Archive for the ‘Guns in School’ Category

America’s Gun

There isn’t a consensus on what exactly that firearm would be. I’ve learned more than I have ever cared to know about the AR-15 in the past month or so. The AR15 definitely qualifies since it was designed by an American, Eugene Stoner. Enough of them are out there in the US that any chance of an “assault rifle ban” would be really difficult. And that’s even with a buyback.

I feel the same way I do about the AR15 that I do about Margaret Thatcher: I don’t like either of them, but I respect what they are in relation to their respective country’s culture. The AR15 is probably more symbolic toward US culture than Margaret Thatcher will ever be to Britain’s.

It is a symbol of militarism since it was designed over 60 years ago for the US military, with variants  used by military forces worldwide. Part of its attraction is that it is the civilian version of the US military’s weapon. And its deadliness is one of its attractive features. It is proven in combat and mass shootings.

The AR15 platform allows for it to be built in a myriad of different ways. It is also fairly easy to build with various kits being sold; from complete upper and lower receiver assemblies to the parts for making a ghost gun. Although, ghost gun means a firearm made “80%” lower receiver and parts. It is the AR15’s ability to be built by anyone which should cause people to pause.

I personally would not want to invest the time and effort into making an actual ghost gun. Complete stripped lower receivers are also available, which is the lower receiver block without the parts. That allows someone to create their custom gun. It’s easy to customise a completed lower receiver as well. Just look up a video on how to do that mod to your gun.

And there are the AR15 pistols as well, which I am mentioning since there is the debate as to how often these weapons are used in crime:

Mass shootings involving rifles like the AR-15 can produce dozens of victims at one time, and combined with extensive media coverage of these events, many people have been led to believe that such rifles pose a significant threat to public safety.

However, such shootings are extremely rare, and a look at the FBI data informs us that homicide with these types of rifles represents an extremely small fraction of overall homicide violence. Banning or confiscating such firearms from the civilian population would likely produce little to no reduction in violent crime rates in America.

Given the amount of variations on the AR15, there are a fair amount of pistol versions. One manufacturer lists barrel lengths from 8 inches to 20 inches for their upper receiver assembly. An interesting riff on all this since Orlando, Florida, authorities revised their initial description of one of the weapons used in the June 2016 attack at Pulse nightclub. After initially describing it as an “AR-15-type assault rifle,” police said it was a different type of firearm, the Sig Sauer MCX.

One the the variants of the MCX is the Rattler SBR (short barrelled rifle)[1]. While SBRs are NFA weapons, it’s pretty easy to bang one up using the AR15 platform. I would also toss in that semi-auto pistols that accept high capacity magazines are banned in some places. Additionally, a submachinegun is a machinegun that fires pistol calibre ammunition. That means that submachineguns are basically pistols that can have a very high rate of fire.

But the main reason I would say that the AR15 is America’s gun is that it will probably never be regulated despite the carnage it is capable of causing. Despite the deadly shooting in Las Vegas to the 20 toddlers killed at Sandy Hook, these weapons are more than freely available to anyone who wants one. You can buy an 80% receiver with no background check to build whatever version of an AR15 you want.

That means that anyone who is adept with metalworking tools, or just adept with tools if it’s a polymer 80, can crank out a weapon intended for the battlefield.

That should cause you to pause and think no matter what your opinion of these weapons happens to be.

[1] Short barrelled rifles are another topic which I am not going to get into.

Less than a day since I did my last post…

And there is yet another mass shooting in the US.  ‘Seven killed’ in Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting!

Maybe gun control won’t stop mass killings, but not having gun control definitely doesn’t stop them!  In fact, looking at the past 230 odd years of the US being an indepndent country, we have seen that it is a highly violent and blood thirsty country.

WhoWhatWhy has an interesting piece about mass shootings:

One of the most striking things about shooting incidents in America…is how common they are. Another striking thing is how often the media fails to note the previous point, or to explore what that means—or what might be done about it.

Late last night, a gunman walked into a movie theater in a Denver suburb, killed 12 and injured 50. Two days earlier a gunman opened fire outside a bar in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in an incident in which at least 17 were hurt. These were not really so exceptional. Every year, about 100,000 Americans are victims of gun violence, and every week, people calmly enter our schools, our workplaces, our leisure gathering spots and open fire on innocent bystanders.

Whenever we tweet or post about these, often the only people we hear from are those who say we need more guns not less. “If I had been there with my gun….” The problem, of course, is the public at large is being asked to arm everyone and trust that, while the rest of us cower, “the right people” will quickly dispatch “the wrong people” in the modern equivalent of the Shootout at the OK Corral. No mention of whether the teacher is supposed to be armed…when a nut walks into a preschool and starts firing away.

Given that there have been 125 Mass Killings since Columbine, you think some serious solutions would be mentioned, yet it seems that there is the consistent response of inaction, or worse, the loosening of restrictions which make it easier for these incidents to happen.

Unfortunately, a realistic discussion of this aspect of US life never happens while the bodycount keeps rising.  Instead, we keep hearing that the US needs more guns, but that is the cause of the problem.

Another treasure I found in my research:

I’m reposting this for a variety of reasons. First off, I am amazed it hasn’t been discovered as of yet. Secondly, I am amazed it hasn’t been shouted down off the Internet. Thirdly, what it says needs to be better publicised: is the work of Angus Johnston, a historian and advocate of American student organizing.

Concealed Carry Laws and School Safety: Evidence from the 1940s and 1950s (April 14, 2009)

The campus concealed-carry debate is heating up in several state legislatures right now, and I’m trying to get up to speed, so I’ve just started reading “Pretend ‘Gun-Free’ School Zones: A Deadly Legal Fiction” — an article by David Kopel that argues that laws prohibiting faculty and adult students from carrying guns on school campuses are “irrational and deadly.” (I found the article through the National Review‘s Phi Beta Cons blog)

Kopel says that for most of America’s history “it was not uncommon for students to bring guns to school.” He cites a column in which John Lane reminisces about his youth in the 1940s and 1950s, and says that he “attempted to find a ‘school shooting’ from that era,” but “came up empty.” On the following page Kopel goes further, passing on the claim that “before the 1990 [Gun-Free School Zone Act], there had been only seven shootings at an American school in the previous 214 years,” and that “in the 17 years following the GFSZA, there were 78 such incidents.”

Each of these claims — that one might search for school shootings in the 1940s and 1950s and find no examples, and that there were only seven shootings at American schools before 1990 — struck me as unlikely, so I decided to check them out.

I fired up the search engine for the archives of the New York Times, looking for articles published between January 1, 1940 and December 31, 1959 that included the words ”shot” and “school.”

The search returned 4,940 results.

Most of these weren’t articles about school shootings, of course. Many were stories about gun violence that happened to refer to a school that a perpetrator or victim attended. A significant number were sports coverage — articles about target shooting competitions, or shot-put records, or even teams that the Times believed to have a shot at a state or national title.

But as I made my way through the results, I found that eighteen of the first two hundred were reports of school shootings in which one or more people were killed or wounded.

There were three suicides and six homicides among these eighteen incidents. More than half involved a student perpetrator, and at least three were accidental shootings on school grounds.

Reading these stories, each of which I’ve excerpted below, suggests a world in which gun violence was anything but rare in the school setting. There are a few premeditated killings, but more cases where tempers flared or caution was absent, and the Newspaper of Record seems not to have been terribly surprised by any of it. In March of 1949, for instance, when a student at New York’s elite Stuyvesant High School accidentally shot one of his classmates with a 38-caliber revolver, the story got just five short paragraphs on page 30, and the shooter was charged only with “juvenile delinquency.”

The Eighteen Articles

Most of these articles describe events that took place in the New York metropolitan area, but several are wire stories from other parts of the country. Each refers to a shooting on school grounds. As noted above, these are just a sampling of articles from one newspaper, and so presumably represent only a small fraction of school shootings in the 1940s and 1950s.

May 23, 1940: “Infuriated by a grievance, Matthew Gillespie, 62-year-old janitor at the junior school of the Dwight School for Girls here, shot and critically wounded Mrs. Marshall Coxe, secretary of the junior school, on the first floor of the building this afternoon.”

July 5, 1940: “Angered by the refusal of his daughter, Melba Moshell, 15 years old, to leave a boarding school here and return to his home, Joseph Moshell, 47, of 252 East Girard Avenue, Philadelphia, visited the school this afternoon and shot and killed the girl, according to the State Police.”

November 18, 1942: “Erwin Goodman, 36-year-old mathematics teacher of William J. Gaynor Junior High School in Brooklyn, was shot and killed in the school corridors on Oct. 2 by a youth whose hand he had clasped in thankfulness for acting as peacemaker a few minutes earlier.”

February 23, 1943: “Harry Wyman, 13-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick Wyman of Port Chester, NY … shot himself dead tonight at the Harvey School, a boys’ preparatory school.”

June 26, 1946: “A 15-year-old schoolboy who balked at turning over his pocket money to a gang of seven Negro youths was shot in the chest at 11:30 A.M. yesterday in the basement of the Public School 147 annex of the Brooklyn High School for Automotive Trades.”

November 24, 1946: “A 13-year-old student at St. Benedict’s Parochial School here shot and fatally wounded himself tonight while sitting in an audience watching a school play.”

December 24, 1948: “A 14-year-old boy was wounded fatally here today by an accidental shot from the .22-caliber rifle of a fellow-student … the youth was shot in the head when he chanced into range where Robert Ross, 17, of Brooklyn, was shooting at a target near a lake on the school property.”

March 12, 1949: “A 16-year-old student at Stuyvesant High School, 345 Fifteenth Street, was accidentally shot in the right arm yesterday afternoon by a fellow student who, police said, was ‘showing off’ with a pistol in a classroom.”

July 22, 1950: “A 16-year-old boy was shot in the wrist and abdomen at 10 o’clock last night in Public School 141 … during an argument with a former classmate. They were attending a weekly dance sponsored by the Board of Education.”

November 27, 1951: “David Brooks, a 15-year-old student, was fatally shot as fellow-pupils looked on in a grade school here today.”

April 9, 1952: “A 15-year-old boarding-school student who shot a dean rather than relinquish pin-up pictures of girls in bathing suits was charged with murderous assault today.”

November 20, 1952: “Rear Admiral E. E. Herrmann, 56 years old, superintendent of the Naval Post-Graduate School here, was found dead in his office with a bullet in his head. A service revolver was found by his side.”

October 8, 1953: “Larry Licitra, 17-year-old student at the Machine and Metal Trades High School, 320 East Ninety-sixth Street, was shot and slightly wounded in the right shoulder at 11:30 AM yesterday in the lobby of the school while inspecting a handmade pistol owned by one of several students.”

October 20, 1956: “A junior high school student was wounded in the forearm yesterday by another student armed with a home-made weapon at Booker T. Washington Junior High School.”

October 2, 1957: “A 16-year old student was shot in the leg yesterday by a 15-year old classmate at a city high school.”

March 12, 1958: “A 17-year-old student was indicted yesterday for carrying a dangerous weapon. He had shot a boy in the Manual Training High School March 4.”

May 1, 1958: “A 15-year-old high school freshman was shot and killed by a classmate in a washroom of the Massapequa High School today.”

September 24, 1959: “Twenty-seven men and boys and an arsenal were seized in the Bronx last night as the police headed off a gang war resulting from the fatal shooting of a teen-ager Monday at Morris High School.”

If gun violence is senseless, it’s because there are people who won’t do anything about it.

I was at Ohh Shoot and saw the current post: Homecoming queen unintentionally shot and killed at fraternity house.

Now, the usual line is that victims of gun violence are criminal scum, but that doesn’t appear to be the case with this particular victim.

One caption about this incident read that Ashley Cowie was Standout Student at St. Johns Country Day School.

OK, I know that journalists can distort the victims of crime, but that doesn’t appear to be true in this case. Ashley was truly a good person who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“She was a young woman of great promise.”

And the gun owner was a 20 year old student who had been drinking. According to the news reports he was showing off the flashlight on his AR-15 when it went off.

He didn’t know it was loaded.

The only thing which is senseless about the gun violence problem in the US is the fact that no one is willing to address the issue.  In fact, the answer these days is to get more firearms out on the streets.

Yet another life cut short because people are willing to tolerate the relaxation of firearms laws.  They tolerate irresponsible behaviour in the name of freedom.

The problem isn’t that gun control isn’t working–there is no significant gun control in the US.  And the laws are getting weaker.

And people like Ashley are dying.

For real stupidity see:

Colin Goddard, Virginia Tech Survivor, on the Oprah Show this Monday

It seems that Colin is going to be on the Oprah Show this Monday, which is something I would love to see.  Unfortunately, I can’t set the VCR or DVR since it’s out of my reception area.

I would love to see somebody who says:

“I will always believe I was in the right place at the right time in class at 9:00 am. And despite the horror, I survived as one of the luckier ones.

For the 32 Hokies who were lost that day, and for the 32 Americans who are lost everyday to gun murders, I’ve decided to devote this time in my life to making a difference, so their memories might be honored and the damage to our society lessened.

Many people say we can’t or shouldn’t improve the gun laws in this country. I’m part of the next generation, I reject that premise, and I say we can and should do better.

The last sentence gives me hope for the future in the US.

Anyway, I hope I can catch this sometime in the future.

A tip o’ the hat to JadeGold for this one!

Where does this guy come up with this shit anyway?

JadeGold pointed out in his comment to my other post about Volk’s propaganda that:

Volk seems to forget that Israeli gun laws are a good deal more stringent than here in the US. In fact, I’m very certain that if we, in the US, adopted Israeli gun laws, folks like Volk would be screaming about Nazis and the like.

The fact is guns are registered and licensed in Israel. You must also have been a citizen of Israel for 3 years before you can apply for a license. Additionally, the Israeli police ministry will perform a check on you; any history of crime, alcohol or drug abuse, violence will disqualify you. You also have to get a note from a physician that attests to your physical and *mental* fitness to have a gun. You must successfully pass a course demonstrating your ability to safely handle a firearm and have a knowledge of associated laws. You have to be 21 or older. There are restrictions as to how many guns and types of guns you may own. You also have to prove that you are member in Israeli defense force reserves.

It’s rather feckless of Volk to suggest Israel has less strict gun laws than the US. Particularly, when the NRA is trying–with little success–to get Israel to ease their gun control laws.

Poor Oleg, loves to play fast and loose with the truth and relies on people’s emotions (or libidos) to get his views across. But if he did a little fact checking at JFPO, he would find JadeGold is correct! The JFPO site points out that “a quick glance at the rigid gun laws in Israel will show that it has far stricter firearms laws than many people, including myself, previously thought.”

Yeah, JFPO is an anti-gun organisation…

Of course, Oleg wants to transplant one of the stupider American ideas to other countries (e.g., Mother Russia), but he should heed something from Haaretz:

“The general trend to transplant American ideas to other countries is often not successful or very useful,” said Gerald Steinberg, chairman of political studies at Bar Ilan University and an expert on American culture. The arguments put forward by the Israeli NRA are not convincing, he told Anglo File.

“We don’t need a situation where hundreds of people shoot in all kinds of different directions in the case of a terror attack. That’s the job of the police or the army,” Steinberg said. He said that if more people carried guns the chances of more people getting hurt would be greater than the chance of neutralizing an attacker more quickly. “The last thing we want in Israel is an American gun culture,” he added. “Israel has enough dangers, and making it easier for people on the street to carry guns is not what we need.”

Oleg, it’s a good idea to fact check rather than spout provable bullshit, but you count on your audience not thinking or questioning.

It must be really tough when your own side supplies the ammunition to shoot you down.

Guns in school

I was a victim of school bullying when I was in Kindergarten. A group of bigger boys beat up on me as the teachers watched doing nothing. I wanted to take a toy gun to school the next day for protection, but my mom stopped me. Now, we have kids who want to bring real guns to school for protection. The worst part of this is that the adults are encouraging this.

Additionally, I have been in Juvenile court where the judge says this action should not be allowed. I had a client who carried a gun for protection and actually used it, yet was charged with a crime. The special juvenile gun prosecutor, a life NRA member saw no disconnect in prosecuting this juvenile. My client was sent to Glen Mills for gun crime.

Now, are we allowing rich, white kids to pack heat, yet showing a bias against poor, black kids in the ‘hood are are far more likely to be victims of gun violence? What sort of message is it when a kid is adjudicated delinquent for carrying a gun in self-defence, yet he could have applied for and received a permit to carry that firearm had he been a few years older?

The RKBA crowd have no problem with this, especially since they are the ones ensuring that criminals have unfettered access to firearms. It is no surprise to me that the Second Amendment Foundation’s Alan Gottlieb is a convicted felon. Sure, it’s for a “non-violent offence” (tax evasion), but he’s a felon. The NRA had another slimy type on their board, Sandy Abrams, whose Valley Guns is one of the leading suppliers of crime guns in America, ranking 37 out of nearly 80,000 gun dealers nationwide in total crime guns traced to their stores. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has documented over 900 violations of federal law at Valley Gun, including illegal gun sales.

No wonder these people don’t want gun trace data publicised! But, I digress.

The whole gun rights thing is ludicrous in that it is counterproductive to public safety. And more importantly, the truly law abiding gun owner. I find it amusing that the NRA is trying to discredit the AHSA (American Hunters and Shooters Association), a saner firearms group. I have to admit far more sympathy with AHSA’s approach than the NRA. The AHSA realises that people involved in shooting sports need to be conservation minded and promote sane gun laws. It’s kind of late for me though because urban sprawl has pretty much destroyed most places I can shoot in Eastern PA.

On the other hand, we hear lots of talk of gun rights and dealing with gun crime, but that is coming from organisations that strive to weaken and void firearms laws. The RKBA trumps people’s property rights. In this case, a University can’t have a policy against guns on campus without someone getting upset about it. But, doesn’t someone’s property rights count for something? In this case, a University’s property rights.

No, the illusory right to keep and bear arms trumps people’s other rights. It especially trumps society’s interest in making sure that the streets are safe from the plague of gun violence and its costs to society.