# To what problem is this legislation a solution to?

People with concealed weapon licenses would be allowed to carry guns inside the buildings and classrooms of Wisconsin’s public universities and colleges under a bill introduced Monday by two state legislators.

According to the Wisconsin State Journal article, the bills sponsors argue that if only students were armed to the teeth, any gunmen would be quickly taken down.

This is a common view, which to my knowledge has no statistical basis. All we have are anecdotes. See for instance Econbrowser reader Rick Stryker’s argument. In the wake of the Newtown massacre, and in response to a reader’s plea after the Newtown massacre in 2012:

“I want my kid to grow up in a world where owning a shiny piece of metal that can instantaneously end human life with little effort is not normal, or something to be proud of, in the modern world.”

I would agree and so Holiday season I’d like to suggest something that you can put under the Christmas tree: a junior membership in the NRA. It’s only \$15 and includes a subscription to Insight magazine. The junior memberships are great ways to teach kids about the proper, legal use of firearms and the importance of gun safety.

Sure. To quote “Yeah, that’s the ticket!”

I’ll appeal instead to data. Here is an interesting correlation, involving actual data. First consider the number of casualties in mass shootings.

Figure 1: 12 month moving average of mass shooting casualties; deaths (dark red), wounded (pink). Source: Mother Jones, and author’s calculations.

There seems to be a trend…I estimate a tobit model on quarterly data 1982Q1-2012Q4 (since casualties are bounded below at zero):

casualties = -0.376 – 0.989yt-8 + 0.0008timet

Where casualties per million population, y is the output gap expressed as a ratio, and time is a time trend; bold figures denote statistical significance at the 10% level using Huber-White standard errors. The idea is that lagged economic distress induces more attacks. All coefficients are statistically significant, and the standard error of regression is 0.054,

Note the time trend is statistically significant. What is the time trend capturing? I substitute a meaningful variable for the time trend, namely the stock of guns in the US.

casualties = -0.211 – 0.900yt-8 + 0.0006gt

The stock of guns, g, is interpolated from annual data). The standard error of regresion is again 0.054.

This is merely a reflection of a stylized fact about gun violence. For verification of this proposition, see this article (which also contains other data-based observations).

The observation that stricter gun control laws are associated with lower gun violence is suggestive of a constructive — and realistic — path for policy going forward:

Source: Wonkblog.

and not adolescent fantasies about armed citizens policing our campuses. (I must say that if one is worried about “grade inflation”, having hundreds of armed students in classrooms is unlikely to help…)

## 125 thoughts on “To what problem is this legislation a solution to?”

1. Anonymous

BC: The only TV rival of the great Richard Boone was the indomitable Lee Marvin. In the movies, Marlon Brando in One Eyed Jacks, a couple Clint Eastwood’s, and John Wayne’s sterling performance in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Thanks for the great link!

1. Ricardo

How many mass murderers have had a gun safety course? When drivers break traffic laws they are sent to traffic school. When there is domestic violence in a home the violent offender is sent to anger management classes? When a politicians is caught in any number of crimes he or she goes to rehab (school). Education seems to be the Progressive answer to anything but gun violence.

Menzie apparently has done little reading on this subject. Here is a study from Harvard that is much more comprehensive and points out that Menzie asks the wrong question and, so, comes up with the wrong answer.

There are many other studies but this one is excellent.

1. ottnott

“There are many other studies but this one is excellent.” Except for the part about the Kates and Mauser piece being a study and being excellent, you are correct.

From Prof. David Hemenway, Professor of Health Policy and Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center in the Department of Health Policy and Management of the Harvard School of Public Health (yeah, he’s really from Harvard), we have this review of the dreck Ricardo cited:

Opening paragraph
The article appears in a publication, described as a “student law review for conservative and libertarian legal scholarship.” It does not appear to be a peer-reviewed journal, or one that is searching for truth as opposed to presenting a certain world view. The paper itself is not a scientific article, but a polemic, making the claim that gun availability does not affect homicide or suicide. It does this by ignoring most of the scientific literature, and by making too many incorrect and illogical claims. Here I will discuss just a few of the many problems with the paper.

Closing paragraph:
Too many of the other claims by Kates and Mauser are also misleading; most of the issues are discussed in Private Guns and Public Health, which tries to discuss all the relevant scientific literature, rather than just one side for some debate. The Kates and Mauser article is simply a one-sided polemic, usually misleading, and does not deserve much attention.

The biggest flaw of the piece is that it fails to compare likes to likes (something we’ve been hearing a lot about here lately), relying heavily on Russia and former Soviet states, along with a cherry-picked year from tiny Luxembourg (with about a half-million in population and single-digit numbers of homicides by firearms).

What about the explosion of drug prescriptions that cause homicidal and suicidal tendencies to deal with mental problems, particularly for younger people and children?

Anyway, you have less of a chance being killed in a classroom than in an airplane, even with 300 million guns in the country and criminals disregarding gun control laws.

3. Steven Kopits

Not clear what the y-axis is. Is that monthly shootings at an annualized rate based on 12 mma? Or is it monthly shootings per million population?

Obviously, mass shooters usually don’t need concealed carry permits, since, it seems to me, mostly they come armed to the teeth with limited ability or intent to conceal their weapons. So I doubt a concealed carry permit would have much impact on mass shootings.

On the other hand, having guns handy will tend to increase their spontaneous use (mass killings rarely seem spontaneous to me). Spontaneity will in turn depend upon depression, anger and lack of inhibition (alcohol and drugs). Most guns deaths in the US (about 2/3) are suicides. That is the most important statistic. The other potential problem–and this risk is not zero at a university campus–is someone both drunk and armed. I would not welcome guns of any sort on a campus.

On the other hand, when I was at Columbia and regularly walked home after midnight from 116th to 101st St, well, I could conceive of having found comfort in the protection of a weapon.

1. Steven Kopits

OK, so if I go back to the Mother Jones table, then there were

23 fatal shootings ytd 2015
9 fatal shootings in 2014

In a country of 320 million? The mass shooting thing is a CNN mirage. For some perspective, collisions with deer caused 200 deaths and \$4 bn in damages in 2012. You’re ten times as likely to be killed by a deer with poor eye-hoof coordination than in a mass shooting.

http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2012/10/24/267786.htm

1. baffling

rick, how many people have died in the us from terrorist activity since 2000? that is also a pretty small risk. and we spent \$2 trillion to fight two wars over the issue.

2. Steven Kopits

You’re making the wrong argument, Menzie. Mass shootings, although they are highly emotional and visible events, are meaningless in policy terms. They are a political, not a policy, problem. Nevertheless, you have on several occasion dressed them up as a policy problem. The intended effect was greater support for gun control, but the actual effect seems to be a greater proliferation of guns. Two people can look at exactly the same set of facts and come up with radically different policy solutions. As so often on the left, it seems, you are outrunning your data, and this in turn is creating additional problems.

The greater risk, less covered in the national media but almost certainly visible on local TV, is individual shootings and murders. It is this risk which pertains to guns on campus. Anger, depression and lack of inhibition–these are the real risks.

The article you’d like to write is “The Greater Risk: Guns, Alcohol and Emotions on Campus”. The data is out there, I’m sure.

3. Steven Kopits

Here you go, Menzie. Here’s the rundown on homicides in the country.

A couple of excerpts:

“Tests for alcohol were conducted for 73.8% of decedents…Among decedents who tested positive for alcohol (33.4%), 59.1% had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of >0.08 g/dL (the legal limit in the majority of states).”

“The homicide rate for males was approximately 3.6 times that for females (9.0 and 2.5 per 100,000 population, respectively). Non-Hispanic blacks accounted for the majority (52.0%) of homicide deaths and had the highest rate (19.3 deaths per 100,000 population) followed by AI/ANs (10.5) and Hispanics (7.2). Age-specific homicide rates were highest (14.7 deaths per 100,000 population) among those aged 20–24 years followed by those aged 25–29 years…”

“The 16 NVDRS states included in this report collected data concerning 107 unintentional firearm deaths during 2007. Males accounted for 90.7% of decedents. The majority (68.2%) were non-Hispanic whites, followed by non-Hispanic blacks (22.4%). Approximately 20% of unintentional firearm fatalities occurred among persons aged 15–19 years. Approximately 64.5% of all unintentional firearm fatalities took place in a house or apartment, making it the most common place of injury for both males and females, followed by natural areas (16.8%)
Overall, unintentional firearm injury deaths occurred more commonly while victims were playing with a gun (29.9%), hunting (24.7%), showing a gun to others (14.3%), or loading or unloading a gun (10.4%). The circumstances of injury included thinking that a gun was unloaded, unintentionally pulling the trigger, and experiencing a gun malfunction (26.0%, 19.5%, and 5.2%, respectively).”

To me, add up the alcohol and accidental deaths, and I do not want guns on campus.

http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5904a1.htm

1. Vivian Darkbloom

I don’t have any strong views on the handgun issue (inside or outside the classroom) and it frankly doesn’t bother me if guns are outlawed in schools; however, to follow up on Steve’s point, here are some statistics about homicides in the US:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/black-americans-are-killed-at-12-times-the-rate-of-people-in-other-developed-countries/

Most, but not all of these were committed with guns. The US rate is very high by developed country standards, and that is something to be concerned about. However, when you look at who is being killed by whom, and why, it becomes pretty clear to me that the problem has much less to do with guns than other things wrong with US society.

So, I find it curious that the media, the anti-gun movement (especially politicians) find it necessary to concentrate almost exclusively on the handful of people killed in these “mass murders” where guns are employed , as well as the relatively few persons killed by police, when the vast number of deaths are caused under completely different circumstances. What is the ratio of media attention to those killings versus the thousands of black men killed each year in gang wars and drug disputes? (the risk that a young black inner-city resident will be killed by a gun are certainly not unsubstantial–higher, I’d bet, than getting killed by a deer). If the media and those against homicide-by-gun would concentrate much more on the latter and less on the sensationalizing the former, you would likely see fewer “copy cat” killings by mentally disturbed individuals who want to go out with infamy. All the sensational coverage is probably causing more mass killings than they would ever hope to save through stricter gun control. That’s truly sad.

1. Steven Kopits

I do have strong feelings about guns on campus.

There shouldn’t be any. Unless you’re in a high crime area or some natural setting (Alaska?), there should be no need for guns. I see absolutely no reason for people to carry guns for personal protection on the UW Madison campus.

Ever had a gun pulled on you on campus? I have. It wasn’t pleasant, and under different circumstances, the guy might have shot me (he certainly wanted to).

4. Tom

Menzie,

We’re a country of laws.

Amendment 2 of the Constitution says my right to bear arms shall not be infringed. If you do not like that, Article V of the Constitution has two ways you can change it.

I am a resident of Pennsylvania. Section 21 of Article I of my state’s constitution says “The right of the citizens to bear arms in defense of themselves and the State shall not be questioned.”

1. Menzie Chinn Post author

Tom: Nothing is unlimited. We have a right to free speech, but we don’t have a right to shout “fire” in a crowded auditorium. By the way, given your logic of untrammeled ownership rights, why don’t I have a right to a nuke? Why don’t I have a right to bring a AR15 onto an airplane? And why to you ignore the prefatory clause, about a “well-regulated militia”? This the entire sentence:

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.

On the other hand, I betcha you support Kim Davis’s views on what court decisions she should or shouldn’t be following… and I suspect you are not averse to getting rid of birthright citizenship, which is enshrined in the 14th Amendment. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong; I then look forward to your full-throated demand for prosecution of the former, and defense of the 14th amendment.

By the way, when you are talking about a nation of laws, I agree that should be the case. A reading of American history shows exceptions, e.g. Trail of Tears.

Militia – Wikipedia

“Some of the ways the term “militia” is used include:

Defense activity or service, to protect a community, its territory, property, and laws.

The entire able-bodied population of a community, town, county, or state, available to be called to arms.

A private, non-government force, not necessarily directly supported or sanctioned by its government.”

My comment: No invader will be able to occupy the U.S. for long when the population is packing guns and can shoot straight.

1. Robert Hurley

Please Peak really – what keeps us safe from any invasion is the sea and the military not armed civilians

2. baffling

tom, you are welcome to bear arms in the sanctity of your home. heck, you can even defend your home from invasion with the weapon of your choice. but the constitution is not explicit in that you can simply bear your arms anywhere you see fit. that is one of the main points of the article presented by menzie. should you be able to bear arms in a hospital? church? strip club? kindergarten class? it was called the “wild west” for a reason.

3. 2slugbaits

Tom
First, the Founders were not infallible. They made plenty of stupid mistakes. The 2nd Amendment was one of them. But they did not define what “arms” meant. In their understanding at the time it meant muskets and single shot long rifles. If you want to settle on only allowing those kinds of 18th century weapons, then I’m pretty sure most gun control advocates would be more than happy to go along with allowing those kinds of arms. We do not allow individuals to own fully automatic weapons, or grenade launchers or howitzers or weapons that fire depleted uranium rounds, so I don’t think the Constitution would prohibit laws that limited the definition of “arms” to 18th century weapons. Or limit the size of the magazine to one shot. That would go a long way towards minimizing the potential death toll we find with these mass killings. And the Constitution does not promise anyone the right to buy ammunition, so go ahead and have your gun without ammo.

The demographics are not favorable for the NRA. Membership is only appearing to increase because shooting ranges effectively require NRA membership even though a lot of people who use the ranges oppose the NRA. Gun sales spiked during the early Obama years, but mostly to repeat customers who were simply increasing their already large home arsenals. First time gun buyers are becoming rarer and rarer. We just saw one gun manufacturer go bankrupt. And trust me, there is another major gun manufacturer with a lot of Army contracts that is on the verge of bankruptcy. The NRA no longer represents the interests of gun owners (and I happen to be one because I enjoy target shooting at Army ranges), but has become an agent for the gun industry. I predict that in 20 years the NRA will be a political irrelevance outside of the Deep South.

Article:

“During the Revolutionary War era, the British recognized the colonists would use their weapons to defend themselves, so they made efforts to confiscate as many weapons as they could. If you recall, this was the primary instigation of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolution. These battles erupted when the British were trying to capture the colonists’ weapons and ammunition stores at Concord.”

1. 2slugbaits

Peak Trader This is nuts. Back in the days of the Revolution the colonial militia used weapons and tactics that were comparable to those used by the regular British army. I’m sorry, but even the most well armed civilians today are no match for today’s military. This is just Rambo fantasy stuff. Comments like this tell me that way too many civilians are completely uninformed about modern weapon systems and modern military tactics. Old Tea Party warriors who think they could take on a modern army wouldn’t last a New York minute.

A large population, that refuses to be subjugated, can do a lot of damage picking-off an occupying army with plenty of small arms & ammo and without warplanes, tanks, bazookas, etc..

2. Anonymous

It’s true civi’s are no match for today’s military. But you don’t know military people very well if you think the military rank and file would follow orders to confiscate the weapons of American citizens by any means necessary.

3. Menzie Chinn Post author

Anonymous aka Future President Donald Trump aka Scott Walker, American Patriot and Freedom Fighter aka BUT THE MODELS SHOW US!! aka (xo poa) aka YOLO! aka JS aka Joe: Who says the military is going to be assigned to confiscating the guns by any means necessary. Sounds like you’ve been looking up into the night skies for the black helicopters just a little too long. How about just making sure background checks are implemented at gun shows, and preventing the sales of high capacity magazines?

5. baffling

does anybody really believe allowing guns into the classroom would foster a positive educational environment?

6. Rick Stryker

Menzie,

As usual, I don’t understand your argument. Maybe you could be more specific rather than appealing to general correlations.

How would more gun control have stopped the shooting in Oregon? What specific changes would you recommend that would have made this kind of shooting less likely?

Also, what is the evidence that allowing people with concealed carry permits to carry in the classroom is somehow more dangerous than anywhere else? People with concealed carry permits are already allowed to carry in most places. What is different about a classroom?

The community college in Oregon was not a gun free zone. At the time of the shooting, there were students on campus with concealed carry permits and handguns. Unfortunately, however, none of the students in the classroom that the maniac selected had a firearm. If one of them had, maybe fewer people would have died.

If some maniac comes in and decides to execute people he doesn’t like (e.g., they are Christians), why should we tell the prospective victims that they are not allowed to defend themselves just because the crime is committed in a classroom?

1. Rick Stryker

Menzie,

Of course, you did not answer any of my questions. I guess you prefer to keep it high level.

What gun control policies are you proposing that would have prevented the Oregon shooting? Why are people not allowed to defend themselves if they are being assaulted in a classroom but they are allowed to defend themselves in a motel room, in their homes, or in a store? Why does that make sense? What is the risk, if concealed carry is already allowed in most places, to extend it to the classroom?

You claim it is a fantasy that an armed citizenry brings down bad guys, but it happens all the time. Here are some recent examples.

In June of this year, a mass shooting was prevented by an armed citizen with a concealed carry permit. Gunman Jeffrey Pitts starting shooting in a GA liquor store, quickly killing the clerk and a customer. Todd Scott pulled his legally carried pistol and started returning fire immediately. Pitts, realizing that he was under attack, broke off the assault and ran out of the store. The local sheriff credit Scott with saving the life of the clerk’s wife and the other customers.

In July of this year, ex-CNN reporter Lynn Russell and her husband were held at gun point in their hotel room after the gunman stuck a gun into Russell’s stomach as she went out to her car. When the gunman grew angry that they were too slow gathering the items the gunman wanted to steal, things got tense, and Russell’s husband drew his own gun. Russell’s husband was shot but the gunman was killed. Russell credits her husband for saving both of their lives.

In August of this year, two men with knives broke into an elderly women’s home in California and attempted to rob and rape her. However, she prevented the assault by brandishing her firearm and the criminals fled.

Instead of focusing on these success stories, of which there are many, you offer as “facts” a thinly researched and poorly argued article that exaggerates the case people are making for extending gun rights. Nobody is arguing that concealed carry is the antidote to mass shootings. Mass shootings are by their nature surprise attacks that the police can’t prevent either. But the faster someone can respond with lethal force, the greater the chance to reduce the carnage.

If you want to talk about facts, you should at least choose your support more carefully. The article you cite claims that the presence of an armed guard at Columbine did not deter the killers. But the author of that article should look at the facts more carefully. As I’ve pointed out before, Columbine was a carefully planned bomb attack that was designed to kill thousands of people. The guns were secondary. When the bombs failed to go off, the killers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold switched to guns. The armed guard, Deputy Neil Gardner, very quickly got into a gun battle with Eric Harris, distracting him. While that didn’t prevent the attack from starting, as it already had started, and didn’t prevent some further killings, it certainly saved some lives, since Harris and Klebold had to give up the outside killing spree they were engaged in.

Your article also gets other facts wrong. The article claims that James Strand did not stop a student gunman, as the student was already out of ammo. That’s not true. The student shooter, 14 year old Andrew Wurst, stole his father’s .25 caliber handgun and went to a school dance. The pistol had 10 rounds. He did not fire all rounds in the first phase of the attack. Wurst went outside and was reloading the rounds he’d fired when he was confronted by James Strand, who was aiming a 12 gauge shotgun at him. Strand ordered the boy to drop the weapon and he complied. Strand prevented a school shooting from getting worse.

Menzie, you need to stop hiding behind your regressions and confront the real facts and details.

1. Robert Hurley

Rick – I don’t know how Menzies could be any clearer. You don’t like the facts pure and simple because they contradict your beliefs – so any further discussion is a fool’s errand

1. Rick Stryker

Robert,

What are you talking about? I don’t see how I can be any more clear. I provided 3 examples that directly refuted Menzie’s assertion and I showed how the article he posted got key facts wrong.

Didn’t you notice that Menzie did not answer my question as to what his policy would be to stop another Oregon from happening? And that he didn’t answer why a classroom is different. That should be a hint to you.

1. rtd

First, I would doubt this includes all instances. In any case and for whatever the true number is, I would be very surprised if this number were, in fact, “a lot”. It is, however, counter to a myopic & partisan statement such as: “Please continue in your fantasies about an armed citizenry taking down bad guys.”

1. baffling

rick
“If some maniac comes in and decides to execute people he doesn’t like”
why would you let him walk into the classroom with a gun to begin with?

1. Rick Stryker

Baffling,

I’ll ask you the same question that Menzie doesn’t want to answer. What policy do you propose to prevent that from happening? A total ban of all guns?

1. baffling

rick, by your responses i assume you support the notion that we should be able to bring guns into the courtroom, capital building and white house.

1. Menzie Chinn Post author

baffling: I infer from Rick Stryker‘s responses that we should all be able to bring guns into daycare centers, nurseries, hospitals, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples of all sorts. And the more the better!

2. ottnott

Stryker wrote: “Also, what is the evidence that allowing people with concealed carry permits to carry in the classroom is somehow more dangerous than anywhere else? People with concealed carry permits are already allowed to carry in most places. What is different about a classroom?”

The “anywhere else” danger is too high already, and will be growing as states loosen the requirements for CC permits. The classroom problem includes:
–extremely low demonstrated need for defensive firearms
–crowded conditions making defensive shots very dangerous to innocents
–a large body of young people; often away from parental supervision for the first time; facing a lot of pressure (with professors or TAs often blamed for “ruining my life”); prone to drinking binges; prone to suicide; prone to experimenting with drugs; prone to extreme jealousy and extreme heartache; and not yet having fully functional impulse control.

7. Ricardo

I do not know of any Progressive who has a sign in their front yard stating, “THIS IS A GUN FREE HOUSE,” yet they slobber all over themselves to put such a sign on schools. Go figure!

1. Rick Stryker

Ricardo,

Indeed. Progressives argue that the presence of guns is not a deterrent but they won’t put a sign up at their own houses announcing that they are gun free. This is not speculation. Our go-to journalist for exposing progressive hypocrisy, James Okeefe, made an amusing video demonstrating that fact. Recall that anti-gun journalists at the Journal News in 2012 published a map showing the names and addresses of which NY houses owned guns and which didn’t, thereby giving criminals a road map. Posing as “Citizens Against Senseless Violence,” Okeefe’s film crew went to the homes of anti-gun journalists at the Journal News, the NJ Star-Ledger, and MSNBC. They asked them to stand up against gun violence by proudly posting a sign on their lawns that their house is gun free. Despite these gun control journalists public stance that the presence of guns provides no deterrent value, no one would post the sign, with some people saying explicitly that posting such a sign might encourage criminals to target their house. Of course, they had no problem publishing that map though. In further hypocrisy, some of the journalists had armed guards available.

This sort of hypocrisy among progressive anti-gunners is very typical. We know that Michael Moore has an armed guard, because he got arrested in JFK carrying his gun. Diane Feinstein introduced the assault weapon ban in 2013, but she had a concealed carry permit in California in the 90s. We know that Rosie O’Donnell’s bodyguard carrys a gun, since he applied for a concealed carry permit in CT. Despite her public anti-gun stance, O’Donnell defended her bodyguard’s gun.

(Putting this comment in again. Software is saying I already posted it. )

1. Robert Hurley

Our constitutional freedoms are not absolute as Menzie has pointed out or why do we have libel laws when we have freedom of speach and sometimes freedoms conflict, i.e. Freedom of speach and freedom of religion so your statement, Bruce, does not reflect the messy reality of the world we live in.

2. Ricardo

Rick,

My first response when I read that the Journal News had posted the names and addresses of concealed permit owners was anger. Then I realized that the Journal News had just sent a message to criminals which houses to avoid. I now wish that other news agencies would print the names. That would put criminals on notice if they enter a carry owners home, but it would also expose the hypocrisy of anti-gun advocates with gun permits.

Progressives would do better if they created a searchable data base so criminals could check to see if the owner of a home is a carrier. That way they could direct criminals away from homes where they might be hurt.

8. Bruce Hall

The abuse of any freedom by anyone should constitute sufficient reason to restrict the freedom of all. Now let’s take that to its logical extreme.

1. Robert Hurley

Our constitutional freedoms are not absolute as Menzies has pointed out or why do we have libel laws when we have freedom of speach and sometimes freedoms conflict, i.e. Freedom of speach and freedom of religion so your statement, Bruce, does not reflect the messy reality of the world we live in.

1. Bruce Hall

I would venture that the men who approved the Bill of Rights would have serious problems with present interpretations of what is acceptable and what is not. Being “offended” or being a “victim” now supersedes Constitutional rights. Certainly, when their is the intention to physically harm someone, your right ends there. But your refusal to use politically correct language or adhere to fashionable trends in culture places a target (ironically speaking) on your back by the government.

1. Bruce Hall

… and, yes, I meant to write “when their intention is to” and changed mid-phrase. Don’t be offended by the unintentional bad grammar and demand I be censored.

Which reminds me of the George Mason professor, Jagadish Shukla, who wanted the U.S. government to indict scientists who had opinions differing from the climate doom scenarios to be indicted under RICO. The irony is that he was skimming government climate change grant money to pay exorbitant “salaries” to his family members for part time work which accomplished nothing.

Be careful about those who would strip you of your rights in the name of justice.

1. Menzie Chinn Post author

Bruce Hall: Merely pointing out that the Constitution is not necessarily always a statement of what should be. Its interpretation (and actual text) adapts to the times.

2. ottnott

Bruce Hall wrote:
“Being “offended” or being a “victim” now supersedes Constitutional rights.”

9. Rick Stryker

Menzie,

Hammermesh is irrational. The risk of death from driving to his lecture hall is a lot greater than the risk of dying in a mass shooting at that lecture hall. I don’t mind at all if students are legally carrying firearms in my lectures. I feel safer.

Baffles,

I think the amount that we have spent and continue to spend on war and anti-terrorist measures, plus the restriction of our liberties implied, is absurd given the actual threat, which is a very low probability.

Steven,

I agree with you. Gun policy should not be driven by these very rare but sensational shootings.

10. Rick Stryker

It occurs to me that some readers might be thinking, “This debate is all very theoretical. How do I practically exercise my second amendment rights in Wisconsin or some other state?” As a public service, allow me to help with that.

1) Join the NRA or better become a lifetime member. The NRA does important work in safeguarding your rights.
2) If you are a Wisconsin resident, get a concealed carry permit. Thanks to Governor Walker’s good work, this is now available for Wisconsin citizens. If you are resident, you need a Wisconsin permit to legally carry, even if you have a permit from another state.
3) Many readers are not residents of Wisconsin. How can they exercise their second amendment rights while in Wisconsin? Walker’s law is pretty good and recognizes reciprocity with the concealed carry permits of quite a few states. You can check on the web or consult a local firearms attorney to see if your state qualifies
4) If you don’t have reciprocity, what do you do? This is a common problem. The way people solve it is to get non-resident concealed carry permits in some states that have wide reciprocity coverage: Utah and Florida for example are common choices. In Wisconsin, Florida will not work but Utah will. If you don’t have a Utah permit, you can also get a Virginia non-resident permit, which is recognized in Wisconsin.
5) It is important to follow all applicable laws and handle handguns with the utmost responsibility. So take training courses and make sure that you are familiar with all laws covering firearms and that you obey them. The NRA has a number of good safety courses.

11. JBH

The proposed legislation relates to schools and focuses on the instrument, not the root cause. This is classic liberal red herring argumentation meant to put honest discussion off the track. Ends justifying the means, and shallow sophomoric analysis to boot.

Columbia University researchers performing toxicology examinations of nearly 24,000 driving fatalities concluded that marijuana contributed to 12% of traffic deaths in 2010, triple from a decade earlier. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of traffic fatalities in 2010 was 32,788. Suppose marijuana was the deciding factor in half the 12%. If marijuana caused six percent of fatalities, then approximately 2000 traffic deaths per year are due to marijuana. And this is only the beginning given the trend of legalization. Yet do liberals argue marijuana should be banned?

Compare this to a mere 30 mass shooting fatalities per year over the past decade. In schools even less, just 12 per year! Where is the sense of proportion?

Moreover, at least 35 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 169 wounded and 79 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs).

Between 2004 and 2012, there were 14,773 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects including: 1,531 cases of homicidal ideation/homicide, 3,287 cases of mania & 8,219 cases of aggression. Note: The FDA estimates that less than 1% of all serious events are ever reported to it, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.

The root cause of these mass murders is the broken family – by divorce, drugs, alcohol, lack of commitment, physical and sexual abuse and the failure of parents to instill in their children the sanctity of life.

Why given this richness of causal variables do so many academics engage in such superficial analysis? And where is their outrage over the magnitudes-worse impact of psychiatric drugs on this nation?

1. ottnott

JBH wrote:
“Compare this to a mere 30 mass shooting fatalities per year over the past decade. In schools even less, just 12 per year! Where is the sense of proportion?”

Indeed, where is the sense of proportion?
http://www.motherjones.com/files/CAPGunChart-550.jpg

Total US military killed in war (excludes illness and accidents) 1776-2015: 656,397
Total gun-related deaths in the US, 1979-2014 (excludes 1776-1978): 836,290

We have a pretty good idea of what we got for the 656,397 deaths over the past 240 years.

Did we get greater benefit from the 836,290 over the recent 35-year period?

12. baffling

jbh,
” If marijuana caused six percent of fatalities, then approximately 2000 traffic deaths per year are due to marijuana. And this is only the beginning given the trend of legalization. Yet do liberals argue marijuana should be banned?”

In 2013, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 10,076 deaths (30.8 percent of overall driving fatalities). if you are outraged over driving fatalities related to marijuana, you should be going ballistic over the issue of alcohol abuse.

“The root cause of these mass murders is the broken family – by divorce, drugs, alcohol, lack of commitment, physical and sexual abuse and the failure of parents to instill in their children the sanctity of life.”
we probably disagree on the root cause because of a lack of understanding of the person committing the crime to begin with. i think you work on the assumption these mass murderers are normal people, but were corrupted by the failings of a society that does not embrace your conservative values. mass murders are typically committed by people with serious mental issues to begin with. that is a bigger factor than the environmental issues you mention.

1. Bruce Hall

Baffling, ” mass murders are typically committed by people with serious mental issues to begin with. that is a bigger factor than the environmental issues you mention.”

I generally agree with your conjecture on this, although the phrase “serious mental issues” is a bit vague. Are they psychopaths, sociopaths, paranoid schizophrenics, low-IQ emotionally unstable, etc.? The real problem, if your conjecture is correct, is that the “insane asylums” where people were involuntarily committed after displaying various “unbalanced” behaviors, have been abandoned and the socially-correct approach is “mainstreaming” and waiting until they commit serious social damage before taking action is possible.

Fortunately, the absolute number of people murdered in such mass killings is but a small percentage of all homicides in the U.S. Small consolation for those caught in the middle, however. I haven’t looked up the historical numbers, but how many people, in total, have been killed by such rampages? More than the 9/11 attacks?

2. JBH

Baffling: By all means let us redirect to the subject to alcohol. A ploy straight out of the Alinsky playbook. I’ll have none of it, and lurkers here ought have none of it either.

Those who commit mass murders are often angry and isolated, but usually aren’t mentally ill, violence experts say. This is supported by the literature with which you are evidently not familiar.

The stigma linked to guns and mental illness is complex, multifaceted, and itself politicized, in as much as the decisions about which crimes US culture diagnoses as crazy and which it deems sane are driven by the politics and racial anxieties of particular cultural moments as by the workings of individual disturbed brains. Beneath seemingly straightforward questions of whether particular assailants meet criteria for particular mental illnesses lay ever-changing categories of race, gender, violence, and, indeed, of diagnosis itself.

In addition, the core basis for my statements is the multi-decadal work of Alice Miller. Everyone reading this would be well advised to familiarize themselves with her path-breaking work. A multitude of psychological researchers have validated it.

13. baffling

jbh
” By all means let us redirect to the subject to alcohol. A ploy straight out of the Alinsky playbook. I’ll have none of it, and lurkers here ought have none of it either.”

your statement is so absurd i simply had to reply. YOU changed the topic with your marijuana rhetoric, noting how it was a much bigger problem numbers wise than mass murders. i simply noted if you are really concerned about marijuana and its negative effect, then the even larger numbers related to alcohol should be foremost in your mind as well. alcohol is a touchy subject for you, evidently.

but let’s get this straight. your position advocates that mass murderers typically do not have a profile consistent with mental health issues. i think you would probably find the mental status of individuals involved with mass murder incidents over the past decade does not support your position. here is a list of a few of them for your review:

14. steve

1) I am a longtime NRA member. I keep thinking about quitting since I dislike their politics, but they do a good job of teaching gun safety. However, I now think they largely work as marketing agents for the gun industry.

2) More guns on campus are unlikely to stop a shooting. In the last one, there were people on campus with weapons. They hid. They knew they if they went after the shooter, the police would probably shoot them. They were correct.

3) The NRA lobby has succeeded in making sure we don’t get good stats on guns. Successful use of a gun to stop a crime does happen, but it is probably pretty rare. Accidental shootings by toddlers probably outnumber them.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2015/10/14/people-are-getting-shot-by-toddlers-on-a-weekly-basis-this-year/

4) All rights have some limits and some regulation. That should be true for guns also.

Steve

1. ottnott

Well-stated, Steve, and your 3rd point hasn’t had the attention it deserves.

One side of the debate has chosen to restrict the data collection needed to make better policy decisions. It is hard not to conclude that they are pretty sure that the data will not support their assertions about the impact of more guns in more places.

The only item I would add to your list is the NRA’s action on behalf of gun manufacturers to ensure that gunmakers face no pressure from legislation or from product-liability claims to make firearms that are more difficult for unauthorized users (especially young children) to fire.

15. JS

To whom it may concern,
I am disappointed to see this kind of debate on Econbrowser. I am disappointed in Dr. Chinn for posting an analysis aimed at generating this kind of response and disapointed at regulars for engaging. There are much better places to have a debate than this.

16. Erik Poole

Rock ‘n roll on econbrowser!

Science. I was under the impression that economic growth was more likely to lead to increased rates of violence than economic contraction or stagnation. I thought that was a stylized fact in polemology, political science. (violent revolution) and criminology.

Anecdote. Once upon a time I hitch-hiked and backpacked 5 years through South America and Africa. I went into some very dangerous places and at times had guns pointed at me, or shots fired in my direction and once felt a knife on my neck.

I cannot count the number of Americans I met during and after those travels that were flabbergasted that I did not carry a fire arm. The truth is that a firearm would have been problematic (with local police and armed forces), potentially provocative and mostly just plain useless. For the record I know how to handle a firearm and am or certainly was a pretty decent shot. I carried and still do carry a 4″ skinning knife which I basically use as a multi-tool.

Nobody else suggested that I carry a firearm. Only Americans.

The USA has a serious gun culture problem and it is unlikely to go away over the next century. I feel sorry for you.

As for American men….. stop being puto cowards. Please. Learn how to use a knife or a ball-point pen. Learn how to talk your way out of bad situations, or learn how to stay away from them. Drop the pregnant-with-twins lifestyle; stay in good physical shape. Do not go out of your way to destroy your sense of smell or hearing.

1. Vivian Darkbloom

I prefer pencils. Do they work, too? Even if the lead is broken?

Seriously, though, my guess is that in the United States if your sense of smell and hearing keeps you out of areas where drugs are regularly trafficked (this correlates closely geographically with many other socio-economic problems), you are very, very unlikely to have a gun pointed at you, or shots fired in your direction or even a knife stuck in your neck. So, with that caveat, there is very little reason to feel sorry for the vast majority of Americans. Again, it is not the “gun culture” that accounts for the deplorable homicide statistics in the United States any more than it would have been a “knife culture” that accounted for that thing that got stuck in your neck (and, if there is such a thing as a knife culture, you seem to be part of it!). For me, I’m stick’in with the pencils, so stay outta my way.

1. Rick Stryker

Vivian,

Carrying a combat pencil without a pencil sharpener is like carrying an unloaded .45. That’s why experts such as Erik Poole carry the combat pen.

I’d love to see him in action with the pen. Armed bandits can’t get the drop on him because he can smell them coming, just like Arnold did in the movie “Commando.” I wonder how many armed criminals Erik can take down with his pen?

You are right of course that violence in the US is highly concentrated and that most people will never encounter it.

17. Erik Poole

Vivian: I think your War on Drugs damages brain cells. Either that or you have spent very little time on the street, which in itself is not a bad thing.

1. Vivian Darkbloom

Eric Poole,

It may surprise you to know that I am not part of any “War on Drugs” in the sense that I favor de-criminalizing most existing offenses for personal possession and use. That said, I seriously doubt that anyone engaged in the “War on Drugs” has ever had any brain cells damaged waging it. I know too many people, however, who have actually damaged brain cells using those substances. That’s not intended to be funny—it’s a tragedy.

This is also a serious comment: Although I favor de-criminalizing most drug possession offences, I am strongly in favor of culturally ostracizing those who use them (somewhat like we’ve succeeded in making smoking anti-social and un-cool). I fear, though, based on the tenor of your comment, that folks like you, who also favor ending the “War on Drugs” feel that that is not sufficient. Ending the War on Drugs for many folks (far too many) appears to be equated with making the drug use and abuse an acceptable part, and, indeed, a worthy aspirational goal of an ideal culture. It’s not only now legal, it’s cool! Somewhere between waging the War on Drugs and encouraging their use and abuse are a small number of rational and thoughtful folks whose brains appear to be relatively well endowed through nature and nurture and who are still somewhat tethered to that thing we call “reality”.

Now, if you are not too busy warding off physical attacks with your ballpoint and your Bowie knife and your prodigious powers of persuasion, you might just contemplate how many lives, careers and families (particularly young, innocent children) that have been destroyed by the drug culture and drug abuse. You can then add to that those that have been killed—by guns and otherwise—arising from the same ugly phenomenon.

1. baffling

vivian,
“Ending the War on Drugs for many folks (far too many) appears to be equated with making the drug use and abuse an acceptable part, and, indeed, a worthy aspirational goal of an ideal culture. It’s not only now legal, it’s cool! ”

i would disagree with this statement, although the rest of your comments are well said. there are many people who are opposed to drug use, but do not feel the government has fairly defined the criminal rules related to drugs. many people feel the drug laws, just like prohibition, were developed to serve the cultural agenda of a certain segment of society. i think it is fair to say the drug laws as they currently exist have failed certain segments of society. perhaps they need to be re-examined. many people who feel we should end the war on drugs feel this way. they are not interested in ending the war so they can abuse. they feel the laws as written have been abused.

Has the War on Drugs failed some segments of society or has some segments of society failed from drugs?

Culture, like values, matters.

And, losing a war is possible – see Mexico.

Whether you agree or disagree with drug-related policies, those policies helped the U.S. catch criminals involved in drug-related crimes.

1. Vivian Darkbloom

That’s a good catch, Baffling. One should be more careful in choice of language!

But, the point remains. I disagree with you that the cultural signals against drug use outweigh those for it. One can’t easily quantify that, but I’m pretty confident my perception is not out of balance.

2. baffling

vivian, i can certainly understand your perception given what is seen on television. however, i can give you some anecdotal experience. i spend a fair amount of time with young adults. the overwhelming majority really do not feel drugs are cool. you will always find some, typically users, who try to glorify the behavior. but they are a much smaller group, typically not respected by the rest of the group because they fall behind in their activities. perhaps i am biased, because i spend time with some of the best and brightest of this cohort, but this is what i have observed through the years. perhaps the future is not a bleak as you may imagine 🙂

3. Vivian Darkbloom

Baffling,

This is the last round. I can certainly believe that you spend time with kids who don’t think drugs are cool. But, if this is a question of drug use, drug culture and the correlation with crime, I suspect that there may be what is called “selection bias” at play here. Perhaps you would have a different perception if the kids you are hanging around with are not quite as much like you? Or, if you were to accompany Erik Poole on an adventure through inner-city East St Louis or Baltimore or any number of other American cities armed with only your ball point pens? The fact is, fortunately, crimes and especially murders are committed by a small percentage of Americans. But, a large percentage of those are caught up in this culture. It’s a vicious cycle where the drugs prevent them from holding steady jobs or have steady relationships and the dependency that often follows has to be financed through crime. And, inevitable disputes have to be resolved by violence.

Culture is a complicated thing, but when I get the perception (I think, not unfounded) that too many of our cultural role models in entertainment, music, reality TV, sports, etc., are associated with drugs, it sends the wrong message. I know they would object that they are not paid to be role models, but whether or not that’s true, they are. These are people who cannot claim that poverty is a source of their drug problems.

2. Vivian Darkbloom

Baffling,

Fine for you to disagree, however, I’d ask you to point me to any evidence that suggests the drive to make drug use “un-cool” anywhere approaches the drive to make it legal.

1. baffling

vivian,
on college campuses across the nation, programs have been in place which continue to promote drugs as something to be avoided. this is the case today, and was the case a couple of decades ago when i roamed the quad. it worked for me. mind you, i am not lumping alcohol into this argument. it is legal. but even curbed use of alcohol is pushed dramatically on college campuses today. you will find on most campuses, for the majority of coeds, drug use is not typically promoted as cool. drug use still occurs on campuses, don’t get me wrong, but it is really not glamorized like you may be imagining. it is rather frowned upon. you will not find a lot of public support for legalized drug use on college campuses. you will find a lot of support for drug free and alcohol free activities.

2. Vivian Darkbloom

Baffling,

I can’t vouch for what is or is not happening on US college campuses these days other than it seems a lot of women are getting raped, as well as students massacred, to judge from media reports. But, the comment about drug abuse, the drive to legalise and, what in my impression is, the trend to glorify it, is not restricted to what is happening on college campuses. It is what is happening throughout the US and the messages that emanate not only from the legalize movement, but large media, cultural media (e.g. Hollywood and the music industry, etc). The latter is what particularly drives a culture today, not pamphlets distributed on college campuses.

I think this is also part of a larger trend to remove individual responsibility from any equation regarding US social problems, including drug use and abuse and other, more serious crimes. For example, Lamar Odom is much in the news recently, but the only message I’ve been seeing is that he’s not responsible for his situation,. Rather, he is a victim of circumstances he had no control over that are responsible for his overdose. In fact, he’s portrayed almost as a hero for what he’s done to himself and those around him. That’s just one example of what I’m sensing. These cultural signals are very powerful.

3. baffling

vivian,
i provided the example on campuses, since you asked for evidence on the idea that little is done to promote anti-drug behavior. but i think you need to separate the drive to legalize drugs from the drive to make it “cool”. my response really was to the idea that there is a big drive to make drugs “cool”. i would disagree. drugs are used, and always have been used. i do not think that will ever leave our society-prohibition is a simple example. however, i do not think there is much growth in whether they are “cool” or not. many people who are for legalizing drugs (to various degrees-not a free for all) are not simply promoting drug use and think it is cool. many do not use drugs themselves-or only used when young and dumb. but they feel the drug laws have been abused in a way that is detrimental to society overall. a teenager who experiments with marijuana (all teens do stupid things) and gets busted, has a police record which makes it much harder to get a job, etc as they get older. this leads to some future poor choices and the cycle continues. many people feel the drugs laws as written are not completely useful, and are not applied uniformly across society. those people are interested in change, for the better.

4. Vivian Darkbloom

Baffling,

Here is what you wrote:

“i provided the example on campuses, since you asked for evidence on the idea that little is done to promote anti-drug behavior. but i think you need to separate the drive to legalize drugs from the drive to make it “cool”.

Here is what I wrote:

“But, the comment about drug abuse, the drive to legalise and, what in my impression is, the trend to glorify it, is not restricted to what is happening on college campuses.”

I try to use my language carefully to track the views that I try to carefully form. Carefully compare your version with mine. I said there was a “drive” to make drugs legal. That’s true, I’m pretty sure. People sit around and plan and organise and strategize and lobby to legalize drugs. That’s a “drive”. You will perhaps note that I did not use “drive’, but rather the word “trend” to describe the phenomenon of the glorification of of drug use. That’s a different thing. I don’t think people sit around the table, organise groups, etc., lobby legislatures, etc., to try to make drugs “cool”. It’s a completely different process and phenomenon. The latter involves more subtle persuasion through example, etc.

Perhaps you just missed that or, perhaps, you decided, consciously or not, that equating both as a “drive” would be rhetorically effective. Those kind of details do not escape my attention. Our culture, particularly among the young, is formed mostly by the examples they are given in mass media. Gangsta rap and Justin Bieber are certainly more cool than Christian rock (not that I subscribe to or enjoy the latter, but I hope this helps demonstrate the point). I’m trying to think of a popular cultural icon today for the young that discourages drug use, but I can’t come up with any. Perhaps you can help me out.

5. baffling

viv, i was responding to your first inquiry
“Fine for you to disagree, however, I’d ask you to point me to any evidence that suggests the drive to make drug use “un-cool” anywhere approaches the drive to make it legal.” i simply responded to your general use of the term “drive”.

most sports leagues today have rules against drug use. users who get suspended do not fair well in the public eye. the leagues, and most of the players, continue to subscribe to an anti-drug way of life. sure there are those who break the rules, but they are not glorified by the league, and most supports of their team are disgusted at how they let the team (and fans) down by being suspended. there is no glory in being suspended and unable to play and support your teammates. regarding lamar odem, people are disappointed in him, not glorifying his drug use. they feel sad, but they also see a human being who made some mistakes. and they hope those mistakes do not take his life. he is serving as an example of how drug use can be very detrimental to your life.

2. Rick Stryker

Vivian,

I feel the same way. I’d de-criminalize drugs but I think it important to argue strongly against their use in most circumstances. Illegal drugs are much of the reason we have the gun and homicide problem in the US that we do.

Erik Poole, you sound like you come from a country where nothing is worth defending. Americans may one day save your butt.

And, there’s a positive correlation between drug use and crime. The War on Drugs reduced both the rate of drug use and crime rates, particularly violent and property crimes.

18. Ricardo

To conform to Menzie’s title, “To what problem is this legislation a solution to(sic)?”.

We know that 99.999% of gun crimes are committed by criminals with illegal weapons. Those who have concealed weapons permits who are involved in shooting incidents are in single digits. Those who have taken a gun safety course do not commit gun crimes.

With all of that this executive order by the Governor of Virginia is totally absurd. It will not stop one gun crime but it will grow government. It is a solution looking for a problem.

1. Menzie Chinn Post author

Ricardo: I would welcome substantiation of your blanket assertion: “99.999% of gun crimes are committed by criminals with illegal weapons.” You might know that, just as you “know” Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction on the eve of the 2003 US invasion. But that hardly fills me with complete confidence. So…source, please.

1. randomworker (retired)

I noticed this too and looked it up. Technically he’s not that far off. First, you start from the proposition that the vast majority of guns are purchased legally. Straw buyers and whatnot, at point of sale the purchase is legal.

Then the guns are, generally, stolen from their lawful owners (huge number) then resold or traded to other criminals, etc etc. Hence the huge numbers he cites.

I think the state is about 6% are actually legal. Usually the guys who kill their family members with their own guns.

19. Erik Poole

I think I might be mistaken. Your problem is not a cultural ‘gun’ problem but rather a cultural problem with violence. You Americans love violence too much. Ironically enough given that leading free market capitalism theorists emphasize secure economic property as critical to good economic outcomes.

You love black markets despite knowing full well that those black markets inevitably lead to more violence. In parallel, you have legalized two of the most deadly, economically destructive drugs in the history of human kind: tobacco and alcohol.

Alcohol is interesting because it is the rape and sexual assault drug of choice. It is also the beat up, maim and sometimes kill police officers drug of choice. More accidents occur with heavy machinery (autos, boats, etc.) due to alcohol than any other drug.

Ironically the USA and Israel — both at the head of the War on Terrorism — actually kill more civilians than the so-called ‘terrorists’ do.

You support a highly controversial ethnic cleansing campaign in the Middle East: the Israeli nation building process. That support will inevitably lead to ‘blow back’ and it did: the Sept. 11th attacks and then hyper vigilant mass hysterical American reaction following those attacks.

I admire you. Your support for Israel’s affirmative action nuclear-weapons backed ethnic cleansing program has lead directly and indirectly to the deaths of somewhere near 30,000 Americans. Your willingness to sacrifice national security and sacrifice the lives of your fellow Americans for this glorious nation-building exercise complete with kill ratios and Gestapo-like sweeps is to be commended. Apparently the west bank of the Jordan River and Jerusalem are worth “fighting for” and inevitably “dying for”.

Personally, I would pay attention to:
1) the history of European colonial powers who ultimately imploded, and
2) the simulated effects of the next regional nuclear war. I doubt being fat, rich or more righteous than the next fellow will provide much protection.

Sending terrorists to Allah isn’t ethnic cleansing. Look at it as a public service for the free riders, who are too afraid of terrorists.

Anyway, the U.S. as the world’s only superpower, has an empire to defend. You can praise capitalism later.

1. Erik Poole

Thanks PeakTrader. That clarifies things. You are not sacrificing American lives for the glory of the Israeli Jewish state and the resources required for that state, Jerusalem, the West Bank, oil on the Golan Heights, water, etc., but rather in an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ conflict.

So, would you describe yourself as a sectarian or racist killer of children and grandparents?

And if you are not puto cowards, why all the aerial bombing? Why not prove to the world what a macho hero you are by killing these ‘terrorists’ mano a mano?

If it is just an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ conflict, I see no future for the American empire other than decline.

1. Rick Stryker

Yes, the US should demonstrate that they are not a nation of puto cowards by taking down the terrorists mano to mano, using just their pens..

I’m wondering what pen should be standard marine corps issue: bic or pilot? Medium or fine point?

I guess, you never noticed, wars are about us versus them and the point of waging war is winning.

We’re sacrificing terrorists lives. So, the innocent and peaceful, regardless of national origin, race, gender, etc., can live their lives to benefit society.

Why don’t you do something constructive, like sign up for the U.S. Army Ranger School if you’re interested in hand-to-hand combat?

1. Erik Poole

“I guess, you never noticed, wars are about us versus them and the point of waging war is winning.” -Peaktrader

Yes and no. If you enjoy war and killing innocent children and grandparents for intrinsic gain, then you are correct.

But if the point of waging war is to win them without the costs exceeding the benefits, then ‘us’ versus ‘them’ can get you into a lot of trouble.

“We’re sacrificing terrorists lives. So, the innocent and peaceful, regardless of national origin, race, gender, etc., can live their lives to benefit society.” -Peaktrader

That is not entirely true. You are manufacturing terrorists and in the process are killing significant numbers of children and grandparents. The hypocrisy of the War on Terrorism means that you Americans will continue to live and travel the world with a righteous bullseye on your backs.

Now if you believe that the kill ratios make the sacrifice in American lives and overall security worthwhile, perhaps you should consider the following. Take Professor Hamilton and Professor Menzie. I have no idea what their views are on the sanctity of secure economic property rights in the age of increasingly widespread and powerful nuclear weapons. Are they sectarian warriors when it comes to deciding the limits of secure economic property rights?

Does one or the other sit around the table at Christmas and propose a toast in favour of the Israeli ethnic cleansing project? Do they toast in favour of the ‘culturally superior’ and sing songs in favour of zero sum games that squash the ‘culturally inferior’?

But because of your politics, when these scholars travel the world, they are legitimate targets viewed from the perspective of those who identify with your innocent victims.

Is that a cost that you are willing to pay?

Similarly, is the cost of carrying the 5th fleet worth America’s ‘exceptional’ cheap energy entitlement, when steep excise taxes on dirty fossil fuels would have accomplished as much or more in terms of energy security?

20. Rick Stryker

Menzie asked, to what problem is this legislation a solution to?

This legislation is not designed to solve the problem of stopping school shootings. These are very rare events and allowing students to carry handguns on campus may have no effect on these types of shootings.

In most cases, students do not need to carry handguns on a college campus. People are rational, will recognize that fact, and will not carry handguns on campus even if allowed to. Carrying a handgun concealed is uncomfortable. You have to have the proper holster, clothes, etc. You really need a reason. There won’t be an explosion of guns on campus. But some students will do it. Who will they be and why will they do it?

Probably the most obvious use case will be young women who are out late at night, perhaps studying in the library or attending some function. Violent rapes do happen on college campuses, and some women will carry a handgun, especially if they routinely have to walk home alone late at night. Some men will carry handguns too in these situations, especially if they are on the more dangerous college campuses.

The problem with the law currently in Wisconsin is that you can carry on the campus but not in any building. That makes carrying a handgun impractical, since students are almost always on campus to enter some building. If you are a women who plans some late night studying in the library, you really can’t carry a handgun under the current law–what do you do with your handgun when you get to the library? That’s the problem this law is designed to solve.

I wouldn’t automatically recommend carrying a handgun for self defense purposes. There are certainly alternatives for self defense. But I think you should have the right to do it if you want to. If you do decide to do it, you have to be responsible, never drink while carrying, know the applicable laws, take training courses, and practice at the range. I have one brother who routinely carries concealed and I have no problem with that, knowing him well. But I have another brother who we feel shouldn’t even own a handgun, much less carry one. We strongly dissuaded him from doing it and he hasn’t.

One problem I see with the current law, which I’m not sure this bill fixes, is that professors at Wisconsin are not allowed to carry concealed at all. But professors work late at night too and have legitimate self-defense needs. Menzie is not allowed to carry concealed on the campus now but his students are, although they can’t go in the buildings. Menzie should have the right to carry concealed also, even if he chooses not to exercise that right.

1. DeDude

Knowing that the intended victims may be armed would ensure that the rapist as a first step would pull his own gun. If the intended victim actually tried to pull her gun (while the rapist had his pointed at her already) its an almost certainty that she would be shot (because now the rapist is facing a “kill or be killed” situation. So a certain percentage of rapes would instead become murders. Is that progress?

2. ottnott

Stryker wrote:
“I wouldn’t automatically recommend carrying a handgun for self defense purposes. There are certainly alternatives for self defense. But I think you should have the right to do it if you want to. If you do decide to do it, you have to be responsible, never drink while carrying, know the applicable laws, take training courses, and practice at the range.”

Your list of “have to”s don’t match up to the legal requirements, which, in some states, have been reduced to a minimum age and a clean enough criminal record when purchasing from a dealer.

If we are willing to put firearms in the hands of millions of citizens, who are absolutely certain to do stupid things in large numbers with the firearms (forget to completely unload them before handling them, dropping them from pockets and holsters, leaving them where children can get them — like the 6 yr old who just killed his 3 yr old brother with a gun left wrapped in clothing on top of a refrigerator, leaving them in bathroom stalls, handling them while intoxicated, pointing a loaded gun somewhere other than at an intended target, failing to get and absorb training on safe handling and storage, failing to get and absorb training on accurate shooting, allowing a gun to instill them with enough bravado to make poor decisions about use of the weapon, and so on), can we at least make the weapons more difficult for unauthorized users to fire them? I find the body count very far out of proportion to the security value they are providing.

1. Rick Stryker

Ottnott,

You don’t have to speculate about whether large numbers of people will do stupid things with guns if large numbers of people have guns. You can look at data. We know that for the most part people handle guns very safely. At this point, most states allowed concealed carry but all the hyperbole about the supposedly large number of accidents that would happen, the road rage turning into shootouts all over the place, and the expected wild west atmosphere never came to pass. You mentioned Steve’s third point approvingly but have you compared the rate of deaths caused by gun accidents in the home to deaths caused by falls, poisoning, accidental smothering, etc? The fact is the home is a pretty dangerous place and guns aren’t particularly dangerous items in comparison. University of Chicago economist and Freakonomics author Steven Levitt has noted that swimming pools are a hundred times more dangerous than guns in the house.

That’s not surprising when you think about it. People know guns are dangerous and take appropriate precautions. People also self-select: if they don’t believe they can take care of a gun, they don’t have one. But these same people often don’t realize that other very common items around the house are very dangerous and they don’t take proper precautions.

You are right that many states do not require many of the things I think people should do when carrying a handgun concealed. The question is whether states should require that as a matter of law. States don’t also require training and a license to put in a swimming pool, or training about having cleaners around that might be poisonous, or training about how to ride a bicycle (quite a few kids die riding their bikes), or training and licensing to buy a crib in order to avoid smothering deaths, etc.

The percentage of concealed carry holders who commit crimes is very low and the accident rate is also very low. However, the difference between gun accidents at home and concealed carry gun accidents is that the latter can happen in public and affect other innocent people. For that reason, I’d be willing to require training to get a concealed carry permit as many states now do. The original Wisconsin bill to allow carrying a concealed handgun was a constitutional carry bill. More states are moving towards constitutional carry, which means that you don’t need a permit or training to carry a concealed handgun. Scott Walker refused to sign the bill unless there was a training requirement to carry concealed. For that reason, Wisconsin will recognize a Virginia non-resident concealed carry permit because it has training requirements the resident permit does not have. Wisconsin does not recognize the Virginia resident permit.

All that being said, I’m not aware of any evidence that suggests that there is any real difference between the rate of misuse of handguns in constitutional carry states and training and licensing states.

1. ottnott

Stryker:
You dodged my point that, because people do stupid things, dangerous products should be designed so that it is harder to cause serious harm when doing something stupid. In the case of guns, some obvious safety needs include: guns that are harder for unauthorized users, especially young children, to fire; guns that don’t fire when dropped; and guns that, through some locking mechanism, or through some very obvious visual indication, or by some other approach greatly reduce the number of incidents in which people unintentionally discharge a gun while handling what they believe is an unloaded weapon.

Thanks to pressure by pro-gun (more properly, pro gun–manufacturer) groups, Congress has immunized the gun industry against two important forces for product-safety improvements: the Consumer Product Safety Commission; and civil lawsuits.

You mentioned swimming pools — communities often have codes to reduce the hazard, requiring total enclosure of the pool by a fence of certain height, for example, or use of a cover that will support the weight of people walking on the pool.

You mentioned poisoning. Many household chemicals are packaged in containers with lids that are hard for very young children to open.

You mentioned cribs. The US Consumer Products Safety Commission keeps a close watch on reports of deaths and injury due to cribs, have ordered numerous recalls, and have banned certain crib designs after determining that they are inherently unsafe. Similarly, the CPSC (and private lawsuits) are constantly ferreting out unacceptably dangerous products that are used by children.

In contrast, the pro-gun faction won’t even allow the CDC to fund research on gun violence, which kills over 10,000 Americans each year (plus about 20,000 suicide deaths and over 80,000 non-fatal injuries). The gun nuts even tried to forbid doctors from asking parents if they had guns in their homes, but it turned out that a genuine violation of First Amendment protections outweighed imaginary threats to the Second.

1. Rick Stryker

Ottnott,

Of course dangerous products should be designed to minimize the danger of doing something stupid. The question is whether that’s best accomplished by giving bureacrats in Washington more top-down regulatory power than they already have or bottom up. Before getting to that question, let me clear up a few items.

Guns are not excluded from the Consumer Products Safety Act because of lobbying by firearms manufacturers. In fact, plenty of products are excluded if they are regulated by other federal agencies. Guns, tobacco, food, drugs, autos, boats, airplanes, etc are all excluded. Nonetheless, the gun industry is very heavily regulated at all levels of government. Moreover, firearms are subject to the same product liability laws as other products. Gun manufacturers can and have been sued over defective or negligent products, such as guns that easily went off when dropped, or unsafe ammo. I’m not sure why you think guns are exempt from civil liability.

The top down approach that you advocate will not help the situation. Like so many on the Left, you think bureaucrats just need to order gun makers to adopt safer designs and then everything will be better. And you also think we need to study safety issues so the bureaucrats know better what to do, which would happen if those studies were not being stopped by the evil gun lobby.

This may be surprising to those who believe in academic experts but people on the ground have had a lot of experience with firearms accidents and already know what causes them and how to lower the risk. CDC studies are not necessary. The changes to firearms that you think should be mandated would by and large not be effective. What is effective is for people to know and follow the 10 commandments of gun safety available at Remington.com.

Notice for example commandment number 3: Don’t rely on your gun’s safety. That’s very important. You should assume that no safety system that’s been built into the gun will work properly. As you peruse the commandments, you can see that the most common ways gun accidents occur have been covered. For example, look at the 10th commandment: Learn how your gun works. One of the most common mistakes people make when unloading a semi-auto is to rack the slide to eject the cartridge and then to remove the magazine. The problem with that is that you now have a live round in the chamber. You should always remove the magazine first and then rack the slide.

Regarding safety at home, commandment 2 is pertinent: firearms should be unloaded unless ready for use. That means that guns should be stored unloaded in locked gun safes with the ammo stored in a separate locked container.

When you have small children in the house, you have to take special precautions. The top down approach you advocate is for government bureaucrats to child proof the gun. But people who understand gun safety know that’s misguided and can lead to tragic consequences. You can’t child proof guns; you must gun proof the child. Children will find hidden guns. They will figure out how to get around safety mechanisms. If you do have guns in the house with small children, not only do you need to keep them carefully locked away, you need to educate them about firearms.

A very effective educational device is the NRA’s Eddie Eagle Gun Saftey Program. The program teaches small children that if they do encounter a gun, they should stop, don’t touch, run away, and tell an adult.

There are also some technical solutions. The safety changes that you want mandated are mostly pie in the sky but there have been some solutions that have worked since the 1970s. For example, there is the magna safe trigger conversion available for j frame and larger S&W revolvers. In that solution, you have to wear a special ring in order to fire the revolver. This is effective for some circumstances.

Of course, many people will opt not to have any guns in the house when you have small children. That’s what I did. But I also decided not to have a swimming pool, as that’s even more dangerous.

I’d just mention also that people need to consider who else is in the house other than small children. If there is anyone who is prone to depression, suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction, or has some other problem that would make it unsafe to have firearms available, you really shouldn’t have them in the house. That’s sometimes hard to face up to and it’s easy to rationalize. That’s the mistake Adam Lanza’s mother made. The signs were probably very obvious but she couldn’t acknowledge it. As I mentioned, one of my brothers wanted to get a firearm and we knew he shouldn’t have it. We strongly discouraged it.

Additional safetyI top down regulation isn’t the answer. And we don’t need more studies. But we do need enhanced education and training if we want to reduce the accident rate. I resent it when my doctor asks me about whether I have guns in the house and refuse to answer. That’s not a medical issue–it’s just politics. Doctor’s have no expertise in this area.

21. baffling

rick,
“Probably the most obvious use case will be young women who are out late at night, perhaps studying in the library or attending some function.”
many college campuses, especially urban ones, have programs in place that provide for escorts during late night travels around campus and even off campus grounds to help mitigate this risk. i agree, it is a risk, but campuses have been very active in providing a means to minimize this risk.

one problem with carrying on campus, is it becomes nearly impossible to distinguish between a person legally carrying and a person illegally carrying. in an urban campus which allows concealed carry weapons, how can you tell the difference between the student legally carrying for protection, and the young person walking onto campus from the local neighborhood carrying as well. if he/she is there for opportunity crime, with no discouragement regarding a concealed weapon, probably not a good policy. urban campuses already have problems with crime, often from more dangerous neighborhoods on their border. i don’t think a concealed weapon policy would be beneficial at all in these cases. one of the reasons most campuses do not permit guns, except for university police force.

1. Rick Stryker

Baffles,

I know that many campuses have these escort programs, which are a good thing. Many Universities also have an alarm button system spaced out around the campus. If you push the button, the police promise to arrive very quickly. I think at UChicago it’s something like 90 seconds. But unfortunately people still get raped and assaulted.

I don’t see the evidence that having a concealed carry permit makes it easier to commit a crime, whether on or off a college campus. A very small percentage of people who have concealed carry permits do commit gun-related crimes. But almost all of those crimes would have and could have been committed without having a concealed carry permit.

1. baffling

rick,
most people with conceal permits do not commit the crime. but when you have a situation where concealed weapons are permitted, or weapons in general are permitted, then you cannot tell the good from the bad. concealed guns are not always invisible. but the average person cannot tell if a person carrying a concealed weapon is legally permitted. so you cannot tell the good guys from the bad guys, and you remove any way of discouraging the bad guys to carry a weapon on campus.

1. Rick Stryker

Baffles,

I’m not sure I understand what you are saying. Are you saying that concealed carry permits make it harder for the campus police to figure out who is a potential criminal, since if guns are banned on campus you are automatically a potential criminal if you are caught with a gun?

If that’s what you meant, how does that cause a problem in practice?

22. Joseph

As an interim step, if we can’t have logical guns laws, I would suggest at least the banning of concealed carry. If you want to carry a gun, strap it on your leg like Matt Dillon where everyone can see it and has the option of avoiding the sociopathic gun fetishists. What kind of coward slinks around with a concealed weapon in the fantasy they can whip out their gun in surprise at some imagined offense. Proudly wear your gun openly as a sign so it isn’t necessary to tattoo “nitwit” on your forehead as a warning to the sane public.

1. Rick Stryker

I see you are making your usual argument: anyone who disagrees with you is an idiot. Must be nice to live in such an intellectually certain, safe, and comfortable world.

23. DeDude

There was at least one armed student at the Oregon campus and for good reasons he did not try to fight back. He was trained military and knew that when the professionals came they would shoot anybody displaying a gun. What would happen after a few cases of collateral damage with swat teams killing “defending” armed students? – those swat teams would become hesitant in their responses. Furthermore, since the bad guys don’t run around with a big “I am the bad guy” sign in his hand, there would most likely be a lot of good guys shooting good guys. As my comment on the movie theater scenario with a dark room full of armed; “all that the terrorist have to do is to light a firecracker – then all the good guys will do the killing for him”.

The real gun problem in schools is not the twice a year shooting of a dozen or more students – it is the hundreds of shootings with 1-3 victims. If every fist fight is turned into a shooting because all students are packing heat, then the number of dead kids will increase.

24. Rick Stryker

Ottnott,

You don’t favor allowing students to carry concealed on a college campus (including in buildings) because:

“–extremely low demonstrated need for defensive firearms”
Does this include women who have to walk home alone late at night from a classroom building or library? What about students in general who go to school near areas with high violent crime rates?

“–crowded conditions making defensive shots very dangerous to innocents”
What do you have in mind here? Almost all defensive uses of a handgun will be at night with no one around. That’s how the criminals like to operate.

“–a large body of young people; often away from parental supervision for the first time; facing a lot of pressure (with professors or TAs often blamed for “ruining my life”); prone to drinking binges; prone to suicide; prone to experimenting with drugs; prone to extreme jealousy and extreme heartache; and not yet having fully functional impulse control.”

Why do we allow students to drink alcohol then? Why do we look the other way on drug use? Why do we allow cohabitation? Why do we allow students to have cars? Isn’t drunk driving much more dangerous empirically?

Do we see a higher rate of suicide on campuses that already allow concealed carry? Do the students shoot their professors for ruining their lives? Do students shoot each in jealous fits? Does any of your speculation have any basis is experience?

Some further questions:

1) Are graduate students sufficiently old enough and stable enough to carry a handgun on campus? What about female faculty members worried about being raped? Can they carry a gun if they are over 30?

1. ottnott

Stryker:
I’ll ignore the silly “but other things are dangerous, too” arguments. The legislation under discussion is for concealed carry of firearms inside the buildings and classrooms of public universities. It does not have to be the dumbest public policy to be rejected, just as it does not have to be the smartest public policy to be acceptable.

Regarding my
“–extremely low demonstrated need for defensive firearms”

You wrote:
“Does this include women who have to walk home alone late at night from a classroom building or library? What about students in general who go to school near areas with high violent crime rates?”

Yes, it includes those groups. Where is the demonstrated need, not “conceivable need” to have lethal force constantly at hand in the buildings and classrooms on campus? Why must other students, faculty, and staff bear the risk of unintentional discharges due to inevitable owner error combined with design weaknesses in the weapons? In the classrooms and campus buildings, the guns are hazards almost 100% of the time and protection very close to 0% of the time.

1. Rick Stryker

You missed the point. I wasn’t saying that everything’s dangerous. I was taking issue with your characterization of college students. If they are as unstable and immature as you say they are, then why do we let them drink, co-habitate, drive a car, etc.? Why do we let them vote? My point is that you are hugely exaggerating.

I find it instructive that the same people who claim they support women’s rights are perfectly willing to say that a women who is threatened with rape shouldn’t be allowed to defend herself. I guess they believe she just has to accept her fate if it happens. Why? Because the progressives on campus don’t think she’s competent to handle a handgun. They just know that she’ll accidentally fire it because it’s not safe. The campus progressives think it’s too complicated for the poor little girl to understand. And when it comes down to it, they choose their own safety over hers. They want to deny her right to self defense based on some vague suspicion of risk to themselves rather than on actual evidence.

But we have quite a lot of evidence at this point on concealed carry. Florida, for example, has been collecting statistics on concealed carry permits since 1987. Over more than a quarter of a century, Florida has issued 2,877,916 concealed carry permits. One way to measure the extent to which they are misused is to ask how many were revoked for any reason? According to the data, 10,472 were revoked, a 0.36% rate. But most of those revocations involve misuse such as carrying a concealed weapon into places in which they are not allowed. How many revocations are actually firearms related, involving an actual misuse of the firearm? According to the data, it’s 168, for a 0.006% rate.

We can look at this question another way. What do the police think about concealed carry permits? After all, they see the reality of crime all the time. Do they see this “risk of unintentional discharges due to inevitable owner error combined with design weaknesses in the weapons?” Policeone.com did a survey of 15,595 police professionals on a number of gun policy questions. When asked “Do you support the concealed carry of firearms by civilians who have not been convicted of a felony and/or have not been deemed psychologically/medically incapable?” 91.3% responded “Yes, without question and without further restrictions.”

The police view is consistent with the actual data. The risk to the public from citizens carrying concealed handguns is tiny. Even if the risk to me were a lot bigger than it actually is, I’d be willing to bear it to allow a young women the chance to defend herself from rape. But the progressives on campus don’t want to bear the slightest risk to themselves. That’s just one more way conservatives and progressives differ I suppose.

1. baffling

rick
“I find it instructive that the same people who claim they support women’s rights are perfectly willing to say that a women who is threatened with rape shouldn’t be allowed to defend herself.”

categorically wrong. she has full access to a taser and mace. both are very effective deterents. nobody is saying she is not allowed to defend herself. you are creating a straw man argument here.

1. Rick Stryker

Baffles,

That’s very poor self-defense advice you are giving to potential rape victims. You obviously have no experience with self-defense tools. Pepper sprays and tasers are not effective substitutes for handguns. These non-lethal alternatives certainly have their place in the self-defense toolkit and are appropriate for some circumstances, but they should not be the first choice to defend against rape.

You are morally and legally justified to use lethal force only if someone threatens you with grave bodily harm and you have no means of escape. If a women is being raped, that is a potential lethal force situation and she does not want to have pepper spray or a taser to defend herself–she needs a handgun. The police use tasers for a specific purpose–to subdue suspects when serious or lethal force is not justified. However, if they are threatened with grave bodily harm, they do not use their tasers: they use their handguns.

The outcome you should always strive for is to stop the crime from happening without anyone getting hurt, neither the victim nor the criminal. To do that, you need to make it clear that you are willing and able to repel a violent attack. Criminals are not irrational. A handgun will concentrate the mind of a criminal in a way that pepper spray or a taser can’t. Ironically enough, the handgun has done its job most effectively if you never had to use it.

25. baffling

rick,
“That’s very poor self-defense advice you are giving to potential rape victims.”

again, categorically false. these are effective tools for protection. and remember, i was challenging your other false statement

““I find it instructive that the same people who claim they support women’s rights are perfectly willing to say that a women who is threatened with rape shouldn’t be allowed to defend herself.”

there are alternatives to handguns, and they are effective. you may not like them, but i am not terribly concerned about your preferences. you essentially claim the only valid defense is a handgun. this is not true. the trayvon martin case demonstrated clearly the flaws in your handgun defense.

1. Rick Stryker

Baffles,

You need to understand that you and your progressive friends do in fact deny a women her right to defend herself from a violent rape. You seem to think that a women can just go out and buy a taser and defend herself. No, there are state and local laws governing the possession and use of these weapons. Not surprisingly, the states where progressives have had the most success in be controlling guns are also the states that deny women the right to use these electrical weapons for self defense.

According to the Brady project, the states that have the most stringent gun control laws are Mass, Conn, New York, New Jersey, and California. Let’s review the laws.

Mass: possession of electrical weapon such as taser prohibited. If a young women thinks she can use a taser to defend herself from violent rape, she will be punished by progressives with a jail sentence of not less than 6 months and not more than 2.5 years

Conn: if a women carries an electric defense weapon to protect herself against rape, the progressives will slap her with a class E felony

New York: if a women possesses any electrical defense weapon to protect herself against rape, progressives will slap her with a class A misdemeanor

New Jersey: if a women possesses any electrical defense weapon to protect herself against rape, progressives will slap her with a fourth degree felony

California: has better laws on tasers than the states above, but a young women is not allowed to bring a taser into any public building. Thus, a young women can’t practically use a taser to defend herself if she is a student in the California public university system. If she does do it, progressives will punish her with up to 1 year in jail.

What about Wisconsin? In Wisconsin, possession of an electrical weapon is a class H felony. Progressives of course would deny a women a right to defend herself with a taser in Wisconsin. However, thanks to Walker and the Republicans, you are allowed to carry a taser in Wisconsin if you get a concealed carry permit. But if you don’t get a permit–the same permit necessary to carry a concealed handgun–you are guilty of a felony.

So, no Baffles, tasers are not generally a legal alternative to handguns in the places that already strictly control handguns. That’s very bad advice coming from you and I hope women aren’t listening to you because if they are they could end up in jail. But even if these weapons were legal, they are not at all acceptable substitutes to handguns for repelling a violent attack. I’ll cover that point in another comment.

26. baffling

rick,
i guess you did not want to mention that tasers are legal in 45 states. but i would not expect a political hack with an agenda to present a balanced discussion. mace and pepper spray are still viable options for self defense in the states you mention, as are other self defense alternatives-choice is available.
you seem to believe it is quite appropriate for a coed to carry a loaded handgun into a fraternity party for self defense. nothing bad could happen with that policy. not a surprise from somebody who feels the trayvon martin murder was justified.

1. Rick Stryker

Baffles,

Let’s not change the subject. You claimed that progressives offer an alternative to guns to women who are being raped, tasers and pepper spray. I focused on tasers since most self-defense experts think they are a step up from pepper spray for self defense. The point, which you seemed to have missed once again, is that progressives do not offer tasers as an alternative to guns. In the states in which progressives have best managed to implement their gun control agenda, they have outlawed tasers as well as guns. You are simply wrong yet again. Of course in most states, a woman can use a taser. But that’s no thanks to progressives. Conservatives have mostly made that possible for women in those states. I offered Wisconsin as just such an example–Walker has made it possible for women to carry a taser if they get a concealed carry permit.

Progressives will allow a women to use pepper spray however. As I mentioned, pepper spray can be effective in a number of self-defense situations. I was planning to go through that, comparing pepper spray to tasers and guns. But of course I’d be wasting my time–if it’s one point I’ve learned from econbrowser it’s that Baffles can’t learn.

Instead, I would just ask people to consider this question. Suppose your sister is trapped by a man who intends to rape her. Maybe he weighs 100 more pounds and is 6 inches taller. Or he has a knife or a gun. If your sister does not comply, this man threatens to seriously injure or kill her. Escape is not practical. In that situation, do you want your sister to only have pepper spray, as the progressives want? Or do you want her to have the option to have a gun, as conservatives want?

I know how I would answer that question. If you are honest with yourself, you know how you would answer it too.

27. baffling

rick,
“Let’s not change the subject. You claimed that progressives offer an alternative to guns to women who are being raped, tasers and pepper spray. ”

actually rick, you changed the subject. but that is not a surprise. you added in the term “progressives”, not I. i simply showed you viable alternatives. you refuse to accept those alternatives because, as a political hack, you already have a preferred solution. i would have no problem changing the laws in those 5 states so that tasers are legal. i have no problem providing alternative methods of defense. you seem to believe the only solution is a gun. i disagree.

1. Rick Stryker

Wrong again Baffles. You did not show me viable alternatives. You merely asserted that pepper spray and tasers are viable alternatives to handguns without any argument. Why don’t you back up your assertion for once in your life. Why should a young woman who is about to be violently assaulted or raped feel just as good about protecting herself with pepper spray or a taser as she would with a handgun?

2. Rick Stryker

Wrong again Baffles. You did not show me viable alternatives. You merely asserted that pepper spray and tasers are viable alternatives to handguns without any argument. Why don’t you back up your assertion for once in your life. Why should a young woman who is about to be violently assaulted or raped feel just as good about protecting herself with pepper spray or a taser as she would with a handgun?

While you are at it, maybe you could explain why the police have handguns if pepper spray or tasers are just as good.

28. baffling

rick, police officers perform duties beyond simply protecting themselves from violence. statements like these simply reinforce the idea you are a political hack. once again not surprising, coming from a person who believes the trayvon martin murder was justified.

1. Rick Stryker

Baffles,

Not surprisingly you didn’t answer my question. I asked you to justify your statement that either pepper spray or tasers are just as good for a women to have as a gun when she is confronted with rape. The best you could do was to make a vague statement that the police perform “duties beyond simply protecting themselves from violence” , without specifying what those duties are. FYI, the police use their handguns to protect themselves against serious assault.

You keep making the false statement that I have commented on the Martin case even though I haven’t brought that up at all. I suppose you are doing this in an attempt to distract from your inability to defend your statements.

It really should bother you that every time I ask you to defend your statements you can’t do it. Your views are all based on emotion, not reason. In this case, you feel uneasy if not afraid about what might happen to you if citizens were allowed to carry guns. You’d rather the rape victim bear the risk. It’s that simple. That’s why you rationalize about pepper spray and tasers being good substitutes. You don’t actually know anything about them but you want to believe that because it makes you feel less guilty about transferring the risk to the rape victim.

2. Rick Stryker

Baffles,

Not surprisingly you didn’t answer my question. I asked you to justify your statement that either pepper spray or tasers are just as good for a women to have as a gun when she is confronted with rape. The best you could do was to make a vague statement that the police perform “duties beyond simply protecting themselves from violence” , without specifying what those duties are. FYI, the police use their handguns to protect themselves against serious assault.

You keep making the false statement that I have commented on the Martin case even though I haven’t brought that up at all. I suppose you are doing this in an attempt to distract from your inability to defend your statements.

It really should bother you that every time I ask you to defend your statements you can’t do it. Your views are all based on emotion, not reason. In this case, you feel uneasy if not afraid about what might happen to you if citizens were allowed to carry guns. You’d rather the rape victim bear the risk. It’s that simple. That’s why you rationalize about pepper spray and tasers being good substitutes. You don’t actually know anything about them but you want to believe that because it makes you feel less guilty about transferring the small risk from you to the rape victim.

29. baffling

rick,
“You keep making the false statement that I have commented on the Martin case even though I haven’t brought that up at all. I suppose you are doing this in an attempt to distract from your inability to defend your statements.”
there had been a discussion on this board placing blame on trayvon martin, and i attributed that to you. sorry for the error. glad to know you do not take that view. the rest of your statement is simply absurd, typical of a political hack.

however, the trayvon martin case shows problems associated with carrying a handgun. if zimmerman had not been able to carry a handgun, he most likely would not have been stalking the young black man in the upscale neighborhood, and both would be alive today. the handgun took the life of an innocent victim. you talk in hypotheticals. this was a reality.