"As of 2020, the leading cause of death among children is guns." Without a source citation, a statement like this is mere hyperbole. The problem is not guns, the problem is evil. The United Kingdom has, mostly successfully, banned guns, and yet people are still being violently killed. So now they ban pocket knives. What's next? Banning sticks? Banning or licensing wrenches or screwdrivers.

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Bari, nice job in staying right up the middle on this one

Bob S.

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Here's a variety of thoughts on guns, arranged into some order over the last few weeks, as I've tried to find time to write them down. I've trained with guns over the years, once upon a time owned a legal firearm (but no longer), and have known gun enthusiasts, policemen/women, and military types. I've lived in laxer states and stricter ones.

The mass murders carried out with military-grade weapons could be made less likely by federal restrictions on the sale and ownership of such weapons. Congress is within its legitimate powers to do this, as the Supremes have said multiple times. While a semi-automatic rifle like the AR-15 is not a machine gun (you have to pull the trigger to fire each round), with a large magazine, you can kill a lot of people quickly with such a weapon. These weapons have become common in private ownership only recently, since the end of the Cold War. In private hands, they were rare before the 1990s. When Governor Abbott of Texas talks about the "long" rifles of his youth, he's thinking of a hunting rifle for shooting snakes and rabbits with one or a few rounds, not an assault rifle.

Although they're shocking and horrifying, making parents anxious about their kids in school, the mass murders we've seen recently are not the main form of death by firearms in the US. That would be the resurgent gun violence in a couple of handful of major cities (half in only five cities, almost all in only nine). In almost all of it, the perpetrators are young black males, and the victims are almost all black, mostly also young males, although not all. Death rates having fallen for more than two decades, the new breakdown in law enforcement, supported largely by well-to-do white liberals insulated from the consequences of their own bad ideas, has meant resurgent gun violence rates.

What few people outside law enforcement realize is that these gun crimes are largely committed with illegal weapons, usually imported illegally or assembled from illegally imported parts, sometimes stolen. *Further restricting the rights of law-abiding gun owners will do nothing to stop this.* That's one aspect of the "fantasy" nature of so much American politics these days.

Where do these weapons come from? They are increasingly a result of the growing illicit flow of cross-border smuggling that involves the smuggling of drugs, guns, and people. The main problem is the southern border. Most of the gun crimes in major cities are committed with illegal weapons. This why prosecuting people in these cities for illegal possession of firearms is so important. Yet this is one crime of a number that the so-called "progressive" prosecutors have decided to not prosecute. (Why are these people still in office?) Yet it's an effective way to stop gun crime, so what gives? Here's one piece of "progressive" incoherence.

Contrary to recently published articles, there's no clear historical relationship between gun violence and gun ownership. (I leave aside suicides by gun, where there is at least a roughly clear relationship.) Gun ownership slowed in the 1980s, but started rising again in the late 1990s and 2000s, while violent crime rates and numbers fell from the early 1990s till about 2015, when the current campaign against law enforcement really got traction (largely built on lies).

The relationship of gun violence and death to demographics and the strength/weakness of law enforcement OTOH is quite clear. By far the largest crime wave in US history began at the end of the 1950s and peaked in the early 80s or early 90s (depending on what part of the country). This was an era of a large population bulge of young men, the age and sex by the most prone to violence, but also a widespread breakdown in respect for the law and law enforcement. The demographic tide turned in the late 1980s and law enforcement started to improve in the early 1990s. Presto, gun violence declined, quite markedly, in some cases down to levels not seen since the early 1960s.

Can something be done at the national level? Yes, and recent Supreme Court decisions have reaffirmed this, were Congress ready and willing to do something. The flow of *guns* (not the behavior of gun *owners*) has a legitimate aspect of federal regulation, last revised in 1995. By securing the borders, especially the southern border, and especially targeting the smuggling of firearms, a great dent could be made in this flow. No other developed country puts up with the anarchy at its borders the way we do. Even many poorer countries manage a better job. This control of the *things* (not just the *people*) is a key difference between us and everyone else.

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In the main I found discussion to be serious and the points well-considered. However, a few things did stand out to me.

First, “…As of 2020, the leading cause of death among children is guns...”. There’s a language problem here, given that anybody under 18 would count as a “child” in that stat. Most people who hear that don’t think about who this is usually - a teenager with a gun robbing a store, or a gang member, that is shot dead. Also, to make this statement suggests that abortions don’t count as a cause of child death. Defining babies as not human seems curious in a discussion that quite reasonably laments the evil of children dying in school shootings.

Second, school shootings, while evil, don’t represent the majority of firearm deaths in the country. It's not even close.

Third, to the majority of firearm deaths, a variety of challenges emerge when one understands that a wide range of extant laws are simply not enforced, to wit:

Straw purchasing is already against federal law, and is punishable by a fine of $250K or 10 years in prison, because to do so would involve lying on a BAFTE form 4473, which asks, “Are you the actual transferee/buyer fo the firearm(s) listed…”. However, this isn’t aggressively enforced. For example, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois (Chicago) currently doesn't prosecute these per its publicly stated policy. This may have something to do with the high rate of crimes committed using firearms in Chicago.

By the way, minors (under 18) can’t buy any firearms legally, no matter how many background checks are done. Personally, I’d like to move the age for firearms, driving, voting, being required to get your own healthcare insurance and age at which one can consent to gender reassignment treatments to age 21, but that’s me, and I digress.

80% of murders in New York City (as an example) are committed by individuals having previous arrest records, including convictions. In Philadelphia, something like 60% of cases involving firearms are dismissed or withdrawn. Felons by law can’t possess firearms, but if that law isn’t enforced, it’s meaningless.

As noted above, lying on a 4473 is a federal offense. Yet, the so-called "lie & try", wherein people w/ every reason to believe they're prohibited from purchasing firearms gamble that the NICS won't flag them, is common. For example, Hunter Biden apparently did this, given that he purchased a firearm and answered no to being an unlawful user of drugs.

There’s a problem with the NICS background check. On this, the response will be Approve, Deny or Delay. Delay means they can’t find a reason to Deny but can’t Approve, but this turns to Approve after 3 days. As a result, some firearms are indeed transferred to people who should have received a Deny. Since those who completed a 4473 gave a name and address, it seems reasonable to suggest these should be confiscated, with requisite prosecution to follow, though this doesn’t often happen either.

Finally, every firearm transferred across a state line to a new owner has to go through a background check at a Federally-licensed firearms dealer. Obviously if somebody moves to another state they can take their firearms with them so long as these comply with the new state’s laws. Tighter enforcement of interstate transfer laws wouldn't hurt legal owners, but it has to be done by the federal government as it crosses state lines.

Thanks for your work on this publication, Ms. Weiss. I’m a fan.

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I haven’t read though all the comments below so there may have been discussions to this already. Here’s my take. I’m 75 years old and pretty much have lived in the country ( other than bouts in NYC, SF, Dallas and FL). I think your missing the point. We don’t have a gun problem, we have a crime problem. The reason I own guns is mainly because of the crime. I have a concealed carry permit. If you think it’s easy to get one, try and get one. I live in Texas. I carry outside my property more than I carry on my place even though there’s the chance I’ll run into rattlesnakes or Ferrell hogs. You mentioned cars as an example. Do some research. How many folks don’t have insurance? There is a lot. Everyday there are accidents caused by people with out insurance. Guns- start listing the race of the people who commit crimes. You will see it’s mostly black or Latino. Drugs- most crime has to do with drugs. IT’S a crime problem not a gun problem.

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Along with this solid interview, I encourage those interested to listen to Joe Rogan's long form conversation with Colion Noir (Episode #1831). Mr. Noir is a 2A advocate and a lawyer and is, IMO, very clear-headed about this subject.

For example, the most pragmatic solution to these school shootings, after considering most of the essential facts and context, is harden the schools. Mr. Noir outlines the essential points, unfortunately the interview 2-hour interview spends a lot of time on unrelated topics -- the relevant focus in the first and last 30 minutes. Anyway, Mr. Noir points out there is no other nation in the world as populous as the US (320+ million), as diverse, and as grounded in a constitutional respect of human nature (power corrupts) and distrust of government authority. The 2A has everything to do with self-defense and nothing to do with hunting and recreation, and to deny a citizen the ability to defend themselves with the same essential technology (individual firearms) government soldiers possess is reasonable -- noting fully automatic weapons are a reasonable restriction. The topic of what background checks are, and the types of checks is eye-opening. No one can buy a firearm from a dealer without a background check today. Private transactions are another matter, and enforcing background checks on private non-strawman sales is a non-starter; it would require the registry of all firearms -- knowledge the government cannot be trusted with. Practically all of these school shooters either stole their firearms or purchased them legally (meaning the background check flagged nothing -- right or wrong.) There are 400 million firearms in the US. They are not going to be turned in and no one in their right mind would do so leaving only criminals with firearms. It is profoundly subjective to red flag an individual who has no criminal record -- it takes proof of demonstrated premeditated steps towards violence; something very rare and nearly impossible to catch. So harden the schools -- that's pragmatically and rationally possible.

Changing the culture that monetizes gun violence, like Hollywood films and video games is a 1A conundrum -- but it might be something to consider (me speaking).

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In today's world, families take no responsibility for crazy members, mostly because they can’t. The Uvalde shooter was thrown out of his mother's house, and shot his grandmother. Under current law, involuntary commitment is not an option. Even though the shooter's family probably knew he was dangerous, they realistically couldn't do much.

My brother was bipolar. He refused to take his meds, or see psychiatrists. While she was alive, my mother wired him money weekly. When she died, I set him up with a cash station card that had money transferred into it every week. He lived in Sacramento. Whenever we tried to visit him, he would avoid us, often by getting arrested. He lived on the street. A drunk driver hit and killed him in a cross walk last year.

My brother wasn't violent. He didn't do any drugs. However, there was nothing our family could do for him against his will. He would only accept money for food. He refused our help, end of story.

Families with violent crazy people can't do much either. If the family notifies authorities, the violent crazy person may retaliate, while the authorities will most likely do nothing. That situation is what has to change.

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Bari, as a canadian who agrees American gun laws are too lax, still i struggle with this issue. I used to own guns for hunting, gave them up when i decided to quit hunting so i have no ideological issue against guns, i think they are a useful tool when used right. And shooting is fun.

But i'm a conservative who reads your stuff, i watch Bill Maher weekly etc to get away from any bubbles and what i see constantly is the true insanity of the left, you just posted an item on another big city DA (LA this time) that is completely off the rails, and when i see this stuff i think to myself its no wonder that gun enthusiasts are the way they are. When i read this stuff i also think i should go buy some guns just in case.

I think this is a self sustaining loop. The most rabidly anti-gun types are probably clinically insane in so many ways.

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I wish I could know ahead of time when David French is going to be in an article so I can avoid it. I would not have subscribed to this had I known I’d get a regular dose of that dumb SOB, so at least give me the chance to avoid ruining my morning by reading his dumbassery. Also, people kill people. Guns help them in their killing of people. We don’t have a gun violence problem. We have a violence problem humans generally have a violence problem. It existed before guns and will exist after them.

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This was an exceptionally thoughtful and informative discussion regarding crime and our collective efforts to reduce it. My concerns, living in Chicago, is the lack of enforcement of existing gun laws. It’s discouraging to see suspects arrested with guns, being released with ankle monitors. The recidivism rate is very high amongst this cohort. I would suggest, gun control for bad guys first. Then we can address the less lower hanging fruit.

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Same problem here in Canada, our posturing pony Justin Trudeau just made a big deal about some new gun rules, capitalizing on the latest shooting down there, rules which make things tougher for law abiding owners but do absolutely nothing about criminals and their illegal smuggled guns which is 99.9% of our gun "problem".

All virtue signaling, no solutions. So its not as though we have anything figured out up here.

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Even if we were to accept the Left's ludicrous demand that we treat school shootings exclusively as a "gun" issue and not as a culture rot issue (the reverse is far more justified), proper policy would be to enforce scandalously-unenforced current laws, not to impose new laws that will also be selectively enforced and abused.

A good summary is here:


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Jun 14, 2022·edited Jun 14, 2022

You said "Enough of the despairing conversations" and You just had another one of those. Nothing will ever change if the true elephant in the room is not addressed: Americans have way too many guns and a gun culture, that encourages gun violence including that awkward second amendment, that some violent slave owners enshrined in the American Constitution.

How can You turn things around?

1. Get rid of that stupid second amendment! People elsewhere don't have this kind of BS in their constitution and they aren't missing anything.

2. Reduce the number of firearms in private hands drastically. The more there are out there the more will eventually end up in the wrong hands and cause tragedy. The less guns out there the safer your country will be.

3. Get rid of Your silly gun culture that tells people You can fix everything with a gun and if a gun doesn't fix it they just need more guns.

But You know what? I don't think Americans will ever get it. So nothing will change, no matter how much useless blabla is uttered, including the most stupid reaction to gun violence imaginable, all those utterly useless "thoughts and prayers", which always replace effective action when "it" has happened again.

It's a fact: Americans love their guns more than they love their children. That's why they'll keep on burying their children instead of their guns. Your "despairing conversation" You had here will not change a damn thing about that attitude since You are not even considering radical change like getting rid of any of those 3 things I mentioned above. I hope You will never have to bury a child of You're own, not because I wanna spare You from that, but I hate to see innocent children die because of the inaction of their parents. And no.....Your blabla is not the kind of action needed here. It won't prevent the next very predictable carnage.

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The Sheriff of my county encourages everyone to get trained, permitted, and own guns. Why? Because it’s a big county and it would take 20 min for a deputy to get to you in an emergency. We have the right to defend our lives. And we have very little crime here. You never know who has a concealed weapon. If someone breaks into your home and you shoot him, a jury is not going to convict you. According to your ideas, the good citizens are to be defenseless while the criminals keep their guns. No, we won’t accept that.

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Then keep burying Your children if it's that what You want.

Where I grew up nobody had guns, even the criminals had to use knives as weapons. Because guns were hard to get. You couldn't just break into places of good citizens like Yourself to steal them. And guess what? Nobody needed guns for self protection. There were zero mass shootings. Crime was extremely low. And there was no need for special exercises how to protect against armed intruders in school, because there never was even a single one coming after students at school.

Do You know that most guns used by criminals started their "career" as a gun legally owned by a gun store owner or by a citizen like Yourself for self protection? Once they are there it's close to impossible to keep them out of the wrong hands.

Here's another problem: Lot's of Americans will develop some form of dementia when they get old. Including a large number of legal gun owners, who have never harmed anybody in their lives and are perfectly good citizens. Also including legal gun owners who are already paranoid about the government wanting to take their guns away from them, which may sound crazy to some, but at least is not illegal. People suffering from dementia are not save with guns. They tend to get confused and unable to judge situations. Often they feel threatened for no reason at all. That doesn't make them evil persons. It's just the nature of the medical condition they have developed.

You know You have to take away guns from those at some point? Anything else will result in countless tragedies. Good luck with that, especially with those with this paranoia that their government is after their guns and they have to defend themselves and their right to have them.

I've even heard of people with dementia shooting their own son or daughter in their home, because they didn't recognize their own kid and felt they had to defend themselves against an intruder!

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Clearly you are not American. Read the link describing the process to repeal an Amendment. It is not a snap your fingers and it is done thing. https://constitutioncenter.org/blog/what-does-it-take-to-repeal-a-constitutional-amendment

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All it takes is enough political will. But without kicking this garbage out of Your constitution You will have to live with gun violence forever and keep burying Your children.

And yes, thanks god I'm no American. I lived in the US for 2 years though, in Washington DC of all places and I remember all to well the fear when I walked through certain parks at night or took certain lines of public transportation. I still remember that I took the advice of a friend to always carry a 20-$-note with me, in case a get mugged and look into the barrel of a gun, so that I have something to give to the thief, because a happy thief is less likely to shoot You. How can people live like that?

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US gun culture is constantly changing, and David French represents an older version of it—one that is afraid of embarassing itself in front of the anti-gun establishment and seemingly disdainful of the rights or needs of people outside of its good-old-boy members. For somebody with a much more thorough, honest understanding of the gun culture than French has, look to sociologist David Yamane, who has spent a decade studying it from the inside. If you want to “understand the maximalist position”, as Rajiv rightly suggests you should, you probably couldn't do much better than Matt Larosiere, the passionate, articulate, well-versed Director of Legal Policy for the Firearms Policy Coalition.

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School shooters (including Uvalde) are young father deprived males. Black on black murder is most often committed by young father deprived males. The divorce industry and its ever expanding feminist driven gynocentric anti-male destruction of fathers parental rights and access to drama free child visitation ensures the production of dissociated violent youth. The goal is total banishment of the father from his child's life. It isn't an accident and THE PROBLEM ISN'T GUNS. Intentional or not, the planned destruction of family, kinship and fatherhood now comes full circle to include use of the word "mother". The war is won. The love and holy union shared between a man and woman is now criminal. The woman is married too, and the child belongs to the State. Leonard Cohen was correct: "...the naked man and woman are just a shining artifact of the past.."

Pretending that guns and senseless violence is anything other than the in-your-face cultural and social disintegration of the American Republic is as pathological as the perpetrators making it happen. It isn't rocket science. The gutting of a nations industry and the looting of its economy creates HUMAN DAMAGE. Poverty creates crime. The forced imposition of a lie on either an individual or a nation wounds the psyche. Living in a manufactured feudalism in perpetual debt servitude robs individuals of their dignity, creativity and their future. The subjugation and dismantling of the greatest educational system in the world by mercenary ideologues creates crazies. Depression, anxiety, addiction, poverty and violence are the hallmarks of economic and political repression. It's not something else.

How many Jews died in WWII because of their rationalization of the belief that their own position of financial comfort, reasonableness and social respectability would save them from the machinations of monsters. Many believed right up until the knock on the door. Have you not seen the dressed as Star Wars characters, let me put a chip in your head, trans-humanist, men are really women, financial totalitarians of the WEF? The cyber prison ascends.

We live in a weaponized Tower of Babel. Truth, the discussion of legitimate human experience, concern and reason are criminal. CAN THE TRUTH SPEAKERS SET US FREE and save us from ourselves? The ideological is now pathological. We need an entirely new national dialogue and an honoring and return to the inner world human language whose words spring directly from the human heart and Soul. Are we not human beings first?

Expect more of the same.

Got Constitution?

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I remember hearing you discuss (on a podcast with Jordan Peterson?) the problem of audience capture, and that you wanted to challenge your readers instead of just publishing things that they would agree with.

Please keep up the good work, with pieces just like this.

The Common Sense commentariat is overwhelmingly boomer-conservative* in its make-up, and it’s rare to see much in the way of dissent or disagreement relative to that perspective here in the comment section. Which makes me think that audience capture is in fact happening, and adds to the importance of hosting the perspective of a Rajiv Sethi alongside the profile of your typical guests.

Honestly continues to be the best podcast I listen to, in terms of the topics, guests, and your interview style.

[*No disrespect to my dear Boomer-Cons. I’m blessed to have many of you as friends, coworkers, and family]

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First, there is no “gun violence epidemic”. The FBI Uniform Crime Report tells the real story. Since 1992 crimes of violence – specifically those involving firearms – have been in steady decline, with a minor uptick in 2014 (I think) and beginning in 2020 (coinciding with the COVID lockdowns).

Little-known takeaway fact: in any given year, four to five times as many murders are committed with knives – the Report says “knives or other cutting instruments” – than with rifles of any description. So, let's have the conversation about “assault weapons”, but only after we have the conversation about knives.

Second, the “commonsense gun control legislation” is anything but. Quick question: would any of the measures, had they already been in place, have prevented the Uvalde shooting? Uhm, no. Buffalo, NY? No again. Any other mass shooting? Again, no. These are just feel-good measures whose only purpose is to give dishonest politicians an opportunity to tell us that they had made the hard choices and taken responsible action.

Third – and this is surprising – multiple studies have revealed that armed, law-abiding citizens intervene in the commission of a crime more often than firearms are used to commit crimes. Think about that for a moment. Except for the armed citizen, every one of those incidents would be moved to the “crime committed” column.


Fourth, these folks did the heavy lifting in a good-faith attempt to show that “commonsense gun control laws” would really make a difference. I applaud Ms Libresco's honesty in writing this article.


Finally, for real commonsense, vetted and validated information on this subject, go here:


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2014 was the lowest murder rate in the US in a long time. Around 4/100,000 I believe. Then it went up in 15 and 16 due to the “Ferguson Effect” as the Obama DOJ suppressed law enforcement along with the beginnings of the BLM / defund the police movement. With Obama out, the murder rate went down in 17, 18 and 19. The. BLM big time and Democrat mayors suppressed their own police. The US murder rate in 2021 (final stats not out yet) and 2022 are going to be the highest in decades.

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