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Three quick points about today’s NRA press conference

Friday, Dec 21, 2012

* 1) Regarding NRA Vice President Wayne LaPierre’s demand today that the government pay for an armed guard in every school, Columbine had an armed deputy sheriff assigned to the school

As Gardner stepped out of his patrol car, Eric Harris turned his attention from shooting into the west doors of the high school to the student parking lot and to the deputy. Gardner, particularly visible in the bright yellow shirt of the community resource officer uniform, was the target of Harris’ bullets. Harris fired about 10 shots from his rifle at Gardner before his gun jammed. Although Gardner’s patrol car was not hit by bullets, two vehicles that he was parked behind were hit by Harris’ gunfire. Investigators later found two bullet holes in each of the cars.

Gardner, seeing Harris working with his gun, leaned over the top of the car and fired four shots. He was 60 yards from the gunman. Harris spun hard to the right and Gardner momentarily thought he had hit him. Seconds later, Harris began shooting again at the deputy.

* 2) Regarding LaPierre’s comments today about controlling violent video games, research shows no actual correlation between violent video games and real life violence

In 2001, John and I were approached by McGraw Hill with a book idea that explored the research behind video games and violence. As fate would have it, we were nearly finished with a proposal about games and communities. While we rejected the idea of a book based on violence, we did include a chapter on the issue.

We spent quite a bit of time reading 60 years worth of studies, interviewing folks, and sifting through medical research. What we found, not unsurprisingly, is that games with violent images (e.g. first-person shooters) have no effect on actual violence.

In the wake of recent events and the re-kindled discussion about games and violence, we thought we’d share that chapter with you. This is Chapter 8: Gamers, Interrupted from Dungeons & Dreamers.

Plus, isn’t Wayne LaPierre putting 2nd Amendment rights ahead of 1st Amendment rights? I thought the NRA was all about the Constitution. Apparently, I was mistaken.

And virtual reality guns must be controlled, while real life guns should not? What the heck is that?

* 3) By demanding that the government create a national database of the mentally ill, doesn’t that beg the question about why the group won’t support a national database of every gun?

This is not to say that LaPierre didn’t make some good points. But, all in all, those were some extremely ill-advised comments today. The NRA likely did its cause no good today, and maybe some real harm.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - How Ironic - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    I cannot stand LaPierre. Pompus bloviator. And I agree his comments were ill concieved, and tone deaf. And I’m a gun rights supporter, own firearms and will so into the future.

    The NRA would have been much smarter to lobby on the inside, versus this boneheaded presser. It will gain them few friends, and just highlight how out of touch they are with the feelings of the nation right now.

  2. - Madison - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:33 pm:

    The sad thing aboutbthis debate, and one rarely mentioned I might add…is when will enough be enough? How many kids is it gonna take people? 20? 200? 2000?
    At what point do we not let a deranged minority in a background of otherwise law abiding enablers drive an issue in the face of an obvious public health threat?

  3. - Dirty Red - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:37 pm:

    I think the NRA missed an opportunity to really paint mental health as the issue. Yes, they mentioned it (as noted above) but they had to know that wouldn’t be the media’s takeaway.

  4. - the Other Anonymous - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    “And virtual reality guns must be controlled, while real life guns should not? What the heck is that?”

    No comment on that sentence, just wanted to repeat it because it is so awesome.

  5. - Former Downstater - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    Spot on points, Rich. Except for rallying the base, this speech was a disaster. But it will sell even more guns in the next few days, which is the ultimate goal.

  6. - Oh Yeah - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:38 pm:

    Too true, Rich. I have a FOID card and I am all for people being able to hunt and reasonably protect themselves in their homes with some firearms (not assault weapons, high capacity magazines, armor-piercing ammo, etc.) The NRA did not do itself any good today and actually lost a great deal of credibility. I’d love to see the polling on what Americans think about their kids having armed personnel at their schools ready, willing, and able to potentially start a gunfight in the hallways. The ISRA seemed to have the upper hand right after the Seventh Circuit decision, but that has all changed. I think Todd V., Brandon, and the others better tread lightly when it comes time for them to consider negotiating with the legislature on a concealed carry bill. If they continue with the hard-line they were espousing right after the court decision, they will look crazy and will get nothing. Plus, the Prez is now fully engaged on this issue and it seems to have become his “agenda item” for his second term. His bully pulpit will just further embolden those who oppose the NRA and will probably embolden and influence those who have been on the fence. The times are a changin’.

  7. - thechampaignlife - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    I’ve played a fair amount of first person shooters and never had an impulse to fire a weapon because of it, let alone irresponsibly. On the other hand, I did once have a disconcerting impulse to floor it when I passed a cop going to opposite direction after playing too much Need For Speed: Hot Pursuit.

  8. - amalia - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:39 pm:

    Big+1 Rich on virtually all of what you wrote.

    on the database thing I get that there is a difference between those who exercise their second amendment rights and the mentally ill. a database sure is not a database. I’m actually not sure how I feel about a national database of guns. but there are many other law enforcement databases, including the terrorist watchlist, veterans with legal issues, and there is always a push back by the NRA. why?

    also, pass the ATF head and give law enforcement more money! the NRA hates all that too. and yet they bemoan fewer prosecutions. got to spend money for law enforcement to fight crime.

  9. - Casual observer - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:48 pm:

    Out of respect to the grieving families in Newtown, the NRA waited a week to declare itself the true victim. Pathetic. Why not ask for a seat at the table?

  10. - Endangered Moderate Species - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    It is a good thing the NRA has the 2nd Amendment and a lot of money to support their cause; if the NRA had to rely on charisma and intelligence we would have lost our guns years ago. The NRA spokesmen need to get off of the stage. This is not the time to be grandstanding on this issue. The country at this time is not in the mood.

  11. - Anyone Remember? - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    So, to protect the 2nd Amendment, the NRA’s plan is to further erode the 10th Amendment?

  12. - Boone's is Back - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:53 pm:

    Agree with all the points in the post- spot on. Truly out of touch, and as bad, if not worse, as the ISRA ideas. What a joke.

  13. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 12:58 pm:

    My high school had a cop, likely armed, didn’t stop a kid from shooting (didn’t kill her) a teacher.

  14. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:01 pm:

    From Politico:

    –Held at the historic Willard Hotel, the NRA kept a tight lid on security with at least a dozen guards, security sweep and multiple security guard check points before journalists could enter the room where the press conference was held.–

    The NRA employed extraordinary security measures to hold a press conference in a luxury hotel across the street from the White House.

    I wonder what they were worried about?

  15. - amalia - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:03 pm:

    @Wordslinger, and yet, they could not even secure their own presser with the Code Pink crowd getting in!

  16. - bored now - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:04 pm:

    violent video games are popular around the globe. somehow, violent video games don’t prompt such outbursts in other countries. but, then, they don’t have the distribution of guns that we do…

  17. - LincolnLounger - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    I cannot figure out why the NRA folks think that LaPierre is an effective spokesman. He generally has a good record as a political tactician, but he was their worst choice from a public relations aspect. They may as well have resurrected the “From my cold, dead hands” remarks of Charlton Heston via hologram.

  18. - He Makes Ryan Look Like a Saint - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:09 pm:

    School Districts are having problems keeping Math and Science teachers in their budget but an Armed Cop? That is priority.

    The NRA would be better served not to take a hard line and rather give up something like large ammo clips rather than bringing up stupid ideas like this. I think it should be left up to school districts, some may want to arm teachers, some may want to bring in armed security. One solution does not fit all schools.

  19. - Wensicia - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:10 pm:

    Why is he blaming violent video games and movies? Doesn’t he appreciate the free advertising?

    The point about databases is also very good. Don’t track us, gun owners are entitled to privacy. Yet, violating the privacy of the non-violent is OK?

    By the way, how many of the mass murderers of the past 50 years had documented mental illness before they struck?

  20. - Former Downstater - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:11 pm:

    If we allow guns in schools, once a student turns 18, can the district legally keep them from carrying a gun into the classroom?

  21. - USMCJanitor - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:16 pm:

    Former downstater
    At 18 you cant buy a pistol. And all suggestions have been licensed ceoncealed permit hoolder, which in every state is 21 years or older.

  22. - John Galt - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:21 pm:

    Agree the presser was bad. Although I do think there is merit to Point #1. The problem is uniformed guards–they have targets on their backs. I’d be for doing something akin to the Federal Air Marshall Service. Basically get a few of the more burly or athletic male teachers or custodians to get background checks and undergo firearm safety training.

    The goal of course being that at each school, at any given time you’ve got 1-3 responsible and well-trained adults with firearms on the school grounds.

    It’s not a cure-all, but just like the Air Marshall program, it would provide some peace of mind for people by creating a chilling effect on would-be violent gunmen.

  23. - amalia - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:22 pm:

    did Frank Luntz do a poll of NRA Members on Fox? re universal background checks for guns? i’m finding it hard to believe that 74% are in favor, but who knows. the vast majority of gun owners are right thinking Americans, but the NRA is always about the doom scenario. the Luntz numbers should be guiding policy!

  24. - Wensicia - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:24 pm:

    ==I wonder what they were worried about?==

    Their extraordinary paranoia concerning their rights would naturally extend to their physical space. They created this world where they believe the answer is all must be armed, extensively. Now they’re in fear of harm?

  25. - Casual observer - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:25 pm:

    Before today the NRA didn’t have a face and this how they present themselves? People won’t be shocked to see LaPierre’s name on that database.
    I have 2 shotguns and enjoy hunting pheasant and quail when I can so I am definitely anti gun. The NRA shot themselves the foot today.

  26. - Crime Fighter - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:25 pm:

    Couldn’t the database of those who strongly believe they need machine guns as part of their everyday lives be rolled into a database of dangerous paranoid delusional psychotics?

  27. - walkinfool - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:27 pm:

    Just dissappointing.

    I am sure the average NRA member is more open to a wide range of solutions than this guy. He’s become a shill for the weapons manufacturers and sellers, no matter his rationalizations.

  28. - Casual observer - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:28 pm:

    Sorry,, I am Not anti gun.

  29. - ArchPundit - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:30 pm:

    ===It’s not a cure-all, but just like the Air Marshall program, it would provide some peace of mind for people by creating a chilling effect on would-be violent gunmen.

    I’ve found that mass shooters tend to be very rational and react to simple calculations of costs and benefits very well.

  30. - jake - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    Somebody who is going to shoot himself as the culmination of his rampage is going to be deterred by the possibility of being shot at?

  31. - Joe - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:36 pm:

    A gun registry would not have prevented Newtown, Columbine, or any other incident. It would only be of use after the fact, hence it is reactive and not proactive. Guards at schools and mental health registries are proactive and would help prevent an incident. Given the lack of effectiveness for prevention a registry represents, what purpose would it really serve other than to provide a platform for easier confiscation?

  32. - John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:37 pm:

    >>>>>>Basically get a few of the more burly or athletic male teachers or custodians to get background checks and undergo firearm safety training.

    Aren’t female teachers and custodians just as capable?
    We had female principle and teachers tossing themselves in front of the bullets, surely the would have had the confidence and wherewithal to have sent a few of their own downstream at the shooter.

  33. - Will - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:40 pm:

    So if we go with the armed guard in every school who is paying, surely not the NRA? It appears from the ISBE there are roughly 5000 schools in the state, let’s say an average of $50,000 per year for guard salary and fringes, so we are looking of a cost of at least $250 million, but guards need breaks and lunches, so maybe add another $50 million for additional guards.

    There have been some news stories about the number of background checks required for new purchases and that they are breaking new records for checks. I’ve seen numbers of 1600 per day since the concealed carry case, so let’s say normally there are 1000 done per day, so maybe 260k guns sold in IL a year (I’m assuming checks are done on weekends). To pay for the guards we would need an $1153 per gun tax. Is the NRA going to support that?

  34. - Grossman may have a point? - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:41 pm:

    He has done more recent research… With MRI’s of kids playing violent games.. May not be the only answer.. But seems plausible..

  35. - Boone Logan Square - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:48 pm:

    ==I am sure the average NRA member is more open to a wide range of solutions than this guy. He’s become a shill for the weapons manufacturers and sellers, no matter his rationalizations.==

    The average NRA member pays LaPierre’s salary and — more importantly — provides the money the NRA uses to lobby Congress. If the average NRA member disagrees with what has been said, perhaps now is an excellent time to leave the organization.

  36. - John Galt - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:51 pm:


    >>>>>>Basically get a few of the more burly or athletic male teachers or custodians to get background checks and undergo firearm safety training.

    Aren’t female teachers and custodians just as capable?
    We had female principle and teachers tossing themselves in front of the bullets, surely the would have had the confidence and wherewithal to have sent a few of their own downstream at the shooter.


    Not sexist, rational. Women can obviously fire a weapon just as well as a man. But it’s harder to bum-rush a 6′2″, 230lb man and wrestle his gun away from him than it would be a 5′, 95lb woman.

    Of course, if there are burly female employees at the school, then by all means they would be just as preferable.

    But your point is valid. Even so, a courageous 5′0, 95lb armed woman is far preferable to a courageous 5′0″, 95lb unarmed woman.

    As for budgetary costs, that’s the judgment of each school district. Rather than forking another $100K+ for a few more uniformed guards, it’d probably cheaper (and more effective) to allow adult employees to volunteer for extra duty and get a bonus. Teachers do that all the time to teach summer school, coach sports teams, oversee the yearbook, etc.

    It’s a sad commentary of today’s society, but there’s no reason 2-5 school employees couldn’t volunteer for supplemental security duty (quarterly training & proficiency tests, etc.) for an extra $5K per year.

  37. - railrat - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:51 pm:

    attention Todd! I know your out there !! smart move stay “dark” give these folks some time to vent, maybe go out in the 25 degree weather and cry, yell, scream, what ever is needed then maybe a constructive discussion can take place, I hope you all hug your kids hug your spouses hug a friend say a prayer, reflect on what you have when so many have not and remember this is still the greatest country in the world, happy and safe holidays to all !!

  38. - John Galt - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:53 pm:

    And to be clear, when I say supplemental security duty, I’m not talking about the 2nd grade teacher or custodian patrolling the hallways as active sentries. I’m just saying they keep their gun skills fresh and have a firearm locked up in a nearby place on-campus, just in case.

  39. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:54 pm:

    Hey, I don’t mean to be a pain, but I’m shutting down for the holidays today at 5 o’clock, so I really need you to finish your Golden Horseshoe nominations today.

    Click here for The Wordslinger Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Commenter, and click here for the Best Statewide Officeholder and The Mike McClain Golden Horseshoe Award for Best Statehouse Insider.

    Nominations typically come in throughout the evening on these things, but today’s nominations just can’t wait. So get to it, campers. I’ll be announcing the winners at 5 o’clock.

    Thanks. Sorry for momentarily diverting this thread. Please make your nominations and then continue your discussion.

  40. - justbabs - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 1:58 pm:

    There are mentally ill people all over the world. There are violent video games all over the world. The number of deaths due to gun violence? We’re number one (YAY?) - or only behind China, Iran, and some other third world countries. Something to make our founding fathers proud.

  41. - Quinn T. Sential - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:01 pm:

    Rich; here’s your opportunity to interview Lt. Col. David Grossman; close to home:

    September 9, 2013

    • 9:00 am -11:00 am : Scott Air Force Base, Scott AFB, Illinois

  42. - OneMan - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:03 pm:

    I think we need to make the distinction between ‘playing guns’ as it were and guns.

    That is when we would run around as kids and pretend to shoot things (and each other) we were playing guns…

    Much of what the NRA seeks to defend IMHO is ‘playing guns’ unless the mongrol hoard is at your door you don’t need a 30 round clip, seems to me you should be able to regulate ‘playing guns’ such that you don’t need an armed defense between those who take it too far.

  43. - Anonymous - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:03 pm:

    I think it is a issue about how sacrosanct are Constitutional Amendments. If the “right to bear arms can be altered” because of advancement in weaponry, cannot the “no diminishing of pension benefits” be changed because of the deterioration of finances?

  44. - wishbone - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:04 pm:

    “I cannot stand LaPierre. Pompus bloviator. And I agree his comments were ill concieved, and tone deaf. And I’m a gun rights supporter, own firearms and will so into the future.”

    Me too. If this idiot and his racist state counterparts (remember the Obama is an animal statement by the Illinois State Rifle Association) are the best we have defending our second amendment rights we are in big trouble. The NRA should be in the forefront in keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill. That is the only solution to the mass shooting tragedies that are all too common. Like the Republican party they have been captured by right wing loonies.

  45. - Todd - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:24 pm:


    ; )

  46. - Joe - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:34 pm:

    Anonymous 2:03PM-
    You have hit the real issue here. Those who ridicule the “slippery slope” argument fail to see how easily it happens or how far it can go.

  47. - Anonymous 45 - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    I skipped the presser…looks like I didn’t miss anything. To all NRA members: The NRA uses your dues to pay their lobbyists. The organization doesn’t give a damn about you or your rights. It’s all about money and profits for the gun manufacturers…

  48. - Ken_in_Aurora - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:39 pm:

    @ - Anonymous 45 - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    Paranoia strikes deep…

  49. - Former Downstater - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:48 pm:

    A better example of paranoia has been the NRA’s four year long tirade that Obama was going to take everyone’s guns away. Retrumpeted today.

  50. - Listened, now my view. - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 2:56 pm:

    I hesitated to immediately look at the faces and profiles of those beautiful children and heroic teachers of the Newtown tragedy. But after the weekend passed I did and I wept. As a result I have new outlook. The answer is not to get rid of guns or even just the mean looking guns. That’s easy to say when you have no relationship to guns and I believe they do have a role in this country. To me, that makes as much sense as saying; “Cars cause global warming, let’s fix it by getting rid of gas guzzling cars and pass a law banning them. It feels good but it won’t work. That’s what wrong with government. They provide a simplistic fix to a complex problem.

    Regardless, there will be gun legislation and maybe there should be some more restrictions. But don’t stop at the gun owners because there should be a shared responsibility in our society. The toy guns need to come off the shelves of stores. Comparatively, candy cigarettes didn’t cause cancer. We need to restrict violent video games and music with violent content beyond a simple rating and promise that your mommy knows you have this. We need to develop a policy beyond a simple rating for movies and television shows that glamorize violence and the inappropriate use of guns. I hear it all the time, there is no practical use for assault weapons. I feel there is no practical use for a video game that teaches how to kill. There is no use for extremely violent movies that give the impressionable a bad role model. What good is a pop song on the air waves that tells kids “better out-run my bullet” or a rap song that glorifies that “gansta” life? These forms of so-called entertainment have the potential to plant the seeds of hell- bent destruction. If you disagree, look at the positive side. Look at the role music plays in the Olympics or other sporting events. Look how the movie Pay it Forward still plays a role in charitable actions towards fellow man, years after its release. Human beings connect with music and movies and turn to them for inspiration in whatever they do. Rocky and Rudy – good. Scarface and Pulp Fiction- bad. The influence of entertainment creates trends and changes society. It’s time to realize the role entertainment plays in shaping behavior, attitude and our actions as a society. Change must be multi-dimensional to work and avoid yet another mass assault.

  51. - Quad Cities Democrat - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:05 pm:

    The NRA took a huge step toward irrelevancy today with their response. They had a chance to join Americans in condemning weapons of war with high-volume magazines — guns for the battlefield — but they chose not to. They should be shut down politically as a result.

  52. - Very Old Soil - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:05 pm:

    If you home school your kids, who pays for the armed guard?

  53. - Listened, now my view. - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:14 pm:

    When you sit back and make demands and call someone irrelevant because they don’t agree with you, you become irrelevant yourself. When no one understands what you are saying, you become Circular Firing Squad.

  54. - RMD - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:14 pm:

    Below is a transcript of Lapierre’s presser. I find this to be very relevant as we as an American society try to end these senseless acts of violence.

    LAPIERRE: There exists in this country — sadly — a callous, corrupt, and corrupting shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people through vicious, violent video games. Here’s one. (sigh) It’s called Kindergarten Killers. It’s been online for ten years. How come my research staff can find it and all of yours couldn’t, or didn’t want anyone to know you had found it?

    LAPIERRE: We have blood-soaked films out there like American Psycho, Natural Born Killers. They’re aired like propaganda loops, and every single day. A child growing up in America today witnesses 16,000 murders and 200,000 acts of violence by the time he or she reaches the ripe old age of 18. Throughout it all, too many in the national media, their corporate owners, and their stockholders act as silent enablers if not complicit co-conspirators. Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners.

  55. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:20 pm:

    - let’s fix it by getting rid of gas guzzling cars and pass a law banning them -

    Except the government never said or did that. What they did do was pass laws regarding emissions and mileage requirements, which will ultimately decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

    Such regulations should be considered to increase gun safety as well.

  56. - Very Old Soil - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:22 pm:


    After first two lines of first quote, I thought LaPierre was talking about the NRA

  57. - Rich Miller - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:24 pm:

    ===Rather than face their own moral failings, the media demonize gun owners===

    You can’t equate a newspaper or TV station with a video game company or Hollywood Studio. Well, maybe Fox. But that’s another topic. Using the term “media” and then lumping a local newspaper in with the makers of Natural Born Killers is deliberately dishonest.

  58. - Listened, now my view. - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:29 pm:

    That is to my point. Most of what I hear is ban the assault weapons, not regulate more effectively. There are still gas guzzlers out there and they do have regulations. But you can choose to own one.

  59. - RNUG - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:39 pm:

    To repost a portion of my comments from the other thread.

    If we as a society want to “solve” the problem of “gun violence” nationally, all the issues need to be tackled. To reiterate:

    * gang violence

    * illegal drugs

    * mental health

    * gun control

    I’ll note that there are currently a lot of laws on the books aimed at controlling all the above items.

    I only see one (gun control) of the four areas identified above being widely discussed for action. Putting aside the whole “gun hater” / “gun lover” issue, could it be that the reason gun control gets discussed is because it is THOUGHT to be the EASIEST and CHEAPEST solution?

  60. - Small Town Liberal - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:49 pm:

    RNUG - I have to disagree, I’ve seen quite a bit of talk about mental health lately. Also, the war on drugs has been a big topic forever, and it seems like there is finally some traction in making that effort more sensible.

    Drugs and gang violence pretty much go hand in hand.

    Listened, now my view - I don’t think any concrete plans have really surfaced yet, but I don’t see anyone losing guns they currently own.

    I would hope certain components of assault rifles will be regulated going forward, in my view mainly the high capacity magazines.

    I also believe in regulations such as closing gun show loopholes, better background checking processes, and required reporting of theft, sale or loss.

    These are the types of regulations I’d like to see going forward. Are they an unreasonable infringement on the second amendment?

  61. - Listened, now my view. - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:53 pm:

    Agree with RNUG. Just add in the parents somehow. One of my best friend since grade school is no longer because he refuses to discipline his boy. That boy threatens violence when he gets mad to the rest of our kids when the gang gets back together. My previous friend believes his boy will sort it out and rise out of it on his own. I’m not taking that chance.

  62. - Former Downstater - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:56 pm:

    There are other rights outlined by the Constitution that have restrictions, including speech (libel/slander or “fire in a movie theater”) and voting (felons denied right to vote). The 2nd Amendment doesn’t say that anyone can have any gun at any time anywhere. Restrictions can be enacted.

  63. - Former Downstater - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:57 pm:

    Good for you L, nmv. Should we make it difficult for that child to get his hands on assault weapons?

  64. - dupage dan - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 3:59 pm:

    RNUG - the mental health issues can be addressed only with great difficulty. We can offer platitudes of “more access to mental health treatment”. Given what the state has done to the mental health delivery system in Illinois it would be an easy target. However, if we are going to try to address the potentially violent mentally ill person we move into a realm that many in this country would be uneasy with. I work in this field.

    I counsel families frequently as to their options regarding uncooperative mentally ill releatives. Not necessarily violent, just non-compliant - with Rx, Tx, possible residential placement, etc. I would hazard a guess that those who would turn to violence would not be likely to cooperate with being evaluated, treated and placed in a secure facility willingly. I would argue that this is the cruxt of this issue. If you identify a person who may become violent, what is your next step? In Illinois, a person has to threaten or attempt harm on self or others before they can be brought to a secure facility for evaluation. This doesn’t happen very often. Once the person is at the hospital, they will be invariably asked to sign in as a voluntary pt. Folks will overwhelmingly sign in voluntarily. Court commitments are quite rare, and can last for a maximum of 180 days under current law.

    Most mentally ill folk will see a hospital stay of no more than 2 weeks. Most are discharged back to the place where they had been. You might be surprised at the number of un-diagnosed/untreated mentally ill persons there are out there - some are enabled by family who are in denial or fear of the ill person or have given up trying to get help from a system that requires the mentally person to commit the violent act before being hospitalized.

    To change this system into one where we can be more proactive in identifying the potentially mentally ill and forcing treatment on them would take a monumental effort and those efforst will be met by very strong advocates for the civil rights of the mentally ill. Very effective attorneys work in this field - they will not accept the type of change that some have proposed. While I would support some of these changes I am aware that it would be VERY HARD indeed to make the kinds of changes some are suggesting regarding the treatment of the mentally ill.

  65. - Anonymous 45 - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:03 pm:

    Hey Ken, I don’t own a gun, or think for a second that owning one will protect me from harm. No paranoia here, fella, just rational thinking. As Rich says,”bite me”…

  66. - RNUG - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:04 pm:


    Yes, there’s talk about mental health issues but not proposals … and it isn’t getting the screaming headlines and hours of television coverage gun control is.

    The whole gang thing has been around forever because they don’t want to spend the money and time, especially time, necessary to stop it. If I can somewhat oversimplify that issue, nobody seems too concerned as long as the gangs are only killing themselves; it only becomes an issue when “civilians” are getting killed.

    The politicans want a quick / cheap solution. Fixing problems related to socio-economic issues isn’t cheap and definitely not quick; it requires multi-generational thinking.

    And I’m not sure any amount of money alone can solve it; as a nation, we’ve been throwing money at it in one form or another since the 1960’s and, it seems, the problems are only getting worse. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions anymore.

  67. - zatoichi - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:06 pm:

    The NRA should start doing a slight bit of research. For several years The Illinois Health Information Exchange has been developing a statewide method to electronically share health information amongst medical professionals who are treating someone. Sounds practical and seems easy. The problems of data security and patient privacy quickly became huge. Federal and state laws are so strict about personal information that the MetroChicago project has HIE data filters which exclude all mental health and substance abuse information. No one sees it. Highly confidential information is HIV/AIDS and genetic testing. On top of it, any patient can opt out of the info exchange process by simply saying they do not want any of their information shared. This is not a system where a retailer or a bureaucrat can simply look up a list of people who might have some diagnosis of mental illnesses and make some decision. The legal, financial, and ethic impact of disclosing this information without consent is huge and can get extremely costly if a person can show their personal information was revealed without their approval. You can see all this at

  68. - PeteyPal - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:13 pm:

    Um…did you expect that the NRA was going to tell its members to surrender their guns?

  69. - RNUG - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:23 pm:

    dupage dan 3:59 pm said:

    == You might be surprised at the number of un-diagnosed/untreated mentally ill persons there are out there ==

    No. For many years had a non-compliant “bi-polar” (their term) neighbor who was always taking hospital “vacations”. Never knew the reception you would receive from day to day. On “good” days they were fine and admitted it; on “bad” days they were impossible to deal with.

    The wife worked for the school district dealing with early childhood “at risk” kids with various issues, so that added a second dimension.

    You’re right that it will be very hard to change it, but that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be a discussion about it.

  70. - RNUG - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:27 pm:

    zatoichi @ 4:06 pm:

    So at what point does the public’s right to safety override the patients right to privacy?

    And isn’t this basicalaly the same argument about at what point does the public’s right to safety override the gun owner’s 2A rights?

    If we’re discussing the one, we should also be discussing the other.

  71. - Wensicia - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:42 pm:

    I like the new phrase the president mentioned in the speech he’s giving right now. Instead of gun control, can’t we agree on “gun safety”?

  72. - wordslinger - Friday, Dec 21, 12 @ 4:52 pm:

    ==I like the new phrase the president mentioned in the speech he’s giving right now. Instead of gun control, can’t we agree on “gun safety”?==

    That is not a small change. I think that will be the new phrase.

    Presentation means everything when you’re selling in the public marketplace. Whoever runs the NRAs p.r. might want to send LaPierre on an extended vacation.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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