Why Should Guns Trump Principles?

163 Responses

  1. Tarrou says:

    While I agree that this is a bad law, and violates basic libertarian principles, that's probably why Mr. Gaetz has an "R" next to his name, and not a "L".

    On the other hand, I do wonder whether the price raise is justified. I wouldn't think gun ownership produces any increase in expected health care costs, though I could be wrong there. The market, of course is the best method of determining this. If this company is just discriminating, some other company can snap up that gun-owner insurance market. I hear there are more than six in this country.

  2. JonasB says:

    Tarrou: I think the insurers see it as an increased injury risk. If I have a gun, then the chance of me accidentally shooting myself (or getting my finger caught in the hammer, I guess?) would be something an insurer could consider relevant.

    In any case, it doesn't seem like a constitutional violation to charge people more for insurance if its seem as a legimate risk increase. The second amendment just provides a right to arms, not a right to do so without consequence (See almost everything Ken writes about the first amendment).

  3. Jamie says:

    Tarrou-

    Would you think that having a pool increases the risk of drowning? If so, why wouldn't the presence of a gun increase the risk of someone being shot?

    And we aren't just talking health care costs. Property insurance typically also covers the risk of, say, being sued if little Tommy finds a gun to play with and shoots his friend. And kids to find guns and shoot each other.

    There is plenty of empirical evidence that restates the obvious: the risk of someone being shot goes up if there is a gun present. And someone being shot can cause insurance claims in a number of different ways.

  4. legion says:

    Why Should Guns Trump Principles?
    Why? Because they're psychotic nutjobs who will shoot you if you don't let their guns trump your principles.

  5. jimmythefly says:

    Similarly, it would bar them from charging “unfairly discriminatory” rates based on gun ownership or possession.

    Ah, but they are still free to charge fairly discriminatory rates, which is pretty much what they do already for any number of factors. (cars, age, smoking, etc.)

  6. ZK says:

    I think it's pretty clear that politicians, generally speaking, don't think of things in terms of principles, but in terms of political tactics. This is a tactic to appeal to the gun-owning public while keeping Florida anti-gun groups playing defense. I'll stipulate that it's unprincipled, but at a base, tribal level, it's nice to be on offense…

    This probably does appeal to the gun-owning public, though, as some well-known insurance companies ask uncomfortably political questions about guns. Seeking a homeowners policy, I was asked if I owned guns and if they were locked. That seems like a plausible risk-based question. I was asked about numbers of guns and ammo, which could be plausibly be about covered value.
    But I was also asked a series of questions about "Assault Weapons" and "High Capacity Clips" that really seemed to be about the politics shortly after Sandy Hook.

    I found a different company, but it left an emotionally sour taste in my mouth. Emotion is often the basis gun-related laws on both sides, sadly.

  7. The Baker says:

    Hmm, I am a gun owner and a NRA member, my health and homeowner insurance has never asked me about it.
    If I buy a Mustang (which I have a right to do) my car insurance rates go up, If I buy a house with a shake roof in a fire prone area (which I have a right to do) my insurance rates go up. If I choose to smoke (which I have a right to do) my insurance rates go up. I see gun ownership a choice and a right that is no different as far as the insurance companies are concerned as other choices which may impact the risk the insurance company takes on. It doesn't seem like a constitutional issue in this case.

  8. EAB says:

    I would also be very interested to know Rep. Gaetz's positions on federally-backed flood insurance and wind pools, given how insurance companies "unfairly" discriminates against coastal homeowners simply because they happen to live in hurricane or flood zones.

  9. pharniel says:

    To be fair the actuaries are only sort-of guessing on the owning guns being a higher liability due to the national GOP preventing gun-related research.

    If they'd like non-discriminatory rate increases they should allow the CDC and other government agencies do the studies. Then the market could add their own data and have a baseline to compare against.

  10. Carl says:

    Ken, there are often times when I disagree with you, but I keep reading because you are honest, coherent, and consistent. Which is also why you could never have a career in politics.

  11. Kencern Troll says:

    So Ken, I assume I'll see you out there marching for Life Insurance companies right to require their male applicants to answer a question about whether they've ever engaged in a homosexual act with another man? Extra surcharge if they were the receiving partner, policy rendered null if the applicant lied. How about charging African Americans more due to their shorter lifespan?

    Or is it only some discriminations that are ok with Ken?

  12. Mike says:

    @pharniel It's very optimistic of you to think that a CDC study would be unbiased enough to be useful. The NEJM study that prompted the movement to get the CDC to investigate the issue was such bad, partisan science that I have little hope.

    See here:

    http://guncite.com/gun-control-kellermann-3times.html

    The NRA aren't necessarily hiding something, so much as they don't want to fund propaganda for the other side.

  13. ALeapAtTheWheel says:

    I just had a life insurance underwriter in my house a few weeks ago to take my weight and blood. They asked me about family medical history and if I smoke. They didn't ask about any guns in the house.

  14. Tarrou says:

    @ Jonas & Jamie,

    While the binary of gun/no gun obviously increases the risk of a shooting in the affirmative, it does not necessarily follow that this increases the average cost of medical care.

    For instance, the bulk of non-criminal shootings are not accidental but suicidal. Now, I don't know if this is the case, but it seems plausible that due to this imbalance, a health insurance company might see lower payouts to gun owners, while life insurance companies might see higher ones, assuming suicide does not invalidate the policy. As I said before though, the way for this to be worked out is to let the company discriminate, and for other companies to take their business.

  15. Corollax says:

    @Kencern Troll
    I perceive three potential interpretations of your comment.

    The first is that you genuinely do not understand the difference between membership in a legislatively protected class and the exercise of a constitutionally guaranteed right. The former is specifically exempt from discrimination. The latter is subject to all the normal consequences that free society chooses to impose. If you still don't understand the distinction, I suggest you remedy this with further research.

    The second possibility is that you are advocating for the dismantling of our legislatively protected classes. Such a circumstance is beyond my ability to answer here. Suffice it to say that I'm opposed.

    The third possibility is that you do understand all of these things, and are being deliberately obtuse. If so, I suppose your pseudonym is appropriate. Carry on, but I feel there's little further for myself or anyone else to say.

  16. Irk says:

    But… think of the guns!

  17. Lurker says:

    It's also worth noting that this bill will just result in everyone who doesn't own a gun having their premiums increased too (instead of $X in total premiums to charge over the gun-owning population, it's just charged over the entire population instead).

    After all, raising everyone's prices isn't discrimination, and they have to account for the outgoing money to gun accidents, etc. with revenue.

    It's depressing how often it seems that people don't have the slightest clue how insurance works.

  18. DGN says:

    Perhaps there should just be a law that says "exercise of protected rights can not be used as a basis for economic discrimination," after all, I'm sure people also wouldn't be thrilled if they had higher insurances rates based on their church membership or their party affiliation. Likewise, if rights can be effectively constrained by the marketplace, do they really exist? Say your car insurance went up by $500/month with every public expression of outrage documented by an insurance company, after all the outraged and angry people are more likely to be in accidents… It just wouldn't fly, right? To a certain extant there are protections from this kind of thing – witness the New Mexico Wedding Cake Case. But it can still be worrying in many ways.

  19. Trent says:

    IMO the Republican party has always been in favor of big government and regulation. They say they aren't and some percent of their support actually believe that, but the fact is the record shows they are happy to support regulation and big government when it advances their agenda and protects their supporters. These types of laws are a dime a dozen and demonstrate that there is little difference between the two parties.

  20. David C says:

    The first is that you genuinely do not understand the difference between membership in a legislatively protected class and the exercise of a constitutionally guaranteed right.

    But there's no reason the legislature cannot make a protected class of people who exercise a right. For example, you have the right to have children, and you cannot discriminate based on pregnancy. You have the right to freedom of religion, and religious discrimination is often prohibited. You have the right to bear arms – and the legislature can decide, or not, that the exercise of that right is protected, and to what degree.

  21. myperbole says:

    I really ought to be more interested in the specifics of this post, but I simply can't muster any enthusiasm.

    I'd be more open to listening to arguments for requiring private industry to respect our Constitutional rights if the politicians making those arguments ever acted like the government should be held to the same standard.

  22. MasterAaron says:

    David C.

    But there's no reason the legislature cannot make a protected class of people who exercise a right. For example, you have the right to have children, and you cannot discriminate based on pregnancy. You have the right to freedom of religion, and religious discrimination is often prohibited. You have the right to bear arms – and the legislature can decide, or not, that the exercise of that right is protected, and to what degree.

    You're not wrong, but the legislature hasn't chosen to do so in this case. It doesn't have a significant bearing on this issue, or on the comments of "Kencern Troll" (an appropriate name if I've ever seen one).

  23. Bear says:

    "private insurance companies should be regulated and precluded from charging gun-owning customers more based on the insurance companies' risk assessment."

    Actually, that isn't how the bill reads as passed. Insurance companies would be forbidden to charge different rates for people in the same actuarial classes simply because they have guns. The bill does not forbid the industry properly researching firearms ownership and creating an actuarial table for firearms risk, and then charging extra (or less; should research show as it so often does that areas with fewer restrictions on honest people have lower violent crime rates).

    As for principles… heheheh… No one who thinks it's a good thing for the government to ban discrimination by businesses on the basis of their personal beliefs on… say… gay marriage should be whining that the government bans discrimination by businesses on the basis of their personal beliefs on firearms. Vicey versey: If one act of discrimination is fine, so is the other. (Not that anyone here would be so conflicted.)

    Ah, if only there was a real free market where businesses and their customers could make their own choices and face their own consequences. C'est la vie.

  24. QHS says:

    pharniel wrote:

    To be fair the actuaries are only sort-of guessing on the owning guns being a higher liability due to the national GOP preventing gun-related research.

    Really, all gun-related research? As far as I'm aware, what the GOP has done is instruct the CDC not to do it. Pretending no one else could possibly do gun-related research is just silly.

  25. David C says:

    but the legislature hasn't chosen to do so in this case.

    But they essentially have done so by passing this bill, haven't they? Granted, the protection is limited to insurance policies. But who says that they have to take an all-or-nothing approach?

  26. Tim McNeil says:

    Florida. The only state with it's own Fark Tag and the only state that needs one.

    A Resident of Florida

  27. Sad Panda says:

    Imagine if American politicians were as concerned with protection of the First Amendment as they are the Second.

  28. PersonFromPorlock says:

    The problem is, businesses often find it more profitable to collude than compete. Keeping them from colluding (by, in this case, agreeing sub rosa to all charge for gun ownership just because they can) is arguably a libertarian move.

  29. @Corollax,

    The first is that you genuinely do not understand the difference between membership in a legislatively protected class and the exercise of a constitutionally guaranteed right. The former is specifically exempt from discrimination. The latter is subject to all the normal consequences that free society chooses to impose.

    Isn't this legislation simply creating another legislatively protected class, i.e. gun owners? And since you're on record as supporting said classes, are you opposed to adding gun owners to the list?

    The latter is subject to all the normal consequences that free society chooses to impose.

    Does this imply that society is not free as regards protected classes?

  30. Avatar says:

    I think that Bear's point more or less cuts the legs from under the whole post. If the only thing the bill is precluding is charging more to gun owners on an arbitrary basis, that's not a horrible restriction on the freedom of insurance companies.

    For that matter, there are all sorts of categories on which the insurance companies have excellent data regarding cost variations, yet which are not allowed to be reflected in rates. Health insurance and gender is a good point here (especially as the same principle is emphatically not reflected in auto insurance, where gender differences in risk are absolutely allowed to be used as a discriminatory factor!) So we could easily argue that, even if insurance companies knew for a fact that gun ownership increased risk to the gun owner, the state could still legitimately preclude them from charging gun owners as if that were the case. But we don't even have to go that far today…

  31. David Schwartz says:

    I believe there should be a private right to discriminate. If someone wants to open a "Whites only" diner, I believe that is their right. (Though it would be everyone else's right, and obligation, not to eat there.) That is my principle. Nevertheless, I support laws that prohibit discrimination against homosexuals. Why? Because other similarly situated groups have gotten that protection and it would be more inequitable to grant that protection to some groups and not others.

    I don't think it's against Republican principles to extend special protections to some statuses so long as there are other statuses that also get such protections. There are already many categories on which insurers can't discriminate (race, religion, genetics, in some cases disability and marital status) and adding categories consistent with one's own interests, so long as there are such categories, is not inconsistent with believing no such categories should exist.

  32. KingDave says:

    Does anything prevent insurance companies from inserting a clause excluding from coverage any losses/damages/lawsuits arising from or out of the ownership, possession, use, or misuse of a firearm? Seems to me that if people don't pay to have the risk covered, that should put it on their head alone if there are claims.

  33. Aelfric says:

    @Bear–I don't think you are reading the bill correctly, but then again I have only been able to quickly skim it. Were an insurer to create an actuarial class of gun owners (and then to charge an "unfairly discriminatory rate"), it would seem to me to clearly run afoul of Section 4, paragraph (a) of the bill. Moreover, any research and/or actuarial analysis will be severely hampered by the prohibition on disclosure of legal firearm ownership in Section 4, paragraph (b.) While the insurance companies could certainly seek permission for such disclosures, I have to believe that would have the classic "chilling effect" on such research. Then again, Florida is not my state and I could be reading this thing the wrong way. Thank you.

  34. Sami says:

    I loathe hypocrisy. Also stupidity. If guns were easy to get in Australia, where I live, I would damn well have a personal policy that guns were not welcome in my home, and if I owned a business, no guns would be welcome there either. Because, you know, they're deadly weapons.

    I can readily believe they cause higher risks for insurers, and I would trust an actuary's numbers over a Republican's or the NRA's any day. If they don't, hey, other insurers can step in and undercut, surely?

    I can also see why a doctor would ask about guns, and indeed, be compelled by Hippocratic principles to do so: if a doctor suspects the patient has even marginal depressive tendencies or risks, that's a *really fucking relevant question*, since "gun ownership" is one of the highest risk factors for suicide. If there's a gun in the house, the doctor might want to be stepping in a little faster if there's a risk that the patient might get depressed.

  35. Brian says:

    I didn't read the whole thing, but I'm guessing mid-way through the Pope with the Hat on makes the brilliant point that the 2nd Amendment (like the 1st) only applies to State, not private action. Every time someone states this principle – and it's typically done with italics and exclamation points – they act like they're not the 1,375,972nd person to make a point that the average 10th grader already knows.

    So cut it out already.

    I'm not actually sure you did it, as I quit reading when it seemed you were headed in that direction, so it was imperative to avoid a possible sighting of an obvious point being made, but righteously.

  36. Trent says:

    Coming to a blog, reading a few sentences then posting a bunch of drivel about points everyone knows while admitting you didn't actually read the post demonstrates stupidity. I bet you are a paste eater Brian.

  37. Dion starfire says:

    ZK: Seeking a homeowners policy, I was asked if I owned guns and if they were locked. That seems like a plausible risk-based question. …

    But I was also asked a series of questions about "Assault Weapons" and "High Capacity Clips" that really seemed to be about the politics … .

    I found a different company, but it left an emotionally sour taste in my mouth. Emotion is often the basis gun-related laws on both sides, sadly.

    That's a great example of why legislation like this is unnecessary at best, and probably counterproductive overall. If you don't like the way a company does business, you go with an alternative company. Until an abusive practice becomes widespread across an industry (e.g. x9 pricing), or competition is virtually non-existent (e.g. cell service in the US, prescription medications) the free market will promote behavior most desired by the overall population.

  38. Basil. Forthrightly says:

    So the legislature is legally mandating that one group that an insurer decides is riskier must be subsidized by another group. Isn't that, like, you know, Communism or something? Next, they'll be mandating that everyone pays the same price for health insurance !!! I mean, like, our right to life is almost as important as our right to guns!!!

  39. George William Herbert says:

    Sami wrote:
    Because, you know, they're deadly weapons.

    Anyone with sufficient training or motivation can kill you with a pen, a chair, their bare hands, your coffee mug, their car, or a mobile telephone. In many cases faster than with a firearm. You can also kill with words in the right circumstances.

    One of the explicit designed uses of firearms is against other people you may need to defend yourself against, yes. But the idea that other things aren't deadly weapons is a bit naive.

    The concept and myth of civilization, writ large, is to remove these sorts of things from common experience so that you don't have to worry about the next driver over or the woman in line behind you at the bank holding her pen. But either of those situations is only a step of intent away from potentially lethal.

    If you're worried that having guns inherently makes people more likely to kill, the statistics in the US are that having a permit to carry a weapon puts you in the class of people statistically least likely to commit murder in the whole country, far less so than police officers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, clergy, children, or anyone else.

    This does not mean you should not have the right to insist that your house or work are gun-free, but it probably increases the odds of violence happening to exclude those people.

  40. Jacob H says:

    @GWH

    If you're worried that having guns inherently makes people more likely to kill, the statistics in the US are that having a permit to carry a weapon puts you in the class of people statistically least likely to commit murder in the whole country, far less so than police officers, politicians, lawyers, doctors, clergy, children, or anyone else.

    I'm sorry, but are you saying that children commit killings more often than permitted gun carriers? And not just killings, but murders?? I have not heard that before, do you have some kind of citation?

  41. George William Herbert says:

    Jacob, everyone should learn to read the FBI Uniform Crime Reports. For example:
    http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_3_murder_offenders_by_age_sex_and_race_2012.xls

    In 2012, 618 under 18 murderers were reported, out of 14 odd thousand total.

    VPC identify 257 killings not judged legal by CCW permit holders since 2007:
    http://www.vpc.org/fact_sht/ccwtotalkilled.pdf

    This works out to about 40 per year, but it varies a bit. They include accidents and unintentional killings that did not lead to criminal charges, which is controversial.

    So, roughly the statistical odds are 15 times more likely to be killed by a youth as a CCW permit holder.

  42. Allen says:

    Everything is under the purview of the state it seems. I often wonder how can we teach our children that you are the master of your own fate.

    In California, in one generation, what does it take to get a driver's license compared to when you were a kid?

  43. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    I suspect that, in addition to the usual hypocrisy one sees in 99.9% of politicians, Right or Left, this has to do with the way the anti-gun forces,in society have pursued their goals. Enough petty regulations and infringements of the Second Amendment have been passed (with "what are you so worked up about it's only…" Comments) that pro Gun people have decided to adopt the tactic. Is it 'Principled'? Probably not. Is it what the anti-gun forces have sown? Oh HELL, yes.

    For myself, I would like to see a little more subtlety in this backlash. For example, rather than barring Doctors from asking about guns, I would have barred them from doing anything when they received the answer "none of your goddamned business". That might have taken more careful thought, though. But I'm a Crank. I don't own any guns, but despise people who want to infringe on the Second Amendment based on the belief that I am less at risk from my gun-nut neighbor than I am from scofflaw busybodies.

  44. Christoph says:

    I wouldn't think gun ownership produces any increase in expected health care costs, though I could be wrong there.

    Let's see … an additional source of accidents and exposure to hazardous substances (smoke, lead, etc). Yes, I would say if the insurance company really wants to tailor their rates to each individual, looking at gun ownership might not be far-fetched.

  45. ZK says:

    @Jocob H,

    I'm not the one you're replying to, but his claim is plausible. If you define children as < 18 years old, juvenile murder rates seem to be 2-3 per 100,000 (with significant variation over the last decades). See http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05202.

    It's hard to say what the murder rate for CCW license holders is, but Google will tell you anywhere between 1 and 3 per 100,000, depending on the state.

    If you define children slightly older (<21), as is popular by both anti- and pro- gun groups, you're talking about the population that's hugely involved in gangs and the drug trade, and your murder rates go way up.

    Interestingly, the population that seems least likely to murder is women.

  46. pillsy says:

    I think Ken's actually totally wrong on this one. Not on whether the legislation is a good or bad idea, but on whether conservatives and libertarians are abandoing their principles if they support it.

    Now, as a disclaimer, I am neither a conservative nor a libertarian, and I don't have a principled objection to the legislation. It sounds like it's might be a bit dumb in an absolute sense, but grading on the "stuff passed by the FL state legislature" curve, it's hard to complain on those grounds.

    However, in a lot of cases, people are legally required to have insurance. Car insurance is an obvious one (and yeah, driving on public roads is not a right, but in a practical sense it's a requirement for a lot of people to live their lives), and now there's a health insurance mandate as well. Now, conservatives and libertarians tend to hate these sorts of regulations (more health insurance than car insurance) because it's government interference in the market, but I don't think there's anything wrong with deciding that if you're stuck with the government interfering in a market, in a way that forces people to participate in it, you should at least take steps to ensure that people who are forced to participate in it are treated fairly.

    Also, IIANM, when it comes to health insurance, charging higher rates to gun owners would already be prohibited by the community rating requirement of the ACA. Thanks, Obama!

  47. John Henry says:

    As a liberal (A/K/A libertarian or classical liberal) I do not see how this violates general liberal principals. Yes, in a perfect world there would be no regulation of insurance at all but we are not there yet.

    Insurance companies need to charge actuarily sound rates. If haing a gun in the house raises the risk, they should charge more for the policy. It is up to the company to prove to the insurance commissioner that it does raise the risk and by how much.

    FWIW, I had a similar discussion last year and looked into the cost of liability insurance for guns kept at home. In many states it is usually included in the basic homeowners package. In states whre it had to be purchased separately or as a standalone policy, it was in the $50-$75 per year range.

    John Henry

  48. Dick Taylor says:

    So let me get this straight. The Florida legislature has required that people buy insurance if they want to do things like drive a car or run a business. They have established and sustained a legal (tort) environment that makes the purchase of this product essentially unavoidable if you own or even rent a dwelling. They have established a regulatory environment that allows them to do everything from require what is in the product to approve what a company can charge for it. And they have made it illegal to purchase the product from all but a small handful of favored companies explicitly allowed to sell the product in their state.

    And now the concern is that insurance has suddenly become political?

  49. Pablo says:

    This seems to me to be more about registration than anything else. If insurance companies have a list of gun owners then the government can ask very nicely for this list and then disarm the population. I am not saying this is a rational or justifiable fear ( or that it is not) but that is likely the impetus and justification. Or its just politicians being politicians.

  50. And now the concern is that insurance has suddenly become political?

    Ha, right on.

    A friend of mine works as an actuary for a major insurer, and once told me that in a truly free market, insurance companies wouldn't even operate in Florida (and some other places). It's just too expensive. (Mostly due to weather, I think, and not the notorious behavior of its citizens).

  51. Burst says:

    You have a Constitutional right to life too, but that doesn't mean life insurance companies can't charge you whatever makes sense.

  52. Jacob H says:

    @GWH

    In 2012, 618 under 18 murderers were reported, out of 14 odd thousand total.

    VPC identify 257 killings not judged legal by CCW permit holders since 2007:

    So you are defining "child" as "minor"? I don't think I can agree with that. I mean, how many of them were charged as adults? Probably a lot. I think that under 13 or so would be a much more appropriate definition of "children," but even if we went with the under 18 number, the whole "15 times more likely" thing is misleading – you aren't taking into account how many more minors there are than carry permits. This guy gets it:

    ZK
    If you define children as [less than] 18 years old, juvenile murder rates seem to be 2-3 per 100,000 (with significant variation over the last decades). See http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/crime/JAR_Display.asp?ID=qa05202.

    It's hard to say what the murder rate for CCW license holders is, but Google will tell you anywhere between 1 and 3 per 100,000, depending on the state.

    See how he presents the numbers as per capita numbers, as 'out of 100,000' – and not as absolute numbers, as you did? That's the appropriate way to do it. So if those numbers are accurate, and "under 18" is a good definition of "children" (it isn't), then it would seem that the numbers are roughly equal. (around 2/100,000)

    @ZK

    If you define children slightly older ([less than]21), as is popular by both anti- and pro- gun groups…

    I highly doubt that that is the majority opinion of the definition of "children". If I said to you "we have a real problem with children smoking cigarettes in this town!" – would you think I was referring to people who could legally buy them? That's torturing the language far too much, despite what some special interest groups would like the words to mean.

  53. jackn says:

    @pillsy
    your response only furthers the premise that a significant portion of repubs are hypocrites and more interested in self-promotion/protection than any underlying principle or ideal.

  54. David C says:

    Insurance companies need to charge actuarily sound rates. If haing a gun in the house raises the risk, they should charge more for the policy.

    Hypothetically speaking, if auto insurance companies found that high school or college students having a GPA above 3.7 tended to have more accidents, do you think that they should be able to charge higher rates for getting better grades? If they did so, do you think it would be inappropriate for the legislature to intervene and say they can't?

  55. Roscoe says:

    I am thinking that what the Florida legislature did was a solution in search of a problem. I do a lot of insurance litigation and I have never, ever, seen an insurance application that inquired about gun ownership. I don't do as much third party work (i.e. insurance that protects you from liability rather than death, injury or property damage) but I have never seen applications seeking firearm information in that context either. Maybe this is all just showboating?

  56. Jacob H says:

    @David C

    Hypothetically speaking, if auto insurance companies found that high school or college students having a GPA above 3.7 tended to have more accidents, do you think that they should be able to charge higher rates for getting better grades?

    IANAInsuranceExpert, but I believe that insurance companies take all kinds of stuff like that into account. For example, don't they charge men slightly more than women? And don't they charge more for red sports cars than grey minivans? In fact, I thought that they actually gave a discount for teens with good grades! I know that homeowners' insurance is full of calculations like that, but I'm not 100% sure about auto insurance.

    @Roscoe

    I have never seen applications seeking firearm information in that context either. Maybe this is all just showboating?

    I am shocked – shocked – to think that these politicians could be guilty of that!

  57. ZK says:

    @Jacob H,

    GWH should not have made the "15 times" claim, but I think that you have to grant that the original statement is defensible given the per-capita numbers. The raw numbers GWH is using in his reply for CCW-holders work out to somewhere around 1 per 100,000 over the time period.

    Meaning no offense, I think you're goal-post-shifting a little bit by claiming "17 or younger" isn't an appropriate definition of "children". It's certainly close enough to make GWH's point, that CCW holders commit murder at a rate considerably less than the general population.

  58. Jacob H says:

    Meaning no offense, I think you're goal-post-shifting a little bit by claiming "17 or younger" isn't an appropriate definition of "children".

    I disagree; people use the word "children" when they mean "minors" as a form of hyperbole – cf "babies having babies," or "children killing children," for example. It just doesn't line up with the way we all use language in our everyday life. Consider my cigarette example above. Or consider any other common use of the word. If I referred to children playing sports, would that call to mind varsity football? If I referred to children having sex, would that call to mind prom night? If I referred to children doing drugs, would that call to mind a scene from Dazed and Confused. None of that makes sense in the way we normally use the word "children". And why, exactly, do you think that minors around the age of 16 or 17 are frequently charged as adults? It's arguable how often that is appropriate, but everyone acknowledges that they are not "children".

    I do admit that if you want to make a point about how often "children" engage in a particular adult activity, it helps enormously to include high school students!

    And if we went even farther, and as you suggest, include those up to the age of 21, then OMG! The sky's the limit! Did you know that the USA fills its armed forces with large numbers of child soldiers!? Kony Obama 2012…

    It's certainly close enough to make GWH's point, that CCW holders commit murder at a rate considerably less than the general population.

    I wasn't disputing his general point, just the detail about "children" – which, even if I granted meant "minor," still isn't true, as you pointed out. The rates then would be about the same: ~2/100,000

  59. ZK says:

    @Jacob H,

    I certainly didn't mean to suggest that it was appropriate to call 18-21 year-olds children, but merely to point out that when you hear statistics about "children" involved in "gun violence" you're likely to actually be talking about that age group.

    The rates then would be about the same: ~2/100,000

    As I think I said, these rates are a little fuzzy, but there are certainly plausible claims that if CCW-holder rates are 1ish/100,000, then they're lower than juvenile rates of 2ish/100,000. It's certainly close, and I have no idea what the margins of error might be.

    I wasn't disputing his general point, just the detail about "children"

    Alright. This seems to be a pretty hair-splitting argument, then, although I guess that's what we all do on the internet.

  60. Jacob H says:

    when you hear statistics about "children" involved in "gun violence" you're likely to actually be talking about that age group

    Yup, people with ulterior motives often replace 'minor' with 'child', in order to score political points.

    "Hundreds of children are being gunned down in our streets!"

    I suppose that's why I get annoyed when people do it; because it's so disingenuous.

    In some states, you can legally marry under the age of 18 (with parental approval). Are those women "child brides"?

  61. George William Herbert says:

    Jacob H:

    This source:
    http://legallyarmed.com/ccw_statistics.htm

    …shows about 9.9 million CCW permits across the US, broken down by state. Assuming the 40/year from prior source is accurate that puts the murders per 100,000 at 0.4 not 1 to 3. So even per capita the rate is lower than overall youth rates.

    As for where to draw age lines, murder victim studies often include child victims as up to 21. The FBI UCR does list perpetrators in age ranges below 21 so we can consider that question, but even those results aren't great…

    (For 2012 still) One murderer in 5-8 years, 20 in 9-12, 326 in 13-16.

    If you want to spend a bunch of posts quibbling about where to define the line on "children" re my original claim it's going to be a one sided debate. The FBI age binning makes it a little hard to tell, but somewhere around age 13 the total number of people killed by those at or below that age, in 2012, exceeded the total killed that year unlawfully by CCW permit holders.

    It is fairly easy to dig up age population statistics for that year and derive murders per 100k in the FBI age range bins, but not at this moment from my mobile phone.

    Numbers matter. Numbers are available. Fear not well associated with real numbers is irrational. Not saying you can or should change all your opinions just because of numbers, but they should make you think harder.

  62. ZK says:

    Given the exceptionally low murder rate for CCW-holders and the fact that it's (maybe) about the same as for children minors and that the murder rate by women is also very low, I'm curious what the murder rate by minor female CCW holders is.

    And I'm curious if we can craft public policy and insurance rates around that somehow.

  63. Jacob H says:

    @GWH

    Fear not well associated with real numbers is irrational.

    On the other hand, fear associated with irrational numbers is very real.

  64. David C says:

    @Jacob H:

    In fact, I thought that they actually gave a discount for teens with good grades!

    They often do. I was merely asking if it would be appropriate to reverse that, if the numbers were reversed.

    The question, in general, is whether insurance companies should take social consequences into account when determining rates, and whether the government should step in if they feel that the insurance companies are providing disincentives for certain behaviors.

  65. Jacob H says:

    @David C

    Ok, I see what you are saying now, and that's an interesting question. It isn't a perfect analogy, however, because students getting poor grades is probably universally accepted as a social ill, while lower (or higher) gun ownership rates aren't similarly considered. A better example might be something like being a private pilot – unquestionably something someone has a right to do (if they are licensed), but not self-evidently a social good or ill. Wouldn't a life insurance company be reasonable to take that into account if they so chose?

  66. George William Herbert says:

    Jacob H:

    On the other hand, fear associated with irrational numbers is very real.

    Pi is not the mind killer 8-)

  67. TM says:

    Given the exceptionally low murder rate for CCW-holders and the fact that it's (maybe) about the same as for children minors and that the murder rate by women is also very low, I'm curious what the murder rate by minor female CCW holders is.

    I suspect 0 or very close to since apparently (if the map is still correct) Alaska is the only state where it's legal for a minor to carry concealed:

    http://dustinsgunblog.blogspot.com/2009/10/map-of-minimum-age-to-conceal-carry.html

  68. gramps says:

    Jacob probably needs to take a closer look at the happenings in "the hood". A fair number of under 16-year-old folk are seriously engaged in the action. Finding armed 14, 15, 16-year-olds is not a rare event.

  69. gramps says:

    John Henry's research (@ 0530) gives us a cost-adder for firearm related liability insurance that is almost exactly what I pay for having a couple horses in the back yard. My agent did not ask about guns.

    When horses are outlawed only outlaws will have horses, and etc.

  70. David C says:

    It isn't a perfect analogy, however, because students getting poor grades is probably universally accepted as a social ill, while lower (or higher) gun ownership rates aren't similarly considered

    Yeah, I think most wouldn't consider it that way. But if you consider that the Florida legislature might feel that way, it explains why they would pass such legislation.

  71. Sami says:

    George William Herbert: Anyone with sufficient training or motivation can kill you with a pen, a chair, their bare hands, your coffee mug, their car, or a mobile telephone. In many cases faster than with a firearm. You can also kill with words in the right circumstances.

    One of the explicit designed uses of firearms is against other people you may need to defend yourself against, yes. But the idea that other things aren't deadly weapons is a bit naive.

    This argument is somewhat ridiculous, as well as assuming quite a lot.

    Anyone with sufficient training and motivation could kill with all sorts of other implements, it's true, but it's not an irrelevant point to consider that the training required to kill or seriously injure someone at close to point-blank range with a gun is far, far less than with just about anything else.

    However, what's far more relevant is that the required motivation is significantly less, because committing violent acts with a gun is easy and the gun is there for violence, it has no other reason to exist.

    Anyone with sufficient motivation could kill themselves with a bed sheet, or a kitchen knife, or a shard of broken glass, or almost any household object whatsoever. But gun ownership is still a massive risk factor for suicide because guns make the transition from impulse to action trivially easy.

    There is also the limitation on damage that a lack of gun access supplies.

    A violent rampage with a gun does more damage. America has violent attacks by people with guns on groups of other people nearly every day, has shootings in schools on a terrifyingly regular basis.

    A few months ago a psycho attacked a school in Sandy Hook with a gun and killed twenty children.

    A few weeks ago a psycho attacked a school in Pittsburgh with knives and wounded twenty-two.

    The difference there is kind of significant.

    You allege that people with permits to carry weapons are statistically safer than people without. To which I say: That's nice. Do they also have magic guns that only work if the legally permitted carrier is holding them?

  72. George William Herbert says:

    Sami:

    You allege that people with permits to carry weapons are statistically safer than people without. To which I say: That's nice. Do they also have magic guns that only work if the legally permitted carrier is holding them?

    The statistical rate of them being taken away and used by someone else to commit a crime is approximately zero. The anecdotes to the contrary are not supported by actual statistics, and are uniformly used as a scare tactic by anti-gun people who are not well educated regarding self defense numbers, tactics, reality.

  73. Casey says:

    Sami, please learn real-world numbers about gun safety, etc, in the United States before you continue to repeat your irrational fear of firearms. Actually listening to to what G. W. Herbert would be a good start; he -Lord forbid- actually cites reliable statistics.

    Speaking of which: for all the light & heat about "legitimate" cost increases charged by insurance companies, not one person has yet cited any reliable source on genuine actuarial probabilities of increased risk of keeping a gun in one's home.

    To my mind, this undermines the author's position that an insurer has the right charge a given customer for their increased risk.

  74. Christopher says:

    In general, the problem I have with the idea that constitutional rights don't apply in the private sphere is that much of our life, likely the majority, takes place in the private sphere.

    If you have the right to bear arms, but everywhere you go is a privately owned venue that prohibits firearms, then in practical terms you don't really have the right to bear arms.

    If you have the right to free speech, but your job threatens to fire you for saying the wrong things, then in practice your freedom of speech is heavily curtailed.

    This is not to say that you could regulate private enterprise the same way you regulate the government; if I publish a magazine, then my ability to pick and choose what goes into that magazine is part of my free speech rights. My ability to choose whether or not people bring firearms into my property is part of my right to control my own private property.

  75. Joe Blow says:

    So this is sort of where I get off the train with really doctrinaire libertarianism. "An insurance company charging you extra money because you own guns is just private action! No state action here! Move along!"

    That's not quite true though.

    For one thing, the insurance markets are very heavily regulated. There's no market for particular kinds of insurance, but for a state board of regulators decreeing it be so. In many states, insurance companies start new lines of insurance because the legislature or the regulatory board has specified that if they do business in the state, they will offer that type of insurance, with particular terms. Modern insurance is almost never purely private action.

    In this instance, the notion of insurance companies charging gun owners more for general insurance policies of all sorts is at the instigation of state actors. Many state AG's with gun banning inclinations and many U.S. Senators, including Chuck Schumer of Federl $50/bullet tax proposal fame, have postulated that if we can't ban guns, we can just make them too expensive to own by imposing insurance requirements, very high taxes, or technology requirements that price the guns out of the market.

    That's a fundamental right they are attempting to assault there, BTW.

    Insurance companies aren't stupid; if the state is offering them a way to extract more money out of customers, they will do it. They're only doing it at the invite of the state, much the way private prisons don't open out of the blue, they do so in response to state promises of profits.

    The gun owner is then faced with a specific cost, imposed by private companies at the urging of the state, to exercising a fundamental right.

    No, the constitution doesn't promise your exercise of fundamental rights will be cost free. But it does frown on government efforts to burden your fundamental rights.

    Query for the group: If you decide to exercise your right against unreasonable search and seizure, should you be forced to pay for the police and prosecution proceedings and the court costs associated with the state swearing out a warrant?

    Query 2: If you choose to exercise your right to jury trial, would it burden your fundamental right by imposing costs on your exercise of that right? It's only fair to assign cost externalities to the person acting, right?

    Query 3: If you choose to attend a political demonstration in NYC, can your health insurance company – whose rates are state approved and now federally dictated – charge you more money for speaking out, knowing that the odds of you getting your ass badly kicked and landing in a hospital are much higher than if you just stayed home? If you think that's just fine, please distinguish how it would be different from senators encouraging and the state insurance board approving specific charges to be levied against gun owners.

    Final question: Is it okay for the state to use private parties or facially neutral measures, in order to discourage or prevent individuals from exercising a fundamental right?

    The bottom line for me, as somebody with pretty solid libertarian creds, is that many of the externalities for the exercise of fundamental rights should be borne by society generally. Sure, there are exceptions; I don't think we should be required to subsidize nude snakes & chocolate dip style performance art. But at a minimum I think we should try to avoid setting up regulatory and economic schemes that particularly burden the exercise of those rights. The state encouraging private actors to raise the cost of exercising fundamental rights is nothing but a clever, collateral attack on the exercise of those rights. Florida's steps to ban specific gun owner insurance requirements is in response to political efforts to do exactly that. I have to agree with those bad ol' gun nut Republicans here. Had insurance companies come up with the idea all on their ownsome I probably would object much more mildly, but knowing that this is a Bloomberg / Schumer idea, with the ins cos strongly encouraged by political leaders to make things tough on gun owners, casts it in a totally different light.

  76. Robert says:

    "since "gun ownership" is one of the highest risk factors for suicide."

    A blatant lie.

  77. Robert says:

    "A few months ago a psycho attacked a school in Sandy Hook with a gun and killed twenty children.

    A few weeks ago a psycho attacked a school in Pittsburgh with knives and wounded twenty-two.

    The difference there is kind of significant."

    One significant difference was that in one case, an adult was attacking elementary school kids. The other had a 16 yr old attacking other high school kids. If an adult had used a knife on elementary school kids, there is a good chance that there would have been multiple fatalities. There are many many examples of this (8 children were killed and 15 wounded in an elementary school mass stabbing in Osaka Japan in 2001. 8 dead, 5 injured in 2010 in China with a machete. 10 dead, 11 injured in 2010 in China with a meat cleaver. There is a very long list)

    Or, a firebomb which for example, killed 12 children in 2006 in china. The most deadly school killing in USA history was done with a bomb.

  78. Neverjaunty says:

    @GWH: the "you can kill with anything" is tiresome and silly, and I say that as someone who is pro-Second Amendment. You wouldn't give the slightest credence to such an argument if it came from someone in favor of restricting gun ownership. "What the heck do you need a gun for? You can fight off an intruder with a coffee mug! Or words!"

  79. Sami says:

    Robert:

    "since "gun ownership" is one of the highest risk factors for suicide."

    A blatant lie.

    Well, at the risk of looking foolish by disagreeing with "some guy on the internet", I will simply offer in support of my contention this paltry approximation of evidence:

    Every study that has examined the issue to date has found that within the U.S., access to firearms is associated with increased suicide risk.

    Ecologic studies that compare states with high gun ownership levels to those with low gun ownership levels find that in the U.S., where there are more guns, there are more suicides. The higher suicide rates result from higher firearm suicides; the non-firearm suicide rate is about equal across states.

    Note that last distinction: non-firearm suicide rates remain about equal, but increased gun prevalance increases the additional rate of gun suicides.

    The link has details, tables of figures, and links to case studies.

    You may now at your discretion proceed to explain how the Harvard School of Public Health is totally pushing an agenda.

  80. Xennady says:

    Politics is inherently a political game, and the Florida legislature is acting politically. Seriously.

    That's it's job. As Joe Blow has noted at well-spoken length, the context of this bill has been the relentless efforts by the left to take guns out of the hands of the American people by any means available, honest or otherwise.

    Since they can't convince people with the usual arguments about the children they've resorted to other methods. Again, as Joe Blow has noted, they want to force people owning guns to pay outrageous amounts simply to own one, via insurance. They've talked about this, publicly. Perhaps they thought no one would take heed of what they said and react accordingly- but nope, that didn't happen.

    Sad Panda:(

  81. Xennady says:

    I loathe hypocrisy. Also stupidity. If guns were easy to get in Australia, where I live, I would damn well have a personal policy that guns were not welcome in my home, and if I owned a business, no guns would be welcome there either. Because, you know, they're deadly weapons.

    Well, hey. I know I'm just some guy on the internet, but I happen to live in the United States, unlike you. I wonder just what the blazes you'd do if someone brought a gun into your personal gun-free zone, if guns were easy to get in Australia. Whine, or if the person with the gun started shooting, die. I suppose you might just feel smug, because you didn't soil your pristine hands with a dirty gun, at least until you bled out and died, that is.

    I find that small consolation. One of the ugly events that stands out in my memory is an occasion when a released murderer killed several people while robbing a convenience store. Again, he'd killed someone before, then he was let go, to kill more. It was illegal for him to have a gun.

    Again, it was illegal for him to have a gun, a gun which he used to kill several people. After killing someone else, years before.

    I loathe hypocrisy and stupidity, too. I don't know about Australia and I don't care. I don't live there. I live in the United States. That sort of thing happens here, and the folks tasked to prevent it are either unwilling or unable to so. I note that the corrupt set of thieves running Chicago were big on gun control, but really weren't interested about the criminal gangs committing murder after murder in their city, using guns.

    I can readily believe they cause higher risks for insurers, and I would trust an actuary's numbers over a Republican's or the NRA's any day. If they don't, hey, other insurers can step in and undercut, surely?

    If gun owners were causing higher risk for insurers, then it should have been reflected in the cost of insurance already, and for generations, surely. Yet that isn't how this controversy all came about. I refer you to Joe Blow, above.

    I can also see why a doctor would ask about guns, and indeed, be compelled by Hippocratic principles to do so: (snip)

    Again, then doctors should have already been asking this question. Since somehow they just now decided they should think about that, just after the left finally noticed that they can't get people to vote for gun-banning- hey, I suspect this is something more than a coincidence.

    Maybe Australia operates differently, maybe not. I don't care, either way. I don't live there.

  82. Sami says:

    @Xennady: How I would react to someone coming in with a gun would depend on the manner in which they did so. If they come in waving the gun, I call the cops if I can, and if I can't, either the opportunity to disarm them will present itself or it won't, but I'll deal with the situation as best I can, using words and my martial arts training. If I get shot, well, I may or may not die – bullet wounds aren't automatically fatal – but at least I will have *some* hope that I won't be getting shot in the crossfire as some idiot bystander with a Rambo complex pulls out his own gun and starts shooting wildly and inaccurately.

    In your universe, does legal gun ownership and entry grant me a *magic forcefield* if someone comes into my place of business with a gun that would somehow change how I would react?

    If I owned a gun myself, it would make zero difference to this situation. On account of how I'm not a fucking sociopath, any gun I owned would be kept in a secure place when not on my person; if there's a gun-toting maniac around, I doubt he'll wait politely while I go to my gun safe. If it *is* on my person, either he sees it and holds his own gun on me until I drop it, or he doesn't but he starts shooting when I pull it out.

    Either way, that situation is escalating sharply when my own gun comes into play.

    I have fired guns. I rather like them, from a mechanical engineering perspective, and I am something of a gun collector in certain video games. If I lived in America I would be tempted to own guns. ALL THE GUNS. But I wouldn't take them to schools, parks, or businesses, because what the fuck is wrong with you people, basically.

  83. InfinityzeN says:

    Background first: Gun owner, Florida CCP holder, Military, Hunter

    First off, there are lots of places that you cannot carry a firearm, even with a permit. Schools are one of them. You are more likely to be shot in "Gun Free Zones".

    To receive a CCP in Florida requires passing several classes and a bunch of range time. Shooting wild will get you jail time.

    In fact, there are lots of incidents in Florida where a CCP holder did not draw their weapon until they or their family was threatened. I sure wouldn't act to keep your place from getting robbed, unless I felt acting was the only way to protect my family.

    Concealed carry actually reduces violent crime. But open carry reduces it even more.

  84. FredA says:

    To take this to its logical conclusion…

    Black people are more likely to have type II diabetes, die from gun violence etc etc.

    So would it be OK if insurance companies charged black people higher premiums?

    Constitutional rights don't occur in a vacuum.

    All insurance is a form of "managed socialism" and cannot be viewed through an exclusively economic paradigm.

  85. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    Sami;

    What the fuck is wrong with us is that we expect the governemnt to do what we tell it to, rather than the other way around. At least that's what's wrong with ME.

    The Second Amendment was written to acknowledge the right of the common citizen to own, use, amd carry military-grade arms. We know this because themdebates on the Constitution and Bill of Right s are extensively documented. All attempts to restrict that right are attempts to weasel around the restrictions placed on government power by said government's founding documents. The idea that my idiot neighbor (who can't back out of his own driveway without hitting his mailbox) has amright to own military grade arms may be dismaying, but historically more people have been killed by governments that acted as if their own laws did not apply to them.

    I don't own a gun. If I had better hand-eye coordination I might be tempted. But until the people who want to impose restrictions on gun ownership either amend the Constitution or come up with an explaination of whynthey shouldn't have to that doesn't amount to "but we're right, so we don't have to play by the rules", I am opposed to their agenda.

  86. Robert says:

    "Well, at the risk of looking foolish by disagreeing with "some guy on the internet", I will simply offer in support of my contention this paltry approximation of evidence:"

    And I can refute it with one word; Japan.

  87. Nonsense from Beyond! says:

    "Well, at the risk of looking foolish by disagreeing with "some guy on the internet", I will simply offer in support of my contention this paltry approximation of evidence:"

    And I can refute it with one word; Japan.

    And I can refute your refutation with one word: Godzilla.

  88. Jacob H says:

    @Robert

    Why is the single word "Japan" supposed to refute that (the point that guns are a contributing risk for suicide)? Just because there is a high suicide rate there and very few guns?

    That proves, or "refutes," nothing at all. How do you know that the suicide rate would not be even higher if guns were available there? You can't!

    If guns were legalized there, and the suicide rate remained unchanged, then, and only then, would you have a leg to stand on

  89. AlphaCentauri says:

    The statistical rate of them being taken away and used by someone else to commit a crime is approximately zero. The anecdotes to the contrary are not supported by actual statistics, and are uniformly used as a scare tactic by anti-gun people who are not well educated regarding self defense numbers, tactics, reality.

    Again, it was illegal for him to have a gun, a gun which he used to kill several people. After killing someone else, years before.

    That's the problem we have in the US. People who aren't allowed to buy guns are creating them out of thin air.

  90. Malc says:

    I would just like to point out the George William Herbert very discretely moved the goal posts into an entirely different county, and no-one has yet called him on it.

    What he did is equate the concept "gun ownership" with the concept "having a CCW". Obviously, these are hugely different groups of people (the latter being a small subgroup of the former), and waving around CCW statistics as a relevant argument in a discussion about policies surrounding gun ownership seems a little dishonest. And that's without pointing out that "gun ownership" is different from "legal gun ownership", although that's probably a reasonable distinction to ignore here, because who is going to check the box marked "do you have an illegal weapons?"

    Obviously, there are a number of reasons why owning firearms might warrant higher insurance premiums, including the most basic: weapons costing significant amounts (say, more than $1500 or whatever) are certainly not rare, and there is a demand among the "criminal classes" for weapons, so the simple probability due to loss by theft is higher if you own such a weapon than if you don't.

    Secondly, of course, is the issue of liability: if you own a weapon, the chance of accidental damage or injury (or death) is higher than if you don't own one. We can argue all we like about how much higher, but it is unquestionable higher.

    While the arguments about whether this law is an intrusion into the insurance marketplace or whether it is simply an effort to rectify or modify an existing intrusion (set of intrusions) are all interesting, I am more intrigued by the fact that this law seems to me to act against the concept of responsible gun ownership, and in favor of irresponsible ownership.

    I mean, as someone pointed out, the 2nd Amendment makes clear what the "public good" is that they expected of enshrining the right to bear (military grade circa 1786) arms. So someone who believes in "well regulated militias" as a social asset should, I feel, encourage responsible gun ownership, which must surely cover protections against accidental damage to third parties, etc.

  91. TM says:

    @Sami

    But I wouldn't take them to schools, parks, or businesses, because what the fuck is wrong with you people, basically.

    There's nothing wrong with people that would carry guns. People carry tools and emergency kits in their car because sometimes cars break down and having such a kit is a good way to deal with that. People have fire extinguishers in their home because sometimes things catch on fire and having a fire extinguisher is a good way to deal with that. People carry knives because sometimes you need to cut something and having a knife is a good way to deal with that. And people carry guns because sometimes someone wants to hurt you and having a gun is a good way to deal with that. While you might be confident in your martial arts abilities to keep you safe, not everyone has the benefit of either martial arts training or the strength and agility it requires to be effective. And let's be perfectly clear, even with martial arts, they will teach you the best way to win a fight is to not get into one in the first place. If someone is intent on doing you harm, stopping them before they get within arms reach is better than stopping them with karate.

    And remember, while it might be different where you live, here in the US, the courts have repeatedly (and correctly) ruled that the police are under no obligation to protect you. If you are being assaulted and you call the police, they are under to obligation to arrive within any particular time period. If you call and they show up and hear you screaming through the door for help as you're beaten, they're under no obligation to bust down that door and rescue you. The only person with any obligation to your safety is you. And every person has a right to defend themselves and to do so with the best tools available for that defense. Just because you left the boundary of your door doesn't change this fact.

  92. Garrett says:

    While not condoning this particular bit of grandstanding, I'd point out that there may be a legitimate state interest in having the fewest sets of firearms ownership records possible to make it harder for confiscation to occur in the event of invasion. (Just because it's not likely doesn't mean it isn't a legitimate state interest).
    To that end, I could see legislation which prohibits the insurance companies from obtaining detailed ownership information. This might split the different by allowing for riders for different dollar amounts. A $50k rider doesn't indicate whether I have 100 AR-15 rifles or 1 musket which was owned by one of the Founding Fathers.

  93. Sami says:

    @Garrett: Good point. Although my immediate thought was: If you have a musket owned by one of the Founding Fathers, you really *should* mention that specifically to your insurance carrier, but for *totally different reasons*.

    Oddly enough, that would be legal in Australia, too. Sufficiently antique firearms are legal, unless they're artillery. Our fucking nanny state laws won't let me own a working cannon no matter how old it is.

    Whereas in America, you can legally own *miniguns*.

    (Technically. If they were made and registered by a certain date. There's, like, eleven of them that are legal and they are very very expensive. Sadly, even if I lived in America, I would almost certainly never own a minigun.)

  94. Sexy Senior Citizen says:

    Why is the single word "Japan" supposed to refute that (the point that guns are a contributing risk for suicide)? Just because there is a high suicide rate there and very few guns?

    That proves, or "refutes," nothing at all. How do you know that the suicide rate would not be even higher if guns were available there? You can't!

    If guns were legalized there, and the suicide rate remained unchanged, then, and only then, would you have a leg to stand on

    I can refute your entire post with one word: "apples".

  95. Malc says:

    While I think Garrett's observations about the state's interests in the event of invasion as possibly the silliest argument for having guns in civilian hands (surely more sensible would be, oh, I don't know, a well regulated militia which does rather presuppose someone knows who the militia *is* so they can be called out in case of need, perhaps in the event of a Martian invasion?), I do find his second paragraph absolutely compelling: having a premium for gun ownership that is binary, just like the tobacco user/non-tobacco user criteria.
    (And, incidentally, that neatly covers the situation where I own guns but don't keep them at my primary residence, but rather with a friend with whom I hunt; it is MUCH easier to fly when not transporting firearms!).

  96. TM says:

    surely more sensible would be, oh, I don't know, a well regulated militia which does rather presuppose someone knows who the militia *is* so they can be called out in case of need,

    To be fair, we already know who the militia is. The US code defines it as all male citizens between the ages of 18 and 45, as well as all members of the national guard.

  97. Robert says:

    "I'll deal with the situation as best I can, using words and my martial arts training"

    Say hi to your brothers Bruce and Chuck for me, will ya?

  98. htom says:

    This is both an attempt at back-door registration via the insurance companies' records, and a way to increase the cost of legal firearms ownership. I think if you look at the sponsors you will see that.

    Other countries with high firearms ownership have low suicide rates, or low firearms suicide rates, or both. Countries with low firearms rates sometimes have high suicide rates without using firearms. All old news.

  99. Sami says:

    @Robert: Sure thing. And y'all who'll totally handle things with your guns can return my regards to McClane and Sly.

    But I'll stay happy here in Australia, knowing that I won't get shot because some asshole asked me to turn my music down and I did, that my friends' children can go to school without getting shot.

    I'll be curiously thankful that in my own encounters with violent crime the worst injury I've ever received was some cracked ribs. Since, if the situation was the same, I still don't think I could square my conscience with not stepping in when I did, it's something of a score to have walked away with such comparatively minor injuries, since over there, yeah, I might well have been taking bullets instead of bruises.

  100. Malc says:

    htom:

    Sponsors of what? You appear to have missed the fact that the legislative move is to prohibit something which does not appear to be a common practice (i.e. only one of the major insurance carriers ask the question anyway).

    So "the sponsors" are pro-gun types. Which makes it improbable that your allegation that "the sponsors" (who are people backed by the NRA, for example) are attempting to either increase the cost of ownership or introduce some kind of registration!

    Unless you are trying to allege that the NRA (etc) have shifted their stance on such matters?

  101. Ed says:

    "Why Should Guns Trump Principles?"

    To many people, guns are a principle. One that trumps all others.

  102. htom says:

    Malc — poorly phrased on my part. The sponsors of the idea that firearms insurance needs to accompany firearms ownership.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/06/us-usa-guns-insurance-idUSBRE91516920130206

    http://object.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/regulation/2013/9/regv36n3-1n.pdf

  103. Parallax says:

    Ken,

    This is the first post I have ever disagreed with you about.

    I wonder, if the impetus for increased rates was knives, rather than guns, would that alter your calculation?

    With respect, as always.

  104. Robert says:

    "Sure thing. And y'all who'll totally handle things with your guns can return my regards to McClane and Sly."

    Millions of DGU's (Defensive Gun Uses) every year in the US. I'd say, quite a bit less so done with Martial Arts.

  105. Nat Gertler says:

    "The most deadly school killing in USA history was done with a bomb."

    And a gun (which is how the truck bomb was set off.)

  106. Sami says:

    Robert: Millions of DGU's (Defensive Gun Uses) every year in the US. I'd say, quite a bit less so done with Martial Arts.

    Millions? Really?

    The US Census Bureau estimates put the adult population of the USA at about 240 million. Millions plural means at least two million, so setting aside the implicitly higher number, two million "DGU"s per year means about one in every 120 people uses a gun defensively every year.

    That's simply astonishing. So astonishing it's almost hard to believe that figure is true!

    Especially when you consider that the FBI's violent crime statistics suggest there's only one and a quarter million violent crimes in the United States, in total, in the course of an entire year.

    I don't know, if all those DGUs are bringing their guns into non-violent or non-crime-related situations, I think they're probably a bit of a problem themselves. You don't bring a knife to a gun fight, sure, but you probably shouldn't bring a gun to a purely verbal argument either.

  107. barry says:

    Guns are a particularly cowardly weapon (and skill doesn't take away from the cowardice). You can kill someone half a mile away just by pressing a button /pulling a trigger. It's also lazy. Sure it's possible to kill someone with a knife or pen or a stick with a nail in it, but that takes a lot more effort, and a lot more risk.

    If I'm murdered, I'd rather it was with a knife or pen etc than with a gun. That would at least show some dedication to the act, that someone really wanted to kill me, and that it wasn't just some lazy unmotivated half-assed afterthought made easy because some coward had a gun.

    On the other hand, a high level of gun ownership is necessary to maintain the level of paranoia required in a society with high gun ownership. Knives are different, they go way back to the stone age and predate even the pointy stick. And knives have many uses, I don't see how anyone could get into a pineapple without one.

  108. C. S. P. Schofield says:

    All f the argumentation about the utility or inutility of guns in civilian hands is besides the point, until the anti-gun forces bite the bullet (sorry) and propose an amendment. The "living constitution" argument is invalidated by the existance of an explicit process for amendment IN the Constitution. If the Bill of rights says a right "shall not be infringed"' then to regulate it should require an amendment.

    I'm not all tha interested in owning a gun, and haven't yet. But I am vitally interested in making pro-regulation buttinskis play by the rules.

  109. Demosthenes says:

    This is why I'm glad I read Ken — because he's a wonk. As such, he cares about the rules of the game more than he does about winners. I freely admit that as a Republican, the legislation under discussion here is legislation I would probably reflexively support…or rather, would probably have reflexively supported. I wouldn't do it anymore, because Ken has convinced me he's right. And he's right to call out conservatives who support this legislation for not living up to their principles.

    Having said that, some of the comments on this thread…smh, baby. Saying there's something wrong with carrying/owning/wanting to own a gun, or that guns are cowardly weapons (which imply a lot about the people who use them) — these are not arguments, and they're not legitimate points. They have become the standard shaming words directed at people who have the temerity to assert the idea that citizens who have proven themselves responsible in the eyes of their community ought to be able to own and/or carry firearms, for their protection and the protection of others. Because, the children! And also, icky icky killy things!

    As for me, I'm glad I live in a state where I can both own and carry a firearm — so I don't have to leave the defense of my life and my property to the police in a home invasion scenario, with only my trusty carving knife standing between me and a criminal who (surprise, surprise) has somehow managed to lay his hands on a gun, despite it not being legal for him to have one. But that's just me, because I have this irrational desire to live. YMMV.

  110. princessartemis says:

    @barry,

    Equal access to force is, indeed, most cowardly. Let us remove that access and go back to a time when only the strong had easy access to deadly force. We'll trust them to protect us, rather than do what the unopposed strong have always done to the weak. Human nature has changed enough for that.

  111. D506 says:

    Ken doesn't seem to be taking a crack at whether or not this legislation is 'good' or 'bad', but a whole bunch of the comments here seem to be starting with 'I disagree…'.

    The point is that it's inherently hypocritical for someone who consistently cries for free market and small government to advocate that the government stick it's hands into private business when it's a cause they or their supporters like. And he's absolutely right, whether you agree with this legislation or not.

  112. Malc says:

    Following the link that htom posted, we discover that the NRA offers liability insurance to its members (see Member Benefits)

    So based on that, it appears that the notion that gun-specific insurance (particularly liability insurance) is a reasonable and indeed responsible thing to have. And you can get it from the NRA.

    So this whole thing appears to be a knee-jerk piece of intrusive bluster on the part of Florida law makers. There was no real problem being "solved" by this law, and (as Ken suggests) this law intrudes into private arrangements between individuals and a non-government entities. The Freedom of Association from the First Amendment surely allows corporations-who-are-people-too to act like the Boy Scouts of America and decline to associate with someone who either has guns or declines to state if they do.

    I don't think anyone here has suggested that insurance should be mandatory for gun owners (which seems at least one step too far, maybe several), but would it be unreasonable to make having insurance a requirement for the issuance of a hunting license?

    As even the NRA says… (gun) accidents happen!

  113. Malc says:

    Random late thought:

    If, as many allege above, CCW and gun ownership is a significant/essential part of an individuals protection from criminals, then surely one has to assert that a homeowner with guns is less likely to be burgled and individuals with CCWs robbed than those without.

    If this is true, then it seems that Florida's law actually impedes insurance companies from offering LOWER rates because of the lower risk of loss. Because "unfairly discriminatory" rates includes rates that are lower as well as rates that are higher.

    On the other hand, if owning guns doesn't reduce the risk of loss, then a lot of the arguments for the value of guns are weakened. Fundamentally, of course, this doesn't matter, because of the Second Amendment's imprecision on the value proposition.

  114. Not says:

    > On the other hand, fear associated with irrational numbers is very real.

    Things are more complex than that. The mere existence of a real component does not preclude there from being a significantly larger, imaginary part. And vice-versa, of course.

  115. SS says:

    Based solely on politician's quotes or sensational news articles, I might agree with Ken. But reading the text of the bill itself, I think his conclusion is off. This isn't about preventing premium increases for legitimate risk increases, it's about calling for more sophisticated calculations than just exercising a right and preventing a non-state actor (though increasingly acting on the government's behalf) from chilling the exercise of rights by individuals.
    A more thorough response is here:
    http://www.westsidelateshift.com/2014/04/guns-insurance-companies.html

  116. WhangoTango says:

    "Why Should Guns Trump Principles?"

    Why should privacy trump principles?

    Why should free speech trump principles?

    Why should indemnity against retrial trump principles?

  117. Andrew says:

    Good article. Would it be possible to require insurance companies to demonstrate how they calculate the risk factors, so that any ideology-driven surcharges could be identified and challenged? Then again, this would probably just open up a whole new area for lawyers to make money…

  118. Castaigne says:

    @Xennady:

    I wonder just what the blazes you'd do if someone brought a gun into your personal gun-free zone, if guns were easy to get in Australia.

    I don't know what he'd do, but as an American, I ask that person to leave, and should they fail to do so, call the police to report trespassing.

    I suppose you might just feel smug, because you didn't soil your pristine hands with a dirty gun, at least until you bled out and died, that is.

    Now that's a heck of an assumption. Why would one feel smug? I would certainly feel disdain towards someone attacking me with a gun. It takes cowardice to rely on firearms and not use a hand-to-hand weapon. A truly courageous person is willing to cover themselves with the blood of their enemy.

    That sort of thing happens here, and the folks tasked to prevent it are either unwilling or unable to so.

    Tasked to prevent it? Minority Report-style SF aside, there is no Pre-Crime Division. And no, the police are not there to prevent crime.

    =====

    @C. S. P. Schofield:

    The Second Amendment was written to acknowledge the right of the common citizen to own, use, amd carry military-grade arms.

    Out of nothing but the purest of curiosity, what do you qualify as military-grade arms?

    =====

    @barry:

    If I'm murdered, I'd rather it was with a knife or pen etc than with a gun. That would at least show some dedication to the act, that someone really wanted to kill me, and that it wasn't just some lazy unmotivated half-assed afterthought made easy because some coward had a gun.

    I agree with you completely on that.

  119. Sami says:

    @Andrew: . Would it be possible to require insurance companies to demonstrate how they calculate the risk factors, so that any ideology-driven surcharges could be identified and challenged?

    In theory, possibly. In practice? There's a reason actuaries are a special kind of person and get paid really, really well, and that reason is: the process tends to be complicated, but at the same time, too utterly, overwhelmingly boring and tedious for most of us to comprehend.

    And when you get down to the fine details of the risk calculations, that's more or less where the insurance companies' profit margins live, and they may understandably be reluctant to make that information public.

  120. Demosthenes says:

    @ Castaigne and barry:

    If I'm murdered, I'd rather it was with a knife or pen etc than with a gun. That would at least show some dedication to the act, that someone really wanted to kill me, and that it wasn't just some lazy unmotivated half-assed afterthought made easy because some coward had a gun.

    I agree with you completely on that.

    Can I also assume that if you had your way, and someone were attempting to murder you with an illegally-owned gun, you would both rather only have a knife (or pen, etc.) to defend yourselves?

    Are you so willing to stick by your principles that, by extension, you would also be willing to have the law strip physically weak people of the opportunity to legally own or wield a superior self-defense tool?

  121. mikeyes says:

    The CDC has produced a study on firearms violence at the request of the Obama administration (http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=18319&page=) that is a meta study of the existing research and statistics available up to this time. Before you get the vapors about gun ownership, you should read it as it makes interesting points about the lack of violence among the 100 M or so gun owners.

    As an example, while suicide by gun is 85% successful (and account for 60% of all handgun deaths), death by hanging is 80% successful, not a significant difference. Gun ownership, per se, is not a significant predictor of suicide (alcoholism is more of one but depression is much more significant) and the vast majority of attempts fail. This is more of a mental health issue than one of gun ownership.

    The CDC study has not gotten much press, probably because it does not advance the political agenda that spawned it.

  122. Ken says:

    It may not be sound jurisprudence, but since we have long since become a Nation of Men* anyway:

    Sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik.

    No, I don't like it and didn't choose it, but as it's unlikely we'll be able to vote our way out of it, we might as well get something for our trouble.

  123. Castaigne says:

    @Demosthenes:

    Can I also assume that if you had your way, and someone were attempting to murder you with an illegally-owned gun, you would both rather only have a knife (or pen, etc.) to defend yourselves?

    As I decline to own or use firearms for any reason at all, for me that would be correct.

    Are you so willing to stick by your principles that, by extension, you would also be willing to have the law strip physically weak people of the opportunity to legally own or wield a superior self-defense tool?

    *snort* The ability to use a melee weapon effectively is a matter of skill, not strength. A physically weak person who is skilled can beat a strong unskilled person any day of the week. It's very hard for the strong guy to do very much when their carotid artery is spewing everywhere.

    That particular canard discarded, if cowards wish to cower behind their gun, that's their business. I'll not interfere. They should suffer the social penalties of those known as being craven, however.

  124. Demosthenes says:

    Well, Castaigne, you're at least consistent. I wouldn't take much pride in that if I were you, though. Being consistently awful isn't a gift.

    The ability to use a melee weapon effectively is a matter of skill, not strength. A physically weak person who is skilled can beat a strong unskilled person any day of the week.

    So, your implied solution to the problem of home defense is that weak people should…take self-defense classes to skill themselves up a bit. I notice that you fail to consider the case where a skilled physical weakling runs up against a skilled physical brute. I suppose those people are just SOL, huh? As are most senior citizens, most people who are handicapped, etc. You're like Nietzsche with less subtlety.

    That particular canard discarded…

    …without adequate consideration for any other case beyond your preferred one, or respect for differences in physical capacities…

    They should suffer the social penalties of those known as being craven, however.

    Yes, yes, the moral is to the material as three is to one, and all we need is the proper fighting spirit. Begone, Captain Falco.

  125. barry says:

    @princessartemis, I can imagine a number of situations where I would like to have a gun, a rocket launcher, and a few hand-grenades. I suspect that is from having watched too many Hollywood movies. These movies tell me that there's no problem that a brave man with a gun can't solve. They also tell me the world is divided into good-guys and bad-guys. I don't think either of those propositions are meant to be taken seriously.

    "Equal access to force" is an arms-race. Also an argument for being able to buy bombs and explosives from Walmart. The overall difference in attitudes towards guns and bombs confuses me a little. I'm happy not to live in a warzone, and wouldn't feel good about contributing to making it one.

    @C. S. P. Schofield

    But I am vitally interested in making pro-regulation buttinskis play by the rules.

    The rule itself is an A1 prime quality non-sequitur:

    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.

    It's in the same same class of non-sequiturity as ""Fuel being necessary for a car to run, everyone should wear pants". So people, depending on their agenda, tend to focus on either the first part or the second part, sometimes pretending the other part doesn't even exist.
    I'm not a supreme court judge, but I'll have a crack at it anyway, as if both halves mean something.

    It makes some sense if the 'militia' is defined to be the legal gun owning public (in the same way as everyone with a job is 'the workforce'). Then the question is why should rights (to bear arms) trump necessities (security of the free state)?

    It makes some sense if you read it as the right existing to aid the necessity, not oppose it. After all, they were trying to write rules for a free state. It's about the balance between the degree of regulation of the militia, how well regulated it is, and the rights of its members.

    Nearly every word in the sentence has been tortured to within an inch of its life by lawyers and judges, 'what is a militia?','what is a right?', 'is "bear arms" a military term of art?', so I'm having a go at the one on the end, "infringed".. it doesn't mean what I thought it meant.

    Or rather, it is one of those words whose meaning has been gradually morphing over time into something like I thought it always meant but didn't.
    Because of the word "fringe", from the old French "frenge" from the latin root "fimbria" for fibres or threads, the idea of encroaching or cutting away at the edges of something became common. But the word "infringe" itself has a different latin root "infringere", meaning to break. dictionary.reference.com says the "encroach" meaning of infringe was first recorded c.1760. So it might easily be that they meant it was possible to encroach by regulation on the right to bear arms, as long as that right was not broken completely. It's the only time the word was used in the constitution, so it's hard to tell. Dictionaries now show both meanings of infringe, the older 'break', and the newer 'encroach'.

    The regulation-buttinski position would be that the occurence of a mass shooting every couple of months is evidence enough that regulation of gun-owners/guns is unconstitutionally low (not well enough regulated to meet the necessity).

    ps. You should wear pants in your car because you're going to have to get out to refuel sometime.

  126. TMLutas says:

    Insurance and medical care are both regulated activities and both under pressure from anti-gun groups to create invidious, discriminatory pressure on legal gun owners. In a world where these groups weren't under the thumb of political elites who could make licensure problems, this legislation would not be necessary.

    We don't live in that world. Regulators are generally in a philosophical hothouse environment that is not very gun friendly. I'm very open to privatizing regulation on both insurance and medical care to solve the root problem but that's not what this article is advocating, is it?

  127. Snark says:

    Why should guns trump principles?

    Because you can't shoot anybody with principles.

  128. The Wanderer says:

    The rule itself is an A1 prime quality non-sequitur:

    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.

    It's in the same same class of non-sequiturity as ""Fuel being necessary for a car to run, everyone should wear pants". So people, depending on their agenda, tend to focus on either the first part or the second part, sometimes pretending the other part doesn't even exist.

    If you look at this in the context of "there should be no standing army / professional military force", which I believe was strongly advocated by at least one of the factions involved in drafting the Constitution, then these two make a lot more sense together IMO.

    In the absence of a standing / professional military, the defense forces will be made up of members of the general population, called together to defend their home(s). This is the basic form of what is called a "militia"; in some cases there may be some level of additional organization and training involved, but such is not inherently required.

    Given the lack of a standing / professional military, there naturally will not be formal firearms (or other weaponry) training for the members of the defense forces; their only, or at least primary, training will be what they acquire in the normal course of their lives.

    In order to become sufficiently skilled in the use of weapons in the course of their daily lives to be able to be effective in the event of being called together into the form of a militia, the general citizenry will of course need to have access to those weapons in their daily lives, and be allowed to use them.

    Thus, restricting or otherwise limiting "the right of the people to keep and bear arms" would serve to reduce or eliminate those people's effectiveness in the event of their being called together into a militia for defense of the country in time of need.

    (Also, in the absence of a standing / professional military, it's highly unlikely that enough weapons would be kept stockpiled – and in good enough condition – to effectively arm the populace when calling them together into the form of a militia. The militia would then need to rely, at least to some extent, on the weapons its members could bring with them from their private lives.)

    The fact that this doesn't apply terribly well in modern society may well have much to do with the fact that we do, in fact, have a standing professional military, and do not rely on the skills and weapons of the general population for the defense of the country.

    Whether this situation is better than the one presumably (according to this model) envisioned by the people who wrote the Second Amendment may be a subject for debate.

  129. TM says:

    The ability to use a melee weapon effectively is a matter of skill, not strength. A physically weak person who is skilled can beat a strong unskilled person any day of the week. It's very hard for the strong guy to do very much when their carotid artery is spewing everywhere.

    This is a true statement for all it's worth, which isn't much. Most weapons (and depending on how pedantic you are) all weapons kill someone via one of two methods.

    Method A is substantial disruption of major bodily organs (the heart, the brain, etc). You will note that on the average human, the major organs in question are fairly well shielded behind layers of bone and muscle. Getting through that protection takes (as you note) skill, and not a small amount of luck, or substantial forces. Needless to say, most self defence courses and advice does not focus on teaching you substantial organ disruption.

    Method B is via blood loss. The simple formula of blood out > blood in = death. It is worth noting that the more places for blood to be leaving, the faster blood will leave and the faster incapacitation and death occurs. There are a few places on the human body where puncture is followed by immediate and substantial blood loss and quick incapacitation. Unfortunately for the self defence inclined, that window of time between initial puncture and incapacitation is usually sufficient for an attacker to inflict or continue to inflict serious damage. And as with the major organs, these parts are surprisingly well protected (in as much as any place on the surface of your body can be). Hitting these points in the heat of a fight is more a matter of luck and (if you're fortunate) skill and reach.

    Of course, self defence isn't about killing per se. Yes, if you must, then killing your opponent before they kill you is the preferable option, but self defence is about stopping the threat. Ideally the further away from your body you can stop the threat, the less likely you are to be injured yourself.

    And examination of the various implements available for self defence then reveals why the gun is the preferred weapon when lethal force is necessary. Guns have multiple bullets, allowing multiple holes, meaning multiple points for blood loss (see method B above). They also provide substantial force in a small area, leading to higher chance of penetrating the protection around the major organs (see Method A). Additionally, from a stopping the threat perspective, guns allow a defender to engage from a distance, stopping the threat sooner. They also have high potential for causing minor incapacitation (say a shotgun blast through the leg) and have a strong psychological deterrent. Not the "rack the pump and send them running" type either (though there is some of that, plenty of defensive gun uses don't require the firing of a single shot) but the thieves, rapists and other malcontents still have their own sense of self preservation, and the math that goes into that changes real fast when gun shots start ringing out and they start taking bullets. Time and time again, studies and interviews of felons have shown that when they have a choice they will choose someone they know is unarmed. Guns also have the benefit of requiring less (note, not "none") skill to use effectively, and the benefit of being able to be used by children, adults young and old, the fit and the infirm. Handguns require less room to deploy and use than even a baseball bat or knife and notably require very little upper body strength in comparison.

    That particular canard discarded, if cowards wish to cower behind their gun, that's their business. I'll not interfere. They should suffer the social penalties of those known as being craven, however.

    Every person defending themselves from an attack should be proud to be called a coward. The rules of "fair fights" don't apply when the fight didn't start fair. If you didn't get to choose or agree to the time, place and manner of the fight, than your opponent has already amply demonstrated both their own cowardice and their willingness to fight dirty. It is incumbent on you, as the person engaging in self defense to do so in whatever manner is most effective. Throw sand, hit with cars, kick genitals, or run and hide. Nothing is too cowardly or too low when it comes to defending your health and your life, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

  130. luagha says:

    This is to add in to the earlier commentary about what each word in the Second Amendment means. It commits the common mistake of thinking the term 'well-regulated' has to do with government regulation by rules. Admittedly a common usage nowadays but even a basic dictionary has the other definitions about 'putting things in order'; referring to things like 'a well-regulated clock keeps perfect time' and 'to regulate the digestion with doses of fiber.'

    In military times, 'well-regulated militia' means a well-trained militia who can move as a unit, fire to a commanded point of aim, and who will not break under fire.

    You would be more familiar with the opposite term, an 'irregular militia'. The most likely fiction you would have come across the term in is Sherlock Holmes's books, movies, and cartoons; where he maintains what he calls the 'Baker's Street Irregulars.' They are his pack of orphans and street kids whom he pays to keep him informed and whom he can marshal into a dangerous slingshot-wielding cadre at a moment's notice. Alas, they didn't show up in the recent Sherlock Holmes movies.

    'Irregulars' can be dangerous troops to fight, but have a tendency to break and run. Famously, President Theodore Roosevelt fought in the American First Irregular Cavalry in his famous charge up San Juan Hill. The First Irregular Cavalry was made up of highly skilled volunteers – all famous lawmen, trackers, sharpshooters, and rangers – but because they had never had the opportunity to train together, they were called 'Irregular Cavalry' as opposed to 'Well-Regulated.'

    Currently, the army of a state is called the 'regular army' (you can look up 'regular army' on Wikipedia) while guerilla forces who may work for a state at some remove, like terrorist groups with deniable contacts or the Civilian Irregular Defense Groups trained by the Green Berets in Vietnam, are called 'irregulars.' Someone who has been through US Army Basic Training is called an 'Army Regular.'

    It used to be that someone who had been through certain Officer Training Schools were called 'Regular Officers.' Now, under the up-our-out officer promotion rules, an officer initially becomes a 'Reserve Officer.' When he goes up for promotion he can also be promoted to 'Regular Officer' without changing in rank – but a Regular Officer is not subject to up-or-out promotion rules. They are so 'regular' and perfect in their duties that the Army agrees to keep them as long as they are willing to serve.

    If you ever read western fiction, or histories from the Western and Civil war area, people often refer to 'regulars' or 'reg'lars' in dialect. In Disney's The Ballad Of Davy Crockett, one line is 'Andy Jackson is our gen'ral's name, his reg'lar soldiers we'll put to shame.' A related term is 'regulators' which means an armed group who is trained to work together, likely to impose the will of a landowner more than a government. The Pinkertons (the first modern detective agency) maintained 'regulators'. Stephen King has a novel out whose title, The Regulators' refers to a Western television show inside the book where a noble posse roams the Wild West bringing law to the lawless and putting everything to order.

    In military and historical circles, this usage is common and well-understood.

  131. Marconi Darwin says:

    Odd that this outrage appears to be rather intense. Republicans do these sort of blatant disregard of stated principles routinely. This sort of hypocrisy is not uncommon, it is pervasive. Sheldon Adelson, a high profile donor wants to ban gambling.

    But on the Internet. Not in his casinos. And to a man (or sheep) NOT one of the POTUS potential candidates is even whispering governmental overregulation.

    The FARM bill? Chockful of subsidies.

    Cage free chickens in California? Steve King wants to invoke the Commerce clause to make California buy crap from his state.

    But thanks, Ken. Every article like this helps.

  132. Sami says:

    luagha: All very true, but America does not have a well-regulated militia, so not really very relevant.If all gun owners were obliged to participate in joint training on a regular (in at least two senses of the word) basis, the situation would be rather different, and probably rather improved.

  133. InfinityzeN says:

    @The Wanderer

    You fall short in one small area. There has been a professional military within the US since before we were actually a country.

    Also for defense of home, you are not talking about the "Professional Military" aka Active Duty. The National Guard is charged with the defense of the country, forming the core which the milita would form around.

    The Active Duty military is the offensive group, expressing the USA's military power outside of the country. There are very limited cases in which the Active Duty military can be used within the USA.

  134. TM says:

    @Sami

    Two points:

    1) The militia of the US is legally defined as the National Guard and all males between the ages of 18 and 45. That the unorganized portion (the males 18-45) of the militia is not called up for regular training is a dereliction of the the state's duty, but has no bearing on the right to keep and bear arms.

    2) In order for the state to be able to call up the militia for regular exercises, the militia would need to be armed. It is likely the state would either need to provide arms to all the members of the militia (as provided for in the constitution) or pass something like the old militia acts which required citizens to keep and maintain their own weapons of military caliber and an ample supply of ammunition. Neither option seems like it would be particularly palatable in the current political climate, so realistically our current situation of allowing those that want arms to obtain and train on their own really seems to be the best solution.

  135. Not says:

    > Republicans do these sort of blatant disregard of stated principles routinely.

    All politicians I have seen exhibit that sort of disregard routinely. One recent example being the White House reaction to the botched execution. Well, unless perhaps their outrage was because they could have done it better with a targeted drone strike?

  136. Devil's Advocate says:

    @Snark

    Why should guns trump principles?

    Because you can't shoot anybody with principles.

    If you're shooting at people with principles, you're doing it wrong.

  137. Sami says:

    The limitation on the use of active duty military within the USA may be part of the broader problem in US society, I think. If, in cases where Shit Gets Real, the operational policy was to call in the assistance of the military, you wouldn't have your police forces getting all militarised instead.

    I don't know about you, but I trust the military a hell of a lot more with tanks and automatic weapons than I do the police. If a situation has gone bad enough to need weapons of war, I want the civilian authorities to call in the military. Firstly because the military have much better training and discipline with those weapons, and secondly because if they actually have to call in another force to escalate the situation like that, they're less likely to bring that violent approach to *everything*.

  138. Castaigne says:

    @Demosthenes:

    So, your implied solution to the problem of home defense is that weak people should…take self-defense classes to skill themselves up a bit.

    Usage of firearms takes all the skin out of the game. If you can just fire and forget, then you don't care. They allow perfect detatchment, turning the real world into an FPS.

    Look, if you want to have everyone have a gun, that's your opinion. I'm not going to deny it. But when you shoot me in the face in "self defense" and then do a teabag, crowing about your "bonus points", I find that weak. It takes no
    skill to shoot someone.

    I notice that you fail to consider the case where a skilled physical weakling runs up against a skilled physical brute.

    Whoever has the better skill will win.

    …without adequate consideration for any other case beyond your preferred one, or respect for differences in physical capacities…

    All things being equal, and yes, I do consider them equal.

    Yes, yes, the moral is to the material as three is to one, and all we need is the proper fighting spirit. Begone, Captain Falco.

    If you don't like what I think, make it illegal and you'll win.

  139. Castaigne says:

    @TM:

    Of course, self defence isn't about killing per se.

    In this, I must disagree. If you don't kill the person attacking you, then when they get out of the hospital / get out of jail, they will attack you again. And again. And again. The only point of fighting is to kill the opponent.

    Therefore, proper self defense is to exterminate the threat.

    Yes, if you must, then killing your opponent before they kill you is the preferable option, but self defence is about stopping the threat.

    The threat is only stopped when it is permanently stopped.

    but the thieves, rapists and other malcontents still have their own sense of self preservation

    I guess you have different experiences with criminals than I do. I would say they are of the "screaming horde of Picts" type of mentality, willing to impale themselves on a spear, push it all the way up, and then braining the centurion.

    Time and time again, studies and interviews of felons have shown that when they have a choice they will choose someone they know is unarmed.

    Well, that's a no-brainer. Strategically, it only makes sense to do so. You and I would be no different. Now if everyone is armed? Well, then choice of the victim is six of one and half-dozen of the other.

    The rules of "fair fights" don't apply when the fight didn't start fair.

    Now, I never said anything about a fair fight. Ambush, fighting dirty, all of these are fine in my book. I just despise these antiseptic no-personal-involvement methods.

    Nothing is too cowardly or too low when it comes to defending your health and your life, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.

    That really depends on your viewpoint. I have to disagree with you; sometimes a valiant death is preferable.

  140. Castaigne says:

    @Devil's Advocate:

    If you're shooting at people with principles, you're doing it wrong.

    Our opponents in every war in our history had principles. Were we doing it wrong?

  141. Demosthenes says:

    @ Castaigne

    If you can just fire and forget, then you don't care. They allow perfect detatchment, turning the real world into an FPS…when you shoot me in the face in "self defense" and then do a teabag, crowing about your "bonus points", I find that weak.

    I can see two possibilities. You are possibly sincere in your belief that this is an accurate description of a scenario where someone is using a firearm for defense. In that case, you are an utter moron who should never be allowed to wield such power as a gun represents. Thankfully for us all, you don't seem inclined to want that anyway.

    Failing that, you are a superb troll — all the more so in that, while I would very much like to name you as such, you are staying just inside the line of the outer edges of idiocy that I have ever heard on this topic, and so I can't be sure of that conclusion. In that case, allow me to offer my sincere respect for your rhetorical skill, and extend an equally sincere invitation for you to perform gross anatomical impossibilities on yourself, you fetid waste of protoplasm.

    Either way, we're done here.

  142. Mannie says:

    I think this may be a State reaction to forestall government tactics like Operation Choke Point, where insurance carriers would be pressured into raising rates for gun owners. Putting their thumb on the balance negates competitive pressure to keep prices reasonable.

    @ Castaigne:

    Usage of firearms takes all the skin out of the game. If you can just fire and forget, then you don't care. They allow perfect detatchment, turning the real world into an FPS.

    It is not a game. Self defense is deadly serious business. If you think it can be done with detachment, you could not be farther froim the truth.

    But when you shoot me in the face in "self defense" and then do a teabag, crowing about your "bonus points", I find that weak. It takes no skill to shoot someone.

    I've not seen anyone but Screen Rambos crowing about anything. Yes, there are some idiot commentators, but they still have the right to life. And FYI, it does take skill to use a firearm effectively. It is a skill obtainable with moderate effort, but it does take skill. In any event, why should I require any degree of skill to exercise my right to life?

    Whoever has the better skill will win.

    Why should I suffer because I have less strength or less skill than the criminal attacking me? God made Man. San Colt made them equal.

    If you don't kill the person attacking you, then when they get out of the hospital / get out of jail, they will attack you again. And again. And again. The only point of fighting is to kill the opponent.

    So speaketh the Screen Rambo. The facts prove you wrong.

    I guess you have different experiences with criminals than I do. I would say they are of the "screaming horde of Picts" type of mentality, willing to impale themselves on a spear, push it all the way up, and then braining the centurion.

    Again, the Screen Rambo. Life is not a Conan novelette.

    Now if everyone is armed? Well, then choice of the victim is six of one and half-dozen of the other.

    That neglects the third option, that violent crime is too dangerous, and to do something else.

    sometimes a valiant death is preferable.

    This is about personal survival and protecting our families, not about your puerile fantasies.

  143. Cat G says:

    Frankly, I'm surprised Sami is still alive without owning a gun in Australia. I'd have been willing to bet money he would have gone down to a rogue dropbear by now.

    (Yes, that's sarcasm. But also not entirely off, as there are a great many things in Australia that can kill you and at least some of the population live in remote, isolated areas of wilderness.)

    Anecdotally, though, Gaetz is a tool and not really of any political party but the one that gets him paid the most and re-elected. I am ashamed to say I could have voted more strongly against him, but instead just voted against him. Politics in NW Florida are not unlike the early 30s Chicago scene.

  144. mcinsand says:

    @Not,

    >>All politicians I have seen exhibit that sort of disregard routinely.

    I only slightly disagree, in that it is the partisans that ditch principles and any embedded consistency for the party line. Of late, I've realized that the only time a partisan is halfway accurate when describing politics is when they are describing the other party.

  145. barry says:

    @mcinsand,

    ..it is the partisans that ditch principles and any embedded consistency for the party line.

    That is exactly the problem with political parties that Jesus pointed out a few years ago.

    Matthew 6:24. No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both your electorate and your party.

    They get confused about who put them there.

  146. Castaigne says:

    @Demosthenes:

    You are possibly sincere in your belief that this is an accurate description of a scenario where someone is using a firearm for defense.

    Please, sir, let us not pretend it never happens. It does, again and again.

    And frankly, in all of these cases, I think the person shouldn't be convicted. After all, weren't they In Fear For Their Life? Those are the magic words. It's a shame; their right to self-defense was abrogated.

    In that case, you are an utter moron who should never be allowed to wield such power as a gun represents.

    And yet I could buy one. Wouldn't you like to prevent me from being able to do so, with your opinion of me?

    Thankfully for us all, you don't seem inclined to want that anyway.

    Correct. I am stronger than that; I fear no man and no death.

    Either way, we're done here.

    As you wish.

  147. Castaigne says:

    @Mannie:

    It is not a game. Self defense is deadly serious business.

    All of life is a game. It is your job to be the winner.

    If you think it can be done with detachment, you could not be farther froim the truth.

    I've known several soldiers and civilians who could kill with detachment. It's not that hard; you just need to be able to control your emotions, which is negligible for anyone with enough force of will.

    I've not seen anyone but Screen Rambos crowing about anything.

    You've clearly never encountered mall ninjas, whackers, and militia.

    And FYI, it does take skill to use a firearm effectively.

    It can, but why bother? Just have lots of ammo and set to Spray n' Slay.

    In any event, why should I require any degree of skill to exercise my right to life?

    *shrugs* If you don't want to, then don't. It's not like my opinion has legal force, after all, nor does it mean you should care about it.

    So speaketh the Screen Rambo. The facts prove you wrong.

    Clearly, you've never encountered people with grudges or blood feuds either.

    That neglects the third option, that violent crime is too dangerous, and to do something else.

    Only if they're cowards. The courageous man ignores danger or treats it as a challenge.

    This is about personal survival and protecting our families

    Please. If someone wanted to take you and yours out – or me and mine – it would be child's play to do so. And we would never see them, never have time to raise a gun in defence. All it takes is a rifle, a sight, and a good vantage point.

  148. Castaigne says:

    @barry:

    They get confused about who put them there.

    In my experience, politicians never forget the corporate masters who put them into office in the first place.

  149. MrQuizzles says:

    Do note that the insurers that are most likely being talked about in this bill are homeowners insurance companies. Companies issuing homeowner's policies most certainly have an interest in charging different rates for gun owners because of liability. Homeowner policies include general liability coverage, which protects you from (non-criminal) lawsuits that happen because of your person or property.

    If you take that gun somewhere and do something with it that makes someone sue you, your homeowner policy's liability coverage will cover it. If someone goes on to your property and an incident involving the gun occurs and you get sued, your homeowner policy's liability coverage will cover it.

    Is there really any question that the addition of a gun to any household increases the liability risk. It's just like there's no question that the addition of a pool to any household increases the liability risk (especially one without an approved fence). Or a trampoline. Or a deck with inadequate railing.

    Is there really any doubt that insurance companies could gather data on the liability risk that guns present? Does anyone really think they haven't been doing this for decades upon decades? They know how many claims happen because of guns and what the average cost of these claims is. They've been paying them out, after all.

    Insurance companies must always be able to justify their rates with sound mathematical backing, and the state of Florida would have to approve any rate increases on gun owners, anyways, so what does this bill even accomplish? Does it protect gun owners from something unfair or does it put an unfair burden onto insurance companies who could otherwise justify the higher rates using sound evidence?

  150. MrQuizzles says:

    Oh, also, apparently guns tend to get stolen pretty often. The company I work for doesn't even allow you to schedule firearms or have special increased personal property limits on firearms because of this. The coverage would have to be so ridiculously expensive to make up for the risk it presents to us that we outright don't bother.

  151. Sami says:

    @Cat G: I am, for the record, a she.

    It's true that there are some very remote communities here. It's more common for people who live in them to own guns. Farmers quite often have them. It's not like it's a gun-free country, it's just that you need a *reason* to own them. Because most legit gun needs can, in fact, be answered with weapons that aren't designed with mass murder in mind. The only time anyone I know personally has encountered a need for a gun in the country the need was answered by an attending cop's handgun.

    And in any case, no-one uses guns against drop bears. If you've seen one, there's at least three you haven't seen, and the noise of gunshots is as likely to startle the others into attacking as anything else.

    I suppose it could work as a creative form of suicide, but if you're suicidal and holding a gun, creativity is not really required.

  152. TM says:

    @Castaigne

    And frankly, in all of these cases, I think the person shouldn't be convicted. After all, weren't they In Fear For Their Life? Those are the magic words. It's a shame; their right to self-defense was abrogated.

    Then you do not understand self defense law. No matter what the headlines tell you "In Fear For Your Life" are not magic words. The legal standard in most states is (paraphrased) "Would a reasonable person in the same situation with the same information reasonably fear for their life or imminent bodily harm justifying lethal force to stop".

    And yet I could buy one. Wouldn't you like to prevent me from being able to do so, with your opinion of me?

    I can't speak to the original poster, but as for me the answer is no. I know a lot of complete morons who should never use or own any number of devices that they both own and use on a daily basis. But unlike apparently most of the human race, I have no desire to subjugate the rest of my fellow human beings to my will. Provided they are not causing me immediate harm or threatening me with immediate harm, I have no interest in telling my fellow citizens which inanimate objects they may or may not possess or how they may use them or where they may take them.

    Correct. I am stronger than that; I fear no man and no death.

    Can we take this to also mean you will never call the cops. Or at least, you will never call them until after the crime is already over? Or does your sense of honor permit you to call other cowards in to use cowardly weapons to defend you if necessary?

    All of life is a game. It is your job to be the winner.

    And yet you would deny others the right and ability to do so to the best of their ability, just to placate your own internal sense of honor.

    It can, but why bother? Just have lots of ammo and set to Spray n' Slay.

    For the same reason that most of us bother not to simply slaughter every stranger we meet on the street. Because we are not psychopaths. Because we do not intentionally seek to harm or kill unnecessarily. Because as a gun owner you are responsible for every single bullet that leaves your gun and the consequences thereof. Because most of us aspire to be better than the miami dade police department, especially since we don't have the benefit of having been sprinkled with magic "government dust" that assures that we will almost never be held accountable for the lives we ruin or the mistakes we make.

    @Sami

    The only time anyone I know personally has encountered a need for a gun in the country the need was answered by an attending cop's handgun.

    The key phrase there is "attending cop's handgun". Here in the US, depending on where you live, the nearest "attending cop" could be as far as 15 – 20 minutes away. Even when you live in a major metro area (like say Atlanta Georgia), the average response time for a "high priority" 911 call is ~11 minutes. In Washington DC, it's ~8 minutes as it is in Boston. For comparison, the entire Virginia Tech massacre took 9 minutes. It took police just 4 minutes to show up at Sandy Hook. And as I mentioned in a prior post, here in the US the police have no legal obligation to protect you or your life. If there's an active shooter ( or even an active stabber), the police have no obligation to defend you or assist you in any way.

    You and you alone are responsible for your safety. Apparently Castaigne is secure in his belief that he can provide a physical beat down of any would be attacker, and if not, has apparently already made peace with dying on his knees. How about you? Personally, I'm not that confident in my strength and I'm going to use the best tool I can to defend myself should the need arise. And please don't take this for some sort of paranoid fear and walking around jumping at shadows. I don't go walking around armed all the time (well, unless you count a pocket knife) and I don't fear being shot when I walk out my door or walk down the street. The fact is, outside the inner cities, and away from organized crime, I'm as safe in America as I am in any other first world nation. But even being that safe, there is a chance of being violently attacked. If I must live in a world where being violently attacked is a possibility, I would rather live in a world where I have the option to use the best tool available to defend myself, than a world where I must call for someone else with that tool, and hope I can fend off my attacker long enough for that someone else to get there.

  153. mcinsand says:

    @MrQuizzles

    >>Is there really any question that the addition of a gun to any >>household increases the liability risk(?)

    Actually, there is, and I wouldn't mind a good objective review. The problem is getting that objectivity, especially when the dialogue is dominated by the rabid ends of the debate. There are competing processes that both increase and decrease risk. Firearm accessability is a deterrent to violent crime. Areas with the most restrictive firearm laws tend towards higher violent crime rates, sometimes much higher. Chicago has some of the tightest gun restrictions in the US, and I remember when the mayor was looking at having baseball bats registered, since they had become a weapon of choice among gangs. However, that is only one side. The other is that having a firearm in the house does increase the chance of a firearm accident in the house. As for intentional firearm acts, the picture is very complicated; lack of ability to obtain firearms certainly does not inhibit murder. I know a lot of people with firearms, including one couple where I don't think any competent insurance company would take them on given an objective assessment. From lack of proper storage, maintenance, and awareness, I'm surprised that they haven't had an incident already. Then again, most that I know are also rigid in safe storage, restricted access, and good maintenace. Worst case for them should be a nonimpact on premiums… given that objective review.

    Then, to muddy the waters even further, I do wonder about the impact of firearms availability on home break-ins. While firearms can be a deterrent, they can also be an attractive goal for a robbery.

  154. Tim says:

    This is the first time I have heard of insurance companies wanting to increase the rates charged to its customers for owning a gun. At first, I thought a regulation preventing that charge would be good. You do make a valid point that private business should be allowed to increase a premium, if the insurance model predicts a higher risk for those people that own guns. Another scheme the insurance companies could use is to assume every customer owns a gun, and then increase premiums to account for the additional risk of owning a gun. The people that don't own guns would receive a discount. I am curious what the test will be to prove or not prove gun ownership. Insurance companies could check if a person has ever submitted a form 4473. If there is no record of a form 4473, the person gets a discount. If there is a record of a form 4473, the person will have to prove that the gun is no longer in his / her possession.

  155. Castaigne says:

    @TM:

    Then you do not understand self defense law.

    Oh, no, I understand it quite well. And its wordings leave it clear that it is best you be the only survivor, so that your version can go unchallenged.

    "Would a reasonable person in the same situation with the same information reasonably fear for their life or imminent bodily harm justifying lethal force to stop".

    And my answer in all of those cases is that the person certainly perceived their acts as reasonable, so yes. If you're in fear for your life, everything action taken in self-defense is reasonable to you.

    I can't speak to the original poster, but as for me the answer is no.

    *shrugs* Then don't be surprised what people like me do with one.

    But unlike apparently most of the human race, I have no desire to subjugate the rest of my fellow human beings to my will.

    If I wanted that, I would declare myself CEO.

    Provided they are not causing me immediate harm or threatening me with immediate harm

    Then we differ. Absent punishment provided by authorities, there is nothing preventing anyone on this board from causing me immediate harm or threatening me with immediate harm. And of course, they would do so, seeing as they are human and thus selfish and evil.

    Or at least, you will never call them until after the crime is already over?

    Cops are never there when the crime is being committed anyway, so this question makes no sense to me.

    Or does your sense of honor permit you to call other cowards in to use cowardly weapons to defend you if necessary?

    I have never had need for a cop and cannot conceive of any situation in which I would need to call for one.

    And yet you would deny others the right and ability to do so to the best of their ability, just to placate your own internal sense of honor.

    Nope, never said that. The inferior may use what crutches they will. I just sneer at them. I've never said anything about preventing them from owning a gun.

    Because we do not intentionally seek to harm or kill unnecessarily.

    In a fight, killing is always necessary. It's the point to fighting.

    that assures that we will almost never be held accountable for the lives we ruin or the mistakes we make.

    In the war of life, collateral damage is inevitable. Never feel guilty over collateral damage.

  156. DocMerlin says:

    They shouldn't, but we live in a socialist country, so the president can easily pressure insurers to be a backdoor gun control. The only way to prevent this at the state level is to ban that activity. (The bank regulators are currently doing something similar to get rid of bank accounts of strippers and porn stars.)

    The best option however, is to end the federal government, so it can't use its power to pressure people into doing things it wants.

  157. To Florida Republicans: You cannot use the Ring. It's nature is evil and it consumes those who would wield it.

  158. Xennady says:

    So I go away on vacation, proud that I haven't soiled popehat with endless trolly posts arguing about politics. Then, I get back, bored, and wonder what's been going on. I find this, from Castaigne:

    (Me) I wonder just what the blazes you'd do if someone brought a gun into your personal gun-free zone, if guns were easy to get in Australia.

    (Castaigne) I don't know what he'd do, but as an American, I ask that person to leave, and should they fail to do so, call the police to report trespassing.

    And if that person doesn't want to leave, and wishes you harm, you'll die. Maybe you'll grovel for your life beforehand, but if the person with the gun wants you to die, you will. Unless someone with a gun can interfere before the shooting starts, that is. But remember- there is no pre-crime division. The police don't exist to prevent crime, which includes the crime of someone shooting you over and over again until you are dead.

    (Me) I suppose you might just feel smug, because you didn't soil your pristine hands with a dirty gun, at least until you bled out and died, that is.

    (Castaigne) Now that's a heck of an assumption. Why would one feel smug? I would certainly feel disdain towards someone attacking me with a gun. It takes cowardice to rely on firearms and not use a hand-to-hand weapon. A truly courageous person is willing to cover themselves with the blood of their enemy.

    That comment was specifically aimed at Sami, as you should have been able to figure out. But your disdain is irrelevant. The person attacking you with a gun doesn't care about your fee-fees.

    (Me) That sort of thing happens here, and the folks tasked to prevent it are either unwilling or unable to so.

    Castaigne)Tasked to prevent it? Minority Report-style SF aside, there is no Pre-Crime Division. And no, the police are not there to prevent crime.

    Yes, tasked to prevent it. I note again my example of the released murderer who was given the opportunity by the so-called criminal justice system to kill several more victims, as well as Chicago and its criminal gangs.

    And if you want to argue that police have nothing to do with crime prevention- sure, go with that.

    It's not an argument I'd make, but it's a pretty fine argument against gun control, regardless.

  159. ruralcounsel says:

    Perhaps the goal is to prevent government from using risk as an excuse to disarm citizens.
    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/05/gun_sellers_in_the_governments_crosshairs.html

    Of course, it increase insurance risks to be any kind of dissident. So perhaps insurance companies can charge more for political activists or public speakers, or blog commenters …

    http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-05-16/spying-meant-crush-citizens%E2%80%99-dissent-not-catch-terrorists

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