The line to get in to the Dulles Gun Show was so long that the gun show in Kokomo, Indiana is actually closer.
Heading to Kokomo with Roberta X, Tam and Shootin' Buddy.
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Your new instructor: Professor Obama
4 weeks ago
Even with the killings in Newtown as a backdrop, a new Gallup poll shows 74 percent of Americans now support the right to possess a handgun, while just 24 percent would support a ban.
Sarah Pike came in as the men chatted and purchased a 40mm Ruger pistol. She asked McGrady about courses that would teach her how to use it. He wondered about her accent and asked where she was from. France, she said, and then she wondered out loud whether she could travel abroad with such a weapon.“Not internationally, but you can travel anywhere in the continental United States,” he said, except Washington. “Just stay off the Beltway around D.C.”
There isn't anything wrong with gun-control advocates lamenting what, by their lights, is a public that's reaching wrongheaded conclusions on the subject and is trending in the wrong direction.But too many pieces I've read make a mockery of robust debate in a pluralistic society by ignoring the fact that current policy is largely (though not entirely) a reflection of the U.S. public disagreeing with gun reformers. The average American is far more likely than the average journalist or academic to identify with gun culture, to insist that the Second Amendment confers an individual right to bear arms, to exercise that right, and to support various state concealed-carry laws. Perhaps persuasion can move the citizenry to favor a different status quo. That's always a hurdle to clear in a democracy. Yet the ability to engage and persuade fellow citizens is undermined when public discourse obscures rather than confronts the relevant disagreements.The problem goes beyond the absurd conceit that a conversation about guns had yet to begin prior to this week.I'll give you an example.In an Atlantic Wire post titled "It's Time We Talked About Gun Control," my sharp colleague Jen Doll writes, "We're going to have to talk about this; we're going to have to form coherent thoughts; and we're going to have to stop simply cleaving to our agendas and our selfish little opinions of what we want and what we think we should have -- and when 'the right time is' -- if this is ever going to get any better." But that isn't a call for a conversation! It's an assertion that opponents of gun control are selfish, and that they (not "we") are going to "have to" change their minds. It's fine to make that argument. The problem is couching it as a mere call for talking, when it is in fact an assertion that the only reasonable conclusion is that the other guys are wrong.
In short, I said, events like Columbine are influenced far less by violent movies than by CNN, the NBC Nightly News and all the other news media, who glorify the killers in the guise of "explaining" them. I commended the policy at the Sun-Times, where our editor said the paper would no longer feature school killings on Page 1. The reporter thanked me and turned off the camera. Of course the interview was never used. They found plenty of talking heads to condemn violent movies, and everybody was happy.
As a Canadian who's studied homicide stats pretty extensively, I have to tell you that I think you're barking up the wrong tree. My own home province of Newfoundland has a gun ownership rate of 45% of all households, almost exactly the same rate as the United States. Yet our homicide rate is a mere 1.4 per 100,000, compared to the US national rate of about 4.2 per 100,000.
However, looking back over the past decade, we cannot claim as low a homicide rate as North Dakota, which has been less violent than any Canadian province, and yet has one of the highest rates of gun ownership in North America, far higher than, say, Detroit (48.2 homicides per 100,000), or Washington DC (21.9 per 100,000).
The US homicide rate is about 2.5 x that of Canada. But 52% of US homicides are committed by African-Americans, who are only 12% of the US population. If you compare Canada with the other 88% of the US population, you will find that homicide rates are very close.
Likewise, comparing the 50 US states, 10 Canadian provinces, and 3 Canadian territories, the top three jurisdictions for homicide per capita are usually Louisiana, Nunavut (the Inuit territory), and the Northwest Territories, in that order.
Social problems and cultural attitudes drive homicide, and I say this not as an advocate for the gun lobby, nor as a believer in innate racial or cultural differences. I'm neither, just someone who respects what the numbers tell us.