BILL MOYERS: Tom, let's continue. We're talking about The Last Gun: How Changes In the Gun Industry Are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It.

BILL MOYERS: Somebody has referred to Florida as the gun-shine state. Is that justified, that mockery?

TOM DIAZ: I do believe it is for a specific reason. The NRA has used Florida as what I call sort of a test tube. Florida was the first of the major states to change the law about concealed carry itself. Used to be if you wanted to carry a gun about, concealed, you had to ask for permission. It was called a May-issue. The authority might or might not give you the gun. Florida was one of the first states to change to what's called a Shall-issue state. Later on it led to this whole concept of Stand Your Ground mixed up with the Castle doctrine. So yeah, Florida is the Petri dish and then the bacillus has spread through American Legislative Exchange Council and other media to the rest of the country.

BILL MOYERS: So this is how Florida's concealed law, concealed gun law plays into the Trayvon Martin tragedy?

TOM DIAZ: Yes, I think it's a mindset thing, number one. And I think it's, the number of concealed carry licenses for people like Zimmerman just by order of magnitude increased after these laws. So yeah, I think it's like pollution, it seeps out into the society.

BILL MOYERS: Have you been able to measure the impact of the law in these states that have passed them?

TOM DIAZ: I personally have not, although there have been studies that others have done.

BILL MOYERS: What do they show?

TOM DIAZ: Well, they show that the incidence of what are called justifiable homicides goes up. Now, because you use the word justifiable, that simply means somebody died, you killed them, but we're not going to prosecute you for murder, second-degree murder, what have you. It doesn't mean that that homicide would not have happened but for these laws. And I think that's clear, that more guns means more shootings and it means more deaths.

BILL MOYERS: So is the dramatic change you write about in The Last Gun essentially the militarization of the gun industry?

TOM DIAZ: Yeah, the common denominator is, and that's precisely, the gun industry is marketing both in handguns and long guns, designs that were essentially military based, the common denominator is something called the high capacity magazine. You think back to the wild west, the revolver, the old six-shooters, six rounds of ammunition, relatively cumbersome to load. Bolt action rifles, cumbersome to load. Even the M1 Garand from the Second World War was eight rounds, little difficult to load.

The high capacity magazine can carry 20, 40, even more than 100 in the drum form of, that's militarization, those are designed for the modern battlefield. The same thing happened in handguns in the 1930s and increasingly in the 1980s when Beretta first sold its version to the United States Army. Both of these provide the individual shooter with lots of rounds of ammunition, and they're increasingly easy to shoot.

You could go get modern semiautomatic pistol today and probably in ten minutes if you've never shot before you could do fairly well shooting. Because they're almost like shooting a child's toy. They're lightweight, the ammunition's easy to load and they shoot very quickly.

The gun industry is like any other business. If you look at your, say your mobile phone, or you look at your car, or even look at your microwave, they're all different. Innovation is what sells consumer products. The gun industry is no different than any other industry, so they know that. And in the last several decades their innovation has been in the direction of enhanced lethality--

BILL MOYERS: Enhanced what?

TOM DIAZ: --lethality, killing power--

BILL MOYERS: Deadliness?

TOM DIAZ: Killing power. So you've got more bullets, you can fire faster and easier and they're bigger, increases the chance of someone being hit and someone dying. So the gun industry has moved in the direction of selling greater firepower whether it's the military style assault rifle or it's the high capacity semiautomatic handgun, that's the two branches of marketing that the gun industry has relentlessly pursued, not only the domestic gun industry incidentally. We are the target of the world, we're the last great market.

As unlikely a jurisdiction is the United Arab Emirates now, I noticed an ad within a month or so, is now selling a concealed carry handgun in the United States they manufacture. Now, why are they doing that? Because this is the only market--

BILL MOYERS: The United States?

TOM DIAZ: Yes, they're, this gun is being pushed in the current round of gun consumer magazines. But it's not, that's not unusual. You, in most countries in the world you could not possibly get away with selling the kinds of guns that are sold in the United States to civilians and you couldn't do it as easily. You couldn't just go to some gun show or even a gun store and say, I feel the need to carry a gun around in my pocket. Can you sell me one?

Even in Israel which the gun people like to cite as an example, completely wrong, Israel has very strong gun control laws. It's believed that, well, Israel says you can carry a gun because they're suffering from terrorism. That's absolutely not true. And I've talked to many Israelis, I've talked to Israeli diplomats. It's just not true. A society that's under threat of terrorism still restricts access of to firearms.

BILL MOYERS: Why are we such a great market?

TOM DIAZ: Well, unlike most other countries we do have the second amendment which does embody a right which according to the Supreme Court is a personal right, you have it, I have it, every single individual have it, has it. So that's different. And it's complex. I wouldn't dismiss that part of the problem as easily solved.

But we also have a kind of imaginary history. We've conquered the West, the frontier, we're a nation of these independent stalwart people and we overthrew a bad government when we took care of King George III. The gun industry knows that these things resonate with the American people. So their advertising and marketing is all aimed at this kind of, you've got a right, you're an individual American, by gosh, you should have a gun.

BILL MOYERS: Why the title, The Last Gun?

TOM DIAZ: Well, I think the logic of the title, it's that until they sell the last gun the gun industry will continue to do the kinds of things that I describe in the book. They're not giving up. They, I write, I describe, have you ever seen a wounded snake on a highway where they're just dangerous because they're lashing about? And that's the way the gun industry is. It's, over the long term in bad health, it's got public opinion, I think, in a large extent are weighed against the industry. And they're going to keep doing what they do until they absolutely cannot any longer. The gun people like to say there are law abiding people and there are bad people and we want the law abiding people to have guns. I don't think humanity is that simple. Humanity is a complex of all kinds of people. Good people do bad things when they have access to guns. People who've been married for many, many years suddenly have a breakup, I can't tell how many stories I've read, typically the husband comes home, kills his wife and kills himself. Not a bad person until the moment something snaps and he uses that gun which is there.

BILL MOYERS: The book is The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It. Tom Diaz, thanks for joining me.

TOM DIAZ: My pleasure, thank you.

Web Extra: Tom Diaz on the Relentless Marketing of Guns

This is Part 2 of Bill’s conversation with author and gun industry analyst Tom Diaz. Watch Part 1.

Bill Moyers continues his conversation with Tom Diaz, focusing on Florida’s role as a testing ground for laws that make it easier to carry, conceal and use guns in public spaces, and on the booming business of “enhanced lethality.”

“The gun people like to say there are law abiding people and there are bad people, and we want the law abiding people to have guns,” Diaz tells Bill. “I don’t think humanity is that simple. Humanity is a complex of all kinds of people. Good people do bad things when they have access to guns.”

Interview Producer: Gail Ablow. Editor: Sikay Tang.

  • submit to reddit
  • Anonymous

    What most people, including those with guns at their waist and/or concealed carry permits is the necessity of situational awareness in gun use. Even experienced law enforcement professionals can mess up by misreading a situation.

    These amateurs with their overt look at me, I’m packing. I don’t like to be anywhere around that type.

  • Jim

    You may have, or may not have heard the saying before,” Samuel Colt made all men equal”. The premise of carrying a weapon, concealed or otherwise, is to protect yourself and yours. It is not to have blood run red in the streets. It is not a political, economical, racial or class defined. It has nothing to do with any of that. It is about making sure that IF or when, things go bad and you need to protect yourself, you have the ability. The 90 year old woman is on the same and equal plane as a 20 year old troubled man. Not better, not worse. It is to equalize or stop a threat. Those who feel there would be no threat if there were no guns, look around you. Look to your right and look to your left. Within 10 feet is usually an object, when wielded with malice could so serious harm or kill a person. I could go on and on, however, history as well as situational awareness has shown that violence has been and will be prevalent in humanity.

  • Kimberly Ruane Biagioli

    American History, William Penn and the Quakers
    Peace testimony, or testimony against war, is a shorthand description of the action generally taken by members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) for peace and against participation in war. Like other Quaker testimonies, it is not a “belief”, but a description of committed actions, in this case to promote peace, and refrain from and actively oppose participation in war. Quakers’ original refusal to bear arms has been broadened to embrace protests and demonstrations in opposition to government policies of war and confrontations with others who bear arms, whatever the reason, in the support of peace and active nonviolence. Because of this core testimony, the Religious Society of Friends is considered one of the traditional peace churches.

  • Dona Kae

    Okay then I’ll get my tank and flamethrower and you get yours, I’ll jump in my bomber and you do the same. The endless, needless cycle of who can kill who first under the pretense of “protection” has come to an asinine impasse. You go ahead and find inane excuses to make the gun industry rich but people who possess the ability to reason have had enough of the childish rhetoric.

  • Jim an 80 year old ex-gun owne

    There is an inborn propensity to use a hand gun if one is owned. Sans a hand gun, people make other choices rather than that of shooting to kill another human. Hand gun proliferation in society increases violence and reduces freedoms. A huge majority of us live in low crime areas so there is little to fear from those not carrying a hand gun. But, there is much to fear from those carrying a hand gun, even in low crime areas. An angry hot head carrying a concealed hand gun has a false sense of empowerment that leads to using the gun. The best choice in a confrontation is to walk away and not play high noon at OK corral. But concealed hand gun owners have little motivation to walk away because they are certain they can draw quicker and shoot straighter than the bad guy they are confronting. Sadly they seldom can.

  • Barbara DeMoss

    This is a “must-read” for every thinking adult.

  • Jason Wickersty

    It’s fascinating how such a 180-degree shift there has been made in this country over concealed carry. At the turn of the 20th century, we were going through a similar debate as we are now, over the increased lethality and use of pistols.

    Most interestingly, Governor James Stephen Hogg gave a vehement condemnation of the concept of concealed carry in his Message to the Twenty Third Legislature of the State of Texas on January 12, 1893. He said:

    “The practice of carrying concealed deadly
    weapons marks the unnmanly spirit and cowardice of those who indulge in it, or points to radical defects in the machinery of justice. It is a fruitful source of crime, to effectually check which the efforts of every law abiding citizen and officer must be bended, and the laws to encourage and support them in the work should be made in all respects adequate… The mission of the concealed deadly weapon is murder. To check it is the duty of every self-respecting, lawabiding man.”

    In the October 27th, 1901 Salt Lake City Herald,
    a reader asked, “Has the mayor of a city the power to grant permits to firearms without making the person to whom such permits are granted special officers?”

    The reply was:

    “If the correspondent means concealed weapons the answer is no. Under the constitution of the United States any citizen has the right to bear arms in his own defense. This does not apply however to concealed weapons.”

    It seemed a pretty universal sentiment in the latter quarter of the 19th and early 20th centuries that the carrying of concealed weapons was a nefarious business, and that statues prohibiting the carrying of concealed deadly weapons would be “necessary, salutary, and constitutional.”

  • Anonymous

    Flamethrowers are classified as destructive devices by the ATF. Unless you’ve registered yours with the ATF, you could be in big trouble!

    I don’t own one, but I know one person who does. I’ll contact him and see if he wants to meet-up with you. This could be interesting…

  • Anonymous
  • Doug Charette

    Jim, you make a bunch of assumptions here. Kindly show any evidence outside your own opinion that what you allege occurs. Your assertion that people can walk away is nothing but tripe. If I’m somewhere I have a legal right to be, why should I retreat in the face of an attack? Why should I not meet force with force? If you really believe that, then I’m sure you’re all for disarming all law enforcement, as well.

  • andyandy

    “Why should I not meet force with force?”

    Um…so nobody gets killed.

    What are you trying to prove, anyway?

  • Doug Charette

    I’m not trying to prove a thing, I’m trying to stay alive. If I kill someone that is committing a violent crime against my person in the process, that’s their problem, not mine. I didn’t ask them to attack me in the first place.

  • Benjamin Kane

    I am pro-gun rights, but I deplore concealed carry. The only people that should be allowed to conceal carry are those that work in a job (like police or military) that have had the chance to take someone else’s life. Shooting at targets in a 4 hour class for permits does not give you the idea of how dangerous you can be. I think if you want to carry a gun in public, then everyone else should have right to carry their own, plus able to see if you are carrying. The main problem then is about access to militarized weapons which should be part of the compromise. The sell point is that you can have as many guns out in the open you want, but not these types that only are used for people with months/years of extra training. Heck, if someone wants to be allowed to carry that specific type a whole other level of license and even academies can be created. The second amendment was not written for us to “protect” ourselves from fellow citizens or Bambi, but it was created to protect us from a bad government. The argument has been changed just so special interests can make more money.

  • Benjamin Kane

    Guns don’t make people murderers, but access just makes it easier. The argument is bad if the focus is on the tool and not the one holding this tool. Society has lost value in the person standing next to them in the cashier line. I don’t like most people, but it does not mean I have more rights than them or deserve more respect. The generation that came after mine doesn’t even consider others as humans but tools to obtain something they selfishly want. I’m not saying sitting around a campfire singing songs is the answer, but something about the argument needs to change.

  • Greg

    The tremendous hypocrisy of those in the liberal realm is without limit. Mr. Moyers should look into the double standard of those in the gun control lobby. Sean Penn carries concealed and he leaves his guns unsecured and they are stolen and never recovered. No telling how many children have been murdered with his stolen guns in south central,yet no coverage.Sarah Brady straw purchases an assault weapon for her drug using son,admits to this in her own book,and no charges are filed. For the record I don’t think Zimmerman should walk,he was definitely guilty of extremely bad judgement,and his own past is filled with as despicable behavior as Sean Penn has done for years.

  • Destructo6

    Here, in AZ, we enjoy constitutional carry, not unlike Vermont. That means that any citizen may carry a concealed weapon, or openly carry the same, without a permit.

    We also have a stand your ground statute. Well, actually we never had a law requiring retreat before defense, so no specific change back to the standard was ever needed, as Florida did.

    It is quite common to see folks openly carrying pistols while they shop.

    “Why? What do they expect to defend themselves against?” you might ask. The answer is simple, perhaps too simple for some: that which was not expected.

    Because if you expect it, you can avoid it.

    Oh, and the streets do not run red with blood. That seems to be a concept that your average urbanite, whose only exposure to firearms is what he sees in hollywood or in games, can not comprehend.

  • Doug Charette

    “The main problem then is about access to militarized weapons which
    should be part of the compromise. The sell point is that you can have as
    many guns out in the open you want, but not these types that only are
    used for people with months/years of extra training.”

    And just exactly which types of weapons would these be? Militarized guns are not available to the average person in the first place.

    I’ll make an assumption here that you’re speaking of AR/AK type rifles. Tell me if I’m wrong, please.

  • John Smith

    “Good people do bad things when they have access to guns.”

    Not just guns, but pressure cookers, fireworks, toilet bowl cleaners, match heads, fungicides, castor beans, knives, clubs, hammers… list goes on and on. Why the focus on just guns? Why don’t we regulate and ban everything that anyone could possibly use as a weapon to control all forms of violence. Since that is the root cause of it all – the weapons. When they pick up a gun, a pair of scissors, toilet bowl cleaner, etc – they are empowered and filled with confidence and get the immediate urge to go rob a convenience store. Since good people can go bad at any moment we have to control this stuff, because control is the issue here – not morals, education, and ethical behavior, and we need our local, state, and federal government to “take care of us” and keep us “safe” from each other and all things possible.

  • John Smith

    “Militarized guns are not available to the average person in the first place.”

    To clarify – fully automatic/select fire guns are not available to the average person in the first place.

  • John Smith

    “Heck, if someone wants to be allowed to carry that specific type a whole other level of license and even academies can be created.”

    This achieves nothing – only more control for the law abiding citizen.

    “I am pro-gun rights, but I deplore concealed carry. The only people that should be allowed to conceal carry are those that work in a job (like police or military) that have had the chance to take someone else’s life.”

    This is pretty vague. What about military veterans? Veteran LEO? security guards? And then … in all fairness why should they be carrying and the rest of us can’t? Also – criminals are going to conceal carry anyways.

    I totally agree on your second amendment statement above.

  • Christina Leah

    Actually, you’re not pro-gun.

    If you don’t want to conceal carry, then don’t.

    Your position is you’re fine with your guns of your choice and method, but against anyone else who has a gun that you would not choose for yourself. Additionally, you are willing to give up your rights and give the government more power to determine who, where, when, what and how a citizen should be able to practice their ownership of an object. That’s not a right. That’s a privilege. It’s called the Bill of Rights, not the Bill of Privileges. It’s the difference between being a citizen or a subject.

    If you’re not up to the responsibility, carry on. If you want the government to take care of you and make choices for you, then do it voluntarily in a manner that only impacts you. You can, and do, have that now. You’ve already won.

    However, it’s clear you don’t really understand the topic. This is not about guns, it’s about rights.

  • Christina Leah

    Actually, fully automatic firearms are available to every average person in the US.

    That is, if you can find one for sale, live in a state where it’s permitted, of the right vintage, pay for it, pay the special tax, wait for nearly a year or more to be approved by to buy it and be willing to submit to surprise inspections by the feds for that particular firearm.
    Sounds more like a privilege, doesn’t it?

  • Chip Kerr

    “..An angry hot head carrying a concealed hand gun has a false sense of empowerment that leads to using the gun.”

    You could perhaps point to some examples of this being a regular occurrence? Florida has over a million permit holders but our streets are not high-noon at the OK Corral, our streets are not running red with blood and the bodies are not stacking up. What are we doing wrong?

  • Chip Kerr

    Dona, have you never heard of the Boy Scout Motto? Be Prepared. I don’t carry a gun because I want to participate in any endless cycle, and I am pretty sure I have the ability to reason since I reasoned out that you don’t like guns and consider yourself better than those who do. I carry a gun because of what and who I don’t know, what I can’t prepare for. I tend to avoid dark alleys but not all muggings occur in dark alleys. I tend to avoid dark parking lots but not all abductions occur at night. If some bad guys decides I am the target I will be able to deter that bad guy, that is why I carry a gun.

  • Christina Leah

    Perhaps you are concerned because you would use this in the manner you fear. It’s good that you are able to disqualify yourself from carrying concealed. Let this be a choice everyone gets to make for themselves. Let all sound citizens be ultimately responsible for themselves. Less or no government empowerment over how we exercise our rights and how we live our lives should be the goal.
    Those wanting to control an object out of fear don’t understand the burden of responsibility is a right that requires unrelenting vigilance and defense. SADLY, THEY SELDOM CAN.

  • Christina Leah

    So, if you truly don’t have an option to escape, being defenseless or a victim is preferable?

    Rape, a beating, maiming, death, a kidnapping to you is perfectly acceptable as long as the only one suffering is the victim?

    So if you or a family member, friend, someone you know or don’t know, should kindly accept whatever violence is being dished out simply because you are adverse to force?

    It’s good this is not the United States of “andyandy” whose colors of the flag are red, black and blue.

  • Christina Leah

    You, madam, are discussing escalation. Of course, your “discussion” on the the matter is asinine.

    If you don’t want to use an object to defend yourself or further a conflict based on what someone else has done to or against you, then by all means turn to that other cheek. That is your personal choice. Not clear why you have an opinion on a matter that is really a personal issue that doesn’t have any impact on you.

    You seem to have an inane issue of where others spend their income. Assuredly, those same people you judge do not give a moments pause to consider which industries you are making rich.

  • moderator

    We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to personal attacks. If you cannot follow the comment policy your comment will be deleted and you will be unable to participate in our community.

    Thank You,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • Doug Charette

    Certainly does. I’ll also add that a real M-16 (select fire) currently sells for somewhere around $20,000.00, then the $200 transfer tax, wait for a year etc. etc.
    AR-15’s are not now, and never have been, military rifles. The same applies to AK’s, although the real ones don’t cost as much. They can be had for a paltry $15,000.

  • Davis Thompson

    How about providing a little evidence to back up the claim that good people do bad things when they have access to guns. On balance, according to numerous studies, guns in the hands of “good” people are a net benefit to society.

  • Anonymous

    This argument, which I hear constantly, is totally ridiculous…

    A one legged obese person can kill 10 people in 10 seconds just by squeezing a trigger with his index finger …

    With a knife you need strength, speed, and agility, also skill …one of those ten people might pick up a chair or some such thing and take a swing, certainly some will run away. It’s very unlikely you will kill more than a couple, …unless you are some kind of trained assassin…

  • John Smith

    An armed criminal knowing that guns are unavailable to the law abiding will weigh the reward/risk of being caught/risk of being injured and will prey upon the defenseless. Let me ask you a question. A armed robber enters a convenience store to rob the clerk (and kill him if he resists or if the robber is in the mood). Do you think for one second that he will get out of his car (with a gun) to go into a convenient store and perform criminal activity if he knows that the clerk likely has a gun, that the several shoppers inside have a gun? This is the concept behind “stand your ground” and “CCW’s.” They reduce crime. In this case, the right of self-defense is asserted against a charge of criminal homicide

  • John Smith

    “Hand gun proliferation in society increases violence and reduces freedoms. ”

    How exactly does hand gun proliferation reduce freedom??

  • Anonymous

    Really? Ever hear of crimes of passion? Temporary insanity?

    One little finger of an angry person can kill with a gun. Not so fast or easy with other equipment.

  • John Smith

    Criminals do not use tanks, flamethrowers, or bombers (unless you are talking about the US government/military on foreign soils). Your tone would certainly change if a criminal broke into your home, put a gun to your families heads, and had control over the situation and over what they were going to take and what they were going to do to you and your family. Your opinion changes when you realize that the cops won’t arrive in time to save you (if someone managed to call them), that you are basically helpless, and the only decision left to make is to resist and die or be quiet and watch and hope that you don’t die. All because you eliminated the third option of grabbing the gun when they kicked in the door.

  • Davis Thompson

    This is more speculation with no evidence offered to support it.

    Let’s take concealed carry. Every time CCW is passed we’re warned of exactly what you postulate: blood in the streets. That has never come to pass in any jurisdiction that has adopted CCW. Not a single state that has passed CCW laws have ever repealed them or even tried to repeal them. That would seem to suggest states are pretty happy with them.

    There have been 29 studies of concealed carry following John Lott’s landmark analysis. Of those 29, 18 show that CCW laws produce a significant reduction in crime and murder. 10 show a small positive effect or no effect, and only 1 shows a temporary increase in one category of crime.

    Permit revocation rates are tiny, and in most instances the permit is revoked for a technical violation. Murders by CCW permit holders are so rare as to be almost unheard of. (CCW permit holders are 1/182 likely to commit murder as is the general public.)

    Guns are used defensively 1-3 MILLION times a year with anywhere from 30,000 to 300,000 lived saved.

    This notion that good people having access to firearms is a detriment to society has never been credibly demonstrated. There is no data to suggest that gun control laws make society safer. None. The last time the murder rate was as low as it is now was 1964 before any major gun control laws were on the books. Guns could be bought mail order, or at a local hardware store. Schools, including many in NYC, had rifle teams. Yet a murder rate of 4.8 per hundred thousand.

    This shows that not only can causation not be demonstrated between murder and gun control, there isn’t even correlation.

    I used to think the same that you do, only about 14 years ago I was taken to a shooting range, got interested in shooting as a sport, but was too conflicted about guns to actually go through with purchasing one. Then I started to do research on the subject and discovered that everything I thought I knew (and that my family and media had told me) was pretty much wrong.

    Here’s the books and studies my information comes from. I invite you to consider reading one or two of them.

    Gary Kleck: Point Blank

    John Lott: More Guns Less Crime Third Edition.

    John Lott: The Bias Against Guns.

    Howard Nemerov: Four Hundred years of Gun Control

    Dave Kopel: The Truth About gun Control

    Joyce Lee Malcom: Guns and Violence: The English Experience

    Glenn Beck: Control

    Enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

  • Anonymous

    The caveat being that the open carry of firearms was nearly universal legal in the latter 19th and early 20th centuries. Naturally, concealed carry was seen as a nefarious business because an upstanding armed citizen would bear their arms openly.

    The demand for concealed carry has arisen in an era where the open display of firearms is perceived by many to be threatening.

  • The US is a mess

    Being obcessed with carrying a gun of any type tells me that person has serious lack of self esteem and worth.
    Sure back in the old west there were dangerous outlaws everywhere.
    Today guns are the ‘tool’ of choice for those like Zimmerman who have little feeling of worth or importance. It makes them feel like a BIG MAN. In fact they are nothing more than COWARDS afraid of the world and people who will disagree with them. It’s the ‘REPUBLICAN’ mentality – Screaming for equal rights as long as YOU agree with them. If you don’t, they will stonewall you (as with Obama), refuse to even try to see your side and shoot you down if they can’t win.
    Gun toters say they ‘Are ready’ to protect their country and themselves from tyranny and injustice. So then what the hell are they waiting for – Haven’t they noticed that the elite have taken over this country by purchasing our government officials and that they can work for next to nothing for the rest of their lives without ever hoping to get a fair shake ??
    SO > WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR THIS COUNTRY LATELY ? NOT A DAMN THING ! They sit smugly ON their guns like al the while promoting gun ownership for those like them.
    What happened to the AMERICAN brashness against the Brits with citizens willing to attack the enemy and defeat them ? When was our last battle aginst tyranny ?
    What we have now is a POWDER PUFF gang full of gun waving PANZIES who have no balls to take this country back !
    Every day we slip further into 3rd world status. It’s not going to end till the American people grow some balls. Go look at the French or Egyptians to see how it’s done ! You could learn a lot from them !

  • Anonymous

    All you need to do is look at other “first world” countries that restrict guns to see that fewer guns equal fewer murders.

    Unfortunately, America is already saturated with guns… it’s probably too late to do anything about it…

    I would have taken you more seriously if you hadn’t mentioned Glen Beck… the guy is nothing but a huckster spreading fear and ignorant thinking and getting rich at it.

  • Anonymous

    “Why? What do they expect to defend themselves against?” you might ask. The answer is simple, perhaps too simple for some: ….what he sees in hollywood”….

    ….like they say, fixed that.

    And lets not forget NRA Inc. and the money grubbing shills like Beck and similar creatures fearing up the rubes with continuous BS and propaganda.

    And, why do you people often have such violent aliases anyway …Mr. DISTRUCTO6?

  • M Duane Coyle

    I grew up with firearms and understand their place and purpose. Despite ready access to firearms, no one in the community I was raised would have ever considered using a firearm against a person or animal in an illegal fashion. Period. There were no crimes of passion or otherwise. I have kept a pistol in my car (trunk) and as a concealed weapon license holder in my man-bag. To me, a gun is no different than a bat or a knife, except that if a person intent on assaulting me has a firearm then I need a gun to match force. Many of my friends and professional colleagues have guns–all are normal, well-balanced individuals who view their firearms as purpose-built tools. The difference between me and those who use guns illegally is that I was raised and mentored by good people. We can’t solve problems with more laws and more prisons. At some point we just have to raise better people.

  • Joe

    I just watched the commentary by Tom Diaz on gun control. The fact of the matter is that he does not know that ” Stand Your Ground” was not at all a factor in the Zimmerman case. The aquital was based on self defense. I am sure that Bill is aware of this fact, and I feel he should have brought this fact out. The killings at the school were perptrated by a mentally deranged youth, who took the weapon his mother carelessly left for him to take and use. The result was that she was killed by him and the rest we all know. Very few cases of unlawful use of any sort of weapons, are perpetrated by lawfully owned weapons. Bill you must challenge your guest speakers when they misquote the facts. Do not just shake you head with approval. I myself am a victim of gun violence, and the perpetrator was not a legal gun owner , but a thief. I was was lucky to have survived. I happen to be white and my assailant was a person of color.Am I profiling, or merely stating a fact.

  • Anonymous

    “Stand Your Ground” not at all a factor? Did you read the judge’s instructions to the jury? It is the very basis of the verdict — without “Stand Your Ground” Zimmerman would have had a duty to avoid confrontation with Martin.
    Excerpt: “If George Zimmerman was not engaged in an unlawful activity and was attacked in any place where he had a right to be, he had no duty to retreat and had the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he reasonably believed that it was necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

  • Scythian Arrows

    If you take out places like Washington, DC, Chicago, Newark, New Orleans, and Oakland (all cities that have highly restrictive gun laws in place), the US is pretty much on-par with most of Western Europe. You’d think that with 300+ million guns in private hands, we’d have more than the ~10,000 firearm homicides we do annually.

  • Scythian Arrows

    After yet another innocent person is shot purposefully or accidentally by an officer, I’m sure you’ll be the first in line at a protest demanding that the police have more regulations governing how they can carry & use firearms, right?

  • Anonymous

    Good people do good things with access to guns.

  • jpvoodoo

    “Being obcessed with carrying a gun of any type tells me that person has serious lack of self esteem and worth. ”

    It doesn’t matter why a person wants to carry a gun, it is their right.

    If carrying a gun helps their self esteem they have the right to and it’s none of your business.

  • Tom

    Jim, I don’t think anyone is saying “no guns, no threat.” No one is saying guns should be eliminated. The pro-gun side of this argument seems to leap to that all-or-none approach. What I would, and have, put forward is a greater respect for the damage guns can do and take a reasonable approach to regulation which would include permits, mandated training, and limits to militarized style weapons. This is in no way eliminating guns, and puts no undue restrictions on legal ownership and use.

  • Tom

    So the fact that you know someone who has one means they are obtainable.

  • Tom

    John, Once again, as a gun advocate, you are suggesting regulation means confiscation. No one, not anyone, is suggesting, proposing, or urging the elimination of guns. No one wants to take your legal guns away. No one wants you to be without protection in that event you should need it. No one wants to take your sport or hunting weapons from you, but responsible ownership should include a permit, training, and some sensible limit on militarized weapons. No rights come without responsibilities and restrictions.

  • Tom

    Chip, please see my response to John Smith.

  • Anonymous

    Yep! Most people think machine guns and rocket launchers and flamethrowers are banned. They aren’t. Maybe…

    FEDERAL law says the weapon had to be manufactured or imported prior to 1986; you must submit (and clear) to an extensive background check; you must pay the ATF a transfer fee before receiving the weapon.

    Your STATE my have laws against owning them, however.

    Side note: the ONLY way to get a machine gun with that “new gun smell” is to build it yourself. You, and you alone, must do the work that turns a metal paperweight into a machine gun. It must be for your personal use (a.k.a. you can’t make it and send give it to someone else). You must own the equipment used. And you can’t sell it – EVER!

    The metal paperweights are 1) expensive, 2) have most of the work done, 3) come with complete blueprints and instructions on what YOU (and ONLY YOU) must do to convert it from a paperweight into a fully-functioning machine gun.

    For examples, see KT Ordinance, here

    Yes, the ATF knows about KT. Yes, the ATF raided his company and tried to stop him. No, the ATF wasn’t able to stop him – they lost in court. Documents available on KT’s web site.

  • Anonymous

    Forgot to mention… here’s a weird one, straight from the ATF web site. And I quote,

    Grenade and rocket launcher attachments for use on military type rifles generally do not come within the definition of destructive devices. However, the grenades and rockets used in these devices are generally within the definition. [26 U.S.C. 5845, 27 CFR 479.11]

  • ted

    Any weapon make’s it easy to kill if you have that desire. And and as you said and i agree
    something has to change. I personally think WW-2 caused the start of the problem’s we have today.Mom’s went to work at the factory’s making planes and bullets for the war effort. And thank god they did. But at the same time the home as we knew it as children went down the tube’s.After the end mom wanted to keep her money making job. Veteran’s came home some got their jobs back but a lot could not for whatever reason. Family unity lost.Lack of love and/or discipline at home led to juvenile delinquency.Kid’s running streets at all hour’s and getting into trouble. An this just kept getting out of control.Hence what we have today multiplied by what? 60yr’s.We need to get back our live’s at home.Control of Government Local,State, National.Put discipline back into our school system without fear of retribution. Give law enforcement the ability to do their job’s without politics.and/or being hamstrung from there duty’s. Just a thought.
    We all want peace and tranquility BUT we just don’t want to be the one to make the sacrifice.

  • ted

    Think what would have happened if our forefathers would have had a law forbidding gun ownership by citizens other than trained militia.Or a restriction on the type’s of weapons used to shoot at the British. They were untrained farmers for the most part using everything they had to survive.

  • ted

    I want to hear that answer myself.

  • ted

    Law enforcement gets trained and paid to not retreat. And you have the right to not retreat but be prepared for something you may not have bargained for. The graveyard is full of tough guys.

  • ted

    The next time someone sticks a gun in your face ask him or her if you could please make a call first.Childish? I hope your day never comes because you will get a real life reality check. I hope you survive to tell us your feelings then. As they say to each his own.

  • ted

    You listed sensible responsibility and thats good and i agree. But I got that training at home not by the Government. Government train’s men to kill people the last time i checked. And its the best at it in the world. Law enforcement trains men to survive on the street against the bad guys. Thank god for them. BUT neither one lives at my home 24-7 to protect me and mine.I think i will keep all my guns thank you.And i will till my last breath defend the right to bear arms of any type.

  • ted

    I just wanted to say by reading your statement that you obviously never attended a class on concealed carry?
    There is very grave consequences if you improperly use or threaten to use a firearm in a confrontation with a person not warranted under the law.And there are a lot of restrictions as to wear you can carry that weapon.And as to living in low crime areas? We all do not afford that same privilege. And it has nothing to due with fear its all about protecting one’s family and maybe even your family someday.
    Better thank your lucky stars that there are people willing to risk carrying a gun.

  • Doug Charette

    Correct, and were expected to appear for militia service with their own, personally owned firearms, along with a sufficient quantity of ball and powder. If you normalized that for “inflation”, we’d all have to muster with our current military weapons, and about 10,000 rounds.

  • Doug Charette

    I’d say you’re dead wrong. That is why just last week a court in N.Y. dismissed a lawsuit against a pair of transit authority cops who were being sued because they hid out in the drivers cabin of a subway train rather than confront someone murdering people with a knife. For about the millionth time, the police DO NOT have any legal duty to protect anybody, confront anybody and so on. This has been upheld time and again every court in the country that it has come to, including SCOTUS. See Castle Rock v. Gonzales for one of the more recent decisions on this.

  • TopCat_Texas

    Based on DOJ report, about 2,500,000 times a year. Violent crime is going down as legal gun ownership increases.

  • TopCat_Texas

    Not a factor. The judge merely quoted the FL self defense law as it stands today. Zimmerman had no way to retreat since he was on the ground and being beaten. So, your statements are just not correct.

  • TopCat_Texas

    “Today guns are the ‘tool’ of choice for those like Zimmerman who have little feeling of worth or importance.” Since the “anti-gun” groups are always talking about violence and how bad it is, who do they think should protect a person? The police have no duty or responsibility to protect any individual. They are always going to be too late to stop violence. So, that leaves you to protect your life. Since, you have the responsibility to protect your life, you have the RIGHT to choose the tools that you want to use.
    CCW people make every possible attempt to avoid conflict and become very polite in dealing with all that they come in contact with. That is because they know (and studied) how easy it is for a conflict to go very wrong quickly.

  • TopCat_Texas

    Sorry you miss the point of the entire discussion. A gun is necessary because of that “one legged obese person” that may be a victim of a ‘knife welding criminal”. If we are lucky enough, we will eventually not be able to fight off criminals with our physical strength. Also, bad guys usually attack with more than one in the group.

  • TopCat_Texas

    You statement is correct, however, functionally the average person can not have a fully automatic gun.

  • TopCat_Texas

    At this point in time, Texas does not have open carry. Based on what police officers have told me, they feel that they are always at a very high risk for a criminal to attack them merely to steal their gun. It happens many more times that we generally think.
    For me, in the city where I live, almost everyone is very OK with a large number of people in stores and on the street are armed. Generally, CCW people are considered to be extra good customers, since they make the business safer for all.
    Now, a few miles away there is a very liberal town, with exclusive homes. There I would think that if you walked in a store with open carry, there would be an issue. Even some of the theaters in this liberal town exclude CCW, just another mass killing waiting to happen.

  • TopCat_Texas

    There is a reason why Obama is the best gun salesman of all time.

  • TopCat_Texas

    Why do you thing the anti-gun groups are pushing UBC? They want registration so that they can confiscate easily with the first excuse that comes along.

  • TopCat_Texas

    Legal ownership is the hard part. Any normal person can build one with very little effort.

  • Anonymous

    NO, you miss my point.

    I’m talking about the perpetrators, whether they are insane, like our seemingly regular mass killings or they’re in a fit of passion, if they only had knives or hammers… things would turn out quite different… but thanks to Americas obsession with guns in the past and more recently the NRAs fear mongering… it’s too late.

  • moderator

    We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to personal attacks. If you cannot follow the comment policy your comment will be deleted and you will be unable to participate in our community.

    Thank You,
    Sean @ Moyers

  • TopCat_Texas

    At a Houston college 12 people were sent to hospital from one person with a small knife. I think that only one died but there were several serious injuries. The as after Sandy Hook.
    Of course, no child would have been hurt at Sandy Hook if the principal was trained and armed. So, again a gun would have saved the day.

  • Anonymous

    Sent to the hospital… not the morgue.

  • Anonymous

    Why must you people have a macho/hero/domination alias so often, Top Cat?

  • TopCat_Texas

    It was a nick name I got back 30 years ago when I was a special projects manger for Harris Corp. Partly because I was known for having a house full of cats and pictures on my desk.

  • TopCat_Texas

    I woud be first in line to hold police to a higher standard. Police can never be permitted to skirt the law or ignore the consitiution.

  • moderator

    Hi Wez2 and TopCat,

    You both have made your points quite clearly and fairly. Please be careful to avoid personal attacks.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • moderator

    Hi TopCat and Wez2,

    You both have made your points quite clearly and fairly. Please be careful to avoid personal attacks.


    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    But I do think, for example, if someone introduced themselves to me as “destructo 6″ and was packing, I’d have to keep an eye on them …at least a little bit.