In the Arena

Gun Control: What Really Matters

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MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

Audience members applaud as U.S. President Barack Obama speaks on gun control at the University of Hartford, in Hartford, Conn., April 8, 2013.

I’m worried about what happens if the Congress passes the tepid but worthy background checks measure being debated this week.

It has become Armageddon because of the gun lobby’s intransigence–and the rest of us, the 90% who support background checks, will hail a major victory if it passes. But it won’t be a major victory. It could be, in the end, a significant defeat. This is, after all, a tiny piece of the gun control/violence puzzle. It doesn’t address the presence of semi-assault rifles and 30-bullet magazines. It doesn’t touch guns passed about privately among family and friends and gang members.

And it doesn’t address the most significant piece of the problem: the mental health issue. A few weeks ago court documents were released that recounted the infuriating struggle of Jared Loughner’s parents to control their mentally ill son. They took away his shotgun. They tried to prevent him from going out at night. They knew he was headed for something awful, but there was no way–no legal way–to control him. I know other people, wonderful parents, who live in fear that their mentally ill son, who has acted out violently several times, will be the next shooter. But their son is in his late 20’s and they have no legal way to control him.

It seems to me that the anti-gun crowd–and I am a vehement member of that crowd–is making a terrible mistake by not taking on the civil libertarians as well as the gun nuts. There should be a way that parents have more control over their violently ill children. There should be a  way that people diagnosed as paranoid-schizophrenics can be placed in a secure setting if they act out violently.

There was, in the One-Flew-Over -the-Cuckoo’s-Nest 1970s, a bizarre glorification of the mentally ill among certain elite sectors–it was society that was crazy, not the inmates. The mental institutions were closed. Drugs would control the inmates released into society. This was a monumental act of moral irresponsbility that was compounded by a series of court decisions that gave the violently mentally ill–especially those whose violent episodes were intermittent and  could present themselves as sane in court–the right to control their own lives.

I am not suggesting that we go back to the 1960s. I am suggesting that we tack back toward a less extreme position, where the testimony of parents, teachers and doctors has a greater impact on the control of these extremely dangerous people than it now does. That might have prevented the Tucson and Aurora shootings, although probably not Newtown.

Because here’s what is going to happen: If the background checks bill passes–and there is overweening celebration among the gun control crowd–and two months from now a lunatic kills 25 kids in a schoolyard, the gun lobby will be able to say, “See, we passed gun control and it doesn’t work.”

To be clear: I would vote for this bill in a heartbeat. I would go further and propose a nice, fat cigarette-like tax on bullets. But I am under no illusion that we’re dealing with the heart of this problem, and you shouldn’t be, either.

171 comments
georgeblumfield
georgeblumfield

In 1982, I had recently built a house for myself and my two children; I was a single parent.  The house was a two story structure with two bedrooms in the front of the house and two bedrooms in the rear.  Directly below one of the rear bedrooms was a large sliding glass door for rear entry to the house.  About 3am, I heard rattling of the sliding glass door, and I looked down from the open window to see two persons attempting to break into the sliding glass door with a large pry bar.  I went to a bedroom armoire and retrieved an old revolver, aimed the pistol at the two trying to break in and told them to get out or I would shoot them.  They did in a very short order.  As an afterthought, I now feel that I probably should have shot at the robbers; perhaps I would have saved them from breaking into an old persons or single mother with children home.

As the anti gun movement would have met, I am a mentally disturbed, criminal or a so called "gun nut".  I am neither, as I am a professional engineer, and will debate the argument against gun control.

According to the logic of the anti gun movement, all governments worldwide agree that possession of firearms is not a right and that you cannot use personal protection as a genuine reason for owning, possession, or using a firearm.  In other words, criminals have the increased opportunity and even the right to impose themselves on the unarmed population.  This seems to me to be a completely illogical and foolish outlook, and the outlook is only used to tax and control the population, as is taking place in Seattle and seems to be growing in other areas.

Dr.Tokorov
Dr.Tokorov

The fact of the matter is, citizens have the right to bear arms, yes. But to what extent is that morally relevant? As a right-libertarian, I do not personally condone the involvement of state in my affairs as a free citizen. However, I also trust in the government to provide protection from violence and make it safe for my children to go to school in the morning. There comes a time when the "Right" to own a semi-automatic assault rifle capable of  killing several individuals  in rapid succession should be questioned. So, don't call me an unconstitutional liberal, for I assure you I am not, but everyone should just look at the rationality of owning weapons used specifically to effectively kill humans.

collioure
collioure

Joe is correct. This bill would have done little to prevent mass shootings, and I have yet to see anything from the gun control crowd that will. The problem is unstable young men.

Unfortunately by default the only solution put forward that will protect our school children was offered by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre - armed guards.

Beefbone
Beefbone

"the anti-gun crowd–and I am a vehement member of that crowd–is making a terrible mistake by not taking on the civil libertarians"   Klein has pretty well established his objectivity.  Time -- if it still were a credible source of rational thought -- would be embarrassed by Klein's presence, but it's not... which quite well explains his presence.

Patriot54
Patriot54

Frankly to freethehens.I am not sure how many people care what you are tired of. To the author, lying that 90% of Americans support the background checks does not serve you very well., and you know better. As for guns and violence, yes it happens, but it was proven in Boston this week that removing guns will not remove mass murder. Get over it. Some people are sick/evil and will always kill. No one in this country has the right to disarm me as my right is stated clearly in the constitutional ammendment that has repeatredly been upheld. You have no right to take that away.

NateJMcKay
NateJMcKay

@Skybearlove good point! Do you think mental health should be a greater priority? Or should we focus on both equally?

president
president

Gun only the product of metal, cars on the roads kill more people than guns but no one stops cars why? Person kills the person but not a gun!! It is foolish prohibit guns. The killer always find another weapon hammer or chainsaw ... limitation of weapons just limitation of rights for self-defense of rights in the constitution

freethehens
freethehens

(con't)

I'm tired of the apologists for hunters, who focus their killing spress on non-humans. And for the "sportsmen" who feel it is their constitutional right to shoot targets. Or the collectors (fetishists) who cry these laws would restrict easy access to their object of desire. Self defense? How many bullets do you need to keep around? If you want that form of protection, then you should have to pay more for the bullets needed to get good at it.

Although this failed legislation was soft, it was stronger than the one in place. If it came out of the outrage of children being blown away, so what? It alone may not prevent mass shootings, but gets the public engaged in stopping the NRA and gun profiters from controlling the debate, and the laws.

freethehens
freethehens

I think anyone who finds pleasure in using guns has some form of mental deficiency.  Guns are repulsive devices designed to maim and kill.  This shouldn't be an issue, let alone a debate. But humans love violence, so here we are. 

It is incredibly difficult to determine who will be go on a rampage, but the common denominator is still the gun.  The guy who blows away his family, and then himself,  was a "law-abiding" citizen  the day before, and isn't going to be on the radar for "mental health issues". 

The more guns bought by "law-abiding citizens", the more that end up in the hands of those who aren't; there are  too few restrictions, requirements and consequences in order to own them.

(con't)

leila53233
leila53233

The “heart of this problem” is that the intent of the Second Amendment has ALWAYS been to allow citizens to protect themselves from a tyrannical government.  Our right to keep and bear arms does not come to us UNDER the 2nd Amendment. The 2nd Amendment RESTRICTS the government from infringing on our inalienable, natural right to keep and bear arms. The Bill of Rights does not give us any rights whatsoever, but what it does do is plainly state what natural birthrights we have that our government is restricted from attacking.  The 2nd Amendment is our protection from the very real threat of DEMOCIDE—murder by government.  There have been over 260 million documented murders by government in the 20th century and the Department of Homeland Security has been buying firearms, billions of rounds of uber-destructive ammunition and furnishing Federal Government workers with targets depicted regular people (rather than the standard “terrorist” targets) like pregnant women, old men, children holding what looks like guns and other folks in an in-home setting.

kennonk
kennonk

"the 90% who support background checks" - Klein
"If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth." - Goebbels

Raweno
Raweno

I am very sorry to have to ask this Mr. Klein, or at least sort of, but how much exactly did you get paid to write this? 

You just strung a bunch of buzz-words together and called it news. Did you go to college? Is this how the press is being educated? 

Also: If this supposedly significant piece of legislature fails to address the most significant issue, mental health, then why are you just going to vote for it? If you are really that unhappy with it, ask for changes. You don't have to support a bill simply because its writer identified it as 'Anti-Gun'. You have nothing to prove, Klein. Instead of wasting TIME endorsing legal measures that you are unhappy with, why don't you take a refresher course on basic journalism?


emeraldseatown
emeraldseatown

Mr. Klein,

You spend most of your piece pointing out why the proposed legislation wouldn't work, then declare your support nonetheless.  Furthermore, you suggest more measures that are even less useful.  Do you anti-gunners even think before you propose restrictions?

If you make bullets extremely expensive, sportsmen and self-defense shooters won't be effective or safe shooters.  Nor will the police.  Criminals are already lousy shots, so they won't suffer at all.  If you don't care about the good guys' skill, you clearly don't worry about threats to your safety, and that makes you a pretty poor judge of what I need to protect myself.

ThomasJefferson
ThomasJefferson

DeweySayenoff, you are so duplicitous it's funny! IF a law is useless, we should have it anyway!

On suicides: IF "guns" were the cause of "suicides", how can you explain that Japan has THE highest suicide rate in the world (and has for many years) when ALL FIREARMS are 100% ILLEGAL there? Maybe the sad reality of suicide is related to something which has NOTHING to do with the availability of firearms?

Your "body count" math is also laughable because you completely neglect the POSITIVE and LAWFUL uses of firearms. FBI stats hold true that in as FEW as 685 TIMES A DAY (meaning it can be more), law-abiding citizens use a firearm to STOP a VIOLENT CRIME. In only 19% of those cases, is the weapon even POINTED AT the perpetrator, let alone fired! The simple act of the "good guy" just brandishing the weapon stops said assault! Remember the Clackamas Mall shooting in Portland last December? The scenario was strikingly familiar; a man with a Bushmaster AR-15 and multiple high-cap. magazines walks into a mall crowded with Christmas shoppers and yet, only 2 people perish! Do you know why? Because of a citizen who was carrying a pistol. When this good citizen faced off against the crazy shooter, the next round the cowardly lunatic fired was to end his own life! How ironic that the good guy didn't even need to fire a shot to stop the "mass carnage" huh?

SeanDesmond
SeanDesmond

I can't read something that's so poorly written and cited. Yellow journalism at its finest, seriously I understand your concerns but at least do the American people justice, educate yourself on weapon terminology and legal action available to containing the mentally ill, then write on it. You should be ashamed of this being published as a journalist for a magazine and Time magazine itself.

SeanDesmond
SeanDesmond

I can't read something that's so poorly written and cited. Yellow journalism at its finest, seriously I understand your concerns but at least do the American people justice and educate yourself on weapon terminology then write on it. You should be ashamed of this being published magazine Time magazine.

shaysite
shaysite

Given the number of firearms in private hands in the U.S., the only gun restriction that is likely to substantially reduce the violence and death toll is, what would be for Americans, a solution that would be extreme, given the context of our Bill of Rights: large scale mass gun confiscation, focused particularly on handguns.

Probably Joe is right about the efficacy of diminished civil rights for the mentally ill. But do we really want to go down a road where friends and family-and not just the courts and physicians-decide who is mentally ill? Couldn't that lead to a scenario like that of the Soviet Union, where a diagnosis for "mental illness" was used for political repression?

Maybe the current situation-as bad as it is-is simply the price of freedom.

ThomasJefferson
ThomasJefferson

Joe, you essentially ADMIT that the background check issue will probably serve no purpose in reducing crime, but you go on to support it anyway! Where is the logic? You know that we CURRENTLY have the Brady Law? This federal statute IS in force on all firearm purchases whether the dealer has their own brick and mortar "shop", whether they work out of their own private residence, OR if they choose to set up shop/frequent the dreaded "gun show" circuit. This law has been in force since the Clinton admin. and it did NOTHING to prevent the mass shootings that have happened since then. So, how will this newer supposedly "better" version serve any higher purpose?

I do agree with the rest of your article which pertains to mental health issues. We need to get away from the "privacy" issue when it comes to mental health records. Mental health records SHOULD be made public so they CAN be used to disallow that person access to a firearm. Case and point: the Virgina Tech shooter. This event could have EASILY been prevented, IF the State had allowed a law which would have made that whacko's KNOWN mental health issues public. Unfortunately, Virginia did not pass the law allowing such access until AFTER that deranged person went on his killing spree. Ironically, due to the extensive lobbying done by the ACLU, the State of Connecticut FAILED to pass a similar mental health record availabily law a mere few days before the tragic events at Sandy Hook!

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff

Much of the gun debate has been coached in terms of what gun control won't do. The pro-gun folks seem to delight in the fact it won't stop things.  It won't stop crime.  It won't stop murders.  It won't stop tragedies like Sandy Hook.

Duh, Captain Obvious.

Hell, we have laws against rape, murder and speeding, and they're ALL broken.  Nothing STOPS things when it comes to human behavior except death and that doesn't seem to be an option talked about because it's not terribly practical.  But just because a law can't stop something doesn't mean we shouldn't have that law.  If we pass laws banning guns, naturally those who own guns will be criminals.  It's also a duh.  

What is being overlooked, though, is the body count.  Not the headline-splashing Sandy Hooks and Virginia Techs of the country.  But the incremental daily toll of Americans dying by firearms every day - three to four Sandy Hooks EVERY DAY scattered across communities throughout the country.  That silent count totals an average of 30,000 Americans killed by firearms every year.  Hundreds of thousands are wounded.  Every year.  That's a Vietnam EVERY TWO YEARS.  A World War II every ten years.  A civil war every twenty years.

So this article also doesn't adequately answer what REALLY matters in the gun control debate.  We're NOT going to STOP Americans from killing Americans with firearms (usually by suicide - to the tune of almost 20,000 annually) no matter what we do about guns.  But we CAN and SHOULD REDUCE THE NUMBER OF DEAD AND WOUNDED every year.  THAT is what really matters in gun control.  REDUCING the carnage.

Stopping it was never a practical, or even possible, goal.  It's not about stopping crime, either.  It's not even about reducing crime.  It's not about personal protection (though anyone who keeps a gun in the house, based on CDC statistics, is between 5 and 20 times more likely to die from a gun than those who don't, mostly because of suicide).  It's not about gun rights at all.  It's about saving American lives who would, if not for a gun, have lived.  We can't save all of them, of course, but we'd be morally bankrupt to not even try.

THAT'S what really matters.

anothervet
anothervet

All the big leaders that want to take away my weapons have the one thing I don't and that is a security force that follows them with a cashe of weapons that would make my ar-15 seem like bringing a knife to a gun fight, they dont need any protection we pay for theres with our taxs.

JaredRains
JaredRains

Im never reading time magazine ever again to be anti gun is to be anti american its fine not to like them dont like guns dont buy em i wont judge you hell ill use mine to protect you b/c i do like them so much but dont sit there on your damn high horse thinking that your better than everyone else b/c you oppose guns our fore fathers would spit in your face and laugh you right out of the room. to support repression of the second amendment is not only unamerican it it treason want to live somewhere civilians can have guns move to china or one of the European nations that oppress the citizen to the point of no free will. who the hell do the people in office think they are to tell me how to live my life and what i can and cant do they don't follow the laws they pass why should we? We need LEADERS in office not whiny little girls whom get there feeling hurt when they cant change this country's foundations to there liking by supporting this you are saying that the lives of all the members of congress of the president and anyone else whom receives armed escorts is more important than your own a life is a life doesn't matter if your a homeless vet trying to make it through the day or the illegitimate president of the united states. i wish they could teach common sense in school.

jhoughton1
jhoughton1

"I don't think it's OK for the government to require me to check with them before selling my personal property"


When you sell a car?  


Laws against rape don't stop rape.  Laws against embezzlement don't stop embeszzlement. Laws against...fill in the blank.  Should we not have those laws because they don't, of themselves, stop crime?  Reallky, what a stupid rationale.


Hadrewsky
Hadrewsky

We have an ignorant stupid morass of morons as a nation... Id like to see a workable solution to fix stupidity and democracy for one leads to the downfall of the other... Hitler did everything he did legally via the stupidity of Wiemar Germany. (I'll admit the Brownshirts rather skated the law if we must argue" ... A stupid nation does not fix problems and we are both stupid and have a nuclear arsenal.

Ignorant voters gave us the Second World War... that is terrifying without a nuclear arsenal in the hands of an idiot democracy.



BobJan
BobJan

Gun Control:what really matters,,,,, The only thing that matters is that you keep those donations to the Congress coming. We've got the best Congress money can buy.

kratos1256
kratos1256

There is no such thing as a semi-assault rifle. Or an "assault weapon," which is a completely fictional term made up by gun control proponents. "Assault weapons" are, quite literally, whatever the politicians define them as. It's a way to let them ban whatever guns they want. It would be like banning "hate speech" but defining it however one wants. "High-capacity" magazine is also a nonsense term. Politicians arbitrarily decided to label anything over ten rounds as "high-capacity." In reality, what they are seeking to ban are what have for decades been standard-capacity magazines. Regarding why one might "need" such magazines, well for one it's not your need to keep arms, it's your right to keep arms, but also, for the same reason the police like standard-capacity magazines. You could miss, or you might need multiple shots to down the attacker, you might have multiple attackers, etc...look at the woman in Georgia who shot at the guy six times, and hit him five times, but he ran out of the house and didn't die. Just because the guy is shot doesn't mean he'll drop, and in particular if he is high on a drug or something.

Universal background checks are fine I think if it can be done without any fear of a gun registry. But thus far, it seems a gun registry would be the only way to enforce such a thing, and historically gun registries have always been used for confiscation. We saw gun confiscation occur in New Orleans, and both Feinstein and Cuomo have talked about it. So it's not like we don't have politicians that wouldn't seek to do it.

DragTheDepths
DragTheDepths

90 percent of 300 polled support these measures, not 90 percent of the population.  It isn't the gun lobby fighting against these measures; it's common sense, and the fact that none of the proposed legislation will accomplish anything but further restricting the rights and liberties of Americans in an emotional bid that will solve nothing.

Semi-auto rifles are the problem?  Really?  They account for fewer than one percent of gun crimes committed in this country, and yet, the left loves to point at those guns as somehow being responsible.  Ridiculous.  The fact that Joe Klein uses "gun nuts" as a derogatory moniker in reference to those that differ in view from himself shows his lack of integrity and the lack of substantial ground for the left to stand on in this fight.  Bias is bias, after all.

"Because here’s what is going to happen: If the background checks bill passes–and there is overweening celebration among the gun control crowd–and two months from now a lunatic kills 25 kids in a schoolyard, the gun lobby will be able to say, “See, we passed gun control and it doesn’t work.”  Except that ISN'T what would happen.  What would actually happen is that those on the left would say "see, our proposed legislation didn't go far enough."  What happens then?  MORE legislation?  Where does it end, when we've been disarmed completely?  A disarmed population is an easy-to-control population, which is a bit counter-intuitive to the premise of the founding of our country.

WeNotYou
WeNotYou

" privately among family and friends and gang members" I like how Joe but family, friends, and gang members all together. Well Joe how do you suggest we control how guns get passed between gang members? What law will address that? Gang members are after all criminals. Breaking the laws is part of their job. Oh and thanks for insisting on referring to gun owners as "gun nuts". 

The reason it doesn't address the mental health issue is because its complicated. Our politicians don't know how to do anything other than say what can or can't be done.


ColoradoGuy
ColoradoGuy

Every one seems to be missing the big picture. There is one thing responsible for each and every one of these shootings and one thing only. The person committing the violent act. Blaming guns, mental health and violence in the media for the actions of one person is a cop out. He did what he did because he was an evil person who made the conscious choice to commit an evil act.  Every one wants to feel better by trying to do something to fix the problem. What do you do when the problem is a fundamental flaw in human kind its self? Regardless of every law we can em place and enforce , every program we make available, every restriction we dream up, a person bent on violence will commit violence. There will always be people who want nothing more than to harm other people. The best solution out there is for every one to take personal responsibility for their own actions and their own security. I would add to that for parents the actions and security of your children. For me that means I stay aware of my surroundings every where I go. I attempt to treat every one around me with as much respect and courtesy as I can muster and on the off chance that it ever be needed I go armed every where I go. If I had children in a public school I would be in the governors office tomorrow demanding a responsible armed adult in my child's school or my child would not be attending. I do not depend on the government, police or any one else to make me safe. If more people made the same effort imagine the wonderfulness we could all live in.  I absolutely oppose every single one of the current gun control proposals on the table for one reason. I do not believe that the people in power, the president specifically care one bit about the "guns" all they care about is the "CONTROL" I consider my self a citizen of the greatest country in the world, a patriot and a proud member of the citizen militia established in our constitution.  When I was in the Army I took a oath to defend this country and the constitution from all enemy's foreign and domestic, Why would I do any different today? Please stand with me and take some responsibility. I wrote my governor and the president more than once. Have you?

BrianCh16
BrianCh16

Joe, I'd like to point out a serious problem with your article:  the mentally ill only commit 3-5% of all violent crimes, so what do you plan to do about violent acts that are instead committed by evil, angry or jealous people?  (By the way, research conclusively shows that the mentally ill are victims of violent crime far more often than perpetrators.)  

I don't want weapons in the hands of the severely mentally ill anymore than you do.  But it's sad how, like so many, you know remarkably little about the science and numbers regarding mental illness.  You notice them in the relatively rare instances when they hold a weapon, and completely ignore them when they suffer at the hands of others. 

PirateJim
PirateJim

I can't believe you used friends, family.and gang members in the same context.So glad that in your opinion my family and friends are equal to gang members.Thanks I appreciate that

LaurenM
LaurenM

The NRA's over-reaction to a very mild compromise is ludicrous - they remind me of hysterical teenagers, convinced that if they have a bad hair day or can't buy the shoes they want, their lives are over.  Get a grip, gun lobby - we regulate TONS of things, often much more strictly than guns, and life as we know it goes on.  Here's a musical reminder of some examples, "Bikini Waxes, Sudafed & Porn" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9oXQT6fq8s

1776
1776

If only someone had thought to outlaw bombs.  Tragic as both situations are, the timing of your post illustrates the point.  In the modern world there are so many methods of creating mass casualty producing weapons that you cannot legislate the problem away. 

Secondly,  the closest thing that the US has to a state religion is the rule of law, anchored in the Constitution.  The government is now telling us that the second amendment is to protect hunting rifles? That the fourth does not apply to electronic documents?  So only smooth-bore muskets and papers locked away in a wooden trunk deserve protection?  Perhaps your internet post should not be protected under the first, since Mr Washington could never have imagined an internet?

The second ammendment clearly applies to military arms, in the hands of the average citizen.  If the American people feel that there is no longer a need for an armed citizenship, prepared to defend their country from all enemies, foreign and domestic do it in the proper manner. Ammendments can be repealed.  Then you can pass legislation outlawing whatever type of firearms, or club, or rolled up magazine scares you.  And you know what?  This gun owner would respect the fact that it was done in a constitutional manner.

The fact is, there is little chance of that happening in the next 200 years, so you try to reframe the core concepts to mean things that they don't. 

daleholmgren
daleholmgren

Under whose definition would we apply the "paranoid" screen to lock people up?  RFK demanded that Major General Edwin Walker be ordered into an insane asylum for 90 days for protesting his view that Federal troops were improperly deployed in Mississippi, until the ACLU got Walker sprung in 5 days.  Surely Mr. Klein would rethink his position if the "paranoid" diagnosis was used to lock up Jews or other groups for political reasons. 

The reality is that yes, tragically bad things do happen in this world, but it is almost inconceivable that government can pass rules to make them go away.  There were two bombs that exploded in Boston today, in an area well covered by police.  No laws, no police, stopped it. We may not prevent all planned tragedies from occurring, we can only investigate and prosecute when they do.

dbmoran
dbmoran

Joe Klein should not blame just the liberals for releasing into the community mentally ill people who were dangerous -- conservatives also supported this, under the small government rationale.

That aside, it is good to see someone prominent trying to push the debate toward what actually works.

As many earlier commenters have noted, the "semi-assault" rifle ban is nonsense because it involves meaningless distinctions. My personal favorite is that a _mount_ for a bayonet is one of the determining factors. I have yet to encounter anyone who can cite a recent tragedy where a bayonet was a factor, or even explain why it was an issue of concern. The "semi-assault" weapon ban is simply a culture war issue -- as many have pointed out, it is about the _look_ of the rifle, not about any actual consideration of the danger posed.


On the other hand, many of the pro-gun commenters see guns as political statements, similar to lapel pins or ribbons. This is a level of irresponsibility that makes it hard to treat them seriously either. And many of their comments reveal that are people who should not have guns: They display a lack of emotional stability and lack of judgment in wielding a keyboard -- what would they do with a gun.

There are too many gun owners who have so little training and practice that they need to be carefully supervised on a practice range to avoid endangering others. Yet the gun advocates claim that in the chaos of a real shooting that these same people will correctly identify the perpetrator and accurately shoot him, instead of the more likely scenario of them adding to the body count of victims. Yet gun advocates seem to be clueless to their delusions and irrationality.

CritterFactory
CritterFactory

if you are curious why gun owners are so uncompromising, let me fill you in on some inside info. 

Okay, all of these control methods sound very reasonable to a non-gun owner.  I can see that. So, why would any person in their right mind be apposed to such reasonable laws?

You have to understand guns to understand the gun owners position. Let's bring up a few things. The proposed assault weapons ban. 

First tell me, what is the functional difference between an AR-15, and a Ruger Mini 14? The answer... not much. They have almost the exact same rate of fire, they fire the EXACT same bullet, they both take box style magazines, they are both semi automatic. In reality the only main difference is that a mini 14 has a wood stock, and happens to NOT be on the current drafted list of banned weapons. Why is that? Well, because the AR 15 has a adjustable stock, and a front grip. That's really it. the way you hold the same gun makes the weapon you choose to own illegal. See, when you call a gun a killing machine, and it looks scary, you project the problem on to it. The ban would have not touched a functionally similar weapon. It would only effect the ascetics. 

How about background check loopholes? 

Currently if you purchase a gun through an FFL,(firearms dealer) you have to fill out what is known as a 4473 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_4473
This is what is considered a national background check. And it is already mandatory for all purchases, including the sales at gun shows. It is highly regulated already. 

They call it a "gunshow loophole" because there is no rule that says you have to fill out a 4473 for a private sale. All the gun shows I have been to do not allow private gun sale in the first place. It boils down to your ability to privately transfer your gun. Say giving your gun to your child as a gift. That is an example of private transfer. 

There is a 1991 statistic from the FBI where apparently 40% of all gun transfers are private. But those findings are old as dirt, and also have been disputed heavily, as it was not law to perform a background check in 1991, 

So they are basically making the argument that guns purchased by criminals are done legally through private sale. they want to make all sales, and transfers of any gun require a background check. 

I am sorry, but what criminal is going to go down to the local gun shop to buy a gun off of somebody with a mandatory check? They would just steal one, or buy it on a black market. So the system essentially is a "scout's honer" system to start with, and thus only affecting law abiding gun owners. 

Bottom line, it strips our rights, while not affecting gun violence because it has not addressed anything that a criminal could easily go around. 

Also, realize that we already have laws in place. We have laws that need more enforcement. Adding additional laws with no ability to enforce existing ones does little but affect people following the law. As the vast majority of gun owners will. 

Gun owners are not about doing nothing, but when your first idea is to limit rights to individuals, you can't be surprised that you are getting friction.   

DonRoss
DonRoss

Wow, too bad it isn't a crime to be ignorant. I'd have the the two minutes back that it took me to read this garbage and respond and Joe Klein would be under arrest for being ignorant.

BobSheepleherder
BobSheepleherder

"It doesn’t touch guns passed about privately among family and friends and gang members", I suppose pointing out the irony of that statement is pointless? There was a time in America when family and friends were "us" and gang members were "them". Now all it takes to be categorized as a criminal or insane mass murderer is to legally own a gun. "Reasonable" has lost any meaning in this new America ... this is still America?

thomasgwood
thomasgwood

The real issue is crime with no real punishment and idiots like you making all the wrong points and suggestions. People are to sensitive. Next time someone pulls a mass killing take them straight to the gallows pole & hang them in public & put it on pay per view with all proceeds going to victims families & show this piece of garbage peeing and crapping itself in public instead of making a celebrity out of them & showing them pity and compassion. Also if guns don't keep guns in check then disarm all cops & security & military & see how we'll it works. That's right stupid. Exactly.

onigiri63
onigiri63

I do fear guns, but I fear cancer far more.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm

We should focus the national debates on the things that are killing the most people, not the most sensational deaths.  If the media stopped sensationalizing every big shooting, maybe we could go after the real killers first.

BillPope
BillPope

Bombs at the Boston Marathon and you want to take away more of my freedoms just like the terrorists are trying to do.

jdyer2
jdyer2

As they say,  "You're rights end where my nose begins...".  Our noses are getting closer together all the time.  Yes, civil liberties need to be part of the discussion in terms of mental health.  I would also say we can't all just sit still and keep quiet about these video games that have teenagers in a trance-like state 'virtually' killing people all day long.  Combine that with mental health issues and you have a dangerous combination.

B.A.
B.A.

Definitely need to focus on the crazies rather than the guns. Current evidence being the mass stabbing last week, and now these Boston Marathon explosions. All of which if a crazy is extreme enough, they will find whatever way to complete their end game.

KimStagliano
KimStagliano

@TIME Why R young american males so mentally ill - what have we dont - what meds are they on and why are they on them? THEN look at guns

curt3rd
curt3rd

How did we ever kill each other before guns?