Mass shootings... Guns ..... Or Drugs?

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GloriaInTX's picture
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Mass shootings... Guns ..... Or Drugs?

Maybe the question we should be asking is what medication Lanza was on? Do you think that any of these mass killings had anything to do with what medication they were taking?

Perhaps you?re wondering why this issue of psychiatric medications should be so important.

As I documented in ?How Evil Works,? it is simply indisputable that most perpetrators of school shootings and similar mass murders in our modern era were either on ? or just recently coming off of ? psychiatric medications:

?Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox ? like Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and many others, a modern and widely prescribed type of antidepressant drug called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. Harris and fellow student Dylan Klebold went on a hellish school shooting rampage in 1999 during which they killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves.Luvox manufacturer Solvay Pharmaceuticals concedes that during short-term controlled clinical trials, 4 percent of children and youth taking Luvox ? that?s 1 in 25 ? developed mania, a dangerous and violence-prone mental derangement characterized by extreme excitement and delusion.

?Patrick Purdy went on a schoolyard shooting rampage in Stockton, Calif., in 1989, which became the catalyst for the original legislative frenzy to ban ?semiautomatic assault weapons? in California and the nation. The 25-year-old Purdy, who murdered five children and wounded 30, had been on Amitriptyline, an antidepressant, as well as the antipsychotic drug Thorazine.

?Kip Kinkel, 15, murdered his parents in 1998 and the next day went to his school, Thurston High in Springfield, Ore., and opened fire on his classmates, killing two and wounding 22 others. He had been prescribed both Prozac and Ritalin.

?In 1988, 31-year-old Laurie Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in Winnetka, Ill., killing one child and wounding six. She had been taking the antidepressant Anafranil as well as Lithium, long used to treat mania.

?In Paducah, Ky., in late 1997, 14-year-old Michael Carneal, son of a prominent attorney, traveled to Heath High School and started shooting students in a prayer meeting taking place in the school?s lobby, killing three and leaving another paralyzed. Carneal reportedly was on Ritalin.

?In 2005, 16-year-old Native American Jeff Weise, living on Minnesota?s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people and wounded five others before killing himself. Weise had been taking Prozac.

?In another famous case, 47-year-old Joseph T. Wesbecker, just a month after he began taking Prozac in 1989, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Ky., killing nine. Prozac-maker Eli Lilly later settled a lawsuit brought by survivors.

?Kurt Danysh, 18, shot his own father to death in 1996, a little more than two weeks after starting on Prozac. Danysh?s description of own his mental-emotional state at the time of the murder is chilling: ?I didn?t realize I did it until after it was done,? Danysh said. ?This might sound weird, but it felt like I had no control of what I was doing, like I was left there just holding a gun.?

?John Hinckley, age 25, took four Valium two hours before shooting and almost killing President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the assassination attempt, Hinckley also wounded press secretary James Brady, Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy and policeman Thomas Delahanty.

?Andrea Yates, in one of the most heartrending crimes in modern history, drowned all five of her children ? aged 7 years down to 6 months ? in a bathtub. Insisting inner voices commanded her to kill her children, she had become increasingly psychotic over the course of several years. At her 2006 murder re-trial (after a 2002 guilty verdict was overturned on appeal), Yates? longtime friend Debbie Holmes testified: ?She asked me if I thought Satan could read her mind and if I believed in demon possession.? And Dr. George Ringholz, after evaluating Yates for two days, recounted an experience she had after the birth of her first child: ?What she described was feeling a presence ? Satan ? telling her to take a knife and stab her son Noah,? Ringholz said, adding that Yates? delusion at the time of the bathtub murders was not only that she had to kill her children to save them, but that Satan had entered her and that she had to be executed in order to kill Satan.Yates had been taking the antidepressant Effexor. In November 2005, more than four years after Yates drowned her children, Effexor manufacturer Wyeth Pharmaceuticals quietly added ?homicidal ideation? to the drug?s list of ?rare adverse events.? The Medical Accountability Network, a private nonprofit focused on medical ethics issues, publicly criticized Wyeth, saying Effexor?s ?homicidal ideation? risk wasn?t well-publicized and that Wyeth failed to send letters to doctors or issue warning labels announcing the change.And what exactly does ?rare? mean in the phrase ?rare adverse events?? The FDA defines it as occurring in less than one in 1,000 people. But since that same year 19.2 million prescriptions for Effexor were filled in the U.S., statistically that means thousands of Americans might experience ?homicidal ideation? ? murderous thoughts ? as a result of taking just this one brand of antidepressant drug.Effexor is Wyeth?s best-selling drug, by the way, which in one recent year brought in over $3 billion in sales, accounting for almost a fifth of the company?s annual revenues.

?One more case is instructive, that of 12-year-old Christopher Pittman, who struggled in court to explain why he murdered his grandparents, who had provided the only love and stability he?d ever known in his turbulent life. ?When I was lying in my bed that night,? he testified, ?I couldn?t sleep because my voice in my head kept echoing through my mind telling me to kill them.? Christopher had been angry with his grandfather, who had disciplined him earlier that day for hurting another student during a fight on the school bus. So later that night, he shot both of his grandparents in the head with a .410 shotgun as they slept and then burned down their South Carolina home, where he had lived with them.?I got up, got the gun, and I went upstairs and I pulled the trigger,? he recalled. ?Through the whole thing, it was like watching your favorite TV show. You know what is going to happen, but you can?t do anything to stop it.?Pittman?s lawyers would later argue that the boy had been a victim of ?involuntary intoxication,? since his doctors had him taking the antidepressants Paxil and Zoloft just prior to the murders.Paxil?s known ?adverse drug reactions? ? according to the drug?s FDA-approved label ? include ?mania,? ?insomnia,? ?anxiety,? ?agitation,? ?confusion,? ?amnesia,? ?depression,? ?paranoid reaction,? ?psychosis,? ?hostility,? ?delirium,? ?hallucinations,? ?abnormal thinking,? ?depersonalization? and ?lack of emotion,? among others.The preceding examples are only a few of the best-known offenders who had been taking prescribed psychiatric drugs before committing their violent crimes ? there are many others.

Whether we like to admit it or not, it is undeniable that when certain people living on the edge of sanity take psychiatric medications, those drugs can ? and occasionally do ? push them over the edge into violent madness. Remember, every single SSRI antidepressant sold in the United States of America today, no matter what brand or manufacturer, bears a ?black box? FDA warning label ? the government?s most serious drug warning ? of ?increased risks of suicidal thinking and behavior, known as suicidality, in young adults ages 18 to 24.? Common sense tells us that where there are suicidal thoughts ? especially in a very, very angry person ? homicidal thoughts may not be far behind. Indeed, the mass shooters we are describing often take their own lives when the police show up, having planned their suicide ahead of time.

Full article: The giant, gaping hole in Sandy Hook reporting

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
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Hate this one. Perfect way to even throw more of a stigma at people with mental illness. It's bad enough to have it to start with, and then you shouldn't be treated bcs people think the pills will make you kill people?

People just cannot stand not being able to blame this on aspergers, so they tried to find a different way to blame it on the disability.

And how on earth is aspergers living on the edge of sanity??!! That one makes me so mad I want to scream!

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Absolutely its a valid point. And with the percentage of children (and adults) on these strong medications rising astronomically annually its another compelling reason that gun control is imperative.

Thank you so much for pointing out another reason that there needs to be less access for people to these weapons of mass death and destruction.

Joined: 08/17/04
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I agree with Susan. I think articles like this stigmatize mental illness.

I will agree, as I have said before, that there is obviously something else that is causing this. I know it is not guns alone and everyone else does too. I would venture to say the lack of affordable mental health care and mental health providers could be one. Medicating someone and not fully treating them is sadly a case for many many people.

Joined: 05/31/06
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And oh my dear sweet goodness. If you want to know what is scary in America folks, read the comment thread. Talk about crazy. They blame single parents, vaccinations, abortion, and beg for armed revolution from Obama. What the heck kind of sights are you reading, Gloria? That is, just, some eye opening stuff as to who is out there in our Nation, right there. Wow.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
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Problem is, this article doesn't address if its causation or correlation.

People who are Mentally ill, are more likely to go on a shooting spree. People who are mentally ill are also more likely to be on a medication.

Is it the medication that is causing the shooting spree? I think we need more research to be certain but its definitely worth the time and effort.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"smsturner" wrote:

Hate this one. Perfect way to even throw more of a stigma at people with mental illness. It's bad enough to have it to start with, and then you shouldn't be treated bcs people think the pills will make you kill people?

People just cannot stand not being able to blame this on aspergers, so they tried to find a different way to blame it on the disability.

And how on earth is aspergers living on the edge of sanity??!! That one makes me so mad I want to scream!

Who said anything about aspergers? You don't think it's a valid question to ask if he was on some kind of psychiatric medication?

Sapphire Sunsets's picture
Joined: 05/19/02
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I do think it has to do with the med's some people are on. Wait, before you assume anything! I also think that the majority of these mass killers and idiots that kill there children either aren't on the right med for them or they aren't being followed closely enough by the Dr/person who prescribed it. Just because one person can tolerate onemed doesn't mean it's the right med for someone else. There is no across the board with them. Plus, you have to seriously consider if the person was still actually taking the dose prescribed or trying to wean themselves (or just off it completely) because they "felt" better.

If anything this just proves that we need to do more to get rid of the mental illness stigma and actually help people.

My personal experience: I was dx'd as bi-polar as a child. I was never given med's till after Zachary was stillborn (i was 22 yrs old) and i was in a major depression and suicidal. I went through 3 or 4 different med's before they found one that worked in my system. Right now? I'm not taking it. I know that i should but, the first few wks of being back on it are hard physically.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

And oh my dear sweet goodness. If you want to know what is scary in America folks, read the comment thread. Talk about crazy. They blame single parents, vaccinations, abortion, and beg for armed revolution from Obama. What the heck kind of sights are you reading, Gloria? That is, just, some eye opening stuff as to who is out there in our Nation, right there. Wow.

Ha Ha I guess you must not read the comments on CNN.

smsturner's picture
Joined: 05/11/09
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"Jessica80" wrote:

I will agree, as I have said before, that there is obviously something else that is causing this. I know it is not guns alone and everyone else does too. I would venture to say the lack of affordable mental health care and mental health providers could be one. Medicating someone and not fully treating them is sadly a case for many many people.

Very true. Medication alone is not the total treatment for mentally ill people. Ideally, it's a combination of a counselor or therapist or other mental health person and medication. With insurance and health care here in this country, it can be hard to get the right care AND afford it. At least the medications on their own can cause some relief of these people's problems.

AND totally true that being on the RIGHT meds is a huge piece (and why it's ideal to see a dr and/or counsellor while you take the meds). I was once put on a pill that made me absolutely insane. It works great for some, but not for all, and until mental health is a more exact science you can't know what's perfect for you without trial and error.

Another thought is our government mental health care (in the state budget for those who qualify) is constantly being cut to shreds in the budgets these days. It is not nearly up to the standard we need.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4100

"Sapphire Sunsets" wrote:

I do think it has to do with the med's some people are on. Wait, before you assume anything! I also think that the majority of these mass killers and idiots that kill there children either aren't on the right med for them or they aren't being followed closely enough by the Dr/person who prescribed it. Just because one person can tolerate onemed doesn't mean it's the right med for someone else. There is no across the board with them. Plus, you have to seriously consider if the person was still actually taking the dose prescribed or trying to wean themselves (or just off it completely) because they "felt" better.

If anything this just proves that we need to do more to get rid of the mental illness stigma and actually help people.

ITA with this and I live it with my DH. We don't tell diabetics that they just need to straighten themselves up & get their pancreas back on track; why do we do it with mental illness? Diabetics would never ever think of going off their meds or playing around with their dosage on their own, but people with mental illness do it all the time; we need to stop making that feel like an acceptable thing to do & start making people with mental illness feel good about finding the right med & staying on it.

Joined: 04/12/03
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"Spacers" wrote:

ITA with this and I live it with my DH. We don't tell diabetics that they just need to straighten themselves up & get their pancreas back on track; why do we do it with mental illness? Diabetics would never ever think of going off their meds or playing around with their dosage on their own, but people with mental illness do it all the time; we need to stop making that feel like an acceptable thing to do & start making people with mental illness feel good about finding the right med & staying on it.

from what i understand, this actually part of the disease. Diabetics would have a quick reminder they can't go off insulin. But with some mental illnesses,you start to think you are fine again. And maybe for a while you are.

Also not everyone sees it in themselves. Like with vision, if i can't see the mountains in the distance, i assume that no one else can either.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

from what i understand, this actually part of the disease. Diabetics would have a quick reminder they can't go off insulin. But with some mental illnesses,you start to think you are fine again. And maybe for a while you are.

Also not everyone sees it in themselves. Like with vision, if i can't see the mountains in the distance, i assume that no one else can either.

I agree with this. I have a few relatives with schizophrenia. I remember when one went off her medicine. The medicine had unpleasant side effects (Constipation, weight gain). She hated how she looked and felt on the medicine so she would go off. Once off the medicine, she was not there enough to understand what she was doing. With severe mental illness, it is a very heartbreaking situation that does not have any easy answers. Having a mental illness does not mean that you are a terrible person that should be locked up just for being sick.

Spacers's picture
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"ethanwinfield" wrote:

from what i understand, this actually part of the disease. Diabetics would have a quick reminder they can't go off insulin. But with some mental illnesses,you start to think you are fine again. And maybe for a while you are.

Also not everyone sees it in themselves. Like with vision, if i can't see the mountains in the distance, i assume that no one else can either.

The "quick reminder" for not taking insulin can be coma & death. Diabetics are taught, from the moment they are diagnosed, that skipping a dose can be lethal. We don't teach mentally ill people about their medication in that same way, we don't tell them from their very first diagnosis, "You have a problem with the chemistry in your brain that is never going to fix itself, and you are going to be reliant on medication for the rest of your life." We currently present medication for the mentally ill as simply a suggestion, rather than as a requirement, for their lives to be better, something you do if you want it or can afford it. We need to change that thinking as a society. We need to treat mental illness with the same kind of importance that we treat diabetes.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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"Spacers" wrote:

The "quick reminder" for not taking insulin can be coma & death. Diabetics are taught, from the moment they are diagnosed, that skipping a dose can be lethal. We don't teach mentally ill people about their medication in that same way, we don't tell them from their very first diagnosis, "You have a problem with the chemistry in your brain that is never going to fix itself, and you are going to be reliant on medication for the rest of your life." We currently present medication for the mentally ill as simply a suggestion, rather than as a requirement, for their lives to be better, something you do if you want it or can afford it. We need to change that thinking as a society. We need to treat mental illness with the same kind of importance that we treat diabetes.

Even with Diabetes no one forces you to take your medicine. My MIL is a diabetic. Yes you are counselled to take your medicine, but no one is going to arrest you or lock you up if you forget a dose or decide to stop taking it. Unless you take a mentally ill person to court to make them a ward of the State, you can not force a mentally ill person to take their medicine. My doctor has told me that it is imperative that I loose weight or within 10 years I will be diabetic, and I am on a diabetes medicine right now. I am doing my very best to loose weight and I believe my doctor, but there is nothing she can do to force me to listen to her.

Spacers's picture
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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Even with Diabetes no one forces you to take your medicine. My MIL is a diabetic. Yes you are counselled to take your medicine, but no one is going to arrest you or lock you up if you forget a dose or decide to stop taking it. Unless you take a mentally ill person to court to make them a ward of the State, you can not force a mentally ill person to take their medicine. My doctor has told me that it is imperative that I loose weight or within 10 years I will be diabetic, and I am on a diabetes medicine right now. I am doing my very best to loose weight and I believe my doctor, but there is nothing she can do to force me to listen to her.

You just made my point. You aren't even diabetic and yet your doctor is counseling you about what you can do, has you on medication to make your life better, and there is absolutely no stigma in your talking about it. My DH was diagnosed with a mental illness thirty years ago. No one in a white coat has ever EVER in his life told him that he NEEDS his medication to LIVE. Without it, he's merely existing, and he's not a fun person to be around. That's what I tell him, but he doesn't believe me, and it would make a world of difference if his doctors put it to him that way. He pulls the labels off his prescription bottles before recycling them because he doesn't want any of our neighbors to stumble on it and think of him differently. And he would kill me (figuratively speaking) if he knew I was talking about him. Why can't we discuss and treat mental illness in the same positive way that we discuss and treat other disorders? Side note: I hate the term "mental illness" because he's not sick. It's a disorder, an imbalance, not an illness.

AlyssaEimers's picture
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I am sorry for what you and your family has gone through. Is there a better term that I could use?

mom3girls's picture
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Stacey, I dont believe that it is always as stigmitized as you are making it sound. I know a lot of people that have one disorder or another and only 1 is freaked out about people knowing about it.

One of the big issues I see with this is that some people learn to function without meds. My BFFs husband is bi-polar and handles it very well through exercise and some different therapies, no meds. My friend has to monitor his sleep pretty religiously, but he handles it very well. He hates how he feels on meds, would rather die then take them. He is not a threat to anyone when off them, but if he is in a "up" swing he will take apart any computer thing he can get his hands on.

I am not saying no meds is a good plan for all people, maybe not even for very many but we have to let adults make that choice for themselves as long as they are not hurting others. I read an article one time about how a large segment of the homeless population are well aware they function better on meds but are not willing to take them because of the way the meds make them feel

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Posts: 1686

"Spacers" wrote:

The "quick reminder" for not taking insulin can be coma & death. Diabetics are taught, from the moment they are diagnosed, that skipping a dose can be lethal. We don't teach mentally ill people about their medication in that same way, we don't tell them from their very first diagnosis, "You have a problem with the chemistry in your brain that is never going to fix itself, and you are going to be reliant on medication for the rest of your life." We currently present medication for the mentally ill as simply a suggestion, rather than as a requirement, for their lives to be better, something you do if you want it or can afford it. We need to change that thinking as a society. We need to treat mental illness with the same kind of importance that we treat diabetes.

Meds used to treat mental illnesses change the brain chemistry, no? Part of that life-long cycle is thinking you are okay again. In a way, it is similar to an alcoholic in recovey thinking they can have one drink. Also, because brain chemistry changes, some of the meds have serious cognitive side effects. Many people call Topamax "Dopamax" because it makes you dopey. Words are just gone and short-term memory can be effected. Insomnia, weight gain or loss, headaches, just to name a few. If my choice was to suffer from insomnia for the rest of my life or take ambien, I would choose insomnia.

We as a society can treat mentall illness with the same seriousness we treat diabetes, but that doens't mean the patient will.

Sapphire Sunsets's picture
Joined: 05/19/02
Posts: 672

"Spacers" wrote:

The "quick reminder" for not taking insulin can be coma & death. Diabetics are taught, from the moment they are diagnosed, that skipping a dose can be lethal. We don't teach mentally ill people about their medication in that same way, we don't tell them from their very first diagnosis, "You have a problem with the chemistry in your brain that is never going to fix itself, and you are going to be reliant on medication for the rest of your life." We currently present medication for the mentally ill as simply a suggestion, rather than as a requirement, for their lives to be better, something you do if you want it or can afford it. We need to change that thinking as a society. We need to treat mental illness with the same kind of importance that we treat diabetes.

:clappy: THIS! Exactly!

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
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I guess I don't understand why it has to be an either/or scenario. EITHER we have too many extremely destructive guns in this country, OR it's an issue with the mentally ill and prescription drugs. I just don't see it that way.

I am ALL for a conversation about creating a stronger support system and stronger resources around mental health issues in this country, and for making it affordable and easy to access for everyone in this country. Absolutely. I agree that we have way too many instances of people being prescribed pharamceuticals and then not getting the proper follow up to make sure that the meds are working correctly for their bodies, as well as support outside of medicine (such as therapy.) If you want to argue that we need to fix that in this country, I am with you 100%.

But I don't think that's whole answer. I think having easy and readily available access to guns designed to kill many people, very fast is also a problem. It's like, that is exactly what those guns are made for. And then people act like it's just shocking when someone decides to use it for it's intended purpose. Imagine that I had a torture chamber in my basement; wouldn't you be shocked that I owned that kind of equipment, even if I never actually used it? That would be kind of nuts, right? And if I did use it, or if someone broke into my house and stole it and then used it to torture someone, you wouldn't be completely shocked, because that's exactly what it was meant to be used for. Why even have equipment like that if you don't want to use it for it's intended purpose, right? That's how I feel about these guns that can shoot hundreds of bullets in a couple of seconds. They're designed for one thing, and one thing only, and we make them readily available to pretty much anyone who wants one. How is it that shocking when someone actually uses it?

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

That's how I feel about these guns that can shoot hundreds of bullets in a couple of seconds. They're designed for one thing, and one thing only, and we make them readily available to pretty much anyone who wants one. How is it that shocking when someone actually uses it?

If that is the case why were there more murders using hammers or clubs than there were using rifles? And that includes ALL rifles. Maybe we should outlaw baseball bats?

FBI — Expanded Homicide Data Table 8

Alissa_Sal's picture
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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

If that is the case why were there more murders using hammers or clubs than there were using rifles? And that includes ALL rifles. Maybe we should outlaw baseball bats?

FBI — Expanded Homicide Data Table 8

You can make a weapon out of anything. You can beat someone to death with a bar of soap in a sock. That doesn't change the fact that both a bar of soap and a sock are designed for things other than killin', while a gun that shoots a zillion rounds all at once really only has one purpose. So again, using it for it's one purpose shouldn't be that surprising.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

You can make a weapon out of anything. You can beat someone to death with a bar of soap in a sock. That doesn't change the fact that both a bar of soap and a sock are designed for things other than killin', while a gun that shoots a zillion rounds all at once really only has one purpose. So again, using it for it's one purpose shouldn't be that surprising.

Really? There are millions of these guns that are out there that people are using for reasons other than killing people, and 300 that were used to kill people. So what is the purpose again?

That is no different than saying that baseball bats are designed to kill people because 500 people used them for that purpose.

Joined: 05/31/06
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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Really? There are millions of these guns that are out there that people are using for reasons other than killing people, and 300 that were used to kill people. .

Wait a second. Are you saying that 300 guns were used to kill people last year? That would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

I think you are forgetting a few. Lets not forget about all of the people killed in wars, civil unrest, uprisings etc in just 2012.

And other than hunting, can you name things that guns are used for, other than killing people? I can't think of other purposes, other than I know some people in your neck of the woods may use them for home decoration.

KimPossible's picture
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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

If that is the case why were there more murders using hammers or clubs than there were using rifles? And that includes ALL rifles. Maybe we should outlaw baseball bats?

FBI ? Expanded Homicide Data Table 8

I think you're being purposely obtuse if you are truly trying to say that these items are more deadly than guns

Joined: 08/17/04
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Let's take a look at all firearms. 2000 more deaths due to all firearms than all the other weapon totals combined. 2000!

GloriaInTX's picture
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"Potter75" wrote:

Wait a second. Are you saying that 300 guns were used to kill people last year? That would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

I think you are forgetting a few. Lets not forget about all of the people killed in wars, civil unrest, uprisings etc in just 2012.

And other than hunting, can you name things that guns are used for, other than killing people? I can't think of other purposes, other than I know some people in your neck of the woods may use them for home decoration.

We are talking about rifles only. Yes only 358 people were killed by rifles in 2010, which is the year the data is available, and that includes ALL rifles not just semi-autiomatic. That is the type of gun they are talking about banning, not handguns. 540 people were killed with clubs (like baseball bats) or hammers. 1704 people were killed by knives. So everyone else who used a rifle besides the rifles used to kill those 358 people used them for hunting or target practice or whatever other reason they wanted to use them for. You would have a better argument if they wanted to ban handguns, since those aren't normally used for hunting. But that isn't even what they try to ban. They try to ban rifles. Which makes no sense.

ClairesMommy's picture
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So what would you prefer, Gloria? Elimination of guns or elimination of anti-depressants? Wait, I already think I know the answer to that, except I think without anti-depressants and similar medications there'd be a whole lot more shootings, mass or otherwise.

All anti-depressants carry warnings about the possibility of certain adverse side effects, among them being increased violent tendencies and suicidal thoughts or actions. Is there an issue with that in the sense of the patient not seeking help when faced with those increased tendencies? Absolutely. Should we do away with anti-depressants altogether, knowing they help millions of people, because we're too afraid of somebody going completely homicidal and shooting a classroom of students, or a theatre full of movie watchers or a campus full of college students? My answer is a resounding NO. Anti-depressants keep people productive members of society, keep marriages together and help to make better parents....by the MILLIONS. Because some people on medication have commited such heinous crimes does not mean that those medications directly contributed to the shootings. Anti-depressants don't make those people so mentally ill as to NOT commit such crimes. The drugs get a bad rep because many jump to the whole correlation/causation bit.

What I see, as a non-American, is this fascinating, sad, terrifying trend in American society to right all the wrongs done to you by simply killing as many people as possible and then commiting suicide. People that mean nothing to you, or a hell of a lot to you. Doesn't matter, it seems.

GloriaInTX's picture
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"KimPossible" wrote:

I think you're being purposely obtuse if you are truly trying to say that these items are more deadly than guns

"Jessica80" wrote:

Let's take a look at all firearms. 2000 more deaths due to all firearms than all the other weapon totals combined. 2000!

But we aren't talking about all guns here. Alissa was saying that we should ban assault rifles. When those are the guns that are used the LEAST amount to kill people.

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Posts: 4780

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

We are talking about rifles only. Yes only 358 people were killed by rifles in 2010, which is the year the data is available, and that includes ALL rifles not just semi-autiomatic. That is the type of gun they are talking about banning, not handguns. 540 people were killed with clubs (like baseball bats) or hammers. 1704 people were killed by knives. So everyone else who used a rifle besides the rifles used to kill those 358 people used them for hunting or target practice or whatever other reason they wanted to use them for. You would have a better argument if they wanted to ban handguns, since those aren't normally used for hunting. But that isn't even what they try to ban. They try to ban rifles. Which makes no sense.

I don't know who this you and they is that you speak of. I've made my stance on guns quite clear. I don't want to ban just rifles, I want it to go much further than that, I would love to see a ban on handguns other than a revolver which could shoot a robber 6 times, as stated I think that shooting that home invader 6 times would probably be plenty to kill them quite dead, and would stop these mass killings. And I don't want to ban baseball bats, or anti depressants, or blame everything under the sun but guns like you seem to want to. Don't make someone else's argument mine, please.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

I'm sorry, what other use is there for guns but shooting stuff? Are people using them for paperweights or something?

The fact that only 300 were used to kill people doesn't mean that they have another purpose, it means that the rest of them weren't used. Which makes it funnier that people feel like they need to cling to them. I coulnd't possibly part with this instrument of death which I do not use. Ya know what they say, if you haven't used it in a year, you should probably declutter....;)

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

But we aren't talking about all guns here. Alissa was saying that we should ban assault rifles. When those are the guns that are used the LEAST amount to kill people.

You are comparing rifles....to ALLL blunt objects. You are not comparing rifles to hammers, or rifles to clubs. And you are ignoring the over 1000 per year on your chart in which the type of firearm is not specified.

Use some logic to fill in the holes and I'm pretty sure you can NOT come up with a statement that says "Hammers, are deadlier than assault rifles" or "Clubs are deadlier than assault rifles"

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

[QUOTE=Alissa_Sal] Are people using them for paperweights or something? /QUOTE]

I've heard the assault rifle with bayonet attachment can make a wonderful crutch if one breaks a hip. Just sayin Wink

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I'm sorry, what other use is there for guns but shooting stuff? Are people using them for paperweights or something?

The fact that only 300 were used to kill people doesn't mean that they have another purpose, it means that the rest of them weren't used. Which makes it funnier that people feel like they need to cling to them. I coulnd't possibly part with this instrument of death which I do not use. Ya know what they say, if you haven't used it in a year, you should probably declutter....;)

It doesn't mean that at all. Why would someone spend that amount of money for something that just collects dust? In fact I would argue that rifles are used more than other types of guns.

This is just your home state of CO

Each year Colorado has over 375,000 deer, elk and pronghorn hunters making it unfeasible to contact each individual hunter by February.

Big Game | Colorado Parks and Wildlife

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"Potter75" wrote:

[QUOTE=Alissa_Sal] Are people using them for paperweights or something? /QUOTE]

I've heard the assault rifle with bayonet attachment can make a wonderful crutch if one breaks a hip. Just sayin Wink

I hope you took it out from under your pillow and unloaded it first.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

In my quick research, I found that there are many other mass or serial killings that involved unmedicated people who were retroactively diagnosed with mental illness.

It doesn't sound like the medication is the problem per se. But let's say it is. Let's say it was medication that caused someone to go out and pull a Sandy Hook. We all know the side effects. Why should we allow them to have access to guns (or in the case of Andrea Yates, she NEVER should have been left alone with her kids and other people knew that)? Should we really stop prescribing medication to people who can't function otherwise? Using the diabetes analogy, that would be insane. If insulin-dependent people committed crimes at X times the national average, would we decide it's the insulin and ban the insulin?

One thing I can't get past is that gun ownership is a right but access to health care is not. An un-diagnosed schizophrenic living on the street can buy a gun. But he can't go to a psychiatrist and get treated due to inability to pay. He can't go to the pharmacist because he can't afford the medication that could make him a productive member of society. But he can buy or steal a gun. And when he uses the gun to kill someone, then he can get all the services he needs.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

It doesn't mean that at all. Why would someone spend that amount of money for something that just collects dust? In fact I would argue that rifles are used more than other types of guns.

This is just your home state of CO

Big Game | Colorado Parks and Wildlife

Gloria, I think that Alyssa and I are both responding to this statement of yours ~

[QUOTE]There are millions of these guns that are out there that people are using for reasons other than killing people[/QUOTE]

You seem to imply that these millions of guns are being employed for numerous industrious purposes, like, flossing and land hoeing or something, not just killing people and/or animals. I think that we are both asking you to name a few of these other reasons.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"ClairesMommy" wrote:

So what would you prefer, Gloria? Elimination of guns or elimination of anti-depressants? Wait, I already think I know the answer to that, except I think without anti-depressants and similar medications there'd be a whole lot more shootings, mass or otherwise.

Wow you sure make a lot of assumptions about something that I haven't even expressed an opinion on yet.

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Potter75" wrote:

Gloria, I think that Alyssa and I are both responding to this statement of yours ~

[QUOTE]There are millions of these guns that are out there that people are using for reasons other than killing people[/QUOTE]

You seem to imply that these millions of guns are being employed for numerous industrious purposes, like, flossing and land hoeing or something, not just killing people and/or animals. I think that we are both asking you to name a few of these other reasons.

Where exactly did anyone say anything about animals until you just did? Alissa said that the only reason for these guns are to kill PEOPLE.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

It doesn't mean that at all. Why would someone spend that amount of money for something that just collects dust? In fact I would argue that rifles are used more than other types of guns.

This is just your home state of CO

Big Game | Colorado Parks and Wildlife

I can say...without a doubt...you do not need to have ALLL the kinds of rifles that are available in existence right now in order to effectively hunt.

We could easily put regulations that I think would cover what Alissa might be referring to as "Assault Rifles"...and still have plenty of proper firearms to actually hunt things with. Everything from squirrel to moose.

The trick is in the details. And i actually do think this part is very tricky.

ETA: I should not say "we could easily"...i think it will take some time to come up with the specifics on what is banned and what isn't, not really all that easy. Not anywhere close to impossible though.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Wow you sure make a lot of assumptions about something that I haven't even expressed an opinion on yet.

Then by alll means, express your opinion.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

[QUOTE=Potter75]Gloria, I think that Alyssa and I are both responding to this statement of yours ~

Where exactly did anyone say anything about animals until you just did? Alissa said that the only reason for these guns are to kill PEOPLE.

Yes, I'm throwing you a bone here and acknowledging that one other useful purpose of guns would be to kill animals. You said that guns are being used for all sort of reasons OTHER than to kill people. So I'm saying, okay hunting. Your turn. Name one.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1686

"Potter75" wrote:

Gloria, I think that Alyssa and I are both responding to this statement of yours ~

[QUOTE]There are millions of these guns that are out there that people are using for reasons other than killing people/QUOTE]

You seem to imply that these millions of guns are being employed for numerous industrious purposes, like, flossing and land hoeing or something, not just killing people and/or animals. I think that we are both asking you to name a few of these other reasons.

Why yes, guns are used for "millions" of other reasons than just killing people. There's robbing a bank, taking a hostage, threatening others, celebrating New Year's Eve, killing a snake up a tree, pretending you are Wyatt Earp. Oh, maybe there aren't millions.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"KimPossible" wrote:

I can say...without a doubt...you do not need to have ALLL the kinds of rifles that are available in existence right now in order to effectively hunt.

We could easily put regulations that I think would cover what Alissa might be referring to as "Assault Rifles"...and still have plenty of proper firearms to actually hunt things with. Everything from squirrel to moose.

The trick is in the details. And i actually do think this part is very tricky.

ETA: I should not say "we could easily"...i think it will take some time to come up with the specifics on what is banned and what isn't, not really all that easy. Not anywhere close to impossible though.

Yes. I'm not looking to get rid of all guns, I'm talking about assault rifles. I'm fine with people keeping revolvers to protect their homes with, or hunting rifles to hunt with. You will have a hard time convincing me that they need an assault rifle to protect their home, or to hunt with. Which is why I say that THOSE guns are designed for killing people, and we could probably do well to get rid of them.

Gun control AR-15 rifle: The NRA claims the AR-15 rifle is for hunting and home defense. Not exactly.

On Dec. 24, in Webster, New York, an ex-con named William Spengler set fire to his house and then shot and killed two responding firefighters before taking his own life. He shot them with a Bushmaster AR-15-style semi-automatic rifle—the same weapon that Adam Lanza used 10 days earlier when he shot and killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary. James Holmes used an AR-15-style rifle with a detachable 100-round magazine this past summer when he shot up a movie theater in Colorado. (Though the AR-15 is a specific model of rifle made by Colt, the term has come to generically refer to the many other rifles built to similar specifications.)

Three makes a trend, as we all know, and many people have reacted by suggesting that the federal government should ban the AR-15 and other so-called assault weapons. Gun advocates have responded with exasperation, saying that, despite appearances,AR-15-style rifles are no more dangerous than any other gun. In a piece today on humanevents.com titled “The AR-15: The Gun Liberals Love to Hate,” NRA president David Keene blasted those critics who “neither understand the nature of the firearms they would ban, their popularity or legitimate uses.” Keene noted there are several valid, non-murderous uses for rifles like the AR-15—among them recreational target shooting, hunting, and home defense—and argued that law-abiding firearms owners shouldn’t be penalized because of homicidal loners who use semi-automatics like the AR-15 for criminal purposes.

I generally consider myself a Second Amendment supporter, and I haven’t yet decided where I stand on post-Newtown gun control. I would own a gun if New York City laws didn’t make it extremely difficult to do so. But I nevertheless find Keene’s arguments disingenuous. It’s odd to cite hunting and home defense as reasons to keep selling a rifle that’s not particularly well suited, and definitely not necessary, for either. Bolt-action rifles and shotguns can also be used for hunting and home defense. Unfortunately, those guns aren’t particularly lucrative for gunmakers. The lobby’s fervent defense of military-style semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 seems motivated primarily by a desire to protect the profits in the rapidly growing “modern sporting rifle” segment of the industry.

The AR-15 was designed in 1957 at the behest of the U.S. Army, which asked Armalite to come up with a “high-velocity, full and semi auto fire, 20 shot magazine, 6lbs loaded, able to penetrate both sides of a standard Army helmet at 500 meters rifle,” according to ar15.com. When it entered Army service in the 1960s, it was renamed the M16, in accordance with the Army Nomenclature System. “AR-15” came to refer to the rifle’s semi-automatic civilian equivalent. From 1994 to 2004, AR-15-style rifles were subject tothe now-expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban. Since then, the rifle and others like it have become tremendously popular. Last month, I estimated that upward of 3.5 million AR-15-style rifles currently exist in the United States. People like the rifle because it is modular and thus customizable (one article calls the AR-15 “perhaps the most flexible firearm ever developed; in seconds, a carbine can be switched over to a long-range rifle by swapping upper receivers”), because it is easy to shoot, and because carrying it around makes you look like a badass.

But the AR-15 is not ideal for the hunting and home-defense uses that the NRA’s Keene cited today. Though it can be used for hunting, the AR-15 isn’t really a hunting rifle. Its standard .223 caliber ammunition doesn’t offer much stopping power for anything other than small game. Hunters themselves find the rifle controversial, with some arguing AR-15-style rifles empower sloppy, “spray and pray” hunters to waste ammunition. (The official Bushmaster XM15 manual lists the maximum effective rate of fire at 45 rounds per minute.) As one hunter put it in the comments section of an article on americanhunter.org, “I served in the military and the M16A2/M4 was the weapon I used for 20 years. It is first and foremost designed as an assault weapon platform, no matter what the spin. A hunter does not need a semi-automatic rifle to hunt, if he does he sucks, and should go play video games. I see more men running around the bush all cammo'd up with assault vests and face paint with tricked out AR's. These are not hunters but wannabe weekend warriors.”

In terms of repelling a home invasion—which is what most people mean when they talk about home defense—an AR-15-style rifle is probably less useful than a handgun. The AR-15 is a long gun, and can be tough to maneuver in tight quarters. When you shoot it, it’ll overpenetrate—sending bullets through the walls of your house and possibly into the walls of your neighbor’s house—unless you purchase the sort of ammunition that fragments on impact. (This is true for other guns, as well, but, again, the thing with the AR-15 is that it lets you fire more rounds faster.)

AR-15-style rifles are very useful, however, if what you’re trying to do is sell guns. In a recent Forbes article, Abram Brown reported that “gun ownership is at a near 20-year high, generating $4 billion in commercial gun and ammunition sales.” But that money’s not coming from selling shotguns and bolt-action rifles to pheasant hunters. In its 2011 annual report, Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation announced that bolt-action hunting rifles accounted for 6.6 percent of its net sales in 2011 (down from 2010 and 2009), while modern sporting rifles (like AR-15-style weapons) accounted for 18.2 percent of its net sales. The Freedom Group’s 2011 annual report noted that the commercial modern sporting rifle market grew at a 27 percent compound annual rate from 2007 to 2011, whereas the entire domestic long gun market only grew at a 3 percent rate.

As the NRA’s David Keene notes, a lot of people do use modern sporting rifles for target shooting and in marksmanship competitions. But the guns also appeal to another demographic that doesn’t get nearly as much press—paranoid survivalists who worry about having to fend off thieves and trespassers in the event of disaster. Online shooting message boards are rife with references to potential “SHTF scenarios,” where SHTF stands for “**** hits the fan”—governmental collapse, societal breakdown. (Adam Lanza’s mother, Nancy Lanza, has been described as “a gun-hoarding survivalist who was stockpiling weapons in preparation for an economic collapse.”) An article on ar15.com titled “The Ideal Rifle” notes that “the threats from crime, terrorism, natural disaster, and weapons of mass destruction are real. If something were to happen today, you would need to have made a decision about the rifle you would select and be prepared for such an event. So the need to select a ‘survival’ rifle is real. Selecting a single ‘ideal rifle’ is not easy. The AR-15 series of rifles comes out ahead when compared to everything else.”

Depending on where you live, it’s perfectly legal to stockpile weapons to use in the event of Armageddon. But that’s a far different argument than the ones firearms advocates have been using since the Newtown shootings.

As I said, I generally think of myself as a Second Amendment supporter, and a month ago, I would’ve probably agreed with the NRA’s position. But the Newtown shooting caused me to re-examine my stance—as is, I think, fitting—and to question some of the rhetoric advocates use to defend weapons like this. In his piece at Human Events, Keene ridiculed the notion that AR-15-style rifles ought to be banned just because“a half dozen [AR-15s] out of more than three million have been misused after illegally falling into the hands of crazed killers.” But the AR-15 is very good at one thing: engaging the enemy at a rapid rate of fire. When someone like Adam Lanza uses it to take out 26 people in a matter of minutes, he’s committing a crime, but he isn’t misusing the rifle. That’s exactly what it was engineered to do.

Bolding mine.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

DP - Is it just me or is PO acting weird today?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4116

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

Yes. I'm not looking to get rid of all guns, I'm talking about assault rifles. I'm fine with people keeping revolvers to protect their homes with, or hunting rifles to hunt with. You will have a hard time convincing me that they need an assault rifle to protect their home, or to hunt with. Which is why I say that THOSE guns are designed for killing people, and we could probably do well to get rid of them.

Again, you are still talking about a gun that is RARELY used in crime. This article estimates that are close to 4 million AR-15 type rifles in the United States. It doesn't really matter what they want to use them for, I would guess many of them just like to shoot targets with them. Why should all the people who own these guns be punished for crimes that very few PEOPLE commit with these guns. Again people commit crimes, not guns. Especially when if they didn't have this gun the criminal could have easily used another sem-automatic gun that is not banned. In fact both the Aurora and Sandy Hook shooters had multiple guns that would not have been banned.

Add everything together, make all the necessary caveats, carry the two, and we reach the conclusion that there are somewhere around 3,750,000 AR-15-type rifles in the United States today. If there are around 310 million firearms in the USA today, that means these auto-loading assault-style rifles make up around 1 percent of the total arsenal. And keep in mind, the AR-15 is just one of the many assault weapons on the market. Overstreet estimated that more than 800,000 Ruger Mini-14 rifles—the rifle that Anders Behring Breivik used in the Oslo summer camp shootings last year—had been produced since 1974. There are other types, too. This is only the tip of the gunberg.

No matter the exact figures, there are a whole hell of a lot of assault weapons in America, which complicates any talk of gun control. The most effective way for the government to reduce the existing gun stock would be to buy them back from their owners. When Australia imposed strict gun control measures in 1996 in the aftermath of a mass shooting, the Aussie government bought back 643,726 newly illegal rifles and shotguns at market value. The gun buyback program, which cost an estimated $400 million in U.S. dollars, was funded by a temporary 1 percent income tax levy.

Would such a plan fly in America? Extrapolating from Australia's numbers, a similar buyback in this more gun-laden country would cost billions. While a tax increase isn't the only way to raise that much money—the federal government could have a bake sale, or auction off some of its lesser-known historical treasures—it's certainly the most obvious way to do it. We might soon see what voters and politicians hate more: guns or taxes.

Assault weapon stats: How many assault weapons are there in America?

Alissa_Sal's picture
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"GloriaInTX" wrote:

Again, you are still talking about a gun that is RARELY used in crime. This article estimates that are close to 4 million AR-15 type rifles in the United States. It doesn't really matter what they want to use them for, I would guess many of them just like to shoot targets with them. Why should all the people who own these guns be punished for crimes that very few PEOPLE commit with these guns. Again people commit crimes, not guns. Especially when if they didn't have this gun the criminal could have easily used another sem-automatic gun that is not banned. In fact both the Aurora and Sandy Hook shooters had multiple guns that would not have been banned.

Assault weapon stats: How many assault weapons are there in America?

You don't need a gun like that to shoot target practice. Seriously, how much "practice" is it to spray a rain of bullets at a target? I would think that if you really wanted to practice your marksmanship, you wouldn't be using a gun that sprays bullets. Hell, I could probably hit the middle of a target if I had enough bullets and the ability to just stand and spray.

You also don't need it to protect your house, and you don't need it to hunt. In fact, it may be worse to use than traditional guns for that purpose.

I'm not talking about getting rid of all guns, but I do think that we need to look at why we have such an attachment to such an unneccessarily dangerous gun. The times when they are being used to kill lots of people - that's when they are being used to do what they were designed to do. I don't understand why there can be no compromise on this subject, and we can't say "Okay, let's keep the "useful" guns, and get rid of the really dangerous and non-useful ones. Just because we can? That's....not such a great reason to do things, sometimes. I believe it was you that recently said "Just because you can do something doesn't make it the right thing to do." (or something along those lines.)

If people want to hunt, or shoot targets, or protect their homes, why can they not do so with guns that are better suited to those purposes?

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I think assault weapons are a great place to crack down on regulations. Again, like stated before, its not about just the numbers, its about purposes, and what is sacrificed in return.

Maybe we can't crack down as much on the types of guns with the highest numbers, because they would infringe more on peoples ability to defend their home(We can regulate handguns differently...by use, not by banning). But here with assault weapons we are infringing on someones hobby...much more worth the sacrifice. And Assault weapons are not responsible for NO deaths...so I think its fair that they be under consideration.

Of course people who like the guns and own one for some reason are another are going to have to sacrifice. That's the truth with everything that was legal once and then banned later.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3312

I think assault weapons are a great place to crack down on regulations. Again, like stated before, its not about just the numbers, its about purposes, and what is sacrificed in return.

Maybe we can't crack down as much on the types of guns with the highest numbers, because they would infringe more on peoples ability to defend their home(We can regulate handguns differently...by use, not by banning). But here with assault weapons we are infringing on someones hobby...much more worth the sacrifice. And Assault weapons are not responsible for NO deaths...so I think its fair that they be under consideration.

Of course people who like the guns and own one for some reason are another are going to have to sacrifice. That's the truth with everything that was legal once and then banned later.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Yes, I agree. I went clay pigeon (skeet) shooting with a rifle on a friends farm. It was HUGE! It shot two bullets, then you had to reload it. Talk about practicing your marksmanship! When it takes you 5 minutes between every two shots to reload, you treasure those 2 shots! Smile It also would have been impossible to mow down 26 people with (any teacher could have physically overcome me while I reloaded) , and physically impossible to have committed suicide with. Trust me when I say I am not against people owning those type of weapons.

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