Why shouldn’t everyone have a gun?

Emma Teitel responds to the NRA on Boston, gun control and ‘law-abiding citizens’


Shortly after the Tsarnaev brothers allegedly bombed their own city and a day before they took their armory to Watertown, the U.S. Senate defeated a bi-partisan gun control amendment that aimed to expand background checks for gun buyers. President Obama was furious. Vice President Joe Biden verged on tears, while Newtown families in Washington wept openly.

“We’ll return home now, disappointed but not defeated,” said Mark Barden, whose seven-year-old was one of 20 children shot and killed by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. “We return home with a determination that change will happen. Maybe not today, but it will happen. It will happen soon.”

Or perhaps not at all. In the wake of Boston some might see heightened hope for the gun control lobby. Paul M. Barrett at Bloomberg Businessweek sees the opposite:

“I’ll predict that the unrest emanating from Boston will benefit the National Rifle Association and its allies in their campaign for widespread individual firearm ownership. For better or worse, the pro-gun side thrives on heightened anxiety … As any gun manufacturer will tell you, the 9/11 attacks helped sales at firearm counters around the country and strengthened the NRA’s hand in lobbying against greater federal restrictions.”

Arkansas State Representative and long-time NRA member Nate Bell tweeted the following on the weekend: “I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?”  Cain TV —Herman Cain’s TV network—was equally subtle: “Just wondering: wouldn’t it be good right now if everyone in Boston had a gun?”

To follow the NRA’s logic—“the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun”—the more good guys with guns, the better. The more gun owners who are “law-abiding citizens”—to use the right’s new favourite expression (“job creators” is so 2012)–the less likely criminals are to shoot up the neighbourhood and hide in your boat. According to the NRA, merely following the law is proof you should have unlimited access to the tools most convenient for breaking it. The gun lobby doesn’t just thrive on fear mongering, or  “heightened anxiety,” as Barrett calls it. It thrives on the myth that the law-abiding citizen will never cease to be one. And so its leaders ask, every time a new measure comes before the Senate, every time a violent tragedy strikes somewhere in their country:

Why should harmless, law-abiding citizens, be inconvenienced and insulted with extensive background checks when we have no reason to fear them?

The answer is simple: Until last week we had no apparent reason to fear a person like Dzhohkar Tsarnaev, the “popular” teenage wrestler, handsome stoner, and — at least as far as his father is concerned—“angel” on Earth.  Until last week, the brothers Tsarnaev were seemingly harmless, law-abiding citizens. (The older brother’s rumoured domestic violence charge has not yet been verified and there’s nothing illegal about watching unsavoury YouTube videos.) Neither showed any desire to commit mass murder. Everyone’s query, now that four people are dead and nearly 200 are injured, about how two supposedly normal individuals could be capable of such atrocities, is in essence, an answer. It’s the answer to the gun-control, background-check debate: we never know, ultimately, who is capable of evil and who isn’t. We only talk about “root causes” once they’ve torn through the earth and fulfilled their twisted purpose. The Boston Marathon bombing isn’t proof that people need weapons to protect themselves from monsters. It’s proof that any one of us could be a monster. We are all law-abiding citizens until we aren’t.

Why shouldn’t “everyone in Boston have a gun?” Because until last week, Dzhohkar Tsarnaev was everyone. No one today would protect his right to forego an extensive background check on the purchase of a weapon. So why last week? Why ever?


Why shouldn’t everyone have a gun?

  1. “We are all law-abiding citizens until we aren’t.”

    You captured the essence of what the gun lobby doesn’t want people to think about. Well put!

    • I think you might yell fire in a theater so you should have your first amendment rights infringed upon. I mean someone could get hurt in the stampede while trying to get out.

      • The gun rights trolls come out of the woodworks for everything don’t they?

        I’d pay to see you defend yourself with a gun in a high-stress adrenaline filled situation. The reality is guns make a horrible defense in the hands of anyone except experts. (If you are military or police trained, then heck, have at er, you’d probably do alright.) But amateurs are more likely to hurt someone innocent and get themselves shot or killed, than to successfully defend themselves from an attack.

        I’m all for responsible gun ownership. I have a Remington 870, but I use it for sport. I don’t have it for defense. In Canada, thankfully, it is illegal to point a firearm at another person, no matter the circumstance. It is also illegal to shoot someone, no matter the circumstance. I think this approach prevents a lot of unnecessary conflict escalations. Self-defense can become an excuse used in a wide range of circumstances.

        • Okay, anybody that disagrees is a troll, got it. It’s illegal to point a gun at someone in the US, the only difference is we have a right to defend ourselves here. We know you Canadians are special…subjects of the government. BTW if you think military or police trained means something, think about this. The first contact with the Boston bombers over two hundred rounds were fired and they both lived, they say the first one died from being run over. The second one in the boat, well you saw the news, lived through a barrage of police fire. Turn in your 870 you never know when or if you will snap.

          • It’s not about your disagreement, it’s that you hunt for articles on gun rights to spread your word. I couldn’t find anything else you comment on.

            So are you saying then that you’d also likely miss your target no matter how much ammunition and training you had? That’s a great argument for using guns for self-defense. Good luck!

          • No, actually I’m saying your arguments against guns are lame and without merit. I’d rather have a fighting chance than stand there with an “I’m anti-gun and will die or get maimed knowing that I think I’m better than you because I refuse to defend myself with a gun” look on my face.

          • You’re making the assumption that you’ll get shot when you don’t have a gun. While this might happen, and does in some circumstances, you are more likely to get shot when you do have one. I don’t play the casino when I know the odds favour the house.

            I’m going to agree that we disagree. I think you’ve got a lot of anger towards those who share Emma’s beliefs. It’s too bad that emotion controls the debate and not logic.

          • Got proof of your statement, “…you are more likely to get shot when you do have one.”? No way. You are more likely to scare the crap out of someone, but that I have no evidence on; simply my opinion.

          • he will cite studies that rely on gang members shot in their homes as “gun owning homes.”

    • So… Guilty until proven innocent.


  2. Nicely written, but if the Tsarnaev brothers had showed no signs of being suspicious, what good do you think background checks would have done in this case?

    • None and they don’t really care. None of have this has been about protecting people. Political operatives see tragedies that can be used as political weapons in political causes. The specific incidents are utterly irrelevant to them beyond knowing the facts well enough to use the tragedy as an effective weapon. That means they don’t need to understand the issue. They just need to remember what city it happened in and a few facts about the attackers… age, race, religion… just enough so they can sound like they’re talking about those people when they reference them.

      Remember how they keep bringing up the assault weapon’s ban in these issues… despite assault weapons not being used… they even did after the boston bombing. And we had a few of these guys openly saying in their little rag editorials “I sure hope its a white tea party person”… Well thanks for the non-biased coverage!

      The level of bigotry in standard city newspapers is frankly shocking. Especially since the same people seem to believe themselves above the rabble.

  3. This column makes no sense. The writer uses in support of background checks an example in which, by her own admission, background checks would have been quite useless. She actually makes a better case against background checks.

  4. By your logic, the German population elected Hitler as their leader and overwhelmingly supported his authoritarian rule; therefore, no one should be allowed to vote. Free speech can be used to incite wars causing millions of deaths; therefore, no one deserves to speak their mind.

    My sister has no interest in guns and lives in Boston and when she was locked in her house hoping these monsters, who were 400 yards away, would leave her alone, she wished she had a gun.

    • I bet her biggest wish was that they didn’t have guns. More guns = more access to guns. Whether legal or illegal, the more that are out there the more people will have them, including people who would use them against you.

  5. This article is sheer stupidity. The brothers had guns: illegally. They were already violating the gun laws that already exist, neither were licensed to have guns and had them anyway. The gun laws that exist were useless, and there is nothing about the new proposals that indicate they would be any less useless. In fact, according to Teitel, they would have passed background checks with flying colors. But they didn’t even bother with the trouble of getting licensed because the existing gun laws are useless. Teitel writes 1000 words and ignores this most basic and telling fact. Garbage journalism. Absolute and total garbage.

    • Never mind the fact that she didn’t mention that background checks were never performed for the purchase of pressure cookers! Now here is a weapon that can kill and maim far more people quicker than the fastest and most powerful assault rifle. It can also be done remotely, which last time I checked, a gun will not do. So in the name of public safety, a new law should be enacted to rid us of this pressure cooker scourge! I see no problem if granny has to go through a few hoops, just to ensure that she is only licensed for canning of preserves!

      • How many pressure cooker bomb deaths were their in Canada and the US in the last 12 months? 3. How many injuries? <300. If we extrapolated back to the last five years we would likely see very little increase in those numbers, if any at all.

        How many gun deaths were there in Canada and the US in the last 12 months? More than 30,000. How many gun injuries? More than 70,000.

        Yes, we should regulate pressure cookers. That is clearly the answer.

        • Canada will probably lead the way.

        • You are missing your backup for this my friend. These gun deaths were done by criminals who obtained their firearms through illegal means. How often do you hear of a law abiding firearms owner shooting a friend or family member over something? Please do your research before you attempt to use statistics.

          Did you know, 100% of non-firearms owners die? I did not research this, so don’t believe it.

          • “How often do you hear of a law abiding firearms owner shooting a friend or family member over something?”

            You don’t because once they’ve pulled the trigger they’re no longer law abiding.

            A simple search shows stats from the CDC, UNODC and OAS showing year after year the US alone has more than 30,000 firearm related deaths and 70,000 firearm related injuries.








          • I didn’t say those stats don’t exist. However, I bet the majority of those stats are due to some sort of criminal activity. Again, these criminals do not obtain their firearms legally.

          • I would be interested to read your references on that one.

            My understanding is a significant amount of gun violence involves legally obtained guns. We’re not just talking about gangs in the streets, we’re talking about domestic violence, suicide and accidental shootings. Crimes of passion, or heat of the moment crimes, usually involve little or no plotting and use the readily available legally obtained guns in the home.

            Not to mention, the guns diverted to gangs are first obtained legally and either irresponsibly stored or outright handed over to criminals.

            “Guns recovered by police during criminal investigations were often sold by legitimate retail sales outlets to legal owners, and then diverted to criminal use over relatively short times ranging from a few months to a few years,[120][121][122] which makes them relatively new compared with firearms in general circulation.[117][123]”


            Cook, Philip J., Anthony A. Braga (2001). “Comprehensive firearms tracing: Strategic and investigative uses of new data on firearms markets”. Arizona Law Review43: 277–309.

            Kennedy, D.M., A.A. Braga, A.M. Piehl (1996). “Youth violence in Boston: Gun markets, serious youth offenders, and a use-reduction strategy”. Law and Contemporary Problems (Law and Contemporary Problems, Vol. 59, No. 1) 59 (1): 147–196

            Wachtel, J. (1998). “Sources of crime guns in Los Angeles, California”. Policing: an International Journal of Police Strategies and Management 21 (2): 220–239.

          • So your argument is: If the current laws don’t work, what’s the point of fixing them?

            Also, the more guns there are out there, the easier it becomes to obtain them illegally. i.e. you are putting more guns in the hands of criminals.

        • Compare gun deaths in which alcohol is a factor. In 2011 the rate for gun related homicides in canada was 0.5 homicides per 100,000 or about 172 homicides. A little short of the 30,000. In comparison MADD indicated there where conservatively 1,082 deaths in 2010 related to drunk driving alone. By your own logic alcohol should be banned before firearms or do you not care about how many people get killed only how they are killed? Additionally studies have shown in about 87% of the cases where the victim displays a firearm the criminal takes off. Having a rapist run away because you pull a gun seems a better solution then getting raped and having the police arrive at best 20 minutes later.

          • If you’ll read what I referenced, it was the US and Canada combined. Reason being is we’ve got comments from both countries. In reality, the rates are very different in both places.

            Second, I said I’m for responsible gun ownership. Just like I’m for responsible drinking. Keeping a loaded gun unlocked is irresponsible.

            But by the “everyone should own a gun logic” the rapist would have one too. And when you scare them with yours there will be a shootout, so good luck to you.

          • There’ll be a shootout only if you miss.

    • Agreed. These two would have passed the background checks even if they were in place. The background checks are useless in this case. Also, the guns got into their hands illegally, so the background checks, again, did nothing.

    • I think that you have toooootally missed the point, and I would not be surprised that you did this purposedly. The point is not whether they bought their guns legally or not. The point is that they COULD have, and nobody would have bothered or needed to do a background check. The background check would not have prevented this particular event in Boston, but it could the next time. If the measures prevents only one such event in the future, I don’t think that this is too high a price to pay and it will not hinder the god given right U.S. Citizen have to massacre one another with guns.

      • ” The point is that they COULD have”

        Wrong. They were not licensed. Therefore they could not buy guns legally. End of story. What part of that do you not understand?

        No, you’ve missed the point. If they were already illegal, they had already broken the law, they could not buy guns legally, then what on earth is the purpose for creating another law? The existing ones were broken and proven useless, creating another law for them to break serves no purpose.

        • So let’s just toss out all laws and be done with it.

          • Why would someone want to do that? Enforcing the existing laws would be a better idea.

  6. Russia reported the older brother to US agencies as a security risk, I have heard. This isn’t really an argument about the Boston brothers who built bombs without legal rights or about background checks, but it is an argument about gun ownership in the first place.

    The basic divide’s often on the question of how much evil or violence are the result of average person’s unstable psychology and how much it is because of bad actors. If you think the average especially middle-class person is basically stable and law-abiding you trust them to own a weapon and view it as a way for them to protect themselves from criminals. If you believe that crime and violence are due to average people succumbing to the deep waters of human psychology you have Emma’s argument. I think both are factors and like George Jonas’s take. Guns are not an absolute right in Canadian tradition like Americans but I do support ownership with checks on a province by province basis, and perhaps even by city depending on the opinions of their people.

  7. Many of the posters criticizing Tietl are somewhat on the right track. If we assume it’s true that the brothers could have bought guns if they were Canadian, we are reminded that murderous people sometimes CAN get through a relatively extensive screening process, and we give thanks at least they couldn’t have gotten their hands on anything worse than a hunting rifle. Then we shake our heads sadly at the brutal carnage Americans seem to enjoy foisting on one another, and wonder if they will ever learn to love their children more than their guns.

    (And I count my cold hard cashola because I sank a bunch of money into American gun makers the day after the Newton massacre. Easy to make money off teh stupid if you know where to look, and the rootin’ tootin’ gun nuts may be lunatics but at least they work for me now).

    • ” the brutal carnage Americans seem to enjoy foisting on one another”

      Perhaps you missed the Marc Lepine shootings, the Dawson College shooting, the arrest of the Toronto 18, the arrest of two terrorist Canadians the last few days, the Jane Creba shooting, the Eaton Centre cafeteria shooting, etc.

      When you measure the number of incidents relative to population size, Canadians are no less brutal than Americans. They are 10 times the size of Canada and the have about 10 times the number of incidents.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_firearm-related_death_rate

        This is a historical list of countries by firearm-related death-rate per 100,000 population in one year.

        Canada: Deaths: 2.13, Homicides: 0.50, Suicides: 1.79

        USA: Deaths: 10.20, Homicides: 3.20, Suicides: 6.30

        Remember, that’s per 100,000. So you’re more than 6 times more likely to be the victim of a gun-related homicide in the US than Canada.

        • Try comparing apples to apples. Compare Seattle to Vancouver. Compare Montreal to Boston. Boston had their terrorists but Montreal had Marc Lepine and Kimveer Gill. Compare Montana to Saskatchewan. There’s no difference. America has inner city problems, in some cities like Detroit and Chicago but not all cities, primarily with black youths in gangs, that only exists in Toronto in Canada, and that is where almost all the murders come from. In the rest of both countries there is not much difference.

          • I suppose you have something to back those statements up with?

            We could slice and dice this a thousand ways. I’m not saying there is one cause or another. I think there are cultural and societal factors which have an enormous impact on these numbers. I think guns are a part of that. But I wouldn’t pin the whole thing on “black youths in gangs”. That’s ignorant and racist.

            On a side note, Japan has tight gun restrictions and shares no land borders with anyone (let alone the largest manufacturer of guns in the world). They have the lowest rates of gun violence in the world.

            Per 100,000
            Japan: Deaths: 0.07, Homicides: 0.02, Suicides, 0.04.

          • It’s not ignorant and racist. It’s called facts. Everybody knows it’s black youths in inner-city gangs that are responsible for the vast majority of murders in America. And it’s also blacks that are the victims of those crimes. It’s racist to ignore those victims.
            Once again, Japanese culture is much different than ours. Why don’t you go next door and compare Cambodia or Vietnam or Philippines or some other Asian country? Oh yeah, you can’t do that because in reality crime in America is BELOW-AVERAGE by world standards.

          • Some more tidbits for you:

            Violent Crimes Per 100,000:

            Seattle: 595.9 (Includes homicide)

            Vancouver: 103.9 (Population of VPD area covered 660,000)

            The firearm related deaths for the UK, another island that doesn’t share land borders with anyone (let alone the largest manufacturer of firearms in the world):

            UK: Deaths: 0.25, Homicides: 0.04, Suicides: 0.17

            The US is 57th of 75 for firearm related deaths and 62nd of 107 for intentional deaths.


            I’m not saying why, I’m just pointing out there is a difference. There is a long way to go to be the best and they are far from the worst. But there are numerous factors that come into play, more than I could spend a lifetime researching. It’s not “black youths in inner-city gangs”, it’s so much more.

          • Of course it’s much much more. But you trot out your UK comparisons and Japan comparisons and I trot out my facts about inner cities.

            You have your tidbits and I have mine. There are even blogs about black inner city crime:

            The stats are the stats:


            “People living in 50 of the largest cities, in fact, accounted for 67% of all firearm homicides.”

            It’s also know that the homicide rate in Chicago is higher than NY, because of black gang violence.

            “Editors for the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and now the
            Chicago Tribune have all issued public statements admitting to
            deliberately censoring information about black crime for political


            “Roving gangs of black flash mobs, who routinely target Whites and Asians, have taken over Chicago; particularly, Michigan Avenue, the Gold Coast, Streeterville, and the Near North Side.”


            “not only is the number of young black criminals likely to surge, but
            also the black crime rate, both black-on-black and black-on-white, is
            increasing, so that as many as half of these juvenile super-predators
            could be young black males. But just when we need to think most
            earnestly about black crime, the space for honest discourse about race and crime is shrinking.”


            I’m a little surprised about your Vancouver/Seattle stats because I’ve been to both and I can see and feel no difference. I have friends living in both as well. So I’m curious if your comparison of Wikipedia stats and vancouver pd stats are in fact comparing the same things, since of course both countries measure things differently. In fact, I doubt that they are. Comparing two different data sources as apples to apples is fraught with issues, it requires special care to ensure both sources measure the same things.

            Regardless, it’s a proven fact that what I said about black innery city homicides is true. That’s where the problem lies. Everywhere else in both Canada and the USA the homicide rate differs very little. Burlington, Vermont is no different than Sherbrooke, Quebec. You can wax your politically correct platitudes til the cows come home, and it won’t change the facts.


            ” To the contrary, the problem of youth homicide is very heavily concentrated in black males aged 15-19.3 In order to respond effectively to the crisis, we must attempt to understand its nature, and must not be misled by the efforts of some gun prohibition advocates to distract attention from the most important factor in any homicide: the motivations of the person perpetrating the crime.

            For inner-city black teenagers, the homicide rate is astronomical.4 The huge rise in gun crime perpetrated by older urban teenagers has not been replicated in other areas. In the suburbs, where legal restrictions on guns are generally less severe, the mortality rate has stayed about the same.5″

          • That’s a great article referencing the CDC report on violence. What they point out repeatedly, is that it is the result of a concentration of poverty. Youth in areas of poverty in particular make up a significant amount of gun violence. What they don’t say is that it’s “black youths in inner-city gangs”. The cause is poverty, not race. And while some ethnic groups may be more prevalent in these areas of poverty, it is not ethnicity it is poverty.

            With that said, how do youth get their hands on guns? Irresponsible gun dealers and gun owners make it too easy. Some gun dealers even sell guns knowing they’re going straight to gangs. The ATF has known there is a problem with shady dealers for more than a decade.




          • No, the cause is not poverty. If that were true, poor areas of Mississippi would have the same high homicide rates. They don’t. If that were true, there would similar homicide rates with Hispanic, White, and Asian gangs. There aren’t. If that were true, poor countries would have higher homicide rates. They don’t – some poor countries are very safe, others are not. If that were true, poorer cities like Moncton would have more homicides than richer ones like Toronto. They don’t.
            Blacks form about 10% of the population in the USA and more than half the homicides, both the perpetrators and the victims. But it’s not all blacks. Blacks in suburban or rural areas, they do not have the same homicide rates either. Blacks in cities that are not in gangs and are not in the drug trade don’t have the same homicide rates either. In Toronto they have the same problem, and in Toronto it’s black Jamaican gangs that are the source of most homicides. Other blacks are not. It’s very easy to pinpoint these things if one is willing to examine the facts rather than their own politically correct prejudices. Inner city black gang drug culture is the root of most homicides.
            Please, stop with your ideological, politically correct claptrap. I work with facts, not religion. I know you’ve been brainwashed to ignore the facts and say all the politically correct, multicultural, diversity, la-la-land bromides and ignore the truth, to not think for yourself but to repeat the same old slogans, but puhleaze, it’s really pathetic.

          • Did you read your own reference from USA Today quoting the CDC? They clearly state high concentrations of people living in poverty are a leading factor.

            Here is the evidence. First, Mississippi is 9th in murder rate and 8th in gun murder rate in the US.

            It’s not ideology, it’s researching the evidence. Including the evidence you pointed out from the CDC which confirms this.

          • Yeah, have you ever noticed inner cities are poor? Yeah, Mississippi has the same trouble too, what a shock. That’s it for me, bye, this is pointless. Go spout your ideology to someone else.

          • s_c_f: “If that were true, poor areas of Mississippi would have the same high homicide rates. They don’t.”

            s_c_f:”Yeah, Mississippi has the same trouble too, what a shock.”

            That’s a pretty quick recant.

          • I’m sorry you are so stupid. Mississippi has cities and black gangs like elsewhere.
            I was talking about poor rural areas. The fact is, Mississippi is the poorest state. So by your stupid argument it should have the highest murder rate. It doesn’t. But of course, Mississippi does have plenty of the kind of black on black crime I’ve talked about, so it’s not at the bottom of the list either. By your idiotic argument the richest states should have the lowest homicide rates. They don’t. The American territory Puerto Rico is twice as poor as any US state so by your argument the crime rate should be higher. It’s not. Every one of your comments is dumber than the last. Crime is far more complicated than your simplistic and ridiculous arguments that are based on your politically correct religion. In fact, why don’t you take a stroll from one side of inner city Chicago to another. Have fun. Let me know how that turns out.

          • Second, compare that list of murder rates with the list of poverty rates.


            Look familiar?

            The CDC has made it pretty clear, as have many scholars, that poverty is a leading cause. Just because Black Americans have higher poverty rates doesn’t mean it’s not because of poverty.

            From your reference:

            “Daniel Webster, professor and co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore, isn’t surprised that most firearm murders occur in inner cities.

            “One of the strongest correlates for homicide is ‘concentrated disadvantaged,’ where everyone living in an area is poor and unemployed,” he said. “There are a lot of sociological factors at play here that make some urban communities at high risk for youth and gun violence,” he explained.”

            Connect the dots for me on how race makes someone more likely to commit homicide.

          • What about Switerland where every home has a mandatory gun, yet one of the world’s lowest crime rates???

          • Mandatory military conscription for men. They are the ones who have to have their guns at home. However, they are kept secure and without ammunition. They are meant to have them so that if they are called to duty they can check in at an armory and load up on ammunition. In certain circumstances, they may carry up to 50 rounds in a locked case, but this is not standard, most of them have no ammunition in the house.

            There is a huge difference between trained men and women having secured weapons and everyone having them. I’m concerned about people who don’t use or store them properly. People need to be responsible for their weapons.

          • False and debunked.

            Ammunition is legal and easy to get in Switzerland

          • UK has same homicide rate as Vermont.

          • Fail

            Japan’s suicide rate is 50% higher than the USA.

            Disarmed japan murder suicide rate is 34% higher than the USA

          • that’s pretty stupid even for you. There’s virtually no way to spin a gun murder rate that is 50X in a country only 10x bigger. The other guy is right to point out maybe there are other factors at play but you know what the big one here is? WE DON’T VENERATE VIRTUALLY UNRESTRICTED ACCESS TO FIREARMS.

            Seriously. You are very stupid and should stop.

          • What a stupid thing to say. Americans do not have unrestricted access to firearms. Idiot.

          • hence use of the word virtually. In all caps, no less.


          • Apparently you don’t know the meaning of the word virtually.
            There is not “virtually” unrestricted access either. Most firearms are prohibited. All other firearms require licensing. All commercial sales require background checks. People with criminal records, underage people, lots of other people are restricted completely from firearms access. People with firearms access are licensed. Most firearms are prohibited entirely. In many jurisdictions, such as Illinois, even handguns are severely restricted. You’re a complete idiot, there is no unrestricted access, nor is there virtually unrestricted access.
            In Boston, neither of the terrorist bombers were licensed and were not legally entitled to possess guns. Not only that, it is suspected that the motive for murdering the MIT police office was to obtain his gun! You’re a complete idiot.

          • Canada has the SAME murder rate of non criminals

            And in equal demographic jurisdictions Canada has the same murder rate. We just have less inner cities.

        • OK so the data shows Canada has the SAME murder rate of non criminals.

          And suicide rate in canada is HIGHER than the USA. just because the majority of suicide here in Canada is by other means instead of firearms you blame firearms?

  8. Two things:
    When you outlaw guns only the outlaws have guns.

    If you have faith in the majority then giving guns to the majority means our firepower overwhelms the minority.

    Banning guns won’t make you safe. You live on planet earth. Not magical unicorn rainbow land. Get over it.

    • When you outlaw murder, only the outlaws will murder.

      A person can be in the majority who owns guns responsibly one day, and in the minority of people who shoot their niece in the yard the next. People are not infallible, and guns simply heighten the danger of when we *do* inevitably fail.

      Banning murder won’t make us safe. We live on planet earth, and since basic economics apply, if you make something more difficult to get because it’s not legal, the price on the black-market will also rise, thus depriving the most desperate criminals.. the ones most likely to use a gun because they’ve got nothing else to lose.. of their access to it.

      It’s only in magical unicorn rainbow land where people think making guns illegal will have no effect on access to them at all.

      • Murder is already illegal. Everything being done with these weapons in these incidents is already illegal. You already passed the laws. You’ve simply failed to get the magical results. And you never will get them.

        Human beings so long as they’re free enough to do bad things will do bad things. You could cut their arms off and strap them to chairs but its not really worth it.

        I knew a guy in high school that grew up to be an insane drugged out psycho. He got high one day and decided it would be really cool to drive his car into a crowd of people. And he did… he killed two or three people. And he wasn’t even really trying to kill people. He was just delusional, stupid, and high. If he had been intelligent, methodical, and had ACTUALLY wanted to kill people he probably could have killed dozens of people with nothing more then his car. There are literally infinite ways to kill people without a gun ESPECIALLY if you’re determined and creative about it. We’ve been killing each other on this mud ball for hundreds of thousands of years… billions if you want to consider our full ancestral tree. Think we NEED guns to do that?

        As to your notion that outlawing guns will raise the cost of them on the black market, that ignores reality.

        Ever heard of a zip gun? They’re very common in India but you see them all over the world. Basically its a homemade gun. They’re typically pretty crude but you’re as likely to stop hillbillies from making moonshine as stop people from making zipguns. All they need is some basic home improvement supplies which they might be able to just scavenge from the junk yard and a few free weekends.

        What further complicates your position is that we are now in the age of the 3D printer. 3D printers can CURRENTLY print a FULLY automatic weapon. How do you regulate that? Now the machines that can do that aren’t cheap. They range from a few million to about 30 thousand dollars. But the technology is maturing rapidly and lower quality versions of those same machines are already showing up on people’s desktops for as little as 400 dollars. The technology is refining itself geometrically. Every year the quality gets better and the prices go down. What do you do when ten thousand dollars will get you a machine that can pump out a machine gun in 5 hours from base untraceable materials?

        But beyond the fact that you’ve already lost war on guns logistically. I have a moral right to own a gun as a free citizen. I am not a peasant. If I can be trusted enough to decide the fate of a nation. To influence law. To judge my peers and possibly send them to their deaths in capital cases. To defend my nation with my life BY CHOICE. Then who are you to tell me I am not fit to own a weapon?

        But beyond even that, what do you think protects your rights and gave you those rights in the first place? In the United States, it was normal people taking their own personal weapons and facing off against an empire. The soldiers in the revolutionary war frequently used their own weapons. Guns that were more suited to shooting rabbits or deer then fighting wars. You’re perhaps aware that the Colonial army had a great many rifles in it while the British army was almost entirely muskets. The reason for that is that rifles while more accurate were much slower to reload. They had a much lower rate of fire because the ball had to be pushed into the barrel’s rifling where as the musket balls just slid right down the barrel. This is in part why the Colonial army had to use hit and run tactics against the british regulars. They would engage at a longer range, fire perhaps once or twice, and then run away. If they stood their ground, the MUCH higher rate of fire of the british muskets would have annihilated them. That little bit of triva was just to underscore that the colonial army was using CIVILIAN arms. It is what they had.

        An armed population is a population capable of protecting its rights. And the first thing any tyrant does… which you must admit… is take the weapons away from the people.

        Well, out of our cold dead hands. Our right to bear arms is protected by the second amendment. It was put there specifically to stop what you’re trying to do right now. Even if you had the political muscle to do it after all these years of chipping away at our basic rights. Its too late.

        You blinked and the world changed. Here’s a link so you know how completely irrelevant your position is on this issue:


        Its over. The dream of disarming the American population is dead. All you can do is make it harder for law abiding citizens to own guns. And the more you do that, the more you’ll reward criminals for continuing to use weapons. Utterly self defeating.

        I either just blew your mind or you just stuck your fingers in your ears while humming. Either way, welcome to the future.

        • Now if you’d started with those arguments, you’d have been better off. I just hate that stupid “if you ban guns only criminals will have them”, because it’s an idiotic tautology, something I pointed out with my murder example that was apparently too complex for you to understand.

          Your anecdote about the car, while interesting, is ultimately not compelling because vehicles have a lot of other uses that do not involve inflicting violence upon others. The only such use for guns is target shooting, and for that, paint-ball guns would work just as well, without increasing the risk factor.

          Your tale about using guns to hold your government in check is completely idiotic. You didn’t just blink, you’ve obviously been completely asleep for the last several years and missed the changes in the world. Look up Waco, and tell me exactly how far your vaunted gun collection will go in protecting you from an oppressive government should you have to fight it militarily. These days, if you have to fight your government with guns, not only will you lose, but you’ve already lost.

          I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of self-defense. Just not of the lethal variety, and not because I care about criminals, but because I care about the dead nieces and dead wives, and the dead dipshits in the bar parking lot, none of which needed to die and wouldn’t have if guns weren’t so readily available and condoned. I find it loathsome, for instance, that Canada bans tasers while allowing hand-guns. That’s exactly backwards.

          About the only interesting thing you’ve said was with respect to 3D printers and zip-guns, which only serve to further emphasize why we need restrictions on guns. If there’s a law that makes simply *having* one of these things a punishable offense, then simply having one will be a risk. Law-abiding citizens typically won’t be willing to take that risk at all, thus saving us 100% of the accidental shootings that occur, while not hampering productive society in pretty much any way at all.

          Criminal citizens will also be taking a risk, which means that we might be able to stop and arrest them *before* they manage to commit a more serious crime with the weapon.. not just after.

          • The outlaw argument is actually quite sound but it has no chance of penetrating your cognitive dissonance. So I used logistical arguments since they tend to have a better chance getting through being literal.

            As to the car example, the point is that if I want to kill you, I can probably do it about as efficiently with or without a gun. It might constrain my tactics but in the end you’re dead. Your disbelief at the ingenuity of your fellow humans to come up with ways to kill each other is a little naive. After all, we are the minds that invented the gun in the first place. It didn’t exist until we made it. Do you honestly think denied that tool we can’t devise another? I can improvise a dozen such devices. And the fact that those devices might have alternative uses doesn’t weaken my argument. Rather it makes it stronger. Because it shows that I have so many choices as to how to kill you that denying me one tool is unlikely to make any real difference especially for the aggressor.

            Defending yourself form an attack is harder then making an attack. An attacker has the initiative. They KNOW they’re going to attack. You do not. Further, consider that the fire arm was consider the “great equalizer” because everyone armed with a gun was generally equal in 1:1 fights. An old sick woman could kill a strong healthy man. Take guns away and the strong man has an overpowering advantage.

            Something you should consider is that “hot burglaries” are very rare in the US while they’re quite common in Europe. these are burglaries that occur when the burglar KNOWS you’re at home. They come right in with clubs and knives. What are you going to do? Get on the ground, keep quite, tell them where your valuables are, and prey they don’t rape your daughter.

            In the US this is very rare. Why is that? Because every so often they try it and end up dead.

            As to the people facing off against the government. Isolated bands can be overwhelmed indifferent to how they’re armed. During a full scale rebellion those weapons would be incredibly powerful. No where did I imply that hand guns would let a couple hundred whackos successfully face off against the whole US federal government. That was your criticism of my point… which you ironically called idiotic. Your comparison was at best a stupid strawman. Try again with a less dishonest and idiotic argument. And before you presume to get fake offended by that, you brought that fair though hurtful assessment upon yourself. Be nice or I have no reason to treat you better then you merit.

            As to lethal self defense, I am a free person. I have every right to be dangerous. It comes with my right to vote. My right to judge my peers in court. It comes with being a citizen. If you don’t think citizens have a right to be dangerous then you’ve confused peasants with citizens. I am not a peasant. You do not disarm me. I will not permit it. And as I pointed out, you’ve already failed.

            As to your argument against 3d printers, you’ve said that forbidding them in the hands of lawabiding citizens will be good because they won’t accidentally shoot each other. Which is actually quite uncommon. Then you said criminals won’t do it because they’ll have the risk of getting caught with them. Never mind that they’re criminals by definition and are already doing something illegal. If I’m smuggling sex slaves into the area… as an example… why would I give a rat’s ass about your stupid gun law? I would hose you down with a machine gun LAUGHING before I cared about that sort of thing.

            Which really just underscores the fact that you never understood the initial point. Outlaw guns and only the outlaws have them. You might think that’s cute but you clearly don’t understand it as your last two paragraphs made clear.

            The future has passed you by… I know you take that as an insult or an attempt to claim superiority. It is neither. You literally do not understand that what you are proposing would be as impossible as banning a book in the age of the internet. I can download the gun and print it. If I’m hostile and crazy, all you’ve accomplished is disarming my victims.

            That is foolish. I doubt I’ve made it through your cognitive dissonance. Some people have their heads so far up their own asses it’s remarkable they can communicate at all… I have however done my level best.

            Good day, sir.

          • “Some people have their heads so far up their own asses it’s remarkable they can communicate at all…”

            Yes, you do. And you’re right; it is quite remarkable.

          • Ah, the old I’m rubber you’re glue argument… Clever.

            I’m calling you stupid. I’m being obvious because you’re stupid.

      • You just engaged in a classic logical fallacy. murder is already illegal

  9. “Why shouldn’t everyone have a gun”?

    For the same reason not everyone should have a column at a news magazine. Because too many don’t know what to do with it.

    • Heh. True enough, but I’d argue that at least the effects of a column can be corrected.

  10. So…anyone could transform from law abiding citizen to monster.

    And Teitel thinks that’s a reason NOT to be able to defend yourself.


    • There’s ways to defend yourself that don’t involve lethal risk.

      • 99.9% of times guns are used to prevent crime they are not fired.

  11. “The Boston Marathon bombing isn’t proof that people need weapons to
    protect themselves from monsters. It’s proof that any one of us could be
    a monster. We are all law-abiding citizens until we aren’t.”

    If we don’t need weapons to protect us from monsters then why do the cops show up with them? In fact, the very guns and magazines that gun grabbers want banned and if these guns, as the hoplophobes say, are “only for killing a lot of people really quick” then why bring these guns if they’re pursuing just one man? Shouldn’t they have double barreled shot guns? Maybe we need some oracles floating around in a pool to protect us from would be monsters, Minority Report anybody? I’m not willing to give up rights so some of you bed wetters can have a false sense of security.

  12. “(The older brother’s rumored domestic violence charge has not yet been
    verified and there’s nothing illegal about watching unsavory YouTube
    videos.) Neither showed any desire to commit mass murder.”

    Funny how you white wash the videos he was posting and ignore the fact that we were warned about him by having questionable activities in Russia, the FBI should have kept an eye on him after the warning and interview. If he had been an NRA member, white and Christian I’ll bet you would be singing a different tune about it.

  13. Perhaps we need to infringe on the right to organized religion. You know more people have been killed over religion than anything else in history, including the Boston bombing. Note, I am a Christian, just revealing absurdity by being absurd. You gun grabber’s arguments are on this same level of logic.

  14. The older brother had already been interviewed by the FBI as a possible terrorist and neither had the gun licenses required to possess guns in MA yet had firearms.

    The gun laws in MA stricter than the proposed expanded background checks and not surprisingly these two ignored them.

    Why would anyone disarm themselves on the premise that criminals won’t get weapons either because of laws?

    • Because of economics. If guns are harder to get in general, the price, even on the black-market, goes up.

    • this turns out to be false. Tsarneav bought the gun legally and would have been able to do so if all of the proposed gun laws had been in place. In other words all the proposed laws would have had no affect.

  15. And of course the gun control side NEVER takes advantage of a tragedy. They even brag about it!

    • To the Americans that believe they should be able to buy weapons: If you believe that anybody should be able to buy nuclear weapons at Hope Depot then you truly believe that people should be able to buy anything they want. If you think that nukes should not be sold then you DO believe in arms control. So my question is, using NRA logic, would’t we all be safer if we each and a nuke in our closet? Nobody would attack us right? That’ll be a safe world right?

      • Perhaps the silliest post ever.

      • You just made a classical logical fallacy of slippery slope. And as historians of the period have said, the “regulated” word in the language in the US constitution refers to the guns of “regulars” Ie normal infantry weapons vs scythes and pitchforks of irregulated fighters. It means normal infantry rifles and hand guns, not nukes.

  16. For what it’s worth no one I have heard of has suggested that “everyone” should have a gun. I certainly don’t think that anymore than everyone should drive a car or have kids. The NRA doesn’t believe that everyone should get a gun. Not even Gun Owners of America or Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (both are less willing to consider compromise than the NRA) think everyone should have a gun.

    The NRA position is that people who are not prohibited by law- felons, spouse abusers, illegal aliens, those dishonorably discharged from the military and people adjudicated as mentally ill- should be able to- if they so chose- to own any type of small arm they desire. All gun owners should observe safe handling rules. People who intend to go hunting should take instruction in safe hunting. Those who want a firearm for protection should undergo training and then practice regularly.

    All very straight forward common sense. The problem of course is that the final position of the anti-privately owned gun crowd is usually hidden so that they can pass legislation gradually which is why there is so much distrust of Obama, Reid, Feinstein et al on this issue.

    • That may be the public position of the NRA, but their political positions are much less sane. For instance, they managed to get wording into the current bill that allows you to transfer guns to your friends and neighbours without having to do background checks. Which basically guts the entirety of the bill.

  17. The two terrorists killed the MIT campus for his gun. Maybe officers shouldn’t carry guns because that might entice criminals or terrorists to try to take those guns away. Absurd, yes but when has that ever stopped the gun grabbers.

    • You bring up a great point. The MIT Campus Security Officer was shot because he had a gun, he was a threat. The people that were carjacked by the same suspects shortly after were not shot, because they didn’t have guns. They weren’t a threat.

      With events like this there is very little an unsuspecting person can do to protect themselves. That’s an unfortunate reality of living in this world. We don’t need a culture of fear to drive us to arming up. The evidence shows you’re more likely to die when you have a gun than when you don’t. Homicide and suicide rates double for homes with guns than those without.


      • Thanks for the junk science.

        Suicide rates are UNCHANGED for equal demographic homes with guns compared to without (US CDC 08/2013). Your studies shows suicide BY gun increases. Big deal. Equal demographic homes without guns see the same suicide rate only by drug overdose, asphyxiation, jumping, drowning etc.

        And all those studies on murder in the home with guns don’t control for the whopper, the fact hat in the US about 90% of gun murder victims are active criminals or associated with gang violence. When that data has active criminals controlled out, homes with guns are marginally safer. And those studies count no defensive gun use where the gun is not fired, despite the science showing in almost all cases in preventing an attack the gu is not fired but merely shown.

        The only elevated rate is accidental injury and death by gun. Well homes that own skis or skateboards or pools have MUCH higher accident and death rates by skis and skateboards or pools than homes that have guns have accidental death and injury from guns


  18. This conversation was sparked by something said by an Arkansas state representative? I can see how a bigot would then turn this into the equivalent of, ‘all gun rights supporters…’. Pathetic! Can’t even follow the NRA’s logic without throwing in her own hyperbolic nonsense. What happened to logic? Where has she been since 911? Does she really believe that Fort Hood was workplace violence?

  19. The rate of gun deaths per 1000 people is over 20 times higher in the US than Canada — if the NRA has it’s way they could easily top the 25X number. The problem the NRA is really addressing is over population.

    • The rate of murder of non criminals in the US is the SAME as Canada. The US has a hugely elevated murder rate of criminals killing criminals in gang activities.

      And as far as gun “deaths” you use in a sophistry because in the US 2/3 of all gun deaths are suicides. In Canada we have the SAME rate of suicide, jut mostly by other means. Canadian suicide prevention mental health experts say we grossly under-count suicide here because gun suicide is much more likely to be ruled suicide than drug suicide in coroners’ reports.

      here is the data. We banned a whole lot of guns and passed a lot of laws and murder dropped in Canada in the past two decades by 46% per capita.

      In the USA in the past two decades they went from 65 million gun owning homes to 87 million gun owning homes, and went form 300 million guns in private hands to 400 million (yes), almost all new sales semiautomatic, and they saw a a BIGGER drop per capita in gun murder of 56%

  20. Studies indicate that firearms are used over 2 million times a year for personal protection, and that the presence of a firearm, without a shot being fired, prevents crime in many instances. Shooting usually can be justified only where crime constitutes an immediate, imminent threat to life, limb, or, in some cases, property.

    The media will never show theses examples

    • Those studies are crap. If you actually look at them, the primary survey was specifically and deliberately oversampled in areas that they knew had a high crime-rate and high gun ownership so that they could get more indepth answers, the survey conductors readily admit that they knew people probably weren’t telling them the truth (because whoever answered the phone almost *always* happened to be the person who had to defend themselves with the gun, never somebody else in the household) and that if a person owned a gun, they were 10x more likely to feel they were the potential victim of a crime than a person without.

      And all of that is without even considering any bias that gets introduced when they mentioned why they’re looking for this information to people who own guns and often seem to feel that ownership is being threatened.

      • Fail: in August 2013, the new study by tthe US government Center for Disease control estimated 500,00 to three million defensive gun uses per year

  21. No one seems to get the “We are all law-abiding citizens until we aren’t” argument. Perhaps the perpetrators of the Boston bombings weren’t the best example to use, but the logic of the argument makes sense in general. Let me say it in a way you may just understand: WHY ON EARTH WOULD I WANT TO LIVE IN A COUNTRY WHERE THE PERSON DRIVING NEXT TO ME ON THE HIGHWAY OR THE PERSON LIVING IN THE HOUSE NEXT TO MINE VERY LIKELY HAS A GUN WHEN I KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THEM: THEIR PSYCHOLOGICAL CONDITION, THEIR EMOTIONAL STATE, THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES, NOTHING. Gun-lovers only ever think of the fact that they trust themselves with a gun and feel safer, they never think about the fact that, by living in a gun-loose society, you’re not just putting your safety in your own hands, you’re putting it in the hands of every other single person in the country. And quite frankly, I wouldn’t trust my life to a gun-toting American under ANY circumstance. The only ones who should have guns (and this is actually debatable, they do just fine in London without them), are the police and the military: people who regularly have to pass training and testing. Of course there are civilian marksmen who happen to have more talent than the majority of police officers, but they are a minority. Again, I’m not placing my trust in just any old American civilian to be an excellent marksman, mentally sound, and to have my best interests in mind.

    • In the united States, the are of non criminals murders is no different than the developed country mean.

      By the way you mentioned Tsarneav brothers. In the US the elder brother who died in a shoot out with police is listed as a gun homicide. In Canada he would NOT be listed on the statistics as a gun homicide.

  22. Privately owned guns.
    The only thing preventing.
    Leaders like Mao or Stalin.
    In North America.
    End of story.

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