England, 49 of them committed with firearms (this does not include the Scottish statistics that would reflect the Dunblane massacre.) In 1997 there were 726 murders reported in England, 59 committed with firearms. In 1998 there were 745 murders; in 1999, 679; and in 2000, 739 – 42 of which were committed with handguns.

          In October 2009, the Daily Mail reported:Gun crime has almost doubled since Labour came to power as a culture of extreme gang violence has taken hold.The latest Government figures show that the total number of firearm offences in England and Wales has increased from 5,209 in 1998/99 to 9,865 last year – a rise of 89 per cent. In some parts of the country, the number of offences has increased more than five-fold. In eighteen police areas, gun crime at least doubled.”Not only that, but since the mid-1950’s, violent crime has skyrocketed there, until now the UK is considered the most violent nation in Europe.They just don’t kill each other very often.They never have. Even before there were ANY gun laws on the books.As for comparisons, let’s look at those over time, shall we? I’ll do so in the next comment.

          • Kevin Baker

            So, let’s compare, shall we?At the time of the passage of the 1953 Prevention of Crime Act, the homicide rate (deaths per 100,000 citizens) in the U.S. was 4.8. In England & Wales, 0.74. That’s a ratio of (carry the three…) 6.5:1, to two significant figures.In 1968 with the ’67 Criminal Justice Act and the 1968 Firearms Act and the U.S.’s ’68 Gun Control Act the U.S. homicide rate was 7.3, and England & Wales was .87 – a ratio of 8.4:1.In 1988, after passage of the ban on semi-automatic and pump-action rifles and further restrictions on shotguns, the U.S. homicide rate was 9.0, and England & Wales was 1.42 – a ratio of 6.3.In 1997 after the almost complete ban on handguns, the U.S. homicide rate was 7.4 and England & Wales was 1.41 – a ratio of 5.2.The latest homicide statistics for the U.S. places our current rate at 4.8. England & Wales is 1.15. The latest ratio, 4.2:1.Note that over this 55-year period, the trend in the U.S. has been down, and the trend in the UK has been UP. Here in the U.S., with “easy availability” of firearms to the general public, with rapidly expanding concealed-carry legislation that saw the number of states that entrust their citizens with firearms growing from eight “shall-issue” states (and Vermont, where you’ve never needed a permit) in 1987 to 37 “shall issue” and 4 “no permit required” states in 2011, homicide rates have been trending down.Yet we’re supposed to believe that gun bans will make us SAFER.That most emphatically has NOT been the case in the UK, and cherry-picking your data point won’t make it so.

        • John Hardin

          Has gun control made [Great Britain] safer?

          Yes, absolutely. 40-fold less intentional gun homicides

          And, obviously, anyone assaulted, raped or murdered by a thug using something other than a gun doesn’t matter, right?

  • Jenny Yasi

    I have a neighbor who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, and he voluntarily committed himself last year after trying to run over a co-worker with his truck. But because he voluntarily (rather than involuntarily) was committed to a mental hospital, he is still allowed to own and shoot guns. His father owns an ak-47 and kevlar and enough guns for a “Red Dawn” style situation, but they do not worry about preventing him from having access to the guns. “As long as he is taking his medicine, he’s fine,” his step-mother told me. “And besides he could kill someone with a knife or a truck or whatever, taking the guns away from him doesn’t stop him from killing anybody.” Does that make you feel safe? Not me. Assault weapons have gone from being a big problem to a MASSIVE problem and it’s only a matter of time before we have a massacre in Maine.I wish more people would start screaming about it. I don’t know who is going to get killed next by some lunatic with an AK-47, but I think we really should try to prevent it.

    • alanstorm

      Your argument does not hold water. Because this ONE individual might be dangerous, ALL semi-automatic long guns should be banned? (I’m using the term “semi-automatic long guns” because that’s what I assume you’re referring to, there being no such category as “assault weapon”.

      Also, you refer to his FATHER, but not he, owning an AK. That would certainly imply the possibility that, when the individual in question uses a gun, he is under supervision. Please address this issue.

      You sound like a stereotypical low-info liberal – making decisions of feeling rather than facts.

      • Engineer

        I’m a liberal, and proud of it. I like the FACT that gun violence in Britain is far less than here, due to their intelligent gun laws that protect public safety. Do you have INFO or a FACT to trump this?

        • Kevin Baker

          Yes. Look above. Your “intelligent gun laws” haven’t made you safer. Your culture did that, long ago. It can be argued that your “intelligent gun laws” have led to Britain becoming the most violent nation in Europe.

        • John Hardin

          I like the FACT that gun violence in Britain is far less than here

          …yet their overall rates of violent crime are much higher than they were before their bans were instituted, to the point that (as I said earlier) they were declared “the most violent country in Europe”.

          Do you not care how many people are assaulted, raped or murdered, just so long as none of that is done using one of those eeeeeevil guns?

          • Robert Fowler

            No gun death, no candle.

        • tweell

          Facts have already been produced – violent crimes have gone UP in Britain since firearms were banned. Violence is not dependent on a gun to be violence. I am a large strong (trained) man, I don’t need a firearm to kill someone like you. YOU would need a gun to stop me, or a gang of chavs.
          A firearm is an EQUALIZER. My uncle is retired, with a bad heart and diabetes. When someone broke into his flat, he cycled his 20 gauge pump shotgun and the person ran away. In Britain he would have been robbed and possibly seriously injured. Thank God he’s a citizen instead of a subject.

    • Kevin Baker

      Thus illustrating that the end goal of “gun control” must be “bans and confiscation.” It’s the only way for people like Jenny to “feel safe.” But we’re paranoid for understanding that.

    • rocinante2

      Jenny, I’ll be as gentle and polite as I know how.

      While your anecdote is disturbing, it is an anecdote. An anecdote is a single data point, and it’s definitely not an argument.

      Do you think it’s the mental health system that really needs reform, or the gun laws? I mean, why would you punish (sane) people like me because your neighbor is crazy?

      Mass killings like the Aurora theater shooting are statistically rare, almost always due to mental illness and usually driven by a pricipitating incident, like the loss of a job or expulsion from school.

      “Assault weapons” (a technically-meaningless phrase coined by the news media) are not a “massive problem”. The Federal government’s own statistics prove it.

      The table below breaks it down even further, with more recent numbers:
      Total murders………………………13,636…..100.00%
      Firearms (type unknown)………………1,928……14.14%
      Other weapons (non-firearm, non-edged)…1,864……13.67%
      Edged weapons……………………….1,825……13.38%
      Hands, feet, etc………………………801…….5.87%

      As you can see, rifles (of which “assault weapons” are a SUBcategory) are used in a tiny fraction of murders. Far FEWER people were killed with an “assault weapon” last year than were killed with BARE HANDS. (So much for Engineer’s “intelligent gun laws”, lol.)

      If you want to get worked up about something, get worked up about handguns -which are used to commit almost half of all murders in the U.S. (Good luck with that, though; Mr. Gallup tells us that public support for handgun ban is at it’s lowest point since they started tracking it in 1974.)

      • John Hardin

        “Assault weapons” (a technically-meaningless phrase coined by the news media)

        A (not so) minor correction: the term “assault weapon” was not coined by the news media; it was invented and adopted by Gun Control advocacy groups specifically to take advantage of the general public’s ignorance about firearms – quoting: “anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun”.

    • tom rkba

      Again, I do not care if you feel safe.

      How do you plan to get around the right to keep and bear arms in my state’s constitution? How do you plan to eliminate the right to acquire, use and dispose of property?

  • Engineer

    Well, it seems those who advocate “freely available power to kill many others from a distance” are certainly speaking out. Someday I expect we will wake up and end the abomination of profit-driven, fear-mongering mega-corporations pushing this kind of poison. Frankly I’d feel a lot safer if gun ownership and ammunition purchase were severely regulated, and public carrying carried a stiff punishment.
    I think it’s no coincidence that rabid gun advocacy coincides with a nationwide anti-science, anti-safety net, anti-education mood… and the capture of the political process by big money.
    Have a nice day : )

    • Kevin Baker

      Well, I’m an engineer by trade (Electrical), so hardly “anti-science” or “anti-education” by default. Nor am I against “safety nets.” Hammocks are another story. But somehow I doubt the words you’re using mean to you what I think they mean.However, if you’d like to debate the topic of “gun control” on a public forum, I’m more than willing.Tell me, why do you think it would be a good thing to severely infringe a Constitutionally enumerated right of the People? And why do you believe you have a right to “feel safe”?Oh, and “capture of the political process by big money”? Seriously? “…close to $80 million in political spending since 1990 (including nearly $40 million in donations from the gun industry alone)….” That’s what, a whopping $3.6 million a YEAR! Egads! And, oops! According to Open Secrets the NRA donated not $40 million since 1990, but about half that, or $19.1 million. Does our author double all of his numbers? In fact, the single top donor was ActBlue, “the online clearinghouse for Democratic action.” – a PAC. They spent right at $72 million. Number 2 on the list, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) donated nearly $62 million. No wonder they have those unsustainable retirement plans! I don’t see a single firearm manufacturer on that list of the top 140 donors anywhere, and the lowest of those 140 shelled out just over $5.25 million, so I find it highly doubtful that the “big money” gun industry spent anything like $80 million, nor do I think it’s “big money” that keeps gun control legislation from passing.It’s VOTES.Yes, we ignorant, uneducated, knuckle-dragging, slope-headed, rednecked racists in flyover country actually vote! (The horror!)The second rule of political life is “keep getting re-elected,” and politicians know it.

      • Engineer

        I don’t see gun carriers joining well-regulated militias. Hmm, like Zimmerman. Is that the constitutional ‘right’ you mean? Besides, if your mind is working, you will agree that the Constitution should be amended when it benefits the common good. This is one such case.

        • Kevin Baker

          Let me introduce you to U.S. Code Title 10 § 311 – Militia: composition and classes:”(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.(b) The classes of the militia are—(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.“If you’re a citizen, male, under 45 and not a member of the armed forces, you’re a member of the militia.By law.As to “benifit(ting) the common good,” refer to my comments concerning comparative homicide rates between the UK and the U.S. also in this thread.Your argument rings hollow.

        • Karl Schneider

          Will you be among the rioters when Zimmerman is acquitted?

        • Kenneth Hall

          Who gets to decide what the “common” good is?

    • John Hardin

      those who advocate “freely available …


      The vast majority of firearms rights advocates don’t support “freely available” – we agree that those convicted of a violent crime, those who aren’t mentally stable, and unsupervised minors, should not be able to obtain or possess firearms. We just don’t quietly accept the proposition that bans will do that, because they do not.

      end the abomination of profit-driven, fear-mongering mega-corporations pushing this kind of poison

      I suspect you really just want to end “profit-driven mega-corporations” regardless of what product they sell.

      I’d feel a lot safer if gun ownership and ammunition purchase were severely regulated, and public carrying carried a stiff punishment.

      …like, perhaps, in Great Britain, whose draconian gun laws did not prevent it being declared the Most Violent Country in Europe? Or Australia, which has had a steady increase in overall rates of violent crime since they instituted their gun bans?

      • Engineer

        OK, I’ll bite. How does GB compare to the US in gun violence? Here’s a Wikipedia supported quote:
        “In England & Wales in 2009 there were 0.073 recorded intentional homicides committed with a firearm per 100,000 inhabitants; for comparison, the figure for the United States was 3.0, about 40 times higher, and for Germany 0.2 .”
        So, am I missing a massive attempt to deceive? OR, maybe you think it is a good thing to have 40 times as many intentional homicides here??? I don’t think the accidental gun deaths are that low here, either.
        I’ll be interested in why you, or probably all the anti-restriction advocates, want to live in that kind of society. I’d vote in a heartbeat to massively restrict gun and ammunition availability, because of the safety it will bring.

        • PJO

          How about you reread Mr Hardin’s post and realize that he was talking about the overall violence rate, not the rate of violence with a specific weapon?

          • Engineer

            I guess I can see that. (Although I’d be interested to know what it really means — any citation??)
            Anyway, provisionally accepting that crazy-sounding appellation (and wondering, could all of Europe be less violent than US?), is it better to live in the “most violent” or “most deadly”? Seemingly, many would prefer the latter situation for their families, rather than try to follow proven methods to curb it.
            Gotta run, I’ll look for followup later!

          • John Hardin

            Although I’d be interested to know what it really means — any citation?

            I assume you’re referring to the “most violent country in Europe” label? Here:


            The takeaway from all this is, Gun Control proponents are (as far as I have seen) obsessively focused on only one type of violence: murders committed using firearms. They propose draconian limitations on the private possession of firearms without considering (or caring?) what effect that would have on the overall rate of violent crimes. Engineer, your comments here have done nothing to dispel that impression.

            Question: Do you believe that privately-held firearms have any deterrent effect on crime?

    • tom rkba

      I don’t care how you feel.

      How do you plan to get around Section 13 of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s constitution? Do you plan to eliminate the right to acquire, use, and dispose of property?

  • alan

    Ah yes, the ever-present plea for “common sense and responsible changes in national gun laws”. How about we start with a law that would make anyone declaring a ‘disarmed-victim zone’ (erroneously known as a ‘gun-free zone’) fully liable for any injury sustained by a law-abiding citizen who needed to leave his firearm and Constitutional right behind when entering said zone.

    The Aurora theater attracted the shooter by assuring his safety and encouraging the audience to “feel” safe when they were not.

  • Dan

    A moron preaching to more morons. And the saddest thing of all is these idiots
    are far too stupid to understand the fundamental fact that they have the approximate
    IQ of a schnauzer….and I think I just insulted schnauzers.

    • Kevin Baker

      Name-calling, while cathartic, isn’t helpful.

      • elmtreeforge

        But it makes him feel very good!

  • rocinante2

    If there were any more proof needed that the opposition to guns is based in ideology and not facts, this op-ed would be it.

    I like how he tries to link the progressive bete-noir of the moment (Wall Street) with that perennial progressive bete-noir, the NRA.
    Rosenthal (and others) have been pretty quiet in recent years. The fact that they are coming out into the sunshine to opine is evidence that they see great potential to advance their agenda (which they cannot get through legislative means) during an Obama second term.

  • CAshane

    “With close to $80 million in political spending since 1990 (including
    nearly $40 million in donations from the gun industry alone), the NRA
    has such a strong grip on Congress…”
    $80 million over 22 years? That’s less than $1 per NRA member per year. (The horror.)

  • Kevin Baker

    This thread appears to have petered out, so I’d like to make one final point before leaving. At the time of this writing, there are 38 comments (and one deleted) by eighteen commenters. Of the eighteen, two support more gun control. Of the two supporters, one left one comment, one left six. Each of the comments left by a gun control supporter was countered by generally two respondents, generally with statements of verifiable fact.The opening statement of the essay we’re responding to asserts that “… the National Rifle Association and gun industry merchants … through misinformation and clever public relations” have hoodwinked the American public into buying more (and more lethal) firearms.I submit that this comment thread debunks the idea. Defenders of the right to arms are not ignorant and deluded, we’re well-informed. We’ve reached our conclusions after examining facts, not hyperinflated scarey numbers and hyperbole.AND WE’RE ACTIVE. The various gun control forces – the Brady Center, the Violence Policy Center, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, the author’s Stop Handgun Violence, and all the rest – cannot generate grassroots support. They’re attacking the problem from the wrong end, and most of us understand that.I will close this comment with a quote from writer Teresa Nielsen Hayden that explains their problem as succinctly as I’ve ever seen it put: “Basically, I figure guns are like gays: They seem a lot more sinister and threatening until you get to know a few; and once you have one in the house, you can get downright defensive about them.”Who’d like to go shooting?

  • blackandmoore

    You know many years ago Sen. Ted Kennedy tried to pass gun control, and of course the NRA was (sorry about this) up in arms. He knew that crack cocaine and cheap guns from China were flooding the urban streets of our great cities and wanted to put an end to this. Now here we are with much bigger gun problems in rural and urban areas of our nation.

    My question has always been what is going on in Canada. I don’t know the stats, but seems like a lot more folks own guns and the gun violence is much lower. They are watching the same shows as we are and playing the same foolish video games…What gives?

    • John Hardin

      Now here we are with much bigger gun problems in rural and urban areas of our nation.

      According to the FBI Uniform Crimes Report, violent crime rates in the US have been steadily decreasing for more than a decade now, to the point that we are experiencing a 40-year low in the levels of violent crime; yet at the same time firearms ownership has been steadily growing and more and more states (39 by 2009) are adopting shall-issue or Constitutional concealed carry laws.

      And draconian “gun control” laws in those urban areas like Chicago and D.C. didn’t seem to keep those places from having lots of assaults and murders committed using firearms.

      Upon what data are you basing your statement that we now have “much bigger gun problems”? And, does it matter to you that overall violent crime rates are at 40-year lows?

      … Canada. I don’t know the stats, but seems like a lot more folks own guns [there] …

      The stats (estimated, as hard numbers are difficult to come by) are here: They show:

      USA: est total firearms 250M, per capita 43,560
      CAN: est total firearms 7.9M, per capita 32,590

      … and the gun violence is much lower.

      This analysis suggests otherwise:

  • hate guns

    What can I do to help pass gun control as an american?