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  • Scott W

    I am glad I am not the only Social Liberal who is a gun owner. Thank you for the article.
    I also want to comment about the NRA.. What a lot of people are missing is that there are two parts to the NRA, the Lobbyist part and the Gun Safety Part.. The NRA Museum in Fairfax Virginia is phenomenal, the Education and training facilities are first rate, their child safety program with “Eddie Eagle” (http://eddieeagle.nra.org/) should be in every school. We Liberals toss out the best parts of the NRA, these parts needed to be pushed into the forefront, let the NRA know that we want to see this side of the NRA, Understand that the current political climate is pushing the ugly side up, we need to remind them that there are non-republicans who are firearm owners as well.

  • Janette Nash

    (a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.
    (b) The classes of the militia are—
    (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
    (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.

    How many of you gun owners are males over 45, or females not in the National Guard, and hence not covered by the 2nd Amendment???

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/10/311

    • Jdk998

      That is a Congressional codification. The Supreme Court has held the prefatory clause to be a subordinate clause to the definition of the right. See Heller.

    • chuckgcs

      Janette,
      Your linked reference to that (modern-day) definition of "Militia" is not relevant to a discussion of the Second Amendment. First, when Second Amendment was authored, the Militia (your National Guard) was not subject to use (or misuse) by the U.S. President. for enforcement of Federal policies. But more to the point, you are obviously attempting the common tactic of changing the wording of the Second Amendment to make it fit your own agenda. Please re-read the actual words. Those actual words of the second clause DO NOT state that ", the right of the Militia to keep and bear arms...", and also DO NOT state that "the right of the members of the Militia to keep and bear arms..." Or, maybe you have decided that you can support a belief that the authors of the amendment had a poor understanding of the english language and therefore didn't really intend to write "THE PEOPLE" as they did in other amendments. And maybe you also believe in the First Amendment that freedom of speech only applies to "THE PRESS."

    • btme

      Held:

      1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Pp. 2–53.

      (a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.

      So yeah, there's that.

  • Jon Henzell

    a lemon is sour! and as Derald Price aptly points out below - a gun is violent! it is made to destroy. so what you're all talking about is not the 'right to own a gun' but the right to enact violence on each other - the right to destroy one another. And people fight black and blue for that right?! If that was written on the licence application, would you be so quick to sign? A "responsible gun owner" is still a person who has decided that they are ok with enacting violence on another human - otherwise why own the gun? Remember this one......? "do to others as you would have them do to you". This exchange works whether we like it or not - If you want gun violence in your society - keep buying guns. If you don't - stop buying guns!!!

    • Marc Blaydoe

      I own guns to keep others from enacting violence on another person, specifically me and mine!

    • HiballHiside

      Do you accept the premise that violence exists and will always exist despite the method of transference of evil. If so then you should be able to understand that a "Responsible Gun Owner" has accepted the obligation and right to protect themselves and all those principles, people, places, and things they hold dear in the event that someone is intent on bringing harm. The problem is that the evil in this world manifests itself to you Jon, in physical objects. This tangible object can be banned & destroyed and gives you a nice feeling, however you haven't destroyed the violence.
      Guns are not the issue, they are not violent towards anyone or speak ill of you or me. They are a tool created to put food on the table and to defend oneself. People decide which tool to use and unfortunately some people choose the wrong one.
      - A "Responsible Gun Owner"

      • btme

        I think you strike near the heart of the issue: There is a segment of the population that is either unable or unwilling to accept that violence - or more broadly, evil - exists and will continue to exist. They believe that if we just get rid of a few objects that people use to commit evil that the evil will just evaporate and disappear. They are victims in waiting.

    • Mr. abean

      When someone breaks into your house do you not call the police? What do you think those police will do if they catch the person? Will they enact violence onto that person?

      All your comment does is state that you don’t personally want to enact violence on people. You would much rather hire someone to do it for you and that is fine because self defense is not for everyone. You do not have to exercise your rights if you do not choose to do so. That being said, the right to own a firearm is a right to self defense, not a right to randomly attack people or commit violence, those acts should/will put you in jail.

      As Obama’s recently released CDC report stated, firearms are used over 400,000 times per year in self defense. It is also not a coincidence that violent crimes and homicide numbers have gone down over the last 20 years despite that firearm ownership has drastically increased. There is so much evidence stating that firearms make us safer that it shocks and angers me to see fellow liberals talk about “common sense” and try to disarm me despite that they have not looked at any statistical evidence but rather base their views off emotional talking points.

    • Frank Albert

      Where do you get your info? It's certainly not based on any facts known to man. Or woman for that matter. Just wow!

      • chuckgcs

        Frank,
        If your non-specific "info" question has to do with the CDC's report, which has carfully avoided by the big media corporations, it is here
        http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18319&page=R1
        and a multitude of overviews are available online if you simply Google for "cdc releases study on gun violence." But I somehow get the impression that you really don't want to know the real "info."

  • chuckgcs

    Thank you for a good and insightful article. And sadly, there are no certainly no surprises appearing in this thread of comments. As this article briefly mentioned support of civil liberties, such as the freedom of expression which enjoys vigorous protection from the likes of the ACLU, and which insures that individuals, without being subjected to any background check, will continue to exercise their "right" to spend countless hours being brainwashed by violent, and increasingly realistic, but highly profitable, video games. And at least one commenter quoted the VPC's misleading dogma that "having a gun in the home makes you xx times more likely to be killed or ..." - a statement which always carefully omits the fact that the majority of those deaths and injuries are the result of illegal drug and/or gang activity within those so-called "homes", and that the "victims" are seldom your average, stand-up, non-criminal, citizens.
    But wait, then there is the horrible, evil NRA; that small group of several million misguided, uneducated, lowlife, gun-nuts that wants to put a machine gun in every child’s crib and toy box, and that makes such obviously ridiculous statements like “It takes a good guy with a gun to stop a bad guy with a gun” - which everyone knows can’t be true because if it were we would have to arm our police officers, and maybe even let the President’s secret service detail carry guns. How stupid that would be – everyone knows that a massacre is always preferable to a shoot out. The NRA is the favorite boogeyman of the anti-gun propaganda mills, which are very careful to obscure the fact that the NRA is the only organization that, for well over 100 years, has spent countless millions of its' member's dollars preaching responsible gun ownership, and teaching firearm safety, and even more millions of dollars lobbying for enactment, and enforcement of harsh laws against the criminal use of firearms. Another fact that you will never hear from the beloved media corporations is, that instead of mythical beer-drinking rednecks, the member-elected, NRA board of directors consistently includes both retired and active criminal court judges, attorneys, FBI and military officers, doctors, and other highly educated, ardently anti-crime and violence professionals. The reason that I know these secrets, which are so carefully kept from the pubic, is because it is my money that they spend, and every year it is my votes that help elect the members of the board of directors.

  • Alfonzo Gomez

    Great article. I have been a gun owner for two decades and I never would have imagined the dramatic increase in new, liberal/left gun owners as I am experiencing now. Its great to see our numbers growing as well as the fact that we are finally getting organized. For far too long we have either let the NRA speak for us, but have also allowed anti-2nd Amendment politicians and affluent anti-gun lobbyists to just assume we either didn't exist or that we would never push back. We have arrived...... and I believe we will be effective at countering many of the ignorant and hateful stereotypes of millions of us in this country.

    ....then again, liberals, the LGBT and the African American community have been at the forefront of gun rights serving as key plantiffs in the landmark Heller and McDonald decisions. For those who hate I hope someday that they can understand how much of a critical civil right gun ownership is to many of us and it is the reason why we are so committed to ensure that our rights are enhanced.

  • Wendy Owens

    I'm a gun owner with generally liberal political leanings. I enjoyed the article and thought it was GOOD. For me, shooting is a fun and relaxing activity and something I can share with my teenage son. Also, as a woman, having the tools and know-how to defend myself should the need ever arise is deeply important to me.

    If we as a society are serious about reducing violence involving guns, let's work on the root causes of so much violence - poverty, desperation, the failures of the War on Drugs. Let's also look at how to improve mental health treatment and reduce the stigmas attached to mental illness that are a barrier to seeking help for far too many. And let's encourage gun safety education for children and adolescents.

  • Derald Price

    As a gun owner, my primary interest is in the catharsis that comes from what many gunners call "range therapy." Like any other discipline (the association of the author to yoga is apt) it requires complete concentration and allows you to focus so deeply, all the concerns of daily life fall away while engaged in the activity.

    Like the author, I have no desire to kill anyone. But when she states "...not to kill, never to kill..." she illustrates the primary disassociation between the liberal tendency towards pacifism and guns. Guns are made to kill, not to wound or intimidate. It is their sole purpose for existing. I am personally prepared to use my gun to kill if absolutely necessary to defend myself or someone I care about. If you are not then you probably should not own one. When my wife went through police academy one of the primary mantras they were taught was "Never point your weapon at something you are not prepared to destroy." Not injur or frighten away. This prepared these future officers to use this tool in the way it was intended. To end the life of whomever they drew it on. If you cannot reconcile this harsh reality with your personal ethics, then gun ownership is not for you.

    But, as with other civil liberties, though we may find the ways in which those liberties are view and used by some as abhorrent, we still respect the right in principle. I can only hope my fellow liberals will find the same level of tolerance for us gun owners who have a different moral position on violence as we do for those whose expression of religious belief or free speech varies widely from our own.

  • Eric Meyers

    This was a well written, well researched article, and the author really took a leap to try to bring a different perspective to this conversation. With the prevalent two loud voices, one that would like to see all personal gun ownership ended, and the other running with "out of my cold dead hands", we'll get nowhere. If you want to hold on to your old bias on either side, don't be surprised when nothing useful actually happens.

  • Ed Gardner

    This is one of the most honest articles I have ever read on this subject, I was happy to be part of it.

  • writerkate

    I just clicked on GOOD.

    First of all, you were open enough to see that you had a bias. Brava! We need many more people willing to do this.

    I don't like guns at ALL; I share Sarah's aversion to loud noises and abrupt things. For example, I can't stand watching someone stick a pin in balloon; I brace for it and then I *still* jump. But my husband and I have always owned one or two guns, shotguns or rifles, because we've also always lived in rural Arizona, with open land around us. If one of us hears that rattle, it will shortly be followed by a very welcome BANG! I may not like guns, but I like rattlesnakes much less.

    Of course I support reasonable restrictions, background checks, etc. But I have too many friends out here who are responsible gun-owners to buy into the stereotypes. Someone mentions Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly. Ms. Giffords was my rep; I voted for her twice. They're promoting sensible gun regulation, but they are NOT trying to get rid of all guns! They're gun-owners themselves.

    Guns are tools. Unfortunately, they've probably been misused more often than any other tool in history.

  • Lyd

    I'm from New Zealand we have guns for hunting and recreation and gun laws which for the most part enable control over access to weapons.I was raised with a healthy respect and understanding of guns and enjoyed the wild pigs,deer and ducks that resulted. I never considered the shotgun in my fathers house to be there for any other purpose .
    What continues to amaze me about the American gun control debate is the culture of fear that surrounds it. This culture of fear and doubt suggests that if I have a gun I can control my world. Can you really? Can you really only have power and control over your life by taking another's life. It doesn't come as much of a surprise that children raised in this culture of paranoia and fear think they can solve their problems with a semi automatic.The other aspect of this debate I find frightening are the types of guns available for 'protection'. They are not for hunting they one purpose is to kill a perceived threat .Would I want to bring my kids up in that environment -no way.

    • Erik Olsen

      Here's another perspective on this from an avowed Liberal.

      Force is a good counter to threatened force.

      To keep it simple, here's my favorite Orwell quote: “That rifle on the wall of the labourer's cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.”

      My semi-auto AR pistol serves a couple of functions. It is a tool to help me work with my wife to keep our house safer, it is fun to shoot at the range and it is a teaching tool. It teaches that the rules set forth to control gun owners by the ATF are ridiculous and illogical. The mere fact that it has no shoulder stock is why I am not facing a Felony charge, 10-15 years in jail and $250,000 in fines. Why? Because I can put a barrel shorter than 16" on it but if I did so with a stock on it and did not do the following: pay $200 for a tax stamp, .file an ATF Form 1 (NFA Manufacturing application) and then wait 11-14 months before putting the short barrel on it.

      'Reasonable' restrictions such as the NFA '34 produce the above situation and are precisely why I - as a Leftist Liberal - fight new gun restrictions tooth and nail. All they do is raise the bar for gun ownership and provide no additional safety. The National Firearms Act of 1934 has done nothing to curb violence but instead has made those who can afford to buy firearms that fall under that law even more wealthy as those firearms will never lose value thanks to that law. It also was a knee jerk reaction to the St Valentine's Day Massacre. What was Manchin-Toomey again? A knee-jerk reaction to Sandy Hook.

      The parallels run deep.

  • Henry Bowman

    "Mine was a perspective that not only lacked nuance, but that had strayed from reality. My own rhetoric had become a shorthand in which merely owning a gun threw a person into a camp of those who were cavalier with deadly weapons, whose personal rights trumped public safety, and who were politically alien to me."

    And though a little actual education and experience shoved you out of that partisan rut with respect to guns, you still bitterly cling to your old patterns of thinking when it comes to the NRA. Perhaps it's time to reconsider. The NRA has a LOT longer experience thinking on the proper side of the issue that you've just realized you were mistaken about -- more so than the big-city politicians and mainstream media outlets who still think like you used to think, and the people who swallow their worldview hook, line, and sinker.

    Instead, consider the following: **Maybe the NRA actually does know a few things you haven't yet figure out.** If you stop jerking your other knee and treating them like evil, horned baby-killing abominations instead of as a group of five million people with a political viewpoint you just don't yet understand, maybe there's still something valuable you could learn.

    • jinxremoving

      As a member of the LGC, and a former member of the NRA, I can tell you that the NRA did little besides swamp me with crazy, ranting, partisan emails, and ads for hokey crap that I did not need to buy. The LGC is a challenging (in a good way) and incredibly informative forum, and I am frequently engaged, surprised, and forced to consider my positions and am compelled to make convincing arguments. It has been a great experience and guess what-- no-one has sent me daily emails disrespecting the president and buying a new wooden, monogrammed pen set. The other part of this post I find interesting is that you assume that because I disagree with the NRA, I don't understand the views. I get it: it's just wrong.

  • Jay9NJ

    I can't thank you enough for writing this article. You have brought to light an entire segment of people in this very "black and white" or rather "left and right" debate. Thank you!!!

  • MEH1951

    Sarah seems to be missing the point. The US gun death rate far exceeds that of every other industrialized nation. The reason is we have too many guns and too few gun safety regulations. Guns are the last consumer product not regulated for consumer health and safety.

    Does Sarah not believe universal background checks are a good idea? Does she not believe that smart gun technology is a good idea? We will always have guns in America. But do we have to have so many gun deaths? Let's take a reasonable public health approach and reduce the gun death and injury that over 100k Americans experience each year. Final fact: a gun in the home makes you 22 times more likely to be killed or injured than if you didn't have a gun in the home. The idea that a gun protects you is a false idea sold by the NRA and gun industry to gullible Americans. Sadly, too many Americans have taken the bait.

    • Frank Albert

      Did you read the CDC report that said car owners were 70 times more likely to get into auto accidents than people that only walk?

    • Erik Olsen

      So you will ignore all other much more likely sources of death in America to go after something that you have also stated will 'always be there' and we are the ones who have taken the bait. Really?

  • whylie

    I'm not moved that the people represented in this article identified themselves as liberals. And it's great that gun-related crimes have decreased, but the reality is that our country still takes the lead in gun-related deaths per capita, and incidents of mass shootings are on the rise. We have done nothing to address this trend, however. This is an embarrassing fact to contend with. I'm shocked that we're relegated to justifying uncontrolled gun ownership by comparing gun deaths to car accidents and drownings. Unlike swimming pools and automobiles, guns are weapons designed for the intent to kill. Not to mention, there are strict rules governing the use of automobiles (zero tolerance drinking and driving laws, for example) to control car accident rates. Yet we can’t seem to address gun-related mass murders in this country? Lastly, I don’t understand how one could compare the urgency to stop gun violence with the pro-life debate. Again, we’re dealing with the frightening trend of unpredictable mass civilian murders due to negligent and uncontrolled gun use. Clearly not the same as a woman’s right to make her own decisions about her body. I appreciate that you are trying to understand the other side of the gun issue, and the history of gun-ownership and the idea of “freedom” in this country deserves sensitive consideration. However, this should be a no-brainer. We push for gun control not for the sake of our own selfish desire for power, but for our fundamental right to be protected under law from indiscriminate violence.

    • Frank Albert

      "We push for gun control not for the sake of our own selfish desire for power, but for our fundamental right to be protected under law from indiscriminate violence." How does that work? The PD do not protect, nor are they required to protect. So, who does it for you?

    • jinxremoving

      The sad fact of the matter is that there are millions of guns, within our borders and worldwide, and that while I, as a gun owner, would much rather have no guns than "smart" guns or "regulated" guns, the very existence of them in people's hands means that I am better off having one than not. The pragmatic view does not hold the moral righteousness that the idealized, non-violent, and modern left-wing anti-gun philosophy does, but pragmatism rarely has the appeal of the golden ideal in any field. When it came down to it, however, as my wife and I traveled cross-country in unfamiliar areas, in neighborhoods that may have been questionable, and moved among strangers in a vulnerable way, having a gun at hand was a lot more reassuring than trusting blindly in the goodness of others. My support of gun ownership doesn't change my vehement support of fair wages, reasonable taxation on all (aka upping capital gains... significantly), support for equality in marriage, immigration reform.... but again-- these are real-world concerns that don't have the dewey-eyed romanticism of the liberal Ivy towers. As a refugee from those ramparts, I can't help but wonder how successful any labor movement, anti-fascist movement, or underground resistance would ever be if they relied solely on the decency of the armed classes not to shoot them.

    • Erik Olsen

      So a woman can make choices about her health as long as it doesn't extend to protecting her person. Got it.

      If you are so worried about stopping gun rampages, look at the Clackamas Town Center shooting back in 2012. What stopped the shooter? A 'good guy with a gun' to borrow from the NRA-ILA rhetoric. What happened in Sandy Hook? Cops took 20 minutes to get on site.

      Mass shootings are statistical outliers no matter how painful they are when they happen.

  • Sarah Stankorb

    Emiotke, thanks for your kind words. I may not have succeeded in articulating just how hard it was for me to cross the line and take part in this "exploration."

    And you're spot-on about Chicago. I used to live in Chicago and as background for this article, interviewed a second amendment scholar who grew up in South Side Chicago. He told me this--it makes him sick how many kids are dying in Chicago, how many kids end up selling drugs because it seems like their only option. His solution: legalize marijuana, stop the drug war, and invest that money in fixing their schools, bolstering social services. He said, "What I think we should try to do is shrink the illegal world so that people don't live in an illegal world and that there is not great advantage to using firearms for illegal purposes."

    It was quite a shock to talk to a staunch defendant of second amendment rights and be told we should legalize weed and increase funding to social services. That, if nothing else had been, was a reminder that people can have complex allegiances and perspectives.

    • Henry Bowman

      Or maybe you're just discovering that many people are natural libertarians, cleaving instinctively to the original American political philosophy, which is championed by neither of today's mainstream political parties.

  • Emily

    Great post. I am pleased to read that some people are willing to explore new perspectives instead of being stuck in standstill with a bad taste in their mouth. This article nailed it when you said "But I was beginning to see that the tension over guns was less a matter of political leaning, and more a matter of the gun’s place in a person’s imagination."
    I would also like to add that criminals do not follow the law, obviously. The prohibition of alcohol in the 1920's did not stop anyone that wished to drink from drinking. Similarly, the prohibition of marijuana today has not stopped anyone that wishes to smoke from smoking. Likewise, the prohibition of guns would not stop anyone that wanted a gun from getting one, it would only prevent law abiding citizens from the option of protecting themselves & their families.
    I would also like to add that Chicago has the most gun control laws & also the most gun violence... food for thought.

  • Sarah Stankorb

    Thanks Ray (and Reese, sorry your comment didn't show--I think they are working to fix that). You are absolutely right, having guns at home statistically makes you less safe. But Americans own somewhere around 300 million guns and sales have skyrocketed after Sandy Hook. I certainly wouldn't want one in my house, but I think a lot about my neighbors' guns after writing this article--and all the guns around us everywhere.

    As I interviewed people who had kids and asked how they stored their guns, I got a range of answers (anything from a high, top shelf in the case of a police officer, to never bringing it home and keeping it locked up at the shooting range). I've certainly never thought to ask when my kid goes on a play date if guns are in the house and if so, how they are stored.

    One gun-owner I interviewed told me that the current climate around guns had him deeply concerned, because it made the discussion all about rights to own guns, and not the very important responsibilities associated with them. It put gun-owners in a defensive crouch, more apt to buy more. He wondered if instead of talking first about regulating gun sales (to him a bit of a lost cause) we might first focus on fostering a public movement around gun safety. Tax breaks for buying gun safes or incentives for storing them at shooting ranges. Celebrities talking about how, when they are done at the shooting range, they properly store and secure their firearms so they can't fall into the wrong hands. He seemed to see a middle ground there, for those who hate guns and those who own them, to work together to make everyone safer.

    Trust me, before I started working on this story, I never would have considered that there could be a middle ground or a bridge between, or that I'd want to be there, but I think we can all agree, we don't want more school shootings, we don't want cities torn apart by gun violence, and with the realities we've got (millions of guns and second amendment rights protecting those who own them legally), we need a more productive starting point if things are to improve. Seeing gun-owners as evil or trigger-happy is not productive.

    And last, a big part of that number of shootings that happen at home are suicides (nearly 2/3 of gun deaths are suicides), and as a society, I feel we really need to talk about that as well. I have no answer there, and would be curious to know what you think.

    • MertvayaRuka

      "He wondered if instead of talking first about regulating gun sales (to him a bit of a lost cause) we might first focus on fostering a public movement around gun safety. Tax breaks for buying gun safes or incentives for storing them at shooting ranges."

      My friend ErikO, who has posted some responses here in this thread, tried to have that conversation over at DailyKos. It didn't go well. But it was a nice object lesson in exactly how unconcerned with safety a disturbingly large segment of the "common sense gun control" crowd is when the alternative to safety is sticking it to firearms owners.

      "Seeing gun-owners as evil or trigger-happy is not productive."

      Unfortunately this is what drives most of the narrative on the pro-gun-control side. Like Marlene said, this is the Left's anti-choice movement and it is every bit as vicious, self-righteous and willfully ignorant as its counterpart on the Right.

  • MEH1951

    Sarah seems to be missing the point. The US gun death rate far exceeds that of every other industrialized nation. The reason is we have too many guns and too few gun safety regulations. Guns are the last consumer product not regulated for consumer health and safety.

    Does Sarah not believe universal background checks are a good idea? Does she not believe that smart gun technology is a good idea? We will always have guns in America. But do we have to have so many gun deaths? Let's take a reasonable public health approach and reduce the gun death and injury that over 100k Americans experience each year. Final fact: a gun in the home makes you 22 times more likely to be killed or injured than if you didn't have a gun in the home. The idea that a gun protects you is a false idea sold by the NRA and gun industry to gullible Americans. Sadly, too many Americans, including you, have taken the bait.

    • Phineas T. Bluster

      Really? The FBI doesn't know this. Rumania doesn't know this. Switzerland doesn't know this.

      Check your sources, and look at the whole report - just cherrypicking is unworthy.

    • MertvayaRuka

      "Guns are the last consumer product not regulated for consumer health and safety. "

      This is not true. Firearms manufacturers can and have faced legal action for malfunctioning or unsafe firearms. What firearms manufacturers don't have to worry about, however, is a tidal wave of nuisance lawsuits that have nothing to do with product safety and everything to do with trying to bankrupt them and drive them out of business.

      "Does she not believe that smart gun technology is a good idea?"

      "Smart gun" technology robust enough to trust lives to does not exist outside of movies. What works in the latest James Bond movies works because the plot requires it to work. In the real world, a slight film of sweat or dust is enough to disrupt contact with a biometric scanner and the shocks and jolts associated with normal firearm operation will damage the electronics of biometric and RFID readers in short order.

      Before talking about the false ideas of others, it's a good idea to make sure you're not carrying any around yourself.

    • Erik Olsen

      The best argument against UBC is the Commerce Clause. What in the Constitution (their employee handbook) gives Congress the power to limit intrastate sales of any nature between two legal residents of the same state?

    • Sarah Stankorb

      Thanks for reading. I'm certainly not arguing against universal background checks or anything that would help make the legal use of guns safer. I worked on this article in order to better understand why in the world anyone would want to have or even use a firearm--because I hated the NRA and everything it stands for. But not all gun-owners fall into those narrow parameters, and talking with liberal gun-owners taught me quite a bit about why people, who are otherwise philosophically quite close to me, use guns (and similarly argue for greater safety, because they know too well how dangerous guns can be). I don't think we'll actually succeed in getting to those important safety regulations if the levels of vitriol remain as high as they are in this debate.

  • Janette Nash

    Paranoia-inducing weasel speech. Wrong. Bad. Disingenuous. And I don't believe a word of it. So NOT GOOD.

  • sirwilliambolton

    It would be nice if there were no guns, but there are. Criminals will not obey laws. There is no way to stop guns fro being used by criminals or being obtained by them. Illegal drugs get here and guns will get here the same way. LAWs don't work on people that ignore LAW! The right to keep and bear arms must be protected for all people and ownership must have requirement of training. As an elderly Veteran I can say that the comment that the person with a gun is looking to use it is wrong for most, but not wrong for people with a mental problem. After having served in the military, I have no desire to use a weapon, but I support the 2nd Amendment Right. I'm elderly and disabled and cannot afford the expensive hobby of guns since I like eating better. I believe that all my American Legion friends are worthy of and responsible with that right. There are many criminals that abuse the right and are worthy of nothing. Laws will not affect the criminals, only those that might save you or your children if they are armed.

    • Janette Nash

      In most of Europe, guns are not allowed, and therefore deaths from guns do not occur, except rarely. So it IS possible to get rid of them, and police strictly the people who possess them. I don't understand why Americans do not want to be spared the fear expressed so eloquently in the article...

      • Phineas T. Bluster

        Sources please. Having lived in Europe, I know this to be BS of the purest ray serene.

        • Janette Nash

          Interesting - I am English, and lived in Italy for 10 years, Germany for 2 years, and spent some time in France and Spain. The homicide rate for all of those together adds up to less than that of the US. Their gun laws are also much more restrictive. But I guess that's a coincidence, huh?

          • Jdk998

            The aforementioned nations are much smaller and relatively homogenous in contrast to the United States. The minority populations are a fraction of the U.S. I.e. an apples to oranges comparison.

  • ray.ables

    NOT GOOD. People who carry guns tend to look for excuses to use them, and statistics show that having a gun in your house makes you LESS SAFE.

    • Phineas T. Bluster

      How about some sources and statistics? You are projecting your own fears about your own personality on millions of people whom you do not know. If you don't want a gun then don't buy one - it is that simple.

      Now, if you want to start talking about perceived needs, well, nobody needs 2 cars, 2 teevee sets, any motorcycles, more than 1 computer, swords, large knives, - the list is endless.

      I resent your attempt to demonize a whole group of people because they choose to possess an object that you fear or misunderstand.

      My handgun has saved me considerable damage and injury on several occasions - and it has never been necessary to fire it or even to threaten someone with it - the simple presence was enough to convince someone with malign intentions to ply his trade elsewhere. Whothehell are you to deny me this protection?

    • Marc Blaydoe

      This is an abject falsehood that is NOT supported by any objective data whatsoever. Liar, liar, pants on fire!

  • reese.forbes

    NOT GOOD
    My post did not show up after signing and then trying to click the up arrow to make it into a down arrow it recorded it as Good.

      • Evan McCray

        "and police strictly the people who possess them. I don't understand why Americans do not want to be spared the fear expressed so eloquently in the article..."

        To police in such a way would be inherently unconstitutional:
        "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." Things like the NFA are infringements on the inherent right to self-defense. To qoute the author of this GOOD article:

        "Hoeber’s perspective was sobering. Hoeber described herself as “Queer, trans… I have been in my life an outsider.” She says she doesn’t necessarily have the feeling that police are there to protect her, saying that if a fight broke out at a party at her house “chances are I’m as likely to go to jail because it’s my house, and I’m me, as somebody who came to a party at my house and started a fight.” She adds, “The idea of ceding the monopoly on deadly force to the police or to the state or to the other authoritarian power structure, that’s completely fucking ridiculous to me.”

        It is amazing, once you have received weapons training and understand how to properly use a firearm, the resulting security you feel in knowing that you can defend your self from all manner of things that go bump in the night.

        "People who carry guns tend to look for excuses to use them, and statistics show that having a gun in your house makes you LESS SAFE."

        A responsible gun owner actually looks for every chance to not use their firearm. If you kill someone in self-defense, you've still killed someone, and there are legal consequences. You might not go to jail, but there is much paperwork that has to be done. The second part of your statement is categorically misleading:

        "according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data, the homicide rate is down 49 percent since a 1993 peak. By 2011, other violent crimes with firearms—assaults, robberies, sex crimes—were down 75 percent from 1993. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year in the United States, approximately 11,000 people are killed in gun homicides. Nearly 20,000 die in gun suicides. Cox reminded me that in comparison more people (35,000) die in car accidents each year."

        Even if your statement was true, it would still be less than what happens from automobiles.