Do U.S. Gun Laws Make All of North America Less Safe?

While a real conversation over gun control in the U.S. is a domestic nonstarter, neighboring countries end up suffering from lax American laws

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Raymundo Ruiz / AP

Soldiers put the final touches on a giant billboard made with crushed firearms placed near the U.S. border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico

Looming over the aftermath of the Aurora shooting is the long-standing and largely fruitless American debate over gun control. My colleague Alex Altman wrote lucidly about the paralysis that grips many U.S. politicians on both sides of the aisle when forced to account for a tragedy of this magnitude. More stringent controls could have thwarted the shooting suspect from spending months undetected while he amassed an arsenal of assault weapons, heavy ammunition and body armor. But the strength of the gun lobby in Washington — and the necessity for politicos there to embrace, with great piety and few questions, a more than two-century-old document — means that a real national conversation around gun control is a nonstarter.

Lost in the bluster and political gamesmanship is the fact that, whether Americans want to do something about the guns in their midst or not, their lax laws are hurting other countries, especially the neighbors to the north and south. Sure, Canada and Mexico are two vastly different polities, with different problems and with police forces in considerably different states of preparedness. But both countries can rightly point the finger at the U.S. for the prevalence of gun-related homicides on their side of the border.

(MORE: A Gun Owner’s Case Against Assault Weapons)

Just this week, Canadian officials in Ontario convened what was dubbed the Summit of the Gun — a reaction to a summer of shootings in Toronto, the country’s most populous city. While certain measures were passed to strengthen policing and improve community outreach, the elephant in the room was obvious. Canada is hardly a gun-free country, but its rates of civilian firearm ownership are dwarfed by those in the U.S., and the weapons its citizens do possess are far better monitored. Recent calls to ban handguns in places like Toronto, some argue, would do little to stem the flow of guns trafficked from the U.S. over the 8,000-km, thinly patrolled boundary.

“The fact of the matter is,” said Ontario’s provincial premier, Dalton McGuinty, “most of the guns that end up in the hands of young criminals are illegal guns, and they’re coming from south of the border.” His comments followed a meeting with Conservative Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the matter. An editorial in The Globe and Mail tut-tutted at what it deemed U.S. intransigence in the face of an obvious truth: “The stubborn [American] refusal to link the worldwide availability of American-supplied semiautomatic weapons, accessories and ammunition to tragedy after tragedy is a black mark.”

The blackest of those marks lies in Mexico, where tens of thousands have died in the past decade, casualties of a grisly narcowar that’s fueled both by the American appetite for illegal drugs moving north as well as by firearms acquired legally and illegally in the U.S. moving south. Of course, all the blame for the chaos can’t be laid at Washington’s feet; Mexico, as TIME’s Latin America bureau chief Tim Padgett has written on many occasions, must wrestle with its own toxic history of corruption, poor governance and an earlier complicit acceptance of the cartels. But Mexican law, at least in theory, makes it far tougher for ordinary civilians to acquire the sort of heavy weaponry in the cartels’ — and the Aurora shooter’s — arsenal. A revision to the country’s constitution in 1917 effectively put the Mexican government and military directly in charge of licensing and selling firearms.

(VIDEO: Evidence of Killings and Disappearances by Mexico’s Security Forces)

Weapons obtained and smuggled back from border states in the U.S. take up the bulk of the cartels’ firepower. A study by three American academics, published this March, examined murder rates in Mexico after a Clinton-era U.S. federal ban on assault weapons expired in 2004. They found that Mexican localities that bordered U.S. states where those weapons were legally back on the market saw a considerable uptick in gun-related fatalities. The report’s abstract elaborates:

The expiration relaxed the permissiveness of gun sales in border states such as Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, but not California, which retained a pre-existing state-level ban. Using mortality statistics over 2002–06, we show that homicides, gun-related homicides and crime gun seizures increased … in Mexican municipios located closer to entry ports in these other border states, [but less so among those near] entry ports in California. Our estimates suggest that the U.S. policy change caused at least 239 additional deaths annually in municipios near the border during post-2004 period.

This is before 2006 when then Mexican President Felipe Calderón commenced a military offensive on the cartels that has only ramped up the violence. While tighter American gun laws wouldn’t be a panacea, they could have saved hundreds of lives. Arindrajit Dube, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a co-author of the study, points to the awkwardness of U.S. domestic policy fomenting instability elsewhere. “If we saw this dynamic happening in some country in Africa,” he says, “we’d say this looks fundamentally like a failed or failing state.” While the world’s sole superpower is not en route to becoming Somalia, it is, in this context, failing its neighbors.

PHOTOS: Gun Culture U.S.A.

255 comments
rachael.simmons28
rachael.simmons28

Don't blame the constitution, "lax U.S. gun laws", or the American people for gun deaths or cartel violence in Mexico. Our criminal government and this corrupt administration have continually used tragedy to undermine constitutional principals and justify taking ILLEGAL actions to further their agenda. How many illegal weapons made their way into the hands of the cartels and criminals and how many innocents ultimately lost their lives thanks to "Fast and Furious"? These people aren't actually "anti-gun". Just look at the hardware our police forces our sporting on every street corner these days. They LOVE guns. They are, however, anti-constitution, anti-bill of rights, and anti-2nd amendment. What more does the "anti-gun" power structure have to do to convince the people that their intent is not to save lives (see Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, etc.) but to achieve the socialist ideal of the "monopoly of force"? Any student of history can tell you how that story ends.

that.other.guy
that.other.guy

@MisterAK47 hey im that other guy tell me when you have free time ok

dogbreathdude
dogbreathdude

It's not the fault of the United States that the military and police of the neighboring countries can't effectively stamp out the cartels !  Their lack of leadership and military incompetence is their issue not ours.  It sounds like the cartels are more organized than the government.  That would never happen here in the U.S. because of our laws that are enforced by various agencies of the Federal government.  It is our right by the Constitution Of the United States to be able to own and use firearms in a responsible manor.  Canada...are you listening?  Patrol your borders and quit blaming your inadequacies on the United States !!  Mexico...Your military is a joke, Ask our president to send you some of our military to train you and make your country stronger !! 

My God, after reading this article I have images in my head of the play ground of any given elementary school in the U.S.. You all sound like 8 year old children.  And finally don't tell us how to run our country !!!    

Vincent Lovece
Vincent Lovece

 The article is implicitly taking a side instead of reporting the news neutrally. I can point this out, a thousand people like me could point this out, and no one will listen to us, but a few higher-ups running a news organization like a propaganda machine can make all the difference. That is elitist and dangerous, and shows how public information, and by extension, public policy, can be shaped by a few people in the right places, if they have their agendas to push and their fingers on the right social buttons, so to speak.

Jay D Belford
Jay D Belford

Ishann Tharoor is clearly not a very observant fellow - all he has to do is look at our anti-drug laws - that is the source of all our neighbor's problems instead of our 'gun laws.'  Mr. Tharoor is like a doctor examining a drug addict and concluding that he has been shot by a gun.  Tch, tch, tch.  Physician, heal thyself ....

The Merovingian
The Merovingian

I'm not sure I can really believe the author when he says that there are more people in the US with guns than in Canada... perhaps he means that there are more guns in the US because there is a SIGNIFICANTLY larger population in the US (300 million vs 34 million). Technically speaking, though, gun culture is much more prevalent in Canada (which has a strong hunting culture), where many Canadian households report having more than 1 gun (sometimes as many as eight or nine, with a published average of three firearms per household (per the Canadian Shooting Sports Association website). There is even talk that the majority of Canadians are in favor of gun control laws that are even more lax. 

The numbers given in this article are HIGHLY misleading... the author is basically saying that gun violence in the US is due to the prevalence of guns themselves. There are no hard facts offered to prove this claim, nor is there any sound reasoning to back up this claim. Density (prevalence, availability, etc) of guns are higher in Canada. FACT. The lower gun violence numbers in Canada may have something to do with the difference in population sizes. Or culture? Or socioeconomic status? etc etc. 

Also, is the high amount of gun violence in Mexico due to the fact that every single Mexican owns a gun and is out there using it? Or is it due to an economy controlled by an armed few protecting a business model with roots in the US' laws on drugs? Isn't is possible that this group of people would still be able to amass guns even when guns in the US are illegal? 

We're not going to be able to solve anything if we're asking the wrong questions.

Thomas_Sumter
Thomas_Sumter

Not just no, BUT HELL NO! The author is criticizing a critical document from the American Revolution. He does so from a seat closer to The British Empire than any American has seen in almost two hundred and fifty years. His father is a UN diplomat since the late 70's. One of his mothers, Crista Giles, was Deputy Secretary of the United Nations Disarmament Commission. Perhaps she weened Ishaan into his late teens and continues to shape his globalist views on ... gun control?

His twin brother is in London and Ishaan writes from Hong Kong. Every last one of them are from lands formerly occupied by The British Empire. We weaned ourselves from that nipple two hundred and fifty years ago, independently, while Canada, India, and Hong Kong have all slowly won their independence since. Most recently in Hong Kong 15 years ago where the author currently sits at his desk. Followed by India in 1947, where his paternal grandparents fled their native country to raise a family in London by the 1950s running a newspaper. Canada, one of the mother's native lands, became independent from the British Empire in the 1800s. All that said, I would categorize the author as a globalist that envisions a world under one government. One government called the United Nations and sorry to disappoint but that's not happening.

As it relates to gun control from this American's perspective, The 2nd Amendment makes Americans safer in a vast majority of the cases inside our borders. In smaller circumstances, and generally under horrific conditions, there are situations where that isn't always the outcome. However, modern government shenanigans like Fast and Furious have definitely undermined the safety of The People.

Fast and Furious was a contrived plan gone wrong and that has made our southern border a far more dangerous place. Fast and Furious was a False Flag operation run by our government, not our people. The right to arms has been updated to reflect technological advancements the authors couldn't conceive two hundred and fifty years ago. This is the perspective of an American with colonial roots in these lands.

The 2nd Amendment does not entitle us to arms like nuclear warheads,

rocket launchers, mortars, artillery, heavy infantry machine guns, and the like. We can not arm ourselves with mechanized calvalry such as tanks, fighters, and naval vessels but we can still own horses, boats, and planes. What the 2nd Amendment does do is allow us to arm EVERY member of our population with what we consider to be basic infantry guns. In the event that a foreign or criminal interest threatens our private rights, our collective thought is such that it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have. We pass laws in this country to protect Americans. Not just one of us but every last damn one of us is our motto. That motto is not just regarding the laws to protect us but it is also applies to our right to arm. Every man, woman, and child.

In that sense, the 2nd Amendment is about the people being able to defend loved ones from tyranny where government fails. Fast and Furious was a governmental failure. The 2nd Amendment allows Americans to defend loved ones from Fast and Furious weapons dumped on the streets by current events. No, without our current gun laws in this country I suspect North America would be a much more dangerous continent. The criminal element could just go door to door if we were unarmed. That doesn't happen here because that element wont breach too many private places very long. Ask US ranchers along the Mexican border if they need the 2nd Amendment.

In this country, there is a belief that we can defend ourselves as private individuals until the government can respond. The first responder is the private citizen. You don't think an AR-15 has a legitimate use to the private citizen? How about trying to protect livestock, food, and water stores on my lands from being stolen by organized mobs trying to pillage if the government does not respond. Redcoats tried similar acts during their invasion of these lands in 1776. We defeated them. While the rest of the British Empire remained in the author's Hong Kong until in 1997. I wish we armed our militias in 1776 with AR-15s because we could have saved lives.

The 3rd Amendment keeps us from being legally invaded. The 2nd Amendment allows the people to enforce that 3rd Amendment, and the 1st Amendment allows for the expression of our thoughts on the Constitution written in 1776.

There are 100 Million gun owners in this country according to the NRA. There are 300 Million Americans. Keep trying shenanigans like Fast and Furious while arguing against the Bill of Rights. Americans will not live in a land with laws that force us to depend on our government to save our lives. It is our individual responsibility to ensure our well being, to be able to save our own lives. Not the government.

The people here do not want war. We are a peace loving people. Do not think for one second that the One Hundred Million Man march will not come if the 2nd Amendment is abolished. We will organize ourselves, we will defend our communities, we will save our government when if it fails, and we will support the Armed Forces that protect The People.

Hope this answers your questions (from Hong Kong) about how we do things in America. Send love to your parents in the United Nations and your dear diplomatic twin living in London. Rest assured we will continue to vigorously defend our sovereignty in America despite what foreigners like you suggest. Unfortunately, we can not discuss this in person; I am afraid it would likely end in your broken nose. Tweet that homeboy.

Yours truly,

Thomas Sumter.

Thomas_Sumter
Thomas_Sumter

Sorry first time poster... learning the system

breindrein
breindrein

Its a tough thing to control. People that intend to kill people can kill in whatever way they want. Could be guns, driving a car into a crowd, making bombs from recipes found on the net, release homemade toxic gas in on a train etc etc.  Guns are not the only way to kill, but they are very effective and better at instilling terror. You cannot always spot a future mass murderer, but maybe the amount of weapons should be controlled. Still allow people to have weapons, but like one or two handguns per person, not assault rifles, even if they are modified for civilian use. Handguns are still effective at mass killing.

Its very tough to have a balance between the right to carry weapons and denying a crazy guy the right to carry weapons. Generally the the person that went postal is said to be a loving person and fun to be with. You cant let everyone have all the weapons they want or tell all people that they cannot own any weapons. There will have to be a middle ground and it will likely be a mix of controlling the sale of specific types of weapons and better screening of individuals before sales. Nothing that they really can do more than that.

scromboid
scromboid

This 'article' blames a lot on the US without verifying any sources at all.  I'd like to see their take on why there is so much death and destruction in Africa and the Middle East.  Surely you can't blame the US there.  Also, when looking at the stock of the Mexican Cartels, it seems to me there is an awful lot of Russian hardware down there and not US...

As far as gun control goes, I'd like to see a statistic on how many shooting deaths are caused by legal gun owners and also owners with concealed carry permit.  Holmes is clearly an anomaly.  Keep in mind that Clinton's Assault Ban didn't do a damn thing for the poor souls at Columbine, either.

Maybe if Holmes' notebook got to the psychiatrist on time, no one would have been hurt. Maybe there should be a law about how long something can sit in a government run college mail room before it has to legally be delivered.

So many people pointing fingers at all the different causes...  each more ridiculous than the next.  Look into the psyche of this boy and realize that no gun control in the world would have kept him from doing what he did.  Like Brian said - boy had grenades.  Imagine what ~that~ would have done...

gmanalishi
gmanalishi

To all gun-addicted people, no one here is talking about taking away your right to bear arms. Keep in mind, the right to bear arms did not include the right to buy assault weapons, semi-automatics, tear-gas canisters, bullet-proof vests, grenades and the like and they sure did not preclude the possibility of strict gun control. If there were strict gun controls, young kids in Columbine and Virginia  and now in Aurora would not have died, they would have lived long lives, gotten married, had children and would have had a chance to fulfill their childhood aspirations. For the rest of us, we have a right to feel safe and secure in the knowledge that a psycho will not have easy availability of a war chest with which to kill us. Have a heart, for that matter have a moral compass. Perhaps only when one of your own is killed will you realize your paranoid delusions about arming yourselves.

Adam Ewald
Adam Ewald

The biggest problem in Mexico is that guns are illegal.  No one can stand up to the drug cartels because they cant have weapons.

And didn't we give the Mexican Cartels a whole bunch of guns? You know, just to see if we could track them, and it back fired horribly, which was a "Big Surprise"?

Shinea
Shinea

How ironic that the Mexican army puts up a sign saying "no more weapons" when the Mexican army supplies a majority of the automatic and heavy weapons to the cartels. Perhaps they should consider hiring non-criminals for their army and police, that would likely help in their campaign.

Vincent Lovece
Vincent Lovece

Norway has extremely strict gun controls. Did that stop the killings there last year? Is America to blame for that too? Let's get real.

Orland Calif
Orland Calif

Come to Oakland , or Stockton Calif. If there are DUI checkpoints, Why the hell are there not any illegal gun searches for Gangs with Illegal Guns ?

mg32257
mg32257

Name the attack by a US citizen that killed the most people?  OKC Bombing?  Yeah.  Zero guns used, there-- but the guy had the same goal: to kill a lot of people.

Do you really think a man with the intent to murder will really lose his intent because you remove "guns" from his arsenal?  Unless you begin talking about banning bomb components from US citizens (we can start with gasoline), then you are treating the SYMPTOM, not the problem.  

Thank god you didn't try to become a doctor.

f_galton
f_galton

That study is bogus since the Assault Weapons Ban actually increased the availability of cheap "assault" weapons, attributing any crime increases after it expired is absurd.

Palladia
Palladia

To all of the "cold, dead hands" contingent:

One of the problems is that while you may be willing to die for the widespread distribution of firearms, you're not the ones dying.

It's the victims at Aurora, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Columbine, and at hundreds of smaller, but no less deadly shootings who are doing the dying.  It's their relatives, employers, students, and so forth, who grieve.

Tell me:  If, in advance, they had been asked: "Are you willing to die, or to have a loved one killed, so that someone else may have the unrestricted right to acquire guns and large amounts of ammunition?" I wonder what they would have said, individually or collectively. Do you suppose they would have volunteered to be slaughtered, to get that godawful call about their loved one?

Of course, they were never presented with that choice; they just died or grieved nonetheless.

Those who who refuse to even consider that there might be some middle path have made that choice for them.  They're just "collateral damage" to that choice.  Or non-choice, depending on how you look at it.

f_galton
f_galton

Mexico should stop whining about guns coming across from the US since  it chooses not to control the border.

BQRealityBites
BQRealityBites

When you can explain (and connect the explanation to reality) why cities within America with strict gun laws - including Washington DC which does not allow citizens to have guns and was/is known as the murder capital of the US and is followed closely by other gun restrictive cities like Baltimore, Oakland, NYC in terms of gun violence/deaths and why cities and locales where gun ownership is relatively high have much lower gun related deaths ( pick towns/cities in the MidWest) and also explain why you believe laws -which are merely words written in books that do NOT scare criminals into NOT doing the very things written - will actually have the affect you think they will - and can Guarantee  that in the future my children and relatives will be free from such criminal acts because of these laws and will also NOT have to worry about the government using force and removing any option of revolution (besides standing up like lemmings with sticks and rocks like the people int he middle east have to against governments with weapons) I might be willing to listen to you.  But as usual liberal morons - you believe in your Utopian world where human nature can be dictated by written laws dictated by the rulers of the current day.  You're worse than delusional - you are hurting the people around you with your stupidity and naivete!  Oh - BTW - a train ran into a fellow ont he tracks near where I live last night - as a liberal moron I'm going out to call for the regulation of trains (maybe make them illegal!) and maybe make a law that says you can't stand on the tracks...that'll stop that drunk moron from standing ont he tracks right?

BTW - Switzerland - which you liberals seem to love because of the high taxes (I guess) REQUIRES all of their citizens to own guns - specifically machine guns.  How many times are they in the news for this type of incident?  It's NOT THE GUNS dopes - it's the people!  Liberals always look outside of themselves when trying to place blame - maybe you should start looking at the person who committed the act instead of the gun!  Oh wait...why don't we just get rid of people who don't think like you?  Sound familiar?

ProwdLiberal
ProwdLiberal

@Rock_Hill_Hillbilly:disqus 

Yes, your name says it all. Fill the blank with HILLBILLY! LOL!

econobiker
econobiker

 Vincent,  you are a person wise and insightful. 

If you want to take a crack at it, read up on how the media does NOT cover alternate political parties in the USA. And the social mechanisms put in place to discourage media coverage of and the participation in media covered events-  of/by alternate political parties.  

Also you will find that most of the "town hall" or "public speech" events by the two controlling political parties are actually private events with the allowed crowd participants being invited by said parties.   This allows control of the message and ejection of partipants who try to get a different message broadcast or try to ask the "wrong" question.  Demonstration of when this message management is NOT in place is found in the videos of politicians who had actual public invited events about the bank bail out in 2008. The politicians could not fathom the public outrage/reaction and their responses were classic.

Thomas_Sumter
Thomas_Sumter

We have enough guns in our country to arm every Canadian. Please let us know if you need more in the event that other countries vote to seize your armories. Your friends to the south are here to help. We are glad to see that you too were able to break free from the British Empire with your own set of written language describing the laws of your lands. 

The author's Yale education seems to reflect poorly on the right to break away from the British Empire despite his heritage. The British ruled over India until 60 years ago. Wonder how that fits in his head with what he describes as the "more than two-century-old document" that allowed him to get educated, in principal, in our lands.

His father is @ShashiTharoor. Wonder how Shashi feels about the American Revolution and it's significance towards the British Empire as it relates to India? Shashi, the son of a newspaper executive, is on his third wife. Wonder how Shashi feels about that nearly two century year old document that protects his father's newspaper under the 1st Amendment?

Ishaan, a Yale graduate works for Time magazine at Hong Kong (yet another colony of The British Empire) while the other twin, Kanishk, works for open Democracy at London. Shashi married Christa Giles (2nd wife), a Canadian who works as Deputy Secretary of the United Nations Disarmament Commission. Shashi is an indian English witer, international civil servent and a scholar.

econobiker
econobiker

 "His father is a UN diplomat since the late 70's. One of his mothers,

Crista Giles, was Deputy Secretary of the United Nations Disarmament

Commission."

Which means that their workplaces would have been protected by security guards, police, or military people possessing guns...

that.other.guy
that.other.guy

@Thomas_Sumter hi im a first time poster 2 but i know how to do all of this work

econobiker
econobiker

 The system hung and double posted for me also...

Palladia
Palladia

All the mess in Aurora was caused by a "legal gun owner," in that all the guns were legally purchased.  There was apparently no problem for the Virginia Tech shooter, either.  About the Fort Hood shooter, I don't know.

As for the "notebook," who knows?  And where does a civilian obtain grenades, anyhow?  If anything, that's pretty much worse than the rest.

econobiker
econobiker

"If there were (armed law abiding citizens allowed to possess guns in schools , college campuses, and movie theaters), young kids in Columbine and Virginia 

and now in Aurora would not have died, they would have lived long lives,

gotten married, had children and would have had a chance to fulfill

their childhood aspirations."

I edited your sentence to reflect the example linked below:

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...

Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar

Idlot! those guns were on a list of guns to be seized, cause despite being sold legally, investigator suspected they were being delivered to drug cartels. Unfortunately gun laws in Arizona prevented the seizure of the guns, despite the outcome of the investigation. 

pc1397
pc1397

And the reason we heard about that here is because it is such a rare occurence there. Wish we could say the same.

Colonel_Green
Colonel_Green

Norway's murder rate is much lower than America's.

Palladia
Palladia

How many times has Norway had such event?

Orland Calif
Orland Calif

 Then only Illegal People will have Guns, 35 to 40 million legal people have guns,

Palladia
Palladia

How many times has the equivalent of the OKC bombing happened?

How many times have there been  gun massacres?

Fever is a symptom, too.  But a high enough fever, in and of itself, can kill the organism.

econobiker
econobiker

 Three of the those four places: Aurora, Fort Hood, Virginia Tech, Columbine- were gun free zones by law.

Who obeyed the law?

Who suffered?

Did the gun free zone law stop a criminal from bringing a gun into it?

scromboid
scromboid

The point about the grenades is:  either way you look at it, if someone is going to commit a crime, violent or not, they are clearly not concerned with the law.

If someone is going to murder someone, and they have it in their heads they want to do it with a gun, they are going to get that gun irregardless of whether it's legal or not (just to note, murder is not legal and it happens, with or without guns, a lot) and there is going to be someone, breaking the law or not, willing to exchange money for that weapon, legal or not.

All tighter gun regulations are going to do is make it illegal for ~more~ people - people who are not looking to break the law - to have guns.

Criminals are going to break the law.  No amount of additional laws will change that.

Shinea
Shinea

 That doesn't really answer the question, does it?

econobiker
econobiker

 I saw what you did there...

funny.

Palladia
Palladia

Do you know that these places "were gun free zones by law?"

Econobiker, you answered about Fort Hood, and I'll take your word for it, but what about the other places?

Actually, police officers, armed, responding to a call where they're expecting trouble, nonetheless get killed. On April 4, 2009, three were killed responding to a domestic in Pittsburgh, PA. Eric Kelly, Paul J. Sciullo II, and Stephen J. Mayhle were killed by Richard Poplawski,

using an automatic weapon. (So identified by the police).

In Washington County, David Dryer was killed in a traffic stop March 11, 2012. He was initially shot in the groin, and, while he was down, the killer shot him in the head. Dryer had called for backup, and the shooter was eventually killed after a stand-off.

There is presently a trial going on for two perpetrators, one of whom shot David Kuzak, a Clairton cop who is paralysed by the shot, and is in a wheelchair, permanently.

Having a gun, and knowing well how to use it, is no guarantee whatever of safety.

I am giving you precise information, with names and all, so that you can check it out. This is better than an "in New Jersey a few years back. . ." because it is verifiable.

According to the FBI, 72 officers were killed by perpetrators in 2011 across the country, a 25% increase from 2010 and a 75% increase from 2008.

How do you know this?

Until the shooters did their shooting, they weren't "criminals."  Besides, Fort Hood is a military base.  You think there are no guns there?

There are several facets to the gun problem.  First and foremost is the American romance with guns.  We, collectively,  have woven a mystique about them, from Daniel Boone, through the Alamo, the O.K. Corral, Dirty Harry, and so forth.  It is so engrained on our consciousness that we automatically recognize the gesture of a pointed indexfinger, upraised thumb, and curled up other fingers: We don't even have to say, "bang."

There is, in fact, no way to take away "everyone's guns."  There are too many of them extant.  They're everywhere.  The concept of doing it is simply risible: it can't happen.  It's a chimera floated by paranoids.  Further, I don't know of anyone who actually wants to do that.  Personally, I'd sort of prefer if the concept of projectile weapons of all sorts had never arisen, but it's here, and we have to deal with it: guns can't be un-invented.

But there has to be some way that people of good will can get together to figure out how to forestall the use of guns in such wildly inappropriate and destructive ways: either figure out how to severely limit access by people who should not have them, or limit the acquisition of ammunition. . . something.

Because my original point still holds true: the people who are absolutists about their gun rights aren't the ones doing the dying.  If it were kept "in-house," so to speak, there wouldn't be so much of a problem to the greater society, would it?

scromboid
scromboid

Oh, right right.  We've never seen anyone just pop their heads into a door, toss in a bunch of live grenades, then close the door and wait until they went off.

Totally unheard of.  

econobiker
econobiker

 Palladia, (below)

The insane guy's trip was about power and terror -ergo the guns. Had he

used a more lethal gas mix than he did he would have killed more people but could not

have stayed around to revel in his power trip as he would have killed

himself.The D.C. shooter created more  havoc and mayhem (ergo terror) due to the time, geographic coverage, and amount of people involved. This terror was the D.C. snipers goal versus the personal power trip that this theater shooter had.  Also note that the D.C. sniper had prior military exposure.

scromboid
scromboid

Not to be overly critical, but to be VERY CLEAR, his AR15/.223 jammed a few shots in and he used a .40 Glock and the shotgun when he didn't know how to clear it.

FWIW

No one will know how much damage the AR15 did, and it's in poor taste to really debate that, but the point is not what kinds of guns we should or shouldn't have, it's about our rights to own them.  Start with banning "assault rifles" (which is an odd term, considering the damage the DC Sniper did with a deer rifle) and where does that stop?

Tank?  No.  The tracks and weight would destroy the roads and do far more damage than the main gun I doubt you would know how to load.

Those people did not pay for their lives because someone sold a gun.  They paid for their lives because a crazy person used whatever means necessary to kill/maim/harm as many people as he could.  Some would argue it was because mail wasn't delivered...  it all could have stopped if that package went through.

Our forefathers, however, did pay for their lives at the end of a gun as to many service men and women every day.  They paid for and still pay for our freedom.

Tragedies happen.  This is one of them.  No amount of taking away the freedom of innocent law abiding citizens is going to change that.

Palladia
Palladia

Oddly enough, very often when someone wants to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible, with as little physical effort as possible, he chooses guns to do it.  There's a combination of perception of personal invulnerability (particularly when someone has worn full body armor) and a godlike ability to destroy that make them attractive. 

Guns can kill in ways that other things cannot.  Yes, in this case, the killer could have thrown a couple of grenades, or done something explosive, but the fact remains that he did not: and most of these massacre perpetrators do not.  They choose guns.

And I'll bet that can be changed.  At a minimum, there is no reason to have weapons of the "assault weapon" type freely available.  There is no reason to have 100-round cannisters available.  And orders for multiple thousands of rounds ought to be raising some alarms, unless the one ordering them is the supply person for a police or military training facility, or a known shooting range.

Tell me: if I could afford to own a tank, do you think I should be able to drive one down the highway?   Into town?  Or do we have regulations about just what's allowed on the roadways?  Only once in my life have I ever seen tanks on a road here in the United States, and that was when a National Guard contingent was moving from one location to another.  I was about ten, and never forgot it.

Do you think that the people who have died, and those who mourn them, would have agreed up front, to pay for the dissemination of guns with their lives?  Somehow, I doubt it.

* * *

The AR-15 jammed "QUITE" a "few shots in," as in, he got to empty it about half-way. And if he'd been a little smarter, a little more methodical, he would have taken some of those thousands of rounds he had and learned the habits if it.

It is true that it is possible to kill someone with something other than with a gun, but the vast majority of murders DO happen using guns. Look at the figures.

The D.C. sniper took days to kill as many peoiple as he did, not five minutes. Not that this excuses it, just that for real efficiency. . .

I do not, at present, know how to load the main gun on a tank. But I'm a quick study. That's not quite the issue, is it? At the time the Constitution was written, "arms" were non-rifled, single-shot, laboriously-loaded, not-terribly-accurate devices. In fact, one of the reasons for the several battlefield slaughters in the Civil war was that the commanders were still thinking in terms of Revolutionary War firearms, and by that time, things had advanced a bit technically. But nothing like we have today.

Look: the bottom line is that people are being killed, en masse, by weapons and ancillary attachments (like high-capacity clips or cannisters) for which there is simply no legitimate civilian use. Don't talk to me about hunting: if someone can't kill a deer with one shot, or, worst case, two, he has no business being out there. Certainly he won't be hunting on my farm, if I can help it.

The people doing the dying for "gun rights" aren't, by and large, the "cold, dead hands" crew. If the latter are willing to sign up to die for others' rights to own AR-15s with cannisters, that's up to them. But, in fact, that's not what's happening.

Palladia
Palladia

Actually, it raises a question: Norway, to my knowledge, has had one such event.

The United States has had many, and will have many more.

The question is, would the people who have died, or mourned their dead, agree in advance to be killed, or to mourn, so that other people could have as many and whatever guns they want?   

The "cold dead hands" guys aren't the ones doing the dying, are they?

econobiker
econobiker

"the people who are absolutists about their gun rights aren't the ones doing the dying"

True because these people have a method to defend themselves while others do not. Not many police officers are mugged while on duty and most of the time, if off duty out of uniform, the officer defends himself with the appropriate response. In New Jersey a few years back, an off duty officer was approached at an atm by a criminal who stated that he wanted the officers money and for the officer to get into his car to take the criminal somewhere else or he would stab the officer. As NJ is one of the most restrictive laws on handgun conceal carry in the US, the odds were with the criminal that the person he approached would not have the ability to defend against the knife the criminal possessed. In this one case, the odds were against the criminal and he was shot and killed by the officer.

econobiker
econobiker

Actually Fort Hood military base only had armed military police. No one else is allowed to possess personal handguns.