The truth about violent crime

After the horrific massacre in a Connecticut school, we heard over and over again about how violent crime is on the rise in the United States.

Such claims are false. In fact, murders are the lowest they have been in decades.

murders US-Crime-Rates-1960-2010_4577_image003

And in case our liberal lurkers think I am taking this information from some right-wing gun nut site, I would refer them to the source, which is, ahem, a left-wing site:

http://leftcall.com/u-s-crime-rates-1960-2010-the-facts-might-surprise-you/

To quote from those gun-crazy left-wingers:

While the 50-year low for murder per 100,000 was in 1962 and 1963 with 4.6 per 100,000, those years were actually down a bit from the rest of the 1960s which ranged from 4.8 to 7.3. What was the 2010 number? – 4.8 per 100,000 – That’s a tie with 1961. Yes, you read that correctly. The murder rate, indexed to population was at a near 50-year low in 2010. Compare that to the worst year, 1980, when the rate was 10.2 per 100,000.

The source of this information is the FBI. In fact, the trend in violent crime continued in 2011.

11violentcrimeoffnesefigure

How could this be? Don’t we all know that our “crazy gun culture” is making us less and less safe?

Well, in fact, there are more and more guns in the U.S. but less and less crime. In fact, the evidence shows that crime is lower when there are more guns:

John Lott: “Every place in the world that we have crime data, both before and after a gun ban has gone into effect, every single place has seen an increase in murders after the ban has been put in place. And many times it’s been a several-fold or more increase. And there’s a simple reason for that, and that is, when you ban guns, it’s basically the most-law-abiding citizens who turn in their guns, not the criminals. And rather than making it more difficult for criminals to commit crime, you actually make it easier.” http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/crime/item/13946-china-school-knife-massacre-why-no-media-coverage

Please note: I am not saying the increase in guns is the only reason crime is down. The jury is still out on that issue. I am saying that the increase in guns has to be considered as one of the reasons that crime is down overall.

I am not against all weapons control. Current law makes it extremely difficult to get an automatic weapon, and I am OK with that. I don’t want people to own bazookas or RPGs.

I think a semi-automatic weapon on “assault weapons ban” would do absolutely no good. There is very little that could be done to overcome the existence of literally tens of million of semi-automatics in the U.S. Law-abiding people would follow the law, and criminals would not. People will still be able to kill with whatever guns are still legal, and crazy people would still find ways to get guns.

In fact, I am skeptical that new laws would do much at all to change the situation. We have been carrying out an expensive war on drugs for four decades now and drugs are even more prevalent than they were in 1972. I don’t think a “war on guns” would do much at all — except make politicians feel good because they “are doing something.” I would like to note that violent crime was at its peak during the periods of stronger guns laws in the 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s. As those laws have been repealed, violent crime has gone down (again, cause and effect are problematic, but you cannot ignore the trend).

So, cheer up, everybody, the United States is getting safer, not more dangerous. You cannot ignore the evidence.

This entry was posted in General by Geoff B.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

94 thoughts on “The truth about violent crime

  1. Note to commenters: don’t even think about leaving a snarky, sarcastic comment or one attacking the author or other commenters. Your comment will not be seen by anybody, so don’t waste your time. If you would like to politely disagree (or agree), go for it.

  2. What I really found interesting is the correlation to safety. When I DO hear off-handed remarks about the world going downhill in general, or the nation getting worse in general, it is usually from a more conservative person. Yet, when talking about gun control, you are correct, you hear it from a more liberal person, arguing for more gun control.

  3. “So, cheer up, everybody, the United States is getting safer, not more dangerous. You cannot ignore the evidence.”

    That’s good to know. However, I really don’t care right now how safe or unsafe 1961 was. I am apalled and frightened by what happened last week- as I’m sure you are. As one who is firmly in the middle, politically speaking, what I’d really like right now is for someone to explain to me why the heck any citizen needs to own a device that is designed solely to kill as many humans as possible in a short period of time. Until I get an answer to this that I find satisfactory, I cannot take seriously any solution to this problem that does not include tighter gun controls. That sick young man in Conneticut should not have been within 10 miles of the firepower he possessed.

  4. Agreed that it was appalling. Not agreed about being frightened. I have two kids in elementary school with another on the way. Statistically, it is significantly more likely they will be hurt in a car crash than by a crazy psycho at school. I do worry a little every time they get in a car but I don’t really worry that much about the environment at school.

    John, we shouldn’t pass laws to make us feel good. We should pass laws that will actually do something. I have yet to see any law on gun control that will actually work, given the amount of guns out there. If there is one thing we should learn from the drug war, it is that “passing laws” often does more harm than good.

    This is a good time to mourn and to contemplate the eternities and the Atonement and God’s plan. This is not a time for emotional law-passing to make us all feel good. I remember when we did that in 2001 and 2002, and what we got was 1)the TSA 2)the Patriot Act and 3)the invasion of Iraq. Emotional law-passing can be a very bad thing indeed.

  5. I don’t follow your logic in this paragraph:

    “Please note: I am not saying the increase in guns is the only reason crime is down. The jury is still out on that issue. I am saying that the increase in guns has to be considered as one of the reasons that crime is down overall.”

    One thing is clear: a huge increase in the number of firearms in private hands has not caused an increase in homicides. But it does not necessarily follow that the drop in crime rates, and in homicide rates, is due to the increase in the number of those firearms. Crime rates have dropped due to a variety of factors (about which criminologists spend their lives arguing), but it’s altogether possible that homicide rates may have fallen even lower if not for the huge increase in the number of firearms.

    Of course, now that crime rates are so low, we can get rid of the specious argument that people need semiautomatic weapons with 30-round clips for protection against the marauding gangs of criminals that would otherwise rob and rape and murder them.

    (edited)

  6. Mark B, I think we are saying the same thing in different ways, and I don’t get why you can’t understand it. Violent crime is way down. The number of guns is way up. Correlation is not necessarily causation, but the figures cannot be ignored. I agree that all of the decrease in crime cannot be attributed to more guns, but the numbers do not lie that more guns has NOT caused more crime.

    Please tell me how passing a law against 30-round clips would do anything except make the tens of millions of 30-round clips in the US more valuable? Banning 30-round clips may or may not make them less accessible for your average person (I doubt it but it is possible). It would do absolutely nothing to make them less accessible for criminals.

  7. “John, we shouldn’t pass laws to make us feel good”

    I don’t think that’s what I’m after here. Like I said above, I’ve yet to see a good reason why any citizen needs the firepower that the Conneticut shooter possessed.

    “Banning 30-round clips may or may not make them less accessible for your average person (I doubt it but it is possible). It would do absolutely nothing to make them less accessible for criminals.”

    It would have made them inaccesible to the Conneticut shooter.

  8. Yes, but there may have been even less crime had there been fewer guns.

    Keeping 30-round clips from criminals wasn’t the issue in the recent mass shooting cases. Adam Lanza and James Holmes and Seung-Hui Cho were not criminals until the day that they became mass murderers. Would they have gone out and bought an illegal 30-round clip on the street? They would more likely have been like those guys in Office Space looking up “money laundering” in the dictionary.

  9. As a person who has fired a 30-round clip at a shooting range, I can tell you it makes a huge difference. Keeping the gun in the same position for 30 shots makes it easier to hit the target over and over again. The vast majority of people who shoot guns use them to shoot at targets, which, let’s face it, is a lot of fun.

    30-round clips are easier to come by than you may think. They are literally everywhere. Good luck on banning them. It simply ain’t gonna happen. But even if they were less accessible, I would argue that two pistols with many 10-round clips in close quarters are much more dangerous than the Bushmaster .223 that was used. In addition, a shotgun can do a LOT more damage to more people, and nobody is talking about banning them. Sorry, you are looking for easy answers, and there simply are not any easy answers. There are some difficult answers (like getting people to repent and come to Christ), but there are no easy answers.

  10. Mark B, each of those wackos would have found another gun that would have done the same or worse damage. Just FYI: the 100-round clip used by Holmes jams a lot, and there are reports his jammed. So he used a pistol and a 12-gauge shotgun. I am not sure why were are discussing banning the weapon that didn’t work and ignoring the weapons that did work. Unless…we are just looking for easy solutions that won’t work.

  11. “I’ve yet to see a good reason why any citizen needs the firepower that the Conneticut shooter possessed.”

    John,
    How about this, “Being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Ok, that’s from memory, but I think it’s all there.

    The 2nd Amendment, is to my memory, the only amendment enshrined in the bill of rights that actually provides a justification for its existence. You may not see the good reason, but I don’t base my rights on what you see as reasonable. The founding fathers felt it was necessary for the security of a state to maintain “infringable” gun rights. I agree with their reasoning. You apparently don’t. The appropriate avenue to change this is to use the democratic process to encourage your fellow citizens to pass an amendment.

    Now, I realize that’s not the way things work anymore and we just hope people pass laws because they seem reasonable to us, regardless of the consitution (ie. constitutional is not synonymous with “what the majority of the people deem reasonable” — well, unfortunately for some on the court it is…)

    These questions have been addressed endlessly, but the more rounds you can bring to bear in a distressful situation, the more “secure” you are. I’d feel much comfortable confronting an attacker knowing I can miss 10 times.

    Unfortunately, this means that an attacker can also shoot at me (or unarmed people) more than 10 times without reloading.

    The trade-off you are apparently looking for is that I should be limited to a 10 round magazine, while the law breaker should be limited to whatever he can get his hands on (or train to use very very well).

    Facts – banning the hicap magazines will still make it extremely easy for law breakers to use them
    – even if we could somehow make them all disappear, those who have a plan to hurt as many innocents as possible, will naturally train to overcome those obstacles.

    So, innocent civilians who might otherwise have more capacity, and have not trained thoroughly with lower capacity magazines would be at a disadvantage.

    All of this is just talking back and forth, but the end result is, there is evil in this world. We can be noble, idealistic, and tragically mistaken, and assume that if the good guys disarm, the bad guys will go away.

    The fact is, police officers carry guns so they can actively defend the innocent, attack the bad, as well as pre-empt assaults on themselves and the innocent in the first place.

    There is no reason why this logic can not be extended down to the civilian population. I may wish like you we didn’t have to do this. But the layer of rules upon rules regarding firearms is not making us more safe.

    Since this is a gospel oriented website, might I suggest that if we want to be more safe we need to have our hearts turned to Christ and filled with the love of God and toward our fellow men?

    But that doesn’t negate the fact that sometimes you have to hold your sword in your hand while building up Zion.

    Count me as one of the many who wishes this murderer wasn’t the only person in school that day with a gun. The police showed up 20 minutes after the first shots were fired. Taking the discussion back to the beginning I do not believe it’s necessary or wise to solely entrust our security to the police. In fact, the 2nd Amendment in principle points to this. If we want to remain free and secure, it’s better to be armed.

  12. Well said, Chris. I find it interesting that many of the same people who love the First and Fourth Amendments (and I do!) also ignore other amendments that just don’t fit their ideologies. (Like the 2nd, 9th and 10th).

  13. “John,
    How about this, “Being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” Ok, that’s from memory, but I think it’s all there”

    Should there be any limits? I mean, I can’t presently purchase a surface to air missle (I hope anyway). Are my 2nd ammendment rights being infringed?

  14. “Taking the discussion back to the beginning I do not believe it’s necessary or wise to solely entrust our security to the police.”

    Not to sound flippant, but count me as one who is extremely uncomfortable with the idea of a bunch of wannabe batmen building up aresnals.

  15. Good post Geoff. We all know I lean liberal, but I’m also from Montana so guns mean something to me and my people, so to speak.

    Typically conversations on gun control really annoy me. It seems like most people take it as a call to come up with their worst logical fallacies and argue them til their blue in the face. Mark B. pointed out the same thing I would quibble about, but on the whole, I think your post, and others’ posts have so far been better thought out than many others I’ve seen on other sites.

    The fact of the matter is, at least as far as I see, there just isn’t very good data on which to draw from for either side of the debate. There’s a lot of data, but most of what I’ve seen can’t be interpreted the way people do (at least of what I’ve seen). I’d rather see better research before we start passing all kinds of laws on gun control. We could easily find ourselves spinning the proverbial wheels of progress without getting anywhere.

  16. The push for more gun control was predictable, but it’s possible that talk could go the other way. Perhaps we could go from defending the right to bear arms to promoting a responsibility to bear arms. States inclined in that direction could add to the requirements for a teacher’s certification that she must demonstrate proper handling of a shotgun like the one locked on a rack in her classroom. The concealed carry crowd could quit hiding their pistols and start holstering them openly like police do.

  17. Anybody else notice that even at its peak the probability of being murdered is only 1% of 1% ? Over a lifetime the chance of being murdered is still less than one in a hundred.

    Murder is undeniably horrific and its not surprising we obsess over what causes it and how to stop it. Victims of this unlikely event certainly deserve our love and support. But in the grand scheme of things I’m not sure murder itself is a particularly huge problem for the US. Even if a complete gun ban were to miraculously prevent half of all murders we would only be something like a fourth of a single percent safer.

  18. I’d like to see how increased medical technology has contributed to victims surviving horrific crimes, and how this influence has lowered the number of murders. The past 50 years has seen an incredible explosion of medical tech that has prolonged lives, saved lives where before there would be no hope, and expedited recovery from wounds that would have been impossible, all in the last 50 years.

    Many metrics have improved over the last several decades, among them life expectancy, etc. I don’t see us moving into a glorious era of Zion just yet, though. Gordon B. Hinckley himself quoted Dickens in saying that our time was the “best of times [which I totally agree] and the worst of times [which I also totally agree with]. You can actually be both.

  19. For the love of all that is good and holy, please stop referring to “clips”. We are not shooting Garands here.

  20. Michael Towns, here’s something (link). Researchers at U. Mass. and Harvard claimed that improvements in critical trauma care kept the homicide rate down: “There were 916,380 aggravated assaults and 15,533 homicides in 1999. If the aggregate 1960 lethality level (.056) described these data, we would have instead observed about 880,000 aggravated assaults and about 52,000 homicides—or about 3.4 times the 15,500 or so actually observed.”

    So one cheer for the medical care that allowed so many who shot or stabbed others to not be killers.

  21. Now comes Senator-designate Tim Scott who blames it all on “moral decay.” I suspect that if we we were to graph the decay of morality, it would look a lot like the second graph in your post, leading to the conclusion that moral decay is associated with lower violent crime. That would be at least as informative as your linkage of increased gun ownership with reduced crime.

  22. LL, talk about your fields of straw men. I’m pretty sure I didn’t discuss moral decay in this post, nor did I quote Tim Scott.

    Fletcher: “For the love of all that is good and holy, please stop referring to “clips”. We are not shooting Garands here.”

    The word “clip,” although technically incorrect, has been accepted in dictionaries as a synonym for “magazine.” Sorry, but that is not a battle you are going to win.

    Michael and John M, good points.

  23. Mark B. makes some great points.

    As far as the drop in murder rate, Freakonomics argues that increased legal access to birth control–more specifically, abortion–is responsible for the huge decrease in violent crime rates that occurred about 20 years after Roe v. Wade (1973) was decided. They actually go in and track statistics based on abortion laws and violence in specific states.

    I support the church’s stance on abortion. Except for limited exceptions, I think it’s dreadfully wrong. But just because I’m uncomfortable with the implication of the Freakonomics study doesn’t mean Freakonomics’ explanation is wrong. We know that providing pre-conception birth control for free drastically reduces the number of abortions. I wonder if it would also have an effect on murder rates.

    Of course, in this situation, I doubt the young man would’ve been able to so easily do the damage he did if his mother didn’t have some incredibly powerful weapons at her disposal, located where her son could access them. My home ward also suffered a tragedy, although on a much smaller scale, when two boys found a pistol and started messing around with it. One died and the other has to live with that tragedy. Two families were forever altered. Hopefully we can all at least agree that it’s important to properly and safely store guns.

  24. GeoffB, I think it is a fair start that you and I don’t agree on a lot of things outside of basic gospel principles. However even while the murder rate has gone down as you indicated, violence in general has been in decline since sometime in the 19th century, which is a good thing, Technology, though, has given violence a new potency. Consider that for game bird hunting, shotguns are required to have magazine plugs limiting the number of shells that can be fired in rapid succession. “Sporting” rifles, like the Bushmaster used in many of the recent mass shootings, are not limited, and are adapted from military designs that allow for quick replacement of high capacity magazines. These kinds of assault weapons are not normally used for anything other than target shooting, or ostensibly for home defense, and the odd mass shooting. If you need a 30 round magazine for deer hunting, you are doing it wrong.

    It would be pretty hard for someone in the 19th century, armed with a pair of 6 shot revolvers, to shoot more than a handful of people, both due to poor accuracy at any range over a few yards, and also the limitations of the available loaded ammunition. In the early 20th century, fully automatic weapons became available, and did find their way into criminal hands. They are now for the most part banned.

    Adam Lanza and all the other shooters usually obtained their weapons legally. Granted, there are a lot of them out there, but since this latest tragedy has a personal connection for me, I want to think of possibly saving even one life by supporting an assault weapons ban, and a ban on high capacity magazines. I do not favor taking away your shotgun, your deer rifle, or your handgun you keep for personal protection. No matter how much fun it is to shoot some of these things at a target range, which I have done in the past, there is to my mind no defensible position in continuing to allow people to legally obtain military grade weapons that are designed to punch many holes in human flesh at a high rate of speed. Had the shooter in Newtown only had the two handguns in his possession, he certainly still could have killed some people, but probably not as many. And if that would have saved even one life, then I think it is worth it.

  25. “Hopefully we can all at least agree that it’s important to properly and safely store guns.” YES. If Adam Lanza’s mom had stored her guns in a safe where only she had access, that would have been a nice start.

    “Had the shooter in Newtown only had the two handguns in his possession, he certainly still could have killed some people, but probably not as many. And if that would have saved even one life, then I think it is worth it.” Sorry , Kevin F, we’re going to have to disagree again. In the close quarters of a school a guy armed with two pistols and 10 clips (er, magazines)would have done just as much if not more damage. The Aurora shooter used a shotgun and pistols after his semi jammed. Going after semi-automatics may seem emotionally satisfying but will solve nothing.

  26. Thank you for this Geoff! I’m always thrilled when someone points out that violence is declining. And it’s not just here, but all around the world. And not just now, but it has been (per capita) for centuries. (With hiccups during the World Wars and the 60s. Not withstanding, even with these events, the 20th century is lower in per-capita violence than past centuries.) It is not the worst of times. It is the best of times, at least as far as war and violence is concerned. Never has there been a more peaceful and prosperous time in the history of mankind.

  27. The 2nd amendment is not about hunting or target shooting. Read your history, and learn what the framers intended with the 2nd amendment.

  28. Geoff, we will have to disagree. Having shot some .45 caliber Model 1911 automatics at target ranges, the accumulated recoil of rapid fire shooting makes anything over the first two or three shots unlikely to hit a target at over a few feet. And forget about anything after the first shot with my left hand. If you pause two or three seconds between each shot, then you become more accurate. Your rate of fire, though, goes down to about 20 rounds per minute, not including replacing magazines. The recoil of an assault weapon like the Bushmaster, just due to the basic physics of a longer barrel and larger gas discharge absorption, leads to more manageable recoil, and more rapid fire.

    The Browning design used in the Model 1911 is also the basis for most other semiautomatic handguns like the Glock. They were designed for close order shooting, and packed enough stopping power to knock an opponent off of his or her feet, thus rendering them less of a threat. The Bushmaster rifle used in this shooting shoots a very light bullet compared to the powder load at very high velocity. Normally it would not make much of a hole, but due to it’s muzzle velocity, the bullet begins to tumble and fragment upon impact, to create larger wounds than is seen even with a .45ACP or a 9mm bullet from a handgun. This also was a design factor to render anyone hit incapacitated and no longer a threat. The NATO 5.56mm military round used by our troops is derived from the original .223 caliber cartridge. The Bushmaster is basically a military design created to cause grievous wounds on a battle field.

    This event was a tipping point for me. All day Friday, I thought about my own granddaughter, also in first grade, and then I get home and found out that I know 3 of the 4 grandparents of one of the victims. For me, I can no longer passively ignore how the gun culture of our country appears to be spiraling out of control. I grew up shooting .22 rifles, 12 gauge shotguns, and various deer hunting rifles. I can certainly see the distinction between legitimate hunting, personal defense, and sport use of firearms. I can not justify the continued legal availability of assault weapons.

  29. The point is that walking through a school, around corners, going into doorways, etc, a handgun is easier to use, especially against unarmed people, which was the horrific situation in Newtown. If you are firing at a group of people, which is what apparently happened, the recoil issue you mention is not really relevant. No doubt the Bushmaster is a military design — like many other semis out there, but the point is: what will banning it (and presumably other semi-automatics) achieve? It will drive up the price, and law-abiding people won’t buy them, but criminals will continue to buy them. So, it might make you and some other people feel better, but it won’t achieve your presumed goal of creating a more peaceful society. I dare say not a single life would be saved.

    I would like to once again remind people that laws don’t protect people. If they did, nobody would ever be able to get drugs. A law being passed has to have a chance of being enforced, and it has to be aimed at the bad guys, not the law-abiding people.

  30. Geoff, but Adam Lanza did have the Bushmaster, and according to police reports, used it exclusively, and that seems to indicate that he preferred it over the handguns (well, not exclusively, as he use one of the handguns on himself).

    According to your logic that laws don’t protect people, then let’s do away with licensing requirements for physicians and pharmacists, traffic laws for our highways, and safety requirements for automobiles like seat belts and air bags. All things implemented by laws. None of the laws prevent you from disconnecting your air bag, not wearing your seat belt, or overdosing on prescription drugs. I find that argument about laws pretty shallow.

    I have yet to see from you a compelling argument as to why civilians need to have military grade weapons for personal protection. But I will admit to having a limited perspective, as I have not once in 60 years ever been threatened by anyone with a gun, or ever felt so threatened as to make me wish I had a gun handy to protect myself. Can I really be so naive that I can’t understand how I need an assault rifle in my home so that I can blow off the arms of a perceived threat, or destroy his liver or stomach with a single shot?

  31. Just because you cannot imagine ever using something does not mean it should banned. I can never imagine buying a Mazerati, no matter how much money I had, but this does not mean they should be banned. I personally don’t think I need an assault rifle in my house — I have a shot gun and a handgun (in the safe), and that is more than enough.

    We should not create laws based on people imagining when other things can be used. We should start with the presumption that people can do what they want as long as they don’t hurt others, and then go from there.

    I have shot (somebody else’s) assault weapon at the range, which is where law-abiding civilians use these guns. Literally hundreds of millions of rounds are shot every year by peaceful people who just get their jollies shooting at targets. Some readers here may find this a silly way to spend your time, but, sorry, you don’t get to decide what other free people do with their time. A lot of people think it is pretty silly to believe in gold plates and angels and modern-day prophets, but thankfully they don’t get to decide where I get to go to church on Sunday. Give people the freedom to decide if they want to go to a range and shoot at paper.

    I notice that people continue to refuse the issue of practicality. Everything is about emotion and wishes. There are tens of millions of “assault weapons” out there. How exactly do we plan on banning them in a way where the criminals will not have them? Drug dealers are not very anxious to follow laws. Do we expect them to turn in their assault weapons and replace their 30-round magazines with 5-round magazines?

    As for licensing requirements and traffic laws, we could have quite an interesting discussion on those issues, but we can save that for another day.

  32. “It is not the worst of times. It is the best of times, at least as far as war and violence is concerned”

    Do you know how many people died during war in the 20th century alone? It’s a vast number, in the tens of millions. Tens of millions.

    Let me repeat that. Tens of millions.

    Sorry, but I can’t be so flippant about how it’s the “best of times” with respect to war. It ain’t, as we say down here in the South.

  33. Michael, if you want per capita death rates in the 20th century to match past centuries, you need casualties numbering in the billions, not tens of millions. There was a lot of death, but it corresponded with an astronomical population boom. Your chances of dying in war or homicide n the 20th century were lower than any past century.

  34. It is true that war and violence is down now compared to most times in history. I tend to think it is one of those periods that are described in the Book of Mormon where things are good for a short period before things get really, really bad again. But I truly hope I am wrong.

  35. It was estimated around 203 million people died due to war in the 20th century:

    http://users.erols.com/mwhite28/warstat8.htm

    So, can we please stop with the fiction that we are living in the “best of times” with respect to war? I’m not saying that we are at an absolute nadir, either, but I believe some foggy thinking is contributing to this notion that because some numbers are trending down, everything is hunky dory. I would hope that everyone’s inner humanist is appropriately horrified by a number anywhere close to 203 million lives lost due to war in a hundred year period.

    And on the cusp of 2013, we’re continuing the good work of death in several parts of the world, notably Congo and Syria. In Congo alone, millions have died in the last decade, something that ought to give us pause before we go around trumpeting how we’re moving into a new era.

    Maybe we are. Certainly with respect to technology, we are. But human pride and human nature haven’t changed in 30,000 years. We will yet see more devastating wars in our future. I guarantee that.

  36. “Your chances of dying in war or homicide n the 20th century were lower than any past century.”

    That’s beside my point, entirely!

  37. Nothing I am proposing would prevent someone from shooting at paper targets with firearms, which I will agree with you, is fun. But assault weapons were designed for punching large holes in human flesh, not paper targets. I am glad you keep your guns in a safe, nor do I want to take away those guns you feel you need. I just don’t find any compelling need for the average citizen to have a weapon that is meant to kill many people quickly, no matter how much fun it is to shoot at a paper target or a tree stump.

    I know I won’t change your mind, but I just wanted to get a different point of view out there. I hope you never have to use your guns in defense of you and your family.

  38. KevinF, thanks for the good wishes. I wish the same to you and all of our readers. I am glad we can disagree without making it a personal issue. I would like to know the details of you assault weapons ban and how it would be enforced so that people can still fire “assault weapons” (semi-automatics) at ranges and how we can make it effective so bad guys obey it and good guys who like to shoot at paper are not affected.

    I will be away from the computer the next 3-4 hours, so let’s discuss more later tonight.

  39. “Your chances of dying in war are lower today than ever before”…”that’s beside my point.”

    I thought your point was that it was also “the worst of times.” Yes, it is true that there is a lot of war and violence today. Nevertheless, it must be noted that historically, we are looking at all-time lows. Maybe that’s a depressing statement on the history of mankind. Indeed, Cain killed Abel, and it’s been that way ever since. But the modern world: democracy, capitalism, prosperity, freedom, and a dramatic decrease in violence, is something to celebrate. We are living in an absolute explosion of peace and well being, from a historical perspective. Yet, we are as jumpy and outraged as ever. We live in a comparable heaven on earth, but we are maybe as unhappy as are murderous feudal ancestors because we just can’t appreciate how good we have it.

    For me, I’m going to enjoy the prosperity and lack of war we have today. For centuries, my ancestors have fought, worked, bled and died so that I could live in a world as peaceful and full of opportunity as this one. Every step I take in this free land was paid for with buckets of blood. I wouldn’t want my ancestors to think I was taking that for granted. They suffered for me, and for you, for their children to have a better life, and to live in a peaceful world. The least we can do is recognize just how incredibly their sacrifice paid off, and enjoy it to the fullest.

  40. Nate, you’re just fortunate that you grew up outside of Asia, the Middle East, or Africa. I think your perspective is totally skewed by your lack of understanding how most the world actually lives in those places. I don’t think they believe that we are living in the best of times.

    **I do not deny the fruits of progress; indeed, I celebrate progress in all its forms. And what I have said time and time again is that we should not mistake mere possession of technology as intrinsic wisdom. We are not wiser or smarter than our forebears. Far from it.**

    “I’m going to enjoy the prosperity and lack of war we have today.”

    I will enjoy it too, as long as it lasts. But I’m not going sit back and pretend that the trend lines will continue indefinitely, or that there won’t be an archduke assassinated tomorrow that could throw us into another global conflagration. (Yes, yes, I know…. the UN exists now and didn’t exist then. Don’t let my lack of enthusiastic cheerleading for the UN throw you off).

    Instead of viewing my statements as the antipode to your unbridled enthusiasms, perhaps you should simply view them as splashes of cold water on a roaring fire. The fire will continue, only not as bright, and perhaps a bit more humble.

  41. Thank you Michael. Certainly my enthusiasm for peace in the democratized world should be tempered by the knowledge that many today still live in the shadows of tyranny and violence. Of course outrage and action are called for, and I’m glad you are calling for it.

    I personally believe the trends toward democratization and education will continue the decline of violence. I can’t imagine an assassination today that could somehow plunge the world into the kind of nightmare previous world wars have been. We’ve outgrown imperialism, communism and monarchy. Democracy has triumphed. No true democracy has ever waged war on another true democracy. So I have a lot of hope for greater peace. The notion of apocalypse is something I believe in, but I see absolutely no evidence of anything imminent. So I’m doomed to be one of those who says “the bridegroom delayeth his coming.” But I’m in good company. For thousands of years, doomsdayers have been saying the end is nigh, and so far, things have just gotten better.

  42. “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” — 1 Thes. 5:3.

    Sorry, nate, couldn’t resist. And, well, in order for there to be people prophesied of to be saying “the Bridegroom delayeth his coming”, there have to be people saying, “the Bridegroom delayeth his coming”. So perhaps you’re just doing your part in the grand unfolding drama.

  43. As a gun enthusiast, I agree with Geoff that the horse has already fled the stable and that a ban on the future sale of high capacity magazines and/or assault weapons would not hinder the criminal element in its ability to obtain them.

    However, as a California resident, I would like to note that strict gun control is already a reality. I don’t have the inclination at the moment to do the research to determine whether limits on magazine capacity and assault weapon bans have resulted in less gun-related crime, but for those more interested it may prove a worthwhile case study.

  44. It depends on your definition of “strict.” Yes, stricter than some states but not a strict as New York. In any case, California ranks in the middle of violent crime nationwide and has gotten slightly more dangerous lately but probably not enough to be statistically significant. If the new push for more gun control takes effect in California (which I think is likely), my prediction is that California will see an increase in violent crime. This is what generally happens when states adopt new gun control laws.

    http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/cacrime.htm

  45. “Adam Lanza and all the other shooters usually obtained their weapons legally. ”

    Is this true? I thought he stole them from his mother while killing her? That is decidedly NOT legally. If the weapons were owned by his mother, presumably, he did not have permission to use them. Again, not legally.

    This raises another uncomfortable truth. As long as the police, military, security guards, etc. are armed, and there are millions of them in the US, then not only will they have access to guns which can do damage, but their family members will have access.

    Regarding the surface to air missile, well, that’s a red herring. It’s not part of the discussion here. Reduction to the absurd is nice for philosophy class, but we’re talking about something specific here not whether I have a right to possess biological weapons in defense of my home and family.

  46. To follow up on Chris’ point, I think the (very tight) restrictions on automatic weapons are reasonable. (Just to be clear, an automatic weapon is highly restricted and very difficult to get. This is a weapon where you hold down the trigger and fire more than one bullet. A semi-automatic is when you hold down the trigger and fire one bullet at a time). This is precisely because, to use Peter LLC’s term, automatic weapons are still relatively rare and we can restrict them and the horse is not already out of the barn. There is simply no practical way to restrict semi-automatics. As the link above points out, when we tried to do it in the 1990s, it was a complete and utter failure in every possible way. The situation since then is even worse, ie, there are a lot more semi-automatics out there and a lot more big 30-round magazines, and it is clear that the “assault weapons ban” made semi-automatics even more popular by drawing new attention to them.

  47. But Geoff, you’re missing something very fundamental. If the President and Congress were to re-enact an “assault weapons” ban, they could point to that as a significant legislative achievement.

    It’s efficacy is entirely beside the point. In fact, whether it works or not is entirely beside the point. :)

  48. As I have been saying, the response to this is all about emotion with very little logic. Kinda like after 9/11 when we made a lot of other stupid emotional decisions that made our lives a lot worse.

  49. As the link above points out, when we tried to do it in the 1990s, it was a complete and utter failure in every possible way.

    Of course, the law that was passed in 1994 did not attempt to ban the ownership of semi-automatic weapons. It constructed a totally artificial definition of “assault weapon” and limited their manufacture and sale. But, seriously, what difference does it make to have a bayonet mount, or a pistol grip or flash suppressor?

    Maybe there’s someone out there who thinks it was a useful law–but probably only those who have read the title and thought “oh, yeah, I agree that assault weapons should be banned”–but new proposals should be weighed on their merits, and not by reference to a previous foolish law.

  50. FYI, here is a link to a report from the Brady Center showing the actual impact of the assault weapons ban while it was in effect up until 2004. It did show that the use of assault weapons in all gun related traces by the ATF declined by 66% during that time period. Overall, it was still a small percentage of all gun related crimes, but it shows that there is some hope that such a ban could produce some positive results in reducing gun violence. Given the high usage of assault style weapons in the recent mass shootings, I believe it is worth a try.

  51. KevinF, the 2004 U Penn study concluded:

    “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence,” the study concluded. “And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”

    Given that the ban made semi-automatics more popular, not less, it is a safe bet that it did absolutely nothing to improve the situation.

    Mark B, you’re a lawyer. Given me some language for an “assault weapons” ban that would actually work. I am truly interested.

  52. kevinf –
    Regarding the unbiased Brady Center report, which clearly has no agenda, and clearly did not set out to prove a point in assembling their data….
    From Wiki…
    “A spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) stated that he “can in no way vouch for the validity” of the report.”

    “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention studied the “assault weapon” ban and other gun control attempts, and found “insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of any of the firearms laws reviewed for preventing violence.”

    and

    “A 2004 critical review of research on firearms by a National Research Council panel also noted that academic studies of the assault weapon ban “did not reveal any clear impacts on gun violence” ”

    and

    “Christopher S. Koper, Daniel J. Woods, and Jeffrey A. Roth of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology, University of Pennsylvania found no statistically significant evidence that either the assault weapons ban or the ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds had reduced gun murders.”

  53. I am going to end my part of the discussion here, and wish you all well. I appreciate that this discussion has been without a lot of name calling and personal attacks, which has not always been my experience here.

    In summary, the Connecticut shootings were a tipping point for me. I refuse to believe that there is nothing we can do to prevent this sort of thing from happening again, other than arming our teachers. And if the previous assault weapons ban was not successful, then let’s try something better.

    Three things I think need to be done, although I will admit that the specifics are hard to nail down:

    1. Some sort of increased restriction on assault style weapons and high capacity magazines for the reasons I have stated in other comments above. They have little or no legitimate sporting use that can’t be satisfied with other weapons (ie, hunting, target shooting).

    2. Closing some of the loopholes in the current back ground check laws that exempt many gun show participants and some internet sales.

    3. Reducing the stigma attached to mental health issues. One in 17 Americans currently suffer from some sort of mental health problem, but only one third of them are getting treatment. I don’t know how, but starting with each of us understanding more about some of these issues would help. President George Albert Smith spent two years almost completely incapacitated as an apostle by depression and anxieties, yet recovered and went on to become President of the Church. Let us learn to address these things in the same terms we do any other illness, and help people in need to get treatment. (Note: Adam Lanza’s autism disorder is probably not behind his actions. There were other mental health issues likely involved.)

    If I do nothing, I feel complicit in the continued culture of gun violence that persists. To say that it has gone down is one thing. Has it gone down enough? Certainly not. What I can do, I will. I intend to educate myself on more facets of these issues, and learn more about what is possible for me to do. I can no longer sit on the sidelines and do nothing in the face of incomprehensible acts of violence against innocents, children or otherwise. For me, arming myself is not an option. To obtain a gun for personal defense, even though I am well trained in gun safety, implies a willingness to use it against someone else, and that am not willing to do. Thank you all for your courtesy.

  54. Sorry, one last comment. Chris, did you think that I was naive enough to not recognize that the Brady Center might have an agenda? Just like I would not go the NRA for statistics without assuming that they had an agenda. But to assume that because they have an agenda and disregard anything they have to say (either the Brady Center or the NRA) is also pretty naive. No one has all the answers. I’ll look at the U of Penn report and others in my ongoing search for answers, but give me some credit. No one in this national debate is without an agenda. The ongoing profitability of gun manufacturers is not my end goal; nor any kind of complete ban on firearms. Fewer deaths by gun violence is my agenda, just so it is out there in the open.

  55. KevinF, whatever floats your boat. It would be a shame for an “assault weapons ban” to pass Congress, be signed by the president and see an increase in violent crime with a lot of criminals enjoying assault weapons while helpless people turn in their weapons. In addition, just remember when you ban or restrict something you make it more valuable. This creates an incentive for manufacturers who are not affected by the ban to make more of something, especially when it is generally accepted and “cool,” which semi-automatics are. After the Connecticut shooting, sales of semi-automatics went through the roof. People wanting to ban them will not be successful. I agree with your number 3) however, which could help us all in many different ways, but I am not sure how laws would do that.

  56. Kevin –
    The 2nd Amendment is not about ” legitimate sporting use”. It does not say that the right to bear arms shall be preserved for good sport. You disagree, that’s fine. Convince others to pass an amendment in the prescribed way please.

    The fact that this tragedy was a “turning point” which led you to support rules which wouldn’t have prevented the tragedy in the first place is unfortunate. But it’s human nature to follow the oft observed truism – something must be done, this is something, therefore we must do it.

    The tragic irony, is that in the face of evil, often very little can be done to prevent or explain sadistic acts such as this. Rational prevention theory of any sort does not apply to cases like this. And one report I read made it seem as if perhaps the prospect of institutionalizing the man is what drove him over the edge.

    Regarding the agenda, I do not believe the CDC of ATF or NRC could be accused of having an agenda. If anything the ATF should line up with Brady, but they pretty much said, “we have no idea what they’re talking about”.

    If fewer deaths by gun violence is truly your goal, please consider entrusting those you already trust with your child’s life to actually be in a position to defend your child if necessary.

    I place my faith in my fellow man, so I am supportive of gun rights as well as trusting others to responsibly use them to protect others. I deeply wish that principle and others who gave their lives were able to have something to assist them in the moment of need. The likelihood is so far remote for all of us, but if we have the capability, and temperament, it would be tragic to fail to take training and preparations to be of assistance if ever necessary.

    I do know of several teachers, both men and women in my school district who have trained and carried fire arms for a few years now. I would not require this of anyone, but how I wish someone were prepared at this school for the threat they all knew was possible (however remote).

    How they figured an intercom and locking door would secure a school is beyond me. They instead, basically trusted in the goodness of their fellow men. Instead of acknowledging that trust should never be given again, I sincerely hope that trust could instead be placed in others who are responsible to shoulder an even greater burden of responsibility.

  57. I will write a little more because I don’t feel I’ve said my peace on it and there seems to be such a rift between the two sides.

    The seemingly irreconcilable distance between the two groups on this issue is the problem as we analyze it.

    One group starts with guns being the problem, perhaps not on a political level, but an ideological level. So when issues like this happen, the reaction is immediately, “See, I’ve been saying this, guns are the problem and now it’s just getting worse”.

    I start with the viewpoint that the problem is a lack of love for and faith in our fellow man. So when issues like this happen, I think, “See, if only more hearts were turned toward the gospel of Jesus Christ, these problems would be few and far in between.” Of course, we can’t require that belief of everyone, and we know it just won’t happen.

    So, my thinking on the matter is if we had more faith in our fellow man, perhaps we’d be more willing to trust others with firearms to defend themselves and others. This also means we have to trust that they won’t be crazy lunatics. This is a difficult faith to maintain, when in fact, we sadly discover there are crazy lunatics. But I suppose I am an optimist in this regard. It’s better to keep putting our faith in the people at large, because by and large hundreds of millions of us are not lunatics.

    If I could envision a world where there were no guns or where more people loved and had faith in their fellow man I know which one I’d prefer.

    For myself, this logic applies all the way down to driving in a car on the highway. I’m surrounded by hundreds of others who really could kill me and many others, and yet I have faith in them. Not because I know they are limited in their capacity, or because rules have kept them in check, but because I trust they will by and large do what’s right by me and likewise they feel the same about me.

    Society breaks down when this basic trust, or faith in our fellow man dissolves. We become distrustful of each other. We attempt to legislate others decisions, or actions etc. to conform in ways we want them to (usually the way we would think).

    Back to the topic, I wish guns were not “necessary”. I wish we could bury not only our weapons of war, but our weapons of spiritual rebellion as well. But in my judgement it seems we are still “at war” with evil, both physically and spiritually. Disarming in either case, does not seem to be the prudent option. I also don’t think we need to each be armed to the teeth.

    But I think there is a long way to go from where are to to the point where we are all armed like Mad Max in a state without the rule of law. There are some things we can do now, that would actually not only make people safer, but continue to preserve the freedoms we have (along with emphasizing our trust in our fellow men) while maintaining a both a pre-emption against evil as well as a credible defense should the need arise.

    - ps I realize that some one said that owning a firearm represents distrust in others. I say otherwise. Allowing others to own firearms, shows my trust in them, while at the same time, trusting in myself and others to defend themselves acknowledges that just because we trust someone doesn’t mean we should leave ourselves vulnerable if the need arises.

  58. Geoff, I’m not in the mood to quibble about data or criminology or even history. What I want to hear from conservatives and especially libertarians like yourself are real solutions. Today the NRA CEO proposed a quasi police state that would cost the gov. billions of dollars – spending that his fellow Republicans have proven slow to pay for and that Libertarians like yourself would surely fight tooth and nail (along with a whole lot of other Americans like myself). And that – BTW – would also do little to prevent determined killers. Many others have proposed MORE guns and armed citizens (including teachers have their own class room gun safes). Many others have proposed increased attention to mental health – the same people who have in the past cut funding for it. Liberals get to lead the conversation – IMO – only because conservatives have no real-life answers. Please come to the table.

    On banning assault weapons: it may be statistically probable that a ban will do little to stop violent gun crime in the future. But, it will also do the least harm in infringing on people 2nd amendment rights. If you can get behind banning bazookas or RPGs – I have no idea why a ban on assault weapons is the next thing to shredding the Constitution. (not you, but others have suggested this)

    (edited)

  59. CTJ, here is my response: first of all, the NRA proposal is insane and I oppose it. The NRA does not speak for me, and I don’t support everything they do. They endorsed Harry Reid for senator, after all.

    Second, there is not a solution for every problem. Or, more accurately, there is a solution for every problem, which is for people to come to Christ, repent, get baptized and receive the Holy Ghost. But given that most people will not do that, there is not a solution for every problem. After the horror of World War I the idealistic Woodrow Wilson got everybody together in Europe to end war forever. The peace lasted just a few years before we saw war by the Italians, a civil war in Spain, the Japanese attack on China and of then the horror of World War II. Just because people want to solve problems does not mean there is a realistic solution.

    I do not think there are “real solutions” to gun violence. Gun violence is down in America, down significantly from 20 years ago. This is a good thing. This is also a bad thing because it still means there is a lot of gun violence. I think “gun free zones” are a very bad idea. I think they are magnets for crazy people with guns. The Aurora shooter could have gone to seven different theaters within a 20-minute drive of his house — he went to the only one that had a “no gun” policy. In Colorado, 3 percent of people have concealed carry licenses, yet in the theater of 200 people nobody had a gun because the law-abiding people didn’t bring their guns but the one wacko criminal did bring his. Under normal circumstances, chances are there would have been six people to shoot down the wacko, but because of a “gun free zone” there were zero people to shoot down the wacko.

    But even with this, I am not in favor of telling private theater owners that they can’t make their theaters a “gun free zone” if they want to. People should have the right to do what they want with their private property. Personally, I will avoid “gun free” theaters, just like I would avoid sending my kids to a private house with a big sign in front saying “this is a gun free house.” Such a sign would be a magnet for criminals.

    We need to stop thinking that new laws will make our lives better. There have been very strict laws against drugs for decades now, yet drugs are everywhere. New laws will do absolutely nothing to get rid of dangerous guns, and in fact they are likely to affect the law-abiding while making it much easier for the bad guys to overpower people with ever-more powerful weapons.

    I am in favor of the restrictions on automatic weapons because the horse is not already out of the barn on automatic weapons, meaning they are still relatively rare. If there were as many automatic weapons as there are semi-automatics (literally tens of millions of there out there) I would oppose automatic weapon restrictions because they would do no good.

    So, there are no easy solutions. Don’t rely on the arm of flesh to save you. Rely on the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost, the scriptures and modern-day prophets. Be kind and charitable to your fellow man. And take solace in the fact that you are statistically safer than you where 20 years ago and even last year. That is all I have to offer.

  60. Three things that the NRA could have done today to avoid looking like a horse’s ass in today’s press conference.

    If guns don’t kill people, people kill people…
    1) An unequivocal statement of shared sorrow and regret for the Newtown shootings without a call for more guns as the solution to the problem.
    2) Make a donation in the name of the NRA to improve the quality of mental health care in this country.
    3) Since people are the problem, then wholeheartedly support universal background checks for all gun purchases and close the “gun show” loophole that accounts for 40% of all gun sales.

  61. GeoffB, if you avoid gun free zones, do you avoid going to church? (tongue firmly in cheek, as I know that Utah law allows concealed carry at churches, which I believe Washington state does not.)

  62. Concealed carry is quite common in Colorado where I live, and I am pretty sure there are plenty of people in my ward who have guns either in their coat pockets or in their briefcases at Church. I feel very safe knowing that. You may or may not know that there was a church shooting in Colorado Springs a few years back in which a woman with a gun shot the wacko before he was able to kill the dozens he intended to kill. In Wyoming, which is only an hour drive from where I live, people openly carry guns to church all the time.

  63. chris, your argument could very easily be used to say: I trust and love my fellow human enough that I don’t need to defend myself with firearms. It only changes when you start with the assumption that guns are an good and inescapable part of our world.

  64. Geoff, I appreciate your response – even though I disagree with most it. And what’s the libertarian solution to the mentally insane? Can we not do *something* to prevent legit crazy people from gaining access to firearms?

    I *do* appreciate the safety me and my family enjoy today. I don’t attribute necessarily it to an increase in guns – unless I can see data that is more conclusive.

  65. CTJ, I don’t know what the libertarian solution is to the mentally insane. I don’t have a problem with background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases, except that history has shown us that when you put government officials in charge of things we eventually live to regret it. Could the state eventually decide that anybody with incorrect politics (either on the right or the left) is mentally ill and therefore cannot buy a gun to defend themselves? Very likely. Should there be more gun restrictions for sales at gun shows and for over-the-internet sales? I doubt it would work. Such sales would simply take place in the black market, and one thing we have learned about the drug war is that if you make things legal you can tax them and regulate them. So, as I say, laws will not make us safer.

    I don’t think more guns are guaranteed to make us safer, but I would rather have guns in my home than not.

    One other thing to mention for the feminists out there: the former president of the NRA is a Stanford grad who gave a fascinating interview to the Stanford alumni magazine (which I read). She was a typical anti-gun liberal living in Southern California until she was alone in her apartment at night and there was a drunk guy banging on her door. He then tried to break down her door. She called the cops and of course they took a half-hour to get there. Eventually the guy went away after she screamed at him, but the thought crossed her mind that this guy could have raped and killed her *and there was nothing she could do about it.* The next day she went out and got a gun. Eventually, she became a big proponent of gun rights *because guns are the great equalizer that make any woman just as strong and powerful as a man.* Something to ponder when you start wanting to take guns away from people.

  66. For those who think it’s okay to have a gun in church:

    Handbook 21.2.4
    Firearms

    Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. The carrying of lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, within their walls is inappropriate except as required by officers of the law.

    So basically, if you’re carrying a gun into an LDS meetinghouse, and you’re not required to have the gun with you as an officer of the law, you’re violating church policy.

    Just thought you all should know. :)

  67. “So basically, if you’re carrying a gun into an LDS meetinghouse, and you’re not required to have the gun with you as an officer of the law, you’re violating church policy.”

    Concealed carry guns are very small and unobtrusive these days……what people don’t know can’t hurt them. :)

  68. In effect, the Church appears to have a don’t ask don’t tell policy on guns, at least in the western US.

  69. Geoff B., why do you say that? The Handbook doesn’t equivocate. If there’s winking and nodding going on regarding guns in meeting houses, it’s clearly in direct violation of the Handbook.

  70. Geoff B., are you saying that because the church doesn’t ask individual members of the church if they conceal carry to church, that the church effectively has a Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy?

    When I think of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I think of incidents that are suspicious, but no one cares enough to confront those carrying out those incidents because it’s a stupid rule anyways. Is that what you’re getting at?

  71. If the Church really cared to make meetinghouses “gun free zones”, then they would post a sign on the door deeming it “gun free”, which schools, some shopping malls, and some movie theaters currently do.

    The manual says a lot of things. It also has a section that says the Church “highly discourages” [read: don't do it!] surrogate pregnancies, but that didn’t stop my brother-in-law and his wife from doing it for another couple. There were no repercussions to them at all from flouting the manual.

  72. CTJ – my “ps” address the fact that it is very easy to turn around my argument. But the fact remains, an inert gun is an inert gun. Therefore, it’s only once the gun is in someone elses hands that others fear it. There is in inherent distrust, no matter how you spin it.

    Now, does this mean I distrust or lack faith in others? Generally, no, specifically, I can’t be sure, so it’s better safe than sorry. No one is hurt by me carrying safely and responsibly.

    The fact would remain, that I trust you to carry a firearm. Apparently, you would not trust me, or at least you would not allow me to do so because you distrust some unknown others and would lump me in with them out of “fairness” or something.

    Your distrust starts with the object in question, (guns) and would extend to those who carry it. I only want to provide some form of adequate defense in the case that someone ends up not being worthy of the trust I extend to them.

  73. BTW – I just read a news summary of the NRA suggestion, and before the proposal could be laid out this quote was offered (so much for unbiased press), “If anything it would be less safe for kids. You would be putting them in the midst of potentially more gunfire.”

    It is astounding to me that this person is apparently asserting Sandy Hook would have been less safe if someone was there to shoot back. It’s a wonder the Police even bother to show up or carry guns at all…

  74. “I just read a news summary of the NRA suggestion, and before the proposal could be laid out this quote was offered (so much for unbiased press), “If anything it would be less safe for kids. You would be putting them in the midst of potentially more gunfire.”

    — For the life of me, I don’t understand what is so hard for these preening elites to understand. If anyone at the school had a firearm, he/she would at the very least been able to stop the bloodbath. We’ve seen it before that as soon as the killer sees someone with a gun, it collapses their fantasy and they off themselves.

    This irrational animus towards metal and plastic has got to stop. Why they think it’s morally repugnant to arm a teacher or principal but morally acceptable to keep schools “gun free”, and hence shooter magnetized, is totally beyond me.

  75. As a Utah CCW permit holder, I want to address and clarify the situation with respect to guns in church.

    In Utah, my permit allows me to carry a concealed handgun, loaded or unloaded, into any public or private place. Private “gun-free zones” (like the Trolley Square mall) do not have the force of law; if I am discovered to be carrying in one, the most the owner can do is compel me leave the premises under trespass law.

    My CCW permit does not allow me to carry in a limited number of places; these are federal buildings and facilities (including airports), law-enforcement facilities (courthouses, police stations, prisons, mental health facilities), and in churches that make an annual declaration as being exempt from CCW carrying.

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is on the exemption list. This applies to “places of worship,” which I interpret to mean meetinghouses and temples, not all church facilities (I’ve carried at Deseret Industries, for example).

  76. preening elites

    Michael Towns, you would do a great service to productive dialogue by eliminating the conservative fantasy of who supports gun laws in this country. Its not just your latte’ drinking, Prius driving, indoctrinating liberal college professor neighbor.

    The fact is – Obama had a decidedly *pro-gun* record in his first term (a fact that both liberals and conservatives like to ignore). We’re actually so far to the right in terms of gun control in this country, that some small steps could be taken to save some lives – and we’d still be firmly planted as a 2nd amendment supporting government. But, as with anything else in the Obama era, if its not far-right, it amounts to shredding the Constitution.

  77. “Michael Towns, you would do a great service to productive dialogue by eliminating the conservative fantasy of who supports gun laws in this country. Its not just your latte’ drinking, Prius driving, indoctrinating liberal college professor neighbor. ”

    It isn’t my role to go about eliminating conservative fantasies. It is my role to express my opinions, whether you personally care for them or not. :)

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