Las Vegas shooting reminds us all in Italy how stricter gun laws equal fewer deaths


Concert goers run for cover Sunday in Las Vegas where a gunman killed 59 people and injured more than 500.

Concert goers run for cover Sunday in Las Vegas where a gunman killed 59 people and injured more than 500.


The bullets from Las Vegas Sunday could be heard 6,000 miles away here in Rome. They sounded a little louder above the bank of the Tiber River where I stared at my computer and saw the crude videos shot by terrified concert goers. Mass shootings in the United States don’t normally make me sit upright anymore. I’m an American. Mass shootings happen in America as often as fireworks. According to the non-profit Gun Violence Archive, the updated number of mass shootings, defined by at least four people shot, is 1,516 in 1,735 days. Total dead: 1,714.

But the Las Vegas massacre caught my attention more than others for two reasons: One, the 59 dead, plus more than 500 injured, marked it as the worst in modern U.S. history.

Two, I lived in Las Vegas for 10 years.

I remember nights sitting in the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s sports department from 1980-90 listening to the police radio on a nearby desk. Seemingly every evening someone who bought a gun to protect themselves from everyone else who had a gun was shooting an ex-loved one. Gang members killed other gang members for crossing the wrong street. Most of the murders never even made our front page.

Meanwhile, here in Italy I looked up how many gun massacres the country has had since, oh, say, 1966.

Zero.

That’s right. Niente. Nein. Nyet. Not even one.

I’ve written before about Rome’s relatively safe streets. Last year I took a police ride and compared some frightening but revealing statistics. Three years ago, according to City.Data.com, the U.S. had 33,169 people die from guns; Italy had 475. Over the last 10 years, Detroit, a city of 200,000, averaged 345 gun deaths. Baltimore a city of 622,000, averaged 234.

ANSA, Italy’s wire service, reported Rome, population 2.6 million, averaged 30.

Between the two cops I rode with last year and three I tagged along with in 2002 for a book chapter, I have interviewed five Rome cops with a combined 70 years of experience. Not one had ever fired a gun. They had only seen one cop shoot one. Why would they?

Hardly anyone else carries a gun, either.

It doesn’t take the brain of a Nobel Peace Prize winner to figure it out — although it may take a brain bigger than the average NRA member. It’s gun laws. Italy’s gun laws are strict; the United States’ are … well, they barely have them.

Thirteen U.S. states don’t even have background checks. The states that require them often take only minutes on a computer to approve. You can buy a gun for as little as $100, making them the cheapest in the world. The U.S. has 54,000 gun stores with 98 percent of the population living within 10 miles of one. Besides, who in America doesn’t live within 10 miles of a Walmart? Yes, you can buy guns there, too. The number of gun shows range from 2,000-5,200 per year. This is a big reason why there is 1.13 guns per every American.

In Italy, these are the requirements:

* Be 18 or over.

* Obtain a shooting safety certificate from a gun safety course.

* Pass a medical exam showing you are mentally sufficient.

* Prove you have a clean record at the police station.

* Register all guns at local police department within 72 hours of purchase.

While you can buy guns in Italy, the types of guns are even more prohibitive. Any military weapons such as assault rifles and machine guns are strictly outlawed. Any rifle made in Italy after 1976 must be identified with a progressive catalog number assigned by a commission composed of police and government officials. All guns must be stored in a locked cabinet. A quick search for “Negozi di pistola Roma” (Gun stores Rome) revealed only 13 in the city. I have that many pizza joints in my neighborhood.

Still, looking at the low number of homicides and limited shopping options, I was surprised to see the number of registered guns in Italy: 7 million. However, if you think about it, in a country of 60 million people, that’s only one for every nine persons. That’s only the ninth highest in Europe and more than 10 times lower than the U.S. That number includes hunting rifles and people with more than one gun.

“You have more possibility to have a terrorist attack here than a mass shooting,” said Sabrina Magris, president of Rome’s Ecole Universitaire Internationale and an expert on anti-terrorism and violence in Italy.

I met Magris, 29, for coffee on Piazza Mattei, ironically in the Jewish Ghetto where, on Oct. 16, 1943, occupying Nazis hauled off 1,000 Jews to concentration camps. Only 16 survived. So Rome knows a little about gun violence and mass death.

The difference is Italy, except for isolated pockets, has no gun culture. Its constitution does not say every person has the right to bear arms. Thus, they don’t. In the U.S., gun owners wrap themselves in the Second Amendment and say it’s not only their right but their obligation to own a gun.

“I do not have a weapon,” said Magris, who grew up in Pordenone near Venice and has lived in Rome three years. “Nor my mother, my father. You don’t need a weapon to be safe in your house.”

Italians, unlike Americans, have learned from their history. After World War II came the mafia wars and the clashes between the Red Brigades and fascists. Italians have had enough. While their level of distrust in their government is among the highest in Europe — look how few Italians pay their taxes — they somehow trust the government to protect them.

Rome is the No. 2 pickpocket capital of the world (behind Barcelona) and sexual assault is a concern, as it is every corner of the world. But gun violence is the least of an Italian’s worry. It helps that the gun laws in Italy are national laws. In the U.S., many guns used in the 762 gun deaths in Chicago last year were bought in from Indiana which has less gun control.

The lack of gun control is thanks to the National Rifle Association, a bigger threat to the U.S. than Isis. It’s an organization so arrogant that it held a rally in Denver the week after two teenagers gunned down 13 people at suburban Columbine High. The NRA has been in bed with as many Republican politicians as $500-a-night call girls but are more morally corrupt. In Italy, the gun lobby consists of a guy named Guido shooting wild boar in Tuscany.

Mattei also says cultural differences extend to the trigger finger.

“A lot of Italians are scared to use a weapon,” she said. “If you buy a weapon or if you have a weapon, it’s not the same as to be able to use it. People buy them to think they are safe. If you are not able to manage a weapon it isn’t easy to shoot.”

Which is somewhat of an argument the NRA has trotted out for years. Guns don’t kill people; people kill people. The problem is with the people, not the guns.

CHE CAZZO! (WHAT THE FUCK!)

If people who murder with guns are deranged and mental illness is the problem in the U.S. and not gun laws, who really thinks Americans are 10 times more crazy than Italians? If mental illness is a bigger problem in the U.S., then why make buying a gun no more difficult than buying George Foreman Grill on your way home from work?

Magris’ point about home safety hits home. The Northern League, Italy’s most far right party, is pushing to give gun owners more rights. Under Italian law, any home owner must prove he’s under serious attack before he can use a weapon but the movement isn’t getting much traction.

In the U.S., the NRA’s need for guns to protect their homes has all the validity of a teenage girl needing a car. I’m 61 years old. I have never in my life heard of one American protecting their home with a gun. Why? Because criminals who invade homes don’t do it when you’re home. They also aren’t armed. They don’t knock on your door and point a gun. They sneak in, rob you and leave.

And if your gun is in a locked cabinet as it should be and not unlocked in your lap, what the hell are you going to do if the thief surprises you? If you keep it in your nightstand drawer, statistics show you have about a 1,000 times more chances of a family member getting shot than any thief. Somehow, some way, the average American gun owner can’t comprehend a simple math equation: the loosest gun laws in the industrialized world equals the most gun deaths in the industrialized world.

It’s all a cop out for a culture that equates gun ownership with patriotism while the rest of the world equates the streets of America with a war zone. The Las Vegas gunman had enough guns to outfit a third world militia and he bought everything legally. I’m sure they were still counting the dead when the NRA started waving the Second Amendment, a rag that was written when Americans used single-gauge rifles and needed them to defend themselves against a government, not each other.

The U.S. Constitution is about the only thing that’s bulletproof in America. But, as so many other countries have done, it needs to be rewritten. As Australian comic Jim Jefferies said, while pointing out Australia hasn’t had a gun massacre since the government outlawed guns following a mass shooting in 1996, “It’s called an amendment!”

Categories: Europe, General Travel, Travel StoriesTags: , , , ,

19 comments

  1. More and more, I’m beginning to resent my maternal & paternal grandparents for immigrating from Italy to the USA.

  2. I lived in Verona as a child in the early 60’s, I absolutely loved it and didn’t like when we had to go back to the US.
    I really enjoy reading about your travels and viewpoints!

  3. I’m happy you like my country, I’d change any day my Italian passport with yours. Anyway as a firm believer in the right of people to be armed (responsibly so) and being armed myself since I was 18, as a serviceman and as a civilian, I’d like to point out a few things that I find inaccurate and misleading:
    1. In Italy you have the right to keep your arms ready for an home invasion, it’s a myth that you cannot use them in self defense, there is even a law clearly stating this situation. It’s true you have to keep them safe from children and unauthorized person and you may be charged if they are stolen too easily, for example it’s absolutely forbidden to leave them in the car and it’s almost impossible to have a permit allowing you to carry out of your house.
    2. The simple fact that gun related deaths are lower in countries with stricter gun laws is a useless information, because a dead person is a dead person even when killed without a firearm. Having lived in the UK I can tell you that the most unarmed nation in Europe is more and more violent, I had to leave because I felt terribly unsafe in the UK, drug and alcohol related stabbing was everyday business.
    3. What you say about thieves being unarmed in Italy is nonsense, my 93 years old neighbor was hit with the stock of a rifle one year ago during a rubbery and guess what they did? they knocked to his door and immediately hit the poor man, he was just a retired farmer with a very small pension living in a poor rural house. Of course the attacks are USUALLY less violent than in the US or the UK, but it’s not because they don’t have guns it’s just a different environment and Italians are more tolerant of criminals and injustice in general, ask the police off the record and they will ASSURE you that every average thug is perfectly able to buy illegal weapons (almost all AK47, makarovs, tokarevs from eastern Europe) remember Italy is in the middle of the mediterranean, and on the other side of the Adriatic sea there is Albania and Montenegro, two of the best dealers for illegal weapons in Europe.
    I don’t want to be an ass, but America’s gun culture in my opinion has nothing to do with the mass shootings, and your description of the average NRA man… well I don’t think you really believe what you wrote unless you are deeply biased ideologically.
    Just for fun, try compare guns ownership in Czech Republic and in Switzerland too, and in the UK, then compare violent crimes rates and homicides (not only gun related homicides, because as I said a dead man isa a dead man, stabbed or shot).

    • The U.S. has 20 times more gun deaths than all the other Western powers combined. Are we really 20 times more crazy than all the others combined? You really think there is no connection between the loosest gun laws in the world and the most gun deaths in the world? That it’s not part of a “gun culture”? That’s absolute nonsense. The man in Las Vegas bought those guns legally. Sure, the black market does provide a trough for which crazy people can drink but to have these kinds of assault weapons legal is criminally insane. You can’t own those in Italy. There is not even a push in the U.S. to get the bump stocks banned. That’s because everyone wants a gun to protect themselves from others with guns. And I still have yet to hear any American who ever protected their home with a gun, not have I heard of an Italian. People say — well, I don’t know if Ted Nugent qualifies as “people” — but they say if you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns. Well, that would prevent one helluva lot of murders. Thanks for your note.

      • In italy semiauto “assault weapons” are legal and with less restrictions than in California. You clearly do not know that most murders are connected to gangs and they operate in the areas where degradation is widespread. This is due to strong cultural and economic fragmentation. The gun law is not the main cause, but it is the entire society. An example? in the Czech republic 3% of the population have the license to carry a gun (around the streets) and yet is one of the quietest states.

        “the U.S. had 33,169 people die from guns; Italy had 475. ” . In USA you are also counting suicides (about 20.000) with firearms but not in italy. For italy the number you reported relates to the total murders (396 in 2016) and not just the one with the firearms. 20 times? no sense number without taking into account the number of people in the two countries. The right number would be about 7. What can you say? that in Italy there is less violence and this is not due to the gun law. if it were so then Uk would be the safest nation in Europe but is not so …

        You did not use the numbers correctly, you have given false information and you did not understand the root of the problem.

        That’s absolute nonsense…..

      • In Italy you can not go into a K-Mart and buy a gun like you can in California. In California you don’t have to take a three-day safety course as required in Italy. The number of suicides doesn’t count as a murder? The number of murders, even besides guns, is minute compared to the U.S. But what bothers me about arguments like yours, people who try to divert the attention from the gun to the individuals, is you people never give a valid reason for the astronomical number of gun murders in the U.S. Gangs? Sure, they kill people. But how do you explain the 160 mass shootings in the U.S. since 2000? Those aren’t by gangs. They’re done mostly by people who bought guns legally with no criminal record. I lived about five miles from Columbine High when that slaughter occurred. Those two kids were not gang members. They were bored, screwed-up suburban, middle-class teenagers. They bought their guns legally. I’m from Eugene, Oregon, next to Springfield where that student killed those people in his high school. He took the guns from his father’s unlocked cabinet. To say that this isn’t due to the easy availability of guns is putting your head in the quicksand. In Australia after their Port Arthur mass shooting in 1996, the Australians turned in all their guns. They haven’t had a mass shooting since. After Columbine, the fucking sick NRA held a gun rally in the state capital and heckled the parents of the gunned down teens from Columbine who protested on the capitol lawn. The biggest sickness in American society is the gun owners. I’ve had enough of this argument. I hate gun advocates, regardless of their nationality. If you write again, I’ll delete it.

      • gun law in california is more restrictive than in Italy but the murders are far superior (even with the guns). The only sensible answer is that violence is not strictly tied to the gun law….

      • ” three-day safety course ” the procedure depends on the TSN where did you go but it only requires usually few hours……”three day” lol. With a valid license (6 years) or a “nulla osta” (valid only for one purchase ) I can enter in a “armory” and go out with the weapon. I have 72 hours to denounce the purchase. I do not have to wait any background check at the time of purchase. Medical check is a farce considering that it is not possible to realize “mental disorders” except in obvious cases.

        A15 and other “assault like weapons” are legal with max 29 cantrige. In california only 10 with “semi” fixed magazine and pistol grip are forbidden. The need to have a license is not a big difference, in both cases there is backgorund check (in california every time you buy). Yes the law in california is less restrictive … perhaps in your dreams.

        Full auto weapons are illegal even in USA (for pre 1986 full auto gun are require complex steps and are few and expensive). Only those who can acquire a business license (like polygons) can have full auto weapons what’s also possible in italy (even if this possibility is not used).

        The reason why mass shooting do not happen in Italy I doubt it is tied to the gun law (it’s not really that difficult for those who have a criminal record clean and not a history of mental illness to have a legally ar15 or other) but much more likely to the society structure.

  4. I’m sorry but I don’t believe anything you say. I got my information from the Rome police department’s documents and various Italian government websites. The assault weapons people have used in mass shootings have all been bought legally in the U.S. and they are legal: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/oct/16/news/la-pn-romney-illegal-automatic-weapons-20121016. The semi-automatic weapons are turned into full assault weapons with legally purchased bump stocks. You haven’t addressed the question why half the U.S. population needs to have a gun? Don’t tell me it’s for protection. No one protects their home with a gun. Guns have ruined much of America. The gun laws have helped that. Don’t tell me they haven’t.

    • In do not belive when you say your sources are police authorities and “various italian government websites” (non existent). Why? I have a law degree and I know the laws that regulate the subject, so you can’t play with me. Many countries have armed citizens, Switzerland is one example, but mass shootings and a huge violence problem are typically american. The mere idea that “a gun doesn’t protect your home” is ridicuolous. The statement that thieves are nto dangerous in an insult to everyone’s intelligence, haven’t you heard of the many many murders and violent robberies in private homes in recent yars? Or are you simply ignoring the fact because it doesn’t go well with your rhetoric? Nobody has to address your silly questions like “why half the U.S. population needs to have a gun?”. It’s their right to have them, they do not need “a reson”, much less a reason that YOU are willing to consider the right one. I may ask the same way why you need to write such rubbish on the web…or do you need to have kitchen knives? A car? A Bike? A tv? can you show actual evidence of the need?
      America was not ruined bu guns. It was ruined by You americans. Violence in the usa is much higher even without involving the misuse of firearms, will you blame guns for every murder or violence committed with knives oer else? Stop hiding behind the gun excuse. Your peiece ins based on commonplaces and absolutely trivial, like the vast majority on this subject.

      • Andrew, you’re really trying to say that Americans need guns to protect themselves from everyone else who has guns. That’s just lunacy. And blatantly false. Look at the statistics:

        According to the Violence Policy Center, in 2012 only 259 homicides were labeled “justified gun-related.” That’s from a population toting 300 million guns or nearly 1 per person. Yet only one-third of Americans have guns. Take into account the U.S. averages 1.2 million violent crimes a year. Let’s see, 1.2 million violent crimes vs. 259 thwarted by guns in self defense. So why do you have guns again?

        Also in 2012, there were 8,342 criminal homicides committed by guns, 20,666 suicides by guns and 548 unintentional homicides. That’s one justifiable homicide for every 32, according to the FBI’s Supplemental Homicide Report. If you take the previous five-year period from 2008-12 the ration drops to 38-1.

        You people use the NRA’s stats and they’re flat-out wrong. The NRA trots out the number of 2.5 million incidents a year where Americans stop crimes with guns. The Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics’ National Crime Victimization Survey, which I trust a helluva lot more than the NRA, puts the number at 67,740. It also reported that 18.7 percent of people who kill in self defense know the acquaintance. That means they could’ve shot a neighbor who threatened to hit them for a dog running loose.

        Here’s what bothers me: Nearly half of all gun owners say they feel safer. How are they going to protect themselves? Ninety percent of all burglaries are committed when the occupants aren’t home. And when you’re not home, they’re probably stealing your gun(s). About 170,000 are stolen from homes every year. And even if you are home, unless you have a gun in your hand when the burglar breaks in, or if a thug jumps you, how are you going to use that gun to protect yourself? I know. Hold it in public, just as you can do it in 24 American states. See the photos of those guys carrying holstered guns and semi-automatic weapons strapped on their backs standing in line in fast food joints? Yeah, that’s a civilized society. Show me another country where people can carry guns into public places. You can’t in Italy. That’s my point.

        Like Hair Hitler, our sorry excuse for a president and world leader, said if all those people in that Paris theater had guns “the outcome would’ve been different.” Sure, he’s right. If all those people spent the performance holding a gun toward the entrance where the terrorists opened fire, sure, those terrorists would’ve killed fewer people. So his solution is for everyone to carry guns and hold them in movie theaters? And restaurants? And classrooms? That’s just lunacy.

        Yeah, I know much of America’s violent crime is rooted in America’s societal problems. But is our society 20 times more screwed up than the rest of the western world combined? That’s how many more murders by guns are committed every year.

        I also understand that it is EVERY AMERICAN’S RIGHT TO HAVE A GUN!!! Italy’s constitution does not state this. When our founding fathers wrote that 2nd Amendment, guns were single-shot muskets, not semi-automatic weapons bought legally and dragged to a Las Vegas hotel room to slaughter 58 people. That guy had no criminal record and no history of mental health problems. Many countries change their constitution as their society changes. Ireland has changed theirs three times. It’s time we changed ours. It’s why they call it an AMENDMENT!

        But thanks for the comment. It made me do even more research. I learned a lot. I learned I was more right than ever in writing that blog.

      • The only lunacy here it’s yours.
        “..you’re really trying to say that Americans need guns to protect themselves from everyone else who has guns”. I have not written that. This is your own personal conclusion. It’s not very smart accusing ME of saying something that only floats in your mind.

        The whole “justified homicide” thing is nothing but blabbering. Your “appeal to the authority” is irrelevant. You are taking into account, willingly, only the homicieds committed in self defence, and not the many many more crimes stoppedby the mere presence or threat to use a gun (eg. warning shots). There is no certain data, because the fbi and police in general simply registers actual crimes and not prevented ones, there is a tremendous need of sciological studies to investigate this aspect. And I will not discuss the fact that using data from anti gun organizations could be equally seen as biased and “flat-out wrong” as using the NRA ones. (and I would like to point out that I have never appealed to any NRA data in my previous post, so you are assuming again that I take everithing from them..).

        “It also reported that 18.7 percent of people who kill in self defense know the acquaintance. That means they could’ve shot a neighbor who threatened to hit them for a dog running loose.” This is completely irrelevant and a stupid argument. If the neighbor threatens to hit me (and possibly kill me), I have the right to defend myself. Period. The fact that I know him does not change the situation: aggression is aggression. Period. Pheraphs you should consider the reasons behind the (typically american) compulsion to hit your neighbor with something just for a loose dog…in Italy this does not happen (and you should know this since you like the place so much)…guns or not.

        “Ninety percent of all burglaries are committed when the occupants aren’t home.” This is a very interesting bit of information. Did you ever ask yourself why thieves usually prefer to break into an empty home insetad of an occupied one? Could be that they fear reactions from the occupants? Nobody is gonna shoot me if i break in an empty house, after all, no? In England, where the private possession of guns is nearly totally forbidden, the preferred method of assault is “hot burglary”, because citizens are incapaple of defending themselves and thus the risk of being killed is minimal and the robbery is more effective. And since the enforcement of strict gun laws in 1997 and then again in 2002, crime has skyrocketed. This is not NRA info: the telegraph, daily mail, the independent, and the guardian newspapers have pointed out this disturbing phenomenon.

        In Italy we face two typical situations: 1 burglars break into a occupied house with unarmed people, this usually ends with beatings, robbying , torturing people and often killing them. 2 burglars break into a home with armed people inside: this usually ends with warning shots and the escape of the aggressor or a confrontation with one or more of the aggressors dead. There may be very few exceptions where the armed householder gest killed, but this is usually the outcoming. So if you look at the whole picture there is data that shows how a gun can really make you safer. If you are not willing to see, that is another problem.

        “See the photos of those guys carrying holstered guns and semi-automatic weapons strapped on their backs standing in line in fast food joints? Yeah, that’s a civilized society. Show me another country where people can carry guns into public places.” Judging a whole nation just by looking at a few photos is something pretty stupid and utterly superfcial (and again typically american). I would be more disturbed by other serious issues of american society, like diffuse ignorance, poor social security and healthcare, racism, highest number of incarcerated people in the world, infant mortality an many more. But no, let’s focus on guns! You know what? You have a vehicle related death toll that is more than double than the italian one, and neralry 4 times as high as England. Wonder about the reasons? Poor dirivng education? Road rage? Alcohol? Surely not guns.. And nope, in Europe we don’t have stricter road codes or diriving licences requisites stricter than yours. We a re far more relaxed instead. We are simply more conscious, calm and educated.

        “if all those people in that Paris theater had guns “the outcome would’ve been different.” Sure, he’s right. If all those people spent the performance holding a gun toward the entrance where the terrorists opened fire, sure, those terrorists would’ve killed fewer people. So his solution is for everyone to carry guns and hold them in movie theaters? And restaurants? And classrooms? That’s just lunacy.” Basically you admit (your own words) that armed people would have stpped the massacre, but eventually you say that having armed people oround would be lunacy? Really? You are at the point of knowingly and consciously preferring dead people over armed ones. Genius. This shows the maggot level of your morality. And you shoul be ashamed for the stupid pet name “hair hitler”, which reminds of a man who killed tens of millions of people, just to show your legitimate aversion to Trump, just for respect for millions of jews and other killed during world war II. Do you relize that comaring trump to adolf hitler is ignorant, insensible and disturbing? I do not know your education, but you seem pretty much an illiterate. You have no perception of measure and so you exaggerate.

        “Yeah, I know much of America’s violent crime is rooted in America’s societal problems.” Sou you are aware of the problem, and this proves your bad faith.

        “But is our society 20 times more screwed up than the rest of the western world combined..” I have no idea if it’s 20 times, more or less, for sure it has a lot of problems, like every other nation in the world has its own. But the whole murder rate is a lot higher, 4,88 x 100.000 (UNDOC), compared to Italy’s little 0,78, England (with much less guns ownership than Italy) with 0.92 and Czech rep. (with quite liberal gun laws and castle doctrine type home defence) with only 0,75. And in your statistics every death by firearm is put toghether, homicide, suicide, incident, police killing (that alone amounts to over 5000 per year, bu no anti-gun carzy maniac ever suggest to take away guns from the police): this is a very old (and silly) trick to warp reality.

        “When our founding fathers wrote that 2nd Amendment, guns were single-shot muskets, not semi-automatic weapons” Now I feel really insulted. Did I tell ya that I have a law degree? Yes? So this assumes that I have also studied history. I Know perfectly that in 1791 they had muskets. But I know also that in 1791 muskets were top notch technology in warfare equipment. Just like fully auto rifles (aka machine guns) which, by the way are outlawed in the whole federation (see the federal GCA of 1968 and the FOPA of 1986). So basically today the right to possess guns is less broad than it was in 1791. Oh and I assume that the nonsense you spit on the web is protected by the first amendment, too bad for you that it was written with printing press in mind, and so, using your “logic”, should not cover internet.

        “hat guy had no criminal record and no history of mental health problems.” history is history, he surely had actual problems. I agree on the usefulness of having periodic helath checks for gun owners jus as on car drivers. This alone would prevent many many misuses, and does not compress the right to have a gun, (unless it is used as a pretence to disarm people), but only ensures the the owner is fit and able to the task just as driving (oh by the way, did you know that 255 millions vehicles kill annually more people than 300 millions guns in you country? Those evil polluting wheeled rust buckets, who needs them anyway, and they’re not event protected by any amendment!! DO SOMETHING!!

        “But thanks for the comment.” You are welcome.
        “It made me do even more research.” That is good, or it would be goog if you had the honesty of taking a look at the whole picture, not just at your “sweet spot”.
        “I learned a lot.” Nope. You didn’t.
        “I learned I was more right than ever in writing that blog.” No. You are very far from being right. You are jus full of yourself. You have written nonsense, your piece could have been conceived by an 8 year old boy, judging by the superficiality of your “reasoning”.

        Dont’ even bother to answer my post. I won’t waste any more of my time reading you.

  5. I told myself I wasn’t going to respond to another irrational gun nut, one of those that has turned America into borderline anarchy, but your email was so absurd I had to respond. You say you won’t read my response, but I bet you will.

    “The whole “justified homicide” thing is nothing but blabbering. Your “appeal to the authority” is irrelevant. You are taking into account, willingly, only the homicieds committed in self defence, and not the many many more crimes stoppedby the mere presence or threat to use a gun (eg. warning shots).”

    Wrong. The evidence isn’t there. The Los Angeles Times reported from a survey by the the National Crime Victimization Survey (Are those objective enough sources for you?) showed that defending your home with a gun doesn’t happen as often as the NRA or gun nuts claim. The Times wrote: “Some 90,000 households, comprising about 160,000 individuals, are surveyed twice a year. Along with Sara Solnick, a professor of economics at the University of Vermont, I analyzed the data for the five-year period from 2007 to 2011, looking at more than 14,000 crimes in which there was some degree of personal contact between the victim and perpetrator — incidents in which a self-protective action by the victim was theoretically possible (for example, assaults and robberies).More than 42% of the time, the victim took some action — maced the offender, yelled at the offender, struggled, ran away, or called the police. Victims used a gun in less than 1% of the incidents (127/14,145). In other words, actual self-defense gun use, even in our gun-rich country, is rare.”

    Also, studies have shown that areas where there is more household gun ownership, crime is up. States and counties with higher levels of firearms in the home are subject to more handgun violence and burglaries. Why? Because thieves steal guns. More than 230,000 guns are stolen in the U.S. every year. Thus, the black market.

    “If the neighbor threatens to hit me (and possibly kill me), I have the right to defend myself. Period.”

    So if a neighbor gets mad at you and threatens you, your method of self defense is to go into your home get a gun and threaten to blow him away? That’s your idea of solving problems? Whatever happened to fists? When I lived in Denver, I had a knife collection. It hung on my wall. I had a Gurkha knife from Nepal, a machete from Indonesia, a dagger from Mongolia. Many others. If any thief broke into my home, in the rare case I’d actually be there when he invaded, all I had to do was reach up on the couch and grab a weapon. Very rarely are burglars armed. Trust me. I’ve talked to professional burglars before. They see a two-foot, razor-sharp knife, they’ll turn and run. But knives are safe. They’re not used on impulse. They can’t be used for mass murder except in a locked bus in Egypt. It takes courage to plunge a knife into someone’s flesh. Any coward can pull a trigger. Look at Republicans.

    “Ninety percent of all burglaries are committed when the occupants aren’t home.” This is a very interesting bit of information. Did you ever ask yourself why thieves usually prefer to break into an empty home insetad of an occupied one? Could be that they fear reactions from the occupants? Nobody is gonna shoot me if i break in an empty house, after all, no?”

    No, you’re right. But it’s not guns that prevent burglars from entering unoccupied homes. It’s logic. Why would you enter a home with people already there, guns or no guns? That makes no sense. And since 230,000 guns are stolen every year, it’s pretty obvious that gun owners are just as susceptible to home invasion as anyone else.

    “In England, where the private possession of guns is nearly totally forbidden, the preferred method of assault is “hot burglary”, because citizens are incapaple of defending themselves and thus the risk of being killed is minimal and the robbery is more effective. And since the enforcement of strict gun laws in 1997 and then again in 2002, crime has skyrocketed”

    You’re right. Sort of. Crime did jump inEngtland after the gun ban — immediately after the gun ban. But after 2002, the crime rate has dropped steadily, thanks to better enforcement of the ban and also better registration of guns. Gun crimes fell to as low as 4 percent of 4,994 offenses in 2013. This is from The Guardian (Again, a valid source?) Check out the graphic: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/15/so-america-this-is-how-you-do-gun-control

    “Judging a whole nation just by looking at a few photos is something pretty stupid and utterly superfcial (and again typically american).”

    I don’t judge an entire nation by a few photos. Where’d you come up with that? I merely pointed out that it’s not healthy for a society when people walk into fast-foot restaurants with children and carrying machine guns on their backs. All those other ailments of American society are valid. But guns are definitely among them. Those photos prove it. So does 33,000 gun deaths a year.

    ” Basically you admit (your own words) that armed people would have stpped the massacre, but eventually you say that having armed people oround would be lunacy? Really? You are at the point of knowingly and consciously preferring dead people over armed ones.”

    Can you read English? You missed my point. Again. Mass shootings happen everywhere: theaters, churches, schools, restaurants. I said that if you agree with Trump’s inane analysis of the Paris theater tragedy, then the only solution is for everyone to walk around carrying a gun. Who knows when someone will walk through that restaurant, church or school door and start shooting? How else would they have stopped those terrorists in Paris? By having every theater goer attending the performance walk in with a gun. Are you listening to yourself? That’s insane!

    “And you shoul be ashamed for the stupid pet name “hair hitler.”

    Oh, I’ll go one further. He’s insane. He’s incompetent. He’s a moron. Yes, I compare him to Adolf Hitler. Donald Frump is a white supremacist like Hitler. He’s a racist like Hitler. So many of Hair Hitler’s policies are based on racism: the wall, the travel ban, siding with the alt-right in Charlottesville. He actually said there were good people on the side of the alt-right. I’m sorry, but if you’re walking next to a guy holding a swastika flag, you’re not a good person. When the Muslim terrorists ran down those people in New York, it was because they were Muslim terrorists. When the white middle-class guy murders 58 people in Vegas, he’s an isolated mental case. This Cheeto-faced cumsicle is the worst president in our nation’s history and has disgraced our nation around the world. We are being laughed at everywhere. I am used to Romans smirking when I bring up his name. Beyond being a racist, he’s a sexist, a narcissist, a sexual predator and a horseshit businessman who screwed people who worked for him and filed bankruptcy three times. He only won by his snake-oil, reality TV charm that attracted the uneducated white, blue-collar male looking for jobs that haven’t come and the dingbat woman who wants to get groped by a rich famous guy. He’s a disgrace and the only thing separating him from Hitler is the murder of 6 million people. But give him time. One day, he’ll wake up and not be able to get it up for Ivanka and nuke Australia.

    ” So basically today the right to possess guns is less broad than it was in 1791. Oh and I assume that the nonsense you spit on the web is protected by the first amendment, too bad for you that it was written with printing press in mind, and so, using your “logic”, should not cover internet.”

    Huh? Our gun laws are less broad than in 1791 because we actually ban some forms of weapons? How many people can a musket kill in five minutes? How many people did that gun nut in Vegas kill in five minutes? Case closed. And you’re comparing a printing press with a gun. Great point. You’re comparing the bain of a democracy with the backbone of democracy. Smart.

    “I agree on the usefulness of having periodic helath checks for gun owners jus as on car drivers. This alone would prevent many many misuses, and does not compress the right to have a gun.”

    Are you really saying mentally ill people have the right to own a gun or is your English failing you? Really? This isn’t worth a response. The fact that you give a gun to someone who isn’t mentally capable of knowing right from wrong should put the gun dealer as an accessory to murder. With 300 million guns in the U.S., so many people buy guns without a disorder but develop them over time. You have to be crazy to do a mass shooting then blow your own brains out. These people weren’t crazy when they legally bought their guns. And you want to give guns to people are already with a pre-condition? You’re certifiably criminally insane.

    Again, thank you so much for continuing this debate. I’ve learned so much more about the nut jobs that have turned the U.S. into a war zone. You know, I don’t even read much about mass shootings anymore. They’re like sports events. The National Anthem is played every day. Thank you, NRA.

    • Psssst, hey, nobody tell this guy that the Czech Republic has three fundamental policies for its gun laws: (1) Pass background check which takes a few days. (2) Proficiency tests which no effect on crime, just safe gun use, (3) gun registration, which has no effect on crime.
      After the US, the Czech Republic has some of the highest gun ownership per capita in the world, yet remains one of the safest countries in the world.

      If guns are as problematic as you say, then it means that if you institute strong gun control in a crime ridden country, homicide goes away. South Africa tried that in 2004. Failed dismally. Now everybody uses knives instead.

      You UK analysis has no merit. The homicide ratre SKY ROCKETED BECAUSE of the gun ban. Then they hired 20 000 new police officers around 2002/2003, then the rate gradually went down. It went down because now cops were enforcing ALL the laws, not just gun laws. The fact that the rate returned to almost THE SAME as pre-gun ban, while remaining on an obvious upward trajectory until 2007, again illustrates total failure. Nothing changed. You cannto attribute the 2008 drop to legislation passed 12 years before!

      • See? I told you you’d read it. Everyone brings up the Czech Republic. Not valid. If you compare gun numbers, you must compare motives. I’ve been to the Czech Republic twice and talked to Czechs about this. Most Czechs use guns for hunting. Their hunting culture is much bigger than the gun culture as in the U.S. Czechs use guns to hunt; Americans use guns to protect themselves. Also, a large portion of the gun totals used in comparative statistics in the Czech Republic include antique guns. Strange but true.

        So South Africans are using knives instead of guns? How many mass murders have been committed by knives compared to guns? How many people can you kill in five minutes with a knife than wife a gun? How many people can a knife kill from a hotel window? How many students would kill other students with a knife?

        And when was the last time the UK had a mass gun murder? Since the Dunblane massacre in 1996, before gun laws stiffened, there has been one: 2010 when 12 were killed in Cumbria, England. One in 21 years. In the U.S. since the beginning 2015 there have been nine. Total dead: 180. That’s a partial list. That’s with at least four killed. That doesn’t count the other attacks that killed more than one.

      • Mass gun murder is a meaningless word. The word you’re looking for is massacre.

        Let’s use Australia as a case study then, since they also had big massacre problems, many of which involved guns.
        In the 25 years of 1971 to 1996, there were 137 deaths to massacres. In the 20 years of 1997-2017, there has been 88 deaths to massacres. We are still 4 years out from a comparable time span, so still plenty of time for either one big massacre of a series of smaller ones. The gun ban, has had no effect. You might say “but the population size has changed!”. Even with that in mind, it must also be considered that Australia has never been a particularly violent country, AND their overall homicide rate has been declining in general. A high homicide rate is a pitiful 1.6 per 100 000. I hardly think that population size has a correlation with frequency of massacres. If population went up 100%, there is no data to support other trends also going up 100%.

        Let’s go back to the UK: big whoop guns are used less. The lethality of homicide rate has been so far removed from the gun ban, there is no evidence to even insinuate that gun availability makes crime worse. The rate only went down after the increase because of more enforcement capacity by police through a massive boost in 2002/2003. More officers = less crime. It is that simple.

        South Africa has never had massacre problems, unless it is political violence related, specifically during our EXTREMELY violent and turbulent 1990s. Our tragedy is that our police force is so dysfunctional and corrupt, that officer stress is through the roof. It is not uncommon that officers commit murder suicide with their spouse/partner. Their service firearm has nothing to do with it. It’s their mental health which is completely in tatters by that point.

        Your “how many can you kill with a knife” is completely stupid. You can kill PLENTY people easily without using a firearm. In fact, it’s easier. Get a truck and drive down a crowded promenade or street. Bastille Day: 89 killed in 5 minutes. What is beyond dispute, is that all massacres in the US have almost always been performed by either a terrorist with ideological conviction (Radical Islam, hatred of Christians as in Texas, hatred of minorities, etc), or a mentally deranged individual. You can’t stop their intentions. You can’t mitigate their effect. Australia case in point.

        What US massacres have in common is murder/suicide. You can’t stop this crazy until the act actually happens. When you remove gun accessibility from law abiding citizens, you have to wait about 5 minutes for police intervention, rather than empower citizen choice to be ready to defend themselves should such an event occur.

        Massacres make up a TINY portion of total homicides. Massacres, like other criminal endeavors, indicate intent. If you cannot make a DENT in ALL THE OTHER intentional homicide methods using gun control, why insist on gun control in a naive attempt to curb massacres? It’s proven it doesn’t work.

        Chicago is one of the US’s most violent cities despite the strict gun control. “But the guns come from across state lines!”. Then why are the gun saturated regions less susceptible to crime? Shouldn’t Chicago then put two and two together to replicate these regions and try that method? Instead they double down on their clearly failing methods.

        The problem in the US is far deeper than some superficial window dressing for political point scoring so that opportunistic politicians can be all “Look at me trying to help the situation therefore showing what a great and concerned representative I am! Vote for me!”.

        Oh, and hot burglaries are very common here, because perps know that private gun ownership is low, therefore no lethal penalties PLUS they can threaten everyone with death while waving around machetes and AK-47 automatic rifles in an attempt for max compliance to gain access to safes and maybe perform a rape or two. I guarantee you, that AK-47s have never been used by our state services or civilians at any point, so those guns didn’t come from any “legal gun pool” through a leak which is often touted by the anti gun lobby.

        Only TWO things impact crime: respect for rule of law and enforcers such as police, and prosperity. We have NEITHER. Hence high violent crime. The US doesn’t have those problems though, which again only indicates a morality/value of human life and mental issue with a significant portion of the population living there that it turns out such loonies on a regular basis.

  6. This just in: sharp objects accounted for 47% of our homicide rate for 2016/2017. Firearms 31%. Other methods 22%.
    You have a 215% greater chance of being stabbed or bludgeoned to death than being shot, despite about 3 million civilian gun owners owning about 10 million firearms in our very violent population of 55 million people.
    Our homicide rate is 33 per 100 000, on an a continues increase since 2010, which coincides with our deteriorating economic situation’s start. Surprise surprise! Guns had nothing to do with anything, because until that point, their ownership was declining.
    2% of homicides were to gang violence, 10% to vigilantism. Which means 88% were against the law abiding citizen. THAT is why I have a firearm for self defence that I carry everywhere with me when I leave my home!
    Here cops get hunted for sport. And you mean to tell me, that be you in the USA or RSA, you have a death wish if you have a gun for self defence? Here you have one if you DON’T have a gun for self defence! Why would it be any different in the USA? Homicide is homicide and indicates a preparedness to kill you regardless of your compliance or not.
    US criminals may be less violent than here, but they’re still violent. And you carry a gun to counter ALL of them, because you have no knowing when you will end up with one ready to kill you anyway. If you are going to threatened with death, it’ll be on your terms in which you have a significant negotiating chip.
    You have NO right to tell someone how to deal with threats against their life and liberty. You can suggest from a public platform, but to force through legislation is just heinous. All without affecting anything that the legislation is supposed to address.

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