Is the gun permitting process a failure?

I suppose that depends on what we think the process is for. I would have hoped that gun permits serve the very important role of making sure that gun owners are more likely than they otherwise might be to know how to properly handle guns, and that guns are kept out of the hands of people who will do damage with them.

Japete at Commongunsense.com suggests that this is not necessarily the case:

In the last few days it seems like an epidemic of gun permit holders and/or “law abiding” gun owners gone wrong. O … It’s the real life stories about permit holders using their loaded guns carelessly in public places. They are frequently in the news. Let’s make a list of just a few in the past few days to highlight what I am talking about:

  • An Indiana permit holder gets angry over the wax job on his car at a car wash and wields his gun- …
  • This Nevada man was found naked on his back porch having discharged his gun in the neighborhood, ..
  • Ohio man shot himself with his loaded gun as he was getting out of his car. …
  • A Washington state permit holder shot and killed a young woman at a party over the week-end. …

Have a look at: Keeping score for the details of these cases and analysis.

Meantime, approximately eight children die each and every day as a result of gun violence in the United States. Adults are already at elevated risk in areas where guns are allowed in the workplace, and now there are efforts to allow guns into schools and on campuses. The permit process is broken, and despite the fact that guns and schools don’t mix certain pro-gun factions would like to see prohibitions against carrying deadly weapons in places like schools relaxed or eliminated.

According to Violence Policy Center’s Legislative Director Kristen Rand, “Like clockwork, each month the number of innocent victims killed by concealed handgun permit holders continues to mount. Concealed carry doesn’t benefit public safety. Concealed carry only benefits the gun industry and gun lobby, who exploit it as the last great firearms marketing opportunity.”

Why is the permit process so broken? This is very frustrating. Imma go to Starbucks and get a cup of coffee and think about this.

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16 Responses to Is the gun permitting process a failure?

  1. MichaelD says:

    I’m so happy handguns are restricted in canada.

  2. Paul Hunter says:

    Do guns make us safe?

    Woman kills her returning rapist with shotgun
    Woman Shoots Would-Be Rapist
    Cocoa Store Owner Shoots Robber
    Okla. mom Sarah McKinley defends her infant sons life from armed intruders
    Woman Uses .22 Pistol to Shoot & Kill Invader
    84-year-old Cincinnati man uses gun to defend himself during home invasion
    Licensed gunpacker at GAS STATION shoots to defend himself
    Mom with Ohio concealed handgun license fires gun to ward off sex offender’s violent attack
    Woman kills her returning rapist with shotgun
    Pizza Guy Pulls Gun on Robber
    Man at ATM Shoots Armed Robbers
    Woman who shot 12-year-old won’t face charges, but boy will
    Concealed Carry works
    Gun Owners Busy Shooting Thugs in Toledo
    It was them or my family
    Dont bring a knife to a gunfight
    Appalachian School of Law shooting
    A principal and his gun
    Armed 11 year old Girl Defends Home from 3 armed Burglars: Armed Citizen
    Texas 15 Year Old Defends Self, Sister; Shoots Burglar
    Child Shoots Intruder – Port Allen, LA
    Boy Uses Dad’s AR-15 to Shoot Invader

  3. SundogA says:

    Guns don’t make us safe. Guns make us armed.

  4. gwen says:

    Paul, there are probably 10 to 20 stories with the opposite outcome for every one you can find where owning a gun was useful…children who find a loaded and carelessly stored gun…a man in a church, in a closet, showing someone a gun and killing a bystander on the other side of the wall..etc, etc…

  5. kyoseki says:

    Actually, the big problem with this argument is that there’s a dearth of reliable data either way.

    Even the National Research Council bitched about the lack of reliable data in their “Firearms & Violence” study in 2005.

    The ONLY data I can find on this issue comes from either gun control groups or gun rights groups, both of which inflate the statistics in their own interest.

    Every instance in the original post is generally reckless or ignorant behavior on the part of the gun owner, from the guy who got shitfaced and started shooting to the drunken idiot at the party who both started dicking with his gun when he was drunk and didn’t know how to clear it properly.

    It’s remarkable how large a part alcohol plays in needless deaths, from firearms, drunk driving, domestic abuse or any number of medical conditions, but you don’t see anyone trying to ban it these days, or even, perhaps, introducing “common sense” alcohol controls do you? About the only control there is “are you 21?” which is about the same level of control applied to handguns in some of the more liberal states – oh wait, you don’t need a background check to buy alcohol (or get a driver’s license for that matter).

    For example, all the permitting and licensing in the world doesn’t stop drunk driving, why would it stop abuse of firearms?

    … bearing in mind of course, that even an outright ban on firearms would likely work about as well as an outright ban on alcohol.

  6. And our children pay the price, too. 3000 kids die each year from gunfire, and around 17,500 are injured. For a look at many of the cases, for all types of shootings involving children under 18, see this blog: http://kidshootings.blogspot.com .

  7. kyoseki says:

    So what’s the solution?

    Even an outright ban won’t stop this kind of thing from happening any more than an outright ban has stopped kids getting hold of illegal narcotics or prescription drugs.

    An outright ban does not mean that firearms magically go away, firearms outnumber cars in this country and they’re a lot easier to hide.

    So if an outright ban won’t do it, how is anything short of an outright ban going to be effective?

    An outright ban and better licensing might reduce the number of accidental deaths, but the vast majority of shootings are deliberate (either murder or suicide) and I don’t see how stricter gun laws would help there.

    If you’re going to commit suicide a lack of access to a legal firearm isn’t going to stop you and if you want to kill someone you’re either going to do it another way or you’re going to acquire a firearm illegally.

    If you want to stop gun deaths, you need to change society’s attitudes about violence in general, not simply try to limit their access.

  8. Greg Laden says:

    So if an outright ban won’t do it, how is anything short of an outright ban going to be effective?

    That does not make any sense. Maybe I’m not understanding you.

    If you’re going to commit suicide a lack of access to a legal firearm isn’t going to stop you and if you want to kill someone you’re either going to do it another way or you’re going to acquire a firearm illegally.

    That is demonstrably untrue. We know for a fact that suicides attempted without firearms usually fail, those attempted with firearms usually succeed, and people who try and fail very often get help and then don’t try again. A policy based on the falsehood you are stating here would literally kill people.

  9. kyoseki says:

    That does not make any sense. Maybe I’m not understanding you

    What I was saying is that an outright ban is the highest order of gun control you could implement, short of something that magically dematerializes all firearms.

    Anything short of an outright ban is “limited” gun control, yes?

    So, if an outright ban on guns is going to be as ineffective as an outright ban on alcohol or drugs have been shown to be, how can any form of limited gun control have a significant effect on deliberate acts of malice?

    Or is there some form of gun control that would work better than an outright ban?

    Increased training and licensing requirements would likely have an effect in reducing accidental firearms deaths, but accidental deaths are a very small percentage of the total number of firearms deaths, they are nearly all deliberate and because they’re deliberate acts of malice, focusing on the weapon rather than the intent isn’t going to stop them.

    That is demonstrably untrue. We know for a fact that suicides attempted without firearms usually fail, those attempted with firearms usually succeed.

    According to Wisqars, there were about 37,000 suicides in the US in 2009, of those, about half were committed with firearms (it looks like the bulk of the rest were hangings/poisonings).

    If the other half are only the ones who “got lucky” in succeeding in killing themselves, just how many people attempted it?

    Maybe if people didn’t have access to firearms, you might save a few lives, but again this still hinges on two things;
    1: Somehow getting rid of all firearms and so forcing people to resort to other methods
    2: Relying on people being so inept that they’re unable to successfully kill themselves without a gun – of course this also assumes that people being treated after “attempting” suicide were indeed actually trying to kill themselves.

    … lastly, of course, while suicides are indeed tragic, I am more concerned with individuals injuring or killing other people through stupidity or malice – so I’m all in favor of increased training and testing to prevent the former, but I’m far from convinced that any legislation is going to cut down on the latter without a serious change in attitudes across society, you have to STOP people thinking that violence is an acceptable course of action rather than just trying to limit the amount of violence they can wreak.

  10. kyoseki says:

    .. and just so as we’re clear, while I am a recreational shooter (not a hunter or one of those guys who apparently has masturbation fantasies about overthrowing the government), I really am truly interested in having a meaningful discussion about gun control, but in my experience these things invariably descend into name calling and appeals to emotion.

  11. boselecta says:

    “all the permitting and licensing in the world doesn’t stop drunk driving”

    No, but there’s a strong case to be made that it reduces drunk driving.

    A partial solution is better than no solution at all, though of course one should always carry out reality checks to make sure that your ‘solution’ isn’t causing more problems than it prevents.
    This is the problem with the War on Drug Users: a total ban is causing immense harm, not just by making drugs more dangerous, but also by feeding a huge, violence-and-corruption generating black market, and by ruining countless lives of people arrested and jailed, or given a criminal record. Whereas there is good reason to believe that some sort of legally regulated market would actually reduce drug-related harms without creating greater harms. Maybe the same is true of gun control policy. Maybe a law against ‘drunk packing’ would have some effect at reducing the number of shootings.

    Maybe even more if we could socially stigmatize it. Only a few decades ago, drunk driving was not taken seriously at all by most people. Now almost everyone knows it is a terrible plan, and most people that would do it stand a reasonable chance of being in the company of someone who will try to talk them down and persuade them to take a taxi or sleep over with someone who is sober enough to drive. Like I say, not a total solution, but an improvement.

  12. kyoseki says:

    No, but there’s a strong case to be made that it reduces drunk driving.

    I don’t know about that, the licensing system in the UK is far more strict than it is here, but they still have a huge problem with drunk driving.

    I’d love to see gun licensing requirements at least on a par with driver licensing requirements, but then I’d also like to see the US driver’s test raised to the same level as the UK one.

    Maybe a law against ‘drunk packing’ would have some effect at reducing the number of shootings.

    I’m pretty sure almost all states have laws against being drunk in possession of a firearm (and if there aren’t, there bloody well should be), certainly the drunk naked guy in the original post was charged with that.

    Maybe even more if we could socially stigmatize it.

    This is exactly the kind of point I was driving at.

    The UK was able to largely outlaw firearms because they were never really all that popular to begin with and gun owners (at least, no-one who needed them for work) were generally regarded as “a bit weird”, a view I shared until I came here – (not that even the UK’s level of gun control has stopped shootings, but they are quite rare).

    The US doesn’t really have the same societal regard for firearms, at least not as a whole, and until that happens, gun control bills are always going to have the problem that regional regulations can simply be bypassed by going elsewhere.

    The US as a whole seems to think that resorting to violence is a lot more acceptable than it is in most other countries – even if you ignore ALL the firearms murders in the USA, there’s still a higher murder rate here than in most other industrialized western nations (the US non-firearm murder rate is 1.75 per 100k, the UK’s overall murder rate including firearms is 1.2 per 100,000, France, 1.1 and Germany, 0.9).

    I’m honestly not sure where this idea comes from, but given the US’ high level of religiosity compared to other industrialized nations, one wonders if there’s some kind of shared causal link – ie. whatever gives rise to excessive religiosity also gives rise to a propensity toward violence?

  13. Greg Laden says:

    According to Wisqars, there were about 37,000 suicides in the US in 2009, of those, about half were committed with firearms (it looks like the bulk of the rest were hangings/poisonings).

    If the other half are only the ones who “got lucky” in succeeding in killing themselves, just how many people attempted it?

    A very large number. What I said above is true. This has been discussed at length (on my other blog) and at the moment I’m too busy to school you in the issue, but at this point insisting that a gun and a bottle of poison, a gun and a razor, a gun and a piece of rope, or a gun and a pool of water are all the same is both incorrect and something I find so reprehensible that it is a bannable offense on my blog..

    After which you can cry and whine all you want about being repressed. But you’ve said soothing idiotic and terribly offensive. Get a clue before opening your mouth in my presence on that issue again. Seriously.

    Relying on people being so inept that they’re unable to successfully kill themselves without a gun – of course this also assumes that people being treated after “attempting” suicide were indeed actually trying to kill themselves.

    Ineptitude? Do you think people sit on the edge of a bridge thinking about jumping in for an hour then give up because they don’t know how to fall forward?

    Really, go learn about this and come back educated or shut your fucking pie hole. No alternatives for you.

  14. Greg Laden says:

    .. and just so as we’re clear, while I am a recreational shooter (not a hunter or one of those guys who apparently has masturbation fantasies about overthrowing the government), I really am truly interested in having a meaningful discussion about gun control, but in my experience these things invariably descend into name calling and appeals to emotion.

    I’m also interested in such a discussion and you are right that it often descends into name calling. But it is also important to notice when a conversation has been going on for a long time and most people involved in it have gotten past the point of pulling things out of their respective nether regions that sound right.

    Which is what most people who show up at this conversation manage to do for the first few comments.

  15. kyoseki says:

    Sorry for the delayed response, I was taking your advice and doing some more googling.

    However, the numbers I’m finding don’t agree with your statements that guns have by far the highest mortality rate of any suicide method.

    Yes, suicide by overdose and suicide by exsanguination do appear to have very low mortality rates, somewhere on the order of 5%, but all the numbers I can find on hanging, falling and throwing yourself in front of a train (which seem to be the primary methods of suicide in countries with no firearms, like China & Japan) all have mortality rates ranging from 70 to 95%.

    I don’t know how you’re reaching your statement of guns 90%, everything else 20% that you make here; http://freethoughtblogs.com/xblog/2011/10/27/gun-control-keeps-suicides-down/#comment-16321

    Obviously I’m not looking at the same data you are, so can you point me in the right direction?

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