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How gun control effort can get a good start right here

In response to the latest horrific gun slaughter, Washington state should do what it does well: Run an initiative.
President Obama speaks about the school shootings in Connecticut.

President Obama speaks about the school shootings in Connecticut.

Folks, it’s up to us.

In the wake of the horrific Newtown school shooting, social media are rife with collective calls to “do something” to stop gun violence in America, demanding elected officials finally craft sensible gun legislation. I believe Washington state can be a national leader in those efforts, but not through the same old legislative channels, especially with a recently divided state Senate. We’re at a unique moment in time, and Washington has just the vehicle and resources to engage voters in our state to make a start at lasting change nationwide. 

Let’s just do what we seem to do very well around here: Run an initiative campaign. It’s time to stop hoping that Olympia or Washington, D.C., will miraculously break partisan gridlock and move out of the legislative rain shadow fostered by gun lobby dollars. Let’s put a stake in the ground and actually get some laws on the books we can work from.

Both closing the gun show loophole and banning assault weapons, except for use by the military or law enforcement, has a real chance at winning right now in Washington state. At the very least an initiative campaign will clearly expose who and where we need to work to convince people that their safety and freedom, and the safety and freedom of those they love and care about, depends upon change.

First, it’s not 1997 and we are far past the ill-fated Initiative 676 campaign for handgun trigger locks that overwhelmingly lost at the ballot box. Since then we’ve sadly faced the 1999 school shootings at Columbine High School, the 2007 campus shootings at Virginia Tech, the 2009 shootings at an immigration service center in Binghamton, N.Y., and at Fort Hood, Texas, the 2012 shootings at an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater. We’ve had our own localized tragedies with the 2009 shooting of four police officers in a Parkland coffee shop and the shooting in May of five more at Café Racer in Seattle’s University district. This litany, and so many other tragic events, combined with the Newtown elementary school shooting, has brought us to the tipping point of change in the social epidemic of gun violence.

Second, thanks to the progressive grassroots success of Referendum 74 (marriage equality) and Initiative 502  (marijuana reform), we know exactly where in our state and which voters are likely to support reform. On the heels of these campaigns we have the voter lists and precinct results, determined volunteers that canvassed and phone banked and proven campaign structures and tactics to win. Attention Zack Silk (campaign manager for Referendum 74): It’s time to get back to work.

Third, it’s an off election year with one “prime time” battle, Seattle’s mayoral race. And we all know when it comes to progressive victories in our state, as Seattle votes go, King County usually goes, with the potential of voter turnout and vote totals to boost an initiative campaign to victory. Mayor Mike McGinn and all your potential opponents, Sen. Ed Murray, Councilmember Tim Burgess, Peter Steinbrueck and Charlie Staadecker, if you guys can’t agree on anything else, you must agree on this and dedicate campaign resources to a collective win for all of our citizens.

Fourth, as we saw from the Initiative 1240 (charter school) campaign, our state has individuals with deep pockets who can blunt the avalanche of NRA dollars surely headed our way.  We know the names — Gates, Allen, Bezos, Balmer, Hanauer — individuals who truly care about our communities and hopefully recognize that gains in public health, education and civil rights mean very little without preserving the most basic right of public safety.

Finally, we have to start somewhere, some place, to build a national movement. Why not here? I’m not naive enough to think that one initiative campaign is a panacea in a country that has 270 million guns in private hands. Or that we can solve the myriad of issues involved with one piece of legislation. The gun industry, gun trafficking, the need for better mental health services and so much more will eventually need to be addressed. 


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Comments:

Posted Sun, Dec 16, 9:56 p.m. Inappropriate

Have you no shame? Couldn't you wait until after the funerals, for the sake of common decency?

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:35 p.m. Inappropriate

Yeah, the Gun Nuts would really like that.

Just wait until everyone is buried from the latest massacre. The only problem is that we know that there will be another one within a month, at the most. But that's the plan, isn't it Just 'grieve' and never stand up on our hind legs and say, "Enough, already!"

Steve E.

Posted Fri, Dec 21, 10:18 a.m. Inappropriate

Why would you say with such certainty "there will be another one within a month, at the most."?

There hasn't been 1 mass shooting a month in all our history so what evidence is there that suddenly the pace will pick up.

It's this irrationality toward social problem solving that makes it impossible to do anything.

Goforride

Posted Fri, Dec 21, 11:23 a.m. Inappropriate

Not irrational at all:

"There is a mass shooting in America, defined as three or more dead, on average once every three to four weeks. So far this year there have been 16."

http://seattletimes.com/html/dannywestneat/2019912628_danny16.html

jeffro

Posted Sun, Dec 16, 10:54 p.m. Inappropriate

I went to kindergarden in the 1950's in Jenkintown,Pa. a little school called Hagers. Everyday we said the Pledge of Allegiance and sang either God Bless America or America the Beautiful. What if we came up with a pledge that affirmed everyones right to a safe and secure life etc and re instilled a taboo against hurting children and went on to say that it was not acceptable to settle personal problems with guns. In a generation we might find grownups that from kindergarden thru high school had been reciting that pledge and actually began to live it. Before you criticize this remember it is a short post and not a full exploration of the ramifications or political meaning of such an act. As a nation we have been able to pull together and sacrifice in the past and perhaps we could as a nation accept this little bit of social engineering as the partial cost of a partial cure to such violence. I really think the way out of this is in the future, in the hearts and minds of children brought up to believe that no matter what you don't kill innocents especially children. I understand mental illness makes this a greyer matter but it is a start.

tonyg

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:40 p.m. Inappropriate

There will always be deranged people who go off the deep end. The problem is that the ready available of particularly lethal guns turns what would otherwise be single suicides or suicide-single murders into mass murders.

Close the gun show loophole.
Ban assault rifles.
Ban large capacity magazines.
And no collector loopholes. We saw how that turned out, didn't we.
Hold gun owners responsible if their gun is stolen and used in a crime - felony and permanent loss of the right to own any firearm.
Require gun owners to have full liability insurance - put the marketplace to work.

Steve E.

Posted Wed, Dec 19, 11:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Please define "assault rifle."

NotFan

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 5:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Ignored due to uselessness in any productive discussion

BigPoppa

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 2:33 a.m. Inappropriate

"Ignored due to typical Seattle 'progressive' supercilious arrogance."

NotFan

Posted Fri, Dec 21, 10:20 a.m. Inappropriate

Please define "assault rifle."

Please define "large capacity magazines."

Goforride

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 5:57 a.m. Inappropriate

SouthHillConservative: there is nothing decent about a semi-automatic destroying 20 little children and 6 adults with multiple shots. Whose funerals will be next? Have YOU no shame?

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 1:03 p.m. Inappropriate

How can someone feel shame in an act in which they are not a party?

dbreneman

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:40 p.m. Inappropriate

When they try to enable the next outrage.

Steve E.

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 11:24 a.m. Inappropriate

Enable? Like when they forcibly make another potential murderer go criminally insane? This is a mental health issue, not a hardware issue. The key is to keep insane people away from guns. Today, a person can only be denied a gun on mental health grounds if he has been institutionalized. But we no longer institutionalize most mental patients. In the name of compassion we turn them out onto the streets to commit crimes like this. In the name of compassion. Compassion for who? These laws need to be changed. People who are criminally insane should not be free to threaten others.

dbreneman

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:03 a.m. Inappropriate

I think an initiative campaign is certainly worth discussing, but there are limits to what can be done at the state level. Guns of all kinds are very easily transported, and outlawing the worst of them (and their oversized magazines) will do nothing to stop people from bringing them across the border from less enlightened states.

Whatever is done legislatively, for the long term we need to change the gun culture in this country, just as we did with tobacco over the last 40 years. Guns belong in only two places -- in the immediate physical control of a competent, sober, law-abiding adult, or locked up in a gun safe.

The mother of the Connecticut shooter was a gun enthusiast, and I don't have a problem with that, but she failed to secure her weapons -- even knowing problems she was having with her troubled son! If she had simply locked up those guns, this enormous tragedy could've been avoided.

Locally we had three tragedies in a two-week span caused by careless adults leaving their handguns accessible to children.

There was a time when people could smoke anywhere at any time and the rest of us just had to put up with it. But over time, with new regulations in place and, more importantly, a change in the culture, we no longer have anybody smoking inside any building other than their own homes. The same needs to happen with guns. These things are far too dangerous to let fall into the wrong hands.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 1:43 p.m. Inappropriate

Granted, "not much can be done at state level" that wouldn't be subverted for a time by NRA and freewheeling weapons trasport and Know-Nothings who conveniently misinterpret the 2nd Amendment. But with the CT horrifics,a change in the climate of opinion can occur, and state-by state initiatives, starting with us, could be effective. To begin, we must begin.

Charlton2

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 7:48 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree

leessir

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:26 a.m. Inappropriate

An initiative campaign is not a bad idea, Tina, but why not try the legislative route first? Legislative action could happen much faster, especially with the legislative session set to start within a month.
This article is very short on specifics. What specific measures could a law contain which would not run afoul of the United States and Washington State Constitution? Another problem with the initiative route is that initiatives can only address a single topic, and it might be construed that the multiple aspects necessary to address this issue are, really, multiple topics.
I'm still amazed that you can legally walk into any public place like City Hall, Council Chambers etc. without going through a metal detector or we don't have simple measures in place like trigger guards. Good comments by "R" above too.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:45 p.m. Inappropriate

Get real. There is no way that the legislature is going to act. All you have to do is count noses to know that. As for specific measures, how about:
•Close the gun show loophole.
•Ban assault rifles.
•Ban large capacity magazines.
•And no collector loopholes. We saw how that turned out, didn't we.
•Hold gun owners responsible if their gun is stolen and used in a crime - felony and automatic permanent loss of the right to own any firearm.
•Require gun owners to have full liability insurance - put the marketplace to work.

Steve E.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:38 a.m. Inappropriate

I have an idea that at least meets the first essential criteria of a successful initiative campaign: namely, a snappy title. We can call it …

One Gun

The basic idea (I bet you’ve guessed it already) is that, for 98% of private citizens in this country, the legitimate objectives that a person might possibly have for owning a gun – self defense, security, etc. – can be satisfied by owning just one gun. And it shouldn’t run afoul of the 14th Amendment to pass a law that limits it to that. The bill should include a requirement that each qualified citizen who wants to buy a gun must have a license, that each owner’s single gun must be registered … and ideally that each owner must pass (and regularly maintain) some sort of competency test for operating their gun.

Of course, I can immediately see several exceptions to the one-gun limit that it will be necessary to include in the law. There are lots of responsible, law-abiding people in this country whose current livelihood is associated closely with guns, and it would be an unfair constraint to impose a single gun rule on them. I am thinking of people like:

• Hunters
• Marksmanship competitors (and dedicated hobbyists)
• Collectors (or people have inherited guns of sentimental value)

I think that to be fair, a law would need to accommodate these special cases. But I also think it is fair to impose an extra tax on such multiple-gun ‘collections,’ and significant extra regulation. The point is that every gun in private ownership exacts some sort of cost on society; it follows then, that citizens who need and qualify for an exemption from the one-gun rule need to acknowledge the extra cost that such ‘collections’ represent.

That’s the whole idea. It probably needs about 800 more pages to flesh it out – but it’s a pretty simple idea. I think it could be doable. And I think the time is right.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 4:03 p.m. Inappropriate

That is the problem with gun control laws, there are always special cases; and usually the individuals that decide on the gun laws decide on the special cases, and usually the individuals that decide the special cases decide that they themselves are special cases.

I get it, the wealthy are scared to death that the non-wealthy have guns.

jhande

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:44 a.m. Inappropriate

Tina, if Washington State citizens are to run an initiative it should be one mandating that members of the Washington State Legislature address in a meaningful way providing care for citizens who suffer from mental illness. In every instance I can recall, from James Anthony Williams murdering Shannon Harps to Isaac Zamora the violence tracks back to men and women suffering from untreated mental illness to the point I went from being a significant donor to Gregoire and the Democratic Party to refusing to give her a dime. Ari Kohn

Ari Kohn

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Nope. That would likely run afoul of the 'more than one subject' prohibition on initiatives. It also puts the emphasis on the last part of the chain of gun crime, which is the final perpetrator. We need to focus on beginning to break that chain at the start, the too easy availability of guns.

Steve E.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:52 a.m. Inappropriate

Apparently it COULDN'T wait.

You all enjoy the mudslinging of the political process. I think this is something that could have waited until after the funerals. Perhaps you can justify making this into a political football so quickly; it's disgusting to me.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 9:12 a.m. Inappropriate

The discussion can't wait. People are dying everyday because of easy gun availablity, lax laws, no ban on assault rifles and huge magazines. After each of the many mass killings in recent years, folks like yourself have continually used this argument of waiting.... Now 20 children are dead, all first graders. Waiting for the funerals to be over, will not change this stark fact. It is more respectful and not at all shameful, to address this issue now and headon. In light of this current tragedy, ignoring or postponing a long overdue discussion on guns and violence in America would be the shameful thing.

buddycats

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:51 p.m. Inappropriate

Lets see, they'll be buried this week and if we're lucky there might be a few days before the next massacre. I suppose we can talk in between the massacres. Maybe you could let us know when its acceptable to break the taboo on discussing gun violence after there has been gun violence

Steve E.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:37 a.m. Inappropriate

Thanks for this Tina! We need to undertake action at the local level, rather than await the plodding process in Washington, DC. I just checked the status of our gun laws in the State of Washington at the website of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Here is that link: http://www.bradycampaign.org/stategunlaws/scorecard/WA Brady grades us at 15 out of 100 so there is work to do in the State of Washington. Let's get someone to drop a comprehensive bill that focuses on what we can do at the State level. I am eager to assist.

rerickson

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 9:31 a.m. Inappropriate

In the US as a whole, it is legal to own fully automatic weapons with a Federal permit.
In Washington State, it is not.

And yet, we have not seen a huge influx of out of state 50 caliber machine guns being used in robberies.

The fact is, we CAN regulate guns differently as a State than other States do, and 80 years of experience proves it works.

In point of fact, sensible gun regulation like the 1934 act that requires permits to own submachine guns has been proven to work in the USA.
We, as a nation, could easily expand the current federal law to, say, all weapons with magazines- meaning a much higher level of background checking- while leaving the current laws to cover revolvers, shot guns, and deer rifles.

This is only one of many proposals being floated right now, all which fall well shy of outright bans on any firearm.

Rniemi

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 4:05 p.m. Inappropriate

Fully automatic guns are illegal in all fifty states.

jhande

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 5:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Sorry, you are incorrect.
The National Firearms Act of 1934 allows US citizens to own fully automatic weapons, as long as Federal regulations are observed, and as long as the weapon in question is legal in their state.
Washington, like 4 other states, bans fully automatic weapons.
25 states require nothing but satisfying federal law to own one, the others have various state regulations.
Only certain machine guns are allowed, and the guns and the permits can be quite expensive- $10,000 is not unusual.
But they are legal.
And highly regulated.
And, as far as we know, only 2 homicides have been committed using legal machine guns since 1934- which is to say, the increased regulation seems to work.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Firearms_Act

Rniemi

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:56 p.m. Inappropriate

The ability to license a fully automatic gun is beyond the ability of nearly 100% of the citizenry in all 50 states.

I knew about the exception. The exception is a quibble. Individuals are discussing guns that are mass manufactured, and sold to just about any citizen that wishes one. Not guns sold to serious (and seriously background checked) collectors, such as museums; and not guns allowed certain security businesses, or for a specific time frame for security purposes. The contention that fully automatic guns are available to the general public is incorrect.

jhande

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 9:32 a.m. Inappropriate

Considering 20 tiny innocent lives a political football can only come from those committed to the blame shifting (the criminal or mental health system) and/or ignorant rationalization (there's no effective prevention) of the gun violence horror that is upon us. In all other fatal disasters, from earthquakes to bridge collapses, we immediately, before the funerals, demand to know how it happened and, most importantly, how it can be prevented.

In the condolences I sent to the families in Newtown I pledged to do all I can to insure that their loss would not be in vain. That means take immediate action. I do not accept that the sacrifice of these innocents are the price we must pay for our "freedom" or "constitutional rights". This is freedom? The creeping fear that next time (and there will be a next time) it could be one of our own that is lost to the tyranny of the gun culture. It's time to stand up to the bullies and fools who, for their own selfish interests, seek to perpetuate this ungodly dysfunction.

Other first world countries have enacted reasonable public safety measures that statistically give their population much, much more safety without significantly impacting freedoms, self defense and gun sport. Let us all see beyond the paranoia and propaganda. With a careful consideration of real examples of effective gun control we can have schools that don't have to resemble armed camps with teachers trained to be SWAT responders, while still preserving the intend of what our founders left us in the Second Amendment of the constitution.

Here's how I am taking action,
http://www.demandaplan.org/newtown

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 9:34 a.m. Inappropriate

Thank you, Tina, for initiating action. In this era of division and debate, this movement needs to emphasize the importance of people coming together. It is not about the politics. It is about positive change for a sociey whose parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles should not have to reassumre their children/relatives that school is a safe place to be. As a community we provide support, and as a community, we should support such an effort.

Adam9382

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 10:32 a.m. Inappropriate

Thank you Tina. Now is exactly the time to take action. Count me in. For the NRA: Should we allow people to buy grenade launchers and tanks? How about bazookas?

At a minimum, we should reinstate the assault weapons ban. We should also raise taxes on weapons in the same way we did with cigarettes. The revenues could be used for enforcement and mental health treatment.

Jordan

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 4:07 p.m. Inappropriate

So, we should make it too expensive for anyone but the wealthy to own a gun? Same old, same old class warfare.

jhande

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 7:45 a.m. Inappropriate

Your knee-jerk shouts of class warfare don't cut it here. A tax need not make anything "too expensive for anyone but the wealthy." A tax could help pay for reasonable regulations that protect everyone.

Jan

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 3:21 p.m. Inappropriate

A tax designed to artificially inflate the price so as to price segments of our population out of the market is class warfare. The same for any insurance. You can gobblygook your way around it all that you wish. Arificially raising the price with the goal of reducing sales is class warfare. So, if you feel that you are better than others, continue with your support of class warfare, you should at least admit you support class warfare to yourself.

jhande

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 7:54 p.m. Inappropriate

jhande: I support any kind of warfare that lessens the prevalence of guns, just as I support high taxes on cigarettes to lessen their prevalence.

leessir

Posted Wed, Dec 19, 1:58 a.m. Inappropriate

Then there you say it. You are fine with the wealthy having guns, and are not fine with the non-wealthy having guns. At least you say it. See, I don't think the wealthy are these special people.

jhande

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 12:52 p.m. Inappropriate

I believe Feelgoodism makes this vexing, horrific problem even more confounding. I don't own a gun and have no plans to get one through legal or illegal means. But this "gotta start somewhere" stuff pisses me off. How can one believe that restricting firearms would accomplish anything other than driving up gun prices? It's too easy to act and feel self-righteous about ineffectual solutions to overwhelming societal problems. A war on guns would work about as well as the war on drugs.

gabowker

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 1:15 p.m. Inappropriate

I agree with the idea of taking local action--we can't just wait for grid locked Washington to act.

I find the following image appalling. Can you imagine armed grade school teachers in front of their innocent, bright-eyed students and telling them that as adults they should be armed because the world is dangerous. Is this the world we want children to grow-up into, paranoid and full of deadly violence?

Yet this is the world advocated by some right-wing gun extremists who would have teachers and all citizens armed.

To me the bigger question is not about guns, but about our national character and our future. Are we heading toward a new dark ages of barbarism, or can we rid our communities of weapons of mass destruction?

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 1:31 p.m. Inappropriate

I think we should teach our children the truth. Some times the world is a dangerous place. Teaching them less then the truth would not be fair to them.

buck

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 4:14 p.m. Inappropriate

You know what; we have allowed our society to become a social darwinistic nightmare. We will have these events as long as that is the case. We have allowed wealthy interests to diminish opportunity for United States citizens. That causes mental illness. Treat citizens as if they were trash that must claw at each other in order to get by; and we get these events. Disarming non-wealthy citizens improves nothing, except making the wealthy feel safer.

jhande

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 7:59 p.m. Inappropriate

Who said anything about disarming "non-wealthy" citizens?

I've made proposals here for some comprehensive action:
•Close the gun show loophole.
•Ban assault rifles.
•Ban large capacity magazines.
•And no collector loopholes. We saw how that turned out, didn't we.
•Hold gun owners responsible if their gun is stolen and used in a crime - felony and automatic permanent loss of the right to own any firearm.
•Require gun owners to have full liability insurance - put the marketplace to work.

Banning firearms with magazines also has merit.

But none of these proposals takes away guns from poor people.

But keep thrashing. I'm sure the NRA will has its consultant whores working on the new talking points even as I post.

Steve E.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 9:36 p.m. Inappropriate

You said something about disarming non-wealthy citizens. The "...-put the marketplace to work" point. So, we get 5,000 dollar a year insurance; now, who does that price out of the "marketplace"? It is not cute to try to cover for class warfare with measures which artificially price citizens out of the "marketplace"; and, to then act as if that is not the aim of the measures. Not really fooling anyone.

So, your first point: Just ban gunshows. There is no reasonable way for a vendor at a gun show to get products purchased at a gun show to the customer after a waiting period. So, be honest, and say ban gunshows. Any gun shows for the hoity toity will get an exemption, we know that, so no worry as to the wealthy being able to get guns. I really do not care if there are gunshows or not. I find the whole idea of going to a gun and knife show weird. I know that I do not want guns to be shipped through the mail after waiting periods. Ban gun shows in Washington State.

Define "assault rifles", or assault weapons specifically before advocating their banning. What makes an assault weapon an assault weapon? That should be pinned down to details before stating "ban assault rifles". For example: I would think that a flash suppressor on the muzzle of a rifle would make that rifle an assault weapon; I would also think that a rifle with the muzzle machined to allow the attachment of a flash suppressor would be an assault rifle. The problem many citizens have with "ban assault weapons" is that there is no actual definition.

I do not think that large capacity magazines matter. Anyway, what is a "large capacity magazine"? Is it one that can hold 12 rounds? 20 rounds? 100 rounds? Specify a threshhold instead of the term "large capacity magazines". Example: Magazines that hold more than 20 rounds should be banned. I do not know if they should. Just an example. Be specific.

Collector loopholes may need to be tightened; but there are citizens, who are legitimate collectors, and they should not be disallowed from collecting.

Gun owners, who do not attempt to secure their guns, have them stolen, and used in a crime should be banned from owning a gun. Gun owners who do not report their gun stolen in a timely manner should face some manner of fine or sanction. Gun owners who attempt to secure their gun should face no sanction, if the gun is stole. Now, it could be specified what exactly "secure their gun" means. Example: An approved gun lockbox must be used. Citizens, who are not negligent with their guns, should not be punished for having them stolen. Negligent gun owners should be made former gunowners.

The insurance is class warfare plain and simple.

There is no reason to ban firearms with magazines.

There is no reason that guns are glamorized; and there is no reason for the unjust society that makes some citizens feel so worthless, and disempowered, that the idea of shooting people becomes appealing.

jhande

Posted Sat, Dec 29, 12:32 a.m. Inappropriate

The State of Illinois has the toughest gun restrictions in the United States. You can't carry concealed, lawfully, unless you are a cop. The laws are so restrictive as to cause a federal appelate court to Order the Illinois Legislature to modify their laws to allow for concealed carry within 180 days.

Yet the City of Chicago just had its 500th murder for the year.

Washington, D.C. and California follow close behind in their gun laws, and yet they have some of the highest rates of gun violence in the U.S. New Hampshire, Wyoming, Alaska, and Arizona have almost no restriction (outside of Federal Laws that apply to citizens of their states). The first three have some of the lowest rates of gun violence. To further confound the issue, NYC has tough gun restrictions, but had very high rates of gun violence, which they have cut dramatically, through smart policing, without increasing incarceration rates.

What I am suggesting to you, Anotherview,is that local gun laws don't work.

I am not suggesting that the answer is to follow the example of the states with no restrictions. There are other factors at play, outside of the issue of gun regulation in all the examples I cite above. What I am suggesting is that local gun regulations do no good. For example, Most guns siezed in NYC are legally sold for the first time by Federally Licensed dealers in Georgia, with the required background check. Some of that is "straw buyers" who mark them up and sell them to criminals. Other guns migrating to NYC are sold legally between citizens in the secondary market, in which what gun, went to what person is not tracked by the ATF. Local laws restricting time, manner, or place of carry don't work.

Some local laws could work. How about giving Washington State gun owners exemption from criminal and civil liability if:

Their gun was in an approved, locking, storage devise, or had a triggler lock when stolen.

Was stolen from their person (i.e. they were wearing it lawfully and were robbed).

Reported the theft within 48 hours (if conscious and capable) with the serial # and description of the gun.

Legally sold or transfered a gun with a background check (currently unavailable to non-federally licensed dealers, but technology has changed to make this relatively easy).

I.e. Gum up one channel for guns getting into the hands of fellons, juvenilles and other not legally allowed to possess them by making sure that good deeds by responsible owners don't get punished. Give them a giant carrot.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 1:27 p.m. Inappropriate

It is a very tough problem to solve with many sides to be considered. If there were stronger gun laws how would that effect the hundreds-thousands of times that guns are drawn by law abiding citizens in this country and crimes are stop with no one being injured.

buck

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:01 p.m. Inappropriate

Citation please for "hundreds of thousands of times that guns are drawn," please.

You do realize that having a gun in your house increases by 2-7 fold the chance that someone in the house will be injured or killed by a gun?

Steve E.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 1:54 p.m. Inappropriate

We have no verifiable empirical data on how "law abiding citizens" brandishing a gun "crimes are stop (a typo, surely)with no one being hurt."
The number of mistaken and unwarranted assumptions imbedded in this short comment boggles the mind.

Charlton2

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 2:08 p.m. Inappropriate

Well ok.
Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.[18]

A 1993 nationwide survey of 4,977 households found that over the previous five years, at least 0.5% of households had members who had used a gun for defense during a situation in which they thought someone "almost certainly would have been killed" if they "had not used a gun for protection." Applied to the U.S. population, this amounts to 162,000 such incidents per year. This figure excludes all "military service, police work, or work as a security guard."[12]
[12] Paper: "Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun." By Gary Kleck and Marc Gertz. Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Fall 1995.

A 1994 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Americans use guns to frighten away intruders who are breaking into their homes about 498,000 times per year.

and the list goes on and on. Sorry for my poor typing skills as I had a partial shoulder replacement last week an typing is a bit awkward.

buck

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 2:23 p.m. Inappropriate

According to the National Self Defense Survey conducted by Florida State University criminologists in 1994, the rate of Defensive Gun Uses can be projected nationwide to approximately 2.5 million per year -- one Defensive Gun Use every 13 seconds.In 91.7% of these incidents the defensive use of a gun did not wound or kill the criminal attacker (and the gun defense wouldn't be called "newsworthy" by newspaper or TV news editors)

I find this rate to be a little unbelievable but even if it is much lower that still represents many people that were spared to some degree to my way of thinking.

buck

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 11:32 p.m. Inappropriate

Buck, are there any more recent studies, like maybe some from this current century, that document the rate of Defensive Gun Uses? The apparent methodology of these old studies is to extrapolate from very limited interviews among selected populations. Surely there are more reliable methodologies available today, to get a better handle on this interesting side issue.

I doubt that few if any of the contributors to this discussion here want to disarm capable law-abiding gun owners or gun carriers. What I believe we are trying to do is keep the guns out of the hands of people who don't meet those minimal qualifications -- thus my interest in gun safes and the securing of firearms when they are not in the immediate physical control of competent, sober, law-abiding adults. Most of the national tragedies we have been mourning could've been prevent if this basic rule had been followed -- and nobody's legitimate defensive interests need be affected.

Posted Sat, Dec 29, 12:47 a.m. Inappropriate

R on Beacon,

See reply not too far above to "Anotherview". It contains specifics on how to limit (you can't eliminate) the flow of guns to convicted felons and juvenilles who are not legally allowed to possess them.

With the execption of Ian Stawicki, who killed 6, the homicides in Seattle, where we know who the shooter was,and certainly in the South Seattle, were committed with a gun that the shooter was not lawfully allowed to possess. Looking outside the Seattle area, this was largely true but add to that a few shootings in or just outside the bars, where the shooter had just been, where it is illegal to carry a firearm.

Posted Sat, Dec 29, 12:47 a.m. Inappropriate

R on Beacon,

See reply not too far above to "Anotherview". It contains specifics on how to limit (you can't eliminate) the flow of guns to convicted felons and juvenilles who are not legally allowed to possess them.

With the execption of Ian Stawicki, who killed 6, the homicides in Seattle, where we know who the shooter was,and certainly in the South Seattle, were committed with a gun that the shooter was not lawfully allowed to possess. Looking outside the Seattle area, this was largely true but add to that a few shootings in or just outside the bars, where the shooter had just been, where it is illegal to carry a firearm.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 2:04 p.m. Inappropriate

I think you're right. Washington can do this. Count me in, please. We're all grieving for Newtown, the children, teachers and their families. Let's get to work for them and protect our own children.

malpassa

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 2:04 p.m. Inappropriate

Connecticut already has some of the strongest anti-gun laws in the country (according to the Brady campaign site noted above). Norway has very strong anti-gun laws.

Neither sets of laws prevented last week's tragedy or the 2011 murders of 77 people in Norway by Anders Breivik.

I do not own a gun, nor do I expect to. I have an open mind when it comes to gun control --- though it may be necessary to repeal the Second Amendment in order to have effective gun control.

Two thoughts:

1. We ought not believe that simply having stronger anti-gun laws will prevent tragedies like last week's.

2. Isn't it inconsistent to support the elimination of one type of prohibition (marijuana) and the creation of another (guns, of whatever type)? I think I'd just as soon have the government not tell us what to do.

PJS

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 2:14 p.m. Inappropriate

How much of our rights and freedoms can we give up before we are no longer Americans and are just like the rest of the world. I just don't see where they are better then we are all things considered. i am all for having a safe society. But when you start appeasing the far right or left you can never make them happy as they will continue on with there agenda.

buck

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:11 p.m. Inappropriate

Why would anyone want to be like Australia, for example, where they put quite strict gun laws in place after a 1996 massacre and there haven't been any since? Australia, as every right thinking American knows, is a despotic dictatorship.

I'm sure that even now the remaining schoolmates of the victims are applauding how willingly and freely they gave up their lives to defend the right of any american to have an assault rifle and semi-automatic pistol with a 30 shot magazine.

Steve E.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:05 p.m. Inappropriate

I absolutely agree. Why just last week someone drew a joint on me. I was never so scared in my life, especially when I noticed how calm and friendly they were.

Steve E.

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 7:57 p.m. Inappropriate

1. Stronger gun laws are proven to reduce gun violence. Do your research.

2. Marijuana use is individual and doesn't lead to mass murder. The two are nothing alike.

leessir

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 6:46 p.m. Inappropriate

No one believes your #1. No one. Your #2 is crippled by being a false equivalence

BigPoppa

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 5:02 p.m. Inappropriate

I am very interested in this idea and would love to be part of a conversation about the possibly of an initiative process on this issue.

revd

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 5:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank you Tina for the excellent article on gun control. I am the board president of Washington Ceasefire and agree very much with most of your points. The state is where the opportunity is and the time is now. However I believe we can make progress legislatively with banning assault weapons and making it more difficult to get a concealed weapons permit along with our recently announced bill to toughen penalties for underage possession. The problem with an initiative in 2013 is low turnout and the fact the NRA can marshall their attention and resources on just one or two states plus the election would be almost a year away when Sandy Hook will be a distant memory. Turnout is a key reason why the marijuana bill passed here this year but failed to pass in California two years ago. There is no reason in this state we can not get legislation passed if the big hitters like Nick H and and the key organizations are aligned. If we succeed in Olympia if we help us get more support for an initiative down the road perhaps for closing the GSL

REF

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 9:48 p.m. Inappropriate

Oh, so Nick H and a few other cronies should decide for the state? Can't have those pesky citizens having a say, right? So, Nick H, the "big hitters", and some certain few "key organizations" can go crony down in Olympia to backroom deal their way? Yeah, am not really interested in what Nick H wants.

It is starting to seem that many individuals are just giddy over the Newton shootings, "Now we can push our agenda", and "Oh, there are just so many reasons we shouldn't have the Citizenry vote on this".

jhande

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 7:51 a.m. Inappropriate

No. People are justifiably outraged. And fed up.

This appears to be a groundswell that could lead to meaningful change.

Jan

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 3:29 p.m. Inappropriate

There is no groundswell. Why do you think that that an initiative is not forthcoming? Because the "meaningful change" presented here would lose in a vote of the Washington State Citizenry. What this is would be an attempt by wealthy interests to lobby State Government and impose the gun control measures against the will of the Citizenry. Why are the wealthy so afraid of non-wealthy citizens with guns?

jhande

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 6:26 p.m. Inappropriate

Thank you for speaking up so quickly. Something needs to be done. I for one would love to send a card to each and every member of congress who has voted against sensible gun control. I would like to send cards to NRA leadership. I want to put them both on notice. The card would be a reminder of the Sandy Hook children and teachers, a list of names of the deceased, perhaps a picture of the lives lost. Congress and the NRA refused to act. But, it is the likes of me who failed to keep applying the pressure. Yes, I want to use this tragedy to prevent other tragedies. I want to start a children's campaign against guns. I want to harness the power of the people that won the election for Obama. We have the organization. We have the tools. Do we have the will and the attention span to stay on task? I'll be looking for the organization that I am going to connect with to do this important work. I will not be a bystander.

StacyL

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:07 p.m. Inappropriate

We already have sensible gun control, what we don't have are sensible people. Worrying about the guns and addressing them first is like building a three story building starting on the second floor and having no foundation.

Some crazy person said only the police should have the weapons in questions. Really? Why is the Justice Department investigating Seattle PD? Why is the Justice Department investigating the Albuquerque PD? Because they been shooting innocent people all too often. Disarm the citizens and the police.

Djinn

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:08 p.m. Inappropriate

Whether Tina Podlowski, Sarah Brady, the board of Washington Ceasefire, and other opponents of private gun ownership like it or not, personal self-defense in general, and firearms ownership in particular, are by law individual civil rights, and whatever is done to make our society safer from heinous crimes like the Sandy Hook murders, we should tread very carefully where people's civil rights are concerned.

I am reminded of what happened, right here in Washington, after another wanton, premeditated act of murder, one which claimed the lives of 2,400 people at one stroke, and brought on a panic during which the same cries of "Something must be DONE!" and "We're not SAFE unless we do DRASTIC MEASURES!" resulted in one of the most shameful episodes, and worst civil rights violations, in American history.

I'm talking, of course, about the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, which started World War II for the United States, and resulted in the internment of more than 110,000 American citizens, whose civil and property rights were swept aside because of their ancestry -- because people were afraid.

Internment came to be seen for what it was. Because we learned from it, we didn't see tens of thousands of Arab-Americans herded into internment camps after 9-11., The Fourth Amendment has taken a beating as a result of 9-11, but that discussion is for another day.

I'm not trying to claim that gun owners are any kind of persecuted minority, like Japanese-Americans were when they were interned. I'm saying that any curtailment of civil rights carries with it the potential for abuse. The line between liberty and security is not always marked so clearly.

ivan

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 8:17 p.m. Inappropriate

Red herring.
No one is talking about generally locking up gun owners. No one is talking about prohibiting all guns. I haven't even heard any serious proposals to ban all handguns. All of the proposals I've heard come down to banning the types of weapons that enable easy and efficient mass murder with a firearm. You don't need a gun that can fire 30 rounds a minute to bring down a deer. You don't need a gun that shoots 30 rounds a minute to protect yourself. You only need this kind of weapon to kill a lot of people very quiickly.

Steve E.

Posted Mon, Dec 17, 11:44 p.m. Inappropriate

If I don't need a gun that shoots 30 rounds a minute to protect myself, why do the police and the army need them?

Djinn

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 1:37 a.m. Inappropriate

Oh, You forgot that the security hired by the wealthy also have guns that shoot 30 rounds, or more, a minute. See, guns are only dangerous when the great unwashed might have them. Gun control is pushed by the wealthy because the wealthy know how much they have been ripping off, and abusing, the citizenry. The wealthy are concerned that citizens may find out; and so the goal is to disarm the citizenry before the citizenry finds out. A disarmed citizenry also allows for more abuse by the wealthy. The biggest backers of gun control are the wealthy. We had the billionaire Bloomberg demanding gun control today. Bloomberg has an armed security detail wherever he goes. Bloomberg is Mayor of New York that "bans" handguns; only New York City has handgun permits it issues to wealthy New Yorkers. Some ban. That is how gun control works. It is gun control for the non-wealthy, and no gun control for the wealthy. We can look through history and see what a disarmed citizenry, and an armed government and wealthy caste creates; and it is not good.

jhande

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 1:39 a.m. Inappropriate

Oh, You forgot that the security hired by the wealthy also have guns that shoot 30 rounds, or more, a minute. See, guns are only dangerous when the great unwashed might have them. Gun control is pushed by the wealthy because the wealthy know how much they have been ripping off, and abusing, the citizenry. The wealthy are concerned that citizens may find out; and so the goal is to disarm the citizenry before the citizenry finds out. A disarmed citizenry also allows for more abuse by the wealthy. The biggest backers of gun control are the wealthy. We had the billionaire Bloomberg demanding gun control today. Bloomberg has an armed security detail wherever he goes. Bloomberg is Mayor of New York that "bans" handguns; only New York City has handgun permits it issues to wealthy New Yorkers. Some ban. That is how gun control works. It is gun control for the non-wealthy, and no gun control for the wealthy. We can look through history and see what a disarmed citizenry, and an armed government and wealthy caste creates; and it is not good.

jhande

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 8 a.m. Inappropriate

No one is proposing taking most people's guns away. What I've seen are reasonable proposals that fully respect civil rights.

I suppose you might need a gun that shoots 30 rounds to protect yourself if you were in a combat in a war or keeping the rest of us safe from nuts with insane arsenals.

Are you in combat Djinn?

Jan

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 8:22 a.m. Inappropriate

When Monsanto sends its private armies to farmers' doors and tells them they can't save their seed, those farmers need to be packing.

http://www.kjonline.com/news/federal-court-to-hear-lawsuit_2012-11-23.html

ivan

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 3:30 p.m. Inappropriate

Straight up, Ivan.

jhande

Posted Sat, Dec 29, 1:09 a.m. Inappropriate

Look in the KUOW, Convesation show archive for a program that ran shortly after the Cafe Racer shooting by Ian Stawicki. Rightwing (being tongue-in-cheek) had on a criminolgist from Rightwing N.E. University in Rightwing Boston who actually supports gun regulation. He studies mass murder in the U.S. However, one thing he (and now others in his field have noted) REPEATEDLY noted throughout the interview, was that the gun restrictions he supports would not stop an Ian Stawicki (or a Connecticut, Aurora, or Columbine).

Cafe Racer was a mass shooting. He committed it with a handgun. The one he carried held 15 rounds. But more to the point, he acquired the gun lawfully as nearly all mass murders do.

The other pathologies, if you will, of mass murders are:

They are nearly all white males.

They are intelligent, highly organized, and highly methodical.

Attempted mental health or family "interventions" never work because the mass murder (U.S. Senator Diane Feinstien calls them "grievance killers" which I like better) won't accept the help. They always blame everyone else. The problem is not with them or their mis-perception of the people and problem they want to address with the killing. They are not yet an imminent threat to themselve or others because they don't say somethng as obvious as "I'm going to get gun and kill those jerks at ____"

They are highly determined. Meaning, if they can't acquire a gun with a 30 round clip, they will find another way.

Another criminologist has actually (search on RealClearPolitics.com for the article) published a study of Mass Murders and their methods going back to when records were first kept by the Feds in 1920's. The average # of people killed per incident with knives is 5.2 or so. Firearms is 5.4 or so. Not much more lethal than knives. The average per incident when the killer used a bomb or fire is 20 + per incident.

So the mental health thing, unless we broaden the definition of "imminent threat to self or others" is a dead-end. And it won't be the NRA with the objections, it will be mental health advocates, who correctly point out that those with severe, diagnosed mental illness (about 5% of the population) are statistically less violent than the population as a whole.

Plus we have the unpleasant history of using the Mental Health to practice Eugenics in this country. It was also how the Nazi's and other totalitarian regimes have started in the past. Why go the criminal court route to suppress individual liberty when the Mental Health and Civil Committment route works more quietly and better?

There are a lot more people like Ian Stawicki with access to guns that never act, then guys that do. How do you tell in advance which ones? Those in the mental health field would be the first to admit that they can't reliably predict. You wind up with a "Minority Report" or Orwellian world in a hurry when you try and restrict someone liberty based on what crime they may or may not actually in the future.

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 1:40 a.m. Inappropriate

The fake-o Seattle "progressives" have zero credibility on this issue. If you want to truly doom gun control legislation forever, try another initiative conceived in Seattle and funded from here.

NotFan

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 6:48 p.m. Inappropriate

No one could have any idea of what you are talking about, except that you are wrapped in putting down people you call "rpgressives". Thanks for the total mystery. NOT.

BigPoppa

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 10:34 a.m. Inappropriate

So, you'll hope to grass roots legislate more laws with no means of enforcement with out even enforcing the ones already in existence. You will allow only the military and police to be armed(worked in 1936). You will continue to allow 16yr olds to be licenced to kill and drive while texting. You will continue to re-introduce repeat drunk drivers to practice their skills till they get it right. You will continue to drive in the left lane when the law is clearly posted. You will continue to speed. You will continue to not pay insurance and claim B.S. injuries. You will continue to drive while licence is suspended. You will continue to pay incredible amounts of money to keep convicted felons in a greater, warmer, well nourished state of being than the victims of their crimes,expecting others to pay for it. But the worst thing is- that "you" think that "you" believe that "you" have the right to make my decisions for me or anyone for that matter. I am a tax paying, bill paying, don't go on strike -job having,former soldier,safety professional, who is responsible for the well- being of my family,friends and neighbors. It is not the guns, ammo, lifestyle, video games or any other excuse that you feel or think, or want to know(media) that killed those beautiful people.
It was a person who made series of choices. Stop blaming the inanimate object.
A rifle is only an "assault" rifle if used to assault.

goraiders

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 12:40 p.m. Inappropriate

Millions of law-abiding Americans own semiautomatic sport-utility rifles like the ones used by killers at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut and Oregon last week. Those citizens didn’t harm anyone last week, yet they are being stigmatized, their firearms demonized and their gun rights marginalized by a gun prohibitionist lobby that began exploiting the Newtown tragedy while the helpless victims still lay inside the school building.
What is happening in Seattle with these various initiatives is reflective of other regions where prohibitionists are likewise launching their own efforts to capitalize on the national sadness and shock. That’s always better for panacea peddling by people who wish to be seen as “doing something” rather than accomplishing anything. Quoted from the Examiner. Thank You Dave!

goraiders

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 1:31 p.m. Inappropriate

The reason many people want controls on guns like that Bushmaster A-15 is because those little kids would be alive today if one killer didn't have one. Same in Oregon. Ditto in Aurora earlier this year.

The Bushmaster A-15 is a gun worthy of being demonized and banned.

Proposing change is not exploiting crime victims. It is a reasonable response to an outrage.

No one is proposing a prohibition on guns. There are lots of reasonable proposals on the table that fully respect civil rights.

The tactics of the NRA are to lay low and hope things blow over. People claiming to be defenders of the second amendment attack those who seek solutions.

Some people prioritize the of unfettered rights of a few gun owners above the rights of the rest of us.

The radicals in the gun lobby won't change. Let's hope the reasonable people prevail.

And let's see data on what works instead of the opinions of people who promote more of the same.

Jan

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 2:31 p.m. Inappropriate

You sound unhinged. In fact you sound like you might need some mental health help, just like the killer needed. The key to violence in America isn't the weapons but the state of mind of those who end up committing acts like you described. I'm sure that in your own little world you make perfectly good sense, so did Adam Lazna in his own little world.

The time for a reasonable response was years ago, but then again only black and brown kids were getting much news coverage. Who cared? Not you, but you weren't alone, millions of white Americans had the same thoughts, keep it in the ghetto. Now that large quantities of rich white kids are being offed in single incidents, you get POed. Nice.
http://www.childrensdefense.org/child-research-data-publications/data/protect-children-not-guns-2012.pdf

A war on guns has about the same chance of success as the War on Poverty, War on Drugs, and the War on Obesity. None of them addressed the root cause. Neither have you, but deep down inside you knew that.

The coming proposed War on Guns will be government run. This is the same government that deliberately allowed guns to get into the hands of drug cartels. I"ll sleep better knowing that.

Djinn

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 8:08 p.m. Inappropriate

@ Djinn. Your comments are proof that there's nothing we can do about crazy people or those with extremely destructive ill founded opinions about society.

That's one reason why we need to keep Bushmaster AK-15s out of the hands of people who would kill with them - and ban ammo magazines designed for mass killing.

I nominate you as national spokesperson for the people who want to make sure everyone has access to Bushmaster AK-15s!

Jan

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 2:11 p.m. Inappropriate

How about eliminating that pesky loophole that allows gangbangers to buy guns on the street also without any background check?

It's obvious that Obama intends to target only the law abiding and ignore the criminal element.Why do law abiding citizens have to pay crazy taxes on ammo when the criminals get their for free?

BTW, this past weekend when we were all mourning this tragedy, there were something like 50 shootings on the streets of Chicago, and not so much as a peep from the media about them.
I like my Bushmaster. I've been trained by my gov't to use it as well as other tools I am an expert. I am also capable of determining right and wrong. Have you had your house broken into and your family threatened? I have. Cops took 30 miniutes to get there.I don't blame them. I blame the criminals.
What really is reasonable? Really? This and other attacks are unreasonable acts. Like the Chinese national stabbing children the day before person in Conn. decided to steal and chose use a firearm. If someone decides to do something they are going to do it, whatever the tool. Our soldiers and the ones before them have been collecting arms in the areas of conflict, how are they dying? Bombs,and training accidents, and by the forces that we are training to take back their country when we leave. Hmm,I agree- tell me what works, tell me what is reasonable?.

goraiders

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 8:16 p.m. Inappropriate

You'll disagree, but I'd ban your Bushmaster AR-15. It clearly does more harm than good.

Our government trains people in all kinds of warfare tools that enable mass killings. Most are banned for home use.

That's reasonable.

Mandatory background checks on handgun sales: reasonable. It's reasonable to to ban a magazine that holds more than 10 bullets.

We know why 26 people died at a school last Friday. A Bushmaster AR-15 made him a mass murderer.

You can try to change the subject.

There's no constitutional right to own a weapon of mass murder. Congress can pass laws to ban them, has before, and should again, including the Bushmaster AR-15.

Jan

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 10:05 p.m. Inappropriate

Your hysteria is laughable. Every gun has the potential to be a weapon of mass murder. So you'll never be safe as long as we don't treat those would use them to commit such actions. Never. Because these crazies choose gun free zones to work in, my advice is avoid those areas and if you can't, watch everyone around you and make sure you have two exits and drop the heels, you can run faster.

The debate should start with identifying and treating the mentally ill. Then we can move to the tools of the trade. That's my position and I believe it would do a lot to control gun violence. Your position is emotion based and not worth much because it doesn't address the real issue. Why they do it. Your worried about the how which is pure emotion but if you address the why then the how becomes more manageable. You'll never solve the problem with just addressing the how. We've proven that enough with other issues.

Djinn

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 6:55 p.m. Inappropriate

From an article in the New Yorker by Jill Lepore:

"WHEN CARRYING A CONCEALED WEAPON FOR SELF-DEFENSE IS UNDERSTOOD NOT AS A FAILURE OF CIVIL SOCIETY, TO BE MOURNED, BUT AS AN ACT OF CITIZENSHIP, TO BE VAUNTED, THERE IS LITTLE CIVILIAN LIFE LEFT."

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 5:28 a.m. Inappropriate

Correct.

BigPoppa

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 7:34 p.m. Inappropriate

Tina: I'm in. It's a great idea. Where do I sign up?

RobH

Posted Tue, Dec 18, 8:10 p.m. Inappropriate

I don't care what race or socioeconomic status the Shady Hook kids were.

I don't care what race or socioeconomic status the Aurora theatre patrons were.

I don't care what race or socioeconomic status the Clackamus Towne Center mall shoppers in Oregon were.

I don't care what race or socioeconomic status the Columbine students and teachers were.

What I care about is stopping the killing of all people, regardless of race or socioeconomic status.

Do you make everything a race/socioeconomic issue? Move on!

leessir

Posted Wed, Dec 19, 8:27 a.m. Inappropriate

A Google search will confirm that during the summer of 2011, August, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, thousands of young men went on a rampage, attacking people, attacking families in their cars, dragging them out of their cars and beating them, punching them, kicking them, striking them with weapons, hurting them so badly many were sent to the hospital and are lucky to be alive. When you have mobs like this erupting in the USA, you better believe I want my rifle or handgun that holds 30 rounds of ammunition, or doesn't the term "flash mob", a rising trend, mean anything to you?

How about Rodney King Riots where thousands upon thousands of blood thirsty criminals are rioting and murdering 57 human beings? When confronted by a murderous mob of thousands, would you rather have your cell phone to call the police or a rifle holding 100 rounds of ammo?

The hurricane Katrina riots and roving bands of criminals? The best safety measure around them is a weapon that holds 30 or more rounds. Natural disasters are becoming quite common in the USA these days, the most recent being hurricane Sandy that left tens of thousands, read that twice, "tens of thousands" homeless, and defenseless, many of which were victimized by looters or worse.

Has everyone forgotten September 11, 2001? The significance of which I raise here to remind people that there are tens of thousands of radical religious fanatics that want Americans DEAD. I feel better knowing that with monsters like that, Americans are armed precisely with the weapons we own, just as the founding fathers intended us to be, just as anyone with any shred of rationality would want to be.

Has everybody also forgotten that we share a border with a country, Mexico, that is tearing itself apart with what the police and intelligence agencies of the USA call Narco-terrorists? Terrorists and murderers who have slaughtered nearly 50,000 people in Mexico? Slaughtered men, women, children, judges, police, journalists, and politicians without remorse? I feel better knowing Americans are armed against such monsters.

Have we also forgotten that these narco-terrorists are HERE in the USA doing their evil deeds? They are in our national parks growing their product, they are in out cities, small towns, and slowly infiltrating every segment of our culture? I feel better knowing Americans own the rifles and handguns we own.

There is no need to touch the 2nd Amendment. If the politicians want to do something, FIX OUR AILING CULTURE. Actually forget the politicians, it seems they've never been good for much. It's time for people to wake up and begin to fix our ailing society. Quote from another friend. Thanks

goraiders

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 4:47 a.m. Inappropriate

Looks like the trolls are out in force on this article; unusual for Crosscut. Yes, there are some self-indulgent folks out there who think more and bigger guns are just fine in general circulation -- apparently accepting that tragedies like Sandy Hook are just the price society has to pay for their "freedom" to own such firearms.

"Fix our ailing culture" one says. I humbly suggest that that this unseemly fascination with firearms is part of our culture that needs fixing. At the bare minimum, we should fix that part of our culture that says that firearms don't need to be kept secure and out of the hands of dangerous and incompetent people.

If the shooter's mother had kept her firearms in a gun safe, Sandy Hook would not have happened. If that Marysville cop had put his gun in a locked box bolted to the floor of his car, instead of in the upholder where his son could pick it up, his child would've lived to grow up. Virtually all of the recent tragedies resulted from otherwise "responsible" people failing to secure their firearms.

Please, let's change THAT part of our culture.

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 5:48 p.m. Inappropriate

No. There's no such "otherwise responsible people". Many people are stupid, or ditzy, or paranoid, or angry, either all the time or on occasion. If those stupid people are able to have guns, they will likely not make sure they aren't loaded and won't secure them.

Guns won't kill if people don't have guns. That's the ONLY way to make sure of that. Everything else is just BS.

sarah90

Posted Sat, Dec 29, 1:18 a.m. Inappropriate

You mean they won't kill people with guns. If they kill with knives, explosives, or firearms, the people they kill are just as dead.

Mass killers use knives to kill nealry as many people per incident as mass killer who use guns (see post above for more detail). The weapon that kills the most people per incident if fire, and nearly five times the average number of people killed with guns.

The right kind of gun regulation could help, but don't kid yourself, those who want to kill will find a way, and they don't need a gun, or even a gun with a 30 rounds, to kill. See posts above for more detail.

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 5:40 a.m. Inappropriate

1.People have enough guns. Look at the number of guns in the population. Wider gun use solves nothing.

2. Teachers will never agree to be armed. Don't waste any more of your valuable time with that silliness. If you try to solve the problem only when a killer is in the school, you are way too late. That's a sign of policy failure.

3. We have BOTH a problem of insufficient gun control laws AND mental health laws, not one or the other. If you can't think on both levels, you will participate only at the ineffective fringe of any debate or policy process.

I say yes to an initiative that is more restrictive and punitive than the new Federal law that is coming. It is coming, folks. Support it now and until it is signed into law by our good President

BigPoppa

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 12:33 p.m. Inappropriate

Question - what would people do differently with mental health laws to reduce the risk of these tragedies? I'm genuinely curious.

Would you make civil commitment easier? Said differently, make it easier to force a person into an insane asylum? This strikes me as problematic from a civil rights perspective.

What about privacy concerns? Would you force a psychiatrist or psychologist to "report" a patient (to a governmental agency, perhaps) if the treatment provider thought the patient was a danger to himself or others?

Mental health treatment now is vastly better than it has ever been. The availability of drugs to combat depression, OCD, bipolar, etc has dramatically improved the lives of tens of millions. Would we like it to be better? Sure. But let's not lose sight of how far we've come since the days of widespread shock treatment and lunatic asylums.

PJS

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 6:23 p.m. Inappropriate

The challenge, PJS, is to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental deficiencies -- however you want to define them. I would begin by making it easier to have the names of these people placed on the "do not sell to" list that dealers must check before selling a gun.

It sounds like you might have some ideas on how that could be done, so I would appreciate your suggestions. This would involving balancing rights of privacy and the legitimate demands of society to minimize the danger of firearms in the wrong hands.

Please make some suggestions. I can't imagine that you would defend the lax system now in place.

Posted Thu, Dec 20, 7:19 p.m. Inappropriate

You are right that major systemic change in mental health practice is not likely due to privacy and the lack of due process in removing people's 2nd amendment "rights" (yes I put 2nd amendment rights in quotes because it is not at all certain what behaviors and choices those rights might be allowed under law and regulation. It surely is not the NRA vision.)

But back to mental health change. The current system is based on criminal background check. Criminal means adjudicated. One change that is already proposed in Colorado is to put people who have been involuntarily committed into that database; they would not be criminals but their gun buying rights would be similarly restricted.. It isn't law yet, so not clear how this will work. But it's about expanding the database to include people who had to be hospitalized involuntarily. That does not mean that the rules around involuntary commitment itself would be changed.

Otherwise, it's totally unknown how outpatient practice would be changed. Licensed mental health professionals are already mandated to report likely self-harm or harm to others, but that report does not get a patient's name on the background check list. And whether that will ever happen is somewhere between unknown and unlikely. Also remember that outpatient clinicians are already on the front lines and exposed. Quite a few have been killed by their patients. So if the ante is upped....you can count on more such injuries and fatalities.

Those are just some immediate thoughts. Comments from people without a political or socio-economic agenda are welcome. To those people - "if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail."

BigPoppa

Posted Fri, Dec 21, 10:58 a.m. Inappropriate

I honestly don't have a clue about how to change existing mental health laws to reduce the risk that people with mental health problems get access to guns.

I agree that people who are involuntarily committed for mental issues ought not have access to guns, and that the "do not sell" list should include those people. But that's a reallyreally small number of people. Civil commitment is rare.

Where I think the problem really lies is with people like this guy in Connecticut. I haven't followed it closely enough, but it seems that he had mental problems and had not been committed. Thus, even this expanded "do not sell" list would not have prevented him from buying guns. (I read that he actually tried to buy a gun but was denied for some reason. In any event, this denial did not prevent the tragedy.)

The only way to make it really effective, in my view, would face profound privacy issues. If shrinks were required to notify some government agency if a patient suffered from depression or other issues that COULD lead to violence, the doctor/patient relationship would change in a very negative way. Of course, shrinks would resist this, and if it were effected a clear outcome would be fewer people seeking professional help for mental issues --- NOT a good societal outcome.

My family has been affected by both gun violence and mental illness, so this is a meaningful issue for me. That said, I honestly do not know if there is a solution that is likely to have a material impact.

PJS

Posted Fri, Dec 21, 10:58 a.m. Inappropriate

I honestly don't have a clue about how to change existing mental health laws to reduce the risk that people with mental health problems get access to guns.

I agree that people who are involuntarily committed for mental issues ought not have access to guns, and that the "do not sell" list should include those people. But that's a reallyreally small number of people. Civil commitment is rare.

Where I think the problem really lies is with people like this guy in Connecticut. I haven't followed it closely enough, but it seems that he had mental problems and had not been committed. Thus, even this expanded "do not sell" list would not have prevented him from buying guns. (I read that he actually tried to buy a gun but was denied for some reason. In any event, this denial did not prevent the tragedy.)

The only way to make it really effective, in my view, would face profound privacy issues. If shrinks were required to notify some government agency if a patient suffered from depression or other issues that COULD lead to violence, the doctor/patient relationship would change in a very negative way. Of course, shrinks would resist this, and if it were effected a clear outcome would be fewer people seeking professional help for mental issues --- NOT a good societal outcome.

My family has been affected by both gun violence and mental illness, so this is a meaningful issue for me. That said, I honestly do not know if there is a solution that is likely to have a material impact.

PJS

Posted Fri, Dec 21, 7:50 a.m. Inappropriate

The ice berg didn't sink the Titanic. Cameras are not responsible for child pornography. A spoon does not make one fat. Guns do not kill people. Deranged people on pysch meds. kill people. The thing the left refuses to admit, and it is a well known FACT--the more law abiding citizens carry guns =fewer murders/less crime. The places w/ the most gun control, such as DC and Chicago have the highest murder rates. Period.It is a fact.

jack64

Posted Sun, Dec 23, 7:26 a.m. Inappropriate

If that crazy young man didn't have a Bushmaster AR-15 there would be people alive today, including 20 little kids. That's the fact.

If the school had an armed guard, the odds are that the guard would be shot dead with that Bushmaster AR-15.

More people with guns is obviously not the answer. It's the answer the gun manufacturers and dealers like best. They pay the NRA and its counterparts to promote that idea to the gullible, buy politicians and scare them into submission.

Those of us not wrapped up in the gun lobby scam are obligated to see through it and act. The sooner, the better.

Jan

Posted Sat, Dec 22, 1:15 p.m. Inappropriate

Let's start at the root: bearing lethal weapons is a priviledge, not a right. In an established democracy like the United States, the second amendment is wrong. Let's repeal it. After the propogandistic bluster of the NRA is scraped off, I hazard that the vast majority of voters in this country will agree.

After it is established that bearing arms is a priviledge we can get down to deciding who may bear arms and what kind they may bear. The first rank of privilege for trained and sworn civil servants. I include the armed forces and the police in that group. Allowing hunters to use hunting weapons is reasonable, but they should be subject to at least as rigorous a licensing process as a driver's license. There are other groups to whom the privilege should be granted, but there is no right.

007 didn't get his license to kill until he was thoroughly trained and the license was subject to withdrawal at any time. Once again, truth is stranger than fiction.

Posted Tue, Dec 25, 6:12 p.m. Inappropriate

Jack64, that is not a fact in the real world, in this or any other Western country.

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/hicrc/firearms-research/guns-and-death/index.html

sarah90

Posted Fri, Dec 28, 11:59 a.m. Inappropriate

Jan and sarah90,

Chicago just hit the 500 mark w/ murders. They have the toughest gun control laws in the nation. Places where responsible people who are trained and have CC Permits like myself are permitted to carry weapons the murder rate is much lower. Don't rely on Harvard stats--check out FBI. The press rarely mentions the times when people defend themselves w/ guns and prevail--about 2,000,000 people chose NOT to be victims last year alone. U never read about it because the media dos not want to say anything good about guns. Another stat u may be interested in about 75-78% of the murderers have been released from prison, many of them before serving their full sent. How about the guy in NY who killed the firemen after being released from jail. The guy beats his granny to death w/ a hammer and gets out of jail??? He should have hung by his neck until dead. I find it interesting that the same people who would chan themselves to a fence in protest of the death penalty for a known murderer ar eperfectly OK w/ late-term abortion. To me this in cognitive disonance. Speaking of the 20 children who were murdered by that coward in CT...did u know that 20 children are aborted every half-hour, 24/7/365 by Planned Parenthood, an organization founded by a racist to eliminate Blacks?

jack64

Posted Fri, Jan 11, 4:47 p.m. Inappropriate

Enumerated, fundemental, natural rights solidified in Supreme Court precedent cannot be eradicated by initiatives.

It continually amazes me that ostensibly intelligent people can advocate actions like this one with such obvious ignorance.

BHirsh

Posted Fri, Jan 11, 8:32 p.m. Inappropriate

The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government. -Thomas Jefferson

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good. -George Washington

While it is tragic that on average 150 people per year are killed in the U.S. in mass shootings, consider the 15,000 single homicides per year in the U.S. by hand guns. Assault rifles are really not the problem and in fact help guard against government tyranny.

Posted Wed, Jun 19, 8:05 p.m. Inappropriate

"Rifles and pistols" may have been significant to counter government force in the Eighteenth Century, but in the Twenty-first, hardly at all. Not even assault rifles are going to stop a platoon of soldiers. Claiming the Second Amendment is a "guard against government tyranny" is a ridiculous argument.

I'm not talking about a so-called "constitutional right of armed insurrection" which is questionable; I'm referring to the idiocy of thinking such an event is either likely or realistic. I'm sure all us urban liberals (most Americans live in cities and lean liberal) would welcome that insurrection by whom... the gang-banging thugs? Or the right-wing-nut army?

If you look around the world, the way democracy is most likely to be preserved or attained is by keeping the military from going "bad" or getting it on your side. Or simply by being in the street in mass. In the modern industrial world, revolutions are not done by people with small arms.

The best counter to abuse of power by our government is an aware population and strong communities.

louploup

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