January 16th, 2013

How are Obama’s gun control proposals a logical response to Sandy Hook?

Simple: they’re not.

After a mass shooting, gun controllers push the policies they’ve always supported as if they were a logical response to that particular example of senseless violence. When skeptics say it is hard to see how the proposed measures could have prevented that attack, gun controllers (if they are honest) say that’s beside the point, because the real goal is not preventing the rare mass shootings that get all the attention but curtailing more common forms of gun violence. If so, the horrible event that supposedly makes new legislation urgently necessary does not in fact strengthen the case for that legislation one iota. If the proposed policy was a good idea before the attack, it remains a good idea; if it was a bad idea, the emotionally compelling but logically irrelevant deaths of innocents do not make it suddenly sensible.

Oh logic—thy name is not politics.

Speaking of logic: in his recent address on the subject, Obama said, “We don’t benefit from ignorance.” The context in which he used the phrase was his call for more research into the effects of violent video games. But it strikes me as ironic that the left, and Obama, and those who champion more and more and more gun control above and beyond what we already have do benefit from ignorance, as the earlier part of this post demonstrates.

Another interesting irony is that Obama also said, “Weapons designed for the theater of war have no place in a movie theater.” Think about the content of most movies these days: gun violence, combat, and war, anyone? And that’s the least of the sadistic blood and gore we see. Not that gun violence should be banned from movies—but really, the subject matter in which movie theaters deal, and by which they make the bulk of their money (other than popcorn and sex, that is), is guns, designed for the theater of war and otherwise.

And the whole “designed for the theater of war” thing does not necessarily transfer to the actual weapons Obama wants to ban. It gets very technical, and is not my field of expertise, but those of you who know about weapons understand that the terms are meant to appeal to emotion rather than logic, and some involve mere cosmetics (see this and this).

I have no problem with background checks, and certainly no problem with banning fully automatic weapons (done a long, long time ago). I don’t even think it’s so terrible to ban very high capacity magazines, since it’s possible for a hunter or person defending him/herself to reload quite quickly if necessary. Of course, that last part also makes it very possible for a shooter like Adam Lanza to reload, again and again—which by the way he did, despite having high capacity magazines. A bit mysterious, and a reminder that shooters aren’t always logical:

Lanza stopped shooting between 9:46 a.m. and 9:49 a.m., after firing 50 to 100 rounds. He reloaded frequently during the shooting, sometimes firing only fifteen rounds from a thirty round magazine.

In summary, I don’t see how any of Obama’s proposals could have prevented the Sandy Hook massacre, or could prevent murders by a single future mass murderer intent on destruction in an environment such as a gun-free school. An armed guard, or armed teachers? Now, that might have helped, although we can never be sure.

50 Responses to “How are Obama’s gun control proposals a logical response to Sandy Hook?”

  1. holmes Says:

    The EO’s counterand some of the provisions of the ACA, a bill he signed into law. I must have missed that class in Con Law where an Executive Order can repeal portions of a statute. But I guess if you can selectively waive the application of a statute to any one individual, as Obama has through the ACA, then why not waive and then apply a completely different standard to everyone? It’s so much easier than a Republic’s archaic procedures and checks and balances.

  2. holmes Says:

    countermand*

  3. holmes Says:

    Neo- as to high capacity, I think you’ve lived in the city too long. See Instapundit’s emailer and the story of the guy who fought off a pack of wolves. He needed 10 shots for 3 animals. You know why? They’re moving and people miss. A single bear or charging moose could take an entire clip to bring down. The lady in Atlanta who defended her kids needed 5/6 bullets to bring down an attacker (who still lived). What if there had been two attackers? But if that works for New York state, I suppose that’s how it should be done.

  4. holmes Says:

    If people knew there were some armed teachers and guards at schools, but not exactly how many, that would be a major deterrent. There’s a reason crazies (who apparently are able to put together a pretty good attack plan/analysis of threats in these situations) never walk into a police station and fire- they wouldn’t be able to get far.

  5. holmes Says:

    Sorry, stealing a page from Artfldgr’s book :)

  6. holmes Says:

    He keeps using that word, “theater.” And that’s really what all of this is. There’s a lot of nothing burger in these EO’s, save for the exemptions from HIPPA (illegal) and overturning the portions of the ACA that prevent doctors from asking about guns (but the initial provision seems like a 1st amendment violation. I suppose if it only deals with recording that information, perhaps it’s OK.) There is a lot more money being spent now, DHS will be involved, there will be new positions and departments, but the actual law is nothing. And he knows a new “assault” rifle ban is a nonstarter.

  7. neo-neocon Says:

    holmes: actually no, I already know what you’re talking about. That’s why, if you notice, I wrote “very high capacity,” although I didn’t define the exact number. I know that quite a few shots are often needed. I think (not sure of this, but I think) that even Obama’s recent proposals would allow magazines of 10.

  8. JuliB Says:

    I don’t think we can prevent such tragedies in the future. The world has changed way too much.

    Consider deviant behavior. One of the theories of criminal justice centers on the old adage ‘you can take the boy out of the hood, but not the hood out of the boy’.

    It’s long been thought that there are 2 types of delinquents – the leader and the follower. Take the follower out of the neighborhood and you stand a chance of him not getting influenced by bad guts. Take a leader out, and he will expand his influence to others. The personal nature makes it impossible for any top-down approach.

    Factor in:
    1. cities where more people are brought together,
    2. the lesser degree of social cohesion inherent in a city,
    3. the increase of anonymity,
    4. the absence of right/wrong in our teachings (the dictatorship of moral relativism as decried by Pope B16),
    5. the media giving criminals so much attention they become celebrities to the weak minded,
    6. the entertainment media’s constant focus on violence leading to us being desensitized to it,
    7. the access afforded to us to others who reinforce or share dangerous activities (in other words, it’s great to bring knitters together in a forum, but not so good for deviants)

    This combination of these factors is unprecedented in human society. I simply can’t see anyway to navigate our way away from episodes of extreme violence.

    The only thing I can think of is God and a spontaneous religious revival. Certainly nothing Obama can throw out there will help in the least.

  9. vanderleun Says:

    This is the mountain of Obama manure excreting a mouse turd.

  10. Roman Says:

    When people tell me: “I don’t need that large of a magazine”, I say, Great, tell me how many rounds I will need. The Second Amendment has never been about hunting, but the ability to fight against dictators.

    “I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

    George Mason
    Co-author of the Second Amendment

  11. KLSmith Says:

    From the man who is the biggest beneficiary of ignorance in the whole world ever.

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    Obama said, “We don’t benefit from ignorance.”

    KLSmith beat me to it, but he’s right: Obama certainly benefited – and continues to benefit – from ignorance.

    That and greed and envy. But for that unholy trio, he’d be a concierge in a tony Chicago hotel.

  13. holmes Says:

    Neo- I stand corrected. But I do think arbitrary limits on magazine capacity are misguided. But if it would satiate the gun-controllers, then so be it.

  14. vanderleun Says:

    Easy peasy translation:

    http://phelps.donotremove.net/2013/01/obamas-new-executive-orders/

  15. George Pal Says:

    It is the standard now that the government would apply itself to that which is meaningless and useless and less a problem than it was a half century ago; such as 16 oz. soft drinks and

    http://wmbriggs.com/blog/?p=7056 (see graph)

    And would take no issue with or action against those who had done this

    http://www.data360.org/graph_group.aspx?Graph_Group_Id=32

    But for the lack of being like angels we have given ourselves to the devils.

  16. expat Says:

    Why didn’t Obama fix the problem of gun violence in Chicago when he was organizing the community? Quite simply, he has no idea what he is doing.

  17. Sam L. Says:

    Of course they’re not. No intelligent person expected they would be. Political theater is what he does.

  18. Lizzy Says:

    I guess these EO’s mean that he’s going to get Doctors to collect the gun ownership data for him & exploit the mental health data now collected and viewable by HHS (thanks to ObamaCare!) to restrict gun purchases. Not that the Sand Hook murdered actually owned the guns he used, but, whatever. Never let a crisis go to waste yadd, yadda, yadda.

  19. neo-neocon Says:

    expat: Oh, I think Obama knows exactly what he’s doing. It just may not be what you think he’s doing.

  20. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Mag size is meaningless. When I was in the Army, I could switch out a M16 mag in about two seconds.
    The sustained rate of fire is effectively the same since the larger mags have a tendency to jam. The cumulative friction of the rounds on the walls of the mag sometimes defeat even a stronger spring.
    If you have twenty minutes, as it is reported the Newtown shooter did, and a good many others had substantial time, you can shoot more than you could carry, even if it were ten-round mags.

  21. expat Says:

    neo,

    I meant in terms of how to solve the problem of violence. He sure knows how to manipulate people to gain power.

  22. leigh Says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, please, but I was under the impression that Lanza carried two pistols into the school and while he had an AR-15 rifle (his mother’s), he had left it in his car in the parking lot.

    Likewise with Holmes in Aurora, CO. He killed/wounded the majority of the victims with a pump-action shotgun after his AR-15 jammed and was unusable.

    As to high-capacity magazines, the 30 round magazine is standard issue and while containing many rounds when compared to a shotgun or a rifle or even handguns is nothing special.

    I am not an expert but have been trained in defensive shooting and can change magazines in a few seconds with a semi-automatic handgun and not too much longer with a speed-loader and a revolver.

  23. neo-neocon Says:

    Richard Aubrey: see this re the amount of time the shooter had. It was close to 15 minutes, but not twenty.

    Also, somewhere or other (can’t find it right now) I made reference to the shooter’s having reloaded and not used up all the ammunition in each magazine. I found that mysterious. You’ve given me a clue as to what might have happened; the magazines might have jammed, since they contained 30 rounds each.

  24. neo-neocon Says:

    leigh: you are wrong, but you are basing your memory on the initial reports, which said just that. In this case, many mistakes in reporting were made.

    Later it was reported that the majority of the wounds were made with a semi-automatic rifle. He actually brought four weapons to the shooting in the car, but left one in the car. He killed himself with a handgun. Here are the facts as they have been reported at present:

    A large quantity of unused ammunition was recovered at the school, along with three semi-automatic firearms found with Lanza: a .223-caliber Bushmaster XM-15 rifle, a 10mm Glock 20 SF handgun and a 9mm SIG Sauer handgun. A shotgun was found in the car Lanza had driven to the school. At home, Lanza had access to three more firearms: a .45 Henry repeating rifle, a .30 Enfield rifle, and a .22 Marlin rifle.

    The weapons were legally owned by Lanza’s mother, who was a gun enthusiast. Police said Lanza used the Bushmaster rifle against most of the victims. According to the state’s chief medical examiner, H. Wayne Carver, many of the victims were shot multiple times with the same “long weapon”—the Bushmaster rifle.

  25. parker Says:

    I own many firearms, only one is a semi-auto. It is a SKS rifle that I bought as a protest gesture when Clinton wanted to ban the import of SKS rifles. I came, over time, to appreciate this rather crude rifle. It has a fixed (non-detachable) magazine that holds ten rounds. It can be reloaded with stripper clips that hold ten rounds. After about a thousand rounds of practice I was able to fire 70+ rounds, with accuracy, at multiple targets, at 100 yards in about 60 seconds. I am sure there are many thousands of SKS owners in America who can easily top me.

    Limiting magazine capacity is a feel good, stupid idea. Any regulation on the ownership of firearms will do absolutely nothing to stop mass murder or other crimes. Criminals and the insane do not obey laws, its just that simple. Take every single firearm away from honest citizens and it will never stop criminals and the insane from committing murder. All that would be accomplished is setting the stage for fascism. Its just that simple.

  26. carl in atlanta Says:

    Heh, check this out:

    http://www.statesman.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/abbott-weighs-into-gun-control-fray-with-ads-aimed/nTyK6/

    Good for him. Seems like Texas is rapidly becoming a promised land….

  27. Kyndyll Says:

    Frankly, Carl, I’m waiting for another country to run ads like that in major US cities. I would have to think that the best and brightest are among those most likely to be looking for the exit door from this downward spiral over the next four years.

  28. Richard Aubrey Says:

    neo.
    When I was a grunt, a lot of the smart guys who had 30-rd mags issued would load them with 27 or 28 rounds. So there is a convergence.
    Most weapons which are supposed to have more than thirty rounds available use the belt-fed method. The M1 Abrams tank has a co-ax machine gun in the full-size 7.62mm NATO round, which is used in machine guns of various types. The basic load is a belt of ten thousand rounds accordion-folded.
    Some guys experimented with taping two magazines together, one up and one down. Switching them arouind was supposed to be pretty quick, which I imagine it was, but the mag not in the weapon collected dirt and crap and frequently wouldn’t fire a single round. But it looked bad-ass.

  29. n.n Says:

    It’s not about logic. It’s about leverage, specifically democratic leverage. It’s also about emotional extortion.

    Hope and change, forward, etc.

  30. Otiose Says:

    Obama’s goal is to make the process of obtaining (and keeping) a gun so onerous that it will effectively nullify the ‘right’ to bear arms. That’s been done in particular areas under liberal control. And he will say with a straight face that he supports the right to bear arms.

    But it’s not so different from say the hurdles some conservative states put in the way of getting an abortion. They don’t (because they can’t) outlaw abortions, but they can put a few obstacles in the way and draw out and delay the process. And many will argue with a straight face that they’re just concerned about the health of the mother or whatever.

    Obama’s proposals make sense if you understand his goal. If he proposes new laws that have no hope at all of getting passed (very likely) it’s just his maneuvering to make the other side look bad – and nothing more.

    To me the logical response to Sandy would be to encourage free carry of weapons by on site adults. If you’re fond of government then we could have a nice program funded to monitor and ensure training for at least one adult on site with a gun at all times.

    Realistically though, this need to do something about every potential bad event even when the probabilities are so tiny is a symptom of ‘modern’ thinking, in which there is a compulsion to try and remove all risk from our lives, and can never be satisfied.

    Probably for starters we should push the Federal government out of the issue all together. Let the states decide what rules they want and if they need to coordinate in some sort of data base then they can do that too. But having the Federal government get in the middle of this is very costly in ways that are not so obvious up front.

  31. Richard Aubrey Says:

    ‘re rounds left in mags.
    Experienced troops keep rough count of rounds expended in a mag. Not hard to learn. Running a mag empty, aka “click of ddeath” is a bad idea . Better to swap when low at yr choice than with no choice.
    If the shooter was doing that, he’ d heard it someplace far from upper-mid class life in Connecticut. An autistic might be able to do that first time.

  32. parker Says:

    “Let the states decide what rules they want.. ”

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

    http://tinyurl.com/b653tk9 I don’t need no stinking rules. I have the only permit required, it is the 2nd and beyond the 2nd, I have the right to defend me and mine because I am a free man who breathes the atmosphere and pisses water.

    “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

    Federal, state, or local; do not tread on me or else wear kevlar on your head. Old I may be, but I don’t back down. (I may need viagra, but I can still get it up. ;-) )

  33. parker Says:

    “In summary, I don’t see how any of Obama’s proposals could have prevented the Sandy Hook massacre, or could prevent murders by a single future mass murderer..”

    You are seeking sense where there is only (deliberate) nonsense. A waste of energy.

  34. Don Carlos Says:

    “A well regulated militia” suggests it is past time for states like TX to actually organize and equip same.
    The relationship between a State’s National Guard and the US Army is something I need to persoally clarify. A governor can mobilize a State’s NG for intra-State needs like Katrina or the LA riots, but the Army can and does send same into foreign combat.

  35. DonS Says:

    One thing about mag restrictions is that it can be a firearm restriction.

    For example, the M-1 carbine used 15 shot and later 30 shot mags, produced for the military. They are high quality mags that work well. A restriction would limit those mags and force us to switch to 10 round mags that must ben made new, in the aftermarket, probably in China.

    With respect to AR15s, the best mags are the 20 and 30 round mags made to military specs, or some of the better 30 round mags made by companies like Magpull.

    Now, ARs and M1 carbines are popular enough the aftermarket will supply lower capacity mags, but if your rifle is less common it could impact you ability to acquire magazines.

    In the case of a 7 round limit like NY, that bans your 10 shot SKS and 8 shot Garand.

  36. DonS Says:

    Richard,

    At least some video games teach you to reload when you can, not when you must. So he could have learned this from the games.

    Many people who train for combat or defensive situations carry a dump bag to place their magaines in when they remove them from the weapon. Not just to retain the mag, but because the mags will still often contain ammo.

    Also, you don’t even need to count rounds. You reload to a fresh mag at a convienent time. It is called a “tactical reload” vice a “speed reload”.

  37. DonS Says:

    Neo,

    In an AR, the biggest problem with fully loading the magazine is getting it to seat in the weapon (fully click in). If the mag doesn’t seat it can fail to load ammo into the weapon and the whole thing can drop out. Hence many download their mags by several rounds.

    It is common to replace mags when you can vice running dry and then reloading at a bad time. But usually you carry a pouch to put the expended mags in, so you retain the ammo for later use.

  38. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Don S.
    ‘mong other things, the last war game I played was Avalon Hill’s Tactics II. Went from strategy to tactics when I enlisted. Last computer game was Tetris loaded on a word processor I had a long time ago.
    So the sophistication of the new stuff is beyond me.
    Still, to do tactical reload in the school meant the guy was either pretty cool, or in the zone. Which meant he wasn’t feeling any pressure. This was his first actual op, so to speak.
    The M1 carbine, a sweet weapon I lusted after but which exceeded my allowance, with a thirty-round mag qualifies as an AW. But nobody did it.
    As to the Garand–more lust–it doesn’t have HA HA a mag. It has a clip.

  39. DonS Says:

    The Garand has a mag but it (or most of it) stays in the rifle. Only the clip is ejected. I’m not sure how the NY ban is written, if only detachable mags are limited to 7 the Garand may be good to go.

    The new games are rather sophisticated. They teach you to transition to a handgun rather then do a speed reload and to do tactical reloads rather then run your weapon dry.

    The hard part about combat reloading I assume (having never ben in combat) is doing so under fire. This guy wasn’t under fire when he was reloading.

  40. leigh Says:

    Neo-neocon, I apologize for the tardy reply. Thank you for answering my question upthread.

  41. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Don.
    If he wasn’t under fire, there was no reason for the tactical reload except he’d learned it someplace and didn’t know it wasn’t necessary in the school. Might be a function of autism.

  42. Les Says:

    Highest practical capacity magazines are needed by citizens and police in defensive situations because, in contrast with the active shooter goblin who has planned for days, weeks or years (Gun free zone island in Norway), all the ammo the usually caught-by- surprise citizen has is that which is already in the weapon. The officer responding to active shooter at a school should grab extra mags for their rifle on the way in, but may not, under the stress of the moment. A citizen should have extra magazines on them when their house is invaded, but will usually have nothing but their defensive weapon, and maybe a flashlight. Not tactically optimum but that’s the way it is; you can’t reload rapidly if you don’t have any more magazines on you. Multiple home invaders aren’t going to give you time to retrieve more from where-ever they are kept. The bad guys will arrive well supplied, depending on who they are.
    Low capacity magazines won’t satiate the socialists, to them it is just a step in the right direction. Registration, confiscation, genocide.

  43. DonS Says:

    Richard,

    He might have wanted to reload so he was fully loaded for his next bunch of victims.

    But then, none of us really know.

  44. DonS Says:

    Les,

    I normally rely upon a pistol for home defense, with a flashlight and several spare mags. Alas, I don’t sleep wearing web gear or an ammo belt, so if I expend the ammo in the pistol I would have to go back to where I keep it in the bedroom to reload. I only have two hands, and also have the pistol and flashlight.

  45. Les Says:

    Don,
    I suspect that is the way most of us are. Thus a pistol with seventeen rounds is more practical than one with seven rounds when there are no more magazines available.

  46. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Gender Bïgǒt Says:

    }}} because the real goal is not preventing the rare mass shootings that get all the attention but curtailing more common forms of gun violence.

    Except they don’t, a point made in a recent WSJ editorial by a DC Prosecuting Attorney:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324081704578235460300469292.html?mod=WSJ_hps_sections_opinion

    Money Quote:
    Violent crime increased after the law was enacted, with homicides rising, from 188 in 1976 when the ban started, to 369 in 1988. By 1993, annual homicides had reached 454.”

    I believe this is counter to the trend in the nation, mind you. All violent crime, including homicides, have been steadily decreasing in a per capita sense since about 1980 or earlier.

    }}} I have no problem with background checks

    I do, as they are done.

    Background checks should be handled as a driver’s license is. You should apply for it, get cleared, and then, if you’re buying a gun, it should be presented and verified that no changes have taken place that would prevent you from obtaining a weapon.

    Current “background checks” are handed WITH the gun information, which “of course” is being “erased and not kept”. Ahhh, YEAH. I’ll buy that. I’ll buy some land, too? Want to sell me some? I’m sure you’ll give me a fair deal. I trust everyone to do that.

    As-is, background checks are defacto registration. And that’s just a waypoint on the path to confiscation. At this point, with private sales, if they come snooping around, you can say “I sold that gun”. And there’s nothing they can do. With private sales being banned without checks, there is no way you can make that claim without admitting “a crime was committed”, and getting arrested. And, no doubt, in short order they’ll add a law revoking your ability to own or buy a gun if you’ve ever sold one without the government’s little fat fingers in the sale.

    So, no, I REJECT, categorically and vehemently — with supreme prejudice — the government’s right POWER to supervise private transactions in this manner.

  47. Smock Puppet, 10th Dan Snark Master and Primitive Food Observationist Says:

    Sorry Neo, not buying it. That MAGICALLY appearing AR-15 is just ridiculous. HOW DO YOU MISS IT? It doesn’t show up in ANY of the early reports, then, suddenly, out of nowhere, it appears and is the cause of all the problems. After just about the amount of time it would take to search the house, find the weapon, and take it to the scene.

    Again: I would be LESS prone to believe this might be done PRIOR to the revelation of Fast And Furious. The notion that The One would NOT be involved in a conspiracy that promoted a gun ban seems to be incredibly naive. And, at the heart of it, this does not require a massive conspiracy of any kind to implement. One person sent to find the mother’s (REGISTERED) Bushmaster, take it to the scene, “find” it, and the coroner who got up and claimed all the deaths were tied to the AR-15. A few more people to get their jobs threatened when they started to ask sensible questions.

    We’re not talking some massive army of individuals. A small number in on the whole thing, and some more cowed into keeping their questions to themselves. That’s not an impossible conspiracy to keep, especially when the lapdog media have no interest in any of the questions that true “investigative reporting” would entail.

  48. Ymarsakar Says:

    It’s somewhat hard to piece out what their real intentions are. But if I would have to guess, it would be namely to use the Eos as a sort of door knocker. A way to get funding secreted about the Executive Branch, without necessarily having to account for where the money is going. A new and improved Fast and Furious, where it can all be kept in house, because the money is being used for “legitimate” purposes. What they may be cooking up is interesting to think about. Arming the TSA and cloning them for “schools”? Using the registration list and having TSA/SEIU type goons go in with guns blazing? Set up a new department in the government to “control” guns?

    The Left can do all kinds of stuff with enough funding and excuses to cover it up.

  49. Ymarsakar Says:

    The only way to prevent such things is to have on site first responders, like the teachers/students, and just basically kill the gunman or gunmen. It’s not impossible, and it’s definitely feasible given how many risks the gunman took in this particular scenario.

    In some ways, it was pretty easy, but only one person knew how to use the tool of violence and had that tool ready, Adam.

    Nobody else knew. Or if they did, they left their tools.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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