Inflammatory Questions about Gun Control

I’m agnostic on gun control — I see the merits of both points of view. So, I don’t necessarily embrace the point of view of Pierre LeMieux with the Independent Institute, but I find it worthy of discussion. In an essay published yesterday, he argues:

Contrast the horrific Virginia Tech shootings with the January 2002 killings at Virginia’s Appalachian Law School. Within minutes of shooting three people in the dean’s office, disgruntled student Peter Odighizuwa was stopped by two students who had retrieved handguns from their cars. They disarmed the killer and turned him over to the police.

In other words, in society of armed citizens, a crazed killer might manage to kill two or three people, but somebody would take him out before the body count reached 32. I’m not sure if that scenario would have worked at Virginia Tech — Cho had shrewdly chained the doors to Norris Hall shut. Students would not have been able to run out to their cars. But Lemieux’s larger point is worth contemplating.

In a similar vein of the guns-don’t-kill-people, people-kill-people argument, it has been noted that the male citizens of Switzerland are required to serve in the military and required to keep weapons stored in their houses, but the Swiss have a low homicide rate. Which leads me to ask, is the high homicide rate in the United States due to our easy access to guns, or is it due to something perverse about our culture — perhaps the increasingly pervasive attitude that everyone should display or vent their emotions rather than rein them in… or the cult of victimization that encourages people to lash out at others rather than look within… or, as noted by Norm Leahy yesterday (“Cockburn’s Chemicals“), the ubiquitious prescription of anti-depressant drugs?

Finally, I would ask, if misfits like Cho Seung-Hui had been cut off from access to guns, would that have stopped them from killing people? All we have to do is look to the Middle East to find an alternative model for committing mass murder: car bombs and suicide bombs. Bomb-making instructions can be found on the Internet. How long will it be before some whack job decides to exact his vengeance with a bomb? Timothy McVeigh pulled it off and the death toll was far higher than in Blacksburg.

Again, I’m not arguing a particular point of view here. I’m just asking questions. My suspicion is that there simply are no easy answers.

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42 responses to “Inflammatory Questions about Gun Control”

  1. gold_h2o Avatar

    Good post. Fair questions to ask.

    But….”male citizens of Switzerland are required to serve in the military and required to keep weapons stored in their houses”

    I bet male citizens of Switzerland who have been deemed mentally unstable, like Cho Seung-Hui, do not serve in the military and I bet they are not allowed to own guns. I’d be surprised if they are even allowed into a college or University.

    Cho Seung-Hui was on a suicide mission…no different than what’s going on in Iraq….it’s the same point I made in the last post. If he didn’t use guns he may have well used a bomb….the issue as I see it is simple – guns are EASY to get so that’s why whack jobs use them as opposed to bombs.

    ANYONE can get a gun – that’s the problem.

  2. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    [Good luck with this Jim!]

    There aren’t easy answers, and the simplest ones simply don’t work. The US is a moderately violent nation, but we have a very high homicide rate compared to many other “peer nations”.

    Americans don’t need firearms to reach this horrid level; we stab, club, kick, stomp, and punch more of our fellow citizens to death than most European nations can accomplish short of war.

    Yet oddly enough, Europe stabs, clubs, kicks, stomps, and punches far far more of their fellow citizens; but stop short of killing. European assault, robbery, and rape rates are many times that of the US.

    Confusing the issue is that these ‘peers’, which used to be a codeword for Europe, has now expanded to a lot more countries. The eastern Bloc nations all have more restrictive laws than their western counterparts, but have murder rates comparable to the US.

    The Nordic countries have less restrictive firearms laws than mainland Europe, and while Denmark and Norway have extremely low homicides, Finland has much higher —but still less than the US— homicide rates.

    Several US studies have been done teasing out statistics to separate urban core areas from the rest of the nation. This results in murder rates comparable to European rates. Some others have done it by race (which I question the value of it) with sort-of similar results. I’d also predict, based on some European city rates I’ve seen, that the same can be done for other nations.

    As you note, Switzerland issues battle rifles —machine guns— to almost all its male citizens (plus a lot of handguns, small unit explosives, and some larger, squad weaponry) where they are kept in people’s home. Firearms ownership and practice is encouraged.

    Swiss homicide and violence rates are comparable to its neighbors: slightly less than bordering Germany and Italy, a lot less than bordering France, and slightly higher than bordering Austria.

    All of this points toward cultural and societal factors, values that longstanding populations in European countries have —or at least had— in comparison to the US. Any American law enforcement officer can tell you of the disproportionate crime from the ‘underclass’; meaning immigrants, the poor, and the uneducated.

    The emerging expert consensus seems to be that societal violence is a product (!) of society: that neither capital punishment nor gun control are significant and the causes “could be more social, economic and cultural.” The logic is found in the value that people place on human life —a cultural attribute— not the ease or bother of the mechanical means once the decision is made.

    The only thing [and I know little on the stats of capital punishment] that definitely doesn’t reduce violent crime is restricting weapons; at best they make no difference in the rates, most often that crime goes up.

    Jim Patrick

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    Then why not make it a requirement for any gun license that a mental evaluation be part of the process?

    Isn’t this similiar to the process used to certify those folks who use guns in the performance of their jobs?

    Why not just have a system where if you want a gun – you have to be evaluated – and make re-evaluations either periodic after 5 years and/or if you have a run-in with police.

    The idea is to not intrude into everyone’s life – on the premise that “some day” they may want a gun.

    Instead, leave folks alone, unless they want a gun – then require some reasonable level of assurance that you are mentally capable of owning and using a gun.

    bad idea?

  4. Groveton Avatar

    Pierre LeMieux’s views are not really helpful. I suppose if the kids at the Amish school were “packing heat” maybe they could have shot it out too. Or, if Colorado permitted high school students to carry guns – they could have reduced the savagery at Columbine.

    Switzerland is perhaps a better point. I’d drop the comparison with regards to their army / militia. They really are a “well regulated militia”. I believe that the Swiss militia is close to what the founding fathers had in mind with the Second Amendment. Their militiamen must keep their guns under lock and key, they must be able to produce all the ammo they were issued, etc.

    The better question in Switzerland is the availability of guns to the general public vs. the murder rate. This proves that a wealthy, homogeneous society with minimal urban decay and mandatory military training (including firearms training) can have lots of guns without lots of murders. Even with all this, I am told that Swiss gun laws are stricter than US gun laws. For example, you need a permit before you can buy a gun in Switzerland. I am having dinner tonight in Seattle with people from all over the world – some of whom are Swiss. I’ll try to get the “low down” directly from them.

    Guns-don’t-kill-people, people-kill-people. In terms of semantics, I suppose that’s right. However, cars-don’t-kill-people, people-kill-people is also semantically correct. So, what does Virginia require regarding the operation of a car?

    1. I must be 16 years old or older.
    2. I must have a valid Virginia driver’s license with my photograph and other information printed clearly on it.
    3. I must have the license in my possession at all times that I operate the car.
    4. The car must be registered and that registration must be kept current.
    5. I must either purchase insirance or I must register as an uninsured driver and pay the state a tarriff.
    6. If I violate the law with respect to my operation of the car I am assessed points. If I accumulate enough points I have my driver’s license suspended.
    7. Certain violation such as suspicion of drunk driving require that I forfeit my car on the spot despite the fact that I have not yet been tried or convicted of anything.

    But cars don’t kill people, people kill people.

    Mr. Patrick has repeated the endless chant of the gun lobby – gun control doesn’t work, it never works, it shouldn’t be tried. Of course, there are no facts or figures to support this – only oblique references to one civilized country (Switzerland) vs. the other hundreds of countries in the world.

    Here is a germane, statistical analysis of gun control that worked from a respected source. The question under analysis was the 1976 handgun ban in Washington, DC and the source for the analysis is the New England Journal of Medicine.

    Their conclusion:

    Our data suggest that restrictions on access to guns in the District of Columbia prevented an average of 47 deaths each year after the law was implemented.

    The article can be found at:

    Read the article Mr. Patrick.

    You are just plain wrong.

    There are cases where gun control has worked.

  5. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Guns are as responsible for these murders as spoons and forks are for obesity–BKD

  6. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Groveton, I will be very interested to hear what your Swiss associates have to say about gun control.

  7. Groveton Avatar


    I am on a flight out of the country early tomorrow morning so it may be a while before I can get you what I hear from my Swiss colleagues at dinner. Whatever they are willing to say will be reported back.


    The gun advocates are definitely winning the clash of the cliches. Let’s see:

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

    And now…

    Guns are as responsible for these murders as spoons and forks are for obesity.

    Let’s see …

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.

    It’s actually more the bullets which kill people.

    When guns are outlawed only outlaws will have guns.

    Well … outlaws and the police and the sherrifs department and the FBI and the DEA and the Army and the Navy and, and, and…

    Guns are as responsible for these murders as spoons and forks are for obesity.

    A new cliche!

    But … spoons and forks? Why not forks and knives? Isn’t that the more common way to describe cutlery? Wait a minute, I know … Because no self respecting gun guy would be “caught dead” with a plain old knife. Knives are for wusses (and non-Swiss Europeans). Real men use guns. Don’t cut food with a mere knife. Shoot it to pieces with your Glock!

    All in jest, Mr. Day. You have your opinions and I have mine. Of course, I don’t have any guns so I can’t shoot anybody who disagrees with me. You on the other hand…

  8. Groveton Avatar

    OK – One last question for the gun guys before I head out to dinner –

    I assume that your beliefs regarding gun ownership would logically translate into your complete support for the legalization of marijuana. I mean:

    1. Enforcement doesn’t work so there’s no point in keeping it illegal.

    2. If people have a right to own a gun then surely they have the right to own a plant.

    3. If marijuana stays illegal then people will just drink to excess or sniff glue or find soem other way to “take a trip without leaving the farm”.

    4. Marijuana doesn’t kill people … well, that’s pretty much the end of the cliche. I gues you could try to smother somebody with the stuff but, by and large, it’s a lot less dangerous than guns (or bullets or the people who shoot them or whatever).

    So, what do you say gun guys?

    Remingtons and reefers?

  9. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Groveton, thanks for the URL, it’s a great illustration that A) firearms restrictions don’t work, B) the obsession some people have to ignore clear, convincing evidence they don’t work, and C) the depths pro-restriction will go to hide those facts.

    I suggest everyone read this ‘study’. The District’s murder rate went from 3X the national rate when the gun ban was passed to “only” 4X the national rate at the end of this study. Homicides increased. They increased 33%.

    Just to be clear: Gun control is implemented, murders increase.

    Published in 1991, the study period ends in 1987. The next year murders rise toward record levels (10X US rate) before dropping to 6X the national average today.

    The US murder rate is down –35% from 1976, a good thing. District murders are up +30% from the same time. It’s certainly not a case “where gun control has worked.”

    [ It’s hard to write this without abusing quote marks. How does one write that your chance of being murdered has been lessened to “only” six times the average? ]

    Click for a graph of District homicides

  10. Barnie Day Avatar
    Barnie Day

    Mr. Groveton, I checked, just to be sure, but I couldn’t find an amendment to the constitution addressing reefer rights and ownership. Perhaps I missed it–BKD

  11. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    jim patrick-

    You are quick to tell of us what we
    can’t do and why reforms will not work – what would you have society do to better deal with violence, abuse of society by those who use guns to kill and harm us? Is your
    answer for all us to arm ourselves
    so we could live in the Wild West, as depicted in some of the old Clint Eastwood violent movies? Do
    you carry a gun? How many guns do you own? Has anyone in your family ever been killed or harmed by someone using a gun? We all look forward to your reply.

  12. Anonymous Avatar

    I grew up in SW VA, moved to the DC area when 20, and retired to Blacksburg, VA in 2002. Although I grew up in a family of hunters, I’ve never owned a gun and probably never will. I certainly think that anybody with Cho’s mental health history should be barred from owning even a BB gun.

    SW VA probably has more guns per capita than any place in VA – and very little violent crime. Washington DC, on the other hand, has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the US and lots of violent crime, including murder. When Cho decided to go out in a blaze of glory, he didn’t choose to storm a well known hunting outfitters near Riner, which is full of guns and hunting equipment and staffed by people who know how to use them. He instead went on campus at VT – where the gun laws are even stricter than in DC – and systematically murdered 32 people at his leisure, knowing that unless he encountered a uniformed officer – easy to spot – no one there would have a gun. In fact, that first shooting may well have been his attempt to give the VT police something to think about while he mailed his package and made his way to Norris.

    We can debate gun laws back and forth; however, one thing is certain. VT lasted well over 100 years surrounded by people with lots of guns and not a one of the local, law-abiding gun-owners aka “gun nuts” ever, ever killed a single person on campus. I sleep very well at night knowing that many of my fellow SW Virginians have guns in their homes. I have nothing to fear from them.

    Odighizuwa and Cho are not common SW VA names. The first is a naturalized citizen and the second a legal permanent resident. No one, myself included, is suggesting that immigrants be barred from VA’s campuses despite the fact that 100% of the mass murderers on VA’s college campuses appear to be legal immigrants. Why suggest that perfectly sane law-abiding US citizens who have caused no problems whatsoever be barred from having guns?

    My sister-in-law from England arrived the day of the murders. Quite naturally she was appalled by it all and expressed her support of banning guns altogether. She did, however, note that now only the criminals in the UK had guns, which they seem to have no problem in acquiring. She also said that any otherwise law-abiding person in the UK who used a gun to defend himself would be fully prosecuted. Is that what we really want?

    BTW, VA isn’t the state with the least restrictive gun laws. That honor falls to that hot bed of violence and murder, Vermont. Yep, THAT Vermont – home of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, civil unions, and Howard Dean.

    Deena Flinchum

  13. Jim Bacon Avatar
    Jim Bacon

    Following up on Deena’s comment about England and how only the criminals there have guns… I’ve become a fan recently of Guy Ritchie (Madonna’s husband), the director of “Snatch” and “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.” Very entertaining movies — I highly recommend them (as long as you have the stomach for strong profanity and graphic violence). Anyway, for what it’s worth, the bad guys in those movies don’t seem to have any trouble getting guns at all.

    England does have a significantly lower murder rate than does the United States — about one fifth the number of murders per 1,000 population. But, it’s worth noting that, according to The Bureau of Justice Statistics, England now has surpassed the U.S. in rates of robbery, burglary, assault and motor vehicle theft. One could argue that the bad guys are more willing to commit those lesser crimes knowing they will meet no resistance from their victims.

  14. Anonymous Avatar

    In his post, Jim asks “Finally, I would ask, if misfits like Cho Seung-Hui had been cut off from access to guns, would that have stopped them from killing people?”

    I meant to add this to my previous post but forgot it.

    In 1990 at the Happy Land social club in NY and in 1982 in a Los Angeles apartment building, men killed 87 and 25 people respectively using nothing more than gasoline and a zippo lighter or maybe matches.

  15. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Jim – The English homicide rates are very low compared to ours, even allowing for UK methods of recording. But they’ve been low for at least the last century, long before England’s firearms laws.

    For easiest readability, an article —clearly biased against restrictions— by Thomas Sowell summarizes the reality behind the ‘England v America’ argument of gun control.

    Most of his piece is based on two of professor Joyce Lee Malcolm’s books that cover firearms and our English legal heritage, To Keep and Bear Arms: The Origins of an Anglo-American Right and Guns and Violence: The English Experience. A longer article by Dr. Malcolm gives more depth to the picture and accurately gives the data in understandable form.

    For data fiends, use the British police-recorded crimes in Violent crime overview, homicide and gun crime 2004/05(PDF). Note that there are police-recorded crimes, very similar to the US reporting system. The UK also uses a survey that may be very different from reported crimes.

    The graph (p48) and the data (p54) show a steady increase in murder, and the 1997 complete ban on handguns shows no effect. Despite this absolute, nationwide prohibition on handguns, violent crime with firearms (p72) is rising a lot, doubling in six years.

    That’s the crux of the matter: Will a specific proposal —restricting or banning firearms— reduce violent crime or murder? The answer from England is “No”

    Jim Patrick

  16. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick –

    I am still waiting for a response to my earlier posting.

    It appears to me you advocate no
    restraints on the mentally ill being able to own guns.

    Nor do you have a problem with our
    owning handguns that can fire off
    19 rounds.

    I sense you support our being able
    to buy one gun a month – that is 12
    guns during a calendar year.

    Nor do you object to the loophole
    that allows gun owners to buy
    weapons of mass destruction at gun
    shows without a background check.

    All of Virginia is waiting for your
    thoughts on these matters and a
    response to my earlier questions to
    you ……your knowledge and wisdom
    about these matters surely should
    dictate public policy that impacts
    the lives of the 7.5 million residents of Virginia.

  17. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    In medicine, there’s a principle: First do no harm.” It’s just as essential for law.

    The law that Groveton et al praises so much —and the type Provo advocates— resulted in thousands of unnecessary deaths in just one city. No, the law didn’t kill them directly; it created the conditions for those killings.

    Those wanting to restrict firearms have turned a blind-eye to this, reminding me of another mass murderer, “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.

    Exploiting the horrific murders at Tech —and gun control crusaders wasted not time exploiting it— to pass laws that result in far more murders is contemptuous.

    The evidence is overwhelming: firearms restrictions don’t reduce violent crime or murder; very often they make it much worse.

    If Roger Provo wants to discuss ‘insane-people-control’, ‘murderer-control’, or even make a case for ‘commenters-who-jest-about-shooting-other-commenters-control’; that’s his choice. [Barney, that one just sits in my craw]

    But restricting firearms is proven to not work, and repeatedly trying the same failed policies —expecting different results— is sheer lunacy.

  18. lucky to be away on April 16 Avatar
    lucky to be away on April 16

    DC can’t even tax commuters and some comments in this thread seem to think they have customs stations set up on the Virginia border to enforce their laws. Any look at DC (by either side) is useless. The discussion of other nations is a bit more interesting.

  19. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Lucky –you can’t disregard the real world. As documented above, England —an island nation with customs stations— hasn’t been able to legislate lower crime (or less firearms) through gun laws.

    More telling are the experiences of American states’ futile attempts at it. Because of cultural differences, other countries experience may have no bearing on the US, since culture is part of criminal behavior.

    Trying to save electrons, so I’ll just link. One of the better firearms debates is being hosted at the LA Times, between Christopher Lockwood of The Economist and David Kopel of the Independence Institute. The last of the 5-part series went up today.

  20. Anonymous Avatar

    My sister-in-law suggested that those guns flowing into the UK to criminals might be from Eastern Europe. This makes the situation quite similar to DC, which for the record banned most guns for the average citizens. This law has recently been challenged in the courts.

    If the US suddenly banned guns we could expect Mexico to supply said guns just as they now supply many of our illegal drugs. The difference is that it would be criminals buying them.

    As I said, is this what we want?

  21. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick-

    You continue to insult those who want constructive change in our society, as result of the awful events at Virginia Tech on April 16th.

    I doubt you have had a loved one
    injured and killed by a mentally
    ill person, who saw the use of two
    handguns (one capable of firing off
    19 rounds) as a means to resolve
    his problems.

    Nor your lack of ability to want to
    see us resolve problems in our gun
    laws speak well for your agenda for
    our state.

    Your flip remarks and continued lack of sense of social justice is
    just beyond the pale.

  22. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Roger Provo – It’s a shame that you label requests for evidence as ‘flip remarks’ and ‘insults’.

    Normal people don’t have problems providing some facts or data supporting their position. Provo’s avoided that, calling requests for proof ‘arrogance’.

    There’s more than ample proof why Provo’s opinion is wrong: Thousands of US jurisdictions —and hundreds of foreign countries— with similar laws have never reduced murders or violent crime.

    What Provo wants has already been tested in the real world. It doesn’t work. Over and over again it has failed. In many cases it has made crime much, much worse.

    Everyone certainly has a right to express their opinions, no matter how irrational they are; but it’s also others’ right to point out how ludicrous this obsessive fixation is.

    Roger Provo’s ‘sense of social justice’ might make him feel good, but in reality it actually causes harm. Yet Provo simply discounts the additional injury; his position simply ignores reality —including the National Academies of Science and Centers for Disease Control studies— like the facts didn’t exist.

    Restricting firearms doesn’t reduce violent crimes. And backing those same failed policies over and over —expecting different results— is lunacy.

  23. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick

    More personal attacks and rude
    remarks from the Valley’s pundit.

    More empty headed comments from one
    who offers us no solutions to the
    issues relative to the use of guns
    in our society.

    Mr. Patrick, you are beyond help on
    this subject.

  24. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick-

    We know a young mother, who not many years ago lost her husband because he took his own life in the family home with a gun, that
    she did not know he had purchased.

    The decease’s father, reportedly had mental illness, and the person who died not long ago had been a under great deal pressure because of his job.

    That horrible event, along with the similar tragic events at Va Tech puts a face on these issues for us that you seem not to be
    able to absorb.

  25. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Rodger Provo said… re [suicide][murders] “puts a face on these issues for us that you seem not to be able to absorb.”

    You are unable to absorb that restricting guns won’t change those suicides one iota; that restricting guns does NOT reduce murders and violent crime.

    You are unable to absorb that banning guns won’t change those suicides one bit; that banning guns has never reduced murders and violent crime.

    If you really care —like you so persistently proclaim— then you’d quit advocating laws that are proven to be as effective as a law to ‘abolish gravity’. Laws are not lollypops, doled out to divert attention from aches and pains.

    If you really care —like you so persistently proclaim— then you’d truly look for solutions that are effective. Firearms laws aren’t one of those, but there are many other avenues to reduce suicides.

    The reality —facts you’ve resisted even considering so far— consistently exhibits that restricting firearms has no effect at best (and a horrific toll at worst) on reducing violent crimes, murders, or suicides.

  26. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick –

    We just do not agree on anything
    about this issue.

    We would all be better off if the
    state and federal government would
    ban firearms:

    -that can fire 19 rounds;
    -that could now be sold to those with a history of mental illness;
    -that now can be bought monthly, to a single purchase annually;
    -and that now can not be bought at gun show without a background check.

    Mr. Patrick, be a responsible gun
    owner and admit these gun purchase
    restrictions would be good for us.

  27. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick –

    Virginians should applaud the actions Monday by Gov. Tim
    Kaine via an executive order to
    require those amongst us with mental illness who have proven they are a danger to themselves and
    and others that such history be logged into the data bank for those seeking to buy firearms.

    This was the case with the shooter
    in the horrible events that took
    place at Virginia Tech on April 16th. That person lied on the forms he completed to buy two firearms about this matter. Federal law does not allow such persons to purchase firearms.

    Virginia and the federal government
    needs to plug the remaining three
    loopholes in our gun laws I stated
    in my last posting to you:

    -get rid of cartridges that can fire 19 rounds;
    -limit handgun purchases to one a
    -and require background checks at
    gun shows.

  28. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Rodger Provo said … “We would all be better off if the state and federal government would ban firearms . . .”

    That’s the crux of this issue. Lots of people can look at an issue and think, “We should do X to reduce the problem.” That’s fine, there’s nothing wrong with making judgment decisions in the absence of evidence.

    The tipping point is when the facts (research, records, data, experience, etc) show that X doesn’t reduce the problem, when it shows that X often makes the problem worse.

    Normal, rational, sane people can say “Wow, that’s backwards from what I thought.” Maybe they’ll even look at more data; but then say, “I guess we shouldn’t do X; it won’t help at all and might make the problem worse.”

    A few people don’t have that response. They ignore facts that conflict with their fixation. They may nitpick trivia or claim bias (‘anyone who finds this type of results is biased’), but for the most part they pretend it doesn’t exist; they simply ignore the truth.

    It’s an illogical thought process where rationality (the human part of the brain) can’t overcome the emotional dread of weapons, so the brain constructs its own (imaginary) justification.

    England had oppressive gun control and an extremely low crime rate; yet violent crime and murders increase. England then outlaws handguns entirely; murders go up at a slightly faster rate and violent crime skyrockets. Provo has ignored it.

    When Washington DC bans all handguns, violent crime and murders skyrocket to unheard of rates, resulting in thousands of deaths. Roger Provo looked the other way.

    Roger Provo thinks Virginia would be better off by banning guns. If asked what “better off” really means —when asked for a definition— the answer will probably be “guns are banned”; he’s certainly made no other case or presented any facts. It’s a completely circular argument; an ideological closed loop.

    Reasonable people know that murder, violent crime, and suicide are problems. Responsible people depend on evidence —facts, reproducible results— that show the best probability of resolving or lessening problems, even if those facts contradict previous assumptions.

    Restricting firearms —even if it was logical— is proven not to work, and repeatedly trying the same futile laws expecting different results is sheer lunacy.

    One very harmful aspect of gun-control obsession is disregarding true root causes. Provo indicates (?) that without a salesroom transaction, the Virginia Tech murders wouldn’t have happened. Sort of like making illegal drugs against the law, huh?

    Another example is a recent research paper (PDF) that has a glaring, unmistakable, and undeniable correlation between incarceration and institutionalization rates. This has an enormous impact on Virginians’ civil rights, mental health treatment, and costs to state and local governments.

    There’s also a direct, unmistakable and undeniable correlation between incarceration-plus-institutionalization rates and homicides. When institutions ‘dumped’ patients, the murder rate increased; when jails and prison ‘took up the slack’, homicides decreased.

  29. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick-

    Now you are resorting to lies and
    distortions to make your case for
    no restrictions on firearm sales in our state and nation.

    I did not say “We would all be better off if the state and federal
    government would ban firearms …”

    That is not what I said … I would
    invite the readers to revisit my
    earlier posting.

    I advocate a ban of cartridges that
    can fire 19 bullets, selling such
    weapons to persons with mental
    illness, selling such weapons once
    a month and requiring background
    checks at gun shows.

    Your comments about the Virginia
    Tech event are not worthy of a
    response – you should be ashamed
    of yourself, talking about that
    sad day in the terms of you choose.

  30. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Unfortunately, Roger, you wrote exactly that: “We would all be better off if the state and federal government would ban firearms . . .”

    That sort of forgetting happens when obsession and fixation drive a person: One time they say one gun to a buyer during their
    , then to a single purchase annually, and another time “fully support” another poster who wants bans. One time it’s background check at gun shows, another time it’s ban gun shows themselves. The recurrent theme is “ban”.

    That’s a fundamental difference between our arguments: I want facts, evidence and truth, and . . . well . . Roger sort’a ignores that stuff because it’s all about how he feels —and therefore how you’re obliged to feel— that really matters to him.

    So for Roger, today (or at least this hour) it’s about ‘only’ banning 19 bullets; not 18 and not 20. Actually, Roger wrote “a ban of cartridges that can fire 19 bullets“. LOL Mr. Provo either doesn’t have a clue what he really wants to ban, he wants to ban all shotgun shells, or he’s so obsessed that ‘cartridge, gun, evil, weapon, bullet, clip, etc’ are interchangeable words.

    In the end, the problem is that Roger’s feelings and compulsive fervor against firearms do not reduce crime. Very often the ‘Provo solution’ results in more murders, more violent crime.

    On the other hand, seriously examining the way we treat —or fail to treat— our citizen’s mental health is more humane (many are in jail when they should be in treatment), has enormous potential to reduce crime, and cut costs at the same time.

  31. Groveton Avatar

    Mr. Day:

    I checked, just to be sure, and there is no bill of rights amendment giving anybody who wants a gun the right to have any kind of gun. Just something in support of a “well regulated militia”.

    For a good read Mr. Day:

    You do not have the rights you think you have.

    Now that we’ve settled the right to bear arms myth …

    How about that question of Remingtons vs. reefs?

  32. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Groveton – you’ve got to laugh at an article that calls all modern court cases “Renegade Decisions”

    But you miss the big picture: gun control never reduces violent crime. The previous example you gave claims a ‘savings of 47 lives a year’ from DC’s gun ban. Yet anybody can see — and the numbers prove — that murders skyrocketed after the law.

    When all’s said and done, that particular gun ban cost over 3 thousand human lives. Restricting firearms simply doesn’t make us safer. Bans can make life less secure, and the District is a working example.

  33. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick –

    Your continued twisting and turning
    of facts and my comments to make
    your point speaks volumns about
    your values or the lack of them.

    Your ranting says a great deal about your agenda.

    My desire is to have a safer, better Virginia for our children
    and grandchildren.

  34. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Roger wrote: “Your continued twisting and turning of facts . . .”

    There’s been nothing twisted or turned.

    In response to a problem (murder, violent crime) Roger says ‘A’ should be done. The data shows ‘A’ either increases crime (makes it worse) or has no effect at all.

    I then suggest looking at ‘B’ through ‘Z’ for solutions, some with a proven correlation to murder ought to be examined. Roger screams, squirms, sidetracks, diverts . . . anything to not look at ‘B’-‘Z’.

    Roger posts no facts at all, just ad hominems, attacks (‘Jim Patrick needs to have someone in his family injured or killed’), and Roger’s delusion that flinging abuse is an argument. What is wrong with this picture?

    Roger wrote: “My desire is to have a safer, better Virginia for our children and grandchildren.”

    You perjure yourself. The only thing you’ve obsessively posted is gun control, as if nothing else in the world has any effect. If you really though it would make the world better, you’d post a shred of proof, a smidgen of substance, a crumb where it made thing better.

    You don’t post it because you can’t post it, because it’s not true. It’s an obsession for gun control.

  35. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    jim patrick –

    Your anger about our exchange must
    be really gripping given you found
    a need to be up at 2:30 am to rebut
    my expressed desire to create a
    better Virginia for my children and

    Get a life!!!!!!!

    Your wild west, gun-toting, free
    wheeling view of society is one
    I do not share.

    Virginia should not sell guns to
    persons with mental illness, nor
    should we sell cartridges with 19
    bullets, nor should sell persons
    one gun a month and we should not
    allow the purchase of guns at shows
    without background checks.

    I think you are an insult to those who lost
    sons, daughters, fathers
    and mothers at Va Tech on
    April 16th.

  36. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    Rodger Provo said… “wild west, gun-toting, free wheeling view of society”

    Virginia legislated concealed carry in the early 90s and the state became safer; there has been less and less murder and violent crime. Your delusion that guns=violence is proven wrong.

    I’m willing to discuss any measure that might reasonably be expected to reduce violent crime, to make Virginia safer. The problem —Jim Bacon says we talk past each other— is that Roger expresses no interest in a safer Virginia; he uses the term ‘better’.

    So what is ‘better’? Just more laws passed? Useless laws —where Virginia becomes less safe and more people are murdered— but Roger feels were ‘socially responsible’?

    Some proposals don’t work; unbiased, world-class researchers conclude it doesn’t work. But I’m open to contradictory data, and also to all the other solutions that we know can make a difference.

    Roger’s been a one-trick pony: the disproven guns=violence. Anyone differing with this meets abuse (I think you are an insult / no moral center/ no social responsibility) etc.

    But the ultimate insincerity is Roger’s claiming a moral right to speak for those harmed at Virginia Tech, while saying, “Jim Patrick needs to have someone in his family injured or killed . . .” That’s despicable.

    Roger’s may be frustrated, but his example of ‘social responsibility’ is sick; and he’s lost any claim to moral or social conscience. Who would take advice from this person about a ‘better’ Virginia? Who could after that?

    Restricting firearms doesn’t work to make us safer. They can make life less secure; the District is an example, while allowing citizens to carry firearms has made Virginia safer.

  37. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick-

    Your continued efforts to hit my
    positions on gun legislation with ugly,
    brutal attacks are unfair.

    You are dead wrong about my desires –
    I do want a better
    and safer Virginia for all of

    It would be socially responsible
    and make Virginia safer if we did
    not allow:

    -the sale of one gun a month;
    -the sale of guns to those with
    mental illness;
    -the sale of clips that allow a
    shooter to fire 19 bullets from
    a single cartridge;
    -and the purchase of guns without
    background checks at gun shows.

    You are the sick one in this debate
    claiming I am a “one trick pony”
    and I am “claiming a moral right to speak for
    those harmed at Virginia Tech.”

    There is nothing despicable about
    my assertion your views on these
    issues would be different
    if a member of your family were “injured or
    killed” by a gun carrying criminal.

    Now I am sick, without morals or
    social conscience, according to
    your views of the world. Your
    ramblings are unfair and untrue.

    You do advocate a “wild west, gun-
    toting, free wheeling society …”

    I do not support that view of society
    and I think we can take
    further measures by adopting additional
    laws to protect
    us from the tragedy
    we saw unfold at
    Virginia Tech on
    April 16th.

  38. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick –

    I would invite you and others to read
    Margaret Edds column in this
    morning’s Virginian-Pilot about
    holes in our gun laws.

    The system you are defending is
    a major supplier of weapons
    bought by criminals who buy
    them in Virginia for as little
    as $300 @ piece and retail them
    for four times that amount in

    I would invite you to Google
    Virginian Pilot – Jim Patrick.

  39. Jim Patrick Avatar
    Jim Patrick

    The article is also important in highlighting your manipulation of tragedy for your own political agenda.

    The Bradys comes up with a laundry-list of restrictions having nothing to do with the facts at VT, yet use the VT murders as the excuse. The Virginian Pilot comes up with a laundry-list of restrictions having nothing to do with the facts at VT, yet uses the VT murders as the excuse. Roger Provo comes up with a laundry-list of restrictions having nothing to do with the facts at VT, yet uses the VT murders as the excuse. (Are we seeing a pattern yet?)

    “With loathing” is how Governor Kaine regards your actions, “And, so, to those who want to, you know, try to make this into some little crusade, you know, I say take that elsewhere.”

    The VT students are tired of the manipulation.

    And yes, it’s sick for Provo to say “Jim Patrick needs to have someone in his family injured or killed. . .” You didn’t say “if a member . . .” as you now claim; you flat out wrote ‘needs to have’. It’s twisted and warped to the point of sickness.

  40. Barry Avatar

    I hate to appear overly simplistic in my views regarding guns and gun ownership – my views run deeper than they appear on this page. For all of the arguments for and against, gun ownership one needs to look no further than WWII to see what happens when gun registration is mandated and confiscation implemented. As Hitler was storming through Europe, the first thing he would have his officers do, is to go to the town halls and open the registers and find out who owned guns. Then, the stormtroopers would show up at the doorsteps of the citizenry and demand those guns. Resistance could have resulted in your family members being removed from your home and shot one at at time. Throughout history the story is the same with regard to the relationship between unarmed citizens and their government. Remember, a man with a gun is a citizen. A man without a gun is a subject. I wish I had invented that saying. There are a couple of issues that I think both sides are missing. The second amendement protects are rights to keep and bear arms. I don’t see anything that says we have a right to ammunition. Also, suppose guns are outlawed? How many people – ESPECIALLY all of the southern rednecks out there – are going to just head right down to the police departments and turn over their weapons? Yeah, right! What do you think the result would be if government tried to forcibly take our guns if we did not voluntarily turn them in? It would be a battle of biblical proportions – I think armageddon comes to mind. Unfortunately, many of my fellow Americans are a guillible bunch. They think that big government is good and they want government to take care of their every need. If Hillary, Teddy, Dingy Harry, Nancy and the rest of the beltway crackpots are sucessful in getting their policies through then they will do this without firing a shot. If our second amendment right falls then the rest of them will become counterfeit and it will only be a matter of time before they fall too. If you think that this is alarmist, then listen very carefully to what Hillary and the rest say and then read “Communist Manifesto” by Karl Marx. Then tell me whether or not we need to keep our guns. Freedom is not free. And we all have a duty to defend what are our birthrights – life, liberty and the pursuit of hapiness.

  41. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo

    Jim Patrick-

    You and I have two different views
    of life and society. We will never
    agree on much … I feel sorry for

  42. rodger provo Avatar
    rodger provo


    Wow. What a heavy commentary.
    The problems with gun laws in our
    state seem a long way from the
    horrors of WWII.

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