Democrats in Senate Confront Doubts at Home on Gun Laws

Several Democratic senators up for re-election next year are confronting galvanized constituencies that view any effort to tighten gun laws as an infringement.

Comments: 269

  1. Problem is that we have too many testosterone deprived males who use assault rifles as a means of proving their "manhood". This country is past being a sick joke amongst advanced nations; we are now a disgrace in our regard for the safety of the average citizen and law enforcement personnel.

  2. These unproductive ad-hominem arguments reduce the debate to caricatures and slogans. This issue should be based on reasoned analysis of evidence. Hopefully there will be a serious research effort, which will better inform the debate.

  3. The debate is over and the facts are in. Unlimited availability of assault weapons and clips are the single reason for these massacres. Calling for another debate is playing right into the NRA's argument. I assume the poster above is in that organization.

  4. Assault weapons serve only to provide false security to frightened people.

  5. A logical person would say that the proposed measures won't make a difference so we need to do something more - a national registry, a limit on guns purchases per year, a buy-back program, but instead gun advocates say the measures won't do anything, so we should do nothing.

  6. We are not using logic here anymore. We use fear, intimidation, bribery, hysteria, and appeals to the lowest common denominator - we have to be "careful" and ask nicely for these people to accept some kind of controls on their "rights".

    The remark about giving up our rights in pieces is certainly true, but I'll bet that man in WV had no trouble with certain provisions of the Patriot Act or domestic wiretapping, etc. After all, THOSE are only directed at the criminal element, and there's no room for government "misuse" of those, is there?

  7. They don't want to accept the fact that easy access to these weapons is what enables mass shootings in the first place.

  8. One of our towns had a gun buyback program and so many people turned in their firearms that the money ran out in 90 minutes! I think this should be a national, ongoing program, because it seems to work.

  9. where is the leadership? unless our elected representatives are asserting an abaolute right to re-election. after all, who's more important? terrified little kids or Senator Joe "by god" Manchin?

  10. If there are "terrified little kids" it's the fault of the parents, not the Senate. It's the job of the parent to quell a child's fears and reassure her/him ... not territy them! A school should be seen as a safe haven for children, and they should not be "terrified" to go there by their parents.

  11. You say there is no effort to take away second amendment rights. I say why not? There should be.

  12. I disagree. I don't own a gun and am very happy that the national discussion has turned towards retrictions, registration and serious background checks. I understand how people who've grown up with guns all their lives, live in very rural areas and who hunt may not agree with you either. But gun owners should not be running the show and neither should the NRA. Guns do not belong in our supermarkets, churches, parks, bars and restaurants. Most Americans do not want to live in the wild west where everyone carries a gun. Gun owners do not have more say than non-gun owners but they scream the loudest and intimidate our representativs.

    The spokespeople I have seen on television representing the gun owners, including the President of the NRA, do not seem to have the temperament, self-control or reasoning to carry guns and they scare the bejesus out me themselves.

  13. In the immortal words of Homer Simpson: "We've tried nothing and we're all out of ideas!"

  14. Ah, yes: my right to have guns and ratify my manhood trumps other peoples' right to live in security and safety. The modern American creed: me first, nuts to you.

  15. As a resident of WV, I would like to point out that not everyone in WV is pro-guns and irrational. There are many of us that are "normal". The problem is that we a spineless leadership in the pockets of gun manufacturers and coal companies.

  16. Sympathize. That's why God made elections. You have to work for the kind of government you want and get others to do the same, starting at the local level. Good luck.

  17. Please answer my question as a citizen living both in an urban and rural environment, why do I need as assault weapon?

  18. This is my point exactly. It is not like the laws are trying to completely eradicate citizens from owning guns. They are just trying to add more protection by taking out weapons that have absolutely no beneficial purpose to society. A shot gun, rifle, all hunting guns for the most part, are still perfectly legal, assuming you obtain them legally. There are not mass shootings with these types of guns, but there are mostly with semi-automatics/assault weapons.

  19. Suppose that banker who's so scared of losing his rights that nobody's trying to take away is a Repub?

    Just because the paranoid Repubs who apparently are funded a lot by the NRA that really helps the gun and ammo industries make a heck of a lot of money, tell you you should have an assault weapon, you must buy one, by golly! Isn't that good enough for you? No? Then I suspect you think for yourself.

    I find it comforting that about 60 percent of American households, if we can believe recent polls, don't own a gun, nor do they know anyone who owns a gun, and they want stiffer laws now. In the news where I live, some gun nut's garage blew up yesterday because he had a bunch of ammo stored in his garage near a heat source. Nice for the firemen who had to fight his fire in 4 degree weather!

    The NRA is a distinctly minority organization and needs to be ignored. They DO NOT run our country, but it seems they have tried to buy significant parts of Congress. We must stop this trend by unelecting anyone who takes NRA money. It's about 300,000 of them versus the rest of the country's population. Find out online where your elected representatives and senators get their funding.

  20. Define "Assault Weapon" for us please.

  21. They should all read Profiles in Courage.

  22. They have to represent their constituency, not tell them how to live. Imagine that!

    I know it's hard for some to understand, but the freedom loving among us will not accept being talked down to like a subject of their lords and kings. They work for us, not the other way around.

  23. Once they took the oath of office they were bound to represent the nation. Read it.

    Only insecure people get so worked up they see discussion as taking down to them. Are you afraid the government is coming for you? Specifically, what actions have they taken in the last 100 years to threaten you? I can think of none.

    We all love freedom, but with it comes responsibility. We live in a crowded world and from time to time there have to be changes to reflect that. If you want freedom in the true sense then you need to live in the middle of no where with little contact with others because each of us has different ideas about how things should work. We compromise and make deals with each other all the time to avoid conflict. That is what democracy is all about.

  24. So sorry that freedom loving segregationist were subjected to . . . rational legislation.

    No, they work to make the best decisions for the nation. Segregation was favored in the south, but was surely NOT what was best for the nation.

    Nor slavery.

  25. This Michigan constituent understands that the price for living in a civilized society is a system of laws, and laws by definition limit the "freedom" of others. That there are lots of laws I don't like and may not be able to change does not make my democratically elected government, no matter how politically corrupted and influenced by powerful lobbies (such as the NRA) it may be, the authoritarian or totalitarian state that an unfortunate minority fantasizes that it is, or is on its way to becoming.

    I, too, want freedom. I want the freedom to live in a country that doesn't have per capita gun murder and suicide rates as much as hundreds of times higher than European states, Australia, and other nations with strong gun control. I also want to live in an society that places higher value on rights to things such as economic justice and equality, affordable education, universal access to good heath care, and science-based environmental protection than on the perceived individual right--through a twisted and historically decontextualized reading of the Second Amendment--to wage armed insurrection against our government.

  26. I hope the legislation passes, but what really needs to be done is banning all manufacturing and sales of semi-automatic weapons along with a really heavily incentive laden buyback program. It would take a while to see the changes, maybe no positive changes at all, but at this point just keeping things from getting worse would be a pretty big improvement. Semi-automatic pistols should be the real target of any legislation. AR's look scary (are scary), but comprise a very small portion of gun related violence compared to smaller weapons that anyone can conceal and easily obtain.

    If you can't defend your family or have fun blowing up watermelons with a 6 shooter, then you are inept with a firearm and should not be allowed to own one anyway.

  27. You don't know diddly about firearms, semi-auto or otherwise, do you?

    You don't care about self defense,as evidenced by your desire to limit rounds, and you also don't have a clue about hunting, if hunting was the issue (semi-auto shotguns are the cream of the crop for any kind of bird hunting).

  28. Agree completely. Defining what should be banned should be simplicity itself: automatic or semi-automatic operation and a detachable magazine, of whatever size. Pistols or rifles, makes no difference. If they meet that definition, they should be banned and bought back.

    Doing that would leave a vast array of weapons for every legitimate purpose, from self-defense, to hunting, to target shooting.

    Problem is, the real objective of assault weapon fans is to have guns for what they term TEOTWAWKI (Google it: The End Of The World As We Know It). For that, they reckon they need guns that can readily be converted for use as fully-automatic machine guns—like the AR-15. That tells you everything you need to know about their mental stability, and about the danger of letting this trend continue.

  29. The Second Amendment doesn't call for a right to own any weapon someone wants.

  30. The 2A is all about State's rights. It guarantees that citizens are able to govern themselves. Please, read some of the volumes available on the Internet about the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, what American jurists have said, the majority and dissenting opinions of the SC case Wash DC vs Heller 2008, Miller vs US 1939.

    Please, for your own sake. The 2A is not what this NRA tells you that it is.

  31. New York is leading the way with sensible gun regulation. To quote our Governor, no one needs an assault weapon and a high-capacity magazine to kill a deer! But it can mow down innocent children, movie goers, shoppers, etc. etc. And this is just as true in West Virginia, Montana, or any other state where a Blue Dog Democrat is quaking in his boots as it is in New York. Why not cut to the chase and model a national law on the one in New York?

  32. Ah, wonderful, isn't it? Fully half of the citizens in this country are ignorant fools. They cannot see the difference between common sense regulation and "infringement of their 2nd Amendment rights." We regulate cars, airplanes, fireworks, and even fertilizer in meaningful fashions, but not guns...Pick up the phone and call your senators and congressmen. It's easy! They do want to hear from their constituents! A civil and coherent call will be taken by the intern and passed on to the legislator...Some of them just might start to get it..

  33. They don't give a hoot about 2nd Amendment rights. They just like things that go "bang!" and kill. The 2nd Amendment rights thing is a dodge.

  34. Ah, but which half, Matt? The half that thinks your senator wants to hear from you? The half that is fine with leaving the defense of their liberty to someone else? Or the half that sees things in all or nothing terms, with no room for nuance, or appreciation of the "other side's" position? What about the half that's not just ready but eager to characterize all gun owners as redneck goober hillbillies, and fools to boot? Your rush to judgement reminds of a song: "Fools rush in". Which half is that again?

  35. The vast number of guns in the US is, in itself, a problem. Steps to regulate gun and ammunition sales and possession, along with more effective, universal background checks, are sensible measures, but this enormous quantity of guns is inherently dangerous for our society. And why should assault weapons be in the hands of anyone other than a soldier or law enforcement official?

  36. If there was no relentless, false propaganda campaign insisting that what the government "really wants" is to take everyone's guns away, gun control reform would be a cakewalk. Better background checks, a waiting period, no assault weapons, limited ammunition, no exemptions for private sales...these are all things that -- if you remove the "slippery slope" charge -- the vast majority of us want. A politician promoting these things would win many votes. But the propaganda and the lies and the paranoia are well funded and not accountable to the truth.

  37. Ah yes, very smooth how you slip "limited ammunition" in there.

    How much do you think I should be allowed to have?

  38. @ Dagwood

    Keep making things up. Good thing science and facts are on the side of the supporters of the second amendment.

  39. Well Tim, if you and Dagwood would sit down at a table and have an adult, respectful discussion I am positive that the two of you could come up with some workable ideas. There is nothing to make me believe that Tim or Dagwood would want to do anything but the right thing. My own crystal ball is fuzzy, I won't venture what the right thing is. That will take some work.

  40. NYT finally realizes:

    weapons ban = not gonna happen

  41. Better too late than never, anyway.

  42. Gutlessness, thy name is Manchin and these other elected bozos who will allow stupid and self-serving big gun advocates to divert them from the rational course.

    Now is the time for persons of integrity, courage, and intelligence to assert themselves; not the time to knuckle under to the irrational louts.

  43. Thankyou, Jerry, for saving me the trouble of writing an almost identical comment. Which is to say yours has my 100% support!

  44. It is very discouraging that our elected officials seem unable to make policy-setting decisions based solely on whether the policy is right and good, rather than on how they will affect their re-election prospects. Yes, officials are elected to represent constituents, but sometimes some things are so clearly right or wrong that any policy decision should not be incumbent on how the people you represent feel about the issue. It strikes me as CLEARLY WRONG for children 6 to 7 years old to be confronted by someone with a very powerful weapon, and face massacre at the hands of that person. It strikes me as CLEARLY RIGHT for legislators to vote to pass laws that decrease the possibility of young children ever being put in that position again. Any lawmaker who needs to consult constituents about something like this simply has no principles, and any constituent who does not see the self-evident righteousness of passing such laws to help protect young children is so badly confused that I am not sure their opinion really counts for much. It is time to JUST DO THE RIGHT THING.

  45. Exactly.

    Segregation was wrong and would still be in effect in the south, had not the government done something.

    And so slavery.

    And so women's and black's right to vote.

    Had you asked the constituents about these issues, we would still have segregation in this country. I too, am tired of the "it's what the people want."

  46. Senator Joe Manchin said ‘Mr. Vice President, with all due respect, I don’t know how many people who truly believe that you would fight to protect their rights.’

    The senator added, “That’s what we’re dealing with.”

    No, what we're dealing with is 2nd Amendment psychosis and gun psychosis by a vocal minority of gun owners in America.

    No one has proposed banning all guns....and yet the paranoid still fervently believe all guns are about to be banned.

    When a civilian pretends that he needs semi-automatic and/or automatic weapons to conduct his daily wife, he is confusing himself with a military soldier or an organized police force, i.e, he has already slipped down the slope of of paranoia, fantasy, and mental impairment.

    Sometimes you have to do what is right for your country, Senator Joe Manchin.

    The first responsibility of government is to physically protect its citizens from danger.

    That includes protection from dangerous assault weapons and gun psychotics who love guns more than the public safety of 310 million Americans..

  47. When one sort of gun ban is passed, others will be on the way. This is obvious to anybody of ordinary understanding. One can see simply from comments in this paper on gun control articles that many people would support very comprehensive restrictions upon, and outright bans, of handguns, and many other firearms.

    "Progressives" are never finished. They never say, "there, we've accomplished it." No, they then look around for something else to ban or restrict (and not just with respect to guns).

    Again, anyone of ordinary intelligence understands this perfectly.

  48. I second this. Watching the debate and the NRA, I think the problem is. in fact, more mental illness than firearms. But the mental aberrations that stand out are the weapon fantasies of the gun hobbyists and "conceal carry" advocates. Their minds seem to live in a Mad Max world or an action comic book. Playing violent video games seems a lot less pernicious than arming yourself because you're driven by paranoid fantasies.

  49. Even your machine gun ban is full of holes, because you can modify an AR-15 to full automatic by changing the parts that differ from the M-16.

  50. "We give up our rights one piece at a time" - but there was no outcry at NDAA, muted outcry at our emails and telephone calls being monitored, the data stored indefinitely, and the reaffirmation of the Patriot Act was greeted with a shrug.

    Our right to assemble and protest is now carefully corralled, often miles away from those in power in "protest zones" while according to the First Ammendment the entire country is a protest zone.

    The largest market for drones is local police departments which are increasingly militarized; some of those drones can have a resolution of 6 inches, and some have sensitive microphones; some look like birds. Cameras, ostensibly to prevent crime (for which there is no statistical evidence) invade our public spaces.

    Voting rights are under concerted attack. "City Managers" in some states, such as Michigan, have been appointed over elected officials leaving citizens with no recourse for peaceful political change.

    We have become a surveillance society and many of our most basic rights are in shreds.

    Why is "the right to bear arms" the only right that people seem to embrace?

  51. Only some rights need protecting . . . according to those in attendance, above.

  52. Actually, it's because free speech advocates don't spend millions to repeal the Patriot Act.

  53. Does our Congress not know that the AR-15 is so popular because it can be converted to an M-16?

  54. Is the 1934 Machine Gun law still on the books or was it eventually just forgotten?

  55. The weapon du juor that "gun-control" advocates wish to ban is not a machine gun and yes the law prohibiting machine guns in private hands is not only still on the books but is vigorously enforced. The term assault rifle refers to a fully automatic machine gun or a rifle that can switch between fully automatic fire and selective fire. Those rifles cannot be sold in the United States. The rifle that is referenced by gun-control advocates fires one bullet for each pull of the trigger the same as a revolver.

  56. It's still there. Fully-automatic weapons require special Federal taxes and licensing. They have never been fully banned by Federal law, but a great many states ban them outright.

    Of course, the rifles talked about in this debate are not machine guns; not automatic. They are semi-automatic.

  57. It looks to me that the insurrectionists have already gotten them to put up their hands.

  58. This is why we need term limits. The original idea was to take a citizen, elect him to office a few times so he can do what is good, then have him return to a productive life. The lifetime politician needs to be eliminated, so they have the guts to vote in unpopular but needed laws to protect us from our ignorance and foolish desires. Many motorcyclists hate the helmet laws, but riding at 60 miles an hour with nothing between your melon and the blacktop, is just insane. Gum proliferation is even worse. We need politicians with courage, and right now we don't have many.

  59. I think the real problem is few opportunities to make an honest career in elected public policy-making due to the lack of real political parties that represent the interest of their dues-paying members locally to nationally, and don't allow opposing political parties to sabotage their tickets.

    "Politics" is the only process we have to negotiate the social contract. To do that effectively, we have to self organize into groups of like mind.

  60. And what response followed the 9/11 attacks? Certainly a ban on lots of things which could not and cannot be be carried on a plane, including box cutters.

    The idea that nothing can be done because you cannot stop a mass shooting anymore than you can stop a suicide bomber is a failure in logic. That was said about airplane crashes in this country, too.

    And if that failure in logic continues, I ask that those who refuse to accept ANY limitations simply state and restate this mantra:

    "We accept that children will die in this country, so that I may retain ALL of my claimed freedoms."

    I am more frightened by the failure to think about an industry that has hijacked thought and reasonable logic, than I am guns.

  61. So those who depend on the production and sale of guns for their livelihoods are panicked.
    What about the legislation that changed the drinking age from 18 to 21 and thereby reduced the amount of alcohol produced and sold? I don't recall a Senator worried about being re-elected due to a decline in drinkers or too concerned about the employment of bartenders, or beer, wine or alcohol production workers.
    When smoking was banned from a variety of public and private locations and sales decreased our Congressmen/women were able to stand up to the cigarette companies. Doctors are free to detail all of the health issues - including death - should someone decide to smoke and mandatory warnings are now on all cigarette packages.
    When discussion of mandatory seat belts was held in Congress and legislation drafted and passed, I don't recall auto manufacturers threatening Senators with their campaign funding.

    There are now ID checks when you decide to purchase alcohol or cigarettes, tickets written should you not wear a seat belt and get caught, and life and health insurance companies are free to raise your rates should you smoke.

  62. Yes, and quite sensibly there are ID checks (and, indeed, federal background checks) to buy firearms, and you have to be an adult to buy one. Perhaps you were unaware of this.

  63. Agreed, though w/ some qualifiers, mainly that many of the examples you cite above actually did/do have substantial opposition from the companies that profited before the changes.
    Among them,

    1. There are major cases currently going toward the supreme court that look to overturn new cigarette package warnings, based on the right of corporations to have protected commercial speech.
    "Repacking cigarettes- will the courts thwart the FDA?"

    2. The Ford Motor company, among others, vehemently opposed mandatory seatbelts (and I'm sure threw some campaign funds around)

    Interestingly (horrifyingly?), the result of most regulation (lead, seatbelts, asbestos, air bags...) has been that the costs are less than predicted and the companies still made money. A few folks just had to die first, from the delay.

    So, the immorality play we are seeing with gun regulation and the NRA isn't that different from what we've been seeing all along, sadly.

  64. You can find a straw buyer for a gun as easily as you can find a buyer of cigarettes for the underaged.

  65. If a senator's job is to serve his constituents and the country, then Manchin has a lot of work to do to inform his constituents about the balance between "gun user rights" and gun violence; not to mention the fact that it is not necessary to use a military assault automatic weapon to hunt deer.

    Part of the education of all has to be realizing that the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is not about individual gun ownership, it is about how to form militias in a time of need. It doesn't say where the guns come from. I don't think the founders would think that every house should have the latest in assault weapons technology.

    If public service in the US Congress is only about job security, then Senator Manchin and many others (all of them) will shift with the prevailing winds. If they truly believe in service, then they will inform and educate their constituency about reasons to enable gun ownership and the reasons for greater protection.

    BTW: What if it turns out that just as many people or more actually believe in right to gun control? Will this issue just become another sort of "tyranny of the minority" such as we have suffered for the past four years?

  66. Ah yes ... You do a great job of displaying or lack of knowledge on the topic.

    e.g. Automatic weapons are already totally banned with exception of some very stringent licensing and permitting. Deer hunters do not use automatic weapons.

    Regarding the 2nd Ammendment - You may want to read the entire ammendment ... 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. ... Seems pretty clear that people can keep and bear Arms.

  67. There was gun violence at the time of the writing of the Constitution. And yet, the 2nd Amendment does not state, "...the right of the militia to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Also, the latest in assault weapon technology would include select fire (automatic) capabilities. Which is not legal for new civilian firearms manufactured since the eighties.

    And the Internet did not exist at the end of the eighteenth century. If a piece of legislation may eliminate one Constitutional freedom. Another piece of legislation may eliminate any another.

  68. Perhaps it's time to enact a gun control law and let the Supreme Court decide if it impinges on the 2nd Amendment: let them interpret what these rights really mean. Or are both sides too afraid?

  69. We should do something that addresses the tragedy being used to justify the urgent push- as uncle of one victim proposed -address mental health treatment issues and criminal liability for negligence in unauthorized persons gaining access to legal owner's guns. Both might have prevented CT tragedy. The prevalent incidences of gun violence will always be illegal handguns first, as they are easier to hide and carry. There is very little handgun violence with legal gun owners in areas where gun rights and ownership are most concentrated. Inner cities, gangs, drugs, these are all areas where the gun violence is most acute - and absolutely owned by Democratic politicians, and the problem is primarily cultural. A very difficult thing to legislate. There is no courage in passing legislation, chipping away at Amendments, if they are not entirely and overwhelmingly justified. I trust the Founders much more than the political class. As in NY, guns are not about hunting. And assault rifles are not the weapon of choice for criminals who perpetrate gun violence. Gun crimes should result in long prison sentences. If it's as serious and urgent to prevent, reduce those that would most likely violate the law, as is.

  70. I trust the founders too: "A well regulated militia..."
    1. Control or maintain the rate or speed of (a machine or process) so that it operates properly.
    2. Control or supervise (something, esp. a company or business activity) by means of rules and regulations.

  71. George Washington was a "well regulated" man, in the meaning of the time. Sane, reasonable, and civilized to the core.

  72. I think most can agree that US-related gun violence is multifactorial, but doing NOTHING and hedging on obvious steps is ridiculous. The NRA and its minions have these congressional "leaders" living in such fear of re-election rather than caring for the safety of the American public. It is an appalling absence of leadership and shameful.

    Mayor Bloomberg has it absolutely correct--our elected officials have to start doing what's right for our citizens rather than their election campaigns. Amazing.

  73. So doing something that won't work is better than doing nothing?

    "our elected officials have to start doing what's right for our citizens rather than their election campaigns."

    No, our elected representatives have to start doing what those who elected them want them to do - that is the foundation of our Republic. We do not elect dictators or kings who know what's better for the common man!

  74. Playing stupid while fascists arm up for Armageddon is the dumbest public policy I've ever seen.

  75. It amazes that after the horror and loss in Newtown, Connecticut there is not the basic humanity in a segment of the population to say enough!

  76. Explain to us who is NOT saying "Enough."

    FYI ... Gun rights advocates see the horror the same as those who want to ban guns. The simple difference is, gun rights people acknowledge that it's the person carrying the gun who is the problem. Not the gun itself.

  77. Could you explain who doesn't think that the horror and loss in Newtown should stop immediately?

  78. @ Dave - the culture in our country has changed in the last decades to glorify guns and violence, and the election of President Obama has brought the crazies out, with the NRA inciting them every step of the way with falsehoods. Hunt if you want to, target shoot if you want to, but stop insisting that unlimited gun caches and carrying them everywhere is your right.

    Everyone falls somewhere on the mental health scale and probably a portion of those gun toting enthusiasts fall into the bottom rungs. Add the effects of the economic meltdown in 2008 and its resulting unemployment and housing collapse, along with hyper-partisan attacks and fear mongering. We have a recipe for disaster if the tone is not ratcheded down. Let's have some reasonable debate and accept that the founders DID say well-regulated!

  79. Banning assault weapons, etc. will not make anyone safer - except criminals. To think otherwise is fantasy. It will only create more profit in the black market - like we do with drugs. And, when these "sensible" laws don't change anything, the knee jerk reaction is to pass more laws, and they will infringe on our rights to defend ourselves (from people, not deer). The problem is our culture and society, not the guns, which have always been here.

  80. Thank you NRA. You only forgot to mention the second amendment.

  81. It will sure save us money by ending the arms race between criminals and the police.

  82. I have to ask; just what is the total population of the state of West Virginia? Does Mr. Manchin normally use a sampling of just 15 people to learn the views of his entire constituency? Have all West Virginians been given the opportunity to express their views? Current national polls show a very different opinion than the ones expressed by this tiny group. Our senators are obligated to determine the views of ALL of the citizens who elect them. Only then can they enact legislation in good conscience.

  83. I suspect Mr. Manchin knows his state.

    And, of course, all Senators are equal whatever the population of their state. Another little provision for the protection of liberty the Founders wisely wrote, to the chagrin of those who don't like our Constitution any more.

  84. Our Constitution sure makes a total travesty of "one person, one vote". The cognitive dissonance of this country helps keep its mental health in the poorhouse.

  85. To effect the change with policy on guns, it must come from a grass roots surge and not top down. The voices of those who are now or have been disaffected NRA members can be very powerful. These are sensible sports men and women, those who have been previously involved in criminal justice and many others who have valid opinions about licensing, military grade weapons et al related issues. These are people who are outing the NRA as it is today not the association focused on principles of gun safety et al.

    The NRA is masquerading behind the Second Amendment and the false idea of the Feds are coming to take their guns. La Pierre is a 'hired gun" to represent the gun sellers in America.

    President Obama made it clear with his introductory statement about gun control that this was to be a three part force for change: executive orders, legislated policy and the people's voice.

    The press and the media would serve the interest of furthering the conversation about guns in America to include more from these disaffected NRA members and not just some of our legislators who still continue to rely of financial support from the NRA for their reelection.

  86. This is NOT the NRA of the 1950s, when my grandfather taught me about guns on his farm.

  87. An assault weapons ban may not be possible, but there are still steps that can be taken to keep guns out of mass shooters and criminals.

    1 - Require a certain amount of liability insurance on all guns, with assault weapons requiring significantly more coverage than weapons with less potential for mass violence.

    2 - Have a longer waiting period for assault weapons, with more thorough background checks.

    3 - Have a legal requirement that assault weapons be securely locked up in a safe when the owner isn't around, with civil and criminal penalties should the gun be stolen or misused due to the owner's negligence.

    4 - Require a background check on all gun purchases, getting rid of all loopholes.

    5 - Crack down on people who buy guns for other people (like Mexican drug cartels), and flag for investigation anyone who buys a suspiciously large number of guns in a short time.

    6 - Track every bullet from manufacture to purchase, using serial numbers or chemical markings, so if recovered from a crime scene police know who bought it.

    7 - Require that at least one other person vouch for the sanity and responsibility of anyone buying an assault weapon, and make it illegal to accept payment for this service. If you can't find one friend or family member to endorse you as sane, you probably shouldn't have an AR-15!

  88. Insurance only covers accidents. Any ordinary homeowners' insurance policy will cover liability for accidently inflicted injury by guns.

    No insurance policy ever offered or sold covers deliberate, intentional infliction of injury or death, for obvious reasons.

  89. Simple question ... Define "Assault Weapon" for us.

  90. An "assault weapon" is any gun that suggests shooting people.

  91. One more time my party shows it cannot tackle the issues of the moment. Big important issues. Gun control and paralysis in the Senate. They worry so much about keeping their jobs that they fail to serve the nation they took an oath to protect and preserve.

    Each of these fearful Democratic senators should receive a packet of photos of the 20 dead kids in Sandy Hook. The ones the coroner took. The ones with faces blown away and bodies riddled with bullets. Have they become so jaded that they have no feeling?

    Similarly, the filibuster has ensured nothing is accomplished of any significance in the Senate. America treads water while ole Harry plays his Byzantine game of chess in the shadows. After four years of watching a Senate mired in the mud of partisan blood fights, Americans are ready to take revenge on both parties. If I were Harry I would beware 2014 for no matter how well he plays the game this year, if a frozen congress persists many will track it back to him and his lack of leadership.

    Obama's inaugural offered hope and change once again. It buoyed millions of people at a time when we needed it. If Harry Reid dashes that hope with his fear of reform in the Senate, he will destroy Obama's second term. He will leave the Senate as a failed leader. He will have directly contributed to the decline we are in.

  92. You nailed it on Reid in your last paragraph! He is ineffective and incompetent as a majority 'leader"

  93. The firearm industry brings in about $18 billion/year (, while the NRA controls our government representatives w/ $18 million in campaign spending and $2-4 million in annual lobbying expenditures (, strategically placed. And what percentage of the $18 billion is made off the gun show loopholes and assault weapons? Not a bad return on investment. Gosh, it even allows for a few high profile murders every week, just to make people want to buy more to protect themselves. This is how DC works (and, most notably, doesn't work) for us. If you want DC to work for you and to be able to have an actual national conversation about guns and other national issues, instead of feinting around the issues with language pre-approved by special interests, then we need to get the money out of the mess. The Anti-Corruption Act ( has a pretty good answer. Don’t expect Harry Reid and Joe Manchin III to do it for us.

  94. Mass shootings cause surges of gun sales in the US. No wonder the gun industry is disinclined to check them.

  95. Each day I'm more convinced the best way to go is to tax the bullets and require liability insurance, along with rigorous background checks which must be re-administered periodically. Seems to me that would more effective, and somewhat less divisive. We're not taking away the guns, just making them less cheap.

  96. Ammunition is not cheap, save only .22 rounds. Go take a look at the store if you think otherwise.

    Anybody who does regular target shooting has to do their own reloading or go broke buying cartridges.

  97. Tax bullets possibility. Your liability insurance is interesting. How does liability insurance work in high homicide cities like Chicago, Wilmington De. Oakland Ca. etc.?

  98. No doubt the insurance industry will perform a far more intrusive background check than the government if guns have to be insured.

  99. I would say that killing a room full of children is an infringement.

  100. Gun control and mass shootings have no connection. Mental illness and mass shootings are connected.

    Identifying and making it easier to involuntarily commit the mentally unstable is the key to solving this problem, not guns.

    Centralizing gun ownership unto the ruling class and their appointed minions would be worse than what we have now. Much worse.

    Limiting magazine size is a non-issue. Practically anyone can fabricate a metal box with a spring to hold as much ammo as they desire. That's all a magazine is. Limit them to 10 rounds and people just tape them together upside down and flip them.

    The argument that no one needs more than 10 rounds to hunt is also misguided. The second amendment has nothing to do with hunting.

    The reason the second amendment is enshrined constitutionally is so the emotions of the day do not carry the day.

  101. Thanks for your "open minded" NRA-endorsed thinking.

  102. Please be explicit. Why do you need an assault rifle instead of a bolt action? Why do you need a semi-automatic pistol instead of a revolver? What, exactly, do those enable that can't be accomplished with the others? Come right out and say it.

  103. Mental illness is definitely exacerbated by guns. And it is apparently anosognosic too. The patient is unaware of his condition.

  104. Mr. Manchin The Third is a coward and deserves to lose his seat in the Senate. These fifteen "businessmen" he invited in to discuss guns are obviously important to him for his campaigning. This entire story reeks of his dishonesty and bias toward the citizens who are demanding protection.

  105. Isn't packing a piece considered the red badge of courage by the NRA?

  106. Lets face facts. Does it really matter what weapon is banned if the ACLU continues to put mentally unstable people on the street? Will the threat of violence disappear if our children continue to spend hours each week viewing the "termination" of human beings as entertainment in film, television, and video "games"? These mass killings are not the result of people having weapons...people in this country have always had weapons, but there was a time when insane people were institutionalized and there were parents who were very selective about the values imposed on their offspring. And mass killings were rare! If you really care about this tragic issue, demand early identification and realistic treatment of mentally challenged individuals and become a competent parent who does not go along to get along.

  107. Thank you for your comment. You are completely correct.

  108. Some of the kinkiest shooter enablement comes from the gun industry.

  109. Yes, let's face facts. Assault weapons and huge ammo clips were not available back when "insane people were institutionalized."

    Killers who wanted to wipe out loads of people didn't have the "right" equipment to do so.

    Over the years, the Gun Manufacturers and The NRA took care of that oversight.

  110. The second amendment stipulates an armed WELL REGULATED MILITIA. Nothing in the amendment indicates that gun ownership cannot be "well regulated." Up to and included a membership in a well trained militia, with a requirement of meeting say three four times a week to train, etc. Let's see how many of those overweight insecure white males compensating with gun ownership would be willing to submit themselves to that. But anyhow, the pint is that the regulation is inscribed in the constitution. A bit confused and ambiguous language (who will regulate?) but it is there.

  111. Not as confused as you think. Like many gun advocates themselves, you may believe the only gun language in the Constitution is in the Second Amendment. Not so. Article 1 makes congress the regulator of the militia, and Article 2 makes the president the commander of the militia if congress calls it into national service. It is astounding and shameful that the Supreme Court seems to have ignored that in its recent gun decision-making.

  112. The NRA argues as if the second amendment nullifies all earlier constitutional language pertaining to militias.

  113. Georg, the courts have ruled that you are wrong. Go stand with Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Farbus.

  114. The 2nd Amendment is not about deer hunting or whether someone believes a citizen has a "need' for a certain type of weapon or does't "need' more than a certain number of bullets. It is about the right to exercise a right under the tenents of the Constitution. There are those who choose not to exercise that right, and there are those who do not. To each his own, but those who do not choose to exercise the right should not infringe on those who do. Same with voting. Every legal citizen has the right to vote, but half do not exercise that right.

  115. Each and every amendment in the Bill of Rights has limitations and we are still a free nation!

  116. I am using my first amendment rights for self defense against insidious nihilists and insurrectionists.

  117. ambAZ:

    Who gets to choose 'how free'? You? No thanks. I'll take absolute freedom as supposedly guaranteed.

    How about I get to choose how much of your rights you get to exercise? See the point.

  118. Beer made me an alcoholic, the spoon made me fat, school didn't teach me to read, I didn't get the job because I was late...the scary gun shot and killed people. See a common thread there? Blaming an object incapable of performing any action without user intervention is just dumb!

    I try and try to understand the liberal mindset, it's great to kill babies while they're in the womb but if you aren't willing to give up your rights because a few deranged individuals performed illegal acts that took lives we're going to call you names and belittle you...??

    Gun control doesn’t work in NYC, Chicago, Washington DC and California…if you think punishing law abiding citizens is going to help you’re in the ‘special’ category. Punish the criminals that perform these deranged acts, if you love abortion so much, implement it on the other end of life for those that do harm and break laws.

  119. You and I come from different planets when it comes to "self defense".

  120. No one buys this argument, why do you?

  121. Your reference to abortion raises a legitimate moral issue except that most anti-abortion advocates have no moral problem with tolerating 25% child poverty in America. The “Pro-Life” people need to put their money where their morality is otherwise they are just hypocrites.

  122. I've read some interesting studies on "random" gun violence enacted by teenagers who were ostenibly "normal." That is, their actions weren't associated with the primary objective of perpetrating a crime, such as theft/robbery, sexual assualt, gang warfare, etc.

    For these "normal" teens, there was an extremely high usage rate of prescription drugs design to combat ADD, ADHD, and anxiety/mood disorders. In many documented cases, these teens "snapped" shortly after their prescriptions were modified.

    So why isn't the government focusing part of their investigation on chemical "triggers" (prescription side effects) that may continue to spark violent actions from "normal" kids in the future? It might be possible to reduce the likelihood of severe violent outbursts before they happen.

  123. Blame the drugs and not the gun that's readily available....that's a stretch, don't you think?

  124. Wayne LaPierre and his distorted view of President Obama's Gun control policy show that he lives in a world all his own. His sappy story of how much more difficult it would be for a grandfather to give his grandson a gift of a gun on Christmas because of those pesky background checks and registration laws. These are the good guys, not the bad guys, the criminals give the good guys a bad name. No one is taking the 2nd Amendment away, but I suggest all gun owners re-read it so they understand what a “Well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State” means. I’m not a criminal but I have to register in order to buy Sudafed in very limited quantities. If I have to be labeled as a ‘Registered Sudafed User’ then having a background check and registering a fire arm shouldn’t be a problem for any responsible gun owner. The cries of tyranny and the evil government taking away someone’s gun is just delusional crazy talk.

  125. Mr. Manchin and the rest of the cowards in Congress are more concerned with their jobs than protecting their constituents.
    And everyone who wants to divert the conversation to better mental health care? I bet every single one of them would adamantly oppose an increase in taxes to fund that care.

  126. Anyone who wants an assault weapon would fail my mental health test. Or those who pulled funds out of 401K plans to buy guns prior to Obama's first inauguration.

    In practice, it would be very hard to separate mental health determination from freedom of expression,

    It is surprising that this is not obvious to those who prefer mental health checks.....I know of at least 5 people I would consider to be bad 'mental health' bets who have lots of guns.

  127. Jan - Mr. Manchin's job is to represent his constituents, not be their nanny. If his constituents do not want gun control laws, he should not be advocating for such laws. It is called democracy - something I have heard a lot about from the Left (when they agree with public opinion).

  128. Bill, I would say that the converse is equally true. Throwing the gun into deep water is a sign of improving mental health.

  129. While the pro-gun people raise reasons against gun control, they nonetheless never said much about their pro-gun ground. Why do people need assault weapons?? The only reason that makes a little, if any, sense is the second amendment. But people, that was written hundreds of years ago, when the government was not all that strong, when people were fighting the British. Now, in 2013, The US state owns the most advanced weapon in the world. Good luck to thinking that owning a little gun will guarantee a free state - if the states turns into tyranny, the fact that people own weapon will only aggravate the state more. And if the state is not turning into tyranny, then all the assault weapons can do is to kill some kids in a school. Think, pro-gun people, think.

  130. A. The right to gun ownership is in the Constitution. See District of Columbia v. Heller.

    B. "Assault weapon" is a term used by the left. It's roughly equivalent to the terms regarding abortion used by the right that the NY times-democrat won't print without a caveat. Like "partial-birth" abortion. Both terms are loaded.

    C. If the anti-gun people, like the Bradys, would agree to a bill that would settle the matter for a period of time, say 20 years, I think you'd find those who believe in the Constitution more willing to come to the table. As it is, there's the distinct impression that they're just waiting for the next tragedy to propose more restrictive legislation. So why should we deal?

  131. Cowards afraid of not getting re-elected. Nothing more to say.

  132. So if we can not have reasonable gun control then we should make all forms of weapons available. I want a machine gun and a grenade launcher. What will it take for the American public to finally accept reasonable gun control, a hundred dead children, two hundred? Term limits and campaign finance reform are what's needed.

  133. FYI ... Both of your requested weapons are already HEAVILY regulated. Actually, far beyond what is being proposed in the current legislation.

  134. Harry- You may be shocked to know that yes, you can own a machine gun and a grenade launcher in all but i think 4 states. Now getting a grenade is not going to happen but the launcher is available to launch smoke targets, powder markers and flares. With "Machine guns", yes you can have one! Even if your state of Michigan since 2005. They already are seriously heavily regulated but they are obtainable. Also, do you know what it costs to own a Full Auto firearm of any sort? the CHEAPEST you can find one is around $8,000-$10,000 and more commonly in the 20,000 dollar range.

    The problem with people like you and even myself is your reference to "Finally accept REASONABLE gun control"... well,IMO we already have that. This country is a patchwork of gun laws and you can be a criminal by just crossing county lines in some states and its disgusting. There are 20,000 gun laws already on file and adding more will not solve anything, the problem is ENFORCING the existing laws we already have. Gun laws are always getting reduced from criminals when prosecutors go after them for other issues that are more of an easy arrest... why? They should be charged and HELD for every crime they committed but they aren't and making Millions of us law abiding citizens have to pay for the actions of a few is nothing but feel good legislation that so many of you uninformed anti gunners don't even have the respect to research before you attack.

  135. Harry: Before I found Honest work, I was an attorney & know something about the law. So YES, one can Legally own not only automatic weapons in most states, but can also own what are called "Destructive Devices" ie. RPGs. Rocket launchers, Grenades, Flame throwers, Artillery & similar devices, providing you get the necessary permits via the ATF. The vetting process is Very thorough, so I have no problem with people owning such weapons, I own one, an automatic Weapon.

    So define "Reasonable gun control". But I doubt you have an answer.

  136. England and Australia put into effect very serious gun laws in 1996 after similar horrible gun massacres. They have less then 40 gun deaths a year since. We have 30,000 and climbing. When will we accept that guns do kill? In these countries long and careful checkups to get a gun, It must be renewed and accounted for each year and mutlti shot weapons kept bin gun club lockers tom be used at the club and left there. Very reasonable and it works to reduce the deaths.

    As far as these worried career politicians their job is to lead not follow the crowd. Give these guys the statistics and educate them.

  137. He ran a campaign ad showing him firing a rifle into an environmental bill? And he's a U.S. Senator? I'm going to be sick.

  138. I never thought I would become a "states rights" advocate. But after reading a number of these pro gun comments I'm all for allowing the creation of a US Somalia State where there are no taxes, no government, no gun laws and people can be free. Of course these people would be prevented from coming where I live to act out their fantasies about the UN, commies etc.....Live free or die or is that backwards?

  139. Have no fear, rather have fear. Manchin takes care of number one -- himself, and getting re-elected. He won't vote for any gun controls, just like he didn't support Obama, although Manchin is a Democrat. While he might be a Democrat, he is a closet Republican, because he wants to be re-elected more than anything else. West Virginia's voters are overwhelmingly Democrats, but West Virginia is turning into a Red state.

    Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) is not seeking re-election, and I think it is because he is concerned he would not be re-elected. I predict his Senate seat will be filled by a Republican.

    Although I was born and raised in West Virginia, I'm glad I don't live there, anymore, for a lot of reasons.

  140. Do people who support unfettered access to extremely deadly, high capacity fire arms, also support unfettered access to nuclear arms as well? If not, can they explain why? I see no inconsistency in this extrapolation of their argument - it's actually a natural corollary.

    "I think everyone should be allowed to have a nuke if they want one - after all, it's our right! And if someone uses one illegally, well, that's what laws are for."

    Are the survivors of Sandy Hook supposed to take comfort in this completely asinine supposition?

    Is enabling a mass murdering psychopathic killer supposed to be, "just one of the prices we pay for freedom?"

    What kind of freedom? The freedom of the paranoid schizophrenic members of the NRA to dictate policy? Or the freedom to be relatively safe from mass slaughter? You can't have both.

    How long will we allow the rights of people who live in fear to supercede the rights of people who want to live in peace?

    When it comes to making laws, the NRA should be given the same clout as a used car salesman.

    "The only thing we have to fear..." is the NRA.

  141. silly premiss. I don't think I need to explain why.

  142. Chicago Guy ... How's the toughest gun laws in the nation working in Chicago? Last I heard Chicago also had the most gun related murders in the nation.

    Does the correlation of the toughest gun laws in the nation and the highest gun violence rate in the US, both in Chicago, mean anything to you?

  143. That argument cuts both ways. One extreme to the point of absurdity is the "should you own a nuke question". Of course no one should have a missile launcher. So you believe in gun control? Well how about stick control? In NYC it is illegal to own a billy club, a collapsible baton, the most common types of folding knives and you could easily be arrested if you have a lead pipe in the car and are not a plumber. You can't even own a kubaton which basically a 7 inch plastic or metal stick. So, you see, the right to bear arms has already been restricted to the absurd extreme on the lower end of the spectrum.

    In NYC you have virtually no right to own a means of self defense. Ever wonder why you see so many Pit Bulls? Of course, the Brits banned them too. When dogs are outlawed, only outlaws will have dogs.

  144. Just watch. It will be cowering cowardly Demorats who will block common sense control,including banning assault weapons,like the Bushmaster used by the Newtown murderer and legally purchased by his gun obsessed survivalist mother, because they place their careers before what's in the best interests of the nation. If pols like Manchin had any principle and were true leaders, they would use their political skills to convince their constituents that it was past time to support reasonable gun control laws that would not take away a hunter's rifle or a handgun used for self protection. This is about strict background checks to keep lethal weapons out of the hands of criminals and the insane and banning military assault weapons and high capacity clips that have no place in any American's home. There's something seriously wrong when a person on the government's terrorist watch list can legally buy a gun but quite rightly is not permitted to board a plane.

  145. Our representatives act like it is good public policy to engage in an arms race with assorted anarchists.

  146. Sorry, but you don't get to determine what a has a place in my home, especially not based on silly cosmetic features.

  147. "There's something seriously wrong when a person on the government's terrorist watch list can legally buy a gun..."

    There's something seriously wrong with the government creating a secret list, using secret information, from which a person cannot have his name removed (or even find out if it is on the list), without even the formality of a judicial ruling.

    If my Constitutionally protected rights can be abrogated just because someone in some bureaucracy accidentally put my name on a secret list, then we are no longer living in a free country, but in a police state (cf: the film "Brazil").

  148. Our family deals with and always will deal with the pain of the gun murder of a family member. This bleeding grief never leaves us. Do you all understand that? Murder makes many victims among the still living. We are the walking wounded attendant victimsof American violence.The families of murder victims number in the hundres-of-thouands. WE ARE LEGION. Let us unite and bring about our own change.

    Here is what our family has pledged to do in future. We no longer support any TV or movies that glamorizes Guns and violent.entertainments that abuse If all of us immediately cease provided our $$$$$dollars, by our quiet boycott of violence the corporations will finally notice when their cash registers are empty.

    So, no hatefilled viodo games. Throw them out. Allow no violent songs to be played in your home. No movies or TV that makes crime with no puncihment modern and sexy. Mind your language. Clean up your own mouths and correct your children. OH, yes the adjustment period wiill take a bit of courage and determination. The trial of bloody disgrace abroad in our once nice America is our responsibility. After Newtown I hoped for a change. I now understand that the change must come from each and every citizen. Neil's family has changed so can you. Be of courage!
    Don't let me hear another person say "OH, yeah that was awful. Any more red wine?

  149. I've read your post carefully, and twice. My condolences on your loss, but I am very happy we do not allow the victims of crime to make public policy.

  150. How about shows that promote gun control between ads for the latest Die Hard movie (I'm talking to you Jon Stewart)?

  151. The worst part is how stupid the shooting was.

  152. for cjhsa, we confiscate "personal property" in form of drugs that harm the public at large. Note that no bill before the Congress is mentioning any form of confiscation. Yes, I am not only qualified to vote, but have served on a Board of Elections. This kind of argument is totally bogus and so typical of the gun lobby in this country. Joe McCarthy used the same tactics to destroy people and almost destroy this country in the process.

  153. How does you having served on a "Board of Election" make your views more worth listening to?

  154. We need Occupy the NRA like we did Occupy WallStreet.

    It's time the gun nuts got push back from those of us who believe that our children's right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness trumps their alleged, unfettered right to own a grenade launcher.

  155. Specifically; How do you propose doing this?

  156. You got it right. If applied to current conditions, the second ammendment gives us the right to own grenade launchers, tanks, landmines and nuclear warheads in case our government goes bonkers. Wait! But our enemies are already armed with all those and more.

  157. grenade launchers are considered destructive devices by the BATF and private citizen can own a modern grenade launcher....Civil war and other artifacts different story

  158. Great Statesmen/women and not so great from time to time have to make difficult political decisions because they have been called upon to do the right thing. Embracing something that is unpopular but right is challenging especially in our current political climate. Politicians may lose some votes, but may come to be admired and respected for their principled position.
    For every Democratic Senator that takes the unpopular position in their strong "second amendment" states, I promise to support them financially in their reelection efforts. A bit of a twist on "money for guns"; call it "money for gun control"

  159. The 2nd amendment provides the right to a well regulated militia, it does not say bear death rays and buy as many tanks as you can. The founders of the NRA would be appalled at the deception is has embraced and the hysterical warnings it promotes.

  160. Today, Sen. Feinstein introduced the bill banning the The co-sponsors include Democratic Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

    "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has voiced doubt about passing a new assault weapons ban, has not endorsed it."

    Reid is one of the most ineffective Senators in his party not only on this issue but most including the change on filibuster. Democrats should replace Reid.

  161. Mr. Houck, you gave up quite a batch of your rights in one go to George W Bush when he said the word "terrorist". And you gave up your right to assume your child would come home alive from school/university/the mall/the movie theatre when you started giving out combat-ready guns to anyone who asked for one. Hey, but you still have your right to give them out, which seems to be the only right you really care about.

  162. Thus the false consensus is revealed: in reality, many people are rightfully wary of restrictions on the right to bear arms. Another false narrative that gun control advocates propagate is that 2A is about hunting. It is actually about the defense of the people against tyrannical government. And the Supreme Court has ruled that the right to bear arms is an individual right. If you believe 2A actually refers only to a militia, I would refer you to the Dick Act of 1903, which states that all able-bodied men (and perhaps women, in light of recent events) are part of the militia.

    For those who say that citizens armed with semi-automatic rifles could never take on the world's most powerful military, I would point to the Continental Army of our own revolution, and to the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, where illiterate tribesmen have fought our military to a stalemate using mostly AK-47s, but also the same bolt-action rifles that saw fighting in WWI and WWII. In those conflicts, these same farmers & tribesmen have improvised bombs, seen the bombs defeated by countermeasures, and then used those same countermeasures to trigger their updated bomb designs. The result? In Afghanistan, the Taliban refused our entreaties to come to the bargaining table because the Taliban felt that it held the advantage in the conflict.

    Finally, our Constitution is an old document, but it can be amended. If you dislike 2A, amend the Constitution, but don't undermine it and the liberties you do like.

  163. We should be more fearful ot the tyranny of lawless but well-armed mobs than of the potential for tyranny of a government founded on a Constitution with checks and balances.

    The Afghan Taliban are successful with RPG, IEDS, and automatic weapons lalrgely because the US chooses not to unleash its vast arsenal, including but not limited to nuclear weapons.

    Yes, outgunned peoples have successfully risen up against oppressors. It is a fundamental part of human nature. But the founding fathers labored over a Constitution that sought to eliminate through laws the need for rebellion i.e. the possibility and probability of oppression. To suggest that armed rebellion is a constitutionally-sanctioned means of obtaining a goal is nonsense.

  164. The Constitution frames a social contract in terms of delegated powers. I consent to be governed, in part, because the state owes me "self defense" for me giving it my power to do violence, subject to all sorts of checks and balances. This is civilized "self defense".

  165. To suggest that armed rebellion is a constitutionally-sanctioned means of obtaining a goal is nonsense.


    Sorry, but James Madison, the man who actually wrote the 2nd Amendment disagrees. He wrote in Federalist No. 46:

    The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition…. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger…. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops…. Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition,

  166. While vocal, the portion of society opposed to any gun laws is hardly going to unite at the polls. They are all shout to bluff some clout. Senators with courage should stand for some reasonable gun law changes and not worry about re-election rather than the common good. If they put re-election ahead of the lives and safety of their constituents, what good are they in any matter, and what sane citizen would want a senator with no real moral code to represent them?

  167. NRA members who support a ban on assalt weapons and background checks should give up their NRA memberships in protest of their leaders' fanaticism and start a new, more reasonable club.

  168. Sorry. Dont know any such members. And Im not giving up my NRA life membership. Any other suggestions?

  169. The NRA position is clear: "The only way to deal with gun toting mass murderers, is to let the law cleanup - after the fact."

    I wonder if the head of the NRA would take comfort in this, if it had been his child that had been murdered?

    The NRA position has always been, "Let the law take care of it - after the fact", and the value of that position as a deterrent has been proved again, and again, and again, and again in this country. And it will continue to be proved, until we all decide to stop giving power to the wrong people.

  170. After reasonable restrictions, such as the strict 80 year-old regulations of fully automatic machine guns, our rights do not have to pass a "needs" test to be enjoyed or protected.

  171. How nice it would be to have a senator who would engage his constituents in a reasoned discussion about the bigger picture, rather than just groveling over and over.

  172. I find it unsettling and discouraging that seemingly intelligent people honestly think the government is going to take their guns away. I don't know if it's paranoia, delusion or an unquestioning acceptance of skewed reasoning on the part of right wing talking heads and the lobbying efforts of the NRA. Whatever the reason, it does'nt bode well for rational discourse on gun control legislation.

  173. They want to take away rifles that millions of American own and that are used in a truly tiny percentage of gun crimes. Why would anyone think it would get worse from there?

  174. The ultimate limit to government is the consent of the governed.

  175. The disrespect to gun owners here is really sad. I'm a Northwestern graduate, filmmaker, and owner of six guns: an AR-15, M1 Garand (a WW2 rifle), Saiga 12 (a magazine fed shotgun), Mossberg 590 (a pump action shotgun), Glock 21, and an S&W 686 (a revolver). None of these have ever harmed anything more than sheets of paper and steel targets. I've used the Mossberg to deter two home invasions, but none of the others have ever been aimed at another human being. I use them for competitions and as a hobby. I have never been accused of having a crisis of masculinity. I've chosen to take part in something that I enjoy that can also be employed to protect my home.

    I've written my congresspeople and voiced my approval for background checks, storage laws, and banning magazines more than 30 rounds for rifles and 20 for handguns (which have been the standard for about 80 years, not high-capacity). I do not support an "Assault Weapons Ban" because I don't think anything will change except that thousands will lose their jobs and be more of a weight on our country's entitlement system and debt. Why is it that when I become part of democracy, but I don't agree with your views, suddenly I'm bullying my congressman? Isn't this how democracy is supposed to work? Why am I the villain for choosing to exercise my rights as a gun owner and a citizen of these United States?

  176. Why do you feel so self conscious about guns if you are mentally at peace with them?

    We have a psychological problem here. There may be legitimate reasons to own guns, but self defense and limiting the purportedly cancerous growth of government are not good ones.

  177. The thing is, what we have aren't assault weapons. I'm a proud owner of an AR-15 and it hasn't harmed anything more than some sheets of paper and some steel targets. I use it for competitive shooting matches on a regular basis. It fires one bullet on ever pull of the trigger. An ASSAULT RIFLE has the ability to fire full automatic, it continues firing until the trigger is released or the magazine runs empty, a feature that AR-15s and every civilian legal rifle lacks. They've been heavily regulated since 1934 and automatic weapons made after 1986 are illegal. To use the term "assault rifle" is misleading.

    To the folks that think that these politicians are pandering to their constituents, yes, they are. The same can be said for the anti-gun politicians. That's how Congress works.

    Gun owners aren't the devil. I support tougher checks, storage laws, and limits on magazines over 30 rounds for rifles and 20 for handguns. We're reasonable people that work and pay taxes just like everybody else. I own six guns, four of which would be banned in an "Assault Weapons" ban for purely cosmetic features, including a pump action shotgun that holds less than 10 rounds. I don't want to be put at a disadvantage when I have a neutered magazine and criminals have ones with the standard capacity of 15+ rounds. I can throw statistics all over the place that say that the AWB would do nothing for crime and only produce a negative result economically and politically, but I'm out of space.

  178. With very little knowledge and a file, the sear on the trigger mechanism of a semi-automatic assault-rifle can easily be filed down turning it into a fully automatic assault-rifle. There is no legitimate need for semi-automatic or automatic guns other than the military, police and mass murders.

  179. You seem to be in an arms race with criminals of your own imagination.

  180. Listen Tome, this is a lie. It is not easy at all for someone other than an experienced machinist to convert a semi-auto rifle into a full-auto machine gun. It requires much more than a "file." See, as long as liberals like you throw out complete nonsense, we're going to oppose all of your "reasonable" restrictions.

  181. Federal and State Ban of the National Rifle Association (NRA) Membership of Children Under 18 years of Age


    David Keene, NRA President solicits membership of children under 18 years of age. No child under 18 years of age should handle, own, or shoot a firearm. Children are not allow to smoke, drink, drive, or join the Armed Services until the are of the legal age of 18. The NRA youngest lifetime member is 3 months old which is dispicable. The NewTown Killer, Adam Lanza’s Mother was an NRA member. Adam Lanza’s Mother taught her son while he was under age, how to load and shoot a gun. We know the results. The NRA solicitation of Members under 18 years and under must be banned. Legislation is required to penalized and criminalize the NRA, Gun shops, Organizations, Clubs, Gun Shows, and Parents whom allow any child under 18 years old to handle, load, shoot, hunt, and/or own any type of firearm. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to the president asking that he no longer consider hunting as a justification for gun ownership. In the letter, PETA provides evidence that hunting promotes violence in children, that animals are tortured, and that hunting participation is a precursor to murder.

  182. A few things that many readers here seem not to understand. The NRA was created to promote and teach citizens about the competent and safe use of guns, at a time when there was no controversy about gun rights or ownership. The NRA still does tremendous amounts of this kind of work, based on the old (and to many, no doubt dated) theory that the ability to use and handle weapons safely is part of one's education (it still is, in tiny, peace-loving, neutral Switzerland). The NRA became "politicized" in direct response to the threat to the 2nd Amendment, and by extension to the law-abiding owners of guns.

    Look, just think of the NRA as "our" ACLU. Just as our forebears may not have envisioned "assault rifles," I'm pretty sure they did not envision a thriving porn industry, or violent video game and Hollywood movie establishment. If you believe in the First Amendment, how do you justify throwing out the Second Amendment? I am your neighbor. I own numerous guns, including what you would call an "assault rifle." I obey the laws, pay all my taxes, love my family and enjoy using my firearms, both for target shooting and hunting. The nation would be better served if we went after criminals and silly laws that allow mentally ill people to go off their meds. And yes, if Obama's kids and their classmates can have seven or more armed guard to watch over them, is it so bad to consider your kids having the same?

  183. Evidently everything, once created, becomes subject to evolution. I don't think the founders of the NRA intended to sell more guns by feeding a few to mass-shooters.

  184. Both the anti-gun nut jobs and the Alex Jones types are truly tiny in numbers. But the media, as in the Piers Morgan/Alex Jones circus, wants to portray the debate as such.

    70% of NRA members want reasonable gun regulations. President Obama has said that gun owners WILL be at the table when we institute effective regulations.

    Guns will not be banned. Americans would never go along with this notion.

  185. Banning "assault weapons" does not = "safer society"
    Banning high capacity magazines = less (efficient) mass shootings, but not a safer society.

    And pushing a ban on guns with "assault characteristics" (e.g. Feinstein AWB) is idiotic. Nobody on the other side is going to listen further after you say 'specifically outlaws 900 (of the most popular) guns' for having, what, a 'pistol grip'? the handle shape..seriously?! Just a transparent attempt to classify all guns "assault".

    Having right to bear "assault weapons" DOES = (better) protection from tyranny. Witness Syria or any number of semi-failed states with armed insurgencies. The argument that it was muskets and horse-drawn cannon then and missles and tanks now > the need for the 2nd amendment--it doesn't undermine it! (and spare the reductio ad absurdum argument that allowing one means ordinary citizens should be allowed rocket launchers and grenades as well)

    If you think its impossible to see oppressive state tyranny here, rewind your brain to 2000 and 2004, please. It bothers me, a lot, that my liberal brothers and sisters yearn to return to some non-existant Norman-Rockwell-ian fantasy where the only guns are single shot bolt-action hunting rifles used by dads and brothers in the woods. Do you not remember the people that were 'awarded' public office just a few short years ago? Who supports them? You think they are going to give up their guns? Do cops lean republican or democrat in your world?

  186. I am altogether too aware of the difference between the NRA of my childhood and the present organization that feeds on mass shootings that sell more guns.

  187. Why was the Second Amendment put into the Constitution and exactly what does it mean? I suspect that it had more to do with slavery than with the Magna Carta.
    The slave-owning Southern states lived in constant fear of slave rebellions. Slave owners needed guns and vigilantes to protect them from slave revolts and to capture runaway slaves.
    African-American slaves that were liberated and joined the British during the war of 1812 where crushed. In the omitted versus of the Star Spangled Banner is the line “No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave”.
    Other countries that have the same Anglo-Saxon heritage of liberties have extremely strict gun laws. Great Briton, Canada and Australia have no problem with the Magna Carta and strict gun regulations. Those countries also prohibited slavery long before the U.S. did.
    The justification that the Second Amendment was intended so The People could revolt against tyranny does not stand up to historical fact. The South tried that and lost in the bloody Civil War. Abraham Lincoln is credited and honored with holding the Union together.
    Anyone who thinks they need a gun today to revolt against the government is delusional. The U.S. security state has so much surveillance and fire-power that a civilian revolution is laughable. Those spouting revolution need to be put on the terrorist watch list.
    For home protection a registered 6-shot revolver or shot-gun will do.

  188. There was supposed to be a 'might' and 'reinforces' in those blank brackets. Thats the last time I vent on a blog...

  189. one of the most hilarious threads I have read in a long time. Murders in the US in 2010? about 12500....murders by all types of rifles...320...including 22 LR rifles....the CDC conclusion in 2003 when they were trying to prove that the 1994 gun law should be extended when it expired in 2004? NO evidence that the assault weapon ban or magazine capacity ban impacted firearm deaths.....homicide rate in the US? lowest in 40 years?

    my personal favorite is who needs semiautomatic weapons? not the dude in CHina who killed 20 schoolchildren with a knife....who needs semiautomatic weapons???apparantly only the bodyguards of the Hollywood liberal elite

    who needs private schools fort their kids??? only BHO is allowed

  190. A lie that goes uncontested turns into the truth. R Head- as for Australia and England low gun crime, Look where they are now... Australia's assaults have risen 29% since the gun BAN, Robbery up 6.2%, Sexual Assaults up 29.2%. In England Firearms have been used in 9,974 REPORTED crimes, there are also 22,000 stabbings EACH YEAR.

    What is with you people? Banning guns won't stop crime! Reloading only takes a split second for anyone with very basic coordination. You could drive an SUV through a crowd of people and kill dozens if you wanted to.

    I am so sick and tired of you freedom haters complain how the 2n Amendment was written in a time of Muskets.... well the Freedom of press was just that, a PRINTING PRESS. If the 2a is so archaic then why so much support for the 1st Amendment with new technology like the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Forums? Should we limit those and just keep freedom of speech only to text on paper?

    The AR-15 is no different than other 100yr old semi auto technology. In fact it uses a smaller projectile than of days past. The "AR" in AR-15 is not "Assault Rifle", it is for the company name Armalite.... also the AR-15 was designed in 1953!! Its an OLD design that is in Millions of homes and is used for home/self defense, target shooting, competition shooting and yes Hunting. I live in Socal, Anyone not sure about an AR-15 or firearms, i will take you to a range and teach you how to safely enjoy the shooting sports.

  191. The. .223 is definitely a military round that makes up for its low mass bullet with an extremely high muzzle velocity. The bullet also tumbles through flesh. That is why it is more effective than the large and heavier bullets of WW II, and the soldier can carry more rounds too.

  192. The death and destruction from an AR-15 comes from the high muzzle velocity of 3,200 ft. per second of the bullets fired. The size of the bullet has less to do with it. As in the formula for energy: E=Mx(C sq.).

  193. So is that why terrorists around the world are using the much larger 7.62 round fired by the AK variant?

    So what is it? Is the gun SO POWERFUL that it must be banned or the other side of the anti-gunners saying there is no use for it in hunting because its not powerful enough?

  194. We have gun problems because we have guns - more than 300 million of them, and growing. Wayne Lapierre takes more money from gun manufacturers than he does from his members. Essentially, the NRA is a manufacturing lobby that uses the 2nd amendment to help its members make a profit, no matter the cost to society. This, in my opinion, is what makes Wayne Lapierre a terrorist, and I use that word in its most serious sense.

    Lapierre has used the filthy lucre he gets from gun manufacturers - whose senior executives hide in the shadows of policy debate, and the chaos and carnage that their weapons bring about. Why is nobody taking about the senior executives of private equity firms and gun manufacturers that do things like alter the shape of an assault rifle stock to get around the letter of the law, while blatantly violating the spirit of the law.

    And, for all those 2nd amendment strict constructionists - many of them in so-called red states - why are they not strict constructionists when it comes to the actual weapons under consideration when the 2nd amendment was forged? The weapon of the day, then, was the flintlock. So, why do we permit anything other than flintlocks for public weapons distribution? After all, that's what the military was using at the time, and its the weapon that the Founders were thinking about when the 2nd was forged.

  195. No the Founding Fathers could care less about guns. Everybody in 1789 had a gun, at least to hunt with and for protection.

    The Founding Fathers were concerned with great and grand ideas like Free speech and citizens' right to govern themselves.

    The 2A of 1789 has evolved in modern America into the right to vote, the right for citizens to govern themselves. Not about guns.

    You are being led by the nose by this NRA for your thinking about the 2A. There is an Internet full of historical writing on this topic. You don't have to take my word for it.

  196. From Heller v. D.C.:

    Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment . We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997) , and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001) , the Second Amendment extends, prima facie,to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.

  197. The Europeans could really help us here. If the EU was to declare that the states without adequate gun control laws were forbidden to their tourists that would certainly go a long way to convincing states that make money from tourism that they need to change their laws. An economic boycott of any hedge fund or investment company that invests in gun manufacturing would also help. As to violent video games, a boycott of their products would also help them see the light.

    As to losing gun manufacturing jobs, that is a bogus argument. The gun manufacturers in the United States are the weapons supplier to every other country on the Earth. If you control what they can sell here they will just go out of the country to make their sales.

    The crux of the entire issue is blood lust. The gun culture that so many Senators and Representatives always speak about is is a culture of bringing death to animals and other human beings. I can understand the former if the corpses of the murdered animals are used for food, but the latter is incomprehensible to me. Hasn't there been enough gun killing, gun murder, and gun suicide in America to last forever? The number of homes that are invaded by gun toting thieves or killers in the United States is minute compared to the tens of thousands of gun related deaths each year.

    We should also force the Centers for Disease Control to study the issue of murder and suicide because it is the result of a mental disease and needs intense study.

  198. This gun problem is killing the foreign tourist business!

  199. Funny how those people in the hinterlands "clinging to their guns and religion" also turn out to be voters. Who would have thought?

  200. Why are people so self-conscious and sensitive about guns and religion?

  201. Bolger: Because we don't want either taken away unilaterally by the federal government. That's why.

  202. Say fellas, all these gun toting enthusiasts of killing that are religious must know the Fifth Commandment in Exodus 20 Verse 13, and Deuteronomy 5, Verse 17. You know, thats the commandment that says, "Thou shalt not murder," in some versions, and "Thou shalt not kill," in others. Either way, it prohibits the taking of life. I believe that it is meant to highlight the importance of respecting life. In my opinion, people who have to have more than a few rifles to hunt with or more than a pistol or two to protect their houses have no respect for life.

  203. It's time for both sides of the argument to start working on an intelligent, enforceable compromise. Mr. Manchin and his similarly minded colleagues are cowards who would rather protect their jobs than their constituents. Let them sit down with the parents of the children murdered in Newtown and explain their position to them. The thought of that alone should shame Mr. Manchin and his fellow frightened colleagues into fighting for the gun control laws we know they believe in, and yet are too weak of character to support. "Assault weapon" is too pejorative a term? This mentality is stunning. I've never heard anyone say, "I think I'll hunt a rabbit for tonight's dinner...let me just go grab my AK47...."

  204. You can take my nuclear weapon from my cold dead hand. Nuclear weapons kill, children don't.

  205. Bill Clinton tried to warn you about the blanket denigration of the other side of the argument. Tar and feathering the NRA is easy. Tar and feathering the millions that they represent won't be.

    You are going to get a demonstration of what motivated Americans can do. There is a whole another America outside the big cities of this country who share a very different existence. Self reliance is prized and celebrated.

    It amazes me how many people who know nothing about guns or the NRA are so sure they're authorities on the subject. Never let a paucity of facts deter you !

    Have a very sparkly day.

  206. Exactly. Self righteousness from either side stinks. The anti gun nuts are tiny in numbers and do not represent the way most Americans think. Just like the Alex Jones types, who do not represent the majority of gun owners.

  207. I've never understood why politicians spend so much time setting out what they believe in or purport to believe in. They are representatives. Their job is to represent the interests of their constituents. Therefore, they should be interested in what their constituents want.

    If the public is against gun control, and most of the public is, the NY Times audience notwithstanding, i.e., the people who allowed the Patriot Act to pass without a reasoned debate, then Congress should not pass gun controls.

  208. It is with some pleasure that I watch individuals that write articles for the NY Times and those who comment to those articles, whose goal is to ban semi-automatic rifles, display (1) a complete lack of knowledge of firearms technology and (2) an inability to frame their arguments in an intellectually honest manner.

    Just for the record "Assault Weapons" don't exist, it's a fictitious and technically meaningless term. "Assault Rifles" (correct term) do exist and are rare, tightly regulated by the federal government, very expensive, and almost never, ever used in the commission of a crime.

    According to FBI statistics, all rifles are responsible for only a fraction of the murders attributed to knives. The semi-automatic rifles proposed for banning are responsible for only a fraction of the murders committed with all rifles.

  209. When NY Governor Cuomo rammed his bill through the New York State Legislature with virtually no public comment or debate, he alienated gun owners.Likewise, I don't expect Federal proposals to be debated and voted on in a reasonable, thoughtful atmosphere of mutual trust but instead debated through caracature. So I too would advise centrist Democrats to move forward with due caution.

    As far as some of the proposals.

    More universal background checks are a no-brainer, as long as they are done without creating a de-facto national gun registration system. One must have a more streamlined way of getting data into a Federal background check system, as well as a straighforward way for individuals to challenge and remove defamatory information that should not be there.

    The assault weapons ban has historically been ineffective due to silly definitions. A Ruger Mini-14 is as deadly as a Bushmaster. One looks like a military rifle and one does not call attention to itself. Discriminating between them on the basis of cosmetic differences is ineffective. Perhaps some sane limits on the size of a magazine would be acceptable, except for the fact that first, so many large magazines are already out there and second, they are not hard to make.

    Homicide control has to center on human behavior and what is driving these shooters to commit their crimes, not just on the guns. By concentrating on gun control alone, the innocent are damned along with the guilty.

  210. Every citizen of America has the blood of innocent men, women and CHILDREN on their hands. WE use 'assault' drones every day and kill innocent people around the world and use the excuse "it's okay to kill a few kids to kill a bad guy". This is the mentality of 'governments' and don't think it couldn't eventually happen here.
    Lee Burkins author of 'Soldier's Heart'

  211. And hey, Mr.Johnson, that's an inspiring slogan: "America; not as bad as Mexico".

  212. It's crazy - the south is still fighting the civil war. They have a love affair with all things related to guns because it makes them feel powerful. We should have let them secede at the time instead of supporting these underachieving states with our taxes for the last 150 years.

  213. It's time for these senators to show what they are made of. What's more important: ensuring your own re-election, or doing what is right for the country?

  214. Congress makes a lot more sense if you just assume everyone's #1 priority is reelection.

  215. Eventually, each of us must face the reality that our friendly elites Who Mean So Well could NOT care less whether the mentally unstable are kept away from firearms or not. We than have to ask, ''Why?''

    The people who deem themselves so much better than the rest of us want the steps to every citizen's possessing the means of self-defense harder and harder. They deem the normal every womanand man incapable of making the important decisions, and elitists LOVE government. Like Mr. Obama, they feel America is only great because of gov't making our every decision for us.

    This used to mean we weren't allowed to own heavy cars that got bad mileage or to be able to keep mild narcotics in the house. It now means we only choose our toilets, light bulbs, washing machines, medicines, etc. from the ones government has deigned to let us choose from. If gov't capriciously removes Freon, a diet sweeter, the lead in bullets, or any of their substitutes from the marketplace, we are immaediately out of luck.

    Meanwhile, back to Mr. Peters' topic: if you REALLY want safer streets, you have to move to keep the mentally unstable inside places where they cannot reach us, and each state needs to find ways to arm their citizens who want to carry firearms concealed on their person.

  216. One person's defense is another one's offense. We are in some kind of suicidal arms race. When does it end?

  217. One person's defense is another one's offense. We are in some kind of suicidal arms race. When does it end?

    How can it be a suicidal arms race if the gun crime rate has been declining every year for the last 20 years?

  218. It was Reagan who closed the mental institutions, saying the mentally ill had rights and could not be held against their will (even if their will was framed by psychosis).

    BTW, if you want to buy a toilet made in France, you still can.

    I'm curious where you stand on women's right to choose?

  219. Democrats who don't support gun bans are "confronting doubts at home". Republicans who don't support gun bans -- and who face the same "doubts at home" -- are tools of the NRA.

    Got it.

  220. I hope that the good Senator gets back his spine and supports reasonable controls on access to military-style guns and ammunition as part of an effort to reduce gun violence.

    And I truly wish that those who say "gun control laws have no effect in {name a city or state}" would recognize that the unfettered access to guns by trafficers allows guns to flow easily into areas with stiffer controls. That's how so many people get high-powered guns in Mexico (and Chicago, and NYC, and...) - from a minority of US gun dealers who greedily choose to break the law. And the NRA's stooges have made laws that could prevent that impossible to enforce by emasculating the ATF.

  221. I hope that the good Senator gets back his spine and supports reasonable controls on access to military-style guns and ammunition as part of an effort to reduce gun violence.

    Believe me, Republicans hope so, too. They’d like to win that seat back

  222. Every year I have to register my cars and my dogs. If I want to add a deck onto my house I need to get a permit. And yet amazingly, gun advocates feel they shouldn't have to register their weapons, that somehow that impinges their second amendment rights. These democratic senators who only care about getting reelected, in fact all politicians who are afraid of the NRA just make me cringe. Total cowards - I wonder how their tune would have changed if it had been one of their children brutally murdered.

  223. Seems the assualt gun people view any limits as restriction of their rights (via 2A). and they say the 2A is to allow people to be able to overthrow the elected govt.
    well: 1) in society we have lots of restrictions on our "rights" and we have lots of laws insuring safe operations of cars, drugs, walking, etc. 2) not much chance any person or private militia is going to overthrow our govt. (and for me, as much as i disagree w/ the govt, if there is anyone even so much as hinting at overthrowning our govt, i believe should be tried for treason and locked up),. so that option is a fantasy, even if the 2A might imply it (which lots of legal minds say is a not correct).

    It seems to me the gun people are rather hysterical (with some very public declarations that they are going to kill to keep their guns).

    Bottomline, we need to change our gun culture! it's killing us. All changes will not happen now, but we need a dialogue. Which we have started.

  224. not much chance any person or private militia is going to overthrow our govt. (and for me, as much as i disagree w/ the govt, if there is anyone even so much as hinting at overthrowning our govt, i believe should be tried for treason and locked up),. so that option is a fantasy,

    You don’t know what you are talking about.

    Read Federalist No. 46, written by James Madison, the author of the Second Amendment. He explicitly says that the militias of the states would be used to resist a federal army that tried to impose laws repugnant to the states:

    The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition…. Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger…. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops

  225. They overlook the part about, 'a well regulated militia". It's as if that part is not there.

  226. Be strong. We are all counting on you. There is nothing unreasonable these proposals. They are long over due. I'm sorry that "some" gun owners are afraid that ALL their guns will be taken away from them, but that is simply not the case. It's a scare tactic by the NRA, who has shown very little respect for the American people in the course of his defense of the gun industry. I was in the military, in the Army. There is absolutely no place in our society for a military styled assault weapon. I don't care how much fun they may be to shoot, but some one with any knowledge of guns knows only far too well that there are far better guns for target shooting and are totally inappropriate for hunting purposes. Let's move on and put this stuff to rest.

  227. sorry, but "there are far better guns for target shooting and are totally inappropriate for hunting purposes" misses the point. Or rather, the points. Point One: target shooting. The point is to take this or that gun and hit the target with it. It may be easier to hit a target with a small-bore, bolt-action rifle than with a large-bore semi-automatic (though only slightly), but the idea isn't to make it easier. It's to hit a target with this gun, then that one. Point Two: hunting. The main point is to bring home game, often to feed a family. I know a family that does, in fact, feed itself this way: three hunters, all carrying AR-15 variants, taking enough deer every year to feed the rest of the family for that year. They've found that those rifles are what works best for them.
    And, as an aside, I don't see having been in the military as privileging veterans' opinions as better informed than others' opinions on this or any other issue in this or any other direction, with the significant exception of veterans' affairs. On this issue, there are certainly plenty of folks in and out of the military who disagree with you (though I thank you for your service). If military men and women knew better than the rest of us on this, they're opinions would be more uniform (no pun intended).

  228. JxL, are you concerned at all about the death? It may turn out that we will regulate firearms, and everyone will have to get with that program. What I find so appalling is the complete lack of concern by the NRA and its supporters for the deaths. None. As though those children, those teachers, those mothers, sons, and daughters, fathers and friends, are disposable, are meaningless in light of your "right." If you won't bend, we will move to take it all away, just as you yourselves have feared. If you will bend, we will land at a good, solid set of regulations that allow firearms to be held responsibly while our communities may feel safe.

  229. These Senators will just have to teach their paranoid constituents the facts of life without guns in the rest of the civilized world, and what fools they are in their fears.

    They won't have willing pupils and it won't be easy, but they will just have to do it. One would hope that they will get a lot of help from the rest of us.

  230. One realty know the value of $. The NRA just has our government in their pocket.

  231. The path to solving the problem of too many high-powered, large-magazine weapons (and handguns) in our country involves first finding ways to counter the hysterical rantings of the NRA-clan and to enfeeble the arguments of the conspiracy-theorists. This will be a long process but well worth the energy.

  232. seems the republicans are still getting their way. they will still be able to filibuster a gun control bill; the democrats could lose a seat in MA.
    if restriction of gun ownership, i.e. a sane gun policy under the 2nd amendment, is characterized by republicans and the NRA as a secessionist right to overthrow the government through violence or threats of violence, then the government (legislators) should take a hard stance: yes, this about the right to take your guns away, not just to protect innocent citizens, most recently school children, from being slaughtered by psychopathic or careless gun owners.

  233. You make an important point. Because of the intransigent stand of the NRA and extremist gun owners, the entire right could be thrown into question, whereas if the right wing were to meet half way on this issue, the right to possess firearms would be regulated responsibly, but not fought against altogether. I see nowhere in the constitution a right to violently revolt against the government. The paranoid fantasies of the few who may believe not only the "governement" but space aliens are also coming for them, should not dictate what we do as citizens of a country endeavoring to protect our children and our communities.

  234. Sorry guys. I've spoken with enough liberals over the year to know their ultimate goal/dream is to ban all firearms. The gentlemen in the article said it perfectly - you lose your rights one at a time.

    In any case, gun control in 2012 is a lot like DADT in 1992. There isn't enough support (at this time) for you to get what you want. In 20 years, it might be a different story as the country's demograhics continue a leftward shift.

  235. I doubt you have spoken to a lot of liberals. The majority of liberals approve of hand guns and hunting rifles. What we don;t approve of are assault weapons and high capacity magazines, that has the efficiency to kill a large amount of people in one minute. We also don't approve of people being able to buy guns on the internet and at gun shows without background checks.

  236. This liberal may not be around in 20 years but I can still dream of a safer country, an increase in human rights and adults (today's children) who want this country to be an example of peace along with elected leaders who do not believe unholstered common sense and bullet-free compassion are signs of weakness.

  237. Not sure which liberals you believe you have spoken with. My ultimate goal is to live in a safe community. Like you, I appreciate the freedoms we have, such as freedom of speech. So, I believe, as a strong progressive, that to protect freedoms, we need to be responsible adults, not indulgent in our self-centeredness. So while what I choose for myself will be different from what you choose for yourself, each of us needs to be responsive to creating together a safe, healthy community. To retain rights to gun ownership, as adults, we participate in sane boundaries around that. That does not reduce "rights." There is no constitutional right to personally owning military weapons. Also, there is no constitutional right to revolution. Fortunately, we are living in the 21st century, not the 18th. The people suffering through revolution these days live elsewhere. We are lucky. We can talk to each other. We can share our concern for our children, our neighbors, and we can join together to see where we can make life safer here in our good world. Let me ask you: when G.W. Bush enacted the Patriot Act, did you get upset? I did. I saw my rights diminishing then. I still worry about it. THere is common ground for dialogue. All you have to do is join it with genuine concern for your fellow citizens.

  238. They are going to take away our cars.

    First, we had to have a license to drive.

    Then we had to be 16 to get a license.

    Then we had to register the car.

    Then we had to have license plates.

    Then we had to have liability insurance to register the car.

    Then we had to pay taxes on the car.

    Then they created data bases to track our cars.

    Then we had to obey traffic laws.

    Then we couldn't get falling-down-drunk and drive.

    When will it stop? Not until they pry the steering wheels from our cold, dead hands.

  239. If you're implying a relationship between gun ownership & driving a car, last time I checked, driving a car was a Privilege, & gun ownership a RIGHT. Has something changed since I got up this morning?

  240. Cars: you can buy one and drive one even if you had been convicted of a felony.

    You can take one anywhere, including to the local school.

    You don't have to have a background check to buy one.

    And so on. Maybe guns should be like cars?

  241. Let's see, fifteen citizens is .0008086% of the population of West Virginia. And the four million NRA members are 1.274% of the entire US population.

    Let's hear it for representative democracy!

  242. So who has the 300,000,000 firearms in this country? Do you really think that those 4,000,000 members have 75 guns each? And, it is all estimated.

  243. Don't forget the 100 million other gun owners that may not be a member of the NRA but still expect and will vote to keep our rights to own a firearm to protect ourselves and loved ones.

    I notice you are from New York. Figures.

  244. Even though many citizens would grade most of our Congressional Representatives and Senators with an "F" for their incomprehensible stubbornness, what these elected officials proudly aspire to is an "A" from the NRA.
    Is it any wonder why their approval ratings remain so low?

  245. Looks like Manchin was just seeking some cover so he could back-pedal on his earlier statements suggesting he might favor new controls. He spent two hours talking to 15 hand-picked constituents whom he very well knew would be opposed to any new gun laws. And he came away with...doubts.

    I kind of doubt this was a good faith effort. Sounds more like politics as usual.

  246. What these people are is quite simply people without consciences if they don't do something about the plague that NRA has brought upon this country. I am so tired of that dumb slogan of "guns don't kill...." You know what, Senators who are frightened, it does seem that assault rifles do kill. Ask twenty grieving parents in Newtown, Connecticut, if that might be the case.

  247. The Second Amendment is a roadblock to the liberal agenda. As it should be.

  248. @Paul: statements like yours are intended to create division and anger. Obviously, the Second Amendment was created in response to activities of 18th century British soldiers. But you know that. As for a "liberal agenda," not sure what you actually mean by that, since you don't define it. I could use the term "reactionary agenda" or "extremist agenda" to apply to many right-wing views these days, but it isn't helpful in solving problems. Let's assume you do feel pain over the death of those six year-olds shot execution style. Starting from there, doesn't "agenda" pale? It's time now to make some changes. And changes we will make. Best that those changes be made together with reasoned dialogue. You're being invited to participate in a reasonable, unselfish way, as am I and everyone else. Let's get with it in an adult way, so that we can protect the health of our communities together.

  249. I'm sorry for those senators, but right is right. Gun control is not meant to nor will it curtail any citizen's right to own a hunting weapon. The fact is that NO ONE other than a soldier in the field of combat needs an assault weapon and mega-magazines of ammo. And our Congress owes us the responsibility to ensure our safety as far as is possible.

  250. Mental disorders are often present at the time of suicide with estimates from 27%[22] to 98%.[13] Major depression may be present in half of suicides and increases the risk 20 fold.[23] Bipolar disorder is also commonly associated.[23] About 5% of people with schizophrenia die of suicide.[24]

    In 2011 there were 19,765 gun suicides in America. If the statistics above are correct, that means that around an average of 60% of the people who used guns to kill themselves were mentally disturbed. That means that about 12,000 of those mentally ill people owned or had access to guns. If we assume that those people all passed the requirements that the United States in terms of a background check, it means that our screening of potential gun owners is wildly inadequate. If we really want to protect the population we should be giving intensive mental exams to everyone who wants to buy a firearm. I wonder how the gun rights people would feel about that. They don’t want to limit the guns a person can own and use, but I wonder if they realize the magnitude of insanity that resides within the gun owning community?

    The problem with mental illness is that so many of the strongest proponents of unlimited gun ownership are delusional about the government taking their guns and their freedoms away, and worry about our being invaded from outside the country, or by alien spacecraft that if we tested them they wouldn't be able to own guns at all.

  251. In a democracy power is presumed to reside in the people, but can can be given away. Some democracies don’t allow women to vote. The franchise to own a weapon is the plain interpretation of the Constitution and our national heritage that should not be curtailed by twisted interpretations. Certainly we were not designed as a nation where police powers grow exponentially with these same weapons not available to citizens.
    It is offensive to believe the Constitution may be side-stepped for the convenience of a majority or to never consider that another American’s experience with guns is different from your own. Your rights as the source of all political power have been fought and died for by a lot of brave Americans and should not be abridged lightly. Conservative political commentary is highly offensive, but not more than tearing at our Constitution without understanding the grave measure of asking other people to give up the very important franchise handed from generation to generation which they teach to their children just as you might some religious ritual; the responsible exercise of the Constitutional franchise to own and bear weapons. The correct answer is not to take away guns, but to build a society where it is least likely they will do damage, even if that requires stopping the wars on nations, drugs, etc., leaving only one war; the war on poverty, ignorance, and want. Then we will have earned our page in the history books to be remembered by.

  252. The reason we oppose your "reasonable" restrictions on "assault weapons" is because you are all either ignorant, dishonest, or both. An "assault weapon" has no technical meaning. It is purely a legal term to describe a semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip, a collapsible stock, a flash suppressor, and a bayonet lug, none of which impact its functionality or deadliness. Unless you can convince me (and millions of others) why we should ban guns based on cosmetic features alone, we won't support your "common sense" measures. Sorry.

  253. Many of us are not informed about the exact titles of various types of weapons. I don't believe I need to become an expert on guns and weapons and the specific language in order to reach out to you with my concern for the health and well being of our communities. I'm quite sure you also share my concern for the children and fellow citizens, neighbors around us and the thorny problem we face. So how about if we try to understand together the issues. As I learned from some reading, it is high capacity magazines we want to regulate, so that these disturbed people have to stop and reload, creating precious seconds of escape time and maybe time to overpower a shooter. We can create some boundaries around things in order to create safety and well-being for ourselves. These kinds of boundaries won't remove your rights. You may have to do a little more paperwork, as we all do in order to drive a car, but I think as a responsible gun owner you won't mind that kind of regulation if it can help to prevent future mass killings.

    It's really time, Jon, to arrive at a solution together. Your distrust and my distrust are things we must lay aside now in order to join together to create a safe world. I'm not going to become a gun owner and I'm not interested in becoming an expert on it either. Just as you probably have no interest in the things I like to do (meditation, cooking, writing). Still, because we are both good people, we can, must, find common ground. Shall we try?

  254. As I see it, these folks can be on the side of the kids or on the side of the mass murderers. They have to pick a side.

  255. I have three predictions:

    1) Obama will go down in history for at least trying to change things, but nothing substantial will change because we've allowed the NRA to become a special interest group with far too much power and one that is now almost untouchable.

    2) Senators up for re-election will buckle under to keep their jobs rather than 'man-up' , do the right thing and let the chips fall where they may.

    3) America will continue to suffer mass shootings and eventually we'll just accept it as collateral damage.

    We are again faced with a situation where extremism and ignorance will prevail, and despite attempts to explain that the 2nd Amendment will stay in place, but have restrictions on the sale of assault weapons, (the only part of any plan that will actually make a difference) will only be interpreted as the gov't taking something away.

    Folks, sometimes the gov't has to operate as a parent and say NO, these things are unsafe. Unless you are an on-duty member of the military or law enforcement there is no logical argument why the general population needs to own weaponry of such deadly force. With all the media noise out there I have yet to hear one owner of an assault weapon provide a logical defense, other than interpreting the 2nd Amendment to declare that they have the right to anything they want. This isn't so.

    As any good parent will tell you, sometimes you don't get everything you want, and often it's for your own safety or to protect others from harm.

  256. "Assault weapon" is a made-up propaganda term, the use of which broadcasts one's ignorance of arms and intolerance of gun rights. The dialogue, such as it is, is effectively over the moment someone starts babbling about "assault weapons". I am happy to hear that the current gun control mania is going nowhere.

  257. Oh, so the killing will continue.

  258. I can guarantee with the utmost in certainty, the Assault weapons ban will not pass. The urban elite liberals don't understand rural america. Please remember what the role of congress is, each Senator and Congressman REPRESENTS their districts. That is their JOB and their Job is not to ignore their constituents! If they ignore them, they will not have a job, and everyone wants a job. It is really that simple.

  259. Help me understand please,
    I have not heard, thankfully, anything about denying one's right to a gun.
    What I have heard and agree with is to limmit the types of guns, mag, bullets people can have.
    Why not manage the gun ownership similar as to how we have our system for automobile use and ownership.

    To legaly drive, use, a car you must; take a written exam and an actual driving test
    You must take Drivers Ed in many states, and be covered by insurance.
    In many state your privilege to drive a car is renewed every so often, normally requiring an eye exam.
    When you buy a car, any car, dealer show room, or in a personal drive way you register the car sale and apply for a new license plate, title transfer etc.... one every car ever sale, on most cars you can get a complete history of the cars accidents, repairs etc .
    If you have certain felonies and misterminors on your record you may be denied your driving privleges.

    We even control the types of vechiles we are allowed to use on the public road system!

    So why can we not have in place laws that at least ensure that the gun;
    owner knows how to handle a gun, and are tested on this skill,
    back ground checks on every gun owner each time he is required to register his gun (every 24 mos.?)
    track guns, have an histrical data base fov guns as they do for cars,
    and yes limmit the types of gun available to general public, want to drive a race car , go to a track to drive one want to fire an AK-47 or AR-15 go to the shooting range,

  260. Why isn't there more talk about campaign finance reform? And, as or more importantly, let's address how gerrymandering got so out of control that Washington is way more clogged up than my tub drain after I give my dog a bath.

    Does anyone really believe that having an armed guard would have deterred Lanza, the Newtown killer? Maybe if each school had two guards: after the first one is shot dead by the would-be intruder, maybe and only maybe, the other guard could then shoot the attacker.

  261. What is with some of you people? Banning guns won't stop crime! Reloading only takes a split second for anyone with very basic coordination. You could drive an SUV through a crowd of people and kill dozens if you wanted to. Humans are inharently violent, do you thin its just a coincidence that violent movies are such blockbuster hits? Were talking back to Cain and Able days people...

    I am so sick and tired of you freedom haters complain how the 2n Amendment was written in a time of Muskets.... well the Freedom of press was just that, a PRINTING PRESS. If the 2a is so archaic then why so much support for the 1st Amendment with new technology like the Internet, Facebook, Twitter, Forums? Should we limit those and just keep freedom of speech only to text on paper?

    The AR-15 is no different than other 100yr old semi auto technology. In fact it uses a smaller projectile than of days past. The "AR" in AR-15 is not "Assault Rifle", it is for the company name Armalite.... also the AR-15 was designed in 1953!! Its an OLD design that is in Millions of homes and is used for home/self defense, target shooting, competition shooting and yes Hunting. I live in Socal, Anyone not sure about an AR-15 or firearms, i will take you to a range and teach you how to safely enjoy the shooting sports.

    I really think if a lot of you anti-gun folks actually went out and went through the process of buying a gun, and shooting it and seeing the safety and fun involved that you might think differently

  262. Seems like the "RIGHTS" of gun owers are above the rights of all Americans (especially 1st graders) to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So gun owners can infringe on our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Welcome to the beginning of the Mad Max era.

  263. What are the chances that the same people who are terrified of "giving up their rights one piece at a time" wouldn't care a bit if Roe vs. Wade were over turned.....

  264. Has it dawned on any of you geniuses that the places with the worst problems with guns are some of the places that have the strictest laws. I'm not talking about CT. I'm talking about NYC, Chicago, LA, San Deigo our nations capital, etc. And you see how well those are working?

  265. I carry concealed. I do so such that under ordinary circumstances you would never notice, and under extraordinary circumstances I might have a fighting chance of defending my life, and perhaps yours as well. I'm well trained, tested and vetted, get lots of practice, and am not a cowboy, or a Rambo. Nor do I stand in front of a mirror channeling Travis Bickle. I take it as an added responsibility, I take it seriously, I do not obsess about it. I know a firearm is a last resort, and I'm concerned for the safety of all of us.
    I like guns, I collect a few, I shoot often. I hate golf. I don't bowl or knit, can't dance to save my life, have a family and do pretty much everything everyone else does. Why on earth do so many of you think I have 3 heads, come from an alien planet, or will one day kill a group of strangers? The paranoia so often attributed in these comments to gun owners is, apparently, alive and well within the ranks of those who proudly and loudly proclaim their hatred and distrust of us.

  266. Do you guys realize that there were 2 MILLION 4473 background checks for new gun buyers in November 2012? then 2.5 MILLION in December 2012? Note that those background checks only require 1 check for up to 5 firearms. How many new guns are out there right now because of your talk of banning a specific, cosmetic styled firearm? Then there was the grass roots gun appreciation day that was a success... then on ruger's website there are over 700,000 people that took part in sending letters to their elected representatives.

    THOSE people are the majority, not you gun grabbers. Its not even a Dem vs Rep thing since people on all sides want the right to protect themselves and their families. The current elected officials will see a repeat of 96' when then were voted out and forced to get a REAL job after they passed Clinton's AWB.

    It is political suicide to go against the 2nd Amendment....... thank god!

  267. The simplest solution to the hardware problem is to make the possession of magazines capable of storing over ten rounds a felony. Sane and honest citizens can be given six months to turn them in without penalty and the paranoid types will hide them away so deeply that the majority of large capacity magazines will be out of circulation for the most part. Make all firearm sales subject to a complete background check by a federally licensed dealer to eliminate the gun show and Internet loopholes, and then you will have policy that will not only do some good, but will not threaten the " from my cold dead hands" diehards directly.

    "Assault Weapons" look scary, but are functionally the same as a modern hunting rifle except for the removable magazine. Get rid of large capacity mags and the threat will be reduced considerably.