Michael Olenick: The Lesson of Newtown – Time to Charge for the True Cost of Gun Ownership

Yves here. The headline of an article at NBC says it all: Small-Bore? President Obama’s Actions on Guns Make Marginal Changes. Michael Olenick proposed a more effective approach…of a type that curiously has been absent from proposals on how to curb gun ownership.

This post first ran on December 17, 2012

By Michael Olenick, a regular contributor on Naked Capitalism. You can follow him on Twitter at @michael_olenick

Twenty children the same age as my daughter and her friends, plus another six adults trying to protect them, lie dead, murdered by guns. Adding insult to injury the families and community the guns destroyed will now – just like every other gun rampage – be handed a price tag.

I understand that a deranged murderer pulled the trigger, and that he could have theoretically gone on a killing rampage with knives, but it is hard to believe so many could or would have been dead before the police arrived. Guns killed these people.

Rather than parsing the Second Amendment one more time there is an easier approach, one typically favored by conservative gun owners for other public policy issues: end cost-shifting. Force those who chose to own guns to bear the full cost of the mayhem their hobby unleashes. Ending the gun subsidies will eventually end the gun violence.

Families of the victims should be compensated from a fund owned by a tax on guns and ammunition, as should the cost of all gun-related law enforcement for this and every other gun related crime. When guns leave a victim disabled the fund should pay for their care for life. When that victim leaves a family with less income, or no income, the fund should pay. When neighborhoods are besieged by gun violence the gun fund will pay for enough police protection to stabilize the area. Every cost of gun violence should be shifted back to those who choose to participate in the gun economy.

Gun owners have displaced the massive cost of their hobby – and, no, guns are virtually never used for legitimate self-defense – to everybody else. It is time for this subsidy to end.

Gun owners should pay taxes when a gun is sold, no matter where it is sold, then another for ongoing registration fees, and yet another for ammunition. Failure to pay the tax – or to show tax stamps that a weapon is up-to-date on tax payments – would result in the tax plus steep penalties. Guns could be turned in for fair market value, paid for by the gun fund, and of course those that don’t pay the tax would have all their weapons, including the ones paid for, immediately seized for past-due gun tax.

This solution does not violate the Second Amendment: people are still free to own all the guns they want; they just have to pay full freight for the cost of guns to society. There’s an easy opt-out method for those who cannot pay: turn in one’s guns – for their one-way trip to the smelter – and the gun fund will even deliver up some money, no questions asked.

Many guns are illegally traded but by allowing law enforcement to demand up-to-date tax stamps these can be quickly seized. Further, by requiring the steep tax be paid when a gun is sold, no matter where it is sold, gun runners have a strong disincentive to buy them in bulk at trade shows from states with lax gun control laws because they’ll be too expensive.

As the number of gun and ammunition sales dwindles fewer gun owners will be responsible for the enormous cost of gun ownership, which some estimates put at $100 billion yearly: let’s end the free-ride for gun-owners. This will drive up the tax for the remainder and launch a virtuous cycle of ever fewer gun and ammunition sales.

Right-wing politicians seem to have equal zeal for taxation based on use and against cost-shifting, so it will be interesting to hear them defend why non gun owners should subsidize the massive cost of widespread gun ownership. I can’t wait to hear the Tea Baggers explain why the cost of open gun ownership should be externalized to the families of the slain children, those who survived, and all the other terrorized first graders, teachers, and parents in the country.

I realize that to many people their guns are precious. Guess what: I think my first-grade daughter is precious too. I think her friends are also precious, as are all the little kids killed that look just like them. I know it’s brazen but I’m even willing to say our kids are a hell of a lot more precious than your guns.

As for your delusional fantasies, they’re just that, whereas our nightmares are very real. No, the United Nations is not going to take over the United States; that simply will not happen. But, yes, there is a chance that your first-grader can be murdered in school by guns: that is a genuine possibility. No, those two narratives do not “compete” – one is based on genuine fear, the other is utter bullshit.

If Nancy Lanza had to pay $50/bullet and $10,000 per year per gun it’s safe to say twenty children and six adults, plus Nancy herself – even her rampaging son – would be alive today. Families would be wrapping presents for their kids, not the bullet-ridden bodies of those same kids. Nancy Lanza was apparently a suburban survivalist and maybe I am too, advocating that we survive by finally neutering paranoid gun enthusiasts.

We can’t effectively outlaw guns for both legal and political reasons, but we can force gun owners to pay for the carnage they collectively cause society. This solution would quickly result in the seizure and destruction of a massive amount of firearms. Even opening the debate, in an economic rather than legal or political context, might have the same effect as throwing cold water on a stumbling drunk.

I do not believe the right to own guns trumps the right of children to grow up, and I’m sick of subsidizing those who do. We can’t legally or pragmatically pry the guns out of their hands, but we can definitely pry the money out of their pockets to ensure they pay the full cost of their carnage. No need to take their guns: it’s easier to take their paychecks and trucks until they turn the guns over.

Unless a copycat decides to take out her own first grade class my daughter will eventually grow up, and maybe have a daughter of her own. When she drops her daughter off at school she should know for certain that the last sound of the day will be a school bell, not a gun blast.

Like every parent I mourn for the children, for those who lost their children, those whose children who survived physically but are likely to be emotionally scarred for life, and the premature loss of innocence for first graders.

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  1. amateur socialist

    You left out an important mechanism, one generally preferred in this country because markets. Mandatory Minimum Liability Insurance. Or a cash bond for those who can afford it.

    1. Michael Olenick

      Yes, that would also work; mandatory insurance is an alternative approach to end cost shifting. The only problem I see with liability insurance is that the carnage left behind is so expensive that the policies would have to be enormous to be effective. Steep enough to pay not only for many counts of wrongful death but also for life-long debilitating injuries.

      1. Torsten

        A tax would also have to be steep if it were to pay the same bills. Numbers are hard to come buy, but with 50,000 gun deaths/significant injuries per year and some 15 million guns sold annually, a mean settlement/statutory minimum coverage of $2M works out to about $6000 per sale, before insurance “loss factors”.

        Sales would decrease so premiums would presumably go higher, but insurance companies would wind up only selling policies to people affluent enough to buy it, so the “market” just might “work”, at least for the insurance companies, which is all that the companies and their congress critters really care about..

        A considerable problem is that in either case–tax or insurance, the black market would burgeon. But even that may be an improvement since today, under the gun show loophole, there really isn’t any need for anyone to go to the black market to buy a gun.

  2. in agreement!

    take that thought a step further – require a policy be purchased for every individual gun BEFORE it can be bought. The policy must be shown at time of purchase. Once the big insurance companies are on the hook for compensation for injured parties they will surely do their due diligence to see who the purchaser is. Just think of what you have to go thru to get life insurance and multiply it by 10. That should slow things down without overly penalizing the people who own one shotgun to go duck hunting.

    1. shinola

      Um, if you have a homeowners or renters policy that includes liability coverage, you are already covered for damage or injury that you may cause accidentally with a firearm.
      The key word is “accidentally”.

      Deliberate harm is not covered – just as your vehicle insurance does not provide coverage if you were to deliberately ram another car.

      AFAIK, no underwriter would be stupid or insane enough to design a policy to cover deliberate harm caused by the insured.

      Well, on 2nd thought, maybe some of the guys that worked for AIG @10 yr. ago…

    2. Min

      Gun liability insurance? I love it! I do. But now a little joke.

      “We provide incident forgiveness.

      “And your premiums will never increase, no matter how many people you maim or kill.”

      “You even get a bonus if you shoot the Vice President in the face.”

  3. James Arnold

    Newtown was fake. No one died. Yet, your opinion about guns deserves respect. Maybe use another example?

    1. Dave

      Please tell me your joking. My twin niece and nephew were in another kindergarten class down the hall. Their teacher led them outside when the shots were first heard. They both lost friends. I often think about if they had been assigned to a different classroom.

    2. Stephen Gardner

      What? You think that massacre was just a hoax? I’m down here in the Lone Star State and even down here I haven’t heard that one. Maybe I just missed it I guess, it’s pretty hard to hear anything over din of the black helicopters. :-)

      1. two beers

        Oh, yeah, many freepers and zero hedgers claim Sandy Hook was a hoax. Basically, all (of the many) mass killings by white terrorists are commie zionist conspiracies to persecute white Christian patriots. Whenever news of a new mass killing hits, the enlightened freedom fighters on those sites immediately start blaming brown people. If it turns out (and it almost always does) to be a white killer, the story disappears from the website. Anything that doesn’t fit the narrative is swept under the rug.

      2. Plenue

        It’s a very popular conspiracy theory in certain particularly stupid corners of the internet. Newtown was fake and the parents paid actors, and the whole nefarious enterprise was conceived for the purposes of having an excuse to take away our guns. As evidenced by the fact that…they haven’t taken away our guns…oh…

        They’ll usually point to things like no crime scene photos of bodies being released, even though it’s normal for graphic imagery like that to not be made public. Authorities are understandably reluctant to give the media pictures of piles of dead children. Though maybe they should, both to shut up some of the conspiracy nutjobs and to vividly drive home what the gun insanity in this country is doing.

    3. alex morfesis

      The fakerstanis need to wake up and realize there is no csi department like on the boob tube…dont confuse the verbose and bombastic pronounciations by “detectives” as factual or conclusive…most crimes are solved by accident…

      and as for the sandy hook father with the nervous laughter that so many nt was fake folks hang their hat on…if you have not been around people who suddenly have bright lites thrust upon them for the first time you wont realize how common it is…go volunteer at your local community tv access network and you will see how often people react out of context with bright lites and a camera on…some people never get over the giggles when a camera is rolling in front of them…it is a common enough reaction…

      police and emergency crews are badly trained and fumble all the time…some public officials will say something because the “news” person insists they need to “go on the air now”…and then that ego with a badge is designated as “authoritative” by the net conspiracati
      that it begins to feed itself and any other ego with a badge is helping to “cover it up” instead of being judged just as stupid as the first clown who verbally farted for the lady with the microphone…

      There are plenty of things that are not as “presented” in this world…but nt is as it seems…

  4. Observer

    Last night Obama cried when speaking about gun crimes.

    One has to observe that most gun crimes are occurring in the middle east.

    Who is supplying the weapons that find their way to dictatorships and terrorists like ISIS?

    Who is responsible for Drone attacks on countless innocent families, especially children?

    Very sad indeed.

    1. Stephen Gardner

      Yeah, I have to wonder about the sincerity of any American president who cries about dead children. Does he seriously think that the weapons that the CIA is supplying covertly to “moderate” rebels in Syria magically miss children? Or that the American ordnance supplied to Sa’udi Arabia that rains death on Yemen doesn’t kill children? Yet my fellow Americans buy it as if it were real. How warped we are!

          1. Steven Cook

            One of Obama’s major accomplishments as president is his use vocal fry in every speech. You could call him the Vocal Fry President. That trademark vocal fry moment signifies extra double sincerity. He really really means it when he uses vocal fry. The liberals eat it up.

      1. Irrational

        But he was crying about ‘merican children, makes all the difference you know, because all the rest of us on this planet clearly are worthless. /sarc

      2. oh

        Our drones are designed and targeted to kill only the guilty. Such laser guided accuracy! If they kill children, they have to be terrorists.

  5. equote

    next on my ‘read’ list — Warrior Dreams: Violence and Manhood in Post Vietnam America
    by James William Gibson

    by Carl T. Bogus

    Don’t quote Bogus, you might get shot!

  6. fritter

    I understand that a deranged murderer pulled the trigger, and that he could have theoretically gone on a killing rampage with knives, but it is hard to believe so many could or would have been dead before the police arrived. Guns killed these people.

    Because children are so good in knife fights? An obvious reactionary article that doesn’t really add anything to the topic. A man in china poisoned a wedding party and 200 died. If you accept mass murderers will exist I’m not sure pushing them to more effective weapons is the right strategy.

    Like every parent I mourn for the children, for those who lost their children, those whose children who survived physically but are likely to be emotionally scarred for life, and the premature loss of innocence for first graders.

    As long as they stay children everyone cares. Kinda like how right-to-lifers will endorse the death penalty and certainly have no intention of taking care of the kids they supposedly care so much for. You care enough to give up something you have no use for, and you’re ok giving up everyone else’s too since you probably don’t know anyone who will be affected. That’s very brave and sacrificial of you.

    1. rusti

      If you accept mass murderers will exist I’m not sure pushing them to more effective weapons is the right strategy.

      Gun control has never really captured my imagination as a political issue because the debates usually descend directly into bumper-sticker material but I always wondered about this. Why are gun rampages relatively commonplace when there are other methods to cause carnage that are probably more destructive and easier to get away with? Maybe there’s some romantic appeal to the perpetrators? I think the perceptions people have about mass shooters are different than those of bombers like Kaczynski or McVeigh.

      1. russel1200

        Because they put the perps. all over TV, internet, newspaper, etc.

        We still don’t know who poisoned the Tylenol, and argue about the 911 Anthrax perp.

      2. Steven D.

        Packing cyanide pills that your going to slip into the punch bowl somehow doesn’t have the romantic appeal of packing iron and pumping hot lead into all those people that you think are oppressing you, like little kids, etc.

      3. Praedor

        Objective face is they are not relatively commonplace. Violent crime of ALL kinds is at a historic low. There are actually very few gun rampages, it is not something that is ticking up drastically and coming soon to a city near you.

        They are sensational, so the media really talks them up and politicians on both sides talk them up to make their own political points. Just as a single shoot-em-up by a couple of self-nutted-up jihadists in Cali has caused an inordinate amount of anxiety amongst the populace all over the country. The reality is it just isn’t a big, looming, expanding threat. That doesn’t make a nice, scary headline so go the other way and yammer it up to epic proportions.

        Finally, I don’t count gang shootings, criminal inter-shooting as part of the issue at all. I do not care if the bad guys are killing each other. I WANT them to take out their own trash. The more the merrier. My only issue with it is when they nail a bystander. THAT matters but not dead bad guys killed by other bad guys.

        Suicide also doesn’t count to me. You, me, all of us have an absolute right to end our life if we so desire and no one can FORCE you to live if you don’t want to. Sure, a number are silly suicides (broken heart, depressed) but other suicides are legit: terminating a life not worth living due to disease, pain, etc. I absolutely reserve the right to blow my own head off (if no other cleaner means is available) before I reach the state of my father at his death: weeks of agony due to terminal cancer, on the strongest pain meds available that ONLY served to make him nauseous, puke (which caused more pain), and shit or pee himself. THAT cleared my eyes 100%. I will keep my gun no matter what if for no other reason than so that when or if I ever get diagnosed with onset of Alzheimer’s, untreatable cancer, etc, then before I become bedridden or a root vegetable who cannot recall my own name or recognize my loved ones, then BAM! Off I go no matter what the prissy dictatorial religious-based nutsacks think (and try to enforce via law). Eat shit.

      4. two beers

        Why are gun rampages relatively commonplace when there are other methods to cause carnage that are probably more destructive and easier to get away with?

        Are you missing a s/ tag?

        It’s incredibly easy to get guns. How easy is it to get cyanide or make a bomb or fly a plane into a building?

        Having a gun doesn’t raise any eyebrows, and possession in itself isn’t a crime. Some explanation is required if one is caught with a bomb or vial of cyanide…

        1. rusti

          I have to confess that I’m in a lousy position to evaluate this because I don’t own a gun and know nothing about making bombs or poison, but Hollywood has taught me (an excellent source of information, of course) that fertilizer and household chemicals could be used if one were so inclined.

          1. two beers

            “Drink this. Now! Really, I mean it, drink this! Why won’t you drink this awful-tasting liquid? If you don’t drink this awful-tasting liquid, I’m gonna have to shoot you!”

            1. Skippy

              You don’t have to be – forced – to drink psychological environmental conditioning, your immersed in it.

              Skippy… so how did the decision to be born afflict you – ?????

              1. JTMcPhee

                Anyone remember Jonestown? If you didn’t drink the Kool-Aid ™ one of the “security” guys shot you…

                “Suicide is painless,
                It brings on many changes…”

  7. Will

    I could see such a tax on guns being reasonable, if we taxed all the contributing factors for mass-killings. What if we also taxed:

    a) hate speech against muslims, women, abortion clinics, liberals, etc on radio and other media outlets?
    b) lobbyists for and beneficiaries of any policy which leads to increased inequality, which means greater food insecurity, identity crises, marriage crises, housing loss, etc?
    c) corruption, which leads to the same as (c)
    d) the weapons industry, as mass killings and spreading fear seem to benefit them financially? This may also help change America’s war-driven foreign policy.

    A gun didn’t kill those people; it was a powerful tool. To say a gun killed those people dehumanizes the shooter. It denies the anger, hurt, and other feelings he probably suffered from for a long time before finally going on a rampage, and the social, financial, and political influences that lead him to feel that way.

    So sure, let’s tax all the contributing factors. If we start to list them out, we’ll see that gun ownership seems like low-hanging fruit (i.e. the most easily taxed or ended) rather than the dominant contributing factor many say it is.

          1. tim s

            Putting it in quotes seems to imply that you think there can be no such thing, and that one claiming such is full of it.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Perhaps other people say that a lot to you; if so, have you given consideration to asking yourself why?

              That said, any close reader of texts knows that quotes, as punctuation, are heavily overloaded: (a) direct quotation, (b) titles, (c) catchphrases, (d) irony, and probably some others I could think of. My intent was a combination of (a) and (c). Of course, on further Socratic dialog, we may arrive at (d). Life is full of surprises!

        1. Will

          I don’t know what you mean by responsible gun owner. I have always acted responsibly. Quotes are often used to show condescension as well, not just irony.

          A few points:
          – the guns issue seem like abortion, a way to keep non-oligarchs sniping in online fora with ambiguous punctuation to avoid vastly more important issues (i.e.I bet, if you include mass-impoverishment from its fraud and its war lobbying JPM kills more people than die from mass shootings in the US)
          – As a general rule, I always approve of decentralizing power. Please don’t read too much into that word; I’m not imagining a Bundy uprising of 5 armed people will stop the madness. Decentralizing power is just almost always better for a society.
          – In light of the massive amount of fraud/corruption issues + the resource overconsumption + ecological devastation + the social/governmental stability issues resulting from all + all the videos of war-torn hell holes and Detroit – which are covered intensively on this site – it seems reasonable to fear massive upheavals in the future more than the personal risk of being shot as we’ve read in the news.

      1. Praedor

        I am and I do. My guns are available all the time NOT because I’m paranoid or itching to start blowing people or things away, but for the same reason my hammers, saws, books, shoes, etc, are available all the time. No reason to go to special lengths to lock them away…unless I get visitors that include children. They are not just sitting around the house hither and yon, just in my bedroom (nightstand and closet). Why? Because the basement is damp and hard on metal equipment and it’s out of the way. But family or friends coming over including kids or teenagers? They go back into the back of my closet under a simple lock on their carry cases.

        There is ZERO chance of me blowing away a loved one. Not who I am. Ever. ZERO chance of me accidently shooting anyone (I’m military trained and know what I’m doing, NEVER EVER let the barrel point in the direction of anyone or anything when handling or cleaning them). Pass whatever laws ya’ll want. I’ll STILL have my couple guns and I’ll only get rid of them when I am too old and broken to handle/use them anymore. I enjoy shooting them, cleaning them, the way some people enjoy knitting, painting, dancing, bar hopping, etc. I wont force you to give up your hobby, you wont be able to ever stop me from enjoying mine.

        1. two beers

          If you don’t belong to the National Guard, you are violating the 2nd Amendment. Why do you hate the Founding Fathers? Are you so ungrateful to this country that have to spitefully violate the Constitution?

          1. Praedor

            Ah…but I DID. Full member of the US military (And you? No? Shuddup). Besides, the FINAL arbiter of what is or not constitutional is the SCOTUS. The SCOTUS has repeatedly and clearly ruled contrary to your premise…recently, in fact. Repeatedly.

        2. Legendary Bigfoot

          There is no nonzero chance that you will accidentally shoot someone who is not an evildoer. You may have organic brain disease, cancer, tumors, poison in your water from fracking/lead pipes, cognitive impairment from drugs or alcohol alone or in combination or utterly unrelated.

          Trained police woman just shot her daughter http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/breaking-news/os-mom-accidentally-shot-killed-daughter-20151230-story.html. Teenager just shot foster mom and sister http://www.adn.com/content/teen-boy-held-fatal-shooting-mother-and-daughter-south-anchorage.

          No good reason. Just came up, the gun was to hand, and all that practice and reflex and impulse carried through.

          1. Optimader

            There exists a finite chance of anything happening consistent w the laws of physics. That said, at the extreme, basing all social policy on the potential for abberant behaviour of mentally ill people is a slippery slope.
            There are legitimate reasons to own guns, the fact that we have a waaay over the top dysfunctional society is the root cause issue, inappropriate fetishization of guns is a symptom. As are incredible paranoia, ignorance and and glorification of the military-as-heroes syndrome.

            1. abynormal

              but dontchya feel that cold chill of change creep’n down your spine?…transfer weapon P&L onto the rampart dysfunction books or pile us all to the sky

              we’re toddlers…only a few hundred yrs ole
              (we’re certainly behaving like toddlers’)

              1. optimader

                For wiser men than me Aby.
                I do know that in Chicago possession of an illegal gun has traditionally been a tag and release offense.
                If there was a serious minimum sentencing requirement, all the nonviolent substance offenders would have to be kicked out of jail to make room for people to be incarcerated for weapons violations. And so any sweeping minimum sentencing requirements have their unintended consequences, otoh….

                Sadly, more than one innocent victim in Chicago would have been saved had the shooters been in jail due to minimum sentencing being in effect.

                One case, past two years, (that M. Obama popularized in the media) was a young lady in Chicago struck and killed at a bus stop by some ahole gangbanger that should have been off the street by virtue of recent illegal gun possession arrest.

                It’s a urban cancer primarily, and particularly in Chicago, one that preys in the poor neighborhoods If were being honest, the over the top insanity in urban America is not necessarily the same dynamic in, say Wyoming.

                Some people hunt for meat (its organic and affordable). if fact I have read hunting is on the rise with younger people, not as sport but as a alternative to buying otherwise expensive corporate meat products.
                Soo. I really don’t see the gun issues in Chicago/other urban hotspots being particularly relevant in Fargo and visa versa..

                What is the solution? beats me, but I do know when I visit my local public library and look at American movie DVD’s probably at least half have a cover photo with a bunch of people holding guns. Whats that say about Society?? Nothing flattering me thinks.


  8. Lambert Strether

    Since it seems to be fashionable to conflate guns (designed to kill) with cars (not so designed), I’ll just say that normal, idiomatic English includes “killed by cars,” which is directly comparable, logically and grammatically, to Olenick’s “murdered by guns.”

    If commenters would not straw man on this point, it would save the admins a great deal of time, in addition to improving the general tone of the thread. Thank you!

    1. fajensen

      In this instance it is relevant. We have mandatory 3-rd party liabilty insurance for cars. Why not have the same for gunz?

    2. Charles Toney

      But, kids killed in car wrecks are just as dead as those killed with guns.
      And who’s compensating their parents?

  9. Lambert Strether

    For the textualists and strict constructionists among us, I’ll point out that “the right to bear arms” doesn’t include the right to load those arms with ammunition. A radical (like Daniel Patrick Moynihan) might advocate banning all ammunition; but perhaps a market-based solution would be preferable. How about we price bullets higher the more mass shootings there are? That way, the responsible gun owners will be properly incentivized to use their considerable political prowess to help solve that problem.

    1. craazyboy

      Wall Street could come up with the Murder Index. Could even be a cap&trade derivative angle too – just to get the NRA on board with the program.

    2. Citizen Patriot

      Just like:

      “Freedom of speech” only means freedom to speak, but not choose the time?

      “Freedom of the press” means free to report, on state sanctioned topics?

      “Freedom of Religion” means your free to practice religion, but not choose which one?

        1. Citizen Patriot

          The “right to bear arms” is already vastly limited, and much more so than any of the enumerated rights.

          Please tell me which religious participants should be registered in order to exercise their rights?

          How much should newspapers and blogs be taxed to report on the illegal activities of the government?

          What medical data should we collect before individuals are allowed to speak in public?

          1. two beers

            The “right to bear arms” is already vastly limited,

            Why? Because you don’t exercise your “right” to own a nuke or a tank?

      1. John

        Actually, there are time place and manner restrictions on the freedom of speech allowed under court decisions.

        And there are exceptions to the 5th and 4th Amendments as well.

        But apparently, there can be none on the 2d Amendment, despite the clear language of the opening clauses. Such is the position of those who want our murderers and terrorists to be the best armed murderers and terrorists in the world.

    3. Praedor

      Little problem there. I can make my own ammo. Many owners can. Now right now MOST don’t go through the extra work of making everything, instead buying the pieces (loose bullets, loose casings, powder, etc) and putting them together.

      Also, while I don’t hunt, don’t WANT to hunt, don’t want to kill any wildlife, you cannot ban hunting and making it impossible or UBER expensive to get ammo would never fly because it would be a direct attack on hunters.

      Bernie Sanders is right in his nuance with regards to guns. It’s easy for a Shillary to address any and all gun restrictions, etc, because she is a full-on city girl who has never had to represent a lot of people dissimilar from her. Bernie comes from a fairly rural-ish state with a fairly strong hunting culture. Hunting calls for a rifle AND a handgun of some kind (the handgun is oft used to finish off a downed, suffering animal that hasn’t died outright). It is also used in self-defense in the wilderness(y) areas where hunting takes place…from dangerous wildlife. Now you can poo-poo that all you want but it doesn’t make it less factually true.

      Now, I’m rural. Me, my neighbors have guns. I hear them off and on all spring, summer, fall. SOMETIMES in the winter too. Do I panic and run inside and hide under my bed? No. No crime is being committed, no murders, no robberies. It’s someone out on their property shooting targets or actually hunting. I don’t like it much when my neighbor across the road does it much because it tends to scare my horses and dogs. I also dislike the fact that often times he’s just shooting whatever: robins, starlings, cowbirds, rabbits. An asshole. But I’m not terrified of him and his gun(s). He isn’t terrified of mine – mostly used at a shooting range, or RARELY, in my back 40 (with silencers) for reasons mentioned above: to avoid scaring my horses and dogs. My other neighbor sometimes goes out into his back 100 and shoots pistols at targets. No panicky screaming from anyone. Ho-hum. Point is, you live in the country and it is very very different from most of your experience. We grew up with/around guns. I got a boyscout merit badge in riflery when in my early teens. Our troop would go to one of our scoutmaster’s properties where he’d setup a safe shooting range and we’d learn in the ins and out of rifles and guns and safety. No one cried, no one panicked, no one shit their pants over, “OH MY GAWD!!! GUNSSSS!”

      Some people are deprived in childhood and don’t get to experience this.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Sorry, my father was a hunter and I grew up in small town America, and I don’t buy your argument. I am in favor of a refined version of Olenick’s proposal, such as proposed later in this thread, for much lower charges for guns used for special purposes (like hunting rifles) and automatic confiscation and big fines if they were used for other purposes or sold improperly.

        And you could clearly include provisions to confiscate and fine for home-made ammo which would be an obvious attempt to skirt the law.

    4. mdcscry

      Chris Rock
      “You don’t need no gun control, you know what you need? We need some bullet control. Men, we need to control the bullets, that’s right. I think all bullets should cost five thousand dollars… five thousand dollars per bullet… You know why? Cause if a bullet cost five thousand dollars there would be no more innocent bystanders.
      Yeah! Every time somebody get shut we’d say, ‘Damn, he must have done something … Shit, he’s got fifty thousand dollars worth of bullets in his ass.’
      And people would think before they killed somebody if a bullet cost five thousand dollars. ‘Man I would blow your fucking head off…if I could afford it.’ ‘I’m gonna get me another job, I’m going to start saving some money, and you’re a dead man. You’d better hope I can’t get no bullets on layaway.’
      So even if you get shot by a stray bullet, you wouldn’t have to go to no doctor to get it taken out. Whoever shot you would take their bullet back, like “I believe you got my property.”

  10. human

    There is no improving the tone of this thread, and its tone deaf lede, without an answer from the leader of the “free” world to the question, “Who have you killed today?”

      1. human

        Violence begets violence.

        The only peaceful way to return to a rule of law in our Top Down world is to appeal to the top. This is the dilemma of “our leader” as the tears he cried were likely real.

        “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” ~ JFK

          1. theinhibitor


            I think asking the rhetorical “do you consider yourself a responsible gun owner?” to every single post that disagrees with one or more points of this article does not improve the ‘tone’ of this thread. Also, the only posts that should be toned down are those overtly offensive. I have had many of my posts here deleted/redacted because my viewpoint was perhaps more conservative than you or whoever else moderated these boards.

            I also find it somewhat amusing how you speak of the clause structure of the 2nd amemendment “the right to bear arms” as perhaps being able to be taken as guns without ammo. As with all legal writing there is intent. The intent here is the right for citizens to bear weapons of somewhat destructive power.

            And why do you not harp on the article, that reads “Guns killed these people”, an absolutely incorrect statement. A somewhat psychotic and clearly deranged boy killed these people. The gun was his tool for killing people. You would probably have better results from diverting some of the budget from military spending towards education, with an emphasis on free counseling for trouble students.

            I don’t own a gun, and probably never will, but I was taken to a gun show a few weeks ago by my fiancé’s father. Walk into any gun show and you will realize that raising a tax wont do a single thing. I saw parts of guns, manuals for building guns, police issued rifles, handguns, pocket handguns, etc etc. The entire county loves guns. I saw 3 or 4 policeman talking to gun sellers, and trading guns. Do you think the police force will enforce the law across all 50 states? Of course not!

            Do you think that banning/taxing guns will help the violence? How would it? I can buy a gun without a license right now online!

            Once again, this solution is trying to treat a symptom of the problem, which in this case is getting rid of the gun owners WHO CANT AFFORD A TAX & ARE LAWFUL ENOUGH TO HAND IN THEIR WEAPONS.

            I will end my post by stating that, the number of people killed in mass shootings is far below the number of people killed in cars, by alcohol, drugs, etc. The percentage of people that find gun control the number one problem in this country is 2%. Government was 16%! Ethics/Corruption, Healthcare, Federal Debt, Unemployment, Racism, Education, Poverty were all ahead of gun control. And for good reason: the happier people are, the better the society. Gun control (1) isn’t a big issue (2) cant be reigned in (some 300 million firearms in America already, some estimate 30% of them are unlisted) (3) provides income to many rural towns in America (4) were always easily obtainable in America, and therefore, can’t be the causation of a recent spike in mass shootings.

            1. Lambert Strether

              Look, I’m not the one who invented the talking point “responsible gun owner.” And I didn’t introduce it; gun ownership defenders did on previous threads did (links on request), as did Clinton yesterday, in her appeal for a countervailing force to the NRA.

              So my Socratic-style question is “responsible for what?” And people seem to be rather touchy about that.

  11. Steven D.

    A transfer tax and an ammo tax make perfect sense. A maintenance fee, and especially the idea of using revenue stamps, create all kinds of unhelpful optics. Stamp Act? As proposed by amateur socialist, liability insurance should serve this function.

  12. cm

    How about we take a step back and look at what drugs the shooter was taking/had taken? For some reason, a dead shooter is entitled to medical privacy, so that their use of psychotropic drugs remains a secret. There is evidence that such drugs should not be given to males under 26.

    Is there a correlation between psychotropic drugs and mass shootings? Isn’t it time we started investigating?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I suggest you read Mark Ames’ Going Postal, which was a study of mass shooters before they became so widespread.

      He found the common denominator was having been bullied. There was a pretty remarkable absence of other common elements. For instance, the stereotype had been that the shooters came from broken homes, or were of substandard intelligence. Ames found no demographic pattern, including drug use/abuse, save that they were almost all male.

      1. Jeff N

        I just finished reading “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed” by Jon Ronson, lots of interesting tidbits about the huge effects of shame/humiliation on people.

  13. Katniss Everdeen

    Poor, pathetic america, a country that never met a “societal” problem that couldn’t be solved with a more onerous, bad-behavior tax or another insurance policy. Money is always the answer.

    So, we should “compensate” american gun-violence victims in the same nauseating way we “compensate” the families of the victims of our endless foreign adventures? Oh, we killed a father of five? Here’s $3000. Now go away and shut-up. You’ve been “compensated.”

    We could hire kenneth feinberg to “administer” the fund. He’s proven adept at calculating the difference in “worth” between the lives of a lowly janitor and a more “valuable” banker. Such depravity is what passes for a “solution” in hyper-financialized “modern” america.

    What you apparently fail to realize, Mr. Olenick, is that americans are numb to violence and death from guns or anything else. We play violent games, settle domestic and international scores violently, bring “democracy” to foreign countries through unspeakable violence, justify violence against our fellow humans as the will of a BENEVOLENT god, fer chrissakes. It’s what “we” DO. and always have done.

    It’s going to take a lot more than a tax or insurance policy to rectify this situation. Violence is in the american DNA.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Your remark is a straw man. Olenick isn’t proposing token compensation. He’s proposing charing for the full cost of the damage done by guns. And that cost is so high that charging it to gun owners would make a real difference in gun use. The cost of owning and using guns would rise a by at least an order of magnitude.

      And your last comment is also dead wrong. Do you sincerely think someone can do as much harm with a knife or a bludgeon as a gun? Seriously? Your claim that cutting down on access to guns by imposing the full cost of gun ownership on them would have no impact discredits you.

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        And how would “the full cost of the damage done by guns” be determined? What human deity would make that calculation?

        The “straw man” here is the suggestion that imposing some very “expensive,” impossible-to-determine financial penalty on a certain segment of the population, many of whom do not even view their behavior as problematic, will magically eliminate the gun violence you so abhor.

        Emotionally-charged, hyperbolic bluster about costs and charges and orders of magnitude and insurance policies (and bludgeons ???) that have no practical chance of implementation are just plain intellectually dishonest.

        At least have the courage of your convictions and advocate for what you really seem to want–complete prohibition of public gun-ownership anywhere, for any purpose, in this country. Because some people use them to inflict costs onto society.

        1. alex morfesis

          2nd amendment came about when it took 10 seconds at best to load and fire…what we have today as “arms” are not what the founding fathers were experiencing…duels were accepted…but realistically, most “shootings” are like most fist fights…not very choreographed…clumsy and never end up as people think…

          how many people were “saved” by a gun last year

          how many died because a gun was at hand

          police officers are more likely to be killed by killing themselves(while being stressed out by idiot politically motivated managers) than any risk of being killed by some mystery gunman/criminal/mental patient…

          most gun killings are amongst family or couples or former family or couples…most “gang” killings are against other “gang” members…

          and as to blu helmet types…last I checked, they usually pull up their skirts and run for cover the first sign of more than 10 people gathering…so I am not sure where this back woods notion of the capacity of the united nations “military” force to do anything more than march in a parade comes from…

          last I checked, no major military force in the last 70 years has been able to take and hold any stone age nation, let alone a modern country…it is a myth…men of the 303 nonsense…james bond, IM force nonsense…it has actually never worked…no evil has ever been able to take and hold anyone…humans need some form of carrot…the stick does not lead to productive slaves…

          lived through new york city in the wild wild west 1970’s with nary a scratch…what people call “dangerous” in new york today was a calm beautiful sunday back then…

          a nation of wimps…
          a gun in every pot will not keep you safe…
          even in the military, most soldiers have a hard time shooting people…

          1. Steven D.

            Most things in America come down to money. They didn’t get Capone for murder and rum running, for which he probably was liable for thousands of years of jail time. They got him for tax evasion and he died in prison of syphilis.

            Make owning and using a gun prohibitively expensive and most people will give it up. A ruined credit rating is more powerful than a prison sentence.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          It’s not hyperbolic emtionally charged bluster. If anyone was engaging in hyperbole and bluster, it’s you. And I have to add that you do that regularly. This is not the first time I’ve called you out on straw manning and unduly heated rhetoric, and there are other times I would have called you out but either another reader had already taken you on or the thread had gone cold. In other words, your remark is pure projection.

          There are already estimates on the external costs of gun use. Those can be refined.

          Insurers make the sort of computation you try to depict as impossible all the time. Our auto insurance regime is based on similar estimates of the external cost of car ownership, namely accidents. This is established methodology. It’s not rocket science. The difference is insurers also have other factors they consider in pricing insurance, like their investment returns and target profit margins, which are absent here, so it would be a simpler exercise.

        3. JustAnObserver

          You wrote: And how would “the full cost of the damage done by guns” be determined? What human deity would make that calculation?

          Answer: Deity not required since that’s what the insurance industry exists for … or, strictly speaking … what actuaries exist for.

          Anybody here at NC know one who might be tempted to make a stab at calculating the required premium ? Or maybe put the question to a Lloyds syndicate ?

          One outcome that is reasonably easy to predict is that AR15s & other magazine-fed semi-autos would be uninsureable.

  14. alex morfesis

    Insurance regulation…owners of large dog breeds are forced to pay an additional premium…if…they can even get coverage…yet insurance companies ? Knowingly ? Gloss over gun ownership questions…playing stupid…

    Dogs kill less than 50 people per year…guns…a few more than that…

    Random acts of violence against innocent people by gun fire is a rounding error…it hardly ever happens…it just seems common due to constant tv shows with guns being bandied about like cotton candy…

    Bullet tax…500 bux per bullet…and lobby insurance regulators about rates…pet owners are subsidizing gun owners…

    Dont own a gun and find gun ownership amusing…family had businesses in nyc in 1975-85 when you were not allowed to carry…and the police were nowhere to be found…had to learn to “deal” with potential for someone else having a gun or knife…speed, angles and a ruthless disposition when it comes to physical fear…

    most guns protect no one…and will not protect you in the real world…hollywood propz…

    And before you burp up some imaginary scenarios, have been to places police would not show up to in a tank…rec room at robert taylor homes…el roukins headquarter front door…coney island in the early 80’s…6th avenue in newark at the millinium…and all the “fun” places in tampa bay trying to get people to go back to rehab…biker gang camps & bars, and krak alley too…

    btdt and went back for a second tee-shirt

    1. Praedor

      Who the fuck has to pay insurance to own a good dog? I’ve owned and own all kinds of dogs my entire life and have never, WOULD never, pay insurance to do so. “Fuck off, hands off my dogs”, is what I would say to someone who tried to strip me of my dogs for failure to buy insurance (health insurance for my dogs is something that may be worth it but NOT some punitive insurance simply to own one because SOME people shit their pants at the sight of dogs). Or are you advocating FOR a “tax” in the form of insurance for people with dogs you are all a-feared of? Can’t quite tell.

      Colorado has laws against rain barrels at your house. The law considers such containers as “theft” of someone ELSE’S right to your water. I say fuck them too and have no problem putting in a rain barrel to catch the runnoff of my own damn roof on my own property. Just because something is a law doesn’t make it just, right, or something to be obeyed. Most people freely disobey the unacceptable laws and rightly so. Same if you try to get too grabby on firearms. Will be ignored and rendered ineffective as a result so the answer is more circumspection and not to overplay your hand.

      1. alex morfesis

        I owned, raised and trained “sassy” the Mastador and watched as people cringed while I calmed down someone elses pit bull growling a half inch away from my face(me and small dogs don’t work well together…cats yes…tiny dogs, nyet)…neither dogs with teeth and a tiny mouth, nor puny humans with guns who never train to use a weapon with an actual target moving at them worry me too much…

        the answer to bad laws are not to “ignore” them, but to get the laws adjusted and functioning for the long term sustainable good of current and future generations…

        guns are a joke…they make people “feel good”…have never blinked at someone flashing a gun at me…and have never had to flash one back…

        if you must ask…five times…five too many times…the best defense in life is to mostly walk the long way home…and try to avoid owning property where 15% of the population is more worried about paying their bookie or supplier than the rent…if you see posters for boxing events on the front display window of the local convenience store, chances are not good to have a confrontation free existence in that immediate vicinity…

        violence begets violence…

        if you feel a need to protect yourself with a gun then you would be willing to pay 500 bux per bullet to save your life…if you just want to go shoot defenseless critters in the woods and watch blood spurting around…you should still have to pay for that option as you might miss and hit someone…

        1. Praedor

          I agree that the chance of me even needing to pull out my weapons in thought that I need to protect myself is vanishingly small (nonzero but close). I don’t have them because I think I’m about to get attacked. I don’t carry them around openly or concealed (though I have a permit for the latter). No reason to so far. I have them because I LIKE them. ENJOY shooting them, tuning them, improving my accuracy or speed. That’s all the reason I need (or for you to accept that I have them) for keeping them.

          Because I want to, it’s fully within my rights, and I simply will.

          Don’t need to read more into it. I am 100% comfortable with firearms, having spent a career in the military wielding them. To me they are as natural as any shirt or book I have. Some don’t get the opportunity to be in the military (for cowardice or laziness or because they take everything for granted and magically owed to them or whatever). I get that. What I don’t get is why those who are terrified of everything think they need to restrict EVERYONE from whatever it is they are terrified of. Doesn’t matter if it is a big “scary” dog, a gun, a spear, a nailgun, or a car. Your fears don’t get to be the delimiter of what OTHER people can do or have. Freedom, baby. That’s freedom.

          Or perhaps we should just ban all but G-rated movies, ban any and all violent video games, board games, ban kids playing army or cops-and-robbers, ban martial arts, ban any knives except those for cooking, ban cussing, ban bare shoulders, legs, bikinis, etc…you know, make the universe safe for the little kiddies. No violence or “disturbing” adulty stuff anywhere for anyone because SOME people are all a-feared of any or all of the above.

          No. And the answer to bad laws IS to ignore them until you can get them reversed.

          You DO know that it is illegal to give or receive blow jobs, cunnilingus, be a homo, have sex out of wedlock, etc, in a LOT of places. Those laws are STILL on the book but everyone properly IGNORES them. It’s also why Prohibition failed. Bad law widely ignored or sidestepped the way it always has been, always will be. Ignore bad laws WHILE fighting to get rid of them.

          1. alex morfesis

            gun violence in america jumped when we let go of the draft…I have non conformist ideas about solutions to things…I believe everyone between the age of 25 and 75 should be in a military reserves program in the USA…BuT one can not be forced to partake in any military incursions which you do not want to…with 100 million people in ready reserves, if the MI(Congressional)C can not convince 2 million of them to say yes they will go there…then we probably should not go there…

            if everyone was required to know how to use a weapon, the loonies and bullies would be easily sighted and as a society, we could figure out what to do with that small percentage of the population that is over medicated or sadly is a bit slower or crazier than the rest…

            fear is not a good way to live and too many people almost seem to like to live in fear…maybe it allows them from having to face potential failure…might as well not try since it wont turn out well…life is dangerous…or so many have allowed themselves to feel…it all depends on your experiences I suspect…when living in Chicago and New York, guns were not so easy to see nor get…here in the middle of Floriduh…you cant go two stop lights without some pawn shop or gun shop with neon lights and one too many biker gangs with their gun play and violinz…

            this is getting rambling…

            rifles vs handguns vs banana klypz…

            hand guns are what kill most people…

            outlaw banana klypz is not a bad start…

            limit weapons to 8 bullets and having multiple clips outside the home if not on the way to hunting or going to a shooting range could be a crime without imposing on those who are not looking to take down their ex with a self perceived evil family…

            nobody needs a few hundred rounds(at least not in the general day to day)…and only a fool and his last few breaths thinks that they would be able to hold off against any real “police” force, if it really came to that…

            1. Praedor

              Currently I have ~500 rds of useable ammo. I have between 1500-2000 rds worth of parts to make more (powder, bullets, casings, primers). Why? Because. About half are pre-loaded manufactured ammo in boxes. The other half are my own hand loads. The ammo cost, store-bought, is ~$1+/rd. My self-loads are cheaper. All different types of ammo: Indian military surplus, precision bullets, different bullet weights, all looking for the magic brand/type for the highest accuracy over the longest range. It’s enjoyable. Loading my own lets me try different seating depths, different cases, different bullet weights, different powder charges to get THE best performance. A hobby. I also like to tinker with stuff: making my own solar panels, making charge controllers for a battery banks, making some furniture (woodworking). I do it because I LIKE it. I will continue to do so because I LIKE to. Laws or restrictions be damned, I’ll continue. You don’t have to LIKE my hobbies, just as I wont like your knitting, badminton, or couch potato hobby. You wont stop my hobby and I wont try to stop yours. I’m all freedom and liberty that way.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                Wow, this is the best you can do? Please tell me the last time a “knitting, badminton, or couch potato hobby” killed people. Guns are DESIGNED to kill. That is their purpose.

                We require users to bear the external costs of car use, and cars are NOT designed to kill things, because cars do in fact kill and injure people and damage people. And for most adults in the US, having a car is necessary for survival, as in earning income. So your argument doesn’t hold water on multiple levels.

                As someone living in Europe wrote:

                The NRA types have no idea how insane they sound outside the US. Maybe also inside but outside; the rest of the world thinks that they’re maniacs. I’m hanging out with Euro conservatives – they work at a top-tier b-school and say things like the refugees are all economic refugees – and even they think US gun laws are out of control. It really feels like the US is collapsing on its own weight lately.

          2. craazyman

            You make a lot of good points. I was a childhood competitive rifle shooter and got quite good, competing in tournaments and accumulating many medals and trophies. I was very good. But this was 22 caliber target rifle stuff, so I’m not claiming any “military sharpshooter” level of skill or ability. Although I have no doubt I could have achieved that if I’d wanted to. I really was good. I’m not just making this up.

            But why on earth would you assume cowardice or laziness as reasons not to go the military route?

            Why would you give up the one thing that God bestows upon you over animals (to the extent we understand animals and we may not) which is a sentience and perception about good and evil and culpability, and instead kill anybody you’re told to kill. I understand Shakespeare dealt with this theme in Henry V. it’s an old theme and there’s quite a provenance there in philosophy and literature to mine and consider.

            But still it comes down to that one thing. Abandoning the gnostic mind, the freedom of reflective autonomy and self-derived perception for the pilot wave. And by the pilot wave, I mean the wave of sentience in the fabric of group consciousness produced by the perturbation of the minds of others — others who, paradoxically, emit their own deranged waves. And as history shows often these are psycopaths or sociopaths. And the result is you obey unconditionally, and you do not chose in a conscious and deliberative way, on an individual basis anyway, and instead you shoot and kill whoever the pilot wave tells you to. I understand circumstances arise that make this freedom I allege to be very difficult. The American Civil War comes readily to mind and the decisions made then by individuals we know from history. But it’s a hard idea. It’s an idea that stands up even to that level of intensity and it remains standing.

            the disaffection with that predicament. Is that cowardice or laziness? Or is is something else. I think it’s something else. I don’t understand a mind like yours.

            Otherwise, you make alot of good points about guns. In the day, I enjoyed shooting guns very much. I live in new Yawk and don’t shoot guns these days, but if I had a country farm or property, I likely would — targets, skeet, cans, bottles, etc. I’d love that. I intend to get a Winchester 30-30 like the cowboys in the movies and pump and dump the ammo into the targets of my choice. But they won’t be alive, probably. They’ll probably be bottles and cans or skeet shooting with shotguns. That would be cool. I love to see it explode when I hit it. That makes me smile.

            1. Jagger

              But why on earth would you assume cowardice or laziness as reasons not to go the military route?

              Why would you give up the one thing that God bestows upon you over animals (to the extent we understand animals and we may not) which is a sentience and perception about good and evil and culpability, and instead kill anybody you’re told to kill.

              Agree completely. Thou shall not kill is enough of a reason not to go the military route. Spiritual reasons alone are enough to justify not serving. But when I was young, I was not spiritually aware in the least. One reason we send the young to fight our wars.

              1. Praedor

                Thankfully the Founders weren’t all Gandhi’d up or we wouldnt have the country you take for granted today. Thankfully Britain and the US, France, etc, didn’t all Gandhi up when invaded by Nazis. Thankfully killing is NOT wrong, EVER, if done in self-defense. Inalienable human right.

                Know what Gandhi recommended to the Jews, gypsies, etc, victims of Nazi Germany? He recommended they quietly and peacefully walk into the death camps and to their deaths because…Gandhi. What an idiot (also, his revolution in India was NOT non-violent and peaceful – and the violence did NOT only come from the Brits. Afterwards the Indian military was NOT disbanded).

                There is no god so I don’t give a fuck about “thou shalt nots”. I live now, not for a non-existent afterlife. Suckers do that.

                My guns have killed not a single organism. I WOULD use them to kill my horse(s) or dogs if it were the merciful thing to do (critical injury, suffering). I WOULD use my pistol to kill myself if it was the merciful thing to do (to prevent becoming a drooling vegetable due to Alzheimer’s, to avoid suffering from terminal cancer, etc). I don’t do Gandhi.

  15. jsn

    Universal conscription to re-enfranchise consumers again as citizens and insurance on guns as discussed above would deal with a number of US pathologies that share common roots.

    Gun insurance should get discounted heavily for those who engage in public sponsored militias. Such militias would serve as to embed those with guns into a larger society and offer society a protected space for any views that need expressing. This would create both communities for gun owners and venues for them to hear diverse views of the world they share, ennobling a travesty embedded in the Second Amendment with a necessary role in a complex society.

    The rights and responsibilities of gun ownership are contextual and mean different things in different places. Hunters have an important place in our man made habitat as we have exterminated or contained all other “top predators” and wild life populations don’t regulate themselves in the absence. The issue of guns and murder in the US is a cultural one where increased isolation and alienation in the NeoLib era has compounded a racial dysfunction that predated it. Large, cultural solutions are in order.

    As Ian Welsh notes, the franchise tracks real physical power in society: if we as citizens abdicate it to the police and soldiers it is only a matter of time until they establish their privileged castes. These castes would disintegrate in the presence of real citizens and universal conscription need not plant everyone in the army for a year but should teach everyone what war making does in a democracy. In addition, truly universal and randomized, it would force Americans to get to know one another again.

    Not everyone needs to have a gun, the vast majority, as now, don’t, but everyone should know how to use one and understand the relationship between lethal power and politics. Having lost that knowledge since the draft ended, Americans have been systematically disenfranchised of everything meaningful: rights are not granted, they are taken. Freedom from violence, whether by the police or our fellows, will be a right taken by organized citizens, not one granted us by the President.

  16. DanP66

    Ok. It is stuff like this that just caused me to donate another $2,000 to the NRA.

    What an ignorant moron.

    The obvious aim of someone like this is to make gun ownership impossible for all but the wealthy and even them too if possible. It is for this reason that the NRA and its membership fight EVERY change. If the members thought otherwise they might just go along with some of the “common sense” ideas.

    So many of these people are intelligent but ignorant and they generally have a a self righteous and sanctimonious attitude with a distinctly urban liberal bias.

    A perfect example of this is the whole idea of adding electronic tracking and locking to a firearm. I can think of few things that could actually make a gun MORE dangerous. To know that you would need to actually know guns and how they are used.

    Another example is the whole ignorance around the “Gun Show Loophole” and internet sales. Yes, you can go to a gun show and buy guns. Professional dealers will do backgrounds automatically. Collectors may trade or sell collectible guns (most of whom would never actually be fired) and yes there are some small time folks who will sell a gun or two but these are mostly old hunting rifles, old shotguns and the odd revolver or two not AR-15s and Glock 40’s. YES, you can ARRANGE to purchase a gun over the internet BUT it MUST be transferred to an FFL for receipt from the seller and the FFL MUST do a background check before turning over the gun to you. It’s not like people are using Craig’s List and FedEx for crying out loud.

    I did not grow up shooting. I got into it later in life after serving in the army.

    My cousin was an Olympic caliber shot with a rifle. She was an armed guard for Brinks while in college. She was stabbed to death in NY while working on an archaeological dig. She, the pregnant wife of the man running the dig and one other person were stabbed to death by one man. Always wondered what would have happened had she been carrying.

    About 15 years ago, I was driving home late at night, I watched a Mustang rear end another car. Two men jumped out, dragged the driver of the first car out, then they beat him to death with a pipe. Always wondered what I could have done had I had my pistol. BTW…when they were finally arrested the cops found a baseball bat with spikes in the car, a machete and the pipe. That and drugs.

    About 10 years ago I was at a bagel shop in Naples, FL. Two teenage boys tried to drag out a teenage girl who was working there and shove her into a white BMW 7 series. I beat the crap out of them with a piece of concrete block. Had they had knives or guns….I dunno. In retrospect it would have been nice to have my .45 with me. Maybe I could have just threatened them instead of breaking their heads. One needed multiple surgeries. They got probation by the way and the parents tried to suit me.

    I have a permit to carry but rarely do.

    I coach a youth trap and skeet team and I have anywhere from 7 to 15 kids shooting every weekend for competition.

    My 15 yr old daughter is a distinguished expert with a shotgun and will soon be with a pistol and rifle. As soon as she is old enough I will help her get her carry permit. She also happens to have a 4.3 GPA in an exclusive prep school and has been invited to speak at the CIA dinner and the Association of College Women and is training for the 2020 Olympics in archery. She also hunts, speaks three languages and has had a book published. Overachiever.

    In short, I and my family use guns for sporting, hunting and self protection. I will not under any circumstances give them up. I will not under any circumstances register them. I will wholeheartedly support and provide financing to any politician that will resist the counterproductive and stupid rules this kind of article advocates.

    One side note. It amazes me that so many of the people I shoot with in DC are Democrats. One is the chief of staff for a senior senator. Actually shot trap with John Kerry once.

    1. run75441

      “You da man alright!” You have more stories than the “Naked City.”

      Quite frankly, this old Marine Sergeant doesn’t care what you did, who you did, and how you did it. I have problems telling the GG (Good Guy) apart from the BG (Bad Guy) and that scares me. I do not want to be around you because you could be either and all of your stories could have been read from some comic. The best solution is no open or hidden carry or bullet-spewing-weapons. Then the only Bad Guys are those who are packing.

    2. Jagger

      The obvious aim of someone like this is to make gun ownership impossible for all but the wealthy and even them too if possible.

      At one time, I felt the opposition to regressive taxes was a bedrock principle of the left. But then, I discovered that if a regressive tax was relabeled as a sin tax with the objective of dictating how people live their lives, the left was all for it. A real eye opener for me.

      In short, I and my family use guns for sporting, hunting and self protection. I will not under any circumstances give them up.

      During the early days of the Russian revolution, the occupying reds attempted to confiscate the guns of the Cossacks. The Cossacks simply buried their weapons until needed. You would see the same thing today. And in America of todays world, with all the uncertainty in so many ways, depending entirely on the state for food or protection or even benevolence seems distinctly foolish to me.

      1. Plenue

        Actually, I would like people to be able to live at all. 10,000 dead a year in this country from your damn boom-tubes.

        1. Jagger

          Don’t we all. But then it is not an ideal, just, perfect world. Life is not an easy journey. Idealism is beautiful thing but reality always trumps. Better to learn that sooner than later. The world is what it is and none of us get out of it alive.

          1. Plenue

            Ah yes, the condescending ‘life isn’t fair’ attitude of the foolish asshole. As long as you and the other serious, ‘responsible’ people get to keep your violent toys, thousands of preventable deaths will just have to happen. That’s the price of freedom, after all.

            1. Jagger

              Some people work hard to earn their condescension. When you put in the sweat, you should get what your just rewards.

      2. Lambert Strether

        Well, if people buried their guns, then a lot of family members wouldn’t be randomly shot, so there is that aspect to consider. Of course, that prevents Darwin from ultimately solving the problem, so it’s a trade-off.

    3. Lambert Strether

      That’s like saying that requiring car insurance will make it so only rich people can buy cars.

      Just goes to show that ultra-privileged DC insiders with money to burn really are stupid. Shocker!

      UPDATE So Democrats say one thing and so another. Film at 11. To be fair, John Kerry didn’t shoot an old man in the face, like Dick Cheney, but maybe it’s not possible to do that shooting skeet. Who knows or cares?

      And while we’re at it, an anatomically correct dildo goes for $19.14 at Amazon (NSFW), and your $2000 (let me break out my calculator) would have gotten you 104 of them. Are you sure your money wouldn’t have been better spent on the real thing, as opposed to working through a proxy? Direct action brings satisfaction, as they say.

      1. Praedor

        No. Car insurance isn’t designed to be punitive the way those espousing this idea want it to be for firearms. The goal is to price firearms out of reach for most people who want them. It is intended as punitive.

        If car insurance wasn’t subsidized and actually covered the cost to society for the harm done (accidents, pollution, etc) then most real people (non-rich) wouldn’t be able to afford cars.

  17. Praedor

    I bought both my current firearms online. From USA Guns. Good site (excellent in fact). That is my usual go-to if I have an interest in a buy or trade or sell. Now then, buying them online doesn’t mean I simply ordered them like I was ordering an book or shoes on Amazon where it just appears on my doorstep a few days later. The weapon had to transfer to an FFL local to me. I then had to go to this FFL and get a background check (each time) before the weapon would be handed over and the sell would complete. I’ve NEVER seen any legitimate site like it that doesn’t work the same way.

    There are gun shows around where I live almost monthly. I went once to peak. At least there, the dealers were all legit and you couldn’t simply buy a rifle or pistol right there and walk out easy peasy. There was a background check involved (so I’ve been somewhat confused about the loophole mentioned just because I’ve never experienced it). So maybe there are some who just pass cash and weapon over the counter, no background check, but I’ve not seen it. I certainly have no problem with making the background check required. Gun shows should have FFLs on-hand OR the sellers should be FFLs or similar, so that a background check is always applied. I’ve never had a problem with a wait period either. I cannot think of many circumstances of any reasonable likelihood where one just MUST have a gun RIGHT NOW NOW NOW. No need for someone to buy one in the heat of anger (your spouse/lover cheated on you and you just found out) because the motivation is all wrong. So let’s eliminate this gunshow loophole AND even institute a week or two waiting period.

    But try and pass a law that makes it prohibitively expensive for me to own/use my current weapons and I’ll just ignore it and flip the bird. If it actually looked like something that would pass then I’d join the HUGE HUGE rush to buy before the law enacts (whether that means loading up on ammo or on a gun I’m interested in). Instead of a few small boxes of ammo I’d buy buttloads. Hell, your law would be turning it into a valuable commodity. I could make a LOT of money selling ammo on the side. A lot of others would too.

    Know what the original assault weapon ban did? Well it sure didn’t ban assault-style weapons AT ALL. It DID make the pre-ban rifles worth a shitload of money so if someone with one wanted to make a load of money s/he could simply sell his pre-ban for a hefty profit. My own rifle is pre-ban. If a ban were re-enacted it would increase my rifle’s value by 4 or 5 times, easy. Same with all other current but soon-to-be pre-ban rifles. Those wanting one who had the money on-hand would rush to buy before the law enacts while those caught after would pay big money for a pre-ban weapon…and the manufacturers would get around the ban with fairly simple (and esthetically ugly in my opinion) changes to the design.

    Heavy handedness wont fix things, only make a mint for the manufacturers and for those who got in before the heavy-handedness went through. You want to pass what you can get the gun owners or supporters to go along with, NOT alienate them and make them your direct enemy. Right now a vast majority of people, INCLUDING gun owners (like myself) have no problems with most of the “common sense” regs being discussed. Step into the territory of this posted aricle or some of the posts in response and you turn these erstwhile allies into diametric enemies. A stupid move.

    1. DanP66

      Ya know….they never seem to consider that MAKING a gun or MAKING your own ammunition is not impossible to do. It is actually quite easy and it can be a lot of fun to do.

      Most people with basic machining skills and some time and a few bucks could make a gun. Will it be a really good gun or a really pretty gun….maybe but probably not….but it will be a working gun.

      Ammo? EASY. Not hard to do at all. Shotgun shells are a breeze. Bullets, a little harder but you could make a brass bullet from scratch if you have the patience. Once you have the process down it would not be hard to make dozens of rounds at a time.

      1. Jagger

        Ammo? EASY. Not hard to do at all. Shotgun shells are a breeze. Bullets, a little harder but you could make a brass bullet from scratch if you have the patience. Once you have the process down it would not be hard to make dozens of rounds at a time.

        Yep, I remember as a kid reloading shotgun shells. Easy, fast process.

      2. Praedor

        Yeah. With a 3D printer you can print a cheap-assed (but functional) gun right there in the privacy of your own home. I’ve seen Howtos on making mass drivers or gauss guns too that can be used as a high-powered gun for the techies out there. Impossible to stop this. In fact, just the TALK of trying to ban ammo or make it prohibitively expensive has me thinking about setting up a personal machine shop so I CAN make my own brass, bullets, and with my chemistry/biology background, plus the internet, I can find out how to make nice powder to use (you can even find out how to make plastic explosive if that’s your thing…online).

        With such a machine shop (or access to machine tools…something else I already have) I COULD make everything: barrel, trigger group, ammo… Impossible to prevent that sort of thing.

          1. Praedor

            Can’t. The point is ANYONE can pump them out with wild abandon. The idea is to try and reduce the number of firearms out there (the idea is punitive in nature). You CAN’T. That goal is unreachable because people WOULD just start making what you seek to restrict without any control at all via 3D printer, via machine shop, etc.

            I’m not advocating for 3D printed guns (plastic guns). They are shitty, dangerous to the user and those around it, untraceable, and VERY difficult to detect. My point is those seeking to restrict/eliminate guns cannot reach that goal so better to go with goals that can be reached, and that MOST gun owners agree with too (right now). Prohibitions, punitive price-jacking aren’t among those things you can get everyone to agree to so they aren’t on the table. You need to focus what IS on the table and IS doable.

  18. TarheelDem

    The true cost of gun ownership is collectively high enough that gun owners will argue that not all gun owners bear the same moral hazard of responsibility for that cost. And unlike car ownership, there are not a many observable risk factors that one could use to apportion risk to high-risk owners.

    The fact that the tax impacts of all gun owners (or all gun purchasers, depending on the legislation) maximizes the potential political opposition no matter how sound the logic. It also decentralizes any smuggling operations to evade the tax.

    Having a single payer be responsible for the pooled risk and having the manufacturers and distributors pay the tax places financial pressure on the entities who could adjust their marketing approach to also lower the cost showing up in the risk pool — pushing safety education instead of “extreme” sport, for example. There still is a smuggling problem for imported firearms but in kind it is no different that the currrent one.

    Consider the NRA a manufacturers’ agent and tax them for the full collective social cost of gun ownership each year. Specifying what costs go into that and how to account for them is an interesting discussion in itself. The NRA and gun manufacturers can decide how to pass those costs back to gun owners.

    The most urgent need is a common way of handling gun law across jurisdictions that makes it easier to determine what is legal and what is not and uniformly interdict illegal operations. The poster child for this issue is the suburban Chicago gun warehouse stores on the edge of the Chicago city boundary that are the source for most of the firearms involved in criminality in Chicago (aside from that of the CPD, that is). And the loose-gun-law states on the East Coast that are the source of guns in the tight-gun-law states. The most effective approach is a single model law passed by all 50 states and redundantly passed at the federal level. That of course would be the most difficult of all legislation to impose because it is the transport of guns from one jurisdiction to another that keeps the danger going enough to stimulate gun sales.

    One other option is to tax declared gun uses. And have the tax reflect the cost of guns used for those uses, with high penalties for misclassification up to confiscation and not allowing future purchases of a gun that actually winds up in a gun injury or gun death. Certainly liability insurance could be paired with this so that the liability insurance company would act as another social pressure for prudence. So hunting – list of game; target – type; self-defense; collecting – and so on would all have different annual taxes based on the previous year’s actual cost. The total tax would be the sum over all of the designated uses.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I agree that a big defect of Olenick’s idea is no carve-out for hunting, and your last paragraph addresses that issue and other narrow uses.

      1. abynormal

        Thank You Cooler Heads… Yves, Lambert, TarheelDem, alex morfesis, jagger, two beers and Legendary Bigfoot. And Thank You Praedor for carving out your response to abilities.

        This Horror will be Addressed & Settled by Cooler Heads…the Hot Heads depend on it and the children deserve it.

        “We lose eight children and teenagers to gun violence every day. If a mysterious virus suddenly started killing eight of our children every day, America would mobilize teams of doctors and public health officials. We would move heaven and earth until we found a way to protect our children. But not with gun violence.”
        Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance

    2. Praedor

      In theory something like the last is doable but (fortunately) will NEVER happen so…let’s go back to what is passable (non-bans, non-confiscation, etc). I am a liberal gun owner. Or a progressive, if you prefer, who happens to own firearms and will continue to do so. Period. The state I live in would NEVER pass anything like what you propose. Nor would any of the Southern states, most of the Western states. At best you could get something passed in a few New England states (but not New Hampshire, where people enjoy their guns…as Sander’s well knows). So, this is all a huge exercise in venting and mental masturbation. Or is it a negotiation tactic? Propose what is outrageous and never has any hope of ever passing so that something more along the lines of universal background checks and re-instating the Brady Bill will be seen as reasonable and get traction?

      Too many would ignore the tax. I would. I wouldn’t even declare I have firearms. A LOT would be like me…and I don’t have to leave my own property to use my firearms (same as all my neighbors…this is the country).

      1. GunProgress

        I have to agree with you. As someone that will probably vote for Bernie, I also own a number of guns. I like that Bernie isn’t tough on guns, and I conceal carry every day. We have enough rules and laws about guns, and we are currently prohibited from owning machine guns or other weapons of war. The rules are OK as they are.

        The solution to the problem of spree shooting is utterly simple. Post a trained security guard to monitor school premises. Deterrence and force is needed, not more rules that ignore the impossibility of “banning guns”. Mass shooters are cowards that seek soft targets. Defend the target through paid or even volunteer “local militia”. Perhaps the cost of implementing new gun laws would be better spent on live security. I reckon the practice of deputizing teachers, (or whosoever might be willing in a given institution), so they may conceal carry on campus will prove to be far more effective than the gun laws in France, Britain, Norway combined, at preventing spree shootings. For example, see the Curtis Culwell Center attack in Garland, TX.

        1. Lambert Strether

          I agree that the current focus should be on mass shootings, because that’s public space; if responsible guns owners want to invoke Darwin on their children and friends in the privacy of their own homes, that’s jake with me and the angels.

          That said, your policy solution, to me, falls into the category of “There is no problem with guns that cannot be solved with more guns.” Armed guards in the schools looks a lot like a self-licking ice cream cone to me. Maybe with loogie guns? Snow Crash:

          Both metacops, under their glossy black helmets and night vision goggles, are grinning. The one getting out of the mobile unit is carrying a short range chemical restraint projector – a loogie gun. Their plan worked. The loogie, when expanded in the air, was about the size of a football. Miles and miles of tiny cables like spaghetti with sticky gooey stuff that stays liquid until the loogie gun is fired. The snotty, fibrous drops of stuff wrapped all the way around her arm and forearm, lashed to the bar of the gates.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Surprised I got no response on the loogie gun point, even though it’s a clever technical proposal.

            Perhaps the pleasure of killing living beings is a bigger part of this discussion than I thought?

            1. GunProgress

              Non-lethal solutions are acceptable, and reasonable. I wouldn’t want to be the guard facing a rifle with the loogie gun. Perhaps someone else would be comfortable in that situation though.

              As a gun owner, I get the impression that you have a pre-conceived notion about gun ownership. The pleasure of killing living beings doesn’t apply to me, or other gun owners I know. Hopefully gun fear advocates don’t pursue such a line of reasoning that attributes motivation where none exists.

              Thank you for your reply, Mr. Strether.

              I’m off to renew my NRA membership, and donate to the Sanders campaign.

              1. kj1313

                Say Hi to Wayne Lapierre if you find him. He has been ducking the media since the San Bernardino shooting. Perhaps finding out that Americans don’t want potential terrorists to have access to guns.

                1. GunProgress

                  American citizens are innocent until proven guilty. Perhaps the San Bernardino example shows that American citizenship shouldn’t be given so easily. If the gun seller deserves scrutiny, then so does dhs/federal immigration officers. Law enforcement failures do not encourage me to hand over my gun rights.

            2. Praedor

              I’m well aware of the non-lethal weapons that are theoretically possible (but not broadly available to private OR public): goo guns (similar to the loogie gun…Snow Crash, excellent story) – more like goo-hoses that spray very viscous and sticky gunk to stop someone from doing anything, pain ray, aural weapons (sound weapons of various stripes: VERY loud to cause pain, disorientation, infrasound that can cause anything from venting of bowels to feeling of fear and panic, maybe even headache, tetanizing laser (my fav) that works like a stun gun without shooting any darts or any need of direct contact – two ultraviolet lasers create a tiny ionized column of air to your target through which anything from simple muscle paralysis (only controlled muscle, not heart or intestine) to death via stopping the heart depending on the eletrical modulation plus voltage.

              None of them are available. The pain ray IS available to the military and comes in the form of a big APC with a big microwave emitting antenna on it. Not man-portable (easy to defeat too with carbon-weave clothing and/or metal cloth insert into clothing and as a head covering). I would LOVE to have a tetanizing laser and, if I could acquire the UV lasers I would make one. Hell, it can even be fired around corners with the correct use/placement of mirrors. Supposedly good out to about 100 meters, day or night…also easily defeatable with the same tools as you can use to defeat the pain ray.

                1. GunProgress

                  My progressive reasoning leads me to see insurance companies as a problem in the U.S., and solutions to gun violence that involve the finance and insurance industries are simply wretched. It’s time to move on from the FIRE economy.

      2. Lambert Strether

        “this is all a huge exercise in venting and mental masturbation”

        Well, except for all the dead civilians, of course. There is that.

        Of course, the same might have been said about opposition to cancer sticks. Some things take a generation to solve.

        That’s why it’s important to ridicule ammosexuality at every opportunity; some problems take a generation to solve (that is, more quickly than Darwin can act).

  19. Jagger

    The author states that this tax will by

    “Ending the gun subsidies will eventually end the gun violence”.

    And later he states:

    “the number of gun and ammunition sales dwindles fewer gun owners will be responsible for the enormous cost of gun ownership, which some estimates put at $100 billion yearly: let’s end the free-ride for gun-owners. This will drive up the tax for the remainder and launch a virtuous cycle of ever fewer gun and ammunition sales.”

    So apparently the author’s objective is to “sin tax” guns out of existence.

    We can’t effectively outlaw guns for both legal and political reasons, but we can force gun owners to pay for the carnage they collectively cause society.

    But to the author, the ends justify the means. Authoritarian crusader to the core.

    Great fodder for the culture wars. Demonstrates the great divide between the rural and urban populations, the divide between the upper middle class and the lower classes. Those that see a gun as a tool and those that see the gun as an unmitigated evil. Those that trust the state and those that don’t.

    Meanwhile, those that may agree with you on neoliberalism and foreign policy, now must weigh their vote between two candidates that are equally neocon/neoliberal and may as well vote cultural issues. And it is clear which side advocates no holds barred to ban guns. Nothing benefits the ruling elite better than an electorate divided on cultural issues which allows them to carry on their neoliberal/neocon agenda.

    1. abynormal

      Those that see a gun as a tool and those that see the gun as an unmitigated evil. ah, jaggerd Jimmy needs his tighty teddy…

      “While you may be able to keep your son Jimmy from owning [a gun], if you try to talk him out of wanting one, you are up against a pretty strong argument: You mean I shouldn’t want a device that grants me power and identity, makes me feel dangerous and safe at the same time, instantly makes me the dominant male, and connects me to my evolutionary essence? Come on, Mom, get real!”
      Gavin de Becker, Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe

    2. flora

      “Meanwhile, those that may agree with you on neoliberalism and foreign policy, now must weigh their vote between two candidates that are equally neocon/neoliberal and may as well vote cultural issues. And it is clear which side advocates no holds barred to ban guns. Nothing benefits the ruling elite better than an electorate divided on cultural issues which allows them to carry on their neoliberal/neocon agenda.”

      Very good comment. I agree.

    3. Praedor

      This sort of nonsense, or similar proposals is dangerous because it FEEDS the craziest of the crazy militia types. Their war cry is (and has been) “They are coming for your guns!”, “Big Brother wants to take your guns!”, “Obama is going to steal your guns!”. What do ya’ll want to do? Actually propose to take their guns. By your DESIRED action you make real their otherwise silly recruiting tool. What do you think happens when you REALLY start trying to take their guns? Cave-in and meek roll-over? No. You think these militia types are dangerous and out-of-control now? Or even in the 90s under Clinton? Wait for what you get if you actually tried these punitive, prohibitionist, or seizing laws.

      Don’t feed the trolls. Likewise, you DON’T give to your staunch opponents on this matter the very thing they use to draw in supporters in the first place. All you do it crank up the recruitment to level 100. Stop being rediculous.

  20. griffen

    This is a highly informative post. Most likely, I disagree with the significant points made by the author. The underground market for weapons will only flourish; laws and taxes wouldn’t make a dent if people truly want to acquire them (see – heroin, crack cocaine, cocaine, opiates / Oxy, etc..)

    I do not currently own a weapon. I’ve fired a few many, many years ago (and not terribly accurate either).

  21. Thure

    Well – this guest post got people pretty excited.

    I for one never understood the fascination with guns per se or why people are so afraid of each other that they feel the need to own hand guns. As was pointed out, the incidence of legitimate self-defense is dwarfed by all the other killings.

    It’s pretty clear what hand guns are for: namely to kill other humans.

    We seem to be living in an exceptionally paranoid society if we have to walk around armed at all times.

    So my question to all these gun owners and aficionados. what are you afraid of anyway?

    1. Praedor

      *SIGH*. Owning, enjoying firearms does NOT equate to being afraid of your fellow man, neighbors, aliens, etc. SOME people gain the feeling of empowerment from gun ownership – those are in particular identifiable by the open carry clowns. I own a few martial arts weapons. Does that mean I’m afeered of everyone? Are they harmless if I so chose to take one out on a little attack? My owning guns has zero to do with fear and 100% to do with: I grew up with/around them. I spent an entire military career using/carrying them. I do not fear the gun, I do not worship the gun. I LIKE the gun. I ENJOY firing it. I ENJOY reloading ammo. I ENJOY improving my aim/accuracy. I like the way the look.

      The only thing I fear are fellow citizens who are so afraid of shadows that they want to ban shadows outright. I don’t fear shadows and I’ll be damned if I’ll let you force your fear of shadows to change how I live MY life.

      I don’t fear terrorists so I’ll be DAMNED if I happily go along with your fearful wanting to eliminate everyone’s privacy in a vain hope it will make terrorism disappear (expanding the point, not suggesting you personally fear terrorists and like Big Brother govt or corps spying on your every move and purchase…or do you?).

      Live your own and stay out of mine and we’ll get along perfectly fine and peaceful.

      1. Thure

        So, you are in love with guns …

        I don’t think I mentioned banning guns or any fears of my own.

        It’s interesting how you project all of this without any explicit prompting.

      2. Thure

        I don’t think I mentioned banning guns or any fears of my own.

        Thanks for the reply – its self explanatory.

      3. JTMcPhee

        And most of the legendary cowboy confrontations in the Westward Expansion were ambushes and back-shootings and what we honor these days as the Patriotic Ameriçan Art of Sniping…

        Agree with the assertion that the virus is endemic, unlikely to be ever eradicated, and the source of endless outbreaks of pain and sorrow, kind of like herpes/shingles and syphilis and tuberculosis… I shot expert in the military and own guns. And did a little shooting and being shot at in Vietnam. What was it Churchill, that old bastard fraud, said? “The greatest pleasure a man [and now in combat women too?] can have is to be shot at without effect” or something?

        Humanity is a rationalizing plague species…

        1. kj1313

          As it has been asserted in some of the other threads when the issue of open carries comes up is that they are just painting a bullseye on their backs.

      4. kj1313

        So I like the way an ICBM looks should I have access to that? In my experience I’ve found the people that carries are the ones who are the most fearful.

        A very good friend of mine just came back from being stationed overseas and now is required to carry a gun 24/7 since he is a Federal Agent and finds it be a burden. A gun isn’t just a tool it’s a responsibility. Something the NRA only plays lips service to.

    2. Chris

      I’m not afraid of anything. I use my guns for recreation and exercise. Not unlike a swimming pool in a lot of ways. Swimming pools also serve no function other than recreation yet hundreds of people die in them every year. Same could be said for motorcycles (beyond those who have them as their sole means of transport).

      I shoot because it’s fun. It’s challenging. I compete in contests of skill with others. It’s social. It serves a function that others would get say playing golf. So there’s no fear involved at all. It’s a sport like any other.

  22. kj1313

    You sound like a “responsible gun owner” who doesn’t want to see the true cost of gun ownership.

  23. Si

    Well, it seems my comment for moderation didn’t pass muster – i’ll try again!

    What is the principle of making gun owners pay? If it is to say that the cost to society is carried buy those other than gun owners then that principle needs to be applied in other areas. The cost of obesity to society for example is far higher, so would you propose a tax on fat people to make them pay for the ‘costs’.

    What is also completely missed in the article (and from my scan of the comments) is the issue of race. The vast majority of victims are black, the vast majority of perpetrators are black. Given this fact, how would people propose an equitable ‘tax on gun ownership’?

    1. kj1313

      Obesity is aided by government policy of allowing pure poison into our food. Whether it is high fructose corn syrup or whatever new sucrose the Agro business us trying to allow. We need to end the oligarchy we currently are in.

      1. Si

        I can’t say I disagree with you point, which is well made.

        In essence I am trying to point out that there are costs born by society which are not taxed on the particular consumers who ‘indulge’.

        I assume that you would agree that we can choose foods which are not poisonous? If you are saying we don’t have this choice then are many difficulties explaining other forms of behaviour which have negative social consequences. If you say we do, then why don’t people choose health food?

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