Gun Culture, Running Roughshod

Josh Marshall speaks up for the legitimacy of the opinion of folks who hate guns:

It’s customary and very understandable that people often introduce themselves in the gun debate by saying, ‘Let me be clear: I’m a gun owner.’

Well, I want to be part of this debate too. I’m not a gun owner and, as I think as is the case for more than half the people in the country who also aren’t gun owners, that means that for me guns are alien. And I have my own set of rights not to have gun culture run roughshod over me. . .

It’s a sign of how distorted our politics have gotten, and how the right really has defined the terms of debate on so many issues, that somehow loving guns is the only way to be taken seriously on the subject of their regulation. I don’t have to speak well of, say, child labor, and highlight its positive aspects (ask Newt Gingrich), or claim to have some experience with it in order to have the credibility to make a case against it.

More Marshall:

In the current rhetorical climate people seem not to want to say: I think guns are kind of scary and don’t want to be around them. Yes, plenty of people have them and use them safely. And I have no problem with that. But remember, handguns especially are designed to kill people. You may want to use it to threaten or deter. You may use it to kill people who should be killed (i.e., in self-defense). But handguns are designed to kill people. They’re not designed to hunt. You may use it to shoot at the range. But they’re designed to kill people quickly and efficiently.

That frightens me. I don’t want to have those in my home. I don’t particularly want to be around people who are carrying.

What a liberating piece of writing. Go take your murder-weapon-in-waiting somewhere else.

14 thoughts on “Gun Culture, Running Roughshod”

  1. Gun violence is concentrated in bad neighborhoods. Fix poverty. Fix gun violence. Ban assault rifles, ban high capacity magazines, feel good, accomplish nothing .


  2. “Gun violence is concentrated in bad neighborhoods. Fix poverty. Fix gun violence. Ban assault rifles, ban high capacity magazines, feel good, accomplish nothing .”
    Yeah, really bad neighborhoods like Newtown, Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, …
    Just keep parroting the NRA talking points like a good gun-nut troll, it’ll really help.
    There are bad neighborhoods in England, but few people get shot there.
    Guns are too easy to buy, so a lot of criminals get them legally, but law-abiding gun owners inadvertently supply a lot of guns to criminals:
    “About 1.4 million guns, or an annual average of 232,400, were stolen during burglaries and other property crimes in the six-year period from 2005 through 2010.”
    I don’t know how many burglaries are stopped by guns in the home, but I’m pretty sure it’s waaaay less than 232,400 per year.
    People owning guns, yes even the law-abiding gun owners, make us all less safe.


  3. It may sound weird, but something occured to me:
    Banning (total ban, as opposed to sensible regulation) firearms is like going to _country_ to fight terrorism.
    With firearm bans, you are taking away a small portion of one type of tool bad people use to kill people, while the gold standard solution would be taking away bad people’s reason to kill.
    Same with the “war on terror”: You remove from the equation a small number of (human) tools that certain bad people use to further their political/religious agenda, which not only does not significantly impact the bad people, but actually makes obtaining the tools (recruiting) easier. If there were no beef to be had with the Big Bad Western Imperialists, terrorist recruitment would dwindle.
    To sum up the rambling: Blanket firearm bans are like fighting terrorism ith armored cav: They only fight the symptoms, and thus are at best terribly inefficient.


    1. That is true, over time…but removing guns will make a difference tomorrow. Facilitation and enabling the killing has a lot to do with the event. It’s easy to smash a glass, from a table but try and break a plastic tumbler….


  4. Dan martin and germanguy are making a false dichotomy. Absolutely it is crucially important to address the roots of gun violence, and I might even argue that this is more important than direct gun control. But it’s not an either/or.
    It’s a vastly oversimplified model, but look at it this way: A given person has motivation M to go out and kill somebody, and it requires effort E for her to follow through. If M >= E, you get a murder. So the most effective public policy will decrease M and increase E.
    (Again, that is vastly oversimplified… for instance, M is not at all static, and has short-term deviations, which is what things like waiting periods are all about. It also is the reason that suicides are so much more likely in households with guns: The number of people who have a brief moment where they are ready to off themselves is much, much higher than the number of people who hold onto that feeling long enough to kill themselves using a less impulsive method.)
    In any case, as to the topic of the post, I’ve got yet another take on it: I have enjoyed firing handguns at ranges (it’s not a hobby, I’ve only done it a handful of times, but I had fun every time) and find guns interesting, but I would never ever ever keep one in my house. Maybe in the event of a zombie apocalypse, but that’s it. For one thing, I have two small boys. For another, I’ve struggled with depression and I just don’t want that easy a method of suicide around. Perhaps most importantly, I can read statistics, and I know how much more risk that puts me in.
    I am of the camp that people should be able to “own” any kind of weapon they want, but certain types of weapons have to be kept at a federally regulated range at all times. That certainly includes assault rifles, and probably includes handguns as well. Collectors, target shooters, they can still do what they want, they just can’t take the guns home with them. (This also potentially goes some way to address the anachronistic-yet-constitutionally-enshrined “well-regulated militia” notion: In the case that such a “militia” were necessary, the guns could be released from the ranges)


  5. I agree with the idea of keeping guns at ranges rather than in the home. Guns in peoples houses just make us all less safe. Many gun crimes, (and especially suicides) are acts of opportunity, take away the opportunity and the acts go away.


  6. The gun nuts would rather create more danger (by putting out more guns) than admit other solutions are safer.
    After 9/11, pro-NRA idiots spoke against unbreakable cockpit doors but wanted pilots armed with guns. And instead of promoting secure doors on schools (locked while school is in session), the idiots want janitors to have guns.
    They are inured to reality, unwilling to look for better, safer and often cheaper solutions, solely because they deludedly believe not having more guns will somehow prevent them from owning one. In many ways, they are exactly like christians who claim preventing proselytizing in schools is religious oppression.
    Considering that they are often the same people, it’s not surprising.


  7. The NRA is not a grass roots gun owners association. The members are just the astroturf to cover the truth. The NRA is the lobbying body for the gun manufacturers. It’s like the tobacco lobby all over again, only worse. Anything that sells more guns will be good in the NRA’s eyes, nothing else matters to them.


  8. I hope it makes you feel better to talk about locking handguns up in Federal repositories or ranges, banning assault rifles, getting guns out of homes. But none of these things are likely to be Constitutional.
    Americans now have a Constitutionally-protected right to own and use guns for their personal protection. That means they have a right to keep them on their person, in their homes. The court cases which determined this recently has indicated that what is appropriately-protected firepower bears a strong relationship to what is the most popular firepower. Assault guns are very popular weapons now, very possibly and ironically because of a reaction against gun control efforts.
    Beware of such unintended consequences on this whole issue.Trying to popularize the ultimately doomed proposition of banning most guns is going to accomplish very very little except make it a whole heck of a lot easier for Karl Rove to elect more bats**t crazy Republicans.
    We can’t let that happen now. Global warming needs to be addressed in a very radical way and very very soon. We need to save humanity – (billions of people really are likely to die), not fruitlessly fritter away our electoral chances on a quixotic attempt for gun control, as emotionally-satisfying as that might be.


  9. I hope it makes you feel better to talk about locking handguns up in Federal repositories or ranges, banning assault rifles, getting guns out of homes. But none of these things are likely to be Constitutional.

    Not true.
    The so-called “right to bear arms” is a modern fiction and not part of the constitution:
    Someone posted this elsewhere on FTB, I suggest giving it a read if you think there is a personal “right to keep and bear arms” in the constitution.
    I’m sick of the NRA talking points determining the parameters of the debate.
    There IS no right to bear arms.
    You often here a justification many people give for keeping “arms”, as protection in cae the government gets out of control. Who would they shoot though? Turn their arms on the US military? The police?
    The idea of a right to keep oneself ready for acts of treason is laughable, but we’ve let the NRA set the debate. We’ve also let ideologue SCOTUS justices play with precedents, but those can be overturned if we can get the court back from the Thomases and Scalias.


  10. dsmcoy – your source is from 1995. McDonald vs City of Chicago, and Heller vs Dist of Columbia Supreme Court cases are much more recent.
    They establish that the clause about militias does not effect the right of individual people to own arms. Handgun bans have been overturned because of these rulings. It is now officially established that Americans have a Constitutionally-protected right to own and bear arms.
    The “right to bear arms” is NOT a fiction and IS a part of the Constitution.


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