READ THE TRANSCRIPT

BILL MOYERS: Back when Charlton Heston made that defiant boast at the NRA convention – that gun control advocates would have to pry his rifle from his cold dead hands – he must have thought he was back in the fantasy world of Hollywood, re-living his roles as those famous Indian killers Andrew Jackson and Buffalo Bill Cody, whose Wild West, as he called it, courses through the bloodstream of American mythology. For sure, Heston was not channeling his most famous role as Moses striding down from Mount Sinai with a tablet of stone inscribed with God’s blueprint for a civilized society, including the commandment: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

But the good lord seems not to have anticipated the National Rifle Association. 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, whose exceptionalism includes a high tolerance for the slaughter of the innocent. “Mother Jones” magazine reports that at least 194 children have been shot to death since Newtown. 127 of them died in their own homes and dozens more in the homes of friends, neighbors, and relatives, not strangers. 72 pulled the trigger themselves or were shot by another youngster.

My native state of Texas leads the country in the number of young ones killed by guns. While some states passed tougher firearms legislation after Newtown, Texas enacted ten new laws against sane restrictions on guns. Which is partly why last month, four women had lunch at a restaurant just outside Dallas. It was a planning meeting for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, that’s a group started after Newtown that describes itself as the “Mothers Against Drunk Driving of gun reform.”

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 – 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.

So it goes. “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.

We close with a simple public service announcement, produced by the very un-intimidated Moms Demand Action, marking this month’s Newtown anniversary.

ANNOUNCER in No More Silence: On December 14th, we’ll have a moment of silence for Newtown. But with 26 more school shootings since that day, ask yourself: Is silence what America needs right now?

Bill Moyers Essay: On the NRA

December 13, 2013

In an essay following his conversation with cultural historian Richard Slotkin on the role of guns in America, Bill Moyers turns his attention to America’s staunchest defender of gun rights, the National Rifle Association, which he describes as “the armed bully of American politics.” Bill also introduces the work of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a gun control group that released a moving advertisement to coincide with the one year anniversary of the Newtown tragedy, urging viewers to speak out against violence.

Producer: Lena Shemel. Editor: Paul Desjarlais.

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  • Jane Christmas

    I admire your willingness to be outspoken on this issue and I want to join in. I am most disturbed by the depth to which anger is not addressed in this country and the way in which negative emotions cannot be survived or even worked through if someone has access to a gun. Surely we can be better people.

  • Allen Wiener

    Your mistaking Constitutional rights with carte blanche. ALL rights have limits. More important to me are the rights in the First Amendment, not the Second, which guarantee the rights to free speech, press, assembly and others. Those are far more important to me than gun ownership, yet ALL have been limited, curtailed, and modified through legislation and court decisions. Why are gun rights somehow more sacrosanct? In fact, all of the First Amendment rights are unequivocal – there are not qualifying phrases or dependent clauses or anything else associated with them. The Amendment clearly states that all citizens have those rights and that they may not be mitigated (even thought they have been). On the other hand, the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment is very much equivocal and dependent upon the first phrase in that amendment, which stipulates that gun rights are related directly to the need to maintain a “well regulated militia.” If the Founders had wanted to give everyone the unlimited right to buy and keep all the firearms they wanted, they would have put that in the First Amendment with all the other unequivocal rights. But they didn’t. They put it in a separate amendment WITH conditions and limitations. You can look it up.

  • Allen Wiener

    Some of you are mistaking Constitutional rights with carte blanche. ALL rights have limits. More important to me are the rights in the First Amendment, not the Second, which guarantee the rights to free speech, press, assembly and others. Those are far more important to me than gun ownership, yet ALL have been limited, curtailed, and modified through legislation and court decisions. Why are gun rights somehow more sacrosanct? In fact, all of the First Amendment rights are unequivocal – there are not qualifying phrases or dependent clauses or anything else associated with them. The Amendment clearly states that all citizens have those rights and that they may not be mitigated (even thought they have been). On the other hand, the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment is very much equivocal and dependent upon the first phrase in that amendment, which stipulates that gun rights are related directly to the need to maintain a “well regulated militia.” If the Founders had wanted to give everyone the unlimited right to buy and keep all the firearms they wanted, they would have put that in the First Amendment with all the other unequivocal rights. But they didn’t. They put it in a separate amendment WITH conditions and limitations. You can look it up.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t ever retire!!!!!!

  • Boe

    I agree except the first Amendment isn’t unequivocal. You can’t scream fire in a crowded building, incite a riot, or defame someone. All rights have limits.

  • Monroe Payne

    I watched your interview with Leonard Slotkin with alarm and incredulity. The one sided and intellectually vacant arguments put forth by both of you completely ignore the centerpiece of the NRA, which is not to visit violence on others, but to protect ourselves from those who would do us harm.

    Remember that the NRA was the FIRST civil rights organization, securing for black Americans the right to bear arms after the civil war so that they could protect themselves.

    And as to Mr Slotkin’s argument that revolt is unconstitutional – it may be, but it is in the Declaration of Independence “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”. There is no question that our current government is far more abusive to our rights than King George’s was.

    And last, I’ll call attention to this map published by the United Nations 2011 study on homicide, where the maps (shown on Page 9 (pdf Page 11) clearly show an inverse relation between gun ownership and homicide. The places in this world where guns are most regulated is where there is the most danger of being murdered.
    http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/statistics/Homicide/Globa_study_on_homicide_2011_web.pdf

    Ok, one more thing. In the original latin text of the bible, the exact translation of the commandment says “Thou Shalt not commit murder”. Somehow that has been missing or misunderstood by people forever, when it can be easily researched.

    It is always a tragedy when a child dies. I have children, both by birth and by adoption, and they mean the world to me. And no, I’m not a member of the NRA. But I believe that our right to arms is the very reason for the continuing freedom we have, and the relative safety we enjoy, not the reverse.

    And a PS, when you don’t agree with someone, calling them an idiot doesn’t help your case.

  • Wayne Rizor

    Bill,
    Expose the NRA for what it is, first and foremost. The NRA is a lobbyist for the American arms industry. Everything they say and do is designed to promote fear in their membership that someone is going to take their guns away. Be it the Democrats or the United Nations, they use this fear to promote gun sales and the blind ignorance of their membership will follow them politically where ever the NRA wants them to march. Simply look at their actions following the Sandy Hook shooting and the resulting explosion in arms and ammunition sales that left the shelves empty in guns hops across the country.The NRA profits from death and will oppose any sane attempt to reign in the carnage through sensible regulation.

  • FauxZen

    Without the right to the arms there can be no militia.

  • Allen Wiener

    Sorry that this got posted twice.

  • Allen Wiener

    That is exactly my point. The language in the First Amendment contains NO equivocation; the rights stipulated there are without exception or condition. However, later court decisions and legislation gradually limited those rights. The quotation you refer to regarding falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater is from a Supreme Court decision written by Chief Justice Oliver Wendall Holmes, which established limits on free speech (Schenck v. United States, 1919). Press freedom and other rights have been similarly curtailed, not to mention the unspecified right to privacy that is openly violated every day now. However, the NRA and some gun rights advocates believe that the Second Amendment is without limitations, even though the Amendment itself contains qualifications and conditions (in order to maintain a well-regulated militia). That’s nonsense. As you say, all rights have limitations. They also carry responsibilities.

  • Allen Wiener

    I think you missed the point. We don’t even have Militias anymore. We have huge, multi-billion-dollar, professional, full-time, national army. My point is that the right to keep and bear arms is tied to the need for an armed Militia when there was no standing army and a general distrust of them. It was also a time of little protection from the federal government and states saw themselves as quasi-independent entities that had to rely on themselves for defense from foreign forces still on our borders and hostile native tribes, and from each other! Times have changed and there is no longer a need to arm citizens for those purposes. Many things in the Constitution have been altered and limited in face of changing times and conditions. Limiting gun ownership is no different, but the NRA and its vocal membership (and its deep pockets) have prevented politicians from doing that. It’s cowardly and self-serving and not in the public interest, and has now amounted to a violation of the Constitutions provision that the government provide for domestic tranquility.

  • Allen Wiener

    Please see my posts regarding the relationship between the Constitution and gun rights. I favor much stronger gun control/limitations in face of how much our society has changed since the Bill of Rights was adopted. However, I do not share the view that all guns should be outlawed or confiscated or that any law should ban all firearms. Like the other rights in the Constitution, gun rights are subject to change and limitation. We’ve had gun restrictions in the past that have not threatened the rights of honest citizens to own guns and I think we can do even better. Bans on semi-automatics and high-capacity magazines, for example, don’t threaten gun owner rights. In addition to the stats you cited, I’m sure you are aware of statistics (from several sources) showing that most gun deaths occur in the home, many by accident.

    We obviously disagree, but I thank you for posting your thoughts in a civilized manner. I agree that name-calling and anger are not productive.

  • Allen Wiener

    For some reason, some of my posts are not getting posted. I responded to this, but in brief – we don’t have Militia’s anymore. We have a huge standing, professional army. That suggests the Second Amendment is irrelevant. The caveat regarding Militias suggests that the right does not extend to every citizen owning guns, or that gun ownership is not or cannot be limited, controlled, or curtailed.

  • FauxZen

    By the terms of your argument the second amendment is violated by the lack of a militia and i would agree.

  • Allen Wiener

    Bingo! They also repeatedly raise bogus reasons for the gun carnage, like not enough attention to mental health, too much violent TV, movies and video games, etc. Those things exist in all countries, but they have barely a fraction of the murder rates we do or gun violence.

  • Allen Wiener

    No, that’s not really it at all. There’s been 200+ years of history since the Constitution was adopted and many changes to it. The main reason it’s lasted so long is that it was deliberately made flexible and open to change as conditions changed. Madison and others clearly said it was a template and that they could not see into the future, thus it was left to future generations to adapt it as needed, which we’ve done plenty of times. We need to institute effective gun control to protect our people and “insure domestic tranquility,” whatever was put in the Second Amendment in 1789.

  • FauxZen

    There is a process prescribed in the constitution to change it. Just changing it without going through the process is not constitutional and that’s what this idea of regulation after the fact is.

  • aniko

    Are you living in a dreamworld? You think we have fewer rights now than under King George when we didn’t even choose our own governors?? I bet the founding fathers would be appalled at that lack of gratitude for what we all have today. And even if you believe that the NRA is trying to help us protect ourselves, the Constitution (unfortunately for you and them) does not support them in that position. It’s for a militia and nothing else.

  • aniko

    And, many of us, me included, are not willing to risk the country’s children – yours or anyone’s – for the right to bear arms…even if you are.

  • Allen Wiener

    How is it any more unconstitutional to pass gun control legislation than it is to curtail free speech and press? The Constitution is not cast in stone, and quite deliberately so. And although it has an amendment provision, you don’t need amendments to change the meaning of the Constitution or reinterpret it. It’s been changed and modified many times in addition to the 27 Amendments. Many Supreme Court decisions have altered the meaning of the Constitution drastically. Note the original Constitution’s endorsement of slavery, early limits on voting that restricted that right to white, property-owning males only, institutionalized segregation that violated the equal protection clause, etc. And note how easily First Amendment rights have been curtailed through executive orders and legislation, not amendments, including the so-called “Patriot Act” and court decisions compelling reporters to reveal confidential sources, or the previously mentioned decisions curtailing free speech. Somehow, many gun owners and the NRA seem to believe that one set of rules applies to the entire Constitution, except the Second Amendment, which they believe is different from the rest of the Constitution. It isn’t and the only reason we don’t have effective gun control is that pro-gun lobbyists are better funded and more forceful than those in favor of sensible gun control. It is also far better at spreading false information, hysteria, and propaganda.

  • Monroe Payne

    Thank you for your response. Yes, we disagree but we don’t have to be disagreeable.

    Aniko wants to protect our children, I do too. Disarming those who would protect us doesn’t help – it’s like putting a sign outside the house saying “No guns here!!”. It’s an invitation…

    But this is a discussion which won’t be settled in an email or a post. We should concentrate instead on where we agree, then discuss our points of view…

    Again, thank you.

  • Will Garfinkel

    At least the NRA is trying to protect our Constitutional rights, not trying to do an end run around them like the left. If you think you have won the hearts and minds of the people, have the guts to introduce a Constitutional Amendment to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Won’t do this will you. Why, because you know full well you do not have the votes and never will.

  • bijouxhunter

    Dear Bill,
    Thank you for airing programs like this. Your guest Richard Slotkin , a historian , put many underlying issues of the establishment of gun control values on the table , which i totally agree with. His theories seem relevant and similar to the challenges we face today with the underlying class system that has never been altered. Yes, the man with the more bullets , water , property, voting rights and now as it was in the early days , education , wins out. Next a would assume tanks will take up the role as civilian vehicles of choice and if the NRA has anything to do with it ( a corruption of our judicial system) we will see those parked on the front lawns of our neighbors fairly soon. The founding fathers did not speak for all men , certainly did not speak for woman (as we know ) and did not envision semi automatic weapons being the “equalizer” If they would have had that weapon three hundred years ago, we would have a different bill of rights now. The advertisement run by mom’s against gun violence was very good. thank you.

  • david haight

    Both of my posts did not make the cut. Well, you have a weird standard for staying on topic. Why should I bother to construct a thoughtful reply? I probably wont, now.

  • Allen Wiener

    You really need to actually READ the Constitution and learn how it works and has always worked. I’ve posted the facts here till I’m blue in the face and realize I will never get through to people like you. But, at least read SOMETHING and speak from knowledge instead of reading the same old stale NRA talking points. BTW, if you or the NRA want to “protect our Constitutional rights,” why don’t you put your efforts into reclaiming our rights to free speech, press, assembly and privacy, instead of trying to arm every crack pot lunatic in the country just so you can feel secure, surrounded by guns? For a start, why don’t you lobby to get the “Patriot Act” repealed? Yeah, you guys are REAL big on Constitutional rights!

  • Jeff Schwartz

    I’ll posit that the entire argument is focused in the wrong place. “Guns don’t kill people” is absurd, but the 2nd part of that cliche is all too true. The statistical correlations between gun ownership and rates of gun violence are merely that, as much as they might lead to entirely contradictory conclusions on the issue. The explanation for the disturbingly high incidence of gun violence in the US, however, reflects much more on the culture of individualism, consumerism and the amoral character of corporate capitalism. You want to blame violence on TV or in video games? Then take ownership of a society that craves those things and the industries you support that are all to happy to exploit that demand. Want to point the finger at mental illness? Then you have to acknowledge the pitiful indifference towards, if not malicious neglect of, those that suffer from organic mental illnesses (e.g., schizophrenia) as well as the myriad institutional causes (e.g., entrenched income inequality, breach of the social contract with the poor and vulnerable, nutritional poverty, drug and alcohol dependence, etc.) of situational mental illness. Want to proclaim the necessity for the individual right to gun ownership to fend off tyrannical governments, random criminals, brown hordes of immigrants or zombies? Then proclaim your own merit to exercise that right by exemplifying the most rigorous practices to ENSURE SAFETY and responsible citizenship. I don’t have a gun, don’t want a gun, and don’t want to live in a society full of guns. But far worse is living in a society where the danger of largely unrestricted gun ownership is selfishly disregarded, and the elevation of individual desires masquerading as the “right of self-defense” (not mentioned in the Constitution) trumps the obligation of individuals to cooperate in a “common defense” (taken from the Preamble).

  • http://behance.net/zinkwork Paul Zink

    The modern NRA’s primary reason for being to help manufacturers sell more guns by frightening the simple-minded into thinking that guns and even more guns are the only thing holding off hordes of dope-crazed rapists and armies of satanical North Korean paratroopers. And here’s some news for you, Will, about how the U.S. political process works: we don’t pass amendments to the Constitution by popular vote or referendum. If we did, tighter gun ownership restrictions would be law before you can say “Columbine”.

  • http://behance.net/zinkwork Paul Zink

    I don’t mind that you’ve been forced to repost some of your replies: it being a pleasure to read a well-articulated argument based on historical fact and logical thought, the re-reading of the same is equally enjoyable.

  • http://greysunsart.com/ werealherealivetodaycauseofJFK

    yes is seems so many in favor of the second lack the ability or willingness to fully exercise of participate in the first therefore using the second hastily as a way to cancel the first,?

  • http://greysunsart.com/ werealherealivetodaycauseofJFK

    If only he had been when carrying out coverup orders of the assassination of the 35th the 34th (eye’s in our) had warned of the 36th for, and by Lil BJ’s sycophancy with JE Hoover’s(Hoovahz) hate of darker skinned drag queens issuing orders for and participation in the collatoral covert complicity of killing Jesus Fortuitous Kindness(JFK) for a God inspired world of peace, as he was to be put to rest, laid…

  • Allen Wiener

    Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Why are my comments being censored?

  • moderator

    Ted,

    If you refuse to sign up with Disqus, then all of your comments first go into the pending file. If you are willing to join Disqus, then this will not happen. Please do not accuse us of censorship before first emailing us and asking.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    Hi Tarryfaster,

    Your comment ended up in the spam folder due to the use of links. I believe it is up now.

    thanks,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Pierre Curtis

    A gun would be quick and deadly, and there lies the problem. it’s a handy quick and easily misused killing tool that foolishly any nut can buy because of th NRA insane line on normal controls and sensible limits to gun ownership. We can and should insist on electronic control of all guns, only a trained owner(s) could fire them. And I truly believe there should be a national gun database to facilitate that guns cannot fall into the wrong hands..

  • Ms Cynthia K Dalton

    Actually that verse is from the Old Testament and has been translated multiple times, first from Hebrew into ancient Greek and Latin, then translated from these texts into modern languages. So you can see where many opportunities for mistranlation come in over the course of over 2000 yrs in addition to errors in copying and language shifts over that time period

  • Anonymous

    Not exactly true. One CAN yell fire in a crowded theater; there is no ban on that, and people aren’t muzzled from doing so. However, if one were to do just that, then one has to be ready to deal with the consequences of such behavior, if there is no fire, and people get hurt. Similarly, there is no ban on libelous speech, but there are repercussions after such speech. In other words, the penalties only exist for speech that caused some sort of injury; the words themselves aren’t banned (what if there is a fire in a crowded theater?) The same thinking applies to the second amendment, in that the right to bear arms should not be infringed until one’s actions prove that a person is not worthy of the heavy responsibility of gun ownership. Just because you don’t think you can handle firearms ownership doesn’t mean that everyone else suffers from the same fear and lack of responsibility.

  • david haight

    yep. no more personal anecdotes from me, I will stick to the legalistic bickering you seem to prefer.

  • david haight

    Ok sorry, mod, I see this has happened to others. I will sign up with disqus. It’s just that this has never happened to me before on here.

  • moderator

    Please read our comment policy before posting. One part that is often overlooked clearly states, “If your comments consistently or intentionally make this community a less civil and enjoyable place to be, you and your comments will be excluded from it.”

    Thank You,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Umesh Singh

    Guns have the added value of expediting your short-term heat-of-the-moment visions of annihilating the other person because they have somehow done you some great wrong.

    You may be right, in that the other guy did do some great wrong (or is about to), or you might be wrong, but once you pull that trigger, and it turns out you might be wrong, you will have to start looking for excuses as to why he is dead, and you were somehow justified.

    If you can guarantee me that all gun owners are trained and certified as level headed and logical thinking (for as long as they own a serviceable weapon), then I will be forever on your side.

    In heat-of-the-moment scenarios, there is a very good justification for appealing to the professionally trained instead of to the George Zimmerman’s of the world. You can’t take back that bullet once it has ended the life of another human being.

  • Umesh Singh

    What is wrong with a background check? You do it for the nanny. Employers do it when you apply for the job.

    What about gun safety training? Is that so difficult? Whose rights are we violating by not allowing someone to purchase a gun before they have taken some certification class?

    Perhaps the owner should be trained to not give her AR-15 to her mentally challenged anti-social son?

  • Umesh Singh

    It is worse than that.

    The NRA folks are tell us that if we cannot defend ourselves, we are weaklings.

    So if your teenage daughter walks to school today, and she gets raped on the way there, it is apparently HER fault that she wasn’t carrying a gun.

    That is the bogus reasoning that is so galling.

    They won’t tell you that to your face when you are burying her body, but they pretty much imply it.

  • Umesh Singh

    The NRA is suppressing the toxicology reports? Really?

    The one thing the NRA lobbies hard to suppress is any federal studies of gun violence.

    I would think the NRA would LOVE to show confirmed research data that demonstrate this correlation with pharmaceuticals. This would take the heat off the NRA, and turn it back on the drug makers.

    Perhaps the NRA should not have been suppressing those studies on gun violence?

  • Lee Wells

    Guns in America. What a topic. Like we could talk away the anguish of a child killed in a drive by shooting.
    The next time the Democrats have a majority, why don’t we just make bullets illegal?

  • James

    If we lose the 2nd, we will lose the 1st. And what conditions and limitations are you talking about when you speak of the right to bear arms? You don’t think The Right to Bear Arms deserves it’s own amendment?

  • James

    When was the last time gun owners needed to form a militia to defend there country? Just because we have a standing Army, and the National Guard, does not mean that a militia will never be needed again. In societies of unjust and tyrannical leaders, who will the military side with? I’m not sure, but I’ll bet some will scatter to each side. But where does that leave the people with homes and families to defend? Now If you want to give up your right to defend yourself, fine, go right ahead. Just don’t expect everyone else to fall in line behind you. Your opinions (which I do respect) would make sense in a sane world, but we do not live in a sane world.

    Also: the Constitution and it’s evolution? The Constitution is not a living document, which needs to evolve.

  • Allen Wiener

    Well, should the army and/or national guard move against the government, I wish you and your gun-owning pals a lot of luck going up against them. Have you noticed what’s going on in Ukraine these days? And where did you get the idea that the Constitution is not a living document? Of course it is. The founders intended it to be, which is why they included an amendment process. Do a bit more reading, really.

  • Allen Wiener

    Reading what? I’m clearly not getting through to you and only have so much time on this planet to waste.

  • Anonymous

    Along with everything else you don’t like, right?

  • Anonymous

    Sure….as soon as I need to park my gun on a public roadway, I’ll get it a tag. OK?

  • Anonymous

    Nice hypothetical. Next time, try offering a scenario that actually happens often enough to matter. I’m certain you were one of those prognosticators of “Wild West” blood-in-the-streets, with expanded issuance of CCW permits. But the empirical data refute your suppositions.

  • Anonymous

    How about a civics and literacy test before voting?

  • Anonymous

    Your sanity, or grasp on reality, is your own problem. And given your use of bogus, manufactured, language, like “common-sense gun safety”, it might be a big problem, indeed.

  • Anonymous

    I love the Left. All supposition. No evidence.

    That’s what happens when you’re ruled by emotion.

  • Anonymous

    When you include people between 18 and 20 years of age, and pretend they’re “minors”, to inflate your statistics by getting more ganbangers into your survey class, your study becomes bunk.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. Prior restraint has no place in the exercise of enumerated rights.

  • Anonymous

    “in order to”? You added a verb where none exists, or was even intended.

    Either you don’t understand the nature of the Second Amendment, or you are trying to deceive. Which is it?

  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    The JAMA / Internal Medicine didn’t seem to think it was “bunk”, but what do they know?

    You people will grasp at any straws to maintain your cherished fiction that more guns means a safer society.

  • Anonymous

    Of course they didn’t think it was bunk. It served an agenda. No absurdity is bunk according to those who have an agenda to flog.

    Those “straws” are a universe of empirical evidence. Your side has only supposition, manipulated language, and ignor-ance. What’s the “thing that goes up”?

  • Kevin Jones

    Common sense gun safety is just a more direct way of saying what’s needs to be done in this country since gun lovers like yourself have branded such desires as being in support of “gun control” AKA “They’re coming to take away our guns! ” But no, my sanity and the sanity of the millions of others like me (you know, the majority of this country that doesn’t want to be randomly killed by guns) is the problem of those who call themselves “law-abiding gun owners” (more manufactured language (no comma between the two words either)) because in order to make this nation safer, we have to implement safer, better documented practices for selling and transferring firearms.

  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    Ah, so the left’s evidence for various assertions is specious “bunk” to serve an agenda, whilst the right’s case to serve their agenda is built on a “universe of empirical evidence”. How beautifully simple life must be for you, to discard that which doesn’t suit your beliefs.

  • Anonymous

    Not quite. I discard that for which there isn’t any supporting evidence.

  • Anonymous

    Do you insist on having them for everybody, then, as you seem to for firearms ownership?

  • Anonymous

    Tell me how magazine limitations or a ban on adjustable stocks make any gun “more safe”.

  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    You’re correct, that’s what one does. And it seems to me that there was a great deal of supporting evidence cited in the Boston Children’s Hospital study. What’s more, one has to evaluate the source, and as a Boston metro area resident, I can tell you that BCH has a sterling reputation as an institution.

  • Anonymous

    As a former Boston Metro Area resident, who has been an in-patient there long ago, I agree — when they’re discussing a topic about which they actually have some expertise. This topic isn’t one of those.

  • Anonymous

    Oh no! Whatever will you do with just the raw data, and no propagandist to spin it to suit your personal emotional needs?

  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    That’s the exact question I ask Bill O’Reilly and Megyn Kelly every week.

  • Anonymous

    The data is all that matters (even if you dismiss it by calling it “just crime data”).

    The propaganda accompanying the speculation and “analysis” you seem to prefer over data is not the product of quality research.

  • Anonymous

    Those “limits” you so-readily embrace are impermissibly applied a priori. That means that prior restraint on the free exercise of enumerated rights is **NOT** allowed.

    Certainly, harmful conduct can be punished, as is incitement to riot. But we don’t prohibit, limit, or regulate the ability to speak to large crowds because a speaker *might* incite the crowd to riot.

  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    I’m not dismissing crime data, but only noting that the FBI does not collect data for gun accidents, for example; therefore their national crime reports don’t give a full picture of deaths by firearm (from all causes). Don’t be in such a hurry to naysay based on —what was your phrase?— [your] “wishes, hopes, fantasies, and feelings.”

  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    BTW, I’m a little confused by your claim that the “propaganda accompanying the speculation … is not the product of quality research”. I was unaware that ANY propaganda is by definition the product of research— quite the opposite, I’d say. (You can trust me on this: I’m an advertising creative director, and therefore a propagandist by trade.)

  • Anonymous

    So instead of actual crime data (which you do dismiss, by referring to it as “just crime data), you’d prefer to concentrate on the aberrations — the accidents? Well, those data are also available from the CDC, and have been, year-by, year for a long time. And those data show that they are, especially considering the number of operable firearms in America, a minuscule fraction of overall fatal and injurious accidents (household poisons and stirs are much worse).

    I know — you don’t like guns, and want to grasp at any straw to justify your perceived need to bar Americans the keeping and use of arms. But those data just don’t support your desires, unless you’re one of those who welcomes (as I call it) legislation-by-aberration. Better to ban Hondas because a tiny fraction of owners soup them up for illegal street racing, right?

  • Anonymous

    Then I guess you’re not versed in the “research” output from the Brady Campaign or the LCAGV. Please read up.

  • http://depravda.blogspot.com Paul Zink

    The whole point of the BCH study was not to agitate for banning gun ownership, but to demonstrate a correlation between gun violence (or lack thereof), and firearms regulations—or lack thereof. The extent of my activism is to push for licensing and regulating gun ownership as we now do for car ownership. I think that mandatory insurance would be a good idea too.

    And as the former owner of a 396 BHP Camaro SS, I have no problems with illegal street racing. But, yes, I would gladly ban coffee-can Hondas, merely for being silly ricers.

    OK: you’re articulate (which I can’t say about most of your fellow travelers) and cordial (again, an uncommon trait), but it’s clear to both of us that neither will persuade the other. So, let’s call it a day on this issue?

  • Anonymous

    Why doesn’t the left wing media bring to the attention of the public all the laws passed by congress that protect the gun manufacturers from liability. SC and GA now have passed laws allowing guns in restaurants and bars. The public doesn’t seem to get it through their heads that congress and our state Governors have been bought by the gun lobby. The gun lobby has won in SC and GA. Now everybody has to either buy a gun to protect themselves from others with guns or stay at home. And there is no common sense on the right. They think it will never happen to them or their family.

  • Anonymous

    When we travel abroad we check the state department web site for any travel warnings. Other countries warn their citizens of violent crime and extreme weather events when asked about travel to the United States. Considering the fact that our trade deficit is so high we cannot afford to lose foreign travelers.

  • Wayne Rizor

    Product liability only applies to a product that fails to work as intended or injures a user or bystander when it is being used as intended but malfunctions.

    For example, if someone points a gun at another person and pulls the trigger and that person is injured or dies, it is not the manufacturers fault because the gun was being used as it was intended to be used and did not malfunction, so he cannot be sued.

    Another example, is someone loads a rifle, the safety is on and the rifle fires and injures or kills another person, the manufacturer is liable because the product malfunctioned.

  • Anonymous

    On a superficial level your statement makes sense. But gun manufacturers give money to Congress for their campaigns thru lobbyists. It is not from the goodness of their hearts. It is so that Congress will pass bills that prevent registrations and background checks and limiting of automatic weapons. So the bad guys with the guns get them to shoot us. And then the lobbyists get Congress to pass laws that allow guns in bars and restaurants where people consume alcohol. This intentionally makes people fearful so then they buy a gun for protection from the bad guy with the gun and guess what ? The gun manufacturers make more money. So if gun manufacturers are not liable why do they have laws passed to protect themselves? This is off the top of my head and will require more research. But they certainly have pulled a fast one on the American public.

  • Anonymous

    Oh one more thing. These governor “toadys to the gun lobby” pulled a huge fast one on restaurant owners and workers and patrons. The owners would have to install expensive detection equipment and could lose business and all for what? So it’s their money or possibly their life and what about the liability they face if a patron gets shot? Or the liability if they choose to be the only restaurant without guns and gets targeted by the bad guy for that reason ? They can’t win and neither can the public. The gun manufacturers and their influence on Congress has won. We are all afraid to go out now.

  • Jim

    So many opinions, so much left blaming right, right blaming left and very few if any putting forth the fact that it is BOTH who are responsible for the growing problems in this country. It’s BOTH sides who are responsible for correcting these problems. Not just one or the other and for sure not our dysfunctional government.

  • Anonymous

    Jim, you’re practicing false equivalency. I know it’s easier to think this way, but look at the facts. Our biggest problems to governance, our biggest obstacles in congress all stem from the right. Period. It’s simply not a balanced problem with equal blame to go around.

  • Jim

    My reply to your moronic comment is……..B.S.

  • Anonymous

    I would suggest that any member of congress who signed Norquist’s pledge has violated their oath of office, and that’s just the beginning.

  • deeann

    A gun is always a killing tool, any gun. It’s made for nothing else.

  • JJ042804

    You are right. Everyone talks about their “rights” as a Citizen, but nobody wants to hear and act on their “responsibilities” as a Citizen.

  • Mary Winstead

    Too much discussion of gun rights and not enough about gun responsibility. In a civilized society, one must accompany the other. Plan A: When someone owns a gun, they should have to sign a legal document saying they agree that they take full responsibility for legal, financial, medical and emotional damage caused to human beings as the result of their firearm. And their families will be held responsible if they shoot themselves as well. Plan B: Shut down the schools and parents hold a moratorium on sending their kids to school unless these responsibility documents are on record in every principal’s office across the land. Enough.

  • Anonymous

    Why do people look at this as a right vs left issue? It is a human issue. How do we want to live together as a society? This is about the health and safety of all of us.

  • Anonymous

    Our government is who represents us. That’s the way a democracy works. There is plenty to complain about in the way lobbyists buy favor from our elected officials, but it is we the people who make our decisions about what is right and wrong for our society. It is our responsibility as citizens to treat others as we would be treated. It’s not about “left” or “right” politics.

  • MikeDLA

    I agree with you but guns are seen as a constitutionally protected right and not a privilege – until that changes the idea of responsibility is a hard one to sell. Currently even the irresponsible have the right to bear arms.

  • Pam

    If that is the case then let’s take it one step further… every child born – the parents of that child should sign a legal document saying they will take full responsibility, legally, financially, medically, and emotional damage caused to another through the actions of their child till the age of say 25. If that child turns out to be a thug who breaks into homes and steals a legally owned gun from a locked box then the thugs parents should be held responsible not the person who legally bought the gun. The problem isn’t irresponsible gun owners, the problem is not holding anyone accountable for their actions.

  • Pam

    Well now that makes complete sense. Let’s start holding manufacturers liable for their product. Wait, what? Oh, just gun manufacturers… because it would be ludicrous to hold a car manufacturer liable when a drunk driver decides to get behind the wheel and kills others, or how about someone killed skiing, let’s hold the manufacturer of the skis liable, or, oh I think you get my point…