Comments about ‘Letter: Firearm assumptions’

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Published: Friday, Dec. 20 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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Tooele, UT

Outside of gang related murders in America's largest cities such as L.A., Chicago and New York City, I would be curious to know how many Americans are actually killed each year as a result of guns.

As horrific as shootings such as those in Colorado, Tucson and Newtown are, and I would in no way want to diminish the agony they have caused many people and their families, would many of the gun control measures being debated both locally and nationally have any real effect?

If one were to assume that tighter and tighter gun control laws equals less and less gun violence and deaths, while looser gun laws equals more and more gun violence and deaths, Utah would have to have one of the highest per capita rates of gun deaths in the country while states such as California would be at or near the bottom.

Is this actually the case? If it is not, how come?

Salt Lake City, UT

A little risk analysis is in order. When you have a gun and keep it readily accessible, you may slightly decrease, but cannot totally eliminate, the risk of harm from another person to yourself or a loved one. But you also increase the risk that you, a loved one, or an innocent bystander may be unintentionally harmed by your own weapon, because accidents happen, people are sometimes careless, and you could miss or make a mistake about the perceived threat.

On the other hand, if you have no gun, you assume the statistically miniscule risk of being harmed by another without adequate means of protection, but you totally eliminate the risk of harming another innocent person through misuse of your non-existent firearm.

Every person must perform his or her own personal risk analysis. I prefer to accept the small increased risk of harm that comes from not having a firearm for protection (I take a much greater risk every time I get in a car) in exchange for the peace of mind from knowing no firearm of mine will ever be used to harm an innocent person.

Far East USA, SC

Not anti gun at all.

We should all be allowed to keep guns. No argument there.

Couple of reasonable things.

Be required to show shooting and gun handling proficiency to be allowed to carry in public.
Basic common sense.

Require that guns be locked up or have a trigger lock in the home. Those who do not take reasonable precautions with their guns should be held liable if a child is harmed with an unsecured gun.

And commonly hear about these scenarios.

Gun ownership carries a big responsibility. Many take that responsibility very very seriously and I am happy to be around them knowing they carry. Many don't and they scare the heck out of me, knowing that they have no business in public with a gun.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Life is full of risks. My wife and I just returned from an early morning trip to the grocery store. The roads were iced over. Several cars were stuck. There was one accident. But we all made the necessary trips, knowing that if we were careful, we had ever expectation of returning home safe.

Some people expect somebody else to take life's risks for them. They want the soldier and the policeman to stand between them and the criminal. They want somebody else to put their life on the line. They demand the same thing every time government comes up with another "freebie". They want somebody else to pay for their housing, their food, their transportation. They want the government to wipe their noses every time they get a sniffle.

Is it any wonder that those same liberals want to make laws that would take away our right to keep and bear arms? They refuse to live in the real world. They want to pretend that laws keep criminals honest. Why move the prison? With so many laws, we should have no criminals. Who needs a prison when criminals are just a figment of the imagination?

Mark B
Eureka, CA

Curmudgeon and J.B. have both expressed reasoned arguments. Mike R., however, takes the route of the "straw man" argument in an attempt to make "keep and bear arms" not just a principle, but an absolute. His paragraph ripping "some people" is especially inaccurate and off-topic.

S. Jordan, UT

Actually, I found Mike Richards comments applicable in response to Curmudgeon's remarks concerning risks. Two different views on the same topic...

I find the contribution of Mark B an attempt to support one opinion and denigrate another.

Mike responded not to just Curmudgeon's remarks but to a trend in our society to demonize gun ownership. Perhaps "some people" would like the conversation to be just what is stated in the present forum and article, but there is a much larger conversation happening concerning the second amendment and its application in today's world.

Just mention the LDS church, marriage, or Duck Dynasty, and see how much larger the conversation gets!

Curmudgeon's remarks were also applicable. He outlined his "risk analysis" and shared his conclusion. I support him in his decision not to be a gun owner. I also support Curmudgeon's lack of trying to force his conclusions via public policy on others.

Of course the day is young...


Firearm deaths per 100,000:
Alaska 20.4
Louisanna 19.2

Utah 12.2
CA 7.7

In 2004 the National Research Council looked at the same data Lott used for his book, "More guns, less crime" and determined:

"The committee found that answers to some of the most pressing questions cannot be addressed with existing data and research methods, however well designed. For example, despite a large body of research, the committee found no credible evidence that the passage of right-to-carry laws decreases or increases violent crime, and there is almost no empirical evidence that the more than 80 prevention programs focused on gun-related violence have had any effect on children’s behavior, knowledge, attitudes, or beliefs about firearms."

In 2010:
"We buttress the NRC’s cautious conclusion by showing how sensitive the estimated impact of RTC laws is to different data periods, the use of state versus county data, particular specifications, and the decision to control for state trends. Overall, the most consistent, finding to emerge from the array of models is that aggravated assault rises when RTC laws are adopted. For every other crime category, there is little or no indication of any consistent RTC impact on crime."

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Welcome to America! We have a Constitution. No President, Priest or King is above the law. No "enlightened" liberal or conservative has the authority to set aside the Supreme Law of the Land. Read it. Honor it. Respect it.

2nd Amendment: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

The Supreme Court ruled that we do NOT need to be part of a militia to keep and bear arms.

The founding fathers did not add that amendment so that they could hunt geese for their Christmas dinner. They added that amendment so that no tyrant, like King George, could ever again force a free people to bend to his will. They were patriots. Because of them and the thousands who used their firearms against King George's army, we are free.

Some of you seem to wish that we had a king who could tell us exactly what to do. It seems to me, that some people detest freedom and the PERSONAL responsibility that goes with it.

The "reasoned argument" to override the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution is absurd.

Salt Lake City, UT

"As many as 2 million times a year, firearms stop or prevent assaults, including murders. "

That's false. If it were true, we'd have a heck of a lot more assaults and murders since the vast majority of people don't carry guns.

"I would be curious to know how many Americans are actually killed each year as a result of guns."

I don't know the breakdown, it's around 10k total homicides with firearms.

Tucson's shooter was stopped when reloading. If we had a magazine limit in place he would've likely had to reload faster and might've been stopped half a dozen or so victims earlier.

"Is this actually the case? If it is not, how come?"

It's not a simple formula that goes from loose to strict gun laws or vice-versa. Other factors are in play, like poverty. Hence the poor inner-city areas have higher violence. The South (also poor) has higher violence rates as well despite being loose on gun laws.

Centerville, UT

Mike Richards,

Can't you make your argument without phrases like"some of you seem to wish that we had a king"? I'm pretty sure that no one posting comments here wishes we had a king.

Salt Lake City, UT

" I prefer to accept the small increased risk of harm that comes from not having a firearm for protection"

A robbery victim is statistically more likely to be shot by the robber's gun if the victim also has a gun. In situations like that where an armed individual isn't looking to kill anyone, they likely won't fire unless they feel threatened.

@Mike Richards
"The Supreme Court ruled that we do NOT need to be part of a militia to keep and bear arms."

And I'm sure you never ever disagree with a Supreme Court ruling... (Roe, Prop 8...).

"They added that amendment so that no tyrant, like King George, could ever again force a free people to bend to his will."

So you think the right to have guns is based on making it so you can shoot cops and soldiers if you think it's necessary... that's the argument that always just makes me support more gun control.

Far East USA, SC

Mr Richards,

Based on your adamant support for the second amendment, how do you feel about congress's law concerning 3d printing and guns.

It states basically

"The law prohibits guns that don't contain enough metal to trigger screening machines commonly found in airports, courthouses and other secure areas accessible to the public."

Is this in violation of the 2nd Amendment in your book?

Durham, NC

As one of those dreaded so called "liberals" that Mike Richards claims wants a king… I personally own many firearms. I know that is a deep conundrum for some of the deep thinkers here…. that it is entirely possible that some people have very conservative views on certain issues, and less so on others… but it is the paradox that I am. I personally actually don't view myself as a bleeding heart liberal…. but sometimes merging religion's compassion with conservative values makes for odd situations.

I am interested in the data behind this comment….

"As many as 2 million times a year, firearms stop or prevent assaults, including murders."

How does anyone really quantify this statement? Based on what? That means that 1 in 150 Americans has fought off a criminal with a gun. I don't know… but that is a pretty high bar. I mean, in total there were 9 million arrest last year. That is for all crime. Am I really to believe there were 2 million more incidents where a victim fought off a criminal with a gun? Seriously? There were 1.1 million violent crimes… and 2 million more averted because of guns?

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

The 2nd Amendment, passed by the States before this nation existed as a nation, prohibits the Federal Government from infringing on our right to keep and bear arms. Nothing in that amendment limits our right to keep and bear arms. If you want to make a plastic gun that can withstand 40,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, and if you have the ability to make such a gun, then that Constitution allows you to make it, to own it, and to sell it. Tyrants tell us that they are above the Constitution. They presume that God put them on earth to instruct us. They reject God in everything else, but they support Him in their belief that God made them "superior people" and that they are superior to everyone else.

We have the right to keep and bear arms. Period! "Shall not be infringed" covers "plastic guns". It covers magazine capacity. It covers bullet type. It covers any and all arguments from the "enlightened" ones who think that they, not the Constitution, are the source of our law.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Mike Richards
"If you want to make a plastic gun that can withstand 40,000 pounds of pressure per square inch, and if you have the ability to make such a gun, then that Constitution allows you to make it, to own it, and to sell it."
""Shall not be infringed" covers "plastic guns". "

Congress just reauthorized a ban on plastic guns. Guess you're wrong.

Far East USA, SC


Do you believe that when the constitution was written that our founders envisioned plastic guns, or drones or grenades or machine guns.

While those guys were pretty darn smart, they could not anticipate everything. And I certainly think that they would not take the rigid stance that you espouse.

Yes, I think that they created an amazing document and it is hard to imagine that it has stood the test of time with such few amendments.

I will be flying this Christmas and I am thankful that guns are not allowed on planes, or in large stadiums, or at the Republican National Convention or in courtrooms.

There are just too many crazies out there.

Sometimes common sense must prevail.

It amazes me daily, some of the things that you defend.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

"Envisioning" plastic guns has nothing to go with the Supreme Law of the Land. If you don't like what the 2nd Amendment guarantees, you have the right to try to amend the Constitution. You need to get 66% of Congress to agree with you and then you need to get 75% of the States to agree with you. Until then, plastic guns, unlimited magazine capacity, single shot, bolt action, semi-auto or full-auto are allowed by the Constitution.

We have the Constitution for a purpose. It is to keep people from jumping on to a popular leader's bandwagon and waving his flag as if it had any merit. Obama is being shown to be one of the least honest Presidents in American history, but he still has the hearts and minds of those who, with him, despise the Constitution. Thank God that we had patriots who put freedom above their own wishes. Thank God we had patriots who did not think that their "intellect" entitled them to dictate to the rest of America the rules under which we should live.


Justice Scalia writing for the majority, Heller v. D.C.:

"Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.

Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment , nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

What legislation have big-gov folks proposed that would have actually PREVENTED Colorado, Tucson and Newtown?

None I've seen.

In a free society you are going to get tragedies like these, caused by evil people who mis-use their freedom to harm others.

The only way for the Government to completely insure it never happens... would be to take away all freedom. I mean it. If they leave us even a LITTLE freedom... somebody will find a way to use that to hurt somebody.

We need to understand that the Government can't prevent all evil. And that giving up your liberty for security is like walking up and asking to be put in a cage because you can't trust yourself to not hurt others, and you can't trust others to not hurt you.

The answer is not to give up everybody's freedom just because you are afraid and no longer trust people.

But we do need to do something. I just hope we don't decide that "something" means nobody can be trusted with the means to protect their country and their family. And you just have to wait for the police when something happens.

Durham, NC

@mike.... so you unconditional reading of the constitution, does this also extend to freedom of speech, and in that this freedom also includes all forms of pornography - regardless without exception? Just as there should be no restrictions or limitations to gun ownership, there should likewise be the same reading of the constitution when it comes to free speech?

"Thank God we had patriots who did not think that their "intellect" entitled them to dictate to the rest of America the rules under which we should live."

Yes indeed. Thank heavens not everyone gets to impose their own views on the rest.

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