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Gun Control


Thursday, January 3, 2013
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Thanks to Nick Welsh for his comprehensive article on firearm issues. The weapons referred to in the Second Amendment have progressed from one-shot muskets to assault weapons firing multiple rounds, probably not what author James Madison envisioned. Guns are better described as dangerous instruments designed to kill and consistently re-designed to kill more efficiently. I believe humans are not designed to kill. We are guessing there are 300 million guns in our country. We are prevented from knowing. Because of so many guns, many of us are realizing we are not safe. We have annual auto registration. Why would a legal gun owner object to registering firearms? The fact that the December issue of Sports Illustrated’s last page essay, “After Newtown: Change Has Gotta Come,” by Gary Smith, focuses entirely on guns and violence indicates America is finally paying attention to the daily tragedies of gun violence. — Toni Wellen, Santa Barbara Coalition Against Gun Violence

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There have been a bunch of letters in the press recently calling for gun control. The essence of the problem is guns in the hands of the mentally ill. The solution is not infringement on the Second Amendment, but rather requiring background checks which include a voluntary mental evaluation. Thanks to overzealous [protection of the] privacy rights of the mentally ill, today there are mentally unstable people who have not been diagnosed able to purchase firearms. We need to acknowledge the threat these people pose to society. Don’t blame the NRA. Blame the ACLU. — Michael Sanchez, S.B.

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Independent Discussion Guidelines

My opposition to registration of firearms is that it goes against the spirit, if not the letter of the Second Amendment.
Also, why make it easier for Big Brother to confiscate firearms so that citizens are powerless to defend themselves

winddancer1562 (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 9:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I am trying to comprehend your point, winddancer1562. No one has suggested violating your sacred Second Amendment. You fail to address, or even acknowledge, Toni Wellen's clear point that what James Madison & the authors of that Amendment were protecting were "one-shot muskets" and bored rifles for hunting [it was 1791], not the lethal-firepower semi-automatic weapons of 2013. "Spray" and "single-shot" are quite different in a crowded theater or elementary school.
Can you see that in 222 years and with 310,000,000 inhabitants now there have to be some major adjustments? Better mental health care evaluation and registration, as Mr. Sanchez stresses, are also needed, hand in hand with much tighter registration of our current weapons of crowd destruction. When you use the term "firearm" this is from the Second Amendment, winddancer1562, but the definition of that term has morphed so greatly we have to utilize more careful and wide-ranging terms like: assault weapons, semi-automatic rifles (like the Bushmaster recently used so effectively and horribly), Glocks et al.
One problem with Mr. Sanchez's worry that "today there are mentally unstable people who have not been diagnosed able to purchase firearms" -- is his idea we have to know WHO these people are. But this brings in government, and that very registration and CONTROL by government which is a prime worry of the Second Amendment zealots. I share this to some degree, refusing even to own or use a cell phone.
We have to register and control mentally incompetent people and register and heavily control assault weapons (the ones that spray). Thank you for this letter, Ms. Wellen.
The ACLU and NRA be damned!

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 10:21 a.m. (Suggest removal)

The argument that there is a net positive effect by civilians having guns for self-protection is questionable but it is not ridiculous. Trained and armed civilians have prevented crimes from progressing. Other times, the presence of the gun may, pardon the pun, backfire and cause more harm than good. The latter can happen to very skilled and experienced people, as it did to Peter Blake when he tried to protect his crew and boat from intruders – of several people on the boat, he was the only one to resist and the only one killed. Another way having a gun can backfire is if it is stored incorrectly so that it is stolen, or misused by a child who stumbles upon it. Did Adam Lanza’s mother store her weapons properly? In any case, these type problems may arguably be minimized to reasonable levels by proper training.

The thought that guns in the hands of civilians will somehow give protection against a government run amok is ludicrous in the extreme. When the 2nd amendment was written, soldiers and civilians used essentially the same weapons so it was reasonable to imagine effective civilian resistance to a tyrannical government. That’s not even close to true today. If our military were dedicated to subduing any civilian population the result would be assured, and use of guns against such a force would result in certain death. The only way to control our government is by participating in it.

I don’t advocate any plans to take reasonable guns from law-abiding citizens. I do think, as many have said, that things must change. What kinds of things? 1. Gun ownership should require basic competency – certified by an independent group, preferably a local one. Let’s even classify our local group as a ‘well-regulated militia.’ Veterans may make the best trainers and certifiers, and they should be included. 2. There needs to be limits on the type of arms civilians can own. No one should have an operational howitzer in their backyard or a 50 cal on their SUV, for example, not to mention bombs and chemical/biological weapons. And there’s really no reason for civilians to have the type of weapons that fire many rounds per second, ones that may have allowed the Newtown shooter to quickly place multiple bullets in each of his 26 victims. Let’s outlaw such overkill weapons and the manufacture of the associated ammo. 3. Here’s the tough and most important one: we need to find ways to repair and strengthen the fabric of our community. By definition every one outside a group is an outsider. But many of the factions that have formed within our rapidly changing society have become so insulated from each other that they dehumanize their fellow citizens. This trend has to be reversed, and the polarization between elements of our society has to be reduced to reasonable levels. We have to learn to treat each other with civility. This won’t come from government or a corporation or the NRA or the ACLU; individuals have to want it.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 11:33 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Excellent levity hodgmo and I agree that this is a problem that clearly cannot be solved by myopic advocates or limp wristed politicians; only the vox populi can prevail.
It should be noted that the Founding Fathers did not anticipate the internet, cell phones, and any electronic media for information dissemination when they codified the right to free speech as well. But of course everyone who hates or loves the second amendment thinks it's different than all of it's mates. Sure guns kill people but the Founders would not recognize anything about this country, including the massive role that government now plays in all aspects of our personal lives. Perhaps being an immigrant, and voraciously reading the history of this country when I was studying for citizenship and reading the intense discussions that took place between those favoring Federal control vs. State control give me a different perspective.

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 1:36 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Wow, so apparently people don't even realize the founding of our country and WHY we have the second amendment. To protect from a tyrannical government, protect from foreign invasion and protect yourself or a fellow citizen from another citizen. When you look at the state's constitutions, they clearly state the armed militia (armed citizens) must be stronger than the government (military) to protect our country from a tyrannical government.

Stop blaming the guns for murderers, mass killers, etc. and start looking at what has changed over the past 20 years. We have had surplus since after WWII, parents are not home, kids are left on their own with TV and video games and the community has stopped getting involved. We are raising children who have no personal relationships, nobody to look up to other than the guy on the big screen shooting up people and there is nobody there to notice when someone is mentally unstable. Until we can look at ourselves and see how maybe we are creating these lunatics, we will have no peace. Also, take a look at what the media reports on vs. what actually happens. When was the last time you saw reports on how an armed civilian saved lives? Stopped a burglary? Stopped a mass shooting? Never. You have to search for them. When will we wake up and realize we need to take personal responsibility for these actions?!

Muggy (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 2:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Muggy, as many have pointed out, the idea of a citizen-militia TODAY resisting the government's armed forces is ludicrous. Despite all the Bushmasters and assault weapons and so on, no one will be stopping the government's forces in a clash so get over that line of illogic. The militias can't begin to stop the Army, so we don't need to arm up for that purpose anymore. It's been 221 years, man.
I agree with you that "Until we can look at ourselves and see how maybe we are creating these lunatics, we will have no peace." But this is a completely different issue, a mental health issue. You will need much more of your hated Nanny-State to register all the mentally ill (while we register all the weapons, too). We surely won't have peace with so many overdone assault weapons in the hands of (usually) untrained civilians.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 3, 2013 at 4:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh DrDan, you unfortunately are uninformed like most voting Americans. How many guns are owned by private citizens in the US approx? The current count is roughly 300 million. And with our military personnel I'm going to estimate that at least 20% will go rogue if they get orders to disarm and/or attack those resisting the removal of their right to a firearm...a tool of freedom. Do you really think there'd be a chance the government could overtake all 300 + million firearms from people who are determined to not be disarmed? Uh negative. "oh but they have drones and tanks and bombers and nuclear weapons"...so a country to attack itself? Yeah, that would go well! And as for "it's been 221 years, man"...I'm actually a woman, so...yeah. We as a country have actually lasted longer than most republics in history. It's usually about 200 years where the sheep give rise to lunatics who declare themselves ruler (unless you forgot Hitler was voted into office then took complete control) and the country goes to crap. No matter who is in power, who is in office, it is human nature to try and take control of the people. The only way to defend from that is to have firearms. They are literally tools of freedom. And if you can't understand that, if you still think we don't need firearms, then you, my sir, ...

As for my hated Nanny-State...you're right. We do need more from this state. We need a complete overhaul if you ask me. Cut spending, require people to actually work their arse off to get somewhere, stop making large companies leave due to excessive tax hikes, and make this damn beautiful state apart of the America I want my kids and grandkids and great grandkids happy to be apart of.

Muggy (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 1:07 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Your political religion is summarized by your wonderful statement, "The only way to defend from that [government takeover] is to have firearms." I imagine you believe that, but you are deluded, madam. There are many ways to defend freedom, not simply firearms, which often are NOT tools of freedom.
I've "worked my arse off" -- to use your words -- for many decades and have enjoyed paying my taxes. We need to INCREASE spending, cap and trade so as to clean the environment, and then make this beautiful state a part of the America I want MY kids and grandkids to be proud of and part of.
You have a very simplistic view, Muggy, free firearms and lowering taxes on large companies won't fix it all. Your almost seditious fantasy of free will insurrection makes little sense, although I know you are very afraid.
We do need a complete overhaul: real healthcare for all, redistribution of wealth, severe gun control, quality public education for all children, a hard-work ethic.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 4:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Here is my perspective and various points--in no particular order.

Ms. Wellen isn't only concerned about the types of weapons available to the masses, but how many guns there are. The number of guns is irrelevant, but what types of weapons is. Having said that, I find it curious that the same people who think the government can keep guns out of the hands of the Bad Guys will argue (logically I might add) that the Drug War has failed to keep addicts from obtaining drugs. Bottom line: As the war on drugs and the war on guns is being ramped up, the criminals and drug addicts still obtain them.

The argument that the military/government would walk right over the populace even if armed is--from what I can see--untrue. Why does China have gun control? Add Hitler Stalin and other dictators to that list. If the government were to say to their military "enforce martial law" do you really think the presence of an armed populace wouldn't be a serious deterrant? Those who posit this need to learn the history of WHY the consistution says "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed". While the Founding Fathers may have been in large part arrant hypocrits in some ways, they understood why in the context of checks and balances the right to bear arms needed to be preserved.

What is happening is that the chickens are coming home to roost. The concept of schoolyard shootings didn't exist until about fifteen years ago. Columbine, Paducha, and Littleton become burned into our cultural concoiusness despite more laws being passed against guns. What I started to notice was a trend--that almost every one of these schoolyard shootings were happening at PUBLIC schools. Why not at private schools? As one who attended both as a kid I can attest to the higher accountability standards of private schools and the society that surrounds them. We are a culture that has been saturated with media violence--including the "music" venue of rap/hip-hop with its celebration of gang life and hatred of women. How ironic that the smut-peddlers who argue that the 2nd Amendment is an anacronistic concept are so quick to defend their 1st Amendment rights as "pushing the envelope of artistic freedom".

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 6:19 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I was bullied pretty hard in school and it never once occurred to me to shoot everyone.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

And yes, I knew where the gun was hidden.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. (Suggest removal)

ditto, KV, my dad's 9-shot .22 pistol was right there, the bullying was pretty outrageous, and the idea to utilize it never arose.
Bill, I enjoy your posts. You just can't be serious that there's a chance an armed populace [and UNTRAINED!] could stop the forces of the most lethal army/airforce/marines ever known in human history??? Please rethink this position, it's crazy.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 6:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I remember a conversation I had with a Norwegian about fifteen years ago who told me that in his country violent movies were either not shown, or had the gory scenes cut out. (I remember him referencing Rambo as being edited) He pointed out that his country felt such continued exposure to blood and guts had the effect of desensitizing people. I note this because Norway is a secular liberal country so the argument against violence in the media isn't just some vast right-wing conspiricy led by Moral Majority types; adding to that point, I'd remind the reader that it was Tipper Gore who first called attention on a large scale to the violence in music lyrics back in the mid-1980's, and of course all the usual suspects ridiculed her as overreacting. As someone who was born in 1961, I can assure you that even the most radical music that was out in the early 70's didn't contain the violence and hatred that the lyrics of a decade later contained.

Let me turn this around. Why such lust for violent forms of entertainment? ...

As I said, the chickens are coming home to roost. The breakdown of the family unit, kids being raised with little or no accountability, a culture that celebrates violence and worshippes celebrities not in spite of--but because they dump their spouses and children--(To wit: Tom Cruise, Michael Dougles and Donald Trump come to mind) latchkey kids growing up in an economy where both parents have to work, and more and more people becoming homeless not by choice--but by economics--are all contributing the desperation felt by the "Lone Wolf" types who lose it and go postal. I started noticing back in 1994 the increase in aggressive driving. Today, almost every person I see on the road is frantic and in a hurry. It didn't used to be this way. This, the gang problem, drug abuse, the aforementioned demand for violent forms of entertainment, the breakdown of the family, and our endless war against terror are all indicative that we live in a sick and decaying society, but clearly people such as Toni Wellen think that passing more laws will bring the problem to a managable level--if not solve it. Wrong.

Back in the frontier days when most people had guns mass killings did not take place. Sure, the mass killing guns were not available, but even attempts at such behavior were not issues. The only other reasons I can think of for this are either that people don't mess with others who are armed, or our society was healthier psychologically.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 7:01 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Dr.Dan: Wouldn't they have to go house to house to round people up?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 7:04 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's not the graphic imagery of the blood and guts, it's what surrounds the imagery and the attitudes the filmmaker(s) themselves take.
My current film is very violent, explicitly violent, yet it's a call for nonviolence and due process, rationality and justice.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 4, 2013 at 7:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken, I agree that the context of films can set the tone, and having said that and thus agreeing with you I'm confident that that you will take it as a compliment when I say that a film such as "Terminator" would hardly be considered a cinematic vignette of social value.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 5, 2013 at 3:13 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Bill, I couldn't agree with you more when you write "The breakdown of the family unit, kids being raised with little or no accountability, a culture that celebrates violence and worshippes celebrities not in spite of--but because they dump their spouses and children--(To wit: Tom Cruise, Michael Dougles and Donald Trump come to mind) latchkey kids growing up in an economy where both parents have to work, and more and more people becoming homeless not by choice". And since I was born in 1947 and have a few years on you, there was also a rise in salacious and violent novels in 60s, too...Former SCOTUS Judge Stevens has held forth on the extreme violence in most mystery novels today and he believes THAT is a partial cause of the crazed violence we see in our society today.
I know there's an issue with cause-effect and where one jumps into the discussion. But Wellen is correct that reducing the assault-style weapons will HELP, but not eliminate, this problem. A shooter with a hunting rifle would've been unable to murder 26 humans at that school, many would've gotten away. It's a start. As to the army going door-to-door, I don't see it that way at all. The British regulars didn't go door to door in the Am Revolution, and THAT insurrection is what gave rise to the idea of citizen-militia possessing "firearms" = Second Amendment. We're 221 years on from that time and the technology of guns has changed outrageously, something you and Muggy don't seem to assimilate into your Neanderthal views on gun violence in our society. No, severe limitation of guns won't stop this horrible problem, but it will reduce it considerably, and that's a start.
A deeper start is to reform public education in our country. Illiterate views by the likes of Botany and Oblati and JohnLocke, raging against the tax increase in Prop. 30 (thankfully passed), are typical and our very poor public education system in USA contributes to the unchecked violence most of us fear. Check out the graphs early on in Tony Judt's wonderful book, ILL FARES THE LAND - in countries where the public educ. and public health services are very good, many of these social problems like gun violence and mental instability are WAY down compared to this Neanderthal US we now experience.
Ken, I'd like to see your next film. Since Django Unchained is out, now there's a gratuitously absolutely violent film...& too bad 'cause the scenes are gorgeous, acting good, but by the second half of the film (in MISSISSIPPI) it's simply stupid gore...and the theatre is packed. Sigh.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 5, 2013 at 6:56 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Thanks Dan and Bill, I def agree Terminator is not an apex of cinematic art!
I think my film goes further than "Django" because it questions the morality and wisdom of vengeance instead of that being the end sum.
Luckily for you and the readers, I've only had half a cup of coffee yet this morning.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 5, 2013 at 2:56 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Might I also add that the reason our previous governor became super famous (whereas in his bodybuilding days he was merely famous) was because of his starring role in such masterpieces as Terminator, and his main voting block was 20-35-year-old males.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 5, 2013 at 3:09 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I always said Californians voted for a shadow play and not a flesh and blood candidate that year.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 5, 2013 at 3:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

kinda weird that the anti gun people keep stating that the notion of a citizen militia resisting the government is ludicrous considering the armaments available to the government. You mean when the U.S. got bogged down in Viet Nam, despite superior firepower, that the guerrilla war they waged was not successful? What about Afganistan? What about the entire middle east insurgency with their IED's etc?
Look, I am not trying to make a case for or against the 2nd Amendment with this particular post as people that love it or hate t reveal their bias too readily, but for gawdsakes at least make an attempt to be honest when constructing, in this example, an argument against it.
The heaviest firepower in the history of the world has barely been able to slow down marginally armed 3rd worlders who believed in their particular cause...

italiansurg (anonymous profile)
January 7, 2013 at 6:25 a.m. (Suggest removal)

DrDan - how are you not seeing these "gun violence" issues is not about guns at all? It's about mental health. You don't need a gun to kill people. Those types of people are obviously mentally unstable and need help. Why is there nobody willing to seek treatment for these people before tragedies like this occur? We have children who are growing up watching movies and playing video games where killing people is the ultimate goal. And we think this doesn't affect our children? Obviously it is and it has. All these actors that are against firearm ownership have made their millions shooting up people on the big screen. Get your head wrapped around the fact that we are causing this. We as a community are failing our children and we're too caught up in blaming someone/something else that we can't even take a look at ourselves.

Muggy (anonymous profile)
January 7, 2013 at 9:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's hope the govt. doesn't drop a nuclear device on the population (scaredy cats). Oh wait, they don't have to because Americans kill more Americans with guns than any terrorist or latest war. Gun=tool used to kill. Keep your guns, let common sense prevail and ask why is it harder to get a drivers license in the usa. Oh but video games are so violent, oh lawd, spare us all.

spacey (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 1:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Drunk drivers kill lots of people but I don't see the same stigma against them.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 3:38 a.m. (Suggest removal)

For the anti-gun folks, three groups that destroy the myth that pro-2nd Amendment people are testosterone-crazed Rednecks.

http://pinkpistols.org/
http://www.2asisters.org/
http://jpfo.org/

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 3:41 a.m. (Suggest removal)

of course, it makes perfect send to write "these "gun violence" issues is [are] not about guns at all?" Car accident issues have nothing to do with cars, and alcoholism has nothing to do with booze.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 6:34 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Italiansurg: I suggest you do a little homework on guerrilla warfare. Where guerrillas have been successful against a major power, for example Vietnam driving out the US, Afghanistan forcing out the USSR, the guerrillas were armed and trained by another major power: China backed the N. Vietnamese and we backed the Afghans against the Russians. Those guerrillas were far from “marginally armed.” Guerrillas without such substantial outside support have not fared well. Before WWI it wasn't unreasonable to imagine a popular uprising being able to stand their ground against a military. But with the advent of modern weapons and training that is no longer true. The Taliban have not done well in Afghanistan – compare the body counts, and who holds the high ground? Their most effective weapons, IEDs, are largely based on modern government ammunition that was stolen or acquired in the underground. And though US losses in the Middle East theaters are tragic, they are relatively small compared to those of the enemy and haven’t thwarted the success of military missions.

I can’t imagine the US government pointing its weapons at its own population, but if for some reason it did, the best survival option would be to abandon positions of significance and to hide. Shooting any weapon available to civilians at an on-station US military unit would result in a quick death. For examples, check into how the AC-130 Spectre Gunships, A-10 Warthogs, not to mention our superbly effective snipers and drones, are being used now. Want to raise the ante and use RPGs and the like? Active Protection Systems and other sophisticated defenses will teach a harsh lesson. And then there’re the probable descendants of the Edgewood arsenal efforts lurking in the shadows….

Speaking of the so-called ‘stand-your-ground’ domestic reason for having guns, a recent study (from Texas no less) of the 20 states that have implemented those laws has found that “… the laws do not deter burglary, robbery, or aggravated assault. In contrast, they lead to a statistically significant 8 percent net increase in the number of reported murders and non-negligent manslaughters.” http://econweb.tamu.edu/mhoekstra/cas...

Reigning in the ridiculous number (rate) of gun-related deaths in this country will require 1) a license that is based on demonstrated basic competency (ala driver’s license), 2) limitations on the types of guns and ammo that civilians can own (the TBD line should be between the 22 and a howitzer), and 3) whatever it takes to fix the tears in the fabric of our society, including mental health issues.

hodgmo (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 3:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"hodgmo," that kind of smarty-pants argument just proves you to be a Commie.

binky (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 3:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Let's make sure to differentiate between gun control and gun prohibition.

Once again, why are there so many of these acts of violence? I don't remember hearing about people going to schooyards with muskets and single-shot guns and attacking people. It seems the problem is with our society and this is something the gun control politicians aren't addressing.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 3:24 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I recently heard a guest on an NPR segment make the observation that America exports it's violent movies and bloody video games around the globe. And yet other countries don't have nearly the same level of gun violence we do. Food for thought.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 3:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

On another thread about gun control I wrote, "In 2009 there were 11,493 gun homicides in the USA [www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm]. When the Harvard Injury Control Research Center did a comprehensive review of the social science literature, they found solid evidence that the more guns that are available in a jurisdiction, then it's homicide rate is higher. QED.
Further, the gun deaths aren't evenly distributed across our population segments: in 2008 and 2009 gun homicide was the leading cause of death for young black men, and their homicide rate was eight times that of young white males.
The UK bans guns, and its homicide rate is about 1/4th that of the US."
It's balderdash to rant about how we need a citizen-militia to protect us from our own government, or go off-track with stuff about guerilla warfare (thanks for fixing that, hodgmo). And Bill is correct, many gun owners are not wild-eyed rednecks, I know that, many of my friends own guns responsibly. But if the public attacks keep up then, Bill, you WILL start getting more and more calls for redoing or eliminating the Second Amendment. Guns are out of control.
We desperately need much stronger gun control laws. And actually California does a better job than many states.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 5:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As for the other countries having less violence than the U.S., there could be other factors.

As for the UK having 1/4 the murder rate, what is their population vs. the U.S.?

billclausen (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 8:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Most population studies go per thousand people. "So many out of a thousand people did this _________, ect.
That way stats aren't misrepresented, i.e. "Luxembourg has a lower gun death rate because only 5 people died."
Thus Germany's gun death rate of 1.75 is per thousand people (if my number is wrong give me a break, I'm only trying to explain population studies) and unfortunately not the nation as whole.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 8:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

When it comes to world statistics, the UK Guardian's DataBlog is hard to beat.

Homicides by firearm per 100,000 population (2007-2008):

Canada = 0.51
England & Wales = 0.07
France = 0.06
Germany = 0.19
Italy = 0.71
Japan = 0.01
Norway = 0.05
Switzerland = 0.77
US = 2.97

Comparing the UK and US, we have the Brits beat by a factor of 42!

The US is also the world leader in terms of firearms per 100 people at 88 guns per 100 people.

But who are the top 3 countries in terms of number of gun homicides per 100,000? Those honors go to ....

Honduras = 68.43
El Salvador = 39.9
Jamaica = 39.4

Don't shoot me, mon!

In fact, the US is 28th in this category (~180 countries are listed). That's still a good showing if you consider there are many small countries ahead of us who probably have weaker institutions than us.

I encourage everyone to view the data here (you can sort any column by clicking the top):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/databl...

If you want to visualize some of this data, check out this nice map of the above data:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/databl...

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 9:59 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Technically, UK = England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. But the latter two report their data separately.

I guess the Scots still want to secede someday. Freedom!!

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 10:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Speaking of Brits (Piers Morgan, specifically) ... this gun advocate certainly isn't helping his cause:

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/a...

The part in the video where Alex Jones screams, "1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!" is priceless.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 10:17 p.m. (Suggest removal)

"1776 will commence again if you try to take our firearms!"

I for one, refuse to sit thru that film ever again.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Iiiy8...

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
January 8, 2013 at 11:25 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@DrDan

"And Bill is correct, many gun owners are not wild-eyed rednecks, I know that, many of my friends own guns responsibly."

Actually, what billclausen provided were links to show that women and jews may also be rednecks!

(Just a joke....I know some "responsible" gun owners--One is a former police officer and current criminal lawyer, another is a piercer at a tattoo parlor who had a college scholarship for trap shooting, and another is actually a reformed felon, who has completed the necessary steps to have his rights reinstates--including ownership of firearms. Actually, I also have a co-worker that is a Computer Science major/programmer, who actually *is* a 'redneck', although not a complete stereotype!)

equus_posteriori (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 11:19 a.m. (Suggest removal)

EastBeach's stats are terrific and certainly end this discussion, let's look at them again:
Homicides by firearm per 100,000 population (2007-2008):
Canada = 0.51
England & Wales = 0.07
France = 0.06
Germany = 0.19
Italy = 0.71
Japan = 0.01
Norway = 0.05
Switzerland = 0.77
US = 2.97
We have about 16 times the homicide firearm rate as Germany! Comparisons to Jamaica et al. are ridiculous.
We need compete, careful, well-enforced gun control now.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
January 15, 2013 at 11:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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