Speaking during the final segment of his weekly show, Bill Maher discussed gun culture, the recent actions of the Open Carry movement and their consequences, coining a new term in the process:
BARRY, Ill. — The byline of Dick Metcalf, one of the country’s pre-eminent gun journalists, has gone missing. It has been removed from Guns & Ammo magazine, where his widely-read column once ran on the back page. He no longer stars on a popular television show about firearms. Gun companies have stopped flying him around the world and sending him the latest weapons to review.
Mr. Metcalf was fired after a nuanced column in Guns & Ammo.
In late October, Mr. Metcalf wrote a column that the magazine titled “Let’s Talk Limits,” which debated gun laws. “The fact is,” wrote Mr. Metcalf, who has taught history at Cornell and Yale, “all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be.”
The backlash was swift, and fierce. Readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions. Death threats poured in by email. His television program was pulled from the air.
Just days after the column appeared, Mr. Metcalf said, his editor called to tell him that two major gun manufacturers had said “in no uncertain terms” that they could no longer do business with InterMedia Outdoors, the company that publishes Guns & Ammo and co-produces his TV show, if he continued to work there. He was let go immediately.
It’s an interesting read. I had to laugh, albeit a sad laugh, at the suggestion by the editors that they aren’t under the thumbs of the manufacturers. Gun folks - when’s the last time you saw a bad review of even the worst thing on the market? Yep.
But the bigger question is: Where are the Duck Dynasty “Freedom of speech” supporters for Dick Metcalf? Presumably the same place they were for the Dixie Chicks.
This lack of an ability to discuss the issue in other than the same religious extremist terms that also hinders the abortion debate is why we can not make progress any more than political progress was made in 1858 or so.
This is where I double down as a devout self defense rights advocate. I hope to inform & persuade more than offend.
Mother Jones-Charts: Challenging the Myth That Guns Stop Crime —By Josh Harkinson| Fri Apr. 19, 2013 3:00 AM PDT
How many people actually used guns in self defense? Well first, we have to agree who is a decent source. Lott ain’t it. Not HCI or the NRA. How about Mother Jones? That publication did a piece designed to debunk the over the top pro gun talking point stats. Just to be clear, I see the article correctly totally debunks pro gun advocates NRA false numbers.
It contains some interesting tidbits in the charts though. First I think it throws out the “need” argument about gun ownership. How does it do that? While it of course shows the huge ratio between gun ownership and use in defense, it also makes a very telling admission or two. To me that is a huge red herring anyway. Must I establish my “need” to use any portion of the Bill Of Rights? No I do not. Not legally, not even in our culture. Thanks to criminal use of guns, the Second Amendment is treated like an unwanted stepchild by civil rights advocacy groups and many individuals. It seems to be the right that most people oppose among them all. Imagine for a brief second if you had to register every printer or blog to authorities. Right. Not gonna happen. And yet we have seen hate speech cost lives.
Personally I am encouraged by the numbers shown at Mother Jones. Defensive gun use should be a low number. Why wish for more? It’s about our own choices. Our own resources. Our own circumstances. Can we train well and store the gun right? Do we have the reflexes and eyesight required? Is a shooting range close enough to practice in? If you lack those things do not buy a gun. If you do not want a gun because you don’t like them, do not buy a gun. Simple really.
Defense is just one reason to have a gun. Sports, hunting and target shooting are all available to us just because we might want to. To call those people “gun fetishists” is an insult designed to smear the reputations of gun buyers.
The annual average of defensive gun use is well over 67,000 yes sixty seven thousand times a year. Over a third of a million people used guns in a defensive way from 2007 to 2011.
So I assert the decision to buy a gun is a personal choice. It might be a recreational or defensive intent or both. It’s wrong for gun owners to look down on people that choose not to have or that oppose guns in some reasonable fashion. But that coin has two sides. Quite often, we see people who choose not to have guns looking down at us gun owners over our choices. “Gun fetish”. “Gun nut”. Add a southern address and the snark really comes out. For some even law abiding and reasonable gun owners really get the microscope. Some express profound worry about us moderate gun owners every time we differ even a little on where to draw the regulatory line or set a sentence for gun crimes. That too is just wrong. A modicum of respect for personal choices unlike our own is what makes a diverse culture work. It also facilitates reasonable changes in gun laws like universal registration.
This Page was inspired by the discussion/debate that can be found at another recent Page.
A man used a gun to save a child. Unfortunately the guns were not registered in DC. He could have been jailed for that alone. IMO- In a more rural area less insanely anti gun he would be hailed as a hero and quietly told to register the guns or else. Perhaps they would be more strict. What would not happen is making the perfect (every gun registered etc & a flawless defensive use) the enemy of the good.
The NRA takes a page from the Republican leadership — use highly slanted push polls push polls to get the answers you wanted before you came up with the questions.
The National Rifle Association, which thwarted new background check legislation in Congress, recently mailed a “survey” to gun owners with 12 questions related to gun rights, gun laws, and politics. I use scare quotes above because this NRA document (read it here) is a deeply misleading push poll, not an actual survey—and it lies about President Barack Obama’s positions on gun control.
The survey, provided to Mother Jones by a reader, claims that “President Obama has supported a national gun registration system allowing federal government officials to keep track of all your firearm purchases.” This is an all-too-common NRA talking point. NRA honcho Wayne LaPierre echoed it in January, saying that Obama “wants to put every private, personal transaction under the thumb of the federal government, and he wants to keep all those names in a massive federal registry.”
That’s not true.
Federal law has long banned a national gun registry. And the recent gun control bill that died in Congress, which was cosponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (d-w.va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.) and fully supported by Obama, did not create a national gun registry. In fact, the bill expressly prohibited such a registry. Obama emphasized this point repeatedly, and award-winning mainstream media fact-checkers backed him up.
States with more gun laws have fewer gun-related deaths, according to a new study released Wednesday by Boston Children’s Hospital.
The leader investigator behind the research hopes the findings will drive legislators to pass gun reform across the country and increase federal funding to research on gun laws and violence. However, at least one critic argues that the study fails to take into account several important factors such as the types of laws, enforcement of laws, and gun ownership rates in states.
“Our research gives clear evidence that laws have a role in preventing firearms deaths,” said Eric Fleegler, the study’s lead investigator and a pediatric emergency doctor at Boston Children’s Hospital. “Legislators should take that into consideration.”
Fleegler and researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health studied information from all 50 states between 2007 to 2010, analyzing all firearm-related deaths reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and data on firearm laws compiled by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
States with the most laws had a mortality rate 42% lower than those states with the fewest laws, they found. The strong law states’ firearm-related homicide rate was also 40% lower and their firearm-related suicide rate was 37% lower.
California’s newly proposed gun laws would:
- Ban the possession of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds
- Prevent the future sale, purchase, manufacture, importation, or transfer of any firearms that can accept detachable magazines
- Close the "bullet button" loophole by banning tools that allow the quick changing of gun magazines
- Regulate ammunition sales like the state regulates gun sales. Ammunition dealers would need to be licensed and anyone buying from them would need to obtain a permit and complete a background check.
- Create a 5-cent tax on each bullet purchased, for the purpose of funding crime prevention
- Prevent felons and other adults barred from gun ownership from living in a house that contains any guns
- Prohibit the loaning or sale of a firearm between people who know each other personally
- Take steps to phase out legal possession of assault weapons that were purchased before California outlawed their sale
- Require all firearms owners to take an hours-long gun safety course every year, similar to what the state now requires for obtaining a concealed weapon permit
- Require gun owners to purchase insurance to cover damage they may inflict
- Require CalPERS and CalSTRS, two of the nation's largest pension funds, to divest from companies that make, sell, or market firearms or ammunition
California has already enacted some of the nation’s strictest gun control laws, partly due to its experience with a Sandy-Hook-style massacre: In 1989, a mentally unstable ex-con opened fire with an AK-47-style assault rifle on an elementary school playground in Stockton, killing five schoolchildren and wounding 28 others. The shooting contributed to the passage that year of California’s assault weapons ban.
It would seem that the worm has turned:
On the issue of assault weapons, 58 percent of respondents said they supported a ban while 39 percent opposed one.
A full 88 percent of respondents favored requiring background checks at gun shows, a current loophole that allows people to buy guns without a check, while just 11 percent were against the idea. Respondents also favored background checks for buying fun ammunition 76 percent to 22 percent.
Overall, 52 percent said the Newtown shootings made them more supportive of gun laws while just 5 percent said they were now less likely to support new laws. Fifty-five percent said they would support a law that put an armed guard in every school, however.
The poll showed 55 percent support an assault weapons ban, while 54 percent favor a prohibition on high-capacity clips. Support is even wider for other proposals, such as background checks for private and gun show sales (85 percent), a federal database to track gun sales (67 percent) and a ban on semi-automatic weapons (58 percent).
But Pew also showed strong support for a proposal from the National Rifle Association that drew the ire of many gun control advocates. According to Monday’s poll, 64 percent of Americans support putting armed officers in schools — a sharp contrast to the findings of a survey last week from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling.
Meanwhile, Harry Reid pretty much spells out what most people already know, namely that the House Republicans are ready to kill any bill, no matter public support for it:
The Democratically-controlled U.S. Senate will not be a free-for-all of new gun regulations following the shooting at Sandy Hook, according to Majority Leader Harry Reid. Instead, Senators will focus on passing legislation that can move through the Republican-controlled House, Reid said.
That could spell doom for an assault weapons ban. Speaking on Nevada Week In Review, a news show on the PBS affiliate in Las Vegas, Reid said there’s no real chance of a new ban passing the House.
‘Is it something that can pass the Senate? Maybe. Is it something that can pass the House? I doubt it,’ he said in video of the program provided to TPM by Vegas PBS. ‘So I think there are things that we know we can do.’
Sen. Reid, if you’re going to focus only on legislation that can pass the House, then you might as well go on vacation for the next two years.
The United States stands truly alone in the developed world for its lax gun laws, which have contributed to Americans owning guns at a far higher rate than anyone else. The National Rifle Association, in its pushback against calls for gun restrictions after the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting, has portrayed things somewhat differently. NRA chief Wayne LaPierre has drawn comparisons to Israel, saying that the U.S. should follow Israel’s example of loose gun laws and of responding to mass shooting by posting armed guards at schools.
LaPierre echoes a number of commentators who oppose gun restrictions and cite Israel as an ideal example. The argument goes like this: Israel has lots of guns and lower rates of gun violence, so clearly the problem with America is not our guns but something else.
The only problem is that Israel actually has quite strong gun restrictions and very low gun ownership rates, some of the lowest in the developed world. This confusion has gotten so bad that even Israeli government officials are now chiming in to knock back the claims, though the NRA is seen as a close ally of the U.S. Republican party, which positions itself as strongly backing Israel.
LaPierre appeared to take his Israel-model advocacy a step too far when he declared on Meet the Press this weekend, “Israel had a whole lot of school shootings, until they did one thing. They said we’re going to stop it and they put armed security in every school and they have not had a problem since then.”
There’s a triple entendre in this headline: guns recoil, people pull away from horrors, and both gun lobbies and snakes regroup and recoil when threatened. Militia groups with their Gadsden flags are most certainly in a defensive frame of mind after the Newtown massacre.
The U.S. gun industry faced a new set of challenges to its financial and political power Tuesday as more of its Washington allies called for gun control and a major investor sought to get out of the firearms business entirely.
In Washington, a trio of new senators — all elected with National Rifle Association backing — said they were willing to discuss tightening gun laws. The White House gave a stronger signal of President Obama’s support for reinstating a ban on assault weapons.
A new law, if it should come, is still far off. In the business world, however, there was action Tuesday. Cerberus Capital Management, a huge investor in the gun industry, said it would sell its marquee gun company. Also, Dick’s Sporting Goods promised to stop selling “modern sporting rifles,” at least temporarily.
All of that would have seemed impossible a week ago, before a man with a semiautomatic rifle killed 20 students and six adults Friday at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
Suddenly, the debate over guns took on more ferocity. Now, even some allies of the gun industry say that weapons like those of the Connecticut shooter were looking a little less necessary.
“I don’t need a 25-round clip for effective home defense, and I sure don’t need one for hunting,” Rep. Martin Heinrich (D), a newly elected senator from New Mexico who had “A” ratings from the NRA, told a local newspaper. “That’s just too much killing power. It defies common sense.”
The NRA, which had been silent since the tragedy, released a statement Tuesday saying it had refrained from commenting out of respect for the Newtown families but is “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again.” The organization said it will hold a news conference Friday in Washington.
I HESITATE to offer thoughts about the school shooting in Connecticut that has seen 20 children and seven adults murdered and the gunman also dead. Your correspondent has been in the rural Midwest researching a column and heard the news on the car radio. Along with a sense of gloom, I found I mostly wanted to see my own, elementary-school-age children back home in Washington, DC, and had little desire to listen to pundits of any stripe: hence my reluctance to weigh in now.
To be fair, on NPR, the liberal columnist E.J. Dionne had sensible things to say about President Barack Obama’s statement on the killings, and how it was probably significant when the president seemed to suggest that he was minded to take action on gun control, and never mind the politics. On the same show the moderate conservative columnist, David Brooks, expressed sensible caution about assuming that stricter gun controls could have stopped this particular shooting.
Switching to red-blooded conservative talk radio, I found two hosts offering a “move along, nothing to see here” defence of the status quo. One suggested that listeners should not torment themselves trying to understand “craziness”, though it would, the pair agreed, be understandable if some parents were tempted to remove their children from public education and homeschool them.
To that debate, all I can offer is the perspective of someone who has lived and worked in different corners of the world, with different gun laws.
Here is my small thought. It is quite possible, perhaps probable, that stricter gun laws of the sort that Mr Obama may or may not be planning, would not have stopped the horrible killings of this morning. But that is a separate question from whether it is a good idea to allow private individuals to own guns. And that, really, is what I think I understand by gun control. Once you have guns in circulation, in significant numbers, I suspect that specific controls on things like automatic weapons or large magazines can have only marginal effects. Once lots of other people have guns, it becomes rational for you to want your own too.