I’ve Gotta Live One!

Still playing over at Quora.com.  In response to the question “How do you solve the gun problem in the United States in a realistic way?” I answered:

America does not have a “gun problem.” It has an inner-city violent crime problem. Yes, I understand that the majority of deaths attributable to firearms are suicides, but suicide rates seem to be unaffected by firearm availability. If firearms are not available, other methods are substituted and are equally effective. The U.S., for all of its guns, ranks rather low for suicide internationally.

Criminal homicide is heavily concentrated in large urban centers, in specific areas of those large urban centers, and among a very small, self-identifying group in those specific areas. Yet no one raises a hue-and-cry when one more inner-city youth is gunned down by another inner-city youth, especially when both of them have long criminal records of escalating violence.

It’s been two years since Trayvon Martin died. During that period, more than 10,000 young black men 34 years of age or younger have died of criminal homicide by firearm.

Name three without using Google or another search engine.

Yet every time the media gets a victim they can run with, it’s the rural gun owner in Ohio or Wyoming they want to slap new restrictions on. We’ve watched it happen for literally decades, a slow-motion hate crime against gun owners, because “the problem” is defined as (and only as) “too many guns.”

Young black men are killed – overwhelmingly by other young black men – at a rate six times higher than the rest of the population. A demographic that consists of less than 7% of the population makes up over 40% of the victims, but no one wants to talk about it, or try to find a solution for it other than “midnight basketball” or greater welfare subsidies.

No, it’s much easier (and politically safer) to blame “gun availability” and the “gun culture.” Here’s a newsflash: There are three distinct “gun cultures” – one recreational, one defensive, and one criminal. Guess which one “gun control” doesn’t have any effect on?

That drew this response (in its entirety!!) from one Alex Nuginski:

Anyone who says that the U.S. doesn’t have gun problem is so in denial, it’s not even funny anymore.

Kevin, first, why, in the gun control debate, do gun lovers always ignore the “extended background checks” part of the debate and jump right to “They’re trying to take our guns away, AHHHH!”

One reason is because talking about the real issues at hand doesn’t serve their purpose.

In the last attempt that Dems made to extend background checks on gun purchases after the Sandyhook massacre, no one was talking about taking anyone’s guns away, but that’s what the NRA and gun snugglers kept falling back on.

Ted Cruz and other tea-baggers tried to use the argument that if they allowed any sensible gun control measures like extended background checks to get passed through Congress now, that would then open the doors for other gun control measures to be passed in the future. That is such a sleazy dodge to the real issues at hand and the actual law that was being debated at the time… they were talking about a CURRENT law for extended background checks, NOT a future law to take guns away from “law abiding citizens”.

One of the many other flaws in anti gun control arguments, Kevin (the very same argument that anti-gun control people keep parroting) is this – you keep saying things like…

“Law-abiding citizens with guns is nothing to be afraid of.”

But, do you know who all the law abiding citizens in your country are and how to differentiate them from non-law abiding citizens?

In other words, people with bad intentions can just buy a gun on the internet, on any one of thousands of websites and social media networks, without any background check. And the people with bad intentions can also buy guns without any background check at gun shows from other private individuals.

Both of those ocean size holes could be closed so easily, by requiring background checks on internet gun sales and private gun sales at gun shows… it seems pretty much like a no brainer, right? But that lack of brains, or total refusal to consider it in the Republican side of the debate, is the problem.

The fact is, some of your “fellow citizens” are buying guns legally on the internet and at guns shows and then selling them illegally to criminals (or using the guns themselves) who then use those guns in rapes, robberies, drive-bys, and murders. YOU DON’T KNOW all of your fellow citizens… that seems so obvious, but do you consider that in your argument? No.

I think, deep down, you’ve already thought about what I’m saying here, but it doesn’t serve your side of the equation, so you try to ignore it.

And even if no one is talking about “taking guns away” from anyone (just talking about expanded background checks) the gun lovers always ignore that and start shouting about how Obama wants to take their guns away and how “the 2nd amendment is being trashed, la la la!”

That’s just the first and biggest flaw in your argument.

The second big, laughable flaw in what anti-gun control people are touting on this thread here is the argument that swimming pools cause deaths, so why shouldn’t we ban swimming pools?

Others try to comically use the same ridiculous argument by substituting cars in that same silliness, like the sophisticated Mr. Fair, below… so funny.

Guns are killing machines, and nothing else. They are made to kill living things, and that’s all they do. Swimming pools or cars are not made only to kill.

No one is designing a new car or a new swimming pool so they can hold more bullets and so they can fire bullets at a higher rate per minute. So unless you are going to tell me about how great guns are for starting marathon races or for doing 21 gun salutes, there is nothing else to discuss when talking about a gun, except killing something.

And swimming pools and cars don’t fall in to the same category of home defense, they aren’t used in rapes and robberies, and they aren’t used to put against your head and threaten you with death.

GUNS ARE being used that way, and they are sold with reckless abandon because the NRA, who gets a cut from every legally sold gun, makes sure that guns are as easy to get as a car or a bag of potato chips in some places, and even easier in some states that don’t even require gun owner registration.

Some people are completely freaked-out by some states trying to introduce new gun owner registration regulations, again, comically shouting, “They’re trying to take away our guns! AHHHH!”.

Yes, many gun deaths are accidental, but statistics prove that most accidental gun deaths wouldn’t have happened if the gun had not been in the home to begin with. Statistics also show that a gun owner who has a gun for self defense is more likely to be shot with his own gun than him using that gun to shoot an intruder.

Below are some links, stats and facts on the subject of gun deaths in homes that have guns, as well as other gun death stats & links, including a comparison of the U.S. homicide rates against two countries who have proven that gun control reduces homicide rates and accidental gun deaths.

As far as a school shooting or theater shooting, or any other shooting with a high-capacity, semi-automatic gun, like Sandyhook… what do non-military people need with a gun like that? I heard one ridiculous argument from a woman who said she needed an AK-47 style semi-automatic rifle to shoot rabbits because they move so fast… come on!… you’d turn a rabbit in to instant pulp with a rifle like that.

The fact is, if semi-automatic guns were not available at all to the general public, then Adam Lanza’s mother never would have been able to buy that killing machine, and then Adam Lanza would not have been able take that weapon out of his mother’s gun safe and shoot her in the face with it and then go and massacre 27 people in less than three minutes. Yes, he had other guns, but he wouldn’t have been able to cause nearly as much carnage as he did with that semi-automatic rifle.

And if James Holmes wasn’t able to get his hands on that killing machine in the Aurora, Colorado theater massacre (one of your so called FELLOW CITIZENS who bought that gun legally) then he wouldn’t have been able to kill nearly as many people.

It’s funny, because anti-gun control people say “See, he bought that gun legally, so any gun control laws wouldn’t have made any difference.” But then if the gun was acquired illegally, then they say, “See, he got gun illegally, so gun control laws wouldn’t have made any difference.”

You can’t have it both ways, or either of those ways, in the real world, because either way, extended background checks could have or would made a gun harder for a shooter to get to begin with.

And the topic of gun safes brings me to another statistical fact… if there are more guns in homes to be stolen from gun safes and other less protected hiding places, that just puts more guns in the hands of criminals. It’s a logical fact that is also backed up by stats… look at your local gun theft stats from home burglaries, then multiply that by about 100,000 and that will give you an idea of how many stolen guns get in to the hands of criminals in this country every year.

It’s a simple equation – more guns, more guns deaths… not hard to figure out, but so often ignored by your side of the argument.

And with that, one also needs to consider if everyone is armed, like so many dopes advocate, combined with racially charged laws like “Stand Your Ground”, the idea that anyone can die in a wild west style execution at any moment, like in Florida, because some pissed off, self appointed vigilante profiled a black guy walking in his neighborhood, or because a guy who thought that white people aren’t getting enough respect from black kids, so he started a fight over loud music, or because some guy was texting during the previews in a movie theater, and the shooter got some popcorn tossed at him.

Heat of the moment gun murders are becoming more and more common with every legal and illegal gun sold. But in Florida, the SYG laws don’t seem to be serving black people so well, statistically.

The case were a black woman fired a warning shot in her garage to keep her abusive husband away (who had been arrested several times for beating her) and she claimed SYG, but she got sentenced to 20 years by a white jury for firing that warning shot. Thank goodness she’s finally getting a retrial, but with Florida’s track record, who knows what will happen in there.

Here are those links, stats and facts that I spoke of, below.
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The most telling excerpt, from the second linked article below, is this…
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“Two-thirds of all murders between 2003 and 2007 involved guns. The average number of Americans shot and killed daily during those years was 33. Of those, one was a child (0 to 14 years), five were teenagers (15 to 19 years) and seven were young adults (20 to 24 years), on average.

Children in the U.S. get murdered with guns at a rate that is 13 times higher than that of other developed nations. For our young people aged 15 to 24, the rate is 43 times higher.

“The presence of a gun makes quarrels, disputes, assaults, and robberies more deadly. Many murders are committed in a moment of rage,” writes Hemenway.

“For example, a large percentage of homicides — and especially homicides in the home — occur during altercations over matters such as love, money, and domestic problems, involving acquaintances, neighbors, lovers, and family members; often the assailant or victim has been drinking.”

“Benefits?
The possible health benefits of gun ownership are twofold: deterring crime and stopping crimes in progress. But there are no credible studies, says Hemenway, that higher levels of gun ownership actually do these things.”

“Real risks
“There are real and imaginary situations when it might be beneficial to have a gun in the home,” Hemenway concludes. “For example, in the Australian film Mad Max, where survivors of the apocalypse seem to have been predominantly psychopathic male bikers, having a loaded gun would seem to be very helpful for survival, and public health experts would probably advise people in that world to obtain guns.”
“However, for most contemporary Americans, the scientific studies suggest that the health risk of a gun in the home is greater than the benefit,” he adds. “There are no credible studies that indicate otherwise.”
Hemenway’s review appeared in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine and can be read in full online.”
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Guns in the Home and Risk of a Violent Death in the Home: Findings from a National Study
http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/co…

Here are some excerpts from this study…

“Approximately 60 percent of all homicides and suicides in the United States are committed with a firearm”

“Those persons with guns in the home were at greater risk than those without guns in the home of dying from a homicide in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 1.9, 95% confidence interval: 1.1, 3.4).

They were also at greater risk of dying from a firearm homicide, but risk varied by age and whether the person was living with others at the time of death.

The risk of dying from a suicide in the home was greater for males in homes with guns than for males without guns in the home (adjusted odds ratio = 10.4, 95% confidence interval: 5.8, 18.9).

Persons with guns in the home were also more likely to have died from suicide committed with a firearm than from one committed by using a different method (adjusted odds ratio = 31.1, 95% confidence interval: 19.5, 49.6).

Results show that regardless of storage practice, type of gun, or number of firearms in the home, having a gun in the home was associated with an increased risk of firearm homicide and firearm suicide in the home.”

“Nearly three quarters of suicide victims lived in a home where one or more firearms were present, compared with 42 percent of homicide victims and one third of those who died of other causes (table 2). A firearm was used in 68 percent of both homicides and suicides.”

“Over three quarters (76.3 percent) of the homicide victims knew their assailant. Nearly one third (31.7 percent) of the homicides occurred during a family argument, 15.4 percent during a robbery, 4.1 percent during a drug deal, 0.2 percent during an abduction, and 44.1 percent for other unspecified reasons. In 4.5 percent of the homicides, multiple circumstances were reported.”
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THE HEATH RISK OF HAVING A GUN IN THE HOME
http://www.minnpost.com/second-o…

Here are some excerpts from this study, and this first section is shocking…

“Homicides
Two-thirds of all murders between 2003 and 2007 involved guns. The average number of Americans shot and killed daily during those years was 33. Of those, one was a child (0 to 14 years), five were teenagers (15 to 19 years) and seven were young adults (20 to 24 years), on average.

Children in the U.S. get murdered with guns at a rate that is 13 times higher than that of other developed nations. For our young people aged 15 to 24, the rate is 43 times higher.

“The presence of a gun makes quarrels, disputes, assaults, and robberies more deadly. Many murders are committed in a moment of rage,” writes Hemenway.

“For example, a large percentage of homicides — and especially homicides in the home — occur during altercations over matters such as love, money, and domestic problems, involving acquaintances, neighbors, lovers, and family members; often the assailant or victim has been drinking.

Only a small minority of homicides appear to be the carefully planned acts of individuals with a single-minded intention to kill. Most gun killings are indistinguishable from nonfatal gun shootings; it is just a question of the caliber of the gun, whether a vital organ is hit, and how much time passes before medical treatment arrives.”

“Study after study has been conducted on the health risks associated with guns in the home. One of the latest was a meta-review published in 2011 by David Hemenway, director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. He examined all the scientific literature to date on the health risks and benefits of gun ownership. What he found was sobering, to say the least.”

“Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death — and that of your spouse and children.

And it doesn’t matter how the guns are stored or what type or how many guns you own.

If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide.

Furthermore, there is no credible evidence that having a gun in your house reduces your risk of being a victim of a crime. Nor does it reduce your risk of being injured during a home break-in.

The health risks of owning a gun are so established and scientifically non-controvertible that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2000 recommending that pediatricians urge parents to remove all guns from their homes.”
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Just for fun, here’s a little video that addresses the whole silly “2nd Amendment” argument that Republicans chant whenever talking about gun control laws.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L…
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Wikipedia:
Gun violence in the United States
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun…

“During the 1980s and early 1990s, homicide rates surged in cities across the United States (see graphs at right).[26] Handgun homicides accounted for nearly all of the overall increase in the homicide rate, from 1985 to 1993, while homicide rates involving other weapons declined during that time frame.”
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Comparing the U.S. to Australia and the U.K., both of whom have enacted highly effective gun control laws.

Wikipedia: List of countries by firearm-related death rate:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lis…

Homicides-2013:
AUSTRALIA: 13,000 gun homicides
UNITED KINGDOM: 4,000 gun homicides
UNITED STATES: 360,000 gun homicides

Adjusted for population size:
AUSTRALIA: 22.68 million people
UNITED KINGDOM: 63.23 million people
UNITED STATES: 313.9 million people

The U.S. population is 13.84 times the size of the Australian population, but it has a gun murder rate 27.69 times as high.

The U.S. population is 4.96 times the size of the U.K. population, but it has a gun murder rate 90 times as high.
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Gun crime statistics by US state
http://www.theguardian.com/news/…

“Gun ownership globally: US ranks first, ahead of Yemen”

“The United States has 88 firearms per 100 people. Yemen, the second highest gun ownership country in the world has 54.8.”
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This Washington Post article has some telling facts on the subject of gun violence, and not all of it favors my argument, but much of it does, so in all fairness, I included it.

Twelve facts about guns and mass shootings in the United States
http://www.washingtonpost.com/bl…

1. Shooting sprees are not rare in the United States.

2. 15 of the 25 worst mass shootings in the last 50 years took place in the United States.

3. Lots of guns don’t necessarily mean lots of shootings, as you can see in Israel and Switzerland.

(One would have to consider the culture and the history of violence that exists in the U.S. to explain the differences between Israel, Switzerland and the U.S.)

4. Of the 11 deadliest shootings in the US, five have happened from 2007 onward.

5. America is an unusually violent country. But we’re not as violent as we used to be.

6. The South is the most violent region in the United States.

7. Gun ownership in the United States is declining overall.

(This article was written in late 2012, and since the Sandyhook shooting that same month, gun ownership in the U.S. has increased drastically due to somewhat of a mass-hysteria fear of changing gun control laws, which never materialized due to a minority of Republican and NRA efforts)

8. More guns tend to mean more homicide.

9. States with stricter gun control laws have fewer deaths from gun-related violence.

10. Gun control, in general, has not been politically popular.

11. But particular policies to control guns often are.

12. Shootings don’t tend to substantially affect views on gun control.

Did you read all that? No, honestly I didn’t either. My eyes started to glaze over at the “tea-baggers” comment, but I did respond. Here it is, archived at TSM because I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at Quora yanked it.

Holy Wall-o-Text, Batman! I thought I was the last of the long-winded on the Interwebs!

You’ll have to forgive me, but I simply CANNOT respond to Every. Single. Point. in your screed, but I’ll hit on a few of ’em.

Please describe for me the “extended background checks” you brought up WAAAYY up there at the top. I need details. What was the bill number? Who introduced it? What did it cover? Or are you instead discussing some nebulous idea of “extended background checks” that was never proposed as, you know, an actual law? If that’s the case, please be specific in what, PRECISELY these “extended background checks” consist of. Then, perhaps, we can discuss whether or not they might be useful, or just gun registration through the back door.

“One reason is because talking about the real issues at hand doesn’t serve their purpose.” Um, Pot? Meet Kettle.

“In the last attempt that Dems made to extend background checks on gun purchases after the Sandyhook massacre, no one was talking about taking anyone’s guns away…” Did you READ the bill? I did. It’s not at all surprising it failed.

“Ted Cruz and other tea-baggers…” Ah, yes, personal insults. Well, now I know without a doubt the type of person I’m dealing with, so we’re on level ground there.

“But, do you know who all the law abiding citizens in your country are and how to differentiate them from non-law abiding citizens?”

Yeah, we’re the ones who go to work, pay our taxes, and DON’T SHOOT PEOPLE WHO AREN’T THREATENING US. We’re the ones who DON’T HAVE CRIMINAL RECORDS. Perhaps you’d like us to tattoo a big “L” on our cheeks, or sew a script “L” on our clothes so we look like Laverne from “Laverne & Shirley?”

“In other words, people with bad intentions can just buy a gun on the internet, on any one of thousands of websites and social media networks, without any background check. And the people with bad intentions can also buy guns without any background check at gun shows from other private individuals.” Or they can get a friend or relative – who doesn’t have a record, to buy them a gun from a gun shop. Or they can buy a stolen gun from the same guy they buy their weed or other drug-of-choice from. You know, drugs are illegal too, right?

You are aware that AFTER the handgun ban in Britain, handgun crime DOUBLED? And they don’t have the excuse that “the state next door has lax gun laws!” Britain is an ISLAND.

An island where they apparently import and sell HAND GRENADES.

And if we can’t keep drugs and “undocumented workers” from streaming across our Southern border, how hard do you think it would be for the smugglers to bring guns across? (Not that we need them, having 300 million of our own to begin with.)

“Both of those ocean size holes could be closed so easily, by requiring background checks on internet gun sales and private gun sales at gun shows…”

Just internet sales and gun shows? Can my wife buy me a gun for, say, Father’s day and just give it to me, or would that require another “extended background check”? Can I give one to a friend for Christmas, or does that have to go through your “extended background check”? Can I sell one to a coworker or other acquaintance? And if I do, how do you know? After all, there’s no massive GUN REGISTRY of who owns the 300+ million firearms in private hands now. How does your “extended background check” work in the face of this annoying fact?

“The fact is, some of your “fellow citizens” are buying guns legally on the internet and at guns shows and then selling them illegally to criminals…”

Which is ALREADY ILLEGAL. You believe making it illegaler (totally a word) will help? We have a WHOLE BUREACRACY (The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – which should be a really cool convenience store instead of a government department, but I digress) to pursue people who do that. Well, they’re supposed to, but lately they’ve been involved in smuggling guns to narcotraffickers in Mexico for some reason….

“I think, deep down, you’ve already thought about what I’m saying here, but it doesn’t serve your side of the equation, so you try to ignore it.”

Oh no! I’m fully aware of it. I’ve probably given it far more thought than you have, and I’ve just asked a few first-order questions concerning your proposed “solution.”

“…because the NRA, who gets a cut from every legally sold gun….”

Really? Where did you hear this factoid? The U.S. GOVERNMENT gets a cut from every legally manufactured gun and every round of ammunition, but I was unaware that the NRA had the same kind of setup. Please enlighten me. Point me to the source!

“Yes, many gun deaths are accidental, but statistics prove that most accidental gun deaths wouldn’t have happened if the gun had not been in the home to begin with.”

This is what’s known in logic as “a tautology.” In fact, I’d go so far as to say “statistic prove that ALL accidental gun deaths would never occur if guns didn’t exist!” People wouldn’t die of snakebite if there were no snakes, either.

I’m going to skip a lot of the rest of your philippic and address one more point to illustrate your relative lack of grasp on the topic:

“The fact is, if semi-automatic guns were not available at all to the general public, then Adam Lanza’s mother never would have been able to buy that killing machine, and then Adam Lanza would not have been able take that weapon out of his mother’s gun safe and shoot her in the face with it and then go and massacre 27 people in less than three minutes.”

Avoiding the obvious tautology that, had Lanza’s mother not been ABLE to buy THAT particular weapon, Lanza couldn’t have used THAT particular weapon, I challenge your assertion that he couldn’t have used a DIFFERENT weapon (or weapons) to kill 27 people in “less than three minutes.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THe3nHDpPqM?rel=0]
Twenty-three rounds in less than 25 seconds. The revolvers hold six each, he only loaded five. The shotgun holds three rounds, he single-loaded it. Had he started with full guns, there’d have been TWENTY-SEVEN AIMED SHOTS in less than 30 seconds. Not a semi-auto weapon to be found. That gives him two minutes to reload and go again. The kid is fourteen years old in this video.

Adam Lanza was unopposed, in a classroom full of children. Besides the AR-15, he had two handguns on him. He left his mother’s shotgun in his car.

Extrapolate for James Holmes.

And I thought you guys didn’t want to BAN anything and we were paranoid for thinking it?

And – for anyone who’s slogged all the way through this – one final point:

“It’s a simple equation – more guns, more guns deaths… not hard to figure out, but so often ignored by your side of the argument.”

The estimated number of privately owned guns in this country has INCREASED (that’s “more guns”) from approximately 100 million in the 1980’s to 300 million (that’s THREE TIMES AS MANY) today.

“Gun deaths” (defined as “people killed by firearm” rather than “guns that died” – just trying to be perfectly clear here) have DECLINED (that’s LESS DEATHS). According to the Centers for Disease Control WISQARS tool (look it up) in 1981 there were a total of 34,050 people who died by firearm for any reason – suicide, homicide, accident. In 2010, there were a total of 31,610 deaths by firearm. On a strictly mathematical basis, that’s a DECREASE of 2,440, but the population in 1981 was 229,460,000. In 2010 (latest data available) it was 308,745,000. On a per capita basis, in 2010 the death rate by firearm was 10.26 per 100,000 population. In 1981 the rate was 14.84. (Check WISQARS if you don’t believe me.)

That’s a DECREASE of approximately 30%.

What was your argument again? Oh yes, “more guns, more gun deaths.”

Who’s ignoring what?

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