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An Open Response to Tamara Grigsby's Call for Gun Control

Tamara Grigsby calls for feel-good legislation that builds on fear by inserting words such as school, movie theaters and Aurora shooting, simply won't have the intended effect .

Recently, state rep. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee) issued this statement regarding Wisconsin's gun control laws:

She starts by using the Colorado incident to call for an examination of Wisconsin's gun laws.  To start, the person who committed this crime appears to have been as law abiding and clean as you can be, and any amount of gun control wouldn't have changed the outcome. If Rep. Grigsby is talking about an all-out ban on guns, this killer was an intelligent person who had 30 homemade grenades, and could have easily done just as much damage using other methods, assuming he couldn't get his hands on any banned weapons.  (Which many bad guys do every day)

She then says:

Lax gun laws drive a U.S. murder rate that is almost seven times higher than the average murder rate of other high-income countries.

Comparing the rates of one country to another is an apples to oranges comparison.  There are simply too many variables that affect violent crime and murder rates in a comparison between countries, and gun control actually has little to no impact on them. Otherwise one could also point to countries that directly refute Rep. Grigsby's statement. Take Switzerland, which has a high amount of guns per capita and some of the most relaxed gun control laws there are (gun control is practically non-existent) and yet they have one of the lowest murder and violent crime rates in the world.  Or look at what happened to the violent crime and homicide rates in countries after they created a full ban on weapons, such as the UK.  Since the UK's ban in 1997, their violent crime rate is up 77%, and their murder rate shot up dramatically until about 2003 (it doubled), at which point it started going back down and currently is at a slightly lower level than in 1993.

"In the summer of 2011, Wisconsin passed concealed carry (Wisconsin Act 35). This new law allows people to carry guns in many public places, including bars and taverns, and to keep guns in cars parked in school, airport, courthouse, prison, and mental health treatment facility parking lots," according to a press release.

Here's a loaded statement that also has incorrect information.  To start, ACT 35 didn't make any changes to the laws regarding guns on school property such as a school parking lot.  Also notice how the statement should read "This new law allows you to carry guns in public places and keep guns in parked cars in parking lots."  But instead, it lists a bunch of places (even though it's talking about parking lots, not the actual buildings) that are intended to make the reader recoil in fear and horror in an attempt to tie CCW to places like schools, prisons, etc.

"Under this new concealed carry regime, 39,644 concealed carry licenses were issued in November and December of last year alone, and by April of this year 100,000 licenses had been issued,"  continued.

Yes, she actually used the word "regime."  I'm actually shocked she didn't manage to work in "AK-47" somehow.

"What this means is that thousands of more guns are out there, as a part of our daily lives. They are in our public places—places where we work, learn, socialize, and worship. And, yes, you can bet they are in our movie theatres," Grisby said, in the press release.

It appears Rep. Grigsby is unaware that the shooter in Colorado was not a CCW holder, and that the city of Aurora, CO, has a ban on concealed carry anyways.  But in an effort to drum up fear, she mentions "movie theaters."  She also seems unaware that in spite of all of these guns everywhere, CCW holders simply aren't causing any problems, though they have had several instances already in Wisconsin in which they stopped a violent crime.  In fact, according to the U.S. Dept of Justice and their National Crime Victimization Survey, an average of about 600,000 crimes are stopped every year by defensive use of a gun.  The Democrats promised us that Wisconsin would become the OK Corral, that shootouts would be rampant, and that we should all fear for our very lives as gun-toting CCW monsters would shoot us for no reason.  And yet, none of that happened.

"Our standards for legal gun ownership and for concealed carry are deeply flawed," said Grigsby, in the release. "Let’s not wait for the next massacre to talk about gun policy in Wisconsin."

Here is where I actually agree with Rep. Grigsby.  She's right.  Our standards for gun ownership and CCW are deeply flawed.  They are still far too restrictive.  This state, like many others have done, should at some point move towards constitutional carry in which you can carry everywhere, without restriction.  And you don't even need a permit to do it.  We have gone off the deep end when it comes to the 2nd amendment in this country, and even with Wisconsin's current gun laws, we have a ways to go to get back to that freedom.

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Brian Carlson August 06, 2012 at 12:19 PM
I think that a large part of you fantasize about becoming guerillas in a pitched battle with a despotic government. Movies you have grown up with are rife with this plot. It aligns with the vigilante fantasy... another very popular movie theme. I bet that most of you tough guys have not been near a real war. My guess. I don't hear vets talking with your blood lust and bravado. They have seen what happens in conflict. You sound like fifteen year old boys.
Brian Carlson August 06, 2012 at 12:29 PM
Matt you sound fairly intelligent. It's these macho boys that alarm the people who want more gun control. But it's the paradigm that is the real issue. Gun culture, hunting aside, is well reflected among this group of guys squaring up to see who has the biggest weapon. It's the belief that guns will solve some problem that doesn't work... Specifically, that guns bring security and peace. Gun advocates like to say... Guns don't kill...people kill. Of course people make guns to kill people so there is a bit of weakness in that chain of thinking. But...to the extent it makes sense... It makes equal sense to say that guns dont make peace or security. People do. The type of thinking displayed by a lot of your respondents is certainly not the type of thinking that leads to peace. Ask the Sihks right now about hate, malice, racism, bigotry, fear and the like. Mass killings return to Wisconsin.
Matt Stevens August 06, 2012 at 01:18 PM
The purpose of one owning a gun has many reasons. Self-defense is a part of security, in that it is an equalizer. Criminals are going to have guns. This is simple fact. Even if they're banned completely in the US, the criminals will still have them. This notion that criminals are suddenly going to start obeying laws because you ban guns is laughable at best. "I think that a large part of you fantasize about becoming guerillas in a pitched battle with a despotic government. Movies you have grown up with are rife with this plot. It aligns with the vigilante fantasy... another very popular movie theme. I bet that most of you tough guys have not been near a real war. My guess. I don't hear vets talking with your blood lust and bravado. They have seen what happens in conflict. You sound like fifteen year old boys." I don't know anyone who wishes for that type of thing. You're trying to draw the connection that people who wish to carry or own weapons are also fantasizing about using it like some action hero in a movie. It's a nonsensical correlation. It might be what the anti-gun crowd likes to paint us as being, but there is no basis in reality.
Dirk Gutzmiller August 06, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Cynthia - I would reword your comment slightly in light of yesterday's gun + nut = tragedy. "Wow. The scariest bunch of mouthy neocons I've seen in one place for a while."
Brian Carlson August 06, 2012 at 05:41 PM
I don't think you are reading your thread very closely if you think no fantasy is going on here. And are you honestly telling me you don't think through scenarios where you whip out your S&W or whatever and save the show? Come on. Gun ads are written to dramatize those eventualities... To appeal to machismo...to give you the impression you are the baddest guy on the block. Gun culture is full of this banter.

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