The stupid gets worse: gun organization blames anti-gun lobby for school shootings

First it’s God, who let the shootings happen because he was pouting at being banned from schools. Now, from Salon, we hear that the murders are the result of the bleeding-heart liberals who have banned guns from school zones:

The advocacy group Gun Owners of America [GOA] know exactly how the Newtown massacre might have been averted: Guns in schools.

And in the hours after the tragedy, Larry Pratt, the group’s executive director is calling on state and federal lawmakers to overturn any bans on guns in schools. More hauntingly, he is suggesting gun control advocates “have the blood of little children on their hands.”

Here is his statement [JAC: I've embedded the full statement from the GOA website]:

“They have blood on their hands

A gunman whose name we do not need to memorialize took advantage of our gun control laws to slaughter some 20 children and seven adults in a Newton, Connecticut elementary school.

In addition to the gunman, blood is on the hands of members of Congress and the Connecticut legislators who voted to ban guns from all schools in Connecticut (and most other states).  They are the ones who made it illegal to defend oneself with a gun in a school when that is the only effective way of resisting a gunman.

What a lethal, false security are the Gun Free Zone laws.  All of our mass murders in the last 20 years have occurred in Gun Free Zones.  The two people murdered a couple of days earlier in the shopping center in Oregon were also in a Gun Free Zone.

Hopefully the Connecticut tragedy will be the tipping point after which a rising chorus of Americans will demand elimination of the Gun Free Zone laws that are in fact Criminal Safe Zones.

One measure of insanity is repeating the same failure time after time hoping that the next time the failure will turn out to be a success.  Gun Free Zones are a lethal insanity.

We must tell our elected officials that they are acting as the criminals’ friends as long as they continue to support legislation that only protects criminals, not decent people

Oh, and we must also insist that these criminal friendly elected officials not even try to blame gun owners and our “gun culture” for what a criminal did.  Had a few of us been available with guns at the Newton school, most of the victims might still be alive.”

The GOA uses as its slogan Ron Paul’s endorsement as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in America.” That’s for sure!

For those who say, “banning guns won’t keep them out of the hands of criminals,” I say, “Bosh!” Make it illegal, as it is in Britain, to own a handgun of any sort, and rifles will be for target shooting only. The Second Amendment to our Constitution was for an armed militia, not for citizens to carry weapons around whenever they feel like it. And I don’t care what the Supreme Court says; there is simply no need for citizens to possess handguns, semiautomatic or otherwise.

Will it work? I think so.  Many murders or accidental deaths are caused by the presence of easily-obtained guns lying around, and if you can’t get them, the average citizen won’t bother. Of course there will still be a criminal black market in guns, but with sufficiently tough legislation that should abate.

Here’s what The Economist says:

After a couple of horrible mass shootings in Britain, handguns and automatic weapons have been effectively banned. It is possible to own shotguns, and rifles if you can demonstrate to the police that you have a good reason to own one, such as target shooting at a gun club, or deer stalking, say. The firearms-ownership rules are onerous, involving hours of paperwork. You must provide a referee who has to answer nosy questions about the applicant’s mental state, home life (including family or domestic tensions) and their attitude towards guns. In addition to criminal-record checks, the police talk to applicants’ family doctors and ask about any histories of alcohol or drug abuse or personality disorders.

Vitally, it is also very hard to get hold of ammunition. Just before leaving Britain in the summer, I had lunch with a member of parliament whose constituency is plagued with gang violence and drug gangs. She told me of a shooting, and how it had not led to a death, because the gang had had to make its own bullets, which did not work well, and how this was very common, according to her local police commander. Even hardened criminals willing to pay for a handgun in Britain are often getting only an illegally modified starter’s pistol turned into a single-shot weapon.

And, to be crude, having few guns does mean that few people get shot. In 2008-2009, there were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in England and Wales, with a population about one sixth the size of America’s. In America, there were 12,000 gun-related homicides in 2008.. . .

I am willing to believe that some householders, in some cases, have defended their families from attack because they have been armed. But I also imagine that lots of ordinary adults, if woken in the night by an armed intruder, lack the skill to wake, find their weapon, keep hold of their weapon, use it correctly and avoid shooting the wrong person. And my hunch is that the model found in places like Japan or Britain—no guns in homes at all, or almost none—is on balance safer.

As for the National Rifle Association bumper stickers arguing that only an armed citizenry can prevent tyranny, I wonder if that isn’t a form of narcissism, involving the belief that lone, heroic individuals will have the ability to identify tyranny as it descends, recognise it for what it is, and fight back. There is also the small matter that I don’t think America is remotely close to becoming a tyranny, and to suggest that it is is both irrational and a bit offensive to people who actually do live under tyrannical rule.

Is there any credible justification for allowing Americans to own guns and carry them around concealed? I haven’t heard one.

Sadly, the author (they’re anonymous at The Economist) pulls his/her punches at the end, saying that America is a democracy and we love our guns and therefore nothing is going to happen:

I personally dislike guns. I think the private ownership of guns is a tragic mistake. But a majority of Americans disagree with me, some of them very strongly. And at a certain point, when very large majorities disagree with you, a bit of deference is in order.

Deference? This isn’t religion—it’s guns! People are getting killed by guns, and at the same rate now as that cited above for 2008-2009: about 33 per day—add another 55 per day if you include suicides committed with guns.  Now’s not the time to say “guns will always be with us” (a mantra similar to that used by accommodationists, and just as false).  Now is the time to fight, and get Obama to take serious action about gun control.  I don’t for a minute mean to use the slain of Newtown as political capital, but the national sentiment for gun control is going in the right direction, and that means we should apply pressure. I’m deeply embarrassed by the failure of our government to ban guns (and really, what excuse is there for semiautomatic weapons?), and even more so by the yahoos that defend their right to have as many guns as they want, and to take them into school zones. What fulminating idiocy!

One of my personal Rules for Living is that if more than one friend tells you you’re behaving badly, they’re probably right.  Now we have nearly every democracy in the world telling America that we’re wrong on gun control, and yet those benighted folks fond of their Glocks won’t listen.

You can sign a petition to the White House here, and write your representatives and senators in Congress (email addresses here and here).

____________

UPDATE: See the powerful article about America’s obsession with guns in the Telegraph, pointed out by a reader below.

359 Comments

  1. Nicolas Perrault
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    More guns less shooting! I have long given up understanding America.

    • Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:56 am | Permalink

      Works in Sweden, which has a higher gun ownership rate than the States, and a very low incidence of gun-related deaths. So, it’s clearly possible to have both (but I’d hate to piss on anyone’s parade of ‘guns are evil and those who own them love to see children get killed’ with the petty matter of data.)

      • Don
        Posted December 18, 2012 at 6:41 am | Permalink

        Yes, the prevalence of gun violence is matter of culture, too. I live in Vermont, one of only two states with no significant firearms regulation at all. Anyone here can own, carry, purchase, trade, and shoot a rifle or handgun as he pleases, as long as he observes the broadest of safety concerns. There are no permits required, no waiting periods, no one-gun-per-month purchase limits, nothing. And yet in my 40 years here I have never seen anyone, except for hunters and cops, carrying a weapon. Indeed, Vermont is always among the two or three safest and least criminally violent of the 50 states.

        • Posted December 18, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

          Indeed. And what is ignored by the ‘what does the Supreme Court know about the constitution anyway, other than when they agree with me’ crowd is that if one tracks economic trends, one can easily see an inverse relationship with gun related incidents. Look at roughly equivalent regions in terms of population density and guns owned and it’s immediately obvious that the poorer areas are afflicted with gun incidents and the affluent areas aren’t.

          But what difference would facts make if one has The Truth and one’s own righteous indignation?

  2. Carl Sartreback
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    “Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46 at 243-244)

    Amazing, that’s what we need – a duopoly of gun owners – the government and criminals? Certainly education and vetting applicants
    to competency of a reasonable standard is in
    order. My contention is, not to the level of any particular branch of law enforcement or the military, but to a level that is appropriate for self and home defense. We have enough laws making it illegal to kill innocents.

    Where was the mothers mindfulness regarding gun safety and safely stored weapons?

    Reading the posts gives pause to our circumstance. Alzheimer’s patients run and win the Presidency, possibly. They drive automobiles everyday and in every state. Repeat drunk drivers get back behind a vehicle, drink and drive. Both groups kill innocents and themselves at times.

    Is it 40% of American high school students think the Sun revolves around the Earth? Whatever the number, any would be too many. When will we adequately address the failure of Science illiteracy?
    So lets make wanton school killings revolve around the gun as the cause. Let’s go back to a similar Ptolemaic model and reverse the painful understanding that gun control advocates won’t accept – that this event has roots in our nature. Argue it any way you want – our Founding Fathers came to their conclusion about the citizenry possessing arms over 200 hundred years ago.

    Is it that we just don’t really yet understand what happens at the neurochemical level? If the molecular model is correct with regard to Toxoplasma gondii infection and behavior, then maybe this young man was infected with T. gondii and has some violent schizophreniform disorder? We should find out – until then, lets ban all contact with cats. Wait till the criminal defense lawyers grab this one! And so it goes.

    This is a strange circumlocution of thought to some, but someone help me understand this question?

    How does it makes sense to violate what the Founding Fathers forged and crafted after careful deliberation. We have the country we have because we are not afraid of our government nor are we afraid to take up arms when that need arises. To say that we gun right advocates are cowboys, paranoid,
    narcissistic, or misguided misses an interesting point – as if politicizing the
    tragedy in Conneticutt needs more insanity – the human condition being what it is in its
    present state; we are condemned to be free because we have no choice in the matter of
    being free. To my mind gun ownership is the expression that I am willing to accept and
    embrace my freedom and consequently be responsible for myself. God(s), governments, parents, teachers cannot help us because ultimately our destiny is in our own hands. Guns are and will always be apart of that as long as we are this kind of human.
    Unfortunately, what happened a few days ago is all to familiar. It is unbearably sad – but guns are not the problem, we are.

  3. E.A. Blair
    Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    I think a situation is building that verges on violating part one of last week’s post “Moar Roolz”:

    1. Please do not dominate threads with your comments. If you exceed 15% of the total comments, you are commenting too often. What I particularly dislike is one-on-ones, where two people go hammer and tongs at each other. (I have never seen a rapprochement from these engagements!). Take it to private email if that happens.

    There is a commenter her to whom I shall no longer be responding nor acknowledging, even though I would like to know if Wayne LaPierre signs checks in blood. I guess I’ll never know.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

      Typo apology: “her” should have been “here”.

    • Diane G.
      Posted December 17, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      I’ve been thinking this about the same commenter for a few days, now, regarding several other posts as well. Debating whether or not to employ the “troll” word…

  4. Posted December 17, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Most of the people I speak to think America has gone to the dogs. Why are they hanging onto ancient laws which have no benefits for the people. It’s like the Slavery law, that was abolished. But the diehards thought that it was every American’s right to own a slave or 2. We know what happened to that. America do you not realize the WHOLE WORLD is watching you in disgust. How many more innocent children will die before you give up on this pipe dream of owning a gun is your right, You’re not cowboys anymore.

    • microraptor
      Posted December 19, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      It’s because of our deification of a group of men who wrote a document that they knew was imperfect at the time but has since come to be viewed as scripture.

      • Posted December 23, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

        Jefferson thought we should write a new Constitution every 19 years. Madison who wrote the Bill of Rights, would be appalled at the lengths to which it has been abused. This is a very different world, a very different society than in 1891 when that document was ratified.

  5. RF
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    I find this “everyone else is doing it” argument rather unpersuasive. If all the other countries jumped off a cliff, should we? Other countries have anti-blasphemy laws. Should we? And the question “Is there any credible justification for allowing Americans to own guns and carry them around concealed?” does not strike me as being asked in good faith.

  6. marksolock
    Posted December 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Mark Solock Blog.

  7. John Deer
    Posted December 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Guns in the hands of the people as a defense against tyranny might have been reasonable in 1800, when guns where the latest thing in warfare. Given that a tyrant would have access to anything from tanks to nukes I think the law should be updated: citizens should have the right to an F-15 in their backyard

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted December 20, 2012 at 5:09 am | Permalink

      … where it will blow their house flat if they should try to start it up ;)

      That sort of underlines the impracticality of the militia myth – modern weapons are so high-tech and high-infrastructure that no practical group of citizens could operate them.

      (I had a friend who was a serious gun collector. Oddly enough he was also an animal lover who had long ago given up shooting at anything except tin cans. His most imposing weapon was a Vickers machine gun which was really no danger to anybody – even if he’d suddenly gone insane, by the time he’d managed to drag this huge thing out into his garden plus the ammunition boxes and set it up on its tripod, the neighbours would have had time to walk out of range…)


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