Gun Control

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You know how I’m not too controversial and don’t really say what I think.  Well here is another one.  Gun control.  I know many of you will disagree, but guns in our society aren’t working. Even the police superintendent of Chicago thinks there needs to be more gun control laws.

I’m tired of going out riding and having that worry, in the back of my mind, that if I get into a controversy with someone that there is a very small chance that someone might pull out a gun and escalate the argument into something majorly different.

People used to settle differences with words.  Every once in a while a fist.  Now it escalates into potential death.  It doesn’t do any of us any good.

More American have been killed, in America, by guns, since 1968, than all Americans killed in all wars combined since we have been a nation.  That is an unbelievable fact.  Here is a link to some more charts about the correlation of gun ownership and deaths.

We need to address this eventually and now seems like a good time.  We need to stop the wrong people from randomly, or not so randomly, going around and shooting our children, friends and fellow Americans.  Other countries have addressed this and it is working out great for them, but…..we’re Americans and we believe we are more responsible or something, thus the 2nd amendment exists.  It is wrong, at least our interpretation of the amendment is jacked up, and we need to fix it.  We all need to be more open minded and address this obvious problem of society.

Watch the comic below.  He is making light, kind of, of a very serious situation our society hasn’t been able to handle responsibly, guns.  The guy is pretty raunchy.   From personal experience, guys from Australia and New Zealand have potty mouths.  But that doesn’t mean what he is saying isn’t true.  And it is serious.  I don’t really disagree with anything he says.


These were seized from one individual in California. He bought them from private sellers and bought ammunition on the internet. It ain't hard to find.

These were seized from one individual in California. He bought them from private sellers and bought ammunition on the internet. It ain’t hard to find.

People that carry guns don't think they will be one of the 3 out of 100,000 that die because of guns, but what they don't realize is that they increase that very chance by a huge percentage.

People that carry guns don’t think they will be one of the 3 out of 100,000 that die because of guns, but what they don’t realize is that they increase that very chance by a huge percentage.

113 thoughts on “Gun Control

  1. flicksta

    31 people will be killed in the US today by people with guns.

    It’s incomprehensible to the rest of the world why the US persists with the proliferation of guns.

  2. Collin

    My only question is, how many people will be killed by Automobiles today or alcohol? If you would like to dig up some statistics on those, I’m sure it would be very informational. I think criminals and other people that shouldn’t have guns will have guns no matter the law. Beyond that, I am unsure of what it is right and what is wrongor what is healthy and what is unhealthy.

  3. The Cyclist

    John Wayne used to be my hero. Not so much anymore.
    Next post should be on riding with no helmet.

  4. The Cyclist

    … or more to the point: how many of drunk drivers also carry a gun and how many of them are involved in arguments and/or accidents with cyclists.

  5. El Jabón

    What I don’t like about guns (although I own one) is exactly what you mean Steve. So what if more people die from car accidents etc. What people do not always realize is that guns change social discourse. It doesn’t matter where you are. They make you a little more afraid of going into that bad neighborhood, and a little more afraid when you have a crazy ex. and prevent people from interacting productively and constructively in confrontational situations and just life in general.
    I live in a rural area, and my isolation makes me appreciate the safety of one, but they should be difficult and to obtain and require licenses, coursework, etc. to obtain one and carry hefty penalties if regulations of ownership are not followed. I shouldn’t have been able to have my father or friend just give me a handgun, and have that be legal!
    Just my $0.02…

  6. Kevin Lyons

    You are correct and I agree. The gun thing is fueled by fear and hate. When that stuff starts in peoples heads’s, all reason goes out the window. As the pro poker players say, people go on “tilt” when emotions take over. Guns are all about emotions, and not good ones.

  7. Your Neighbor

    I used my assault rifle to cut down those trees the other day, a very enjoyable experience. On another note, some random cat (pretty sure its one of yours) had a litter of kittens in my garage. Can you come by and get them? Thanks

    PS: I would feel a lot better if you started wearing your helmet when you ride

  8. Jason

    My girlfriend and I were threatened with a gun by a guy in a pickup truck on a recent ride . The guy tried to hit us and forced us off the road , then threatened us with a gun. I got his tag number and vehicle description and stopped by the police dept. Needless to say the police wouldn’t do anything about it and acted like it was no big deal.

  9. L

    Steve – If you look in-depth at the numbers, what you’ll find is that most parts of society are actually experiencing significantly less gun violence despite (or because of) huge increases in legal gun ownership. While another (much smaller) segment of society is experiencing exploding gun violence – using illegally obtained guns. The sad thing about this topic (and most other political topics these days) is that no one is interested in being honest about guns, gun violence, or about how to solve the problem.

    The problem isn’t that I have a handgun that was given to me by my deceased grandfather who was the chief of police of a tiny Wisconsin town. Or that I have a shotgun that I have used responsibly for 20+ years for turkey hunting. The problems are:

    1. That we have raised 4+ generations of people with little or no impulse control who are caught in a spiral of poverty and welfare dependency. But no one wants to talk about this because the problem involves race and inner-city (mostly minority) neighborhoods. Compare West Virginia and DC. Notice that vast parts of West Virginia have similar levels of fatherless welfare-dependent poverty, but the gun violence is negligible. Whereas DC has all but outlawed handguns and gun violence is extremely high.

    2. We have absolutely no way to forcibly hospitalize truly mentally ill people (nearly all of the last 10 “spree shooters” exhibited CLEAR signs of mental illness well in advance of their crimes: Adam Lanza, Jerald Loughner, the movie theater guy; Bryce Williams in VA; The VA Tech shooter; the Columbine shooters)…and yet we are unwilling to forcibly hospitalize these people because it’s hard to do and/or unconstitutional to lock them up when they haven’t committed a crime. And yet no one is talking about “changing our flawed interpretation” of the 4th,5th and 6th Amendments.

    It’s easy to sit back and say we should “do something” about gun violence. Unfortunately, what that general means is passing laws that only law-abiding people will follow. Which will have little or no impact on the safety of people in already safe neighborhoods while also having no impact on the violence in inner-city neighborhoods. Unless you’re willing to have police forcibly search people in inner-city neighborhoods and to enforce the gun laws that are ALREADY in effect, we’ll never be able to change this dynamic. In fact, if you look at successful crime prevention strategies (like NYC from 1992-2010) it involves HEAVY police involvement in inner-city neighborhoods and lots of arrests (as well as some police abuses). Which engenders complaints that we’re locking up too many minority men…

  10. Steve Tilford Post author

    Collin – Be reasonable and compare apples to apples. Nearly all automobile fatalities are accidents. And nearly no one that consumes alcohol is trying to kill themselves.

  11. Steve Tilford Post author

    L- I don’t agree. Many other countries have went through the painful process of removing guns from their society and it has worked. They do this by making draconian laws that apply to possessing a gun.

    I saw an article about a town in Tennessee that decided enough was enough and they said that anyone carrying a gun in a drug related crime was going to be prosecuted federally, which meant a 10 year minimum sentence. They had a hard time getting the message to the actual drug dealers, but did this by running commercials with no audio. I guess crack houses tended to have a TV blaring at all time and when it went silent, they went and looked at the screen, which stated the new method of dealing with drugs and guns.

    The following 6 months, nearly no one arrested for selling drug possessed a gun. I heard interviews with the drug dealers and those guys weren’t stupid. They acknowledged that they would be stupid to carry a firearm while selling crack, knowing they would get a minimum of 10 years. The penalty outweighed the benefit.

    That is what we need to do, make a penalty that outweighs the benefit. People usually respond to that quite quickly.

  12. Jeffb

    Did you read the entire article? You did see the stat that I believe in 2013 that 63% of Gun related deaths were Suicide. My guess is that every years stats then are padded with those Suicides as well.

  13. channel_zero


    The point of getting guns out of a community is the ability to move freely with a sense of confidence and security that we won’t be shot at a movie theater, shot at a school, shot at our workplaces. Why is that okay?

    “Criminals” and guns is a whole other topic, generally used to instill fear. Maybe that’s not your intent, but I’m tired of the fear mongering.

  14. Steve Tilford Post author

    Jeffb-Suicide is death. I saw a article about suicides and it said that something like less than 10% of people that attempt suicide will try it again and succeed. And that 90 something percent of people that commit suicide with a gun succeed the first time. And there is tons of data that shows where there are less guns, then the suicide rates drop a ton. Suicide is not good for society either. Watch the video, he addresses suicide.

  15. L

    Steve – That’s great idea. I’m all for getting guns out of the hands of drug dealers and other criminals. We all know what works, but no one seems to want to do it. Two things though: that “draconian” law in TN is about possessing a gun in the commission of another crime (not making mere possession illegal). The Left in this country would NEVER support a law like that because it’s too easy to demagogue into a racial issue. And once you make that law into criminalizing simple possession (not associated with another crime) the Right will never support it, because it’s too easy to demagogue into “gun grabbers” etc. I don’t know the right answer, but until we can have a serious and adult-level dialogue about the real problem (how to get guns out of the hands of criminals, not just law-abiding people) we’re never going to solve it or even come close. Seriously, ask yourself: Why doesn’t Switzerland have a gun crime problem?

    They have the highest percentage of gun ownership in the western world – including in-home possession of army-issued weapons. And almost no gun crime. To me, it’s not *just* gun ownership, that’s the problem. It’s a culture of lawless criminality coupled with gun ownership. Fix the culture, fix the problem.

    Quick story: I used to ride with Ronnie Vails when he and I lived in Eugene, OR back in the 90’s. He would get seriously hassled on a regular basis simply because he was a black guy on a bike in a rural part of the county. One day he started wearing a tight white jersey (think skinsuit tight) with a holstered revolver in it….that was CLEARLY visible from behind. Man, did the attitude of passing truck-driving-local-hicks change! Instead of passing us and trying to run us off the road, they’d slow down, look, and then smile and wave with a bemused sort of semi-grin. They turned from being outright hostile and scary to being overly-friendly in a matter of one ride.

  16. Clifford

    Sadly, that’s not too surprising. I was threatened and dodged an assault by a guy in a truck near Perry many years ago. I thought about reporting him to the local cops but then realized he probably was one of their brothers…

    I’m all for stricter gun laws and really can’t stand the presence of guns in our society. The numbers tell a pretty stark story: all other things being equal – racism, poverty, lack of educational resources, etc. – curbing the availability of guns brings the rate of violence down significantly. Sure, there will be outlying violent acts, but the constant shootings are preventable. And don’t get me started on the armed thuggery of many of our police.

  17. Clifford

    sorry, perhaps unfair to label “many of the police” as such. But the steady/recent increase in police violence is notable and remarkable.

  18. Pete

    L – That’s a nice story about your family but you are part of the problem. The gun culture in america that you choose to participate in is why you see per capita more gun violence in the states than anywhere else. Here’s what I don’t get about the mass shootings and mental illness thing. If you can’t control ‘mental illness’ then why not take the thing you can control out of the equation?

  19. Asocratic

    While the debate on this blog is civil and thoughtful it is the typical of of many Left vs right debates. We all agree gun death/crime is bad. The Left want to fix it by banning the guns and the Right whats to fix or at least blames the people/society. Seems that we need to start by asking and agreeing on how to measure the quality of the possible solutions. Not sure the answer to that. Banning guns seems simple (may not be) and has hidden costs. Fixing Society (see reference to Switzerland above) seems really hard, but a better long term solution.

  20. Frank S.

    You can control mental illness, or at least treat and contain it if needed. Similar to the race issue, society doesn’t seem to want to spend the time and money to address it properly.

  21. Bart

    L- You are way off base and making statements that are untrue. There is no data at all that says gun violence is lower when people have legal firearms. That is a lie perpetuated by the NRA and various special interests and fanatics. The truth is that whenever there is the presence of a firearm, the likelihood of someone being shot is higher. It doesn’t matter who owns the gun, whether it’s a criminal or your kindly grandpa. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your bedside table or in a crackhead’s shaking hands. If there is a gun present, there is a chance you will be shot. It’s an extremely simple thing to understand. Arming the populace is not the answer and the facts say that the populace is less safe with a continued proliferation of guns. Again, it’s very simple. More guns = more gun deaths and injuries.

    Responses to your specific points-
    1. It’s true that the US as a society has gone off the rails. We glorify deadly violence in our tv shows, our movies, our music and in our own belligerence. The bigger the bang and the higher the body count, the bigger the sales… DC is out of control and has been for a very long time. The same can be said for many places in the US and for many other things in the US as well. Think illegal immigration, think illegal drugs, think legal (prescription) drugs, think unchecked fraud, think irresponsible media, think homelessness, think poverty, think untreated mental illness. We are a nation that in many cases is out of control. There are over 300 million people in the US today. Gun laws that were appropriate (perhaps) in colonial America do not have validity in 2015.

    2. By focusing on the sensationalized mass shootings, you are missing the reality of gun violence. There are people being shot and killed every single day and they never even make the news. There are more people dying in that way in than the mass shootings. it’s the accidents, the domestic arguments, the armed robberies, and so on. The mass shootings are terrible, but in most cases there was no obvious warning to alert authorities. Unfortunately these people were unbalanced, and they were going to hurt someone, somehow. The guns made the situations worse by many orders of magnitude. In many cases, they got the idea from the media’s exploitation of a previous mass murder. Before the Columbine massacre, how many school shootings had happened? How many after? Do you see the connection?

    The only way to reduce the incidence of gun related violence, injuries and death is to reduce the number of guns present in our world. It’s very simple and it’s common sense. Will people still kill people? Of course. They will use the guns that are still present. And, of course they could and would still use other weapons and even hands and feet. But facts are facts. Less guns = less violent injuries and less deaths. To argue against this is ludicrous. I advocate an extremely hard line when it comes to guns and I agree with Steve.

    But realistically, we are 300 million here and we are out of control. God help us all.

  22. sfb

    Lol. Chicago is NOT the best place to reference in order to support your point, Steve. I’ve lived here my whole life, and handguns have been ILLEGAL (not allowed to be carried or sold -yes-they ran the gun dealers out of the city) for quite some time now. Yet…the gun crimes and murders persist. In fact, we are on pace for a record year on the South and West sides…and the authorities can’t seem to stop it. As L said…this is largely a societal and economic problem. I don’t own a gun, but just about everyone I know does (I live in the ‘burbs)…and none of them have ever had a issue.

  23. L

    Pete – You exemplify exactly what I’m talking about: blame and politics.

    I am in NO way part of the “gun problem” in this country – and it’s the lowest form of ad hominem argument to argue that. It’s not an argument, it’s an unthinking insult.

    Seriously, ask yourself why Switzerland has almost no gun crime, despite high levels of legal gun ownership. They REQUIRE every able-bodied male in the country to maintain familiarity AND competence with serious weapons through regularly mandated shooting tests. And yet they have no gun crime.

    If we can’t answer that question without insulting people, then maybe we all should start wondering why…

    As for mental illness….we CAN minimize the impact of mental illness. We used to do that in this country. Sanitariums, etc. Now we just put them in prison or consign them to a life of homelessness. Neither of which is humane.

  24. Bri

    I fully agree Steve! Another aspect of guns was shed in the movie Lord of War.

    Anyways, I bet you will ruffle a lot of conservative Kansas/NRA/Republican’s with this post…too funny!

    Btw, I think you should have added this song to the post!

  25. jpete

    L, your statement : ” In fact, if you look at successful crime prevention strategies (like NYC from 1992-2010) it involves HEAVY police involvement in inner-city neighborhoods and lots of arrests (as well as some police abuses).” is only one of many theories about why violence went down during that time frame. A very good read is an article in the book, “Freakonomics” which has a very different take, which is equally, if not more plausible.

  26. Long Shadow Of History

    “People used to settle differences with words.”

    Steve, no you (Americans) never did that. Not sure why you wrote that.

    Your forefathers persecuted and killed millions of people based solely on their race. Some states disagreed and banned that but then these differences were “settled” at the cost of 750,000 lives. So, again, not sure why you wrote that settling “with words”.

    Then when they got “free”, they were subsequently hunted down and lynched and killed randomly over “differences” during the course of more than a century by a group comprised of people wearing hoods, all the while condoned by the government. Not to be outdone, even as late as 50 years ago, these same “differences” were settled with government backed water cannons, rather than words.

    The “right to bear arms” was created to enable your forefathers to hunt in militias and kill others solely based on race. Although, like almost everything else in this “debate”, there is an army of present day NRA history rewriters who will try and tell you otherwise.

    This is just who a lot of you are; whitewashers of history. Steve, you don’t have to join in.

  27. LD

    No one ever seems to believe that their ownership of a gun is going to cause harm to them or their families. It’s always “the other guy” that will have or be the problem. However, most gun deaths happen in the home, whether due to domestic violence, carelessness, or suicide. A local guy recently went through a restorative justice program because he “accidentally” fired his handgun (which he claimed to have safely handled 5000 times before) and the bullet went out his house, into his neighbor’s and right past the resident’s face. A local politician somehow forgot he had a loaded handgun in his briefcase when he tried to enter the local courthouse and they found it while x-raying his briefcase. Scary to think people forget when they’re carrying a loaded weapon.

    Bad stuff does happen and owning a gun increases the likelihood it will happen to you.

  28. Bart

    L- The reason that Switzerland has so many guns is very simple. The reason is for national defense. The nation is very militaristic, but appropriately so. They are a neutral state and thus have to be prepared to defend themselves against any encroaching enemies.

    There reason that there is very little violent crime and very few gun related injuries and death is that they as a nation, act responsibly. The Swiss are a peaceful people. They have a great life and will protect it. They have a good social system of healthcare and education. Their tax monies are put to good use. They use common sense, logic and reason. They also have a population of just over 8 million, which makes management much easier.

  29. Bart

    SFB- The problem is that guns were way too available and for way too long. They outlawed the guns, but the guns already there didn’t disappear. The ammo didn’t rot away, either.

  30. Martin

    Long Shadow of History, you are guilty of whitewashing history. The 2nd amendment was absolutely not created to “hunt in militias and kill others based soley on race”. Maybe you should go back and revise your revision of history.

  31. Mark

    Has there actually been an increase in “police thuggery” or is it just what the media’s current hot topic is?

    I remember back about ten or so years ago the media was bringing national attention to every child abduction they could find. They actually dubbed that year “the year of abductions” despite the fact that child abductions were the lowest they had been in years.

  32. Bri

    This is just your typical NRA generated response. Remember the 2 year old that picked up his mom’s gun in Walmart? Don’t see this happening behind the wheel. Apples to Oranges

  33. Bri

    Several years back a teenager attempted suicide. After committing the act he desperately tried driving himself to the emergency room. He made it there but the end result was a loss of life. So your point is what again?

  34. Mark

    If there is a knife present, there is a chance you’ll get your throat slashed. If there is a hammer present, there is a chance you’ll get your finger smashed. If you are getting your hair cut and there are scissors present there is a chance you will get a piece of your ear cut off. If you are in a car there is a chance you will be involved in a car wreck. If you have your Johnson out as well as your wallet and there is a prostitute present there is a better than average chance that you will get your dick sucked! LOL!!!!!

  35. Jason

    Also, how do you think they illegally obtain the guns??? They buy them from somebody that can legally obtain the guns in another state or the suburbs. The NRA is heavily funded by the gun industry. This isn’t about freedom. Like everything else, it comes down to MONEY.

  36. david ferguson

    Lots of good points and everybody has their own opinion on gun ownership.I own over a dozen guns and use them for hunting and recreation.But’s it’s unlikely either party could repeal the 2nd,and I’m all about legal ownership and carry. An consider this,76 years ago today Germany invaded Poland.If every man in Poland had a gun and could shoot,they would probaly went after France,and they never touched the Swiss.Fergybikes

  37. Mark

    @Bart- And just like Switzerland, my family and community have a way of life that is worth protecting. Good luck to some inner city thug who wants to invade my home/community. Most of those killing one another in the inner cities are lost causes to begin with. Good riddance!

  38. David

    Tough subject – really. But I’m all in. Let’s get rid of all the guns and ammunition. Let’s start with the criminals. Just let me know how we’re gonna do it – sarcasm.

  39. Bri

    If you are a gun owner and you justify it as a means to protection answer this question. If someone was armed to break into your house. Unless you kept a gun on your person, and/or in every room of your house (loaded and accessible) what do you think your chances of actually using the gun(s) to protect your home? On a side note: if you answered yes, then what access would it be to any children that are in your house?

  40. jpete

    “This is a weapon that has been optimized to extinguish life with the minimum amount of effort possible. And, for whatever reason, America has embraced a social norm that explicitly legitimizes these deaths by providing an unending laundry list of excuses whenever one happens: it was the irresponsible parents, the inadequate firearm training, the bad public policy, and so on. But it’s never the gun. And yet, somehow, the U.S. is responsible for 80% of all firearm deaths, 86% of all female firearm deaths, and 87% of all child firearm deaths in the developed world. It’s just a coincidence that we have the highest per capita gun ownership rate in the world. That’s a lot of irresponsible parents.” –

  41. Bill

    People like to point to Chicago as proof gun laws don’t work. Interestingly enough, they fail to point out that other cities with more liberal gun laws have a higher homicide rates per capita than Chicago. Example: Indianapolis. In 2014, Chicago had 15.5 homicides per 100,000 residents, or 14.7 criminal homicides per 100,000 residents—a slight drop for the second straight year, according to the aggregated data. Indianapolis, with a population of approximately 852,000 people, recorded a rate of 18 homicides per 100,000 residents, or 15.8 criminal homicides per 100,000 residents

  42. Bill

    If every man in Poland had a gun in 1939, they still would have been defeated. Germany had better equipped, better trained, larger army and air force.

  43. David

    I agree with Mr. Frack. Even if we all agree, how do we do it? So far it’s all about persuading everyone to agree. If that could somehow happen, how are you going to do it!

    It is like illegal drugs, like cockroaches, they will not go away.

    Anybody have some verbs or action words to tell us how to take them all away?

  44. LD

    The big risk that most don’t acknowledge comes from accidents or misuse, not some criminal attacking you on the street or in your home. Case in point – the poor woman who took her kids with her shopping at Walmart and left a 2-year in the cart with her brand new purse that had the fancy, ultra-safe compartment for her loaded handgun. Yep, the toddler opened her purse, unzipped the pouch, took out the gun and shot her dead with it. Now the poor kid has to grow up knowing he killed his mom and he and his siblings have no mother.

  45. Mark

    That can be said regarding damned near ANYTHING! How about banning cell phones? How many “irresponsible” cell phone owners kill people every day/year due to distracted driving? I don’t care that you are responsible with yours?! Ban them ALL!! Punish EVERYONE!!!! Same exact thing, whether you want to admit it or not..

  46. David N

    Along with Bart. Switzerland has a great education system, relatively low population, LOT’S of money, AND they take care of their homeless… Makes for a completely different situation.

  47. L

    jpete – No, the Freakonomics answer that liberalized abortion laws helped create a downturn in crime (because so many would-be criminals were aborted) is not a valid explanation. 1. It’s incredibly racist (the vast majority of abortions in this country (per capita) are black); 2. there was a similar dearth of children born when the Pill was introduced in the late 50s early 60s. There was no corresponding crime drop at any period following.

  48. L

    jpete – You claim you are for “gun control” but you really aren’t against guns, per se. Because you will need the police to have guns to disarm the people who already have guns. So, it’s not that you are anti-gun. In fact, you are very pro-gun. You just believe that only governments (which are so moral and benevolent) should be allowed to have guns. Ask the Jews how that turned out for them. Or the Cubans, Chinese, Cambodians, Poles, Hungarians, Czechs, Egyptians, French, Norwegians, Swedes, Danish, Russians and Ukranians. All of whom have been victimized by their own, or neighboring gun-toting governments in the last century.

    THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS GUN CONTROL. There is only centralizing gun ownership in the hands of a small political elite and their minions.

    That *might* work for a short period of time, in cultures that are homogenous and have strong families with a common set of cultural values in times of peace and stability. There are places in America like that. They’re called suburbs. Then those times end and there are times when there are wars or when seemingly “benevolent” governments turn evil.

  49. Clifford

    True, it is probably being reported more often, at least in part.

    However, the militarization of police is somewhat more recent.

  50. L

    Bart – I wish I could report that you’re right, but you’re not – and I have proof and citations, not idle conjecture.

    Rates of gun ownership are WAY UP. Crime rates are WAY DOWN, particularly violent crimes involving guns:

    “Firearm-related homicides declined 39%, from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011.
    Nonfatal firearm crimes declined 69%, from 1.5 million victimizations in 1993 to 467,300 victimizations in 2011.”
    Cite: Bureau of Justice Statistics.

    And this from the ultra-liberal Pew Center:

    “National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.

    Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.”


  51. Bill K

    We North Americans are pretty F’d up, aren’t we?

    Makes me want to run out and buy a gun for when I’m out riding…..Just in case somebody “looks” at me funny.

    What ever happened to the “OLD” NRA, with their focus on hunting, and gun education?

  52. Clifford

    Not exactly a whitewashing; I’d say, rather, that the 2nd Amendment allowed these things to happen in the Ante- and post-bellum US, and probably reinforced already existing colonial policies. So I don’t totally disagree with this post but it’s incomplete. A lot of bad shit has happened at the intersection of racism and guns.

  53. David N

    Well, the number 1 action, imho, would be to STOP (make illegal) manufacturing and selling of firearms and ammunition in the US. That’s obviously a huge loss to a large American (and foreign) business along with lost jobs everywhere. The number of lobbyists keeping this from happening is mind boggling. The NRA has firmly planted itself in politics and helped most of the right wingers into office, making their support of guns steadfast.

    Number 2, imho, is forcibly removing firearms from citizens after a brief “give up your firearms at your own will before they’re illegal” period. There is a staggering amount of opposition to this. Many citizens, at this point, would rather mutiny against the US government than give up their firearms. Not to mention, how would the US afford such an undertaking? We’re talking about needing increased prison space for imminent defiance and illegal gun hoarding, increased police force, and a potentially messy execution of a hopefully well thought out and systematic plan.

    Sounds like a big job. And yes, to everyone saying dumb things… removing guns would drastically reduce gun related violence and deaths. Completely rid of it? Of course not. Drastically reduce? Obviously.

  54. Bill

    Germany was also ruthless in the way they prosecuted their invasion of Poland. They severely put down any attempt by Poland to fight back or fight a guerrilla war.

    Do you really think the U.S. prosecuted the Iraq and Afghanistan wars the same way Germany prosecuted the Poland invasion?

  55. Bart

    You’re starting to go all “Fox News” on us. You are simply not correct in what you are saying. Not even close. Those statistics you cite way above on this page do not support you at all. Someone above wrote that you are part of the problem. I agree.

  56. devin

    Steve’s point was that he was tired about worrying that someone may have a gun and react. That worry comes from somewhere. But its not in the homicide numbers, its from the media. The truth is we are safer today than we have been, anecdotal stories aside. There are cities like you evidence that have had nominal increases. I assume most cyclists are not riding in gang areas wearing the wrong color kit.

  57. 38 Special

    Since the US of A did little after 20 children and 6 adult staff members were killed in Newtown, its unlikely that we will ever take gun control and the treatment of mental illness seriously. Enough said.

  58. Carl F

    Mark, That’s ridiculous. My second grade daughter uses better and more adult reasoning than your statement. A gun is manufactured to shoot bullets at something. That “something” often times is another human being or another living being.

    Cell phones are juuussst a tad different. I don’t think they can propel a bullet at all. Dangerous to use when driving though.

  59. David Greenberg

    I think the guy who used to run the NRA got shot while dj’ing at a KKK rally. There was not a big turnout at the funeral.

  60. ootng tThe Cyclist

    Why don’t you just move somewhere else? To some fuckin remote desert with no trees, no cats and no annoying cyclists enjoying the wind blowing thru their hair when they ride and while there please enjoy your shotgun till the day it backfires right back at ya… in the desert it won’t bother anyone.

  61. jim robinson

    According to a newly-published book titled “Gun baby Gun, a bloody journey into the world of the gun”, Switzerland has a very high level of suicide through use of a gun. The author Iain Overton writes, “One reason for this, was that – until recently – Swiss conscripted soldiers were allowed to keep their rifles with them after they had completed their military duties. About 40 per cent of gun suicides here were at the end of an army-issued weapon. In 2003 though, the number of Swiss soldiers was halved as a result of a sweeping army reform … one study did look at the gun suicide numbers before and after that reform. The academics found there was a major reduction, both in the overall suicide rate and also in the firearm suicide rate … a drop in access to guns in Switzerland was not followed by a rise in other forms of suicide. Rather it led to an enduring drop in the general suicide rate….”

    It’s an excellent, disturbing book.

  62. darkcloud

    Good luck with gun control. I’ll gladly hand mine over when I know the bad guys no longer have theirs. Hmm. Where does that leave us?
    I think that ultimately the problem lies with the people that use firearms to commit crimes. The USA seems to have some large scale people issues that apparently don’t exist to this extent in most other first world countries.
    I can’t help but feel that the USA is going down the toilet at warp speed.
    I understand the reasoning behind gun control. I just don’t think it’s practical.
    And I’ve been wrong before.

  63. David

    I really think if you tried to take away America’s guns, you would be looking at something like a civil war. I don’t see any practical way to implement such an undertaking.

  64. Jpete

    It’s not racist. Don’t confuse correlation with causation. Blacks and other minorities are also represented in disproportionate percentages of people in poverty. People in poverty are more likely to fall into this category of people using abortion sevices. This is statistical fact, not an opinion or judgment. Why more minority populations fall into this catagory is another debate. I will tell you based on my experience studying policy impacts on communities, that much of the reason some communties struggle over others has as much to do with policy choices that advantage and protect some and disadvantage others. There is reasonable evidence in the piece to satisfactorily debunk the notion that new police strategies were causal to the decline of shootings.

  65. chuck martel

    “Your forefathers persecuted and killed millions of people based solely on their race.”

    You seem to have the wrong race in mind. Slaves were never the subject of genocide, they were, after all, valuable property. At the same time as the 750,000 young American males were sacrificed to eliminate bondage, the US government was continuing the murder of native Americans that began with the arrival of the first Europeans and continued on through the 19th century. While slaves were granted citizenship by the 14th amendment in 1868, native Americans didn’t become legal citizens until 1923.

    Isn’t it amazing that in a world where equipment can be sent to the farthest reaches of the solar system, the technique used by law enforcement to subdue people who refuse to follow their orders involves the use of a rapid chemical reaction that drives a metallic pellet through their body. Of course, this methodology has been in use since the 13th century, it just can’t be improved upon. If this is how the state is going to control its population, how can one expect that the citizens would operate any differently? If it’s OK for law enforcement to puncture the unconvicted, it doesn’t seem like much of a reach for the rest of society to use the same method.

  66. The Nuge

    Anybody that wants to disarm me can drop dead. Anybody that wants to make me unarmed and helpless, people that want to literally create the proven places where more innocents are killed called gun-free zones, we’re going to beat you. You’re suck on my machine gun.

    I hope you have a good jump this weekend, Steve. Love your blog.

  67. chuck martel

    “. The USA seems to have some large scale people issues that apparently don’t exist to this extent in most other first world countries.”

    If this is indeed the case, why is everyone so concerned about healthcare policy, welfare, etc.? If such a huge proportion of the country is so despicable that we need ever more complex locks on our doors and cars, passwords for all of our internet action, CCTV surveillance, battalions of uniformed and secret police, a penal system that employs thousands of truly gifted public defenders, judges and prison guards to supervise the largest concentration of convicts on earth, if this be the case, why do we care if these mal hechors survive? Why shouldn’t you have to prove that you’re a standup guy to get a doctor’s appointment, rather than a gun? I guess it’s because the medical business gets paid no matter what kind of a deviant they work on.

  68. AB

    It’s amazing to me people believe that simply owning a gun makes “bad stuff happen to you.” As if legal. responsible gun owners have a sign on them that says, “I own a gun, please make me a victim of a horrendous crime.” Owning a gun has no more correlation to being a victim of a crime than having a fireplace in your home will result in a forest fire. In fact it’s probably more statistically probable you’d start a forest fire while burning wood in your indoor fireplace in the city.

    Bad people use guns to do bad things. It’s not the gun, it’s the person. Until we are ready to acknowledge that people and culture is the problem and start holding bad people accountable and calling out bad, counterproductive culture, we are never going to get anywhere.

  69. Terry

    There have been 3 carjackings in my neighborhood this summer when people have been pulling out or in of their garages. Moving is probably smart, but in the meantime it’s also smart to carry a gun.
    Long-term, strict licensing and heavy sentencing for brandishing, crimes committed with guns, etc. Seems like a no-brainer, alas.

  70. H Luce

    In Over the Rhine, which was (20 years ago) a 95% poor black neighborhood in Cincinnati, which was policed by the Crips, not the CPD which would not come in after dark, people got their guns from the Crips, who had members in the armed forces who would steal the guns, or from drug dealers. I lived there for a year, it was cheap and an easy walk from campus where I was working as a post-doc. It was generally assumed that all males worthy of respect over the age of 14 were carrying guns, and people were *exceedingly* polite… The very great majority of the population there would forcibly resist gun confiscation – one bootleg cab driver told me that only slaves didn’t have the right to own guns, and that he wasn’t going to be made a slave. BTW, they hated “well-intentioned” white liberals with a passion – yet they still voted for Democrats.

  71. H Luce

    “Forcibly remove guns – go house to house” – you’d kick off a domestic insurgency in the rural areas and in the Hispanic and black ‘hoods. The country is already polarized on this issue, this might very well be the tipping point. And you’d have to get the troops to do this, which might be difficult.

  72. H Luce

    The NRA was one of the first large civic organizations in the US to admit black members – this happened in 1934. When I was living in Cincinnati in 1990, half of the black bootleg cabbies I knew wore shooting vests with 50-year NRA membership patches. So that’s an ignorant and stupid comment on your part.

  73. Mark Sullivan

    First off…suicides should not even be in the equation. Seriously?! That’s harm to one’s self, not someone else. If you remove that statistic then the statistics drop by almost half. And who are you to tell me I can’t defend myself with my legally purchased firearm while a criminal illegally obtains his/hers? And yea, let’s be reasonable again. Vehicular deaths outpace fire arm deaths almost 3 to 1. How about heart disease? Cancer? What does it matter? BTW I conceal carry when I road ride. No asshole’s gonna take my life without a fight.

  74. The Historian

    L –
    The essential problem with your argument – that more gun ownership directly relates to lower homicide rates…is that you cannot establish a causal link between one and the other. Perhaps they are related, perhaps more people live in safer neighborhoods now, perhaps the recession forced people to work more so they had less time to shoot each other….whatever the TRUE cause, I don’t think you can find a reliable statistic to back up your central argument.

  75. James

    Fear drives the entire debate from both sides. How many have to die before there is a change? Seriously, how many Sandy Hooks? How many kids pulling their packin’ parents gun out at WalMart & shooting mom?

    Anyway, there will never be “sensibile” gun control in this country ’cause the NRA has every politician in their pocket.

  76. ootng tThe Cyclist

    Exactly. Make a penalty that outweighs the benefit of… killing cyclists for fun with your redneck truck or any other motor vehicle of choice. Coudn’t have said it better myself.

  77. Hector

    Guess what? Fuck the rest of the world and what they think! They all just ride our fucking coat tales anyways.

  78. Reasonable Ron

    If the bad person can’t get hold of a gun, then he or she cannot shoot anyone. Therefore, that particular crime cannot be committed. That is the correlation you are looking for. If you can’t understand this concept, then you are truly an idiot.

    BTW, do they serve coffee and doughnuts at the NRA meetings?

  79. Reasonable Ron

    I agree the reasoning behind strict, or in my opinion extremely strict, gun control is sound. There are no legitimate statistics that say that more guns means safer societies. The stats put forth by the NRA and various people here are pure bullshit.

    But, your statement regarding the practicality of gun control is pretty accurate. The USA is a country that clings to certain laws and principles that have no place in the modern world. A reality of everyone having a gun will only result in people dying by gunshot. Yes, people kill people and that’s the big problem. But, usually the tool they use to kill is a gun.


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