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Guns, guns, guns – part 1

June 23, 2015

We talked about guns on Twitter. And a very-pro-gun friend chimed in with a link to an article. Here’s my response to the first part of the article, which is longer than route 66 on a hot day when you’re on foot.

The article:


“…tragedy on the news that can be milked.”

This already puts me off. When there’s a tragedy on the TV, I personally don’t “milk” it for anything. I have an honest, upset reaction. And I form opinions about what happened, based on what I know about the even. I don’t “milk” jack shit. So we’ll assume the author meant politicians and TV personalities with the “milked” thing, and not any old “anti-gun person”, which was the group of people mentioned in the previous sentence.


“When I hear people tell me the gun industry is unregulated, I have to resist the urge to laugh in their face.”

I can see how that would be for a person who owned a gun store that dealt in machine guns, supresors, and “everything except for explosives”. I wouldn’t say the industry is unregulated. I would say that it’s far too easy to get guns, and there are far too powerful guns on the open market.


“I have certified thousands of people to carry guns.”

In Texas, at least, one does need a certification to carry a gun, but none to buy one. Or, you know, a dozen. While I do have concerns with “normal” folk buying guns by the barrelfull, I’m at present more concerned with the folks who have a criminal history, warrants, restraining orders, crazy freaking manifestos, and the like buying guns.


“Basically for most of my adult life, I have been up to my eyeballs in guns, self-defense instruction, and the laws relating to those things.”

I can totally respect that. Good, you’re educated about guns. I would like to point out that this person has no actual experience in law enforcement, military engagements, or immediate shooting hazards of any kind. There’s a difference between extensive classroom study, and oh-shit-here-it-comes situations. To be fair, neither do I, but I’m also not making the case to be an expert in all things guns. I’m just another asshole citizen with opinions. But my opinions matter, too…I live in this place.


“Until this national conversation is willing to entertain allowing teachers to carry concealed weapons, then it isn’t a conversation at all, it is a lecture.”

Well, that’s complete bullshit. That’s up there with “Until we’re willing to entertain allowing me to bang your sister, then this isn’t a conversation about commitment at all.” I mean, sure, you can refuse to come to the table. But then it’s you preventing the conversation.

As a side note, if “The single best way to respond to a mass shooter is with an immediate, violent response,” then why don’t we start arming teachers with tasers? At the very least, a trigger-happy teacher with a taser is far less likely to acidentally kill one of his charges. And, an asshole high school kid that jimmies the teacher’s desk will get an article of mayhem, not one of death.


“The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by law enforcement: 14. The average number of people shot in a mass shooting event when the shooter is stopped by civilians: 2.5.”

I’d like to see the source of these statistcs, please.


“Worst case scenario, the armed staff provides a distraction, and while he’s concentrating on killing them, he’s not killing more children.”

No, worst case scenario likely happens when there’s no terrorist in the building. It’s the misuse of the gun. It’s the teacher that threatens the kids, loses the gun, doesn’t lock it up properly. Do you really trust every single teacher in the united states to be responsible AND a good person AND patient as hell? I don’t. They’re people, and they’re specifically in charge of kids.

You’re trading the rare threat of a school shooting for the day-to-day danger of guns in schools. (You know what I mean by rare: there are a handful of mass shootings per year. Those are horrible, but I do not expect my kids’ schools to have a shooting any time in the next 10 years.) Politifact article about shootings:


“The teacher doesn’t need to be a SWAT cop or Navy SEAL. They need to be speed bumps.”

Here the author may begin addressing some of the things I’ve said. (No, I don’t expect I’ve said anything new. I’m just explaining my position.)

“Don’t make it mandatory” for teachers to carry guns. Well, duh, I didn’t figure anyone would.

“Then they’ll say that this is impossible, and give me all sorts of terrible worst case scenarios about all of the horrors that will happen with a gun in the classroom… No problem, because this has happened before.” So it’s okay, because it’s already happening? This is completely ridiculous.


“Permit holders are not cops. The mistake many people make is that they think permit holders are supposed to be cops or junior danger rangers. Not at all. Their only responsibility is simple. If someone is threatening to cause them or a third person serious bodily harm, and that someone has the ability, opportunity, and is acting in a manner which suggest they are a legitimate threat, then that permit holder is allowed to use lethal force against them.”

Man, if only it were as simple as in the movies. I get that the cases of guys walking into schools with guns are pretty clear cut. Unless, you know, a scared shitless armed citizen peeks out of their class doorway and shoots someone running at the far end of the hall.  Or they take aim at the shooter and hit a couple of kids running away behind him. And so on.

BTW, a quick google turns up several articles like this one from Mother Jones, about how seldom armed (armed, non-military, non-police) citizens actually make a difference in shooting situations:


Holy crap, we’re just now to “gun free zones”. I have to go do work now…



11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 23, 2015 8:01 pm

    I made this comment on twitter but I think I’ll make it here too. (easier without the 140 limit). All of these comments about “Teachers with guns” or “A civilian with a gun could have stopped the killer” being the answer kind of misses the point (in my opinion). Going with a simple analogy let’s call mass shootings a disease. We can either quarantine everyone who gets the disease or cure it. One assumes the problem is impossible to fix and so creates an after the fact solution the other is proactive.

    In one case we say “Let’s make it harder for people who shouldn’t have guns to get them” and in the other we say “Well if everyone has a gun then when the crazy person starts shooting we take him down sooner.” It’s all well and good to say 2.5 is better than 14 but if it’s my child that’s one of the 2.5 then no it isn’t better. In fact if it’s my child’s friend, or classmate, or that kid that I only heard about on the news because he was shot by some idiot who shouldn’t have had a gun in the first place then no. It isn’t any better. Zero is better. Let’s try for zero rather than 2.5.

    I love the argument “Gun laws are pointless because criminals don’t follow the law.” Basing this entirely on the news and not being an expert in the subject I hear a lot of examples of mass shootings caused by people who shouldn’t have had guns in the first place. And a simple background check might have prevented them from getting one. I very rarely hear stories about career criminals who would have gotten a gun no matter what laws were put in place. And don’t get me wrong .. there are laws. As stated in the article, there are lots of them. And they are sporadically enforced and there are plenty of gaps.

    And just one minor nitpick Jen. “I can buy a gun I just can’t carry it.” Exception: “Long guns”. If I buy a rifle I can carry it wherever I want unless it’s been posted otherwise. A handgun is a bit harder, and a god forbid I carry a switch blade around in my pocket.

    • June 23, 2015 8:04 pm

      Thank you for the correction; i wrote this fairly fast. And we could discuss nuacnes of what you said – and likely will – but in all i agree with what you said.

  2. Karen permalink
    June 23, 2015 9:14 pm

    I’m not a fan of background checks as an attempt to decrease mass shootings. They assume that everyone is either a good guy or a bad guy and that we can tell which.

    Many mass shooting perpetrators would have been considered good guys a month before their crimes. Many people with mental health issues and criminal (drug, property, swindling, resisting) records would never shoot another person no matter how many guns they owned.

    Do you remember the idea of “going postal” everyone was talking about in the ’80s or ’90s? I want that to be more prominent in gun control / gun rights discussions. Let’s assume that some people will “go postal” and figure out how to limit the damage that can be done by a good guy who cracks.

    • June 23, 2015 10:04 pm

      Background checks are the beginning of a solution, not the end.

  3. Geoff Hiten permalink
    June 23, 2015 9:21 pm


    Larry was specifically calling out people who jump on every tragedy to advance an anti-gun agenda. Sometimes called “Blood Dancers” because they positively dance with glee every time “Some Asshole” (generic name for every mass shooter. Don’t give them the fame they crave.) goes nuts. These people push the same laws and same talking points regardless of whether said laws would have made any difference. When called on this (rarely, as most of the media has the same anti-gun bias) they invoke “It’s for the Children” or “We have to do SOMETHING”. I doubt Larry was talking about you specifically. You have a right to your opinions; all we ask is that you base them on facts and not one-sided propaganda. Please.


    Ever try and purchase a gun? The process involves either (A) a criminal and mental health background check, or (B) a check of your carry permit, which also has a criminal and mental health background check component. (To be pedantic, the mental part is still being rolled out across the nation. It’s more complex than it sounds). In some states you have to have a permit from local law enforcement and/or the state as well. It is a felony to transfer a firearm (sell, give, etc.) to anyone you know is not eligible. You also can only purchase a handgun from a resident of your state. Every time I have purchased or sold a gun privately, I have checked/been checked for state of residency and my carry permit. Every. Single. Time.
    There is a Federal Form 4473 to fill out for a retail sale. Lying is a criminal offense. Purchasing for someone else (“straw purchaser” in legal parlance) is a separate criminal offense.

    We will talk about “powerful” once you read and comment on the section discussing “assault weapons”.


    See the whole purchasing process above. Of course, criminals don’t follow the law. That is WHY we call them criminals. So more laws harm or discourage legal firearm ownership while having zero impact on illegal purchases. One more reason we think such laws are a bad idea.

    A long-term study using data from Texas and Florida permit holders shows that statistically, gun permit holders are about 15 times less likely to commit a criminal offense than the general population of the country. Out of several million permits, less than 200 were revoked for a criminal offense after the permit was issued.


    Actually, Larry trains Law Enforcement officers on tactical encounter situations, or at least he used to. Utah has one of the most stringent license issuance requirements of any state. Not restrictive, stringent. Anyone who passes the course can get a permit (assuming not a “prohibited person” according to federal law) but it is a tough course. Because of that, Utah permits are recognized by more states than almost any other state permit. It is one of the few state courses that is worth anything. Most required courses are not very good. Now realize that he taught such courses. With firearms, there is no “those who can’t do, teach”. You have to be able to shoot to teach shooting. You have to be able to shoot tactically to teach that as well. Larry is considered an expert in this field by many other experts. He just writes better than most.

    Make sure you read down far enough to learn why he is such a gun-nerd.


    Going to push this down and combine it with “Worst” and “Bumps” if you don’t mind.


    This supports the fact that armed civilians do make a difference.

    Skip to the conclusion section – last page.

    “Worst..”, “Bumps..”

    If you don’t trust a trained, willing, and qualified teacher with a gun, why would you trust them with your child? Note I said trained, willing, and qualified. This certainly isn’t about requiring every teacher to be armed. Only those who are willing and demonstrate ability should be armed. I am fortunate that my kids go to a school district that can afford sworn, armed “resource officers” for their schools. Not every kid is so lucky. Then again, most restrictive gun laws disproportionately impact the poor. Plus most gun laws have overtly racist origins, but that is a topic for another day.

    As far as tasers, knives, etc, gun folks talk about the definition of unprepared as “bringing to a gun fight.” One of the teachers at Sandy Hook was found with her body attempting to shield her charges from the shooter. Telling her she could have a taser but not a gun because she can’t be trusted is insulting to her memory. She gave her life the only way she could to try and stop evil. I say give her better tools to protect our most precious things, our children..

    By “happened before” Larry is referring to the doomsayers who sound an awful lot like yourself that cry about blood in the streets or teachers going on a rampage or kids getting access to guns every time the topic of self-protection for schools is debated, yet many jurisdictions have enacted these very policies, including locations in both of our states (Texas and Georgia). Yes, this is already happened = yes, we have armed teachers already. Have you heard of any kids getting a teacher’s gun or a teacher accidentally (or intentionally) shooting a student? Go head, search to your heart’s content. I’ll wait. If such a story exists, it will be in the news because I know the usual suspects would be all over it.

    Because despite the alarmist (dare I say emotional) rhetoric, the result has been as predicted by the pro-defense side. No child has been harmed by this policy.


    Firearms depictions in movies are notoriously bad. Heck, one of the reasons his writing is so popular is he gets the gun parts right. Not just the tech stuff, but how people react. Hint; EVERYONE in a shooting situation is scared shitless. Good training and practice mitigates that. Remember, police don’t carry guns to protect you, they carry guns to protect themselves. Just ask any cop.

    Ahh yes, that well-known firearm magazine “Mother Jones”. I am familiar with most of the incidents they cite. I must admire their creativity in characterizing the events. For example “The assistant principal … ran out to his car..”. failing to note that the car was parked over a half-mile away due to federal gun-free school zone laws. The New life church defender was an “usher”, not part of the security service. Certainly not a paid, licensed security guard. Others point out that sometimes the carrier was former Law Enforcement or Military. Yep, those folks are statistically more likely to know about and carry guns than the average person. Some even go into teaching as second careers. Hmm, I see an opportunity there. My favorite is the one quote “one police source he talked to about this case said that it was “not clear at all” whether the kid had intended to do any further shooting after he’d left the building.” Yes, the shooter was finished and wanted to go home and have ice cream. Perfectly reasonable conclusion after the kid had shot up the building. I could go on, but this is obviously a hugely biased report that omits and mischaracterizes facts to fit an agenda. Which is an accurate description of everything Mother Jones prints about guns.

    • June 24, 2015 12:39 am

      Honestly I have no problems with someone “licensed” to carry a gun. Personally I don’t own one. I realize that I don’t know enough about them to keep my children safe. Now I have friends who do own guns. And they do know how to keep their children safe. And I have no problem with this. On the other hand I disagree with you about how hard it is to get a firearm. I have talked to a number of individuals who have sold personal weapons, legally, without any effort to confirm that the end user is licensed let alone not legally insane. Just to be sure we are clear, I don’t assume that all people with murderous intent have criminal or psychiatric history, just like I don’t assume that all people who want a weapon are potential killers. Where I do have a problem is that if I wanted to get a gun I could very easily go buy one. And as I’ve said I have no idea what to do with it.

      If I buy a car I have to be not only licensed, which proves I at least have some minimal knowledge of how to operate a car, but I have to carry insurance to help pay damages if I make a mistake. If I go out and buy a gun there is no effort made to make sure that I know how to safely operate one even at a minimal level and certainly there is no legal requirement that I carry insurance in case of accidents.

      As I said above the argument “but the laws don’t work on the criminals” doesn’t hold water. Most of these mass shootings we hear about are done by people who are not professional criminals. You might get a petty theft here, a former army sargent there, even some former cops. And unfortunately a lot of very unhappy children. These aren’t criminals (at least not before hand). The parents of the children are unlikely to be criminals. These are honest people (hopefully) who may (and in some cases may not) have been prevented from getting a hold of a gun if even the barest requirements for licensing was in place.

      I don’t want to take guns away from an honest person. When I was younger i enjoyed shooting skeet (with the help of a knowledgeable friend). I understand the desire to own one, to shoot one. But if you don’t know how to keep yourself and others safe. If you don’t know how to keep your weapon out of the hands of the children around you (except in carefully controlled/supervised situations) then you don’t need to own one. If you want one, go to a class or two or 10. Learn how to be safe. Apply common sense. If you do all of that I still don’t want my kid going over to your house (I’m paranoid) but that’s my decision and I won’t keep you from owning them.

    • June 24, 2015 4:59 am

      “Milked…” – yes, I already said I’ll go for that, even though the way it’s worded likely says otherwise. I’m not here to quibble details. Much.

      “Unregulated” – Everything I can find online – including – says that in Texas, anyone can buy from an individual. So it’d be fairly easy for Me-The-Felon-With-Warrants-and-Restraining-Orders to get my cousin Sam to buy guns, and then buy from him, felony or no felony. There’s not even a waiting period. Not complicated at all.

      Better yet, I can just comb through Craigslist and find a buyer; he doesn’t know me from Adam, might as well sell those half dozen .22s he’s had sitting around the shed forever. (There are other items we could discuss about buying from a licensed dealer, but I’ll just leave it here for now.)

      But let’s take a sec and say that everyone just has to REGISTER his or her gun, like you do a car. You pay a pittance fee every year or three, just to keep you honest. You think that private seller is going to skip out on notifying the gun registry office that he sold those guns? Or do you think he’s going to say “Bill Whatshisface bought them this year” and provide a bill of sale? At the very least, it’s not a secret that Bill has a gun, and Bill happens to be a violent felon with a soon-to-be-ex wife hiding in Austin.

      Making background checks and waiting periods and gun registration mandatory won’t solve everything, of course not. But I’m talking about steps in the right direction. I don’t spend a ton of time thinking about this, so I likely haven’t heard/thought of the best solutions.

      “Certified” – “So more laws harm or discourage legal firearm ownership while having zero impact on illegal purchases.” You know, I really don’t see a problem with having to jump through a few hoops to acquire something that is made to kill.

      As for having zero impact on illegal purchases, I’ll simply say: why are drugs illegal? If you can work out that math and have it come up different than the math for guns, let me know. I keep coming up with the same answers.

      “A long-term study using data from Texas and Florida permit holders shows that statistically, gun permit holders are about 15 times less likely to commit a criminal offense than the general population of the country.” Well good. Let’s MAKE people get permits. I don’t have to have one here in Texas, to buy or own a gun.

      “Eyeballs…” – Ah, there it is. The part I’d read had said nothing about experiencing violence. I’m not sure how much one or two incidents contributes to his expertise, but at least he’s seen any chaos personally.

      “Mass…” “…armed civilians do make a difference.” I bet they do. (Yes, I read the article.) And to date, I haven’t come down on the side of “NO GUNS FOR ANYONE, EVAR”. Again, I’m still thinking all this through. So perhaps registered, checked, well-trained folk carrying guns isn’t a bad thing. Maybe. But it’s not the ONLY solution, even given that.

      Of note in the FBI report (

      Incidents identified in this study do not encompass all gun-related situations; therefore caution should be taken when using this information without placing it in context.


      The study does not encompass all mass killings or shootings in public places and therefore is limited in its scope. Nonetheless, it was undertaken to provide clarity and data of value to both law enforcement and citizens as they seek to stop these threats and save lives during active shooter incidents.

      From the conclusion:

      Recognizing the increased active shooter threat and the swiftness with which active shooter incidents unfold, these study results support the importance of training and exercises— not only for law enforcement but also for citizens. It is important, too, that training and exercises include not only an understanding of the threats faced but also the risks and options available in active shooter incidents.

      It does not specifically say “damn, we should make it easy as hell to get and carry guns anywhere anyone pleases”. There’s a strong emphasis on training, which I am all for. If that encompasses legal, registered, checked, waited-for and certified gun carry, well…maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe.

      “Worst…” “Bumps…”

      “If you don’t trust a trained, willing, and qualified teacher with a gun, why would you trust them with your child?” I don’t trust the teachers to drive my kids places, either…I have no idea what their driving record is like, their eyesight, their judgement on the road, etc.

      And all along we’ve been assuming that the right training is of course going to be in effect. They let any asshole with decent vision (or glasses) pilot a car; I don’t have a lot of reassurances that even concealed carry folks receive good training, most especially in regard to emergency situations.

      “Telling her she could have a taser but not a gun because she can’t be trusted is insulting to her memory.” No, it isn’t. That woman is absolutely a hero, but that doesn’t turn the argument into an all-or-nothing. It isn’t all or nothing. Let’s continue with better security measures, more on campus police, more emergency training. While we’re at it, let’s fund the schools and pay the teachers what they’re worth. But in the meantime, one heroic teacher cannot stand for all teachers. Some teachers are heroes; some are average; some are absolute morons without the judgement to light a match, much less carry a gun around my kids.

      That FBI report you showed me talks about a GREAT many incidents where citizens intervened, and in MANY of those cases they were unarmed. If this was the movies, I’d say “Yeah, let’s arm everyone!” But it’s not. I already talked about some of the reasons for this, and this response is getting HUGE…

      “…yes, we have armed teachers already.” According to this WSJ article from last year, “so far only seven Texas districts have sent employees for marshal training”. That’s a pretty small sample size, and I haven’t heard about those particular districts’ implementations (or even if they HAVE implemented). And there’s a huge difference between “it hasn’t happened” and “it simply cannot happen”.

      And now, a final word.

      Stop calling me – or tangentially calling me – names, or the discussion is over, now and forever. I’m not a doomsayer, I wasn’t emotional, I’m not being alarmist. I have legitimate concerns and opinions, and I’m voicing them. That kind of name calling and antithetical to open communication; you’re not just countering points, you’re setting me up as something unintelligent and unworthy of communicating with.

  4. Geoff Hiten permalink
    June 24, 2015 2:44 pm

    Once again, there are several laws that make transferring a firearm to a “prohibited person” (Yes, that is an actual legal term) is a felony. So is a straw purchase. Your point about “nothing stopping me” actually helps make my point. Transfer restrictions, waiting periods, and other laws are intended to restrict lawful activities, not criminal activity and thus are rightfully viewed with suspicion by gun owners.

    Speaking of waiting periods, what exactly are waiting periods supposed to accomplish except getting people killed by preventing them from acquiring the best means of self defense when they actually need it? Waiting periods have zero impact on crime and are a thinly-veiled attempt to prevent people from purchasing guns. Same with restricting the number of gun purchases in a certain period of time. The whole “cooling-off” thing is pure Hollywood myth. What if I already own one or more guns? Do I need a “cooling-off” period?


    First, I am an big fan of good training classes. Unfortunately most state-mandated training classes are junk. In Georgia, we take the position that you do not need training to exercise a Constitutional right. If you are willing to mandate a state-designed training class for everyone to take before they choose their church (or choose not to attend one) or before you are allowed to publish or speak publicly, then maybe we can discuss requiring state-designed training for exercising other rights.

    In many states, the training requirement is designed to prevent people, especially poor people, from obtaining a permit. Illinois requires hundreds of dollars of training and multiple days of classroom time to obtain a permit, explicitly to make it harder for everyone to purchase or carry a gun. I believe poor people have the same rights as those who have better incomes do. Again, most gun laws, including training requirements and law enforcement approval, were enacted as explicitly racist restrictions, especially in the South.


    We only need 2%-3% of teachers to become the “speed bump”. Herd immunity (really, you need to read the “gun free zones” section) begins at around that level. Almost every mass shooting in the US has happened in a designated “gun free zone”. Mass Murderers are evil, not stupid. Almost every “Some Asshole” picks the softest target. The Aurora Colorado shooter passed several theaters in order to get to one that was posted as “gun free”. Virginia Tech was designated “gun free” by state law. So was the church in South Carolina. To be technical, the pastor there could have authorized members to carry guns, but he was a known anti-gun advocate, so that wasn’t going to happen. The point is that as long as Some Asshole knows there is the potential for armed resistance, he goes elsewhere or rethinks his plan entirely. Not every school or community can afford armed police all the time. An excellent step one school district in Georgia did is pre-position modern rifles in a safe in their school. The resource officer and the principal have the keys. The school doesn’t look like an armed camp, but it has the resources to defend the children should that become necessary. Training more people in the school to be able to effectively use those tools is an even better step.


    Now that is a huge sore spot. Throughout history every gun registration scheme ever implemented, including those run by certain states here in the US, has resulted in confiscation. Every. Single. One. When you say “registration” a gun owner rightfully hears “confiscation”. Some of those have ended up very badly once people were unable to put up meaningful resistance to evil. (see comment re: racist gun laws above). If you don’t want to be dismissed as a (insert loaded prejorative here) by gun owners, then accept the fact that gun owners in the US will rightfully resist any attempt at a state or national registry.

    I am NOT calling you names here, I am stating that when you or anyone else advocates for registration or waiting periods or uses the inaccurate and made-up term “assault rifle” (seriously, Larry has a big section on that), your voice will be lumped in with those who are unaware of or ignore history and facts and will be given zero weight or consideration by the majority of gun owners. They will view you as no different than any other “anti”.

    Connecticut recently tried to implement a registry and failed dismally. The Hartfort Courant, which has been cheerleading the registration effort, estimates as little as fifteen percent of owners have registered their guns. Not surprising since many of those proposing that law have been openly calling for confiscation. We ain’t stupid.

    • June 24, 2015 3:04 pm

      There are so many logical fallacies in your arguments I can’t even address them. So far I’ve seen false equivalency, false appeal to authority, goalpost moving, argument from repetition, and straw man argument, just to name a few. I would like to politely and compassionately suggest you educate yourself on logical fallacies and work through the logic of your arguments:


  1. Guns, guns, guns – part 2, the sickening | Jen's Blog: We Owls
  2. Guns, guns, guns – a side note on a strawman | Jen's Blog: We Owls

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