Before you read into this too far, I’d like to offer you an out. This isn’t a post about video games, or the gaming industry. It isn’t about nerd culture or anything related to it. I just don’t have any other way to get this out, and it’s weighing on my soul. I’ll understand if you don’t want to read on, so please don’t feel bad if you aren’t interested.

If you feel you can’t read this without violating Falcon Game Reviews’ Rules & Regs, I encourage you to refrain from commenting or exiting this page entirely.
Thank you


A while back, I had intended to write another blog post to make Video Game Tactical into a series, regarding wounds in video games and how they would compare to real life battlefield situations. I never posted it, and I likely never will, because before I had a chance to finish writing it, someone decided to murder over 50 people, and injure almost 600 more. It felt tone-deaf and insensitive, as even though I know it would’ve been interesting to some, it didn’t feel right to talk about it.

At this point, I’m just tired of seeing reports of shootings in the news. Seeing my Twitter feed blown up with words from impassioned individuals calling for action, or in some cases, inaction. I’m not tired because I don’t care, or because I don’t think there’s a problem. I’m tired because my heart hurts from seeing it constantly. People dying senselessly at the hands of those that possess the means to take lives en masse, indiscriminately. The fact of the matter is that The United States needs to do something about this problem; not just politicians, but everyone.

A Complicated Issue

Just like with every major issue we’ve ever faced, this isn’t a simple problem to fix. Mass shootings, as they’re often referred to, aren’t just the product of a guy with a gun. It sure would be nice, but that just isn’t the case. I’d surmise that they’re a result of something deeper that’s wrong with our society, and I’ve never seen it reflected more than in the response to these horrific incidents.

Now, I’m not an expert on the subject, but I know what I’ve observed. I know that each new attack tends to have a pattern: a man with an arsenal of weapons, who shouldn’t have access to them, kills without reason.

The perpetrators – these monsters – seem almost normal when you just see their name; until you look at what they’ve done. Devin Patrick Kelley, Micah Johnson, Adam Lanza, James Holmes, Stephen Paddock, and more. They sound like folks you might have known yourself, because that’s what they were to others. What they have in common is that they all were troubled, yet somehow still found a way to not only gain access to weapons capable of dismantling the lives of the unsuspecting, but also driving fear into the hearts of those across the nation. We learn of these shooters’ troubles long after they’ve carried out their terrifying plans.

Stephen Paddock likely had undiagnosed bipolar disorder, and a prescription for anxiety medication, which he often refused to take. He had a habit of gambling that made him a regular at casinos in Las Vegas, which afforded him complimentary accommodations, but he apparently had been having financial trouble leading up to his plan to murder as many people as possible. He fired several hundred rounds from a casino high-rise into a crowded, open-air concert nearby. His attack only ended when he shot himself in the room he had barricaded himself in.

James Holmes seemed like an odd, yet somewhat normal guy. He was a graduate student majoring in neuroscience. Like Stephen Paddock, he too seemed to be struggling with mental health issues. His behavior frightened his own psychiatrist to the point which she sought to have him involuntarily committed, yet couldn’t because there wasn’t ample enough reason to do so. James Holmes eventually purchased enough ammunition and equipment to embolden him to enter a movie theater to open fire into the crowd.

Adam Lanza was a quiet, yet intelligent young man, though his online activities should’ve raised concerns long before he showed up at Sandy Hook Elementary. He had been the focus of an FBI investigation for illegally accessing government computers online, and had a history of “researching” other mass shooters, often claiming he admired them. He suffered from depression, which compelled him to stay in his room sleeping for extended periods of time. Eventually, his obsessions and mental health issues got the better of him, leading him to kill his mother with her own firearms and head to Sandy Hook Elementary, where he killed dozens of innocent women and children.

Micah Johnson was a seemingly normal youth, with an interest in the military and church activities. He didn’t stand out, but he found himself involved in JROTC, and eventually joined the Army. He’d later receive an honorable discharge following a sexual harassment incident that was bad enough to result in the victim seeking a protective order against him. He returned from Afghanistan to Texas, where he resumed a rather nondescript life, aside from barely hiding his support for radical anti-police groups. That is, until he decided to take action against the Dallas Police Department during a protest, killing five officers and wounding several other civilians and officers with a rifle.

Like Micah Johnson, Devin Patrick Kelley too was a US military member, who found himself serving a prison sentence for domestic violence charges for attacking his wife and child. He would later be charged with animal cruelty for chasing down a dog and repeatedly punching it, before slamming it on the ground and dragging it off. His record should have prevented him from being able to purchase a firearm, as domestic violence convictions and dishonorable discharges normally are criteria for background check rejections. However, clerical errors on the US Air Force and local Sheriff’s behalf allowed him to slip through the cracks so he could purchase a Ruger semi-automatic rifle. That Ruger was the weapon he used to murder over two dozen innocents in a small town church, one of which was a pregnant woman.

These are just a few examples of the types of people that carry out these heinous crimes. Some mentally ill, some outright criminals, some are both; none of whom should be able to obtain a firearm of any kind, whether by purchasing themselves or using one they’ve stolen. Sadly, our current system d

oesn’t give authorities the tools to bar these types of people from possessing firearms.

No Simple Fix

I know it’s pleasant to think that stopping these crimes from happening is a simple task, but it isn’t as easy as changing laws, enacting bans, or pouring money into programs for those with mental health issues. Laws require enforcement and we have a stigma in The United States against the mentally ill.

Sure, banning all firearms from civilian ownership would stop most from owning firearms at all, and would make it impossible for many attacks to have been carried out, but the opposite would be true in other cases. In the Sutherland Springs church shooting, Devin Patrick Kelley wouldn’t have been stopped until police had arrived in the small, Texas town. What stopped his attack from being carried out in full was another firearm owner nearby who began shooting at Kelley with his own weapon in response. A ban on “assault weapons” (I really despise that term; all weapons can be used for assault) would’ve also meant folks like the Oklahoma family would’ve been unarmed when a group of three, armed home invaders broke into their home to rob it, in the middle of the day, while they were home.

That doesn’t mean that gun ownership is entirely validated – they’re just anecdotes after all – but it does mean that the issue isn’t nearly as black-and-white as people want to make it out to be. I won’t make the claim that more guns means more security, or that everyone should own a gun, just that banning law-abiding citizens from owning weapons legally would not be a panacea for gun violence. I’d find it vastly more terrifying to see more armed people roaming the streets, considering that most people lack even a basic understanding of firearm safety, but I enjoy the modicum of solace I have from knowing that I have access to a firearm if I do need it.

Of course, the option exists to expand the list of exceptions for legal firearm ownership to exclude those with mental health issues, but where would the line be drawn? Do you ban anyone with depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorders? A large portion of mass shooters exhibit symptoms of these ailments after all. That would mean that even those with no inclination to carry out an attack, or harm anyone at all for that matter, would be unable to ever own a firearm though, setting a precedent to curtailing the basic civil rights of otherwise normal people.

You could decide to ban all guns, altogether instead, but prohibition has always proven to be an issue. Heroin and marijuana use is illegal in Federal law, yet it’s still enough of a problem on a national level that heroin is killing more and more people every year, and many states are just making marijuana legal in order to decriminalize something that a large section of the US population uses anyway. Alcohol prohibition never worked. Instead, it created a black market for alcohol and lined the pockets of criminals with the money of folks that were never really criminals in the first place.

Regardless, if you were able to repeal the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution and ban all firearms from civilian use, how would any agency go about confiscating over an estimated 300 million firearms? Buy-backs? By force? The truth is that all a ban would do would be to turn roughly 40% of Americans into criminals by default. Furthermore, based on the sheer number of firearms legally owned in The United States (the US allegedly owns about 45% of the entire world’s civilian-owned firearms), it would seem like the rates of firearm-related homicides would be far higher than they actually are.
The truth is that there isn’t a quick or easy fix to the issue of gun violence or mass shootings in The United States. Tackling this problem will require more than just impassioned pleas to ban guns. Additionally, The United States also isn’t Australia, or The United Kingdom, or any other country which has banned or severely restricted civilian ownership of firearms. What works there, may not work here at all. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t do something about the problem, just that the world doesn’t work like a cookie cutter. We need a tailored solution.

I won’t get into the debate of whether or not Americans should be able to own firearms, as that’s a completely different issue altogether, which has view that vary based on personal opinion.

A Message To Gun-Control Advocates

I own firearms, and I’m glad I do. I’m glad that I have an effective means to protect myself and my wife if the need arises. I plan on owning more in the future.
That said, I don’t think that everyone should be able to own one. I agree that there needs to be more stringent requirements in place to prevent those that shouldn’t own guns, from owning them. In fact, most gun owners seem to agree that firearm ownership laws need to be stricter. I don’t believe that Americans should be able to buy automatic weapons. I don’t believe that anyone should be able to own a gun. I don’t believe the “good guy with a gun” fallacy.

However, I want to say that the vast majority of gun owners are reasonable folks that legitimately believe they should have the right to own a firearm, and want to ensure that firearms are handled responsibly. Real “gun nuts” are rare, and the NRA’s lobbyist stances aren’t indicative of how most owners feel.

With that in mind, I want to offer some advice. Please be careful with the statistics you cite. The term “mass shooting” is not a well-defined one. Its use conjures the thought of horrific attacks like the ones in Las Vegas, Nevada and Aurora, Colorado, but the statistics aren’t clear on how many mass shootings have occurred. Most statistics about mass shootings cite any attack with a firearm that injures or kills four or more individuals. The problem here is that when you throw around the term “mass shooting”, then claim a number that includes targeted violence, it muddies the waters.

For instance, the majority of the 30 or so “mass shootings” that have occurred in 2018 so far have included any and all shootings involving four or more victims. Similarly, of the 18 school shootings that have occurred this year, only one has been confirmed to be an indiscriminate, mass shooting (using the colloquial understanding of the term).
One shooting is too many. One death by murder is too much. However, when you use misleading information, it dilutes the point you’re attempting to make. Please, do not use misleading information; it only emboldens those that disagree with you.

A Message To Gun Owners

As someone that owns multiple firearms and supports the rights of Americans to do the same, I understand the frustration of being labelled negatively, and being the target of criticism for exercising your rights. It’s difficult in this day and age to be open about expressing your support for the 2nd Amendment without being written off as a callous monster.

However, before you descend into arguing with people online about this issue, I want to impress upon you two things.

First, it’s never too early to talk about change to existing laws. The best time to talk about things like gun legislation, in my opinion, is when it’s fresh in everyone’s minds. We all know how America and modern society works. If you put it off, it fades from the public’s consciousness. Just look at the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, or our space programs. Once the American public stops caring, it becomes impossible to drum up motivation to do anything. Let’s talk about it now, because if I’m going to be completely honest, the only reason people keep saying we shouldn’t talk about firearm legislation this early, is because they don’t want to talk about it at all.

Second, I want you to remember something extremely important:

Before you dismiss a mass shooting as an isolated incident, or argue with a victim or someone who has lost a loved one, remember that the victims are real people. The concert attendees in Las Vegas who were caught in the crosshairs of the subhuman garbage, and the teachers and kids at Sandy Hook Elementary all lived very real lives, just like you and your family are right now. Except, instead of going about their lives like you are, going to work and seeing your loved ones every day, they’re gone. Some children, barely out of diapers, with entire lives ahead of them. Children that played Legos with their parents, parents that were out for a good time, folks just putting in their time at work…

I can’t tell you how heartbroken I would be if I lost Jennifer, especially in that manner. It’s thoughts like those which keep me up at night sometimes, because I genuinely wouldn’t want to go on living without her. To think that someone could be so heartless and cruel that they’d want to take one of the only things that ever mattered to me, away; my life with Jennifer over… I can’t bear the thought. Remember that those that lost someone to that senseless violence are a person, just like you are, and treat them with compassion.

So, What Now?

Just like with every other event like this, America needs to grieve and collect itself, because if we keep going like this, we’re going to keep seeing things like this happen. Change needs to occur, but we can’t get the result we want by jumping down each other’s throats. There needs to be a collective understanding that any solution is realistically not going to be perfect. Likewise, it will require sacrifice.

What we need to do is to make folks that shouldn’t have firearms have a much harder time getting a hold of them. We need stricter, mandatory background checks. Hell, institute some waiting periods. Require licensing to own some or all firearms. We need to talk about this, because the deaths are getting to be too much to handle. I don’t have the answers, but I don’t think any one person has all the answers here. We can work together for a solution though, and that’s what matters.

If you want to discuss this, I’d love to encourage it. However, I highly recommend you abide by the Rules & Regs, because I will not tolerate violations of the rules on this post. This is a serious topic, and will be treated as such.


Sources:

Broken Arrow Home Invaders

Gun Ownership By %

Gun Ownership By % (Gallup Poll)

Gun Ownership By #

Gun Ownership By # (Gun Control Legislation)

Firearms Statistics Compared to World

School Shootings in 2018 Facts

2018 School Shooting Locations

All “Mass Shootings”

Inconsistencies In “Mass Shooting” Definition

Stephen Paddock (Las Vegas Concert):

Background

Depositions

James Holmes (Aurora Movie Theater):

Background

Adam Lanza (Sandy Hook Elementary):

Background

Micah Johnson (Dallas Police Targeted):

Background

Background (Military)

Devin Patrick Kelley (Sutherland Springs Church):

Background

Assault Case Botched

Stopped By Gun Owner

Victims:

Parkland Shooting Victims

Las Vegas Shooting Victims

Sandy Hook Shooting Victims

Posted by Shelby "Falcon509" Steiner

I'm just a gamer that enjoys talking about my hobbies. I do a little more than that too. I love cooking, grilling, being outdoors, going target shooting, etc.

25 Comments

  1. Robert Ian Shepard February 18, 2018 at 11:40

    Goodness, partisan politics are making this a difficult issue to talk about, aren’t they? I appreciate that you’re willing to get your voice out there and I think your thoughts reflect what a lot of quiet people are feeling – the extreme left and extreme right responses to gun violence are probably not the answer here.
    I’ll speak from my own experience with the issue – I live in a city where 16 gun homicides were committed by juveniles in 2017. Over 100 homicides occurred in total (though not all of those were gun-related). I work in the justice system, so these statistics are a very relevant part of my day-to-day work. Currently, I am helping another person research programs to try and reduce the gun violence in our community. We’re running into problems, though, the main one being that there just isn’t research out there for this. Most of the scholarly papers I’ve read on the subject are just talking about programs that DON’T work. There are even more programs that communities have tried, but there’s just no research to show whether or not the program has any actual affect on firearm violence. We don’t know how to solve the gun violence problem in America because we barely know anything about the problem itself, let alone a potential solution for it.
    I think if we’re going to make any changes in the States to address these shootings, we’re gonna have to be willing to cross party lines and talk about what the most effective solution is. We’re gonna have to get into these communities where this is happening and find the source of the toxicity. Because just shouting blanket declarations like “everyone needs guns” or “no one needs guns” is clearly not working. But if we as a country can step away from our agendas for a few minutes and get the information we need in order to make an informed decision, there’s a chance we’ll find the right answer. Those are my thoughts on it, anyway.

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. I’m sorry that your city is suffering from that level of violence. Like I said, even one death is too many. I definitely agree with you that what we’re dealing with needs to be explored and researched. It’s a shame that we can’t find good information on this issue, and that it’s a societal issue as much as an access issue.

      Hopefully, this latest shooting is the catalyst that America needs to start talking about gun violence in a manner that actually results in solutions instead of partisan screaming matches.

      Liked by 1 person

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  2. As one who spent hours pouring through Facebook looking to make sure none of my friends were impacted by the shooting in Parkland, I agree with most of what you say. This is the second time, as a resident of Florida, I have had to do this, the first being the Pulse shooting in Orlando. There is nothing like that fear that your friend or one of their children will end up as a picture of a victim on a social media site.

    I went through a similar thing several years ago when my undergraduate college was a victim of a mass shooting, in their geology department, the same department I attended years before. I emailed the head of the department who was one of my professors and we chatted a bit about the impact. My niece, who was a student there at the time, was emotionally traumatized and spent some time visiting us here. I will never forget that young woman’s face, the tears that came so easily and her pain and fear. I have children preparing for college. I do not want them to go. I am afraid. Parents should not be afraid to send their kids to school or college. We should not have to feel that spark of panic whenever were hear about a school shooting. Our kids should be able to be safe.

    I agree that not all gun owners are bad gun owners. I grew up in the Midwest and my uncles were hunters. I never saw them abuse their guns and they never left them where me or my cousins could get access to them. But…I also discovered, after sending my then young daughter to play with a friend at their house, that his mother had a gun hidden in her underwear drawer. My daughter was not allowed to go back. Not because of the gun, but because when I talked to the mother, she did not at all understand my fear. She assured me her son would never touch the gun. Sorry..nope.

    Both sides need to stop being defensive and talk to each other. We can find a way to allow responsible gun ownership while making it harder for those who should not have guns to get guns. In my state, Florida, I can walk into a gun store and have a gun in 15 minutes. That is not a good thing. We also need to start enforcing rules that keep guns away from our kids.

    Thank you for posting this, btw. I was very surprised to see it. As an indie game developer, I usually look at your site often, when I get the emails in my box. I did not expect this. So…I hope neither you or I get nasty messages due to this. We can work together and I hope it starts soon. Yes, it is best to address this while the shock of the last shooting is fresh in our minds. Thank you for posting pictures of the victims of Parkland.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. I can’t even imagine what it must feel like to have that worry. I can sympathize, but I’ve never been through it myself.

      As for how you handled the issue with the mother of your daughter’s friend, I can’t say I blame you. It’s that lack of understanding, or the complete lack of attempt to understand the concerns of others, that makes it so much more difficult to have a reasonable conversation about issues like violence in America. Too often, we only look at life through our own lens, without considering the viewpoints of others. It sounds like that mother just never considered the possibility that someone awful might happen as a result of her leaving a weapon readily accessible to anyone in the home. I’m sure she trusted her son, but it’s a reckless assumption to make in my opinion. I have loaded weapons in my home, but my wife and I don’t have children, and children don’t visit our home. One thing’s for sure though, that when we do have kids, or children are visiting, my weapons will be locked away. We secure our cabinets to prevent children from getting into household chemicals after all, so why wouldn’t we try to keep them away from guns?

      As for the access issue, I don’t understand the need to have immediate access to weapons after a purchase. Nobody needs a gun right away; if anything, someone that is impatient to get their hands on a gun should be a huge red flag to the seller. What’s wrong with waiting a week for a thorough background check?

      I appreciate you taking the time to read this, as it has been weighing on me greatly for a long time. I know it’s a huge divergence from what I normally write about, but I couldn’t stay silent about it. I needed to say something. As for any potential vitriol we might see, I don’t believe it will be an issue. I don’t have a huge reach on the internet, but if this post gets enough traffic to draw in others that feel offended at what I have to say, I could count that as a victory in a way. At least it can stand as a challenge to others, and hopefully it can help draw even more attention to the matter at hand.

      Those pictures are what really drove the point home for me, and what compelled me to write this. I also linked photos for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting and Sandy Hook shooting as well, because it just goes to show that nobody is safe from this. We’re all potential targets, regardless of our stances on gun ownership. Maybe seeing those faces will help soften the hearts of those that are plugging their ears in the hopes that the conversation will never happen. I can hope.

      Liked by 1 person

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  3. Shelby, one of the reasons we cannot find good information on these issues is because they are being filtered through politics. Really, gun control should not be political. It should be an issue we all share because it keeps us all safe.

    But lobbyists and big donors control the message and as long as huge companies make huge amounts of money off of gun owners (stockpiling of ammunition) they will continue to control the message. Politicians get money from these folks so they are afraid to stir the pot. And both parties do this…as there are people of both sides in both parties. Lots of time, they do lip service to gun control but are not really willing to put their selves on the line by standing up and demanding we look at this. Without a few weeks, Parkland will simply be a statistic. Gun control does not mean abolishing ownership of guns, but the number of people who believe it does is astonishing.

    I do appreciate you opening up on this.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. I really wish it weren’t the case, but I know the companies that manufacture weapons and ammunition have a vested interest in distorting the facts and burying the truth. I just wish that their opposition didn’t do the same. The truth speaks for itself in my opinion, and trying to downplay or inflate statistics only makes things worse.

      Unfortunately, those seeking stricter firearm ownership laws have had their cause hijacked by those who will only settle for a full repeal of the 2nd Amendment, and
      anti-reform lobbyists use that vocal minority to rally their support base, capitalizing on fear and misinformation. We need to stop empowering those that are only content on the fringes.

      Liked by 1 person

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  4. Not sure it helps, but I know very few people who want a total repeal. Even the most liberal of my friends do not want that. Gun control is not repeal. Yes, there are those who want to appeal the 2nd amendment, but I have have never met one. The most liberal folks even followed a liberal candidate who openly supported the 2nd amendment. Again, I think politics has clouded the message. Same is true of those who try to accuse gun owners of not wanting any gun control at all. The truth is somewhere in the middle, but unfortunately, so much division and too much listening only to our own side, divides us even more.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Sadly, it’s much easier to rally people to a cause when you can take a hard stance on something. When you need to actually make judgement calls and employ critical thinking, it’s much harder to explain your point of view.

      Humans want simple answers to complicated issues. Gun control became a bad word because lobbyists needed it to be, so the narrative was perverted to divide people. It’s a sick world we live in.

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  5. It’s so hard to see this sort of thing happening so regularly down south, and as a Canadian, the entire idea of gun ownership is pretty foreign to me. I respect responsible gun owners, but I really feel strongly about the limiting the types of weapons that people are allowed to own. It makes no sense to me that someone would be able to buy anything automatic for personal use. It makes no sense to me that people aren’t screened more carefully before being permitted to own any firearm, and that there isn’t some sort of waiting period implemented before people can take one home. I don’t think a gun ban is the answer at all, but there needs to be some means of stricter vetting before selling guns to people. It’s not just about the NRA, but it’s about all the culture around gun ownership, the pride and the perceived necessity. It makes no sense at all that in this day and age when there is clear evidence of a serious problem underfoot that people, especially leaders of US communities, are opposed to controlling how people buy guns and how/when/where people can use them. To what end?

    I’m so sorry that this is weighing so heavily on your heart, but I feel that same weight as a fellow human being that wishes for the safety and upheld human rights for others. Everyone has the right to feel safe.

    Liked by 4 people

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    1. I know that America’s stance on gun ownership is odd to those outside the US, and I agree that there are types of weapons that nobody should be able to own outside the military. Automatic weapons aren’t legal to own without a specific license, which is only attainable with a background check through the ATF.

      I really think that the answer is to change how we can access firearms. I still can’t understand how a waiting period isn’t mandatory, and to be perfectly honest, a background check on those that live in your household as well.

      You hit the nail on the head about American culture as well. That’s the reason why it’s such a big thing in the US, and why it’s so difficult to get any traction on gun control measures. I think it’s also why so many people from foreign countries don’t understand the US, or gun ownership in the US in general.

      Liked by 1 person

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  6. It oustands me that US government continue to let these happen despite everyong crying out for gun violence to stop and ban all guns in homes, the UK enforced this 25 years ago and since then have had 1 case of gun crime which has resulted in murder. It goes back to that famous german poem about they came for the jews and I didn’t care but then they came for me. They won’t do anything until a gun is pointed in their face.

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  7. I can understand why so many look to examples like the UK and Australia when talking about gun violence, but I think I covered the limitations of the approach of a full ban quite well in my post, under the section: No Simple Fix.

    Regardless, if you were able to repeal the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution and ban all firearms from civilian use, how would any agency go about confiscating over an estimated 300 million firearms? Buy-backs? By force? The truth is that all a ban would do would be to turn roughly 40% of Americans into criminals by default. Furthermore, based on the sheer number of firearms legally owned in The United States (the US allegedly owns about 45% of the entire world’s civilian-owned firearms), it would seem like the rates of firearm-related homicides would be far higher than they actually are.

    The truth is that there isn’t a quick or easy fix to the issue of gun violence or mass shootings in The United States. Tackling this problem will require more than just impassioned pleas to ban guns. Additionally, The United States also isn’t Australia, or The United Kingdom, or any other country which has banned or severely restricted civilian ownership of firearms. What works there, may not work here at all. That isn’t to say we shouldn’t do something about the problem, just that the world doesn’t work like a cookie cutter. We need a tailored solution.

    I can’t foresee a ban that actually works, and won’t result in needlessly turning millions of law-abiding citizens into de facto criminals. Other countries also have the benefit of having far lower populations, and far lower gun ownership numbers prior to their respective bans. It’ll take more than writing a law stating that all guns are illegal; it’ll take a group of politicians from across the political spectrum to find a solution that actually works here, and even then, it’ll require a constituency that holds those leaders accountable.

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  8. We register and license cars. We require training and testing before one can drive a car. We require liability insurance in case we hurt someone with our car.

    Why is it so hard to do the same with guns?

    Would there be people who still steal guns? Yes, of course. But it might stop people from getting guns in the heat of the moment. It might also make people more likely to lock up their guns and ammo if they know you can be liable financially if your gun hurts someone. It also requires that a person undergo a test, and that they know what they are doing and are trained to use the gun. Possibly we would have much less accidental shootings.

    Bad people will still get guns. But good people would not be blamed and good people can keep them from their kids.

    Out of curiosity, why does one need a semi-automatic to hunt? Seems to me that it takes the sport out of the hunt.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Semi-automatic weapons are useful in hunting for fowl, boars, and the like. Farmers and ranchers also use weapons like AR15s for keeping predators like coyotes at bay, but also in some states to hunt deer and elk. Having a semi-automatic weapon can mean the difference between killing an animal quickly, or leaving it to bleed out slowly.

      I’ve experienced both of these instances when hunting. A well placed shot will put a deer down quickly; a matter of seconds. Missing your target by even a hair can leave it to bleed out if you just wound it, which is very easy to do.

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  9. […] more than that. A writer who is not afraid to tackle challenging topics (as highlighted by his recent post) and who holds an ability to write engaging in-depth […]

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  10. Ooooooooooo. A serious subject on a topic that demands a serious conversation. Consider me interested. Be warned, I tend to get controversial over this stuff, but everything I say has logic and meaning to it.

    “These are just a few examples of the types of people that carry out these heinous crimes. Some mentally ill, some outright criminals, some are both; none of whom should be able to obtain a firearm of any kind, whether by purchasing themselves or using one they’ve stolen. Sadly, our current system doesn’t give authorities the tools to bar these types of people from possessing firearms.”

    And that, I believe, is where you’re wrong. In most, if not all, of the above cases mentioned above, authorities were warned in one way or another. They had a chance to enforce things, stop them before they went as far as they did, but they didn’t. You know, like 9/11. It’s not about adding in more rules and regs and tools to make law enforcement better, it’s about getting people into law enforcement who do the job better.

    “Laws require enforcement and we have a stigma in The United States against the mentally ill.”

    As in we go too easy on them? Like the homeless in California?

    “Additionally, The United States also isn’t Australia, or The United Kingdom, or any other country which has banned or severely restricted civilian ownership of firearms. What works there, may not work here at all.”

    Joke’s on you and them, that didn’t work out so well for them either. Despite the gun ban, Australia still has a respectable amount of gun violence. Guess making something illegal isn’t always enough to stop people from doing it. As for the UK, well, I’ll pose the same question for that country as I will for Boston (where guns are illegal), how’s banning guns working out for the overall murder rate?

    “I don’t believe that Americans should be able to buy automatic weapons.”

    I disagree, mainly because of the main purpose of the 2nd amendment, and in this day and age, I’m more convinced then ever that there’s going to be a day within the next 20 years or less that we may be needing them. Honestly hope I’m wrong.

    “I don’t believe that anyone should be able to own a gun.”

    On that we agree.

    “I don’t believe the “good guy with a gun” fallacy.”

    You bring that up after citing the incident where a guy in church stopped someone with a firearm, with his own firearm? Kinda contradicting yourself a bit there aren’t ya?

    “Change needs to occur, but we can’t get the result we want by jumping down each other’s throats. There needs to be a collective understanding that any solution is realistically not going to be perfect. Likewise, it will require sacrifice.

    What we need to do is to make folks that shouldn’t have firearms have a much harder time getting a hold of them. We need stricter, mandatory background checks. Hell, institute some waiting periods. Require licensing to own some or all firearms. We need to talk about this, because the deaths are getting to be too much to handle. I don’t have the answers, but I don’t think any one person has all the answers here. We can work together for a solution though, and that’s what matters.”

    Again, the laws are already there, it’s just enforcing them that’s the problem. But that’s not the only problem. As you say, it’s not a black and white issue, and it’s not an easy fix. Because the fact of the matter is that this is more of a problem with society than it is about the laws governing the society (though that could change, as in become worse). People have become too dependent. People have become too reclusive and anti-social. At least I have an excuse, I was born that way (or maybe it’s because I was dropped on my head when I was a baby) and have attention-deficit-disorder (not as extreme as some cases, but it’s there), and don’t share much of the same interests as most people. What is everyone else’s excuse?

    I’ll tell you what their excuse is. Social media. That is what has changed since the early 2000s, how popular social media has become, how often people use it, how often they get hooked on it, and how much it screws them up like getting addicted to a drug. It makes them just as recluse, if not more-so, than someone like me (not everyone should be a nerd, us nerds need our own private space damnit! Stop butting into the D&D scenery and get back to your small talk and lame conversations about celebrity gossip, Jerry Springer rip-offs, and lame crap that passes for music these days!).

    Not to mention that we are divided as a nation, and encouraged to be divided by the media of the last 6+ years. And by divide, they mean trying to generalize everything into, “If you don’t stand for ‘A’, then you stand for ‘B’, and that makes you a terrible person!” They forget (or want you to forget) that there is a grey area. That there should be individuality as well as groups/organizations. One is as important as the other. Not to mention admitting when you’re wrong, much less compromise. A group is strong when composed of individuals with their own unique views/beliefs, and work together. A group is weak if they all think and act alike.

    The way to resolve this is simple. Don’t think so big. Think small. Think local. Think family, friends, neighbors. How often do we socialize with strangers in-person? With those living next to us? That becomes less appealing when paranoia sets in about how there are a bunch of freaks and criminal out there who want to mug/rape/kill you at any moment of every day. Gone are the days where we could know our neighbors, visit them often, live in a decent community by coming to know the community. But social media (among other things) tends to discourage that. I personally believe this is linked to the problem, particularly among youths.

    With all that said, there is one thing you shouldn’t forget. Despite how much screentime and politicization this all gets, gun violence isn’t the highest killer of people living within the United States. Aside from those who die of diseases and some-such biological stuff, vehicle accidents and suicide tend to be in the top ten list of leading causes, well above gun deaths. What are we going to do about that, ban cars and ropes to hang yourself with? Or would it be better to be in a society that teaches people to grow up more responsibly and intelligent to decrease the odds of all that happening? The answers seem to lie with education and propaganda as far as I can tell (and not all propaganda is bad, just most of the time it is; that could do with a change).

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    1. “Again, the laws are already there, it’s just enforcing them that’s the problem. But that’s not the only problem.”

      Actually, the laws are not there. I live in Florida. Anyone can carry a gun and with a simple easy to get permit, they can carry them concealed. In a gun shop near the shooting in Parkland, a gun store owner admitted that one could walk into his store and walk out with a gun in 15 minutes. 15 minutes is not long enough for an angry, depressed, suicidal person to even think about what they are going to do. It appeals to impulse.

      Also, as for the gun death rates in other countries I suggest you read this article from the American Journal of Medicine. http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(15)01030-X/fulltext

      Does this mean we should abolish the 2nd Amendment? No, of course not. But it does mean we need to do something. Arming our teachers, many of whom may not want to carry a gun, is not the answer. Making schools gun free is the answer and doing so requires making sure that mental illness is reported and that getting a gun requires background checks, licensing and training. A trained person is much more respectful of that weapon they hold in their hand.

      Seams simple to me. But no…the laws are not there. Would some people make it past the laws? Of course, some people even now drive cars without a license. They buy booze when they are under 21. However, it would stop SOME people. And stopping some is better than doing nothing.

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      1. Yes! Responses! An honest to God conversation! Bring it on!

        “Actually, the laws are not there. I live in Florida. Anyone can carry a gun and with a simple easy to get permit, they can carry them concealed. In a gun shop near the shooting in Parkland, a gun store owner admitted that one could walk into his store and walk out with a gun in 15 minutes. 15 minutes is not long enough for an angry, depressed, suicidal person to even think about what they are going to do. It appeals to impulse.”

        Yeah, but that logic also applies to people who have owned guns for, well, longer than 15 minutes. And I must ask, how easy is it exactly to get this “easy to get” gun permit?

        “Also, as for the gun death rates in other countries I suggest you read this article from the American Journal of Medicine. http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(15)01030-X/fulltext“

        Ah, a study to read through. Ok, so the article states that “violent deaths” (defined as suicide, homicide, firearm accidents) are higher in the United States compared to other high income countries. It basically states that firearm homicide rates in the U.S. are 25 times higher than in other high income countries. Well, what are the gun laws in those other high income countries? I know that the UK and Australia have banned weapons, so obviously it would be significantly less than the U.S. Same thing with Japan. So of course the U.S. is going to have a higher rate of gun-related deaths compared to those countries if those countries have banned guns. It doesn’t stamp out gun-related crimes entirely, but they are significantly reduced.

        That being said, there are countries with a high gun ownership rate that also have less gun-related crime on average compared to the United States. Germany, for instance.
        https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/15/so-america-this-is-how-you-do-gun-control

        However, that’s for gun-related deaths. What about the overall homicide rate? What about the overall crime rate? Because from what I’ve seen, very soon after guns are banned in countries, the crime rate goes up dramatically for a brief duration (a few years, maybe only a couple depending), and tends to stay up higher than it was prior to the gun ban.
        https://crimeresearch.org/2013/12/murder-and-homicide-rates-before-and-after-gun-bans/

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        1. A few years? Fine. I will take it. The past 17 years have only given us more mass shootings. Crime is often gang, drug related, armed robberies, bad relationships, etc.

          Shooting children in a school, people at a concert, young folks at a night club….one guy, many innocent victims. Not the same.

          2 years is nothing, a blip on a lifetime. But maybe my granddaughter’s will be safe.

          Notice, no talking points. I am talking from my heart, not from a lobbyist handbook. I admire Shelby for doing the same. Empathy is the key.

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    2. I appreciate you taking the time to comment; I just want to clear a few things up about what I said, and offer my own point of view in return on a few of your points.

      And that, I believe, is where you’re wrong. In most, if not all, of the above cases mentioned above, authorities were warned in one way or another. They had a chance to enforce things, stop them before they went as far as they did, but they didn’t. You know, like 9/11. It’s not about adding in more rules and regs and tools to make law enforcement better, it’s about getting people into law enforcement who do the job better.

      In only one of the cases listed above, the assailant acquired a weapon when the law should’ve restricted them from having one; Devin Patrick Kelley. The others were either mentally ill, yet were still able to purchase or find a firearm. Adam Lanza didn’t even own the weapon he used, he just killed the owner (his mother) and stole it. Still, it’s true that laws exist to prevent some of these attacks from happening, and you’re correct that those laws need to be enforced better. However, there are still far too many people out there that are able to get their hands on a firearm when they definitely should not be able to.

      That said, you’re definitely correct that our law enforcement needs to better enforce the laws we have in place, but there is room for improvement in the laws we have on the books.

      As in we go too easy on them? Like the homeless in California?

      I’m actually not sure what you’re referring to regarding California’s homeless population. I wouldn’t say that we’re going to easy on people with mental illnesses, but that we’re just ignoring them and hoping they keep it to themselves. It just seems like we could come up with ways to help prevent people suffering from mental health issues from hurting themselves or others. For instance, in the case of James Holmes, giving their doctors a way to report concerns and it actually mattering. I mean, we have a no-fly list for folks that the government thinks are a risk on a plane and there’s little scrutiny about who goes on the list or for what reason, yet we’re fine with anybody owning a gun regardless of their mental state?

      It just seems baffling to me.

      Joke’s on you and them, that didn’t work out so well for them either. Despite the gun ban, Australia still has a respectable amount of gun violence. Guess making something illegal isn’t always enough to stop people from doing it. As for the UK, well, I’ll pose the same question for that country as I will for Boston (where guns are illegal), how’s banning guns working out for the overall murder rate?

      Boston and the UK or Australia aren’t equivalents, just like like Chicago isn’t either. The reason is that those nations are isolated by water; they’re islands. In Boston or Chicago, anyone with a car can drive over to another city and buy a gun. Besides, it isn’t the law abiding citizens in the US buying guns legally and murdering people. It’s the folks that are stealing them or getting them through straw buyers who are killing people.

      The reason I pointed out the UK and Australia’s gun bans wasn’t to say they would work here though. Rather, I meant the opposite. A gun ban definitely wouldn’t work in the US, because our country is vastly different.

      I disagree, mainly because of the main purpose of the 2nd amendment, and in this day and age, I’m more convinced then ever that there’s going to be a day within the next 20 years or less that we may be needing them. Honestly hope I’m wrong.

      Trust me, I understand the reason for the 2nd Amendment, but automatic firearms are not practical for civilian use, even when considering the purpose of the 2nd Amendment.

      Even in the military, automatic weapons are used for volume of fire. For suppressing an enemy in order to allow part of the unit to flank and neutralize the threat. Just look at the military reports on ammunition expenditures in Vietnam, which was when the US formally adopted a fully automatic version of the M16 and switched to the 5.56 mm round. Now, the majority of US military units use squad automatic weapons like the M249, while the rest of the riflemen use semi auto variants of the M16 or M4, with support from designated marksman with M14 EBRs. Automatic weapons in the hands of the untrained just waste ammunition. Civilians are better off with semi automatic weapons for defense.

      You bring that up after citing the incident where a guy in church stopped someone with a firearm, with his own firearm? Kinda contradicting yourself a bit there aren’t ya?

      My point here was that the plural of anecdote isn’t data. Besides, even though someone (who is a hero, in my opinion) scared off Devin Patrick Kelley, leading him to his inevitable demise, it still isn’t clear what effect he actually had on the circumstances. Regardless, while I don’t agree with the assertion that armed individuals intervening in dangerous situations are ineffective, I don’t think the answer is to arm more people; especially people with little firearms experience. Arming more people would make first responders’ jobs harder, as they’d be required to differentiate between more potential hostiles, making responding to active shooters situations even more dangerous for police, the armed citizens, and other innocents.

      When I called the “good guy with a gun” thing a fallacy, I meant that those folks out there saying more people with guns would end active shooter situations sooner is misguided at best, but more likely a potential disaster in the making.

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      1. @Shelby “Falcon509” Steiner

        Well said. But none of that addresses the main issue that I’m assuming we’re supposed to consider amidst all this. Aside from having better enforcement of laws, and possibly adopting some of the laws that Germany has in place when it comes to enforcing gun laws (honestly, aside from a couple caveats, they seem to have some good ideas that could be worth adopting, though we currently live in a “fuck the police” environment considering #blacklivesmatter, so I’m not so sure it would work until respect for authority gains further establishment; hey, I did say social issues were more at the root of the problem), what proof is there that greater restriction/banning of weapons is going to decrease the overall homicide rate? None. Zip. Nada. I have never seen even one example of a country where the overall homicide rate went down as a result of a gun ban. Quite the opposite actually. See my above response to teilasblog, assuming it got approved.

        You don’t think the right response would be to arm more people? Well, I’d say the right response would be to arm more people who are qualified. John R. Lotte wrote a few books on the subject, concluding this, noting how ownership of a gun lowered crime in many circumstances (and determined that much of the gun violence in the United States tends to be localized into a few specific regions, Boston and Detroit being among them). For instance, women owning firearms, especially in Alaska, reduced the overall rape crimes (one of many examples cited with statistics in Lotte’s book “More Guns, Less Crime”).

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        1. Would love to see some scientific research rather than a book from a conservative guns right advocate. I know many teachers who would not be teachers if they are asked to carry guns. We would militarize our schools. There is no proof that in a school setting this would help at all. There are situations where having too many people with guns could cause more fatalities.

          What we see right now is two sides. Each side can quote their own “experts” and totally discredit the other side’s “experts”. This gets us no where.

          It does not address kids getting guns, or mentally ill people getting guns and rather than protect we ask people who might feel uncomfortable to carry guns. It is as if the US is becoming this big wild west playground and to keep safe, we must arm ourselves. What if we do not want to live in that kind of world?

          And….the NRA is so powerful they can threaten to ruin politicians, like my own Republican Senator, who dare to try to discuss gun control. They go after 14 year old children, survivors of a shooting, who saw their friends die. Why would someone do that? What do they fear other than losing money?

          Why do I have to make guns a part of my life when I do not want to do so? Why should I have to send my children to schools where teachers carry guns? Why do I have trust that these teachers will not have those guns taken from them and used on my child? Why would I feel secure in knowing that the teachers that nurture and teach and care for my kids are willing to shoot a gun…even if they know it could hit a child.

          So…keep your guns. But do not make us live in your world if we do not want to do so. It really bothers me that the solution is to create a situation were MORE people use guns, more guns are sold, gun manufacturers get even richer and NRA gets more donations.

          But..I think we are smart people. We know this is being used as a way to rile up the base and affect future elections. Both sides do it. Just different issues.

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          1. “Would love to see some scientific research rather than a book from a conservative guns right advocate.”

            Uh, is John R. Lotte’s book, which is mostly composed of statistics and analysis of those statistics to the point where it comes off as a dry research report, not considered scientific research? Are statistics not considered scientific?

            ” I know many teachers who would not be teachers if they are asked to carry guns. We would militarize our schools. There is no proof that in a school setting this would help at all. There are situations where having too many people with guns could cause more fatalities.”

            But it’s not calling for all teachers to have guns. Just that this would become an option for any “qualified” teacher to take. All those schools that are anti-gun, they may choose to stay that way, so long as all teachers employed there agree to not carry any firearms. At the very least, this allows us to see if this will work out or not, when just about all past cases I’ve seen of restricting guns doesn’t work.

            “What we see right now is two sides. Each side can quote their own “experts” and totally discredit the other side’s “experts”. This gets us no where.”

            Oh really? What experts are on your side exactly? Where are the expert scientific studies on your side that I can take a look at? Surely they exist if you have confidence that my beliefs in the matter of gun control are misplaced.

            “It is as if the US is becoming this big wild west playground and to keep safe, we must arm ourselves. What if we do not want to live in that kind of world?”

            To be fair, it may be less likely that we would be in this position if society was more like it was in the 90s (and earlier), but change we did. If we’re to make things better, as good as they were in the past, we would have to change again, either reverting back to past ways (which would require societal transition back to past ways, making schools less about agendas and more about learning facts, and not taking any crap from students who have become empowered because universities now treat them too lightly, and get some authority figures with balls and logical reasoning), or abandoning the past ways and becoming more wild west, as you put it.

            On the other hand, I think the latter option may be better. Because despite what the news media may indicate, school shootings have been happening since the late 1800s.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States

            And….the NRA is so powerful they can threaten to ruin politicians, like my own Republican Senator, who dare to try to discuss gun control. They go after 14 year old children, survivors of a shooting, who saw their friends die. Why would someone do that? What do they fear other than losing money?

            Funny, I was asking CNN the same questions.

            Why do I have to make guns a part of my life when I do not want to do so? Why should I have to send my children to schools where teachers carry guns? Why do I have trust that these teachers will not have those guns taken from them and used on my child? Why would I feel secure in knowing that the teachers that nurture and teach and care for my kids are willing to shoot a gun…even if they know it could hit a child.

            Ask the police and security guards on campus.

            So…keep your guns. But do not make us live in your world if we do not want to do so. It really bothers me that the solution is to create a situation were MORE people use guns, more guns are sold, gun manufacturers get even richer and NRA gets more donations.

            Worked for pilots in the cockpits of airplanes. That being said, go ahead and send children to gun-free schools, like schools in Chicago.

            But..I think we are smart people. We know this is being used as a way to rile up the base and affect future elections. Both sides do it. Just different issues.

            On that we agree. Guess we do need to use are heads for a good portion of the time and not just our hearts.

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        2. Keep in mind that I never claimed a gun an as a solution. My only reference to it has been to point out that it wouldn’t work in the US. You and I agree that it wouldn’t work.

          As for arming more people; no, I don’t think that’s a solution. I fact, creating a situation where more people have firearms (especially during active shooter situations) sounds like it will just increase deaths by police as they’re forced to contend with more armed individuals at the scene.

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          1. History has shown me otherwise.

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