Enough of the despairing conversations. Here are realistic policies to ameliorate America's epidemic of gun violence.
While this was a great interview, I believe it would have been even better had they discussed the third rail of gun control, that of the horrendous number of young black males who die each year from black on black gun murders.
I just pulled this factoid up from a Reuters article regarding the rise of gun deaths during 2020:
'Among African Americans, the rate was 26.6 deaths per 100,000, a 39.5% increase over 2019. For white Americans, the rate was 2.2 per 100,000.'
Do we actually have a national problem, or do we have an urban black on black murder problem? But dealing with the horrendous problem of gun murders for black male youth is too hard, and would involve lots of accusations of racism, so we tend to ignore the real progress that could be made if we isolated and concentrated on it.
I'm of the belief that the motivation for mentally ill people to carry out mass murders is the issue that needs to be dealt with more than the access to weapons, but that's just mho.
We need to deal in facts:
"As of 2020, the leading cause of death among children is guns."
FALSE (this data, widely shared recently, includes 18 and 19 year olds who are not children)
"enhanced background checks for minors"
FALSE (minors, as in 17 year olds and younger, cannot legally buy firearms)
We really need to ask ourselves "what is an adult" in the USA in 2022.
18 or 21? At what age can Americans enlist in the military; buy tobacco products; buy a long arm; buy a handgun; buy alcohol; decide that they want to medically alter their gender? It's inconsistent now.
There have been HUNDREDS of millions of people killed by tyrannical governments. A terrible year for gun violence in the US sees 20,000 deaths - of which roughly 100% are committed by criminals who don’t care about the law. These discussions are exactly what people not interested in actually solving problems sit around and discuss. We’re always one generation from giving up our freedoms and apparently 10 seconds of news cycle away from forgetting all the lessons of what happens when the government has a monopoly on force. We are a sad people.
Red Flag laws are unconstitutional. No crime has been committed. An abusive accuser can go to court without confronting the accused. The process to recover one's guns is ill-defined (prove one's innocence?), expensive (ever hire an attorney?), and very time consuming. If someone is psychologically disturbed, there is an involuntary commitment process that is constitutional unlike "red flag" processes. Why not use that process to get help for the person?
In the new world of cancel culture - I cannot support Red Flags. A family hates you. A divorce spouse gets angry. A angry co worker decides to destroy you. The FBI targets you. Yes that can’t possibly end well. The 2nd amendment is about our right to defend our nation against foreign adversaries. How about we actually start enforcing the laws we have on the books. Or is that too inconvenient for Soros funded DAs.
Excellent discourse. I would point out four barely related points:
- Many of the weapons used by the nascent Americans during the Revolutionary War were privately owned. From muskets to ships; so they were indeed privately owned “weapons of war”.
- If one were to subtract the daily violence in Chicago, Philadelphia etc committed by criminals, using illegally acquired firearms while committing multiple felonies, the US’s gun violence rate is actually quite low. Criminals don’t obey laws and passing more won’t change that.
- If we want to protect our schools, they need to be secured in a meaningful manner. There are 2,300 Capitol Police protecting 535 members of Congress or about 4 police for every member. And all they do is spend money our money.
- Finally, the Second Amendment follows the First for a reason. It secures our right to Free Speech which is among the first things tyranny’s restrict. Another first thing they do is to to disarm the people.
The last few years have proven to me that the government WILL NOT protect us against violent people. We are on our own. In addition on many issues giving in one inch to the left is never enough. For instance we started by insuring homosexuals were treated fairly, now we have drag queen story hour. I don’t trust our govt and I certainly don’t trust the left.
I am disappointed that as horrific as the Uvalde killings were, we as a society still do not have the courage to talk about what I believe is the cause of all of this violence, that is, the family and its breakdown. Why are we not brave enough to discuss the Uvalde shooter’s missing parents? Children cannot raise themselves and yet we expect that to happen. Why? What happens to parentless children? How can we intervene to help them? What can be done to teach parents to parents? We will live with the consequences of parents who do not parent until we make the choice to have this very hard conversation.
Current failure to prosecute gun law violators is rampant. New York had an effective means of getting guns off the street and out of the hands of criminals - the so called “stop and frisk” law. After that was declared unconstitutional, gun crimes and murders exploded.
Law enforcement and prosecutors must aggressively put violators away, rather than pleading out the gun charges to get an easy guilty plea.
In Chicago, less than 50% of homicide cases by gunfire are cleared; car jacking, usually gun related, has less than 10% convicted.
So, the first thing, enforce current laws aggressively. We might be surprised at how that works out!
Any reason you didn't talk to Dr. John Lott? This is his area of expertise, probably more so than your two guests.
I noted that Rajiv seems to understand the context of the Second Amendment better than most Americans: distrust of the government. And why is that so hard to grasp these days? Over the last 20 years, the government has given us LOADS of reasons to not trust them. One would be stupid to assume that if the right to self defense was eliminated that our elected representatives would start acting like angels. No, they would quickly escalate their abuses of power, and in very short order we would have a dictatorship in place. Oh, we might have elections in which 96.6% of the people vote for the person already in power.
But let's address what no one really wants to address: the increase in fatherless families brought on by democrat parties in urban areas. That's about as close to a social laboratory as you can get since almost all urban areas have been run by Democrats for decades. That's one variable you don't have to worry about. That will take a couple of generations to fix, if anyone ever has the fortitude to take it on: which I highly doubt.
Here we go again. A discussion about guns and “gun violence” without a balanced advocacy. An anti-gun nut paired with someone who “understands” people who have strong feelings about gun ownership. And more Orwellian “Newspeak”. I guess Bari wasn’t liberal enough for The NY Times. But that doesn’t mean she’s not liberal. This whole article is a setup.
First of all, the use of the term “gun violence”. Guns are an inanimate object. They don’t get violent. But if they do, I suppose we have “knife and fork violence” that causes deadly health diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Or in the news room, how about “paper violence”? After all, the false narratives of the MSM gets a lot of people all riled up causing them to get violent. Ask Steve Scaliese. They played a big role in the 2020 summer riots in concert with their Democrat friends to try to undermine the election. Oh, and paper causes paper cuts too….
The pen is mightier than the sword. The sword, in the wrong hands can cause grievous damage, so maybe it requires licensure too. How about the purveyor of words, like publishers of newspapers, magazines, blogs, Substack, tv shows, movies, music, etc? They certainly are the vessel that shapes the culture, which can cause grievous damage. Why not license them? I’d love to.
Think about the effect a corrupt media has - causing all sorts of false information to circulate to help or harm, candidates who in turn have tremendous power. Who controls positions in the dog catchers office to the White House is affected by the media, why shouldn’t they be licensed and regulated?
Ah….but you NEVER hear anything about that.
I am a responsible gun owner and am very careful about my weapons. I never wanted a gun until I had a business dispute where the losing party literally threatened to kill me. He shot up what he thought was my apartment. He took over a business with a load of weapons - hand guns, rifles, weapon style knives, bullet proof vests and the like and held off the police for hours.
And then? The liberal judge gave him a conditional guilty plea attached to a few years of probation. If he behaves during probation, his guilty plea is expunged and he’s free to buy more weapons. No record of his crime. Liberals like that. Why ruin his life for one silly incident?
He has enough money to pay someone to do his dirty work and travels with the kind of people who would.
So I apply for a concealed carry permit with the NYPD. Denied. Why? Well, if you see him harassing you, call the police. As if you can call the police in between the shot and it’s impact….
It cost me tens of thousands of dollars to ultimately get my permit. And I’m not just an honest citizen, I’m an officer of the court in five states.
Then I went to apply for one in NJ since my family has a home there as well. NJ is funny. First you go to the chief of police in your town. He can just say no. If he says yes, then a Superior Court judge can say no. When you get to the PD, the PD almost always says no. Period. NJ issues next to no licenses other than to retired law enforcement officers. And I say, well, I’ll appeal. And the chief reminds me that when I go to renew my NYPD li mess, I have to disclose that I was denied an application by another state, which is grounds for non-renewal in NY. So, with a smirk on his face, he said I should think twice before handing him my application. He threatened my NY license if I dared to try to defend myself from a violent felon. Amazing.
Now this violent felon has mental problems. Established mental problems.
That’s the thing that Bari and her guests - and all anti-gun nuts - never address.
As to the mass shootings, almost without fail, the person has mental illness. No one - NO ONE - in the anti gun world even thinks to ask “why is America producing so much mental illness? Why are so many people feeling dissociated from society? Why are so many people so VIOLENT, with bats, knives, guns, pushing people into traffic or in front of trains?”
Perhaps it’s because all of the above is a product of liberal policies and an examination of them will never do.
LBJ’s Great Society has undermined the nuclear family unit. Free money, food stamps/snap cards, housing allowances - you want to get out of your mother’s house? Have a baby!
No father in the house? No example to set for young boys growing up. Mothers too busy working to watch them or worse, mothers too stoned on crack or meth watching tv as they use their snap cards for cool ranch Doritos and soda. Liberals have purposefully entrapped “people of color” (another made up new age Newspeak phrase - do you wear jeans of blue or a shirt of white?) in urban plantations overrun with crime, violence, drugs and lousy schools, intentionally denying them real opportunity because they want them dependent on them for their daily needs which they gladly trade for their votes. They want them just where they are. Wading in drugs, violence and worse. It’s the softer version of slavery. Some POC see this, and that scares the daylights out of libs.
This is the result of the Great Society and all that followed in its wake and it’s no mistake. So much of the death by gun results from these dysfunctional cities and neighborhoods, but they refuse to do anything about it, other than doling out more freebies. Now they give up all pretense - equal opportunity (equality) is not enough. Now they want equality of outcome (equity).
Sex is trivialized - it’s transformed from the most tender manifestation of love to a physical act. Those who oppose guns have no problem in defending partial birth abortion. Oh, it’s just a small percentage of abortions. Hmmmm. Death by rifle is only 4% of gunshot death. Uh-oh….can’t have that conversation.
Movies, tv, music, video games - most of which are produced by liberal coastal elites - are filled with violence. Look at all the violence in the Marvel Universe movies that get mindlessly churned out - all by former family company Disney. Time was sex never came up on tv. Now, you can turn on Peacock by NBC and the first three lines of the first episode of the remake of Queer as Folk are all related to a receiving partner asking for his rectum to be violated more and more and more. Go watch a 10 year old episode of Law and Order and you’ll see voluptuous women in their underwear or even worse naked but mostly hidden engaging in simulated love acts.
Turn on the radio or your streamer and listen to the dominant music of the day - rap and gangster rap and all of the violent messages it carries. And you wonder why octogenarians from the 60s are still touring? When was the last time a true musical group which wrote their own stuff and performed it came to the fore? I saw Billy Joel’s Last Play At Shea and he marveled that he could sell out a 55,000 seat stadium without having had any new music in 30 years.
The left has proudly announced how they play the politic of identity which by its very nature turns large groups of people into opponents. They use divisive language like “pay your fair share” even as a huge part of their base pay noth8ng for their share and then they double down by using the 1% and lead people into the green monster of envy and anger because people who work hard have nice things while people on the dole do not.
And you wonder why there’s violence in urban centers causing the highest proportion of murder by any weapon and especially guns? And you wonder why it continues and spreads when you turn the police into enemies? Why crime escalates when police pull back as a result?
Liberals NEVER consider anything but guns when violent crime arises. They don’t examine their role in it.
They change the subject.
Assault weapons? None are for sale to civilians but they keep talking about it. An AR-15 has the same capabilities as a hunting rifle sold in 1950. It just has a different look to resemble a military weapon. That’s all the libs need to LIE about the rifles. And oh, of course, forget about the fact that only 4% of death by firearm comes from any kind of long gun. In 1965 Charles Whitman shot dozens of people from a tower in Texas with a rifle that was more powerful than an AR-15.
But we didn’t have so many people thinking they needed guns back then. And we didn’t have so many crazy people shooting up schools and night clubs. Yet the left refuses to ask why so many people are angry and dissociated. They just yell guns guns guns.
I'm a gun owner and staunch supporter of the Second Amendment. This is probably the most balanced discussion on the topic that I have ever come across. Well done, Bari.
I think we have to move the age for gun ownership, military service, and voting to 21. If your brain isn't fully formed, you shouldn't be doing any of those things.
Licensed gun owners have a lower arrest rate than the police. If you want to solve the gun violence problem, enforce existing gun laws and actually prosecute the offenders. Operation Exile in Richmond was started in 1997 and was very successful (https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-106hhrg66358/html/CHRG-106hhrg66358.htm) in that it directly targeted criminals by adding a mandatory federal sentence when a criminal was caught with a gun. Richmond is a predominately black city; the majority of criminals and victims were black, leading to a disproportionate number of young black men being incarcerated through this program. Although Operation Exile significantly reduced gun violence; it raised disparate impact concerns that eventually led the city to abandon the program.
Therein lies one of the biggest problems in fighting gun violence - our politicians and court system need to identify and address the problem, whether it’s criminality or mental illness, then have the gonads to follow through on treatment or incarceration. Don’t hold your breath.
I note that Bari & Co. skirted around the demographic component of gun violence. If you can’t talk about that, what’s the point of all this chin pulling about the Second Amendment?
Inner city gangbangers aren’t purchasing their weapons at gun shows. Almost all are obtained illegally. There are laws on the books that would enable the authorities to crack down on that illegal market, but for various reasons—bureaucratic inertia and progressive ideology—they’re not rigorously enforced. Congress can pass call the laws it likes but unless they’re enforced, they’re perfectly useless.
I have a hard time accepting that progressives are sincere in their desire to reduce gun violence. Let’s just say that their anti-police rhetoric and policies are not helpful. Demanding new laws and regulations while reviling law enforcement betrays a certain disorganization of thought.
When one considers that almost all gun violence in this country is perpetrated by criminals or head cases, it seem a bit wooly-headed to spend so much time obsessing over America’s “gun culture.” Relative to the number of firearms in private hands, the gun homicide rate is not excessive. So perhaps it would be better to concentrate on the actual, real-world problem instead of engaging in social science theorizing of dubious utility.
It would be no complex task to secure our schools against mass shootings. Simply treat it as a military problem and identify the passive and active defense measures needed to prevent or repel an attack. It’s not that the solution is complicated, it’s that many people refuse to accept a grim reality: If a shooter gets inside a school, the result will be a massacre if there’s no on-site armed defense.
While I don’t oppose them, enhanced red flag laws, enhanced background checks & etc. are not to be relied upon. They’re too dependent on an elephantine bureaucracy that lets too much fall through the cracks. Ditto spending more on mental health: It’s hard to imagine a less efficient, less cost-effective method of preventing mass shootings.
Finally, let’s quit comparing America to other countries like Britain, Germany, etc. that actually are very different from our own. By and large, we can’t solve our gun violence problem by importing foreign laws and regulations. What Australia did would never be tolerable or even workable here. And as the pandemic revealed, Australia is not exactly the model of a liberal democracy.
Rajiv Sethi: "I wouldn't shed any tears if we got rid of the Second Amendment."
Of course. You're a liberal professor at Barnard (a part of Columbia University in New York City). If you actually said anything supportive of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, you'd probably be swarmed and harassed out of your job by angry know-nothing college students supported and backed by the woke administrators.