A Few Thoughts on Gun Violence and Liberty

UPDATE: I totally forgot to include a great resource put out by the Presbyterian Church (USA), Gun Violence, Gospel Values: Mobilizing in Response to God’s Call. [DOWNLOAD PDF]

First please watch this video  . . .

Now before anyone starts flaming this post and/or does the “What would you do?” taunt, please know that our family has been touched by gun violence, we have lived in neighborhoods where gun violence is very real and we have NEVER felt that the best response for an individual or a community is to have more guns. I am 100% certain that my wife and I will never own a gun . . . NEVER, so that argument with me is a non-starter.

I also know that I am posting this on July 4th knowing that some may deem venturing into the messy conversations about guns and my challenge to how we use and see them in this country is somehow “unpatriotic.” But I would push back and say that one of the ways I understand my own patriotism is to be thankful for this nation-state where we have the freedom to passionately and openly debate the very nature of what it means to be patriotic, so talking about owning guns seems particularly appropriate today.

Two arguments about gun ownership that are often extolled are, “Bad people will always do bad things, so don’t punish the good people” and “Guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people.”  While there are many arguments about gun ownership that I simply do not buy, with these two I very much agree.  Society will always have individuals who will make choices that bring about pain, suffering and violence upon the larger community, so with this in mind we must be vigilant in creating a culture that makes sure handguns cannot so easily be acquired by people who should not have them.  I am not even getting into the debate about rifles and hunting arms, but just handguns that are so easily attained in most states and used in so many murders and suicides.

I am not 2nd Amendment scholar, but I believe that our individual right to bear arms should be challenged if society deems that we do not have the psychological capacity to make good choices about the use of those arms.  Sure, there are those out there that don’t really care about the ramifications of loose gun laws and see any restriction on any form of fire arms is an assault on American liberty, but let me be clear in saying that allowing this kind of blind distribution of guns in our communities is an assault on my liberty and the liberty of my family.

[Photo by M Glasgow]

One thing that I hope reasonable people can agree upon is that we must better deal with the ways in which guns are bought and sold.  There is too much evidence of irresponsible gun purchasing for us not to have rigorous background checks in all states.  One way that some communities have responded is to encourage – and pressure when need be – gun dealers to adopt a “10 point voluntary code for firearms retailers” that is being advocated by a groups such as Pennsylvania’s Heeding God’s Call and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Could not reasonable people agree that this is a good idea?  Heck even Walmart has signed on and is part of this movement and, for many folks, you can’t get more “American” than that.  Take a read of the 10 points below . . .

The 10 points of the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership are:

  1. Videotaping the Point of Sale for All Firearms Transactions. Participating retailers will videotape the point-of-sale of all firearms transactions and maintain videos for 6 months to deter illegal purchases and monitor employees.
  2. Computerized Prime Gun Trace Log and Alert System. Mayors Against Illegal Guns will develop a computerized system that participating retailers will implement over time to log crime gun traces relating to the retailer. Once the program is in place, if a customer who has a prior trace at that retailer attempts to purchase a firearm, the sale will be electronically flagged. The retailer would have discretion to proceed with the sale or stop the sale.
  3. Purchaser Declaration. For sales flagged by the trace alert system, participating retailers will ask purchasers to fill out a declaration indicating that they meet the legal requirement to purchase the firearm.
  4. Deterring Fake IDs. Participating retailers will only accept valid federal- or state-issued picture IDs as primary identification. Retailers will utilize additional ID checking mechanisms.
  5. Consistent Visible Signage. Participating retailers will post signage created by the Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership to alert customers of their legal responsibilities at the point-of-sale.
  6. Employee Background Checks. Participating retailers will conduct criminal background checks for all employees selling or handling firearms.
  7. Employee Responsibility Training. Participating retailers will participate in an employee responsibility training program focused on deterring illegal purchasers. The Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership will create an online training system based on WalMart´s training program.
  8. Inventory Checking. Participating retailers will conduct daily and quarterly audits. Guidelines will be based on WalMart´s existing audit procedures.
  9. No Sales Without Background Check Results. Participating retailers would prohibit sales based on “default proceeds,” which are permitted by law when background check has not returned a result within 3 days.
  10. Securing Firearms. Participating retailers will maintain firearms kept in customer accessible areas in locked cases or locked racks.

Now I understand that any restrictions or regulations voluntary or otherwise, make some people cringe, but honestly, these seem like pretty reasonable practices and would not be that difficult to enact. Not only would I think any firearms dealer who adopts these would create better relationships with the community, but would also be able to rent knowing that they are helping to prevent death.

Now again, there are many more issues that need to be dealt with around guns and violence in the United States: disproportionate amount of violence in poor and/or communities of color, recent decisions about violent video game accessibility to minors and how society in generally understands the roots causes of conflict and struggle. But this day, it is my hope that many can at least agree when it comes to who is allowed to own handguns in the United States, in order to have liberty and freedom for ALL, those who see that freedom and liberty as a free pass to perpetuate situations of violence and death have perverted the very nature of that liberty.

And finally . . . for individuals, families and communities who daily struggle though living with the impact and pain of violence in their lives, may you find some glimpse of peace and hope this day.


  • The Armed Citizen  

    Mr. Reyes-Chow, with all due respect, why don’t you go back to your own country and try to change all that is bad there? Why are you coming to my country and trying to change MY American freedoms, my heritage, and way of life? This is why some people are treated as such. Because they have “control issues.” They feel they don’t have control of their personal demons or issues and believe that by controlling or regulating others lives they somehow manage their own. Guns aren’t the only thing that kill people. More people die from obesity, alcohol, and did you know that 600 Americans die each year from just falling out of their bed? I don’t see you guys calling for a “mattress ban.” My point is is that you people need to do some soul searching and really look within yourselves what it is you need to change instead of control. I’m all for safety, but I’m also an advocate of education. You will never be able to curb the criminal mind. Those will always find a way to do it. In the U.K. they banned guns. Now the bad guys have guns and it’s out of control. Innocent people being targeted by these thugs. On top of that, knife murders nearly tripled so much to the point that they’re implementing a new “stab proof” knife. Are we going to become a ban & overly regulated society? Everyone walk behind the yellow line, look straight forward, and march? That’s not freedom to me. I think this peacekeeping icon said it best:

    “Among the many misdeeds
    of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act
    depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.” —
    Mahatma Gandhi

    • Anonymous  

      With all due respect, Armed Citizen, Bruce was born and raised in the USA.  I’ve known him for a good long while.  Is there some reason why you presume that anyone not Caucasian must be a “foreigner”?

  • Jim  

    LOL, Charlie- judging from the comments here alone, I’d say of you 8 million there are ten guns for all of you. And you don’t know them well enough to use them properly. So don’t think your little number will do anything but be cannon fodder if you try taking our guns.

  • Jim  

    A loud yappy dog is a better home ALARM system than a firearm, definitely not better ‘defense system’. Statistically speaking.
    And I speak as a conservative Bible thumping country bumpkin who owns both guns and dogs and has good aim with either eye.

  • Jim  

    My father was killed by a car. Perhaps we should criminalize cars and people who drive them should have mental stability and background checks.
    I am sorry your family lost someone to ‘gun violence’, as have many. It’s a sad thing for any family to lose a loved one, regardless the cause.
    But to use that as a reference point in an argument is no argument at all. Why not ban baby cribs since so many children are killed in them? Or swimming pools. Or bicycles. Or Big Macs and fries?

  • Jim  

    Let’s take these points one at a time and try to be brief…
    #1. You jest, of course: why would anyone allow a store to record their purchases and keep the information on site for six months? Or allow their sale to be used as a training tool? There aren’t enough cameras now unable to catch criminals in the act and you want to waste more store money and jack up the prices of goods even more? Non-starter there.
    #2. Already done by every store that sells guns. The fed already demands it.
    #3.  DUH! See number 2 above. (better still, go to a gunshop and ask to buy a gun, read the form, fill it out, wait around for the background check.)
    #4. If you’re using a fake ID for a gun transaction, you’re probably not buying it at a gun store. See #’s 2 & 3 above.
    #5. That’s about as effective as the signs on school entrys prohibiting firearms on these premises.  (Re: Virginia, Columbine, et al.)
    #6. You’ve obviously never held a job where you had to fill an application for employment. Or you work for people who hire illegals and don’t care about background checks, anyway.
    #7. Umm… employee responsibility? Like, “Gosh, Joe- you let that one slip by, you’re fired.”  See #6 above.
    #8. This is as ludicrous a suggestion as ever was made. Ask BATFE about inspecting gunshop inventories and sales. There are few drugs as well regulated and inventoried as are firearms.
    #9. See #s 2,3,4, above. 
    #10. Why should a store be responsible for maqintaining a person’s property? How about you suggest to your auto sales shop that they store your car in a locked cage, accesible only by you? Or how about your groceries? Of course, you’re going to tell me cars don’t kill people… or that groceries don’t kill people… or aren’t dangerous.
    Sounds to me as though you have neither purchased, attempted to purchase any firearms. Nor have you read any of the laws already on the books concerning firearms. Nor have you read the Constitution and Amendments, or given much thought to either if you have.
    How about we put conditions on your right to speak and write?
    How about we allow soldiers into your home to protect you from all the bad gun owners?
    How about we make you wear an armband that defines you as a liberal so you canbe searched at any and all times by anyone with a badge?
    How about we remove your right to trial by jury?
    How about we deny you right to a speedy trial?
    How about we make all bail mandatory One Million dollars?
    You want to make stipulations on the Second… show me where it says anything about stipulations in “shall not be infringed”.
    Until you decide to surrender all your rights, leave your paws off mine.
    If you want to push for this kind of thing, be very aware that it could backfire in your face. After all, many of us have been to gunstores many times. In fact, your liberal presidnet has assured guntores a very happy shot in the arm the last three years.

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    @bf5fb83afde0cb619308e15f331961f1:disqus FTR nowhere in my post to I push for a handgun ban. 

    • Anonymous  

      There seem to be a great many folk here who are putting words into folks’ mouths or trying to make them mean something they don’t. 🙁

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    Thanks for being willing to comment, i know that this is not always easy to do with the tone of the much of conversation.

  • JAtwood  

    Thank you Bruce, for raising such an important issue. Guns, gun rights and gun violence for far too long have been the elephant in the living room, which most people don’t want to acknowledge, and particularly a timid church. 
    It is obvious by the reactions you have generated by your very mild and measured blog, you have touched a nerve. You deserve our profound thanks because you have dared to name the American idol of guns and gun rights. 

    The PCUSA issued a word of warning in 1990: “The religious community must take seriously the risk of idolatry that could result from an unwarranted fascination with guns that overlooks or ignores the social consequences of their misuse.”
    Since that warning over 600,000 Americans have been killed by guns on our streets and in our homes and a million more have been injured. Note: none of these deaths include military personnel. These are all civilians killed in “peacetime” by the guns which most people  bought for protection. I’m convinced America needs to confess that we have “an unwarranted fascination or obsession with guns and “gun rights” which has led us to the abyss.I own two guns and I have hunted for over 50 years. Lord willing, I shall go deer hunting again this Fall. Unlike the gun zealots who have commented so vehemently on your blog about the values guns provide, and that their rights are being infringed because of minimal regulations, I stand with the vast majority of gun owners, including NRA members who agree with Bruce Reyes-Chow that wise and unburdensome regulations need to be put in place which respect both “gun rights” and the public’s right to safety.In December of 2010, Frank Luntz, Republican pollster conducted a nationwide poll of 832 gun owners, including 401 NRA members and discovered the following:- 82 percent of NRA members support “prohibiting people on the terrorist watch list from purchasing guns.”- 69 percent favor “requiring all gun sellers at gun shows to conduct criminal background checks of the people buying guns.”- 78 percent back “requiring gun owners to alert police if their guns are lost or stolen.”- 86 percent of all gun owners and NRA members agree with Luntz’s core idea that “gun rights and gun regulations complement each other. We can do more to stop criminals from getting guns while protecting the rights of citizens to freely own them.”- 69 percent of NRA members oppose the idea behind the so called Tiahart amendments passed by Congress which prevent law enforcement officials from having full access to gun trace data from the ATF and require the FBI to destroy certain background check records after just 24 hours.Those on your blog who are defending guns instead of those who are being killed by them are a minority in America; albeit a very vocal minority which is financed and controlled by a Gun Empire which exists to sell more guns and worships all things that go “boom.”Thanks, Bruce  for raising the issue and putting it on the front burner!

    • Conlaw Bloganon  

      If you are concerned about the public well-being, go preach about the evils of heart disease, malignant neoplasms, HIV, road traffic accidents, or even measles. All of those things kill far, far more people than gun violence.

      And, all your statistics say to me is that 82% of the people polled don’t know what due process is. The Terrorist Watch Lists (all 13 of them) are just that – watch lists. Tens of thousands of people are added to the various lists every month by any number of government agencies. In an investigation, and the scathing report that followed, the Inspector General of the DOJ found that some 35% of the names on the TWL were added “without predicate,” which is an ingeniously euphemistic way of acknowledging that state agencies were adding people with no reason, often as a means of harassing people who made them angry, or even entirely by accident. The lists include nonviolent political protesters, a senator, several infants, and countless hapless lemmings like you and I. No due process (5th amendment), and yet people are being deprived of their rights. Thankfully, Congress saw through the haze on this one and wouldn’t strip people of the TWL of their right to bear arms, at least not until they can be proven to be terrorists. (Innocent until proven guilty, ring a bell?)

      Read more in an article about this on my blog:

    • Jim  

      And how many babies have you liberals killed since 1990? The religious community has been warning about that more than forty years, yet you people still blather about guns and crime when you’re the biggest criminal faction in the world. Don’t talk to me about guns killing people when doctors are more likely to kill someone than any gun.
      As to 600K Americans killed by guns since 1990- I’m calling that one BS without any support other than SPLC and Brady bunch lies. Especially when you claim,  “These are all civilians killed in “peacetime” by the guns which most people bought for protection”. Show us the facts, not your desired lies.

      • Anonymous  

        If you know of anyone who has murdered an infant, contact the police.

  • TruthSeeker  

    -If gun bans work….why do police carry guns?
    Since a city without guns is safer, why do police departments still carry guns in

     cities where gun bans are in place? Wouldn’t the city be so safe without guns that

     the police wouldn’t need them just like citizens don’t need them?(BTW – I’m a former Law Enforcement Officer AND Military Veteran…..I found I could get to a violent crime in time to stop it about <1% of the time)Additional DetailsMeaning I was cleaning up a bloody mess and documenting blood splatters on buildings or in streets the other 99% of the time because me having a gun didn't do them any good.  – so since criminals are still carrying guns….shouldn't citizens be able to carry guns? Or do criminals ONLY go after police?

    • Charley Vu  

      Because that’s how it all begins.  Little by little.

      First they throw in background checks.  Then they tighten those down even tighter and tighter.

      Then come fees.  And excessive qualifications normally designed for LEOs and Military Units.

      Not to mention generating a giant culture war where carriers like me are portrayed as irrational unstable individuals even though there is no proof claim we are dangers to ourselves or anyone else.

      • Conlaw Bloganon  

        Exactly. I normally hate holocaust analogies, but lets look back at that.

        Government: It is now illegal for jews to have extramarital sex with non-jews.
        Jews: That’s fine, my religion is against extramarital affairs anyway.

        Government: It is now illegal for Jews to engage in civil service.
        Jews: That’s fine, it doesn’t pay that great anyway.

        Government: Jews must wear a yellow star at all times henceforth.
        Jews: Hmmm, ok, whatever. I’m rather proud of my religion anyway.

        Government: Certain people must now report to labor camps for the good of the nation.
        Jews: Hmm, well if it’s for the greater good?…

        Civil rights are never lost over night. They erode slowly, starting with legislation that, on the surface, sounds reasonable enough. But the fact of the matter is, gun control, even the small measures that are proposed here, are a solution in search of a problem. Look at any civilized country which has draconian gun laws. First of all, that transition happened over a decade or more, and second of all, in EVERY CASE, Australia, England, Canada, etc, the violent crime rates have GONE UP after individual gun rights have eroded. So, again, read a !#$%*ing book.

        And if you don’t want to exercise your right to own a gun, then be my guest, but don’t tell me that I can’t own one.


  • Guest  

    I cannot understand how some of the commentators to this blog can make some of the assertions I have been reading. None of the things proposed by Mr. Reyes-Chow prevents citizens from keeping handguns in the home for self-defense. In fact, the Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional to ban handgun possession in the home for self-defense. The proposals stated in this blog are to prevent firearms from getting into the hands of dangerous people. Do we really want violent felons to be able to walk into a gun store and legally purchase a weapon? The Brady background check  has prevented over a million prohibited purchasers from buying weapons. Laws do bring about results. As far as I can tell, no one has said that gun owners are terrible people. I don’t begrudge the rights of law-abiding, well-trained, responsible citizens to own firearms, but what about the rights of non-firearm owning citizens? We want to be safe. We do not want to be harmed by a person poorly exercising their Second Amendment right. Are we to be the sacrifice for a poorly regulated freedom?

    • Anonymous  

      I don’t care what the “intent” is of the post. Intent is not transferable. It is a trite, but true, statement that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
      What matters are results. Show me some results. Until you show me results, which you can’t, then what you are proposing is FURTHER infringements upon my rights for no benefit. You’ve already infringed upon my rights for no benefit, why should I allow you to infringe some more?
      Your stats are a misquote of the Brady Campaign’s lies. The Brady’s like to tout 1.9 Million. The fact is the vast majority of these “prevented” purchases were later determined to be false positives. In 2008, there were 78,906 initial denials, of which only 147 were actual prohibited purchasers. Of those only 105 were sent to trial and only 43 were convicted. So almost 80,000 people were infringed upon to stop 43. Would you allow a cop to stop 80,000 cars and only issue 50 speeding tickets? Would you allow a cop to search 80,000 houses in exchange for discovering 50 low level criminals? No, you wouldn’t. But since you don’t want a gun, you’re willing to let 80,000 of us get the shaft for almost no benefit whatsoever. You are willing to purchase a little temporary (and illusory) safety with my liberty.
      How about instead of controlling guns, you control the violent felons. If a person cannot be trusted with a gun, he cannot be trusted without a custodian. If a criminal can’t be handed a gun once he gets out of prison, then he shouldn’t be let out. It’s a simple concept. Keep the bad people in jail and stop trying to turn the rest of the world into a low grade prison.

      • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

        @SeanSorrentino:disqus But the issue that I have with some of the comments is not just about the fact that you disagree with what “intent” there might be, but that you have chosen to charge me with things that I have not said.  IMO this tact lacks integrity and undermines your ability to convince me that you are interested in any kind of meaningful conversation.  If that is NOT the case, that is fine, but not where my energy will be given.  I have had some very good conversations with those who disagree with me about the regulations, respectful and passionate, so this is not just about softening the tone, but about us all trying to work towards the common good, not just our own. 

        • Anonymous  

          This is not intended to sound rude, but it will seem so. Sorry for that in advance.

          Bruce, the answer is NO. There will not be any further restrictions on my rights. There are several reasons for that. First off, the gun control side lost in Heller, and in McDonald. Despite what the Brady Campaign keeps saying, they were not hollow victories. They were the start of an avalanche of laws that will get overturned. Chicago just got what can only be described as a bare bottomed spanking by the Courts for its silly gun range ban. North Carolina is about to get the same treatment in Bates vs. Perdue. The advance of gun control is over. The tide is retreating.

          More important than court cases is the fact that none of the proposals you consider above will have any effect on crime. And that’s the reason you want to impose them, right? You aren’t trying to impose new infringements on my rights out of meanness or spite, you honestly want to reduce crime. But what you want isn’t what you will get. So could you explain to me why we should go along? Why should we accept your proposals if they will not in any way measurably reduce crime? Miguel Gonzalez, below, answered your post point by point. Please read it (again) and tell me how exactly he is wrong. None of your proposals will have the effect you want.

          So we have two good reasons that gun control is over in this country. #1, the gun control laws we have are being overturned as unconstitutional. and #2, they are ineffective as crime suppression tactics. What possible justification can you have for asking for them?

    • guest  

      “Do we really want violent felons to be able to walk into a gun store and legally purchase a weapon? The Brady background check has prevented over a million prohibited purchasers from buying weapons.”
      Umm, ‘scuse me, but it is not the  Brady background check. Nor has it prevented anything. If someone wants to kill another, they don’t need a gun, guns just happen to be easy to use and are more impersonal than a knife or bicycle spoke or baseball bat.
      As for no one saying gun owners are terrible people, then you haven’t been reading JaPete or MikeB or many other Brady bunch lackeys.
      As for ‘well trained’… I suppose you imagine the cop protecting you is more well trained than the civilian carrying a gun?
      “We want to be safe”? You’re kidding, right? How about the person poorly exercising their driver’s privelige? Or alcohol privelige?
      As to “sacrificing for a poorly regulated freedom”…  Do you understand what ‘freedom’ is?  If it’s regulated, how can it be a ‘freedom’? Srsly. 

  • Anonymous  

    Given that, as I said, people are being kidnapped from there in the middle of the day, yes.  How else do you expect a small woman to defend herself against two large men?

    • Anonymous  

      Are people being kidnapped there every day?  No?  Then yes, your fear is *irrational.*  You do not need a Glock in order to go to the store to buy something.  If people ARE being abducted there daily, there is a far bigger problem than your purse-gun will resolve.  If you are a “small woman,” has it never occurred to you that you could be relieved of that gun by “two strong men” in your fantasy scenario and have it used against you?

      C’mon people.  Kidnappings are a rare occurrence.  This is about the most ridiculous (and, I hasten to add, undocumented) excuse for “needing” a gun that I can think of — and I am a gun owner.

      • Anonymous  

        I’m sure that the criminals will notify me in advance of the days they plan to assault people.

        There is a small chance that I might be relieved of my gun.  However, if I do not have one, there is NO chance that I will be able to defend myself.  The bottom line is you can not carry your gun to walmart.  I don’t care and I’m certainly not going to make fun of you.  But you have no right to insult me for protecting myself and my family as I see fit.

        And I’ll thank you not to insinuate that I am lying.


        • Anonymous  

          Thank you for the link. 

          You’re welcome to walk in fear; I choose not to do so.

      • Charley Vu  

        In your case, if some places are perfectly safe, perhaps you should tell the police officers normally assigned to that area to patrol somewhere else in the area, because obviously nothing bad is going to happen…right?

  • Anonymous  

    And who, exactly, are you to tell another person what they should and shouldn’t do to protect themselves? You’re not going to be there to help them if they get attacked. So instead of accepting their personal decision to carry a firearm, you demand that they remain unarmed because of your irrational fear of armed law abiding citizens?

    • Anonymous  

      I maintain that the irrational fear lies with the person who thinks they need to carry a weapon to the goddamned store, myself …

      • Anonymous  

        And I maintain that a person who is so irrationally afraid of me, a peaceable armed citizen, that she needs to try to restrict my rights instead of the rights of the criminals is a person who should seriously consider getting some emotional support.
        My Sheriff, my old Sheriff, the State Bureau of Investigation, the State Police forces of three other states and the FBI have checked me out. If they are satisfied that I am unlikely to harm anyone that doesn’t need harming, you should be satisfied as well. If you are not, perhaps it is you that has the problem.

        • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

          @SeanSorrentino:disqus I am pretty sure that my post does NOT say that someone like you, who has gone through a solid process should not own a gun.  The assumptions made about my thoughts, never stated, are hard to defend . . . again, never said people should be allowed to have them. Some give here would help make a stronger case otherwise this is more about folks reading what they want o read and now what I actually wrote.

        • Anonymous  

          Replied in the other comment.

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    @facebook-100002402694026:disqus  . . . I responded to your note sent to my personal email.  Unfortunately, I have to delete your other comment for the use of vulgarity, as my kids to dead this blog and it is my space after all.

  • pemily  

    Thank you for writing this post! I live on the south side of Chicago and am grateful to say that I have not been directly touched by gun violence. However, I recently attended a service of lament and commitment to peacemaking at my local church. 213 Chicago Public School students have been shot and 24 have died. This is only counting the CPS students. Unfortunately, guns are far too easy to come by in black and brown neighborhoods. It has gotten so bad that even Chicago’s top cop, Garry McCarthy, has recognized that our gun (and other) laws have disproportionately affected select demographics of our national make up. 

    Not everyone can be as responsible as many gun owners and not everyone is interested in being a responsible gun *distributor.* This isn’t about the right to protect ourselves from potential political insurgents; it’s about the right to protect our most vulnerable populace (young, at-risk youth) from getting their hands on a weapon that could not only alter their future, but the futures of those who are unfortunate enough to cross their path on the wrong day. While there is more to the equation than gun control (i.e. social breakdowns on many levels), the immediate issue is that these kids can get their hands on a gun very easily. First things first: let’s stop them from killing each other so that we can then address the even larger systemic issues at play!

    • Anonymous  

      “Unfortunately, guns are far too easy to come by in black and brown neighborhoods. ”

      Let me translate that for everyone else.

      “We have to do all we can to disarm the black and brown communities. It’s our modern ‘white man’s burden.”

      Rarely do you see the hidden racism of gun control so openly displayed. You should be ashamed of yourself to even hold such a thought, much less feel safe enough to commit those thoughts to print. It is clear that your biggest fear is that non-white citizens might get their hands on guns. Please explain to me how that could possibly be more racist than the attitudes in the South in the 50’s.

      • pemily  

        Actually Sean, I happen to be a person of color and work with pastors of color on the south side. I am reflecting the reality that I (and many of these pastors) live in…these are their words as well. It is not the white man’s burden; it is all of our burden and part of being responsible in responding to that burden is acknowledging that there are disproportionate affects when it comes to well-intentioned (and I feel like I’m being generous here) laws.

        • Anonymous  

          “Actually Sean, I happen to be a person of color”

          And you think that makes a difference? You were the one who said that “guns are far too easy to come by in black and brown neighborhoods. ” That’s racist. The fact that you are talking about people who share your skin color makes it worse, not better.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      @8a532ef30262f970404f0c395d115bec:disqus  . . . aaaaaaand, welcome to my world 😉  Thanks for commenting and I get from where you are coming.

  • Barb Cathey  

    Thanks for taking this issue on, Bruce.  I am part of a team in Chicago organizing an event for the Presbytery in response to the hundreds of school age children who have been killed in Chicago and the surrounding counties in the last few years by guns and other forms of violence.  When social justice staff at the Big Tent heard what we are doing, they gave me all the copies they had of “Gun Violence, Gospel Values.”  All these kids lost their right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” in this violent nation that rabidly defends the 2nd amendment at all costs.

    • Conlaw Bloganon  

      Yeah, and I’m part of a team trying to ban electrical cords because my cat gnaws on them and anyway why can’t we just beam electricity everywhere?

      Children under age 5 are TWENTY TIMES MORE LIKELY TO DROWN IN THE BATH TUB then they are to be killed by a firearm. Read a fucking book, thanks.

      Read more: http://conlaw-bloganon.blogspot.com

      Reference: Guns and Public Health: Epicdemic of Violence or Pandemic or Propaganda? Kates, Schaffer, Lattimer, Murray, and Cassem. 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 513-396

    • Conlaw Bloganon  

      Allow me to rephrase my previous reply so that it is not censored.

      I am part of a team that seeks to ban all electrical cords, because my cat gnaws on them and anyway why can’t we just beam electricity everywhere. /sarcasm

      Twenty times as many children under age 5 are killed by accidental drowning in bath tubs and home swimming pools compared to firearms. Read a book. And if you are concerned about public safety, find something new to ban. Preferably something that isn’t a god given right (Self defense), and furthermore protected by the US Constitution.

      Read more: http://conlaw-bloganon.blogspot.com

      Reference: Guns and Public Health: Epicdemic of Violence or Pandemic or Propaganda? Kates, Schaffer, Lattimer, Murray, and Cassem. 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 513-396 (1994)

  • Conlaw Bloganon  

    Bruce, I want to take off my argumentative commentator hat and make one last suggestion.

    I take it that you don’t really have any experience with firearms. Maybe you’ve held a handgun a time or two. Have you ever fired one? Have you ever learned to use one properly, or taken a safety class? Going to the shooting range is a lot of fun. You should take a class, or at least have a friend take you shooting. If you take a class, you can learn some of the laws, learn how to safely operate a handgun (they’re not inherently dangerous), and come to understand that guns are not this terrifying thing that needs to be tightly controlled, but rather a real asset and maybe a great hobby.

    This article comes to mind:

    Synopsis: An anti-gun reporter, just for the sake of writing a story, takes a firearms safety class and learns to shoot. In the process, he unintentionally gets converted a bit, and realizes he really enjoys shooting and may even buy a gun of his own.

    P.S. On a more personal note, I too have been touched by gun violence. My best friend was killed when 4 armed thugs forced their way into his house and murdered him despite his compliance with their demands. This incident, more than anything else in my life, caused me to think twice about relying on the police for my personal safety. Two years later, I’m a competent shooter at the range and in competition, and always armed when legally permitted. And I’m very conscious of other people’s attempts to castrate my freedoms.

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  • Anonymous  

    Hmm, Sean.  Let’s be fair here.  One in four people in the US will experience major depression, according to the APA.  That makes them mentally incompetent.  Are you really proposing to incarcerate 25 percent of the population due to “mental incompetence”?

    Let me make it clear; I am a gun owner (and a very good shot).  I was a certified safe hunter at age 8.  However, a laissez-faire attitude about weaponry is no help whatsoever. 

    • Richard Egan  


      That 1 in 4 number is highly suspect besides which it does not make them mentally incompetent.  That is a separate definition, is partially legal and varies from state to state.  Many people feel depressed at some point in their lives – ask any one suffering from long term unemployment.  That said – in most cases it is also short term and not a forever condition. 

    • Anonymous  

      Replying upline for visibility.

  • Anonymous  

    Do you think that a ban on handguns will work as well as the ban on drugs has?

    Are you prepared to send armed police to our homes to kill us to take our handguns? Do you think we will politely give them up even though we have a right to arms?

    Luckily for everyone, the Supreme Court has decided (twice) that individuals have a fundamental right to own a handgun for self defense. So while you are “advocating” for the mass slaughter of armed Americans by the State, we can safely discount your opinions.

  • TruthSeeker  

     Dear Mr Chow,
    Please ,Please, Try and understand the truth,..

    Please read the following quotes from our founding fathers and ask yourself if you are living up to the legacy which they have given us:
    “When firearms go, all goes – we need them every hour.” — George Washington.
    “A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” — George Washington
    “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms… disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.” — Thomas Jeffersonhttp://www.fortliberty.org/our-founding-fathers-would-not-have-put-up-with-gun-control.html

    • Charley Vu  

      Slight correction – Thomas Jefferson lifted the quote from the Italian Cesare Beccaria

      Beccaria himself argued against utilitarian ideals at the base of ridiculous “gun control laws” – which only shows that even the Euros of old had thought of the idea long before the Founding Fathers did.

      The right to keep and bear arms is not an American right alone, but a human right.

  • Notso  

    “… the right of the PEOPLE to KEEP and BEAR arms SHALL NOT be infringed” – 2nd Amendment – seems pretty clear.

    “The right of the INDIVIDUAL CITIZEN to bear arms in defense of himself or the state shall not be impaired …” Like most state constitutions, Article 2 Section 26 of the Arizona Constitution seems even clearer with no mention of a well regulated militia.

  • Barbara S.  

    Hi Bruce,
    Have read and watched the video.  It is an interesting concept, but I still fear that handguns would get into the wrong hands after purchase.  In order to stop the horrendous number of murders through guns each year in the U.S., I still advocate the ban of handguns

    • Charley Vu  

      We are 8 million.  How many are you?

      • Anonymous  

        8 million? Are you joking? There are nearly a quarter million Concealed Handgun Permit holders in North Carolina alone. Actual gun ownership in the US is at LEAST 50% of the population.

    • Notso  

      At least Barbara is an honest person stating her ultimate desire to ban handguns. If we could only get that kind of honesty out of all the other anti’s.

  • Linuxlorax  

    What a fascinating lecture extorting the virtues of fascism and state worship. He thinks it’s great that unelected politicians have decided he lacks the “psychological capacity” to handle firearm ownership a prior. Well, what shall it be then? Unlimited power to the state will solve all our problems? 

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  • Sfpd01  

    In California a concealed dirk, dagger, or other weapons is a felony. A concealed handgun, loaded a misdemenor. Priotities are upside down regarding punishment towards handguns. correction possible punishment if any…..

  • Ron LaPedis  

    While I also support your right not to own a firearm, you need to be very careful. By stating that you and your wife will never own a gun, you may have inadvertently marked yourself as a target. Criminals are more afraid of an armed citizen that they are of a peace officer.

    Firearm murders in California (guns tightly controlled) are 3.7/100,000. New York (also tightly controlled) are 4.47/100K. Arizona (concealed carry without permit) is 3.04, Utah (must issue concealed carry permit) is 0.91.

    As author Robert A. Heinlein states, “An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”

    • Anonymous  

      A loud, yappy dog is a better home defense system than a firearm, statistically speaking. And I speak as a liberal woman with a dead-eye aim (I am not kidding).

      • Anonymous  

        My loud yappy dog isn’t going to help me when people are getting abducted at high noon from the walmart parking lot.

        • Anonymous  

          Are you really suggesting that you require a handgun to shop at Walmart?  Perhaps a different store would be a better answer for you …

          • Anonymous  

            Except, Bruce, the process I described above had nothing to do with buying a gun, but with carrying it. When I bought my gun I walked into the store, handed over my credit card, filled out the Form 4473, waited until he called the PA State Police automated instant check line, and walked out with a gun. Strangely enough, that’s the same process at a gun show.
            My first carry license was from PA. It was a trip to the Sheriff, a photograph, a form similar to the Form 4473, and a 45 day wait while the background check was completed. I have 3 more carry licenses now, but none of them are necessary to buy a gun. Nor should they be.
            Stop trying to add to the already excessive burden. In fact, maybe you should justify the burden we already have. It clearly isn’t working as we still have drug gang murders by the boatload. So if it isn’t working, why should we do it?

          • Anonymous  

            I’m looking for the place where I said any such thing, Sean — and I fail to see it.  I guess you’ve repeatedly missed where I said I’m a gun owner.  However, somehow I manage not to be so afraid of the store that I need to take said gun with me to shop.  So, who’s irrational again?

          • Anonymous  

            Again, please tell me how is being afraid of something that has actually happened at a store irrational?  I’m not saying these things could happen, they DID happen.

          • Anonymous  

            Replying above.

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  • Ron LaPedis  

    In California, gun show sales are treated the same as dealer sales. You cannot walk out with a gun but need to go through the same background check and 10-day waiting period as you would if you bought it from a dealer. It does not matter whether it’s a hand gun or long gun.

    Several dealers make it their business to act as transfer agents. You and the seller go to the transfer agent’s booth. The transfer agent impounds the gun from the seller, and the buyer fills out the paperwork. The next business day, the transfer agent files the papers with the state and the waiting period begins. The seller gets his money immediately but the buyer does not get the gun until the background check clears.

    In California, there is no “gun show loophole,” just a lot of hot air about it from the anti-gun groups.

    • RamonR  

      Yes, and if you need to save your life today instead of in ten days, the gun prohibitionists don’t seem to have a problem with it. Which goes to show their agenda comes before the lives they purport to be concerned about.

  • Guest  

    Although Bruce clearly situates himself as an anti, his viewpoint deserves to be taken seriously before it is automatically dismissed. I am surprised that people are not looking at the gist of the editorial instead of assuming that it is the usual gun control dribble. 

    Yes, the 10-point program is being forwarded by a blatant anti-gun  organization (Mayors against Illegal Guns). That said, this program will sink or swim not because of “elitists” but because of average consumers and free market principles, right? It’s not (for now) about laws – it is about people electing to patronize retailers who do or do not adhere to the program. 

    In the version of pro-capitalist libertarianism usually embraced by gun advocates, this is exactly how potential regulations on firearms should be fleshed out – through the market, not the government. Don’t like it? Make sure your friends, family, and fellow gun advocates don’t patronize Walmart et al. (which, btw, is not the essence of America, Bruce. No need for snide comments about what “America” means to pro-gun Americans).

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      @b5260ef62f81bb119bcfa905072e1ce9:disqus Thanks for the thoughtful comment and you are right, my WalMart dig prob was not helpful.

  • Threecatsinsf  

    Easy solution: any crime committed with a firearm automatic mandatory 25 years of HARD LABOR. No plea bargain, no parole.
    Don’t disarm me because you are uncomfortable around guns.

  • Conlaw Bloganon  

    The gun show “loophole,” as it is famously and erroneously called, refers to the fact that there are not federal background checks for firearms sales between individuals. I don’t have any numbers handy, but I’d guess that legal sales between individuals amount to probably less than 3% of all gun sales. At all the gun shows I’ve been to, more than 95% of all the sales are done by dealers, who must submit to the background checks. And in private sales, seller discretion means that if the seller thinks the buyer is a thug, he can simply decline the sale, and this happens quite regularly. If I trade my very respectable next door neighbor a gun for a set of golf clubs, why should we bring in the bureaucracy, complication, and expense of having the federal government involved?


  • Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hel  

    Gun shows are no different than anywhere else. It’s just that unless you’re engaged in the business of dealing firearms, you don’t need a Federal Firearms License, and don’t have to do the background check to transfer the firearm. All other federal laws still apply, including felon-in-possession, transfer to someone out of state, or transfer to someone known to be a criminal.

    I’ve stated previously, I’m amiable to the idea of extending the background check requirement, but at the cost of a serious overhaul of the federal gun laws. You give a little, I give a little.

    • RamonR  

      The only reason that the anti-gun mouthpieces ever brought up gun shows is because they hate for Americans to assemble for the purpose of exercising their Second Amendment rights. The fact that the “gun show loophole” is a myth, and that it really represents private party sales between citizens to them, in the kitchen, or on the porch. This is what they’re really after. The ability of citizens to sell their private property. Notice that lately they’ve changed their tune from the “gun show loophole.” The public is on to them. So they’re more likely to call it what it is today. Banning private party sales.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      My understanding is that CA and NJ have very good systems for background checks, but other states have a looser/freer system?  Is that true? 

      • Miguel Gonzalez  

        All background checks anywhere go through the FBI National Instant Criminal Background Check System either directly or through a State entity such as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Also, your 10 “Points” will do little to avoid guns falling into the hands of criminals since they do not like to visit either gun stores or gun shows. Both places are full of law abiding citizens and cops which frown upon criminals quite a bit.

      • Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hel  

        They have very good systems for arbitrarily denying people Second Amendment rights or frustrating its exercise. I do not go to New Jersey to shoot competitively, because too many people have gotten nailed for felonies, like Brian Aitken. Their “assault weapons” statute is so insane it covers popular tube fed  .22s if you have the wrong model. These are not examples of laws Second Amendment advocates are going to find remotely acceptable.

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  • TruthSeeker  

    -Truth Seeker    I very much respect your loss and wish you could simply understandno one wants to be confronted by a gun toting criminal,intent on robbing and killing you or your children.Murders, rapes, Muggings, carjackings, robbery’s, home invasionsand all the other horrible felony’s committed against these victimsis the very simple reason,We Must arm our selves and train our reflexes so we can survivean encounter with these criminals.this is simply called -Self Defence-Had any of these Murdered victims been so prepared,they would have had a fighting chance to still be alive.Life is wonderful and should be peaceful always,.But sadly and unfortunately  (Sudden Combat) is life and death thrust upon you in an instant.You must respond!Knowing this is a true fact of life with angry fearless predators walking freely next to you.Why would a rational person want to limit or restrict there ability to defend themselves?.And hoping or wishing for some other armed personto save you in that screaming shocking fraction of time is foolish.All predators in nature kill and eat the weak.there are Free roaming wolves and there are sleeping sheepWolves have ferocious teeth and claws so the soft cuddly sheep get murdered.This is common knowledge and easy to understand.So instead of standing there asleep, stupid and oblivious of the wolves next to you,… Be strong and alert, aware of your surroundings, watch other people for there obvious criminal intent ready to legally use self defence to save your life, (if you must.)This is what America is aboutFreedom and Life and LibertyBut freedom requires an ability to defend yourself.Uncaught or released criminals are also FREE to kill you and your children.This is a simple truth of life on Earth for all recorded history.Weapons are necessary for self preservationthis our For Fathers knew to be obvious, this is why The Brady Campaign does not persuade Awake Americansto give up there Guns.We Americans are survivors .Thank you

  • Margaret Aymer Oget  

    Thanks Bruce. I also have lost family to gun violence, including a cousin about to go to college. My grandfather almost died that way.

    It’s important that we continue to raise this discussion in our United States, particularly on this day of independence.

  • Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hel  

    I completely support your right not to own a firearm, and if you feel that’s the best thing for you and your family, I don’t begrudge you the choice.

    But I have made a different one, and ask for the same courtesy in return.

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    @twitter-157092056:disqus Thanks.  Good points.

    • Shannon  

       I grew up on a farm in rural Washington state where every farmer had guns. They were rifles for hunting and scaring off predators. Hand guns are a completely different thing. To me the question is whether these laws – and their enforcement -are “for the common good.” 

      It is interesting to read the responses. Some of us are very angry even theoretically being asked to give up our guns. I wonder why. And I wonder why own a handgun? Is the answer “because I want to?” That is not a good enough answer for me. Or if inside we think, “don’t tell me I can’t own a gun, thank you very much,” then it may be time to rethink why we do own a gun. 

      If we are really honest with ourselves, I wonder if fear is the primary motivator to own a gun designed to kill or maim humans. That is no way to live.

      • Anonymous  

        Since it is a natural right to have arms for self defense, “because I want to” is a perfectly good answer. I don’t have to answer to you, so whether or not you think my answer is “good enough” is irrelevant.

        Maybe you should consider that it is your fear that is the problem, not my supposed fear as imagined by you.

        Since my pistol has never killed or maimed, does that mean it’s defective?

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    @b851414726d47e672835a59b41b6490a:disqus So would agree with the some of the other commentors who think that there should be even less regulations.

    • Jim  

      I absolutely agree there should be less regulation. If it’s regulated, it isn’t a freedom, it’s a controlled substance.

  • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

    @b71263f407501f8a9f7b8aa7c1a8a263:disqus Well . . . I suppose that it is fair to say that we’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  • Conlaw Bloganon  

    Hm. So, you want to stifle my freedoms but you don’t posit any statistics. Well allow me to be of help.

    – Britain has 4x as much violent crime per capita compared to the US.[1]
    – Americans own 90 million more guns today than they did in 1991, and yet violent crime is down 43% over the same period.[2]
    – According to a study of incarcerated criminals, most criminals are more worried about an armed victim then they are about running into the cops.[3]
    – Guns are used defensively, which includes displaying but not discharging the weapon, as many as 2.5 million times per year.[4]
    – According to the Department of Justice, 42% of Americans will be the victims of a completed violent crime, and 83% of Americans will be the victims of an attempted violent crime.[5]
    – The police have no obligation to protect any individual. (Castle Rock v. Gonzales)
    – It takes only a moment to break down a typical door, but the average police response time in Atlanta, for example, is over 11 minutes. [6]
    – In America, a child under age 5 is 20x more likely to drown in a bath-tub or home swimming pool compared to being killed with a firearm.[7]

    Take personal responsibility for your safety. And, if you’re concerned about public safety, start banging on some doors about the dangers of bath tubs and home swimming pools.

    Read more:

    [1] http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1196941/The-violent-country-Europe-Britain-worse-South-Africa-U-S.html
    [2] http://www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?id=206&issue=007
    [3] James D. Wright & Peter H. Rossi, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms [1986].
    [4] Kleck, G., and Gertz, M. Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self Defense with a Gun. (http://concealedguns.procon.org/sourcefiles/Kleckarmed.pdf)
    [5] http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/bjs/104274.pdf
    [7] Guns and Public Health: Epicdemic of Violence or Pandemic or Propaganda? Kates, Schaffer, Lattimer, Murray, and Cassem. 61 Tenn. L. Rev. 513-396 (1994) (http://www.guncite.com/journals/tennmed.html)

  • RamonR  

    narrative and proposals that you espouse are transparent.
    The ten points were created by an organization that lacks even the
    most basic credibility. The whole intent of its existence is to push
    gun prohibition under the guise of safety. To put the norms of our
    traditional Second Amendment rights on the defensive.

    The video was created with same
    illogical and emotional rhetoric which we get from any group
    associated with the elitist, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and
    that is especially true of fixgunchecks. The whole notion of these
    claims, that gun checks somehow need fixing to begin with, is mostly

    So then what are
    informed citizens who face the reality of our laws and rights in this
    nation supposed to believe? They will believe what reality tells
    them. That organizations created from the top down by political class
    elitists are not credible. That their existence is threatened by
    these very organizations and persons that wish to vanquish the
    traditional rights and norms that have made our nation the envy of
    the world.

    What does it mean
    when Bruce-Reyes Chow espouses the same views created from the top
    down by those who view the reality of everyday Americans far removed?
    It looks to mean that he is a shill. Becoming part of a false
    narrative that freedom from tyrants, whether they be street thugs or
    a political class elite, is the state of normalcy. That freedom is
    the natural state of existence when it is not. That somehow the onus
    of crime should be placed on Second Amendment rights when that logic is
    false on its face.

    The freedoms that
    we enjoy have been fought for and won. Citizens have a right to
    defense from criminals, and those who have not a clue should not have a say, lest we be in danger. Americans uphold these rights so that this freedom can
    be maintained. Whether it is in an inner city, a suburb, or out in
    the countryside. The very reason the founders of our nation
    enumerated a Second Amendment. You can choose what you believe, but
    do not expect any sympathy, when you seek to attack traditional
    Second Amendment rights.

    When anyone makes
    a statement saying that “…allowing this kind of blind
    distribution of guns in our communities is an assault on my liberty
    and the liberty of my family” red flags go up. The kind of red
    flags that giveaway those who are actually the source of problems
    because they ignore and exacerbate the very issues that they attempt
    to blame on inanimate objects. That of ultra politically correct
    motives and policies which have actually brought ruin on our communities.

    My advice to
    individuals who fear freedom is to reach down and grab some
    intestinal fortitude. That this would be much more morally acceptable than
    convincing the rest of us to be like minded cowards. Bruce-Reyes
    Chow, may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Jdberger  

    Choose to own a firearm, or choose not to own a firearm. It’s your choice. Please don’t presume to decide for me.

    That, is the essence of Liberty.

    • Richard Egan  

      I would also – in general the only people affected by regulations are law abiding ones.  Now I do agree that there should be something in the way of mental competency but currently it is hard to administer and once on the list almost impossible to get off.  Note:  Senator Edward Kennedy was on the Federal Watch list for airline flights and even he could not get off it.

  • Anonymous  

    How about, No. Clear and concise enough for you?
    Instead of trying to make it more difficult and expensive to purchase firearms we need to make it easier and cheaper. We need to get rid of the entire background check system. Since we have thousands of murders every year, we can see that the current laws aren’t working. No matter how you ratchet them up, the only people you will affect are the law abiding. So since they are totally ineffective, we should just abandon them totally.
    We should just go back to the original laws. Buy your guns however you like, from whomever you like and carry them however you like. Instead of trying to keep felons and the mentally incompetent from buying guns by infringing on my rights, how about we put felons and the mentally incompetent in secure facilities to keep them away from the rest of us? Let’s face it there are a lot fewer criminals than there are guns. Instead of trying to keep the guns away from the criminals, how about we just keep the criminals away from the guns. In jail. Where they belong.
    Instead, what your side keeps proposing is that we all give up our essential liberty in order to purchase a bit of temporary ‘safety.’ And we know how that works out, don’t we?

    • Anonymous  

      Mental incompetence is strictly defined in law as involuntarily committed to a mental institution as a danger to themself or others. This is why the VA Tech shooter was able to buy a gun with a background check. The bleeding heart judge decided not to involuntarily commit him even though he should have.

      Major depression is not mentally incompetent. Major depression is not “a danger to themself or others.”

      As for my “laissez-faire” attitude, until you can show me proof that any restrictions on gun purchase and ownership have a net positive effect upon violent crime rates, then I will not agree with them. The problem is not gun ownership, gun use, or gun carry. The problem is criminals murdering people with or without guns, usually over drugs. Go spend some time with your local cops and find out how many murders in this country are “crimes of passion” versus business disputes between recreational pharmaceutical distributers. It’s time to solve the problem instead of treating the symptoms.

      • Anonymous  

        Sean wrote:  Major depression is not mentally incompetent. Major depression is not “a danger to themself or others.”

        One of the screening questions physicians use for depression concerns suicidal or homicidal ideations.  And it’s not because people in major depressive episodes tend towards the rational.

        I have done plenty of cop ride-alongs, thanks (I’m a forensic anthropology major).  The majority of in-home shooting accidents come from children fooling around with weapons that are not properly secured.  http://library.med.utah.edu/WebPath/TUTORIAL/GUNS/GUNSTAT.html

        Again, I am a gun owner and grew up in a household of hunters.  I am not talking through my hat, but about actual facts.

        • Anonymous  

          “One of the screening questions physicians use for depression concerns suicidal or homicidal ideations.”

          yep. Are you a danger to yourself or to others.

          “The majority of in-home shooting accidents come from children fooling around with weapons that are not properly secured.”

          that’s fine, but what does it prove? Heller threw out any requirement to store a firearm in a condition that would make it difficult to use in a self defense situation. Plus, I have no kids. Why should I care if my gun is secured in a way that makes it “safe” for kids?

          If you are a forensic anthropology major, please tell me what the link is between drugs, gangs, and murder is in this country. I think that if you are honest, you will discover that the majority of murders are drug and gang related, and have nothing whatsoever to do with how I store my firearm, how and where I carry my firearm, nor what type or how many firearms I am allowed to purchase. People who kill are not like you and me. They are generally hardened criminals with prior records making it a crime for them to possess a firearm. Focus on the problem, not the symptom.

          • Anonymous  

            Forensic anthropology involves bodies that have been dead for a while, Sean.  Just so you know.

            Other than saying that I think it’s irrational to be afraid to go to the store without a gun, I have never said anything even remotely against responsible gun ownership — or implied that criminals are the same as responsible owners.  Perhaps YOU, sir, should read for comprehension instead of what you want to see.

          • Anonymous  

            Who said I was afraid? You did. That’s called projection. You presumed that because I carry a gun that I am afraid. You are projecting your feelings on me. I think it is you that is afraid.

          • Anonymous  

            No, Sean.  The other poster said she was afraid to go to WalMart without a gun — and that was what I was referring to as irrational.  Again, you really need to read for comprehension.

          • Anonymous  

            Since what she said was “My loud yappy dog isn’t going to help me when people are getting abducted at high noon from the walmart parking lot.” Maybe it’s you that need to read for comprehension. She’s speaking of a specific occurrence.
            And a yappy dog does you no good at all in the Walmart parking lot or anywhere else. The dog merely alerts you to the presence of a threat. How you handle that threat remains the same. Call 911, draw your weapon, and keep yourself alive until the cops show up. If the home invader or kidnapper is dead by then, too bad for him.

          • Anonymous  

            Sean wrote:  How you handle that threat remains the same. Call 911, draw your weapon,
            and keep yourself alive until the cops show up. If the home invader or
            kidnapper is dead by then, too bad for him.

            First, I originally asked the poster if she felt she needed to have a gun to go to WalMart and she said *yes.*  This is an irrational response to a rare occurrence.  Unless people are being abducted every single day from the WalMart, the idea that you have to be armed to buy Minute Rice is, indeed, irrational.  If people are being abducted there on a daily basis, there is a problem at the site far greater than gun ownership will resolve.

            To respond to this specific comment I quoted above:  Sure.  If it’s you.  Or me.  Or someone else who is experienced with weapons.  However, the chances that an inexperienced twit (there, I said it) who thinks that the mere presence of a weapon in their home functions as a deterrent is likely to find themselves relieved of that weapon by the intruder and have it used against them. 

            We can agree to disagree as to whether the regulations discussed here (and with which the NRA, Hunter Safety Association and numerous other gun lobbies happen to agree) are valid … because you are never going to see anything beyond the end of your trigger finger. 🙁

          • Anonymous  

            And here you try the “Well, you are ok, but it’s the ‘Other Guy’ I’m worried about” fallacy.
            Please point to the statistics in the 39 (40 with Wisconsin) Shall Issue states where concealed handgun carriers are careless or unsafe. Oh, sorry, you can’t. You imagine that there are legions of unsafe, careless, or just plain stupid concealed carriers out there, but the reality is that they don’t exist.
            Maybe it would be a good idea to acquaint yourself with the reality of the concealed carry situation before you try to attack us as careless, unsafe, untrained, or dangerous. The facts aren’t on your side.
            So, since carrying to a Wal-Mart is “irrational” because these kidnapping things are rare, when do you suggest that she carry? Because it sounds very much like what you are saying is that if it’s dangerous enough to carry, don’t go, and if it isn’t dangerous enough to carry, don’t carry. Do you have a crystal ball that will tell you the future? Because if you do, you should take it to Vegas and make some money. My crystal ball is broken. I’m going to carry whenever I legally can, wherever I legally can. That neatly solves the problem of you being unable to tell my future.
            You can take whatever risks you like with your life. That’s the beauty of this. I’m pro-choice when it comes to self defense. You can defend yourself or not. Of course, I hope that you don’t have kids or anyone else that depends upon you. It’s one thing to decide that you don’t care to defend your own life, but I think it’s pretty selfish to decide not to protect the lives of those who depend upon you. Then you compound it by telling “damia” not to protect her own life because you want a gun free Wal-Mart. That’s selfish.

          • Anonymous  

            My parents both have concealed-carry permits because of their business; I a intimately acquainted with the requirements, thanks.

            Not that it’s any of your business, but I don’t have kids — which makes me glad they can’t go to your home where guns apparently lie out willy-nilly since you don’t care who gets to them.

            OTOH, if you come to my house, you won’t be able to get into the locked gun case.  Hooray all the way around.

            I think it’s irrational to be afraid to go to the store unarmed, absolutely — I don’t walk in fear. If that makes me selfish in the eyes of some jerk on the internet, I’m pretty sure I can live with the pain.

            Nice move of the goal-post on your part, though; not one word about concealed carry in my post or any of your previous ones, but you had to make it look like I said that. I said ‘inexperienced gun owner,’ and you know it. Thanks for proving Bruce’s point that you accuse people of saying things they didn’t.

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  • Lee Hilliard  

    In your last paragraph, you hope that we all agree on who is allowed to own a handgun in the United States.  Well, federally, no one can purchase a new handgun through an ATF licensed dealer, who is required by law to complete form 4473 and submit the results of that form to the FBI.  This national background check came about as a result of the Brady Bill.  State wise, many states allow 18 year olds to purchase through a private transaction, a handgun. So it seems we’ve agreed through federal and state law who may own a handgun.  Oh, I see, you wish to further restrict an individual’s natural right to self defense.  Might I suggest you walk a mile or one hundred in the shoes of a gun owner.  Then come back and advocate for the same things you’re doing now. 

  • Kathy  

    I shared your video and comments with a friend who used to live the streets and whose two sons were killed fifteen years apart – one for his moped and the other because he didn’t have any cash.  He teared up at the video’s stories like his, but asserts that these rules aren’t going to solve the problem.  [Note: I hold your view, Bruce.  I share these views to expand the discussion]

    1. Kids know where parent’s guns are; most murders are done by kids.  If parents have guns that are not locked up or the kid knows the combo/password….2. No one with a criminal record is going into gun stores trying to buy guns anymore.  They pay someone else to do it for them at double the price of the gun.  This is common at gun shows.  Some of these “shoppers” will follow the shows from state to state to purchase guns from a variety of areas for their clients. 3. There are some dealers, who because of debt, set up their own stores to be robbed.  Thieves disable the burglary system, get the guns.  The dealer gets the insurance claim and sets up shop somewhere else.  Once cooperating with the dark side, it is almost impossible to go straight, again.  They may even have family members who try this elsewhere.  The retailer code only works if the retailer wants it to work. 4. Guns are somewhat like alcohol in prohibition.  If you can’t have it, then you feel have to have it.  We have a society of compulsive behavior issues.  And we have collectors, who compulsively build huge collections and have racks of guns that are too easily stolen in a break-in.5. Guns can easily be purchased on the streets in Canada and Mexico.  The lore is that drugs will be stopped and taken at border crossings, but that guns are allowed to cross.  Souvenir guns are brought from Afghanistan, etc.  
    6. With little difficulty, guns can be purchased in US cities.  The weapon may be dirty (already used in some crime) or clean, but the buyer takes a risk in the purchase.  These weapons are never registered. 

    7. Felons who get caught in the possession of any firearm face a stiff penalty of 20 years in prison (this is not “in the act” of any other offense – just having the gun).  If that same penalty was enacted against any citizen caught in possession of an unregistered firearm, so that s/he faced that same amount of time as the felon, illegal gun possession would drop.

    For the first time, my friend is celebrating the 4th of July in a community (outside of a big city) where he doesn’t need to fear gunshots while watching fireworks.   

    • Conlaw Bloganon  

      You truly speak as one of those ardent anti-constitutionalists who has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

      I’m going to guess that you’ve never been to a gun show. I’m also going to go out on a limb and suggest that you don’t have any facts to back up your points numbers 1, 2, or 3. In fact, this sounds like the mumbo jumbo nonsense that gets circulated in chain mail.


    • Jim  

      Gosh, Kathy- there’s sure a lot of hypothesis there, but not one fact anywhere to back up your statements. Oh, right: you listen to what the Southern Preposterous Lie Center espouses. Sorry, my errot.

  • A.Y. Siu  

    I’m troubled by this notion that both pro- and anti-gun people bring up of “good people” and “bad people” with regard to guns. Yes, certainly, members of organized crime will find lethal weapons through their own underground channels, but a lot of the murders (and also accidental deaths) that make the news are from “good people” who bought guns ostensibly to protect themselves from “bad people” and then ended up using them in a fit of rage or by just not being careful.

    Yes, it’s true that you can murder someone with a knife or a rope, a gun is far more instantaneous, allows you to be physically distanced from the person you’re harming, and does not require as much physical strength to do damage. Guns are especially dangerous tools of destruction because the ratio of damage to effort-to-trigger is so high.

    The other thing is that the second amendment does mention a well-regulated militia. It doesn’t say anyone has the right to just have a gun at any time for any reason.

    • Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hel  

      Ordinary people who do not have problems with impulse control and who do not exhibit sociopathic tendencies do not suddenly turn into murderers because of the presence of a gun. The vast majority of gun owners fit into that category, and the vast majority of those gun owners will never murder someone or kill someone by accident or negligence.

    • Charley Vu  

      First of all – the Bill of Rights does NOT “grant” you rights.  It is a document telling the government what it cannot do to you, the individual.

      The Second Amendment is written as such:
      “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

      If there were any exceptions to this – it would have been stated very clearly.

      The Heller court even stated in of itself that well-regulated meant “well-trained.”

      and if they wanted to leave out “The people” – they would have done so too.

      But they specifically mentioned “the people” – not “The State.”  Of course they mentioned The State but it’s the right of the PEOPLE.

    • SteveA  

      Sorry you obviously did NOT read the US Supreme court ruling on this. The 2nd amendment right is an individual right afforded to every american.

    • SteveA  

      what good points? It shows her lack of knowledge of the subject.

    • Charley Vu  

      Fear is present in everyone at various points in time.

      Did you buckle your seatbelt today?

      Wear a bike helmet?

      See a physician?

      You feared death enough to do any of these above things.

      The better question is, does it affect your ability to be happy, to keep good company, to not be a danger to others?

      If it doesn’t – there really is nothing wrong with whatever you choose to do.

      It would be pretty obvious if a concealed carrier “lived in fear” – as you say.  But first in order to prove it, you’d actually need to pick out a concealed carrier.  If you know where to look.

  • Tnorona  

    You obviously don’t know anything about buying a gun in the US. Maybe you should buy only so you know how it works before write about it. Your first 3 ideas will not work. I sell thousands of guns every year and very rarely do you see “the bad guy”, come in and buy a gun. They find those guns on the streets, steal them, what ever. It is impossible to purchase a firearm with a fake I’D. in Nevada when a background check is called in, you must give information from the drivers license. If something does not look right they start to ask questions. The I’D must be a state or federal issued photo with your physical address. No PO box. The background check form is a federal document that you sign and date, if you lie you perger yourself. Any responsible shop already does background checks. Wallmart is not the standard that you should compare to. Their employees are not very smart, I have purchased guns from walmart. Our shop does not sell guns that that are delayed and then unresolved. Walmart and mont other big box stores do release guns after that. In Nevada the buyer can contact the state and legally fix the issue.

    • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

      @470911d00326c4e09533f65c3bbca78c:disqus Thank you for commenting and for being a responsible gun seller. Yes, you are correct in that I have never bought a gun, but these are also not MY ideas but a code that comes from people that I respect and trust.  One thing that they also talk about are gun shows and how guns are sold there.  Do you think this is a different problem and should addressed different?  Or . . . not a problem at all?

      • Tnorona  

        Gun shows are different. There is no control Unless you are a dealer. A dealer must follow the same rules at a gun show that are followed in a gunshop. Person to person sales are not controlled. The so called “loop hole” will be closed someday. There is no doubt that restricted persons are buying guns there, but they are being sold by irresponsible sellers and illegal buyers. I used to work gunshows also. I always checked for a Nevada I’D, which was my only requirement for age and residency.

        The issue is that criminals do not follow the law. That is the only issue. You will have a really tough time getting rid of guns. They are here to stay. I realize that is horrible for some people, but since they are hear to stay let’s focus on what to do about it. Put criminals in jail. Leave them there.

      • Tnorona  

        How would the millions of unregistered guns become registered? Many older firearms don’t even have serial numbers. The people buying guns for restricted persons are also criminals, it’s called a “straw buy”. It’s is still an illegal act. The dealers who sell guns illegally are criminals too. It always comes down to criminals, not following the law. Enforcement is the only way this is going to work.

      • Bruce Reyes-Chow  

        @d3a74cdf0ad9797d89ccd0ca851a18ef:disqus Thanks for sharing this.  This is so hard, especially for those who have lost loved one. I know after our family member was shot, there was little sense of wanting revenge, while others that is all that is wanted. And when it comes to “what now” the spectrum is just as wide.  I suspect that a “both and ” strategy is important . . . and persistence.

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