"I'll take a Mochachino minus the menacing youth counting ammo..."
September 18, 2013 5:58 AM   Subscribe

Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz believes that guns "should not be part of the Starbucks experience." CEO Schultz told CNN that the company is simply making a request "through the lens of civility and respect."
posted by pallen123 (602 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
They just passed a law here letting people bring concealed weapons into bars. So, we'll not be needing Wikipedia to settle bets anymore.
posted by thelonius at 6:10 AM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


In my red little south-of-Seattle hometown, there's lately been an absolute explosion in the number of "I <3 GUNS AND COFFEE"-branded clothing and bumper stickers which is almost certainly the result of the attention Starbucks has gotten from second amendment enthusiasts. I see it so much now that it's hard not to associate the brand with guns, which isn't a positive, in my opinion.
posted by trunk muffins at 6:12 AM on September 18, 2013


Schultz said customers who bring in guns will still be served and won't be asked to leave. Starbucks isn't imposing a ban on firearms because "we don't want to put our people in the position of having to confront somebody who's carrying a weapon," he said.

One thinks the point is a bit undermined. Can't entirely fault the reasoning though.
posted by solarion at 6:13 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Schultz said customers who bring in guns will still be served and won't be asked to leave. "We don't want to put our people in the position of having to confront somebody who's carrying a weapon," he said.
posted by pallen123 at 6:14 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Schultz said customers who bring in guns will still be served and won't be asked to leave. Whether to pay for their orders or whether to take money from the cash registers will similarly be left up to the armed customer. "We don't want to put our people in the position of having to confront somebody who's carrying a weapon," he said.
posted by Naberius at 6:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


(Background data: I own firearms.)

Wow, kind of cool and, well...unAmerican...is sort of my first impression. By which I mean: just asking people to do something without trying to make it a rule or a law... I'd definitely respect this request.

Of course one might reasonably note that crime rates for people with concealed-carry permits are a lot lower than crime rates for the general public... So my guess would be that, if he really thought about this, it would be more reasonable to say that Starbucks doesn't want illegal firearms (or firearms that are being carried illegally) in their establishment. But, of course, there's the rub, largely, with respect to this issue...
posted by Fists O'Fury at 6:18 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


This is a no-lose situation. If gun carriers stay away, no guns. If they show up anyway and buy lattes just to spite you, you get their money!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


More and more I appreciate that my store has near zero residential customers and basically caffienates three office towers. The only guns I see come in here have badges to go with them. I also appreciate that the crazies who run the company are willing to speak up (in a positive way that I personally agree with) on social issues. I didn't know about the admonition to business leaders to not donate to politics until washington has its fiscal house in order, but I really really like that bit.
posted by carsonb at 6:25 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


if he really thought about this, it would be more reasonable to say that Starbucks doesn't want illegal firearms (or firearms that are being carried illegally) in their establishment. But, of course, there's the rub, largely, with respect to this issue...

I don't think he's thinking about this as a public safety issue. I *think* he is merely indicating that the business sides not with gun lovers but with the majority of customers that are unnerved by the sight of firearms while enjoying a latte. Different if this were Kabul or even Israel (are there Starbucks in Kabul?).

Most gun-related deaths are not tied to illegal weapons.
posted by pallen123 at 6:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Of course one might reasonably note that crime rates for people with concealed-carry permits are a lot lower than crime rates for the general public... So my guess would be that, if he really thought about this, it would be more reasonable to say that Starbucks doesn't want illegal firearms (or firearms that are being carried illegally) in their establishment. But, of course, there's the rub, largely, with respect to this issue...

It's not about the crime rates for CCL holders, it's about accidents, the sense of intimidation that goes along with carry (both open and concealed), and the lack of evidence that CCL is a significant contributor to reducing crime.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:29 AM on September 18, 2013 [51 favorites]


(are there Starbucks in Kabul?)

I don't think so, but there was a Tim Hortons in Kandahar for a little while.
posted by troika at 6:30 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


My son carries concealed weapons. So does my daughter's responsible boyfriend. Both have been in the military-my son is trained in security as well as weapons handling and shooting.


No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:30 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence."
I'd rather have a cup of coffee with a guy carrying a broadsword and a Lochaber axe.
posted by brokkr at 6:31 AM on September 18, 2013 [68 favorites]


No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence.

It's not them, it's their guns.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [134 favorites]


I always strap on my shootin-irons before going down for a triple soy latte and a couple of petite vanilla scones.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [46 favorites]


He sat in the corner, eyeing me coyly. Frothy cappuccino hovering by his lips, dull, black Glock on the table, the glow of his Macbook beckoning. Someone called my name and he smiled.
posted by swift at 6:33 AM on September 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence.

1) Telling people how they should feel around deadly weapons is ridiculous.

2) Unless they carry signs that tell us that, how are we to know? And everyone's a responsible gun-owner until they aren't.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:33 AM on September 18, 2013 [158 favorites]


It's not clear to me from the article -- is this in response to open-carry activists using Starbucks as a staging ground? Because (legally) concealed guns don't generally cause much alarm, seeing as how they're concealed.
posted by BurntHombre at 6:34 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah I know this one guy and he's really smart and well-trained and knows how to handle his gun and everything so I say let's let everyone strap on a piece when they go about in public.
posted by chicxulub at 6:34 AM on September 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


Both have been in the military-my son is trained in security as well as weapons handling and shooting. No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence.

So were Nidal Hassan and Aaron Alexis.
posted by sparklemotion at 6:34 AM on September 18, 2013 [89 favorites]


Concealed weapons are one thing. I mean, they're concealed, so there's not much chance anyone's going to mistake your son for a criminal or otherwise get freaked out. It's the dudes who wander around with assault rifles slung over their shoulders to make some sort of point about gun rights or penis size or what have you who can fuck right off.
posted by schoolgirl report at 6:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [24 favorites]


No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence.

You mean other than two total strangers carrying weapons into a coffee shop where no reasonable person has any fathomable need for a weapon? Yeah, other than that, no qualms.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [84 favorites]


The thing is, St Alia, I don't know them, and there's presumably no visual indicators that tell me that they're trustworthy. If I see someone just loungin' with a gun, I don't feel safe at all. Most gun owners are perfectly fine people! But I'm not chancing my life on that.
posted by troika at 6:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [28 favorites]


I suppose at this point I should mention my son doesn't drink coffee.

As for Nidal Hassan and Aaron Alexis, no one who was reasonably in their right mind would have given either one of these men access to guns or a venue to use them. There were a lot of red flags with both of them, particularly Alexis.

But unless you had security-with guns-and a metal detector, good luck keeping them out of a Starbucks.

The issue is, who is qualified for a gun permit to start with. I guarantee that all of you who do not like or want to be around guns drink your coffee and eat your dinners and shop around guns all the time-you are simply unaware they are there. And that is how it should be.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:40 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


There was a recent bit in The Onion substituting "gorilla" for "guns" in an article ostensibly about gun sales and gun control. It beautifully highlighted the absurdity of the argument that we are in greater public safety by saturating society with more of something that is utterly deadly and an instrumentality of mass slaughter.

Here is the article.
posted by chicxulub at 6:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [36 favorites]


Oh, and Thorzdad, I most certainly do want to be around reasonable people who carry.
I feel safer.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing is, St Alia, I don't know them, and there's presumably no visual indicators that tell me that they're trustworthy.

So Alia ... what we're gonna need here is an assurance in writing and pictures of your children so we know you've vouched for them. And then, if we can get every other mother to check in here and do the same, I think we'll be all set and everyone will feel a lot better.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I guarantee that all of you who do not like or want to be around guns drink your coffee and eat your dinners and shop around guns all the time-you are simply unaware they are there. And that is how it should be.

Fortunately, I live in a state that has very strict CC laws, so I suspect that, no, I am not around guns all the time.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:43 AM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


My last comment-if we cannot be in a society where guns do not exist for anyone, and I do mean anyone, then we live in a society where it is imperative that welltrained responsible people DO have access to them.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:43 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have no problems judging everyone who carries a concealed weapon as a person I don't want to have coffee with, sorry Alia. In my opinion it says things about their character that make me uninterested in their opinions about lots of other stuff, and moreover, makes me nervous about their connection to reality. Owning guns, sure fine, let's get jittery. But if you're hiding one in public, and you're not a officer of the law, I'd prefer to just not be around you.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [81 favorites]


then we live in a society where it is imperative that welltrained responsible people DO have access to them.

And who and how are we to determine who is responsible and well-trained? It is not the responsibility of starbucks employees to do that for their customers.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:45 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


>and there's presumably no visual indicators that tell me that they're trustworthy.

Likewise, there are no visual indicators that carrying a concealed weapon, so no worries.
posted by BurntHombre at 6:46 AM on September 18, 2013


As for Nidal Hassan and Aaron Alexis, no one who was reasonably in their right mind would have given either one of these men access to guns or a venue to use them. There were a lot of red flags with both of them, particularly Alexis.

Well, yes, this is what people have been saying for years. But again, how are we to know who has red flags or not?

The issue is, who is qualified for a gun permit to start with.

Well then, I guess you're all for strict training and background checks for licensing and purchasing?

I guarantee that all of you who do not like or want to be around guns drink your coffee and eat your dinners and shop around guns all the time-you are simply unaware they are there. And that is how it should be.

Um, spend a lot of time in DC here, so no.

Oh, and Thorzdad, I most certainly do want to be around reasonable people who carry.
I feel safer.


Why? What proof do you have that they'll keep you safer?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:46 AM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't think he's thinking about this as a public safety issue. I *think* he is merely indicating that the business sides not with gun lovers but with the majority of customers that are unnerved by the sight of firearms while enjoying a latte. Different if this were Kabul or even Israel (are there Starbucks in Kabul?).

I don't know about Kabul, but there are no Starbucks in Israel. There were, but everyone hated them. Whatever you may think about Israelis, at least they have good taste in coffee. [minues that disgusting nescafe and botz] Should you have coffee needs while in Israel, I recommend Aroma. Or Coffee Bean, for that matter.
posted by atomicstone at 6:48 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


People who carry guns want it both ways: per the polite society there is an implied menace. But they also want others to give them the benefit of doubt on intent, levelheadedness and competence.

Aside that contradiction, and aside questions over the trustworthiness of strangers, the wider unease is about escalation. Concealed carry particularly is predicated on the idea that you have the right to defend yourself with deadly force when under threat.

It's a highly questionable right that has currency almost nowhere other than the US and one that trends towards, not against, escalation while creating a whole burden of additional risk on gun carriers and non-gun carriers alike.

Schultz's comments are an interesting, and very slight change, in the public discussion about guns. I'm a firm believer that gun control will only come about by a gentle change in the acceptability of guns.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:49 AM on September 18, 2013 [28 favorites]


welltrained responsible people


As a firearm-owning social conservative, this is where I like to link to one of the CCW classes in my great state of Wisconsin. Their pitch?
No Gun Experience Needed-This is a NON Shooting,
NON Physical NO Test Course and Qualifies as Training for your Wi. CCW--Guaranteed

Emphasis in the original, and this is all legal.


So yes, welltrained responsible people with guns are great, but unfortunately I can't be assured that anyone around here is. It's unfortunate.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 6:49 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


Last night we watched the documentary, "There's something wrong with Aunt Diane", about the woman who drove for almost two miles on a highway in the wrong direction, and killed herself, and 7 other people, including 4 children.

She was completely normal, had no 'red flags', nothing. She just snapped. Everyone described her as a completely responsible human being.

Sometimes people just snap, 'responsibility' cannot be guaranteed.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:50 AM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


My son carries concealed weapons. So does my daughter's responsible boyfriend. Both have been in the military-my son is trained in security as well as weapons handling and shooting.


No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence.


My objection to this mirrors my objection to people in the lab who leave glassware on old, analog hotplates. I cannot tell if the glass is hot or cold by simply looking at it. And I'm sure as hell not going to measure the guy with a firearm nor prod him with anymore questions than I absolutely need to.
posted by Slackermagee at 6:51 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


"In my opinion it says things about their character that make me uninterested in their opinions about lots of other stuff, and moreover, makes me nervous about their connection to reality."

...you do realize that you just insulted all the MeFites who are concealed carry permit holders, right?
posted by Jacqueline at 6:51 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm not trying to be insulting, I'm really not. But I believe that the choice (as a private citizen) to carry a concealed weapon makes everyone around you less safe.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:53 AM on September 18, 2013 [107 favorites]


Oh no, an insult? Pistols at dawn, sir!
posted by octobersurprise at 6:53 AM on September 18, 2013 [30 favorites]


I own guns. I am comfortable around many people who own guns and who carry guns.

People who are blatantly going around brandishing guns to be all "RAAAR OPEN CARRY MAAAAN!" make me a bit nervous. I think this is mostly because they've already proven themselves to be people who are going to try and Make A Statement with their weapons, which I associate with emotional bravado and dickwaving and not calm rational behavior.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:00 AM on September 18, 2013 [61 favorites]


Oh, and Thorzdad, I most certainly do want to be around reasonable people who carry.

And how do you know they're reasonable? A big R tattooed on their forehead? Honestly, to me, anyone who seriously feels the need to carry a weapon in public is already living a bit further to the paranoid side of things for my comfort. That, or, they're out to make a point. Either way, it does not make me comfortable. Or feel safe.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:00 AM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


My last comment-if we cannot be in a society where guns do not exist for anyone, and I do mean anyone, then we live in a society where it is imperative that welltrained responsible people DO have access to them.

Really? Then why do higher gun ownership rates correlate with higher homicide rates?

Why does the US, with its lax gun ownership laws (or, as you put it 'access to guns for well trained people') have the highest intentional homicide rate in the developed world?
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:01 AM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


Schultz could also meet the concealed carry crowd half way by training the baristas to Viggo Mortensen hot coffee and coffee pots at unreasoning/inconsolable in-store threats, a la A History of Violence. Hackaa Paalle and all that.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:01 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


so I guess we're all gonna just talk about guns, instead of guns + Starbucks
posted by trunk muffins at 7:03 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


so I guess we're all gonna just talk about guns, instead of guns + Starbucks

It looks mostly like concealed carry discussion with a bit of 'what constitutes a rational and reasonable response to low probability deadly threats & low-but-not-as-low-as-all-that threats of non-deadly physical violence?' as opposed to just a discussion of guns.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:07 AM on September 18, 2013


From a non-US perspective, this is just a bizarre thing to read. The idea of people getting heavily armed to go out for coffee is science fiction dystopia-level stuff.

Then again, given the appalling quality of Starbucks, I can appreciate why they wouldn't want irate caffeine-deprived coffee aficionados with access to weapons in their shops.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:07 AM on September 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


No one should have any qualms about drinking coffee in their presence.

You're damn right I have qualms and don't tell me how I should feel.

simply making a request "through the lens of civility and respect."

I think this approach is the way to go. We are not going to be able to legislate our way to a civilized society on this one any time soon. I just got back from a preventive medicine conference and one of the topics was gun safety. It is astounding how little is known about gun safety. Yeah, we talk about trigger locks, and gun safes, and safety classes. The truth is, there is literally no data on whether these things work as interventions, the reason being that Congress has literally prevented any funding of gun safety research. In no other aspect of society do we say, "Well, we know a little bit about the safety issues surrounding this product, we don't really know what interventions manage the risk, and we are not going to do any research on this any time soon, so let's just have these things out there in society and see what happens." I mean, why is playground equipment better studied and regulated than firearms?

Things have become so insane that reasonable people are really morally obligated to stand up and talk and it seems that's what Schultz is doing. Gun owners have controlled the debate on this for too long and people need to have a dialogue with the gun owners in their lives and make them listen. This isn't about whether you get your jollies blowing things up at a gun range, or even killing animals. This isn't about whether you feel you need firepower to protect your home; if you want your kid to shoot himself that's your tragic business (although please let me know before my kid comes over to play).

This is about the power differential introduced when people carry guns in public spaces. I don't know if you're crazy, or having a bad day, or think you heard a bad guy coming at you. I think I have a right to be squicked out about standing next to you in line at the grocery store. And I damn well don't need to be carrying a gun to protect myself from *you.*

The near total lack of regulation of firearms, the fact that people carry guns around with them in public spaces, the way gun regulation advocates are shouted down in the face of monthly gun massacres-- it's barbaric and these people need to be called out for the fools they are.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:10 AM on September 18, 2013 [101 favorites]


The idea of people getting heavily armed to go out for coffee is science fiction dystopia-level stuff.

A guy I grew up with won't leave the house unarmed. He has a concealed carry permit and won't travel out of state because of it. He has a number of messenger bags and backpacks that have a little pouch somewhere on them for a handgun.

I don't know. I just don't know. He's also convinced that armed revolution and the total breakdown of society, Mad Max-style, is literally hours away at any moment, which I'm more and more inclined to see as a kind of weird wishful thinking.

Sorry, I don't mean to psychoanalyze gun owners: I'm one of them and generally think they are okay to own in a responsible way. But there's a lot of mall-ninja stuff out there that is hard to parse from the outside.
posted by gauche at 7:13 AM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


Yay Starbucks. I think this was a pretty brave position for Schultz to take and he is going to have a lot of powerful forces and loud voices trying to make him change his mind. Too often, the loudest, angriest voices funded by the most vested special interests prevail in this and many other public debates.

I found his statement about the role & responsibility pretty refreshing: that not everything is a zero sum gain, not everything is about the bottom line. I liked that he noted we seem to have "lost our conscience" and that the role of business is not just for profit, but to serve communities and the people who work for them.

Starbucks has a lot of critics and they certainly aren't perfect - but they exhibit more social responsibility than most, an impulse I applaud.

I am going to write a letter and thank him. I may go buy a coffee today.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:14 AM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


"The idea of people getting heavily armed to go out for coffee is science fiction dystopia-level stuff."

1) A handgun is not "heavily" armed.

2) They're not arming themselves to go out for coffee. The handgun is just another part of their every day accouterments for getting dressed and/or leaving the house, like keys, phone, and purse/wallet.

3) You don't carry a gun because you expect to need it -- you simply avoid places/situations where you'd reasonably expect to need a gun for self defense. You carry a gun in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Jacqueline,

What you seem to be failing to understand is the vast psychological chasm between someone who thinks that carrying a gun is a normal reasonable thing to do and someone who thinks that carrying a gun is something for completely unreasonable paranoid people.

And I think this is the correct terrain for Starbucks to fight. The NRA is powerful and will prevent any and all gun control laws, regardless of the amount of mass shootings or victims. I think people opposed to guns, like Starbucks and Schultz, should focus their efforts on making it not-ok to carry guns around in public.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [26 favorites]


A handgun is not "heavily" armed.

Carrying any weapon designed for killing reads as heavily armed.

They're not arming themselves to go out for coffee. The handgun is just another part of their every day accouterments for getting dressed and/or leaving the house, like keys, phone, and purse/wallet.

So they're arming themselves for everyday life? How does that make more sense?

You don't carry a gun because you expect to need it because you simply avoid places/situations where you'd reasonably expect to need a gun for self defense. You carry a gun in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it.

Which is far less likely to happen than a million other things, and as I've said repeatedly, hasn't actually proven to be useful overall.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:20 AM on September 18, 2013 [47 favorites]


1) A handgun is not "heavily" armed.

It is in Sydney. I was clearly speaking from my personal perspective. The concept of 'concealed carry' is literally foreign to me.

2) They're not arming themselves to go out for coffee. The handgun is just another part of their every day accouterments for getting dressed and/or leaving the house, like keys, phone, and purse/wallet.


So they are arming themselves to do everything? That's even more surreal.

3) You don't carry a gun because you expect to need it because you simply avoid places/situations where you'd reasonably expect to need a gun for self defense. You carry a gun in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it.


Yes, thank you, I understand that. But the stats don't support that as a sensible course of action on a personal or societal level.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:22 AM on September 18, 2013 [53 favorites]


Yeah, no, having a thing that allows you to immediately kill another human being at the very instant you decide to pull a small lever isn't heavily armed. Got it. Thanks for the info. I feel much better now knowing that a bunch of illogical mammals are wandering around out there only *lightly* armed.
posted by Mooseli at 7:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


so I guess we're all gonna just talk about guns, instead of guns + Starbucks

Starbucks CEO wants to keep his customers from being venti-latted

posted by fuse theorem at 7:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, it bears reminding that the 2nd Amendment is a non-universal allowance for arming one's self. It is not a directive obligating for arming one's self for going about their business and demanding that others respect that for no logically-supported reason.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


You carry a gun in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it.

Which is far less likely to happen than a million other things

Unless you're carrying a gun, in which case you immediately go from being just another person in the crowd to being the most immediate threat to me and my loved ones in the area, a potentially life threatening danger, and a target to be taken down and neutralized by any means possible.
posted by Naberius at 7:25 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


From a non-US perspective, this is just a bizarre thing to read. The idea of people getting heavily armed to go out for coffee is science fiction dystopia-level stuff.

Like that touch? That's just the start! Come visit, and you can join the rest of our dystopia: no public health care, ordinary police with military equipment, every phone call tapped, and food for poor children de-funded. Come see America: Where the weak are killed and eaten.
posted by tyllwin at 7:25 AM on September 18, 2013 [80 favorites]


You don't carry a gun because you expect to need it -- you simply avoid places/situations where you'd reasonably expect to need a gun for self defense. You carry a gun in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it.

In states without open carry, does the requirement for concealment hinder the use of a gun in self defense? Put another way, in the few seconds you have to arm and engage, is that enough time to clear the weapon from whatever clothing or bag you have it stored in? Is that part of the concealed carry training, to quickly clear a firearm from hinderances for use?

A handgun is not "heavily" armed

I would argue that we are (mostly) always lightly armed by virtue of having, well, arms. Arms that can do significant physical damage. Thrown objects, objects used as makeshift weapons, and cars would seem to fit into the light weapons category. Handguns, rifles, and shotguns are more deadly, by magnitude/s, than misc held objects and would then fit into the heavy weapons category. Unless you want to categorize handguns/etc as medium weapons and automatics/ordnance as heavy weapons.

Unless there's some agreed upon categorization for these things.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:25 AM on September 18, 2013


Starbucks baristas: be polite or they'll pop your cappuccino in a glass.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:29 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


What am I supposed to do if government tyranny breaks out while I'm in line for coffee ? Just be oppressed ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:30 AM on September 18, 2013 [87 favorites]


The handgun is just another part of their every day accouterments for getting dressed and/or leaving the house, like keys, phone, and purse/wallet.

I've never carried a gun in my daily life, but I have to imagine that it is absolutely not like carrying keys, a phone, or a wallet. Possession of those normal items will not alter my thinking in any day to day situations. They won't factor in at all. I don't need to worry about whether my phone is sufficiently concealed , my wallet accidentally discharging, or what will happen if I drop my keys. I think (I could be wrong) that the act of carrying a gun will necessarily mean that the thought of violence is closer to mind, if only as a glimmer of possibility.

I never leave the house thinking that I may need to shoot someone, and I can't imagine how my life would be if I lived that way. That's why I'm uncomfortable around armed people.
posted by ghharr at 7:31 AM on September 18, 2013 [23 favorites]


The handgun is just another part of their every day accouterments for getting dressed and/or leaving the house, like keys, phone, and purse/wallet.

Do you carry a first aid kit whenever you leave the house, also? What about a flashlight and extra batteries? Or a solar-powered charger for your phone and the weather radio (which, presumably, you also carry)? If you're dressing with the idea potential disasters in mind, every one of these items would as useful, if not more so, as a gun. So why insist on a gun "in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it" and neglect these other items?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [72 favorites]


What am I supposed to do if government tyranny breaks out while I'm in line for coffee ? Just be oppressed ?

Order a double shot before the caffeine-regulation goons kick in the doors.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Things have become so insane that reasonable people are really morally obligated to stand up and talk and it seems that's what Schultz is doing.

Slarty Bartfast, if I could favor that multiple times I would. I hope that Schultz stance might spark other business people to speak up too.
posted by madamjujujive at 7:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think Schultz is genius. We've had shootings in malls, schools, and military bases. And due to Starbucks' ubiquity, it's really just a matter of time until there's a shootout there or near one of their shops. By stepping forward and saying no guns in their stores, Schultz is proactively shifting away any future focus on Starbucks if that day comes (and preserve their ability to maintain sales in other locations) -- the press release will say, "Historically, Starbucks has always discouraged guns in their stores."
posted by mochapickle at 7:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Restated: If Starbucks ever has a shooting, sales will plummet. This statement helps cover Starbucks' bases in case that ever happens.
posted by mochapickle at 7:34 AM on September 18, 2013


the way gun regulation advocates are shouted down in the face of monthly gun massacres

To the point that NPR this morning found it newsworthy to mention that gun control advocates have barely said anything this time.

As Tom Tomorrow pointed out, there is no gun control debate any more.
posted by Gelatin at 7:34 AM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


I hope that Schultz stance might spark other business people to speak up too.

Buffalo Wild Wings recently drew ire from second amendment advocates for their no guns policy and I believe there are some others as well, though I can't remember them off the top of my head.
posted by triggerfinger at 7:41 AM on September 18, 2013


If you open carry, I assume you're somebody who is a passionate defender of what you imagine the Constitution to be and have Something To Provetm.

If you conceal carry, I assume you're a paranoiac who thinks People Are Out To Get Youtm.

I'm pretty sure I'm not alone here.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [41 favorites]


As far as I'm concerned, unless you live in a literal war zone, carrying any weapon designed solely to kill people is going out heavily armed.

I live in a pretty gun-friendly area. I have friends, relatives, and neighbors who are big on shooting, and who are super into guns. Who can talk about their guns and have to specify not just 'oh, the [style of gun]', but also the maker or other characteristics of said gun, because they just have too many [whatevers] to keep them straight. I, at one point, did some design work for a local gun shop, and remain friendly with the owner and his daughter.

But man, I gotta say: I am not ok with guns. I get that my friends and relatives and neighbors have a legal right to have these things, and these are people who I trust--they've watched my kid, they've brought over meals when I was ill, whatever. But the fact that they have weapons and that they think that the ownership of weapons is a normal and ok thing makes me trust them less than I trust other people with whom I have similar relationships.

I realise why saying this is unpopular, but I honestly believe that it takes a certain amount of paranoia to make someone think Oh, yes, a gun, I should have some. For self defense, here in this unbelievably violent and terrifying area in which I live. What does that say about your perception of where you live, and your perception of the people around you? Nothing good, in my opinion. Yeah, crime is a thing that happens, but...I dunno. I sort of feel like if your response to crime/feeling unsafe is purchasing weapons so that you can kill people, you're part of the problem.
posted by MeghanC at 7:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [32 favorites]


[A couple comments removed; let's maybe not burn down the thread with a meta-argument about its existence, that's not actually a super helpful direction to go and we've got Metatalk if anybody needs it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 7:44 AM on September 18, 2013


It may draw some hate to say that I am generally supportive of second-amendment rights. But, that said, this notion that a private property owner isn't entitled to say who can and can't stroll into their business with a weapon is not a very traditional pro-gun-rights position. I wonder how many of the people who claim the right to walk into Starbucks armed are as OK with the notion of people coming on to their property with unwanted arms?
posted by tyllwin at 7:46 AM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


Here's what I don't understand. My NRA-member friends are constantly telling me that if we ban (or heavily regulate) guns, the bad guys will just commit their murders using something else. Knives or furniture or precisely-thrown blades of grass or something, I don't know. So why don't people who want a weapon for self-defense use whatever else is handy? If the pro-gun crowd really, truly believes that hammers are more deadly than guns* why isn't everyone walking around with an ultra-deadly holstered hammer? You wouldn't even have to conceal it! You could just have it right there in plain sight all the time!

Guns exist in this weird state where they are no more deadly than anything else, so regulating them is silly, but absolutely essential to my self-defense, so regulating them is a violation of my rights.

*Yeah, I know.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2013 [32 favorites]



If you open carry, I assume you're somebody who is a passionate defender of what you imagine the Constitution to be and have Something To Provetm.

If you conceal carry, I assume you're a paranoiac who thinks People Are Out To Get Youtm.


I agree with this, especially with the "safe" comments. If you think you're not safe in a Starbucks, you're either paranoid or you don't understand statistics or the sociology of crime very well. And that sucks, take some classes or something instead of strapping on a gun.
posted by sweetkid at 7:48 AM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


I wonder how many of the people who claim the right to walk into Starbucks armed are as OK with the notion of people coming on to their property with unwanted arms?

This is slightly confounded by your right as a land owner to generally tell the public to piss off. Starbucks runs into some potentially sticky territory by outright banning guns in stores but stays well clear of that by just asking that guns be kept out.
posted by Slackermagee at 7:49 AM on September 18, 2013


Agreed, tyllwin. I'm very pro gun rights but also very pro property rights and thus I support the right of any private property owner to set a "no guns" policy for his/her property. Everyday concealed carriers are free to not patronize businesses where they don't feel welcome.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:52 AM on September 18, 2013


The interesting thing about this 'request' is that strikes right at the gun entitled crowd. Nobody in Illinois batted an eye at restrictions that are engineered to keep those most likely to be victims of crime from being able to carry guns and these restrictions were accepted by the gun lobby without much opposition at all. So no guns on public transit sounds great meaning that poor people are not afforded the dubious protections that car drivers get.

Rights in America sure seem awfully quirky.
posted by srboisvert at 7:53 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I can't find the link right now, because "Starbucks" and "open carry" and "rifle" search results are being buried by current news, but here in Austin a little while ago there were open-carry activists who gathered on South Congress Avenue and did a little shopping, checking out the local stores, sipping coffee at Starbucks, all while legally carrying loaded AR-15 rifles.

The article said they're not trying to intimidate anyone, but only want to educate the public that it's legal to open carry a rifle in Texas, and that they're exercising their rights to do so while they still can.

Also this week in Austin another open-carry activist was arrested at the Capitol, and apparently this arrest might gain some traction. From their side of the story (I haven't yet heard the official response from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the branch of law enforcement that polices the Capitol), he was walking the Capitol grounds when he was stopped by an officer and told that he couldn't open carry his pistol. The activist (Terry Holcomb if you want to search, but be aware of what you're clicking on) was accompanied by two other people who were open carrying rifles (apparently unloaded). Holcomb informed the officers that under Texas law it's legal for him to carry his black powder pre-1899 pistol, but they arrested him anyway. There's apparently lots of video of this on YouTube (I haven't watched any of it), and from what I've heard it seems that it might not have been a lawful arrest.

Update: found the article about the open carry group at Starbucks.

pic pic pic
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:56 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


The handgun is just another part of their every day accouterments for getting dressed and/or leaving the house, like keys, phone, and purse/wallet.

I carry my keys with me because I expect to use them, at least maybe 10 times. Once when I lock my front door. Once when I unlock my car. Once when I start up my car. Then when I get to the office to unlock the office door. Then when I leave to lock up. Etc. etc.

My phone comes out of my pocket probably 10 times a day.

My wallet, maybe just a couple. But I'm so certain that I'll probably need it that I carry it with me. Some days I actually don't pull it out.

I just don't see how a gun is analogous.
posted by Cookiebastard at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


"If you think you're not safe in a Starbucks, you're either paranoid or you don't understand statistics or the sociology of crime very well."

It's not about being safe at the Starbucks, it's about being safe all the other places and situations you might (expectedly or unexpectedly) find yourself during any given day. If you're wearing a handgun for everyday concealed carry, it's not feasible to just take it off and put it back on whenever you enter or exit a store (especially if you're not driving right up to the door) or other location.

A concealed handgun is effectively an undergarment with the added logistical issue of needing to be very responsible about where you put it down when you take it off.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's about being safe all the other places and situations you might (expectedly or unexpectedly) find yourself during any given day

Again, not understanding crime statistics very well. Most people do not get into life or death crime situations with the regularity that people who make these arguments (not trying to make this personal) think (or I should say imagine, or see on TV).
posted by sweetkid at 8:02 AM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


A concealed handgun is effectively an undergarment with the added logistical issue of needing to be very responsible about where you put it down when you take it off.

Except, a thong never killed anyone.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:04 AM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Carrying a gun around all the time because you might find yourself in a life-threatening situation is like wearing a suit everywhere you go because you might get an unexpected photo-op with the President. It's just vanishingly unlikely to happen.

Except, of course, that wearing a suit doesn't put anyone's life in danger, even if I wear my ugliest tie.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:04 AM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


A concealed handgun is effectively an undergarment with the added logistical issue of needing to be very responsible about where you put it down when you take it off.

Look, I own guns. I sometimes shoot guns. I grew up in a very gun-friendly family. Most of our friends owned guns and came to our farm to shoot targets or skeet. I'm a lot more skeptical of the efficacy of gun control than the average MeFite.

This is a weird and ridiculous oversimplification of the realities of carrying a gun. You're not doing your argument any favors by saying something that plainly isn't true. A gun is not the same as a pen or keys or a wallet. It's certainly not "effectively an undergarment."

It's a deadly weapon. The likelihood of getting into a confrontation that requires self defense with a deadly weapon is, for the average person in America, vanishingly small. Carrying around a deadly weapon every day against this likelihood is not the same as carrying one's keys or one's wallet, which one uses or has occasion to use literally every day.
posted by gauche at 8:05 AM on September 18, 2013 [43 favorites]


It's not about being safe at the Starbucks, it's about being safe all the other places and situations you might (expectedly or unexpectedly) find yourself during any given day.

The science says you're going to die from murder, suicide or gun accident before you'll ever pull that piece on someone who deserves it. More, tactical studies show that if someone gets the drop on you with another weapon, even a knife, you're going to die before you get your weapon out and aimed, provided you can hit what you're aiming.

It's not a magic shield. It's a murder machine. Literally.

Hoping that you'll get to use it against the badguy instead of winding up dead because of it is like planning your retirement around a lottery ticket.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:06 AM on September 18, 2013 [51 favorites]


After seeing spikelee's pictures, this open letter seems like even more of a no brainer. We're not talking about concealed handguns at this point, people are walking around his business with loaded AR-15s.

They should cut that out.
posted by DynamiteToast at 8:06 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


If no one in their right minds would give Hassan or Alexis a gun permit, then the military must be out of its mind. Especially in the case of Hassan, who was active duty. But then we're supposed to trust military-trained people.

There was a spate of open-carry protests at coffee shops here in the Bay Area a couple years ago. It was funny to me because the protesters were walking around with guns on their hips but the guns were unloaded, because apparently that's the law (I might be remembering the law part wrong). What're they gonna do, throw their gun at a bad guy?
posted by rtha at 8:06 AM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


after this incident I personally do not think guns belong in coffee shops.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:07 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


That's why I'm uncomfortable around armed people.

Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?

It's funny that when the gun issue comes up people just throw statistics and reason out the window. For example, the chances of getting killed in a terrorist attack are so minuscule that most reasonable people would agree that we should not give up our constitutionally guaranteed rights because of it. Now when the gun issue comes up it's a completely different story. You people are so self absorbed that you want to tell other people how to exercise their constitutional rights so you can feel safer. What a bunch of bunk.

Does anyone here actually know anything about gun violence other than the mass shootings publicized by the msm? Apparently not as gun violence has steadily declined in the country since the 90's.

Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew.

Mass shootings are a matter of great public interest and concern. They also are a relatively small share of shootings overall. According to a Bureau of Justice Statistics review, homicides that claimed at least three lives accounted for less than 1% of all homicide deaths from 1980 to 2008.

Despite the attention to gun violence in recent months, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is markedly lower than it was two decades ago. A new Pew Research Center survey (March 14-17) found that 56% of Americans believe the number of crimes involving a gun is higher than it was 20 years ago; only 12% say it is lower and 26% say it stayed the same. (An additional 6% did not know or did not answer.) (source)

The “more guns equal more death” mantra seems plausible only when viewed through the rubric that murders mostly involve ordinary people who kill because they have access to a firearm when they get angry. If this were true, murder might well increase where people have ready access to firearms, but the available data provides no such correlation. Nations and areas with more guns per capita do not have higher murder rates than those with fewer guns per capita. (source)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:10 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


A concealed handgun is effectively an undergarment with the added logistical issue of needing to be very responsible about where you put it down when you take it off.

Ok, I agree with part of this in that if you're going to carry a gun keeping it with you so you know where it's at all times, but, having said that, why carry it all? Do you routinely put yourself into situations where you'd need it? Or are you just paranoid? I'm genuinely curious.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 8:13 AM on September 18, 2013


Everyday concealed carriers are free to not patronize businesses where they don't feel welcome.

Even this phrasing suggests that you see your gun as something more than just a tool for self-defense, that you regard it as an aspect of your identity. Take another tool: nail clippers, for example. Someone who felt unwelcome because a proprietor forbid toenail clipping in his restaurant would be considered odd; so would a non-plumber who insisted on carrying a plunger everywhere. Yet people insist on carrying a gun around with them and it's no longer a tool, it's a totem. Even the suggestion here that maybe it's odd to carry one everywhere is taken as an insult, an unfounded discrimination.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:13 AM on September 18, 2013 [33 favorites]


U.S. gun homicides

gun crime

The “more guns equal more death” mantra seems plausible only when viewed through the rubric that murders mostly involve ordinary people who kill because they have access to a firearm when they get angry.

Completely ignoring accidental deaths and potentially, based on how they compiled the statistics, involuntary manslaughter
posted by Slackermagee at 8:14 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


That's why I'm uncomfortable around armed people.

Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?
Nope. Pretty uncomfortable around them too.
posted by lumensimus at 8:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [34 favorites]


Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?

Yeah, no one said that they felt better around. In fact, I'm sure you'd find most MeFites are highly uncomfortable around armed LEO, military, etc.

Does anyone here actually know anything about gun violence other than the mass shootings publicized by the msm? Apparently not as gun violence has steadily declined in the country since the 90's.

Not sure what this has to do with this specific conversation, which is about CCL (and partially open carry), which has not proven to be a contributing factor to reducing gun violence. The correlation between, say, lead reduction in construction material and gasoline has a overwhelmingly higher effect. Nor did you bother to address accidents or misuse by said agents of the state.

Do you have anything other than general gun and anti-government talking points to contribute?
posted by zombieflanders at 8:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?

This is a weird strawman and in all likelihood not even accurate: the average person on the left is I think much more likely to be concerned about police overreach, police militarization, and inappropriate use of force than is the average person on the right. This is one of those areas where the left and the libertarians tend to overlap.
posted by gauche at 8:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's funny that when the gun issue comes up people just throw statistics

A fair survey of the extant literature will reveal that social science research on the statistics of gun and crimes demonstrates that more guns=more crime.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:17 AM on September 18, 2013


Not conclusively, I might add, but its entirely consistent with that conclusion.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:18 AM on September 18, 2013


You people are so self absorbed that you

[If you are addressing the thread like this you need to pull the emergency brake and regroup before you keep going in here.]

posted by cortex at 8:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew.

I'm embarrassed that I missed this huge error prior to my first reply. Grargle blargle, please don't use sources that make such mistakes as this.
posted by Slackermagee at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2013



Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?


Agents of the state are at least insured and responsible to the people. If joe sixpack drops his piece when grabbing for his wallet and blows my kneecap off, I could maybe sue him for the treatment and whatnot, but odds are pretty good I'd be on my own to pay for it.

And you can peruse Gunfail at DKOS to see how common this sort of thing is.

I say this as a gun owner. I've got a closet safe full of firearms. I don't carry because the level of attention and focus I feel guns require isn't well suited to my day to day life. Other people of course feel differently, and that's how you get people who feel it's OK to demonstrate that a gun is unloaded by firing it.

So, yeah, I actually feel better about agents of the state using firearms. I have some assurance that they have been at least told what not to do with them and I can hold them accountable should they fail. The morons I commute with - Not So Much.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


Oh, and The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy is not peer-reviewed, and has no affiliation with Harvard, other than the fact that law students of Harvard edit it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:20 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


People seem to be missing that this has nothing to do with day to day conceal carry permit holders swinging by to grab a quick latte.

In many places there are laws that make it illegal for permit holders to take their guns in to establishments that post signs asking them not to. Starbucks has never posted such signs so the open carry protest movement embraced them as ally's and started staging protests at Starbucks. The Starbucks corporation has decided that being part of this protest movement is bad for their branding so they are attempting to create a little distance while still enacting no anti gun policies. They are attempting neutrality on the open carry issue, nothing more.
posted by subtle_squid at 8:21 AM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


People who carry a gun because they're worried about all the people carrying guns confuse me.

But maybe they're onto something. Maybe the best way to deal with Syria's chemical weapons is free sarin gas bombs for everyone.
posted by Foosnark at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's funny that when the gun issue comes up people just throw statistics

Aw, you can use statistics to prove anything.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:22 AM on September 18, 2013


Fair enough, Jacqueline. I think the gap in views between pro and anti gun types is this:

Carrying a gun in public prepares you for a rare and specific threat of needing to defend yourself with deadly force against someone else.

But we leave the house facing all far more common threats where equipment might come in handy - needing rope, or a first aid kit, or a screwdriver. There's a community for that too, of course.

The difference between carrying a gun and, say a first aid kit is that there is a clear statistical link between gun ownership and both intentional and accidental deaths by firearm. You don't increase the danger to yourself or others by carrying around a tool for cutting seatbelts or para rope.

So a not unreasonable conclusion is that people who concealed carry in otherwise safe places have at best a poor understanding of risk and at worst consciously want the chance to use or brandish their firearm.

A poor understanding of risk isn't a crime - we're not all actuaries. But carrying guns in safe places is not just a benign misunderstanding of risk like locking your door five times but leaving your windows open. Here's again where pro and anti gun types differ. Pro gun types have a variety of arguments that boil down to "I'm safe and conscientious - it's the other guy you need to worry about." Anti gun types don't dispute that many people will go through life leading blameless lives and carrying guns. But in aggregate, the data show that prevalence of guns raises risk considerably.

Which is why so much of the discussion about gun control is characterised in emotive terms with the dog whistles of personal liberty vs the spectre of collectivism and/or socialism. And why some of the hardest advocates for gun rights also have this weird paranoia that the state itself is out to get them.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [36 favorites]


Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?

Uh, no? I'm not really convinced that cops and etc should carry guns, either, though I am aware that the second amendment grants them the right to do so.

You people are so self absorbed that you want to tell other people how to exercise their constitutional rights so you can feel safer.

Alternatively, we're convinced that the second amendment is a lot more nuanced than Woo, guns for everyone!.
posted by MeghanC at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Aw, you can use statistics to prove anything.

True. I should have been more clear. I meant statistically relevant. That's why I used the terrorism example.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2013


Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?

Actually, I don't trust cops with guns either, and I'm very uncomfortable in public around anyone carrying a gun, cop or civilian. So...
posted by muddgirl at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy is not peer-reviewed, and has no affiliation with Harvard, other than the fact that law students of Harvard edit it.

Or, as Wikipedia notes:
The Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy is a student-edited law review of conservative and libertarian legal scholarship. It was established by Harvard Law School students Spencer Abraham and Stephen Eberhard in 1978, leading to the founding of the Federalist Society, for which it is the official journal.

Notable authors include Guido Calabresi, Ted Cruz, Viet D. Dinh, Frank H. Easterbrook, John C. Eastman, Richard Garnett, Robert George, Douglas H. Ginsburg, Lino Graglia, Alex Kozinski, George L. Priest, William H. Pryor, Jr., William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Eugene Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Ron Paul, and John Yoo.
Totally unbiased view there, amirite?

Well since people feel free to lump in all gun owners into a large "nut" category I feel ok lumping all anti-gun folks into a "self absorbed" category.

Didn't happen, bro.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Aw, you can use statistics to prove anything.

Well, you can't prove just anything with reliable statistical analysis performed by trained researchers that is subject to peer review and is based on good data.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Go ahead...make my latte...
posted by briank at 8:25 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, you can't prove just anything with reliable statistical analysis performed by trained researchers that is subject to peer review and is based on good data.

I can prove you're not good at catching Simpsons references.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:26 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


As for Nidal Hassan and Aaron Alexis, no one who was reasonably in their right mind would have given either one of these men access to guns or a venue to use them.



And yet, we totally did.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:26 AM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


The people I know with conceal carry permits think a lot like the people I know with aikido black belts or ham radio licenses or a particularly awesome home theater setup. I have this extra thing which took time and money to acquire that makes me slightly better than the people around me. Sort of like a superpower. I don't like this attitude in general in people, I think it's profoundly narcissistic to seek ways to make yourself feel more special than your fellow human beings.

If you really, truly, feel physically threatened routinely in your daily life, then I'm more sympathetic to you carrying a gun. But the right answer in the long run is to change whatever it is about your life that means you're in life-threatening situations on a regular basis.
posted by miyabo at 8:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Well since people feel free to lump in all gun owners into a large "nut" category

I don't.

For example this: Look, I own guns. I sometimes shoot guns. I grew up in a very gun-friendly family. Most of our friends owned guns and came to our farm to shoot targets or skeet.

is an example of American gun culture that I think is fine, generally safe and acceptable.

This: A concealed handgun is effectively an undergarment with the added logistical issue of needing to be very responsible about where you put it down when you take it off.

and this

I most certainly do want to be around reasonable people who carry.
I feel safer.


I don't want to say "nuts" but - these are examples of gun culture I find very problematic.

I think my feelings are common among gun control people, it's just that anti-control activists blow it into people wanting to remove the Second Amendment entirely from the Constitution.
posted by sweetkid at 8:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


And yet, we totally did.

And will continue to do so.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 8:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is just grandstanding. I mean Hard Rock Cafe has had a strict "No Nuclear Weapons" policy since it started.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


For me, its not about the possibility of getting shot - I acknowledge that its a very low probability. Its the same as when I go jogging on the trails and am constantly approached by offleash aggressive looking dogs. Their owners always assure me they are "friendly" (even when nipped at), and that it is there "right" to have the dogs off leash based on the vagary of our "under voice control" leash laws. But it sucks, I have to get out of my stride, and it takes me a while to regain my composure. Its antisocial behavior.

Put your fucking dogs on a leash, and leave your fucking guns at home.
posted by H. Roark at 8:29 AM on September 18, 2013 [31 favorites]


Oh, and The Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy is not peer-reviewed, and has no affiliation with Harvard, other than the fact that law students of Harvard edit it.

You don't need to be a Harvard Law student, necessarily. I didn't go to Harvard Law. My name's in it.

I'll toss one additional piece into the discussion: the fact that somebody may want to carry a firearm into Starbucks doesn't necessarily indicate that person carries a firearm every day. He or she may simply be carrying a firearm that day. Criminal defense investigators, for instance, may not need to carry a firearm on a daily basis, but there are certainly situations where I know they do. When leaving the house on those days, they probably still want to stop for coffee.

Speaking for myself, I think this is a good and tempered move by Starbucks. But they still aren't getting my business until they start selling Coke.
posted by cribcage at 8:29 AM on September 18, 2013


Another thing that's bothering me here, AElfwine Evenstar, and its more a synthesis of what was going on up thread, is the decline in gun crime generally.

Isn't gun crime what motivates the carrying of guns? Tactically speaking, if someone engages you in extremely close range combat (mugging, stabbing, etc) you will definitely not have time to pull the gun. So against a foe that closes with you and then becomes a visible threat, how does the gun help you more than cqc training and situational awareness?
posted by Slackermagee at 8:30 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"So against a foe that closes with you and then becomes a visible threat, how does the gun help you more than cqc training and situational awareness?"

Ask George Zimmerman.
posted by TheFlamingoKing at 8:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: "Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?"
No, yourenotrite. I hate being around cops with guns, since - unlike normal criminals - they would probably get away with it if they shot me.
posted by brokkr at 8:33 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


A concealed handgun is effectively an undergarment

That makes me think of Temple Garments and that makes me think of this.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:35 AM on September 18, 2013


Unless they are agents of the state, amirite?

Nope.
posted by lalex at 8:35 AM on September 18, 2013


Alternatively, we're convinced that the second amendment is a lot more nuanced than Woo, guns for everyone!.

Unfortunately the Supreme court disagrees with you. Listen I'm all for sane gun policy, but that is never gonna happen when a) the majority of gun deaths are never talked about or publicized and b) people who want sensible gun policy consistently paint gun owners as somehow aberrant individuals. It's just never gonna happen. The gun debate is consistently controlled by two groups of people or interests. First the NRA and its attendant craziness and people like Diane Feinstein who claim to be for reducing gun deaths but propose legislation that does nothing to address the guns being used in the majority of gun deaths...handguns. Not to mention that mental health issues are never addressed by legislation. So our gun control debate is being run by crazy people and people with no connection to reality who are self serving fucks....i.e. politicians. We need to change the conversation, but that is never gonna happen as evidenced here on the Blue. A normally sane and nuanced place becomes decidedly not when the gun issue comes up.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ask George Zimmerman.

I think in that situation the foe/defender cqc/gun holder roles were not-quite-reversed but definitely not normal either. Regardless, the gun came out after the fight was basically done, or were the series of events reported during the case not quite accurate?
posted by Slackermagee at 8:37 AM on September 18, 2013


> So, we'll not be needing Wikipedia to settle bets anymore.

It's just common courtesy to take your showdown out into the street. Or it was in Dodge, anyway.
posted by jfuller at 8:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Are there public shootings because people are allowed to carry guns in public, or do people carry guns in public because there are public shootings?
posted by gucci mane at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2013


people like Diane Feinstein who claim to be for reducing gun deaths but propose legislation that does nothing to address the guns being used in the majority of gun deaths...handguns

It is entirely possible to introduce legislation that reduce gun deaths without addressing handguns.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:39 AM on September 18, 2013


It is entirely possible to introduce legislation that reduce gun deaths without addressing handguns.

Ok, let me know when that legislation is put forward.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:41 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


It may draw some hate to say that I am generally supportive of second-amendment rights. But, that said, this notion that a private property owner isn't entitled to say who can and can't stroll into their business with a weapon is not a very traditional pro-gun-rights position. I wonder how many of the people who claim the right to walk into Starbucks armed are as OK with the notion of people coming on to their property with unwanted arms?

To me, this gives the game away about "gun rights." It's not enough for the NRA to have won the political argument over firearms regulation. They also need to advance guns into every area of society, even at the expense of the rights (property and otherwise) of others. Tony Horwitz made a great analogy between the NRA and antebellum advocates of slavery: it wasn't enough for slavery to be legal in the South; it had to be expanded into the territories, and free states had to be compelled to enforce slavery laws in their own jursidictions. Obviously I'm not equating gun ownership with slavery, but something has gone seriously wrong when people start bringing guns, sometimes openly, into private establishments, and the most the owner of one such establishment can do is politely ask them not to. Remember, in several states, it's illegal for employers to bar their employees from bringing guns to work (true, they must be stored in their vehicles, but still).

The fact is that the debate over guns in America is only partially about the rights of responsible gun owners, and is mostly about the NRA and the gun industry trying to expand its market. Virtually every law expanding gun use in the last 20 years, from "take your guns to work" to Stand Your Ground to shall-issue concealed carry, has been spearheaded by the NRA. And I don't think they have public safety at the forefront of their minds.
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


My NRA-member friends are constantly telling me that if we ban (or heavily regulate) guns, the bad guys will just commit their murders using something else.

In the interests of bringing some stats to a gun fight, here's some stats on homicide rates and means in Canada over the past couple of decades. I think we would count as a "heavily-regulated" gun environment. I'm having a hard time finding something comparable for the US, but here is the FBI's data on homicide methods for 2012.

And here's some information about suicide rates and methods as well (US).

I'm generally neutral on firearm ownership, but given that a lot of my professional time is spent in suicide prevention, I also view them as problematic - especially if they are present in day to day public life. Like many of the tools of our species, they can be used in ways both helpful and harmful; the difficulty with them is that (a) for their ease of use (ie, untrained people can generally pick them up and make use them with a minimum of effort or knowledge), they cause a tremendous amount of damage to people on the receiving end; (b) we are often an impulsive species, and having easy access to an easy to use tool that can end a life is a huge issue. I don't think we (as a species) tend to make good decisions at times of high stress or emotion, and the level of training that I think is necessary for responsible use of firearms (the ability to decide if it is the correct tool for the situation) is not something that I think is available enough.
posted by nubs at 8:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Look, Gun People. You've won, OK? You've won. Nobody's coming for your guns. There's not going to be any anti-gun legislation. Even a powerful, rich business owner can do nothing more than politely suggest that maybe you not bring your guns into his business so he doesn't have to ask teenagers that make less than $10 an hour to risk their lives to serve you coffee. You've won. The fact that there are multiple mass shootings every month in America cannot and will not be changed. This is the country you've built, Gun People. This is what winning looks like.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:45 AM on September 18, 2013 [82 favorites]


octobersurprise, it's pancakes at dawn. Don't make me pull this car over.
posted by datawrangler at 8:46 AM on September 18, 2013


Ok, let me know when that legislation is put forward.

The assault weapons ban, for one.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:47 AM on September 18, 2013


vibronica: This Tom Tomorrow cartoon captures your sentiment perfectly, I think.
posted by nubs at 8:47 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I always carry a bat with me because I never know when someone is going to throw a baseball at me.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:51 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I always carry a bat with me because I never know when someone is going to throw a baseball at me.

Similarly, in Canada, we all must carry hockey sticks in case a hockey game breaks out.
posted by nubs at 8:53 AM on September 18, 2013 [24 favorites]


Note that law enforcement personnel are excluded, which in reality will probably include off-duty cops and private security guards, lest they end up in a kerfluffle like Buffalo Wild Wings in Mannassas, VA.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 8:54 AM on September 18, 2013


I always carry a lead pipe for emergency games of Clue.
posted by troika at 8:54 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Everyday concealed carriers are free to not patronize businesses where they don't feel welcome."

"Even this phrasing suggests that you see your gun as something more than just a tool for self-defense, that you regard it as an aspect of your identity."


I can't speak for all gun owners, but for me it's not about identity, it's about the incredible inconvenience of having to remove and securely store (where?) an undergarment just to go in a particular establishment. I'd rather not patronize that business than deal with that hassle.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:54 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


b) people who want sensible gun policy consistently paint gun owners as somehow aberrant individuals.

More than a few commenters in this very discussion have remarked on how owning guns (for some reasonable value of "owning" and "guns") is fine. Can even be wonderful! I feel the same way. What I regard as ... I'll say scary, you said aberrant, is this insistence by non-LEOs on having a gun on your person at all times. And when asked why it's necessary to carry at all times, the only reply is "Because I can" or "It makes me feel safer" or "It's like an undergarment." Is this aberrant? I don't know. But it definitely sounds like a fetish.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:54 AM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


One of my FB friends posted this link to 'The Urban Gun Enthusiast's take on the situation.
posted by box at 8:55 AM on September 18, 2013


The assault weapons ban, for one.

Given that "assault weapons" are responsible for less than 5% of gun deaths every year I don't see how this will address gun violence in any meaningful way.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:56 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of my FB friends posted this link to 'The Urban Gun Enthusiast's take on the situation.


Well that's a whole big pile of reasoned, sensible discussion right there.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:00 AM on September 18, 2013


Serious question for the folks here who carry concealed weapons on a daily basis: what situations do you anticipate which would necessitate the use of a firearm? Or in which you could successfully defend yourself with a firearm?

I am honestly, genuinely curious as purchasing a gun has literally never occurred to me.
posted by lalex at 9:03 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Is this aberrant? I don't know. But it definitely sounds like a fetish.

I carry car, house, and life insurance all the time, even asleep and in the shower. Fetish?
posted by jfuller at 9:04 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Given that "assault weapons" are responsible for less than 5% of gun deaths every year I don't see how this will address gun violence in any meaningful way.

So less than 1 in 20 gun deaths means what? 1 in 25? 1 in 100? The comparison is also wacky here, in contrast to the use of statistics earlier. There's no before/after with the original assault weapons ban or series of trends.

I carry car, house, and life insurance all the time, even asleep and in the shower. Fetish?

You own those, you aren't hauling the fine print around with you. Owning a gun is fine by most people here, supposedly, but hauling a gun around is being viewed as irrational given the tactical limitations, statistical non threat, declining threat of gun violence, etc etc.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:04 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"...why carry it all? Do you routinely put yourself into situations where you'd need it? Or are you just paranoid? I'm genuinely curious."

As I said upthread, the reason that I (and others I know) carry is not because we put ourselves into situations where we reasonably expect to need a gun -- if we expect to need a gun in a particular place or situation, we choose to avoid that place or situation. We carry in case we ever find ourselves in a situation in which we didn't expect to need a gun but ended up needing one to defend our lives after all. It's like having a spare tire in your car -- you don't go looking for opportunities to get a flat tire but you still carry a spare tire just in case.

And I should acknowledge that my own "just in case" mentality is a rather privileged position. There are lots of people who don't have the luxury of living, working, and commuting in places where they can reasonably feel safe and secure that they'll never need a gun to defend their lives, or maybe they belong to a demographic that can't count on the same level of police protection that I might assume is available to me. Why do you think the Black Panthers started the first (post-frontier) open carry movement?
posted by Jacqueline at 9:07 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


When confronted by angry fascists, Greek leftists should just give up, lay down and die right? Or wait for the cops? Because clearly, guns are useless for self protection.
Hundreds of anti-fascist supporters gathered at the scene of the murder in the early hours, with leftists announcing a much bigger rally later on Wednesday. The killing comes days after Golden Dawn cadres attacked members of the Greek Communist party in a similar late-night raid.

"Golden Dawn is intensifying its attacks [because it is] enjoying complete asylum from the police," the anti-racist group Keerfa said in a statement.

Greek law enforcement officers have been increasingly accused of colluding with Golden Dawn, whose calling card appears to be open-ended violence.

Link

posted by wuwei at 9:08 AM on September 18, 2013


I can't speak for all gun owners, but for me it's not about identity, it's about the incredible inconvenience of having to remove and securely store (where?) an undergarment just to go in a particular establishment. I'd rather not patronize that business than deal with that hassle.

Well, I see here is where the disagreement lies. I'm okay that you're inconvenienced in this way. I'm sorry that you see this inconvenience as more important than the safety of your fellow citizens.

If it matters, I'm a gun owner.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:08 AM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


Dear Starbucks, Since I am LTC, and required to maintain control of my firearm I don't think I want to take the liability of the slightest chance that someone will break into my car and steal my gun while I am enjoying a triple shot grande. So which would you rather have? A fully licensed responsible gun owner enjoying coffee and free wifi or some crazed street person brandishing the gun he stole from my car?
posted by Gungho at 9:08 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


'The Urban Gun Enthusiast's take on the situation.

In the interests of not painting "gun enthusiasts" as aberrant individuals, for the love of Mike, don't read that link.

I carry car, house, and life insurance all the time, even asleep and in the shower. Fetish?

Hey, I'm not judging, but I don't want to know what you do with those documents in the shower.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:09 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given that "assault weapons" are responsible for less than 5% of gun deaths every year I don't see how this will address gun violence in any meaningful way.

By reducing some of those 5% of gun deaths.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:09 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I carry car, house, and life insurance all the time, even asleep and in the shower. Fetish?

Can life insurance kill you?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:10 AM on September 18, 2013


The worst part about this, is that there's no way that I see gun groups reacting in a level-headed manner to this. The CEO's admission that no one would challenge their right to be there makes me think it's just going to lead to gun groups staging events with their guns where they just go sit in Starbucks instead. That'll teach 'em.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:10 AM on September 18, 2013


Dear Starbucks, Since I am LTC, and required to maintain control of my firearm I don't think I want to take the liability of the slightest chance that someone will break into my car and steal my gun while I am enjoying a triple shot grande. So which would you rather have? A fully licensed responsible gun owner enjoying coffee and free wifi or some crazed street person brandishing the gun he stole from my car?

Something tells me you didn't read the article.

When confronted by angry fascists, Greek leftists should just give up, lay down and die right? Or wait for the cops? Because clearly, guns are useless for self protection.

We are NOT so so so so not talking about gun rights. We are talking about open carry, concealed carry, etc. etc. ad nauseum. If the leftists had had guns in their homes and been aware enough to use them, that might not have happened. It might also be that if they had had guns in their homes and used them, the police would have killed/arrested them. Greece is NOT the usa, its not a country in its right mind right now.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:11 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The worst part about this, is that there's no way that I see gun groups reacting in a level-headed manner to this. The CEO's admission that no one would challenge their right to be there makes me think it's just going to lead to gun groups staging events with their guns where they just go sit in Starbucks instead. That'll teach 'em.

Then we'll see the triumphant rise of the shirtless and shoeless! The dominoes don't stop with this, no sir!
posted by Navelgazer at 9:12 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


We carry in case we ever find ourselves in a situation in which we didn't expect to need a gun but ended up needing one to defend our lives after all. It's like having a spare tire in your car -- you don't go looking for opportunities to get a flat tire but you still carry a spare tire just in case.

How often has that happened? I'm a big supporter of the "better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it" philosophy, but I can't think of case where non-LEO have had firearms and used them to stop someone from committing serious injury or death. Not knocking you at all, I'm just genuinely curious if you've been in a situation where that's been a difference maker or not.
posted by playertobenamedlater at 9:14 AM on September 18, 2013


spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints: "Update: found the article about the open carry group at Starbucks.

pic
"

Looking at that first pic: Would resting a gun on its muzzle affect it?
posted by boo_radley at 9:17 AM on September 18, 2013


A focus of the narrative on Mass Shootings, versus the 20k plus young black men killed by guns, or the single digit thousands killed in (US) wars and terrorist attacks every year is part of the problem.
posted by sfts2 at 9:18 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The assault weapons ban, for one.

Given that "assault weapons" are responsible for less than 5% of gun deaths every year I don't see how this will address gun violence in any meaningful way.

Perfect, meet your new enemy: the good.

A question: what percentage would be meaningful? How many lives would gun legislation have to save before it would be addressing gun violence in a meaningful way to you?

Contrariwise, if someone proposed legislation that, they warned the public, would increase gun deaths by 5%, would that be a meaningless increase?

I, personally, would call 5% meaningful. That 5% represents some number of actual people who, every year, would be killed but thanks to a ban may not be. That sounds pretty meaningful to me.
posted by cjelli at 9:18 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do expect to get a flat tire when I drive a car. That's why I carry around a spare one. In 15 years of driving, I've gotten 2 or 3 flats. If I didn't expect to get a flat tire (say, I was driving a fork lift with solid rubber wheels), then I wouldn't carry a spare.

I have life insurance because it is probably that I'm going to die. I have car insurance because it is probable that I will get in an accident. I carry house insurance because it is probable that at some point for something in the house to break. These are all things that I expect will happen, even if I'm not consciously thinking about it.

Someone who is carrying a weapon is prepared, willing, and expecting, at some point, to use it. That is what my Concealed Carry permitted navy-vet grandad taught me.

Does anyone have any studies or statistics that would tell us what percentage of gun related deaths are perpetrated by people with conceal carry permits? It would seem that this data point might be relevant to this discussion.

I don't think it's reasonable to limit this discussion just to people with concealed carry permits, especially because many states like Texas allow open carry, and it's likely that the Starbucks CEO was responding to incidents of open-carry AKs in his stores.
posted by muddgirl at 9:20 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


[AElfwine, I don't know what isn't clicking this morning but at this point you need to just take a break from this thread period.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:20 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


How often has that happened? I'm a big supporter of the "better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it" philosophy, but I can't think of case where non-LEO have had firearms and used them to stop someone from committing serious injury or death. Not knocking you at all, I'm just genuinely curious if you've been in a situation where that's been a difference maker or not.

Not all of these meet each of your qualifications, but some do.
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:20 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Greek leftists should just give up, lay down and die right? Or wait for the cops? Because clearly, guns are useless for self protection.

As arguments go, maybe you should resist the desire to imply that you need guns in preparation for the inevitable revolution because that's precisely what a lot of people think "gun enthusiasts" think and it's not making your argument any more attractive.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:22 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dear Starbucks, Since I am LTC, and required to maintain control of my firearm I don't think I want to take the liability of the slightest chance that someone will break into my car and steal my gun while I am enjoying a triple shot grande. So which would you rather have? A fully licensed responsible gun owner enjoying coffee and free wifi or some crazed street person brandishing the gun he stole from my car?

I'm going to go with "someone who didn't feel obligated to bring their gun with them everywhere they go, but if they did, secured their weapon properly so that a random crazed street person couldn't use it."
posted by zombieflanders at 9:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Not all of these meet each of your qualifications, but some do.

Do Armed Civilians Stop Mass Shooters? Actually, No.
[N]ot one of 62 mass shootings in the United States over the last 30 years has been stopped this way. More broadly, attempts by armed civilians to intervene in shooting rampages are rare—and are successful even more rarely. (Two people who tried it in recent years were gravely wounded or killed.) And law enforcement overwhelmingly hates the idea of armed citizens getting involved.

Those pesky facts haven't stopped the "arm America more!" crowd from pressing the argument with alleged examples of successful armed interventions. The problem is, the few examples they keep using—in which they depict plain old folks acting heroically and with definitive results—fall apart under scrutiny.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:25 AM on September 18, 2013 [23 favorites]


...you don't go looking for opportunities to get a flat tire but you still carry a spare tire just in case.

If you drive enough, you probably are going to need the spare tire though, right? I've been driving for thirty years and have had two blowouts where I've needed the spare tire. I think it's happened to almost everyone I've known who drives regularly.

I don't know anyone who has used a gun twice in thirty years to defend themselves.
posted by Cookiebastard at 9:26 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


This "what else am I supposed to do with it while in the store" is a bizarre argument. If you can't even be responsible enough to secure it when it's not on you then I absolutely do not trust you with it on your hip or in your purse.
posted by Big_B at 9:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [32 favorites]


For all the crowing of how Second Amendment rights are taken away, it sure seems like Schultz is being made to beg in front of poor, disenfranchised gun nuts. I wasn't expecting Starbucks to take a principled stand, anyway, but its a true and unfiltered testament to the extent that gun nuts not only own guns, but own our public spaces, and we can't even enjoy a Goddamn cup of coffee without worrying about some gun nut getting unhinged and perpetrating yet another massacre of innocent people, and we have to beg — beg — for gun nuts to leave their toys at home.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 AM on September 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


Buzz-feed link

60% of those are off-duty cops, and 10% of them are "details fuzzy". Also, Buzzfeed.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:32 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't have any facts to back this up but I'd bet that on balance a dog would be a safer, more versatile and effective way to protect oneself than a gun. But I also don't expect establishments to have to let them in, either.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:33 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"But we leave the house facing all far more common threats where equipment might come in handy - needing rope, or a first aid kit, or a screwdriver."

My husband and I have these things in our cars and, given that we live in a rural community with no public transit, that means we effectively always have these things on hand.

"clear statistical link between gun ownership and both intentional and accidental deaths by firearm"

Re: intentional deaths: How much of that is gun ownership leading to an increased risk of gun death and how much of that is people who accurately perceive themselves to be in danger are more likely to own guns?

Re: accidental deaths: Private swimming pools are more dangerous (and not a constitutionally guaranteed right) but there's no calls to ban them. Instead, we encourage risk mitigation like fencing and never allowing children in the pool area without supervision. With firearms, we mitigate risk through secure storage and following the rules of safe gun handling.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline: " it's about the incredible inconvenience of having to remove and securely store (where?) an undergarment just to go in a particular establishment. I'd rather not patronize that business than deal with that hassle."

This is a point I hadn't considered before, and it's an interesting one that shows a thoughtfulness that I don't usually get when talking to some of my CCW coworkers.

I don't want to turn things into pure theorycrafting, but I do wonder what might happen if somebody were to knock over (or etc.) a CCW holder and attempt to take the firearm. Is it simply that the odds of car theft are greater than battery? Or that the individual would recover their senses and either flee or draw the weapon?
posted by boo_radley at 9:36 AM on September 18, 2013


how much of that is people who accurately perceive themselves to be in danger are more likely to own guns?

"Accurately" is probably not correct.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:38 AM on September 18, 2013


Listening to the news clip these are not all the sharpest pins in the cushion, one guy out for a walk went by a elementary school and had an outstanding warrant, oops. The law may allow rifles but restrict hand guns, I'd clarify before my walk. And that guy sitting at the table with his rifles end down into the dirt, well just may be a Darwin award there...
posted by sammyo at 9:39 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


60% of those are off-duty cops, and 10% of them are "details fuzzy".

Not to mention like 40% are "went to get a gun from their car, which is not at all the same as "carrying a gun on their person."

Also, in many of those cases "off-duty cop" is short-hand for "armed security guard," not "civilian."
posted by muddgirl at 9:40 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Re: accidental deaths: Private swimming pools are more dangerous (and not a constitutionally guaranteed right) but there's no calls to ban them.

No one is talking about banning guns.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:41 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


It's not like meaningful regulations designed to reduce handgun violence, if proposed, would breeze through Congress with no opposition from the NRA or other pro-gun groups.

We know this because watered-down measures to expand background checks that would have applied to sales of handguns went down to defeat earlier this year in the face of opposition by the NRA and other pro-gun groups.
posted by burden at 9:41 AM on September 18, 2013


"I can't think of case where non-LEO have had firearms and used them to stop someone from committing serious injury or death."

Google the phrase "gun saved my life" and you'll find plenty of examples. Just because you don't know anyone personally doesn't mean it never happens. Off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone I know whose life was saved by an epi-pen but I know that it happens.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Too many people in my neighborhood concealed-carry, but people who shoot at them don't seem to give a shit. They're gang members, but still - this idea that allowing everyone to carry a concealed firearm will prevent criminals from trying to rob them seems goofy to me, since the actual criminals already exhibit not giving a shit about that.
posted by rtha at 9:45 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Google the phrase "gun saved my life" and you'll find plenty of examples.

Something something anecdote, something something not statistics...
posted by CrystalDave at 9:45 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


Google the phrase "gun saved my life" and you'll find plenty of examples. Just because you don't know anyone personally doesn't mean it never happens.

Just because someone thinks a gun saved their life doesn't mean it did.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 9:46 AM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


And- not to be snarky here, I swear - if Epi-pens were primarily carried around to prevent problems caused by other epi-pens (and were at best only anecdotally effective at doing so) I think we'd realize the simpler solution to the problem.
posted by Navelgazer at 9:47 AM on September 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


Google the phrase "gun saved my life" and you'll find plenty of examples. Just because you don't know anyone personally doesn't mean it never happens.

Anecdote is not the plural of data.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of anyone I know whose life was saved by an epi-pen but I know that it happens.

Yes, but we have reams of evidence from years of peer-reviewed studies showing the efficacy of epi-pens amongst the general population. We don't have that for guns, CCL, stand your ground, or pretty much anything else related to gun use.

Of course, Congress actually permits studies about epi-pens to be undertaken and published, which they don't allow for guns. So there's that.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:48 AM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


Google the phrase "gun saved my life" and you'll find plenty of examples.

Google the "phrase "a DJ saved my life" and you'll find plenty of examples, but I don't know if that many DJs are impacting mortality rates.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:49 AM on September 18, 2013 [62 favorites]


Private swimming pools are more dangerous (and not a constitutionally guaranteed right) but there's no calls to ban them.

No one is talking about banning guns.

To be fair, there was talk about banning assault weapons up-thread, so people were talking about banning some guns. Also to be fair, no one here is talking about banning all guns.

So far as risk mitigation goes, if there were a few swimming pools that people bought for show, but never used, and those pools were expressly designed to be more efficient at hurting people and less efficient at letting people have a good time swimming, I think it would be fair to discuss maybe banning those swimming pools.

Even then, it's not really analogous -- I'm not going to bring my inflatable pool into your place of business and invite your kids to swim in it, potentially harming themselves.
posted by cjelli at 9:50 AM on September 18, 2013


Re: intentional deaths: How much of that is gun ownership leading to an increased risk of gun death and how much of that is people who accurately perceive themselves to be in danger are more likely to own guns?

I'm not sure what distinction you are making. With the exception of Russia and Greenland, the US leads the developed world in intentional homicides. At a macro level, the prevalence of guns and ineffective gun legislation directly leads to high rates of homicide.

Re: accidental deaths: Private swimming pools are more dangerous

You must be able to see a difference between guns and swimming pools, surely?

People don't own swimming pools explicitly to reduce risks to themselves. People don't carry their swimming pools out into public spaces and expose strangers to additional risk. People don't typically use swimming pools to commit homicide.

Where swimming pools are in the public arena, they are subject to lots of regulations and only operated by trained and accredited professionals.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:52 AM on September 18, 2013 [20 favorites]


Jacqueline: ""Everyday concealed carriers are free to not patronize businesses where they don't feel welcome."

"Even this phrasing suggests that you see your gun as something more than just a tool for self-defense, that you regard it as an aspect of your identity."


I can't speak for all gun owners, but for me it's not about identity, it's about the incredible inconvenience of having to remove and securely store (where?) an undergarment just to go in a particular establishment. I'd rather not patronize that business than deal with that hassle.
"

I am perfectly fine with people who feel the need to carry a deadly weapon not patronizing businesses I frequent. If you must carry a deadly weapon, that inconvenience is on you, not me or the business. Your inconvenience is not more important than my personal safety.

I haven't stepped foot in a Starbucks in months, participating in the "Skip Starbucks" movement. I am also part of Moms Demand Action, a group founded after Sandy Hook, which drew attention to the open carry loonies using Starbucks as a staging ground for demonstrations and other jackassery. I'll go into Starbucks today, let the barista know why I'm back, and ask them to pass my thanks for this decision up the chain.

And we have guns! Vintage weapons, locked in a heavy gun safe, inaccessible to anyone but my husband and me. We have friends and family members who are LEOs, or have concealed carry permits. They know that if they come to our house, they will be asked to lock up their weapons in that safe. And they agree to it, because they are not zealots. If you can't keep your weapon out of someplace it is not welcome, you have a problem, not me.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 9:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [22 favorites]


The air bags in my car totally saved my life today. I didn't hit anything and they didn't go off, but without having them who knows what could have happened.
posted by Big_B at 10:00 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


For me, it's pretty simple: if you have a concealed carry permit and let me know you are carrying a gun, then you are either a) sloppy, and therefore dangerous or b) the sort of gun fetishist who likes display that they are armed, and I therefore consider dangerous. Because my experience of such is that they are the fucked in the head sort of people that are fantasizing and looking for an opportunity to shoot someone. See George Zimmerman. And open carry people are the latter but even more amped.

And the sort of person who is both determined to carry a deadly weapon everywhere and also incapable or unwilling to secure it safely, and therefore thinks their beloved gun rights should overwhelm other people's property rights, also is someone I don't want carrying a gun. I find it unbelievable that some people are attempting to use their incompetence in securing weaponry as a reason why they should ignore other people's rights.
posted by tavella at 10:02 AM on September 18, 2013 [20 favorites]


The only gun-related bumper stickers that make sense to me are the ones from Night Vale.

Everything else just screams "avoid this person at all costs."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:05 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


I really hope that hipsters pick up on the gun thing too. American gun culture needs some mustachioed fixie-riders carrying blunderbusses and flintlock pistols ironically.
posted by dr_dank at 10:11 AM on September 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


"...gun nuts not only own guns, but own our public spaces, and we can't even enjoy a Goddamn cup of coffee without worrying about some gun nut getting unhinged and perpetrating yet another massacre of innocent people, and we have to beg — beg — for gun nuts to leave their toys at home."

A "no guns" policy is not going to stop an unhinged person from shooting up a place. Look at all the massacres that have taken place in schools and other "gun-free zones."

I know that I'm not going to shoot up a Starbucks. To me, saying that you don't want me wearing my gun into Starbucks because SOMEONE might shoot the place up is as offensively nonsensical as saying you don't want me wearing my bra into Starbucks because SOMEONE might replace the gel in a padded bra with explosives and then blow everyone up.

The gun control movement's focus on attacking the rights of legal, peaceful, responsible gun owners/carriers is the most ass-backwards way to achieve your purported goal of saving lives. If you want to drastically reduce gun deaths in the U.S., the answer end the War on (Some) Drugs. That would not only directly eliminate most intentional shootings immediately but also indirectly reduce the number of accidental shootings over time as the absence of Drug War violence leads to fewer people feeling the need to own guns.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:12 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


In the United States:

Yearly deaths from handguns: ~31,000*
Yearly deaths from recreational swimming: ~3,880*
Yearly deaths from caffeine: ~2*
posted by dirtdirt at 10:14 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


EPIPEN FIGHT!



clickity-clickity-clickity-clickity
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:15 AM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


seriously Jacqueline I don't understand your focus on underwear. Guns are not underwear. Nothing at all like underwear. How is that supposed to be part of a serious argument?

I mean I know there's that part in Goodfellas where Karen puts the gun in her panties, but that's supposed to be a sign of "everything's going crazy right now, especially Karen."
posted by sweetkid at 10:15 AM on September 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


legal, peaceful, responsible gun owners/carriers

UK guy checking in, shaking head in amazement for the millionth time in a MeFi gun thread...
posted by colie at 10:15 AM on September 18, 2013 [9 favorites]


"Google the phrase "gun saved my life" and you'll find plenty of examples.

Something something anecdote, something something not statistics..."


I was specifically asked for anecdotes: "I'm just genuinely curious if you've been in a situation where that's been a difference maker or not." I haven't personally been, so I referred the asker to where he/she could find stories of such situations.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Note to all- don't actually wear your gun as underwear. A lot of accidents happen that way.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The gun control movement's focus on attacking the rights of legal, peaceful, responsible gun owners/carriers

The problem is that any attempt to do anything about the problem of gun violence is immediately (and usually dishonestly) cast as such an attack.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 10:17 AM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


The gun control movement's focus on attacking the rights of legal, peaceful, responsible gun owners/carriers is the most ass-backwards way to achieve your purported goal of saving lives. If you want to drastically reduce gun deaths in the U.S., the answer end the War on (Some) Drugs.

The other options is to drastically reduce the availability of guns. Which is what the gun control movement is trying to do. reducing guns will reduce crime.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2013


But maybe they're onto something. Maybe the best way to deal with Syria's chemical weapons is free sarin gas bombs for everyone.

It worked for nukes!
posted by Hoopo at 10:18 AM on September 18, 2013


"I'll go into Starbucks today, let the barista know why I'm back, and ask them to pass my thanks for this decision up the chain."

Meanwhile, I'll stop patronizing Starbucks.

(But we're all still in agreement over boycotting Chick-fil-A, right guys? :D)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


A "no guns" policy is not going to stop an unhinged person from shooting up a place. Look at all the massacres that have taken place in schools and other "gun-free zones."

And based on a preponderance of evidence as mentioned upstream, ccp individuals will not be stopping this. Its just going to happen.

So I'm not seeing how this justifies ccp any. Which leads us into underwear bomber territory which is even more unlikely than the already implausible-to-your-average-person prospect of gun violence. This is a rhetorical shark jump.

The gun control movement's focus on attacking the rights of legal, peaceful, responsible gun owners/carriers is the most ass-backwards way to achieve your purported goal of saving lives.

You can own a gun. We don't want it sitting next to us in a restaurant. The inability for the three people defending ccp to recognize this in the thread in really starting to get to me.

That, and once again let me ask the question: If gun violence is trending downward significantly (so public safety is going up), the tactical utility during a suprise cqc engagement/mugging/stabbing drops to zero, and the dangers accidental discharge present, why is it still coming outside with you? Why not arm yourself with situational awareness, a knife you have quick access to, and cqc training?
posted by Slackermagee at 10:22 AM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


Dear Starbucks, Since I am LTC, and required to maintain control of my firearm I don't think I want to take the liability of the slightest chance that someone will break into my car and steal my gun while I am enjoying a triple shot grande. So which would you rather have? A fully licensed responsible gun owner enjoying coffee and free wifi or some crazed street person brandishing the gun he stole from my car?

Dear LTC:

Neither. We'd rather you just not come in. Go to the place down the street where they don't care about your gun. We are an astonishing rarity: a major American company that is willing to say we would rather not have your dollars than have your dollars and also have your gun in our store. If that makes us about a million times more likely to get the Bellman's dollars, then so be it. Hi Bellman! How's that Grande Iced Black-Eye sounding right now? Yum!

XOXO
SBUX
posted by The Bellman at 10:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [25 favorites]


I have recently changed my mind re: open carry; I have decided to look at it as though it is a Napoleonic Wars-era quasi-functional dress sword. So by all means, if gun owners feel the need to be totin' fancy guns, then they should have special fancy dress guns that they wear around openly. These guns will fire puffs of glitter and be heavily bedazzled.
posted by elizardbits at 10:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [20 favorites]


I would have much, much more respect for the gun advocates if they made a genuine effort to have a honest debate about the effect of guns on society. All the extant evidence is indicative that widespread gun ownership contributes to crime, suicides, and accidental handgun deaths. We know this. We have known this for years.

If gun advocates simply acknowledged this, and said, "we know, this, but our rights and freedom are more important to us than that" (in the same way that my right to go over 25 miles per hour on highway means more people will die) then I would have some respect for them. But their rank dishonesty, and the NRA's lobbying to prevent the federal government from studying gun deaths, is infuriating.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:28 AM on September 18, 2013 [33 favorites]


some crazed street person

This is the problem. Seriously, every "responsible gun owner" argument, at least in suburban environments, always has these shadowy "crazy people" just waiting to go all CRIMER on them. I mean, it's delusion from television and media.
posted by sweetkid at 10:30 AM on September 18, 2013 [23 favorites]


"I don't understand your focus on underwear. Guns are not underwear. Nothing at all like underwear."

Habitually worn when leaving the house, shouldn't be visible to anyone else when worn properly, and demanding I take it off just to get a cup of coffee is ridiculously intrusive.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Can be used to kill lots of people.

hm, not sure what brand of undies this is.
posted by elizardbits at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [28 favorites]


Jacqueline: ""I'll go into Starbucks today, let the barista know why I'm back, and ask them to pass my thanks for this decision up the chain."

Meanwhile, I'll stop patronizing Starbucks.

(But we're all still in agreement over boycotting Chick-fil-A, right guys? :D)
"

Good. One less gun to worry about. I am not heartbroken that someone with a gun won't be going into someplace I'd like to frequent.

And absolutely, fuck Chick-fil-A. Those guys are assholes.
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Habitually worn when leaving the house, shouldn't be visible to anyone else when worn properly, and demanding I take it off just to get a cup of coffee is ridiculously intrusive.

Yes, but guns are not like underwear in any way that is meaningful.

Meaningful=can kill someone.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


whole new meaning to Victoria's Secret though
posted by troika at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Do you also feel that you have need to pull out your underwear when you feel unsafe? Like choke someone with bra straps or something?

I mean come on.
posted by sweetkid at 10:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Habitually worn when leaving the house, shouldn't be visible to anyone else when worn properly, and demanding I take it off just to get a cup of coffee is ridiculously intrusive.

But, and here's the thing, THEY AREN'T DOING THAT. They aren't demanding anything of you! Nothing at all! They're asking that you not but they will still serve you if you do.

And don't get me started on your use of 'intrusive' here...
posted by Slackermagee at 10:38 AM on September 18, 2013 [19 favorites]


whole new meaning to Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Other Secret
posted by The Bellman at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


the full quote was "I have no problems judging everyone who carries a concealed weapon as a person I don't want to have coffee with, sorry Alia. In my opinion it says things about their character that make me uninterested in their opinions about lots of other stuff, and moreover, makes me nervous about their connection to reality."

...you do realize that you just insulted all the MeFites who are concealed carry permit holders, right?


Actually he specifically "insulted" - if you choose to take it as an insult that someone just doesn't want to hang about with you, which is a pretty pathetically thin-skinned and misery-assuring way to look at the world - those who carry concealed, not folks like me who have concealed carry permits but choose not to carry as a matter of course.

Which is my choice because I think the number of circumstances where a firearm can be deployed to improve a situation is incredibly narrow. An opinion I have held for a long time, but which has recently been well understored by the numerous circumstances where the police, while dealing with an armed suspect, have themselves shot and injured/killed more innocent bystanders than the suspects.

PA and I have actually met at least once, but if he thinks this life choice of mine is such that it means he doesn't want to spend time with me then I'd find that somewhat unfortunate, though I will somehow manage not to rend my garments and wander the desert for a few years to get over it. But then, that's me.
posted by phearlez at 10:39 AM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Habitually worn when leaving the house, shouldn't be visible to anyone else when worn properly, and demanding I take it off just to get a cup of coffee is ridiculously intrusive.

Designed to kill or maim.
Can cause injury or death through misuse.
Can be taken by "crazed street people" for causing harm.
Require multiple safety measures just to be considered neutral.

Nope, not seeing it.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:40 AM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


"You can own a gun. We don't want it sitting next to us in a restaurant."

And based on a preponderance of evidence (to use your phrase), sitting next to a concealed carry permit holder in a restaurant is no threat to you.

So this isn't about actual risks, but about what makes you feel uncomfortable or unreasonably fearful based on your stereotypes about people who carry guns.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:41 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


So this isn't about actual risks, but about what makes you feel uncomfortable or unreasonably fearful based on your stereotypes about people who carry guns.

But this precise thing is what can very logically be said about people who carry guns and their unreasonable fears based on stereotypes about imagined dangers.
posted by elizardbits at 10:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [49 favorites]


"Good. One less gun to worry about..."

"And absolutely, fuck Chick-fil-A. Those guys are assholes."


Pony request: We should be able to give 1/2 a favorite to comments we only 1/2 agree with. :)
posted by Jacqueline at 10:43 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sitting next to someone with a gun raises my chance of getting shot from 0 to whatever.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:43 AM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


And based on a preponderance of evidence (to use your phrase), sitting next to a concealed carry permit holder in a restaurant is no threat to you.

You've posted up homicide statistics but no where have we seen those lovely statistics on casualties of accidental discharges. So no, there is definitely NOT a preponderance of evidence to support that statement.

So this isn't about actual risks, but about what makes you feel uncomfortable or unreasonably fearful based on your stereotypes about people who carry guns.

AAAAAAAAAAAnd I'm taking a break from this thread. That one line just breaks me.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:43 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


sitting next to a concealed carry permit holder in a restaurant is no threat to you.

I feel like the goalposts keep getting shifted here. Most people are NOT talking about sitting next to a concealed carry permit holder in a restaurant. I have no problem with sitting next to a concealed carry permit holder. I did it last Christmas when I sat next to my granddad.

We are talking about sitting next to someone carrying a gun, either "concealed" or an open carry. I have no idea if that person has a permit, any sort of training, a history of gun violence, a clean background check, a military record, is an off-duty LEO, or what. No clue. All I know is that they have a deadly weapon.
posted by muddgirl at 10:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


I have seen some killer bras in my day. Fortunately that was only a metaphor.

My main issue with people carrying in public is that they are implicitly saying that as soon as they feel the circumstances justify it, they are going to take an action which vitally involves me without my consent or input. If I'm nearby someone with a gun and they mistake a tourist asking for directions for a mugger and draw their gun and shoot, I'm automatically involved. At best, I leave the situation with the shock of having witnessed a shooting, at worst, I witness someone's death or am dead myself.
posted by feloniousmonk at 10:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


Basically what the gun and CC advocates are saying is, "trust me".

And others are saying, "no."

With the added irony that those asking for trust do not trust others to the point that they prepare for a violent and fatal incident.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:47 AM on September 18, 2013 [74 favorites]


Browsing the #gunFAIL tag (or the concatenated list at DailyKos) shows a host of these concealed-carry ninjas shooting themselves and bystanders as they wander through their daily lives.

Everyone is a responsible gun owner until it goes off in their waistband, they shoot themselves cleaning it, or they shoot someone while showing it's not loaded, or they blow some kid's head off during an argument. So, so responsible! It's the same old "No True Scotsman" defense.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:48 AM on September 18, 2013 [17 favorites]


If gun advocates simply acknowledged this, and said, "we know, this, but our rights and freedom are more important to us than that" (in the same way that my right to go over 25 miles per hour on highway means more people will die) then I would have some respect for them.

We need our guns because the Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of Tyrants and somewhat more often than that with the blood of co-workers, first graders, random passersby and estranged spouses.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:50 AM on September 18, 2013 [67 favorites]


Also, the whole "license to carry" and "concealed carry permit" bit is kind of nauseating because as we've seen said many times in these comments, there is so little training in many areas to get these permits. In most cases, the training is really minimal, and it doesn't even come with situational awareness training or how to recognize a real threat, which is why there's all this handwaving at crazed street people and such.

I know someone from my childhood who runs a CCL classes program in Virginia, and he does two things I don't see most gun rights enthusiasts ever do: 1) Complains on Facebook that most CCL training is crap, though he still values what he does as a Second Amendment right, 2) Stays QUIET after all these mass shootings (sad to say "all these..") while all these other yahoos are posting "Obama's taking away our guns" stuff and showing this annoying (staged) photo of a woman pointing a gun out into the suburban night, with a baby on her hip and groceries still in her SUV, and another kid cowering behind her, with the caption "Mama protecting her cubs."
posted by sweetkid at 10:51 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


"Most people are NOT talking about sitting next to a concealed carry permit holder in a restaurant."

RTFA? Starbucks' CEO asked people to stop bringing guns to Starbucks, not to just stop open-carrying. And given that he mentions open-carrying in his statement, he knows the distinction and chose not to make it.

If he'd just asked "please stop open-carrying" my reaction would be meh as that's more of a dress code issue. It's the inclusion of concealed carry in his request that offends me because I don't see how what I (legally) have under my clothes is his business.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:52 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


My own anecdote (and not about the time a kid brought a gun to school to try to shoot me; that's a different story):

This weekend I was at a crowded bar with my friends for a bachelor party (a very geeky one that involved no strip clubs but a lot of shuffleboard and brazilian steak.) At one point a situation near me, involving people I didn't know, started to look a hell of a lot like a sexual assault (perpetrated by one guy against a lone woman, cheered on by his friends.) I was tipsy and foolhardy enough to put myself into the middle of it and almost get into a serious fight because it was clear that nobody else was going to help this woman and if I were reading it completely wrong I was willing to have her think I was an asshole.

It was fast, loud, blurry and god knows if I did any good but afterwards nobody was hurt and certainly nobody was killed, and I'm confident I did the right thing.

Thankfully I was in NY, however, and not in some place that chooses to pretend it's beyond thunderdome every day, because I would not have attmpeted to stop anything in, say North Carolina, and if I were drunk enough to do so anyway I likely would have wound up shot.

Because those drunk, rapey fucks at bars who show up in gangs and cheer each other on in shit like that? That's exactly the group I expect to be carrying guns.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:53 AM on September 18, 2013 [31 favorites]


I don't see how what I (legally) have under my clothes is his business.

You're on Starbucks property, which gives them the ability to stipulate what is and isn't allowed.
posted by troika at 10:56 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Jacqueline: I know that I'm not going to shoot up a Starbucks.

Hooray for you. I don't know that, and have no reason to believe you just because you tell me that. What I do know is that, between me (without a gun) and you (with one), only one of us can actually shoot up a Starbucks, even if you say you never would and I were to declare my intention to do so.

It's why I can't take the arguments from gun fans and constant firearms carriers at all seriously. Besides the inevitable gaping flaws in logic. It's because they demand trust for their ability to deal out swift death from a certain distance from a general public they ironically apparently don't trust to not be attacking them any second of any day.

On preview, what MisanthropicPainforest said.
posted by gadge emeritus at 10:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


It's the inclusion of concealed carry in his request that offends me because I don't see how what I (legally) have under my clothes is his business.

Do you not get that what you have can very easily kill or injure someone by accident more than any of your articles of clothing, or do you just choose not to make that decision because it deflates your argument?
posted by zombieflanders at 10:59 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


RTFA? Starbucks' CEO asked people to stop bringing guns to Starbucks, not to just stop open-carrying

You seem to be conflating people who have a concealed carry permit, and people who are carrying concealed weapons.

Again, I have no idea, when I see someone with a gun in a shoulder holster, whether or not they have a permit. all I know is that they have a concealed weapon. Talking about concealed carry permits doesn't mean anything to me, in that moment. Because not having a permit does not stop people from carrying guns. And having a permit does not mean that someone is carrying a weapon. My grandfather has a permit and rarely, if ever, carries a weapon.
posted by muddgirl at 11:00 AM on September 18, 2013


Habitually worn when leaving the house, shouldn't be visible to anyone else when worn properly, and demanding I take it off just to get a cup of coffee is ridiculously intrusive.

It's remarkable that I need to instruct you in this, but bullet bras can't shoot bullets, actually.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:00 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: "hm, not sure what brand of undies this is."

Hello? This is Fiocci!
posted by boo_radley at 11:07 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Googling "guns saved my life" returns about 27,300,000 results.

Googlling "gun death" returns about 551,000,000 results.

Googling "DJ saved my life" returns about 39,100,000 results.

This is why I always carry a concealed DJ. For FREEDOM!
posted by vibrotronica at 11:09 AM on September 18, 2013 [21 favorites]


I don't see how what I (legally) have under my clothes is his business.

True story, I have a friend who was kicked out of his house when he came out to his parents as gay. He packed a bag and hitchhiked across the country. He also brought his most prized possession, his Javan spitting cobra. He transported it by putting it in a pillow case that he he dropped down his shirt with a piece of cardboard between his skin and the bag.

I'm sure that concealed carry advocates also think that his snake was nobody's business, and would wag their finger at anyone who would admit that they wouldn't want to sit next to him in a diner because, you know, he was a trained and experienced snake handler.
posted by peeedro at 11:09 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


hm, not sure what brand of undies this is.

Bonds. James Bonds. Size 007.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:11 AM on September 18, 2013


"You're on Starbucks property, which gives them the ability to stipulate what is and isn't allowed."

So given that some people feel afraid around people wearing hijabs or turbans based on unfounded stereotypes that people who wear such things are a threat to them, you wouldn't be offended if Starbucks asked people to stop wearing those things in their restaurants?

The people actually affected by the request to stop wearing guns in Starbucks are not going to shoot you while you're drinking your coffee. This policy doesn't make other Starbucks patrons safer, it just makes some of the ignorant ones more comfortable.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:12 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


So given that some people feel afraid around people wearing hijabs or turbans based on unfounded stereotypes that people who wear such things are a threat to them, you wouldn't be offended if Starbucks asked people to stop wearing those things in their restaurants?

This is getting tiresome, but turbans and hijabs cannot, and have never, killed anyone.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:14 AM on September 18, 2013 [37 favorites]


More to the point, if your weapon is secured to your body such that removing it is a gross inconvenience, what does that say about your chances of using it effectively in an emergency?

Also, if it needs to be said, hijabs and turbans can't shoot bullets, either.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:15 AM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


And guns don't shoot themselves.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:15 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The people actually affected by the request to stop wearing guns in Starbucks are not going to shoot you while you're drinking your coffee.

They're not going to shoot me while I'm drinking my coffee until something happens that makes them think they should take their gun out and use it, at which case, all bets are off and maybe I will get shot.

I think the fundamental disagreement here is that my conception of self-defense does not encompass the ability to accidentally kill innocent bystanders while the concept of carrying a weapon on your person at all times does.
posted by feloniousmonk at 11:15 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


And guns don't shoot themselves

Certainly not when they are not present.
posted by dirtdirt at 11:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


No, they shoot people.
posted by neroli at 11:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


Uh, sometimes they do. its called an accidental discharge.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:16 AM on September 18, 2013 [20 favorites]


#gunfail is such on the zeitgeist of 21st century America it's almost mind boggling.
posted by wcfields at 11:17 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


The people actually affected by the request to stop wearing guns in Starbucks are not going to shoot you while you're drinking your coffee.

People making this argument, including yourself, have repeatedly told us that they don't trust the people around them not to be violent maniacs, that the default state of being is that violent maniacs are all around. So why is it OK for you to state--nay, demand--that our mistrust of you and your weapon and your motives for carrying is essentially tyrannical?

And guns don't shoot themselves.

That's right, they require a human to be carrying them and either allow them to go off accidentally, use them for a wrongly perceived attack, use them for an actual attack but injure or kill bystanders, or be used maliciously. All of which happen.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:18 AM on September 18, 2013 [22 favorites]


And guns don't shoot themselves.

At this point, if you really can't distinguish between the potential lethality of guns vs. turbans, hijabs, and assorted kinds of underwear, then I don't think you're bright enough to handle a gun.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:18 AM on September 18, 2013 [37 favorites]


American gun culture is dying, simply because it is obsolete. You have a few slackjaws who hinge their masculinity on their ability to threaten death to members of the general public, but by and large it is dying. Guns will become the new cigarettes, it just takes somebody with some money to get it going. Cigarettes became cigarettes when a bunch of lawyers realized they could get rich as shit suing Big Tobacco. Big Gun saw that happening and legislatively headed off that threat, but it doesn't really matter.

All these "stand your ground" bullshit and "guns at work" bullshit, it's just the gun industry dying. Heller probably added 10 years or so of life, but it's dying.

The only way gun culture will stick around is if it actually is maintained by the elite, a theory I'm thinking seems more probable. Look at what mass handgun infiltration did to poor black communities. Or think about this effect in blue collar communities: when Sammy Slackjaw gets a paycut at Walmart, he doesn't take to the internet and organize or anything, he just buys another AR-15 and feels like a big man. The status quo is maintainable as long as all the Sammy Slackjaws in the world have their ARs and $300 55" tvs. And hell, with the only cost to society some discomfort at Starbucks, why not maintain the status quo?

So I don't know, either the CEO of Starbucks hasn't been initiated yet, or gun culture is dying.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 11:19 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


[I think the "guns are like underwear" argument has been argued plenty and then some at this point, please consider not pursuing it ad nauseum.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:21 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, bullies who have a recurring fantasy of being able to kill someone in "self defense" and keep a gun on them at all time (normally loudly proclaiming how safe they are) shoot people.

I've know a few people who keep a gun on them at all times, and every single one of them had that fantasy. Some were more overt about it for sure, but every single one, when push came to shove, had this recurring fantasy where they got to be a hero where they gunned down someone who needed gunning down, be it a murder, or mugger, or rapist, or robber.

You know what, I'd prefer not to be in a restaurant sitting next to someone who is looking for an excuse to kill someone, and habitually keeps a weapon on themselves for just that occasion.
posted by aspo at 11:21 AM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


"More to the point, if your weapon is secured to your body such that removing it is a gross inconvenience, what does that say about your chances of using it effectively in an emergency?"

It's not a matter of simply removing my weapon but removing and securing it before I go into Starbucks and then putting it back on when I leave.

Since Starbucks doesn't have gun lockers at their entrances, where am I supposed to store it? In my car? OK, so now I need a secure place to store it in my car. And I guess all the people who walk or use public transit are just fucked.

Then, I have to take it off and put it back on, in public. Even if I have a car, depending on what kind of holster I'm wearing and where, it might be difficult to do this while sitting in my car. So do I have to stand next to my car and flash my gun as I move it from one place to the other? How much do I have to fuck around with my clothing in public?

This is more hassle than I want to go through for a cup of coffee.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:21 AM on September 18, 2013


I think this is a feature, not a bug, of Starbucks' request.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:22 AM on September 18, 2013 [29 favorites]


Jacqueline: "The people actually affected by the request to stop wearing guns in Starbucks are not going to shoot you while you're drinking your coffee. This policy doesn't make other Starbucks patrons safer, it just makes some of the ignorant ones more comfortable."

I would tend to disagree with you.
posted by boo_radley at 11:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is more hassle than I want to go through for a cup of coffee.

I'm sorry our not wanting to get shot because you have an illogical dependence on firearms is a fucking inconvenience.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:23 AM on September 18, 2013 [46 favorites]


I mean, it's delusion from television and media.

That's exactly it. I'm reminded of the woman my wife used to teach with who "had" to go home to get her handgun before they went to Applebees (for real) because "who knows what might happen". There is some serious deficit in their understanding of the world and how they relate to it.

The answer is simple: ban handguns. I try to remember to be thankful every day that I live in a country now that is sensible. (well, handguns aren't actually banned, just heavily regulated.)
posted by junco at 11:24 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Except, a thong never killed anyone.

You're saying all those people who I have heard say "this thong is killing me" are LIARS?

Maybe the reason nobody gets killed with a thong isn't because they're not dangerous (garotte anyone?) but because they've been killed by one song or another, MadMan scheduling, PowerPoint, good times, punk-rock kindness, love, a miniskirt, lyrics, pony kindness, Estonian love, silence, or other items more easily deployed than a thong.
posted by phearlez at 11:24 AM on September 18, 2013


First Starbucks says they don't want me to play tuba in the store and then they don't even have a secure tubabox at the entrance, what the FUCK
posted by theodolite at 11:25 AM on September 18, 2013 [23 favorites]


If there are any Starbucks employees reading, I'd be curious to learn more about the differences between gun-carrying and non-gun-carrying customers w/r/t typical orders, tipping behavior, etc.
posted by box at 11:26 AM on September 18, 2013


If there are any Starbucks employees reading, I'd be curious to learn more about the differences between gun-carrying and non-gun-carrying customers w/r/t typical orders

When asking for an espresso, they always ask for an extra shot.

HIYO!
posted by zombieflanders at 11:27 AM on September 18, 2013 [25 favorites]


For God's sake, Jacqueline, that is one hell of a mess you're making of the field when you drag the goalposts around like that.

Guns can kill people accidentally from pure, unintentional carelessness (someone drops a gun with no intent to do so), "accidentally" when someone does something damn stupid (shoots to prove the gun is empty), and deliberately when someone aims and fires (this includes justified self-defense, manslaughter and murder.)

Turbans don't kill people accidentally (unless you're pulling an Isadora), and if you want to kill a bunch of people deliberately by strangling them with a turban -- or applying your fists, a knife, or a really pointy bra in a totally creative way -- it will take a long, long time.

Simple solution for you: don't go to Starbucks. Carry a thermos along with your gun, or patronize another business. That way you never have to decide between your gun and your caffeine deprivation. Until someone passes a constitutional amendment stating that every American should have unfettered access to burnt coffee, it's no abridgement of your rights, either.
posted by maudlin at 11:28 AM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'm reminded of the woman my wife used to teach with who "had" to go home to get her handgun before they went to Applebees (for real) because "who knows what might happen".

A statistic professor plans to travel to a conference by plane. When he passes the security check, they discover a bomb in his carry-on-baggage. Of course, he is hauled off immediately for interrogation.

"I don't understand it!" the interrogating officer exclaims. "You're an accomplished professional, a caring family man, a pillar of your parish - and now you want to destroy that all by blowing up an airplane!"

"Sorry", the professor interrupts him. "I had never intended to blow up the plane."

"So, for what reason else did you try to bring a bomb on board?!"

"Let me explain. Statistics shows that the probability of a bomb being on an airplane is 1/1000. That's quite high if you think about it - so high that I wouldn't have any peace of mind on a flight."

"And what does this have to do with you bringing a bomb on board of a plane?"

"You see, since the probability of one bomb being on my plane is 1/1000, the chance that there are two bombs is 1/1000000. If I already bring one, the chance of another bomb being around is actually 1/1000000, and I am much safer..."

(copy-pasted from here)
posted by griphus at 11:30 AM on September 18, 2013 [23 favorites]


"Uh, sometimes they do. its called an accidental discharge."

Wow... that is... staggeringly ignorant.

Do you know how much pressure you have to apply to a trigger to get it to go off? Guns don't just sit around and randomly pop like a can of soda in the back of a hot car.

There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge. It is called a negligent discharge because it only happens when someone negligently disregards basic safe gun handling procedures.

I encourage you to seek out some basic gun education because I think you are needlessly fearful due to inexperience and ignorance. And I sincerely mean that with the kindest of intents. Guns and gun owners are not the boogeymen you seem to have built them up into in your mind.
posted by Jacqueline at 11:30 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Since Starbucks doesn't have gun lockers at their entrances, where am I supposed to store it? In my car? OK, so now I need a secure place to store it in my car. And I guess all the people who walk or use public transit are just fucked.

Yes, they cannot go into Starbucks because the CEO said he'd prefer if they didn't. Leaving them with only the choice of doing it anyway with no repercussion or having to go to one of the few other places in the culture where there is the rare thing known as "coffee." THEY ARE FUCKED.
posted by phearlez at 11:31 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Seriously, this discussion is so fucking owned by gun nuts that the newspapers-of-record have given up and started giving readers survival tips; to wit:
Stay sharp
Realize the possibility that you can be shot and think through how you will react to the situation.
As a society, we've been reduced to begging crazy people to leave their deadly toys at home and contemplating getting killed, in between sips of coffee.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:34 AM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Wow... that is... staggeringly ignorant.

There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge.


Uh, you're simply flat out wrong.

Wikipedia: Accidental discharge is the event of a firearm discharging (firing) at a time not intended by the user. Perhaps most commonly, accidental discharges (sometimes called ADs by military and police personnel and referred to as negligent discharges by several armies) occur when the trigger of the firearm is deliberately pulled for a purpose other than shooting—dry-fire practice, demonstration, or function testing—but ammunition is mistakenly left in the chamber.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge.

This dog didn't pay attention during his gun safety course.
posted by Lemurrhea at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


What's the point of having a discussion where one side is able to pretend with a straight face that carrying a deadly weapon is the same as wearing underwear?

The answer is - none. We are simply wasting our breaths.

And it is pretense. Gun owners obviously care about their guns deeply and passionately and are thinking about owning them and using them all the time. Very few people think about their wallets or underwear like that, and if they did, you'd rightfully call them fetishists.

It's funny. I've lived all over the world - the UK, Europe, Canada... And I've travelled extensively, all over Europe, repeatedly to Australia, and greater or lesser time periods in South Korea and Indonesia.

In all these places, the idea that you would carry a gun in the same way that you would carry your wallet would be considered madness. They would not ever want to live in a place where this was legal, and they'd call the police if they saw a person carrying a gun in a city.

Even in United States, this attitude, that you must be carrying a deadly weapon at all times, that the world would be better off if everyone were carrying a gun - this attitude is very much in the minority.

The United States, containing about 5% of the world's population, has by far the largest collection of violent weapons ever amassed in history - and I can't help but see it as that same minority having pushed the country toward their private obsession of "safety through more weapons".
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:35 AM on September 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


"Negligence" is a legal term that refers to, basically, when things happen accidentally but not intentionally.

The important distinction in this conversation is between "intentionally" and "not intentionally." The word "accidental" is just fine to convey this meaning.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:36 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge. It is called a negligent discharge because it only happens when someone negligently disregards basic safe gun handling procedures.

As someone not familiar with basic safe gun handling procedures, I read these as the same. Is this distinction a commonly drawn one? Negligence leads to accidents, so (to me) I would see a negligent discharge as an accidental discharge, in the common-use sense of the term. Is that not the case?
posted by cjelli at 11:37 AM on September 18, 2013


There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge.

Pa. dad accidentally shoots, kills 7-year-old son after leaving gun store
posted by Curious Artificer at 11:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


And for those not in the know--gun advocates claim that all accidental discharges are negligent discharges, and that there are no gun accidents, only gun negligence, and responsible gun owners aren't negligent, so there's no risk at all. Its a bit of ideologial language policing going on, and reacting to someone mentioning an 'accidental discharge' with accusations of ignorance is a bit like a vulgar marxist calling someone ignorant for talking about ideas.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:37 AM on September 18, 2013 [27 favorites]


Is this distinction a commonly drawn one?

Apparently so, because Responsible Gun Owners are never negligent, and if you happen to be involved with an accidental negligent discharge, you are retroactively not a Responsible Gun Owner.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:39 AM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Accidental discharges are almost always going to be the result of poor gun safety. But they still happen. So Jacqueline, I believe that you are a model gun owner and carrier. I will also not know you by sight, likely ever, and a hell of a lot of gun owners are not the model.

Now, because you've been remarkably patient with a lot of the rest of us (including myself) kind of going off the handle, what would you like to do about that fact? That we have no way of knowing that a person carrying a gun is at all responsible?
posted by Navelgazer at 11:40 AM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I tried to go to Starbucks to buy some coffee today but traffic was bad because of a negligent driver incident on the highway.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:40 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah this is just an NRA talking point repeated here for our pleasure. I've grown up around guns and handled dozens over the years. I've seen two "accidental" discharges in person. It happens. And it's scary. Thankfully no one was hurt in either one of these but only because no soft bits were in the way. But to say it never happens and never hurts anyone is idiotic.
posted by Big_B at 11:41 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is this distinction a commonly drawn one within the American legal system?
posted by box at 11:41 AM on September 18, 2013


There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge.

SAN BERNARDINO: Man killed by gun in his waistband
Davion Titus accidentally shot himself at 6:04 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, outside his apartment at 3025 North Golden Avenue.

“It must have dislodged,” Sgt. Gary Robertson said of the single-action Freedom Arms 454 Casull. “The only way that goes off is with the hammer cocked.”

Titus had been sitting outside the apartment with a woman when she heard a noise, prompting Titus to retrieve the gun from his apartment and search for the source of the noise, Robertson said. Apparently satisfied that there was no threat, Titus returned to the woman and sat back down with the large-caliber revolver in his waistband, said Robertson.

The couple chatted for a bit, then Titus moved to his right, accidentally causing the gun to fire, Robertson said.

Titus died at the scene.
It is called a negligent discharge because it only happens when someone negligently disregards basic safe gun handling procedures.

Yes, which is what pretty much everybody in this thread has said they're the most worried about, and which you have continually claimed is a concern that is unfounded.

BTW, if a weapon is concealed to the point of invisibility, how are we to determine whether basic safe gun handling procedures have been disregarded? If possible, please combine with your answer as to how others are also supposed to be able to determine both experience with and motives for carrying a weapon (concealed or otherwise) that you demand be done concurrently with the gun handling risk assessment.
posted by zombieflanders at 11:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge.

Uh, you're simply flat out wrong.


You can have a semantic fight all you want.

Here's what I was taught in Marine Basic Training: all accidental discharges are negligent. If the firearm has discharged when it was not intended to, then the operator has done something wrong.

Personally, I feel that all discharges should be prosecuted as negligent - the same as if I let my car leave the roadway and knock down a streetlight. Maybe there are mitigating factors, but they should be explained to a judge and jury.

But even that sensible step is a bridge too far in today's political climate.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 11:42 AM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


> There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge.

This is a deliberate derail.

Most "negligent discharges" are also accidental: "unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity."

Trying to muddy a discussion with completely bogus language claims not backed up by any dictionary is not acceptable even in a grade-school debating team. Please show some respect for the people you are talking with.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:44 AM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Pa. dad accidentally shoots, kills 7-year-old son after leaving gun store

The sad thing is that they are even debating whether or not to press the most basic of charges. At the very least, he should be hit with a felony to keep him away from weapons for the rest of his life.

That this is a debatable issue for authorities is a testament to how well-protected Second Amendment rights are: You can kill your child through negligent gun ownership and you can still own guns, afterwards.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:53 AM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


Pretending like there's a distinction between accidental and negligent discharge allows people to convince themselves, "Well, of course I'll never be negligent! Not like those idiots!"
posted by muddgirl at 11:55 AM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


Guns and gun owners are not the boogeymen you seem to have built them up into in your mind.

You know, I never used to worry about gun owners - I knew a few, they were responsible. End of story.

But some contingent of guns and gun owners have gone out of their way to come to my attention. I give you those three yahoos in TX in the photos above or the guy walking down the street armed like Rambo to "exercise his rights." Those are exactly the people that reinforce my fears. But not just them, I could perhaps write them off as an unhinged minority.

But when gun owners and the NRA prevent the CDC from doing any research studies on gun safety; when gun owners and the NRA try to gag doctors from talking to new parents about the advisability of keeping guns safely stored; when gun owners and the NRA block efforts to close gun show loopholes and internet sales; when gun owners and the NRA buy so many bullets and guns that there is a shortage based on ignorant rumors that Obama is building camps and is going to seize guns from homes; when gun owners and the NRA respond to a school shooting with proposals of mandatory teacher armament - well, sorry, but those live-and-let-live ideas I held are getting a little frayed around the edges.

I realize this is not the "reasonable and responsible" gun owners. If gun owners ever do lose their constitutional rights of ownership, it won't be because of Obama seizures... it will be because a critical mass of people get tired of of the NRA fueled insanity and paranoia. My thinking is this: responsible and reasonable gun owners need to make peace with reasonable non-gun owners before you lose us entirely. We all need to stop letting the fringes control the discussions and the policies.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:58 AM on September 18, 2013 [36 favorites]


The concept of "all accidental discharges are negligent" is actually a good thing, legally (it makes it cleaner for a jury to find civil liability) so there's that.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:59 AM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


This isn't a court of law, though.
posted by muddgirl at 12:03 PM on September 18, 2013


But, that said, this notion that a private property owner isn't entitled to say who can and can't stroll into their business with a weapon is not a very traditional pro-gun-rights position. I wonder how many of the people who claim the right to walk into Starbucks armed are as OK with the notion of people coming on to their property with unwanted arms?

I think private property owners should be able to say who can and can't come into their business, but I will note we have historically placed limits, federally, on to what extent property owners who have a business that serves the public can in fact discriminate against members of the public. I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.
posted by corb at 12:04 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Millions of reasonable Americans aren't marching on DC demanding gun control because...

A. Deep down we're tragically afraid of gun nuts.
B. Deep down we're tragically lazy.
posted by pallen123 at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think private property owners should be able to say who can and can't come into their business, but I will note we have historically placed limits, federally, on to what extent property owners who have a business that serves the public can in fact discriminate against members of the public. I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.

You're absolutely right! I don't think anyone would be comfortable with that, either. Do you believe this represents a double standard? If so, why?
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:05 PM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.

Then again, he didn't say that and it's a really ill-fitting comparison, so maybe let's not go down this "well what if instead of guns it was genitals or skin color" rabbithole.
posted by cortex at 12:06 PM on September 18, 2013 [13 favorites]


Regarding the accidental v. negligent discharge discussion, my father always explained to me that guns were like wild animals, in that they were never, ever completely safe. This is from a man who has a CCL and has loaded guns stashed all over his house. And he firmly believes that a gun is a tool that wants to do its designed task very well. If you don't want a gun to do it's designed task, you don't pick it up. If you have no desire to explosively put a hole in someone or something, you shouldn't be touching the gun. Ever.

Now granted, he thinks he has to be prepared to explosively put holes in people if they try to harm him and maybe he's watched to damn many cowboy movies as a kid and thinks that it's the freaking wild west out there, but don't discount his understanding of how guns work and whether or not to let your guard down around a gun.

And for the record, the only time a gun has gone off on him without his conscious decision was the one time he made the assumption that a gun was unloaded. And to him, that's not an accident, that's his failure to treat the gun appropriately.
posted by teleri025 at 12:07 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


I am trying to figure out what problem the CEO of Starbucks was trying to fix. No one seems to have complained about anything....was he anticipating a problem or just getting cheap press? Help me understand.
posted by OhSusannah at 12:08 PM on September 18, 2013


OhSusannah he was responding to groups of gun lovers organizing at Starbucks to assert their right to carry weapons.
posted by pallen123 at 12:10 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was a group that was using/abusing Starbucks tacit acceptance of concealed/open carry to get some free visibility by running 'Appreciation Days' in Starbucks.

I believe a franchise near the Sandy Hook incident was involved.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:10 PM on September 18, 2013


Isn't gun crime what motivates the carrying of guns? Tactically speaking, if someone engages you in extremely close range combat (mugging, stabbing, etc) you will definitely not have time to pull the gun.

This is generally not the case. I don't want to speak for everyone - and I don't even generally carry concealed myself - but I can draw and aim a firearm in less than three seconds. Probably significantly less than three seconds.
posted by corb at 12:10 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.

Apart from the fact that, as noted, that's not what he said, no one is born a gun owner.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:11 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


These threads are depressing. On one side you have people who don't want to be shot and have spent a lot of time thinking about shooting people and spent lots of money on toys that enable this fantasy. The other side consists in people who don't want to be shot but haven't invested hundreds of dollars in shooting toys. Is it any surprise that the people who have eaten a fear-driven ad campaign and spent lots of money on lethal toys are not interested in much beyond validating their fears and purchasing history?

You see the same thing wherever people buy something expensive and of dubious utility, whether its a gun or a new iPad. But obviously there's a big difference between these two toys, even if their owners can't tell.
posted by serif at 12:13 PM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


OhSusannah, maybe you didn't see this post - I believe this was the problem he was trying to correct - click the pics. I think these people were making the regular demographic nervous.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:14 PM on September 18, 2013


I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.

I don't think that's comparable at all. The action of carrying a weapon doesn't make them a protected class. They're free to carry, I'm free to not have them in place. I'm all for free speech and freedom of religion, for example, but I don't think that means I should have to have people come into my business carrying "God hates fags" signs.
posted by tyllwin at 12:16 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


You see the same thing wherever people buy something expensive and of dubious utility, whether its a gun or a new iPad. But obviously there's a big difference between these two toys, even if their owners can't tell.

Sh-shut up. My virtual Planetside hats are totally helping me intimidate people in a game that will totally be here this time next year. *pout pout pout*
posted by Slackermagee at 12:16 PM on September 18, 2013


> I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.

You can't choose not to be a woman (or a member of a racial group) just for the purposes of entering a store. You can't choose your race at all. Technically speaking, you can choose your gender, and there are those who argue you can change your sexual orientation inasmuch as it involves self-identification and behavior, but even so it's clear that making such a change is an unreasonable burden for someone who is a certain way through no fault of their own.

As far as I'm aware, nobody is asserting that gun owners are a protected class for the purposes of the law. It's both legal and defensible to discriminate against objects. It's not your presence I detest, sir, it's the presence of that thing in your holster whose entire purpose is to make it easier to kill someone. The discrimination only extends to you inasmuch as you have made the decision to carry it into my shop. As a hypothetical shop owner, I don't think I am burdening you unreasonably to ask that you leave your gun at home before you come into my hypothetical shop.
posted by savetheclocktower at 12:18 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Apart from the fact that, as noted, that's not what he said, no one is born a gun owner.

Well, no one is born carrying concealed or openly carrying, at least. That's certainly true. But we also enact anti-discrimination laws against things that people choose, but are Constitutionally or otherwise protected - sexual preferences, religion, in some cases political beliefs.

I actually don't disagree with the idea that a business owner has the ability to request people not come in with firearms. But I also remember the kerfluffle about business owners who had requested that Obama voters, for example, stay away, or that they be able to discharge them.

As far as I'm aware, nobody is asserting that gun owners are a protected class for the purposes of the law.

I think this is actually a really interesting question. I don't know that gun owners are currently treated as a protected class, but I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that they should be - given the Constitution explicitly acknowledges the right to keep and bear arms, and given the recent court decisions that no-carry laws are, in fact, unconstitutional.
posted by corb at 12:21 PM on September 18, 2013


unAmerican...is sort of my first impression. By which I mean: just asking people to do something without trying to make it a rule or a law... I'd definitely respect this request.
I can't disagree with you, but damn that hurts to read. Voluntary associations of people accomplishing things that would otherwise have required laws and government administration? That didn't used to be un-American, that used to be uniquely-American.

I guess this spirit was dead long before I was born? One of Tocqueville's examples is of a massed public abstention pledge, a hundred thousand people vowing with each other to demonstrate temperance and lead by example; he contrasts this with what he says the French would have done, demanding that their government oversee every drinking establishment. What happened between 1840 and 1920 to erase that distinction?
posted by roystgnr at 12:22 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I just can't understand how anyone can say they're a responsible gun owner if they think guns are the same as underwear or being a gun owner is comparable to being a woman or minority.

I mean, that's not even being a responsible internet-commenter, much less a responsible weapon wielder.
posted by sweetkid at 12:22 PM on September 18, 2013 [34 favorites]


Someone who thinks cyanide is the same as Budweiser (because they're both liquids) is probably not a responsible bartender. So I think it's OK saying that someone who think a gun is the same as underwear (because you wear them both under your clothes) is equally irresponsible.
posted by neroli at 12:27 PM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


The problem is that any attempt to do anything about the problem of gun violence is immediately (and usually dishonestly) cast as such an attack.

The gun control movement's focus on attacking the rights of legal, peaceful, responsible gun owners/carriers is the most ass-backwards way to achieve your purported goal of saving lives. If you want to drastically reduce gun deaths in the U.S., the answer end the War on (Some) Drugs.

The other options is to drastically reduce the availability of guns. Which is what the gun control movement is trying to do. reducing guns will reduce crime.


Well as has been stated upthread, despite the number of privately owned guns DOUBLING in the past 30 years, the rate of all crime has fallen by half. I am not claiming the increase in guns has caused this decrease (I believe it is a multitude of factors, lead, the freakanomics hypothesis and even more) but it pretty much destroys the argument that more guns=more crime. There is even a recent study (by the government) out on this, which I don't have a link to handy right now.

There is SO much wrong information posted by the anti gun folks that I don't know where to start on the details but I will say this about the whole assault weapons thing-

assault rifles are not responsible for 5% of guns deaths. Rifles of ALL types kill less than 500 people a year and the number of 'assault' rifles in that group is so small the FBI doesn't track it as well as the difficulty of classifying assault rifles (is it the technical military defination of a gun capable of firing full auto with a low powered rifle round? or the list in the 1994 legislation or the list in (pick your state) legislation?)

and lastly-guns don't have agency. They are just a thing (unlike a cobra which is dangerous all on its own-that is a really, really bad comparison-much worse than comparing one thing to another thing-like underwear).
posted by bartonlong at 12:28 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can we all resist the urge to respond to strawman arguments, and just flag them?
posted by muddgirl at 12:29 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Given that gun carrying Americans are part of the militia can we discriminate against housing them?
posted by srboisvert at 12:29 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can we all resist the urge to respond to strawman arguments, and just flag them?

Basically, this.
posted by cortex at 12:30 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know that gun owners are currently treated as a protected class, but I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that they should be

You can have the argument or you can have the reasonableness. You can't have both. However, that's never stopped you before, so carry on.

guns don't have agency. They are just a thing

It's like they say about cars. The most dangerous part is the nut behind the wheel.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:31 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Blah blah blah responsible gun owners, liberty, etc. Fine. I am a gun owner. I clean guns. I load guns. I shoot guns. I don't, however, see myself as some Responsible American Patriot. I find most gun owners to be intolerable. Get guns out of coffee shops. Get guns out of grocery stores. Get guns out of schools. Restrict the hell out of them. Take my guns, I don't care - i'd rather live in an advanced democracy with fewer guns if it meant that an advanced democracy is one where its citizens aren't armed like I live in Mogadishu.

but I can draw and aim a firearm in less than three seconds. Probably significantly less than three seconds.

Ugh. This is why I find most gun owners intolerable. Macho fantasy gun handling porn. Tacticool course after Tacticool course. I'm sure you're great with a gun. Perhaps you've spent a great deal of time and money learning how to clear rooms and cap 5 dudes in totally unlikely scenarios for a private citizen in a first world country. I still wouldn't want you near me on the street...I'll take my chances. "But I need to learn to be a responsible hero" is the basic gist of it. Then a lecture about responsible firearm handling. Get off it.

Responsible societies have and respect a police force and learn to live with the limitations of said police force. "But they don't get to my house in time!" Fine, keep a 12 gauge in a lockbox under your bed in your rural home in case bandits want to steal your bandsaw. Satisfy your home-defense fantasy.

But consider that you are an individual living in a society with many other individuals who don't necessarily want everyone packing heat everywhere. Compromise is super patriotic.
posted by jnnla at 12:31 PM on September 18, 2013 [56 favorites]


Something something bring a flag to a gunfight.
posted by box at 12:31 PM on September 18, 2013


Well as has been stated upthread, despite the number of privately owned guns DOUBLING in the past 30 years,

The assumption here being that collectors with gigantic holdings of weapons, stockpiles even, aren't influencing this trend.

When you think one side might be posting 'wrong' information, its handy to quickly run down the potential assumptions that you might be making, a list of confounding variables you don't have the answers to, etc etc.

Now, when someone (or someone's upthread of all this) has a line of argument that is fractally wrong, then you can go in half-cocked.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


[For reals, remember to refresh/preview to make sure the fight-starting thing you're responding to hasn't been deleted.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:32 PM on September 18, 2013


But we also enact anti-discrimination laws against things that people choose, but are Constitutionally or otherwise protected - sexual preferences, religion, in some cases political beliefs.

Sexual preference as a choice is debatable at best, but you're arguing for something you have, whereas your religion or political beliefs are something you are. You can't be physically separated from your beliefs. And as tyllwin noted, a business is not obligated to serve someone for.

I think this is actually a really interesting question. I don't know that gun owners are currently treated as a protected class, but I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that they should be - given the Constitution explicitly acknowledges the right to keep and bear arms, and given the recent court decisions that no-carry laws are, in fact, unconstitutional.

Not at all. "Protected class" covers characteristics, not possessions, and the Constitution protects the right to bear arms, not the obligation. Someone who is black or female or gay has no control over who they are, but a gun owner has control over whether to bear arms. And all of the court-decisions over no-carry all seem to depend on Heller, which unequivocally states that "[T]he Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose."
posted by zombieflanders at 12:34 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Here's a question. Why do we allow people to carry guns, but not also require them to carry the equipment and training for onsite gunshot wound treatment?
posted by mikurski at 12:37 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'll grant you that guns are just things. But comparing them to things like underwear or potatoes is ridiculous and irresponsible. Pro-gun people are complaining that people are afraid of guns, and you know, I think that they're missing that fear of guns is a sensible, normal reaction.

We wouldn't encourage someone to think of a grenade or a bomb as just a thing, because they're not just things. They're weapons, and they were designed for the sole purpose of injuring or killing people. Having a certain level of fear of a thing that was literally designed for the express purpose of ending human life is entirely normal and, I'd argue, healthy.

I'm actually a little afraid of people who claim that they're not at all afraid of guns, nope, not them, because guns are just like rocks or sticks or hands. Guns are made to kill people. Full stop. If you don't see that and pause, just a little bit, and think this is a thing of which I should be a little afraid, then I don't think that you're a safe person to be around.
posted by MeghanC at 12:39 PM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


I don't know that gun owners are currently treated as a protected class, but I think there's a reasonable argument to be made that they should be - given the Constitution explicitly acknowledges the right to keep and bear arms...

So if the freedoms provided by the second amendment are reason enough to create a protected class, wouldn't that same reason extend to making, for instance, newspaper publishers (1st amend.), homeowners (3rd amend.), and brewers (21st amend.) protected classes as well?

Making gun owners a protected class would make a mockery of the very concept.
posted by griphus at 12:39 PM on September 18, 2013 [15 favorites]


ghharr: "I don't need to worry about [...] my wallet accidentally discharging"

Well, for me that's a real worry depending on which store I'm in.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:40 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is no such thing as an "accidental" discharge -- only a negligent discharge. It is called a negligent discharge because it only happens when someone negligently disregards basic safe gun handling procedures.

I encourage you to seek out some basic gun education because I think you are needlessly fearful due to inexperience and ignorance.


I am hesitant to engage you earnestly because you seem to be determined to examine only the facts that are convenient to your personal belief and insistent on your right to tell others what is and is not right for them to feel. But you are so prolific and strident that your contribution far exceeds that of other gun owners who have contributed in this thread. It's well-reflective of the way things go in our society, where a number of people on the extremes are so loud and attention-getting - either by design or because their behavior is so flamboyant as to draw more press - that any of the rest of us moderates are completely unseen. So I will make a brief effort to engage here.

On the matter of gun education, I'm all in favor of more people getting it. I've personally been through a concealed weapons permit course at the NRA range here in Northern Virginia as well as (for weird reasons) a course necessary for armed security guards held through a local training operation and sited at a different NVA range. Both courses were no more than 8 hours of classroom time and a few shots fired at the range. From a legal standpoint my understanding is that VA's minimum requirement is that you fire one shot, something I have seen offered in the past.

This pathetically tiny amount of training is not required at all of open carry folks here in VA, and that's tragic. I'd be okay with MisantropicPainforest getting some gun training, but it's far more a matter of concern to me that fellow gun owners may have (likely) had none. I am reasonably certain that's true of two people I know who have recently acquired a firearm, and it's my intention next time I see them to offer to spend a few minutes with them about it. They're personally higher on my list of people needing training than MisantropicPainforest but unfortunately any efforts to set a low-water mark for handling proficiency is prevented when the subject comes up.

I'd be somewhat surprised if any of that training spent time making a distinction between "accidental" and "negligent" word choice though, based on the training I got. There answer to "Do you know how much pressure you have to apply to a trigger to get it to go off?" was "very little." We spent some time talking about various places you might have a weapon stowed and the issues with them, as well as repeatedly emphasizing never putting your finger on the trigger until ready to fire.

Thankfully I'd had that drilled into me long before, but the instructors spent a lot of time with people on that. It was a little nervous-making, all those people in the room handling their weapons, even though the instructors insisted on visually inspecting the weapons on entry to insure they were unloaded, and making people stow all the rest of their things - which might have included ammo - under the chairs. They insisted this was necessary for safety there at the NRA range training room. The folks at the other class wouldn't allow you to unholster at all outside the range area.

Yes, I am pointing this out because I think it's darkly ironic that they have this standard; both ranges, in fact, insist your weapon be empty when you enter. So presumably people have to remove their weapon in the car and empty it before coming in. Perhaps they should get nasty letters at the same time Starbucks does.

Both ranges prohibit use of cross-draw holsters where you would be pulling out a weapon which would initially be facing uprange and sweeping it from left to right (or r-l if you're left handed) before it is aimed downrange. Either they lack your faith in gun owners all being well-trained enough to avoid "negligent" discharges or they think they magically go off.

Or maybe they do know "how much" pressure is required to pull that trigger. In the five pound range for some, though I see there's some instructions on how to modify your weapon down to 3.5lb on youtube. About half of what a gallon of milk weighs, so I guess you can decide for yourself how difficult it is to exert that much pressure on something with one finger. I know I've carried my milk with one finger and didn't think it was that much.(1)

But hey, that would never happen with someone who was well trained, right? They know to keep their finger off the trigger. Though I wonder how many of those folks have gotten the lesson; when I did my CCW firing test at the NRA range the instructor noted and praised that when I set the weapon down on the tray with my hand still on it that I had my finger at extension. I presume that means it's at least somewhat common that some don't, but maybe all of the 8 million or so people in the country with CCW permits do this exactly right. So we know roughly 1 in 10 are trained right, though exact numbers are hard.

Did I mention that it bugs me that there's no minimum training requirement? But whatever, we're talking about people wearing their pistols into Starbucks and there'd never accidentally discharge them because they'd not be messing with them and they'd be stowed and secured by responsible people and while holstered they couldn't ever negligently discharge them because the trigger would be covered, right?

Oh wait, open trigger holster? So something COULD just push that trigger? Huh. Well I guess we know that if someone chooses a fire-through holster and then accidentally negligently discharges it that it was the result of bad choices/training and that... makes it all okay?

(1) It's arguably marginally disingenuous to discuss this level of pull since it presumes a chambered round and a cocked trigger, but since there's no training required for open carry in so many states - particularly the ones where these folks trying to Make A Point have open carried into Starbucks, including here in VA, I'm not sure why we have to rule something out because it would be stupid. The technology supports it and even a more 'safe' choice like my .40 cal Beretta double-action-only can be actuated with only marginally more pressure than that gallon of milk.

tl;dr: I HAVE had training, more than at least 75% of my fellow gun owners. And the majority of that training flies in the face of so much of what I see from my fellow gun owners regarding reasonably practice and expectation and behavior. And that training was less than I ever got for how to hang drywall, drive a car, or how to ride a bike. And it is still far more than any gun owner will get and more than any is required to get.
posted by phearlez at 12:40 PM on September 18, 2013 [53 favorites]


As an underwear fetishist, I'd rather you left me out of this entirely.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:40 PM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Well as has been stated upthread, despite the number of privately owned guns DOUBLING in the past 30 years, the rate of all crime has fallen by half. I am not claiming the increase in guns has caused this decrease (I believe it is a multitude of factors, lead, the freakanomics hypothesis and even more) but it pretty much destroys the argument that more guns=more crime.

Perhaps not higher # of guns=more crime, but we know for a fact that household and individual owners of guns has declined, which means that there are presumably more guns per capita. In any case, it's quite easy to make the argument that less people owning guns (even if they own more of them) is a contributing factor to a greater extent than any of the CCL or other gun-related laws.

There is SO much wrong information posted by the anti gun folks that I don't know where to start on the details but I will say this about the whole assault weapons thing

Okay...but we're not talking about just assault weapons here.

guns don't have agency. They are just a thing

Luckily, absolutely no one here is saying guns have agency, and have repeatedly stated it is misuse that is of concern.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:44 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Slackermagee: "Greece is NOT the usa, its not a country in its right mind right now."
Yeah, and Greece is also fucked.
posted by brokkr at 12:45 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well as has been stated upthread, despite the number of privately owned guns DOUBLING in the past 30 years, the rate of all crime has fallen by half. I am not claiming the increase in guns has caused this decrease (I believe it is a multitude of factors, lead, the freakanomics hypothesis and even more) but it pretty much destroys the argument that more guns=more crime.

No it does not, not in the least. There are so many confounding variables and endogenous problems in the argument that you are advancing. No one would take it seriously.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:46 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


If joe sixpack drops his piece when grabbing for his wallet and blows my kneecap off, I could maybe sue him for the treatment and whatnot, but odds are pretty good I'd be on my own to pay for it.

This is a weird, weird sentence for me to read as a Canadian.

"his piece" - long guns are necessary for some jobs and hobbies, but a civilian owning a pistol? Double take.
"when grabbing for his wallet" - carrying any guns in shopping malls? Triple take.
"odds are pretty good I'd be on my own to pay for it" - Quadruple take.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:47 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Pro-gun people are complaining that people are afraid of guns, and you know, I think that they're missing that fear of guns is a sensible, normal reaction.

yeah, it's like when people are (understandably) frustrated that their dogs are scared of fireworks to the point that they need to be medicated/carefully watched and it's like, wellll....the dog kind of has a point that loud exploding fire thingums in the sky should be interpreted instinctively as a BAD THING VERY SCARY BAD THING, not like a "let's hang out and enjoy this" thing.
posted by sweetkid at 12:49 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


what's the big deal, it's just a portable machine designed specifically to make humans die instantly with a minimum of effort
posted by theodolite at 12:51 PM on September 18, 2013 [16 favorites]


gauche: "The likelihood of getting into a confrontation that requires self defense with a deadly weapon is, for the average person in America, vanishingly small."

This plus the chances of actually successfully defending yourself using a deadly weapon in such a situation are even smaller (unless you're a highly trained and experienced professional who doesn't panic and/or makes mistakes under pressure).
posted by Hairy Lobster at 12:51 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]



This is a weird, weird sentence for me to read as a Canadian.

"his piece" - long guns are necessary for some jobs and hobbies, but a civilian owning a pistol? Double take.
"when grabbing for his wallet" - carrying any guns in shopping malls? Triple take.
"odds are pretty good I'd be on my own to pay for it" - Quadruple take.


Is it really though? Surely you're aware of US gun laws, the gun control debate, and the healthcare debate in the US, especially if you've been in this thread.
posted by sweetkid at 12:51 PM on September 18, 2013


MeTa is here.
posted by corb at 12:53 PM on September 18, 2013


I actually don't disagree with the idea that a business owner has the ability to request people not come in with firearms. But I also remember the kerfluffle about business owners who had requested that Obama voters, for example, stay away, or that they be able to discharge them.

The obvious difference between firearms and Obama voters is that one of them is an inanimate object which an individual wishing to enter the store can remove from his or her person as a condition of entry. The other is a category of people.

You don't have a right to exercise your constitutional rights on private property without the consent of the owner. But I'd be surprised if a public accommodation could discriminate against Obama voters without running afoul of civil rights laws.
posted by gauche at 12:53 PM on September 18, 2013


corb: "This is generally not the case. I don't want to speak for everyone - and I don't even generally carry concealed myself - but I can draw and aim a firearm in less than three seconds. Probably significantly less than three seconds."

Great. When was the last time you were in a pressurized training scenario? If it wasn't within the last 2 weeks, I will guarantee you that if an unplanned situation occurs, you will not put a single shot on target.

This is because your nervous system will flood your body with adrenaline, causing both tunnel vision and loss of fine motor control. It's a known issue, and the only way anyone has found to counteract it is with literally thousands of hours of training.

This is why the SEALs spend so much time in shooting houses. Ditto SWAT. Ditto SFOD-D. This is why, unless you are a genetic freak, you are full of shit if you claim that you will do X or Y in a shooting situation.

One of the reasons cops tend to fire so many rounds in confrontations, and tend to miss with so many of them, is because of this precise phenomenon. And most cops have been actively trained about the phenomenon, but are only able to spend a few hours a week at the range, not under simulation.

Drawing and aiming in a controlled situation bears zero relation to actual combat. None. And if you think it does, you are not a responsible gun owner, because responsible gun owners know about this effect, and understand it, and realize that just about the only thing that'll work in an unplanned gunfight is a shotgun.

I'd like to hear Smedleyman's take on this, because as far as I know, he's one of the very few Mefites who's actually experienced combat.
posted by scrump at 12:54 PM on September 18, 2013 [33 favorites]


You carry a gun in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it.

My understanding is at that point it's usually too late.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 12:54 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Movie theaters don't let you bring in video cameras and I don't see anyone comparing AV equipment to underwear and turbans and pulling the Civil Liberties card on that situation.
posted by mikurski at 12:57 PM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Ugh. This is why I find most gun owners intolerable. Macho fantasy gun handling porn. Tacticool course after Tacticool course. I'm sure you're great with a gun. Perhaps you've spent a great deal of time and money learning how to clear rooms and cap 5 dudes in totally unlikely scenarios for a private citizen in a first world country.

I really need to point out that the person to whom you are responding is a veteran of the US Armed Forces and I would personally not find her claims about firearm skills to automatically be foolishness or posturing.
posted by elizardbits at 1:01 PM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


You carry a gun in case your life is threatened in a place/situation in which you didn't expect it.

So your thinking must be: "I do not expect my life to be threatened at Starbucks, so I'm going to bring a gun there."

That logic is baffling.
posted by emelenjr at 1:03 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


But if you're hiding one in public, and you're not a officer of the law

We can certainly trust our constables of the law to always use their guns in a prudent and responsible manner.
posted by Tanizaki at 1:07 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]



Ugh. This is why I find most gun owners intolerable. Macho fantasy gun handling porn. Tacticool course after Tacticool course. I'm sure you're great with a gun. Perhaps you've spent a great deal of time and money learning how to clear rooms and cap 5 dudes in totally unlikely scenarios for a private citizen in a first world country.

I really need to point out that the person to whom you are responding is a veteran of the US Armed Forces and I would personally not find her claims about firearm skills to automatically be foolishness or posturing.


This is true, but I do think scrump's point about continuous training is a good one. Most of the "gun carriers do stop crimes sometimes" stories are off duty active police officers. No disrespect to corb's or anyone else's previous training but I do think that there is merit to the idea that the skills atrophy over time, especially under high pressure.
posted by sweetkid at 1:14 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


A close relative of mine is a Responsible Gun Owner who believes that Obama wants to take his guns. He took me to an indoor firing range when I went to visit him last year. There was dried blood on the floor from where a different, Less Responsible Gun Owner had negligently shot himself in the thigh a few days earlier. The people at the firing range didn't clean the blood up because they wanted to prove a point about Gun Safety and Responsible Gun Ownership. Or something.

This relative has two children in his house. One is age 9 the other is age 7. Because he is a Responsible Gun Owner, he has a safe that he keeps his some of his guns in most of the time. There are two shotguns in there, and maybe three rifles, and at least four handguns. For self defense. And boxes and boxes of ammo. And Obama wants to take all that away. Also Obama probably wants to take away the other guns around his house. The handgun he, swear to God, sleeps with under his pillow. The rifle leaning against the television in his bedroom. The other rifle he took out to show a friend a few days before and forgot to put up that's on the coffee table sitting on top of a bunch of copies of Guns and Ammo magazine, which, swear to God, is the only reading material I've ever seen in his house other than the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue and a Bible. It's OK. The gun is not loaded and the kids know that they are not supposed to play with guns or touch them, and they both seem to understand that rule, even the one with the learning disability.

This Close Relative is narcoleptic. You'll be talking to him, and if there's a pause in the conversation for a few seconds, he's somewhat likely to fall asleep. He also is on a lot of meds for various health problems. The meds sometimes make him forgetful, and drowsy. Some of his other meds make it difficult for him to fall asleep at night. So he gets maybe four hours of non-narcoleptic regular nighttime sleep most nights. He's often up late posting on facebook that Obama wants to take his guns.

He has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. To defend himself against dangerous people.

He has gone to Open-Carry protests with an AR-15, walking around with that thing like it's perfectly normal. He's been to Starbucks for one of these things. He doesn't even drink coffee. He bought a bottled water. But he went to the Starbucks thing to prove a point. He says the point is that Obama is not going to take his guns away from him.

One time I went to visit him and picked up three live rounds of ammo off his lawn by the sidewalk. He leaks ammo wherever he goes. There's live rounds rattling around the floorboards of his car. His wife finds them in his pockets when she does the laundry.

I only visit him when I'm obligated to for family reasons. I worked on Obama's election and re-election campaigns, so it's tense times. We don't talk politics. Though sometimes he will email me a chain email about how Obama wants to take his guns, and ask me why I worked for someone who wanted to take away his constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms.

Every gun owner thinks they're Responsible. Quick question for Mefites in this thread: do any of you consider yourselves to be Irresponsible Gun Owners, or know anyone who does?
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:14 PM on September 18, 2013 [33 favorites]


I'm also academically curious as to how many people in this argument right here have actually:
  1. Been shot at
  2. Seen gun violence up close (not on TV, not down the street, but right in front of you)
  3. Have fired rounds downrange at other human beings with the intent to kill
Because, I'll tell you right now, I can tick the first two boxes, and my experiences there have given me a vivid and profound horror of ever having to tick off the third one.

For most normal human beings (which is most of them, despite our society's fascination with sociopaths), killing another human being fucks you up profoundly, from the metabolic level all the way out to brain plasticity and across to psychology and post-traumatic emotional changes.

To be completely blunt, unless you have killed with a gun, you have no idea what will happen. It is all hypothesis based on irrelevant anecdote, because actual mortal combat in the civilian world is a vanishingly rare event in the West.
posted by scrump at 1:14 PM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


corb: "I think private property owners should be able to say who can and can't come into their business, but I will note we have historically placed limits, federally, on to what extent property owners who have a business that serves the public can in fact discriminate against members of the public. I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.
"

What you're talking about is discriminating against legally-protected classes. The real equivalent is something like "No Shirt/No Shoes/No Service" signage, which is perfectly legit.
posted by mkultra at 1:14 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really need to point out that the person to whom you are responding is a veteran of the US Armed Forces and I would personally not find her claims about firearm skills to automatically be foolishness or posturing.

That's great and I respect that person for his / her service. I was snide in my comment because this issue really does bother me and I do apologize for reacting like a jerk. I will assume the claims made are not posturing but while the tone of my comment was out of bounds, I stand by my sentiment.

Being a trained member of armed forces / law enforcement does not, in my opinion, make your gun views sacrosanct. I really don't care if you can pull a gun in 1 second. Posturing or not I still would rather private citizens kept guns in their own homes or become policemen.

Furthermore I know gun instructors in town who can put a bullet on a dime, and have friends who compete regularly. I still don't trust their judgement. Sorry.
posted by jnnla at 1:15 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


...Quadruple take.

Is it really though? Surely you're aware of US gun laws, the gun control debate, and the healthcare debate in the US, especially if you've been in this thread.

As Patrick Stewart would be first to tell you, the quadruple take is not intended to simulate a natural reaction. It's affected and deliberately stagy. I am no longer capable of actually being surprised by insane American gun and health care policies, so a quadruple take is one of my last remaining tools for mocking them. It's a signal that people should be surprised by the weirdness of these policies because they are bizarre and disturbing.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:15 PM on September 18, 2013 [8 favorites]


sweetkid: "This is true, but I do think scrump's point about continuous training is a good one. Most of the "gun carriers do stop crimes sometimes" stories are off duty active police officers. No disrespect to corb's or anyone else's previous training but I do think that there is merit to the idea that the skills atrophy over time, especially under high pressure."

There's actual data backing it up. IIRC, the decay rate is startlingly fast, something like 2-4 weeks to see statistically significant degradation of aim and accuracy.
posted by scrump at 1:16 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


We can certainly trust our constables of the law to always use their guns in a prudent and responsible manner.

We already had the "officer of the law" derail earlier. In fact, it came soon after that now-8 hours old comment you're responding to, wherein most people stated that, no, they don't place much trust in the po-po.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:17 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's a signal that people should be surprised by the weirdness of these policies because they are bizarre and disturbing.

I'm an American and I feel these policies are weird, bizarre and disturbing but I am not "surprised" by them because that would be much like a goldfish being surprised by the little plastic castle every time he takes a turn around the goldfish bowl.
posted by sweetkid at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2013


[Metacommentary goes in Metatalk. You know the drill.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:18 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


No disrespect to corb's or anyone else's previous training but I do think that there is merit to the idea that the skills atrophy over time, especially under high pressure.

To clarify, my (personal) statement was specifically about drawing and aiming, not about shooting - I just wanted to provide a little background. I agree that people's aim is often radically off in combat situations, which is why most people who will be engaging in combat shooting are taught to aim for center mass, because this way, even if you are off by inches (which is actually HUGE in gun accuracy terms), you still hit the target.

I think, however, a lot of unpleasant situations can be avoided by simply drawing and aiming, rather than actually firing. I did not mean to imply that firing should be a first choice. It absolutely should not. I subscribe to a lot of the "good news with guns" posts, and a large majority of them involve the gun owner drawing and holding aim on the individual, at which point, they often decided that discretion was the better part of valor.
posted by corb at 1:19 PM on September 18, 2013


Why are you drawing and aiming a gun at someone you are not intending to shoot?
posted by scrump at 1:21 PM on September 18, 2013 [32 favorites]


I think, however, a lot of unpleasant situations can be avoided by simply drawing and aiming, rather than actually firing. I did not mean to imply that firing should be a first choice.

This is the kind of statement that makes me uncomfortable with people carrying weapons in public because it doesn't sound like a tactic for self-defense, it sounds like a tactic for intimidation, regardless of intent.
posted by feloniousmonk at 1:22 PM on September 18, 2013 [25 favorites]


I think a lot of unpleasant situations can be defined by someone simply drawing and aiming a gun.
posted by Cookiebastard at 1:26 PM on September 18, 2013 [11 favorites]


There's a sneaky trick you can do to make sure the government doesn't come to take your guns away:

Don't have any.

Similarly, there is a dead simple way to not be "discriminated against" by Starbucks:

Leave the gun at home.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:27 PM on September 18, 2013


Metatalk
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:29 PM on September 18, 2013


Quick question for Mefites in this thread: do any of you consider yourselves to be Irresponsible Gun Owners, or know anyone who does?

No. That's a good point.

Posturing or not I still would rather private citizens kept guns in their own homes or become policemen.

And see, the trouble with the above point—which, again, is a good point—is that it's true of police officers, too. So with regard to the FPP, which is in part about what level of comfort we each feel with people around us potentially carrying firearms, I'm not sure where that leaves us.
posted by cribcage at 1:32 PM on September 18, 2013


First off, Starbucks coffee is the worst coffee the PacNW has to offer, so if you are into concealed carry and will now never shop there, you did yourself a favor.

Secondly, guns? I just don't get it. The whole point of a gun is to kill something. Why not study Krav Maga instead to reduce the chance of killing innocent bystanders?
posted by Annika Cicada at 1:32 PM on September 18, 2013


This is generally not the case. I don't want to speak for everyone - and I don't even generally carry concealed myself - but I can draw and aim a firearm in less than three seconds. Probably significantly less than three seconds.

Other people have said quite a bit about this, but I want add, I've been mugged before. Three seconds? By the time I had three seconds where I could actually think about what was happening, it was over. Seriously, it's like time just vanishes. (And yeah, adrenaline goes crazy for several minutes later, I didn't feel safe to drive for at least an hour afterwards.)
posted by aspo at 1:34 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


And see, the trouble with the above point—which, again, is a good point—is that it's true of police officers, too.

Yes, as the sentences immediately before and after what you quoted were trying to convey.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:35 PM on September 18, 2013


I'm going to point something out here that seems to be getting missed a lot:

In the United States, with certain defined exceptions (undercover), we clearly identify our police officers with uniforms, badges, and vehicles that clearly separate those officers visually and behaviorally from the civilians around them.

People who are carrying open (or concealed, for that matter) are dressed and behave just like everyone else. Kind of by definition.

This is an enormous difference between the two groups, and one that (I think) affects the discussion enormously.
posted by scrump at 1:39 PM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


I think, however, a lot of unpleasant situations can be avoided by simply drawing and aiming, rather than actually firing.

I think that any situation where you can draw and aim and do not have to fire to resolve the situation is one where you should not have drew. If you have that flexibility why don't you have other de-escalating options?

Which is really what informs my personal belief that it's not sensible to carry in 99.9999% of circumstances. I've avoided bringing up things like what aspo says because those are anecdotes, not data, but it matches my (thankfully second-hand) knowledge of muggings; all the ones I've been told of involved the physical assault right up front, preventing any possibility that the person could draw on the assailant.
posted by phearlez at 1:41 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Drawing and aiming is classified as a threat to personal safety. In a lot of places, that will get you arrested and have your CCW and guns taken away. This fantasy that you are legally allowed to carry a gun and draw it on someone should never be encouraged.

You are also completely forgetting about the many CCW "wanna-be heroes" who may see your actions from a distance and instead of reading them as you behaving in self-defense, see you as instigating a violent confrontation, thus getting yourself shot in the back by another CCW carrying person.

It also can be seen as making a terroristic threat. Just the act of pointing a gun at another person is a projection of force (or the threat of force). When used in the act of robbing a person, it is known as armed robbery. If you were to force someone to give you their property without a weapon, that is known as strong-arm robbery. One carries a significantly longer prison sentence, and both are felonies. Should your fire-arm "accidentally" or negligently go off and injure of kill someone, kiss ever owning a firearm again. Should the person you are pointing the gun at grab your hand and force your trigger finger to "accidentally" fire the weapon, you would still be responsible, as you brought the weapon to bear. Intent will only get it knocked down to manslaughter, if you have a really good lawyer.

You want to have a society where people are nicer and treat you with the respect you feel you deserve? That takes a lot of work and building social institutions and community organizations and interacting with your neighbors and engagement with people outside of your own demographic. Just buying a gun is not a shortcut to combatting the social decay of Western society. It is a lie sold and marketed to you be the NRA and people who want you afraid of your neighbor, because they are different from you. And their political bedfellows, who want to control you and your vote by instilling divisions between you and those not in the same class heirarchy or earning bracket. You want to fight crime? Fight discrimination, injustice, and poverty first, then you can go fight crime. But I guarantee you, you'll be bored, because there won't be nearly as much.
posted by daq at 1:42 PM on September 18, 2013 [31 favorites]


can be avoided by simply drawing and aiming, rather than actually firing.

This is brandishing. Which is also a crime.
posted by asockpuppet at 1:43 PM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


I would just like to add that the well-reasoned, logical input from a number of gun owners in this thread is heartening.
posted by Dark Messiah at 1:50 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This town ain't venti enough for the two of us.
posted by ericbop at 1:50 PM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


This is an enormous difference between the two groups, and one that (I think) affects the discussion enormously.

Yeah, I was sort of blithe about it before, but corb's last comment and the reactions to it are particularly illustrative of the difference between cops carrying guns and civilians. Rightly or wrongly, we have entrusted police officers with authority over matters of protecting the peace. If a cop gives me an order, I'm expected to obey it. They should not be enforcing orders with a gun, but the weapons should be an extension of their already-existing authority - their right to keep the peace even at the expense of someone's life. A neighbor civilian has no authority over me. I am not expected to obey the orders of Mary Smith who goes to the same coffee shop as me just because she has a gun and I don't. But am I really going to be all, "You can't tell me what to do!" if she decides that I'm a threat and she points a gun at me?
posted by muddgirl at 1:53 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Has anyone seen the Canadian show Flashpoint? It's about a Canadian elite police force (sorry that's a bit general). It's kind of interesting how they do a police show (like a very actiony one, American style) without having all the bad guys have guns. Sometimes they do, because they're stolen, and sometimes the violence doesn't involve guns but other weapons or just quick timing/intimidation. It's interesting.

And yeah, the police guys are kinda nicer about things, even when they're talking to the baddies.
posted by sweetkid at 1:56 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


scrump: "Drawing and aiming in a controlled situation bears zero relation to actual combat. None. And if you think it does, you are not a responsible gun owner, because responsible gun owners know about this effect, and understand it, and realize that just about the only thing that'll work in an unplanned gunfight is a shotgun."

I want to favorite this hard, a million times. On average people are utterly delusional about their abilities to act in a controlled and precise manner under pressure.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 1:59 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


Not to derail, but Mrs. Example and I have seen a few episodes of Flashpoint--or as we call it, Pregnant Canadian Hostage Rescue Squad. It seems like every episode has a pregnant woman being endangered, and it's always a plot point that they can't use tear gas because of it.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 2:00 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


I know, Flashpoint is kinda cheesy but Enrico Colantoni is on it.
posted by sweetkid at 2:04 PM on September 18, 2013


The responsible gun owner is one who, by and large, leaves their gun at home.
posted by klangklangston at 2:15 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Also, gun owners who take their guns to Starbucks have terrible taste in coffee.
posted by klangklangston at 2:17 PM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Hairy Lobster: "On average people are utterly delusional about their abilities to act in a controlled and precise manner under pressure."

I know I was, and I wasn't even using a gun, just trying to start an IV on a little old lady in the back of an ambulance.

The paramedic school I went to was big on practicals, and we drilled the holy hell out of things. I mean we trained and trained and trained and then we trained some more and took a break to do some training and then came back and trained and trained and trained.

Fortunately, nobody got phlebitis, but we were all a little twitchy about arms and hands and needles for months.

Then, after all the TRAINING, we got to do clinicals in the hospital, where we all discovered that our TRAINING was preparation for us to completely fuck up IVs in a new and exciting setting.

So we do that, learning face-first, for some hundreds of hours, under the patient tutelage of nurses, phlebotomists, physicians, physician assistants, LVNs, RNs, MICNs and, frankly, everyone else in the goddamned ER because even the janitors could start an IV better than we could.

We did that, and we all got better.

Better enough to go out into the field for our internships. Where we discovered, again, that a hospital ER is not really so much like an ambulance, which can get all kinds of exciting and tumultuous and, if you are unwary, inadvertently stabby. Accidentally starting an IV in your own thigh is a lot funnier to everyone else than you, I am here to tell you. And you have not really lived as a person until you have had an irate preceptor literally make you sit in front of her as she moves your hands like some sort of demented marionette, saying, in the kind of loud, aggressively patient voice we reserve for the deranged, "and THEN we PICK UP THE CATHETER, and then we ARM THE CATHETER", while the patient looks on in terror.

Again, some hundreds of hours go by and eventually we are certified as Paramedics, meaning we are only barely dangerous enough to kill people on our own instead of under supervision. At this point, I would estimate that I had started approximately eleventy billion IVs, under conditions ranging from well-lighted ED triage rooms with a completely immobile patient to the back of an ambulance parked on a dirt road, with broken air conditioning, in the hand of a methed-up teenager who had just broken his femur attempting to do something with a skateboard and a lumber pile. I could start an IV on you from orbit. I had, on more than one occasion, done it by feel, upside-down, in the aftermath of a vehicle accident.

I was a supreme badass. You see where this is going, of course.

Literally one of my first calls as a medic, and my patient is an 89-year-old woman with absolutely exquisite veins like hosepipes. You could drop an IV the size of the Holland Tunnel into these things. They were beautiful. I may have cried a little in awe.

But this is one of my first calls with just me and a partner and the clock is ticking and maybe I'm a little amped up. And I start the HELL out of that IV. Absolutely beautiful textbook stick. The taping is a work of art. I am the fucking MAN.

So I reach for my line to hook it up, and my boot squishes. I look down. My boot is slowly filling with blood, which is running in an unconstrained stream down my patient's arm, onto my pants, and into my socks.

I look up. I am occluding the wrong vein with my thumb. The adjacent vein, freed by my absolutely gorgeous textbook IV, is pouring blood like the Colorado. You can hear the corpuscles screaming "WHEEE" as they escape.

Squish.

I move my thumb to the correct vein and the River Sanguine ceases to flow. I meet the eyes of my patient, who is looking kindly at me.

"First time?" she says, in a gentle tone.

I think back to the thousands of other sticks. The grillions of hours. The "start this or the patient dies" moments in the ER, on the rig. The meth kid. All of it leading up to this moment.

"Yes," I say,"it's my first time."
posted by scrump at 2:29 PM on September 18, 2013 [84 favorites]


Pregnant Canadian Hostage Rescue Squad

I'm picturing this as pregnant canadian women who are taking hostages and demanding timbits and I do not wish to be dissuaded of this notion.
posted by elizardbits at 2:37 PM on September 18, 2013 [18 favorites]


I pictured them as a rescue squad made up of pregnant Canadians. I like my version too. Especially if it also starred Enrico Colantoni
posted by MCMikeNamara at 2:39 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]




We'd be better off if all of our cop shows were like Flashpoint, because generally speaking, that is a series that understands the consequences of the use of lethal force and firearms. When a cop shoots someone on Flashpoint, there are consequences for the cop and others involved, and it is usually portrayed as being the last resort. It's become my cop show of choice because it always has respect and compassion for law enforcement, victims, suspects, and perpetrators, and force is not the default problem-solving method.

I'm not gonna blame media for all of the US's weird gun issues, but it certainly can't help that so much of our media features so much blithe and consequence-free gun use by law enforcement and bad guys. It's a really disturbing complement to the sadly prevalent mass shootings and shootings involving police officers, and we know it given that every time this happens, whatever movie or TV show of the week that features indiscriminate shooting and gunfire is swiftly pulled or delayed, or a conciliatory press statement is released.

We're in this weird position where everyone knows that something is wrong, something about this system is sick and malfunctioning, but here we are debating whether it's okay for a business owner to decide he'd prefer it if his customers not bring deadly weapons to his business, or whether it's normal for people in a reasonably safe and stable society to go around with deadly weapons "just in case." I don't know, it all just makes me feel really baffled and hopeless.
posted by yasaman at 2:45 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


We'd be better off if all of our cop shows were like Flashpoint, because generally speaking, that is a series that understands the consequences of the use of lethal force and firearms. When a cop shoots someone on Flashpoint, there are consequences for the cop and others involved, and it is usually portrayed as being the last resort. It's become my cop show of choice because it always has respect and compassion for law enforcement, victims, suspects, and perpetrators, and force is not the default problem-solving method.

Yea! Flashpoint!
posted by sweetkid at 2:48 PM on September 18, 2013


Also Criminal Minds is kinda good at this but it also fetishizes violence against women which is also not cool (looking at you Law and Order SVU which I hate watch)
posted by sweetkid at 2:49 PM on September 18, 2013


> Why are you drawing and aiming a gun at someone you are not intending to shoot?

The safety precept is "Never point a gun at anything you are not prepared to shoot."

There is no requirement that once you have pointed a gun at something you must shoot it.
posted by jfuller at 2:56 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think, however, a lot of unpleasant situations can be avoided by simply drawing and aiming, rather than actually firing.

In my understanding of gun safety, based on hundreds of lectures from my gun-owning True American Patriot Military™ family members, you never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
posted by winna at 3:02 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


God that's terrifying.
posted by sweetkid at 3:06 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


scrump, you can be my paramedic anytime I start falling over again (which, sad to say, will likely happen at some future point).

I think this is the part that I rarely see from people who are all gung-ho about guns. What about the aftermath? Does their thinking really go that far?

I also equate it to the difference to a fresh faced kid who joins the military all ready to go shoot some baddies and the look in the eyes of some of the people I've known who came back from Iraq or Afghanistan. The supreme difference of character and thought processes between someone who can't wait to shoot their guns at someone they have defined as "the enemy" and someone who has had to see that spray of blood and the lifeless human form torn apart by ballistics.

That link upthread that I didn't click about the PA. Dad who shot his own 7 year old son? Yeah, I think Dad might start having an opinion about guns that differs from most gun owners who have never actually pointed a gun at another person and realized what it means to take a life.
And the comment about whether or not to press charges? I don't think there is much society or the penal system can do to a person who has killed their own progeny. If they are unrepentant about the act, I'm sure charges will be put forward. However, living with that guilt is a cruel fate.

And if any one has put a bullet through another human being and NOT felt bad about it? Yeah, please don't ever approach me or talk to me. Your lack of ability to recognize another human being as a fully realized individual who has thoughts and feelings just as valid as your own makes you contemptible, and one who's company I, personally would not enjoy being around. And that's the real gist of this. Many gun-rights advocates feel they are justified in their views, and are comforted by the power they are able to willing take into their own hands, yet they have no real concept of the repercussions of following through with any of their fantasy scenarios. The idea that the whole incident just kind of ends once the "bad guy" is dealt with is so short sighted and foolish as to be moronic. The scene doesn't just end and the credits role. You are not heralded as a hero by one and all and given a tickertape parade and patted on the back. You are not a killer. One who has taken a life. In EVERY country in the world it is against the law to kill another human. Our society finds this act so reprehensible that we but people in jail for the rest of their lives (and sometimes we end their lives for them) if you are a killer (technically, we define the type of killing, i.e. premeditated versus unintentional murder, etc).

But now, because of groups like the NRA and the use of mass media and marketing, the idea of being a gun owner is part and parcel with identity politics. Just like people in New Jersey wearing Stetson cowboy hats and blaring pop country in their oversized pick-up trucks. It is this image of a person with power and respect. The good guy cowboy. Just an honest, hard working American who goes to church on Sundays and votes Republican and owns guns. But images are shallow. They are only superficial. They do not define a persons depth of character or experience. And with just a little push, they crumble. The person who feels that they NEED to carry a gun with them at all times is scared. They are scared that the position they hold in society is threatened (whether it is or not). They are scared by people who are not like them, and the cultures or attitudes those people might hold against them, because they are (or perceive that they are) on top of the hierarchy. Most notably, they most likely are not. The people who are don't have to carry guns. The people who are on top pay other people to carry guns for them. But they'll let you have your guns. Because you, individually, with your little collection of guns, you are not a threat to them or their power to manipulate and control you into believing that it's the other people who are out to get you. I am being very specific in this categorization, and I do not intend this to be a general statement about "all" gun owners, or all people who carry concealed firearms. I am simply expressing my outsider observation of the subtext and messaging that has carried over from the mass media and marketing done towards a particular subset of the population, who happen to identify as "gun enthusiasts". If you really want a detailed listing, I could probably write out several books on the subject, but they would all end up looking like character sheets for a table top game written by a boring person.

What is really funny is the database of gun owners. You know how the NRA has been fighting like mad to keep the government from creating a national gun registry? You know why? Because they don't want competition. They want to be the only ones with a national database of gun owners.

Caveat: women. I can completely support a woman carrying a concealed weapon in America today. I still don't trust her to be a reliable or reasonable person, as I don't personally know her (the royal her? I guess). However, given the incidences of sexual assault and violence committed by men against women, as a stop-gap measure, I am all about arming every woman who feels the need to carry a fire arm. I would also like for them to be certified, trained, and have to take recertification courses every 4 to 6 months, but, you know, while I'm dreaming I'd also like a pony.

So, yeah, if you ever find yourself rooting for what the NRA stands for, please feel free to check your perception. You might find it's covered in wool.
posted by daq at 3:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


However, given the incidences of sexual assault and violence committed by men against women, as a stop-gap measure, I am all about arming every woman who feels the need to carry a fire arm. I would also like for them to be certified, trained, and have to take recertification courses every 4 to 6 months, but, you know, while I'm dreaming I'd also like a pony.

If we're dreaming, can't we just dream of a world where women don't get raped and abused in the first place?

(Personally, I think the message that handguns will keep women safe from rape or other violence is as misguided as the message that handguns will keep men safe from violence. It's a fantasy perpetuated by the gun industry to sell guns.)
posted by muddgirl at 3:42 PM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


After reading and reflecting on this thread I am coming to the conclusion that my firearms instructors weren't just good, they were exceptionally good. It's possible that many things I'd assumed were drummed into everyone's heads when they decided to carry a gun for self defense might not be part of the standard curriculum everywhere. Because in addition to teaching gun safety, state self defense law, and shooting skills, Insights also dedicated a significant portion of their class time to disabusing us of any macho hero fantasies we might harbor and teaching us science-based strategies on how to avoid ever shooting anyone. (When I first learned the particulars of the Zimmerman case, I thought back to my defensive handgun instructors' lectures from almost a decade ago and realized that Zimmerman is an almost perfect caricature of their lessons on What Not to Do. I bet they're using him as a cautionary tale in class now.)

Ironically, this was in Washington state, which has no training or skill certification requirement to get a concealed carry permit. But in my social and professional circle, if you wanted to carry a gun and didn't have a military or law enforcement background then enrolling yourself in a multi-day course was simply The Done Thing. Not getting adequate training would have been seen as scandalously irresponsible as drunk driving. I wonder if having a state-mandated minimum training or skill certification requirement imparts a false sense of competence? Lacking an authority to tell us "yes, you know enough to carry a gun now" made us insecure enough to seek out a level of training and skills practice that far exceeded what we otherwise would have been required to obtain in most other states. Perhaps my peer group was just weird. I don't know.

Aside: If you're interested in exceptionally good self-defense training, I once again enthusiastically recommend Insights Training Center in Bellevue, WA. They're much better than any of the training I've seen described in this thread (and their instructors were more engaging than 90% of my college professors). Also, while firearms training is their main draw, they actually teach a holistic self-defense system that emphasizes conflict avoidance, deescalation, and to PEPPER SPRAY ALL THE THINGS then run away. They enjoy philosophizing at length about how carrying a gun imparts a moral duty to avoid confrontation because now any fight could include deadly force. I think even the most anti-gun MeFites could find something to like about their approach.

At the time I took their classes (~8-to-10 years ago), they claimed that their greatest "success story" was that none of their thousands of students had ever gone on to shoot anyone in the U.S. (the caveat "in the U.S." because many of their former students were in the armed forces deployed to Afghanistan or Iraq). This was a little dig at some of the other popular firearm academies, who would publicize whenever one of their former students shot someone in self defense as a "graduate success story."

It's odd... while writing this comment I've realized that the disconnect between the "gun culture" I was indoctrinated into at Insights Training Center and the "gun culture" described in this thread is so pronounced that I'm reminded of how some pro-life organizations masquerade as abortion clinics to snare unsuspecting women and redirect them to adoption. So many of Insight Training Center's explanations behind why they were teaching us to do things a certain way began with a story about how the founders got together to compare notes on something and after debating the pros and cons of different approaches decided to synthesize all the best stuff from each approach into something new. Now I wonder... did they consciously decide to invent their own new-and-improved gun culture, too???
posted by Jacqueline at 3:54 PM on September 18, 2013 [12 favorites]


My initial instinct is "hire people with shotguns to turn away any d-bags that walk in with visible handguns." Not the most reasoned approach.

But I read some idiotic comments and got het up and found this:

Right-to-Carry Laws Do Not Make Us Safer and Likely Increase Aggravated Assaults
posted by lordaych at 3:58 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's odd... while writing this comment I've realized that the disconnect between the "gun culture" I was indoctrinated into at Insights Training Center and the "gun culture" described in this thread is so pronounced

Quite frankly what I think is odd is that the gun culture you claim to have been indoctrinated in and the gun culture you communicated in every single one of your earlier postings could not possibly be more at odds in my opinion. Perhaps - almost certainly - that was not your intention. But it is how you came across.
posted by phearlez at 4:14 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


My training in firearms very much is in accord with Jacqueline's, although most of it was done by relatives and friends and focused on hunting but with the knowledge and lessons that someday I might have to use it to defend myself or someone else and may that day never come. Killing and dressing out and then eating an animal really, really, really drives home just what guns can do and makes you treat them with real respect and care.

I also think a great deal of the negative images people are expressing are not based on much knowledge of the gun culture, but rather a caricuture of those who own and use guns as portrayed by the media and the occasional idiot who gets media exposure (Zimmerman).

However carrying a rifle into Starbucks at any time (that doesn't involve you and forty close friends in some kind of highly unlikely red dawn scenario) is pretty douchey and not something I want any part of and I think what is ultimately driving this.

When this whole starbucks is gun friendly thing started a few years ago starbucks stance was that licensed concealed carry holders didn't present any problem and weren't looking to shoot up the place and they didn't care if there customers carried or not. This was a smart business move in that everyone's money is the same color and what difference does it make if you have pistol (hidden) when you get your latte. However when you get some overzealous idiots starting to use your establishment to take a controversial political stance and make a statement with a weapon that screams 'military' and 'I am someone to be reckoned with' I would do pretty much what they have done and say 'take it outside, I don't need this here'.

For this reason I am not a fan of open carry in general in populated, urban areas and the idiots who do this are not helping the gun rights cause.
posted by bartonlong at 4:21 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would really love it if being being to shoot someone required (both legally and mentally/physically) as many hours of training as it takes to successfully insert an IV.
posted by rtha at 4:24 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


I also think a great deal of the negative images people are expressing are not based on much knowledge of the gun culture, but rather a caricuture of those who own and use guns as portrayed by the media and the occasional idiot who gets media exposure (Zimmerman).

...and the National Rifle Association, which actively, loudly, and effectively lobbies against the kinds of sane gun regulation measures that many gun owners seem to privately agree are logical, rational, and necessary?
posted by muddgirl at 4:27 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Drivers licensing might be a good model. I sure would like to see gun safety education as widespread as drivers education.
posted by Jacqueline at 4:27 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline, that sounds like a truly exceptional training center. While I don't have a gun and haven't taken any courses, I worked in an office where a string of people--maybe ten of them over the course of six months--took the same weekend-long gun safety class. My experience is that they were all rather more gun-happy and macho posturing when they returned the following Monday, having spent the weekend talking about how one time this dude from the class totally used his gun to Protect His Land, or whatever. There was also a lot of carefully cloaked racist rhetoric in their guntalk.

Not getting adequate training would have been seen as scandalously irresponsible as drunk driving.

I think that this is actually a really fantastic analogy. Not having adequate gun training is as irresponsible as drunk driving, and many people--like you, from the sounds of it--would be horrified at the slightest hint that they'd do it.

But there are a lot of people who are perfectly willing to drive after "just a couple drinks"--they had that one gun safety course, and they're pretty sure that they're just fine.

And there are also, unfortunately, a lot of people who don't hesitate to drive drunk. I've worked in offices and lived in neighborhoods where a significant minority of people have DUI convictions. Of the seven neighbours that I'm friendly with, three of them have been convicted (that I'm aware of); at my last job, of the six coworkers whose lives I had any awareness of, two of them had been convicted, and at least two others routinely drove drunk and didn't think anything of admitting it. The people who take the shortest gun safety class required by their state and are moderately annoyed that they have to do so; the people who are pissed that there are restrictions on where they can and can't carry.

I'd like to think that there are more super-responsible gun owners and drinkers than there are irresponsible ones, but my personal experience has been that in large portions of the country, at least, people skew heavily towards falling into one of the less-responsible categories. Which possibly helps clarify. It's like all gun owners are people stumbling out of the bar at two a.m. Some of them haven't touched anything but soda, but all the information I have is "leaving the bar at closing time"--I don't think that anyone would blame me for being a little wary of sharing the road with them.
posted by MeghanC at 4:28 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


Other companies that have made a statement on guns in their stores.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:30 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like to see concealed carry licensing, or handgun owning licensing be even more rigorous than what's required to drive a car. I imagine a sort of sliding scale on which you measure the necessity of a certain activity against the danger involved with it.

Driving cars is extraordinarily dangerous but widely perceived as a type of necessity. Not so with handguns: just look at any other country where you can drive cars but not easily tote around a handgun, and you'll see what I mean, I think.

When I think about the training required to get a driver's license, I shudder a little to think that we'd be happy about requiring that little training to carry around something which, although deadly, just really isn't very necessary in our society.
posted by MoonOrb at 4:37 PM on September 18, 2013


It's like all gun owners are people stumbling out of the bar at two a.m. Some of them haven't touched anything but soda, but all the information I have is "leaving the bar at closing time"--I don't think that anyone would blame me for being a little wary of sharing the road with them.

I see what you did there. That's brilliant!
posted by pallen123 at 4:39 PM on September 18, 2013


The idea of mandatory additional training, annual refreshers, that sort of thing is certainly a good one, but I don't believe for a moment that it would receive a reaction that is substantially different to what a proposal to ban guns outright would receive.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:42 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


How does Starbuck feel about harpoon guns?
posted by klangklangston at 4:49 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


The idea of mandatory additional training, annual refreshers, that sort of thing is certainly a good one

Wasn't this brought up before, but there was criticism that these requirements would make it harder for lower class people to legally obtain guns?
posted by FJT at 4:51 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm sure there is a litany of reasons why it is an objectionable notion.
posted by feloniousmonk at 4:53 PM on September 18, 2013


That's true. Though one of the random thoughts I had to address that was to add gun safety education to standard high school curriculum. But, I can easily see how those good intentions could be coopted by gun lobbyists into something else.
posted by FJT at 5:02 PM on September 18, 2013


People with a driver's license can be reasonably expected to use their car nearly every day, nominally giving them a certain level of practice (and there are still a lot of overconfident or even dangerous drivers on the road). One of the dangers of civilians with guns (as discussed up thread) is that they simply get out of practice and any kind of "positive gun culture" indoctrination is overwhelmed by every other message they're getting.

My ideal level of training for owning a gun would be one-time training plus mandatory training every month, at a minimum. Like being in the national guard or some kind of militia. Here in Texas there is a suggestion by Republican lawmakers to help pay for more intense CCL training, which I am not necessarily opposed to (except where the hell do we get the money from).
posted by muddgirl at 5:13 PM on September 18, 2013


PEPPER SPRAY ALL THE THINGS

Indeed. Someone earlier mentioned "brandishing." Whether or not brandishing is a named crime in a given jurisdiction (it isn't, everywhere), pointing a gun at another person will likely open a legal can of worms you'd prefer stay closed. There's a high bar for when it becomes appropriate, in a legal sense, to involve your firearm in any typical American self-defense context. Setting aside the separate question whether you can react in the time and circumstances you're facing when you're sure that bar has been met, there are many self-defense contexts where it simply won't be. And the odds you'll encounter those contexts are much higher than encountering a situation where a firearm is, let's say, a prudent legal option.

Generally speaking, you will get in a lot less trouble being wrong and/or making a mistake with pepper spray than with a firearm. Different jurisdictions treat pepper spray differently, and some jurisdictions outright ban tasers. But before considering a handgun it's smart to look at your options and consider whether there might be a better tool for what you hope to accomplish.

there was criticism that these requirements would make it harder for lower class people to legally obtain guns

They definitely would, and that's a problem. In my area, firearm training classes cost upwards of a hundred dollars. That's a lot of money for many people, especially if you're expecting it on any kind of regular basis. Add in licensing fees, registration fees, range membership, and cost of ammunition for practice, and what many of us would describe as "responsible gun ownership" becomes an expensive hobby. In the context of the Second Amendment, that's a real potential problem.
posted by cribcage at 5:17 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"My experience is that they were all rather more gun-happy and macho posturing when they returned the following Monday, having spent the weekend talking about how one time this dude from the class totally used his gun to Protect His Land, or whatever."

Whereas I think Insights probably talked several of their students out of wanting to carry a gun at all. Dredging up old memories of their lectures...

Their process of disabusing their students of macho fantasies was to go through a description of the "Three Battles" (this description jives with what I remember from the lecture) and all the ways you could lose them. They had a couple illustrative real-world horror stories about people who had lost for each of the battles.

First, the Physical Battle. Unless your opponent has already pulled a gun or knife on you, pulling your own gun escalates the conflict to a deadly force level. Someone who might have just wanted to rob you is now feels like they have to kill or be killed. Police or armed bystanders could mistake you for the aggressor and shoot you.

Second, the Legal Battle: Criminal half. Let's say you shot someone in self defense and survived the encounter. Now the police are going to scrutinize whether they think you were justified in using deadly force. Unless there is a lot of really blatant evidence in your favor, there will be a stressful police investigation. At the end of the investigation, they might decide to prosecute you. If they do, it will typically cost $X (I forget) to hire a competent defense attorney. Meanwhile (in conjunction with the third battle) you may lose your job because your employer doesn't want the bad press of keeping you on during your trial. Now how are you going to pay your lawyer?

Then, even if you are never charged with a crime or you win your criminal trial, you will almost certainly have to face the Legal Battle: Civil half. They had statistics for what percentage of self-defense shootings resulted in the shooter being sued by his/her attacker or attacker's family. I don't remember anymore what the exact numbers were but they were high. High enough that they said if we ever shoot anyone, even for the best of reasons, we should pretty much assume that we're getting sued. That lawyer would now cost $Y. Typical settlements of $Z. Emphasis that you could be found criminally not guilty but still be civilly liable if there was anything you could have done to avoid the confrontation. Various real-world stories about people losing all their assets (savings, houses, businesses), being ordered to pay restitution out of future wages, etc.

Third, the Social/Moral Battle. They talked about how people will judge you for shooting someone. They talked about how even in the best of circumstances -- when everyone you know and care about agrees you made the right call -- they will still never see you the same. You are a Killer now. They talked about divorces, destroyed careers, social shunning until people had to leave town. And they talked about how if you kill someone, you will never be completely OK with that. You will see that person's face in your mind's eye for the rest of your life. You will ruminate over all the little things you could have done differently to avoid being in that situation. They talked about people who ultimately couldn't live with themselves and committed suicide.

By the time they finished going through all Three Battles they'd covered roughly a dozen real-world cases in which the very relateable protagonist in a seemingly morally justified shooting had his life utterly destroyed. And they told us to think about those examples if we were ever in a situation in which we were tempted to play hero. At the gas station and someone pulls a gun on the cashier? Is it worth potentially throwing your own life away for some stranger?

These instructors were some of the most seemingly macho guys you could meet. All ex-military. One former Navy SEAL. One then-current member of the Portland SWAT team. And they said they would only shoot someone if their own life or the lives of their family were in danger. If they were in the gas station and someone pulled a gun on the cashier, they would go hide in the freezer. And we should too.

So everyone was pretty depressed by the time they finally got us out on the range. Learning to actually shoot our wasn't all "yay! bang! fun! i'm pretending to shoot bad guys!" It was "oh god, I don't know if I'm really up for this after all" and being yelled at if we slipped at all on proper trigger discipline.

Definitely not gun-happy. More like gun-sober.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:20 PM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


To be clear, I wasn't talking about additional licensing requirements to simply own a gun, rather to carry it in public. My basic position is that if you want to carry a gun in public you should be held to the same training standards as police officers, if not stricter. I would prefer it not happen at all, though.
posted by feloniousmonk at 5:23 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh, that sounds miserable. My NRA training class had clowns and puppies!
posted by malocchio at 5:24 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Generally speaking, you will get in a lot less trouble being wrong and/or making a mistake with pepper spray than with a firearm."

Yeah, the Insights instructors said something like, "If you're wondering, 'Should I shoot this guy?' the answer is almost always 'No.' Whereas if you're wondering, 'Should I pepper spray this guy?' the answer is probably 'Yes.'"

Hmm, in retrospect, I guess their courses did include some stories of Heroic Armed Self Defense but in all of those the protagonist was armed with pepper spray.

They also told us how sad they were that their insurance wouldn't let them pepper spray us as part of the defensive pepper spray class. They really wished that they were allowed because 1) if we ever do pepper spray someone else, we're likely going to get some of it on ourselves so we should be prepared for what it feels like and 2) they all had to get pepper sprayed as part of their training in the armed forces and/or law enforcement and IT WAS HILARIOUS.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:29 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


My basic position is that if you want to carry a gun in public you should be held to the same training standards as police officers, if not stricter.

If the cops get to be obese, then Renoroc gets to carry a gun. QED.
posted by Renoroc at 5:30 PM on September 18, 2013


That's some interesting stuff, Jacqueline.
posted by sweetkid at 5:31 PM on September 18, 2013


Wow, I just watched the local Fox TV station present the alarming news that OMG STARBUCKS IS BANNING GUNS! A talking head then proceeded to read a bunch of ranty tweets to the station which were mostly, YEAH WELL ME AND MY GUNS ARE NEVER GOING TO STARBUCKS AGAIN! I completely understand why this 5:00 news competitor might feel justified in doing its usual ratings-related shit-stirring but good grief, what parts of "please don't" and "request" do these people lack the ability to grasp?
posted by fuse theorem at 5:32 PM on September 18, 2013


Wikipedia's Honour page may have some relevance here, especially the Cultures of Honour and cultures of Law section. In particular it may help explain any rural/urban difference of opinion.
posted by tychotesla at 5:33 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


"The idea of mandatory additional training, annual refreshers, that sort of thing is certainly a good one

Wasn't this brought up before, but there was criticism that these requirements would make it harder for lower class people to legally obtain guns?"


And I'm back to the suggestion that perhaps we should consider drivers licensing as a model. Integrate it into the public school curriculum before students leave high school. If any fees are charged, have some sort of needs-based voucher.

I am a foaming-at-the-mouth Libertarian who is theoretically opposed to BOTH any restrictions on gun rights AND the very existence of public schools and even I consider this a reasonable proposal. Of all the forms that ZOMG HORRIBLE ENCROACHING GOVERNMENT TYRANNY could take, I'd be significantly less enthusiastic about actively fighting this one.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:35 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


They also told us how sad they were that their insurance wouldn't let them pepper spray us as part of the defensive pepper spray class. They really wished that they were allowed because 1) if we ever do pepper spray someone else, we're likely going to get some of it on ourselves so we should be prepared for what it feels like and 2) they all had to get pepper sprayed as part of their training in the armed forces and/or law enforcement and IT WAS HILARIOUS.

Being pepper sprayed SUCKS.

But among the funnier things about it, was for like a day after I was pepper sprayed, all of the food I ate tasted peppery.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:41 PM on September 18, 2013


Though one of the random thoughts I had to address that was to add gun safety education to standard high school curriculum. But, I can easily see how those good intentions could be coopted by gun lobbyists into something else.

This actually used to be quite common in high schools. I'm doing a lot of geneological research, and it's somewhat disconcerting to see, say, these old-fashioned ladies all smiling at their ladies rifle club picture in the yearbooks.

I share Jacqueline's feelings, though. One of the prime reasons people object to mandatory gun classes is either 1) it creates a de facto gun registry, or 2) it would be difficult for poorer people to access. That would solve both.
posted by corb at 5:43 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


This article by Dan Baum in Harper's a couple of years ago was very educational. Happiness is a Worn Gun. I live in Canada, so I thought it would be a great introduction to a fair-minded overview of gun ownership and concealed carry. But frankly, if this guy was standing in the line at Starbucks I'd go somewhere else, because as he says, situational awareness is everything!

It's worth reading for some insight into the mind of the concealed carry permit holder and gun lover though.
posted by sneebler at 5:46 PM on September 18, 2013


I just remembered another example of how NOT gun-happy they were:

I can't remember whether this was part of the formal lecture or just BSing at lunch but I distinctly remember one of the instructors quipping that most self-defense enthusiasts' survival-related dollars and time would be better invested in a good pair of running shoes and time at the track than on ammo and time at the range. He said being able to run away was far more likely to save our lives than being a good shot.

Then in the activity portion of the class they taught us how to run away properly. Their general schtick of breaking every self defense technique down into its component parts, analyzing the pros and cons of various approaches, synthesizing the best aspects of each approach, and then building it into their holistic system even applied to running away.

FYI: Properly running away as per their instructors:

1) If someone grabs at you, you should break away by rotating around your gun (so, your dominant hand). That makes it much more difficult for them to disarm you because even if they grab your gun their wrist can't bend that way. Whereas if you rotated in the other direction and they had a hold of your gun, your movement would actually assist them in disarming you.

2) Hit them in the neck with your palm heel until they let go.

3) Run away in a zig-zag pattern because that's much harder to hit with a bullet (if they have a gun) than someone running in a straight line.

They made us practice skills like that in addition to the time we spent at the range learning to draw, aim, shoot, reload, reholster, etc.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:51 PM on September 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Jacqueline, where do you live and why do you need so much personal protection training?
posted by pallen123 at 5:56 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and the National Rifle Association, which actively, loudly, and effectively lobbies against the kinds of sane gun regulation measures that many gun owners seem to privately agree are logical, rational, and necessary?

Articles like this one is the reason so many gun owners (and the NRA has 5 million members-which is a huge number for a political organization) react so passionately against gun control measures.

As well as much of the legislation seems not so much geared toward reducing crimes committed with guns but toward harrassment of gun owners.
posted by bartonlong at 5:57 PM on September 18, 2013


Broken link, there, bartonlong.
posted by tonycpsu at 6:00 PM on September 18, 2013


"Jacqueline, where do you live and why do you need so much personal protection training?"

1) Earth. 2) Other humans. Reason enough IMO.

But my proximate motivation at the time I enrolled in the classes was an obsessed stalker whom I'd sent to jail for calling and leaving a few dozen disturbingly explicit death threats and bomb threats on my work voicemail. I worked for a political organization at the time and he'd gotten a bug up his butt about us. Well, after he got out of jail the information on the restraining order included my name so then it became personal about me.

He'd follow the letter of the restraining order by not contacting me directly but instead mailing strange, rambling missives about me to completely unrelated political organizations. In these letters he would rant about "that Jew [my full name]" and how I was part of some vast conspiracy against him. (Note: As chuffed as I am to be included in the Vast Jewish Conspiracy, I'm not actually Jewish. So I don't know where that particular detail came from.) These letters were disturbing enough that at least some of the recipients would Google me and contact me to warn me about them. Then his parole officer would have to try to track him down and have him hospitalized and put back on his medications.

Meanwhile, during the initial investigation I was put in contact via mutual acquaintances with other local women he had stalked. He had stalked some of them on and off for 20+ years. Just when they thought he'd forgotten about them, he'd pop back up into their lives to assault someone or vandalize their house or kill their cats.

Going forward, when he'd stalk someone new (or reignite an old stalking flame), that person would sometimes Google his name and via the archived media coverage of the bomb and death threats and conviction they would find my name and then Google me and contact me to ask me if I knew WTF his deal was. So for a few years I was the unwilling information hub for his other victims. That's how I learned that he not only stalks the women he's obsessed with for decades, but follows them across state lines. He followed one woman from Washington down to her campus in California. She had no idea how he found her there. We think maybe he is relatively internet-savvy himself.

So while I'd been lucky enough that the closest I'd personally come to him was when we were both in court for his sentencing, I knew based on his history with his other stalking victims that he would likely a) stalk me for decades, possibly for the rest of his or my life, b) follow me anywhere he could find me, and c) escalate over time to eventual assault, vandalism, and pet murderings. Oh and in addition to his escalation pattern with each victim he also seemed to be getting worse over the years. So if it happens to be my turn in his stalking-victim-rotation when he decides to take it to the next level...

Ten years, two name changes, and 3000 miles later and I'm hopeful that I've finally lost him for good. But who knows. Two of his other victims told me they were sure he'd forgotten about them when he'd suddenly pop back up in their lives a few years later to do something else horrible to them.

Just Googled him to see what he's been up to lately. Apparently he's alive and well and suing the FBI as of a few years ago.

(oh, so this must be what being "triggered" feels like)

That's my malevolent stalker, and the only one I bothered to get a restraining order against. I also had two delusionally infatuated stalkers who weren't bad enough for me to seek restraining orders but whose total disregard for boundaries was disturbing enough to also make me feel like maybe I should be able to defend myself. One of them would stalk my movements through my blog and show up at various group or public events I was at and try to touch me. The other one somehow got my unlisted mailing address and showed up out of the blue to surprise me and became angry when he discovered that I didn't actually live there and angry that I didn't want to give him my home address. Both of them have since lost interest.

And of course after 20+ years online I've had a few hundred people threaten to beat, rape, and/or kill me as punishment for the crime of Having An Opinion While Female. I'm pretty sure that 99+% of them would never follow through IRL but then sometimes you hear about the ones who do to other women who dared to Have An Opinion While Female and there's too much similarity between their online threats (prior to IRL attack) and my online threats (no IRL attack yet) for me to feel confident that it will never happen to me.

So it's not random crime I'm worried about. I'm worried about people who want to hurt me specifically. If someone is really determined to find you and hurt you, they usually can.
posted by Jacqueline at 7:03 PM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


Didn't that latest gun study that was commissioned by the Obama administration after the Sandy Hook shooting find that guns were used for self-defense more often than when they were used for crimes?
posted by I-baLL at 7:04 PM on September 18, 2013


corb: "I think private property owners should be able to say who can and can't come into their business, but I will note we have historically placed limits, federally, on to what extent property owners who have a business that serves the public can in fact discriminate against members of the public. I don't think anyone would be comfortable if he had said, say, I would prefer women not to come to my business, or X race to come to my business.

This comparison is so bad it should be criminal. Saying "don't bring something in here" is not like saying "you can't come in here". Restaurants also say you can't bring in outside food, animals (except service animals) and must wear shoes. This is not racist against Shoeless Americans.

Comparing this in any way, even a tiny bit, to discrimination is insulting and stupid. It does point out the mindset behind the gun-crowd, though. It's long past any rational discussion of guns, it's become another stupid identity issue, where gun owners start to think that "Gun Owner" is a type of person like being black or gay is, and everyone else should have to cater to "who you are". Owning a gun is not who you are; it's a dangerous object that you can put down without changing yourself.

I say this as a supporter of the Second Amendment, which by, the way has "well regulated" right in the damn text. Guns are for protecting your home. If someone breaks into your house, go fucking Rambo on them. But you are not expressing your truest self when you force me to be around you and your death machine when I'm trying to get a coffee.
posted by spaltavian at 7:10 PM on September 18, 2013 [10 favorites]


>> "Jacqueline, where do you live and why do you need so much personal protection training?"

> 1) Earth. 2) Other humans. Reason enough IMO.

Do you not understand that this fear of other humans is not normal? That most people simply have no understanding of why you are so fearful of other humans that you must constantly be carrying a deadly weapon around?

As a constantly armed person with what appears to be a case of paranoia, do you not understand that to most people, you are the threat?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:30 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


And I do understand that you have a situational issue, based on a bad experience you had, and I'm sorry. But your solution is not a good one.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:32 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the prime reasons people object to mandatory gun classes is [...] it creates a de facto gun registry

Why do you object to this and/or believe that it infringes upon your right to keep and bear arms?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:05 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


See, I disagree. I think Jacqueline's story makes total sense, and her solution is a fine one. I would prefer not to see/be near guns during my daily activities, but I do think that responsible people, trained and licensed, should be able to carry guns (preferably concealed).

I also think that it is reasonable for a business to ask people to not carry their guns in their stores.

Just wanted to speak up as a person totally in favor of strict gun control laws who isn't advocating for a ban or telling gun carriers that they have "a case of paranoia" after they tell a, IMO, pretty scary story about known dangers they face.
posted by coupdefoudre at 8:09 PM on September 18, 2013 [14 favorites]


I certainly understand Jacqueline's motivation for personally wanting to carry a gun. But the idea that Earth and humans are so dangerous that we all need to carry guns all the time - that's where I think we get into paranoia.

Jacqueline's case is extreme - one violent stalker, two non-violent stalkers, hundreds of people threatening her online with physical injury. To use that specific and extremely unusual case as an argument as to why everyone should be carrying is not good reasoning.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 8:19 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


"I think Jacqueline's story makes total sense, and her solution is a fine one."

So do I, actually. What I disagree with is the prescriptive view that this is a fine solution for everyone. "Earth" and "Other humans" is not a good reason to have and carry a gun; a credible physical threat that could result in death or serious bodily harm is a good reason to have and carry a gun.
posted by klangklangston at 8:20 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


You're a brave and awesome person for not letting that stop you from speaking out for your beliefs, Jacqueline. I hope that guy can find some help some time but I know the legal/mental health system doesn't seem to be able to handle that type all that well. I don't blame you for doing what you believe is necessary.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:24 PM on September 18, 2013


I actually did stop blogging and drop out of politics. I keep most my Having Opinion While Female activities to MetaFilter now for a reason.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:30 PM on September 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, Sorry. :( I hope you are able to resume at some point. I've found you to be a very impressive commentator even when I don't agree with you and our country needs folks like that from all perspectives.
posted by Drinky Die at 8:32 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I figure I'm already talking to a significant chunk of the best people on the internet here anyways so don't really feel a pressing need to start blogging again.
posted by Jacqueline at 8:35 PM on September 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


lupus_yonderboy: "And I do understand that you have a situational issue, based on a bad experience you had, and I'm sorry. But your solution is not a good one."

On the contrary, I think that her solution is an entirely reasonable one based on an active and persistent threat.

But, then, I have no problem with that.

Where I have a huge problem is when we start extrapolating from an individual's needs or requirements to, frankly, mob behavior.

As far as I'm concerned, you should have to be licensed and qualified to own or carry a firearm, just like you have to be licensed and qualified to drive a motor vehicle. And the gulf between those two situations in the US, as of right now, is horrifying.

I absolutely do not, cannot, and will not even attempt to understand the kind of diseased thinking that insists that ANY infringement upon the basic ownership of a gun equates to TOTAL infringement upon guns, period.

Jacqueline has a clear requirement, and is well-trained. I don't have a problem with her owning or carrying a firearm. But the keys there are "clear requirement" and "well-trained". I think those need to be high bars, with heavy penalties for failing to meet them.

What I find absolutely absurd is the vitriol and pushback upon what I consider completely reasonable restrictions and rules. I live in California. To purchase a handgun, I have to be 21 years old, and possess a Handgun Safety Certificate, which means I have to pass a test and safety demonstration.

The HSC Study Guide is here. I got mine by doing a one-night, 3-hour hands-on course and taking the test at the end of it.

I encourage people to read through the study guide. It's full of good, solid information on not only safe firearms handling but the California laws regarding self-defense.

And yet. And yet. I cannot walk into a gun store in the Bay Area without being marinated in a constant wave of outright paranoid behavior, rantings about "liberals" and "gun-grabbers", mordant, thinly-veiled racism and end-of-the-world survivalist bullshit. And that's just the other customers. I avoid going to gun stores because the other customers frighten me, and I am by far not the only person in this boat.

Online, it's a tidal wave of "Kalifornia" and frothing rabidity about oppression and slippery slopes and so forth and so on ad nauseum infinitum.

And all of this in reaction to what I would consider an utterly reasonable, minimal standard for responsible gun ownership.

It's beyond ludicrous, and frankly looks like some sort of mind-control Cult Of The Gun Almighty, and I have a hard time seeing how we can make any progress when the acolytes of this particular cult go completely, totally batshit insane when anyone suggests the tiniest hurdle for gun ownership and management.

You can thank the NRA for this.

The NRA is off the rails, into the ditch, and upside down, and it would behoove those of you who are gun owners to recognize that, to everyone else in the world, there is no difference between you and Wayne LaPierre. The NRA is you, to the rest of the world. And the NRA is completely insane. Until you fix that, you don't have a chance at getting heard with any kind of fairness.

You have made this bed for yourselves by letting the NRA dominate public discourse about guns for the last few decades. And now you want the rest of us to somehow understand that the completely batshit organization you have permitted to speak loudest, longest, and most forcefully on your behalf isn't really the face of gun ownership?

That ship has sailed. Deal with it. And you have gotten what you deserved for not putting a stop to it when you had the chance.
posted by scrump at 8:37 PM on September 18, 2013 [27 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest: "carrying a gun is something for completely unreasonable paranoid people."

This may be an expression of something fundamental to a slave-successor State, barely post-apartheid.
posted by meehawl at 8:58 PM on September 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The deal with being able to carry a weapon is that it's a choice some people make. I have opinions about that, but as long as carrying a weapon requires that the carrier be screened for scary stuff (having certain protective orders, violent mental illness, previous gun crimes, etc.) and that the carrier be trained in safe use and care of the weapon, then I just don't even think about it. People who've shot guns, who've been trained, should also have learned to respect the gun.

The gun industry is very profitable, and spends truckloads of money lobbying Congress. They are wildly successful. The NRA is their mouthpiece. They appear to be lacking in common human decency.

The letter under discussion is in response to jackasses openly carrying big weapons. It's a polite request, and it admits that there will be no enforcement, no metal detector, no pat-down, no expulsion from Starbucks, nuthin. Just "We'd sure like it if you didn't bring a gun here." The reactions of pro-gun folks is way overboard. A store made a polite request. Why are the responses so hostile? I'm not a fan of people who get angry irrationally, esp. not if they have guns.

I owned a small retail business. If you came in with a visible gun, I'd assume you intended to rob me, unless you were a police officer. Openly displaying a weapon in public is aggressive and intimidating - that's why the police do it. My community is safe. Openly displaying a weapon in public is aggressive, intimidating and antagonistic. Unless it's hunting season, and you're in hunting country.

The gun-owning community does not do a good job of denouncing unsafe gun activity. Kids die. Random individuals who are in an unlucky place/ time die. The gun-owning community should be working to make things safer, instead it seems to only want to sell more guns.

Congress stops any research into gun safety. Gun manufacturers are protecting from lawsuits. Whaaaaat? The gun industry gets gobs of special protection. That's bad, stupid and responsible for many deaths of many of our citizens. What a terrible idea.

I don't drink their coffee, either.
posted by theora55 at 10:42 PM on September 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Comparing this in any way, even a tiny bit, to discrimination is insulting and stupid. It does point out the mindset behind the gun-crowd, though. It's long past any rational discussion of guns, it's become another stupid identity issue, where gun owners start to think that "Gun Owner" is a type of person like being black or gay is, and everyone else should have to cater to "who you are". Owning a gun is not who you are; it's a dangerous object that you can put down without changing yourself.

This.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:43 PM on September 18, 2013 [5 favorites]


The NRA is aware that selling paranoia is the same thing as selling firearms.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:48 PM on September 18, 2013 [6 favorites]


Surely this story would motivate gun control supporters to champion other stores as "gun friendly" establishments and proudly (yet ironically) display assault weapons while in the stores/offices. This may force management to make similar "no guns, please" statements. Eventually, there would be fewer and fewer stores that accept this "anti-social" behavior, and whether you are an open or closet gun toter, it would just be a hassle to bring your gun into town, and you'll end up just leaving it at home.

My favorite quote on the US and guns is - "Pandora's gun locker was opened long ago. There are no easy or quick fixes."
posted by guy72277 at 1:41 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Jacqueline: "Drivers licensing might be a good model. I sure would like to see gun safety education as widespread as drivers education."
That's quite funny (okay, scary) to read from this side of the pond, where American driver's ed is routinely ridiculed for being about as rigorous as a toddler doing differential equations. But it might of course have gotten better over the last 15 years (which is when the people I know got their licenses in the US).
posted by brokkr at 2:19 AM on September 19, 2013


And I'm back to the suggestion that perhaps we should consider drivers licensing as a model. Integrate it into the public school curriculum before students leave high school. If any fees are charged, have some sort of needs-based voucher.

I am a foaming-at-the-mouth Libertarian who is theoretically opposed to BOTH any restrictions on gun rights AND the very existence of public schools and even I consider this a reasonable proposal. Of all the forms that ZOMG HORRIBLE ENCROACHING GOVERNMENT TYRANNY could take, I'd be significantly less enthusiastic about actively fighting this one.


I just wanted to chime in and agree with Jacqueline and scrump about the whole 'motor vehicle' model of gun ownership*.

Every time I step outside, there is a nonzero chance someone will kill me with their car. There's also a nonzero chance I will unintentionally kill myself or someone else every time I get behind the wheel of my own car, even though I would never choose to do that, and only wish I could infrequently.

So... there's a buy-in. People have to demonstrate minimum competence. People have to pass an eye exam. People have to bring their car in and show that - if only for one inconvenient time slot - their vehicle was ever properly maintained, (this being a prime fear of mine where gun ownership is concerned). Vehicles are registered so the police can track them better in the event of a crime... and everybody has to carry insurance if they want to use them.

It's not perfect: loads of people who shouldn't have cars still do. Lots of people do still die through their misuse. But I have some expectation that every single person I see on the road did something, ever, to prove they could handle the responsibility and understands the basic operation of their vehicle.

As a car owner, this makes my life less convenient: my short term costs are higher. I'm less able to use my car to run over someone I don't like... but the thing is, I want a system like this, even though it bites me personally.

What I take away from the pushback to all of this is that a nontrivial number of gun owners want all the perks of being able to end someone's life in an instant without any agreement that yes, this is actually a pretty big deal.

... and that's the problem. Not the guns. The lack of agreement that we should all actually take this seriously, if guns really need to be a thing.

Much as I would rather have 'no guns ever thanks,' I would accept guns in public spaces if they worked that way both because it would mean that the people carrying them had been exposed to some kind of safety training... but also that, on some level, they bought into the notion that having a gun is a heavy responsibility that they could get burned for doing wrong, deliberately or otherwise.

The fact that something like this could never even be up for serious consideration in the US is why I don't want to see guns in Starbucks**.

(* Disclaimer: I realize nobody said anything about insurance upthread, but this gets into the Three Battles thing: shooting someone, even for the most defensible reason, pretty much guarantees substantial monetary cost. Acting like it doesn't, and failing to have a safety net in place if it does, is part of the problem that our culture seems to have with connecting violence to consequences. I'd rather put it up front both out of practical necessity and to emphasize that yes, pulling the trigger could ruin you in the same way that a serious illness could.)

(** I've set foot inside a Starbucks maybe once in the past five, ten years? But I'd feel the same way seeing a gun at the grocery store or the like. Makes me nervous.)
posted by mordax at 2:24 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Why do you object to this and/or believe that it infringes upon your right to keep and bear arms?

Very simply, gun registries prevent your ability to defend yourselves against a tyrannical government, which is one of the reasons for the Consitutional protections for firearms in the first place. (The battles at Lexington and Concord, for example, were because the Americans had weapons and the British wanted to seize them) There are certainly arguments to be made about how effective firearms would be, and I don't want to rehash those arguments here again, but the base point is that if the government has a list of every gun owner and every gun, then it's very simple to go knocking on doors and collecting them.

For those who say this would never happen -registration has led to confiscation multiple times in New York City, Australia, Canada, and more.

I think the key takeaway here is actually not that registration is always a sinister plan to eventually confiscate - though it may be for some - but that, while one government may implement gun registration for the best of intentions, another government may use that registry for the worst of them. For example - pre-war Germany created firearm registration, but it wasn't abused until the Nazis rolled through and started confiscating them. You can never be certain who you are empowering when you create broad governmental powers.
posted by corb at 4:16 AM on September 19, 2013


When was the last time a tyrannical government was defeated by people with handguns, with or without the mochachino?
posted by sneebler at 5:11 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest: "carrying a gun is something for completely unreasonable paranoid people."

This may be an expression of something fundamental to a slave-successor State, barely post-apartheid.
posted by meehawl at 11:58 PM on September 18 [+] [!]


That is a gross selective quotation of what I said.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:19 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


For example - pre-war Germany created firearm registration, but it wasn't abused until the Nazis rolled through and started confiscating them.

This is a gross distortion of the historical record. The myth that the Nazis confiscated guns is a piece of pro-gun propaganda that was fabricated as a rhetorical tool to basically call gun control advocates Nazis.

It is, frankly, a crock of shit.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:24 AM on September 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I, for one, would welcome citations from both sides on the Nazi gun-control issue.
posted by gauche at 5:38 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


corb: Very simply, gun registries prevent your ability to defend yourselves against a tyrannical government, which is one of the reasons for the Consitutional protections for firearms in the first place

The Second Amendment:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

The writers of the Second Amendment believed that the people had a right to keep and bear arms because a well regulated milita is necessary to secure a free state. I'm not sure what kind of definition of "well regulated" once would have that couldn't include something as basic as a registry.
posted by spaltavian at 5:40 AM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


I, for one, would welcome citations from both sides on the Nazi gun-control issue.

Here you go.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:43 AM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Second amendment is obsolete. Period.
posted by pallen123 at 5:43 AM on September 19, 2013


pallen123: Second amendment is obsolete. Period.

I strongly disagree. It all but mandates gun control. Don't let the crazies own 10% of the Bill of Rights.
posted by spaltavian at 5:54 AM on September 19, 2013


I, for one, would welcome citations from both sides on the Nazi gun-control issue.

And here is a well-cited article, published in the Arizona Journal of International and Comparative Law that draws from (frankly horrifying) primary sources. (warning: potential triggers)
Within a decade, Germany had gone from a brutal firearms seizure policy which, in times of unrest, entailed selective yet immediate execution for mere possession of a firearm, to a modern, comprehensive gun control law. Passed by a liberal republic, this law ensured that the police had records of all firearms acquisitions
(or at least all lawful ones) and that the keeping and bearing of arms were subject to police approval. This firearms control regime was quite useful to the new government that came to power a half decade later.
MisantropicPainforest is correct that one of the quotes going around, supposedly by Hitler, is unauthenticated, and may not have actually been spoken - this is what is most often used to suggest that Nazi gun control was a myth. But that doesn't mean that the Nazis did not, in fact, utilize gun confiscation - it simply means they used other words when they did it.

The article I posted, by the way, contains such historical hilarities as "Nazis Hunt Arms In Einstein Home, Only Bread Knife Rewards Brownshirts." It's worth a read no matter which side of the argument you fall on.
posted by corb at 5:57 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Another very salient quote, from an SA Oberführer referencing an ordinance issued by the provisional Bavarian Minister of the Interior
The units of the national revolution, SA, SS, and Stahlhelm, offer every German man with a good reputation the opportunity to join their ranks for the fight. Therefore, whoever does not belong to one of these named units and nevertheless keeps his weapon without authorization or even hides it, must be viewed as an enemy of the national government and will be held responsible without hesitation and with the utmost severity.
posted by corb at 6:00 AM on September 19, 2013


This firearms control regime was quite useful to the new government that came to power a half decade later.

That's your pull quote that supposedly supports the claim that the Nazi's confiscated guns?

And my links weren't just about the apocryphal Hitler quote. From the actual articles:

"Unfortunately for LaPierre et al., the notion that Hitler confiscated everyone’s guns is mostly bogus....

As it turns out, the Weimar Republic, the German government that immediately preceded Hitler’s, actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime. After its defeat in World War I, and agreeing to the harsh surrender terms laid out in the Treaty of Versailles, the German legislature in 1919 passed a law that effectively banned all private firearm possession, leading the government to confiscate guns already in circulation. In 1928, the Reichstag relaxed the regulation a bit, but put in place a strict registration regime that required citizens to acquire separate permits to own guns, sell them or carry them."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:08 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


For example - pre-war Germany created firearm registration, but it wasn't abused until the Nazis rolled through and started confiscating them. You can never be certain who you are empowering when you create broad governmental powers.

And yet Israel, a country founded largely from those that escaped the Nazis and has been more or less in a war zone since it was founded (to say nothing of NRA's go-to for gun efficacy), not only has a registration and tracking program, but extremely strict licensing and ownership regulations including limits on both guns and ammo, and rejects roughly 40% of gun applications.

MisantropicPainforest is correct that one of the quotes going around, supposedly by Hitler, is unauthenticated, and may not have actually been spoken - this is what is most often used to suggest that Nazi gun control was a myth.

Was Hitler Really a Fan of Gun Control?
As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition "be surrendered immediately." The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens "of undoubted reliability" (in the law's words) but not "persons who are itinerant like Gypsies." In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated, and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.

"But guns didn't play a particularly important part in any event," says Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland's political science department and has extensively researched gun control politics. Gun ownership in Germany after World War I, even among Nazi Party members, was never widespread enough for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis to have been anything more than a Tarantino revenge fantasy. If Jews had been better armed, Spitzer says, it would only have hastened their demise. Gun policy "wasn't the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group."
posted by zombieflanders at 6:09 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm sure the Syrian rebel factions are fighting the Syrian army with handguns. It's all that's keeping the army at bay.

People in the US who are convinced that the only thing standing between them and their annihilation by their tyrannical government is lack of gun registries display what I can't think is anything other than deliberate ignorance of reality and history.

It wasn't gun confiscations that kept the poor, innocent German people from being able to defend themselves from Hitler. It was propaganda.
posted by rtha at 6:13 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't think Stephen Halbrook (corb's link) is a great source for this argument. His claims, along with those of his opposition (William Pierce) have been studied in this paper, which states:

Neither Halbrook nor Pierce are historians, however, and their ideological commitments are so flagrant - Halbrook as a pro-gun litigator and Pierce as a pro-gun white supremacist -that neither can be trusted entirely in these historical and statutory debates.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:23 AM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, perhaps I should point out that pretty much all of the persecution of minorities and attempts to deprive them of their rights are currently being undertaken by the party the NRA very closely identifies with. Indeed, their leader attempted to falsely paint minority neighborhoods as "hellish" and "full of looters", and a famous member of their board is outspokenly racist.

That same NRA that is so well-connected within governments at local, state, and federal levels has, in fact, been building their own registry based on (among other things) training courses and interest groups, above and beyond NRA members. They also have an "enemies list" (their words) targeting religious, racial, and gender-based groups (including Jews and minorities) as well as individuals. That list also includes groups who aim to prevent domestic violence, sexual assault, and rape, as well as assist survivors, something which the NRA has little to no sympathy for either legislatively or judicially.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:33 AM on September 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


That's your pull quote that supposedly supports the claim that the Nazi's confiscated guns?

No, that was the description of the central theme. Admittedly, I had the perhaps foolish idea that people would actually read the article instead of being really quick to reflexively dismiss it.

Per the New York Times, of Apr 23, 1933 "Permission to Possess Arms Withdrawn From Breslau Jews":
Breslau, April 21. The Police President of the city has decreed that “all persons now or formerly of the Jewish faith who hold permits to carry arms or shooting licenses must surrender them forthwith to the police authorities.” The order is justified officially on the grounds that Jewish citizens have allegedly used their weapons for unlawful attacks on members of the Nazi organization and the police. Inasmuch as the Jewish population “cannot be regarded as trustworthy,” it is stated, permits to carry arms will not in the future be issued to any member thereof.
Per Der Reichskanzler; Der Reichsminister des Innern, Entwurf eines Gesetzes zur Aenderung des Schußwaffenrechts, Re: I A 6310/4, 11 November
1933.BA Berlin, R 43 II/399, Fiche 1, Row 3
we have
By Fall a draft was circulated. It would have adopted a nominal amount of deregulation for some, subject to its ultimate postulate expressed in the title to Chapter 1: “Prohibition of Firearms by Enemies of the People and the State.” It provided: “The police authority may prohibit the acquisition, possession or carrying of firearms by any person who is an enemy of the people and the state or who is a danger to public security.”

An analysis of the proposal explained: "The Reich Minister of the Interior is of the opinion that the Weapons Law should be amended in its entirety only after the German people has been permeated with the National Socialist ideas to the degree that we no longer have to fear extensive armed riots of the people and the state.
And yet Israel, a country founded largely from those that escaped the Nazis

Zombieflanders
, I heart you and all, but we're already taking on gun control. Maybe we could leave Israel and its behavior out of it? (cough I/P cough) Or maybe I should look for some laws about Nazis declawing cats, too and we should just go balls-to-the-wall with it?
posted by corb at 6:34 AM on September 19, 2013


Second amendment is obsolete. Period.

See, this is where I think gun control advocates overreach. We have a mechanism for changing or amending the Constitution. It's there for good reason and it's a hard bar to clear, for good reason. Absent successful use of that mechanism, the Second Amendment is not obsolete: it is very much in operation and relevant to the question of what kind of weapons-ownership we can have as a society.

I think that the "well-regulated militia" language is under-relied-upon, and I also think that the fears of gun-rights folks about creeping incrementalism are logically unfounded. The Second Amendment doesn't say "guns" but "arms." If any encroachment on the right to bear arms were unacceptable, that should mean that citizens should be allowed to freely purchase not merely guns but also bombs, tanks, missiles, and even nuclear weapons.

I don't know any gun-rights folks who believe that the Constitution creates a right to personal ownership of nukes. Clearly, there's a line somewhere: even gun-rights folks agree that some arms should be regulated. So the question is, why or why not guns? Why or why not these kinds of guns? Why or why not ammo? Regulated how?

I also think that the mere existence of the NRA as a membership organization puts the lie to fears about a registry: it seems to me that a notional future tyrannical government would get its hands on the NRA's membership list -- if indeed the NSA doesn't already have it -- well before coming after gun owners.

So the list already exists and is quite possibly already in government hands. And even gun rights people accept that some arms should be regulated. I don't see how the deeply principled stand against creeping tyrannical incrementalism is at all related to actual gun situation the real world. Back to the original point, I also don't see why it's necessary either to amend the Constitution or to ignore the Second Amendment in order to move the already-extant line on what kind of arms are regulated.
posted by gauche at 6:37 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Very simply, gun registries prevent your ability to defend yourselves against a tyrannical government, which is one of the reasons for the Consitutional protections for firearms in the first place.

It has never been the case that individual firearm owners, sensing tyranny, have had the right to start shooting at anyone in order to throw off said tyranny. Ever.

There are certainly arguments to be made about how effective firearms would be, and I don't want to rehash those arguments here again

Why not? Those arguments are perfectly relevant. There is no reason to let you arbitrarily possess dangerous instrumentalities if the thing you claim you need them for is not even possible.

if the government has a list of every gun owner and every gun, then it's very simple to go knocking on doors and collecting them.

If what you're apparently afraid of comes to pass, the lack of a gun registry will not stop the government from just searching everyone's house for guns.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:38 AM on September 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


corb,

You said that the Nazi's confiscated guns. They only confiscated the guns of Jews. And as Omar Bartov, actual historian, has argued, this was incidental to the Nazi's ability to exterminate the Jews.

More importantly, there was not widespread confiscation of guns by the Nazis. That is simply the 'truth'. And no amount of citing essays published in non-peer reviewed journals by non-historians by non-German reading people will change that.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:46 AM on September 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Good morning everyone! Where have the goal posts gone?
posted by Big_B at 6:51 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Big_B: I think the goal posts got Godwinned.
posted by Jacqueline at 6:57 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


And as Omar Bartov, actual historian, has argued, this was incidental to the Nazi's ability to exterminate the Jews.

As I've stated above, I'm not going to argue whether or not a small arms insurgency can be effective or would have been effective, because it has been argued here ad nauseum and everyone already knows everyone's arguments. I am only contributing things I'm pretty sure have not been contributed before. If anyone wants to look back through my posting history for other comments on the feasibility of small arms defense (including my own personal experience with occupying a country), you're welcome to do so on your own.

I will note, however, that whether or not such a movement would ultimately have been successful, the Germans certainly were concerned enough about it to take actions and create laws against it, which implies this is at least a "people disagree" thing rather than a clear cut "This could never happen."
posted by corb at 7:02 AM on September 19, 2013


I'm not going to argue whether or not a small arms insurgency can be effective or would have been effective

"That counterargument is effective and inconvenient, so I'll just ignore it."
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 7:07 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


which implies this is at least a "people disagree" thing rather than a clear cut "This could never happen."

SHAPE OF THE WORLD: EXPERTS DIFFER.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:15 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


corb: "For example - pre-war Germany created firearm registration, but it wasn't abused until the Nazis rolled through and started confiscating them."

In other words, the Nazis abused gun laws to confiscate guns.

corb: "But that doesn't mean that the Nazis did not, in fact, utilize gun confiscation - it simply means they used other words when they did it."

In other words, the Nazis, didn't abuse by confiscation, they just utilized them

corb: " 'The Police President of the city has decreed that “all persons now or formerly of the Jewish faith who hold permits to carry arms or shooting licenses must surrender them forthwith to the police authorities.'"

In other words, the president of a city police department said that Jews should surrender their gun permits.

corb: "the Germans certainly were concerned enough about it to take actions and create laws against it, which implies this is at least a "people disagree" thing rather than a clear cut "This could never happen."

In other words, 'even though none of the things I asserted without evidence just a few comments ago are true, I'M STILL RIGHT.'
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:16 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Very simply, gun registries prevent your ability to defend yourselves against a tyrannical government

This really hits at the root of issue, though - the whole reason Howard Schultz has to stand up and say what he says is because the Second Amendment has become highly politicised and with it a defined transition in interpretation from "right to bear arms" to "right to carry arms wherever I go" in more permissive states.

Similarly, the "well regulated militia", which is problematic to interpret into a modern context, has effectively become a footnote. There is no well regulated militia. There are federal and state military and law enforcement organisations, private organisations and private individuals.

The modern interpretation of the Second Amendment favoured by the NRA is less than 40 years old. It was effectively cemented in 2008 in District of Columbia v. Heller. In order to get there, Antonin Scalia had to perform some fairly delicate contortions. On the one hand, he had to neutralise the militia part of the Second Amendment while also having to define what arms "the people" had a right to, taking the lead from United States v. Miller - a case specifically about the relationship of the weapon to "a well regulated militia."

Because the Second Amendment is more than 200 years old its creators could not foresee the yawning gap in military technology available to the state and private individuals, nor the creation of a huge standing army. It is, legally speaking, badly written too. So the prevailing interpretation of it at any given point in time is a political one.

Which is why District of Columbia v. Heller was contentious. It reinterpreted the Second Amendment as a right to self-defense and in so doing found that a handgun ban was unconstitutional. Effectively, the Second Amendment was decoupled - the militia part from the right to bear arms part.

But the US still reserves the right to withhold certain arms from "the people", and does so on the back of the "militia" part of the Second Amendment. You can't go out a buy anti-aircraft missiles, for example. At a military level, it is a nonsense today to entertain the idea that private gun ownership is an effective tool against government tyranny given the weaponry, size and technological advantage of the US government. It is especially ironic given that conservative support for the War on Drugs has led to the paramilitarisation of the police force. The idea that a gun registry is a critical factor in the ability to taken on government is similar nonsense, both in terms of common sense and legally.

tl:dr modern, interpretative, legal decisions that support the right of individuals to bear arms do so on the back of a move away from the idea of well regulated militia to fight tyranny and towards an individual's right to self defence. Politically, gun rights advocates play on the right to bear arms to fight state tyranny even though the idea is palpably nonsense and severely restricted by legal precedents on the weapons they can own.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:07 AM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Second amendment is obsolete. Period."

Nah, for over two centuries it was just fine — the militia clause was respected — until the current "activist judges" in the Supreme Court issued a radical ruling that stripped years of effective gun control legislation from the hands of lawmakers.

The sad thing is that we're probably a good 30 years out from having a liberal majority court again, to overrule this revanchist bullshit.
posted by klangklangston at 8:17 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yesterday, in Michigan, two men, both with concealed carry permits, drew their guns on each other during an instant of road-rage and killed one another.

I'll bet they both felt very secure with their gun on them right up until they weren't.
posted by zyxwvut at 8:23 AM on September 19, 2013 [23 favorites]


"Very simply, gun registries prevent your ability to defend yourselves against a tyrannical government, which is one of the reasons for the Consitutional protections for firearms in the first place."

That's flat bullshit. Registries prevent no such thing; it's just as easy to argue that knowing the populace is armed makes the government less likely to intervene with force.

As to the Nazi stuff, this Fordham Law Review article debunks your Arizona one, and includes a great quote, re the instrumentality of guns:
After all, the NRA stands for the proposition that "it's not guns that kill people, it's people who kill people." The central idea here is that instrumentalities -in this case handguns-are just that: instrumentalities. They are not to be blamed for what people do wrongly with them. If you follow the logic of that argument, then you would expect a member of the NRA to
respond in the same manner when confronted with the Nazi-gunregistration argument: "It's not gun registration that produces gun confiscation and genocide, it's people who do."
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 AM on September 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


If the defense of our nation against government tyranny lies in the hands of people like my Uncle Beaver or any of the other people I know who spend all their time talking in dark yet somehow gleefully prophetic tones about how guns protect us from Tha Government we're screwed no matter what happens.

For one thing, Uncle Beaver would amend the constitution to require us all to have at least four beagles per person, and we'd all have to learn how to raise orchids. I'd prefer the tyranny.
posted by winna at 8:34 AM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


And claims about the Warsaw uprising are discussed in this Salon article:
Besides, Omer Bartov, a historian at Brown University who studies the Third Reich, notes that the Jews probably wouldn’t have had much success fighting back. “Just imagine the Jews of Germany exercising the right to bear arms and fighting the SA, SS and the Wehrmacht. The [Russian] Red Army lost 7 million men fighting the Wehrmacht, despite its tanks and planes and artillery. The Jews with pistols and shotguns would have done better?” he told Salon.



“As for Stalin,” Bartov continued, “the very idea of either gun control or the freedom to bear arms would have been absurd to him. His regime used violence on a vast scale, provided arms to thugs of all descriptions, and stripped not guns but any human image from those it declared to be its enemies. And then, when it needed them, as in WWII, it took millions of men out of the Gulags, trained and armed them and sent them to fight Hitler, only to send back the few survivors into the camps if they uttered any criticism of the regime.”

Bartov added that this misreading of history is not only intellectually dishonest, but also dangerous. “I happen to have been a combat soldier and officer in the Israeli Defense Forces and I know what these assault rifles can do,” he said in an email.

He continued: “Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”
(my emphasis.)
posted by klangklangston at 8:37 AM on September 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


klang, reading the Fordham law article you cited, it is perhaps not the best thing to prove your point.

It spends 8 pages talking about how modern proponents talk about Hitler and gun control. It then goes into arguing specifically about whether the NRA is hypocritical. It then argues that it is strange to see this argument because modern Nazis are actually pro-gun. Instead of primary sources, it notes things like "whenever I have been to a gun show." It then goes into the history of gun regulation in America - perhaps to show that because gun regulation existed here, it could not have existed with Nazis?

The piece itself is titled "Exploring the Gun Culture Wars" - which does, indeed, go into the depths of what the author perceives as the cultural issues. But it does not actually refute any of Halbrook's actual points, or his scholarly research.
posted by corb at 8:53 AM on September 19, 2013


Oh, I forgot to note, it does include the argument that since Hitler loosened the gun restrictions for loyal Nazis, that it means he was against gun control, despite what gun control measures he may have taken against the Jews and Communists.
posted by corb at 8:56 AM on September 19, 2013


"So did Hitler and the Nazis really take away Germans' guns, making the Holocaust unavoidable? This argument is superficially true at best, as University of Chicago law professor Bernard Harcourt explained in a 2004 paper (PDF) on Nazi Germany's impact on the American culture wars. As World War I drew to a close, the new Weimar Republic government banned nearly all private gun ownership to comply with the Treaty of Versailles and mandated that all guns and ammunition "be surrendered immediately." The law was loosened in 1928, and gun permits were granted to citizens "of undoubted reliability" (in the law's words) but not "persons who are itinerant like Gypsies." In 1938, under Nazi rule, gun laws became significantly more relaxed. Rifle and shotgun possession were deregulated, and gun access for hunters, Nazi Party members, and government officials was expanded. The legal age to own a gun was lowered. Jews, however, were prohibited from owning firearms and other dangerous weapons.

"But guns didn't play a particularly important part in any event," says Robert Spitzer, who chairs SUNY-Cortland's political science department and has extensively researched gun control politics. Gun ownership in Germany after World War I, even among Nazi Party members, was never widespread enough for a serious civilian resistance to the Nazis to have been anything more than a Tarantino revenge fantasy. If Jews had been better armed, Spitzer says, it would only have hastened their demise. Gun policy "wasn't the defining moment that marked the beginning of the end for Jewish people in Germany. It was because they were persecuted, were deprived of all of their rights, and they were a minority group."'


There simply was no widespread confiscation of guns by the Nazis. Please, if you so desperately need to believe this, provide some evidence of research by an actual scholar, published in some place that has some quality control standards, so we can spend time discussing an actual issue rather then sending out search parties for the goalposts.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:02 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


For fuck's sake, speaking of goalpost moving...

My initial statement was this:
"For example - pre-war Germany created firearm registration, but it wasn't abused until the Nazis rolled through and started confiscating them. You can never be certain who you are empowering when you create broad governmental powers.
From there, how do we get to "widespread confiscation"? My point was specifically that the Nazis confiscated guns belonging to their political enemies and minority populations, which, by the nature of being minorities, would, in fact, be small, but still abusive.
posted by corb at 9:06 AM on September 19, 2013


Moreover,

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/23/hitler-gun-control_n_2939511.html

""Technically, they (the militias) were illegal and the guns were illegal, but a lot of government officials didn't care about right-wingers with guns taking on Communists," said David Redles, co-author of "Hitler and Nazi Germany: A History," a popular college text. By 1928, however, officials decided they had to get a handle on the militias and their weapons and passed a law requiring registration of all guns, said Redles, who teaches at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland.

Soon after Hitler was named chancellor in 1933, he used the arson of the Reichstag as an excuse to push through a decree allowing for the arrest of many Communists and the suspension of civil rights including protections from search and seizure. But as the Nazis increasingly targeted Jews and others they considered enemies, they moved in 1938 to loosen gun statutes for the loyal majority, said Bernard Harcourt, a University of Chicago professor of law and political science who has studied gun regulations under Hitler.

The 1938 law is best known for barring Jews from owning weapons, after which the Nazis confiscated guns from Jewish homes. But Harcourt points out that Hitler's gun law otherwise completely deregulated acquisition of rifles, long guns and ammunition. It exempted many groups from requiring permits. The law lowered the age for legal gun ownership from 20 to 18. And it extended the validity of gun permits from one year to three years....

With the 1938 law, Nazis seized guns from Jewish homes. But few Jews owned guns and they composed just 2 percent of the population in a country that strongly backed Hitler."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the NRA keeps a list of its members. Surely the NSA or someone could get a copy if they needed to, just in case.
posted by Big_B at 9:09 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Big_B, exactly. "We don't want a national registry of gun owners," said members of the National Rifle Association.
posted by emelenjr at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


[A few comments deleted. Please take metadiscussion to MeTa. Also at this point maybe we can drop the Nazi derail? Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:15 AM on September 19, 2013


I believe, absolutely, that every individual has the inalienable right to defend their life and liberty with the exact means necessary.

I also believe that Howard Schultz has the absolute right to govern the behavior of every individual who enters his premises.
He is not Lester Maddox and his nail kegs full of axe handles.

This is 100% about business, the same way Miller skated their 180 and are now corporate sponsors of Pride.
posted by Pudhoho at 10:00 AM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Big_B: "I wonder if the NRA keeps a list of its members. Surely the NSA or someone could get a copy if they needed to, just in case."

Inconceivable!
posted by tonycpsu at 10:13 AM on September 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Couple of comments deleted. If you need to continue the Nazi thing please do it by MeMail, thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:34 AM on September 19, 2013


Guns make me nervous. They have ever since my tour in the Army, which included 15 months in Vietnam. I do not want guns in my vicinity, and I don't care who is carrying them, or what kind of uniform they've got on, or how rigorous their training was. Humans make mistakes, and sometimes they get drunk, and some of them are not quite right in the head, and some have poor impulse control.

Let's talk about "fully licensed responsible gun owners." Who among them would you consider definitely safe to be around when they are armed? Police officers?
Police officers shooting at what appeared to be an emotionally disturbed man in New York City's Times Square accidentally struck two innocent bystanders instead, police said today.
There are lots and lots of stories like that. I don't want to be in one of them.

What about firearms safety instructors? Surely they would be safe to be around, right? Maybe not.
Cathy Schmelzer couldn’t believe it when she read in the newspaper that Terry J. Dunlap Sr. — a firearms instructor — had accidentally shot someone.

“Oh no, he’s done it again!” she said she thought to herself. Schmelzer, 50, was Cathy Hessler, a 14-year-old Pickerington girl, when she was accidentally shot in 1977 by Dunlap during a Halloween hayride.
Maybe gun range masters? Uh-oh.
Saavedra and Giannamore, both qualified range masters and experienced firearms instructors, were on duty and wearing bullet-proof vests at the time of the shooting. Although both officers were issued a .40 caliber Glock handgun, an AR-15 rifle and a Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun by the department, those weapons were not used in the incident, Archambo said.

Saavedra was shot with Giannamore's personal rifle, Archambo said.
That last link is to a disturbingly massive collection of stories about cops accidentally shooting themselves or other cops.

Like I said, I don't care how much training you've had. I don't want your gun anywhere near me. And if you honestly think swimming pools are more dangerous than guns, maybe you should think about under what circumstances your neighbor's pool could kill you as you sleep in your bed. If you live in a brick house, maybe that's not so much of a worry for you. Me, I live in a stick-built house, and my walls probably wouldn't stop a .22.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:28 AM on September 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


Like I said, I don't care how much training you've had. I don't want your gun anywhere near me.

I agree. I am licensed to carry a concealed pistol in Washington state and I believe the requirements for that license are woefully inadequate.
Washington is a "must issue" state which means, unless you're a criminal or certified crazy as a bedbug,
the state is required to issue your concealed pistol permit within 30 days of your application - no questions asked.
There's no obligation to prove you are competent with your gun and truly mentally fit to carry.

All you need is $60 + ok to own a handgun.

I also agree that there's too many loose guns lying around in the US, and many of those guns are owned by dumbfucks who own guns for entirely the wrong reasons.

As I said before: if any business doesn't want weapons on their premises, they have the absolute right to prohibit them. As a gun owner, I am not offended in the least by that proscription.
posted by Pudhoho at 12:46 PM on September 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Two more responsible gun owners prove how we're all super-safe and have nothing to fear from them by killing each other in a road rage incident.

Both were concealed carry permit holders. So responsible! I feel so safe knowing that this is a fact of life in America and gun deaths are just an act of God, like the weather.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:51 PM on September 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


At least those two morons managed to kill each other and not their passengers or other innocent bystanders.
posted by tavella at 2:04 PM on September 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


They both kinda won though - they "got" the bad guy!
posted by agregoli at 2:19 PM on September 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


No-gun culture
posted by hydropsyche at 6:22 PM on September 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Any time I see gun advocates arguing for their right to carry their deadly weapon anywhere they like, regardless of property laws or what anyone else thinks or feels, it reminds me of a little kid throwing a tantrum because his mom won't let him wear his Superman costume to church.

"But moommm!!! What if there's a CRIME at church, like like what if Lex Luthor breaks in and steals all the bibles and no one is there to stop him?!?! You're putting Jesus at risk mom!!"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:20 AM on September 20, 2013 [11 favorites]


Why do you think the Black Panthers started the first (post-frontier) open carry movement?

Here's a good article on this if anyone's interested: The Secret History of Guns
posted by homunculus at 12:12 PM on September 20, 2013


i was going to stay out of this, but a current local news story is pretty relevant to this debate

in the usually quiet town of ionia, michigan, two men shot each other in a road rage incident

both had CCW permits

both are dead

i'm not sure you want to listen to the 911 call
posted by pyramid termite at 7:02 PM on September 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


oh, already posted
posted by pyramid termite at 7:06 PM on September 20, 2013


both had CCW permits

both are dead


See, that's probably an example of the poor impulse control I mentioned. Maybe two examples. I have poor impulse control myself, but I know it, and I have children, so I'm not going to arm myself. Not unless the place I live becomes a Stand-Your-Ground, Wild-West combat zone. Thanks to it being a very Blue gun-control state, that is unlikely, and I sure don't want to move someplace where it's more likely.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:11 AM on September 21, 2013


I have friends who are p0olicemen. They carry concealed weapons everywhere they are permitted to do so.

One of them was not keen to that idea... until he realized someone he'd arrested in the past was following him (and his family) around a mall. He spoke to a mall guard he knew, who slipped him his service weapon discreetly. Jack (the cop) sent his family out of the mall, and went alone into another shop. Perp followed him. As soon as Jack was sure the perp could see him, he exposed the weapon. Perp left the store. Jack returned the weapon to the on-duty guard, and never again went out unarmed.

Some people have a professional reason to carry at all times. They generally carry concealed (and I can assure you: they do this in states where that's not legal, too: cops don't arrest cops for trivial things like breaking laws). They are professionals: they never let their weapons make the general public uneasy (unless they're freaky, shouldn't-be-professionals).

--

That being said, I carry a lethal weapon with me wherever I can. His name is Dexter, and because he rarely barks, few people are frightened of him. However, some are. Many times it's foreigners, who come from places where dogs are primarily either feral (and therefore potential threats) or used by the State to control the populace (and therefore explicitly a threat).

I'm not going to leave my dog home because someone might be afraid of dogs. However, it would take a total douchebag to intentionally take a dog into a place that advertised "no dogs allowed" (assuming I didn't have a good and legal need, as in assistance animals). Likewise, I wouldn't take it into the businessplace of someone I knew was nervous around dogs.

Anyone who carries visibly into Starbucks, after they post this very reasonable preference, is a douchebag.

--

Finally: Is Starbucks considered a public place, or a private place, for determination of 2nd-Amendment rights? I don't give a shit what licensing and reasons you have; if you're in my house and carrying, I absolutely have the right to order you to leave.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:15 AM on September 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


IAmBroom: as far as the Second Amendment is concerned, you can think of Starbucks as a "private place" where the Second Amendment doesn't apply. So the issue with businesses excluding people with firearms from their premises isn't really a Second Amendment issue. Speaking generally, the Constitution applies only to government action--the action in the case of exclusion by a private property owner of someone from his premises--would not implicate constitutional concerns.

The analysis gets trickier when the government passes legislation requiring private property owners to permit certain people onto their property--the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for example, which in part prohibits most business owners from excluding people on the basis of race, etc. But that's just not an issue when it comes to the Second Amendment.

Of course, in the case of Starbucks, they haven't even excluded people who openly carry firearms from their stores--they've just asked those people to not openly carry in their stores.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:15 PM on September 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


I agree with IAmBroom. I also have a pet that some might consider dangerous. I have a Cockatoo. The danger is that he might poop at any time. And if a store or restaurant doesn't want my bird pooping in their store, that is their right. I also have a CCW, but if the store says no guns then no guns it is. I respect the establishments that I frequent. It's only right. Going into a shop that specifically asks you not to carry, and then openly carrying, is a dick move. More to the point, carrying concealed into that shop is a danger. Stop being an asshole.
posted by Splunge at 6:16 PM on September 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


Would all the responsible gun owners explain why they think they would be able to respond in a crowd in a sudden emergency, when even cops have trouble not shooting innocent people? I frankly fear the gun-happy more than i do the occasional criminal, although the mass shooters are a little scary. But do you, 50-year-old accountant, lets say, really think you could have done something to stop the Navy Yard shooter? Seriously, what is your day to day training that assures us you're not a threat to the rest of us?
posted by etaoin at 10:05 PM on September 21, 2013 [8 favorites]




Another CCL "ninja" has an accidental/negligent discharge:
The man told officers he accidentally shot himself in the leg while reaching to get his debit card out of his pocket.

He had a valid permit to carry the weapon.

The gun had been concealed in his waistband. The gun slid down the man’s pant leg to the floor. He said he picked up the weapon and attempted to return it to his waistband.

The gun went off and a bullet hit him in the leg.
Meanwhile, the NRA goes full insane shitheel (emphasis in original):
Speaking with David Gregory on Meet the Press, [Wayne] LaPierre charged that the base was “completely unprotected” when Aaron Alexis entered, and called for even more armed guards than were already on duty.

Gregory questioned this logic, pointing out that this attack occurred at a military facility with a heavier armed guard presence than most other places.
GREGORY: This is similar. After Newtown, you were outspoken in saying more security was the answer…This was the Navy Yard. There were armed guards there, Mr. LaPierre. Does that not undermine your argument?

LAPIERRE: No, the whole country knows the problem is there weren’t enough good guys with guns! When the good guys with guns got there, it stopped. [...]

GREGORY: “Can it be the sliding scale where, you do have armed guards there, but now there’s not enough armed guards? And when it comes to schools, if only we had an armed guard, and then if we had teachers with weapons, then we could stop it. I mean, where does it stop?
In reality, police were on the scene within two to three minutes of the shooting, and security guards had already gone after the gunman. Even in those few minutes, the gunman had manage to shoot several people and then had an all-out gun battle with law enforcement, wounding one internal security guard and one Metropolitan police officer. Most gunmen in recent years have needed only a few minutes to wreak havoc. The 2009 shooting at the Fort Hood army base in Texas happened in four minutes, despite heavy security. The deadliest school massacre in U.S. history, at Virginia Tech, took just nine minutes.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:49 AM on September 22, 2013 [4 favorites]


Ellie, The Guardian can "intervene" once they manage to invade and conquer the US. Until then, I advise the Guardian to stick its nose in someone else's business. When we Americans want their opinion, we'll ask for it. If they try to intervene, they'll find out what all those guns we own are for.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 11:34 AM on September 22, 2013


The gun had been concealed in his waistband. The gun slid down the man’s pant leg to the floor. He said he picked up the weapon and attempted to return it to his waistband.

Can we at least make not having a proper fucking holster illegal, FFS?

Alternately not give guns to idiots.
posted by Artw at 11:46 AM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if the NRA will try to work the Kenyan thing in, or has heard of the Kenyan thing. I'm guessing they have a vague idea Kenya exists since that is where EVIL FALSE PRESIDENT is from.

(It's in the Middle East somewhere.)
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on September 22, 2013


When we Americans want their opinion, we'll ask for it. If they try to intervene, they'll find out what all those guns we own are for.

Sooo: we'd do a lot of macho posturing and then accidentally negligently shoot each other and a bunch of kids, while the Guardian stood and watched in bewilderment?

Or did you mean we'd take then hunting as a show of hospitality?

Nothing else is jumping to mind, based on the recent performance of gun owners...
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:17 PM on September 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


When we Americans want their opinion, we'll ask for it.

Dude, when we Americans want you to tell the rest of the world what we want on our behalf, we'll let you know.
posted by cortex at 12:26 PM on September 22, 2013 [22 favorites]


NRA Annual Meeting: No Guns Allowed
To think that you'd have to suffer the indignity of going through a metal detector to hear someone proselytize about your right to carry your gun anywhere you want is easy irony.

So why is the NRA allowing their leadership, their membership, and their special guests--even NRA board member Ted Nugent, yes, even the Nuge!--to be forced to undergo the indignity of being stripped of their guns with little more than a whimper?

Well, because to do otherwise would frankly be nuts.
[...]
The NRA could publicly gnash their teeth and caterwaul about mass disarmament resulting from the draconian rules imposed by the state of North Carolina and the dark overlords of the Time-Warner Cable Arena. Instead, they relegate the issue to a note on their website and a cheery e-mail from Ken. And that's because even the NRA is well aware that a heavily armed crowd numbering in the tens of thousands (as promised by the organization) is an invitation to mishap and even disaster.
posted by zombieflanders at 3:44 PM on September 22, 2013 [6 favorites]


I think I've told this anecdote before, about how I was in a shopping centre in the city one day, and a plain clothes cop was wandering around getting his lunch or whatever, and the clip thing - the leather bit with the snap-lock button that stops the gun from falling out - on his Glock's holster was open. One part of him wanted to tell him but he had the look of a bully and would have made a big deal out of it and I would have become a suspect somehow, and the other part of me just wanted to leave because I could picture some hilarious prankster pulling the gun out and firing it randomly into a crowd of faces. I went with the latter feeling and got out of there, because it just made me feel really squicky.

Presumably Queensland police are as well-trained in firearms safety as anybody else, and hopefully a bit better than most, but he still couldn't manage to keep his gun's fly buttoned up. It's not a huge leap of the imagination to see where that could lead.
posted by turbid dahlia at 5:14 PM on September 22, 2013


If they try to intervene, they'll find out what all those guns we own are for.

Killing innocent black American teenagers. Killing black Americans in general. Killing American babies in their pushchairs. Killing American children while they're at school. Killing American cinema goers, students, Sikhs. Killing members of your beautiful young American family when they come in after hours and you mistake them for intruders. Killing Australians for a laugh. Killing each other over a road-rage incident. Killing your own fucking American military and civilian personnel.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 6:37 PM on September 22, 2013 [20 favorites]


Can't favorite urbanwhalesharks comment hard enough. That does appear to be what the guns are for.
posted by sweetkid at 8:25 PM on September 22, 2013 [1 favorite]


I substantially edited that comment. All of those instances I didn't even have to think about; they came readily to mind.
posted by urbanwhaleshark at 8:35 PM on September 22, 2013


You could have added killing random men, women, and children who happened to be in the same general direction as some person or animal you want dead. Killing your neighbor because his house or apartment wasn't built to be bulletproof, and your gun turned out to be loaded after all. Killing your child or his friend when one of them decides to play with your way cool gun*.

The relative likelihood that having a gun around will go horribly wrong so far outweighs the likelihood that it will ever do any actual good, it seems like it must be some kind of delusion for most of the people who decide to have one.



* Could have been me. Fortunately, my uncle's gun just made a hole in his house, not in me or the aunt who was showing me his collection. Why my uncle chose to have a loaded pistol in his farmhouse, I do not know.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:56 AM on September 23, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chocolate Pickle: "Ellie, The Guardian can "intervene" once they manage to invade and conquer the US. Until then, I advise the Guardian to stick its nose in someone else's business. When we Americans want their opinion, we'll ask for it. If they try to intervene, they'll find out what all those guns we own are for."
Thanks for clearly demonstrating your adherence to the "might-makes-right" doctrine.
posted by brokkr at 5:02 AM on September 23, 2013 [1 favorite]


etaoin: Would all the responsible gun owners explain why they think they would be able to respond in a crowd in a sudden emergency, when even cops have trouble not shooting innocent people?

Speaking as a (hopefully) responsible gun owner, I don't think I'd be able to respond in that kind of circumstance. But then I like to think I'm less prone to gun-related dickwaving than some of these wannabe action hero types.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:53 AM on September 23, 2013


Chocolate Pickle: "Ellie, The Guardian can "intervene" once they manage to invade and conquer the US. Until then, I advise the Guardian to stick its nose in someone else's business. When we Americans want their opinion, we'll ask for it. If they try to intervene, they'll find out what all those guns we own are for."

That whooshing sound you hear is the point zooming way overhead.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:22 PM on September 23, 2013 [3 favorites]


etaoin: "Would all the responsible gun owners explain why they think they would be able to respond in a crowd in a sudden emergency, when even cops have trouble not shooting innocent people? I frankly fear the gun-happy more than i do the occasional criminal, although the mass shooters are a little scary. But do you, 50-year-old accountant, lets say, really think you could have done something to stop the Navy Yard shooter? Seriously, what is your day to day training that assures us you're not a threat to the rest of us?"

I'll reply to this if you PM me.
posted by Splunge at 4:54 PM on September 23, 2013


This NYT article on children who are unintentionally killed by guns, and whether that death is labeled an accident or a homicide, reminded me of the conversation in this thread about accidental vs. negligent gun discharge. The NRA has used the low statistic for "accidental gun deaths" to oppose safe-storage laws; many times, deaths caused by unintentional discharges are classified as a homicide, not as an accident.
posted by muddgirl at 8:42 AM on September 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Would all the responsible gun owners explain why they think they would be able to respond in a crowd in a sudden emergency, when even cops have trouble not shooting innocent people? I frankly fear the gun-happy more than i do the occasional criminal, although the mass shooters are a little scary. But do you, 50-year-old accountant, lets say, really think you could have done something to stop the Navy Yard shooter? Seriously, what is your day to day training that assures us you're not a threat to the rest of us?

I'm not sure if I count for this, because I don't currently own or carry guns, but as someone who would like to, I'll take a crack at it:

First, I'd be willing to bet money that I've expended more rounds than cops. Cops encourage practice with firearms, but they don't fiscally sponsor it in the same way that the military does. Ammunition costs serious money, especially these days. The military gives you a lot of ammunition and lets you shoot to proficiency - the police actually have lower firearms standards. If I were to speculate, I'd say it's because they actually don't want the cops using their firearms in the same way.

Secondly, in many cases the cops and civilians have different purposes. Cops are there to take out or capture the bad guy - civilians just need to slow the bad guy down or make him run away. So a little suppressive fire, for example - even if not designed to actually hurt or kill the shooter - would give people more time to get to cover, get out of the building, make the guy think twice so he flees, etc. I'm actually not even sure if cops are allowed to do that.
posted by corb at 6:09 AM on October 1, 2013


civilians just need to slow the bad guy down or make him run away

Let's be perfectly clear: They don't need to do anything. In fact, they are strongly discouraged from taking this course of action. There exists no definitive evidence that it helps, and in many cases it hinders.

So a little suppressive fire, for example - even if not designed to actually hurt or kill the shooter - would give people more time to get to cover, get out of the building, make the guy think twice so he flees, etc.

Or, conversely, it will confuse law enforcement as to who the aggressor is, scare others into perhaps making rash decisions, cause injury or death due to either an accident or someone being in the wrong place in the wrong time, etc.

And on top of all of that, we're just supposed to assume that the "good guy" with the gun knows how to use it, is familiar with these situations, . To ask for confirmation of that is met with withering contempt and telling us that we should basically shut up and sit down and that we should trust that every stranger with a gun to be well-trained ex-military or -LEO with impossibly deadly accuracy and mindset in a crisis situation.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:51 AM on October 1, 2013


And on top of all of that, we're just supposed to assume that the "good guy" with the gun knows how to use it, is familiar with these situations, . To ask for confirmation of that is met with withering contempt and telling us that we should basically shut up and sit down and that we should trust that every stranger with a gun to be well-trained ex-military or -LEO with impossibly deadly accuracy and mindset in a crisis situation.

In seriousness, no - but I think the problem is that the dialogue is so politicized that these questions can't be asked fairly.

For example - I promise you that take the most die-hard guy - the most stereotypical guy you could possibly think of who meets you with the most withering contempt - I promise you that I can ask that guy if he's prepared for a shooting situation in detail, with questions about bona fides, without him being even the slightest bit upset.

But the problem is there are very real things that could happen in order to make people better in these situations, but the way people go about them makes them double down on the other side. Encouraging classes is great, demanding them, not so much.

Because you're right - not everyone with a gun is ex military or ex-LEO, and even of those groups, not everyone has perfect accuracy. Mindset is a lot easier - when you are trained to do something a hundred or so times, you react without thinking in the correct mindset. But everyone has differing degrees of skill. The funny thing is, though, people will talk about it and be honest with other gun people - as long as there are no anti-gun people around.

Which is part of the trouble with "gotchas" - because no one feels like they can say "Actually, you're right, I could use some more training. How can I make that happen?" without someone else saying GOTCHA! NO GUNS FOR YOU!
posted by corb at 7:11 AM on October 1, 2013


There's nothing like trying to avoid suppressive fire to make fleeing for your life a little more challenging.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:13 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


In seriousness, no

You're kidding me, right? That was one of the first things expressed by the pro-gun crowd in this thread, and the "good guy with a gun" is practically their motto.

But the problem is there are very real things that could happen in order to make people better in these situations, but the way people go about them makes them double down on the other side. Encouraging classes is great, demanding them, not so much.

Then perhaps people should stop demanding civilians be allowed to be carrying weapons. It is exceptionally arrogant for people to tell others they can carry weapons they may not be familiar with in situations they may not prepared for with consequences they may not be able to deal with.

The funny thing is, though, people will talk about it and be honest with other gun people - as long as there are no anti-gun people around.

Which is part of the trouble with "gotchas" - because no one feels like they can say "Actually, you're right, I could use some more training. How can I make that happen?" without someone else saying GOTCHA! NO GUNS FOR YOU!


This is, more or less, classic victim-blaming.
posted by zombieflanders at 7:21 AM on October 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


corb: "Cops are there to take out or capture the bad guy - civilians just need to slow the bad guy down or make him run away. So a little suppressive fire, for example - even if not designed to actually hurt or kill the shooter - would give people more time to get to cover, get out of the building, make the guy think twice so he flees, etc. I'm actually not even sure if cops are allowed to do that."

If that line of reasoning, that you're just laying down "suppressive fire", is intended to make me feel more comfortable, you should really reconsider your argument.
posted by mkultra at 7:30 AM on October 1, 2013 [1 favorite]


the problem is there are very real things that could happen in order to make people better in these situations, but the way people go about them makes them double down on the other side. Encouraging classes is great, demanding them, not so much.

Yeah, it's probably futile to point this out, but you are taking for granted what is actually the point at contention, i.e., whether armed non-LEOs should even be in those situations in the first place. You are taking for granted that they should be, that they will be, that they will probably shoot at anything which moves, and that the ideal solution is to ask them nicely to learn to hit their target.

This seems a perfectly natural way of life to you, I know, but the problem is that some of us disagree with you.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:36 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Then perhaps people should stop demanding civilians be allowed to be carrying weapons. It is exceptionally arrogant for people to tell others they can carry weapons they may not be familiar with in situations they may not prepared for with consequences they may not be able to deal with.

This is a difference of opinion I don't think we'll get past - I like and respect you, so I don't want to belabor the point if we're not going to get anywhere. It's a conflict of freedom-perception. On the one hand, the idea is that it's arrogant to "tell others they can carry", on the other, it's arrogant to "tell people they can't." I think it comes from a fundamentally different idea of where it is acceptable to curtail people's freedoms. Personally, I don't think it's acceptable to tell people they cannot own things or carry things that they own on their person in daily life, or respond to a dangerous situation - you obviously differ. I would never tell people to do it or not do it - that is, for me, their choice.

But I think the comment about suggesting civility being "victim-blaming" is a little..extreme, at the least. Do you really think that people who want to tell other people not to have guns are automatically victims of some kind?
posted by corb at 8:08 AM on October 1, 2013


By God, someone's got to stand up for every American's right to shoot wildly into a confused and panicked crowd.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:24 AM on October 1, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah it seems like there's often a lot of confusion about who "the bad guy" even is in a lot of these situations. But let's shoot some random bullets at the lot of 'em and let the hospitals, prisons, and God sort it out I guess.
posted by sweetkid at 8:31 AM on October 1, 2013


A curious definition of "liberty", where your freedom to swing your fist requires others to duck and cover in order to enjoy their right to live free from being punched in the face.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:33 AM on October 1, 2013


Personally, I don't think it's acceptable to tell people they cannot own things or carry things that they own on their person in daily life, or respond to a dangerous situation - you obviously differ. I would never tell people to do it or not do it - that is, for me, their choice.

Think of it kind of like the phrase "your right to punch me ends where my nose begins."

But I think the comment about suggesting civility being "victim-blaming" is a little..extreme, at the least. Do you really think that people who want to tell other people not to have guns are automatically victims of some kind?

As of recent polling, there is literally 1% of Americans who feel that gun ownership should be repealed. AFAIK even the Brady people don't suggest a complete dismantling of the 2nd Amendment.

So, yes, suggesting that people who want to improve their abilities to handle deadly weapons are intimidated by a strawman based on actual 1-percenters, and therefore are unwilling to have any conversation about training to stop gun deaths and injuries, places the onus on people affected by gun violence to ask for it. If they can't accept responsibility for the damage caused by negligence, poor impulse control, and willful ignorance, then I can't see how they can handle the responsibility of demanding near-unfettered ability to arm themselves.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:34 AM on October 1, 2013


Think of it kind of like the phrase "your right to punch me ends where my nose begins."

I actually completely, completely get this - but I think it's a bad metaphor for this particular issue. Because a gun in its holster isn't punching anyone in the nose. A gun drawn /might/ punch (or shoot) someone in the nose - but that's not really where people are asking that the line be drawn. They're not suggesting "Everyone can carry guns as they want, but if they shoot and hit someone, they are violating rights." That's an argument I at least personally would be extraordinarily sympathetic to. But the way the line is currently drawn feels like, "Well, a guy who swung his fist last week punched me in the nose, so I don't want you swinging your fist - or even balling up your hand into a fist - at all, just in case."
posted by corb at 8:37 AM on October 1, 2013


Goalposts moved from "suppressive fire" to "gun in its holster".
posted by tonycpsu at 8:39 AM on October 1, 2013 [5 favorites]


The problem with that, corb, is that guns inevitably come out of holsters and kill people.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:43 AM on October 1, 2013


Um, no. I, personally, said that if I were in that situation, armed, what I would do would probably be to lay down suppressive fire while directing others to cover or escape - with full knowledge that people might not like it and I would have to answer for my actions afterwards. I would do so because I would fully and genuinely believe, given my training and experiences, that I could save more lives by doing so, and that it was a situation where the immediacy did not permit me another option. Thus, my personal moral imperatives would kick in and require my action. I in no way suggested that I would be immune from criticism, or even legal reprisal, nor that I wouldn't be hitting any noses in that action. I said that was the thing I would personally do in a crisis situation, because the question was asked about people's personal choices of actions.

That is a very different question than "Where should people's rights to liberty fall on the gun issue."
posted by corb at 8:45 AM on October 1, 2013


"Everyone can carry guns as they want, but if they shoot and hit someone, they are violating rights."

'For the cliff is all right, if your careful,' they said,
'and if folks even slip and are dropping,
it isn't the slipping that hurts them so much
as the shock down below when they're stopping.'

So day after day, as these mishaps occurred,
quick forth would those rescuers sally
to pick up the victims who fell off the cliff,
with their ambulance down in the valley.

Then an old sage remarked: 'It's a marvel to me
that people give far more attention
to repairing results than to stopping the cause,
when they'd much better aim at prevention.'

You obviously never had The Ambulance Down In The Valley read to you at bedtime, corb.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:49 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I actually completely, completely get this - but I think it's a bad metaphor for this particular issue. Because a gun in its holster isn't punching anyone in the nose. A gun drawn /might/ punch (or shoot) someone in the nose - but that's not really where people are asking that the line be drawn. They're not suggesting "Everyone can carry guns as they want, but if they shoot and hit someone, they are violating rights." That's an argument I at least personally would be extraordinarily sympathetic to. But the way the line is currently drawn feels like, "Well, a guy who swung his fist last week punched me in the nose, so I don't want you swinging your fist - or even balling up your hand into a fist - at all, just in case."

That's a perfect illustration of gun culture right there. Why would anyone want to go around prepared to punch someone in the nose? Why would anyone want to start swinging their fists when there's a good chance they'll punch the wrong person in the nose? Why would anyone concerned about liberty for all only be worried about liberties (to say nothing of life and the pursuit of happiness) being violated after they happened?

I would do so because I would fully and genuinely believe, given my training and experiences, that I could save more lives by doing so, and that it was a situation where the immediacy did not permit me another option.

Yes, but the opinion among gun rights advocates is that everybody else is supposed to automatically believe all of that.

That is a very different question than "Where should people's rights to liberty fall on the gun issue."

This isn't a human right. It's not even a universal civil right, is in fact limited to a few countries, and it isn't an unlimited right here. It was never intended to be one, nor it has never been held to be one, and rightly so.
posted by zombieflanders at 8:50 AM on October 1, 2013


Why would anyone want to go around prepared to punch someone in the nose? Why would anyone want to start swinging their fists when there's a good chance they'll punch the wrong person in the nose? Why would anyone concerned about liberty for all only be worried about liberties (to say nothing of life and the pursuit of happiness) being violated after they happened?

I think there's a chance you may be het up about the other thread I just noticed, but I'll try anyway to answer this.

It is a really, really hard thing to explain. For me, it's just one of the things that it's important to know, how to defend yourself. I could try to unpack it - possibly relating to feelings of danger familially, possibly due to growing up a woman with a constant state of danger - but the honest truth is, I'm not sure I could pinpoint precisely why I feel the world is dangerous and I and loved ones must be on guard - any more, perhaps, than you could pinpoint why you feel the world is safe and such things are not necessary. It just, to me, is.

Why would you swing your fist when you might punch the wrong person? The same reason anyone else makes any complicated relational calculus - because you think it's important, and you think the odds of it being good are higher than the odds it will be bad. For some people, that calculus winds them more on the side of not swinging. For others, the opposite. It's an incredibly personal calculation that can't really be quantified either, dependent on too many factors.

In terms of liberties - because to attempt to solve them before they happen is itself restricting liberties, and liberties are themselves a complicated relational calculus. You may be right that they're not considered universal in many countries - but we're not talking about universally held beliefs, but about our own.
posted by corb at 9:02 AM on October 1, 2013


corb: "any more, perhaps, than you could pinpoint why you feel the world is safe and such things are not necessary."

Here's one way to pinpoint it:
For every time a gun in the home was used in a self-defense or legally justifiable shooting, there were four unintentional shootings, seven criminal assaults or homicides, and 11 attempted or completed suicides.
corb: "You may be right that they're not considered universal in many countries - but we're not talking about universally held beliefs, but about our own."

You can't use a bare majority Supreme Court opinion from five years ago as a proxy for "our own" beliefs. Prior to D.C. v. Heller, there was no individual right to bear arms, and, as zombieflanders has pointed out many times on the blue, even Scalia's majority opinion in that case held that the right is not universal or unlimited, so your talk of "restricting liberties" is beside the point -- it's clearly constitutional to restrict gun rights rights even under this most extreme interpretation of the Second Amendment.

(Edited to fix broken link.)
posted by tonycpsu at 9:16 AM on October 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


I should clarify, when I say "our own", I do not mean a monolithic "US beliefs" but a "zombieflander's beliefs" and "corb's beliefs" and even "tonycpsu's beliefs."
posted by corb at 9:22 AM on October 1, 2013


But we don't live in your ideal world where we can all operate under our own belief systems -- we live in a nation of laws that must sometimes restrict individual freedom for the greater good. Pretending otherwise just supports your circular logic where you defend your right to do what you want with your desire to do what you want.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:28 AM on October 1, 2013 [6 favorites]


I actually completely, completely get this - but I think it's a bad metaphor for this particular issue. Because a gun in its holster isn't punching anyone in the nose.

posted by phearlez at 6:09 PM on October 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


phearlez's links are yet more evidence that being around guns is dangerous. One of them is about an accidental discharge of a "school resource officer's" gun at a school, for God's sake. Placing "good guys with guns" at schools is an idiotic response to the small possibility of a bad guy showing up with one. Asking me to assume that it is perfectly safe to be around any random person who's carrying is also idiotic. I cannot make that assumption, even if the person is a cop.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:41 AM on October 3, 2013


If you express a desire to fire a gun randomly into crowded areas, even for "good reasons" then you should not have a gun, ever, because you are a menace.
posted by Artw at 6:14 AM on October 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't think you understand what suppressive fire is if you view it as "firing randomly".
posted by corb at 6:16 AM on October 3, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, by all means, let's split hairs over whether your "right" to "lay down suppressive fire" is firing randomly or not. Christ, you'd argue with a dead person over their right to be shot.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:37 AM on October 3, 2013 [3 favorites]


[As per usual folks, you are welcome to take up side discussions with individuals who are making them. These threads becoming one person (or a few people) vs. everyone is something we expect you to manage on your own so we don't have to manage it for you. Try harder.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:46 AM on October 3, 2013


An interesting position from Anthony Bourdain - I don't agree with him on what he thinks should be done about guns, but he makes a really good point about culture and how we need to talk to each other.
In New York, where I live, the appearance of a gun—anywhere—is a cause for immediate and extreme alarm. Yet, in much of America, I have come to find, it’s perfectly normal. I’ve walked many times into bars in Missouri, Nevada, Texas, where absolutely everyone is packing. I’ve sat down many times to dinner in perfectly nice family homes where—at end of dinner—Mom swings open the gun locker and invites us all to step into the back yard and pot some beer cans. That may not be Piers Morgan’s idea of normal. It may not be yours. But that’s a facet of American life that’s unlikely to change.

I may be a New York lefty—with all the experiences, prejudices and attitudes that one would expect to come along with that, but I do NOT believe that we will reduce gun violence—or reach any kind of consensus—by shrieking at each other. Gun owners—the vast majority of them I have met—are NOT idiots. They are NOT psychos. They are not even necessarily Republican (New Mexico, by the way, is a Blue State). They are not hicks, right wing “nuts” or necessarily violent by nature. And if “we” have any hope of ever changing anything in this country in the cause of reason—and the safety of our children—we should stop talking about a significant part of our population as if they were lesser, stupider or crazier than we are.
posted by corb at 8:35 AM on October 6, 2013


If Anthony Bourdain has walked into "many" bars in Texas where "absoluvely everyone is packing," then he has walked into many bars that are at a high risk of losing their TABC license. Both open and concealed carry are illegal in establishments which make more than 50% of their revenue from alcohol.

I think that gun owners are just as stupid and crazy as non-gun-owners. That's why I am scared of people who are carrying handguns - they are just as stupid and crazy as I am! And they're carrying a leathal weapon!
posted by muddgirl at 9:05 AM on October 6, 2013 [7 favorites]


(Forgot to mention that additionally, it is a felony for anyone caught carrying a gun in a bar that meets the 51% rule.)
posted by muddgirl at 9:06 AM on October 6, 2013


Celebrity Asshole Makes Tendentious Tone Argument. Film at 11.

I'll just cherry-pick a few of the most glaring logical fallacies in Bourdain's post.
You, however, I’m not so sure about. And my next door neighbor. I’m not so sure about him either. I’d like to know a bit more about him before he takes possession of an M-16 and a whole lot of extra clips. If we accept the proposition that that a gun is simply a tool—with potentially lethal properties—it follows that it’s not too different than a vehicle. And I would like to know a LOT more about you before I’m comfortable putting you behind the wheel of a sixteen wheeler. I’d like to know if you’re a maniacal drunk or crackhead before allowing you to barrel down that highway with three tons of trailer swinging behind you. If you favor an aluminum foil hat as headgear, I would have concerns about entrusting you with so much power to harm so many in so little time. That’s a reasonable thing for a society to ponder on, I think.
Alright, let's ponder on it. Anthony would have us believe that, in this paragraph, he's calling for "knowing more" about both motor vehicle owners and gun owners. For starters, I am deeply suspicious that it's being offered in good faith. Would Bourdain accept waiting longer at the DMV and spending significantly more money in state taxes in exchange for "knowing more" about other drivers? Would he be personally comfortable to submitting to an extensive background questionnaire that would assess his history of wearing tin-foil headgear before he can drive a car or own a handgun? Inquiring minds want to know.

But, arguendo, let's assume Bourdain really believes what he's saying here. I think both sides of the gun control debate have serious issues with comparing cars and guns, but it's beyond dispute that (a) state and local governments have far more leeway over how they regulate motor vehicles than how they regulate guns, and (b) there is no massive lobbying group trying to take away the ability of state and local governments to regulate motor vehicles as they see fit. I'll take Bourdain's point seriously when state and local governments are allowed to be "laboratories of democracy" that are allowed to regulate guns as strictly as they are allowed to regulate motor vehicle use.
Gun owners—the vast majority of them I have met—are NOT idiots. They are NOT psychos. They are not even necessarily Republican (New Mexico, by the way, is a Blue State).
Susana Martinez would like a word, Mr. Bourdain. If we call states "blue" when a majority of that states' residents vote for the Democratic nominee for President, then North Carolina and Indiana were "blue" states in 2008, but suddenly became "red" in 2012. In reality, states are mish-mash of cultures and political ideologies. The gun laws that work for the "blue" urban areas of Albuquerque and Santa Fe might not make sense for the "red" rural areas of the state, yet, thanks to gun rights maximalists, it's effectively impossible to regulate guns more strictly based on the need for those regulations in a given jurisdiction.
And if “we” have any hope of ever changing anything in this country in the cause of reason—and the safety of our children—we should stop talking about a significant part of our population as if they were lesser, stupider or crazier than we are. The batshit absolutist Wayne LaPierre may not represent the vast majority of gun owners in this land—but if pushed—if the conversation veers towards talk of taking away people’s guns—many gun owners will shade towards him—and away from us.
Shorter Bourdain: it's not the NRA's fault for forcing their gun laws on the entire nation, it's YOUR fault for hurting gun owners' fee-fees to the point that they are FORCED to align themselves with the NRA.

Who believes this shit? It's not possible for us to just get along and sing kumbaya around a campfire when gun rights maximalists have forced the entire country to accept their interpretation of gun laws. In Bourdain's formulation, it's totally irrelevant that the NRA routinely intervenes to stop communities that would like to regulate guns more strictly, but it's totally relevant that some people say mean things about gun owners. What. The. Fuck?
When people start equating guns—ALL guns—as evil—as something to be eradicated, a whole helluva lot of people are going to get defensive.
This is about as close to a straw man as you can get without literally burning a straw man in your backyard. Polling for banning all gun ownership except for law enforcement polls around 10% historically, which is in "I was visited by aliens last night" territory. Focusing on this tiny minority viewpoint is a deliberate attempt on Bourdain's part to caricature gun control proponents, who, by and large, just want things like universal background checks and restrictions on magazine capacity.

TL;DR of Bourdain's post: "Nevermind that the gun rights maximalists are preventing communities from enforcing gun laws that make sense for their residents -- someone is saying mean things on the internet!"
posted by tonycpsu at 9:59 AM on October 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


Actually, Bourdain's post is the opposite of a tone argument. He's saying that it doesn't matter what your lips are saying - if you secretly think that half the country are idiots - not just idiots but wrong, sick, unhealthy idiots - then you cannot wonder why they do not want to listen to your prescriptivism about what they should do. If you think gun culture is sick, then how can anyone from gun culture trust that you actually mean what you say when you say when you say you "just want a little".
posted by corb at 3:36 AM on October 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


His advice applies equally when aimed in the other direction. If you (general "you") accuse people who want child safety locks and/or insurance etc. of really wanting to take All Ur Gunz, then why should they believe you (or your major organization) about how responsible, trained gun owners are a net good, or even that they exist? If people in favor of even reasonable restrictions are portrayed by the major lobbying and education group as jack-booted thugs who want to destroy freedom, why should they take your stories or stats seriously (especially since that same organization prevented the CDC from examining those stats!)?
posted by rtha at 5:45 AM on October 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


corb: "Actually, Bourdain's post is the opposite of a tone argument. He's saying that it doesn't matter what your lips are saying - if you secretly think that half the country are idiots..."

This would normally be the part of the show where I go line-by-line pointing out the many places (I count at least six) where Bourdain explicitly refers to what gun control proponents are saying, then ask you to show me the part where Bourdain is actually talking about what they're "secretly thinking". But, really, the fact that he was making a tone argument was just a small part of my response, so why should I bother arguing semantics with someone who can't be bothered to put any effort into a response beyond, essentially, "NUH-UH!"
posted by tonycpsu at 8:42 AM on October 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Whenever I see someone open-carrying in like, Wal-Mart or a school, I'm tempted to (stand a safe distance away and) yell "HOLY SHIT THAT GUY HAS A GUN!" and watch it turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I won't, because I don't want to see innocent people shot and killed, no matter how good of a point it would make.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:46 AM on October 10, 2013


Looks like Starbucks isn't shying away from speaking out on politics.
The world's biggest coffee chain said Thursday that it will ask customers and businesses to sign a petition calling for an end to the partial government shutdown that has forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers off the job.

The petition, which will be available at all Starbucks 11,000 U.S. locations to sign beginning Friday, calls for reopening the government, paying debts on time and passing a long-term budget deal by the end of the year. In addition to Starbucks customers, Schultz is trying to get the CEOs of the nation's largest companies to sign.

The move is unusual for a company like Starbucks. While big brands generally steer clear of politics to avoid alienating customers, Starbucks and its outspoken CEO, Howard Schultz, in recent years have run toward the spotlight by trying to gain a voice in national political issues.

But because the company's efforts are generally non-partisan and unlikely to cause controversy, marketing and corporate image experts say they burnish Starbucks' reputation as a socially-conscious company.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:41 PM on October 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


If people in favor of even reasonable restrictions are portrayed by the major lobbying and education group as jack-booted thugs who want to destroy freedom, why should they take your stories or stats seriously (especially since that same organization prevented the CDC from examining those stats!)?

That's a fair point, rtha, and one that I actually do stress when talking to my fellow Second Amendment advocates. I think a majority of gun control advocates are good people, who for whatever reason, do not fundamentally understand firearms. I don't think they're stupid, I think that they usually were not exposed to them, and certainly not exposed to that culture in a positive light. I also use my own example - as a New Yorker who formerly freaked out about guns, to someone who believes they are a net good and supports loosening restrictions.

We have to understand each other. And sometimes, it's important to take the first step. I don't wait for everyone else to start trying to understand me before I start trying to understand them. I genuinely want to understand others and where they are coming from, and believe most people are coming from good intentions. But it would be nice if other people could do the same.

I may be more sensitive to this because it is a particular problem for New Yorkers - we tend to think of our city as so large and all-encompassing that anything we don't approve of, collectively, must be outside the pale. But even though we are eight million people, we are still just one tiny, tiny, geographical area, and there is a big wide world out there with very different views, that it is important to understand.
posted by corb at 6:51 AM on October 11, 2013


If you were to change your assumption that most gun control advocates do not understand fire arms to "most gun control advocates understand firearms well enough to have an informed position on the subject," hypothetically speaking, how would this change your own views on this matter?
posted by MoonOrb at 7:08 AM on October 11, 2013


I think a majority of gun control advocates are good people, who for whatever reason, do not fundamentally understand firearms.

Oh, for crying out loud... I think it's been reasonably proven we understand them better than the Gun Culture's fiercest defenders. Much better in some cases.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:14 AM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think a majority of gun control advocates are good people, who for whatever reason, do not fundamentally understand firearms.

I think it's fair to say that plenty of gun control advocates may (a) misunderstand the specific details of kinds and types of firearms and (b) be either unfamiliar or just uncomfortable with gun culture as a casual, constant-background-radiation lifestyle thing to which gun owners are by definition as a group much more accommodating.

But the leap from there to "do not fundamentally understand firearms" is a mix of silly and insulting. Firearms are not fundamentally difficult to understand; they throw hot lead. They're small machines for killing lifeforms efficiently and at range. Guns are, fundamentally, a really darned simple thing, regardless of quibbles over details.

Which is part of why it's so headspinningly frustrating to have gun advocates e.g. use things like "oh but you referred to that rifle incorrectly" as some sort of proof that folks are clearly unjustified in dislikeing a norm of people buying and carrying purpose-built killing machines around all the time. Like it's not still a gun, like if you just explain how the mechanical description of full-auto vs. semi-auto differes from pop culture references to same enough times people who object to the proliferation of guns and concomitant gun violence will suddenly go, "oh, I see, you're right, those personal killing machines are totally reasonable after all, people should definitely be preparing to shoot each other constantly in that case".

There's no fundamental misunderstanding of guns at play here. There's a lot of disagreements about the implications of having these basically-very-well-understood things be a pervasive part of US culture, but no fundamental misunderstanding.
posted by cortex at 7:30 AM on October 11, 2013 [8 favorites]


But the leap from there to "do not fundamentally understand firearms" is a mix of silly and insulting. Firearms are not fundamentally difficult to understand; they throw hot lead. They're small machines for killing lifeforms efficiently and at range. Guns are, fundamentally, a really darned simple thing, regardless of quibbles over details.

I should clarify - I think that most (not necessarily all, but most) gun control advocates do not fundamentally understand firearms, not because they can't understand that a gun throws lead and can kill things, but because the gun control measures that they argue for passionately are not the gun control measures that would achieve their ends.

These are larger than the "you referred to clips vs magazines" issues - and they make gun supporters very nervous, because the people creating legislation are doing so essentially blind. There may be some people who deliberately educate themselves about firearms in order to create such legislation, and I applaud them, even if I disagree with them. But they are not, by and large, the average bear.

For example: you and I, and many others, may disagree as to whether firearms that have the ability to fire many bullets rapidly are desired in civilian hands. I might think it is okay, while you might think it is not. But a lot of the measures designed by gun control advocates do not actually affect the mechanical functioning or significantly impact the speed of the weapon - in part, because it would be very difficult to do so, and in part, I think, out of ignorance of how ineffectual the measures designed actually are.

I do believe that gun control advocates are good people who deplore death - which is why I believe that they cannot be deliberately focusing on cosmetic features intentionally. It is counter to their stated purpose and winds up creating much more opposition to their plans than a more targeted approach would. Is it reasonable for such people to dislike firearms? Sure, absolutely, with their information and biases, it is completely reasonable. But to write legislation unaware of its impact is, I believe, a bad outcome.
posted by corb at 7:53 AM on October 11, 2013




But a lot of the measures designed by gun control advocates do not actually affect the mechanical functioning or significantly impact the speed of the weapon - ...

I'm afraid the measures you're talking about are not ones designed by gun control advocates, but those enacted by legislators, many of whom receive money for their efforts to gut those measures and muddy the issue generally.

I will resist the temptation to say that you fundamentally do not understand the legislative process.
Next time, I will resist that.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:06 AM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think a majority of gun control advocates are good people, who for whatever reason, do not fundamentally understand firearms.

but because the gun control measures that they argue for passionately are not the gun control measures that would achieve their ends.

in part, I think, out of ignorance of how ineffectual the measures designed actually are.

You think these things because you're soaking in the anti-restriction culture which resists every effort to limit anything, and which deliberately focuses the discussions on minutia and which demands that any legislation be 100% effective while being minimally inconvenient. A level of requirement which far exceeds normal governmental legislative requirements of maximum value for minimal infringement of freedom.

It would be easier to have some understanding of this position if the gun culture wasn't always the winner every single time any restrictions were put forward. You yourself above detailed greatly the value of training. Yet the no-restrictions side fights every effort to mandate the most minimal of training requirements for gun ownership. Even the CCW requirements are constantly under assault to remove the slightest of impediments, down to removing even the requirement to fire one single bullet before issuance.

It's not gun control advocates who don't understand guns well enough to believe training is valuable. It's anti-restriction gun owners who refuse to acknowledge that it might be important enough to mandate. The same willful refusal to accept that certain restrictions in magazine size and form factor might have positive payoffs is what turns every discussion into moronic semantic argument about whether "assault weapon" really has any meaning.
posted by phearlez at 11:06 AM on October 11, 2013 [4 favorites]


It's not gun control advocates who don't understand guns well enough to believe training is valuable. It's anti-restriction gun owners who refuse to acknowledge that it might be important enough to mandate.

This isn't, exactly, true, though I could see why you could see it that way - and it's a shame, because I think compromise could absolutely be had on this issue if we tried hard enough. Pro-gun owners actually do want more training, more readily available. And I would wager hard money that a mandatory class in rifle safety in all high schools, for example, would win enthusiastic support from a large majority of gun owners. (This actually used to be fairly common some time ago, at least in more rural areas)

The sticking point on training comes from both sides. Gun control advocates do not generally support state-provided general training for gun owners and non-gun owners alike. Gun supporters tend to believe it's because they don't want guns to be normalized, and don't want people not already exposed to gun culture to be exposed to it. I'm not sure if that's accurate, or if there's another answer, but I know there seems to be a strong resistance there.

Pro gun advocates do not generally support training mandated only for gun owners, which requires licensing in order to practice. This is because it often has the effect of either pricing people out of training, or effectively blocking them out of it because it is unavailable by an accredited instructor. And who gives the accreditation? Who watches the watchers? They might support "has taken a training" standards, but not ones where someone has to pay for the privilege of training - it eliminates familial training which is how a lot of information is passed cheaply.
posted by corb at 11:28 AM on October 11, 2013


Gun Groups Declare Newtown Massacre Anniversary "Guns Save Lives Day"

Wow. Lilly Tomlin was right: no matter how cynical you get, you can never keep up.
posted by homunculus at 11:34 AM on October 11, 2013


Given the choice between "should we make gun safety training mandatory for everyone" and "should we make gun safety training mandatory for people who want to own a gun," it's hard to believe this is a difficult choice.

For starters, training everyone when millions of people will never need the training would be a waste of money; it would also be a waste of valuable instructional time in school. This is in addition to any ideological concerns. It would just be wasteful.

Hey, I have a great idea--what if we were to look to a model, like, say, educating drivers? People who do not want to drive need not be compelled to take a driver's education course or pass a test showing that they can drive. Do you think that sounds reasonable?
posted by MoonOrb at 11:36 AM on October 11, 2013


At this point I'm not speaking for other gun owners, but I absolutely think that the way we handle driver's education in this country is shameful - we require people to pay for driver's education and to borrow or rent a car in order to take the test. Then we require people to pay for the permit. I would prefer that driving be taught in schools as well - as well as finances, and other things that help to make functional, wise, competent, skilled adults. But I do recognize that is a minority viewpoint.
posted by corb at 11:39 AM on October 11, 2013


I don't need to know how to field-strip a weapon blindfolded and reassemble it in 10 seconds in order to advocate for universal background checks (yes, even private sales, just like vehicles) and registration, for may-issue rather than shall-issue concealed carry laws, for mandatory child-safety locks and/or gun lockers, and for mandatory, regular safety and training courses for those who choose to own guns (people who choose not to would not be required to take them).
posted by rtha at 11:40 AM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


At this point I'm not speaking for other gun owners, but I absolutely think that the way we handle driver's education in this country is shameful - we require people to pay for driver's education and to borrow or rent a car in order to take the test. Then we require people to pay for the permit. I would prefer that driving be taught in schools as well - as well as finances, and other things that help to make functional, wise, competent, skilled adults. But I do recognize that is a minority viewpoint.

Is it fair to say, then, that if you had your druthers about it, you'd compel every student to be taught driving, whether or not they had any interest or desire in driving or not?
posted by MoonOrb at 12:13 PM on October 11, 2013


universal background checks (yes, even private sales, just like vehicles) and registration,

Sorry, that parenthetical should go after registration. Reading the coffee fpp made me realize I am undercaffeinated today for some reason.
posted by rtha at 12:28 PM on October 11, 2013


Is it fair to say, then, that if you had your druthers about it, you'd compel every student to be taught driving, whether or not they had any interest or desire in driving or not?

Sort of. As in, I would suppose that it would be the best thing that could happen in this hugely imperfect world. I would prefer that no student be forced to learn anything they did not choose to, that any training offered be made freely available to all, and no one be required to pay any money to have the right to exercise a skill. But I think that would require a greater sea change than just compulsory driver's education added to the compulsory science and compulsory math and compulsory english and compulsory history.
posted by corb at 12:39 PM on October 11, 2013


Yes, but in a world where there are costs associated with schooling people and where we have to make choices about how we spend instructional time, you'd still hold fast to this position? It's neat to be able to have these wishes in a society in which there wouldn't be consequences to them, but that's not the society we live in.

I'm trying to pin you down on this because of how it relates to the idea of compulsory gun education and why so many see it as such an obvious non-starter. I was thinking it would be pretty easy for us to agree that compelling driver education for non-drivers would be a bad idea; it's not much of a leap from there to why the same policy for gun education would be a bad idea, too, putting aside completely the ideological arguments about it.

When you said Gun control advocates do not generally support state-provided general training for gun owners and non-gun owners alike. Gun supporters tend to believe it's because they don't want guns to be normalized, and don't want people not already exposed to gun culture to be exposed to it. , I'm seeing if I can help you understand that there are very good reasons that simply have nothing to do with gun rights to begin with that inform this discussion.

When someone advocates for mandatory training and licensing for all gun owners, and the response is "okay, I'll agree to that if we make everyone do it," the question then becomes, well, why should everyone do it? Not everyone wants to own a gun, so it would seem to be a rather pointless expenditure of resources when only about 1 out of every 3 American households has a gun. After all, we don't treat cars this way, right?

And if your response is along the lines of "well I just wished we lived in a society where there were no financial barriers to getting a drivers license and where we had the time and money available so that every student could be taught about gun safety just like we teach them about science and math and reading," then you'll understand, hopefully, why I don't think that really gets to the heart of the issue: that's not the society we live in. In this society, why is it so unreasonable to require gun owners to be trained in gun safety? And why would we insist that we can agree on this only if non gun owners are trained, too?
posted by MoonOrb at 1:09 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think a majority of gun control advocates are good people, who for whatever reason, do not fundamentally understand firearms.

Slow Friday afternoon, eh, corb?

Having been raised by an ex-military father who was not only an avid hunter and shooter, but was also an avid collector of historical arms, capable of making his own bullets and powder, as well as a member of the NMLRA and NRA (until by his reckoning the latter got too nuts), I'm not a stranger to guns. I don't have much interest in them now because, well, life is short, but I've shot plenty of guns. And having had injunctions like "Guns are not toys," "Treat every gun like it's loaded," and "Never point a gun at anything you aren't going to kill" drilled into me like Holy Writ, I can only imagine what he'd say about this trend toward guns as fashion accessories. Probably a lot of four letter words.

Because the topic here wasn't and isn't legislative "gun control," it was and is social norms and the insistence by some people on a right to, basically, do anything with they want with their guns. Any where, any time. So what I hear is We have to understand each other and what I see is "What are you going to do about it?"

You can't even bring yourself to say "You know, people shouldn't carry guns into a Starbucks. It's just asking for trouble." No, the rest of us are supposed to change for you. Everyone needs to learn to live with the ubiquity of guns and if everyone isn't trustworthy enough, then everyone needs to be trained to be trustworthy enough. Everything must change to accommodate the gun. And you ask for understanding?
posted by octobersurprise at 1:21 PM on October 11, 2013 [5 favorites]




in a world where there are costs associated with schooling people and where we have to make choices about how we spend instructional time, you'd still hold fast to this position?

MoonOrb, I think I disagree with you, but I do really appreciate you trying to break down your position and find at least a mutual understanding.

I think we both agree that there are costs associated with at least certain types of schooling people - accredited training by certified instructors, for example, which is I think what you would be looking for with gun safety training for gun owners?

And I think, if the cost is the only concern - which it may not be, but I'm going off what you said - then that does explain a lot of the contentions here. People with guns, or who want to own guns, are thinking, "You (the government) are the ones who want me to go to these expensive classes, you should damn well pay for them!" While people without guns, or who don't think they'd want to own guns, are thinking, "You (the gun owners) are the ones who want these death-dealing weapons, you should damn well pay for classes for them!" Both groups may be seeing the other side as wanting something unreasonable, and thus, thinking the person who is making the unreasonable request should bear the cost of that request.

There may be a bit more of culturewars in there that would take longer to break down, but purely from a cost perspective, that might seem to fit.
posted by corb at 1:43 PM on October 11, 2013


On the part about the payment--if the dispute is between "you're the one (government) who wants me to get licensed, you should have to pay for it" vs. "you're the one who wants to own a gun, you should have to pay for it," then my position is that we should resolve this the same way we resolve this issue in every single case that is even the slightest bit similar: we require the person who wants to get the license to pay for it. This is not the least bit controversial in any other arena, really. To use another example: getting a hunting license. I don't know if every state requires it, but where I grew up, if you wanted a hunting license, you took a hunting safety course. And you paid for it. And paid for the hunting license. It was NO BIG DEAL. I would just extend that to gun ownership in general. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Still, I can totally understand, though, how it would be annoying to a gun owner to have to pay for a license or training, or whatever. I'm a gun owner, and it would be annoying as hell for me, since, honestly, I don't need this. I'm safe. But, the evidence is in: not everyone who owns a gun is safe, and, I might even be wrong about how safe I am. Maybe I'm actually really dangerous and overconfident. I don't believe this about myself, but, then again, I don't insist on carrying a gun into a Starbucks, because I think that is a colossally stupid thing to do. So I would just take it on the chin here and realize that what's maybe not necessary for me is necessary for lots of other folks. (Just like in my personal case I really didn't need to take a hunting safety course because my dad was an instructor in those courses, so anything that was taught in that class was something that he'd been teaching to me already since I was five. I was fine without it--but I still wouldn't argue that it's a bad idea to require everyone, even me, to take it. I wanted to walk around with a gun, for Christ's sakes. Seems like the least that I could do.).

Sort of the end game to this particular line of argument, though, is to arrive at this point: the insistence that it is reasonable for gun owners to have compulsory gun safety training is a well-grounded, eminently supportable argument that has nothing to do with ideology. The same can't be said of the counterargument that you alluded to--that gun safety training is fine so long as every American is required to do it. That argument can only be ideological because there is just no reason on God's green earth why every American should be compelled to take a gun safety course if they don't intend to own or use a gun. Like I've been saying, we don't treat anything else that's similar the same way. That's why the counterargument is ideological.

So, yeah, there's a lot of culture war stuff we could get into if we needed to, but I can advance the argument I'm advancing without any of it. It's simply applying the same approach we take to any remotely similar situation.

Also, I should mention that the idea that gun owners should take gun safety courses if they're going to own guns is what I would think of as among least controversial of the necessary reforms we should have regarding gun ownership. So when I see resistance on this point, it signals to me potentially a deeper unreasonableness about the person's position in general. For what it's worth, I think the real argument against this is the "slippery slope," argument: gun owners afraid of giving ground on anything lest one day they find themselves unable to own guns at all (or whatever their particular fear is).

And if that's the actual argument, fine: we can have that argument.
posted by MoonOrb at 2:21 PM on October 11, 2013 [1 favorite]


Like I've been saying, we don't treat anything else that's similar the same way. That's why the counterargument is ideological.

Well, that's part and parcel with the problem with gun culture in general. If you're a woman, or a minority, or LGBT, your advocacy for rights depends on who you are and what is part of your humanity. Gun rights advocates have taken owning a machine and made into a human right, which devalues the entire meaning of human rights. As octobersurprise points out above, advocating for constant expansion of gun rights is pretty much unique in that it demands that everybody change for the gun and its owner, which is the opposite way things should go and fairly threatening on the face of it. What's even worse is that it is, according to all available evidence, for something that does not provide a public good, or for that matter to have an appreciable effect on improving the livelihoods of citizens at all. All human rights and pretty much all civil right derive from an acceptance of who someone is rather than what someone has. If we're talking culture wars, I fear that this is the largest gulf between the two sides, and by far the largest hole in the logic behind expansion of gun advocacy.
posted by zombieflanders at 2:39 PM on October 11, 2013 [3 favorites]


But remember, you have to respect gun culture!

Newton anniversary is now "Guns Save Lives Day"

This is sickening and indefensible.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:53 PM on October 11, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's simply applying the same approach we take to any remotely similar situation.

I actually see this approach, and see where you're coming from and why you would feel this way, but I think it's important to point out that these same approaches are not uncontroversial - even for hunting and fishing there are occasionally issues - and when you get into Constitutional-right area, they get a bit murky.

For something that might be more grokkable, calling on my own lefty days, I remember that protest permits were something that were taken as a norm by a majority of the population, and even seemed reasonable to many people in just such fashion - "Well, if you want the protest, you pay for the license." But to those protesting, as well as to some others, the idea of being required to pay money in exchange for a basic Constitutional right smacked as fundamentally wrong and abhorrent - as well as the concept that speech could be forced to be regulated and licensed at all. These things were not remotely uncontroversial - remember "Free speech zones", and how awful they were when they first started rearing their ugly head?

And then of course, there's the slippery slope argument referred to above.

So you essentially have three basic arguments here, and none of them is getting addressed:

1) The people who need the most protection - the poor - are the ones who are most being prevented from exercising their rights by imposing financial costs. (This is also one of the problems with specific gun bans - checking gun bans, some of the most widely banned guns are the least expensive)

2) For the government to have the ability to deny a basic right (which, we can argue about whether these are Constitutional or human, but they are in point of fact rights) gives the government too much power.

3) What does this mean/slippery slope.

So, at least from my perspective, these are issues that would need to be addressed by gun legislation that I would sign onto - and it's not impossible that I even would. I like training, I think it's highly useful. But imposing costs for training - unless there was some sort of sliding scale, perhaps - is a non-starter, because of problem (1). And problem (2) does need some sort of answer - essentially, how can any government requirements be accomplished by all people, regardless of their status, so it is not a denial but a positive?

Problem (2) is relevant because of how similar rules have been used elsewhere to effectively deny the thing at all. I am personally reminded of how, in my friend's area, all abortions were required to be performed by doctors living within city limits. It seemed fine, except that given the violence of abortion protests, no one wanted to live in the city they did abortions in, and so effectively it was a hundred-mile drive for them.

All human rights and pretty much all civil right derive from an acceptance of who someone is rather than what someone has. If we're talking culture wars, I fear that this is the largest gulf between the two sides,

I think you're partially right, but I'd define it further. I think one side of the culture gap defines human and civil rights as who someone cannot help but be, while the other defines them as who someone chooses to be.
posted by corb at 7:53 AM on October 14, 2013


I should perhaps also note that (1) is the one least often believed by gun control advocates, which is a real shame - there's a lot of "Lol like Republicans care about the poor", which I think mistakes the situation - first, gun advocacy is not necessarily a left/right position, though it's been made so of late which tends to polarize it, and secondly, Republicans do often care about the poor, they just tend to follow a "deserving poor" model that enrages (sometimes correctly) a lot of people. A really great example of this in action (disclaimer: that we've donated money to) is the Armed Citizen Project:
ACP does two things: arm and train entire neighborhoods in high crime areas and train and arm single women, single mothers and the disabled...“We selected an area that has recently had a high amount of home invasion crimes,” he said, “that also has a lot of owner-occupied folks that have been in this neighborhood for a long time, and have seen…the crime rate increase [and]…their property values go down.”

He explained that the area selected had about 400 homes in it, with 107 home invasions in the past year, a shocking 25%.

“We’ve offered every resident there…a free pump-action shotgun for home defense,” he said. ACP, which is “completely dependent upon donations of others,” requires a background check and a training course in order to get the free gun, and the first one was handed out in March.
posted by corb at 8:05 AM on October 14, 2013


1) The people who need the most protection - the poor - are the ones who are most being prevented from exercising their rights by imposing financial costs. (This is also one of the problems with specific gun bans - checking gun bans, some of the most widely banned guns are the least expensive)

I'm sorry, are you the same person who accused people who need government assistance for food and rent of wanting unicorn sky candy? And now you're so concerned about poor people not being able to afford licensing, training, and safety costs for something that isn't actually necessary to live?
posted by rtha at 8:18 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I totally predicted this exact argument - or lack of substantive argument, I should say, but here: because different people have different ideas about what is the best way of caring for the poor, what things are good/necessary for the poor, whether public, private, or religious charity is the best way to go, and what people should be able to reasonably expect, doesn't mean they don't care about the poor. In fact, many people with different ideas than you still manage to donate significantly to charity to aid the poor, and/or spend a great portion of their life working on causes or in fields to aid them.
posted by corb at 8:30 AM on October 14, 2013


Then start a charity to give poor people funds to pay for insurance/training/safe storage for their guns. Jesus christ on a crutch. Or maybe their families could help them. Or maybe they could use financial counseling services to save their money to move to a safer area where they wouldn't "need" to walk around with a gun.
posted by rtha at 8:36 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


1) The people who need the most protection - the poor - are the ones who are most being prevented from exercising their rights by imposing financial costs. (This is also one of the problems with specific gun bans - checking gun bans, some of the most widely banned guns are the least expensive)

Yes, but balanced against the right for poor people to also afford firearms is the significance of the health and well-being of everyone else in this country. This is the sort of calculus we do with all of our constitutionally-protected rights; they're not absolute.

So while, all things being equal, it would be preferable to achieve safety goals without imposing costs, the question is whether the costs imposed are so significant that it renders them unconstitutional. I would probably agree that if there were costs imposed which were only loosely related to safety but mostly intended to raise the cost of gun ownership in an attempt to make guns too expensive to afford, this would probably run afoul of the constitution. But as long as the nexus between safety and the cost is tight enough, this is fine.

If you strip the constitutional concerns out of it, leaving only "But think of all the poor people who can't afford guns now," my response is to let's worry first about all of the poor people who can't afford medication, food, safe housing, education, and all of the other things that are much more important--once we've resolved those problems we can move onto guns. Which is why I think the only credible argument on cost has to do with constitutionality. Because, seriously, refusing to enact firearm safety measures just because we're worried about the people who can't afford guns when those same people can't afford health insurance or pay for transportation to get to work or school, I mean, come on.

2) For the government to have the ability to deny a basic right (which, we can argue about whether these are Constitutional or human, but they are in point of fact rights) gives the government too much power.

The argument in response is similar: so on one hand you have what we're calling a "basic right," which is to own a firearm. On the other hand, though, we also have a "basic right," which is to be free from injury or death from people wielding firearms. When you pit these two basic rights against one each other, you have to strike an appropriate balance. I'm arguing that you strike the balance in favor of protecting the rights of everyone in the entire country to be safe from being shot by a firearm. This is consistent with how we've always done this historically--with just about every right. Even the right to speech is curtailed when it interferes with people's safety.

If the argument is instead that we need to ensure that people own guns so that they can resist the government with force if necessary, this is not an argument that I accept. So to the extent you want to argue that people should own guns so the government thinks twice about throwing us all in prison (or whatever), let me know, and we can have that argument, too. But all I'll say about it at this point is that when it comes to the very small reform we're talking about here--mandatory safety training--I don't think this concern is really implicated. If people want to have guns so they can defend themselves against government stormtroopers, fine; I am just saying we should take small steps so they're less likely to kill innocents in the process.

3) What does this mean/slippery slope.

I can understand from a practical perspective the idea that you wouldn't want to give any ground at all on legislation. But I'd at least hope that in a forum like this where we're not making any actual decisions, but just trying to understand each other or maybe convince each other, even someone who is opposed to firearm safety measures would at least be able to say something like, "I understand your argument--this is a reform I'd be okay with if I knew it would stop here. But I oppose it because I'm worried that if the reform you advocate for were to become effective, then reforms that I am not okay with would soon follow."
posted by MoonOrb at 9:21 AM on October 14, 2013


My CCW class cost $100, notably less than either of my used handguns cost, and about 7x the current cost of 50 rounds for my .45, an amount vastly insufficient to satisfy me at the range. If the NRA is so concerned about people's rights they can offer low-cost courses to satisfy the competency requirement.

Of course there's only so low you want to go and still present that compassionate helping hand which doesn't engender too much dependence, right? We'll leave you all to argue that amongst yourselves. I'll be over here with the folks who think that if you can scare up the $200 for your revolver you can manage the one-time competency class cost too.

Seriously corb, if you can't look back at your comments here and see why so many of us think the anti-regulation side is committed to an endless stream of disingenuous baloney (even as the constantly win every conflict and prevent every reasonable possible compromise) then you may want to question if you're really as committed to understanding and even-handedness as you constantly claim. Because from over here you just look like yet another person who will find every possible excuse why any action is a flawed slippery slope that must be avoided, even the things you claim in other breaths you think are good and worthy things.
posted by phearlez at 9:21 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think one side of the culture gap defines human and civil rights as who someone cannot help but be, while the other defines them as who someone chooses to be.

The side that defines human rights as who someone chooses to be is wrong in every single possible way. Human rights are commonly defined as "inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Guns are not part of being a human, and the idea of defining human rights so far down as to include a machine that is far from universally inherent in our own culture or ever given unlimited power by law, and is even less is so by humanity in general, is and should be pretty abhorrent.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:25 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you strip the constitutional concerns out of it, leaving only "But think of all the poor people who can't afford guns now," my response is to let's worry first about all of the poor people who can't afford medication, food, safe housing, education, and all of the other things that are much more important--once we've resolved those problems we can move onto guns. Which is why I think the only credible argument on cost has to do with constitutionality.

Yes and no. This, again, boils down to that larger issue of what-are-rights sort of stuff. Without getting into the "Is it a human right?" argument - which can be really long, is totally outside the scope of the discussion, and I think will probably never be settled - I think it suffices to say that there is a disagreement. So, for example, some people believe that "right to life" ends at "the right, once conceived, to be born" and others believe it means "right to the things necessary for life/a good life once outside the womb." It is really, really easy to fall into the trap of saying, "Well, I believe the following are human rights, and these people don't, so they must not care about rights." I could easily say the same of gun control adherents, and that would not be true - they do care about rights, simply not the same ones that I believe in.

That's why Constitutionality is actually really useful as a shorthand - it's not the only rights people care about, but it's the only rights we, as a nation, have agreed to care about together. We have agreed that regardless of our individual feelings about various things, we will put our ideas aside and focus on these points of agreement to guide us, that these are the things that unify us as a nation. There is no right to food, or shelter, in the Constitution - regardless of how much people may feel these are human rights - but there is a right to bear arms.

So saying, "Well, if you cared about rights, you'd care about this, and since you don't, you must not care and I can dismiss your argument" doesn't actually address the issue - not that I'm saying that is what you are doing, but saying that this is often an argument made in the why-don't-you-care-about-housing/healthcare town.

If people want to have guns so they can defend themselves against government stormtroopers, fine; I am just saying we should take small steps so they're less likely to kill innocents in the process.

You know, it may sound funny, but I actually forgot about this! That is another point on the safety classes - by requiring them for gun ownership, and requiring that records be kept, there is thus a mandated record of who is trained on firearms and probably possesses guns - which is an argument for either no system, a system that affects everyone, gun owner or not, or a system that doesn't keep records. The latter actually would be completely doable, but I'm not sure the government would go for it - simply ensure that each instructor is able to dole out numbered cards with no identifying data, and have someone show that numbered card for gun purchases. The probem with that is that there's then no way of detecting forgeries or people who loaned their cards to other people.


My CCW class cost $100, notably less than either of my used handguns cost, and about 7x the current cost of 50 rounds for my .45, an amount vastly insufficient to satisfy me at the range

Sure. For you and I, this is no burden. I don't currently own a gun, but if I wanted to do so, it would be very easy for me to purchase a used or new gun, pay for a class, pay for a permit, and pay for a lot of ammo. But we are not the people I'm talking about here, and I think it would be difficult to put a price tag on a constitutional right that would price people out of it.

I am reminded, actually of the arguments over Voter ID laws. A lot of people strongly opposed Voter ID laws because of the inconvenience or difficulty of obtaining the card. Others, (wrongly) assumed that you had to pay to acquire a card, and were right, under those assumptions, to oppose it, because it would have imposed a poll tax, requiring money in order to vote. Would any amount of money, in that case, have been low enough? Would it have been right to say, "Well, it only costs $100 to be able to vote?" Fifty? What about five?
posted by corb at 9:48 AM on October 14, 2013


corb: "I am reminded, actually of the arguments over Voter ID laws."

The court decision that discovered an individual right to bear arms also explicitly said that it's constitutional to place limits on that right. Show me the court decision that said it's okay to disenfranchise people who can't afford to pay for an ID card and your argument has merit, otherwise, knock it off with your sophistic attempts to compare people who want to make small, incremental changes in gun laws to people who want to take away voting rights and prevent access to abortion.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:52 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Guns are not part of being a human, and the idea of defining human rights so far down as to include a machine that is far from universally inherent in our own culture or ever given unlimited power by law, and is even less is so by humanity in general, is and should be pretty abhorrent.

Yes, exactly Gun ownership is not, by any sane definition, a "basic right." The right to not be around firearms may not be, either, but it stands a much greater chance of meeting a test for basic right than gun ownership does. How could those enlightened pre-Columbian American societies possibly have tolerated living, while being denied their right to own firearms?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:55 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


There is no right to food, or shelter, in the Constitution - regardless of how much people may feel these are human rights - but there is a right to bear arms.

Which was never intended to be an unlimited right and never held to be one in the entirety of the history of the Constitution.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:58 AM on October 14, 2013


"Is it a human right?" argument - which can be really long, is totally outside the scope of the discussion, and I think will probably never be settled

This one's pretty much settled, corb. Gun ownership is a constitutional right, not a human right. I agree it may not make that much of a difference to our discussion--but calling it a "human" right is sort of silly.

I am reminded, actually of the arguments over Voter ID laws. A lot of people strongly opposed Voter ID laws because of the inconvenience or difficulty of obtaining the card. Others, (wrongly) assumed that you had to pay to acquire a card, and were right, under those assumptions, to oppose it, because it would have imposed a poll tax, requiring money in order to vote. Would any amount of money, in that case, have been low enough? Would it have been right to say, "Well, it only costs $100 to be able to vote?" Fifty? What about five?

The right to participate in the political process is, along with free speech, probably the most significant right enshrined in our constitution. The right to own a firearm is qualitatively different--yes, the right is still in the constitution, but when you're comparing the right to vote with the right to own a firearm, you're not comparing apples to apples. For example, every time I go into Starbucks I carry with me my right to vote and put not a single person at risk. Would the same be true if I carried a loaded firearm into Starbucks? So while you may be reminded of the arguments over voter ID laws, the similarity is superficial.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:06 AM on October 14, 2013


but there is a right to bear arms.

There is no right to bear arms at no financial cost. None of our Constitutional rights are absolute, and all of them are weighed against the rights of people to not, for example, be punched in the nose.
posted by rtha at 10:21 AM on October 14, 2013


I agree it may not make that much of a difference to our discussion--but calling it a "human" right is sort of silly.

I don't think it makes much of a difference to our discussion, but I do think that calling other people's ideas silly does - it's kind of counter to the idea that most people are fundamentally decent, and comes to their ideas from a place that seems reasonable to them because of their information and background.

The right to participate in the political process is, along with free speech, probably the most significant right enshrined in our constitution.


Anytime you get to a place where you're calling one right as more significant than another, when the text does not specifically indicate it as such, I think you're in a place where you are making subjective value judgments. Which is fine! But it does mean that you may not be as neutral as you believe yourself to be.

I would ask, though - regardless of whether or not you think these concerns are valid concerns or people shouldn't have them - do you have any ideas on addressing them? Because it certainly doesn't do any practical good to tell people, "Well, you are wrong to care about this, so it's not a problem."
posted by corb at 10:26 AM on October 14, 2013


I don't think it makes much of a difference to our discussion, but I do think that calling other people's ideas silly does - it's kind of counter to the idea that most people are fundamentally decent, and comes to their ideas from a place that seems reasonable to them because of their information and background.

It looks like we disagree on this. I don't disagree that you believe that owning a gun is a human right stems from a reasonable place given your information and background. I take at face value that you actually believe this. But, objectively, I think this thing that you believe is silly. I think it's completely okay to be critical of the ideas each of us holds. Criticism of ideas--even when we use epithets as powerful as "silly"--can't credibly be claimed to be "counter to the idea that most people are fundamentally decent," can it? Can't I believe that you are a fundamentally decent person with a sincerely held, yet silly idea about human rights?

Anytime you get to a place where you're calling one right as more significant than another, when the text does not specifically indicate it as such, I think you're in a place where you are making subjective value judgments. Which is fine! But it does mean that you may not be as neutral as you believe yourself to be.

But I'm not neutral on this. I'm taking a position. I'm explicitly making the argument that the right to individual firearm ownership is less significant than the right to participation in the political process and the right to free speech. The reason I can make this argument is because (1) free speech and participation in the political process are substantially more vital to democracy and (2) are substantially less likely to kill somebody. I think history has my back here--consider how the protections for free speech and participation in the political process have been greater than the protections for gun ownership. Would you agree with me that if you had to place these things on a spectrum from "absolutely protected" to "none," that the protection given free speech and participation in the political process would be further along toward "absolute" than the protections given firearm ownership?

I would ask, though - regardless of whether or not you think these concerns are valid concerns or people shouldn't have them - do you have any ideas on addressing them? Because it certainly doesn't do any practical good to tell people, "Well, you are wrong to care about this, so it's not a problem."

I think the concerns should be resolved by using the political process to implement legislation that places restrictions on firearms ownership and requires all firearm owners to receive mandatory safety training. I recognize that there are people who disagree with my desires on this, but they can participate in the political process just like I can. So as a practical matter, it's completely fine that I think people are wrong to care about this as much as they do. They can feel the same way about me. I think I have the better argument, and I hope one day it prevails.
posted by MoonOrb at 10:51 AM on October 14, 2013


corb: "Anytime you get to a place where you're calling one right as more significant than another, when the text does not specifically indicate it as such, I think you're in a place where you are making subjective value judgments."

The Supreme Court routinely resolves conflicts between rights based on much more than just the text contained in them, and certainly based on more than value judgements alone. The text of the Constitution is rarely if ever explicit enough to help resolve these conflicts, so we rely on justices to use the history and tradition of the rights (as was done in DC v. Heller or to balance the government's interests (as was done in Roe v. Wade) in order to decide which rights trump other rights, or exactly how rights in conflict must be balanced by lower courts.

Now, Supreme Court justices aren't robots, so there's no doubt that their values inform how they rule, but to say that it's either in the text or it's a value judgement ignores the very substantial grey areas in which most constitutional challenges take place.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:31 AM on October 14, 2013


"I don't think it makes much of a difference to our discussion, but I do think that calling other people's ideas silly does - it's kind of counter to the idea that most people are fundamentally decent, and comes to their ideas from a place that seems reasonable to them because of their information and background."

Sorry, corb, but this is, well, very silly. I'm not going to take someone who claims the earth is 5,000 years old seriously — that's a silly idea, and someone who holds it does not deserve to be treated like a legitimate interlocutor with a truth claim. If you want a serious discussion on how the right to bear arms is constituted in rights theory, I can give you the beginnings of one. If you want to claim that the right to bear arms is a human right, I'm going to treat you as either daft or naive or both.

Rights theory is pretty complex, moderately philosophically unstable and generally not well understood by most people making rights-based arguments. That is almost certainly the case here.
posted by klangklangston at 11:40 AM on October 14, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh, and to bring this back around: Yes, it is very fucking silly to pretend that making sure that the poor have guns is more important than making sure they have health care and adequate food and shelter. Any reasonable assessment of priorities can see that. To say otherwise is daft or naive.
posted by klangklangston at 11:41 AM on October 14, 2013 [1 favorite]


Now, Supreme Court justices aren't robots

Largely true except in the case of Abe Fortas. Fortas was a robot. Everyone knows this.
posted by MoonOrb at 11:46 AM on October 14, 2013 [3 favorites]


I do think that calling other people's ideas silly does - it's kind of counter to the idea that most people are fundamentally decent, and comes to their ideas from a place that seems reasonable to them because of their information and background.

This is gibberish. But besides that, it's disrespectful, if you care about such things. It's tremendously disrespectful to return to a conversation, accuse people of speaking ignorantly, try to bend the discussion to your own parameters—i.e., legislative policy and your own theory of human rights, instead of the social norms of carrying weaponry—and then protest that people are being unkind by suggesting that some idea is less than fully-baked. I mean, the mendacity of this approach is kind of breathtaking.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:52 PM on October 14, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think it would be difficult to put a price tag on a constitutional right that would price people out of it.

Glock doesn't seem to think so. Or Smith&Wesson. Etc. Bearing arms has an intrinsic cost, and it's one that exceeds the poverty line all by itself.

Nobody asserts that your first amendment right to speech obligates the government to buy you a printing press and it even got top billing. We also constitutionally allow for certain locations/mechanisms of speech to have permitting costs reflective of their cost on society. We demand a test that such restrictions are content-neutral and serve a legitimate governmental/societal purpose, but we allow them. The idea that the first amendment isn't too precious for this but the second is doesn't pass the sniff test.

Others, (wrongly) assumed that you had to pay to acquire a card, and were right, under those assumptions, to oppose it, because it would have imposed a poll tax, requiring money in order to vote.

It does require money to vote and we continue to allow that fact. You have to invest the time in both acquiring the voter registration and the cost in going to the polls - in time and gas. Not all municipalities allow for no-excuse absentee voting. Plenty of evidence points to the fact that having limited time windows during the work week depresses total vote count, a clear proof that folks are making a tradeoff based on time=money calculations.

But put all that aside. All you and the NRA has to do is say "hey, you know what? We'll sign off on mandatory training but it has to be provided at no cost." And it's never going to happen. Because there's always another nonsense disingenuous excuse, no matter how paranoid or unlikely. It doesn't matter if it's 1,000,000:1 chance just in comparison to catching a stray bullet in the city. It'll always be too much for the antis.

And with that - and your help demonstrating that yes, you will find any number of other excuses Why Not - I'm done with this. You're welcome to your positions, corb, but your continued self delusion that you exist in some sort of open-minded space that the other side doesn't is simply untrue and nicely documented above.
posted by phearlez at 1:59 PM on October 14, 2013 [5 favorites]


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