This is a sincere question, I’d love a sincere answer.

Why does the above weapon (a Bushmaster semi-automatic assault rifle used in the recent Newtown murders) need to be legally available? I understand that people should be able to own a pistol or a hunting rifle. I get that a shotgun has it’s uses. But an assault rifle? It’s not for hunting deer, it’s far more than is needed for self-defence. It’s not quite the right thing for clay pigeon shooting. It’s designed to shoot a lot of bullets in a short space of time at as many people as possible.

I’d genuinely like to hear from my American friends and anyone else who can help the rest of us understand.

52 comments on “A Question about Gun Control

  1. If all you’re asking about is the legal situation, I believe the answer is in the Constitution of the US and the Bill of Rights. Those documents were written by people who felt that free citizens need to have the means to overthrow any government that is the enemy of freedom–even one that arguably wasn’t all that bad (like the British government of King George). Clearly the US government is heavily armed: what sort of weaponry would be sufficient to satisfy the requirements of those who produced the Constitution? My guess is that it would be something at least as powerful as the Bushmaster. Hence the conundrum: I could never concede 1) that governments are no longer threats to personal freedom (that would be ridiculous–in the 20th century alone governments are estimated to have killed 170 million people), 2) that moderns are very well equipped to moderate their murderous impulses.

  2. Because human governments often become murderous and rapacious and the people must have means to defend themselves not only against criminals but against tyranny. This was one purpose of the 2nd Amendment to provide a check on government power. Governments tend to be far better armed than the average criminal, hence the need for firepower.

  3. Yep, and what’s happening in the Middle East is a perfect example of what a simple solution it is for people to rise up with weapons against a government. You just replace one form of tyranny with another.

  4. And it does seem a little rediculous to allow automatic weapons to ensure the overthrow of a government that has fighter jets and a nuclear arsenal. Surely the 2nd amendment was penned when land owners and fledgeling govenments had the potential to be evenly matched.

  5. Sometimes, but not always Martin. The US is fine example of the “not always”. Regardless it is good for governments to live in healthy fear of the power of the governed to unseat them. Tends to keep the human tendency toward tyranny in check.

  6. Hi Martin,

    “And it does seem a little rediculous to allow automatic weapons to ensure the overthrow of a government that has fighter jets and a nuclear arsenal.”

    heh…tell that to the Vietcong

  7. Strange that you could ask that question after emerging from the 20th century bathed as it was in the blood of two of history’s most gruesome and horrific state sponsored holocausts

  8. So Matt, you are saying that Americans are justified in owning say a Bushmaster or some other automatic weapon so that they can defend their liberty in case the USA government decides to take it away?

    I don’t think my question is strange. What I do find strange is the cultural blindness shown by so many Americans who are rightly repulsed by the Newtown murders but so don’t any correlation with American gun culture. So now I am reading of people in the states talking about teachers packing. An 11 year old boy was found with a gun at school in the US today. His justification – to defend himself.

    Speaking personally, the very notion tI can kill a person simply by pulling a trigger nauseates me. Perhaps you and other Americans would respond with the arguement that the power of a gun lies not in its use, but in its deterrence. If I possessed a gun, it would deter outlaws from assautling me or shooting me.

    The issue I have with this arguement, (not that I think it is an arguement because of the shallowness of it) is that it is a fallacy. In Australia, most people don’t have guns. [I have held a gun once in my 38 years of life, and that was a year ago when I was asked as an Anglican minister to officiate at the ANZAC dawn service. Afterwards the soldiers asked me if I would like to hold one of their rifles. (a Steyr) and it felt creepy.]

    Careful studies have demonstrated, over and over again, that homes which do not have a gun in the drawer are safer than those which do. Australia is a case in point. We have the same freedoms as Americans, and we are far less likely to be the victim of gun crimes than American citizens.

    You understand me Matt?
    Australia = less guns = less % of being a victim of gun crime
    USA = Most guns in the world = more % of being a victim of gun crime

    So how if the arguement that guns are a deterrent and ensure personal liberty, then the following should be the case:
    Australia = less guns = more% of being a victime of crime = no personal liberty
    USA = most gunes in thew world = less % of being a victim of gun crime.

    USA’s deadly obsession with guns is perpetuatingthe very thing that they think their obsession will prevent. The cycle of violence will only continue unless their is major reform. Though getting Americans to disarm is like getting Australians to not drink.

  9. Matt,

    I am really trying to just get my head around the mentality of Americans pertaining to guns. Personally I love American and one of her strengths is her optimism and can do attitude!!! Every American I have met have been warm, lovely and godly. And I am not saying Australia is not more of a sinful nation – we are sinful just our sin is at times different and wrapped up in a different accent.

    Perhaps being Australian, I simply don’t understand. And yes, guns really do frighten me!

  10. HI Joshua,

    “So Matt, you are saying that Americans are justified in owning say a Bushmaster or some other automatic weapon so that they can defend their liberty in case the USA government decides to take it away?”

    Precisely.

    “I don’t think my question is strange.”

    I do given the murderous tyranny of the last century (not to mention the centuries before)

    “What I do find strange is the cultural blindness shown by so many Americans who are rightly repulsed by the Newtown murders but so don’t any correlation with American gun culture.”

    Because there isn’t. There is a correlation between human fallenness and murder. That correlation is seen in even gun restrictive nations like Norway. Does the name Breivik ring a bell.

    In fact, as was mentioned above…where gun laws are least restrictive in the US violent crime is lowest. Where they are most restrictive…say Washington DC…you find the highest violent crime rates. The reason for this is simple. People intent on murder don’t obey gun laws.

    “So now I am reading of people in the states talking about teachers packing.”

    Great idea.

    “An 11 year old boy was found with a gun at school in the US today. His justification – to defend himself.”

    Right.

    “Speaking personally, the very notion tI can kill a person simply by pulling a trigger nauseates me.”

    It should. But unfortunately there are many for whom the idea is enticing. And, again, they do not follow the gun laws.

    “Perhaps you and other Americans would respond with the arguement that the power of a gun lies not in its use, but in its deterrence. If I possessed a gun, it would deter outlaws from assautling me or shooting me”

    Which, statistically, has proven to be the case.

    “The issue I have with this arguement, (not that I think it is an arguement because of the shallowness of it)”

    It is interesting that you label a statistical truth as “shallow”…that’s nonsensical. 1+1 = 2…that’s not deep nor is it shallow. It is simply factual.

    “is that it is a fallacy. In Australia, most people don’t have guns. [I have held a gun once in my 38 years of life, and that was a year ago when I was asked as an Anglican minister to officiate at the ANZAC dawn service. Afterwards the soldiers asked me if I would like to hold one of their rifles. (a Steyr) and it felt creepy.]

    Careful studies have demonstrated, over and over again, that homes which do not have a gun in the drawer are safer than those which do. Australia is a case in point. We have the same freedoms as Americans, and we are far less likely to be the victim of gun crimes than American citizens.

    Same freedoms…do you mean that you have gun laws that allow for open carry and concealed carry? If not then, no, you do not have the same freedoms. If you do have the same freedoms then I can certainly see why you are safer.

    The great thing about the stats I cited above is that you can compare states with restrictive gun laws with those with non-restrictive laws and you see this principle play out quite clearly. Those who live in states with non-restrictive gun laws are safer.

    “You understand me Matt?” Australia = less guns = less % of being a victim of gun crime USA = Most guns in the world = more % of being a victim of gun crime”

    Actually I understand that your facts are incorrect. We neither have “the most guns in the world” unfortunately. Nor do we have the highest murder rate in the world (fortunately):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_intentional_homicide_rate

    “So how if the arguement that guns are a deterrent and ensure personal liberty, then the following should be the case: Australia = less guns = more% of being a victime of crime = no personal liberty USA = most gunes in thew world = less % of being a victim of gun crime.”

    Of course there are literally thousands of factors you are not taking into account – long unenforced contiguous borders with lawless drug cartels to our south, along with a burgeoning drug trade – being the most important. Which is why the comparison between states with high restrictions v. those with low restrictions is more statistically instructive than comparing an island nation with the US.

    “USA’s deadly obsession with guns is perpetuatingthe very thing that they think their obsession will prevent. The cycle of violence will only continue unless their is major reform. Though getting Americans to disarm is like getting Australians to not drink.”

    Well you are right that we will not surrender our freedoms nor our God given responsibility to defend our homes and families against violence.

    Here’s a nice article for you to think through
    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/229929/gun-control-and-mass-murders/john-r-lott-jr

  11. I think Greg Griffith has articulated the philosophical difference between the US and Europeans quite well here:

    “There is a fundamental difference between the way Europeans and Americans view the relationship between the individual and the state. When it comes to how power is divided, Europeans begin at a baseline that states, in effect, “the state is supreme. now what liberties shall the individual be allowed?” While Americans begin with “the individual is supreme, now what powers shall the government be granted?” That’s why Europeans look at an AR-15 and ask, “why should anyone have this?”, and Americans look at it and ask, “why should the government be allowed to take this from me?”

    Precisely

  12. Matt,

    Thanks for getting back to me. Your comments are fascinating (seriously), particularly:
    1. the idea that defending ourselves with Guns is a ‘God-given right’, (would love to know how you acquire this view Biblically)
    2. Australians have less freedoms because we cannot carry a weapon – makes me think about what the defintion of freedom is
    3. Your refutation of the notion that American has the most guns in the world – many sources I have researched (from American too) say that the USA has the most guns in the world. (300 million).
    4. You hold to the view that guns are a deterent, that it is factual, (1+1=2), yet as I suggested in my post, if this were true, then how do you explain that in Australia we have less gun crime, less people are killed through shooting in Australia, yet the majority of Australians do not own guns. If what you were saying were true, then there should be more gun crime in the Australia, not less.
    5. I find it fascinating that you see no correlation with the USA gun culture and the number of people who are killed by guns in the states. (What would have been the outcome at Newtown if Lanza had a knife? In China a man went into a school and stabbed 22 kids and student, they all lived. Stands to reason if he had a Bushmaster, they would all be dead).

    In the 21st century, the belief that one needs a home machine gun to defend oneself against a possible invasion may be a total anachronism. … But in the USA this does not appear to matter.

    Again, thanks for getting back to me and for the link. Seriously, I find your views fascinating.

  13. Hi Joshua

    “1. the idea that defending ourselves with Guns is a ‘God-given right’, (would love to know how you acquire this view Biblically)”

    I did not say “right” I said “responsibility. Big difference. The idea that the head of a family is also responsible for the protection and defense of his wife and children is easily defensible. The opposite idea…that the leader does not have such a responsibility is the one that needs biblical defense (which is impossible)

    “2. Australians have less freedoms because we cannot carry a weapon – makes me think about what the defintion of freedom is…”

    That’s good. I hope you think it through more carefully.

    “3. Your refutation of the notion that American has the most guns in the world – many sources I have researched (from American too) say that the USA has the most guns in the world. (300 million).”

    I did not say that America does not have the most guns. I said that America does not have the most gun violence…again…big difference.

    “4. You hold to the view that guns are a deterent, that it is factual, (1+1=2), yet as I suggested in my post, if this were true, then how do you explain that in Australia we have less gun crime, less people are killed through shooting in Australia, yet the majority of Australians do not own guns. If what you were saying were true, then there should be more gun crime in the Australia, not less.”

    As I pointed out, comparing Australia to the US is comparing apples to oranges. You do not have a pourous undefended border with basic anarchy to your south.

    but if you insist on such comparisons, check out England’s gun violence rate which is, despite their strict gun laws, far greater than the US.

    Or to actually see the real statistical effect of looser gun laws check out the graphs on this page:
    http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

    “5. I find it fascinating that you see no correlation with the USA gun culture and the number of people who are killed by guns in the states.”

    Exactly because in places like Texas where the gun laws have been dramatically loosened the gun violence has decreased by 30%. Just check the actual numbers above instead of trusting your own assumptions.

    “(What would have been the outcome at Newtown if Lanza had a knife? In China a man went into a school and stabbed 22 kids and student, they all lived. Stands to reason if he had a Bushmaster, they would all be dead).”

    If any one of those teachers had a weapon and had been trained to use it, it would be a different story. It would not have been a different story had the gun laws been stricter. He was smart enough and determined enough to get guns illegally as most criminals do.

    “In the 21st century, the belief that one needs a home machine gun to defend oneself against a possible invasion may be a total anachronism. … But in the USA this does not appear to matter.”

    That idea is perhaps the most inane of all the ideas you have proposed and demonstrates your complete ignorance of military tactics and small perimeter defense. When you are defending your home against armed intruders you need firepower.

    “Again, thanks for getting back to me and for the link. Seriously, I find your views fascinating.”

    You keep using that word “fascinating”. I don’t think you really mean that.

  14. Matt,

    Just a few points?

    1. I do find it fascinating, your view of guns, talking about fire-power (and the appeared trivialisation of killing a person) all in the name of responsibilty and protection. The idea of Christians owning a weapon designed to inflict the most damage; in that sense that it is so completely foreign, paradoxical and to be frank very alarming!

    2. I confess that I am ignorant of military tactics and small perimter defense – not being a soldier, not being living on a frontier with the perception that government is going to take my rights away. I think this ignorance is a good thing.

    3. As for Apples with oranges, are you saying that Americans should take up arms to defend themselves from Mexicans and South Americans who are going to invade?

    4. Sorry Matt, but you did actually say that American does not have the most guns -” We neither have “the most guns in the world” unfortunately. Nor do we have the highest murder rate in the world (fortunately)”: USA = no.1; Yemen – no.2

    5. The idea that the head of a family is also responsible for the protection and defense of his wife and children is easily defensible. The opposite idea…that the leader does not have such a responsibility is the one that needs biblical defense (which is impossible) I totally agree – but still in all good conscience if I were to move to the USA and take a parish there, I would feel that owning a gun designed to kill easily, quickly and effectvely is hard to justify even though the USA says that I would have a right to bear arms. What about Jesus teaching that we are to give up our rights (turn the other cheek, go the extra mile)? Does not Scripture trump culture?

    It is a strange feeling for me to think that if I moved to the USA and did not own a gun, and think it wrong, that Christian brothers and sisters would think me remiss at best, or at worst crazy.

    Blessings Matt

    It has been a pleasure to discuss this issue with you. Much to think about.

    • “It is a strange feeling for me to think that if I moved to the USA and did not own a gun, and think it wrong, that Christian brothers and sisters would think me remiss at best, or at worst crazy.”

      It may come as a surprise to some here, but the USA you discuss doesn’t exist for most of the people who actually live in the USA. In my 50 years, I have never as much as seen a handgun “in the wild”, never witnessed violent crime (except when living in the UK), never known a person who has been shot, or who has shot somebody, and never even considered the option of owning a gun. Nobody, as far as I know, thought I was either remiss or crazy (at least not for gun-related reasons). This supposed obsession with guns doesn’t exist in most places: people just quietly go about their lives. I do know that my church was mostly devoid of men during hunting season, but apart from that guns were never an issue or topic of conversation.

      • Philip, I don’t that this is how you honestly view things. The situation is not the same, however, when viewed through “foreign” eyes. Some of the conversations I overheard around the coffee pot while serving with the US military, made my Canadian ears burns. It was all quite normal to my American colleagues. While staying on an American base last week, I was reminded that smoking and guns were prohibited in the room. Again, very bizarre to my Canadian ears, but probably wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow to Americans.

  15. Hi Joshua,

    I continue to think, reading your responses that you do not actually read what I write very carefully so it is difficult to say that this has been a real discussion much less an enjoyable one.

    “1. I do find it fascinating, your view of guns, talking about fire-power (and the appeared trivialisation of killing a person) all in the name of responsibilty and protection. The idea of Christians owning a weapon designed to inflict the most damage; in that sense that it is so completely foreign, paradoxical and to be frank very alarming!”

    I have no idea where in scripture you would go to support the idea that Christian husbands do not have a responsibility to protect and defend their wives and children. The idea of Christians keeping and bearing arms for protection of the weak is not a new one. I’m stunned that you find it paradoxical.

    “2. I confess that I am ignorant of military tactics and small perimter defense – not being a soldier, not being living on a frontier with the perception that government is going to take my rights away. I think this ignorance is a good thing.”

    Ignorance is not really a good thing when you presume to moralize about the subject in question.

    “3. As for Apples with oranges, are you saying that Americans should take up arms to defend themselves from Mexicans and South Americans who are going to invade?”

    It is obvious that you didn’t even read what I wrote. Your comment is incomprehensible as a response to my point. I said nothing at all about defending against Mexicans and South Americans. I did say that porous borders mean guns get into the US illegally and are easily obtainable without having to go to a store and register them.

    “4. Sorry Matt, but you did actually say that American does not have the most guns -” We neither have “the most guns in the world” unfortunately. Nor do we have the highest murder rate in the world (fortunately)”: USA = no.1; Yemen – no.2”

    Again, you have not read what I wrote or the actual stats I posted. I did not know the US had the most weapons per-capita…but that we do is wonderful since it actually demonstrates my point. What I did post demonstrates clearly that we do not have the number one gun violence rate and are actually behind some nations with very strict gun laws. If your thesis were correct we would necessarily have the highest gun violence. We do not. England has more gun violence than we do. You site the homicide rate. Gun violence is a better measure since it takes into account all violent crimes committed by people with guns even if they did not result in murder. We are, again, behind the UK in gun violence and not near first when it comes to the homicide rate:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate
    http://www.justfacts.com/guncontrol.asp

    Again, why not actually read the stats?

    “if I were to move to the USA and take a parish there, I would feel that owning a gun designed to kill easily, quickly and effectvely is hard to justify even though the USA says that I would have a right to bear arms. What about Jesus teaching that we are to give up our rights (turn the other cheek, go the extra mile)? Does not Scripture trump culture?”

    Scripture everywhere calls us to sacrifice ourselves for others. It nowhere calls you to sacrifice your children or wife. Just the opposite. It is your responsibility to give your life for their defense and it is your responsibility to provide for their safety.

    “It is a strange feeling for me to think that if I moved to the USA and did not own a gun, and think it wrong, that Christian brothers and sisters would think me remiss at best, or at worst crazy.”

    I would certainly think you are remiss…not crazy.

    • Hi all,

      I don’t think I’ve ever posted on a blog before, but this has been a long yet interesting conversation to follow. It seems that Americans collectively have a very strong national identity, and the majority-support for owning/carrying weapons reflects this. For an American to reject gun rights must be a bit like an Italian rejecting the Catholic faith – it is as though the person has intentionally cut himself off from that which defines him, and by extension, offended all those who continue to support the (rejected) belief.

      What has stood out to me in this conversation, however, is the preconception that ‘the individual is supreme’ (as opposed to an authoritarian State). Although there have obviously been extreme instances throughout recent history of governments and dictators gaining supremacy by force, I also see many concerning issues within Western culture that stem from the belief in individual supremacy. For example, look around in your town/city, and in your churches and see the multiplying ‘fruits’ of individualism; for example, prolific marriage/family bust-ups, lack of care for the elderly/ill/homeless, conflict, decline in volunteer organisations, pornography, loneliness, road rage…and more.

      As Christians, God is always changing us to be like Jesus – we know this, we sing songs about it on Sundays, pastors preach about it often. But the hardest thing for us to do is to question the things that are ingrained in us from childhood, and ask, “WWJD?”. These things might be theological viewpoints or secular assumptions, but, in either case, Christians are called to always ‘die to self’ and do things God’s way. I myself have had to change my mind on issuess that were ‘foundational’ for me. Very difficult and very humbling! For Christians in the States who genuinely believe that God wants them to have the right to possess semi-automatic (or other) firearms at home or on their person, I ask them to try to step outside their culture and try to see this issue from Jesus’ perspective. Yes, I agree that men should protect their families (though how often do they really have to do this physically? And with gun force?) , and that parents have a responsibility to protect their children. I also concede that guns do have their place (agricultural use, sport, hunting, police, army). But what I am getting at here is that the ingrained belief in individualism is seen as a virtue, yet it is also possibly the root of the problem. For Christian people, God makes us into a ‘body’, we are ‘a people’. It is true, God gives us certain freedoms, yet he does not ask us to promote our own individuality.

      Secondly, I believe that because America insists on holding this age-old perspective in the same way that it did in the C18, it will eventually find that what was once its strength becomes its downfall. You can discuss statistics (whose ‘independent’ study proves the other one wrong??) but in addition, a broader analysis is needed to determine if an antiquated law still has relevance today. Many churches are always focusing on ways to ‘contextualise’ the gospel – make it accessible to people in C21 – yet this same thinking has not been applied to the Second Amendment of 1791. Should this historical ruling still be applied in the same way now, despite the massive technological advances of the last two centuries? Or should it be contextualised within the time and place in which Americans find themselves today? Many countries have successfully (though not perfectly of course) developed a more balanced approach: democracy enables the people to vote for a government which generally reflects the values of the majority, and thus the indiviual is generally respected. It doesn’t have to be an emotional situation of “either/or” where the people always hold a defensive position angainst potential dictatorships (and keep weapons to defend that).

      I think that Americans must suffer from much anxiety, knowing that at any time, any person in their community could turn on them with a firearm, and mentally preparing themselves to defend with like force. If Mrs Bloggs next door develops a psychotic mental illness, she could quite easily knock on the door, offer you some choc-chip cookies, then shoot you point blank. For me, it is really nice to walk my kids to the bus-stop in the morning, knowing that none of my neighbours have guns, and my own Mrs Bloggs can seek medical treatment without also going to jail for murdering me (and I stay alive!). I find that peace-of-mind a far greater ‘freedom’ than knowing that my gun is bigger than yours. As for protecting our family against gun-toting criminals, we take sensible measures to secure our home, and if a local situation gets a bit rowdy or violent, we call the police. We don’t live in heaven just yet, but while we wait I pray that Christians worldwide will constantly assess the assumptions embedded in their own cultures (mine included!) in light of God’s truth rather than relying on an inherited historical ‘wisdom’.

      • “I think that Americans must suffer from much anxiety, knowing that at any time, any person in their community could turn on them with a firearm, and mentally preparing themselves to defend with like force.”

        No American I know suffers this anxiety. I suppose blacks in the US south did up to and through the 1950s and 1960s, which is one of the reasons the NRA was so strong during that time, and people like Charlton Heston fought for the rights of those people to defend themselves when their own local governments denied them proper protection. And many city-dwellers know that anxiety today: cities like Chicago, DC, Detroit, Baltimore, etc.–places which coincidentally have the toughest gun laws (n.b. I’m not claiming a direct causality).

        WWJD? I’m not convinced that he would say that law-abiding citizens should be disarmed because there are some who violate the law and perpetrate evil.

        “What has stood out to me in this conversation, however, is the preconception that ‘the individual is supreme’ (as opposed to an authoritarian State).”

        I think that your line of thought here has some merit, but is reducing a complex situation to a simple one. My mother was a fugitive from a communist state. She preferred to live where people could worship and proclaim the God of the Bible. To state her position in terms of a pair of polar supremacies would have meant little to her. In the 1990s the number of people who moved from other countries to the US was greater than every man woman and child in Australia. Many of them were trying to get away from some element of government imposition, often paying a terrible price in terms of what they left behind and also in terms of what they found in the US in terms of social dislocation, loneliness, etc. I wouldn’t reduce that to a slogan like “the individual is supreme”.

        Having said that, I agree that American society is decaying. A book like “From Mutual Aid Society to Welfare State” charts one element of that decline. Some have remarked concerning the UK that where the church is large the State is small, and where the State is large, the church is small. The US is, I fear, only a generation or so behind in the loss of any real moral voice.

        Warren, I don’t know what you mean here: “Philip, I don’t that this is how you honestly view things.” I was expressing my view, which I suspect is the view of pretty much everybody I grew up with in Milwaukee in the 1960s and 70s–but I didn’t know a lot of people (I was just a child).

        • Philip, this comment just appeared on Stand Firm in Faith:

          The shotgun is superb home defense weapon and I would suggest a good choice to assure getting the shooter down [significantly wounded or dead] in a school type situation. Unless the principal were a highly trained tactical shooter the likelyhood of them actually hitting the target at 7-10 yards is shockingly remote with a pistol round. A very nervous shooter is going to pull the trigger hard and many/most shots will go wide left and down [right handed shooter]. With the tactical shotgun [short barrel] at 7-10 yards [typical indoor engagement range] you have a point and shoot defensive weapon. And you do not have to be concerned about what is behind the wall that is behind the bad guy. Just point and shoot. At 7-10 yards the majority of pellets will be target focused and the spread could hit someone else but not likely to be fatal.

          Conversations of this ilk were relatively common in the workplace, while I was working in the US. Some of the more “interesting” ones centred around how to ensure an intruder on one’s personal property was shot dead so as to avoid legal complications. Such conversations would be viewed as bizarre and inappropriate in Canada; and, I suspect, for most of the rest of the world. For many Americans, however, this would just reinforce belief in the superiority of the American approach to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

          As I pointed out in another comment, there is an unbridgeable gulf between the US and the rest of the world regarding the right to bear arms, and no amount of discussion will change a thing.

          • Warren, is your point that after a horrible shooting in the US, Americans on a Christian site are talking about guns and which ones are good for defense? If so, that doesn’t surprise me in the least. Here I am having the most extensive conversation about guns I’ve ever been involved in, after a horrible shooting in the US prompted a question about a Bushmaster. If we’re doing it, I’m not surprised others are as well.

            It isn’t only the US that talks about guns. Here are some comments concerning countries I’ve lived in.

            “As a result, the Crown Prosecution Service can (and has) prosecuted people for merely possessing anything they consider to be an “offensive weapon” whether or not said “weapon” was ever displayed. They have prosecuted people, like the man who beat a burglar with a milk bottle, for “unreasonable” use of force. One man was acquitted not too long back of murdering a home invader with his shotgun when his defense was that the gun “accidentally discharged” as he was pointing it at the huge, steroid-enraged bodybuilder climbing through his second-floor window and verbally threatening to kill the homeowner. Since there was no intent, fleeting or momentary, he wasn’t guilty of murder, apparently, even though he had to unlock the gun cabinet, retrieve his shotgun, unlock the ammo cabinet, retrieve his ammo, load the gun, aim the gun, and put his finger on the trigger. All of that was “reasonable,” but pulling the trigger intentionally would have been an act not of self-defense, but of murder.”

            In an article in the Guardian, which as far as I can tell is inclined in favor of gun control, I found this: “Gun enthusiasts say limiting the right to bear arms would have destroyed a cherished tradition and undermined the citizen army’s preparedness against possible invasion by hostile neighbours.”

            Concerning the situation in Germany, where I have lived on occasion, I find this: “At the beginning some words regarding german gun laws about the posession of a firearm: if you bring time an money you can get quiet close to american gun laws excluding automatic weapons and owning an unlimited amount of weapons. Which means you can actually obtain half-automatic assault rifles with 100-round magazines and 50 cal sniper rifles, if you can proove the necessity. Assault rifles like the civil version of the H&K 416 oder M4 are available for hunters and sport shooters, 100 round magazines can be obtained by everyone, because they are not considered to be restricted gun parts like for example a barrel. On the other hand a hunter would not be able to obtain a 50 cal rifle as there is no deer wich would require such a caliber; a longe range sports shooter otherwise could buy such a weapon. There is furthermore no restriction on the amount of ammunition you desire to possess. Concealed carry is only available for threatened persons (f.e. jewelers and victims of crimes with the possibility of repeat) and security staff (bodyguards, watchmen). These permissions are hard to obtain.”

            “Surprisingly the german self defence laws are quiet extensive. At the extrem end for example if someone is running away with your rolex-watch and there is no other option available (empty street in the night) you are allowed to shoot him in the back even if it’s deadly (actually we had this case recently and the shooter was acquitted from manslaughter). When your health is in danger your action has to be appropiate (as also for property: shooting someone for an apple would not be justified, but a rolex or even several hundred dollars would fit). So shooting someone in the head who attacks you with his fists would not work, but if someone attacks you with a knife and you have no time for warning shots or shots to his legs, killing him is perfectly legal.”

            The Guardian comment, I should have mentioned, was in reference to a vote in Switzerland, not the US.

  16. So perhaps a moment to sum up where I think the arguments are going.

    1. There is quite obviously a massive cultural gap between the U.S. (or at least the pro-gun parts of it) and the rest of us. This is reflected, not least, in basic assumptions about the role of government and the civilian etc. These axioms are becoming clearer in the discussion but I’m not convinced we’ve properly tested them yet.
    2. The main arguments for gun ownership appear to be: a) the 2nd amendment argument that the government cannot be trusted and so it is the right of civilians to have weapons to form a militia & b) the responsibility to defend the weak, beginning with one’s own family (as distinguished from the right to defend ourselves) but also (as a timely example) children in a primary school.

    Is that a fair summation, notwithstanding that we have not yet moved to properly examining the Scriptural underpinnings for Christians in these things?

  17. After spending five years in the US, all of it working in military organizations, and having had countless discussions with Americans about the right to bear arms, I’ve concluded that it simply boils down to this:

    The Constitution is inspired and on the same plane as the Bible. The Constitution gives American citizens the right to bear arms. Discussion over. Any statistics about the efficacy, or lack thereof, of gun control, or comparisons with the experiences of other nations, is totally irrelevant.

    You can discuss gun control until you’re blue in the face, throw up all the statistics and arguments you want, and you won’t change a thing. I (and other Canadian military personnel working with Americans) usually bring up the topic just for the amusement of watching our American brothers in arms – who we respect greatly – screw themselves through the roof. 😉

  18. Matt,
    I have read your posts, perhaps I don’t understand. However your arrogance and condescending tone is certainly not helpful and is very inconsistent to the way you come across when discussing theological matters, nor in the personal correspondence I have had with you. Quite disappointing as I have found your ministry and example to me to be quite encouraging. I apologise if my tone has offended you, I was aiming to be conciliatory as Christian wise we are brothers and are on the same team.
    Blessings Matt

    Josh

  19. hi Joshua,

    “I have read your posts, perhaps I don’t understand. However your arrogance and condescending tone is certainly not helpful”

    You set the tone for this discussion Joshua. I responded in kind.

    “Quite disappointing as I have found your ministry and example to me to be quite encouraging.”

    I’m not worried about your disappointment since, as I noted, you set the tone. I assumed you would be prepared to receive what you dished out. I suppose I was wrong about that. It’s nothing to be sorry about. I was not offended. I just figured you wanted to take the gloves off and I was happy to spar with you. That’s just the way men generally speak when disagreeing. I found your rhetoric dismissive and arrogant from the get go but I wasn’t bothered by it or offended.

    If I thought “tone” a reason to take offense I’d have to stop reading the Reformers…and probably Paul’s epistles as well.

    Matt

  20. Matt,

    I think our discussion is an example of the weakness of debating in this sort of platform, no nuance, no tone, no facial expression. If you felt my tone dismissive again my sincere apologies.

    Though can I say that I have found what you have said insightful, as I don’t know any Americans personally and it is very helpful to have your take on the whole gun ownership thing.

    All the best Matt, and praying that God will bless you, your family and your ministry at Binghampton in 2013.

    in Christ
    Josh

  21. Umm. Wow.

    My question for Matt – if he is still around – is does he think other sovereign states have the right to arm themselves, however they please, as a deterrent against invasion by the US, or other armed forces?

    Seems the same principles apply.

  22. Of course. All nations have the responsibility to defend themselves against aggressors. But terrorist nations should not expect to do so with impunity…as the UN has made clear. Even in the US, known violent criminals are not permitted to own firearms. And when it is discovered that they do, there is “police action”…so, heh, your analogy kinda breaks down there.

    • Matt, since you brought up the UN, you doubtlessly would be prepared to allow the UN to define which nations are “terrorist” nations. Heh, heh, heh.

      As I’ve said in two other comments, American advocates of the right to bear arms and most of the rest of the world will continue to talk past each other on this topic. There isn’t enough common ground or presuppositions to connect.

  23. “Who decides who the terrorists are? Is it on past actions? Or declared intent?”

    Hint…look for the guys who are hiding behind and/or strapping bombs on children and women for the expressed purpose of murdering non-combatants. And those who support them. Doesn’t take all that much effort.

    I cited the UN not because I care whit what they say or think but because I recognize that Europeans tend to hold that vain collection useless of diplomats in high esteem. Trying to speak your lingo.

    Proceed now with your requisite moral equivalence

    • I know you don’t give a whit about the UN, or about any opinions expressed by commenters on this thread if they don’t align with conservative American values – but many Americans do hold to different values, which is why I’m not too alarmed about sharing a border with the US.

      But to get back to the original question, why not allow individual Americans to own fully automatic weapons? Heck, if guarding one’s property is such a vital expression of freedom, why not allow home owners to build machine gun nests on their roofs? And, if having more Americans carrying concealed weapons in public places will enhance public safety and security, wouldn’t it make sense to make guns available, at no cost, to all Americans of voting age who want one? I’m sure there are many who would view this as a much more worthwhile way of spending the taxpayer’s dollar than pouring the money into the educational system.

    • Hi Matt,

      I’m not a European.

      I’m curious – I haven’t seen any North Korean suicide bombers, but I think most people agree that giving North Korea, or, indeed, anybody, nuclear weapons is a particularly good idea.

      I think at some point common sense has to prevail. The argument that citizens need to be armed to be able to overthrow a government, or defend their homes, may have some merit – but I can’t see how anything more than something that is capable of lethal force, and some training (like the situation in Switzerland) – is necessary to achieve the latter. Otherwise it’s pistols at dawn, and comes down to who shoots first.

      On the former, I can’t for the life of me, see how giving people ready access to assault weapons is going to achieve the kind of transition in political power that the world is going to sit idly by and watch, particularly in the US – whose stability is essentially the defence strategy of its allies. It appears a little anachronistic, in times where there are plenty of other forms of control, and tools available for redistributing power, for example the power of the market (think trade sanctions etc), and the power of the internet as a communication tool (not thinking occupy – but the ability for genuinely oppressed people to seek help, particularly in nations that are currently liberal democracies with relatively free press (so not North Korea)). I saw a bit of a meme that linked lax gun laws with mass deaths of minorities in the last century – but I can’t figure out how one would think that an armed citizen militia offers the sort of deterrent to would be oppressive governments now that it did when the constitution was drafted… or any meaningful deterrent in those regimes that meme lists – for example Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or Hitler’s Germany. It seems a better solution is stopping evil dictators taking control.

  24. Hi Warren,

    “I know you don’t give a whit about the UN, or about any opinions expressed by commenters on this thread if they don’t align with conservative American values”

    Interesting and fairly consistent with the typical liberal mindset. The only way this comment makes any sense is if your definition of “giving a whit” really means that I must come round to your way of thinking to demonstrate how much I care.

    Now, about the UN, you’re right. I don’t care “a whit” about that international circus of incompetence.

    ” – but many Americans do hold to different values, which is why I’m not too alarmed about sharing a border with the US.”

    Yes, many do. That is true. And the pro-statist gun control crowd got a nice bump in opinion polls in the aftermath of the shooting at Sandy Hook. But the poll as a whole indicate that it’s most likely just a bump. The first question – should gun control laws be stricter? showed an 18 point bounce in the “yes” answer. But the second question: would that have made a difference at Sandy Hook? the majority said “no” which demonstrates the basic foundations of the 2nd amendment argument remain firmly planted in American minds. Thanks be to God.

    “But to get back to the original question, why not allow individual Americans to own fully automatic weapons?”

    Good question.

    “Heck, if guarding one’s property is such a vital expression of freedom, why not allow home owners to build machine gun nests on their roofs?”

    I don’t know that there is a law against that. Perhaps zoning laws might prevent it but I don’t know that there are any actual gun laws against building a bunker or a machine gun nest. .

    And, if having more Americans carrying concealed weapons in public places will enhance public safety and security,”

    which, as I noted above…is a simple fact. Every state that has allowed concealed carry or open carry has experienced a dramatic drop in violent crime.

    “Wouldn’t it make sense to make guns available, at no cost, to all Americans of voting age who want one?”

    No. Why on earth would we want to be beholden to anyone…especially statist government beurocrats for the protection of our families. The further the state is from our weapons the better. That’s the whole point of the second amendment.

    “I’m sure there are many who would view this as a much more worthwhile way of spending the taxpayer’s dollar than pouring the money into the educational system.”

    Well, taking tax dollars away from the public school system would definitely be a good thing. American public schools are models of bloated socialist incompetence and liberal indoctrination. I would love to defund them and give vouchers instead and allow people to choose between school systems, private school, and/or homeschool. That would introduce healthy competition into the system.

    • Matt thank you for calling me a liberal. Had you called me conservative, I probably would have gone out and stuck a knife in myself (since I don’t own a gun). 😉 If you got out more, you would know that calling a Canadian a liberal has no pejorative overtones and that, generally speaking, Canadians have civil conversations about important issues without pinning labels on each other. The one or two remaining Canadian SFIF commenters who haven’t been banned are not a helpful window for viewing and understanding Canadian society at large (but I recognize that you probably don’t give a whit about understanding Canadian society either).

      For my Aussie friends, I rest my case. In some American eyes, the only answer to reducing violence is more guns and bigger guns. And, if a way could be found to do it that didn’t involve the government, finding a way for every American to own a gun would be a good thing – much better, in fact, than spending more on education. Most Canadians view this kind of thinking as bizarre, and I suspect most Aussies do too.

      During the course of my military service, I had occasion to serve five years in the US (enjoyable years) and I’ve engage in many gun control conversations, I know that American conservatives stand apart from the rest of the world on this issue and that no amount of evidence or statistics ever changes minds. Unless you are prepared to accept that the American Constitution and form of government are far superior to what exists in any other nation, don’t expect to close the gap. I, for one, think the Second Amendment is an anachronism that doesn’t fit well with the modern world, and that Americans might be pleasantly surprised if it was relegated to the dung heap of history. But this won’t happen and, if comments I’ve read on other forums are any indication, any attempt to tamper with the Second Amendment will be met with open revolt and that many of the 300+ million guns in the US will be used for something other than self defence. We Canadians certainly don’t want that kind of nonsense on our border.

      But there is hope. Although support for the Second Amendment crosses political parties, Matt’s view on how it should be interpreted and applied are not necessarily shared by the majority of Americans. If the rhetoric can be toned down, and if common-sense Americans can get past the temptation to vilify their opponents by sticking labels on them, and focusing on the issues instead, workable compromises can likely be reached. These resulting laws still won’t work outside an American context, but they will probably be functional in the US.

      Many apologies for coming across in such a pedantic manner; and feel free to trash me if you disagree. Canadians expect Aussies to be unabashed in expressing their opinions. 😉

      P.S., Although you may be a conservative in Australia, don’t think that you will be viewed as one by American conservatives. Most Canadian conservatives would be labeled as socialists by American conservatives if their views on all issues were placed on the table.

    • Matt, I just remembered a little anecdote that you might find funny. I was assigned to Griffiss AFB in upstate NY for three years in the early 90s. I owned a slingshot and the rubber tubing was deteriorating. My wife, wanting to be helpful, took the slingshot to a hardware store to get new tubing. When she placed it on the counter, she was immediately told to put it away because it was illegal and that she could be charged for having it on her person. She came home very confused because the same store sold guns and had many prominently on display. We still joke today about how it would have been easier for her to buy a gun than to get replacement parts for a slingshot. 🙂

  25. Hi Nathan:

    “I’m curious – I haven’t seen any North Korean suicide bombers, but I think most people agree that giving North Korea, or, indeed, anybody, nuclear weapons is a particularly good idea.”

    Of course, it’s illegal here in the United States to threaten to kill someone. If you do that you will be arrested and your guns will be confiscated. North Korea is similarly bellicose.

    “I think at some point common sense has to prevail. The argument that citizens need to be armed to be able to overthrow a government, or defend their homes, may have some merit – but I can’t see how anything more than something that is capable of lethal force, and some training (like the situation in Switzerland) – is necessary to achieve the latter. Otherwise it’s pistols at dawn, and comes down to who shoots first.”

    I’m not sure I understand what you are arguing here…could you clarify?

    “On the former, I can’t for the life of me, see how giving people ready access to assault weapons is going to achieve the kind of transition in political power that the world is going to sit idly by and watch, particularly in the US – whose stability is essentially the defense strategy of its allies.”

    Well, of course armed rebellion is unjustifiable apart from tyranny. But should a form of tyranny arise in the US, I think you might be surprised at the capacity for resistance. I think you are making (but I may be misunderstanding your point) that the same argument people made in Vietnam…no indigenous guerrilla army with small arms could possibly take on an industrial superpower. It happened. And it continues to happen.

    “It appears a little anachronistic, in times where there are plenty of other forms of control, and tools available for redistributing power, for example the power of the market (think trade sanctions etc), and the power of the internet as a communication tool (not thinking occupy – but the ability for genuinely oppressed people to seek help, particularly in nations that are currently liberal democracies with relatively free press (so not North Korea)).”

    Right, but we are talking about a situation in which the US government ceases to be a liberal democracy with a free press.

    “I saw a bit of a meme that linked lax gun laws with mass deaths of minorities in the last century – but I can’t figure out how one would think that an armed citizen militia offers the sort of deterrent to would be oppressive governments now that it did when the constitution was drafted”

    Well, I don’t think tyrants are easily deterred (socialist beurocrats…perhaps). But the purpose of an armed populace includes but goes beyond deterrence. It also includes the real possibility of defending various freedoms. …

    “Pol Pot’s Cambodia, or Hitler’s Germany.”

    Well, as you know, Hitler used gun-laws rather efficiently to disarm Jews with military training.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/207002/hitlers-control/kopel-griffiths#

    “It seems a better solution is stopping evil dictators taking control.”

    I’m a both/and person.

    • Sorry. Wrote my comment half distracted, and tired… so the multiclause sentence you’ve quoted needs a little clarification.

      I was trying to suggest that most home defence situations are going to come down to whoever shoots first, not whoever shoots the more powerful gun – aren’t they?

  26. Hi Warren,

    “Matt thank you for calling me a liberal. Had you called me conservative, I probably would have gone out and stuck a knife in myself (since I don’t own a gun). If you got out more, you would know that calling a Canadian a liberal has no pejorative overtones and that, generally speaking, Canadians have civil conversations about important issues without pinning labels on each other.”

    I didn’t mean to insult you. Typically in the US those who prefer state mandated solutions to societal problems are “liberals”. And there does tend to be a kind of chronological snobbery on the left – “unless you agree with our view you are a primitive”…which comes out quite clearly in your posts. Hence my note about your estimation of my “care” for your opinions.

    “liberal” is certainly a label – not an insulting one – but in this case an accurate one. And as your own posts demonstrate it is impossible to have a political discussion without them despite your utopian delusions to the contrary.

    “The one or two remaining Canadian SFIF commenters who haven’t been banned are not a helpful window for viewing and understanding Canadian society at large (but I recognize that you probably don’t give a whit about understanding Canadian society either).”

    Oh I know many Canadians, friends and family, so I think I understand the Canadian thought process on these matters more than you think I might.

    But…as we’ve already seen, your definition of “caring” about the opinions and understanding the culture of others…really means “agreeing with me”.

    So, in that sense, you are probably right. I will not agree with you, therefore, according to your neat Orwellian way of defining words, “I do not give a whit about understanding Canadian society” : )

      • Warren, what’s your point about Paragould? In a town with rising crime, the mayor and the police have decided to patrol the streets. How is that different from what you’d find elsewhere? Is it the calibre of guns that you object to, or their mere presence? Or maybe the idea that law abiding citizens might object to being interrogated without cause? Are the “hillbillies” the mayor and police, or the people of the town? And why the name calling? A small town with four colleges/universities in a state famed for attracting retirees due to its beautiful scenery and high quality of life sounds pretty good to me.

        • From the Daily Mail: “Last week, police in London revealed they had begun carrying out armed patrols on some streets.

          “The move means officers armed with sub-machine guns are engaged in routine policing for the first time.”

          The hillbillies are proliferating.

          • Show me a similar story about a small sleepy English hamlet in the countryside, including the ID checks, and we may have something to talk about. I wouldn’t bat an eye if I heard that the worst areas of Chicago were being patrolled in the way suggested by the mayor of Paragould. You don’t think that the timing of the mayor’s announcement is just a wee bit suspicious? That it might just be a knee-jerk, poorly thought through reaction to Newtown? Defending the action is doing nothing to bolster your case.

  27. As someone interested in public health, I’ll acknowledge that according to the CDC more people in the US die from falling out of bed than from rifles. About twice as many die from personal body parts as from rifles.

    As the son of a refugee immigrant, I would respond to Warren that yes, many millions feel the US Constitution is the best document of its kind in the world. I think it is also the most copied basis for modern governments, but I am not entirely sure anymore. In any case, 30 million people arrive every decade to live in the US. Many are trying to get away from governments that want to “take care of them” and bring about “social justice”.

    When you say that these conversations only take place in America, i will just say that if I understand you correctly, you are wrong. People in Germany and Switzerland engage in similar discussions. If your point is that a higher percentage of Americans than Germans take a certain position, then i can agree.

    Zurich airport is the most heavily armed place I have ever been. Everything there is protected by guns, just like Obama is protected by guns–dozens of them every time he walks or drives down the street.

    The first US gun control law was, iirc, a ban in 1938 on certain types of machine guns, including Thompsons, because they were used by the mob. Chicago, a leading mob town, has always been ahead of the curve in banning guns. Until 2010 on average one person was killed every day according to the Chicago Police Dept figures. Then in 2010 the US Supreme Court struck down some of their gun bans. The number of gun deaths has fallen by about 50 a year since then.

    As for the conservative/liberal divide, the case isn’t clear cut. When Obama spoke about those who cling to guns and religion, it was in the context of a primary loss to Hillary–in other words he was referring to Democrats. Biden has said that he won’t give up his guns, and now he is the new “gun czar”. Harry Reid even with the latest mass killing isn’t really speaking out against guns; democrats from rural areas almost never do. Diane Feinstein has a concealed weapon permit, but is now leading the movement to forbid to others what she has. People are getting tired of one set of rules for the powerful and a different set for the rest of us. Obama’s children, like many of the powerful in Washington, attend Sidwell Friends (as the name implies, a Quaker, ie pacifist school) where people with guns protect the children. You might find democratsforguncontrol.org interesting.

  28. You’re kidding, right? Even staunchly conservative American commenters on other forums, who defend Second-Amendment rights vigorously, are expressing outrage and saying the mayor’s proposal is totally unconstitutional. And you think this is a normal expression of American freedom? That being subjected to “random” ID checks in a small town of 26,000, where 98% of the population is white (source Wikipedia) is okay? I wonder how random the checks will be for young black males – or those whose appearance is Arabic?

    I live in a small Canadian city (pop approx 700,000) that has the dubious distinction of often being the murder capital of the country – even though the murder rate would be considered very low in the US. If our mayor proposed something like the mayor of Paragould, he’d be turfed out on his ear and Canadians would be up in arms (figuratively speaking of course). The police do bike patrols through the worst parts of the city with side arms holstered – and definitely don’t do random ID checks (the patrols are in the summer, of course – the temp is -25 C right now). The difference in attitudes stems, not just from our different gun laws, but, more importantly, from a fundamental difference in how we view our rights and responsibilities as opposed to those of the government. We aren’t stuck in an anachronistic 18th century paranoid perspective where we honestly believe that the state could suddenly become our oppressor.

    What’s my point about Paragould? That I shouldn’t have to make the point. That the story speaks for itself.

    • “You’re kidding, right? Even staunchly conservative American commenters on other forums, who defend Second-Amendment rights vigorously, are expressing outrage and saying the mayor’s proposal is totally unconstitutional.”

      That was MY point, which is why I was wondering who you thought the “hillbillies” were. If you’re using name calling in your argument, I think you need to be clearer on who you’re calling names.

      “Defending the action is doing nothing to bolster your case.”
      I don’t think you understand my case. I’m a non-gun owner who wouldn’t allow guns in my house and an advocate of better gun laws and enforcement of current laws. If I hadn’t made that clear, I’m sorry. I was primarily replying to the notion that these conversations don’t happen in other countries. I have only lived in 7, so my experience is limited, but in that limited experience, people in other countries do talk about said issues.

      • Philip, I agree that I probably haven’t understood your case. When I think you’ve said x, and respond accordingly, you come back and say you actually meant y. I”ll it to rest.

        But, before finally leaving this thread, I’ll briefly state my case in a way that is hopefully easy to understand:

        As counter-intuitive as it seems to me based on how I’ve been shaped by my culture and upbringing, I’m prepared to accept that, given US history and the American psyche, it is possible that more and bigger guns, in the hands of more people, could be the road to greater public safety in the US.

        For other developed nations, and Canada in particular, I believe the right and logical path leads in the opposite direction and that the US should not be looked to for leadership.

        • “For other developed nations, and Canada in particular, I believe the right and logical path leads in the opposite direction and that the US should not be looked to for leadership.”

          I agree that on this issue the US doesn’t provide leadership. The US brand of federalism and other things (including racial complexity) make it unique, and uniquely problematic.

          “As counter-intuitive as it seems to me based on how I’ve been shaped by my culture and upbringing, I’m prepared to accept that, given US history and the American psyche, it is possible that more and bigger guns, in the hands of more people, could be the road to greater public safety in the US.”

          At an emotional level, I’d hate to concede that more guns are any solution; but more on point, the issue is whose hands the guns are in. At present they are in the hands of law enforcement, law breakers and normal citizens. I suspect that we agree on this: if there are more guns in America, there will inevitably be more in the hands of the law breakers, generating a spiral of gun-ownership that needs to be broken at some point (a point imo reached long ago). My main reservation concerning the gun-rights crowd is an unwillingness to enact laws that will control private sales. I believe it can be done, but it is in the too-hard basket.

Leave a Comment - but please pay careful attention to the commenting rules