After Aurora, Two Questions for the Gun Lobby

Dear defenders of gun ownership in America,

I have gotten used to the fact that in your interpretation, the 2nd amendment to the Bill of Rights dating from 1791 and reading

“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.”

allows a 24-year old student to purchase a Remington shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle and two handguns plus ammunition within a few months without any permit or license required. I have equally gotten used to expect that the largest mass shooting in US history would not change any of your beliefs.

But please allow me two questions:

1. Proponents of liberal gun laws always argue that it actually reduces crime if more citizens have guns because they could then defend themselves and others against criminals. After all, criminal would always get guns, even illegally.

My question: Why is there never any of these NRA-card carrying citizens around when you need them? Never!

2. In the debate after today’s shooting, many of the defenders of gun ownership point the finger at Hollywood and the violence in the media and computer games instead. They argue that this is what poisons America and we have to stop producing filthy films.

My question: Don’t you notice the irony of using the 2nd amendment as your argument for gun control, and in the same breath arguing for a limitation of free speech, which is – it may surprise you – protected by the 1st amendment?

Thanks for your time, until the next massacre.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Cinema, Law, Politics, USA and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to After Aurora, Two Questions for the Gun Lobby

  1. jkkfl says:

    My sentiments exactly!

  2. Dan says:

    In terms of your first question, the answer is that there are certainly instances of citizens stopping violence that would be committed against them or others. You should really look into this before you make a claim. Every week or so there’s a jeweler who fires back, at a minimum and though rarer, circumstances like these are not unheard of. They probably make the news a few times a year (don’t know how often they actually happen and are not reported, probably much more than that)

    In terms of your second question, I personally wouldn’t support that argument at all. And I think your characterization is a rather superficial restatement of the idea anyway. Personally, I think the violence we see in our movies, in our homes and on our streets is an artifact more of culture than of anything else. Someone needs to buy the movies being produced… that is the citizenry at large.

    Here’s a question for you… how on Earth can you believe passing laws to stop gun ownership will have any effect whatsoever on those that ignore the law already? Do you believe if the mass-murderer had been told murder was illegal he would not have killed those people? If not, how can you make the assertion that any level of gun restrictions would have kept a firearm out of his hands?

    • bowtiejack says:

      “how on Earth can you believe passing laws to stop gun ownership will have any effect whatsoever on those that ignore the law already? ”

      Very silly argument.
      Without the ready availability of high firepower guns with large magazines he was going to what? Stab 50 people? Club them? Gee, if only he could have gotten his hands on a machine gun or some fragmentation grenades. Isn’t that his 2nd Amendment “right”?

    • Dan says:

      It sounds like you didn’t really understand my question. What makes you think that if all the “high firepower guns with large magazines” were outlawed, he couldn’t get his hands on one?

      We outlaw drugs and they’re everywhere. Why do you think he couldn’t get his hands on them?

    • Akuin says:

      Bowtiejack, do you know what a throw away gun is? It’s usually an illegal gun that is unregistered, and has it’s serial numbers filed off. They’re used more often then you think, they aren’t just a Hollywood plot device. If he really wanted a gun he’d get one and that’s the sad truth.

    • Marie Salas says:

      My answer to your question is simple. How do we know if we don’t try? For decades we been under the right to bare arms. Now let’s try gun control? Let’s just see what happens. Simple.

    • SheLawyer says:

      I think the issue here is how relatively easy(ier) it was for a 24 year old to LEGALLY buy a shotgun, an assault rifle and two guns as opposed to getting them illegally. It would take a long line of ‘I know someone who knows someone who can get you a gun’ and not to mention more money (demand exceeds supply) as opposed to walking into Walmart and picking the ‘gun of the day’ available on discount.

      Something to think about…

    • vivian li says:

      My sentiments exactly — the main point here is that, with the outlawing of guns, the average citizen would find it much, MUCH more difficult to obtain a gun in the first place. This point is precisely what the pro-gun lobby conveniently ignores.

      Also, the reasoning that “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” is simply absurd. OF COURSE people kill people — the point is that using a gun to kill multiple people is way more achievable than using, for example, a knife. There’s a reason mass murderers don’t use knives as their weapon of choice: as soon as they start to stab someone, other people around the criminal can tackle and immobilize them.
      This is not so if they attack with a gun; everyone immediately fears them, and are clearly defenseless (unless someone in the crowd also happens to be carrying a gun on them at the time, and has the good sense to shoot the criminal. HOWEVER, this sort of defense tactic on the part of the citizenry would not be necessary in the first place if the criminal hadn’t legally obtained a gun so easily to start with).

  3. In reply to your first question…I would love to own a gun. But I’m 26 years old and I haven’t exactly been rolling in the dough, if you know what I mean. The economy has been such that my paychecks have covered rent and food, if I’m lucky. It’s pretty darn pricey to buy a gun and also to take the class for a concealed carry permit (I’ve looked into it). If I have extra money left at the end of the day I’m probably going to spring for a movie. I’m guessing most of those in the theatre last night were more around my age (they were up at midnight) and owning and carrying a gun, NRA or not, was not at the top of their priority list.

    Just a thought.

  4. Jim says:

    I will answer your question with a question. Why is that these incidents happen in gun free zones? It is illegal it carry a weapon to a public gathering where there is a fee. Examples are concerts, the state fair and movie theaters. A honest, law abiding citizen is not going to risk losing those rights by illegally taking their weapon to a place where they are not allowed. You are indeed correct that if they want a gun they will get it illegally. As for your second question I will ask that you clarify who exactly is posing that solution. I know that there are several anti gun ownership movie stars that make their living shooting guns in movies. If they were truly against it then, in my opinion, would not make a movie that uses guns.

  5. Dan says:

    I think this guy is just trying to boost his blog rating by baiting gun right supporters to post here… :-P

  6. bowtiejack says:

    I’m a retired lawyer.
    What is left out of all these gun arguments about Americans’ sacred 2nd Amendment rights to own guns is the real reason for the 2nd Amendment. And the Supreme Court left it out of its DC gun decision too.

    ““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.”

    That doen’t mean squirrel hunting in New England in a tri-corner hat.
    What does that mean? Why (ie. who wanted it) was it included?
    What it means is armed state militias in the South to put down slave revolts. And that’s all it means. And that’s why it was included (as were the provisions about slaves counting for popular representation – not that they could vote, of course). Another appeasement of the Southern Bourbons.

    And another gift to our great nation from the moral swamp that is the American South.

  7. A third question, and a truly personal one for me, is why are there no CONSISTENT gun laws across the country? To get a WW1-vintage bolt-action rifle back in Chicago, I had to get a picture ID, pay money for a license, and sign several forms. Here in Ohio, I could walk into just about anywhere and walk out with a semi-auto long gun of my choice. And why are fully automatic weapons horrifically illegal in Chicago, yet at suburban gun shows, the semi-auto AR-15s sit on a table right next to a cheap kit to convert it to fully automatic?
    Local, inconsistent gun laws just don’t work. Check the statistics of my hometown – Chicago has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, yet they are regularly killing people EVERY weekend, often with weapons that aren’t legal ANYWHERE in Chicago.
    Oh, and to let you first-time visitors, Andreas isn’t interested in stats. He IS interested in asking pointed questions, and making you defend your point of view. Good training, I wish our politicians would have to go through thus same process! :D

    • Trololololo says:

      “He IS interested in asking pointed questions, and making you defend your point of view.”
      That is the nicest wording for “He is a troll.” that I’ve read so far. ;-)

    • Yes. It was Al and Tipper Gore that wanted to censor violent music.

      The premise of the author’s question is false. I haven’t seen any calls to use the government to censor free speech, merely the opinion that movie violence desensitizes the viewer and reduces empathy for victims.

  8. 1. Actually, there often are ordinary citizens with concealed carry permits around who stop crime. Did you not see the video from a few days ago of a senior citizen pulling out his gun and stopping an armed robbery? That said, there are a lot of places where people cannot carry. Some are restricted by the permit, some are businesses restricting.

    2. It’s typically not Conservatives complaining about movies and such. Hey, didn’t Senator Hillary Clinton make a huge deal out of some video games a few years back? Furthermore, if guns are so bad, why do so many Hollywood liberals who complain about guns use guns in movies? Answer me that one.

    • vivian li says:

      “Furthermore, if guns are so bad, why do so many Hollywood liberals who complain about guns use guns in movies? Answer me that one.”

      What a silly question. Movies are meant to be *fiction*, and nothing more. There are also Hollywood liberals who have played murderous villains on screen — does that mean they would tolerate murder in real life? Acting as a fictional character says nothing about actors’/actresses’ personal philosophy in reality.

  9. radius says:

    Hi Andreas, I am absolutely in line with your view. My own memory of the time I spent in the army (awful 3 years) and the nightmares of the cold war and treat of nuclear arms race is best described by the sentence:
    Honestly, although I am not a strict pacifist any more, I think the society needs armed forces to defend itself. But if you allow a rather uncontrolled purchase of weapons by everybody, you will always have weirdos, frustrated assholes, people feeling treated unlawful by the government or their girl-friend, people being sacked by the employer or their wifes, and once a gun is nearby, it seems to be so easy to release all the frustration by starting a crusade of revenge. Without a gun, a frustrating situation has to be managed differently, more peaceful, maybe seeking help from friends or from a couch doctor.
    The historical reason for the 18th century right for every American to carry a gun (“Bill of Right”) most likely goes back to the fear that the land robbery of the entire continent from the native Americans requires a permanent state of defense.

  10. Larry Viskew says:

    The Theater was a “gun free zone”. If normal, law abiding citizens were allowed to carry their firearms this would have been halted immediately.

    As for a ban, the UK bans handguns, but the criminals still get them, and use them on unarmed citizens.

    If this wackjob didn’t buy an AR15 he could have just as easily built a bomb, like he booby trapped his apartment with.

    Honestly, I blame YOU, the gun control lobby. If it wasn’t for your “gun free zone” deaths would have been prevented.

    • vivian li says:

      But did the theatre staff have security checks at the entrance to make sure nobody who carried a gun on them got in? I don’t think so. So the theatre wasn’t exactly a “gun free zone” because anyone could’ve just pretended to be gun-free while bringing in their gun with them discreetly in a backpack or something.

    • SheLawyer says:

      ‘As for a ban, the UK bans handguns, but the criminals still get them, and use them on unarmed citizens.’

      Google ‘Public Shooting United Kingdom’ vs ‘Public Shooting United States’ for an answer to this query.

      ‘Honestly, I blame YOU, the gun control lobby. If it wasn’t for your “gun free zone” deaths would have been prevented.’

      I agree! I propose each theater should sell guns too, I suggest a vending machine. Right next to the popcorn stand. That way we all feel oh so safe(r)!

  11. “Never” is not a true statement. Obama thinking.

  12. Marie Salas says:

    Soon everyone will be headed to the main square where the king and queen will watch the guillotine come down on this mad man’s head where the wild west will witness a hanging and the town mayor will yell out, “Justice has been served.” The media will swarm like hungry fish and the people will rejoice and applaud in happiness (or sadness). The mayor or governor will give his condolences and use the same speech that has been heard at every tragedy event. He/she will applaud the great efforts of the state, the mayor local leaders, the police department, and local businesses, schools and churches, etc, etc. The media will interview residents to speak about the crime and the criminal. People will say things like, “It’s so sad, prayers go out to the families, I hope he rots in hell, he looked like a nice guy.” Than the people will rejoice after he is dead or sent to prison for life. Finally, after we all have had our fix we will go home and another day will begin and we will wait for our next fix. People we are turning into junkies! When will we wake up from this illusion that our government truly cares about REAL problems. They can barely handle pot holes on our streets do you actually think government is going to protect us and stand up to the NRA and say enough is enough? Who will go down in history making a real humane difference in the lives of all parties. In my opinion government is responsible for every tear and heart ache a family and community has had to endure because of such tragedies. Government seems to be in everyone’s business except for the REAL things that matter like the killing of innocent people. Our grand leaders are good at passing the buck and moving themselves around so that they don’t get caught. They hide behind the scene knowing that these type of tragedies can be stopped. I’m not a government hater nor do I wish anyone harm however, I do hold them accountable for every senseless tragedy in our Nation. We must open our eyes see beyond the killer and search for the true killer of innocent people. Once you have discovered the game make a difference and stand up, vote for change and SUPPORT GUN CONTROL.

    • Jim says:

      So how has gun control worked out for countries like Mexico, Great Britain, or China. How about we look at the cities in the US with strict gun control such as Chicago and San Francisco? Hows is that working out?

    • Well, Jim, I’ll take on both sides of your question, since I am originally from Chicago. The gun laws are NOT working in Chicago, they are currently averaging 3-4 people killed per weekend (I believe the death toll is over 200 right now, but I haven’t checked lately). Plenty of people being killed, and a LOT of the shootings are with weapons which are TREMENDOUSLY illegal under both Chicago and Illinois gun rules.
      The problem with pursuing this line of thought is, it’s not the failure of Chicago’s laws, it’s the inconsistency nationwide. Less than 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Chicago puts you into Indiana, where you can buy pretty much anything this side of a Browning 50-caliber with a few bucks and a driver’s license (easily forged). Down here in Ohio, you can even own a 50-caliber or World War 2-vintage anti-tank rifle!
      If there was ONE standard, nationwide, with sales registered and limited in number and type(do you REALLY need an AK-47 to target-shoot or hunt?), I think you would see a substantial drop in mass shootings. No, you’ll never be rid of gun crime, and a bolt-action rifle will kill you just as dead as an assault rifle. But it would certainly REDUCE the number of people being killed.
      And just so you know, I DO support people having guns in their homes – I have 3 WW2-vintage military rifles and 2 pistols. But I KNOW how to use them, having been trained, and would be quite willing to register them if Ohio so required (they don’t).

  13. goddamnedGod says:

    Your answers to your own questions are presumptive and opinionated, which renders the questions unanswerable. Terrorism definition # 2 had done its magic.

  14. dos ∫antos says:

    Since you’ve addressed your questions to defenders of gun ownership, I’ll answer them.

    “Why is there never any of these NRA-card carrying citizens around when you need them? Never!”

    Probably because NRA, card-carrying citizens are also law-abiding citizens. Areas such as schools and theatres generally forbid citizens from carrying them, which basically means there is one particular sort of individual who is more likely to actually have a gun in such a place – someone who is planning on killing people and, therefore, doesn’t care whether he’s breaking the rules by carrying a gun.

    “Don’t you notice the irony of using the 2nd amendment as your argument for gun control, and in the same breath arguing for a limitation of free speech, which is – it may surprise you – protected by the 1st amendment?”

    Not really. I don’t know whom you’re talking about, but they clearly seem to agree with the 2nd amendment, not the 1st. I don’t see why it’s ironic as I bet not every US citizen agrees with *all* their laws in force. However, you are trying to say that (at least it’s implied) everyone who defends gun ownership doesn’t agree with free speech, which is obviously false. Unless you’ve never actually met a libertarian before.

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  16. Johnny says:

    In response to your two questions it is actually illegal to carry a gun into a paid public gathering, ie. concerts, fairs or movie theatres. and I agree with your second point if you believe in the freedoms the constitution guarantees then you should respect them all.

    • hotshoe says:

      You’re the second or third person to repeat that rumor about “illegal to carry gun into paid public gathering”. Possibly that’s the law where you personally live – local laws do vary – but it’s not the law in Aurora Colorado. Open carry of both long guns and pistols with no permit required is legal in all of Colorado except Denver. In Colorado, you can legally carry guns into hospitals, bars and clubs, sports arenas, casinos, churches … pretty much any place except schools and the chambers/offices of the State Assembly (unless you have a concealed carry permit, in which case, it’s okay to carry in the Assembly as well as in church, etc.) And Colorado is a “shall-issue” state as regards permits for concealed weapons.

      I’m glad none of the gun nuts in Aurora happened to have their guns in the theater, because if they had, there would have been even more deaths of innocent people caught in the crossfire. Would-be heroes, surprised by the unexpected attack, fumbling and firing in the smoky dark, would have needed a miracle to get the shooter. But of course, reality doesn’t stop the gun nuts from bravely claiming “if I had been there, I would have taken him out”. Bullshit.

    • Dan says:

      No, it’s not bullshit. It depends on the person. Some people could do it, some people could not. Many “gun nuts” are former servicemen and have a hobby of going to the range or wilderness every week or so to do target practice. I think they could have done it.

      As for your claim that “you can carry firearms into the theater in Colorado”, I can say that generally this is up to the establishment. You can carry your firearms BY DEFAULT, but if a business owner posts “no guns” that means no guns. And many businesses do post this. Of course, law abiding citizens comply and either keep their guns in their car or go to a different theater. You gun control people simply refuse to acknowledge the cold hard fact that making firearms illegal, restricting them, whatever will do NOTHING to control criminals. It will control the law abiding citizens.

  17. To answer your question, there was “one of them” in the internet cafe in Florida last week. And there’s usually at least one story every few days about an armed citizen saving themself from an assault or an intruder. I can start emailing them to you if you’d like. But in this instance, Cinemark has a policy against carrying in their theaters, so they allowed their defenseless patrons to be slaughtered.

    With regard to your second assertion, I haven’t seen anybody blaming media influences.

    I have seen liberals using the still-warm Denver corpses to further their own gun-grabbing agenda though. Just saying…. .

    • Dan says:

      I’ve seen this assertion a lot of places… the theater had a no carry policy. Do you have a citation for that from a news source? If you do have one, I’d like to use it.

  18. Wild Will says:

    I definately believe in gun control, that’s why I always use two hands…

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  20. intelhonest says:

    #1 Why is there never any of these NRA-card carrying citizens around when you need them? Never!
    Answer: Because the NRA card carrying citizens are law abiding citizens. The vast majority of these tragedies occur in places that have laws or policies against legally carrying a firearm for protection. The theater chain in question has such a policy. Thus, as law abiding NRA-card carrying citizens, they follow the rules and laws as much as they disagree with them. Even with this said, the premise of question #1 is completely incorrect. Take the time to do some research and you will find many instances where law abiding citizens successfully protect themselves using a firearm. You can find this articles even though the MSM tries their very best to avoid them.

    #2 Don’t you notice the irony of using the 2nd amendment as your argument for gun control, and in the same breath arguing for a limitation of free speech.
    Answer: Don’t you notice the irony of the those who support free speech yet do not support the second amendment of the right to arms? Basically the majority of the MSM. It cuts both ways. Plus, please show us a specific article or valid interview where any 2nd amendment supporter asked for limitations on the 1st amendment.

  21. Had a thought last night, and decided to share it with all here. More so than questioning about gun ownership and ammo purchases, how about “How did a college kid lay his hands on mil-spec Kevlar body armour”? I know you can get some variations on bullet-resistant vests on the Internet without too much documentation needed, and you could probably find the helmets (I haven’t checked, but I’d suspect some military surplus sites might sell them), but what about the leggings, throat-protection, and groin protection? That stuff SHOULD only be available to registered police forces, with VERY stringent ID verification processes. During the short time I was a security guard, I looked into some basic protection, and found that without police force ID and special codes, I couldn’t even get knife-proof Kevlar gloves!
    I’m not questioning how much money he had available, just asking why these purchases (far more than the guns or ammo) didn’t raise alarm bells all over the place. I also know that, given enough time and money, you can get just about anything on the Net, but how did he do so with such ease?
    Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller? ;) :D

    • I could argue that this is another problem of the wide interpretation of the 2nd amendment. Using the “a maiore ad minus” argument means that if you are allowed to buy guns and ammo, you must also be allowed to buy other stuff that is non-lethal and purely defensive.

    • g says:

      You could, But even though we have the right to bear arms they regulate and make money, They have ammo which is silent and makes no sound but is outlawed , the stronger the round the louder it is there for a reason. I would love to have a ballistic knife! And if i could shoot people and not make a sound … I think i would have shot a few politician already! : )

    • g says:

      most of these item are ordered online and are legal overseas in countries that dont have guns!

  22. ke it legal for everyone to personal a rifle. It is possible to guard your home and home having a rifle.
    Then, let’s restrict the hell out of all other firearm purchases. Let the Attorney Common, or any other legitimate legal officer rule on further purchases of weaponry.. . If a gun tends to make you feel protected, fine, purchase a rifle. Aside from that, let’s scale back the production of firearms.
    Let the suspected terrorists acquire a single rifle each and every.

  23. Dylan says:

    Holmes picked the one theater in the area that didn’t allow citizens to carry guns inside. This signs that say “no guns allowed” don’t stop people like Holmes, only the ones you mentioned in question one. The second question is easily answered as well. Not all people from the NRA are intelligent. It’s no different then people in other lobbies saying equally stupid things. There are idiots on all sides.

  24. g says:

    The answer to point number one is that the shooting took place in a school where people are not allowed to have guns even the teacher or principle are allowed , much like the theater where the other mass shooting. Now being military trained in weapons and tactics I can tell you that a unprepared person is not going to problem for a person fully suited in body armor with high power gear, and it is weird that alot of these shooting happen to be in GUN FREE ZONES. With that being said I remember a few years back where terrorist took control of a preschool and killed most of the kids in the school with explosive while the cop sat outside helpless with their guns! I dont blame hollywood but i do blame the media , They put these loser all over the news and make rockstars out of them giving them fame and make them feel important! Also if you look at the southern state where all the kids are raised with guns and are given gun before they are teens , They dont have this problem or you can look at all the drugs they are putting the kids on, a few of the” kid shooter” were on the same anti depression medicine, kinda odd or are they putting all kids on it?

  25. g says:

    When i use to work in detroit everybody that works in the city has handguns for protection and trust me you need it, i had a friend who was anti gun had a relative passed and gave him a home so he moved in there with an friend and a couple dogs, even though he had a security system andiron bars over all his windows and doors, they rushed him when he was coming home one night once in they shot both dogs and beat both of them and looted his house, 2 calls to police”that never showed” so 3 hour later they went to the hospital after they came home the robber had returned while they were gone and took his car, this is common thing in detroit and he now carrys a 45 at all time, I would love to see any anti gun people live in detroit I will pay for their rent for the first year if they make it!

  26. Mike says:

    Please allow me give you a cold hard taste of the reality you seem to be neglecting in your pie-in-the sky feel-good notion that you have answers to complicated problems you do not fully comprehend. Ask Germans and Jews who were living in Germany when Hitler was Fuhrer if gun confiscation was a good idea. My dad was in the Army during WWII, he spoke Dutch, and traveled throughout Europe during the war. Years ago when I asked him why Germans did not stop Hitler from murdering Jews he bluntly and harshly stated: “Because Hitler took the guns.” That statement from my dad, a normally easy going peaceful man who did not own a gun, stuck with me and I took it as a warning not to let it happen again. Human nature has not changed in 70 years. If you think it has you are deceiving yourself. This world is full of maniacal despots, in government and business, who dream about becoming dictators and controlling and manipulating people according to their twisted perverted distorted minds. Before you pretend to have simplistic answers to complex problems you should consider all consequences.

    The two people who committed mass murder in 2012 had at least two things in common: (1) they liked to play violent video games, and (2) they had taken drugs to affect mental disorders. Where do you think mentally unstable people get ideas to dress up like Rambo or Terminator with guns blazing? That’s right, from violent video games, movies, and TV. If you want to stop mentally deranged people from murdering others, start with violent media and drugs. Don’t start by confiscating guns, which is an unthinking emotional response to tragic events.

  27. Tom says:

    As for question 1. They are often around, and often do prevent people from commiting crimes, unfortunately it’s generally property crime that is stopped. the reason they are never around for mass shootings is because homicidial maniacs attack in gun-free zones, not gun shows. Isn’t it ironic there has never been a mass shooting at a gun show? All those guns and crazy people with no background checks!
    Question 2. I would never infring that right either ma’am. Although 10 year olds don’t have rights to purchase or own guns or violent games IMO.

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