The Gun Debate – Open Thread

Obama and Progressives are calling for “sensible gun laws” as if that is the problem. They continue to demonize the NRA as if that is the problem. They continue to conflate radical Islamists with the isolated deranged American criminal, as if that is a moral equivalency. And they dare not speak one word of condemnation toward inner city gang violence, nor judge those who perpetrate those crimes for fear of constituency backlash. In summary, Obama and Progressives are not at all addressing the actual problem, which is typical, hence the absolute mess we find ourselves in. In short, we have to stop listening to Progressives.

The problems we face in this country and in this world are due to the absence of well armed, law abiding, decent people, not the presence of them. On the world stage, the problem is that the Radical Islamic Jihadists are better armed, more focused, and more brutal than those who want a peaceful existence. The Kurds need more weapons, the peaceful Sunni’s and Shiite’s need more weapons, and countries like Jordan and the UAE need more forceful support. We need more weapons to confront and defeat the Islamists, not less. And we need to be more brutal. This is not a war where you take prisoners. This is a war where you kill as many of them as you possibly can until they realize that they can not win. You want to close Gitmo? Fine. Put a bullet in the head of the remaining prisoners and burn the place to the ground. Case closed.

Domestically, we need more weapons in the hands of law abiding Americans so that they can protect themselves from the deranged gun man, or from the increasing threat of radicalized Muslims. And we need to clean out the cesspools of our inner cities and give those people hope of a better future. Make sure that children have a stable home with two parents, make sure they have school choice and a good education, make sure they have clean and decent housing, make sure they are not living in a drug and gang infested neighborhood, and make sure they have the opportunity for a good paying job and the opportunity to lift themselves up. And these are conservative ideals, not progressive ideals, and that is why Governorships and State Legislatures have increasingly gone conservative in the last 8 years, and that is why the White House will be conservative in January 2017.

45 thoughts on “The Gun Debate – Open Thread

  1. Retired Spook December 5, 2015 / 9:27 am

    Cluster, I don’t see how the 2nd Amendment debate between Conservatives and Progressives will ever be reconciled. The two sides view the issue through such a profoundly different lens that we are simply never going to agree, so I think the time for talking is past.

    • Cluster December 5, 2015 / 9:35 am

      You are correct, and that is why I say we have to “stop listening to progressives”.

      Climate change is another issue Progressives get wrong. Climate change is NOT the biggest threat we face, and in fact, isn’t even a threat at all:

      “The academies claim that fossil-fuel use has reduced the world’s sustainability and resilience. But despite record human numbers and carbon-dioxide emissions, human wellbeing has never been higher, by virtually any measure whether climate-sensitive or not. The average person has never lived longer or been healthier or wealthier. Living standards are at their highest ever; poverty, hunger, malnutrition, and mortality from vector-borne diseases and extreme events are at record lows. There is no indication that these trends are being reversed.”

      Obama is pushing climate change only because that is the vehicle in which he and his elitist cronies can amass financial fortunes and wield power over the populace. Pure and simple. Climate change is a money and power grab, not a threat.

      • Retired Spook December 5, 2015 / 10:04 am

        Our conversation with Stuart in the previous thread shows that Conservatives and Liberals CAN have a civil conversation, but, at the end of the day, what did we accomplish besides talking past each other? And we talk past each other because neither side views the other’s “facts” as valid or their intentions as sincere.

        You and I have been fighting the good fight here for over a decade, and how many Liberals have we converted to conservatism? How many Conservatives here have become enthralled with the progressive agenda by arguments made here by Liberals? It used to be the case that people tended to become more conservative as they got older, hence the old saying, “if you’re not a Liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart, and if you’re not a Conservative by the time you’re 40, you have no brain.” I think even that paradigm has changed with our education system becoming more and more about indoctrination and less about education. I’ve always been of the hope that it all ends peacefully, but Leftism carried to it’s logical and historical conclusion NEVER ends peacefully.

      • Cluster December 5, 2015 / 10:46 am

        You are correct again (of course that goes without saying, right? 🙂 ) that the end to leftist regimes has historically never ended peacefully and the end to our current leftist regime is yet to be determined. Mal practice in the educational industry is a HUGE problem evidenced by the demonizing of the NRA and conflating isolated acts of domestic violence with Islamic jihadism. There is currently a strange alliance with Progressives and Muslims. In an ordinary world, these two factions could not be more polar opposite. Progressives claim to champion civil rights, gay rights, minority rights, etc., whereas Islamists deny women’s rights, kill gays, and demand compliance. Yet the Progressives and particularly Obama is very defensive of Muslims and that does seem strange until you realize that both of them have a common enemy – Jews and White Christians. As a result, Progressives see Islam has a useful club for which to continue their berating of the very two groups of people that have made their lifestyle possible. It is a strange, and delusional alliance indeed.

      • Retired Spook December 5, 2015 / 11:26 am

        It is a strange, and delusional alliance indeed.

        It is indeed. And don’t you have the gut feeling that the endgame will be revealed sooner rather than later? I think we’re on the cusp of one of the major turning points of history.

      • Cluster December 5, 2015 / 12:57 pm

        You might be right. I have also been thinking that this is a great opportunity for Obama to partner with Putin along with Jordan and other moderate Arab states to destroy ISIS, which a strong coalition could, yet Obama seems completely indifferent to bringing about that coalition. Is Obama willfully turning a blind eye to ISIS and radical Islam? Or does he honestly see it as a minor problem that is beneath his stature? Either way, his actions, or non actions, have resulted in a growing threat that now has a long reach.

      • Bob Eisenhower December 5, 2015 / 2:22 pm

        Cluster and Spook

        Frankly, this “why talk to liberals” concept is frightening and sad. It is frightening because real harm has historically come from being unwilling to engage opposing ideologies, and sad that you give up so easily.

        Stuart is seeking opposition in a standard debate form. I truly believe that a persuasive argument can change his mind, but his opinions are very well-considered, making it unlikely to find that persuasive argument. There was a great discussion on gun control, and he defended his argument. This does not mean you should give up the argument, it means you should develop a better argument.

        I didn’t engage in the discussion because it was going so well, I thought more voices would make it unweildy, but I notice that, unlike Australia, Japan or Switzerland, America’s founders felt gun ownership was so important they defined it as a right. And rights, unless repealed by Amendment, are tested and limited by the Supreme Court.

        The founders did not foresee Uzi’s in the streets when the 2nd Amendment was drafted. Perhaps they would have modified it had they known. Perhaps not, as the did fear an oppressive government. But the fact is, they made processes to change it available. Just because the American public is unlikely to vote for such changes does not invalidate the was Constitutional rights must be modified.

        How’s that, Stuart.

        (btw, you are a great addition here. Excellent debate.)

      • Bob Eisenhower December 5, 2015 / 2:24 pm

        * “DON’T talk to liberals.”

      • Retired Spook December 5, 2015 / 3:57 pm

        sad that you give up so easily.

        Quite frankly, Bob, I don’t consider 12 years (just on this blog) as giving up easily. I have nothing against Stuart — he may be a perfectly nice guy. But I know where he stands, and he knows where I stand; and our positions are generally 180 degrees apart. There have been dozens, if not hundreds of Stuarts here since I first discovered this blog during the primaries in 2004, and I’ve heard his arguments so many times I’ve lost count. Leftists, above anything else, will only compromise when that compromise furthers the Progressive agenda. I not only have no desire to further the Progressive agenda, I want to roll it back, and that is something they can’t abide. I’m also not saying I’m quitting, just choosing my battles carefully and, hopefully, wisely.

        I hereby bestow upon you the formal title of B4VCAWL (Blogs for Victory Chief arguer with Liberals)

    • tiredoflibbs December 9, 2015 / 7:06 pm

      “I don’t see how the 2nd Amendment debate between Conservatives and Progressives will ever be reconciled.”

      It can never be reconciled while one side believes the words to be FACT and DIRECT:
      “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.”

      The militia was of course, the People. Private citizens with their PERSONAL weapons. The militia and the standing army were two different groups.

      Now a pRegressive drone will say that the 2nd Amendment is not crystal clear and is vague.

      I guess they get confused by the “right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Of course they see rights where none are explicitly stated and deny rights that are.


  2. Retired Spook December 5, 2015 / 4:10 pm


    I just finished a book that you might want to read; Charles Murray’s By the People. He goes back to the dawn of the Progressive era and spells out how progressives with the help of the courts, have systematically dismantled the Constitution over the last century, and then offers some reasonable solutions on how to repair at least some of the damage. I think it will give you a whole new outlook on things.

  3. Amazona December 5, 2015 / 4:30 pm

    Bob, I think your observation on how great an addition Stuart is to the blog might be based on a perception that talking things out just means making a lot of words. Mine is that the words reflect personal ideas based on personal reflection, experience, etc.

    Here is my perception of Stuart: Possibly a sincere well meaning guy, who thinks he wants to engage in discourse with others, but who has really just accepted talking points of the Left and thinks that laying them out for us is the same thing as debating their validity. It almost sounds as if Stuart has just come across these talking points and is so impressed by what he sees as their wisdom that he just can’t wait to share them with us, thinking that if we could just be exposed to these amazing truths we can’t help but see the error of our ways.

    However, Stuart is very late to the party. Not a single talking point of his is new, or fresh, much less compelling. We have had to deal with Lefty after Lefty bounding in here all starry-eyed with excitement over “discovering” the Same Old Same Old, and we just yawn and say we’ve seen it all, we’ve rebutted it all, we’ve proved it all wrong, and don’t feel like getting sucked into rehashing the same tired old arguments.

    The bottom line is that Liberalism is a belief system much like a religion, as it is wholly faith-based and in nearly every case is wholly dependent on an emotional relationship with what is believed in spite of overwhelming evidence that it is false. To sum it up: we will never change the mind of a Liberal because that is akin to convincing someone who hates peaches that they really do taste good. It is a PREFERENCE, not an intellectually based political philosophy, and so is impervious to objective analysis. Don’t take my word for it—ask a Liberal what he believes is the best way to govern the nation. You will not get a coherent political philosophy—you will get the equivalent of a beauty pageant response, you’ll get that he or she is a Liberal because of a belief in fairness, or equality. You will probably hear that he or she is a Liberal because “conservatives” are evil, or a variation on that theme, though I do see that the standard “I’m a Liberal because George Bush is an a**hole” seems to be making a comeback. You’ll get platitudes, and/or hatred of an invented and imagined “Other” identified as “conservatives” or “Republicans” or “Right-wingers” or such.

    Ask most conservatives why they are conservatives and you are much more likely to get something a lot closer to a coherent political philosophy. You will hear that this is a belief that the nation is best governed according to our Constitution, that process in government is essential to avoid tyranny, that the closer government is to the people (as in state or local government) the more effective it is.

    These two wildly divergent approaches to how we identify ourselves, politically, is why the two will never meet, because they are antithetical to each other. One is emotion-based, one is based on a thought process and analysis of different kinds of government.

    As for Stuart’s arguments regarding gun control, they depend very heavily on things he either doesn’t know or has chosen to ignore. For example, any country that has always had strict regulation of gun ownership is not going to have millions of firearms already in the population and therefore either owned by or accessible to criminals. For all his passion, he simply overlooks the simple fact that starting to limit gun ownership by law-abiding citizens merely creates targets of opportunity. Remember the statistics, a few years ago, when a county in Florida mandated that every household have a gun? Crime in that county dropped precipitously, but rose in the surrounding counties. It is fine to argue a hypothetical, which in Stuart’s case seems to be that by making it harder for good people to get guns fewer people will be killed by guns. On the surface, which is where nearly all, if not all, Liberal arguments reside, that seems logical. Of course, it is not borne out by fact.

    I was recently reading accounts on a web site for women gun owners where many women related their experiences of being able to protect themselves because they were armed, and it was chilling—I had no idea this was as common as it is.

    And of course the Left will not admit that the mass shootings we have been seeing are nearly all motivated by Islamic teaching.

    • Cluster December 5, 2015 / 5:09 pm

      I was recently reading accounts on a web site for women gun owners where many women related their experiences of being able to protect themselves because they were armed,

      I was reading this just the other day:

      Weapon sales are soaring in Austria as citizens of the small Alpine nation become paranoid over the numbers of refugees crowding into their country. In a country of 8.5 million people, there are now an estimated 900,000 firearms in homes. And gun dealers report that it is women driving the sales rush.

      I think a BIG problem with progressives is that they just don’t want to admit to themselves that some people are downright evil, and no piece of legislation or executive order will ever change that truth.

    • Bob Eisenhower December 5, 2015 / 5:50 pm

      Amazona & Cluster

      You make great points regarding guns, especially the point about the impossibility of removing the guns that are already out there. I hope Stuart chimes in on it, as it did not come up yesterday.

      See, this is my very point about why we NEED to keep talking to liberals.

      Perhaps he has not confronted such an argument before. Or maybe, like you guys, he’s seen that argument before and can rebut it. I want to hear the rebuttal, as I personally do not know how guns could be cleared out of a population such as America’s. Our size, history and polarization would make that impossible, but I totally want to hear an opposing opinion.

      Amazona, you were once a liberal and now you are very conservative. You of all people should believe in the ability of intelligent people to change. I believe Stuart is intelligent. Maybe he can change. Or maybe one of his arguments might change our collective opinion on a topic. Maybe.

      You guys argue that there is no changing a liberal’s mind, to which I challenge you to be open and see if any argument can change your own mind. If you have faith you opinion might be changed by a persuasive argument, you should have faith that a good debater like Stuart might be swayed. Just make a persuasive argument that withstands his rebuttals. Not easy to do, but do-able, imho.

      • Amazona December 5, 2015 / 6:24 pm

        Bob, I can think of Liberals who have changed, but it never seems to be due to debate. It seems to come about after a tragedy that has pointed out the foolishness of Liberal policies, and I am sure the change is accelerated by Liberal commentary on the tragedy. Let’s face it, there’s not much in this world more disgusting than watching Libs jump on a tragedy and trying to turn it into a political football.

        Sure, the inability to remove guns from criminals would make disarming law-abiding people even more vulnerable to predation. How many shootings have taken place in “gun-free” zones?

        Here is something to think about: emphasis mine

        It’s not that all liberals are stupid; it’s just that liberalism makes them sound stupid.
        For liberals, it’s not about being open-minded; it’s saying things they believe an open-minded person would say. It’s not about being smart; it’s saying things they believe a smart person would say. It’s not about being virtuous; it’s about saying things they believe a virtuous person would say.

        Why do liberals crassly demand “gun control” when there’s still blood drying on the ground after a mass murder? Because it’s their way of signaling not just that they care, but that you don’t. You can point out that the policies they’re calling for wouldn’t have stopped the shooting all day long, but it won’t faze them because they don’t really care about stopping shootings; they care about signaling their virtue to their liberal friends.

        Why were there huge anti-war protests when Bush was in office that disappeared after Obama took over? Because it was never about “the war.” It was about showing that they didn’t like Bush, who was the greatest enemy of their tribe.

        When you’re a liberal, freedom is your enemy because most people aren’t part of your tribe; they don’t agree with your way of thinking and they’re not going to do what you want them to do. This is why liberals love to control people with big government so much. It’s the tool they use to promote their tribe, hurt the enemies of their tribe and “show their virtue” to the world without actually having to do anything. At the end of the day, liberals are the living embodiment of the troublemakers Eric Hoffer described when he said, “We all have private ails. The troublemakers are they who need public cures for their private ails.”

        I think this pretty much sums it up. I have always said that the big appeal of Liberalism is that it offers a shortcut to the Higher Moral Ground—simply by being FOR something considered virtuous, a Liberal can lay claim to actually BEING virtuous. Better yet, if there is opposition to a policy or plan claimed by Libs as morally superior, no matter how well reasoned the opposition might be, it can be reframed as being not caring about the problem/suffering/injury in question, which then doubles down on that Higher Moral Ground thing—the Lib not only occupies that Higher Moral Ground, simply by taking a position, the Lib’s opponent is demonized as being heartless/selfish/indifferent to suffering, etc. It’s a twofer.

      • Amazona December 5, 2015 / 6:30 pm

        Bob,you say I am “very conservative”. Will you please tell me why you say that? What about me, other than the fact that I have self-identified as conservative, makes you think this?

        In other words, how do YOU define “conservative”?

      • Amazona December 5, 2015 / 6:51 pm

        ” Just make a persuasive argument that withstands his rebuttals. “

        It’s not a matter of simply making “a persuasive argument that withstands (his) rebuttals…” it is a matter of making that kind of argument over and over again and having the other person continue on as if the argument had never been made, simply ignoring it.

        Example: No matter how many links are given, no matter how many scientists are quoted, Libs (including Stuart) just keep trotting out the oft-rebutted claim that nearly all scientists concur that climate change is man-made.

        Example: No matter how many mass shootings happen in other countries, the U.S. is constantly described by the gun-hating Left as being the most violent, the nation with the most mass shootings, etc. In this thread (I think) Stuart claimed we have had a mass shooting for every day of this year. Really? Yet the facts show that per capita we are not the nation with the most mass shootings, or for that matter with the most mass murders using any weapon. But the facts don’t fit the narrative, so the narrative goes on and on and on and on.

        Another problem in dealing with Libs is their propensity for throwing unsubstantiated claims into a discussion, such as the casual comment that George Bush used illegal drugs. There was never a named witness to him using any kind of drug, there were multiple witnesses who stood up, identified themselves, and said they never knew him to use drugs but did know he wouldn’t even have a beer at a party if he was on call for the National Guard, but this claim just tastes so damned good to Bush-hating Lefties they refuse to stop chewing on it, and use any excuse to bring it up. It is very frustrating to have to deal with this kind of nonsense, this dependence on hate mongering and ongoing effort to derail a discussion by dragging in something irrelevant.

        I will point out Stuart’s implied admission that the Left just doesn’t care how awful a person is if that person is part of the tribe. His comment on both Clintons supports that. He tried to claim that conservatives are just as nonchalant about character and credibility, but I take that as defensiveness, that old whine of “Well, everybody does it”. Yet it is only the Left that has come right out and said “character doesn’t matter”, and proved it by reelecting Obama and still loving the Clintons.

      • Bob Eisenhower December 5, 2015 / 8:56 pm


        I consider you “very” conservative because of your deep devotion to Constitutional originalism. I’ve seen you argue points against your own preferences when Constitutionality overrode those preferences.

        I hope you do not take the term “very conservative” as a pejorative, as it is not one.

      • Bob Eisenhower December 5, 2015 / 9:23 pm


        Suppose Stuart somehow made a perfect argumenton a point with which you disagree, would you change your position?

        I believe you would change position, because you are a very logical person.

        Now, I don’t believe Stuart will find that magic argument, not because he’s lacking but because your positions are very well thought out. But I want to hear that magic argument, should it happen. I come to these sites hoping to see such persuation.

        Likewise, I hope to see you or others (or me, even) discover that magic argument that makes Stuart say, “I’m still liberal but on this point I concede the conservatives are right.”

        I have a dream.

      • M. Noonan December 5, 2015 / 11:44 pm

        As Stuart pointed out in his gun control debate with me, we are talking right past each other. In my view, because he’s not actually looking at the facts of the case: primarily that his desires, if enacted into law, would not actually stop a single gun-related crime. The criminals don’t obey the gun laws already on the books, and the crazies are almost certain to not show up in background checks before they actually go nuts. To be sure total confiscation of firearms and strict border control would, over time, reduce the number of weapons in the United States – even illegal weapons (the police confiscate mountains of them every year, already). But we’re talking living in a police state to get to that point – where the police would have powers to just waltz into anyone’s home with no probable cause just to check if there’s a firearm there. And forget about illegal immigration – we couldn’t even have legal immigration in the sort of border security we’d need to keep illegal weapons out (just too much chance that an immigrant would be smuggling weapons in). Even then, it would take a couple decades to really get the guns removed from society – and as the law-abiding would be the first to be disarmed, it would mean a period of time where criminals would rule the roost…and to combat that, we’d probably have to go with internal controls on population movement and other such fascist activities. And, of course, there never will be the political power for that sort of action in the United States. Guns are here to stay – but one can’t argue that point with a gun control supporter because they’ll keep coming back to the fact that Japan has strict gun control and very low crime rate.

      • Amazona December 5, 2015 / 10:54 pm

        No, Bob, I don’t consider “conservative” to be a pejorative. On the contrary, I am quite comfortable with the term. I just wondered if you were using the term as so many do, applying it because of a stereotype that conservatives are not interested in things like conservation, feeding the hungry, helping the poor, etc. Thank you for realizing that it is a name for a coherent political philosophy.

      • Amazona December 5, 2015 / 11:03 pm

        “Suppose Stuart somehow made a perfect argument on a point with which you disagree, would you change your position?”

        I’m trying to imagine how that would happen. I can’t imagine anyone making a “perfect argument” that the federal government could, or should, undertake anything that is not an enumerated duty delegated to it by the Constitution, not without going through the process of amendment. I can’t imagine any additional restrictions on gun ownership that I would not find in conflict with the 2nd Amendment, and I shoot and know too many shooters to be convinced by statistics from Leftist rags like the Guardian. Even if I were to become convinced that further restrictions are necessary, I would still insist on going through the whole amendment process, because I firmly believe that process is necessary to provide at least some protection from tyranny.

        But thanks for the vote of confidence that I would change my mind if presented with the right evidence or proof. As I said, I have admitted to being wrong about all sorts of things—wanting to keep Tim Tebow in Denver comes to mind. I have become quite a Peyton Manning fan. I was wrong about buying a Ford 6.0 Power Stroke—oh so very very wrong.

      • Amazona December 5, 2015 / 11:26 pm

        I think that to find a compelling argument from a Lib the Lib has to have a foundation for his or her political identity that is deeper than simple dislike for an invented, villainous, Right, or fanboy adoration of some Dem figure.

        And this is why Libs refuse to try to argue political philosophy, because it is either theoretical, or has a history of failure. A long time ago, Progressivism was still theoretical, so people could argue its possibilities. Now, however, there is a pretty solid historical record of the successes and failures of the two main political models, and this is what makes arguing for the Leftist one so problematical, because it has failed wherever it has been tried.

        There have been spectacular failures resulting in horrible economic misery and the deaths of tens of millions, such as Cambodia and the USSR. There have been milder failures, such as what we are seeing in the E.U., where Progressive Lite has taken a little longer to show its defects clearly enough to make it impossible to argue that it works. But the record is clear—Leftist political policies, when applied, inevitably result in loss of individual liberty, economic misery, human rights abuses, tyranny and collapse of the system.

        On the other hand, the bold experiment of the Constitution of the United States resulted, back when it was being followed, in the leapfrogging of a raw and rowdy new nation over the cultures and civilizations of nations far older and more established, in the areas of personal liberty, opportunity, economic vitality, national security, scientific and medical advances, and overall quality of life. In fewer than a hundred years we became a beacon of freedom and opportunity. We became the nation other nations turned to for protection from tyranny. It is a system which only started to falter when the basic Constitutional concepts started to be eroded by the desire to expand the size, scope and power of the federal government, in defiance of the Constitutional restrictions on such expansion.

        I have heard the best arguments possible for Leftist governance. I have read the books and articles, I have sat through the speeches, and i say that the results speak for themselves. This is why no Liberal will ever touch the third rail of describing his or her political philosophy—it would take them places far too scary to go. True, most of the Libs we encounter haven’t even THOUGHT about their political identity in terms of the best way to govern the nation, being stuck in the shallows of issues based on emotion and impervious to analysis or debate. These are the people who are eager to explain their “political philosophy” and then become quite bewildered when told that a list of platitudes about equality and fairness is not a political philosophy but just a plaintive bleat about how things should be and an admission that talking about them is really all it takes to suck them in. They have absorbed the talking points, they have the web sites that give them the links that support the talking points, but they know little to nothing about the nuts and bolts of Leftism, its blueprint for how to govern.

        The very very few who actually know what Leftism IS know better than to argue it, because they know they can’t defend it except by ignoring the failures and continuing to argue the hypotheticals—-IF the system had only been applied properly, IF it had gone far enough, THEN it would have worked. And it’s thin ice, wishful thinking.

      • Amazona December 6, 2015 / 12:11 pm

        Here is yet another link to yet another data set regarding “gun violence”. From the article:

        “Guns cannot be causing murder and other violent crimes if nearly all official crime rate statistics are decreasing dramatically, while gun ownership has increased or stayed roughly constant. That’s a simple argument to understand.”

        BTW, I would like to say that I do understand how guns can be very scary to people who aren’t accustomed to them. I was very hesitant to learn to use guns. My late husband had a gun collection, mostly just interesting collectibles but he also had several he liked to shoot,, and he always wanted me to shoot with him. I was very intimidated by the power of the gun, the fact that it would be so easy to harm or kill someone with one, and I begged off.

        After his death, when I had to examine his collection to inventory it, I became intrigued by the history of many of them, such as the old Sharps rifles. It occurred to me that I should learn more, and that included learning how to shoot. I had also moved into a big house that sits alone on a hill in the middle of a field, which makes me aware that I am vulnerable, especially as I am out in the country, and there are so many big windows in the house you can break into it with a rock. After having so much delivered to the house, by movers and vendors, after having work done on the house, I realized that a lot of people knew, or could easily hear, that a single woman lives alone in this house.

        I did a lot of research, and bought a gun I thought I would like to shoot. I took lessons, and got certified for Concealed Carry. I joined a gun club near my house, and started running a lot of rounds through my new gun. My original goal was to become familiar with it, as I understand that competence is essential and it begins with actually KNOWING your weapon. I got intrigued by the challenge of shooting better and better, and have found myself losing my fear, though gaining respect for the power of the weapon. It is a HUGE responsibility.

        I did a lot of research, not only on which guns I might like to shoot but on safety, handling, and dangers of various mistakes in gun handling. I also found blogs and articles about people who had defended themselves because they DID have guns, either on them or nearby, and I have become absolutely convinced that my safety is always going to be up to me. A friend who is a policeman in another town told me that in too many cases, the job of the police is to take pictures of the crime scene and draw the chalk line around the bodies.

        One thing that happened with me is that once I started down this path, I also developed my situational awareness. I have always been more aware of my surroundings than most people, but this has been heightened. Last year there was a carjacking in Denver, filmed by a news helicopter team that had been following a car chase. A man jumped out and flagged down a passing car, and the woman driver not only stopped for him, she opened her car door as if to get out. She was clueless, and got dragged out of her car and thrown to the ground, and her car was stolen and then wrecked in the subsequent chase. I watched that and decided that if that happened to me, not only would my door remain locked but within seconds I would have a loaded gun in my hand—-and know how to use it.

        What the gun opponents don’t realize is the huge, VAST, number of times the mere sight of a gun in a potential victim’s hand has resulted in no violence at all. You can ask anyone who has felt the need to pull a gun, and had the other guy back off, if he believes the situation would have ended very badly without the show of force, and I will guarantee the answer will be that the person had no doubt he or she would have been beaten, robbed, possibly killed, without the ability to indicate a bad outcome for the attacker. I personally know several of these people. I know a man who shot and killed a pit bull that had broken through a fence and had an elderly man down and was savaging him, unfazed by being hit with boards and rocks in efforts to pull him off. My friend saved this man’s life.

        I do understand that guns are loud, and scary, and that they are very very intimidating. But so are cars and trucks. More people are killed by drunk drivers than by guns, yet there is no demand to take cars off the road, or make them harder to buy or own. In this case, it is understood that the culprit is the driver, not the car. Even when cars are purposely used to inflict harm or death, being driven into crowds or at police officers, there is no cry to restrict car ownership. But we KNOW cars. We are familiar with them, we grew up around them, we handle them on a daily basis, and we know how to handle them. Most people don’t know guns, so they are alien and outside their frames of reference, and all these people think they know is that guns are dangerous. And they are, if used improperly.

  4. Cluster December 6, 2015 / 1:34 pm

    Re: the NYT front page editorial on guns, which broke a 95 year precedent. Leave it to Jonah Goldberg to absolutely nail it. His contention is that the NYT editorial is a desperate distraction from Obama;s failures and his observations are:

    The killers were inspired by ISIS, a group the president has insisted is “contained” and only last week said posed no threat to the homeland.

    No remotely plausible gun-control reforms would have prevented the Farooks from killing people.

    The immigrant screening process let Jihadi murderer, Malik Tafsheen, into the United States despite the fact she gave a fake address. This happened at a moment when the president — and the New York Times – have insisted time and again that concerns about Syrian refugees amount to little more than xenophobia and know-nothingism.

    One hour before the FBI confirmed this was a terrorist attack the White House still refused to describe it as one. This fact is particularly salient given that the president has always downplayed, diminished, disregarded, and dismissed concerns about terrorism in America. He simply doesn’t want Americans to sweat terrorism.

    Read more at:

  5. Retired Spook December 6, 2015 / 5:32 pm

    On Fox New Sunday today, resident Liberal, Juan Williams, claimed that the AR-15’s used by the San Bernardino shooters were specially modified so they could re-load with the push of a button instead of manually. I’m not making that up. I don’t know how you debate someone who is that ignorant about firearms. For those reading this who are not familiar with the AR-15 platform, when a magazine is empty, the bolt locks open and the empty magazine is released with a button on the right side of the lower receiver. A full magazine is then inserted, and the first round is chambered with the push of a bolt release button on the left side of the lower receiver. Both “push buttons” are an integral part of the design, not a special modification. Virtually every modern semi-automatic weapon on the market, both long guns and handguns, has a magazine release button, and every semi-automatic weapon has a button or lever that chambers the first round.

    • Retired Spook December 6, 2015 / 7:11 pm

      Update: It turns out Juan Williams maybe, sorta knew what he was talking about — kinda.

      Standard Ar-15’s have to be modified to be sold legally in California, making the mag release button inoperable. So technically the shooters “un” modified the weapons.

      • Amazona December 6, 2015 / 11:11 pm

        I don’t understand–does this mean the magazine can’t be released?

      • Retired Spook December 6, 2015 / 11:42 pm

        Not without a tool, although that tool can be just about any pointed object. The point is that California passed a law to restrict AR-15 magazine capacity and make it more difficult to reload quickly, but those murdering bastards broke that law. Go figure. What’s this world coming to that you pass a perfectly good law and criminals and terrorists break it?

      • M. Noonan December 7, 2015 / 12:04 am

        Always astonishes me that those who are planning a crime just have no respect for the law…

  6. Amazona December 6, 2015 / 11:06 pm

    Oh, snap—more to discredit the gun control lobby.

    “The New York Times front-page editorial asserts a “gun epidemic,” which is an odd phrase, unless you think guns themselves — not deaths or shootings — are an evil.

    If the editors meant to refer to a gun-death epidemic or a mass-shooting epidemic, here’s a relevant bit of information: Per-capita murders in the U.S. are at their lowest level since FBI records began, and they are trending downwards. The Times editors write “motives do not matter to the dead.” I would add that “weapons of choice do not matter to the dead.” So, here’s a chart of all murders in the U.S, taken from FBI data.”

  7. Retired Spook December 7, 2015 / 8:55 am

    There was a lot of talk over the weekend about the Republicans being against prohibiting people on the no-fly list from purchasing guns, both from the media and from Democrats (sorry for the redundancy) as well as the President in his speech. I thought it sounded strange, because it would seem to me that you definitely wouldn’t want people on the no-fly list to be able to buy guns. Well this morning from Drudge it all became clear.

    At least 72 employees at the Department of Homeland Security are listed on the U.S. terrorist watch list, according to a Democratic lawmaker.

    Now I guess you could take that two ways. Either 72 DHS employees have erroneously been put on the terrorist watch list, or we are in deep sh*t.

    • Cluster December 7, 2015 / 10:54 am

      Oh I think we are in deep kimchi regardless of the no fly list, but it does expose the unseriousness of this President and progressives in general. The no fly list is a very fluid, unvetted list of people who through no actions of their own, may just happen to appear on the list because their name is similar to someone else’s. Besides, I really don’t think an active jihadist will be buying his weapons from a retailer, and moreover, banning the sale of firearms to people on the no fly list would not have prevented any of the shootings. NONE. NADA. So tell me again how that is suppose to protect us.

      What needs to be said is how the visa immigration of the wife exposes the many problems with our “vetting” process and why there should be a temporary hold on any refugees from the middle east. I think the President should explain why there are already over 2,000 Syrian refugees in this country, what that vetting process was, and if he still intends to allow access to thousands more in light of this new revelation.

      And finally, there IS NOT widespread backlash against Muslims in this country so for Christ’s sake (pun intended) let’s dispense with that narrative.

    • tiredoflibbs December 7, 2015 / 1:17 pm

      This terrorist attack has shown more and more liberal policies as failures. Vetting immigrants is one of them and the most important. On this blog, the mindless drones who troll here now and again were quick to defend the vetting process of the refugees and immigrants because their pResident wanted it. They were here dutifully regurgitating the talking points.

      Second, leftist policies of gun control has been shown to be a complete failure. The “Californian” was able to take a legally purchased weapon (at least according to California law) and modify it to (a) accept a detachable magazine – I am sure the magazine used was greater than 10 rounds and (b) automatic firing. There “common sense” laws will affect the law abiding citizen and disarm him or reduce his capacity to defend him(her)self against one who choses to break the laws. There is no gun control law(s) that could have prevented this attack – even outright gun confiscation. There are many illegal products that are smuggled into this country day after day – nothing stops them. Of course, the ideal objective of gun control is to disarm the average citizen (why is a debate for later).

      Third, the domestic spying program (there is one it may have been started by Bush as you dutiful mindless drones will point out – BUT it has been extended and EXPANDED by Obame) failed to gather any intelligence. The drones love to spout how 9/11 could have been avoided – no matter how many times this is unproven – but in similar circumstances they will not blame obame’s administration or policies for missing/ignoring vital intelligence that would have prevented or mitigated these attacks. We know the greatest threat to this country is Climate Change……….. obame is focused like a laser beam on the issue (that is a debate for another time).

      The left’s policies are and continue to be dismal failures. How many times are we going to do the same thing and expect different results? This is just another political exploitation by obame – never let a crisis go to waste.

    • M. Noonan December 7, 2015 / 11:49 pm

      From what I understand, there are thousands of people on the no-fly list – and most of them probably have no real connection to terrorists. The whole no-fly list is nonsense as far as I’m concerned and I’m not about to let the Executive Branch (no matter who is running it) get the power to deny someone their 2nd Amendment rights without any due process of law. We should abolish the list, anyways…not a single person who has done a mass shooting in the United States since the list was created has been on the list.

  8. Retired Spook December 8, 2015 / 9:13 am

    Excellent piece at The Blaze this morning.

  9. Stuart_F December 11, 2015 / 11:33 pm

    I’d genuinely like to hear from people outside of the left on solutions to reduce gun-related deaths in this country. I have a few ideas I’d love to hear feedback on, as well as hear other ideas.

    Let me preface with a few disclaimers in case you think I’m simply a partisan Democrat with no independent views or thoughts:

    First, the recent amendments introduced by Senate Democrats forcing votes on gun control laws were purely political theater, as is frequent in Congress. Their amendments were attached to the repeal of Obamacare. Even if the GOP voted for it, did they really want Obama to abolish the most significant legislation since LBJ for a few gun laws? No, it was just for show.

    Second, I don’t think there is any law that can eliminate every act of violence. None of the proposals I’m suggesting would definitively prevent San Bernadino or any other specific tragedy. We’ll always have horrific tragedies and large-scale attacks. But if a law can demonstrably reduce gun violence, by more than enough to justify the burden of the law, then I think it is worth pursuing. And of course, it must be constitutional.

    Third, I don’t think all gun laws are helpful or effective. Hyde Park, Illinois recently had their ban on assault weapons upheld by the Supreme Court. Sure, that law represents the will of the majority liberal, urban residents there, but I don’t think there’s evidence a small town’s assault weapons ban reduces gun crime.

    Fourth, let me add that the ideas I’m proposing on not what I think the ideal gun laws should be. These are just laws that I think have a lot of popular support and have evidence behind them that they can reduce gun deaths.

    With that said, here are the ideas. (I’m happy to provide links to my statistics and studies upon request!)

    1. Mandatory reporting of lost or stolen firearms.

    Popular Support: A 2011 national survey showed 94% of Americans support this law, including an overwhelming majority of gun owners.

    This law helps deter gun trafficking and discourage straw purchasing, as well as facilitate the return of lost or stolen guns to their lawful owners.

    One study found that states without mandatory lost or stolen reporting laws export two and a half times more crime guns across state lines than jurisdictions with such laws. And again, it is also a useful way to get lost/stolen guns back to their lawful owners.

    Despite it’s 94% support from voters, only 7 states have such a law on the books.

    2. Require hand gun locks in certain circumstances.

    Popular Support: This law has less polling data available, but one survey shows 79% of Americans support this law while a more recent one shows 67% support.

    This law is most effective toward reducing suicides and accidental shootings. Over a million children live in homes with loaded and unlocked guns, which too often is a lethal combination.

    States with these hand gun lock laws have 40% fewer suicides per capita and 68% fewer firearm suicides per capita than states without them. This correlation is unchanged even after controlling for the effects of poverty, population density, age, education, and race/ethnicity.

    Another study showed states enacting this law saw a 23% drop in unintentional firearm deaths.

    3. Universal background checks for gun purchases.

    Popular support: This is the most frequently polled gun law, and they consistently show 85-95% of Americans support this. Even 74% of NRA members support it!

    This may be where dialogue could be especially useful, since 50% of people opposed to new gun laws think we already have universal background checks (which we do not).

    As for evidence, states with universal background check requirements also have a 53 percent lower gun suicide rate, and a 31 percent lower overall suicide rate than states without these laws. This correlation is unchanged even after controlling for the effects of poverty, population density, age, education, and race/ethnicity.

    We also have a law saying convicted domestic abusers cannot possess weapons. States without universal background checks make it much easier for them to use gun show loopholes to acquire guns and kill their significant others. In states that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38% fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners.

    4. Hold negligent gun owners accountable.

    Every year, we have infants whose parents allow them to get a hold of a loaded gun and accidentally kill themselves or others.

    The parents are almost never prosecuted for endangering their child and others. States like Kentucky do not impose criminal liability on adults for negligent firearm storage, even if it leads to a child hurting or killing someone. All states should have laws holding these adults accountable.

    My proposal is any parent whose allows their infant child to fire a gun that injures/kills someone is automatically prohibited from owning a firearm for life. They have proven they are not a responsible gun owner. Same for people who negligently shoot and kill their 7-month old baby while cleaning their gun.

    There is no polling on this, and I haven’t even seen a single politician propose anything like it, it’s just my personal belief. I don’t know how anyone could think parents like these are responsible gun owners.

    5. Funding for Mental Health.

    Most of our gun-related deaths are suicides, and clearly gaps in our mental health system affect that. This is one area the GOP seems to feel safe discussing and supporting when gun control is brought up.

    Because there is no strong mental health lobby, and the mentally-ill are stigmatized and marginalized, politicians are often guilty of cutting mental health budgets to balance the books.

    If you look at state mental health funding, conservative states dominate the bottom of the list. (Out of the bottom 15 in funding, 14 are deep Red states). Seven of the top ten are blue states, and I wonder if Alaska being #2 has anything to do with their weather.

    Florida didn’t report data, but a recent expose indicates they are at the bottom with a dangerously underfunded system despite GOP control of the state for 16 straight years. So I’d like to see the GOP adopt their own solution at the state level – they don’t need any Democratic support to do it.

    6. 12 other non-gun ideas!

    Dylan Matthews assembled a great list of non-gun policy ideas backed by evidence they can reduce violence. They range from higher alcohol taxes to better lighting in high-crime areas. What they share is a commitment to only laws and programs that are proven to work.

    Hopefully we can agree that programs that demonstrably don’t work, like DARE, should have funding transferred to programs that are effective.

    Although I personally favor very different gun safety laws than those I listed, I think those have bipartisan potential. I’m interested in if any could translate broad support shown in surveys into legislation. As always, I welcome other ideas!

    (If you think my post is a waste of time or worthless, please feel free to ignore it. I’m interested in civil, respectful dialogue on this issue with other people looking for the same. We can disagree without being unpleasant to each other.)

    • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 12:17 am

      Stuart, first off I just want to say I don’t understand why you feel the need to constantly tell us “If you think my post is a waste of time or worthless, please feel free to ignore it. I’m interested in civil, respectful dialogue on this issue with other people looking for the same. We can disagree without being unpleasant to each other.” We get it, OK?

      Second, speaking for myself and I am sure the vast majority if not all conservatives, I think you are confused about our attitude toward Obamacare. Calling it “…the most significant legislation since LBJ …” is downright funny, if you mean it seriously, as praise for both LBJ policies and this Act. Just to make this completely clear, there will never be any need to try to link Obamacare to any other legislation to try to get conservatives to vote to repeal it. Quite frankly, I read your entire paragraph about what you call “political theater” as confusing and possibly an attempt at humor. I suppose you might have had a straight face when you called it “….the most significant legislation since LBJ…” if you actually think LBJ did anything good for the country, but overall I can’t accept the statement at face value because it simply does not make sense.

      Perhaps you can restate the whole thing in a way that is consistent with (1) conservative hatred of more restrictive gun laws and (2) conservative hatred of the ACA, the oddly named Affordable Care Act that is not affordable and has nothing to do with care.

      What is different about this much-vaunted “universal background check” from the current mandatory background checks?

      What states do not have mandatory background checks?

      What would you add to current background check questionnaires?

      What questions might run into legal issues of privacy? More to the point, what answers might be protected by privacy laws? Would you want to weaken current HIPPA laws so it would be possible to examine mental health records, for example?

      What law enforcement agency or agencies run background checks when contacted by gun sellers?

      Please describe these “gun show loopholes” that are constantly mentioned by gun control advocates.

      Do you believe that someone bent on killing himself will not do this if he can’t get a gun?

      What is the proportion of gun suicides vs other methods of self-murder?

      If you are correct when you say “…Most of our gun-related deaths are suicides, …” are most suicides gun related?

      Doesn’t this statement conflict with the standard rhetoric from gun control advocates, that “gun violence” involves both shooters and victims, instead of being personal and private decisions involving no one but the person who is shooting the gun?

      I live alone and if I am going to have children in my house I lock up my guns. Not just the triggers—the guns. Why should Big Brother rule that I have to have trigger locks on them?

      How many gun control laws have included requirements that have nothing to do with guns at all, such as increasing mental health availability?

      If mental health is the issue why not address that and stop trying to tie it in with guns?

      • Cluster December 12, 2015 / 9:41 am

        I also read that line “most significant piece of legislation since LBJ” and was in disbelief. As if LBJ’s policies have turned out well. This is a great example of how progressives simply want legislation that makes them feel good about themselves regardless of results.

        Stuart is trying hard to let us all know how much he cares, and in turn how heartless we all are. You offer up some great questions that would give any one reason to pause and think through these issues, but not Stuart. If the policy sounds good, and makes him feel better, then he supports it. A while back we were discussing economics and I asked Stuart when the last tax increase on the rich went into effect and what were the positive impacts. I am still waiting.

    • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 12:31 am

      What is an “assault weapon”? Can you describe one? Can you define one? I have heard top Liberal politicians try and their efforts have been laughable. What makes an “assault weapon” more lethal than a non-“assault weapon”?

      Are you familiar with cases in which someone who has purposely tried to hit someone with a car has been charged with assault with a deadly weapon? Ditto for knives, baseball bats, rocks, and pretty much anything that has ever been used to inflict harm on another person.

      Your argument seems to be that the real problem is mental health, which then leads to gun violence. Why start with the effect rather than with the cause?

      Isn’t the Left backing assisted, and therefore legal, suicide? So why is the number of suicides by gun a concern?

      If most gun violence is suicide by gun, why are the statistics quoted to imply something different?

      If someone wants to buy a gun to kill himself, do you think he might lie on a background check questionnaire about his mental health or reason to want to buy a gun or whatever else this “universal background check” might ask?

      Do all or even most mentally disturbed people have official mental health records that might show up in a “universal background check” even if it were legal to examine records?

      And why are you so stuck on this one topic, when so many other things have been brought up and so many other questions directed at you? Serious questions about things like how best to govern the nation, not obsessing about one or two issues.

      • Cluster December 12, 2015 / 9:44 am

        Isn’t the Left backing assisted, and therefore legal, suicide? So why is the number of suicides by gun a concern?

        GREAT question.

        If someone wants to buy a gun to kill himself, do you think he might lie on a background check questionnaire

        Progressives think that Iran is telling the truth, so ……….

    • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 12:44 am

      Stuart, you cite an article that cites studies saying that raising taxes on alcohol reduces alcohol consumption.

      If this is an accepted theory, then why is it so hard to understand that raising taxes on productive work will result in less productive work?

      Liberals are all about using taxation as a club to bludgeon people into doing what Liberals have decided is best for them, tacitly admitting that taxing something discourages it, yet they are at the same time all about taxing success.

      Go figure…………

    • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 12:54 am

      Yet another example of why no conservative needs to have Obamacare repeal linked with some other bill to get it passed—conservatives understand that it is having a terrible impact on Americans and the economy in general. True, it hasn’t yet spent trillions and trillions of dollars ostensibly to eliminate poverty and “save” the American family while increasing poverty and destroying the black American family, the legacy of LBJ, but left alone it may well equal that social and economic disaster.

      ”Amid all the data and developments that illustrate the comprehensive failure of Obamacare — often based on its supporters’ own metrics — it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that these failures aren’t just theoretical. They’re actively hurting real people. Working and middle-class families have to grapple with the fears and financial instability associated with increasing, unaffordable costs. “Access shock” prevents individuals from securing the care they need. Rising cost curves impact the government’s budget, which affects taxpayers. Millions of people have been stripped of their existing healthcare arrangements, including hundreds of thousands as a result of the law’s collapsing co-ops, in violation of a solemn presidential promise. Healthcare policy is by its very nature deeply personal, which is why Republicans are right to continue their fight against this damaging law. Obamacare supporters dishonestly presented their legislation as a no-lose proposition, a delusion that is being painfully pierced by reality every single day. In California, the strain imposed by Obamacare’s supposedly “compassionate” Medicaid expansion is constricting resources for other people in need…”

    • M. Noonan December 12, 2015 / 1:42 am

      Bottom line, I am not interested in controlling guns – guns are just tools; like hammers or saws. They are morally neutral – it is how they are used which determines the morality of the act. Keep in mind that we have a right to bear arms not because of hunting, but because an armed population is, at the end of the day, a truly free population. Whether the tyrants be foreign of domestic, the fact that 60 million Americans are armed means that America cannot be subjugated, period.

      I’d much rather address the root cause of crime – which is moral failure; and moral failure which is positively encouraged by our popular culture.

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