DC Gun Ban Under Fire

Listen to this 'Talk of the Natioin' topic

The closest I've ever come to opening fire on someone was hurling a barrage of insults at a telemarketer who was relentless during dinner time.* I've never been held at gun point, and no one close to me has ever come under fire, literally. So I don't really have a stake in the gun control debate. But my interest was piqued recently: the Supreme Court is expected to reach a decision this week regarding Washington, D.C.'s handgun ban. In the first ruling of its kind, the Court will decide whether the right to bear arms extends to individuals' rights or service in a well-regulated militia. Many believe the ban will be overturned, but other restrictions, like background checks, are expected to survive.

While the Justices consider this weighty constitutional issue, an old debate is resurfacing in the rest of the country: who's really affected by guns? Some argue gun ownership is a deterrent to violence, but others say more guns equals more crime. And, to add fuel to the fire, there's still no end in sight on the disagreement over how to regulate gun ownership and violence. Today we talk to two straight shooters — Supreme Court reporter David Savage, and gun policy expert Jens Ludwig — who will bring us the facts of the case, and parse perception versus reality. So check your assumptions at the door, don't jump the gun on your final opinion, and tell us, what shaped your position on guns?

* I'm not proud of these moments.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

I took a class on mental health and aging recently. I learned that 70% of men over the age of 65 are veterans. Suicide is most prevalent in the over 65 age-group, with 1 in 9 suicides being comleted by men. Guns are the most common method used in fatal suicide attempts, for both men and women. I say get rid of guns to promote public health.

Sent by Meg | 2:56 PM | 6-23-2008

Your guest is not explaining the 1939 United States v. Miller correctly. In that ruling the court determined that gun "ownership" is not a "right."

Sent by Sandra Winter | 3:14 PM | 6-23-2008

Just a thought-the second amendment states "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."
The definition of militia is "an army of ordinary citizens," which shows that the framers of the bill of rights wanted the right to bear arms to be granted to the people in the case they were needed for defense, and that this right shall not be infringed- even if the political culture turns in the opposite direction.

Sent by Keith Reynolds | 3:21 PM | 6-23-2008

The 1939 USSC ruling on United States v. Miller was about rights v. privilege. They ruled that gun ownership was not a "right." I was disturbed that your first guest did not explain this ruling correctly, glossing over the actual ruling v. details. The argument of the two men arrested for having the sawed-off shotgun in the back of their truck as they drove from one state to the next, was that they had a "right" to do that as per the Second Amendment of the Constitution. That argument was deemed to be false by the court, saying, "No, gun ownership is not a right given under the Constitution." I want to make sure this is presented correctly.
The current case before the court is the second, not the first that pertains to "rights."

Sent by Sandra Winter | 3:23 PM | 6-23-2008

My opinion has been most drastically shaped by the permanence that guns inflict. This is usually the most devastating in the child deaths because of poor gun regulation.
I believe the harder it is to get a gun the less damages guns will do. Thats why I promote strict gun regulation laws and penalties for violations of those laws.

Sent by Melissa Jensen | 3:25 PM | 6-23-2008

Growing up in a lower middle class home where guns were prevalently used to intimidate and instigate domestic violence shaped my view early on. I am uncomfortable and on alert around all firearms. Until psychological testing is administered yearly, I will always be aware of the fatal possibilities.

Sent by Kimberly | 3:25 PM | 6-23-2008

Of the ten ammendments comprising the Bill of Rights, only three of them contain the phrase 'the right of the people'. These are amendments one, two and four. No one will argue that amendments one and four are NOT individual rights. Why would you want to view the second amendment as different (not an individual right)?

Sent by Steven A. Hartmann | 3:26 PM | 6-23-2008

One of the reasons that the 2nd amendment exists is to make sure that the people can protect themselves from all enemies, foreign and domestic. It ensures a balance of power between the people and their government. It is just one more check and balance. If you're going to ban guns, you might as well ban butter knives and shoelaces. They can be used as weapons, too.

Sent by David | 3:29 PM | 6-23-2008

there will always be armend citizens, get used to it. no one can protect you but you and only a fool thinks otherwise

Sent by tom winn | 3:34 PM | 6-23-2008

I am a victim of gun violence and feel very strongly against people being able to keep hand guns. People who do keep hand guns *should* be keeping them locked up and away from easy access (especially in a home with children) that the guns wouldn't be very accessable to use quickly in self defense anyways. The bottom line is that guns give people TOO MUCH POWER of other people.

Sent by shanna | 3:35 PM | 6-23-2008

My second husband, from whom I was separated at the time, committed suicide in front of me with an M-1. Hours earlier he'd killed his live-in friend. I learned later that he'd bought the gun the day before. If a record check had been done, a general discharge from the Marines would have been found, and a history of mental illness would have been found.

Sent by Sharon Wood | 3:35 PM | 6-23-2008

why not make it a mandatory life in prison sentence for committing a crime with a gun? Punish the crime, not the legal gun owner.

Sent by jerry hamilton | 3:37 PM | 6-23-2008

I'm a woman who lives KS and as you know Kansas just passed concealed carry and I immediately applied and passed my class to get mine, yes it is for protection because let's face it the police can not be everywhere and usually it is after the crime. But as one of your callers tried to say even with a concealed carry license many times you can not carry into a mall, on school or university grounds etc. sooo when those that plan to do harm to others pays no attention to those signs/ordinances and begins shooting, those of us are unable to stop the shooter and may be hurt ourselves!
I'm thinking that woman that was talked out about getting a weapon to defend herselves because it would but used on her...then she probably shouldn't have a gun and there are self defense courses to make you aware of how not to let that person get your gun.

I will continue to carry as I travel and feel more secure regarding stopping car jackings, muggings and rapes!

Sent by M. Cox | 3:46 PM | 6-23-2008

Those that do not support individual firearms ownership need to review the Constitution. There is an Amendment Process. Until then *all* Civil Rights need to be respected regardless of geographic location or convenience. To date there has not been serious discussion to change the inconvenient 16th Amendment. Maybe those living in farming areas would like to repeal the 13th ?? All rights must be preserved for any of them to have meaning.

Sent by Mark | 3:47 PM | 6-23-2008

I am an avid gun collector. I grew up reading about Teddy Rooselevelt and Earnest Hemingway hunting in Africa and have always been fascinated with the firearms they carried. As an adult, I own everything from the guns they carried on the veldt to full auto machine guns. They are safely stored and protected from theft and pose no threat to society as long as they are in my hands.

I also have a concealed weapons permit. In truth, though I am legally allowed to carry a weapon, I do not. My worst nightmare is someday having to fire a shot in anger.

My next biggest fear is that someday my firearms will be confiscated by my government, not because of something I have done, but because of gun crimes committed elsewhere by other people.

My wife is a Brazilian citizen who is fearful of the level of violence in her country. Brazil has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. It got them nothing.

If the same thing comes to the US, only the innocent will lose their rights, not the criminals.

Sent by Steve Boldrey | 3:48 PM | 6-23-2008

Enforcing current gun laws-long the mantra of right-wing gun owners-tends to ring hollow since enforcing current gun laws would require stepping up the amount of cops on the street. In this age of layoffs and overall staff reductions how does one cling to the notion that current laws should be enoforced when there are less cops on the street to do just that? This seems like the typical republican problem of not wanting to pay taxes and still expecting the problem to go away. I believe it was a French Ambassador after the Virginia Tech shootings who said gun violence is as American as apple pie.

Sent by Lee | 3:49 PM | 6-23-2008

Mr. Conan,
I commend you on your sensitivity, as well as your intelligence. today when you responded to the woman from Hawaii, formerly from Seattle, it was with the utmost sincerity.
Her opinion was based on anger, fear, pain. She never stated that it was a mistake to accept a ride from 2 people she didn't know, but assumed they were from the school.
In our life, I think that if someone assumes we have a gun, there is protection. Somehow the criminal might be deterred just thinking there may be a gun in the home and a person willing to use it. Also, I'm not sure I would want it registered somewhere what guns I owned, what kind of guns I owned, then there would be a way for the sophisticated or the clever or the computer savvy person to find out this information.
I am saddened and angry about children finding unlocked guns or hunter's guns and accidentally killing someone. This is a different issue.
I am originally from the south. I live in the midwest. We have no guns. When I was growing up, my mother was by herself often, no air conditioning, 4 daughters, she slept with a 48 pistol under her pillow; and she latched the screen door shut, so we could sleep with the door open. I can't imagine she could have used it, but she had it.
This program was a very good one. I thank-you for your hard work.

Sent by Becky | 3:52 PM | 6-23-2008

As a recovering liberal, I've always been disappointed that gun control advocates often don't have basic facts straight. I've also been disappointed that the gun lobby on the other side has always adopted polarizing rhetoric, rather than seeking common ground. Many gun owners and non-owners reside in that vast gray area in between where there is room for agreement. The media and entertainment industry also sensationalizes violences and perpetuates myths about gun violence. As this national discussion continues, I just hope people use reason rather than emotion to decide as a society how we regulate firearms. In this age of warrantless wiretaps, we need to think very carefully and preserve our rights. We don't get them back once they've been taken away.

Sent by Joe K. | 3:59 PM | 6-23-2008

A gun is an object, a tool. Leave your gun on the table and see how long until it kills someone. (Hint: It won't).
When used for crime, it is a very effective tool. Perhaps we should be focusing on the crime, and not on the object.
England banned guns, and guess what? Knife crime rose.

Sent by Remy Stendardo | 3:59 PM | 6-23-2008

If guns cause violent crime, then forks can similarly be blamed for obesity.

Sent by Remy Stendardo | 4:43 PM | 6-23-2008

I know that I have missed the window for on air comments but I did feel strongly compelled to comment on this topic. Before I do let me first thank NPR again for taking a serious and thoughtful look at a topic that is so often mired in thoughtless rhetoric. My position on guns is complicated but shaped by some straight forward experiences. I, like many rural Americans, was raised with guns and the love of hunting. I consider myself a sportsman and while I have hunted with weapons other than guns; the truth is that guns play a fundamental role in my family's values. A role that is difficult to articulate to those outside of that tradition. Hunting and guns are part of the rite of passage to manhood in that tradition, and that has deep meaning to me. The only items handed down through the generations as heirlooms are guns and they are the only thing of value that my family has had.
That said, I do have an issue with handguns. My issue is more of what they represent and how, I believe, they have been misappropriated as a symbol by modern media. What is lacking in how we are shown guns in general, and handguns in particular, is the respect that I was taught for guns and the direct and unmistakable connection between their use and death. When I am carrying a gun, I am intending to kill something. If I were ever in the position where I needed to kill a human being to defend my or my family's life I would do that with the same care and direct intent that I would a deer.
Where this gets complicated for me, then, is in the context of this public debate. Should handguns be illegal? No but they should be controlled and any non-hunting use should make us take a serious look at the underlying sense of fear. What is the threat that would make use want to arm ourselves and be prepared to kill other human beings, and why do we believe it is there? I think the answer lies somewhere in the media images we see everyday.

Sent by Jon | 5:27 PM | 6-23-2008

12 years ago my 16 year old brother discovered a gun at a friend's home which was unlocked, loaded and barely hidden. Later he stole that gun and used it to end his own life. The experience rocked our family and made a great impact on our perception on life. We all wondered if there was something we could have done to prevent it and blamed ourselves for not doing more.

Eight years later I stumbled across a new idea in firearm safety and was so impressed, that I bought the concept, patented it and started my own manufacturing company in Fremont CA, making gunlocks. Finally, I had found a way to help make a difference in life! But the last four years of research and development have proven difficult, with sales only inching along; due mainly to the majority of the firearm community having more than a bit of distaste for gunlocks.

"Guns are meant to be loaded and ready at all times!" This is a quote I hear quite often as I work the sporting good trade shows. The average gun owner wants to be able to protect their family, their person, place or property in an instant. The preconceived notion is that gunlocks inhibit one's security, but more often than not, the safety of the family is what ends up hanging in the balance.

My company has begun breaking down these barriers of prejudice against firearm safety devices. We have developed a lock whose concept is simple, safe and swift to remove, leaving little room for argument against locking one's gun when not in use. At this year's NRA show in Kentucky we had an average of one lock sold every ten minutes. It proves that firearm owners are willing to take measures to make their firearms secure, which in turn keep their families and communities out of harm's way; as long as it does not detract from the protection of those same loved ones.

With what is going on in D.C., I can see where firearm owners could be nervous or even feel threatened that their rights or security is at risk; but until firearm owners can put a stop to fatalities from unintended discharges, gun control will always be an issue.

I don't know if things would have turned out different had a gun lock been installed on the firearm that my brother had found; but the deterrent might have bought our family a little more time with the one we loved and now miss dearly.

Phill Bradley
President
VisuaLock??, Inc.

Sent by Phill Bradley | 6:41 PM | 6-23-2008

The American people needs to be well-armed to meet the possibility of a future government that turns tyrant. The American people needs to be well-armed to meet any force which/who threatens their freedom. The government must have no say on what those privately owned guns may be. Americans who use their guns for crime should sit in jail. This is not rocket science.

Sent by Torbjorn Holmberg | 6:52 PM | 6-23-2008

I've always found the language of the 2nd ammendment a bit vague; is it meant to guarantee the "right" of an individual to own guns, or rather to lay the framework for the establishment and maintenance of a "well regulated milita" (i.e. the national guard)? Taken at face value, it seems the latter was the intention of the founders. Just for the sake of argument, lets assume for a moment that it was intended to vanguard the former. Notice the qualifier "well regulated"; the founding fathers saw the necessity for some form of governmental oversight (lets face it, a citizenry armed to the teeth can give rise to some apprehension even amongst the most hard-core libertarians). And, in reply to Torbjorn's post: do you honestly believe that the government "turning tyrant" can be prevented with handguns? You do realize that the government has an Army on their payroll? I'm afraid that the issue is a bit more complex than it may appear at first glance.

Sent by JC | 11:30 AM | 6-24-2008

My frame of reference for firearms is conditioned by the fact that I have been around them for my entire life. I was trained to shoot at summer camps starting at age 8, and have been around hunters all of my life. My father hunted. My brother and I did. My father's relatives were all hunters. I have hunted in Arizona on my own for five years and have met many other hunters. It is safe to say that I probably know at least 25 persons who own firearms. None of them have ever shot anyone or been shot at. These are safe, responsible firearms owners.

When I assess the relative threat from various kinds of societal threats, firearms are considerably lower on my list of concerns than cancer, air pollution, coronary disease and unsafe drivers, because these other threats are far more likely (statistically) to affect me or someone that I love.

Beyond that, firearms ownership is constitutionall protected and is a matter to me of civil liberties. My individual right to own a firearm is as important as might right to free speech or freedom to associate or freedom from unreasonable search. Moreover, the right to own a firearm has more explicit protection in the United States Constitution than the privilege of owning a car, or a woman's "right to choose" and I support these other rights as well.

Solutions to accidental firearms deaths or criminal deaths do exist. These include better education for young people; mandatory firearms safety instruction in schools would probably be politically offensive to some, but it would likely curb accidental deaths. Enforcement of existing proscriptions against convicts owning firearms would also be appropriate; a mandatory background check on individual sales *might* help there, although frankly I have never seen or heard of anyone purchasing a firearm at a "yard sale" as Jens Ludwig implied might happen.

Sent by Mike Diehl | 1:33 PM | 6-24-2008

"til firearm owners can put a stop to fatalities from unintended discharges, gun control will always be an issue."- Phil Bradley

Sorry for your loss Phil, but your brother didn't die from an unintentional discharge. It was intentional. You can't read people's minds. Your brother wanted to kill himself. He did it. He made the decision, not the gun. Gun locks are useful in certain situations but locking up all the guns doesn't make any sense. Good luck with your business...

Sent by Kevin | 2:41 PM | 6-24-2008

Jens Ludwig cited some statistics, I believe from 2007. So many deaths by gun suicide and so many deaths by gun crimes. Can you email me the two stats?

Sent by Johan Mehlum | 2:43 PM | 6-24-2008

Who represented the pro-gun side of this discussion? Oh, that would be nobody. I'll keep that in mind the next time I hear a NPR fund raising effort.

Those that do not support individual firearms ownership need to review the Constitution. There is an Amendment Process. Until then *all* Civil Rights need to be respected regardless of geographic location or convenience. To date there has not been serious discussion to change the inconvenient 16th Amendment. Maybe those living in farming areas would like to repeal the 13th ?? All rights must be preserved for any of them to have meaning.

Sent by Mark Killian | 5:00 PM | 6-24-2008

I have been around firearms my entire life. Despite having been a hunter for more than three decades, and despite knowing lots of hunters, I have never met anyone who has been injured by a firearm or who has injured someone with a firearm.

I think the objection to firearms ownership in the United States is mostly in reaction to a perceived reality that has no relationship to the actual reality. Were one to be concerned about threats in order of likelihood, one would be more concerned about poor drivers, heart disease, and cancer, than about firearms.
And, of course, a Constitutionally driven analysis would not force people to sacrifice their 2nd Amendment civil liberties in the name of making fearful people feel more safe.

Sent by Mike Diehl | 5:56 PM | 6-24-2008

Firearms, baseball bats and Tai Chi all have *safe* recreational uses as well as potentially illegal and destructive uses.

Firearms are romanticized (and demonized) by novels, plays, movies and news reports; they are as much a political symbol as they are actual weapons. Political groups *use* firearms the same way they *use* abortion or gay marriage.

I grew up in Western Suffolk County on Long Island; they only place I ever saw a (real) gun as a child was sticking out of a policeman's holster. This seemed contradictory from what I was taught; which was: only bad people had guns.

I grew up. I traveled the country. I learned new things and met new people. I came to a larger understanding of the world, our country, our society and our laws.

20 years ago, working as an armed security guard for an armored truck service, I discovered the joy of target shooting. Target shooting is one of the most 'zen-like' experiences I know of. Unfortunately, with the addition of each new 'law' (which, very apparently, does nothing to hinder criminals), target shooting has become more and more expensive over the years. It almost seems like the 'anti-gun crowd' just doesn't want me to practice at the range anymore - which would mean my proficiency would suffer should I ever have to use a firearm for self defense. More than simply a 'political opposition' to my hobby, it's almost as if they really want 'stray bullets' from law abiding citizens.

There should be no more (and no less) restrictions on someone who has mastered the art of Tai Chi then there should be on someone owning and carrying (or keeping and bearing) arms (including firearms). Just as you have the right to own and carry a baseball bat, you should have the right to own any carry all arms (including firearms). Just as you do not have the right to bash in the heads of innocent people with your legally owned and carried baseball bat, you similarly have no such right to shoot people.

I believe in safety and precaution. I have a spare tire in my car. I don't follow the logic that suggests having a spare tire *increases* my chances of having a flat tire. I have a smoke alarm in my house. I reject the idea that my house if *more prone to catch on fire* because I have a smoke alarm.

I own firearms and I carry firearms 'just in case' - just like my smoke detector and just like my spare tire. I don't have any intention of using my spare tire or my firearm, but I'd hate to get stuck somewhere and suddenly find myself in need of either one and not have it with me.

Knowing Tai Chi makes me safe (and healthy too). Knowing Tai Chi and carrying a baseball bat makes me safer. Knowing Tai Chi and carrying a firearm makes me about as safe as I can get (short of having a team of armed bodyguards around me).

Sent by Bruce | 8:23 PM | 6-24-2008

The listeners and contributors to NPR certainly enjoy and exercise their First Amendment rights.
They should be glad that this freedom has not been infringed upon like our Second Amendment rights.
The above statement about "when I carry ,I'm going to kill something" is a little disturbing, but understandable within the context of a hunters mindset.
When I carry a gun, it is to be prepared to defend myself. There are millions of people doing this everyday.
There are now only two states that have no form of legal carry. Positive stories that support the Second Amendment and gun owners in general are rarely reported in the media.
Children that are taught about firearms safety are unlikely to become a statistic. I learned at the age of 10,...and 48 years later, I've never had an accidental discharge.

Sent by Frederick Merkle | 6:25 AM | 6-25-2008

I've heard of many people deliberately and unintentionally killing or injuring another with a gun (an argument to ban or restrict gun use), and I know many people that use guns safely for target shooting and hunting etc (an argument to allow access to and the use of guns)...but I have to admit that I really don't know of any situations where an violent attack or criminal act has been successfully and peacefully thwarted by a private citizen who happened to be carrying a concealed weapon, and for circumstances where this may have occurred, how many of those situations could have been solved by other means?? I am not prepared to strongly support either side as I think that a lot of information about the absolute value of guns and how that balances to the inherent dangers of misuse.

Sent by Steve | 4:00 PM | 6-25-2008

Maybe, finally the District of Columbia residents will become first class citizens. It has been an absolute shame that our nation's capitol has had to endure 31 years of an unconstitutional law set forth by a council that has failed miserably on almost every socioeconomic issue. Finally the SCOTUS has enough members sitting that remember US History and the significance of our Constitution. Tomorrow will be a good day for the USA.

Sent by S. Quinn | 4:20 PM | 6-25-2008

Some responses to above comments, then my thoughts.
"I took a class on mental health and aging recently. I learned that 70% of men over the age of 65 are veterans. Suicide is most prevalent in the over 65 age-group, with 1 in 9 suicides being comleted by men. Guns are the most common method used in fatal suicide attempts, for both men and women. I say get rid of guns to promote public health.
Sent by Meg"
Perhaps we should pay more attention to our senior citizens and make sure they receive proper health care, any mental care they may need, and show them they are wanted, rather than making sure they don't have any 'sharp objects or guns" and telling them "shoo, shoo, go back in your cage and leave me alone."

"Growing up in a lower middle class home where guns were prevalently used to intimidate and instigate domestic violence shaped my view early on. I am uncomfortable and on alert around all firearms. Until psychological testing is administered yearly, I will always be aware of the fatal possibilities.
Sent by Kimberly"

This does indeed sound as if you have psychological trauma, and as such, should seek therapy. Such a phobia is not healthy. It is a sign that we need to encourage a healthy culture that does not rely on intimidation. And mental health screenings might not be such a bad idea.

And to Phill Bradley of VisuaLock, I wish to thank you. I do not personally use any of your products, but I may in future. Currently, all my firearms are kept in a locked safe. The keys to the safe are on my person, or in a separate location at all times. If a gun is removed from my safe, it remains on my person at all times. On the occasions I am required to leave a gun unattended, away from my home, I do carry a gun lock. And will try to further put the gun in a locked container. I work with children, and I believe these are sensible precautions that every gun owner should try to take. For people who fear mass shootings, I am sorrowful in telling you that they happen all the time over seas. But without guns. 2 weeks ago, a Japanese man killed 7 people in a shopping mall with a knife. Gangs apparently roam England from what I hear with kitchen knives killing people. But, Japan does have a low over all crime rate. What we really need to do is address our culture. We encourage a rebel attitude and embrace it. We idolize the outlaws, and expect our children to grow up to know better. With a proper outlook, and a sense of self responsibility, we can reduce crime of all sorts, and retain the freedoms that make our nation unique in the world.

Sent by Thomas Bowser | 8:45 PM | 6-25-2008

I commend NPR's role in facilitating this discussion on such a vital facet of American culture. Both sides were well represented, but there was a glaring omission of what I feel is the real issue here: "Can we really control gun ownership and make people safe?"

I believe we cannot - note the fact that criminals by definition do not obey the rule of law. The discussion was about what should be done rather than what can be done. In practical terms gun laws are a hypothetical exercise conducted in the spirit of limiting law-abiding citizens. Unless we can go back in time and prevent the invention of guns and all technological means to produce them there is no way to keep them from being used as a tool for bad people to do horrific things.

Prohibition not only failed to end alcohol consumption, it spawned a whole new industry of crime and enabled criminals by giving them a nice revenue stream via supply and demand. Drug laws have proven equally ineffective at stopping the intended behavior and much more effective at increasing the danger of using drugs and the violence associated with trafficking and the massive profits derived from breaking the law. When will we learn that good intentions are no excuse to reduce freedom and that time and again good intentions have led to DISASTROUS outcomes. Let's be honest and admit that stopping gun violence is a sacred cow. So often we debate what "should" be done without consideration of what CAN be done and what the unintended consequences of our wishes might be. It is natural for law abiding citizens to project their own reactions onto criminals, but it is delusional and foolish to the extreme. Criminals are not like the average person, that is why we say they are anti-social. I was terribly disappointed to follow all of NPR's coverage and not once hear mention of the question of whether gun laws can actually remove guns from the streets. I am an avid fan of engaged debate, but I feel we must debate withing the realm of practical outcomes when actually changing laws or deciding issues that will actually, REALLY effect people's lives and Liberties. Once a Liberty is lost it will not return - Please keep that in mind for the sake of us all when considering issues.

Sent by Nate from Madison, WI | 1:15 PM | 6-26-2008

I get very frustrated by the hysteria when news like this happens. What makes you think that now that handgun ownership will be legal in D.C. that "law-abiding citizens" who will now go through the hoops to own a handgun will then decide to use this gun to start breaking the law. This makes absolutely no sense.
The adage, when guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns is true.

Sent by Dianne | 7:38 AM | 6-27-2008

A ststistic I heard recently states that one in ten US citizens are mentally ill. Add that to road rage and others stressor we all face and frankly it makes me very afraid regarding the supreme courts desision. Hunting is already a florishing actitvity in my area, and with an increasing population that is also scary.
In a perfect world where gun owners were intelligent, sane and never acted out of anger, the ruling wold make sense, but in that kind of world no one would want a gun.

Sent by Lynn Wood | 10:38 AM | 6-27-2008

JC, you questioned my idea that handguns can stop a government that turn tyrant. That was never my idea, and I didn't say so. Did I not say that the government must have no say on what fire arms the American people can own? An M-16 in every hand of us and a future dictator will have a hard time convincing the American Army to "deal" with the freedom-loving people.

Sent by Torbjorn Holmberg | 3:25 PM | 7-4-2008

I heard during this broad cast that gun violence is the reason peole are scared to go to the corner store. I am a concealed carrier in my state and I feel totally safe any where I go because my gun makes the playing field level. If a criminal is going to break a law to rob or kill then they will also break any law regulating guns. The definition of criminal is no reguard for law. The only way honest people can prevent being a vitim is to make it personal by deciding if you are ever confronted by a gunman that you will not call 911 and wait patiently. When help may be to late but that you will spring into action to protect yourself, your family, and any innocent person that may be close by that is also in immediate danger. If you stripped me of my right to carry then yes I would be afraid to be in public because it would be like shooting fish in a barrel for all the criminals that have no reguard for our laws or our safety.

Sent by Michael Taylor | 3:21 PM | 7-6-2008

Support comes from: