On Newtown. On Guns.

Updated: December 20, 2012

On Friday, a dad received news that a lone gunman walked into an elementary school and murdered twenty first grade children and six adults. His heart fell to the ground. Tears welled in his eyes and he asked himself, “How can someone be so evil? How does a man look at these beautiful children and want anything but the best for them, let alone want to kill them?” He walked through his home and found his own children, two beautiful daughters, and squeezed them as hard as he ever had before, reveling in the fact that they were safe. He vowed nothing would ever happen to them if there was anything he could do about it.

I hugged my children for ages. I gritted my teeth. I wished I had been there to stop it. I wished evil did not exist, even though I know better. I wish I could give those parents back their children. I know many of you did as well. And then I asked myself, “What could we have done?”

I’m writing this because the debate around this topic is about to get stupid. One contingent is about to ignore history and claim that guns are the problem and we should ban firearms and the other contingent is going to put their head in the sand and claim there is no problem. My intent here is simply this: to do what I think is right and try to get people to understand where the other side is coming from so we can have the right debate.

Our country is at a precipice right now, and I believe in order to successfully navigate it, we need to be realistic, shed partisan ideas, and have a serious discussion about weapons and such incidents, and then take appropriate, reasoned action.

First, a caveat: I like guns. I am a lifetime member of the NRA. Moreover, I believe the 2nd Amendment is likely the most important element of the Constitution as it is, in the words of George Washington, our nation’s “Liberty Teeth”. I realize many who will read this article do not like weapons, think the NRA is made up of a bunch of rednecks, and think that the 2nd Amendment was written with muskets in mind, and not “assault weapons”. For you, I want to explain why I think weapons are so important.

Personal safety. Firearms are the great equalizer. I am a 205 pound, former infantryman that has spent his whole life in combat sports. Unless you are a professional fighter, a collegiate wrestler, a BJJ Ninja, or a defensive end in the SEC there’s a good chance that if I decided to assault you, rape you, or hurt you or your family in any way, there isn’t anything you could do about it. You’d be left with really only one option: hoping that I would have mercy.
Does that make you comfortable? It doesn’t make me comfortable. Conversely, you could be a 95 pound, seventy-five year old female with a handgun and training, and suddenly my 205 pounds is meaningless. That bullet will work just fine on me as it would on any other assailant.

But do we really need guns in this day and age of civilized society? There’s a belief out there that there is no need for weapons; that these assaults are mere fabrications. FBI statistics, however, show that 42% of Americans are the victims of a violent crime in their lives (assault, robbery, rape). To add to that statistic, an FBI poll of incarcerated criminals shows that in nearly one third of all robberies the perpetrator was armed with firearm. In this instance, if I was the victim, and someone broke into my home and they were armed and I was not, they could be the scrawniest, weakest person in the world, but my 205 pound frame isn’t going to do anything against 9mm hollow point. My family and I would be at the mercy of criminals, a mercy that in many cases is not forthcoming.

Benefit to Society. An armed society is a polite society. When people know there is an imminent threat to their lives if they attack person or property, they tend to do it less. In almost every situation where guns are banned, the crime rate spikes, and in particular the homicide rate by firearms grows. It is true in Chicago. It’s true in Washington, DC. It’s true in Michigan. It’s true in England. It’s true in Australia. You’ve heard it so much that it sounds cliché now, but the reality is that two-thirds of all the firearms that have ever been made reside in the United States. If you outlawed all weapons tomorrow, two-thirds of all firearms ever made would still reside here. The only difference would be that law-abiding citizens would no longer own them and criminals would have free reign. A poignant example is that of Florida. Despite the bluster of the Martin Case, since Florida became a “right to carry” state in 1986, the homicide rate has drastically and steadily declined. Florida’s homicide rate has averaged 36% lower since 1986, while the country at large has averaged 15% lower, a massive differential that should not be ignored.

But what about all these fatal accidents? I’ll admit that it really bothers me viscerally when I hear about a kid getting killed at home because his dad left his weapon out, or hear about teenagers playing with unsecured weapons and one of them, thinking the weapon is not loaded, kills his friend. Each one of these incidents was avoidable with a gun safe and some basic firearms safety. Nevertheless, context is important. We have about 125,000 accidental deaths a year in the United States. 0.5% of them come from guns. You are 30% more likely to die by getting caught in heavy machinery than by an accidental discharge. You are three times as likely to get hit by a car while walking. You are seven times as likely to burn to death. You are ten times as likely to drown. You are thirty-five times as likely to die from falling down. You are sixty times as likely to die from poisoning. You are seventy times as likely to die in a car wreck. The fact of the matter is that firearm deaths simply aren’t very common and are all avoidable with proper gun ownership.

But Why Assault Weapons and Not Just Home Protection Our Constitution differs from every other writ of law because it does not give the government power, but rather limit government power. Its intention was to allow man to live in the freest condition possible within the confines of a nation. The government serves us. We do not serve the government. In order for that to be the case, we must have the means to defend ourselves against the government should it attempt to take power that is not given to it by the body public.

Now, let me be clear. I do not hoard food or ammo. I do not think a government collapse is likely or imminent. I do not think that President Obama or any President on the horizon is going to attempt to overthrow the rule of law and create a modern day military state, but I don’t think we should be forced to hope for the best either. Historically, whether we’re talking about Armenia, Cambodia, Germany, Russia or any number of other places, disarmament is followed by genocide. Policy detractors are ostracized, separated, imprisoned and ultimately killed. The interesting thing is that these things tend not to happen all at once. The governments continue to infringe on rights, assuming they are no longer necessary because they, the politicians, know best and are doing what’s right for the people, even if the people don’t agree. Under both the Bush and Obama administrations, U.S. Citizens are under observation without warrants. Citizens can be imprisoned without a trial if they are deemed a terrorist threat. Do I think that President Obama is abusing this power? I absolutely do not. Do I think future Presidents might? I absolutely do.

I honestly believe that we live in the best country in the world, that all of our problems are surmountable, and that an armed large-scale encounter with the government will never occur. That being said, I am not willing to abdicate my freedom in that regard. A great many Americans have died for our inalienable rights. Our framers had great foresight in drafting the 2nd Amendment and they were clearly not talking about home defense. You need look no further than their letters to each other in these matters and you can see that they plainly meant that man must protect himself from those who would be his keeper – a corrupt government.

But that isn’t the only the reason for Assault Weapons
During Hurricane Katrina things went insane. Power was lost. Police could not control the citizenry. Anarchy ruled. People were beaten, raped and murdered. Homes were looted. And it could have been much worse.

What happens if we get hit with an EMP and lose power on the East Coast for months? Or an even larger natural disaster occurs resulting in the same? What happens if we can’t readily get a steady food or water supply? Civilization devolves quickly when our supply chain and way of life is thrown aside. In that moment, when the wolf is at the door, do you want to stand there with a bolt action hunting rifle or an M-4?

Is this a likely reality? Perhaps not, but it is definitely possible. I fail to see what is wrong with a trained law-abiding citizen transporting an AR-15 from his or her gun safe to the range and back. With 99.999% probability, there will never be a need to use this weapon for any other means. But again, why should we have to give up our inalienable rights that our military has bled for over two and a half centuries just because the possibility of either a dictatorial government or a criminal looting public is a low probability scenario?

So gun rights win and we should do nothing right?
This is where I think we need to honestly evaluate our practices and elevate our discussions. I grew up in Massachusetts where guns were not popular and most people, including me in my youth, did not understand why a person would even want to own one. I can tell you, as a guy who never fired a weapon until Basic Training, that guns are very scary things to the uninitiated. Many people are calling for arming our teachers. They cite Israel as an example. Bad example.

First, most Israeli teachers are not armed. Second, Israel has compulsory service and therefore have trained with firearms. Every man and woman can fight. They are hard people that are always on the brink of war. Muslims on all sides literally want to eradicate them from the face of the Earth. That is not us. So what can we do that makes sense and gets the desired result?

School Security. If you wanted me to stand in a school armed and protect our kids, I’d feel good about my chances. I’d feel better if you had a bunch of Tim Kennedy doppelgangers a la Jenga Fett. I’d feel comfortable because I know I am going to react quickly, hit what I shoot, clear the area behind my shot before pulling the trigger, and not spazz and accidentally shoot someone else. I do not feel remotely like that about the average Kindergarten teacher. Random teachers without training in a MOUT environment with thin walls and kids everywhere is not my idea of setting anyone up for success.

I do, however, love the idea of having a few ARMED sheepdog police officers on each campus. The schools in my community do this, as they do in many communities. Our police officers are trained for these situations and it is their job to stay vigilant. Furthermore, having even one police officer in the building brings the chances of a successful armed assault to almost zero. Having two essentially makes it impossible.

I’d also be very comfortable with select teachers or administrators who VOLUNTEERED for such roles and passed intensive combatives courses to be armed on school property as well. It’s important to note that some schools do this now, and there are documented cases where an armed principal has prevented similar violence as occurred in Newtown.

Mental Health. You can look back twenty years and assess every shooting of this sort and the one thing that each scenario shares is that in almost every case the patient was on some form of anti-depressants to combat a mental disorder. Furthermore, parents, friends, and neighbors always highlight years of aggressive behavior of the assailants after these events occur. There is clearly a common thread, and yet currently, mental health is not considered as a gate that must be passed through to obtain a weapon. While I am not an expert in this regard and more investigation and analysis is certainly needed before making rash blanket policies, there is certainly a way to identify those that should not have access to weapons. I’d rather err on the side of making a handful of people jump through a few more hoops to obtain a weapon than hand the Adam Lanzas of this world weapons of any kind.

Better trained people. Universal conceal and carry.
I recently took my eight-year old stepson to his first paintball event. I’m not a “paint baller” but he really wanted to do it, so I dadded up and we went. We spoke at length the night before about gun safety. I had him practice not putting his finger in the trigger assembly unless he was going to shoot with one of his nerf guns. When we got there, I had him practice target shooting for a while. When we finally got on the course and the other team started shooting at us, the first thing he did was forget everything I told him and accidentally shoot me at point blank range in the back of the head.

I am a graduate of the gun safety course North Carolina requires for a Conceal and Carry license. It was painfully easy course that required one to shoot a stationary target at 7 meters with something like forty rounds. You were allowed to miss four times. I was the best shot that day and I am a competent, not talented pistol shot. Some people missed several shots…at seven meters. I literally could throw rocks and hit a man sized target at that range 40 times. Missing with a pistol is inexcusable, and yet these people can walk among us in public places with a loaded weapon.

Don’t misunderstand me. I believe in conceal and carry. I believe we should have Federal Universal Conceal and Carry Laws and I do not believe we should allow “Gun Free Zones” for these individuals. I do, however believe that an intensive combatives style course is necessary for these individuals. Stress inoculation is essential if you expect people to either make good decisions or hit their targets in a real environment. I don’t want someone who can’t easily hit a stationary target drawing down on an attacker in a crowded place. Why? Because I don’t want to get shot in the back of the head, while I’m trying to get the bastard.

So that will solve the problem?
Unfortunately , no. The problem will never be completely solved. Some people are born wanting to see the world burn. In the case of Newtown, the killer had a genius level IQ, murdered his mother in order to get legally owned weapons when he was denied the ability to get them on his own, broke a window and snuck into the school and murdered defenseless children before taking his own life. If we had police in the building, with near certainty fewer would have died. If his mother had locked up her weapons, maybe his insane fancy would have subsided, but most likely, no matter what, whether through legal or illegal means, the killer would have obtained a weapon and hurt at least some of those kids. And if not him, someone else, somewhere else. We don’t like to admit that because it is uncomfortable. It takes the control away from us and it is easier to try to legislate the problem away or yell at each other than it is to admit that evil exists and prepare for it.

The worst thing we can do is pretend the world isn’t a dangerous place. The best thing we can do is be trained, prepared, and vigilant for those that would do us and ours harm.

Please consider a world where there are no “assault weapons” or even any firearms at all. Imagine the killer is built much like I am. He breaks into the school with a machete, which is currently the weapon of choice on the African continent. The primarily female elementary teachers try to stop him. What do you think would happen? There is no doubt in mind the results would be the same until the police arrived to kill him. The school was unprepared for the wolf, to borrow from LTC Grossman’s famous essay, and our children paid the price.

Full Circle
My inspiration to write this article was a conversation I had with a friend from California on Facebook. During our discussion, her friend chimed in with an ALL CAPS MESSAGE shouting that I should be ashamed of myself and that I was an enabler of a gun culture. I instantly grew aggravated and told her to grow up, and discontinued the discussion. I fully admit it was childish on my part, but that discourse is the type we have today on many issues. We tell similarly minded people things we know they will agree with us about and feel good when they agree with us, all while demonizing those with opposing thoughts. It gets us nowhere.

I began this article with a story about a dad. That man was our President, Barack Obama. He is moved by what has happened, as we all have been. He is duty bound to solve this problem of violence. He is trying to do what he feels is right.

Let’s help him get it right. Consider what you really believe about the issue and write your Senators and Representatives and for that matter, the President. My viewpoint may not be the right answer, and I’m sure many of you have serious issues with many things I’ve said, but I believe it is closer to the right answer than just yelling “You’re an idiot” at those who disagree with us. Let’s protect our children as best we can while simultaneously protecting our Constitutional Freedoms. It isn’t only the right thing to do. It is now absolutely essential.

If we leave this to our politicians, without promoting a guiding voice, the debate will be about weapons and magazines and nonsense. Either the pro-gun crowd will “win” and nothing will change or the anti-gun crowd will “win” and criminals will once again be the most armed citizens. Neither option does anything for the nation or our children. Let’s do something meaningful for a change.

Thank you for listening.




  1. Antonio Aguilar

    December 20, 2012 at 10:40 am

    I like 90% of this. I just can’t agree on the mental health aspect of it. The only “disorder” than anyone can pinpoint right now with Adam Lanza isn’t connected to violence at all. The vast majority of the MHMR subjects I deal with on the street are good, kind people who function just as well in society as anyone else.

    The violent ones often, on the surface, don’t seem to be MHMR patients at all. They have to tell me, I wouldn’t guess it. They fully understand right and wrong, and yet willingly choose the later over and over again.


    • Justin

      December 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Please research Jared Lee Loughner and Seung-Hui Cho before you say it isn’t about mental health. Not enough is known about Lanza now, so it is easier to look at past examples. And these two examples are very blatant.

    • Kris

      December 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm

      I have to agree with Antonio. I also agree with the bulk of your essay. It is well-reasoned, obviously contemplated for a while, and articulate. However, the Mental Health element is alarming. Are we going to see (those who are honest at least!) those with manageable, mild mental illness be banned from gun purchases? That is wrong. I know you do not suggest that; I am suggesting, however, that could be the result of the hype and political reaction in D.C. at present. I am glad the House/Senate are taking Christmas Break. We need perspective. I wish there was just an Evil Detector, eh? Indulge me. Imagine if people went through an airport-style screener and it showed their level of Good or Evil. Now THAT would be a great measure of who gets guns. We would not need to ban them at all. Only people with Good hearts, who wanted guns for safety, targets, skeet, sport, etc., would have them. The Evil folks would, ideally, be referred (but not incarcerated or etc., that would make us evil, too) – referred to serious Psychiatric Care, at government expense (or, taxpayer expense, of course, ultimately.) They could never own a weapon, of any kind, until they could pass the Good Heart test. Even a pocket knife. Every weapon would be regulated for Good Heart people.

      Okay, a fantasy. The fact is, most families and friends know the guy who has an Evil Heart. They could be the ones to prevent or report his/her intent to use the weapon for evil. Perhaps Adam Lanza’s mother was concerned…but in denial, not believing her own boy could do such a thing as he did. If families, perhaps, were super vigilant (as, I believe, we should be) with one another…that would go far. Also, we ARE our brothers/sisters keeper! Most of these shooters had friends or acquaintances who knew something was up, who heard the veiled threats, or knew the exact nature of the killer. However, again, they didn’t think it was their place or were in denial so they never went to school administrators or police. We must engage and report real threats. All of us. I in NO way suggest a “turn on each other” culture! The opposite. I believe we should feel that we are all connected. And when one link is sick, he or she needs help, as well as intervention sometimes.

      I have worked with kids for the last decade. I mentor girls and young women. I go to the inner-city (an urban hell), to schools in urban environments (i.e. ghettos; hard to swallow, bleak conditions), and minister to girls in a “Youth DEVELOPMENT Center.” It is a prison. There are high, barbed-wire fences, and armed guards. The protocol to go in is major. All of that is appropriate. Some of the young women have committed Murder and Armed Robbery. Those girls don’t get to come out, in groups of about 15, and visit. I wish they did…but not sure if I could help or not. I pray for them; the most powerful tool I know.

      I also have a mental disorder. It is genetic. My case is “mild” and well-managed via medication. I have seen the same doctors for many years. I also would like a handgun. Our town has a high violent crime rate. (All those ghettos…a blight! That is where the shootings/felony murders occur 90% of the time. However, it spills over into parking lots and of course, schools.) I would just like one for my home and to sometimes carry with me. I am someone who would die FOR a kid. Do you see, I am hoping, that all mentally ill people should not be banned from owning guns? I am responsible, compassionate, and healthy. As my husband says…I am normal. I just have a mental issue. That is the truth!

      Just some more perspective. Particularly on the mental health aspect. 1 out of 10 people has a mental illness, including depression and anxiety. Be well and all the best, Kris

    • GI-Jenn

      December 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      “They fully understand right and wrong, and yet willingly choose the later over and over again.”

      Antonio, yes there is a mental disorder that is exactly as you describe…it’s called sociopathy. It’s hard to tell if Adam Lanza was a sociopath or a psychopath, or what other tendencies he may have exhibited (we have limited information), but I do think you are missing a vital piece of the puzzle if you minimize mental health issues in these cases. Adam Lanza may not have appeared “on the street” to be motivated or capable of what he did, but clearly he was capable of it.

      Respectfully commented,

  2. Jeff House

    December 20, 2012 at 2:57 pm

    Nick, That was one of your best pieces. Thank you.

  3. Cooley

    December 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    I wish arguments like this could be heard on Capitol Hill.

    • Megan

      December 23, 2012 at 1:10 pm

      I second that!!!!!

  4. Joe I

    December 20, 2012 at 3:08 pm

    Hear hear Sir. Well written, incredibly poignant. Thanks for the article Nick.

  5. Jeffrey Zumbach

    December 20, 2012 at 3:11 pm

    I must say you did a great job organizing and relaying your thoughts. Where as I am opposed to our current president and their respective mindset, I am not opposed to making it toughter to get guns. I am a former Cav Scout, a current police officer and a cpl instructor. The one thing I teach and do it with passion, is the type of shooting required to defend ones self or others. A simple target will never be sufficient in learning how to defend.
    The time for discussion is now, unfortunately the middle will be very difficult to find as everyone is far left or right.
    Keep posting this, share it with as many as you can. A calm rational discussion is needed !

    • Jim

      December 21, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Always the President—must be a righty or Tea Party guy. No matter what happens, it is the President.. No, it is 58& of Americans believe in some type of control. Here, what is wrong with this:

      1-Must register all guns purchased along with a background check. That includes all gun shows as well.

      2-Outlaw ALL assault weapons period. No time frame——forever. The Police and military should be the only ones who possess these
      types of weapons.It seems almost every time the Police are hindered because they are “out gunned” by the criminal element.

      3- Arm teachers? Really? More guns? Police or armed security in schools would be fine.

      And someone in their right mind to monitor/lead the NRA—-better known as No Respect at All.

      • Don

        December 22, 2012 at 1:42 pm

        Jim, you’re 100 percent correct. It’s no different than Germany did in the 30’s. it worked then and did just what the leaders planned.

        Thank you for supporting gun registration & seizure.

        Berakah (Hebrew blessing)

      • Thraxus908

        December 24, 2012 at 1:09 pm

        I have a problem with #2:
        The assault weapon ban was pretty much useless. It only blocked weapons used in less than 2% of armed crime. Not only that, but most things defining an “assault weapon” are in fact cosmetic rather than functional. Assault weapons are not the problem, and police are not usually outgunned.
        source: http://tinyurl.com/bnuqxpm

    • Joe

      December 22, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      Here is an example of our current president and “his” (he is a person, not a plural) respective mindset:

      “A majority of Americans support banning the sale of military-style assault weapons. A majority of Americans support banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips. A majority of Americans support laws requiring background checks before all gun purchases so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.”

      Exactly what amongst this are you opposed to?

  6. Marshall Hooven

    December 20, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Nick I agree with you 110% people need to read this.

  7. Jennifer Howard

    December 20, 2012 at 3:13 pm

    Very well stated.

  8. Mike

    December 20, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Nick, you very eloquently wrote what many of have been feeling. Keep up the good work. Maybe there needs to be a citizen’s action group like MADD who can advocate such clear minded thoughts.. one that like MADD collects funds to pay police overtime to respond to their concern (a la DUI enforcement overtime paid for by MADD every holiday season)

    I’d even pay a gun tax if it went to the direct funding of background checks and police in schools. (I’d owe a lot of tax)

  9. Mike S.

    December 20, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Actually, right now everything we know about Lanza’s mental health is hearsay. If he had a behavioral health provider, that person hasn’t come forward and officially said what Lanza’s most recent diagnosis was.

    The author isn’t saying that everyone with behavioral health problems should have restricted access to firearms. He’s just saying that it has been a factor in past mass shootings and assessing for conditions that might predispose someone to violence should be part of getting a gun in the future. Sounds good to me.

  10. sharder8

    December 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Well Nick, looks like you and I are step-in-step in agreement on this. Only 2 things are different between us.

    1. I hugged my Grandson’s as well.
    2. You said it much better than I could.

    One thing you didn’t touch on, is both of us were trained to expect the unexpected, be prepared, and survive. To be honest, most of our citizens will not survive an EMP or major natural disaster. While the EMP is not likely, the major natural disaster is. I live within 30 min. of an active volcano . . . a major one at that. I live in a line of active volcano’s and geological fault lines. My family and I will survive.

  11. Zach

    December 20, 2012 at 3:33 pm

    Amazing article, great job. Thank you so much for writing this, because it put to words what I couldnt say.

  12. TomM

    December 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    Very well said..

  13. Elizabeth

    December 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I found your article from a friends facebook post and I am really glad I read this. Your article has been the most intelligent level headed well thought out article I have read on gun control in a while. Thank you!

  14. Ruka

    December 20, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Very well written article, touching on many points that people overlook often when these terrible things happen.

  15. Dirtdartwife

    December 20, 2012 at 3:50 pm

    I agree with 98% of what you said. The only 2% I can’t agree to is your human view of Obama. I don’t believe he really cares about what’s happened and I do believe he’s trying to take over this country to install himself as a dictator, which is why I think your article is very accurate in why we should keep our rights to bear arms. I think a corrupt government is closer than you have portrayed. Thank you for a well thought out article. I’m going to share it, knowing that those that agree with me will tell me “rock on!” and those that disagree will hiss obscenities.

    • Allison

      December 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

      What planet are you living in that you think Obama is trying to install himself as dictator?? Must be watching too much Fox News and Rush Limbaugh.

      • Chuck Spence

        December 21, 2012 at 1:08 pm

        What planet are you living on. Anyone who doesn’t see that B.H. Obama is pushing us toward complete government controlled socialism, is as blind as a bat. Armed security is the answer for limiting the violence in our schools. The reason the freak shows continue to pick schools for there massacres is because they no that no one there is armed and the chances of getting smoked is slim. This kid who just did this in Connecticutt killed himself when the police showed up because he was scared what they would do to him. What adds insult to injury is that now our government leaders want to punish the law abiding public for this criminals actions. This country is hopelessly saturated with idiots.

        • Kris

          December 22, 2012 at 3:34 pm

          “This kid who just did this in Connecticut killed himself when the police showed up because he was scared what they would do to him. [Agreed! Thought the same thing, like, “how damn ironic he was scared!” What adds insult to injury is that now our government leaders want to punish the law abiding public for this criminals actions.” Chuck, you are right all the way. That is very well said, sir.

      • David

        December 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm

        Allison, we are not listening to Rush or Fox News, but rather to Huffington Post and Chris Matthews and their extremist support of their idol, and knowing that 50% of the extremist liberals would rather dismantle this country from a Republic form of government, to a Socialist, or even Communist form of government..

  16. hyperon

    December 20, 2012 at 3:57 pm


    I previously spent nearly a decade in a county consistently recognized for its best practices in school security. It is one of the largest school systems in the country, but violence is very low. Each elementary school and above has a security staff of varying size and at least one “Student Resource Officer” from the county’s police department. All middle schools which I was familiar with had a security department of at least four individuals and at least one police officer. The police officer at my family’s middle school was a SWAT-trained officer. In the high school, there was a department of more than eight full time civilian security staff as well as three police officers. In addition, they had regular drills and procedure reviews at every level of school. The students and parents always felt safe within this environment.

    In addition, these large security teams enabled the school to deal more effectively with disciplinary infractions and emergency situations. My observations on this “best practicing” county make me agree with your assessment that LEOs and security staff in each school mitigate risk of serious events to an extent. In addition, they also help prevent minor crime within the school. I see security staff, where possible, as a huge benefit in schools.


    Daniel F. Belin

  17. Steve G.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you for writing this piece. You have an excellent way of explaining what many of us wish we could tell friends/family who act like the girl using all CAPS.

    I will be passing this along to anyone I can in the hopes that everyone can come to the same realizations that you have written here.

  18. R. L.

    December 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    I agree that we should all be able to have access to a firearm to protect our homes, but the need for a semi-automatic rifle is unjustified. I know we all have these “prepper” fears of defending our homes from angry mobs, but you are using extreme, “collapse of modern society scenarios” to justify implementing them into everyday life. It’s not realistic.

    You bring up Australia, and yet if you compare the statics from when they had a mass shooting in 1996 and now you would see a huge difference. In little more than 2 weeks after that massacre they banned all semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, instituted a government buy-back program of privately owned guns, and tightened the regulations on handgun ownership to a universal government standard; and it has worked. It worked like gangbusters as a matter of fact. Homicides and gun related deaths went down by 50%; 30x less than that of America and have had no mass shootings to date. We are the most armed country in the world; that is a fact, and we we have the highest amount of homicides per capita in the world; also a fact. You really think that that is a coincidence? In fact the numbers for the number 2-5 countries on that list aren’t even close! We are literally killing them in those statistics.

    Look, no one is saying you can’t have a gun; a handgun, and no one (I guess I should say I) is even saying that you can’t carry one. You think you need one to defend your home under the 2nd amendment from a military police force dragging your family off to concentration camps or from a criminal entering your home, that’s fine. The caveat is that you, nor any other person; good or evil, needs one that was made to take down a large enemy force at long range.

    That said, I think your article was well written, very intelligent, and; as others have said, one of your best pieces. I support this country. I have fought for it overseas, and I support RU for giving all veterans a voice good or bad. This issue is not an easy or clear-cut one, and both sides have legitimate points. I would only hope that once we have returned from the wars on foreign soil, that we can come home to peace on our own.

    • Mr. Twisted

      December 20, 2012 at 4:29 pm


      I’m not sure where to begin, so let’s start with the most basic fact you got wrong. What data source are you using to state as a plain fact that the United States has the highest homicides per capita? Most of the African continent disproves your claim, as does a great deal of South America and Russia. This essentially invalidates your entire second paragraph.

      There are a great many people saying that people shouldn’t have handguns or carry them, as a matter of fact. Also, among those who still say it is “okay,” they want to make it so difficult as to render it no longer a “right” but rather a privilege (which is basically is right now). This alone makes your third paragraph pointless, but you end it with a completely false premise–thus making it even more irrelevant.

      Listen, some very basic facts for you: One, Mexico, Brazil, and Russia all have higher murder rates than we do, while simultaneously having much more strict gun control.

      Two, roughly half of all firearms related deaths in our country are from suicide. Guess what? Japan has a much higher rate of suicide than we ever have or will, and it is nearly impossible to obtain a firearm there.

      Three, violent crime in Australia has actually *risen* during the time since their assault weapons ban. Women are three times more likely to be raped there than they are here. Additionally, New Zealand saw an identical drop in firearms-related homicides in the same time frame, yet they did not enact the same ban. The homicide rates in both countries–as well as that of the United States–has been on a steady decline for the same amount of time, regardless of an “assault weapons ban.”

      Four, I’ve said it elsewhere but it bears repeating, until you are willing to start talking about similar restrictions on your First Amendment rights, stop proposing them for the Second Amendment. Unless, that is, you don’t believe you have the right to things like speech and religious choices…

      • R. L.

        December 20, 2012 at 6:05 pm

        Oh, you mean the same Mexico and Brazil that are run by the drug cartels being fed off the profits from our failed war on terror? Or the Failed Soviet Union countries who are in the middle of a free-for-all civil genocide? Those comparisons are ridiculous and make your 3rd paragraph almost as much as citing South America in your first. They have quite the stabilized government in Uganda, huh? We aren’t talking about 3rd world or destabilized government countries and you know it. I thought we were going to have a rational discussion about this, but your response just comes off as defensive and reaching. I didn’t attack your article, I pointed out that you have good points. Japan? Really? Yes they have higher suicide rates, per 100,00, but last time I checked, they have 1/3 our population. If you adjust for the size of their smaller populace, we actually have a higher suicide rate. So what? Depressed people are going to kill themselves no matter how they do it. You’re just pointing out that we have greater access to a preferred method. Awesome. Doesn’t mean anything.

        My third paragraph ends in a false premise? What would that be? That you feel the need to protect yourself from the government; since that is the main point of the 2nd amendment, to protect ourselves from the tyranny of an oppressive government, or that the AR-15 was designed to do the maximum amount of damage to the maximum amount of people from 300m or closer?

        And owning a gun should be a privileged. Are you kidding? So you think anyone should have one? Felons, the mentally ill; anyone who has cash with no restrictions? It should be a difficult process; just like a drivers license. You need to take classes, pass a test to show you know how to use the equipment, and if you fuck up, its not a permanent thing, you get that license revoked. I know that isn’t an exact analogy, but I know you get the point; you’re a smart man. You seem to have done your homework and are obviously passionate about this.

        Lastly, throwing in the 1st amendment? So it’s a package deal? If we change one law that is having a detrimental effect on our society, then we just automatically have to change them all? Ridiculous. The amendments by their very nature were changes to the original constitution in the first place. They realized that they didn’t get it completely correct the first time and gave room to adjust and improve as society progressed. And to answer your question; do I believe I have the right to things like (free) speech and religious choices, no I don’t. “Rights are only rights if someone can’t take them away”. I want to believe that we will never be denied those rights, but the truth is, the government has shown that if we as a nation are scared enough, they can find a way to take them away in the name of national security.

        I do appreciate you correcting me though on some of the statistics in my first reply. I did more research and yes, you are right on some of your points. Like I said, I liked your article, and I’m not trying to bash it. Even I have to admit that the more research I do into crime rates, the less correlation I can see between gun ownership and violent crimes. Maybe they are truly unrelated and we have deeper issues to address as a society. I still think that looking into stricter gun control, may be part; not all of the solution.

        • rbnlegen101

          December 20, 2012 at 6:36 pm

          Rates are rates, you don’t adjust them for population, they are independant of population. Rates are how we compare statistics between different sized groups, because they are not raw data.

          Also, the AR-15 is a semi-automatic rifle. Nothing special about it. Yes, it operates at long range, that’s what rifles do. It is semi-automatic. Apparantly, that’s a scary word, but all it means is that when you pull the trigger, it fires a single round and loads the next one without additional mechanical action by the shooter. Take off the black plastic, replace it with a wooden stock, and it’s a low caliber hunting rifle, suitable for shooting varmints. You have fallen prey to propaganda. The gun control lobby has spent a lot of time and effort trying to find ways to present subcategories of guns as being scary and deserving of special regulation. They want to ban little pistols, because they can be concealed. They want to ban inexpensive guns because they are cheaply made and unreliable. They want to ban big pistols, because they hold a lot of bullets. They want to ban short barrelled rifles, because they are inaccurate. They want to ban accurate, long range rifles because they are sniper rifles. Every gun, they have some reason it is scary and should be banned. If we ban semi-automatic guns, we are left with revolvers (the category of guns most commonly used in crime), bolt action rifles (sniper rifles), and break action shotguns (incredibly powerful, scatterguns).

        • Mr. Twisted

          December 21, 2012 at 12:40 am

          First, please let me say that I didn’t write the article — Nick did. Now that I have that out of the way…

          Your original statement was that it’s a “fact” that we have the highest murders per capita “in the world.” Last I checked, Mexico, Russia, and all of those other places are, in fact, part of the world. Admit that you were wrong and move on–don’t attempt to pass that off on some crazy assumption that only you made.

          The false premise I am referring to is that you are ignoring several decades of legal precedent as well as hundreds of years worth of military history. You are making assumptions that go far beyond your understanding of armed conflict by stating what the common citizen needs or, in your opinion, doesn’t need.

          According to the Constitution of the United States of America–currently the supreme law of the land (or at least it is supposed to be)–American citizens’ right to own and bear firearms should not be infringed upon by the federal government. So it doesn’t matter whether you think I am “kidding” or not; there it is. The driver’s license comparison is faulty in its premise because, well, it doesn’t have its own amendment in the Bill of Rights. Firearms do. Also, automobiles kill far more people than guns in this country, and all we have to thank for it is the DMV. Are you sure you want to have firearms be treated the same as cars?

          The point of comparing the First Amendment to the Second is simply this: number one, it is sound, logically, to include the rest of a document when analyzing one phrase from it. One shouldn’t read one verse of the Bible and create an entire theology from it; nor should they read one line from the Constitution and judge a whole society from that phrase. Supreme Court justices do not operate this way and they never have. Two, the Second Amendment was written for a very specific reason, just as the First, Third, Fourth, etc. were included, as well–and it wasn’t for the purpose of petitioning the government for a privilege. They were written specifically for the purpose of ensuring individual freedom *from* a government. Sadly, we have fallen a long way from that, but it shouldn’t give the green light to go even further.

          You are correct that government, by way of the people, finds ways of taking those freedoms. I do not argue that point in any way. However, what I will continue to argue is that just because it happens doesn’t make it either a good idea to do more of it or profitable for the country as a whole.


          December 27, 2012 at 1:38 am

          Actually starting with the M79. The M203, XM320 and Mk19 were brought into use to inflict the “maximum amount of damage to the maximum amount of people from 300m or closer” but I digress.

          That being said there are many other semi-automatic rifles that shoot LOTS of bullets from MAGAZINES, even tubular magazines, and one very famous rifle that happens to use clips (not to be confused with potato chip clips, hair clips, and the such.

          Incidentally in case all these assault weapon banning fools have forgotten, the M1 Garand clips had a capacity of 8 rounds of 30-06 and it seemed to work just fine being that it is the rifle that won the war and killed many more people than an M-16/M-4 variant has thus far.

          Let’s not forget about the Enfield’s and much less the lever actions.

          Let’s just ban all guns while we are at it and then all you have to worry about is being like the Chinese and getting slashed and hacked with edged weapons.

    • S.H.

      December 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      While I understand your concern about semi-automatic rifles, I think proper education, not legislation is the key. In nations where military service is required the misuse of guns is far less common. For example, in Israel and Switzerland almost every male (Israel requires service of both genders) serves in the military. This translates into firearms training for most gun owners. Both of these nations have significantly lower homicide rates than the United States. When you discount terrorist related deaths, Israel compares to Switzerland (see the Interpol website for exact statistics). These countries train their citizens how to use semi-automatic weapons and the gun related crimes drop. I also disagree with the following statements you made:
      1. “We are the most highly armed country in the world.” If you mean that we have the most guns total, you may be right. However, per capita, we don’t even come close. While I understand Wikipedia is not authoritative, this article is accurate. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_politics_in_Switzerland. I should also point out that if semi-automatic weapons were the problem, Switzerland would have a significantly higher firearm homicide rate than the United States.
      2. “we have the highest amount of homicides per capita in the world…” What is your source for this? I did some basic searches (including Interpol), and while we do have a high crime rate, your statement seems unsupportable. I site Wikipedia here because of its comparative data.
      3. “One that was made to take down a large enemy force at long range”. I disagree with the implications of this statement on several points. First: the assumption that a semi-automatic weapons is meant for long range engagement. The M4 carbine, the current rifle in primarily used by the Armed forces, is designed for urban combat situations. This is the rifle referred to in the above article. While it can be accurate at up to 300 yds, it requires a skilled marksman to achieve consistency. It is not primarily a long range weapon. In fact, a bolt-action hunting weapon with a scope would be a much more effective weapon for engaging a force of any size at long range. Second, a semi-automatic rifle is not made for engaging a large enemy force. If one person with a semi-automatic weapon takes on a large force armed with bolt action rifles, do I really need to explain the expected outcome? What about a large force with shotguns? Same outcome. Semi-automatic weapons are only truly effective in a couple situations. When one or two opponents are similarly or less well armed (a home invasion for instance). When one group engages in combat with a force of roughly equal or less strength, training and weaponry engage in combat (breakdown of law or martial law).
      The above article is a response to those who are citing gun violence in schools as a basis for banning semi-automatic weapons. Under point 1, I mentioned that if semi-automatic weapons were the problem, Switzerland would have a significantly higher firearm homicide rate than the United States. If ending violence is really the goal, protect our schools just like you would any secure government building. Place armed guards at the entrances and train the teachers and students what to do if an act of gun violence takes place (kind of like a fire drill). I have yet to hear of a school doing a gun violence drill. Until we do, we are not really trying to solve the problem. We are just taking mental aspirin when we have a broken leg.

    • NJ

      December 21, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Interesting stats on Australia. I spoke personally with one of the Aussie’s “secret service” some years back. He said quite the opposite–crime rates increased drastically when the country was disarmed. His stat was an increase of 64%!! That’s ridiculous. If people are going to commit crime, they are going to do it with or without a gun.

    • Kris

      December 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm


      With all respect, RL, how do you know what is “realistic?” We are truly headed off a fiscal “cliff!” While it is not the end of society, it is foreboding. It has now become foreseeable that our economy could collapse, something like Greece’s has. Now, this would have seemed like a crazy, apocalyptic idea just a decade ago. Now, it seems plausible. It is, I believe, a major reason for the run on guns and ammo, I think. In practical terms, what happens when jobs go, incomes go, people run out of food, necessities, baby formula, even decent drinking water? A collapse would be as far-reaching as an enormous Giant Squid, affecting all aspects of our culture and civilization. Everything would go to hell. Believe it, or, consider it. Look at Hurricane Katrina. That was an apocalyptic glimpse. Looting, rioting, old men on porches with shotguns, untold amounts of violent crime, sheer breakdown of civilization, of society. That was a microscopic apocalyptic glimpse. If the collapse did occur, God forbid, eventually supermarkets would be raided, drug stores, what about people’s Rx’s for goodness’ sake. What would they/could they do? Even good people? I do believe that vulturous people would begin to invade other people’s homes. Steal their gas. Take anything that could be used, eaten, or traded for food and or perhaps drugs? Something to escape, IDK. This is a postage stamp size treatise (lol) on what COULD happen. It is not unrealistic. I wish it were. I am not an alarmist. I like guns but we don’t own any. My husband sold his hunting rifles shortly after we married. I could kick myself; at the time I “didn’t want guns in my house.” Well, we are going to be laying down some money for a handgun and a rifle, now. For protection and for targets. And, just in case. We live on the border of a very wealthy, old neighborhood. The inner-city has encroached (and that is why we can afford our home most likely! Same neighborhood but closer to the ghetto. But, if the crap goes down, we are spitting distance from the worst crime zone in our town. If you don’t think we will protect our home and family, even if it comes to a semi-automatic, who are you sir? Surely you would do the same.

    • Joe

      December 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      Agreed. This article discusses the utility that such arms create when they may be needed 0.0000001% of the time, and conveniently ignores the risk they pose the other 99.9999999% of the time. It is a false dichotomy between “all gun control is bad therefore we shouldn’t limit the most dangerous of these weapons any more.”

  19. JBull

    December 20, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    Very well written Nick.

  20. Justin Garcia

    December 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Well conceived, well delivered, and well received, Brother. I, too have recently found myself on the angry end of too many debates. I appreciate the concise, yet thorough explanation of your points. Guns are a mystery to too many of their critics, but it’s well written pieces like this that continue to fight the good fight. Thanks!


  21. Joe

    December 20, 2012 at 4:41 pm


    Very well written. You expressed many of the same points that I feel needed to be said. As a parent of two teens, husband of a school teacher, and an Army Veteran I felt helpless last Friday when the event took place in Newtown. I wanted to leave work and instinctively protect the ones I love. I firmly believe our 2nd amendment rights need to remain intact and need to include firearms that equal those of our government, as our forefathers intended. I also believe that some sort of trained response group needs to be present in our our schools, is that trained and armed teachers, I don’t know. The idea of a rapid reaction force is what comes to mind. Again, thanks for your writing, it really expressed what I my self was thinking.

  22. scott

    December 20, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Excellent article it conveys exactly how I feel.

  23. Julie Jackson

    December 20, 2012 at 5:01 pm

    Thank you. This article is perfect and goes straight to the heart of the matter with a voice of reason. I will be sure to share it with family and friends. It should start some rather interesting discussions. Again, thank you.

  24. Luke Miller

    December 20, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    This is one of the single finest articles I have found on this subject and I applaud you, sir. This is precisely what I have been saying for years. I have no problem with stricter regulations on obtaining guns, particularly in the case of the mentally ill, as I know that I am perfectly capable of passing them. If more citizens were PROPERLY trained to handle dangerous situations this country would be a safer place for all. I am a measly 145 pounds but I rest easy at night knowing that whatever walks through the door, with my Springfield 1911, I am at least on equal ground as my attacker and fully prepared to confront them.

  25. Jason

    December 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Excellent,very well stated!

  26. DSH

    December 20, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    As a fairly liberal democrat, I want to thank the author for a well-written and educated article. You have made some very good points. These are the only types of discussions that will result in any kind of progress. We as human beings will never agree 100% on anything, but our ability to be compassionate and compromise is what will allow us to coexist. There is so much discussion on “rights” going around, and I find it interesting that people are so willing to tailor them to their individual needs and beliefs. I see nothing wrong with having to earn our rights. You have certainly earned your right to own a gun, and I am thankful to you and all of our military for having our backs. Most of us have grown up in this country without knowing the struggles of those that paved the way to the freedoms we enjoy, myself included. As a woman, I appreciate the right to vote. But shouldn’t we accept the responsibility that comes with that right, and first educate ourselves on what we are voting on/for? Same goes for guns….I appreciate your willingness to “jump through a few more hoops” so that people who are not responsible enough don’t have access to weapons they are not qualified to use.

    Thank you again for using your platform for intelligent discussion, rather than the uneducated ranting that seems to be rampant on other platforms such as Facebook!

    • Dawn Heyse

      December 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm

      If you have to “earn” it, it’s not a right, it’s a privilege. That’s a slippery slope to tyranny.

      However, I agree with you that the right to bear arms does also confer responsibility. Those who demonstrate that they can’t handle that responsibility, or who can’t be trusted to be responsible, should not be allowed to bear arms. Refining how we identify the untrustworthy before a weapon purchase should be doable without making the process unreasonably difficult for law-abiding citizens.

      Those who have been found to be negligent with their weapon could theoretically have their right to bear arms revoked by the courts, similar to what already happens in some states when an individual has their concealed carry permit revoked.

      This won’t do much about crimes committed with illegally-obtained guns, but it may cut down on firearms accidents.

    • Dawn Heyse

      December 20, 2012 at 11:53 pm

      If it has to be “earned”, it isn’t a right. It’s a privilege. That’s a slippery slope to tyranny.

      I do agree that the right to bear arms also confers a responsibility. Those who have shown that they can’t be responsible should have their right to bear arms revoked for cause.

      • Joe

        December 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm

        You have a right to bear arms. You have a right to defend yourself. You don’t have a right to a tank or a missile launcher. Even the most conservative members of the supreme court agree with that. There is a line between what is a right and what is a privilege. Where that line lies is the argument.

        To use the slippery slope is a giant billboard saying you can’t argue something on its current merits so you have to change the subject.

  27. Ballzy

    December 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Agree 100% on the extra training for select teachers. A summer program that is geared toward cqm/cqb in a school setting. The best thing about something like this is nobody would know if the teacher was packing.
    On the AD from Nick Jr., are you sure it was an “accident”?
    Keep up the good work. RLTW

  28. Eddie

    December 20, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Great article Nick! Education is a large amount of the problem. I would add to the educating of people about fire arms, yearly refresher courses (much like the Swiss have a yearly national shooting tourney, makes the people refresh what they know to compete well). I shot on a shooting team in high school. Gun safety was a big part of my life. After high school, shooting stopped for me. I owned guns yet did not practice. About 10 years of not shooting much (maybe 3 times in that time period)I started shooting again. The things I forgot embarrass me. I literally fired (live and dry) a gun everyday in high school. Yet 10 years of rust had me forgetting basic safety. I shoot at least once a month now. Yes it is expensive, I have shoot my 10/22 most because of this. This helps you remember your safety, practice situational awareness and over all gun performance. I ALWAYS fire my carry weapon every time, whether it’s a few mags or 200 rounds. Knowing the feel of the gun is important. It is an extension of me.

    Antonio Makes a great point. In this discussion of mental illness, it is important not to demonize people that have it.

  29. Ed Muir

    December 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Fascinating article! I’d like to share some thoughts and hear some ideas if possible. A few things to say first of all. I am British, not American (although I’m married to an American). I have no military affiliation or experience. I am a teacher. Maybe these things mean that my opinions are in the wrong place but I’ve been a long time follower (and purchaser) of Ranger Up. While I’ve never been in the military, I believe in working hard, discipline and courage, which is why I follow RU and support soldiers who risk their lives on a daily basis.

    Here are my thoughts:

    It could be the fact that I’ve grown up without guns, but I have always been solidly in the ‘ban all guns’ camp. I’ve heard every argument supporting gun ownership and Nick’s is the most convincing but I’ve yet to hear any argument that changes my view that the only people who should touch guns are soldiers and police officers. We don’t have guns in Britain. Even the cops don’t have them. All they have is a pepper spray and harsh language and yet violent crime is decreasing every year. I would be in favour of an armed police force, but even police officers are dead against it. Last year, Britain was wracked by a series of riots across major cities. All were resolved quickly without the use of weaponry and the police still didn’t want to be armed. 3 months ago, a career criminal lured two police officers to a street in Manchester and gunned them down in broad daylight before walking himself to the nearest police station. Again, no police officer wanted to be armed after this. Why do you think this is?

    My wife is American. Her mother is a ‘prepper’ who missed my wife’s birthday because she was out buying a water purifier. Her father owns 13 guns including an Italian sub machine gun and they all have permits to carry concealed weapons. They have never had a break in to their home. They have never been attacked in the street. What they have had are 13 highly effective killing machines in a cupboard at their home, where they have been for the last 30 years and throughout my wife’s upbringing. Accidental death was a constant threat in that home in my opinion. To lessen the threat, her dad kept the ammo in a locked safe, to which I’d ask, what is the point of having the weapon for self defence if it takes 5 mins to load. One might as well have a musket. Furthermore, her brother in law told me a story of how he ‘scared a criminal’ with his concealed sig sauer (whatever that is). He said that he felt like he was being followed by a man and when the guy overtook him and looked back, he flashed his gun at him. The man ran off. There is a chance that the man was looking to rob/assault my brother in law, but it is overwhelmingly more likely that he just scared an innocent man. The potential was there for a serious incident however. What if the other guy had flashed a concealed weapon as well? Where might things have gone then?

    I dispute the opinion that if guns were taken away from honest people only criminals would have guns. I believe this is the case with serial/career criminals, but aren’t these weapons used mainly for attacks on fellow criminals? Most crimes are crimes of opportunity, with little of no planning. These are much easier to commit and much more devastating when guns are in cupboards at home waiting to be used. In 2004, I was involved in an armed robbery at the store I worked at. I was confronted by 4 youths in masks. One of them pointed a gun at me and told me to get down on the ground. After I had, I rethought it (for some reason) and started to get up. The gun guy cracked me over the head with the gun, shattering it. I was lucky it was plastic and not real. He would probably have shot me in the back. I was glad that he had to have a plastic gun for his poorly planned robbery rather than a real gun that he stole off his dad.

    I’m a teacher and feel for the poor bastards in Connecticut. I would like to think that I would have been as brave as those teachers, but I don’t know. At my school, we have only had one incident when something comparable happened. A man came on school grounds with a machete and tried to find his son. He was confronted by staff, disarmed and arrested. If he’d had a gun, how many teachers/students would have been hurt? The only school gun tragedy happened at Dunblaine in 1997. Guns have been effectively been banned since then and the incident has never been repeated.

    Speaking of schools, is there not something amiss when schools have to fit metal detectors. This would be classed as ‘responsible’ behaviour in a society where guns are so commonplace, but to my eyes, having to do this is not getting to the root of the problem. Having a gun threat in the first place is. I would never want to carry a weapon in school either. I’d shoot myself or the students accidentally very quickly. I’d also forget where I put it in school and when I move between classrooms, I’ve often dropped items. This is fine when it’s books, but what about when it’s a gun?

    Also, how can the staggering number of gun deaths in the US not speak volumes? Self defence is not a valid reason for gun ownership. As I’ve already mentioned, criminals probably wouldn’t have a gun if guns were banned because most crimes are crimes of opportunity and would not have the foresight to acquire a gun if they were not so widespread. Accidental gun deaths are SO much more commonplace than self defence deaths. In a study of 648 shootings over a 12-18 month period, only 13 were legally classed as self defence. The study is here http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9715182. There are many more just like it.

    Whenever I ask my wife about guns, she says that the 2nd Amendment is to protect Americans from their government and to keep the US the freest country in the world. Doesn’t the Patriot Act violate American freedoms more than a repeal of the 2nd Amendment? Why are Americans seemingly OK with the government snooping around their financial records without just cause, but get so defensive when gun controls are discussed?

    Also, I feel like I am as free as any American. Should I choose, I can protest anywhere I want, I can call any politician or political party any name under the Sun and I have a right to due process if accused of a crime. Hypothetically, if guns were all banned tomorrow, I can’t see the Federal government having America in chains by Christmas. The American checks and balances system is wonderful in protecting rights since no body can become too powerful. Surely an enslavement of American civilians would require all three branches of the federal government agreeing on an enslavement plan and c’mon…they barely agree on the time of day!

    I apologise if I have offended anyone with my opinions, but I am genuinely interested in broadening my mind and hearing other sides of the argument. America’s love affair with guns is a mystery to me, as is the fear of enslavement by a government and my mind is open to being changed.


    • Chad Underdonk

      December 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

      “Whenever I ask my wife about guns, she says that the 2nd Amendment is to protect Americans from their government and to keep the US the freest country in the world. Doesn’t the Patriot Act violate American freedoms more than a repeal of the 2nd Amendment? Why are Americans seemingly OK with the government snooping around their financial records without just cause, but get so defensive when gun controls are discussed?”

      I respect your reasoned beliefs but would like to counter with a couple of mine. When the Patriot act was put into law I began to read into it. The more I read, the more I felt the need to be prepared. My response was to purchase a rifle built to military specifications and enough ammunition to ensure I would not likely run out in my lifetime. I do not trust my Government with the powers that they have usurped, but I also do not feel that it has crossed the line thoroughly enough to incite my insurrection. My 2nd amendment right gives me the ultimate power of rebuttal if it does decide to go beyond rational tolerances.

      Further I agree with the author of this article that although it is not politically necessary today, my grandchildren may not have the luxury of claiming that. There are also several instances of folks defending things worth fighting for with firearms in the wake of natural disasters (which could occur at any time). Lastly, even if genocide isn’t likely to again be employed here in the States, our policies are emulated by other countries, which do disarm their citizens. Genocide is a potential result of disarmament of a class of people that their Government does not care for. The death toll from one Genocide far exceeds the amount of gun violence that we see over a period of several decades.

    • ProdigalSon

      December 21, 2012 at 2:18 am

      I would like to address some of your points. Not all, but some. I will leave discussion of hunting, recreation, competition, collecting, historical interest, and many other legitimate uses of firearms to others.

      First, about crime in the UK having decreased. I don’t feel like looking up statistics, but I’d imagine you’re correct. However, crime in the US has been falling as well, including crime with firearms, making that a moot point. Crime is falling in the civilized world in general. However, while crime specifically involving firearms in the US continues to fall even as the number of firearms increases, firearm-related crime in the UK has skyrocketed, at 35% in the last year, and 65% since 1996.
      Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-154307/Gun-crime-soars-35.html

      Second, about living in a house with 13 firearms for 30 years. Did anyone ever get hurt with those firearms? No, they obviously did not. Further, the CDC lists only 554 deaths from accidental firearm discharges in 2009. Out of about 2.4 million deaths, 0.02% of deaths were due to accidental shootings. That is statistically insignificant. It may be tragic to some, but emotions should not trump reason and facts, and the simple fact is that such things are extremely rare. To address your point about self defense shootings, might I add, 13/648 = 2%, which is two orders of magnitude greater and is statistically significant, and I will discuss that more following.
      Source: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_03.pdf
      See Table 10 on page 42

      As to self-defense not being reason, I refer you to the Supreme Court case DC vs Heller, which upholds the right to armed self-defense in federal enclaves, and then McDonald vs Chicago, which extends the same guarantee to the states. If one cannot guarantee one’s own safety, who will? The government neither can nor should be everywhere all the time, and therefore simply cannot protect you. I stand by your right to allow yourself to be victimized. I will not allow you to force victimization upon me, and guns or no guns, there will ALWAYS be crime, and there will ALWAYS be evil. Therefore, I have the right to resist it, and firearms are simply the most efficient means of doing so. As a final point, estimates of defensive firearm uses range from a low of ~110,000 (a number used by the notorious Brady Campaign) to as much as 2.5 million yearly. This is greater, even on the low end, than crimes committed using firearms. Exact numbers are not known because shots rarely have to be fired. Criminals don’t want to die; they have nothing to fight for. The victims do, so they have a great advantage, and it has protected many.

      Finally, I would like to address your point about being free as Americans. There are two truths here: One, that you are. Two, that should that freedom be taken, you have no means to resist. I commend the British government at its restraint; it is only slightly Orwellian with cameras at every corner. The simple history is that the first act of virtually all authoritarians is to disarm the populace so that none can resist. Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Castro: they all disarmed their populaces. The organization JPFO (Jews for the Protection of Firearms Ownership) has not forgotten that “an armed Jew is a dangerous Jew,” as the propaganda went in Nazi Germany. A fair number of Jews never returned from lawfully and obediently turning in firearms. While our government here in the US is as Orwellian as the UK, watching us with digital eyes, we tolerate it because, as Jefferson so eloquently states in the Declaration of Independence, “Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” The current evils are tolerable, but they will not become intolerable, for the simple reason that we are armed. Again, Jefferson: “When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.” The government fears is subjects, and that means they can do no harm other than to attempt to remove the final hold we have over them. I by no means am advocating a rebellion now, but no man can predict the future. Obama may be socialistic, but he is not a totalitarian. Future Presidents may not be so kind. In that case, the American people hold a trump card that many in the world do not. Should we become like Oceania in Orwell’s 1984, we can change that. By and large, most of the “civilized” world cannot.

      I guess, in conclusion, my argument is that people can be very evil. They may simply be street thugs, but they may also be the next Hitler or Stalin. Being armed is the only way to ensure that they do not gain power. Were people all good, I might agree to the banning of firearms, but if people were good, firearms may never have been invented. The damage they allow people to cause is bad, but the damage that may be caused should that power be monopolized is incredibly worse. I will not yield my freedom of ensuring liberty to the demands of those who want only safety.

      Call me paranoid if you want. History does not lie.
      As a postscript, I invite you to read this article:
      It may not convince you, but it is historical perspective that is valuable.


      By the way, we are not offended by those who politely disagree, even those who disagree as much as you. It is only the vitriolic “kill the NRA” types that we hate.

    • Dan

      December 21, 2012 at 3:38 am

      Ed where are you getting your facts on violence going down in the UK? No offense but I was under the impression that gun violence is rising and Britain is rearming its police force, with fully automatic weapons in some cases (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html) Also I think it is naive to think that criminals only use guns on other criminals. If that was the case there would be no armed robberies unless only criminals own businesses or objects of value. Also what world do you live in where self defense is not a justification for owning a gun? What a person chooses to defend themselves with is their prerogative. And Yes the Patriot Act is extremely dangerous and violates many constitutional rights, so does the NDAA 2012. There are those of us who actively oppose those bills and legislation like it. Furthermore no rational person in America is pushing for forced armament of teachers, rather the opportunity for citizens to undergo special training as a option available to those who would answer the call. Not everyone is a fighter but I for one would welcome a well trained teacher to carry a firearm or a taser to school to ensure the safety of the children he or she is teaching.

      • Bill Rausch

        December 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

        Dan et al,

        When you reference the UK as a reason to avoid gun laws and regulations you are undermining your own argument.

        The UK has very strict gun laws and consistently has the lowest firearm-related death-rate per 100,000 population in the world.


        For a deep dive on firearm-related death-rates per 100,000 population check out the stats on the WHO website below which has data on the UK going back to 1998.


        I think it’s great that everyone can share their opinions via this blog in a civilized manner, so my hat is off to all. That being said, as the old phrase goes, “everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.”


        PS – The Daily Mail is a British tabloid.

    • Canadian

      December 22, 2012 at 6:01 pm

      Look up the UK stats. The PER CAPITA crime rate in the UK is tremendously high. The number one weapon- knives. This is fact. Have you ever fired a gun? It doesn’t have a mind of it’s own.

      Canada has a far higher per capita rate of firearms ownership than the US, but no concealed carry. Firearms crime is lower- BUT our rates of sexual assault are MUCH higher.

      I also don’t buy your argument about police not wanting to be armed- maybe some that you have spoken to- but I actively listen to the BBC, and there are concerted campaigns in the UK to arm police officers SPECIFICALLY because of the incidents that you have mentioned.

      Finally, the thought that only police and soldiers sickens me. Why- well I am a professional Infantry soldier, and have many friends that have left the Army and are now police. My life, and that of my friends is NOT more important than yours just because I wear a uniform. You are just leaving yourself vulnerable.

      • Canadian

        December 22, 2012 at 6:02 pm

        I meant to type “the thought that only police and soldiers should have firearms sickens me.”

      • Canadian

        December 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm

        I meant to type- “the thought that only police and soldiers should have firearms sickens me.”

  30. Serena

    December 20, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    This is extremely well-written and one of the best posts I’ve come across in quite some time. You state the truth about this country’s situation and I truly appreciate that.

  31. SFC Michael Smith

    December 20, 2012 at 6:32 pm

    Great article dude; you hit it on the nail. If your offended by comparing mental ilness and violence; I don’t beleive the author Nick was trying to say your “illness” or even if you have Azburgers(I know thats not how you spell it, but I’ve never had to write it b4); you may not have any problems at all; he is not saying that you need to be hanged or committed cause you have Ass-burgers. This is half the problem; you say the problem is cause he’s mentally hill then your attacked by alot of people who’s child isn’t a serial killer. This kid may have had something else wrong with him in addition to AB; Obviously there was issues. Call a duck a duck; This boy; who was suffering from some serious issues was pissed at his mother cause he was gonna get commited. It’s not movies; video games or guns. Who’s fault is it; it’s his mom’s fault; she knew he was dangerous; and she took him shooting and bought him and allowed him to play video games that you need to be a little mature to handle. And she kept guns around him. Parents love their kids; but if your worried and think it’s time to commit them cause you can’t handle them; then don’t have guns around them.
    Now of course; CNN, NBC and the rest of the liberal media jump on the chance to use these poor babies for their agenda. They think we have no reason for having them cause they don’t want them. It didn’t work the last time except to make us pay a ton more money for anything; it’s BS. We don’t have 15 bodygaurds to protect our families; and when they stole all the Ozzies guns the drug addicts and gangbangers assaults on people blew through the roof. Anyone who votes for gun restrictions needs to be voted out. and I say vote out; I don’t threaten to beat or kill anyone that doesn’t agree with me like the libertards do. Hipocrits. And to say you don’t hunt with an AR so why do you need it; I hunt with mine; Or I should say when I was in Alaska I hunted with mine and now I have a different one but I am always leary cause I don’t want to get in trouble for having a mag that is only for 3-5 rounds for hunting.
    Everyone that comes to these sites needs to do their part and start voting; thats the only way we can stop all this crap.

  32. Rich Butela

    December 20, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Great article. My only disagreement would be on arming teachers.
    I do not think it would be that difficult to train teachers or administrators (who were wiling)to gather their charges into their classroom shut the door and wait. If the bad guy enters the room you shoot him. It’s the exact strategy I’ve taught my wife. If an intruder enters the house, get to the bedroom, grab the .45, kneel behind the bed with the .45 pointed at the door, call the cops and wait. If someone you don’t know enters, shoot them. You don’t have to teach them building clearing techniques, just a basic defensive tactic. Other than that Right on.

  33. Rob Tucker

    December 20, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Absolutely the best thought out and written article I have read on the subject — simply put… Well Done!

  34. Bill Rausch

    December 20, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I appreciate your perspective, thank you for sharing. I also have a military background and enjoy recreational shooting.

    That being said, my wife is a Brit so I thought I would shed some light on their lack of gun violence.

    In 2011, the UK had 0.04 firearm-related homicides per 100,000 population in one year which is one of the lowest rates in the World. In contrast, in 2009 (the latest figures I have found) the US had 3.7 firearm-related homicides per 100,000 population in one year.


    The UK has strict gun control laws and consistently has a very low number of firearm-related deaths per annum. I would avoid referencing the UK when making an argument against gun regulation.

    Beat Navy,

  35. AMN Chris Burlison

    December 20, 2012 at 9:30 pm

    Excellent article. I will reference this to my liberal “friends”. The true point is exactly how you wrote it. Evil exists, you either prepare yourself or live with the consequences.

  36. Chad Underdonk

    December 20, 2012 at 10:01 pm

    This article and some of the commentators actually spawned an idea I’d like to share. I’ve already sent this to the NRA, both my Senators, My Congressman, and Speaker Boehner hoping one of them will get the message and share it with someone who can approach the NRA and suggest this course of action…

    “I believe that the best way to face a diffuse threat is with a diffuse answer. Studies and practical experience has shown the best way to stop a rampage is with immediate force. Arming school staff is not a solution that will work in many states. But placing additional police officers in each of the 99,000 educational institutions would go a long way towards making them less attractive to those who prefer soft targets. The following is my email to the NRA:

    Please take this suggestion from a Gun Owner seriously.

    I was reading someones thoughts about the Massacre. One of the commentators on his thoughts suggested he would be willing to pay a firearms tax to fund police officers in every school.

    Another commentator suggested that a group could form that would provide money for such services much like MADD raises and distributes money for Police Drunk Driving Prevention Overtime during the Holidays.

    The best possible response to this tragedy for the NRA would be to offer to voluntarily raise money to provide salaries for school law enforcement sheep dogs to protect our flocks.

    By 2010 stats there are 99,000 educational facilities in the United States. If we presume a salary of $30,000 per officer, and the goal of one additional officer per school we come to a total of: 2.97Billion Dollars. If we divide that solely by the 4million NRA members we come to a total of less than $750 apiece per year.

    That is based on current NRA numbers. Not all contributions would have to come from members. Some estimates show that there are 85million gun owners. If somehow they all participated (unlikely) the share per person would be less than $35 a piece per year. The NRA could hold fund drives (auctioning weapons for example) to help pay for any shortcomings.

    I can tell you that I am not currently an NRA member, as I dislike some of the compromises that have been made in the past on the 2nd amendment. I am far more likely to identify with the Gun Owners of America as being more in line with my thoughts. That said, I recognize the contributions that the NRA has made for safety programs and to defend the 2nd amendment.

    If you were to implement a voluntary donation program such as this I would join the NRA if for no other reason than to contribute to the fund. I am quite sure that publicly calling for such a policy would probably swell the ranks of the NRA by millions upon millions of people. “

  37. Michael

    December 20, 2012 at 10:20 pm

    I appreciate this article. It is well written and takes into account the reality that gun ownership is not for everyone.

    I do take umbrage with your assertion that more guns equal a more civilized society. In other words, the idea that you will treat someone with respect if you know they have a gun. A clear example of this not being the case are the last 30 years in poor, gang infested neighborhoods. Gun ownership, albeit illegal, was widespread, yet violence raged. I think anyone who grew up in those neighborhoods, and survived, would differ with your civilized society theory.

    My other complaint is that you see the idea of fear as a way to justify automatic weapons. That the government “could” become geonocidal. That there “could” be mass hysteria from a natural disaster. A 205 lb man “could” try to rape you. If that “could” happen, wouldn’t you rather be armed, you ask? I find a better solution is demanding detterants and structure from those in charge. I find that to be a safer and more effective solution.

    My final point is that I have many friends who own guns. I trust and respect them all. I also don’t want to stop them from owning guns. I do however want tragedies like what happened in Newtown, and Aurora, to stop happening. I have a 10-month-old daughter. I want her to go to school worrying about homework not her life. I want her to be able to go to the movies without being afraid for her safety. There needs to be a solution. And I think the only way we will find one is by having rational and respectful conversations like these. It is only by working together that we will be able to protect the ones we love the most.

    • Chris

      December 21, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.
      Robert A. Heinlein

  38. Jay

    December 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I don’t know bro…the kid in Newport took that school with an AR15 his mom owned and taught him to use. She was a gun enthusiast. Legally bought and the whole 9. Listen, I’m cut from the same cloth as you and I can follow most of where you’re going. But I’m not sold on the assault weapons…not anymore. Not for public use. The EMP argument doesn’t carry water (EMP – seriously?) and a trusty shotgun or 30-06 is every bit as much a deterrent in times like Katrina as an M4. Armed guards in schools; just like LTC Grossman talked about. Takes the risk of armed attack down to about zero. RLTW.

    • ProdigalSon

      December 21, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      I’m not sold on the “no assault weapons” for the simple mathematical reason that you have, given the trends over the last 5 years, approximately a 1 in 840,000 chance of being killed with a rifle OF ANY SORT. The average has been, for the last 5 years, 375 people killed per year using rifles. Out of about 2.4 million total deaths per year (all causes), that is ~0.015% of all deaths. Of specifically firearm-related deaths, that is around 1 in 22, or ~4.5%. Looking at it rationally, rather than emotionally, “assault weapons” are not a problem. Heck, rifles in general aren’t a problem. If one is to take away any sort of firearm due to deaths they’re involved in, it should be handguns (and good luck with that).

  39. Kevin

    December 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    Your article is logical and sensible. If put into place the suggestion would most likely work well but here’s the problem.

    We have a Congress who can not agree on anything.

  40. Bill Hart

    December 20, 2012 at 11:12 pm


    Phenomenal. Well researched and beautifully articulated. I’ll share this excellent piece of logic as frequently as I can.

    Well done man. Thank you.


    December 21, 2012 at 5:22 am

    Bravo. I was a little iffy on the assult weapon issue, but not anymore. With a background check every average sane American should be able to obtain what is appropreiate for them in the way of firearms.

  42. Ed Harris

    December 21, 2012 at 7:18 am

    Good points. We can’t let them disarm law abiding citizens and deny them the right to defend themselves and their families. The bad guys will still have guns and we would be defenseless to do anything about it.

  43. Alex Wolfson

    December 21, 2012 at 7:20 am

    Dear Nick,

    I am happy to open debate, and believe in the right context that guns used in personal defense can deter others from committing crimes. And I have the highest respect for a military veteran.

    What is disappointing in your article, is that you are broadly making the assumption that the “95 pound, seventy-five year old female with a handgun and training” is the norm. What test did this 75 year old pass to get her gun? How often does she renew it? Should we be concerned about her eyesight or hearing at 75? Or even her mental state of mind? What is someone else in her household who doesn’t have any training is using the same gun…

    I think you get my point. The issue is that the laws today are not designed to create the scenario you paint. How about a follow-up article where you outline what needs to be done to get to that world you envision.



    • Mr. Twisted

      December 21, 2012 at 1:07 pm


      You state that the issue is that “laws today are not designed to create the scenario you paint.” The problem here is a misunderstanding–laws don’t “create” scenarios involving murderous intent and the will of a victim to conquer that intent. Legislation outlines what is and is not legal–they don’t magically make people able to perform under stressful situations any more than they stop bad people from doing bad things.

  44. Walker

    December 21, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I want to let you know that this article is awesome. I’ve been arguing the same points for years, and have never, not once put it so eloquently. Good job.

  45. Franklin

    December 21, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    This is damn near verbatim what I posted on my own facebook wall two days ago (although in longer form). That status has 137 comments to date, btw, w/ viewpoints ranging from if-you-don’t-believe-in-100%-unfettered-access-then-you’re-not-Americun! to a couple of my Brit friends who think that we, as a nation, have completely lost our ever-loving minds. For what it’s worth, I do understand where the ZERO REGULATION guys are coming from, on a theoretical level. Any regulation must come from the government, which is somewhat self-defeating if the purpose of gun ownership is to keep the govt. in check. Unfortunately, with each new Aurora or Newtown, I find I fear the Lanza’s of the world much more than I do big brother, and I UTTERLY REJECT the fatalistic notion that the same country that put a man on the moon CANNOT figure out how to enact some common-sense screening and minimum training regulations that allow full access to law abiding citizens while making a good-faith effort to keep guns out of the hands of crazies and criminals wherever humanly possible. If we can’t accomplish that, it’s because we aren’t trying hard enough! Is it the answer to all of our problems? Absolutely not. Will it stop a truly determined criminal from obtaining a weapon illegally? No, it won’t. But each time those questions are thrown in my face, I can’t help but stare back and ask, “So…because we can never come up with a perfect solution…we shouldn’t attempt any solution at all???” I’ll just never understand that line of logic.

  46. Justin

    December 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

    Well written article. However, I would like to offer a few points that are worth considering:

    1. Columbine had an armed security guard and another unarmed security guard. Neither seemed to help. Most people, even if they carry a gun, tend to run from danger and choose flight instead of fight. This is why we have SWAT teams, as many people will claim to run into a fight but it takes special heroes to actually do so.

    2. Further proof of point #1 – There were two armed civilians at the Gabby Giffords shooting. Neither even fired a shot towards Loughner. Instead, Loughner was overtaken when he stopped to reload.

    3. I think this article points mostly to the pro’s of owning a gun, and doesn’t realistically lay out the pros of gun control. Granted, you did give a disclaimer at the beginning. I would like to add:
    a. Approximately 40% of the guns sold in this country are sold to owners that have never passed a background check due to the gun-show loophole.
    b. The only check that is done for the other 60% is to make sure you have not committed a felonious crime. You can commit 184 misdemeanors, but as long as you have not committed 1 felony you can legally own a gun.
    c. You can report guns as stolen as many times as you would like and still buy a gun. Essentially, you could buy a pallet of guns yesterday, report them stolen today, and sell them tomorrow. Wash, rinse, and repeat this tactic a million times. Although this is a glorified, over-exaggerated example – there are no gun-buying laws to diminish straw buyers (ie – only can buy 1 gun a month, can only report guns stolen X amount of times before your lose your rights to buy a gun, etc). I would even argue that the current laws help gun trafficking, as it is only a misdemeanor now.
    d. It is harder to vote than it is to own a gun. It is harder to get a license to drive a car than it is to buy a gun. Our toys, food, and a million other things are all regulated more than our guns are.
    e. There is no drug test required to buy a gun. You can be addicted to several mind-altering drugs, yet still allowed to purchase a semi-automatic rifle.

    4. I think to have a serious discussion about guns, you need to mention how easy it is for the wrong people to currently get them. Although your article mentions this, I think it better to drive it home with the following facts:
    a. Jared Lee Loughner (Gabby Giffords shooter) was denied entry into the Army and was kicked out of his college and told he could not return until he hit numerous mental health milestones (which he never did). He still legally bought a gun after all these things were known.
    b. Cho (Virginia Tech shooter) was declared mentally insane by a doctor and was declared mentally unstable by a judge. He still legally bought a gun after this was known.

    5. I own several hunting rifles, and will defend your right to own a gun. I also think us pro-gun people should be the loudest to voice our opinion on gun control. When guns can so easily fall into the wrong people’s hands it creates a stigma over us responsible owners that is not easy to get rid of.

    • Mr. Twisted

      December 21, 2012 at 3:05 pm


      In order:

      1. I’ll go one further — the LE response situation at Columbine was a perfect example of why SWAT is not always the best answer. They botched that almost as bad as it could be botched.

      2. Solid point.

      3. a. There is no such thing as a “gun show loophole.” It is a manufactured term, created by the anti-gun lobby, that has no real legal meaning.
      b. Not entirely true and it depends upon the state, so that’s more lengthy than allowed for here.
      c. Gun trafficking… do you mean like what the BATF was doing into Mexico? Remember, any extension of these laws you are theorizing about only give more power to an organization that has been responsible for ensuring a very well-armed contingent of Mexican drug cartels.
      d. You are implying that those regulations are a good thing–they are not. The assumption that, because cars are heavily regulated guns should be, is flawed on numerous levels.
      e. One can be addicted to mind-altering drugs and do any number of things like, for instance, buy a car and drive it. Yet in your last point you were arguing for guns to be more regulated like cars.

      4. a. Many well-trained Veterans are denied their Second Amendment because someone, somewhere put a PTSD stamp on their file and then shared it with the BATF. Is that the future you see for America? Any time a doctor thinks you are slightly unstable, he/she reports you to a federal, criminal database? That will ensure one thing: that people who may have sought help for a mental disorder won’t do so out of fear that their doctor will cave to the nanny state and violate what we know as HIPPA laws (which, by the way, will be completely shredded by pursuing the options you’re discussing).
      b. Then he should have been locked up. If someone is declared mentally unstable to the point where they lose their Constitutional liberties, then guess what? They aren’t safe to be walking around in public.

      5. Saying “I own several hunting rifles” makes you no more pro-gun than Senator Barbara Boxer (who, by the way, as a Concealed Carry permit). That’s not pro-gun; that is a philosophy that leads to more and more regulations that solve nothing.

      • Justin

        December 21, 2012 at 3:33 pm

        You can say there is no such thing as a “gun-show loophole” all you want. And that may very well be a made up term as you pointed out. However, the fact that ~40% of guns are sold with no background check in this country is very real. The fact that you are not required, by law, to perform a background check if you are selling a firearm and not a licensed seller is what is referred to by many as the “gun-show loophole”. We can call it whatever we want, but when almost half of all guns are exchanged hands and no background check is legally required, we have failed. How does the seller know who is buying the guns if no check has been done?

        Cho probably should have been locked up and treated, for at least a little while. However, it was an insurance thing and not a liberty thing that failed there. Complex problem with no easy solution type thing. But when insane people are allowed to buy firearms, the system has failed.

        Guns need to be regulated more, in my opinion. Your re-occurring argument in your response seemed to be that they do not. Fully automatic weapons are still able to be owned in this country, it just takes a lot of regulation to jump through. You don’t hear much about those guns ending up in the wrong hands, though. The staunchest defenders of the 2nd amendment seem to forget the 2nd and 3rd words of that very amendment: “well regulated”.

        • Mr. Twisted

          December 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm


          Do you want to live in a place where every sale, every piece of commerce, every time someone trades something to another person, is regulated by the federal government? I don’t. While I do realize that this is where we are heading in a number of areas, that in no way makes it a good idea or the right way to go.

          Yes, individuals can sell firearms to other individuals without conducting a background check–and thankfully so. I would prefer not to have to pay yet another tax in order to sell a pistol or rifle or shotgun to my brother/dad/cousin/ friend. That is not a solution–it is a punishment for people who do the right thing, anyway. Those that commit crime with firearms would not wake up one day and say “ahh, crap. I was totally gonna buy this piece from my bro, but the Man says I can’t without doing a background check. Oh well, no crime for me today, I guess!” That’s pure fantasy.

          Yes, fully-automatic firearms can be owned if one chooses to jump through ridiculous loop holes that solve nothing. A fully-automatic firearm such as an M4 or an MP5 carry no more lethal ability than that of their semi-automatic counterparts, so that is ultimately a moot point.

          “Well regulated” refers to a militia. Do you know what “people” refers to? Taken in context with the rest of the Constitution, would you care to argue that only in a regulated force would the freedom of speech be allowed? How about a trial by jury, should that only apply to a group and not an individual?

          Do you realize what the point of placing “well regulated militia” is? It’s not stating that the only ones who can have a firearm are the militia. Rather, it is saying that, given the fact that a militia is necessary, the only way to form one is from the gathering of common men who already posses arms. That is exactly what happened during the Revolutionary War. Men did not go to their local “Department of Revolutionary Affairs” and ask for a permit for the latest piece of military hardware–they already owned it, and that’s why they were able to form a militia.

          Face this one, simple fact: you’re either in favor of more personal freedom or you advocate for more government control. Your opinion is that you want more government control. That’s fine, but don’t be shocked with the disastrous results it brings in any and all areas of life.

          • Justin

            December 22, 2012 at 12:21 am

            I am in favor of more government control if it would save even 1 more six year old from being murdered a la Newtown. The good gyys can jump through a few more hoops and the whole argument that “the bad guys will do it anyway” is infuriating. We don’t use this logic with any other laws (bad gyys will still speed, why have speed limits). When people use that argument they are basically advocating for a society completely void of laws.

            What is your recommended changes? Believe the system we have in place is working fine even though you are 20 times more likely to be murdered by a gun in the US when compared to other developed nations? Think no changes are necessary even though you have people like Loughner (denied admittance to Army, Suspended from school due to mental reasons) able to legally get a gun? Think the status quo is working great when Cho was declared legally insane yet still able to legally buy a weapon? Clearly the system needs tweaked. Somehow, someway.

            One last thing – the ability to own a gun is a privilege, not a right. This is why felons cannot own guns. Their rights have been revoked. The Supreme Court has ruled this to be the case numerous times. They have also ruled that the 2nd amendment only guarantees people the process of owning a gun after certain requirements are met (why it is all but impossible to own a pistol in NYC and background checks are legal). To think the 2nd amendment allows every Tom, Dick, and Harry the ability to own a firearm is a failed assumption, rightfully so.

          • Mr. Twisted

            December 22, 2012 at 11:07 am

            “I am in favor of more government control if it would save even 1 more six year old from being murdered a la Newtown.”

            What we have here is a fundamentally different view of not only government, but of good and evil, right and wrong. While this is a debate that is far too large for this particular comment section, let me just state that your statement is more revealing than you realize: murder is already the worst crime that can be committed according to law, yet it still happens. The existence of a law–the violation of which could be punishment by death–did not stop this from occurring.

            In a philosophical sense (trying not to make this a religious debate), the law itself does not make one right or wrong–it simply exposes or shines a light on what we deem as wrong. That’s all.

            Sadly, you are correct; owning a firearm with the current firearms laws is a privilege. This is not how it was for over 100 years in our country and it is not how the law was written originally, but that is how it is today. It’s not in any way a “flawed assumption” to want it to be viewed as it once was.

          • Justin

            December 23, 2012 at 6:09 am

            Mr. Twisted – I noticed you never answered my paragraph regarding what are your recommended changes. Do you think a system that will allow the Cho’s and Loughner’s in this world to legally buy a gun is working?

    • ProdigalSon

      December 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm

      I’m not going to go into detail, because Mr. Twisted is doing a good job. I would just like to correct one common, but incorrect, assertion: “It is harder to vote than it is to own a gun.”

      That is a lie. To vote, you fill out a piece of paper with your name, address, age, etc. Then you vote. No ID required, nothing. You just vote. The most you have to pay is a stamp, or gas if you go to a polling station.
      To buy a gun, you fill out a similar form. Name, address, age, etc. Then you show picture ID. Then you go through a background check. Then, in some states, you come back 3 days later. THEN you get your gun. You pay the cost of the firearm, plus sales tax if applicable, plus an 11% excise tax. That is hardly easier than voting.

      • Justin

        December 22, 2012 at 12:32 am

        40% of gun sales in this country only require cash. Although we can pretend they are all going to our sons, nephew, granddaughters, or other family members that is just not the case all the time. Background checks are only required if you buy a gun from a licensed dealer. Handing someone cash is a lot easier than filling out a voting form, and this doesn’t even bring in if there are problems like Jim Cramers mother and similar situations which, although rare, can happen.

        However, when buying from a licensed dealer I agree. Voting is harder and more time consuming than buying a gun for all the reasons you just mentioned. it’s a shame only 60% of guns are sold in this fashion though.

        • ProdigalSon

          December 22, 2012 at 3:42 pm

          To be honest, I actually agree with you in a way. I might get ostracized for saying it, but I would kind of like to see private sales need background checks, if only so that people will shut up about it. I would be fine with it under four conditions:

          1) NICS is available free of charge. If you’re going to force me to use it, don’t make me pay for it. Maybe we could spend some money on that, protecting Americans, instead of giving money to Pakistan. (I’m no fan of foreign aid)
          2) An exception for immediate family. Yes, I know some people will abuse it, but my family knows me better than NICS ever will, and honestly, why the hell should a man have to run a background check on his wife if he buys her a gun as a present? The (rather small) abuse risk is not worth the sheer stupidity and inconvenience of requiring checks on intra-family transfers.
          3) The seller be held completely, undeniably unaccountable for any crime or other actions the buyer commits using the firearm (assuming the sale is legally done, of course).
          4) Seller is only required to keep record of the sale for a limited time. If they want to keep the record forever, that’s fine. It’s in their best interests anyway. But no requirements past, say, six months or so (that’s a debatable number, just a starter).

          Given those four conditions, I would actually be fine with it. Just like the “shout ‘fire’ in a theater” situation, some limits are acceptable. I think that’s one.

          My god. I think we hit on something here. That’s one “solution” that would probably be a good one. If only Congress could read this.

  47. Adam

    December 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    EMP really? EMP is a result if a nuclear detonation and For the whole east coast to go dark nuclear war or detonations high in the atmosphere would have to occur. It is absurd to think your AR 15 makes any difference under those types of scenarios. It does make a difference under school shooting bank robbing drug trafficking scenarios also known as REALITY. Red Dawn is a movie you and your kind are paranoid and delusional. Lastly the military and marshal law would do far more to reestablish order than individuals with zero training and authority. In these doomsday scenarios the first thing the military does is establish law and order and armed vigilantes would be dealt with harshly. The author should stick to what he knows which sure isn’t constitutional law or complex strategic national level operations well beyond his paygrade or skill set.

    • Mr. Twisted

      December 22, 2012 at 12:22 am


      I’ll leave the bad grammar alone and address a stark reality: Google “Carrington Event” some time. There is, in fact, more than one cause for an EMP and–wait for it, here comes the kicker–it happened before in our country and we’re due for it to happen again.

      Whether or not it would be as disastrous as some claim is debated by even the most educated on the subject. However, since your genius-level intellect didn’t know about it, I’m going to let you have your fingers do the learning and work on your Google Fu a little harder. Because clearly you are an expert on both Constitutional law as well as complex, strategic, and national level operations, so you should probably know about that stuff.

  48. Jason

    December 22, 2012 at 12:12 am

    I agree with the intent of the article, and I agree that you have the heart of intent of the Constitution. I agree with 90% of what you wrote.

    What I don’t agree with will paint me as a Conspiracy Theory nut ball, most likely, to you and others, but they are my beliefs. I don’t think that Obama and his admin and many along with him have anything but the downfall of this Country in their sights. He is an Elitist Globalist Banker whore doing what he is ordered to do. I would not be surprised in the least if these latest shooters were more Sirhan Sirhan’s . I do believe that they are trying to take our guns away to institute a World Socialism/Communism and most people are being sheeple.

    The next thing that I cannot agree with is having more Police at the schools. Some? Yes. As long as they have good standing records. To many cops in this day have lost the respect of the Citizenry due to thugish, SS style behavior. I am around a lot of Cops being an ER Nurse and the good do out number the bad, but those good cops DO NOT STAND UP TO THE BAD ONES because the upper brass in most large agencies will protect those that they know will follow orders no matter what the order. To many LEO’s have been shown to be horrible marksmen ( the NY incident where the perp was feet away and two cops unloaded at him and hit him twice while wounding 9 civilians! ) I personally go to ranges with cops and out shoot them all the time. I even have had a few express the belief that I should not be ALLOWED to have guns because of this fact, since it makes them less safe if/when they have to bust down my door and take me out ( actual statement )!! And many more cops have proven their critical thinking skills when they are going up to houses ( right house or wrong ) and with little to no warning just shooting the family dog in front of, sometimes right next to, a small child or pregnant woman, and the dog what doing nothing but wagging a tail at them. I personally judge on a one on one basis when I come into contact with an LEO whether or not he/she is trustworthy or if I need to be a hairs breath away from Condition RED.

    I am a big believer in arming Teachers and admins that have CCW’s and are willing to go through more training, since you are correct, to maintain mental stability in a situation like that it takes some very intense training.

    I think that, if the Federal Government would get out of our lives on the local level, many localities would be able to better choose who to deputize and place in schools along side trained teachers to ensure our children’s safety. I would be willing to volunteer a couple days a week, even more if needed, at my wife’s school where she teaches. We are avid shooters and I have regularly go through “drills” that we and highly trained friends set up weekly. We do this not because we are doomsday preppers, but because it is fun, active and keeps us mentally and physically sharp and constantly observant. I have been studying multiple styles of fighting since my father got started about the time I started walking I think. I am also a huge fan of National Reciprocity when it comes to CCW’s. They should be treated just like they Treat Drivers licenses. But that would entail some sort of universal testing that is not cost prohibitive, considering that in some states they require 12 to 16 hours of CCW class training and these classes can run a person $500 dollars or more. The fight against National Reciprocity is no about trained citizens, but about the money each State get. It’s always about he money.

    Again, I liked the article, but I don’t think that you get just how bad the problem is. Our leaders are not with us. Our 2nd Amendment Rights are not on the chopping block because of “the soccer mom” next door. They are in danger because we have an out of control Government that DOES want to disarm us and enslave us, and as you said, that is why we have the 2nd Amendment in the first place. Why else would they be trying to take it?

    Thanks for the article and I do hope that I did not offend anyone.

  49. John

    December 22, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    That is very well written. We all need to make our voices heard in an intelligent manner. This is the best thing I’ve seen written on this subject (besides my letter to my representative). I’m kidding of course. Keep up the good work.

  50. John

    December 22, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for a well written piece on this issue. It’s the best I’ve seen yet (other than my letters to my representatives). I’m kidding of course; we need more level headed discussion from both sides. Keep up the good work. Let’s get this message to our representatives and our President.

  51. Glenn

    December 22, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    AS a CT rt clear resident I want to say thank this is the most clear headed statement
    Glenn Newington CT

  52. Ben

    December 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I absolutely agree. These are many of the same points I have been making, but much more eloquently written. Thank you for this.

  53. Dennis Shibley

    December 23, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I think you are correct in your article and I agree 100 %

  54. John Mattos

    December 23, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Again, you should truly be ashamed. I’ll admit you can string a sentence together well but iut appears you are willfully misleading people. Did you do ANY research before posting this… or did you do the research and ignore it?

    In Australia the gun homicide rates went down 42% in the first 7 years according to a study published in 2009 by the Harvard School of Public Health. Further, there were 11 mass shootings in the 10 years BEFORE the ban, and ZERO since.

    Maybe you would spend 5 minutes watching this http://www.nbcnews.com/id/49263362#50283372

    Lies Lies Lies in the Rhino Den.

    Even Rupert Murdoch’s pro gun properties see that Wayne LaPierre is completely out of touch. All I can say is thank goodness you’re in the minority.

  55. GI-Jenn

    December 23, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Well said, Nick. As usual. As a trained handgun owner, Veteran and citizen, I find your points clear and relevant, and I agree with your assessment of the situation. It is truly a multifaceted problem that touches on our country’s key values and some thorny, uncomfortable topics that need to be addressed. I also appreciate the polite discourse in the comment section; it’s an intellectually stimulating read. I really do wish the overly reactionary were not the ones to get all the attention on this issue, and that there were much more of this type of conversation in the broader community.

    I agree with others that some of these ideas should be passed on to your legislators, as each person sees fit. I’m going to refine some of my thoughts and do just that. I really like the ideas of instituting shooter drills in schools (like fire drills; excellent point to LTC Grossman) and security details in schools. Here’s another way, like Team Rubicon, to connect Veterans to service in their communities, too. Of course the details are tricky, as with anything (e.g. right now the problem solving mandate is at the federal level, but schools are state-managed entities), but it can be done.

  56. Sara

    December 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    My sister knows and uses martial arts when necessary in the school to get a violent student off a staff member. She disarmed a child who had a gun.

    In preparing for a possibility of an assault on a school, as occured in this kind of raid as occured in Conn, I would prefer trained and armed teachers and staff working through a faculity gun club together. Shooting would be a hobby at the gun club in case something happened. But in the mean time, we would have a bunch of teachers prepared to defend themselves and others in life and an opportunity for conducting a faculity hobby together.

    We would have a plan to keep the criminal out of the school, but if he made it into the school, he’d have to survive through the first layer of defense – gun club members in the front office. Then he’d have to walk down the hall and open the classroom door with the next line of defense -a gun club member armed and ready to shoot him as soon as he opened the door. Every part of the school would have a gun club member trained and ready to go. Gun club members would not need to carry their gun, they could have it safely hidden in their classrooms from the students but easily available to them if they needed it.

    I’d make it a gun club membership for any staff who wanted to join. I would have a subtle cat door cut to the outside of the building for children to crawl through if the gunman was on the inside of the building. In each classroom. James Bond could help us lay out our attack plan. /s/

    I would permit parents who are liscened for conceal carry attend school events armed. I would invite selected parents to join the faculty gun club, too. It would not only be the safest school, it would be the safest town.

  57. Brit Nige

    December 29, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Nick, this is by far the most balanced article I have read on the issue. I am ex UK military and am now in the NZ military. I have never owned a gun or felt the need to do so in either country, a bit like your early life, however, if I felt I needed to be armed I would like to know that my fellow citizens were well trained in them and that other aspects, such as mental health were being addressed. You advocate sensible discussion and achievable solutions unlike a lot of outspoken people ( Piers Morgan – not even a US citizen so can have an opinion on the issue but really needs to get off his high horse),
    You can’t simply take away something as sacred as the 2A and think the problem will be solved and you have highlighted why it would not work but show an alternative. I am neither anti or pro gun, something needs to be done, that is obvious. Your article was a breath of fresh air and needs to be distributed wider. As stated, the most balanced article I have read

  58. Squeaky

    January 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    excellent write up. i agree whole heartedly with you. We need to get this right, and the knee jerk reaction from the left is misguided.

    I’m appreciative of your relating, to those of us that grew up with guns, the scared feeling that those ignorant of guns may have. I can’t imagine ever not having a gun. Do, that was am interesting lesson for me.

  59. John

    January 8, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Get notified of new Rhino Den articles and videos as they come out, Also, find out before anyone else about new product launches and huge discounts from RangerUp.com, the proud parent of the Rhino Den.

  • Videos (The Damn Few and more!)
  • Military-inspired articles
  • MMA (and Tim Kennedy) coverage
Close this window

Join the Rhino Den / Ranger Up Nation

Read previous post:
A Christmas Wish

Editor's Note: We have received a request from The Ranger Up Nation to pass the word about this upcoming event. ...