My first gun: Looking for safe ground in the middle of the gun debate

The Crickett is a bolt action .22, 30 inches long, with a black metal barrel and a plastic body. The box has a big cartoon cricket on the front (Davey Crickett is his name) and says “My First Rifle” in large green letters. Just below that, in very small letters, it says “NOT A TOY.” The Crickett is a bolt action .22, 30 inches long, with a black metal barrel and a plastic body. The box has a big cartoon cricket on the front (Davey Crickett is his name) and says “My First Rifle” in large green letters. Just below that, in very small letters, it says “NOT A TOY.”

The decision to buy a gun came suddenly. I was gulping down coffee before work and reading about the latest shooting, when my right to bear arms overwhelmed me. I ran out into the Virginia sunshine, jumped in my Prius, and headed to Walmart.

Ever since the Aurora movie theater shooting, I’ve been consumed by the gun debate, righteously posting articles on Facebook and arguing out loud with my shadow. As a child, I’d loved guns as much as the next American boy, but politics, and the fear that another madman was lurking right around the corner, had turned me into a raving, anti-gun nut.

If I bought a gun, I thought, maybe it would come with some new understanding.

Because a question had been nagging at me for a long time. Did they, the rabid gun owners and Second Amendment defenders, at the very least understand why, after what happened in Newtown, some people might want to ban guns like the AR-15?

More even than a change of mind, I think I was looking for empathy, just one person on the other side of the issue who could admit that in the first few seconds after hearing that 20 children and six adults were shot and killed in an elementary school, he paused for a moment, looked at his gun collection and thought, “What the hell am I doing with these?”

The Walmart sports and leisure department was quiet, display cases only half full, and the ammo shelves practically empty. I asked a passing sales associate if someone could help me with the guns.

“I want to buy the Crickett,” I said. “The pink one.”

It took 25 minutes for me to become a gun owner. At that point I’d been working on this story for about two weeks. There would be many more weeks to come, during which the six month anniversary of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School would come and go, and a man would walk through downtown Santa Monica firing a semi-automatic rifle, killing five people before he was shot and killed by the police. Two thousand one hundred and twenty Americans would be killed by guns during the 12 weeks I worked on the story; 50 of them in Virginia, and two in Albemarle County.

The manager had to carry the box through the store. Once we were outside, she handed it over. She asked me who I was buying it for.

“Me,” I said. “It’s my first gun.”

She gave me a look. “They do come in black, you know.”


Small arms for small arms

At 1pm on April 30, three days before I bought my gun, a mother in Burkesville, Kentucky stepped outside onto the porch to empty a mop bucket and in that brief moment her 5-year-old son shot and killed his 2-year-old sister with a Crickett he’d been given for his birthday. The gun, which only holds one bullet, had accidentally been left loaded, leaning in a corner.

“Just one of those crazy accidents,” the coroner told the Lexington Herald-Leader. It was in fact the fourth such crazy accident that month. In New Jersey, a 6-year-old and a 4-year-old friend were playing “pretend shooting” with another .22 caliber rifle, resulting in the 4-year-old being shot. The next day, a woman in Tennessee was shot and killed by her 4-year-old, and then later in the month, in Washington state, a 7-year-old boy grabbed his older brother’s .22 and accidently shot his 9-year-old sister, who thankfully lived. Also in April, a Political Action Committee called the Granite State Patriots Liberty PAC held a rally at the New Hampshire Statehouse. In the crowd was an 11-year-old boy carrying an AR-15 and waving a flag that said “Come and Take It.” The boy told the local paper he was there to stand up for gun rights.

My father doesn’t target shoot and he hates hunting. He was a hippie who dodged the draft and drove a VW bus from Virginia out to Haight-Ashbury in time to catch the Late Summer/Early Fall of Love. Yet he owns guns, likes them even. There were five in the house I grew up in, including a Vietnam era Colt AR-15, the semi-auto, civilian version of the M-16 he would have carried, and perhaps used, if he’d fulfilled his patriotic duty and gone to war.

Maybe that’s the seed of my internal conflict, a house full of guns that no one wants to shoot. A long haired Deadhead in my youth, I nevertheless grew up playing soldier, and even as my politics grew increasingly, and angrily, leftist, I never considered guns a problem.

It was Columbine that did it. Columbine scared me.

After some time off, I went back to college in 1997, just in time for a string of school shootings to hit the news. I was pretty cynical about most of them, making macabre, juvenile jokes with a similarly angry friend about starting a Kip Kinkle defense fund, Kinkle being the 15-year-old from Oregon, who, in 1998 shot and killed his parents and then walked to his high school with two knives, two pistols, a rifle, and over a thousand rounds hidden under his trench coat. He killed two students and wounded 25, and my friend and I were young and angry and when Kinkle said, “If there was a God he wouldn’t let me feel the way I do. There is no God, only hate,” we thought it was cool.

Then came Virginia Tech, which didn’t feel that far away, because if you grew up in Charlottesville, you had lots of friends who went to school there, probably hung out in Blacksburg more than once, and maybe even knew someone who lost someone. I drove to Blacksburg a week after the shooting, uncertain whether I was there as a journalist or a tourist, recording for some sort of posterity the prayer circles, the candles and flowers and tears, and the long lines for merchandise in the school bookstore.

And then Aurora, and Newtown, and I began to feel worn down and worn out, but also angry at the people whose only response to all this horror was to circle the wagons, plant an American flag, and buy more guns.

In many ways, I’m not that different from the people on the other side of this debate. My heroes, people like William Burroughs and Hunter S. Thompson, are just as infatuated with guns, and just as prone to confusing self indulgence with freedom. When I lean to the left I lean too far, teetering on the edge of anger, and when the government tells me I can’t do something, it just makes me want to do it four times as bad.

Eventually the bullets hit even closer to home. Last year, a C-VILLE employee named Beth Walton, was shot and killed by Noah Romando, her 19-year-old son, who also killed his 16-year-old sister, his 14-year-old brother, and then himself. He apparently used a .22 hunting rifle, although it seems he’d also bought a handgun, how or where we don’t know. Nor do we know why. Romando left three notes behind, the contents sealed from public scrutiny, and many questions we’ll never be able to answer.

Here’s a starting point. Gun crime is down, gun ownership is down, and gun sales are up. Mass shootings are a major issue and the gun control debate has reached a boiling point. There have to be gun control measures that would curb violence without egregiously limiting personal freedom. There has to be a rational middle ground.

How about this: We shouldn’t market guns to kids. We shouldn’t let kids use guns at all, the way we don’t let them drive a car or operate a skill saw. Isn’t that something we can all agree on? If we can settle that, then maybe we can talk about universal background checks, armor piercing bullets, and guns designed specifically to kill people quickly, right?

The gun that a child in Kentucky used to kill his baby sister, the gun I bought at Walmart, is called the Crickett. It’s a bolt action .22, 30 inches long, with a black metal barrel and a plastic body. The box has a big cartoon cricket on the front (Davey Crickett is his name) and then “My First Rifle” in large green letters. Just below that, in very small letters, it says “NOT A TOY.”

The shooting in Kentucky brought a lot of negative attention to the Crickett, and Keystone Sporting Arms took down the Crickett website (with its “kids corner” featuring a photo gallery of cute kids holding their Cricketts), Facebook page, and Twitter feed and began the by now familiar mantra of “no comment,” appealing to the family’s need for privacy.

Three days later, the National Rifle Association held a Youth Day at its annual meeting. Shirts with “NRA” spelled out in crayons were available for kids and bibs with “NRA” on toy blocks for babies. There were also, of course, lots and lots of kids guns for sale, including the pink Crickett.

“It was her time to go, I guess,” said the grandmother of the dead 2-year-old in Kentucky. “I just know she’s in heaven right now and I know she’s in good hands with the Lord.”

Exactly three weeks after that, 10-year-old Maggie Hollified was shot and killed in Crozet by her 13-year-old brother. The family had recently moved here from Tennessee so Maggie’s father could take over as pastor of the Commonwealth Christian Community. The Hollifield’s four children were homeschooled and their 13-year-old son Nathan liked to hunt. As a reward for completing a hunter safety course, a relative gave Nathan the shotgun that would kill his sister. On the morning of May 21, legal records show that he was trying to fix the gun, and it was pointing at his sister Maggie as she stood behind a loveseat when it fired.

The shooting, like the one in Kentucky and so many others, was called a “tragic accident” and the case was closed. There were many things about the incident that were accidental (the finger on the trigger, the forgotten shotgun shell, the sister hidden behind the loveseat), but not the gun. The gun was there on purpose.

  • Meghan Noga

    First, this article was AWESOME. I was totally hooked from the very first sentence and I’ll probably be printing it out and hanging it on my wall when I go to college this fall (I want to study journalism) as a means of motivation! It was intriguing and personal and humor was cleverly swept into the message you most certainly got across.

    Second, I am torn, like with most political topics, on the subject of gun ownership and gun control. Part of me feels so strongly on ensuring Americans their rights guaranteed in the amendments. However, on the other hand, why the hell are we not doing mandatory background checks on every human who wants to purchase a gun? That should be a must. The loophole that mentally ill and gang members can purchase guns from a private dealer is crazy! And for people who fight against mandatory background checks for online sources are just insane. Why wouldn’t you want people’s criminal history to be checked? It wouldn’t be like, if you got a traffic violation, you aren’t allowed to buy a gun because if that were the case, I’d be screwed. If you have a warrant for your arrest on an attempted murder case, then maybe they should be denied a gun.

    As for children, that is just pure parental stupidity. How dare you, as a parent of young kids, leave a loaded gun out in your house? And I call “poo poo” on those who say, “Oh, well, I didn’t know it was loaded.” If Target sells outlet plug covers and corner protection covers for young children, then why the crap would you think a gun is safe for children? So again, that is BAD parenting.

    What I also don’t understand is why the need for multiple guns? Why can’t we just buy one and trust that that one is going to do the trick if your are in danger? I am not saying we should put a limit on how many guns we can have, but still…what is the point?

    Anyway, thank you for the awesome article! :]]

    • cambeul41

      Why do stamp collectors need more than one stamp? Why does any one need more than one screwdriver?

    • BenjiMac

      The reason we don’t want mandatory background checks for personal sales, or prohibition of personal sales which is effectively the same thing, is that in order to be effective we need total government gun Registration. And then any government official, local or state or federal, can decide at any time that guns are bad and go to every house on the list to collect them. For example, California first required registration of .50-cal rifles, then banned them. Other states have done similar things with other guns within the last year. That is not a Total ban, but the concept is the same. Not knowing where the guns are, makes it a lot harder.

    • nohyphenamerican

      The point of multiple firearms is the same as multiple types of saws, scissors, vehicles, etc… You seem to think they only have one purpose, self-defense. Do you even know the difference between a shotgun, a rifle, a handgun and what uses they are most suited for in the realm of hunting, target shooting, and your favorite, self-defense?

    • GreginCleveland

      “why the hell are we not doing mandatory background checks on every human who wants to purchase a gun?” Because you can smuggle guns in from South America the same as drugs the only thing a background check does is prove that the person submitting is legal but you already knew that or they would not submit to a check in the first place they would buy the gun from S.A.

  • Edward N Virginia

    Thank you Mr Beard for a great local expression of long-form journalism, almost a lost art and science in local journalism! Thank you for expending your time, and your-self, in exploring, learning, and writing.

    You say that you’ve been searching for some ‘middle ground’. There are several possible areas of middle ground. Perhaps you – and others – will consider them. Perhaps you – and others – will offer others.

    I offer these:

    a. what we know from the experience of public health/public safety

    b. what the US Supreme Court has actually defined as the Second Amendment (2A) right

    c. what our human heritage – through faith communities – tell us

    A. We know from experiences with public health/public safety that many rights are properly – and carefully – bounded for protective and prophylactic purposes.

    Public health authorities may legally restrict your rights of association, rights of movement, and other rights, through quarantine for the prophylactic purpose of preventing disease spread. Oh, you say: they never do that. Well think again. I hear it discussed in meeting of health authorities. And, wasn’t it just a few years ago that public health authorities began discussing possible quarantine of children of a local private school whose parents had failed to innoculate the children giving rise to a serious outbreak of disease, and risk of spreading disease, in that school community?

    Public health and public safety authorities routinely overcome rights of privacy to protect others from harm: e.g. notifying sexual partners or family members or coworkers of possible exposure to disease (which overcomes both the privacy right of the partner or family member or coworker, and the privacy right of the person who may have exposed them). Some laws actually REQUIRE violations of privacy rights: e.g. ‘duty to warn’ laws; ‘mandatory reporting’ laws. Etc.

    So, we believe that in the practice of public health/public safety there is experience to muster thoughtful ‘middle ground’ discussions about the issues of 2A rights and prevention of gun violence.

    Oh, btw, while your writing exposes many stories of brutal death from gun violence – ‘by accident’ – you’ve not had space to explore the largest burden of death from gun violence in the country: SUICIDE. Yep, suicide carnage greatly outnumbers homicide carnage. The media relentlessly report murders, but rarely reports suicides. And, so, the public has false knowledge: that most gun violence is from homicide. Nope, that would be suicide. And, public health evidence shows that with more guns around society we should expect more accomplished suicides by guns. These data are sound research reports from Harvard School of Public Health, etc, far from ‘junk science’ as you quote one dude (shades of Mr Cuccinelli against the climate scientists, or the Vatican and Galileo, or the the guys who preferred blood-letting, leeches, and burning at the stake against the guys who preferred anatomical science and psychiatry). Funny thing that: the guys who trash ‘science’ the most still still use ‘scientific’ medicine. Hummhh?

    B. The SCOTUS in District of Columbia v. Heller said that the 2A protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home, and also stated that the right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

    The persons interviewed for this article seem not to know this, or do not want to believe this, or want to ignore this. They appear to expect to own any and all weapons – without limits – to carry their weapons in all places – without boundaries – and possibly to use their weapons in almost any circumstance of perceived threat.

    That expansive understanding is certainly NOWHERE in the SCOTUS opinion. The evidence of this is the many different sorts of limitations and boundaries on gun ownership, gun carrying, and gun use in many states. They are Constitutional.

    But, those are other states. In Virginia, gun owers, gun hobbyists, and gun fetishists have been invited to ignore Constitutional limitation by Virginia legislators – particularly Republican legislators – who want their votes and their money. Virginia legislators have, for years, been bending over to gun owners, gun hobbyists, and gun fetishists ( perhaps some even with pants off to show a very special obedience to an authoritative gun-swinging Master ) and given away more and more and more privileges – not Constitutional rights, but privileges – under Virginia law. Virginia Republicans have a very special sneaky relationship with gun groups, too: in a stroke of exceptional hypocrisy! the Virginia Republican Party that bitterly decried violations of privacy, and created laws to prohibit any disclosure of conceal-carry permits – was ACTUALLY right there IN LINE to get THOSE VERY LISTS, before their law went into effect. Give us power and we’ll give you privilege! What a bargain. But, who pays for giving away privileges to special interest groups: all the rest of us.

    More about that bargain. In our view, Virginia legislators have a made a bargain with the devil, giving away more and more and more privileges to gun owners, gun hobbyists, and gun fetishists, for the sake of political power mongering. But what does the devil always return: DEATH. The devil is the lord of death. And tricky, too. Perhaps Virginia legislators Republican that in the bargain the deaths would be people they didn’t really like. And if they knew the public health science – which they very well may know, and believe, despite calling it ‘junk’ – most of the deaths they’d expect to be suicides. So. What a bargain.

    But, that tricky devil: Death is coming to wee children. This article outlines many. And, here in Albemarle, a wee dear girl was killed in her home ‘by accident’. A boy in Chesterfield shot another boy in a home ‘by accident’. A dear tiny child – only 7! – was blasted through the head and killed, in Chesterfield, while in a crowd watching 4th July fireworks, ‘by accident’. So, the science appears correct: more and more and more guns in society – with few limitations and boundaries, as in Virginia – is associated with more and more brutal death of innocents, by suicide, and ‘by accident’.

    The devil takes bargains seriously. Until Virginia legislators, all Virginia elected officials – particularly Commonwealth Attorneys – and the good people of Virginia find reasonable middle ground, this devil’s bargain will take more innocents.

    A reasonable common ground could be through serious discussion of ACTUAL Constitutional rights, the privilege given away by Virginia legislators, and the costs of all those privileges (including the costs of increased suicide and ‘accidents’), with sustained, broad based involvement of the public. Let Commonwealth Attorneys hold forums. Let every legislator hold town meetings. Let local governments, public and private schools, community groups, and others hold dialogues. Why not? Why are there NO forums, NO town halls, NO community meetings? That is shocking, isn’t it? Why? ( well the devil wants to keep the bargain quiet, right?)

    C. Speaking of the devil, who might we speak of in the same breath: God. Among the most perplexing – and very much un-thought-out, and un-reported – stories in all this is how silent, in hiding, pathetically scared are our so-called ‘communities of faith’ and their so-called ‘leaders’.

    Wouldn’t you think that burgeoning death would call them to action? Wouldn’t you think followers of a ‘Prince of Peace’ would have something to say about a burgeoning cultural fetishism around guns, carrying guns, threatening with guns, suicide by guns, … and more and more and more dear innocents slaughtered ‘by accident’? Well, we could fill the skies with volumes on the self-serving hypocrisies of religious communities and religious leaders.

    But, still, isn’t their pathetic silence shocking?!

    But still, again, in a place such as Virginia, with diverse faith communities, these could be a place for building common seeking, common questioning, common dialogue, and building common ground.

    So, here are three places to consider for finding common ground. What others come to mind?

    • Ian Davidson

      Section F of the D.C. v Heller decision states:

      “(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpretation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542 , nor Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252 , refutes the individual-rights interpretation. United States v. Miller,
      307 U. S. 174 , does not limit the right to keep and bear arms to
      militia purposes, but rather limits the type of weapon to which the
      right applies to those used by the militia, i.e., those in common use
      for lawful purposes.”

      The referenced US v Miller decision states:

      “In the absence of any evidence tending to show that possession or use
      of a ‘shotgun having a barrel of less than eighteen inches in length’ at
      this time has some reasonable relationship to the preservation or
      efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second
      Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument.
      Certainly it is not within judicial notice that this weapon is any part
      of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to
      the common defense. Aymette v. State of Tennessee, 2 Humph., Tenn., 154,

      Basically, they were affirming the 1934 National Firearms Act, which regulated the sale of short barreled shotguns, by stating that a short barreled shotguns aren’t used by the militia/military, which is the standard being used to qualify “in common usage.”

      I’m not exactly sure how they justify the regulation of fully automatic firearms given this decision, but it is the law of the land and the word of the judiciary in any case. Guess what just about every deployed soldier is carrying over seas? An
      AR-15 of some variation. You’re not getting my gun without amending the
      constitution, and even that is no guarantee.

      • Edward N Virginia

        Thank you. I’m not sure if you are speaking to my remarks, the writer (Mr Beard’s) remarks are author of the article, remarks of persons quoted in the article, or some other(s).

        I’m glad you’ve bothered to review DC v. Heller. Few do. I believe that my understanding is correct: SCOTUS ruling is that the Constitution conveys a right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and
        to use firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense
        within the home, and also stated that the right is not unlimited. It is
        not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner
        whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

        It is clear from many different state laws that MANY SORTS OF limitations, boundaries, regulations, and provisions can apply to the Constitutional right. This is also obviously true from looking at other Constitutional rights. For example, the MOST HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT right: free speech. Even this more important right is constrained. The well known constraint is that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater. Or libel. Or slander. Or sell pornography to minors. Or possess pornography showing non-adults.

        Do you agree that rights can have boundaries, limitations, regulations and provisions?


        you seem concerned that WHOEVER YOU’RE ADDRESSING want to take away your automatic weapons. Please do not impute that belief to me, since it is not my belief. I might be an even greater ‘gun rights’ advocate than many in that regard: I can find little reason to restrict your ability to purchase any number of guns, or any sort of guns, just as I can find little reason to restrict your ability to purchase any volume of pornography, or any sort of pornography involving adults and not non-adults. Just as there are sexual fetishists who desire all manner of perverse pornography, there are gun fetishists who desire all manner of unusual weapons. Just as someone has freedom to spend all their time and money on pornography -even to the point of loosing their job, loosing their family, loosing their sanity – someone has freedom to spend all their time and money on guns – -even to the point of loosing their job, loosing their family, loosing their sanity. Freedom can be used well or used poorly.

        But should you substitute your preferences about those choices for the choices of other competent adults? That is risky for everyone’s freedom.


        are you able to explore ways in which that freedom – to own as many guns, and as many diverse guns – would reasonably be bounded or limited, because SCOTUS clearly says that reasonable boundaries and limitations are in fact Constitutional.

        That is my approach: to find a place to have ‘middle ground’ discussion in order to find ‘common ground’. There are different technique for groups and societies to have middle ground to find common ground. I proposed three possible approaches: a. an informed and serious discussion of public health/public safety. b. an informed and serious discussion of what other states, other cities and counties, are doing to find ‘middle ground’ and ‘common ground’. c. to find what our diverse faith communities, and faith leaders, bring forward from their traditions.

        Do you have a faith community? If so, what does it say about killing others? about placing your trust? about inviting the trust of others? about the are of children? about listening to the concerns of others, and (in the Christian language) ‘bearing one another’s burdens’?

        Thank you for your comments. Best wishes.

        • Raconteur Duck

          The Constitution does not convey or give any rights. It affirms them and guarantees them against government encroachment. Oour5 rights exist whether there is a constitution or not.
          I notice you typically (and most assiduously) ignore the millions of legal self defense uses of guns, each year. You also ignore the many state supreme courts’ rulings in favor of Second Amendment rights.

          • Edward N Virginia

            So, if you believe you have a human right to own guns, how do you assign that a rank of importance among other human rights:
            i.e. right to live your own life

            i.e. right to access to health care

            i.e. right to worship or believe
            i.e. right to participate in society and government
            i.e. right to access to education
            and many more?

          • Raconteur Duck

            Without the right and capability to defend your rights, how can you exercise them if a stronger person says you may not?
            My right to own and bear arms (not just guns) protects all of the other rights.
            Where would you rank that? I rank it on top.

          • Edward N Virginia

            THANKS for sharing that point of view.

            Historically, American Founders, many Supreme Courts, and American People has considered our ‘free speech’ rights to be the most unique and precious and necessary for American freedom.

            I can think of no other country – historically, or currently – that has such broad freedom of speech/expression.

          • GreginCleveland

            are basic human rights granted by natures God and above reproach by
            the gov. Life, Liberty, all of equal impotence. The “right to
            health care” is not a right it is a service provided to you by
            people with that skill set. To claim a right to their service is to
            enslave them for your benefit. If they are willing to accept
            compensation from you for their service that is commerce all of which
            is paid for by someone or all of us.

    • BenjiMac

      You mention suicide. And yes, this is a significant problem, although I might permit it for certain people who have a fatal illness anyway. Usually we hear only the statistics about “gun suicide”, for example by comparison with Japan where gun suicide (and gun ownership in general) is almost totally non-existent. But the total suicide rate is much higher in Japan, just not accomplished by use of a gun.

      You mention DEATH from the devil. And yes, this is a significant problem. So, do you think we should import the prohibitive gun laws from D.C. into Virginia? Along with their murder rate, which is literally 100 times higher (and more like 1000 times higher among certain portions of the population) than in Arlington right across the river where guns are more or less freely available? I say if gun violence is a problem and is somehow related to gun laws as you indicate, then much better that D.C. should import Virginia’s gun laws.

      You mention accidental gun deaths. And yes, this is a significant problem. But much less significant that accidental deaths from several other causes that you think not worth mentioning. The fact is, most people survive until adulthood and beyond, and even the most restrictive laws imaginable would not eliminate accidental, much less medical disease related, deaths. We will all die. The question is how we will live until then. I would like to live in freedom.

      BTW, I am a Christian. And I am not silent on this issue. I support peace and love, and the right to armed defense when necessary against those who would take these from me.

      • Edward N Virginia

        Thank you.

        Obviously, we need sustained community conversations to find ways through these issues, not just a blog, but Mr Beard gave us a start.

        About gun violence by suicide and accidental killings/woundings: First, let’s honestly deal with these IN AMERICA and IN VIRGINIA, and then perhaps we’ll have credibility to work with the issues in Japan, and other countries. Let’s work on preventing gun deaths in Virginia.

        When groups cite Japan’s suicide rates to stop efforts in VIrginia, why aren’t the same groups impressed by the VERY LOW GUN HOMICIDE rates in countries with many restrictions on guns in society? And, people in those countries – such as most of Europe – would loudly say that they are ‘free’ and ‘have freedom’.

        About freedom: who doesn’t prefer to live in freedom? Hurrah Freedom! But here is a parallel question: are you concerned with my freedom, too? If the ‘freedom’ to own any and all guns, and to carry them in any and all places worth protecting, what about other freedoms? Do you defend and protect them? Did guns in private hands help enforce slavery? YES it did. Do guns in private hands and threats to use them often ‘enslave’ women in abusive homes? YES. Have guns in private hands been used to violate civil rights, but killing or wounding or intimidating? YES.

        So, guns in themselves apparently do NOT always protect freedom. But, apparently sometimes guns are used to violate freedom. What do we do in society to balance the many different freedoms we respect in society?

        About Jesus: there is absolutely no way to show from Scriptures, from stories of the life of Jesus, from the lives of those respected among Saints, and from long-established Christian teachings, that Jesus will return in glory WITH GUNS, or that Jesus authorized his followers to ‘go into all the world WITH GUNS’, etc.

        So, as we know, many Christians over history have constructed syncretistic belief systems – that is, forms of idolatry that conform to idolatries in their society – such as ‘kings, oligarchs, and overlords are better people than the proletariat’,’Whites are better than the Blacks’, ‘killing native populations is what God wants’, etc … many Americans have idolatrously included guns and violence in their Christian belief systems.

        It is profoundly disturbing that congregations, churches, and prayer groups are not seriously studying, discussing, and praying about guns and Jesus. WWJD?

        • Raconteur Duck

          You ignore that gun accidents are at an all time low and falling while gun ownership has greatly increased: CDC WISQARS data.

          • nohyphenamerican

            What he really ignores is the fact that most people don’t care about his lawyerly twisting of facts to suit his point of view. He has his mind made up and is just blowing hot air to cover the simple fact that he doesn’t like guns and is probably scared of guns. Not to mention fearful of people who are proficient with their use. There are over 20,000 gun laws on the books. Enforce the ones that are already there. Murderers will STILL murder, the suicidal will STILL commit suicide, regardless of the tool they have to use. Make gun safety courses MANDATORY, like Driver’s Ed, to reduce accidental shootings. None of the simple, common sense solutions will satisfy people like Edward, though.

          • Edward N Virginia

            PARDON, but my understanding is VERY simple.

            If you have a right to own guns, you also have responsibilities with ownership.

            Please list your responsibilities?

            For example with car: we know that responsibilities include
            – be legal age to drive
            – be properly trained to drive as evidenced by objective tests, including a long written test (that many fail), a criminal check, a vision test, and in some cases an actual driving test.

            [ So, why shouldn’t gun ownership require many objective tests?]
            – have insurance, because use/abuse of cars can cause great harms to persons and property
            [ So, why shouldn’t gun ownership require insurance?]
            – acquire a license
            – renew the license at frequent intervals
            [ So, why shouldn’t gun ownership require frequent re-newal?]
            – the car itself require a legal title and legal registration that must be updated, renewed, and transferred legallly

            [ So, why shouldn’t the guns per se require legal titles and legal registration? ]
            – there is a published legal rules of driving in Virginia that you must obey; its in one handy booklet at VDOT

            [ So, where are the published legal rules of gun ownership that may be obeyed? and where is the one handy booklet so that we all can know the rules and laws?]


          • nohyphenamerican

            The Bill of Rights affirms your right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Equate that to driving and get back to me.

          • Edward N Virginia

            The Bill of Rights affirms governmental non-interference in religion and non-establishment of religion: so why do people make laws and try to make laws that they call ‘Judeo-Christian’? Including marriage laws restricting marriage equality based on particular Christian sectarian beliefs? And why did majorities, in 30 states, affirm laws in states prohibiting marriage equality?

          • GreginCleveland

            the right to self-preservation is beyond the reach of gov. To
            regulate the ability to keep ones self alive when attacked lowers a
            right to a privilege. No one has the authority to decide whether you
            live or die from the ivory tower they sit in when the only real
            power they have is to represent you, looking out for your best
            interests and staying alive is high on the list.

          • Edward N Virginia

            BUT you ignore that in Virginia suicide is at an all time high. Likelihood of suicide is THREE TIMES the likelihood of homicide. GUNS ARE INVOLVED WITH HALF OF MORE of Virginia suicides.

          • Raconteur Duck

            From 2000 to 2010 suicides went from 768 to 966 ( all causes). The suicide rate increased 0.8%
            From 2000 to 2010 suicide with firearm: 484 to 576. A rate/1000 decrease of 4%.
            Again with the obfuscations, Ed.
            Why are you not advocating for better mental healthcare, as VCDL and the NRA are?

          • Edward N Virginia

            Report shows Va. suicides at 13-year high in ’11
            Posted: Thursday, July 25, 2013 6:17 pm
            | Updated: 7:23 pm, Thu Jul 25, 2013.
            Associated Press |
            RICHMOND, Va. (AP) – Suicides in Virginia were at a 13-year high
            in 2011, according to a report from the state medical examiner’s office.
            Virginians are three times more likely to die from suicide than
            homicide, according to the report on the most recent data available.
            Older, white males were the most likely to kill themselves.
            The medical examiner’s office said unemployment,
            relationship problems and lack of access to mental health resources all
            contribute to rising numbers. The data is used to update Virginia’s
            suicide prevention efforts.
            The report comes as police investigate two bizarre incidents they believe may have been suicides.
            Virginia State Police say they believe suicide
            was a factor in a small plane crash in Spotsylvania County on Monday
            that killed the pilot, 22-year-old Edwin G. Hassel of Fredericksburg.
            Spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the single-engine Cessna 172M was flying
            near Shannon Airport when it descended rapidly and crashed. The plane
            then caught fire.
            Spotsylvania Sheriff’s Capt. Jeff Pearce said
            that shortly before the crash, dispatchers received calls about someone
            threatening suicide.
            Richmond authorities are investigating whether
            suicide was the motive for the driver of a car that sped into the James
            River on Tuesday. Twenty-seven-year-old Barry L. Scott’s car was pulled
            from the river on Wednesday. Witnesses told police the driver made no
            attempt to hit the vehicle’s brakes before it launched into the James.

          • Raconteur Duck

            Ed you ignore the DECREASE in the homicide rate for the last 20 years to get that 3X number. The suicide rate is conveniently rounded up to get the 3X. More suicides? Sure, but the rate increased 0.8 not 3X!

          • GreginCleveland

            of a mind to end there lives do so in what ever manor is easiest for
            them. The rates do not drop by how hard it is to access a gun, the
            person with find another method, knife, drugs, cliff, bridge, or a
            lake to drowned in. Are we to ban bridges to prevent suicide: you are
            confusing inanimate objects with a mental condition that may or may
            not be treatable.

        • BenjiMac


          First, I am not the least bit concerned with “gun suicide” or “gun murders” or “gun violence” of any kind.
          These are all distortions from people who possibly should be, but by use of the terms obviously are not, concerned with “suicide” or “murder” or “violence” in general. The problems are these criminal actions, not the particular tool they happen to use. Those who limit their concerns to guns really just hate guns, and mention the particular problems (sans those where guns are absent) only in attempt to eliminate guns regardless their actual effect on society.

          It is not necessary for a criminal to have a gun to commit a crime. The criminal only needs to select weaker victims and a time when help is not available. When good citizens, or for that matter criminals who are not committing a violent crime at the moment, have guns, then violent crime including robbery becomes more dangerous for the criminals. In the experience of most states that have changed the law to be more encouraging toward citizen carry, crime decreases. The decrease might not be provably the result of the law change in each case, but clearly is not a crime increase.

          I am not concerned with Japanese suicides, because they are the problem of Japanese society and realistically I don’t know any Japanese and cannot do anything about them. I am concerned with American suicides. I personally know, more or less, 4 people who killed themselves; this being over a period of more than 6 decades. One was a friend of my parents; one a neighbor that I had a total of maybe 2 conversations; one an associate in Toastmasters; and one the son of a man I worked with afterwards. Three of these were women, and two of the four used guns. As far as I know, none of the four had a fatal illness or any other life problem that could not have been solved. I only mentioned the Japanese to illustrate that effectively eliminating “gun suicides” from society by eliminating nearly all guns, would not solve the problem of suicide, only result in a larger number choosing other tools. I do not know what would solve the problem.

          Slavery: I formerly lived in Hopewell, Virginia. There was an incident in that city, long before my time there, in which armed white townspeople were angry over a rape and murdered several black residents, at least most of which were obviously not guilty of that crime. There was a similar incident in Carolina, but the number of black deaths was reduced to only one because one of the black residents had a gun and actively defended the neighborhood. A mob does not need a gun to kill people, but a gun is sure handy for defense against a mob.

          Most men are stronger than most women. Most battered women are not shot, just beaten. The presence of a gun (or lack thereof) is usually irrelevant.

          I repeat – in general, crimes and violence of all types do not require guns (or other weapons) except in the case of government enslavement of the civilian population; but in every case guns can be used as effective defense. Guns are not freedom in themselves, but can be effective in defending all the other freedoms, including freedom from crime.

          Jesus and his disciples did not support crime. Jesus did not raise an army, 2000 years ago. But when Jesus went to the garden to pray with his disciples on his last night of human freedom, he did invite them to bring swords, which were the equivalent at the time of today’s handguns. I believe these swords were the reason the others were not arrested along with Jesus. And when Jesus destroys the armies of the world and establishes His kingdom, it might not be by use of guns as we know them, but will be by raw force of some kind. If we want to study the Bible, we find God has been directing angels and men using weapons at least since the flaming sword preventing re-entrance to the Garden at the end of Genesis 3. But again, guns are a tool; the subject of prayer is not particular tools in myopic manner, but rather what we should be doing as our goals, after which related tools can be considered.

    • perianfersure

      Surely we can all agree that superstition has no place here. Obviously I don’t mean you!

  • Ian Davidson

    I was optimistic about this article when I saw it on the stand. In today’s post-modern world, it seems even many self-ascribed “angry leftists” are tired of the endless circle-jerk of partisan debate. I was wrong. It seems the catharsis an “angry” person rewards his/herself with is too much of a temptation.

    Mr. Beard goes out of his way to reinforce the false dichotomy of left vs right politics that destroys any potential for meaningful dialog. In this article he appeals to the two sided nature of the gun debate, and goes to great lengths to solidify this dichotomy and his side of it throughout — the only side that actually cares about children and gunshot victims, as he’d have you believe.

    Since Mr. Beard couldn’t even bother himself to Google “limp wristing”, allow me to explain that it is a common term in usage, and one of importance to the operation of any blowback action firearm — basically every semi-auto handgun around. As is usual in political dialectics, the author’s sanctimonious attitude did him no favors. “a joke”, indeed. Along the same line of factual inaccuracy, it is not legal to open carry while consuming an alcoholic beverage — that’s absurd. To be fair to Mr. Beard, he’s right about most of those statistics. America has more gun deaths per capita than any other “developed” nation. But can you show me another developed nation that has the culture to support the careers of people like Curtis James Jackson III, or any of the hollywood actors who’ve made millions from sensationalizing firearms and their use? Our nation has cultural problem that will not be solved by any amount of prohibition. (An obvious nod to other issues.)

    Early in the article he asks the question: “Do they … [incidious appeals to the aforementioned dichotomy]… at the very least understand why … some people might want to ban guns like the AR-15?” I do, and it’s hard to respect. It’s an emotional reaction to a heart-wrenching event. To conflate this emotion as a political position worthy of respect is deplorable. Our society and the poor folks who have lost their lives to the actions of others deserve more than this knee jerk reaction. How pathatic must we be to merely react to an event and pretend we’ve done its victims justice.

    The popularity and perception of wisdom in appeals to moderation will be the downfall of our representative democracy. I find it amazing how many people think we’re going to compromise our way to utopia. Columbine happens and it’s “time to compromise”; the Aurora Theater shooting happens; and it’s “time to compromise”; Sandy Hook happens and it’s “time to compromise”. This is a slippery slope, and I can not thank Mr. Beard enough for pointing out that this is not how we debate our rights — or Mr. Beard for having the integrity to actually include that part of the conversation in his mob appeasing political hit-piece. I suppose Mr. Trojan gave Mr. Beard enough other fodder for aforementioned false dichotomy he intended to support in this article.

    As Sam Harris said, “I understand the ethical importance of guns and cannot honestly wish for a world without them. I suspect that sentiment will shock many readers. Wouldn’t any decent person wish for a world without guns? In my view, only someone who doesn’t understand violence could wish for such a world. A world without guns is one in which the most aggressive men can do more or less anything they want.”

    The fact that people go so far as to not just be unwilling to accept the ethical duty of self-defense, but even *mock* it and the people who do concerns me greatly. The anti-gun plight is as conveniently unfalsifiable and inarticulate as most boiler plate political opinions. No one needs a gun until they do, and at that point it’s too late and they’re probably not going to be around to let the experience inform their views.

    I’m a young, married, irreligious, homeowner, who voted for Barack Obama twice, but I’m sure that won’t stop the most stalwart of “angry leftists” from finding a way to pigeon-hole me as someone they can dismiss outright.

    Mr. Beard, would you like to interview someone who can’t easily be shoehorned into these convenient, yet discussion-ending stereotypes? Shoot me an email. :-þ

    • Raconteur Duck

      Actually in Virginia, it is legal to drink if you are open carrying. It is not if you are concealed carrying. I know, it doesn’t make sense, but we are working on it. It is most definitely against the law to be “under the influence” and carry any gun, in any mode.

      • Edward N Virginia

        WHO is working on it? Is VCDL, and NRA, working to make that law reasonable? Weren’t they behind the law to start with?

        • Raconteur Duck

          NRA-ILA? HA! They have no idea of the laws & politics in VA and screwed the pooch more than once. Leave them to the national lobbying and DC playground.
          VCDL was instrumental in getting the “shall issue” CHP law in place. The CHP law should be the same for all Virginians. LEO and Commonwealth Attorneys can CCW and drink. It should be equal across the board, one way or the other.

  • Edward N Virginia

    I propose three possible avenues for trying to find, all together, what Mr Beard describes as ‘middle ground’ –

    a. what we know from the experience of public health/public safety

    b. what the US Supreme Court has actually defined as the Second Amendment (2A) right

    c. what our human heritage – through faith communities – tell us

    I end by calling it ‘common ground’, which I could mean literally as ‘being in the same place with others confronted by a common problem(s) to solve together’.

    I do not mean what you critique: “appeals to moderation … to compromise our way to utopia”. That is obviously worth critiquing.

    But as a homeowner, as a married person, as a community member (if not a religious community, as you say, some community), … and presumably as a worker as some sort of workplace … haven’t you had to work with others to find common ground: ‘being in the same place with others confronted by a common problem(s) to solve together’?

    Should residents of the same town, or city, or county, … or the same neighborhood, or same bowling team, etc … be willing to try to achieve that on issues as important as gun violence?

    • Raconteur Duck

      a.” what we know from the experience of public health/public safety”

      totally ignores the benefits of defensive gun use. Until DGU is HONESTLY addressed in “public health/public safety”, the discussion is just mental masturbation.
      b.” what the US Supreme Court has actually defined as the Second Amendment (2A) right” This may be a starting point but the Supreme Court has yet to actually finish defining the second amendment or even get close to it. There are many cases currently in the system, including the states’ courts, that will greatly affect the Supreme Court decisions.
      c. “what our human heritage – through faith communities – tell us”. I am wary of this one. Much evil has been done in the name of religion, by the best meaning and most religious.

      Common ground should not include giving up personal liberty for a little temporary safety.

      I find it risible that the anti-gun crowd always asks for compromise from the gun owners. If we compromise (give up) some of our right of armed self defense, what does the anti-gun crowd compromise (give up)?

      • Edward N Virginia

        CLEARLY, I have not said anything about gun control. In fact, I see little reason to restrict the number of guns you buy, just like I see little reason to restrict what pornography you buy. Owning both guns and pornography are protected by the Constitution.

        • Raconteur Duck

          You don’t need to say anything about gun control. It is what you propose with your comments here and elsewhere.. You try obfuscation with your statements: “…I see little reason to restrict the number of guns you buy…” Number? What of type, caliber, ammo in magazines, etc? We see you snake oil salesmen all the time. You fool no one..

  • nunya

    You lost me at “pink gun” and “Prius.”

  • Liz

    First of all, I am extreamly curious as to which FFL is a fudd. I’ve got a few guesses, and those folks won’t be getting my business anymore.

    As to the bit about the general census showing a decrease in gun ownership, I also doubt the numbers. Gun shops around the country report an increase in new gun owners and the NRA membership continues to rise. Considering that most gun owners I know lied on the form and the overwelming paranoia of the RKBA commuity, I’m betting the data collected on that question is seriously tainted.

    The thing with gun control is there is no middle ground. Gun control is mearly the lie. Guns are an all or nothing proposition and increasing the restrictions and bans does nothing but increase the black market. Look at the so called war on drugs. What makes you think a war on guns is going to work any better?
    People tell me these new proposed laws won’t require me to give up my guns. “Nobody is trying to take your guns away!” is something I’ve heard several times. The kicker is states like New York, Colorado and California have laws that would make over half of my collection illigal. I find it very hard to belive that I won’t be directly impacted by any new gun control law at the state or federal level.
    Instant background checks are fine, however, they still won’t prevent every crime. People like Lanza and the VT shooter don’t just wake up one morning and think “I’m going to go shoot people today.” They plan their crimes and will make the effort to get the materials they want. I’ve no doubt that any restrictions proposed or even those put in place as a knee jerk reaction to those crimes would have stopped them.
    Rare examples of violent people doing horrible things is not a reason to ban or restrict something.

    Eliminating private sale is something I fight. If the anti gun element wants to call me paranoid, go ahead. I don’t trust the lot of you or the federal government. As it stands the governmental entities in charge of backhround checks cannot retain the files. In the information age, it would take more then a signature on a peice of paper and a few clicks of a mouse to begin saving that data and create a defacto registry. History shows that registry leads to confiscation. I would rather not take the chance of history repeating and will continue to purchase through private sale occasionally. At least I’ll have something without a paper trail. Call me paranoid, I will admit that I am.

    I propose that instead of changing the laws, let’s change the culture. Mandatory gun safety classes in schools, a resurgance of shooting sports and a population of competent gun owners would do more towards ending tragic accidents then anything else. I’ve been shooting since I was 8 years old (and I never had a pink Cricket, I’m jelous 😉 ) and I’ve never had an accedential discharge. The reason isn’t due to me being special or super awesome, it’s because I was supervised and darn near indoctrinated with gun safety rules from the get go. Failing to clear a weapon, having my finger on the trigger without a target and pointing a firearm in an unsafe direction is something I just don’t do. It’s not rocket science, it’s just physcological conditioning.
    As a culture, let’s stop being afraid of an inainmate object. Cars kill more then guns, yet very few people are scared of their cars. Guns are only as dangerous as the person holding it, yet if you are willing to give that person a drivers license, then I think you have to trust them with a gun.

    • Edward N Virginia


      but you’ve distracted the reader with smoke and mirrors. SHAME!

      Correct, that the gun is an inanimate object that requires animating. Well, so is a car; and we don’t constrain how many cars you own. We constrain who can drive.

      SO, why wouldn’t we reasonably put different reasonable contraints on who can own a gun(s)? and who can handle a gun(s) owned by others? And, reasonably maintain reasonable constraints that sanction the right to own a gun(s) or handle a gun(s) when risk to public safety and public health are assessed?

      Correct, the gun is an inanimate object that requires animating. But the violence history, behavioral history, mental health history, substance use history, etc are all relevant to that question.

      You’re avoided that serious discussion with your smoke and mirrors. And, wow! you used the analogy to cars! THAT IS A VERY BAD analogy. WE PUT VERY MANY RESTRICTIONS on car drivers and take away the PRIVILEGE of driving in all sorts of ways! Are you seriously saying that gun owning RIGHTS are like car driving PRIVILEGES!? Wow! But, at least that does highlight that the problem is with the animator of the car, not the inanimate object of the car.

      What about those animators and their rights?

      We have supported that gun owners might own all the number of guns that they like, and reasonably own all the sorts of gun that they like. People crave guns for many reasons. Just like those who crave pornography, which is also protected by the Constitution. So, if we let people own as much porno as they like, we should let those who crave guns to own all the gun that they like. Some people may like to jerk’O with guns, just like some people do with porno. Some people compensate for their impotence and other failures with porno, and so do some gun owners. Own as many as you like. Spend all your money. Even to the point of neglecting work and family, etc. We’re sure that many gun owners do that, just like porno owners. Some porno owners get into freakish fantasies or violence, power, and perversions with their porno; and we’re definitely sure that many gun owners do. But, just as porno owners want to own all the porno that they like – protected by the Constitution – so gun owners want to own all the guns that they like – protected by the Constitution.

      But, ya know, the analogy tells us something else. SOME pornography is NOT legal, because we know it is ESPECIALLY ASSOCIATED WITH THE VIOLENT HARM OF OTHERS: child pornography, snuff pornography, etc. You are not even allowed TO OWN that sort of porno.

      So: what gun(s) would you say are so associated with violent harm of others that even the Constitution would not protect owning them?

      And, don’t forget to answer about constraints on the animator, above, since you neglected that earlier with the smoke and mirrors around ‘gun don’t kill, people do’ … yeah THOSE ANIMATORS OF GUNS do! So, what should be the constraints on the ANIMATORS?!


      • BenjiMac

        Should guns be treated like cars? Basically, they are, only much more restrictive.

        1. You can legally buy any kind of car ever made. But nobody can legally buy a gun larger than .50 caliber, or a machine gun that was made since the manufacturing prohibition, and even those made earlier require strict background checks and registration. This gun restriction (not owner restriction) is already at least equivalent to your porno example.

        2. We require mufflers on cars. We prohibit mufflers on guns, or at least require strict background checks and registration for them. The same gun mufflers are encouraged on guns in Europe to avoid bothering the neighbors.

        3. If you get drunk and drive your car and kill someone, and serve a jail sentence as a result, then when you get out you will again be allowed to drive your car (sooner or later), but will be prohibited from buying a gun. Same if you commit a drug crime, although the drugs are banned as items both before and after regardless of owner. In other words, the prohibition against the constitutionally protected “right” to gun ownership and handling for certain people, is much more strict than that against the “privilege” of highway driving. Although I believe that highway driving, the right to move from place to place on public access ways in the ways they were intended to be used, is indeed one of the highest rights and is treated correctly in law. The Declaration’s “right” to the “pursuit of happiness” in certain ways is completely ignored by the government.

        4. Abuse of otherwise legally owned guns, whether to commit a crime or simply in a manner hazardous to your neighbor, is already illegal, same as recreational drug abuse or abuse of a vehicle by driving recklessly or while impaired.

        5. There are no legal restrictions against owning chain saws.

        You want restrictions on certain guns, and on certain people from owning those that remain? We already have those laws, at least equivalent to other dangerous items and I believe excessively so.

        Roughly 4 million people die in the USA every year from all causes. The number of these involving guns is a small percentage, and most of these are criminals killing other criminals. I am willing to take my small chance of being killed with a gun, giving my unavoidable certainty of death anyway, in return for a chance to use a gun to defend myself against common and government criminals.

        • Edward N Virginia

          PARDON, but

          you are IN-correct regarding the volume of homicide vs. suicide. BY FAR MOST gun deaths in the US are from gun suicide, NOT homicide.


          I have never said that I “want restrictions on certain guns”. In fact, rather the opposite: I have said that I can find no clear reasons that gun owners and gun hobbyists should not own any manner of otherwise legal guns, in their own homes, properly maintained which may include locking, with their own money. Owning all manner of guns can be a hobby or a fetish just as some people like to own all manner of pornography. If a person wants freedom to spend lots of money, time, and attention to all manner of guns, that does not appear to be different from the freedom of a person who wants to spend lots of money, time, and attention to all manner of pornography.

          NOW, about the analogy to car, you failed to respond to another obvious parallel: Cars are objects that animators may use or abuse to cause destruction of life or property. Guns are objects that animators may use or abuse to cause destruction of life or property. Car owners/drivers require insurance. Should gun owners/users require insurance?

          Thank you.

          • John S

            I own several cars that have no registration or insurance and I drive them regularly on private property. Same for my guns. So my answer is NO, guns owners/users do not have to have insurance.

      • Raconteur Duck

        Pardon, back at you.
        You criticize for using an analogy with cars, then turn around and use one with porno and claim that gun owning is a fetish? You seem to have some problems that may need professional help.

        • Edward N Virginia

          PARDON, BUT

          I was complimenting you on the car/driver analogy. I’ve used it to ask you in return: what about this:

          cars are objects, that activators may use/abuse to harm or causing harm to persons and property; and the harms may be great; so, we require them to have insurance


          guns are objects, that activators may use/abuse (including, like car drivers, allowing others not the owner to use/abuse the gun) to harm or causing harm; why not require gun owners to have insurance?

          AND, since we are discussing Constitutional rights, the pornography analogy is actually nearly perfect (which, actually your resistance to the analogy proves! since some people really hate guns, like some people really hate pornography, and they don’t understand why someone would love guns, or love pornography)

          • Raconteur Duck

            No, your objective to insult gun owners is clear enough and the porno / gun analogy is just BS.

          • GreginCleveland

            In the end there are lots of regulations on guns, gun owners and the miss use of them just as with cars. The gov can go as far as to prevent ownership to those who are a threat to society and should do no more than that in respect to our rights.

  • Paul H

    I’m still trying to figue out how come all those guns, in the hands of mentally ill psychopaths as well as in the hands of the unthinking or careless, did not shoot anybody before someone picked them up. 5-gallon plastic pails and bathtubs seem to be more dangerous, as they kill without anybody needing to pick them up and use them in some way, but I have not heatrd any calls for “reasonable restrictions” or mandatory training/proof of proficiency before someone is allowed to use them.
    Alcoholics and drug addicts are blamed for their dependency, as opposed to claiming the drug jumped out and forced it to ingest the chemicals. Impaired drivers are blamed for deaths caused by the improper use of motor vehicles, as opposed to blaming those evil SUVs and Prii for starting themselves and plowing into families and school buses.
    I’m not a cop and have not been in te Armed Forces for over 40 years. I’ve carried a firearm almost every day of those 40+ years and nobody has been shot by my firearm – are they defective? Do I need to get them repaired?

    Firearms are the only inanimate object that seems to be capable of causing mayhem and death all by themselves.

    • Edward N Virginia


      but you’ve not even answered your OWN QUESTION. What are you avoiding the obvious answer to your question?

      The analogy about cars and car drivers, to guns and gun owners, presents an obvious answer: anyone owning a gun must be licensed, and the gun must be registered and titled and insured.

      Why shouldn’t we require all of these on gun ownership?

      REGISTRATION – which must BE RENEWED! (not a one time deal).

      A TITLE for and on the gun – which MUST BE LEGALLY TRANSFERRED WITH ANY TRANSFER OF THE GUN! and marked on the gun so that anytime the gun is found (left in the park, at the scene of a crime, etc) we know where it came from.

      INSURANCE, in case someone not owning the gun uses it, or if the owner ab-uses the gun, so that those who are injured, those whose property is damaged, and the family of those killed can seek a claim!

      You brought up the car thing. So, what about that?!


      • perianfersure

        These things are not required with regard to automobiles, except under certain circumstances. This was already mentioned earlier in the discussion…

  • Dan

    It offends me when you say “my second amendment rights supersede your kids right not to be shot” look at chicogo where the tightest gun laws hav led to the highest murder rate. Look at how media glorification promotes mass shootings. Look at how “gun free zones” attract mass shootings.

    • Edward N Virginia

      The comparison is:

      HOW SHOULD 2A rights for a private person to own gun(s) to protect self, protect home, hunt for food, shoot for recreation be understood with OTHER RIGHTS?

      IN Virginia, legislators have given away MANY PRIVILEGES to gun owners and gun hobbyists that ARE NOT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS. THEY ARE PRIVILEGES, such as carrying a gun out in the open while drinking alcohol. Gun advocates call that a RIGHT, but it IS NOT a Constitutional right. Rather a PRIVILEGE GIVEN AWAY by the Virginia legislature.

      Question: why should all the rest of Virginia residents, and taxpayers, PAY FOR PRIVILEGES given away to special groups?
      There are many costs associated with giving away these privileges. For example, the burden of additional security on the business, and impairing the enjoyment of business patrons and possible patrons. For example the extra costs of security, taking action, and liability, in places serving alcohol (insurance MUST RISE is risks rise; that is what insurance does). And, if costs and burdens rise, these are passed on to consumers. And, this is just one example.

      So, why should that be?

      • Raconteur Duck

        Open carrying and drinking has NEVER been against the law. How is it a “granted privilege”? Open carry has never been against the law; how is it a “granted privilege”?
        Self defense is a right, not a privilege and certainly not dependent on your definition of rights and privileges.

  • Lone_Wolfe

    For all the talk about children shooting each other, where are the parents? Why aren’t they teaching their children what to do, and more importantly, what NOT to do with guns? 50 years ago children owned and carried guns around, and didn’t shoot each other like they do today. Why? Because parents took the time to raise their children and teach them. Not so much like today, where they just leave the parenting to schools, police, neighbors, the ‘village’. Parents, gun-proof your children so tragedies don’t happen,

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