53 thoughts on “Eugene Volokh’s Gun Thoughts

  1. Der Schtumpy

    The idea that the Left has about MORE gun laws being necessary or effective is shot down, pun intended, by gun laws in Chicago / Cook County vs the STATE of Texas.

    Chicago / Cook County has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. Currently they are averaging 10 gun incidents per DAY.

    In the entire STATE of Texas where they have about as few gun laws as anywhere in the country, they aren’t averaging 10 gun incidents in a week. And if I’m not mistaken CCH carriers CAN carry into schools, even the teachers and support staff.

    So the question begs, do we solve the problem of following the examples of more gun laws and FEWER legal guns, like in Chicago / Cook County? Or do we go with fewer gun laws and MORE legal guns, like in the STATE of Texas.

    I also heard today, about THE best argument against the MSM angle on this issue that I’ve ever heard.

    The MSM being largely Left leaning in their attitudes about guns is always saying the Founders never ‘imagined’ semi-auto, large capacity magazines and because of that, the ‘right’ to own modern guns should be scaled to meet what the Founders had access to ‘imagine’.

    OK, then how about we scale back on the MSM’s 1st Amendment access to TV, radio, the internet, national and international news reports, blah, blah, blah. How about if ALL the MSM pukes working in MODERN media that the Founders couldn’t have ‘imagined’, just have to shut down. Let them go back to hand set type and soap boxes in the parks, town criers etc.

    If the MSM will do that, I’ll carry a Brown Bess, a flint lock pistol and a sword. But I’ll carry then ANYWHERE and ANYTIME that I want, there will be NO bans in NYC, LA, Chicago, nor in churches, hospitals SCHOOLS…and then we’ll see what the murder rate is.

    Of course we’d also have to reinstate dueling as a matter of honor also. If we’re going to go back to the beginning, we’re ALL going back and in like manner!

    (countdown before someone asks about reinstating slavery too…6…5…4….3…)

  2. Jim

    The assault weapons ban does seem like an odd response. There have been mass shootings with semi-auto handguns and revolvers. To make mass shootings physically impractical you’d want to ban any gun that can fire more than one bullet every few seconds (i.e. virtually every gun in circulation today). A would-be spree shooter could still carry a bunch of loaded handguns, but even then he’d be much less lethal than if he had a Glock.

    It’s hard to imagine Congress going that far, even if there continue to be regular mass shootings.

    1. Der Schtumpy

      Jim,
      Newtown was done with hand guns, that’s why the semi-auto and ‘assault weapons’ outcry is so nutsoid!

      1. Jim

        Actually, the reports are that he used a rifle for all the shooting at the school, except for shooting himself.

        1. Larry J

          The reports since last Friday have been very conflicting. At this point, I’m not sure if any of them are accurate.

    2. Cecil Trotter

      No ban of any weapon will have any effect unless you also forcefully confiscate all of the weapons of the type you want banned that are already in circulation.

      And even then there will be at least 2 major problems with that strategy. First, it will be physically impossible to locate and retrieve all such weapons and the vast majority that are not located will be in the hands of criminals. Second and most importantly, attempts at forceful confiscation will be resisted with such ferocity that civil war would be almost inevitable.

      That is why bans of any kind are stupid and ineffective.

      1. Jim

        After the 1996 Port Arthur massacre Australia banned semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and bought back the ones in circulation. They haven’t had a similar mass shooting since then.

        1. Cecil Trotter

          And pre ban less than 10% of Aussies owned guns. Estimates are that between 40-50% of Americans own at least one gun.

          Now, tell me again how Australia’s situation compares to ours?

        2. Cecil Trotter

          You say harder, I say impossible. The results of prohibition and the war on drugs tends to prove my position to be correct.

  3. M Puckett

    The number one weapon these shooters have are the buildings themselves.

    The number two is disarmed individuals.

    They like targets that are dense and trapped that cannot effectively respond.

    Fix two of those three and you can stop these.

    1. Der Schtumpy

      Trained, armed, volunteers, just like the trained volunteers who work in classrooms and libraries.

      There are plenty of us out thre who would do that.

      But there have to be teachers who have a CCH in CT. Or, add that to their continuing education credits. One trained person could have stopped or chased off this killer. given that he shot his mother as she slept and that he went to a school and shot mostly children, courage was NOT his strong suit.

      Give trained, armed teachers and support staff $500 to $1000 to offset guns, ammo, CCH classes, practice. Solving this problem isn’t that hard.

      It just takes the courage to buck the ‘we need MORE gun laws’ tide.

  4. M Puckett

    “A would-be spree shooter could still carry a bunch of loaded handguns, but even then he’d be much less lethal than if he had a Glock.”

    Jim, that is absurdly easy to debunk. I am gonna let you do it yourself by assigning homework:

    1) How many Adults did Cho kill at VT and was the number greater than both Adult and Child at Sandy Hook Elementary.

    2) Did Cho use an AR-15 pattern rfle or a compact model Glock Pistol as his main weapon?

    Again, the main factor is the structure and the fact the victims were denied an effective means to resist.

  5. M Puckett

    Ok, I misread your post. You are going to argue a sack full of .357 revolvers (they come in 8 shot models BTW) is less lethal than a 9MM pistol that holds 15 rounds?

    Here is some other homework, google Jerry Miculeck and revolver.

    Also, Bob Munden with a common 19th century pistol:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRXXxQ1OuDc

    1. Der Schtumpy

      You’re right, you don’t need a bunch of guns to cause mayhem.

      I’ve got a buddy who used to do revolver competitions and he used combat speed loaders for his .38 snub nose. It took him longer to do that than it does to drop and slam in a new clip, but it’s still fast.

      And he had a belt that held 7 or 8 loaders, a ‘bag’ would work too though. That would still put 40 to 50 shots on that nuts hands in CT last week if semi-auto pistol were verbotten. It would have slowed him down, but no one stopped him, when he reloaded, with what he had ANYWAY so what would a change in gun types change in the outcome?

    2. Jim

      a sack full of .357 revolvers (they come in 8 shot models BTW)

      I’m not talking about revolvers. I’m talking about guns specifically engineered to have a low (say, one shot every ten seconds) rate of fire. Such guns do not exist today — who would buy a gun that intentionally restricts their rate of fire, when there are unrestricted alternatives?

      But “slow guns” are technically feasible, and if they were the only guns that private individuals could own legally, their low rate of fire would be a serious obstacle to future spree killers. It’d be a lot easier to rush a shooter, or run away, if you knew that you had ten seconds before his gun would be ready to fire again.

      1. Larry J

        While slow guns might be technically feasible, what do you do with the tens of millions of existing firearms (some say 300 million) already in existence?

          1. Rick C

            Gun-control advocate: “I wish you gun nuts would just pack up and leave and start your own country.”

            Gun owner: “We did. Who the hell let you in?”

        1. Jim

          In Australia they had a buy-back period (a year, I believe) during which the government bought about-to-be-banned guns. After that it became illegal to possess them.

          It would be very expensive to buy up every gun in existence today, but not impossible. Think of it as a stimulus measure: lots of cash in people’s pockets to go spend on new slow guns, or other things.

          1. Mark Turner

            Jim, just think how stimulative the trillions of dollars in infrastructure replacement will be after the civil war it provokes!

            It would be american urban renewal on a scale never contemplated.

      2. Cecil Trotter

        Please explain how you’re going to collect all the high rate of fire weapons in existence and replace them with these 18th century firearms you prefer?

      3. Josh Reiter

        You could make a Rube Goldberg gun if you wanted but someone would figure out how to hack it to bypass all the interlocks. But I suppose the answer to this would be to just make it illegal to bypass the interlocks and then there’d be nothing to worry about……

        1. Jim

          Yes, someone with gunsmith skills could modify a slow gun to not be slow, although you could make it difficult (e.g. slow guns could be designed only hold one round at a time, so in the worst case you’re still reloading after each shot). Or he could buy or steal a black market fast gun. But at least the would-be shooter would have to have more skills, more money, and take more risks in order to make himself as lethal as any adult can easily and legally make himself today.

          1. Cecil Trotter

            “More skills, more money and more risks” describes criminals, so you agree that your plan would result in only law abiding people being disarmed?

          2. Gregg

            And what do you do, as a citizen legally allowed to carry such one shot guns, when faced with a criminal who is pointing a 10 round semi-automatic at your head?

            Because, you see, the criminal, by definition, isn’t going to worry overmuch about gun law limitations.

          3. ken anthony

            So let me get this straight Jim. You want law abiding people to protect themselves with pea shooters and criminals (everybody without a pea shooter because… they’re criminals) to now have unlimited defense free zones?

            Instead of what works… lots of armed adults.

      4. Thales

        I’m talking about guns specifically engineered to have a low (say, one shot every ten seconds) rate of fire. Such guns do not exist today — who would buy a gun that intentionally restricts their rate of fire, when there are unrestricted alternatives?

        Indeed, it is a stupid concept. Who would buy such a “weapon”? More importantly, who would tool-up and make them? People are just going to stick with the actual weapons they learned to use during uniformed service. Just try to ban them; see what happens. I dare you.

  6. Godzilla

    The ancient equivalent of a machine gun in terms of lethality would be a cannon with grapeshot. Were citizens allowed to own those back then or not?

    The line must be drawn somewhere. Are citizens allowed the ownership of nuclear weapons, tanks, artillery, RPGs, machine guns, etc? At least restricting the amount of ammo or cartridge size make more sense than most of the proposed bans I have heard bandied around.

    There was a shooting in a Texas movie theater a day ago and it was a security guard who stopped him. So much for the theory of armed citizens defending themselves.

    You can’t compare large city crime with small city crime.

    1. M Puckett

      “There was a shooting in a Texas movie theater a day ago and it was a security guard who stopped him. So much for the theory of armed citizens defending themselves.”

      I guess you hear the Clackamas Shooter was apparently stopped by a CCWing Citizen?

      BTW, I would consider a Security Guard an armed Citizen. He is not Law Enforcement.

    2. M Puckett

      “The ancient equivalent of a machine gun in terms of lethality would be a cannon with grapeshot. Were citizens allowed to own those back then or not?”

      Yes, up to and including armed warships aka ‘Privateers’!

        1. Larry J

          Which meant they were authorized by the Constitution (Article 1, Section 8) to own private warships. Those warships were armed with cannons, among other things.

        2. Peterh

          My understanding of Letters of Marque was they authorized acts of war against selected targets, not the ownership of the weapons themselves. Carrying weapons and using them against an aggressor needed no license. Of course a hoplophobe leftie would argue otherwise.

          1. Cecil Trotter

            I beleive private merchant vessels of the day were often armed with small cannon, without any sort of license.

        3. M Puckett

          “Privateers had Letters of Marque.”

          They have the ship and the cannor first or they are pretty useless. That is like saying you need a shipping manifest before you can buy a truck. I think I would tend to hire a shipper that already possessed a truck.

    3. ken anthony

      restricting the amount of ammo or cartridge size make more sense

      Then you haven’t been paying attention to the discussion. Two groups of people: those defending themselves and criminals. The law doesn’t say, criminals alone must not have large capacity magazines. So people that may need those magazines but will comply with the law may find themselves facing a bad guy without any ammo remaining (it’s not the bad guy that’s out of ammo.)

      It takes very little skill to make a high capacity mag (you start with a little one and cut it up.) Or a new use for 3D printing (even a plastic mag will do.)

      “So how many mags would you like with your illegal drug purchase?”

  7. Der Schtumpy

    Godzilla,
    at the start of our country AND under the King, citizens COULD own cannons. So long as they had the money, they owned what they wanted to own.

    How do you know ANYONE in that theater had a gun? And how many theaters, even in TX, has an armed guard? Here in NC, any place that you have to pay to gain access, is a No Guns zone. And NONE of them have armed guards.

    There are instances everyday in our country where armed citizens defend themselves using firearms. But thanks to the lefty MSM you’ve gotta really dig to find them.

    And you can’t compare small cities and large cities, but you can do per capita crime rates, hell the DNC uses those for ANTI-gun stuff all the time. But you can compare large city crime to small city crime. Compare Dallas – Fort Worth metro to Cook County / Chicago.

    The rabid anti-gun laws in Cook County / Chicago aren’t doing anything to combat gun crime. They’re averaging more gun incidents there daily, than Dallas – Ft. Worth is weekly In fact the entire state of TX has fewer gun crimes in a week than Cook County / Chicago does in a day. That’s very telling I think.

    More laws, fewer legal guns = more crime vs fewer laws, more legal guns = less crime and the numbers consistently come out that way.

    The bottom line Godzilla is that not one person has ever been able to explain to me how taking my guns or limiting my access to ammunition will solve gun crimes in NYC, LA, Nawlins, Chicago, etc, etc, etc. And for damned sure doing those things hasn’t solved the issue IN those places.

    1. Peterh

      As for the rate at which firearms are used for self defense, it should be noted that not every case will involve the weapon being discharged, let alone hitting the perp. The credible threat alone may be enough to change the perps mind. Instances where the perp is not shot may well be under reported or even excluded from statistics.

  8. Larry J

    The guy didn’t kill his mother and 26 innocent people at the school because of the guns. He killed those innocent people because he was mentally ill, just like the guy who shot Congresswoman Giffords and the guy who killed all those students at Virgina Tech and most, if not all, other mass shootings.

    Addressing the issue of people who’re mentally ill and pose a danger to others while preventing the abuses of the past is a serious and difficult issue. But hey, let’s write yet another law controlling inanimate objects instead to say we’re doing something. That approach has worked so well in the past, hasn’t it?

    Einstein said that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different outcome. By that definition, I suppose those advocating yet more gun control are insane which might explain why they don’t want to address the issue of mental illness.

    1. Jim

      Do you have a proposal for how we could treat mental illness differently, that would result in fewer mass shootings?

      I don’t think we have more crazy people than other countries. We have more mass shootings than other countries because our crazy people, just like our sane people, have easier access to guns.

      1. Larry J

        No, I don’t. This is a very difficult issue in no small part due to the abuses of the mentally ill in the past. We have to balance the conflicting needs to protect the civil liberties of patients with protection of society from that very small percentage mentally ill people who pose a danger to others or themselves.

        I do have some ideas to add to the discussion. We do need to be able to commit people against their will but that should be balanced with outside review by people who don’t have a conflict of interest. By that, I mean every involuntary commitment case needs to go before a review board within a short amount of time, say 96 hours, and that board can not consist of people who benefit financially from keeping people committed, perhaps on a parole board model. Involuntary commitment should be only for serious cases and not just by anyone.

        Mass deinstitutionalizing the mentally ill has done a disservice to them and to society as a whole. Many of them are able to lead pretty normal lives when they stay on their medication but many also lack the ability to do that. One of the difficulties with mental illness is that it disrupts the thought processes so making informed or rational decisions becomes difficult if not impossible. Many of the homeless are mentally ill and so are a significant percentage of people in prisons. We aren’t doing right by those people. Maybe some short of halfway house residency program for those people who don’t pose a danger but also lack a family support system to help them stay on their medication would help.

        These are just some ideas from a layman. People with more experience in this issue can no doubt come up with better alternatives. What we have no is not working and simply passing more gun control laws won’t work either. This is the discussion we as a society need to have.

      2. George Turner

        I’m not sure about the premise that we have more mass shootings, per capita. The list of school shootings someone posted had the US at 17, Germany at 8, and Canada at 2,which by population would indicate that we’re low to normal, and also provides a hint that a lower rate of firearms possession dosn’t do much of anything about the incidents.

        Making each shooter world famous can’t be helping, although in many cases the shooter has a very local or personal focus. Not all of them are even mentally ill by most measures, such as the Bath bomber who was determined to make is town suffer for not electing him to a city office. No proposal would stop somone like the Korean cop who put on his uniform and spent hours methodically killing people.

        There are simple things we could do to mitigate some of the damage, hardening the targets and teaching coordinated counter attack as a response, but those wouldn’t be very effective against something like random suicide bombers. You could rig mental patients with an implant that dispenses a strong sedative triggered by any authorized cellphone, giving targets a shutdown command, but crazy people would start their attack by digging the device out with a pocket knife, and nobody would go for the idea anyway.

        It may be a problem with no solutions, which we have to accept just like all the other statistical ways of dying, like accidental drowning, falls, and choking on a pretzel.

        1. Leland

          I’m not sure about the premise that we have more mass shootings, per capita.

          It’s just another of the many uncited strawmen Jim makes. Let it burn.

          1. f1b0nacc1

            You are not being fair. A lot of the time Jim dispesnes high-grade nonsense, but in the several threads on this subject, he has been restrained and reasonable. I don’t agree with him, but he has at least demonstrated a willingness to enter into intelligent discourse. Lets encourage that… We don’t need groupthink, and intelligent dissent is a service to us all…

          2. Leland

            Alas, it is still an uncited strawman. I have no desire to encourage unfounded assertions, particularly ones debunked in the previous thread.

      3. Rick C

        “Do you have a proposal for how we could treat mental illness differently, that would result in fewer mass shootings?”

        Sure, Jim. Let’s talk about the idea of banning mentally ill people for a moment. You know that most of these mass shooters are mentally ill, and when it comes out who they are, everyone who knows them has known for a long time they had issues. So, if someone’s got a history of acting weird and threatening, maybe we can just lock him up for his own good. It’s kind of like an assault weapon ban, you might say.

      4. f1b0nacc1

        Yes, lets roll back a big chunk of the ‘rights’ of the mentally disabled from the 1960s, and then get away from the notion of treating EVIL as a mental illness. As several other commenters have pointed out, we did the mentally ill a HUGE disservice by deinstitutionalizing them, and the rise of ‘advocates’ (typically liberal social workers who don’t have to live with the consequences of their idealism) has made fixing that mistake virtually impossible. The sooner we reject that line of thinking and return to a policy of HUMANE institutionalization (we don’t have to return to the snake pits), the better this will be for all of us….

      5. ken anthony

        Do you have a proposal?…

        Yes. If you or the people around you may be shot… arm yourself and learn to shoot back. This is not rocket science.

        It’s no more difficult than that. No handwringing required.

    2. f1b0nacc1

      Has anyone considered the possibility that this guy was simply evil? He killed 20 children….that is evil in my book…

      As long as we keep treating this sort of thing as a question of mental illness, we open the doors to those who want to make it yet another extension of the nanny state, and we remove an important part of society’s defense against such individuals.

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