Conversation with a Gun Control Advocate

The following is a conversation with a gun control advocates.  Discussed (with supporting data from the CDC, FBI and other credible sources are the many assumptions of what gun control is, does, what it is trying to do – and why it (1) simply doest work, and (2) is unconstitutional.  The names of the parties involved have been changed to protect their privacy.

Conversation with a Gun Control Advocate

Hi Jake

I haven’t forgotten about you… I’ve just had a very busy few weeks. Had to take my mom to the E.R. and the remainder of the time was spent contacting state legislators, in opposition of unnecessary legislation going through the [Illinois] House & Senate right now – in response to the Parkland tragedy (I’ll explain a few specifics, specifically, why it is unnecessary further down). And then there’s grading of course; oh JOY!…

I think it’s great that you grew up with responsible gun owners on both sides of the family; that tells me that you know more than most non-gun owners. It is here that I have a question: What to you, specifically you, does responsible gun ownership look like? What beyond current control measures do you think need to be implemented? Things like background checks, a ban on fully automatic weapons, federal licensing (via the ATF), and prohibitive offenses, such as alcohol/substance abuse, DUI, domestic violence and having a restraining order placed on a person are already in place. In Illinois, we have even more measures in place, such as a FOID card Act (Firearms Owners Identification Card). Here is an excerpt, for perspective’s sake, from an email I recently received from the Illinois State Rifle Association:

“In Illinois, we have the FOID card. We also have mental health background checks. As of February 14, 2018, there are 2,261,593 FOID card holders. Each one of those FOID card holders goes through a background check every day except Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter and the Fourth of July. That is 360 background checks on every person, per year. Based on the 2,261,593 figure, gun owners in Illinois go through an astonishing 814,173,480 background checks a year.

There are, as of February 14, 2018, 279,955 Illinois Concealed Carry Licensees in the State of Illinois. Each one of those people goes through an enhanced background check, in addition to their FOID card background check. That is an additional 100,798,200 background checks. In short, Illinois gun owners go through a total of 914,972,680 background checks a year, based on the February 14, 2018, numbers. These numbers go up every month.”

Furthermore, here is a brief history of American gun control. (I will also attach a PDF version of the 4473 – a Federal [ATF] form that has to be filled out at the point of sale of every gun purchase from a licensed dealer so that you can see for yourself the type of screening questions that are asked):

https://www.thoughtco.com/us-gun-control-timeline-3963620

All that being said, what more can/should be done? Honest question.

Now, from experience with others, I suspect you may ask: “What about the gun show loophole and 40% of guns being bought without a background check?” In short, this is a fallacy; such circumstances do not exist; they are not based in reality. It is true that occasional sellers of firearms are not required to run a background check (in some states – and Illinois is an exception; we here do have to run a background check on every sale). Even still, private sales are a very small minority. It’s the person who sells a gun once or twice a year or the widow who rents a booth at a gun show to sell her deceased husband’s gun collection. The remainder, whether conducted at a brick & mortar store, your kitchen table or a gun show – the buyer has to undergo a federal background check. Federally licensed firearms dealers (commonly referred to as an “FFL”) are not going to risk their livelihood for a quick buck on an illegal sale to a prohibited person – especially when there is no shortage of eligible customers who are eager to buy. This also holds true for internet sales. All firearms sold over the internet have to be shipped to an FFL, who then, in compliance with all federal, state & local laws conducts a background check through NICS (The National Instant Criminal background Check System) and turns over the firearm(s) to the purchaser.

Similarly, and relatedly, the “40% of guns are bought without a background check” is a grossly misleading and erroneous claim. It is based on an old [1994] flawed survey. Here is a brief excerpt from an article in the Washington Post, illustrating the flaws of the aforementioned study:

“The survey sample was relatively small — just 251 people. (The survey was done by telephone, using a random-digit-dial method, with a response rate of 50 percent.) With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus six percentage points.

The analysis concluded that 35.7 percent of respondents indicated they did not receive the gun from a licensed firearms dealer. Rounding up gets you to 40 percent, although the survey sample is so small it could also be rounded down to 30 percent.

Moreover, when gifts, inheritances and prizes are added in, then the number shrinks to 26.4 percent. (The survey showed that nearly 23.8 percent of the people surveyed obtained their gun either as a gift or inherited it, and about half of them believed a licensed firearms dealer was the source.)

The original report carefully uses terms such as “acquisitions” and “transactions,” which included trades, gifts and the like. This subtlety is lost on many politicians such as Clinton, who referred to “sales.”

Here is the link to the original study and the link to the Washington Post article, from which I took the above excerpt, in respective order:

https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/icpsrweb/ICPSR/studies/6955?q=guns&permit%255B0%255D=AVAILABLE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2015/10/16/clintons-claim-that-40-percent-of-guns-are-sold-at-gun-shows-and-over-the-internet/?utm_term=.55a93273f5c8

Insofar as a package of gun control legislation attempting to currently pass the Illinois House & Senate, there two especially problematic & flawed bills: (1), a dealer licensing bill and (2), a magazine & body armor ban. You can look at each bill by following these links:

HB4725, Dealer Licensing:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&SessionId=91&GA=100&DocTypeId=HB&DocNum=4725&GAID=14&LegID=109957&SpecSess=&Session=

HB1469, Magazine & Body Armor Ban:

http://ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=10000HB1469ham001&GA=100&SessionId=91&DocTypeId=HB&LegID=101959&DocNum=1469&GAID=14&Session=

Just looking at the dealer licensing bill, there at least 4 inherent problems with it:

  1. An FFL is a FEDERALLY (emphasis added) licensed dealer through the ATF; there is no need for more intensive licensing measures at the state level, other than to gain revenue and further inhibit and demonize legitimate business. And believe me, it takes a lot of time, effort and patience to go through the [very extensive] process in order to become an FFL. Multiple interviews, inspections, a yearlong background check more thorough than any colonoscopy and surprise visits at any time to audit books.
  2. Licensing is either approved or disproved by the local county sheriff. How many gun shops will go out of business because Cook County Sheriff, Tom Dart (who vehemently hates law-abiding gun owners) won’t issue them a license?
  3. The 90-day video retention policy completely ignores the fact that according to gun trace data, the average time it takes from when a gun is sold in the store, to when it’s used in a crime is 11 years. 500 guns have been recovered within 90 days. This is a minute fraction of the guns recovered. So what’s the purpose of this? It’s to make it so ridiculously expensive that gun shop’s margins are cut basically in half. Just think about it for a second. How many gigs of data per day would need to be saved, either to the cloud locally? How expensive is that?
  4. Nowhere to be found in the bill are enhanced mandatory minimums for straw purchasers. Mark my words, if a bill came up in the house or senate mandating that minimum sentencing guidelines for people caught being straw purchasers, perhaps something like 10 years minimum, Democrats would not vote for that. So much for wanting to actually solve the problem. The fact that this isn’t included in the gun dealer licensing shows exactly what the goal of that bill is…

Regarding the magazine ban, the situation is very much the same; it has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with politics.

  1. The possession of any magazine over 10 rounds equates to felony charges and years in state prison (standard capacity magazines that come from the factory are between 15-17 rounds, with the exception of .45 caliber, which ranges between 10-13 rounds). Firearms typically come with 2-3 magazines included.
  2. Even with the 90-day “grace period”, the bill violates expo facto laws.
  3. By not reimbursing the cost of property legally acquired, it violates the “just compensation clause” under the 5th Amendment.
  4. It is unenforceable. We simply do not have the resources or money to go door-to-door confiscating magazines and prosecuting violators. Frankly, we do not have the money, resources or infrastructure to implement any of the 7 gun legislation bills introduced in the House in the week since the Parkland shooting.
  5. By only affecting legal gun owners, this bill does nothing to reduce crime
  6. It will turn 2+ million legal gun owners into felons overnight.
  7. The bill defines a pistol with over 10 rounds as an “assault weapon”, but 10 or below and it’s just a pistol. What sense does that make…?

By the way, evidence has come to light that the Parkland shooter used 10 round magazines…

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article202486304.html

The body armor ban has an identical problem. Current law states that body armor possessed/used during the commission of a crime is automatically a felony charge. As such, there is no reason for a total ban. Sure, we can debate whether the civilian use of body armor is widespread, but because it is concealed, we simply do not know how commonly it is used. What I can tell you is, if this law passes, parents will no longer be able to put ballistic plates in their children’s backpacks (something that indeed is quite common) because it will be illegal. So much for actually saving lives.

These bills (as well as all such other bills) have nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with civilian disarmament. It is shameful that the magazine & body armor ban is being pushed in the name of Chicago Police Commander, Paul Bauer, who died in the line of duty a couple of weeks ago. By all accounts, Bauer was a man of integrity, always wanting to have things “done right” – and these bills are anything but right/just.

Lets also not forget that Mike Madigan is [extremely] aggressively pushing these bills because he’s using them to shift attention from him and the sexual scandals “Me Too” controversy that he’s currently caught up in. I mean, we can’t pass a state budget for over two years, but we can pass sweeping gun control legislation overnight…? That is not a coincidence.

Because you mentioned repeating rifles, I wanted to briefly touch on America’s most popular rifle: the AR-15. Although it can be used to hunt small game, it is actually illegal to hunt with in many cases because it is not DEADLY ENOUGH insofar as large game (emphasis added). Rather, owning an AR-15 has to do with the fact that, under the 2nd Amendment, you and I, along with every other non-prohibited person have a RIGHT (again, emphasis added) to own it. No one needs to justify why they need/want to own such a rifle.   Also, the .223/5.56 round that the AR-15 is designed to shoot is meant to maim, not kill. By injuring soldiers on the battlefield rather than killing them, you now take at least 3 soldiers out of commission because at least 2 soldiers will tend to an injured comrade. This is in stark contrast to simply killing a soldier, thus only taking one person out of the fight.

Speaking of the 2nd Amendment, the meaning of which is so hotly debated in recent times, the term “well-regulated” meant “well-functioning”, and ” militia” refers to any able-bodied male between the ages 18 & 45. Also, vitally important and deserving of attention/analysis is the phrase, “The right of the people.”

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

The Constitution uses the phrase “the right of the people” many times, and each time, it is referring to exactly that, the right of the people. In the 2nd Amendment, the same applies: it is referring to the right of the people [to keep and bear arms], not the militia.

Here is a short [4 minute] video with a UCLA law professor, briefly & concisely, but thoroughly deconstructing the 2nd Amendment piece by piece:

https://www.prageru.com/videos/gun-ownership-right

Sometimes people argue that the Supreme Court has ruled the AR-15 is not constitutionally protected, but this is not true. Rather, SCOTUS keeps refusing to hear cases brought up to address the mater. Also, contrary to popular belief, the AR platform does have practical civilian applications. It is lightweight, has low recoil, is very accurate, user-friendly and highly customizable – especially for left-handed shooters.

Although increasingly firearms manufacturers are making their products fully ambidextrous, most guns are still geared towards right-handed shooters. As such, lefties have to adapt to the gun. This is not so with AR-15. It is very easy and mostly inexpensive to install a few additional parts (the charging handle, bolt catch, safety selector and magazine release) to make it fully & perfectly left-handed-friendly. Additionally, not only is it enjoyable shooting at short-range, but it is equally capable of meeting & satisfying the challenge of long-range marksmanship. This combined with its versatility, capacity, muzzle velocity and ability to not over-penetrate a target while effectively stopping a threat in a self-defense scenarios is what makes the AR-15 “America’s most popular rifle.” I can guarantee you that if I gave you a handgun, shotgun and an AR rifle, you would be most competent, confident & comfortable with the AR. It is a great introduction to shooting sports for first-time shooters.

Now, it is often purported the AR-15 is more deadly than other firearms, that it’s an automatic [assault] rifle and – in the days since parkland – that it shoots faster than a handgun. It is also argued that its standard 30-round magazine makes it more lethal. However, upon closer examination, one quickly realizes none of this is true. The truth is that the AR is no different in function than any other semiautomatic firearm; one trigger pull discharges a single round. It can only fire as quickly as you can pull the trigger, no different than any other handgun. Relatedly, insofar as it “shooting faster”, the only part that is right is that, by virtue of being lighter than handgun cartridges, bullets from a rifle [any rifle] leave the barrel at a higher velocity. But, no matter what weapon system you’re shooting, the key is always shot placement and how quickly you can put shots on target. Regarding the “high capacity” magazine, it’s really irrelevant, because it only takes a few seconds to change magazines.

One important fact that is so often overlooked about the AR-15 is that the military [M16] version came stock with bulky precision aperture sights – meaning that it was never meant to be a “spray & pray” rifle; it was designed to be a mid to long-distance precision rifle.

In terms of availability on the civilian market, the AR-15 has been selling to private citizens since the early 1960s, and there are now between 15 million and 25 million such rifles privately owned. Only in recent history has this particular class of weapon been demonized, deemed an “assault weapon” (a term that in and of itself is nothing more than a media concoction – to stir up emotions and perpetuate said demonization); there is nothing “assault-like” about the AR-15. Even the U.S. military and the U.S. Defense Department defines an [actual] “assault weapon” as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.”

https://www.dailywire.com/news/20668/why-progressives-use-made-term-assault-weapon-frank-camp

Again, an AR is no different in function from any other common civilian firearm.

Here is a very brief history of the AR-15:

http://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/2012/12/foghorn/the-truth-about-the-ar-15-rifle/

With regard to lethality, not only are their many rifles far more lethal than any AR, specifically hunting rifles, but a 12 gauge shotgun is arguably the most devastating weapon in close quarters. A standard 00 buck shotgun shell has in it anywhere between 8 & 10 .33 caliber lead pellets, depending on their size & weight. Generally, shotshell ammunition has a payload of between 3⁄4 and 1 1⁄2 ounces. It takes about eight 00-buck pellets to make up a 3⁄4-ounce load. The more the payload weighs, the more recoil you’ll experience. Recoil can also increase with velocity. Most buckshot loads vary in velocity between 1,100 and 1,600 fps (feet per second). For comparisons sake, a standard 9mm [mid-size] handgun cartridge weighing in at 115 grains has an approximate velocity of 1,400 fps, a standard .45 caliber [a very large round] weighing 230 grains has an approximate velocity of 800 fps and a .223/5.56 round, weighing 55 grains coming out of an AR-15 has an approximate velocity of 3,300 fps. Thus, by firing several lead pellets at a comparable median velocity rather than a single projectile, you can see how a shotgun is more lethal than most anything else. Yet, no one is trying to ban shotguns…

Speaking of bans, given there is now talk of a new federal assault weapon ban, it is worth examining the effectiveness of the original assault weapon ban of 1994. Did it lower crime and/or murder rates? The short answer is no. At best, we can say that the effect cannot be conclusively determined. Researchers who authored a 2004 University of Pennsylvania study commissioned by the National Institute of Justice stated: “We cannot clearly credit the ban with any of the nation’s recent drop in gun violence. And, indeed, there has been no discernible reduction in the lethality and injuriousness of gun violence.”   Gun crime/violence did fall, but there are other factors at play. For one, mass shootings are a statically rare occurrence. We may think otherwise, but this is only because of the 24-hour news cycle. Second, the fact that the U.S., beginning in 1990 has had an increasing amount of [legal] firearms in civilian circulation directly contradicts the accepted gun control narrative of “more guns = more crime”. To date, there are approximately 320 million and 370 million firearms in 130 million civilian hands. According to the CDC, the proliferation of firearms in America, not only does not raise crime rates but “[firearms] can be an effective crime deterrent in self-defense.” The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released the results of their research through the CDC (commissioned by President Obama):

https://www.nap.edu/read/18319/chapter/1

On a side note: even George Gurbner, the author of Cultivation Theory as one of his tenets stated that beginning in the 1990s, crime rates dropped as firearm sales increased. With 320-370 million firearms legally owned by 130 million people, if guns were the problem, trust me, we’d know it…

Returning to the matter of mass shootings for a moment, we must not forget that Columbine happened during the original 1994 assault weapon ban, and the atrocity of Virginia Tech, where 32 innocent people tragically lost their lives was perpetrated with two handguns. In fact, 2016 FBI crime data continues to point out that almost all gun violence is committed with handguns.   To that end, while, in 2016, 7,105 homicides were committed with handguns, 374 were committed with rifles (including mass shootings. Note that more people are killed with blunt objects and hands, fists & feet [522 and 707, respectively]. Here is said FBI report:

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-4.xls

Also, here, in respective order is the University of Pennsylvania/National Institute of Justice study in relation to gun control/gun violence and a Washington Post article analyzing the 1994 assault weapon ban:

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/204431.pdf

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2012/12/17/everything-you-need-to-know-about-banning-assault-weapons-in-one-post/?utm_term=.68e277b606a5

What about violence, not just gun violence, but violence in general? According to Politifact (a far-left source), the rate of violent crime in the UK & Wales is 775, per 100,000, while in the U.S., it’s 420, per 100,000. That’s nearly double the violent crime rate in the UK – where firearms extremely restricted.

Here is a brief summary/discussion of the statistics, as well as the original survey, as well as the original survey, via the National Criminal Justice Reference Service:

http://www.rebresearch.com/blog/crime-us-vs-uk/

https://www.ncjrs.gov/app/abstractdb/AbstractDBDetails.aspx?id=187198

Regarding legal gun owners, a newly published report, proving what gun rights advocates have been saying all along – that legal gun owners are the most law-abiding segment and least likely to commit crime – even less likely than the police. Via the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/07/27/new-evidence-confirms-what-gun-rights-advocates-have-been-saying-for-a-long-time-about-crime/?postshare=201469632890085&utm_term=.ebc70a5baa8e

Corroborating evidence from researcher, John Lott, of The Crime Prevention Research Center:

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2814691

Further evidence pertaining to the facts about the NRA & guns in America, from the Pew Research Center:

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/24/5-facts-about-the-nra-and-guns-in-america/

Again, with 320-370 million guns legally owned by 130 million gun owners – if legal gun ownership was the problem, trust me, we’d know it. You, I and everyone else walk around [a conservatively estimated] 14.5 million legally armed civilians nationwide and approximately 300,000 concealed carry permit holders in Illinois – and these are the safest, most sane & moral people around us. The first two cardinal rules of being responsibly armed are conflict avoidance and de-escalation; using a firearm is always the last resort, and only once all other options have been exhausted. A firearm is only a defensive tool to save life & limb. As a human being, gun owner and concealed carry permit holder, I respect, value and cherish the sanctity of human life; I carry a firearm for the protection of myself, friends, family, loved ones my community and fellow man (and women).

There is still the matter of total U.S. gun deaths, which is annually reported to be approximately 32,000 people. However, according to the CDC and the New York Times, 60% of gun deaths are suicides, and as high and unfortunate as that is, here’s the thing about suicide – it’s not a random impulsive act. People who commit suicide often struggle with the decision before acting on it. To illustrate, look at Japan – a country with extremely strong gun laws & restrictions, yet, its suicide rate is the sixth highest in the world and the second worst among eight major industrialized nations:

 

Suicides down, but Japan still second highest among major industrialized nations, report says

 

NY Times article discussing CDC findings in relation to U.S. gun deaths/suicides:

 

 

Original CDC report on U.S. gun deaths/suicides:

 

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/vsrr/mortality-dashboard.htm

Going back to the 2016 FBI homicide report above, that still leaves the 15,070 deaths by firearm. When looking at this number, you need to bear in mind that it includes justifiable homicides, police-involved shootings and criminal homicide. We’d need to know the number for each individual category in order to have truly accurate data, but suffice it to say, if we subtract gang violence that is rampant in major cities across the country) and justifiable homicides, those 15,070 homicides by firearm are substantially reduced. Furthermore, according to the CDC, the number of accidental injury by firearm is 3,800 [people], as of 2013 (the latest such report:

https://webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/dataRestriction_inj.html

If at this point, you still do not believe that the goal of gun control is [and has always been] gun confiscation, you only need to look as far “The [federal] Assault Weapon Ban of 2018”, filed in Congress on February 26, 2018.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Assault Weapons Ban of 2018”.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

(a) In General.—Section 921(a) of title 18, United States Code, is amended—

(1) by inserting after paragraph (29) the following:

“(30) The term ‘semiautomatic pistol’ means any repeating pistol that—

“(A) utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round; and

“(B) requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.

“(31) The term ‘semiautomatic shotgun’ means any repeating shotgun that—

“(A) utilizes a portion of the energy of a firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round; and

“(B) requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

“(36) The term ‘semiautomatic assault weapon’ means any of the following, regardless of country of manufacture or caliber of ammunition accepted:

“(A) A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:

“(i) A pistol grip.

“(ii) A forward grip.

“(iii) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock.

“(iv) A grenade launcher or rocket launcher.

“(v) A barrel shroud.

“(vi) A threaded barrel.

“(B) A semiautomatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds, except for an attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

“(C) Any part, combination of parts, component, device, attachment, or accessory that is designed or functions to accelerate the rate of fire of a semiautomatic rifle but not convert the semiautomatic rifle into a machinegun.

“(D) A semiautomatic pistol that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any one of the following:

“(i) A threaded barrel.

“(ii) A second pistol grip.

“(iii) A barrel shroud.

“(iv) The capacity to accept a detachable magazine at some location outside of the pistol grip.

“(v) A semiautomatic version of an automatic firearm.

“(E) A semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that has the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds.

“(F) A semiautomatic shotgun that has any one of the following:

“(i) A folding, telescoping, or detachable stock.

“(ii) A pistol grip.

“(iii) A fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 5 rounds.

“(iv) The ability to accept a detachable magazine.

“(v) A forward grip.

“(vi) A grenade launcher or rocket launcher.

“(G) Any shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/5087/text

Thus, it is clear that any semiautomatic pistol is treated no differently than a [so-called] “assault rifle.” This is bill is about disarming law-abiding Americans.

All this being said, the millions of legal gun owners across this country, 37.7% of the population are tired of being blamed, scapegoated and label murderers because of the actions of a minuscule minority.   Just like not all Muslims should be labeled terrorists, not all gun owners should be labeled “gun nuts”, or anything else. If we’re going to use the Constitution to fight for gay rights, women’s rights, disability rights, etc, we should equally & fairly apply it to gun rights just the same. However, as it stands, the 2nd Amendment is America’s constitutional orphan…

You said it yourself; your problem is not so much with gun owners, as much as it is the gun lobby. But here is where the power of the gun lobby actually lies – gun owners being politically engaged and active, going to the polls to vote and contacting legislators, making opinions, views & positions known. That’s the true gun lobby. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the NRA doesn’t spend much money lobbying politicians. Take just two excerpts from a CNBC article:

  1. “The NRA, gun makers, and gun rights issues do not even show up on the OpenSecrets website lists for top lobbying firms, top lobbying sectors, top lobbying issues, or top lobbying industries for the years 1998-2017.”
  2. “The figures for Florida Senator Marco Rubio are particularly educational since he has been a target of a lot of anti-NRA screeds since the shooting in his home state. A look at the top 20 donors to Rubio directly and his PAC since 2009 does not include the NRA. Over his career since 2009, Rubio has raised a total of more than $91 million in donations. The NRA is responsible for just over $3 million of that, or 3.3 percent.”

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/02/16/nra-money-isnt-why-gun-control-efforts-are-failing-commentary.html

I myself am getting more involved in lobbying. I and people like me – that’s the gun lobby… The truth is, it takes lobbying to get anything done in government – and many groups and causes participate in lobbying; people who vote, who contact, meet with and know their state elected representatives. Hell, not only have I been on the phone with the offices of state reps, senators and the Governor’s office, I also got in my car and drove my handsome, good-looking self down to the State Capitol, met with likeminded individuals and talked face-to-face with state legislators. That’s the true/actual gun lobby, Jake…

The recent tragedy in Florida is a failure at every level of government. From the FBI, being given multiple warnings regarding the dangers Nicholas Cruz posed, to local law enforcement, who visited Cruz’s home 39 times, to the school district that didn’t report anything because they don’t want to negatively impact ”at risk” youth:

“We saw huge differentials in achievement gaps among white, black and Hispanics students,” Runcie said. “Black males, in particular, were in probably some of the worst situation in this district.”

This is the byproduct of living in an inconsequential and progressively liberal society, wherein people are more concerned with safe spaces, participation trophies, sanctuary cities/states and political correctness – because God forbid someone is offended and has to actually work for and earn what they have in life. We live in a time where rule of law and respect for authority does not exist; where the sanctity of human life is not respected – so frankly –nothing less than what we are now seeing can be expected from such an entitled & selfish generation.

And of course, there is the matter of not reporting students, having them arrested so that they [schools] look better, qualifying for grant money…

https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2013/11/05/243250817/fla-school-district-trying-to-curb-school-to-prison-pipeline

When I say that the issue is complicated and multilayered, what I mean is that we refuse to look at the ever-destabilizing family structure, non existent parenting, overprescribing of antidepressant and narcotic pain medications, failures of government at the local, state and federal level, enforcement of the laws that are currently on the books, examining the influence of violent videogames, film, television and even music; these are the things we should be doing – not writing more “feel-good” laws so that those that believe in gun control can pat themselves on the back, saying to themselves and everyone else that they “did something… As someone who has actually done research on the link between violent video games and acts of violence while still in undergrad, I know that there is no coloration; but [surprisingly], the same cannot be said for television & film.

Violence, even in news media and its effects on acts of violence has been well documented. Mainstream media sensationalizes & glorifies violence, especially mass shootings, and the 24-hour news cycle has become a form of entertainment; and sadly, media loves mass shootings – because it loves ratings & profit margins. It’s disgusting, sickening & and gut-wrenching. The CDC has published concerns in the correlation between the reporting of suicides and an uptick in suicide, and if this is the case, we can reasonably conclude that the same would be true for mass shootings; the more they’re reported on, the more increasingly they occur. I think that this is one of the aspects of the phenomenon of mass shootings that needs to be adequately addressed in a meaningful way.

Word for word here is the Center for Disease Control’s guidance on how to report on suicide:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00031539.htm.

Let’s replace that with mass shootings and see how the media does:

“Mass shootings are never the result of a single factor or event, but rather results from a complex interaction of many factors and usually involves a history of psychosocial problems

Impromptu comments about a mass shootings by a public official can result in harmful news coverage

Although scientific research in this area is not complete, workshop participants believed that the likelihood of mass shooting contagion may be increased by the following actions:

Presenting simplistic explanations for mass shootings

Engaging in repetitive, ongoing, or excessive reporting of mass shootings in the news

Providing sensational coverage of mass shooting

Reporting “how-to” descriptions of mass shootings

Presenting sass shooting as a tool for accomplishing certain ends

Glorifying mass shootings or persons who commit mass shootings

Focusing on the mass shooters positive characteristics. (ie how many times do we hear the parents defending how great their kid was that became a mass shooter)”

Also, they caution against being descriptive in how the suicide is carried out, let’s change this to a mass shooting context:

“Describing technical details about the method of mass shootings is undesirable. For example, reporting that a person died from a gun may not be harmful; however, providing details of the mechanism and procedures used to complete the suicide may facilitate imitation of the suicidal behavior by other at-risk persons.”

  1. E. Type of gun, technique to kill funnel (fire alarm in this case), what people did to avoid getting killed, how much ammo, etc.

The media is creating a cheat sheet for getting higher scores so they can get sponsorship dollars for around the clock coverage. Again, it couldn’t be more disgusting, sickening, disturbing and immoral.

Security at schools should also be increased. We protect banks, government buildings, and everything that we hold dear & consider valuable with armed security. Why not do the same for our kids; that we which hold most dear? To that end, arming teachers is not about forcibly arming as a requirement those that are unwilling, rather, simply giving some teachers – those that are already comfortable and adept with firearms – the choice of being armed.

But, sadly, gun control has nothing to do with public safety and/or actually doing something to address, combat and much less, solve the problem, it’s only about politicizing tragedy and not letting a tragedy go to waste. What we’re seeing now in Illinois and across the country are knee-jerk reactions in the heat of emotion void of rational thinking. Especially in Illinois, we’re witnessing election politics.

If we look at every mass shooting in history, there were things that people missed or didn’t care enough to report it and authorities failed to act – yet – the gun-owning public is supposed to agree to even more compromises (despite the 2nd Amendment clearly & unequivocally stating that the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed) and trust the government to protect the public in the face of it clearly not being capable to do so? No. We’ve already given up so much; we’re not giving up anything more. All law-abiding gun owners want is for the facts about guns to be presented in a truthful & unbiased manner, to do something meaningful about the actual problem and to be left alone. Going after criminals, severely penalizing criminal misuse of guns; that’s where agreement can be reached; that’s where common ground lies. But to penalize & demonize law-abiding gun owners and gun ownership, restricting what can be owned and how it can be owned – that is unjust, unconstitutional, ineffective and counterproductive. No matter what side of the debate one is on, no one wants to lose a loved one; NRA members have kids that go to the same schools.

I know gun control advocates don’t like to have to address mental illness, but the fact of the matter is, no normal person commits violence against another, much less, mass murder. And while proponents of gun control like to argue that the rest of the world has mental illness too – which of course is true – and thus, the problem must be easy access to guns, I argue that, while other countries across the world may not be able to purchase firearms as we do, we don’t know how those other countries deal with mental illness – and I’m willing to bet that they don’t so quickly & easily prescribe serious medications – the consequences of which long-term use are not yet fully understood. My own experience has been such that I went to the doctor with a muscle ache in my arm, and without even examining me; she prescribed Vicodin like it was nothing within [literally] two minutes of my walking in the door… Are such approaches & methods not inherently deeply problematic?

30-40 years ago, kids had rifles in their trucks, yet, disputes were handled with fists; no one went to their truck, retrieved a firearm and shot up a school. Clearly, the gun hasn’t changed – but something certainly has. What do you think that change or changes are? Furthermore, modern semiautomatic weapons have existed since at least 1911. That year, John Browning – who is to the gun world what Steve Jobs & Bill Gates are to computers – released the first wildly successful semiautomatic pistol, dubbed, the 1911A1, chambered in .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol). It was so successful that it was the U.S. Military’s standard-issue sidearm from its inception, all the way through 1986. The 1911 remains very popular with civilians, and some law enforcement still carry 1911s. I myself own & carry one; it’s my favorite .45; an absolute pleasure to fire & handle. You’re more than welcome to shoot it when we go to the range.

Similarly, contrary to popular belief, the founding fathers did envision [so-called] “assault weapons”. For as smart as the founding fathers were, it is disingenuous and even ludicrous to say they couldn’t foresee advances in firearms technology. In fact, during their own lifetimes, they saw many such advancements. Around 1779, before the U.S. Constitution was drafted, there was the Girandoni Air Rifle (link here: https://youtu.be/-pqFyKh-rUI), the Mitrailleuse, of 1851, the Nock Gun of 1779 and the Puckle gun of 1718 – just to name a few. Take a look at this historical timeline of arms:

http://militaryhistorynow.com/2014/01/27/before-gatling-who-was-the-first-to-invent-the-rapid-fire-gun/

This is why I do not believe in gun control – because the facts, data and motivations do not add up. The war on guns is a war of culture. Done slowly as to go unnoticed, shaming the practice of fathers & sons, moms & daughters, of families shooting together, eroding & minimalizing shooting sports, all by prohibiting non-prohibited young people from owning firearms and defining “possession” as the mere act of a parent handing a firearm into the hands of their son(s) & daughter(s), allowing them to shoot it under parental supervision; making it a felony to do so detracts from gun ownership generations from now. This is one of many laws making it’s way through the Illinois Congress (HB 1465) in the wake of Parkland as part of the nationwide assault on the 2nd Amendment and the freedom of American life given to us through the constitution, that is, making it a felony to “poses” a firearm by defining “possession” as merely having a firearm in the hands of someone under 21 while they are under the supervision of their parents. If you still don’t think the war on guns is a war of culture, just ask yourself if kids marching for gun rights like kids marching for gun control, today, Wednesday, March 14th would be equally approved of, encouraged and inconsequential…? Even the term “gun violence” is misleading and part of this cultural war; there is no such thing as “gun violence”, there is only violence. When someone commits a violent act with a knife or a car, we don’t call it “knife violence” or “vehicular violence”, it’s just violence. Guns are the only object that society attaches the act of violence to that object while blaming that object in the act rather than the person. Both of us being communication scholars, we know that, if you control the language, you control the narrative.

Lastly, speaking of shooting at the range – to answer your question – gun ranges actually very much do allow concealed carry to permit holders. I always have something in my waistband or on my hip, in addition to whatever I’m shooting that day – and I assume everyone else is doing the same.

All this being said, I hope this answers your questions and was informative. If you have any more questions, please do not hesitate to ask. I look forward to continuing the conversation and for our time together at the range.

Be well,

Jim