Sandy Hook Promise and Tech Activism

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 | 48 comments

Sandy Hook Promise and Tech Activism

The tech community has become more politically active over the past 5 years and this is a good thing. We live in a representative democracy and organizing, having a voice and expressing views is critical to our functioning democracy.

One of the most visible, active and admirable leaders of this movement is Ron Conway and he describes this in this post on TechCrunch.

I applaud Ron and hope to continue to increase my own political activism around issue in which I’m passionate and which are appropriate for me. Right now my energy will focus on issues affecting the city of Los Angeles and I will weigh in with views on LA politics soon.

But today is about Sandy Hook and ending gun violence.

I know many people are passionate about this topic from many different angels.

I am not against gun ownership. It is enshrined in the 2nd amendment and necessary for citizenry to feel it can protect itself against future oppressive governments.

Every year I take my boys into the mountains for a camping retreat. We shoot rifles. I’m not a gun owner, we do it through our camp. I enjoy it and so does my family.

I think knowing how to responsibly load, care for, respect and shoot guns is a good thing.

I am pro gun control. Very much so.

I cannot fathom a world in which we don’t have a shared agenda to restrict the types of guns & bullets that are legally on our streets. I can’t imagine a world in which we don’t restrict access to those that are worthy. And it which we don’t track usage & backgrounds.

I understand the concerns of those that are scared of “controls” because they see it as “creep” into a path toward elimination or undue restrictions on ownership.  I don’t believe it is.

Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, is a disgrace.

If you didn’t see his interview on Meet the Press shortly after Sandy Hook please watch it here.

David Gregory says all options should be on the table: review Hollywood and video game glorification of violence (hallelujah!) as well as controls on gun types & access.

LaPierre advocates for: Armed guards in school & zero changes to gun control laws including no restrictions on gun types or access.

That is simply head-in-the-sand fuckwittery.

Joe Biden is now leading a counsel to try and find bi-partisan solutions to the gun violence issue. It will require compromises on both sides of the aisle. Based on my sideline view of Washington this won’t happen without advocacy and pressure.

I’m proud to see Ron Conway join the advisory board of Sandy Hook Promise. They are dedicated to common sense gun violence solutions.

I look forward to seeing what they come up with. And when asked I look forward to figuring out how I can help Ron and the team at Sandy Hook Promise.

I hope you will, too. I’ve installed a badge to the right on my blog.

And you can Tweet “Today, people in Newtown are making the #sandyhookpromise to reduce gun violence. Sign the pledge with me at”

And / or share this blog post.

  • steveplace

    I dug deep into the numbers after Sandy Hook and it turned me into a gun nut.

    Murder rates and gun homicides have been trending down for a while now, as have firearm related homicides.

    I’ve yet to see a decent “control” solution that would actually stop bad things like this happening again.

    I think when people talk about “creep,” it’s more a fact that the piecemeal solutions presented have little payoff.

    Ban assault weapons? Over the past 5 years handguns have been responsible for 70% of all firearm related deaths. Rifles (including non-assault rifles) are running at 4%.

    High capacity magazines? It takes under 5 seconds to change magazines, so the effect is negligible.

    Here’s one solution that I’ve yet to hear about.

    Did you know that only registered gun dealers (have an FFL) have access to the FBI NICS database?

    So the gun-show loophole is not a bunch of private owners being sneaky– you are not allowed to run checks on anyone!

    Why isn’t there an iPhone app at gun shows that allows you to do a quick background check, even if you don’t have an FFL?

    Something that takes a picture of the ID or scans the magnetic stripe on the back– and then an interface between the FBI database and the mobile device.

    A faster and more effective interface between NICS and “normal” people would leave you with a more informed seller, and would keep legal firearms out of the wrong hands.

  • charlie

    The problem runs much deeper than this, unfortunately. You state: “I cannot fathom a world in which we don’t have a shared agenda to restrict the types of guns & bullets that are legally on our streets.” The problem is already there; in many instances, it already is illegal. To think that adding more laws will make criminals already breaking the law think twice is illogical.

  • Jess Bachman

    I love to debate gun control issues, but this Sandy Hook Promise thing is suspiciously vague. I know Ron cares deeply about the issue but I can’t get behind something so opaque. The first mission of SHP is laudable but the 2nd part, “holistic, common sense solutions” could be anything.

  • Lawrence Hudd

    Mark, I’m curious as to what specific policies you have in mind here. I’m gladdened to hear that you agree that “It is enshrined in the 2nd amendment and necessary for citizenry to feel it can protect itself against future oppressive governments.” Most on your political “side of the table” fundamentally disagree with that (to me entirely self-evident) reading of the Constitution.

  • Chris Johnson

    We will be printing guns and ammo so soon that this will seem so quaint.

  • Robbie Coleman

    Anytime a discussion takes place regarding the lethal use of guns by individuals either proven or suspected of having a mental illness, I want to make sure that *both* subjects remain in the discussion. I’m not suggesting that either is more important to finding a solution to the mass killings of innocents.

    Personally I feel that *both* have way too little consideration applied. In the case of gun control, we continue to apply the exact same approaches of increasing certain limits, yet as many opponents have pointed out, gains from such changes are hard to find. I like that there are now other aspects, like violence in media being discussed, and I’m glad to see it mentioned more and more, but mental illness and the lack of support we as a nation offer to remedy it continues to be forgotten.

  • John

    You’re right on Steve. Until we can take emotion out of this debate and replace it with logic and facts we will never address anything. I usually like Marks posts but there is nothing but emotion here. Of course we all want to reduce gun violence but I just don’t understand how restricting guns from law abiding citizens does anything but leave them at a disadvantage against criminals? I’ve researched the data as well and there is nothing I’ve seen that suggests tighter gun restrictions has fixed anything in the cities or states it’s been tried.

  • Doug Gibbs

    I hate the idea that this tragedy has become a single issue problem. It is now only about gun control. If the crazy, suicidal madman could not have a gun, we would all be safe. That is just childish and silly. I suppose that is why the US congress is now focused on it.

    There are so many millions of guns, handguns, shotguns already around and in possession of all stripes of people, from the responsible to the certifiable. How exactly will we get all that in control?

    Let’s face the facts. Our American society has a broken and twisted relationship with violence. Google for reviews of “Django Unchained” First on the list says “QUENTIN Tarantino has been orchestrating glorious shootouts, dreaming up villains and crafting blood-soaked revenge plots for 20 years.” The movie is just slow motion stylized violence with a smart remark after the killing. How about modern serial killer horror movies? Why is this even entertaining?

    Wonderful, great film making? Yet when the violence happens in the real world, we are somehow shocked and angry.
    Me? I am just sad.

  • Robin Wolaner

    I agree with Jess Bachman’s point. Love Ron, but the Promise is vague enough to be worthless. There are other, more specific groups working on this issue, and I think vague positions add very little, and possibly hurt.

  • Craig Montuori

    I consider it modesty.

    Up until 12/14, I doubt any of these individuals considered themselves experts on gun policy. They’re saying “never again,” and they’re learning from there.

  • gina

    While I think it is smart to question vagueness, true grassroots work leaves space for debate and consensus building. If there were ready made answers then we wouldn’t have this problem, nor any need for debating what those “holistic, common sense solutions” might be. I think it is good to step back from the traditional arguments of the institutionalized gun debaters and reevaluate what it is we are trying to do and how we should get there.

    Sandy Hook has the moral high ground to call for a new kind of discussion. The tech community is perfectly positioned, at the nexus of modern communications, for enabling that discussion productively. I don’t think we have to know the final objectives yet to have faith that a better process can lead to better solutions.

  • david smuts

    Well done to Mr Conway. Regrettably I just don’t see Americans foregoing their right to automatic machine guns, they’re just too obsessed with the damn things.

  • Dan Bowen

    Who owns “automatic machine guns”?

  • Lawrence Hudd

    “Sandy Hook has the moral high ground to call for a new kind of discussion.” – You will never get consensus from the majority of the country that believes in the value of the 2nd Amendment with that kind of attitude. Many find it extremely problematic to approach discussion of an issue like gun control with one side insisting that their side is correct simply because of a knee-jerk emotional reaction to a tragedy.

  • Dan Bowen

    Mark you’re treading into very deep water on this one which I both applaud and look at with great skepticism. The gun debate should not be happening because of this or any other mass murder, after all, we jumped into Iraq right after 9/11 and most would agree mistakes were made on that one. What we need to do right now is talk, not pass reactionary new laws.

    Last Thursday I stood in line for 3 hours to speak for 60 seconds to my congressman Mike Thompson who is leading a taskforce on gun violence for the US Congress. Mike is a democrat, combat Vet, hunter and gun owner. He supports the 2nd amendment but he is starting down the path of these yet unnamed ‘controls.’ When I had my 1 minute chance to talk, I benefited from an off-duty officer who expressed my feelings exactly just minutes before I spoke.

    The officer stated that while on duty, he carried high-capacity magazines for his handgun, an AR-15 “assault rifle”, and pistol grip shotgun. He said he carried these weapons in an attempt to match the firepower of the criminal threat in our state (Calif). He reminded us that criminals ignore our existing laws completely. The officer also explained that he has never responded to a shooting rather he has responded to crime scenes after the damage was done. He finalized his statement by saying that it caused him enormous stress that his wife couldn’t legally defend herself at home with any of the same weapons he carried because in California we are incredibly restricted and certain guns completely illegal.

    When I finally spoke, I explained to Congressman Thompson that as a 15 year veteran (89-04) of the military myself, and someone who is well trained on firearms of all types, I agreed completely with the officer who spoke before me. Moreover it concerns me that our elected officials and many of my fellow citizens, who at no time worried about my handling of a weapon for my 15 years of service in uniform, suddenly found it so dangerous for me to do so as a civilian.

    The government tells us by how they arm our police that they know how scary the criminal threat is and they concurrently prove that they don’t care about us by telling law-abiding citizens that they do not have the same rights as government employees.

    I hope like hell I’m am never put in a position to have to defend my family through the use of a gun, but I am sickened that so many in our society, including those that represent me, can essentially control my constitutional rights by creating such incredibly restrictive laws as those that we have here in California. An AR-15 with a collapsible stock may look scary to many but guns are legal and just because something is perceived as scary doesn’t mean it should be outlawed.

    Our speed limits in California are 75 MPH but you can legally own a vehicle that can travel twice our speed limit. Should I be able to say that you shouldn’t? Is there any reason why someone would ‘need’ a car that can travel twice the speed limit if it is completely illegal to do so?

    You may think that LaPierre is a “head-in-the-sand” fuckwit, but he highlights the very hypocrisy I have tried to point out. The fact is most of the privileged government representatives are protected at one time or another by people carrying guns. Most of those same people, as well as the media celebrities who fall in line with them, have kids in exclusive private schools with trained armed guards protecting them (see David Gregory). The fact is we protect just about everything in this country with guns and yet the government is telling us that the most valuable thing any of us have, our families, should not be afforded the same protection or at least an extremely dumb-downed version of it.

    At any rate, I’m happy to see you’re opening up a discussion, I do hope you’re truly committed to the openness side of that line because there is a lot to talk about.

  • PrometheeFeu

    I am strongly opposed to using common-sense as a benchmark here because common-sense often leads one astray. Take for instance the common-sense designation of “Guns-Free Zone” designation of schools. Does preventing law-abiding citizens from bringing guns in schools reduce the number of accidental shootings? Maybe. Does it reduce the number of intentional shootings? Highly unlikely: people who are about to commit the horrendous crime of murdering children are not likely to be deterred from bringing a gun to the schools. Does that mean we need to arm more people in schools? I don’t know. But what I do know is that this is just one of the numerous instances where common-sense fails us.

  • PrometheeFeu

    Automatic machine guns are generally illegal and very few are in private hands. The “assault weapons” bans being discussed concern a specific class of semi-automatic weapons.

  • Lawrence Hudd

    It’s interesting that at the end of the day that this was posted, there are still no specific proposals from gun-control advocates as to how things could change in a way that would prevent future massacres.

    As someone who is generally against new gun control measures, one change I would propose that certainly could have had an impact in preventing this massacre is to give parents the ability to institutionalize their mentally ill children, even if it is against the child’s will. Read this for an eye-opening account of how the system is failing parents of violent, mentally ill children:

    People will always be able to get guns, whether or not they are made illegal. It’s amazing that people who say that there’s no way we can deport 10 million illegal immigrants somehow think we can regulate the 300 million guns in this country out of existence. What we ~can~ do to effect real change is to help parents care for, and restrain, children who have serious mental health problems.

  • Nolan Clemmons

    It’s good to have those that have actually shot a gun (even if it’s just an old bolt-action .22) writing these kinds of posts.

    We’re not going to have armed guards at EVERY school, but keep in mind: most high schools already have at least one resource officer on campus. They float around the different schools in the district, give talks about drugs and violence “DARE, GREAT”, and deal with truancy. They are just like normal cops except they do a lot of admin work.

    I don’t know if that’s what the NRA guys was trying to say. I’m saying that we’re pretty close to it. Think of the show “Campus PD”: There are entire police departments dedicated to one college campus. Small schools/towns won’t have as many resources though.

    And this time around, the “violent video games are bad” camp has been quiet, or at least the public has been reluctant to buy-in to that bullshit again. I will say this: don’t blame games*, movies, or TV. I shouldn’t have to write a blog post about that. Just trust me, they’re not to blame.

    *Joe Biden met with Game Leaders and I don’t think there were any issues. find and read the article.

  • gina

    Hm. Well maybe I chose my words poorly because what I wanted to communicate was that their having not yet fully defined their position seems to signal the opposite of an “emotional knee jerk reaction.” I think it says a lot for the character of the organizers to step back and leave room to grow into their mission. Considering their tragic loss, it takes tremendous courage to do what they are trying to do. These are parents trying to find meaning in the loss of their children to unthinkable violence. I admire them. Does saying it that way make more sense?

  • Jordan

    First, the country was founded as a Republic. A Democracy is exactly how you get to $16 trillion in debt, 30% of which came from the past four years. Second, you have to look at the data to make decisions. The Second Amendment was codified so the people could resist tyranny. While there is always some debate in constitutional law, this has been interpreted to mean that the people could arm themselves with reasonable arms for the times. Should each American have the right to own a nuclear warhead? Probably not. Should each American have access to the same technology used by thugs and criminals in their gang violence? Absolutely. Constricting interpretation and leaving law-abiding Americans with laughable pea shooters while criminals carry fully automatic weapons with 30 round clips doesn’t quite seem like the right solution. We tried that for a decade in ’94. Didn’t work.

  • K. Boyd

    A White House petition to repeal the Second Amendment has been started at Anyone interested should sign it.

  • Sean Simpson

    What’s being debated? It says guns are the focus so they must be the problem.

  • Sean Simpson

    No offense and it may or may not be applicable to Mark, but that’s how all gun-grabbers start their arguments. “I love the 2nd amendment” but now listen to these ten things I think we need to do to circumvent it.

  • Sean Simpson

    When’s the last time an “automatic machine gun” was used in a crime? The only time I see guns like that in the US are in movies.

  • Ryan Lackey

    I like Ron, and think Sandy Hook was a terrible tragedy. I’d really like to see more specifics about what SHP is promoting (“Common Sense” isn’t really specific at all) before supporting it, but if it is reasonable, I’d support it.

    We should do the things which have very little cost and lots of benefit, first. Enhancing penalties for the use of guns in crime, improving mental health reporting to block gun purchases, and getting better data wouldn’t infringe any rights, wouldn’t risk legal challenge, and would make major positive inroads on the issue.

    I don’t think restricting magazine capacity, rifles, etc. would have much to do with the majority of gun crime in the US, which is generally drug-related crime involving handguns. Sandy Hook and spree shootings are horrible, but statistically insignificant compared to other gun crime (and other violent crime in general) — it would be dishonest to promote policies just to deal with spree shootings.

    There are some new policies which could have limited impact on legitimate gun owners and would reduce gun crime. Requiring all transfers go through the same NCIC screening that gun dealer purchases go through would impose a minimal cost (less than $25) per transfer, and would prevent gang access to otherwise legitimate weapons. It doesn’t help with stolen guns (mandatory reporting could be good there), and doesn’t help with the millions of guns already out there, but it would reduce the new supply.

    Requiring the same level of “safe storage” in a house with a mentally ill resident as you require when a house has children would also make sense. It doesn’t need to be a jeweler’s vault, but I generally don’t think trigger locks are adequate. RSC or light-duty safes are probably a reasonable requirement.

    At the limit, licensing for gun owners would potentially be worthwhile. Not registration of specific weapons, or prohibiting any current weapons, but requiring some level of licensing, ideally progressive, for purchase and possession of different classes of weapon. There’s a lot less risk to someone with a bolt-action .22 rifle than a semiautomatic handgun or rifle. I don’t think certifying you’re not a criminal or mentally ill before buying a gun would be a huge infringement on liberty. There is definitely more cost to licensing than any of the other ideas, but it could probably have prevented the Aurora shooter easily getting arms, or the Giffords shooter. It wouldn’t have helped in Sandy Hook. It would help in gang crime.

    Ammunition restriction is probably not a worthwhile route — a killer only needs a few bullets, and legitimate gun owners can go through thousands of rounds in a week for entirely lawful purposes.

    At the same time, I’d like to see sound suppressors removed from the NFA, and potentially fully deregulated (as are flash suppressors, gloves, eye protection, etc.). They’re a gun safety device (hearing loss and preventing annoying the neighbors); they have no role in crime. Even a suppressed pistol or rifle is still loud enough to draw attention; it just attenuates sound from immediately hearing destroying to only seriously damaging. This would actually put US law more in line with other countries like the UK or Finland.

  • Arma757

    From what I’ve read the last time for a civilian was 1934.

  • Arma757

    The White House does not have the power or authority to repeal the 2nd Amendment. This “petition” will go a similar path as the one requesting them to build the Death Star; nowhere.

  • Arma757

    We were not founded as a “representative democracy”, but rather a “constitutional republic”. While there are similarities between the two, the major difference is that a “constitutional republic” places limits on the government and its representatives.

    Gun control is a failed policy. Gun control advocates are quick to point out that “gun violence” is down where firearms have been banned (i.e. UK, Australia), but what they fail to acknowledge are the “violent crimes” that involve other types of weapons. Those are what increase when guns are outlawed and banned. Violent crime in the UK is statistically 10x higher per every 1,000 people then it is here in the United States. Australia has seen assault rise 49.2%, sexual assault rise 29.9%, and overall violent crime rise 42.2% since their gun ban started. Why on earth that trade-off is acceptable in anyone’s mind is beyond me.

    Anti-gun measures, limitations, or outright bans against AR’s and other variants are ridiculous. AR’s are used in about one-fifth of one percent (.20%) of all violent crimes and about one percent in crimes involving firearms. To go after any type of firearm based solely on “cosmetic looks”, as demonstrated in the previous ban as well as the currently proposed one under Sen. Feinstein, is unbelievable.

  • Bob Crimmins

    Well said, Mark. I, too, enjoy shooting (target). I’m not a gun owner (BB guns don’t count, right) but I occasionally shoot at the range with a group other tech entrepreneurs here in Seattle. As a boy scout I earned “sharpshooter” grade in the Junior NRA about 40 years ago. Of course, none of this qualifies me as a gun expert; I’m just say’in I don’t hate guns and I’m not against gun ownership. But I strongly support stringent gun controls.

    Sandy Hook has infused a lot of emotion into the debate all of a sudden. I actually think that’s a good thing because it serves as a kind of balancing force against the relentless emotional and financial lobbying that goes on every single day on the other side of the debate. There is no gazillion dollar national lobbying power pounding on Washington DC, day in and day out, about the side effects of the proliferation of firearms in our society. There are no TV or radio stations who’s mission it is, day in and day out, to calm people down and walk them back from the ledge of government paranoia.

    As a case in point, I stumbled across a radio talk show host about a month ago who is frighteningly paranoid about the US government taking his guns away and “enslaving” the population (his exact word). I don’t know how big his listenership is but he was recently granted a national, prime-time stage in a gun debate so it’s big enough to get him on there; and because he was on there he’s got more listeners now than he did before. I’m sure he’s delighted because he makes his living riling folks up and then selling them survivalist gear on his web site.

    His premise seems to be that the purpose of the 2nd Amendment was to allow US citizens to protect themselves from their own government should it become oppressive and seek to enslave it’s people — which he seems to believe is already well underway. I don’t read the 2nd Amendment that way (“well ordered militia” and all that) but for fun let’s go along with the story, i.e., it really is the intent of the 2nd Amendment to ensure we all are armed in order to defend against the government taking away all our freedoms and liberties.

    Aside from the fact that it is the government that actually provides for and protects our freedoms and liberties (Hobbs, “nasty, brutish and short) and all that), it strikes me as super-over-the-top nonsense that any amount of firearms that any citizen or group of citizens could possibly own would present anything more than a 30-minute stand off against a US military bent on subduing the citizenry. In the days of the 2nd Amendment, the US army had pretty much the same muzzle loaders that the patriot citizens had. That ain’t so any more.

    To have any chance of defending yourself against the government for, say, a full two hours, you’d need to own and be trained on at least RPGs and an A10 attack helicopter. No doubt, there are folks out there who believe that we the people should be allowed to own all the sundry weapons of war. To be consistent in their argument, I think they’d pretty much have to take that position. I suspect there are “collectors” out there that have a bunch of military hardware stashed away for the impending civil war.

  • brian allman

    If you want to help advance the discussion of gun control, here is a first step by supporting Diane Feinstein’s efforts to ban assault weapons:

  • Dan Bowen

    Does Dianne Feinstein have security that uses these very things to protect herself from the known criminal threat in California? By the way, what weapon pointed at you isn’t an assault weapon?

  • Dan Bowen

    Can you explain why you would want to repeal the 2nd?

  • Lawrence Hudd

    I guess I don’t understand the mentality of someone who creates an organization that lacks a clear mission or purpose. Ultimately, I think most progressives want to ban guns entirely (see Chicago, Washington DC), but that’s an unpopular position, so they advocate for gradual measures to get there in a less immediately conspicuous way.

  • Lawrence Hudd

    “it strikes me as super-over-the-top nonsense that any amount of firearms that any citizen or group of citizens could possibly own would present anything more than a 30-minute stand off against a US military bent on subduing the citizenry.”

    Take a look at what’s happening in Syria today.

  • Dan Cornish

    Mark, You just lost me. Up until now I thought you could think rationally and not emotionally. The simple way to reduce these kinds of mass shooting is to revamp our mental health system. If you really want to reduce violence, then be honest and promote a law to remove all handguns which are used in the vast majority of crimes, or ban clubs and hammers which are responsible for far more deaths than “assault weapons.”

    How about all politicians give up their heavily armed body guards first. They should lead by example. Also they should send their children to schools where there are no armed guards. Hypocrisy drives me nuts.

  • Sean Simpson

    Taliban hangs in the fight with HMEs and AK47s. And a lot less of them too. Run your fairy tale by an active duty marine and mention how easy it is to fight an underarmed/undermanned yet extremely dedicated group. And don’t forget to tell him thanks.

  • John

    You don’t read the second amendment that way? Take 5 minutes out of your day and read the Federalist papers regarding the second amendment. If you don’t know, the Federalist papers are what the Founders wrote to defend the Constitution and get buy in from the public at the time. They go to great length to explain why that amendment is there.
    Your other comment is just as ridiculous. The first thing the US govt. does to assist other countries is arm their citizens against a tyrannical govt.. The first thing a dictator does, if not already done, is disarm their people before enslaving them. Good grief man, pick up a history book from time to time. (Hitler, Stalin, Castro and that’s all in the last century!)

  • Dan Bowen

    Mental health is the issue. Gun control laws have proven to be worthless throughout the world. Guns have been banned in the UK for nearly 15 years and while they have low violent gun crime, their overall violent crime per 100,000 people is 4.3 times higher than that in the USA. Amazingly, the UK has a higher rate of violent crime than South Africa! It’s interesting how the very same politicians who have the ability to exempt themselves from Obamacare are also afforded protection from the very weapons they want to ban. Political hypocrisy at it’s best.

  • Jim Ritchie

    “Aside from the fact that it is the government that actually provides for and protects our freedoms and liberties”.

    Wrong thinking here. The government does not provide us our rights, freedoms or liberties. These are actual “god given” and “unalienanble”. See

    It is the governments job to protect those rights though.

  • Sholto Macpherson

    Don’t you Americans think it’s strange to have a get-out clause in your constitution? How can you commit to being citizens of a country when everyone wants to have one foot outside it?
    A right to bear guns so you can overthrow the government is like a right to keep a batchelor pad just in case you need to leave your marriage. Must make for a pleasant marriage with that much trust going around…
    Let the cops have guns and do their job, everyone else take a freakin’ holiday and relax.

  • pointsnfigures

    I think that gun control is the wrong cure for the problem. The issue is much deeper than that. In Chicago, we have some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, and also the highest murder rate. In the past year, at times it is unsafe to walk down Michigan Avenue.

    Many years ago, there was a study on game theory and gun violence. What the economist found was that background checks were a good idea, but treating mental illness was a better idea. Most of the large scale shootings we see are carried out by people that are mentally disturbed.

    And, I think that is really the issue. Massive shootings. The day to day gangland gun violence that happens each and every day in US cities has roots in a different problem-drugs.

    Solve for mental illness, and drugs and my guess is gun violence will drop.

  • pointsnfigures

    dumb idea. Only the criminals will have assault weapons.

  • kidmercury

    Hot damn! Steveplace put all you youngsters in your place. Ya’ll best recognize.

  • BillMcNeely

    GEN Stan McCrystal (Former Cmdr of units in Joint Special Operations Center Units ) agrees with you. He does not see a need for weapons designed for killing humans on the streets. I have seen first what a 5.56 m round does to a human and its not theoratical to me. Here is the clip of him on the Jon Stewart show a couple of weeks ago.

  • ilan lieberman

    I work as a Anaesthesiologist part time in the UK, i work in an inner city teaching hospital when I am not involved with my e health business. I have two observations on gun control firstly we hardly ever see gunshot injuries in the UK its just a rare event. Secondly we don’t seem to have yet experienced the same type of inner city decay and drug/gun culture that is endemic in the USA (from the view from Europe). The USA seems so deep into all three areas that simply addressing gun control would seem to be locking the stable door long after the horses have bolted. Unfortunately cause and effect seem to be very intertwined in the USA and you have some very large elephants in the room which will eventually need to be addressed namely the consumption of illicit drugs which has created a vast illegal market which will always be fed by criminal gangs. Secondly you are locking up vast percentages of the youth of your population far more than we do in Europe and yet its safe to walk the streets of almost everywhere in any European city still. The final elephant is that it one is safer owning a gun than not owning a gun, yet all the available data points to the fact that the very act of owning a gun increases your immediate families risk of dying of a gunshot injury. Clinging onto ideas of self defence from the government that developed from issues of a young state before independence are as appropriate now as other ideas from that era such as slavery, not giving women the vote and denial of gay rights based on biblical precedent.

  • Dan Bowen

    Ilan I’m having a hard time resolving your information with that from our own FBI which shows that while the UK has a vastly lower gun violence and death rate, the violent crime rate in the UK is 4.3 times that per 100,000 people in the USA. The overwhelming majority (70%+) of all gun violence in America is inner-city gang-on-gang drug related with illegal guns so a complete picture is incredibly important when one wants to address our problem. While we will certainly move toward more reasonable methods to deal with our gun violence issue, the political rhetoric driving the argument today is little more than grandstanding on the graves of the kids who died at the hands of a madman.

  • Marc

    It’s not guns or the types of guns killing people. Look to the drug companies stuffing you all full of pills to fix problems. All your jobs are being offshored, your personal and private debt levels are off the scale. The American dream is just that. You continually let your politicians trick you into going to war. This is all the stuff that fuels violence in your country. I love the USA it’s land and it’s people. I really hope you all get your country back again because from outsiders like me down under in Australia it looks like a close friend of mine getting into a whole lot of trouble. Aussies generally love the USA and we hate seeing a mate down. Many countries have lots of guns but not all the problems you have with gun violence. We have lots of guns here but not the problems you have. I read your blog regularly think you have great things to say so I think you might have just waded in on this without the time to look at it from lots of angles. I do the same thing so I’m not making you wrong on your view. Cheers, Marc