Gunpowder and Blood on Their Cold, Dead Hands

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NRA President Charlton Heston holds up a musket as he tells the 5,000-plus members attending an NRA annual meeting in Charlotte, NC, in May, 2000, that they can have his gun when they pry it "from my cold dead hands." (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

Former NRA President Charlton Heston holds up a musket as he tells the 5,000 plus members attending an NRA annual meeting in Charlotte, NC, in May, 2000, that gun control advocates can have his gun when they pry it "from my cold dead hands." (AP Photo/Ric Feld)

This grim anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., killings, with 28 dead, reminded us of that moment back in 2000 when Charlton Heston made his defiant boast at the NRA convention that gun control advocates would have to pry his rifle from his “cold, dead hands.” You would have thought he had returned to that fantasy world of Hollywood where, in a previous incarnation, he portrayed those famous Indian killers Andrew Jackson and Buffalo Bill Cody, whose Wild West, as Cody marketed it, still courses through the bloodstream of American mythology.

For sure, Heston wasn’t channeling his most famous role, as Moses in The Ten Commandments, striding down from Mount Sinai with a stone tablet on which had been chiseled God’s blueprint for a civilized society, including, “Thou Shalt Not Kill!”

But the Good Lord seems not to have anticipated the National Rifle Association, its delegates lustily cheering Heston as his demagoguery brought them to their feet. Started after the Civil War by two former officers of the Union army who were disconsolate that their troops had shown such poor marksmanship in battle, its purpose was to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.” Now, its conscience as cold and dead as Charlton Heston’s grip on his gun, the NRA has become the armed bully of American politics, the enabler of the “gunfighter nation,” as cultural historian Richard Slotkin calls it, whose exceptionalism of which so many patriots fervently boast, includes a high tolerance for the slaughter of the innocent.

There has been a lot of killing in America since Newtown a year ago, perhaps more than 30,000 gun deaths since that fatal day. And gun purchases are way up. The biggest publicly traded firearms manufacture in the United States, Sturm Ruger, had more than half a billion dollars in sales for the first nine months of this year, 45 percent higher than two years ago, with a 67 percent profit rise over the same period. Bloomberg Businessweek reports that for the first eleven months of 2013, FBI background checks for gun purchases rose to more than 19 million, up from less than 9 million in 2005: “Not every background check leads to a firearms sale, but the direction of the statistics is compellingly clear.”

Mother Jones has counted 194 children shot to death since Newtown a year ago; probably more by the time you read this. Average age: 6. The magazine’s Mark Follman writes that after Newtown, “The National Rifle Association and its allies argued that arming more adults is the solution to protecting children, be it from deranged mass shooters or from home invaders.” But what Mother Jones discovered is a “stark rejoinder to that view” — 127 of the children died in their own homes and dozens more in the homes of family, friends and neighbors, not strangers. Seventy-two pulled the trigger themselves or were shot by another youngster (only four adults have been found liable in those cases). At least 52 of the deaths involved a child handling a gun left unsecured.

Texas leads the country in the number of young ones killed by guns. While 11 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws making it tougher to own guns since Newtown, Texas passed 10 new laws against sane restrictions on guns. Which is partly why last month, four women had lunch at a restaurant in Arlington, Texas, just outside Dallas. It was a planning meeting for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group started after the Newtown slayings that describes itself as “the Mothers Against Drunk Driving of gun reform.” The founder of Moms Demand Action told a reporter, “We’re not anti-gun. We’re not against the Second Amendment. We just believe in common sense to end the growing epidemic of gun violence in America.”

Nevertheless, as the four women ate and talked, about 40 members of a pro-gun group called Open Carry Texas – champions of guns anywhere and everywhere: church, school, shopping mall – gathered outside the restaurant, many of them with their firearms. They said they were there not to intimidate but to make a point. Sure, as if real men need guns to make a point.

“Thou Shalt Not Kill,” but if you do, hide behind the Second Amendment – made holier and more sacrosanct by the NRA than God’s own commandment.

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com.
Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, and a senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos.
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  • Anonymous

    Bill, we need a clear vision to fix America.

    Keep up your good work to expose the inequality, class struggle and hopelessness of the disenfranchised that are at the root of the problem.

    We must make mankind anxious to turn its swords into plowshares.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for this thoughtful and thought-provoking piece.

    The NRA does an admirable job at promoting the safe, responsible use and handling of guns. There was a time they were a rationale, reasonable organization. But they have grown into an arrogant, uncompromising political powerhouse that defends the rights of people to own pretty much any sort of weapon they desire — not because of Second Amendment rights, as they deceptively claim, but because they have become an arm of and public relations firm for a huge, powerful, wealthy and influential gun and weapons manufacturing industry. They have purchased our Congress to do its bidding through money, threats and intimidation. It’s about profit, not the Constitution. And so they feed people lies, distortions, and misconceptions to rally flag-waving, so-called “patriots” to protect industry profits under the guise of “Constitutional rights.”

    The NRA and gun and ammunition industry have controlled our Congress for too long. It’s time for all Americans to speak out. We need to demand that our elected officials listen to we the people. We need to show the NRA and gun and ammunition industry that they don’t run this nation – we do!

    It’s time to neuter the NRA.

    http://neuternra.blogspot.com/2013/12/its-time-to-neuter-nra-nra-and-gun.html

  • cws1959

    No one wants to accept this Republic was founded because the Founding Father’s had guns. This country has survived the tyranny of its own government because of the citizenry having guns. The real issue is mental health care is a joke, a stigma, and a leprosy and that the big business of HMOs doesn’t want to provide care for. These tragedies with guns in the hands of mentally ill individuals are sad, horrific, and meaningless. In the end these acts of violence by mentally ill individuals have done nothing to change the treatment of those needing mental health care and that is truly pathetic and despicable.

  • Karlheinz Groeger

    Nobody wants to mention, however, that the NRA is only a small fraction of the gun owners, as that would defeat their “proof” that the NRA wields this “enormous” power! Nobody seems to make the connection that gun sales are booming because there are 50 or more million Americans who own about 300 million guns! The NRA has about 5 million members, so they’re roughly 10 percent of gun owners, which should obviously mean that many of your friends, neighbors, and elected officials at local, state, and federal levels are also gun owners! Nobody also wants to point out that, despite the number of guns, and despite the number of concealed carry permits rising from 1 million in 1980 to eight million today, and despite all states now allowing their citizens to conceal carry in some manner, homicide has actually declined steadily in the last few decades. Those are facts, readily available at the FBI website. Nobody also wants to point out that half of the mass shootings are family related, but, then again, facts mean little to the anti-gun crowd, as they “just know” they’re right.

  • Pierce

    If tighter gun control laws were the answer,
    then Washington, D.C. and Chicago would be among the safest
    cities in the nation. Instead, those cities are highly dangerous because when
    only criminals have guns, law-abiding people are as vulnerable as students in a
    “gun-free” school or the unarmed soldiers at Ft. Hood, D.C.
    Naval Yard, etc. When you de-horn sheep, you make it easier for wolves to prey
    upon them. I was a witness in an armed robber’s trial, and my firearm saved my
    life in a period of violent witness intimidation and retaliation. I know firsthand that firearms do save lives
    as well as take them. Criminals, by definition, do not obey laws. I have lost
    friends to CRIMINAL violence, and it is misleading to call it “gun
    violence.” We must hold CRIMINALS accountable, not inanimate objects that
    are used for good as well as bad.

  • Umesh Singh

    This is the usual sort of “if guns were illegal, only criminals would have guns”.

    But the debate is about some sort of background check, not banning all guns. How about mandatory safety classes?

    People who are willing to be responsible with their guns are probably already being responsible. Laws about background checks and safety classes will affect them one bit.

    But you surely would not argue that absolutely 100% of gun owners are 100% responsible, would you?

    You couldn’t argue that with car owners, and they NEED their cars every day.

    What is wrong with a little extra assurance that those gun owners on the margins are not being lazy about safety precautions or responsible usage?

  • Umesh Singh

    So you are pointing out that half of the mass shootings are also likely rage or pent up anger.

    Guns, unfortunately, makes those situations worse. It is a force multiplier. It does not make a difference if the force is being used for good or bad. It is just a multiplier, period.

  • JerryG1

    Blaming our nation’s gun violence on mental health care is a red herring.
    What is pathetic and despicable is flooding our society with guns and turning a cold, blind eye to the carnage and heartbreak that flooding causes.
    “This country has survived the tyranny of its own government because of the citizenry having guns.” (I know this floats out there in I’m-a-Patriot Wally’s World, but sorry, just too nutty to reply to.)
    This republic was founded because the Founding Fathers had faith, ideas, sense and guts.

  • Guest

    I’m so sick of the gun lovers wailing about improving mental health care. It is so insincere. Since when have conservatives EVER cared about increasing the accessibility and affordability of mental health care? These people claim mental illness is the culprit behind gun violence, but they don’t make any effort at all to address it, which leads me to believe that they care little about the toll gun violence has on our society, and claiming that mental health issues are the real heart of the problem, not guns, makes them look less like jerks for wanting to cling to their weapons regardless of the cost.

    And also – mental illness is a part of the problem, but it is by-and-large not the common denominator in all shootings. The common denominator in all shootings is a gun.

  • Elizabeth

    I’m so sick of the gun lovers
    wailing about improving mental health care. It is so insincere. Since
    when have conservatives EVER cared about increasing the accessibility
    and affordability of mental health care? These people claim mental
    illness is the culprit behind gun violence, but they don’t make any
    effort at all to address it, which leads me to believe that they care
    little about the toll gun violence has on our society, and claiming that
    mental health issues are the real heart of the problem, not guns, makes
    them look less like jerks for wanting to cling to their weapons
    regardless of the cost.

    And also – mental illness is a part of the problem, but it is not the common denominator in all shootings. The common denominator in all shootings is a gun.

  • anthrogirl

    Translations actually vary on this. There is a whole field of religious studies dedicated to the study of religious text, their meanings, their translations. It’s pretty fascinating stuff. Example. just within the last decade, Mary, the mother of God, lost her virgin status, at least in the biblical text. A prophecy of Mary once interpreted as stating that she would be a virgin is now believed to mean a young girl. Catholics still hold to the virgin designation though. This will never be an exact science and no translation will ever be 100% sure of accuracy. But it is fascinating just the same.

  • anthrogirl

    Stats show most guns confiscated in these cities come from states with weak gun laws. If we clean up the gun trash in the surrounding weak states, we can really make some headway. There is a solution to our gun violence problem. We just need to act.

  • anthrogirl

    1 out of 4 American adults have diagnosable mental health issues. Its 1 in 5 for kids. If you look at very serious mental health issues, we’re talking about 13 million adults. If we take guns away from all these people, from the homes where they live, it would significantly reduce the number of guns available in the US. Imagine, if your wife is suffering from chronic depressions (a red flag for gun violence) and can’t have guns in her home, that means you can’t guns in your home either (unless you live in a separate home from your wife). Using mental health as a dis-qualifier is an awesome idea, but laws attempting to do that have failed. Even the laws that were weak and barely scratched the surface were buried. People just don’t want any laws restricting any guns from any one.

  • anthrogirl

    “The common denominator in all shootings is a gun.” Love it!!

  • anthrogirl

    You have no clue dude. Really. Every mom I know, and that’s a lot since I have 3 kids in 3 different schools, believes in Moms Demand’s mission. Just because we don’t “carry” our kids around on our hips showing concern for their well being…… wait, oh yeah, we do. Every mom knows that her kids will more likely be shot from a gun in her home or in the home of a friend/relative than be harmed by an intruder. That’s just a statistical fact. The decision to ignore that fact and come up with excuses to have a gun is up to her. The decision to value her gun over the safety and well being of her child is up to her. Most moms I know put their children first. But then again, maybe I only hang around moms who love their kids to the moon and back.

  • S Everett Holland

    “Education is a better safeguard of liberty than a standing army.” Edward Everett

  • Mike Carter

    How often does someone use their legally owned gun to commit a crime? According to the FBI, it’s only 3 in 1,000. 997 were purchased illegally on the black market.
    And, in a time of record high gun ownership, crime is at it’s lowest in more than 1/2 a century (also according to the FBI).
    And guess where the highest gun-related crime rates are – same places that have the strictest gun control laws (again, from the FBI).
    I prefer fact over emotion every time.

  • Anonymous

    194 deaths out of 310+ million guns, I hate to be the devil’s advocate, but that’s a pretty good number. Also, I’m pretty sure cars claim more kids than guns. That’s 1 in every 1597938 homes.. Why punish the other 1597937 homes?

    Yes, 30,000+ plus have died by a gun since Sandy Hook, but what’s your point? I’m pretty sure more than half of those 30,000 are suicide. You might say “well if they didn’t have a gun, they would still be alive today” Do you even understand suicide? If you do, I’m sure you’ll know that a good number of those leave no notice and there’s also easier and more accessible methods to commit suicide.

    You keep bringing up the fact that 30,000 people have died by a gun, 194 of them children, since Sandy Hook. What are you trying to do? Make me feel sad? Why should I grieve a stranger? Medical Malpractice claims close to 200,000 lives a year, Cars claim about the same number of people as guns do. Why not grieve for those people killed by a car and by medical malpractice? They claim more kids than guns do.. so why not reform there? After all, don’t pro-gun control people care about the kids?

    Oh that’s right, only ones that die by a gun so they can exploit their death for a political agenda. Moms Demand Action is a group run by lying, manipulative women and whoever falls for their trap is naive as hell.

    People claim that gun control isn’t there to ban guns, they only want to ban “military-style guns”

    What’s your definition of a “military-style” gun? The ones that go “bang bang bang bang” really fast? LMAO, if you have zero experience with guns, you really should not speak about this.

  • Anonymous

    The common denominator in all stabbings incident is a knife of some sort. Should we go after knives?

  • Anonymous

    Do we have to wait until the next horrible incident of a psychopath murdering dozens of children with his vehicle before we finally ‘get it’?

  • Anonymous

    Yah, all those ‘crazy’ murderers killing innocent people with — their cars!

  • Anonymous

    If tighter gun control laws were the answer, then… Sweden would be among the safest countries in the world!

  • Anonymous

    And I can hardly wait for the next civil war. I guess the pro-gun lobbyists can be expected to beat the pacifists!

  • Anonymous

    OF course. Most mass murders of children are caused by… knives! How inciteful!

  • Anonymous

    Gallup polls show that the majority DO NOT favor stricter gun control.

    How sad that it has to be your kid before you ‘get it’.

  • Anonymous

    Your personal anecdotes about who you know and what they agree with is not compelling. Maybe every one of the 130,000 people who Facebook “Like” Mother Demand Action agrees with you – out of 314 million?

    Ah, that statistic about being killed by a gun in your own home again. “Several academic papers have been published severely questioning Kellerman’s methodology, selective capture of data, and refusal to provide raw data from his gun-risk studies so as to substantiate his methods and result validity. While Kellerman has backed away from his previous statement that people are “43 times more likely” to be murdered in their own home if they own and keep a gun in their home, he still proposes that the risk is 2.7 times higher. The critiques included Henry E. Schaffer,[7] J. Neil Schuman, and criminologists Gary Kleck,[8] Don Kates, and others.[9]” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Kellermann
    And he clings to that 2.7-fold vs 43-fold like some people cling to their guns and bibles.

    The media glossed over the details in the Arapahoe school shooting, saying the kid with the shotgun was looking for a teacher, shot a student at random and committed suicide. They didn’t emphasize that the killer shot himself when an armed school resource officer and two administrators ran to the site shouting “police”. It ends when the first good guy with a gun arrives, in most cases. If an armed good guy is not on-site, minutes become an eternity.

  • Anonymous

    No – I get it. WE get it in my school. There are armed resource officers at our schools and parents carry concealed firearms legally.

    Did you know that the kid who shot another at Arapahoe was a gun control supporter? A number of mass killers are, oddly enough.

    “Karl Pierson, the 18-year-old Arapahoe High School student who engaged in an attack last Friday, apparently was a strong gun control proponent. On his Facebook account he wrote:

    “The Republican Party: Health Care: Let ’em Die, Climate Change: Let ’em Die, Gun Violence: Let ’em Die, Women’s Rights: Let ’em Die, More War: Let ’em Die. Is this really the side you want to be on?”
    Dylan Klebold’s opposition to the concealed handgun law is available in the June 29, 1999 New York Times:

    The other father prided himself on being his son’s soul mate. They had just spent five days visiting the Arizona campus where the teen-ager planned to enroll in the fall, and recently discussed their shared opposition to a bill in the state legislature that would have made it easier to carry concealed weapons. . . . ”

  • Anonymous

    It pretty much all started when the US deinstitutionalized mentally ill patients. Studies show that state Involuntary Commitment Laws are correlated to increase homicide and violent crime rates. The majority of shootings are young, inner-city, minority gang members involved in turf, pride and drug matters. That’s a special problem in a special population, not easily managed by passing laws to make it harder for old, white males to buy guns.

    While 3-5% of the mentally ill are violent, only 0.00008% of Florida concealed carry weapon (CCW) licensees have had their licenses revoked for criminal behavior.

    The common denominator in the 250,000-370,000 defensive gun uses per year (most without firing a shot) are guns too.

  • Anonymous

    Pretend to care about children Um? So, if some psychopath “gun toting” maniac “kills”, and you pretend to care like all other liberals, your plan is to bring in people with bigger guns to stop them? how do you this law enforcement agent isn’t a psychopath himself?

  • Anonymous

    Drunk Driver + Car + dead person = Drunk Driver at fault
    Murderer + gun + dead person = gun’s fault!?!?!

  • Mike

    Lets throw out all the hyperbole and statistics that can be used either way. I would ask that we throw out emotion, but that is unfortunately impossible for some, which is why this is never a rational debate.

    Prior to about the 1960′s, school/mass shootings (not mob related of course) were non-existent. Kids carried guns to school to shoot or hunt on their way home. You could buy firearms (pistols and rifles) from the back of a magazine, and have them shipped to your home. You could buy brand new, true machine guns. Gun ownership was also more widespread (more guns per capita, now it is more guns in fewer homes).

    Presently, we have multiple mass shootings a year, yet we prohibit firearms from all these places, you cannot buy rifles/pistols without going through an FFL (unless private, within the state, which has always been the case), and there are fewer households with guns, percentage-wise, than before.

    Why then, are we wasting time trying to band aid the SYMPTOMS of a problem, instead of the problem. The problem is something within society, it is not the weapon. Yes, without a firearm some loser 16 year old is not likely to kill a bunch of kids in a classroom. That is a given, but it doesn’t answer WHY anyone would do such a thing in the first place. It does not answer why it didn’t happen in the past, when it certainly could have.

    I really would just hope (which is all I can do) that one or two present anti-gun people would think about what I just wrote. You may still want to get rid of guns. But why are people so intent on killing each other in this way, in this Country, in this era? You cannot blame the firearms for what is occurring. You can blame the effectiveness on the tool, but you cannot blame the intent and action on it.

    Anything that restricts the rights of the public, when clearly the legal exercise of those rights is not the issue, is simply a waste of effort, that will not fix the root cause of the problem.

  • BoiseBoy

    Believe it or not, they also have cars in Europe, Australia, Japan… and yet for some reason they do not have the obscene mass murder problem that America has. If only we could figure out why….

  • Pierce

    Daviddickinson: your sarcasm, name-calling and personal attacks make me think you must be a very angry and unhappy person out to inflict yourself on others. Perhaps you are a danger to yourself and others, or perhaps you are simply a bully hiding behind the web. Either way,
    you seem incapable of participating in the civil discourse this forum was intended to promulgate. Congratulations: you have silenced me and I will no longer post on this forum. But you have only entrenched the opinions you oppose, which must have been your intention, because you clearly need to attack something in order to have an identity.

  • Adel Gresham

    You are so willing to dismiss the highly preventable death to small children, that is loaded guns in private homes…It has nothing to do with cars or malpractice….it is the prevalence and uneducated public that need to get the fact that they are buying into the fear that we are our own worst enemies and therefor the only way to be safe from each other is to buy a gun…well that thinking has gotten the gun sellers immense rewards since Sandyhook. How about requiring lessons in gun ownership and keeping them locked up or only accessible to the adults in the house….you should know by now that common snese is not so common and people are complacent and lazy after the newness of anything wears off. Teaching them vigilance in the presence of a gun is not a frivolous activity. Teaching drivers ed is not a frivolous activity but it is required because cars kill people and so do guns. Let’s do some soul searching here and think of it as SAVING LIVES NOT EXCUSING THE GUNS.

  • Anonymous

    By your logic, since the number of deaths from airline crashes is low, we can stop trying to increase the safety of flying. Good luck with that. And of course with only 30,000 dying in car accidents (we’re ignoring mere injuries), why bother with laws mandating driver licenses, speed limits, and seat belts. Shall we do away with those?

    The fact is that all causes of death you mention, and others you don’t, are serious enough to justify extensive laws. Except, apparently, deaths (and injuries) by gun violence.

    Gun control will no more take away guns for self-defense than traffic laws take away cars.

  • Anonymous

    “The problem is something within society, it is not the weapon.” The problem is that the losses occasioned by gun violence usually fall upon the victims more than the perpetrators.
    Gun manufacturers, who continue to pour deadly weapons into society and thereby enrich themselves, but have no accountability for the mayhem their products cause, are more culpable for gun crimes and suicides than the victims (and yes, suicides by gun are often committed by persons who wouldn’t otherwise kill themselves, for a number of reasons). We need to set up a fund whereby gun manufacturers compensate victims when their guns are allowed into the hands of criminals, suicidal and dangerously mentally ill persons, or persons who can’t handle them safely (including drunks, drug attics, and criminal gang members). If gun manufacturers thought they could be held responsible for incidents like Sandy Hook or the Aurora theater shooting, the manufacturers would immediately cause their bought-and-paid-for representatives in congress to pass laws to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands.
    Among those laws, in addition to meaningful background checks, would be laws holding individuals responsible, criminally and civilly, if they deliberately or negligently allow their guns to get into the wrong hands and the guns figure in death or injury. Nancy Lanza wouldn’t have opened her gun safe to Adam Lanza if she had thought she might be held responsible if Adam used her guns to kill or injure even one person, let alone 26. We can’t trust people like Nancy Lanza to use good judgment. Laws are called for where good judgment is lacking.

  • Anonymous

    Seat belt laws are stupid. One can make a case that seat belts do not protect you. Why should a grown adult be forced to wear a seat belt or be forced to pay a fee to the state? It’s a scheme to make money.
    In your response to airline crashes, would you increase the safety of flying to the point where it’s an invasion of privacy? (TSA Patdowns) “We must go through each individual’s things because TERRORISM!” Yes, treat people like they’re criminals. That’s a GOOD idea…

    Driver licenses don’t necessarily mean that you KNOW how to drive, it’s that you’ve been given permission to drive. Speed limits are the only good I see out of this, but it can be easily abused and turned into a money making scheme. They are highly flawed.

    Liberals keep saying they don’t want the guns, but at the same time they want to ban “military-style” weapons and we all know liberals aren’t really the most experienced when it comes to guns.

  • Anonymous

    “Criminals prefer to prey upon defenseless prey; Chicago and Washington, D.C. have gun laws that make law abiding citizens defenseless against violent criminals, so these two cities naturally have soaring rates of violent crime: they are target rich environments densely populated with defenseless victims waiting to be victimized.”
    Is that why Nancy Lanza justified in training Adam Lanza to shoot, and then to let him have access to her arsenal? Is that why we shouldn’t worry about disgruntled graduate students like James Holmes, or high school kids like Klebold and Harris?
    I don’t say people who are sane, adult, and responsible shouldn’t be able to defend themselves with firearms, if necessary. But if you argue having firearms is a “constitutionally guaranteed liberty,” why should the mentally ill be prevented from possessing firearms? Why convicted criminals who have served their time? Why children? All of those people have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, access to a free press, and religious liberty; all enjoy to right to life. Why not let them arm themselves, if it’s a constitutional right?

  • Anonymous

    I want you to think real hard about this;

    Do you have any solid evidence that Sandy Hook actually happened? You saw nothing with your eyes, and I doubt you have done any independent research. You probably dug a hole in the ground and stuck your head in it like most people,.You might get offended and not even answer this question, but I really don’t care/

    One thing that you don’t understand;

    let’s get this straight, 30,000 + die a year because of guns, more than half is because of suicide. Do you think a background check will actually help stop suicidal persons? Do you think it’s just gonna pop up all in red “THIS PERSON IS SUICIDAL”. How can you hold the gun manufacturer accountable when many suicidal people DO NOT GET help at all. Same applies with the mentally ill.
    A common sense solution would be spreading awareness about mental illness and suicide and encouraging family members to act.

    Again, the problem is not how, the problem is why…

  • Anonymous

    It was surprising to me when Rick Warren’s son killed himself, Warren was never questioned about, or held responsible for, allowing his son to have a gun. Would you allow free access to a gun to a relative who is suicidal?

  • Anonymous

    So because cancer and heart disease are much bigger killers than the flu or measles, we should just ignore vaccinations against flu and measles?

  • Anonymous

    Children are a different thing. But then again, I believe the state should not punish you for seat belts.
    If you claim to care about kids, and cancer and heart disease kill 10x more kids than flu and measles, but you focus more on flu and measles, there’s a problem

  • Anonymous

    My question is, how do you know someone who is suicidal? Ask a lot of people who have lost a loved one to suicide, a lot of them will say “we never saw it coming”.

    ignoring the sandy hook question, eh?

  • Thorm

    The benefits of gun ownership are widely shared but the victims of guns are relatively few. If we all had to pay through taxes to reimburse the victims or survivors of gun violence I believe the politics of gun control would shift greatly.

  • Grits.N.Jowls

    You’re right, we’re busted. We don’t care one whit about “mental health” cause it’s a waste of time and money.

  • BoiseBoy

    Agree that the US needs vastly improved healthcare system – but judging by the response to the ACA, you won’t get the right wing crazies supporting a Canada style mental health care initiative.

  • Sjcarl

    When you can get to work in your gun, I’ll listen to the car death-gun death comparison. It is not punishing a home/owner to say they should go through a background check to purchase a(nother) gun. Suicide by gunshot is quick, and may be done on impulse. If the weapon were not available, they may have decided against that impulse before carrying it out.

  • Sjcarl

    Seat belt laws are not stupid! They save lives. If you don’t want to wear a seatbelt, and you go through your windshield, why should the rest of us have to subsidize your medical care, or your life insurance pay-out? If you leave your loaded gun lying around and your kid picks it up and shoots someone a) you should go to jail and b) you should bear all medical costs, and the cost of any life insurance pay-out. Otherwise you are foisting the cost of your choice to own a gun onto the rest of us.

  • joe

    Nancy Lanza? The only info you have about that ” supposed to happen shooting is what the gov. and media said. How about an independent investigation? The currently existing info accessible leads to the fact that the SH shooting never happened or happened in a totally different way. Quit using emotions when looking for truth….

  • joe

    People who can put away emotion and use rational thinking know that all these gun related incidents are used to disarm the population. Have noting to do with safety…

  • Anonymous

    Speaking of killing Bill, how many have been offed in wars for empire in the last 20yrs, making the planet “safe for democracy”?

  • Anonymous

    There are too many examples in history of genocide following confiscation. Believing it can not happen again is just naive.

  • Jason Calley

    Well, Bill, I disagree with you strongly. The dangers of widespread gun ownership can be shown to be historically much smaller than the dangers to populations of being disarmed. But suppose you are right and I am too stubborn or ignorant to realize it. What will you do? Will you just use kindness and sweet persuasion to convince me to give up my arms? Or will you pass some laws, laws that will be enforced by the coercive power of the state? If passing laws is your method of implementing gun restriction, you do realize what that means, don’t you? You are saying, in effect, “Guns are too dangerous. Give up you guns, the ones that you are peacefully owning — and if you refuse, I will send men with guns to kill you.”

    You do realize that every law is just another way of saying, “Do what I say, or I will send men with guns to kill you”, don’t you?

  • Anonymous

    A disarmed person is a subject & a slave! An armed person is a “citizen”!
    When I am disarmed, you can force me to do your bidding! When I am armed, you can only convince me to do your bidding!

  • PJ London

    Guns do not make you want to kill, SSRIs and other antidepressants do.

    “Moreover, a whole generation of antidepressant users has been created from young people growing up on Ritalin.
    Medicating youth and modifying their emotions must have some impact on how they learn to deal with their feelings.
    They learn to equate coping with drugs rather than with their inner resources. As adults, these medicated youth reach
    for alcohol, drugs, or even street drugs to cope. According to JAMA , “Ritalin acts much like cocaine.”

    “The Lazarou study(1) analyzed records for prescribed medications for 33 million US hospital admissions in 1994. It discovered 2.2 million serious injuries due to prescribed drugs; 2.1% of inpatients experienced a serious adverse drug reaction, 4.7% of all hospital admissions were due to a serious adverse drug reaction, and fatal adverse drug reactions occurred in 0.19% of inpatients and 0.13% of admissions. The authors estimated that 106,000 deaths occur annually due to adverse drug reactions.”

    Why don’t the moms attack the cause rather than the tools.

  • Ken Shanahan

    Reading many of the comments following this post, the fanaticism of pro-gun people never ceases to amaze me. One only has to compare the USA with any other civilized nation in the world to know we don’t need all these guns. I have never owned a gun and never will.

  • Anonymous

    Never will I support gun control. I am a Democrat who will vote Republican if Democrats keep on trying to destroy the Second Amendment.

  • Rand Pierson

    By all means, figure it out. But don’t attribute it to differences in the rate of firearms ownership without some credible evidence. Comparisons of crime statistics between different nations and cultures based on a single variable, such as gun control, is naive and pretty much meaningless.

  • Rand Pierson

    Of course you are right. We all have to get “it”.
    By the way, what is “it”?

  • Mike

    So gun manufacturers finance themselves via donations, and just give weapons away for free? THAT would be a situation that they would be liable for the results of their actions. Instead, they make AND SELL a perfectly legal product, to perfectly legal owners (who all must pass background checks) which does not malfunction, thus they are not liable.

    I am not willing to let the .gov determine my responsibility by law, for the actions of another person deemed fit to be in society, and neither should you. Unfortunately some are not able to understand “slippery slope”, but only because they choose to ignore history, such as gun control in this country since the 1930′s, or interstate commerce.

    Your relative borrows your car, drives drunk, and kills someone. You ready to accept responsibility for that?

  • Mike

    Are you willing to give up all your god-given (Constitutional) rights because the government says you should?

    In California they will remove firearms from the house if someone in the HOUSE is deemed unfit to have firearms, regardless of circumstances and the fact they don’t own them. Pre-emptive policing? Why are people that are such a threat allowed to be in public at all?

    If the government has deemed this person to be such a threat that they can’t be AROUND firearms (not even possess them) such that they will deprive the occupants of a house of their property and rights, does that mean the government should therefore be held liable for every death or injury caused by anyone that has ever been arrested or under suspicion by the police?

    Based on our crime statistics, one run-in with police indicates a very high likelihood of further illegal activity, wouldn’t locking those people up prevent things such as murder, rape, child molestation, etc.? It would be far more effective than using an intangible (mental fitness) to determine the ability of the government to strip an individual of their rights, and all the statistics in the world relating to recidivism, crime rates, and costs, show that incarcerating criminals is far more beneficial than the cost associated with releasing them. It would certainly reduce firearms crimes, since 39% of all firearms used in crimes were stolen.