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Team 26 riding past the Newtown flagpole

Team 26, elite riders on their way from Newtown to Washington DC in support of the 26 lives lost on 12/14, all wearing safety helmets

On Saturday March 9, Team 26, a volunteer group of elite riders and their support crew, took off after a Newtown rally with Connecticut Sens. Blumenthal and Murphy, and Reps. Himes and Esty for a press conference in Washington DC with the entire CT delegation in support of sensible gun laws.

So what do "sensible guns laws" really mean? Well, here's a take out of recent history that might clarify the intent.

Once upon a time, back in 1968, the federal government passed a law requiring seat belts to be fitted in all vehicles. They were not made mandatory for use until 1984, when NY became the first state to require them to be used (link), and it's at the state level that mandatory use emanates.

Why did this all happen? Well, a fellow you may have heard of, Ralph Nader, wrote a scathing book in 1965 called Unsafe at Any Speed:

Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile by Ralph Nader, published in 1965, is a book detailing resistance by car manufacturers to the introduction of safety features, like seat belts, and their general reluctance to spend money on improving safety. It was a pioneering work, openly polemical but containing substantial references and material from industry insiders. It made Nader a household name.
And while there was a pretty big gap between 1965 and 1984, the pressure that started with Nader's book culminated in the drive to make seat belts mandatory.

Did they work? You betcha.

chart of lives saved by seat belts and air bags over a 10 year period

But more on that, and the initial reaction to seat belts below the fold.

You'd think that the now-accepted seat belt laws would have been an easy sell, but you'd be wrong if you thought that. Initial (and current) objections included an infringement of the state on personal liberty, and accusations of exaggerating the number of lives that could be saved:

Seat Belt Legislation Opposition

If it’s effective at saving lives, why is there an opposition to the compulsory fitting and wearing of seat belts? There are two common grounds for opposition, the first of which is in the nature of the seat belt law: according to the opposition, the forced wearing of seat belts is a form of infringement of liberty. Vehicle occupants who do not wear seat belts are doing so with conscious knowledge of the fact that they can suffer more in property damage, injury, and possibly death as a result of their decision to forgo the seat belt.

A majority of those who oppose the seat belt legislation consider the official estimates to be overstated, or not reflective of the complete picture, which includes additional risks for other road users. On these grounds, the opposition refers to the theory of risk compensation first studied by researcher John Adams. In brief, the theory states that the lesser the risks of injury and death are, the more drivers will reduce their precautions while driving. This theory also has strong evidence to its credit, which makes it a rather strong argument against the seat belt legislation.

And if you think that sounds familiar, you should. It exactly mirrors the discussion we have about the 2nd Amendment rights and gun violence legislation we talk about today. And while the there's no 2nd Amendment for the right to drive cars, one doesn't need a Bill of Rights Amendment to have those similar objections.

By the way, it wasn't just the US. The Guardian had a nice piece on what was going on in the UK:  

National Archives: Police opposed seat belts law as waste of their time

The RAC was sceptical, the police said they would waste their time and civil servants worried that old people would not wear them when Ted Heath's government began the tortuous process of considering whether wearing seat belts in cars should be made compulsory in the early 1970s, according to government papers released at the National Archives yesterday.

So where is all this taking us? Gun violence is a public health issue. There have been over 2500 gun deaths since Newtown, and that's something the public needs to address.

We need to collect data and do the research. Just like with seat belts and air bags, we need to know better what works and what doesn't.

We need to implement improvements to what we are doing now so that we don't have as much loss of life.

We need to understand that this will take time.

And we need to understand that despite concerns about freedom, elite riders (and not so elite riders) wear helmets for safety, and that seat belts and air bags save lives. I consider that a good thing, and a worthy public health goal.

The goal for sensible gun laws is a safer country. Let's get together on this public issue, find common ground, and act. We can discuss and even disagree on how to proceed, but i reject the idea outright that nothing can be done, and so do people in Tucson, Aurora, Columbine, VA Tech and Newtown, and elsewhere in this country.

Gun violence is a public health issue and should be treated as such, just like traffic deaths, and with systemic approaches based on data. There is a role for each of us: the CDC, the public health schools, doctors and voters in bringing that about.

Seat belts were instituted, cars got safer, lives were saved.

Let's get together on this and get it done for gun violence as well. Call it the Connecticut Effect if you want, but it is not going away.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Been thinking that a goal would help (29+ / 0-)

    make gun safety legislation more tangible and help people wrap their heads around something concrete and attainable.  For starters:

    Cut gun deaths in half from 30K to 15K.

    Cut gun injuries in half from 70K to 35K.

  •  This is an Excellent Effort (32+ / 0-)

    ... to highlight the dangers posed by the easy availability of guns and to force national legislators to enact sane guns laws.

    Thanks Greg.

  •  I well remember the brouhaha that went up (22+ / 0-)

    from libertarian types when seat belts came in. Think the Bloomberg drink size caused an uproar? I remember gory photos of people who had gone through windshields. I got the message.

    Or when smoking was verboten in bars in that political correct California? At first, some puffers smoked away in defiance. Then the dirty looks and isolation. Yeah, maybe we overdid it sometimes, but wow, do I don't miss cigarette smoke in bars and restaurants. There were even types who insisted second-hand smoke was no big deal. (I have no idea in what states smoking is still permitted. On second thought.....)

    "They come, they come To build a wall between us We know they won't win."--Crowded House, "Don't Dream It's Over."

    by Wildthumb on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:11:00 PM PDT

    •  Yeah, people used to claim (19+ / 0-)

      that, unencumbered by a seat belt, you would be "thrown clear" of the crash and be saved. I guess that might happen occasionally, but making that your strategy is like making your retirement plan be winning the lottery.

      •  My sister-in-law (13+ / 0-)

        refused to wear a seat belt for years. (She does now.) She was afraid that if the car drove into deep water she would be trapped. That was especially strange since she lives about 90 miles from the nearest water deep enough to submerge a car.

      •  What I'd hear is seat belts can trap you in a (13+ / 0-)

        burning car or cause you to be crushed.
        Or how uncomfortable they were, even to point of distraction.

        Bow let me say my step=father had one of those rare accidents where a seat belt would have killed him. While driving in a storm a huge tree fell and crushed his moving car, it look flattened. He was pushed down across front seat space foot space, only possible because he had no belt on.

        Which maybe explains why he hated seat belts but I didn't know anyone who wore them... except me. And oh the troubles it caused.People would take it as an insult if I wore one in their car, angry if I would untuck it and put it on against their wished. Mocked even by friends when we'd do the teenage driving around thing and I'd wear a belt in a car packed with the not belted.
        I was calm about it, polite but determined. I wouldn't ride without one. It was strange how upset adults could get about it, literally screaming at me.
        Who knew wearing a seat belt could be so rebellious.
        Not sure where my determination came from. A Mars thing... that is as a kid I would think "How would you explain this to Martians?" and one of the things that made no sense was the casual acceptance of car deaths.  I did my own research.
        Later, before high school I had a dream I was thrown from a car and as people looked down on the dying me I was thinking how I always wear seat belts except that time.

        As an adult I was looking to buy a new car... I really liked a certain car but wanted an air bag. It was not an option except on their luxury cars. The dealer went wrong in telling me airbags didn't make it safer, they cause injuries, that if they were a safety feature his company would have them in all the cars. As "proof" he noted the lifetime guarantee they had on their seat belts. Actually research showed me their seat belt checks and guarantee was part of a settlement about their defective seat belts...
        Lying is the wrong way to make a sale to me as I politely told him.

        But at least he was lying about safety for the infamous profit motive. Not sure why my family and friends and their families managed to lie to themselves for so lo0ng.
        They talked a lot about freedom. (Let them explain that to the Martians!)
        Luckily I don't know any passionate paranoid gun owners. (I know plenty of non-paranoid ones).  Can't imagine angry, screaming people with guns...

      •  I saw one of those accidents (11+ / 0-)

        A pickup truck ran a red light and hit a station wagon crossing an intersection. The station wagon flipped and rolled, and a kid riding in the back of the station wagon was 'thrown clear'. He landed on his head and died immediately. Everyone else survived.

        People imagined being 'thrown clear' to safety the same way they imagine a 'good guy with a gun' will protect against 'bad guys with guns'.

        By the way, my winning the lotto retirement plan still hasn't kicked in yet.

        "The problems of incompetent, corrupt, corporatist government are incompetence, corruption and corporatism, not government." Jerome a Paris

        by Orinoco on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:07:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Two kids from my son's middle school... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Orinoco

          were killed last Friday at 2:00 pm when the SUV their mom was driving left the road and went down an embankment.  Both of the siblings (12 & 14) were thrown from the vehichle and both were pronounced dead at the scene.  They were in West Virginia on their way to a funeral in Pennsylvania.  Neither of the kids were wearing seatbelts.

          The little boy played ABA basketball on my friend's team and we shared a gym at practice and they and the team I coached scrimmaged together every practice.  I knew him only in passing giving him a ride to the mall once but my son knew him well.  Everyone who stayed in the vehicle survived and had relatively minor injuries.  Seatbelts would have almost certainly saved their lives.  Such a tragic and preventable accident.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 07:51:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  They ran some pretty good PSAs in the 60s (13+ / 0-)

      I remember the one "but a seat belt will wrinkle my dress." And then they show the woman, in her bloody dress, after not wearing her seat belt - implication was she went through the windshield...

      I fell out of my dad's car when I was a kid - the door wasn't shut tightly and he went around the corner, door flew open and there I am in the road.  Scared the crap out of him (I was 7).  He wasn't even going very fast - probably 15 mph.  We just just purchased a used 1964 Cadillac and it came with seat belts.  You better believe they made me wear a seat belt every time I was in the car.  I got them to start wearing them, too.  

      By the time I started driving (1974), we had a rule - anybody that was in my car (a 1973 Pinto) had to put on the seat belt or they didn't go with me.  My folks required seat belts before "click it or ticket" ever came out of the legislature.  

      Public safety has a place in society - for cars, bikes, guns, smoking - why is common sense so objectionable?  

      "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

      by Ricochet67 on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:07:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Prior to the smoking ban in New York we had (13+ / 0-)

      the same discussions and theoretical infringements.

      And what happened to us?

      Restaurants no longer had to create or maintain a non-smoking section distinct from a smoking section.

      People in New York like to go out - after the ban one could spend a whole evening out - with friends / watching sports, etc. and not have their hair and clothes reek of second hand smoke.

      Turned out reduced costs and increased business was - in fact - good for business.

      "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

      by LilithGardener on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:21:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The smoking bans have been in effect.... (0+ / 0-)

      ....for several years, and I can't imagine how I survived going out in my 20s in the 90s.

      Man, did I hate how my jackets reeked of smoke after just going out to see a band or watch the game, and it must be doubly bad for someone with long hair (like my then-GF, now wife; or a friend of mine who I used to go to shows with...)

      9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

      by varro on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:05:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Absolutists (12+ / 0-)

    will simply respond that the Constitution confers special rights on gun owners that other people who seek protections for other things simply cannot enjoy, because The Founders.

    As on Animal Farm, some animals are apparently more equal than others.

    •  Don't forget Hitler. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koosah

      Or the Queen of England with her evil Euro-witch magic powers could turn us all into slaves. Shudder.

      There's a really great screenplay in all of this :-)

      Fuck me, it's a leprechaun.

      by MBNYC on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:24:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re (6+ / 0-)

      I'd say an additional degree of scrutiny and process to ensure a safety proposal is genuinely merited and does not prohibitively burden our Second Amendment rights (i.e., requiring all firearms not fire, for example).  

      On the other hand, there's nothing inherently wrong with mandating product safety.  Trigger guards, safeties, hammer blocks are but three product safety enhancements we've seen evolve over the history of firearms.

      When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

      by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:33:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "It's in the constitution"... (4+ / 0-)

      ...is an argument that holds some power, but not unlimited power.

      After all, the phrase "well regulated militia" is also in the constitution...and certainly suggests some right to regulate individuals' rights under the second amendment.

      It's also worth noting that no one seems to consider the first amendment right to free speech to be unlimited.  Aside from the commonly accepted restrictions (ie, yelling "fire" in a crowded theory, pornography), I'll note that the response of the second amendment absolutionists to any sort of gun control has been to counter with a suggestion that we further restrict the first amendment rights of Hollywood and video game producers.

      The hypocrisy is stunning.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:58:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Second Amendment absolutists (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Miggles, SoCalSal, RandomNonviolence

        are out of touch with the reality of court rulings on gun laws.

      •  Noise ordinances aren't attacked on grounds (5+ / 0-)

        1A infringement and that's a pertinent analogy.

        One person's right to free speech is tolerated up to a point that it infringes someone else's right to sleep at night.

        No one should be going to sleep with the sound of random gunfire in an area zoned residential. The sound of gunfire in a residential area is normally a sign of breakdown in law and order. I'll assert that it should remain a sound to be wary off so that citizens know when to alert the police (and each other).

        "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

        by LilithGardener on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:32:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  funny, as an ametuer musician (10+ / 0-)

          I have a decent amount of bootstrap experience with local noise ordinances.  And none of the times I've been visited by LE while using my musical gear has been a time that would have been interfering with anyone's normal sleep.

          I'm not saying I'm blameless in these incidents, but my local ordinance is 72 Db at the property edge before 11 PM, 52 Db after 11 PM.  72 Db is exceeded when my dogs and the neighbors dogs decide they need an extended "nice to see you" session.  And getting a family gathering shut down at 5:30 PM on a Saturday in mid December is a little tight.  I could see a complaint if we were ripping out the tunes three hours later...

          So, I can't set my small band up in my back yard for a Holiday party without the threat of getting a ticket, but I'm supposed to accept that gun owners having to have a background check is onerous.

          I suppose my guitar and amp could be lethal, in a quantuum mechanical sense.  But a gun is DESIGNED to kill...

      •  Further restrict? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        varro
        ...further restrict the first amendment rights of Hollywood and video game producers
        What Federal restrictions do either face right now? About the only such restrictions that comes to mind are laws regarding child pornography. Maybe I'm missing something, but most of the "restrictions" are voluntary guidelines created by industry groups.

        Some state laws restricting video game content have been ruled unconstitutional.

        •  Those voluntary guidelines... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bartcopfan

          ...have generally came about in response to government pressure.  A long time ago, I heard it described as "regulation by raised eyebrow", which seems a fitting way of putting it.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:04:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes... (0+ / 0-)

            ...but some of the proposed legislation, if passed, would not have passed SCOTUS review anyway.

            The voluntary guidelines are mostly to assuage public opinion. After all, the public is their customer and it's in the best interest of the game studios not to have parents refuse to allow their kids to buy games. Sure proposed legislation may have politicized the issue and got parents to think about it more, but the fact parents were now thinking about it was probably more of a factor than the actual fear of legislation.

        •  During the Bush Administration... (0+ / 0-)

          ...Federalist Society U.S. Attorneys went after porn, and the same U.S. Attorney also went after text fanfic.

          The same U.S. Attorney was also consulted by underlings of Alberto Gonzales as to which U.S. Attorneys weren't politically correct enough, and should be fired for not being lockstep Republicans.

          9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

          by varro on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:12:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  is your complaint (0+ / 0-)

        about how well the militia is being regulated?

        If not, that clause probably isn't applicable.

        Your end of the Constitution is sinking.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:52:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I would certainly think... (0+ / 0-)

        ....that a "compelling government interest" would be to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals and those who've shown themselves to be unfit to handle a dangerous object.

        9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

        by varro on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:07:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Re: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Greg Dworkin, WillR, Shamash

    Guns have a "seat belt."  It's called the safety.  Also note that most if not all seat belt legislation specifically exempts vehicles manufactured before the enactment date or some date otherwise specified.  And I also'd like to emphasize what you've pointed out, that simply because a proposed safety feature is marketed as such doesn't mean that it is.  There's no opposition to product safety in firearms design in principle.  The question is what constitutes an actual improvement in safety, and how it balances against the actual safe operation of the firearm.  And that debate is worth having.

    There's also an enormous difference in degree between these two areas.  You have to deal with hundreds of millions of firearms already in existence and their extremely low rate of obsolescence.  It's easier to flush out the supply of beltless cars when maintenance almost requires replacement after a decade.

    When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

    by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:18:01 PM PDT

    •  agree with all of that but it doesn't change the (11+ / 0-)

      basic point that at heart, this is a public health issue and like tobacco, seat belts and other public health and safety issues, ought to be data driven (we already agree on that, and I commend you for it) and ought to be looked on as such.

      I don't insist every law suggested makes sense or will save lives, but to the extent that they appear to (based on existing data), I am more than less sympathetic.

      Your list is why it is difficult (true), or why practical matters intervene (very true) but not why we shouldn't do it.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:28:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Greg Dworkin

        There's little daylight between us on this issue, except where it concerns criminal misuse.  Even then, we may not be too far apart.  Consider for example how the law currently treats anti-theft devices for motor vehicles.  In the future, such devices may be mandatory in all standard vehicle designs.

        The only thing I'd add is talk to gun manufacturers as well; you might find they're not all that far apart on principle, though they may be more inherently skeptical as is the custom for any product manufacturer.  

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:40:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed which is why the nader reference is (7+ / 0-)

          so intruiging ;-)

          Still...

          Some of the gun lobby’s strongest allies are breaking with the National Rifle Association to support proposals that would expand background checks for private firearm sales.

          In behind-the-scenes talks with congressional staff members and others, gunmakers, dealers and other Second Amendment advocates have offered support for more instant criminal background checks, buoying the hopes of gun-control supporters, including President Obama, who has put a top priority on extending criminal checks to private sales.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:44:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

            Gonna predict this here and now.  NRA will support expanded background checks this year.  I suspect they'll try to defeat the current proposal, but eventually we're going to get something that accomplishes the same thing from one of their surrogates.  If they can't get that far, then they'll pooh-pooh something that gets 98 percent of what they want but free their legislators to support it.

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:54:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  the Connecticut Effect, no doubt (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Patrick Costighan

              ;-)

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:12:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

                That, and it's actually something the NRA wants, if it can get it without a registry.  

                When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

                by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:15:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  then why are they such hardasses about it? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LilithGardener, ichibon

                  why don't they work with us to get what they "want"? Which I don't believe they do, or they'd try and get credit for reasonableness.

                  That's a tough sell, Patrick. Ain't buying that one.

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:20:52 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

                    Two reasons.  One, let's be honest.  Schumer and friends aren't proposing to expand NICS without record keeping.  If they were, then within a matter of months you could go here and download the E-check software.  They want those records at minimum to be held by the FFL and auditable without a warrant.  Nothing in Schumer's bill guards against that, and it gets around the current legal definition of a registry by removing the records from property of a public agency.  That is a deal breaker.

                    Two is more political, they want to defeat the anti-gun Democrats on a major front they claim credit for whatever compromise emerges later.  This is why I'm against Schumer putting his bill up for markup and a vote.  If we could get that compromise on record keeping and pass it, the NRA will be forced to concede defeat.

                    As for why they want background checks; pretty much for the same reasons the NRA insisted on their inclusion in the Brady Act and LaPierre articulated (before a friendly audience, no less).  They're popular, they work, and they generally don't burden gun owners.

                    BTW, despite the source, don't dismiss LaPierre's criticisms of NICS today.  Set aside the rare case of false positives or lengthy delays, the system is spotty and enforcement is lax ("paper chase," as one law enforcement official called it).  Unless I missed something (quite possible), none of the current legislative proposals  addresses that.

                    When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

                    by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:45:12 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I am hoping for a compromise (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Patrick Costighan

                      but Coburn will have to take yes for an answer to move away form Schumer's original bill sans compromise.

                      Hard to tell right now what part is tactics (ie theater) and what part is strategy.

                      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:03:20 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

                        As I understand it, Coburn was being told no on the matter of keeping records that can be audited without a warrant.  I'm inclined to believe that, seeing as Schumer's gone forward without that concession at all.

                        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

                        by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:10:54 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Re: (0+ / 0-)

                        Just my completely speculative view:

                        I see the theater as this.  On the gun control side, the theater is the considerable effort being expended to portray the opposition as unreasonable and uncompromising even in the midst of negotiations.  The strategy is to increase pressure on Senators to support at least some of the gun control program and limit the number of concessions necessary.  On the gun rights side, the theater is to paint gun control advocates as ignorant of firearms and disrespectful of rural values to 1) force concessions on registration as well kill the assault weapons ban and magazine limits, and 2) for the NRA to provide Republicans with ammunition against even pro-gun Democrats who have at times seemed wobbly.

                        Both sides are eager to portray the other as out of touch with victims of violent crime to achieve their ends.

                        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

                        by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:15:58 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  Perhaps... (0+ / 0-)

                    ...for the same reason that pro-choice "absolutists" oppose all restrictions on "very late term" abortions even though they are very rare and most people are uncomfortable with the notion that it should be legal to pith a baby (calling it a fetus at that point is absurd) that would have been born healthy in a few minutes.

                    Fear of slippery slopes is common - and sometimes well justified.

                    Note also, unlike many proposed firearms restrictions we see here on DK, seat belts and air bags, for example, were not proposed as a way to make driving or owning a car so onerous as to reduce usage or ownership of cars.

                    •  definitely a change from 30 years ago (0+ / 0-)

                      the discussion isn't about confiscating, it's somewhat about banning certain (not all) items, it's mostly centered around safety.

                      And there is no question where the public stands, though background checks remain most popular (85% or more) and AWB and high capacity magazine bans  (still over 50%) least.

                      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:48:36 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  to put it dfferently (3+ / 0-)

                  NRA acts like Graham and McConnelll in a primary year, as if someone from the right will swoop in and eat their lunch if they act reasonable.

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:23:08 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  PS I don't like folks to be picking on (6+ / 0-)

      Patrick Costighan, who I believe is having a good faith discussion even when we are on opposite sides.

      Got some Facebook buddies and some RKBA folks here where the same thing holds.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:29:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Well, guns don't really have "safety belts", (3+ / 0-)

      though they could. There is plenty of objection to safety in guns in prinicpal and reality.

      At least 40 years ago there were ways to make guns so a child could not physically fire them. There are ways that a gun could only recognize it's owner in order to be fired but like the auto industy was, the gun industry is resistant to these safety measures.

      I think cars are harder to retrofit with safety features (and still have them safe), than guns would be.

      Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

      by ZenTrainer on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:35:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ZenTrainer, WillR

        I believe you're talking about magnetic ring locks.  This gets into the issue of safety mechanisms that can prevent successful operation of the device in one or more failure modes.  Note that law enforcement has not adopted any such system.

        You can replace a steering column in a car to fit an air bag system, the braking mechanism for anti-lock, and seatbelts are almost trivial to add (though no jurisdiction mandated them for pre-enactment vehicles).  A gun's very simplicity, however, permits few opportunities for internal modification.  That's why much of the focus has been on aftermarket, external fail-safes like trigger locks or (more sensibly) secure storage solutions.

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:52:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah I thought that would be harder. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patrick Costighan

          The first safety device I heard of in the 50's was where a hand had to be a certain size to fire a gun. That has not been put in place, but would prevent children from firing guns.

          Then I heard of a high tech one where the gun recognized the "print" of the owners palm. Boy this would sure help with stolen guns, kids and angry spouses. ;-)

          Maybe there could be some sort of trade in system.

          Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

          by ZenTrainer on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:59:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Re (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greg Dworkin, cocinero, ZenTrainer

            Grip safeties.  Those were actually a US Army requirement during first procurement of the M1911, and were fortunately capable of being disabled.  They were abandoned for pretty much the same reason magnetic rings were; they significantly degraded safe and proper operation of the firearm.  They would certainly make it marginally more difficult for children to fire simply by adding another degree of complexity, but size of the hand didn't matter.  Pressure of the grip did, which can result in similar accidents as heavy trigger pulls.

            To Greg Dworkin's point, these lessons were learned from experience and feedback rather than from systematic analysis of operation in the wild.  There's no ethical way to gather epidemiological data (it would amount to an experiment with human lives on the line), but motor vehicle safety research doesn't require such methods except to inform engineering of current trends in injury and mortality.  These are still machines, and a lot can be learned from testing in controlled, safe environments.

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:14:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I installed seat belts in my car in 1966 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patrick Costighan, Miggles

          after I read Ralph Nader's book, and I used them. Then I installed belts in my next two cars. It wasn't just Nader's book. I was in an accident where my wife was thrown from the car and my head hit the windshield.

      •  I will accept such devices (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WillR

        only when every single police agency nationwide switches to their use EXCLUSIVELY.  Until then I remain unconvinced of their reliability.

        Your end of the Constitution is sinking.

        by happymisanthropy on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:58:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  While it may be hard to flush out guns, (0+ / 0-)

      it is not impossible. There is more than one way to skin the cat. It just takes some imagination and political will. I do not believe the appearance of the term "militia" in the Second Amendment can be be used to turn on its head the idea the Second Amendment is an individual right.  And, if Congress already was empowered to regulate the militia, how was the Second Amendment in any way, shape or form anything other than a clarification to that which had already been decided? The fear which was addressed was the specific fear that the government could control individual possession and ownership of arms. In this respect, the right to bear arms was not dissimilar to other individual rights delineated in the Bill of Rights. The mere assumption that they continued to exist did not pass the smell test notwithstanding what was claimed by ratification proponents. Which brings me to my next point.

      No matter how incomplete they may be there are databases which make it possible to trace where many, many guns are or where they are suppose to be. The restrictions on the right to bear certain types of arms have already passed constitutional muster. Why shouldn't a restriction on the number of arms also do so? After all, how many arms can one man bear? Just as with cars, you only get the latest model because it is to your benefit to trade in last years model.

      If you don't want to be kept in the dark and lathered with horse dung, stop acting like a mushroom.

      by nomorerepukes on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:36:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (0+ / 0-)

        Not impossible, but whether or not its feasible is open question.  I'm interested, though.  What ideas do you have to secure political will nationally and, more importantly, citizen compliance?

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:42:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't is ironic (0+ / 0-)

          that this feasibility point arises in connection with individuals who are supposedly law abiding citizens? Not with what these very same law abiding citizens would consider either the so called "riffraff" or the proverbial "others"? Reminds me of the "build it they will come" line. Except as applied to this situation I would say "pass the law and they will comply with the law". The threat of citizen non-compliance is vastly over stated. The bloviating of the NRA is exactly that- bloviating.

          I would suggest addressing the problem in echelon rather than engaging in a full frontal assault. Start by taxing ammunition to a larger extent than other consumer items on a state by state basis. Treat ammunition as cigarettes and booze are treated with additional taxes, fees, surcharges, stamps, etc. It is only a matter of time before all states would jump on the revenue boat especially if they can raise revenue without calling it a tax. The fact that a black market for ammunition would arise should be no more a deterrent than the black market for cigarettes was to the raising of taxes on cigarettes. Besides, the more sophisticated a firearm is, the more precise the ammunition has to be and the less likely it is that gun owners would be able to load their own ammunition.  

          If you don't want to be kept in the dark and lathered with horse dung, stop acting like a mushroom.

          by nomorerepukes on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:35:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)
        Why shouldn't a restriction on the number of arms also do so?
        So, since rights can be regulated in that fashion, I presume you are in favor of the "Twitter amendment", where your freedom of speech is allowed under the Consitution, but restricted to 140 characters or less?

        We could even expand the notion to good effect, like zones where your legal word count is zero as a reasonable local regulation of your free speech rights. Call them "word-free" zones. Monks could have that vow of silence thing be legally bindng. Movie theaters could be free of chatter.

        You might be on to something here.

        •  won't fly, settled law and precedent (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shamash

          you can't yell fire in a crowded theatre and the 2nd amendment has the words "well regulated".

          Question is what's reasonable, not what extreme slippery slope appeals to expert skiiers.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:05:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I agree (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greg Dworkin

            I was just pointing out that a "you may only exercise this right X times" law would look rather silly if you tried to apply it to any other thing that we consider a right.

            "Sorry, you're only allowed to have one abortion."

          •  So often misquoted and misunderstood (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greg Dworkin

            Yes, you can yell "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.  What Holmes actually wrote in Schenk v. United Stateswas "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater and causing a panic."

            This is irrelevant, mind you, as Schenk was decisively overturned in 1969 in Brandenburg v. Ohio. The holding in Schenk okayed prior restraint as embodied in the Espionage Act of 1917 and Sedition Act of 1918. Schenk was convicted for handing out anti-draft leaflets. That sort of excessive prior restraint doesn't fly today thanks to the Brandenburg decision, which limited banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action.

            •   I'm not a lawyer and don't play one on (0+ / 0-)

              the internet, but...

              If you falsely yell "fire" in a crowded theater and cause a panic and someone is hurt are you seriously claiming that that's completely okay because Schenk was overturned?

              Wikipedia does a nice job of summing this up in plain speech:

              Despite Schenck being limited, the phrase "shouting fire in a crowded theater" has since come to be known as synonymous with an action that the speaker believes goes beyond the rights guaranteed by free speech, reckless or malicious speech, or an action whose outcomes are blatantly obvious.
              I'm on solid ground even if the pedant in you doesn't like it.   ;-P

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:44:04 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  but rec'ecause we love fact based (0+ / 0-)

              arguments ;-)

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 08:44:47 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  "...an armada of airbags has been added to cars" (5+ / 0-)
    Since Sept 1, 2006, NHTSA has required new vehicles come with advanced frontal airbag systems. Advance front passenger airbags can also — based on your weight and position — turn the airbag off. These new models are configured to render moot — the belief that the airbags crushed children and small adults — the public outcry over first-generation airbags. Mechanics were regularly asked, against the wishes of manufacturers, to disable passenger-side bags. This led to the introduction of controversial on/off switches — which are still permitted until 2012. NHTSA statistics show that 291 people have been killed by airbags since 1990.
    (1995) Dr. Martinez, an emergency-care physician who is on leave from Emory University and formerly worked in a helicopter medical crew in California, said the immediate solution was to have children 12 and under ride in the back seat and make sure they are always belted. Of all children killed in crashes, he said, 72 percent were not wearing seat belts.

    In contrast with the eight possible cases of air-bag-caused fatalities, the agency credits the bags with having saved more than 900 lives since they were widely introduced in the late 1980's. And the National Safety Council says air bags, used alone, reduce moderate-to-critical injuries in traffic accidents by 42 percent. Used with seat belts, the council says, they reduce such injuries by 68 percent.

    "The analogy here, to me, is the medication insulin," Dr. Martinez said. "No one would say insulin should be removed from the marketplace, but it kills people every year."

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013

    by annieli on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:18:46 PM PDT

  •  Good point! (6+ / 0-)

    I remember that Ralph Nader. I lived in NY at the time. He was great on public health issues.

    And the fact is that safety belts make a difference. I've witnessed people coming through the windshield and the effects of that. People don't always use them these days either. As an RN all kinds of safety issues, like child seats, for cars have made a tremendous difference.

    There's no difference with guns.

    T & R'ed!

    In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God ~RFK

    by vcmvo2 on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:20:11 PM PDT

  •  I didn't wear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener, foresterbob

    seat belts until about 10 years ago. Now if I forget it's only a mile or so before I realise it's not on & I fasten up.

    This is an excellent explaination of human nature & rules for the common good !

    •  People forget (6+ / 0-)

      that these laws are designed not to attack the liberties of the individual, but to protect everyone and those who can't protect themselves. So we have laws around putting kids in safety seats because young kids can't make judgements about safety (or sometimes their parents) and not smoking indoors or in public places to protect everyone else from second hand smoke.

      A WA state legislator once argued that outlawing cell phones while driving dictated what one could do in the personal space of their car, which we shouldn't do any more than we should legislate what people do in their own living rooms. Living rooms aren't fast moving 1,500 lb pieces of machinery that you can lose control of when you look down at your phone.

      Even then, if what you are doing in your living room is hurting someone - domestic violence - there are laws to protect those who struggle to protect themselves.

      People who argue for the freedom to own a gun because personal liberty don't realize, forget, or don't  care that they are robbing me of my freedom to feel safe out in public, in a mall or movie theater, on the road. My freedom to feel safe sending my kids out into the world has been taken from me by people who want weapons for imagined and/or overblown fears.

      The number of stupid mistakes and deaths caused by guns scare me more than any government action so far - even during years when I wasn't happy with who was in the White House.

      •  I understand (0+ / 0-)
        My freedom to feel safe sending my kids out into the world has been taken from me by people who want weapons for imagined and/or overblown fears.
        As someone whose freedom to own an inanimate object is under attack by people who have an imagined and/or overblown fear of assault rifles, I fully understand your point of view.

        That sounds dismissive, but it is accurate
        . The least likely type of firearm to be used in a murder is an assault rifle. The chance that someone will be a target or victim of gun violence (from any type of gun) is less than it was for you at their age. Is your opinion "I'm glad the world is a safer place for my kids than it was for me"? Or is your opinion different now simply because you are the parent?

        Or look at it this way. If your parents are still alive, ask them what they were most worried about for you when you were a child. Remembering that guns were a bigger threat to you, what priority did they place on that risk factor? If they assigned guns a lower risk factor to you than you do for your children, did that make them bad parents? Or does it just mean you are assigning too much importance to a particular risk factor and not enough to others (e.g. several hundred children will be admitted to hospitals today because of sports or playground injuries).

        Life entails risk. Children can fall out of trees and hurt themselves. Children can get hit by cars while crossing the street. But we do not cut down all the trees or tear up the roads as a result. We ask that our neighbors have a fence and gate on their swimming pool, but we do not ban them from having swimming pools. We put speed limit signs and flashing lights around our schools, but we do not ban cars. We worry about underage alcohol use, but we do not re-establish Prohibition. We worry about teenage sex, but we do not insist on abstinence-only education (well, at least liberals do not insist on it).

        It is not an easy choice. We cannot do everything to protect them. But that does not mean we should do nothing. The middle ground is somewhere between "everything you want" and "everything the other guy wants". Neither party can get "everything" without the other party's freedom being adversely affected.

  •  It drives me crazy when gun advocates point out (14+ / 0-)

    that cars kill more people than guns and cars aren't regulated.

    First point: Driving is one of the most regulated of human activities. You can only drive your car on specfic narrow strips of land called roads, streets and highways. Even on these strips, you must stay in even narrower "lanes" designated by painted stripes and bars. You must follow the directions of a myriad of "street signs" and "traffic signals" telling you exactly when you can stop, go, yield, exit, etc. You must adhere to post speed limits

    To even learn how to drive, you must take a test and obtain a learner's permit. At this point, you cannot even drive a car without a licensed driver with you. To obtain a license, you must take a written text, a driving test, pay a fee and afterwards, have your license with you whenever you drive. You must also have proof of insurance with you at all times when driving.

    To own a car, you must pay a fee and register the car. Once a year, you must pay a fee to renew this registration. You must also, once a year, pay a fee to have your safety devices on the car checked; if they are not to standard, you must have them fixed within a narrow window of time or you cannot drive the car. You must also, once a year, pay a fee to have the car checked to be sure it does not exceed pollution standards.

    You are not allowed to drive a vehicle if your are drunk or under the influence of drugs. If you violate any of these rules, you can lose your license, have your car taken away from you or be jailed.

    And my final point is simple:  imagine the carnage we would experience if the use of automobiles did not have these mandates attached.

    The NRA wants gun owners to be able to own any kind of gun they want and take it where ever they want, without any licensing, mandatory training, insurance or regulation. The police would be allowed to arrest someone only if they actually injured or killed someone.

    Can you imagine saying that you can do anything you want with your car, but the police can only arrest you after you injure of kill someone?

    Freedom has two enemies: Those who want to control everyone around them...and those who feel no need to control themselves.

    by Sirenus on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:29:04 PM PDT

    •  The NRA misrepresents the Second Amendment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miggles
      The NRA wants gun owners to be able to own any kind of gun they want and take it where ever they want, without any licensing, mandatory training, insurance or regulation. The police would be allowed to arrest someone only if they actually injured or killed someone.
      The NRA claims those are your Second Amendment rights, and they've convinced a lot of rabid gun nuts.

      The courts have clearly said otherwise. None of the current proposal before Congress would be likely to be ruled unconstitutional on 2nd Amendment grounds.

      •  And... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        varro

        ...were you saying before Heller and McDonald that the Second Amendment was about Militias which were "actually the national guard"? Just curious.

        We are in the infancy of Second Amendment litigation. Probably earlier than Civil Rights litigation was when Brown was decided.

        If a restriction wouldn't be allowed on exercise of religion, speech, and voting, one should, I think, assume that a similar restriction on the Second Amendment will not be allowed without very close scrutiny. Heller is HUGE, McDonald is also huge - we have not even begun to see the impact. There will be several more SCOTUS decisions before the landscape is understood.

        •  I would think that strict scrutiny... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cocinero, Sirenus

          ...would be involved, but that the danger of firearms compared to speech, religion, and assembly would make it possible to pass reasonable restrictions on transfer and licensing.

          It would be a "compelling government interest" to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals, children, and those who have proven themselves unfit to operate a gun because of physical or mental health - and comparison to a prohibited list within a reasonable amount of time would be a least restrictive alternative to ensure greater safety.

          I also see requirements to secure guns and mandatory reporting of lost or stolen guns as allowable restrictions.

          9-11 changed everything? Well, Katrina changed it back.

          by varro on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 12:30:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Brown was a unanimous decision (0+ / 0-)

          Heller and McDonald were contentious 5 to 4 decisions. Given
          Alito's comments in Heller, it's unlikely that this court will extend the 2nd Amendment. With a change in court membership, even Heller and McDonald might be on shaky ground.

  •  Thanks - Nice Post (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer

    I had been trying to think of an effective car licensing/gun licensing diary but couldn't quite find the right tack. So thanks for doing so.

    Don't trust anyone over 84414.

    by BentLiberal on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:36:17 PM PDT

  •  I was ambivalent about gun laws (7+ / 0-)

    for decades. I think this happened to many of us raised in sane firearm-owning families.  We watched the madness grow in American gun culture - there were always crazy people in it, but it's gotten so much worse. We knew something had to be done, but what? Why the resistance to training & registration at least at the level of getting a drivers license? Why weren't new safety & tracking technologies being incorporated into weaponry? Why weren't loopholes being closed? The NRA wouldn't cooperate with anything.  I was pushed off the fence in 2012. We have to force gun owners to be responsible citizens.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:36:37 PM PDT

    •  less of them (6+ / 0-)

      http://www.nytimes.com/...

      less hunters, too, now estimated at ~20% of the population.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:40:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Re (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DJ Rix

        We've lost basically 6 to 10 million gun owners between the 1960s and today, but the trend stabilizes after a minimum in the 1990s.  For ten years, self-reported gun ownership has remained fairly level (which means as an absolute number we're growing).  I'm not satisfied with that, but it's not impossible for the long term trend to reverse and take off.  Unfortunately, I have little confidence in the NRA or its wannabe clones to do anything more than hold the line.

        When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

        by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:31:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  intriguing thing is whether less people (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patrick Costighan, DJ Rix

          own more guns and the implication of whether that political clout drops (less votes).

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:33:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That made a difference with smoking laws (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DJ Rix

            As fewer people were smokers, it became easier to pass bans on smoking in public places and big increases in tobacco taxes.

            Maybe, as fewer people have guns for hunting and more people realize that a gun in the home makes them less safe, it may become easier to pass common sense laws to reduce gun violence.

            Long term, the NRA may be fighting a losing battle.

            •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DJ Rix

              I'd like to see the line held on hunting, but I'm not holding out much hope for a revitalization of the sport outside of a few bright spots in the small to medium game categories.  Outside of the case for self-defense, recreational and competitive shooting offers the best opportunities for expanding gun ownership.

              When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

              by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:07:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Re (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Greg Dworkin, DJ Rix, SoCalSal

            Damn good question.  We don't really know.  The commonly tossed around figure is that there are 310 million firearms in civilian hands.  That's a from an NRC piece called Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review, pages 56-7.  Issue is that "civilian" also includes domestic law enforcement and FFL inventory.  It's also a measure of production data, so it's more accurate to say that "310 million firearms have been produced and sold to law enforcement and civilians from 1950 to 1999."  This may be low (see Chapter 7) or high, and it also doesn't account for device deactivation, destruction, and inventory clearing.  We don't have good data on commercial and public inventory flows for firearms, but if every law enforcement agency and FFL destroyed on average 50 firearms in their inventory every year,  that would be roughly 300 million firearms.  For a sense of scale, Homeland Security just recently purchased 7000 rifles in one year.  I'm not saying the law enforcement is the principal driver of firearms sales, and at 90 million firearms must be in private households, but you can see where the idea that gun owners are hoarding weapons isn't immediately obvious from the data.

            Also interesting is the decade by decade trend, which overall peaked in 1970 and 1980 with 56 million firearms produced.  Its declined since, with 46 million sold between 1990 and 1999.  Handgun sales, however, have remained stable at 20 million a decade since the 1970s, which means we're actually seeing a considerably drop off in rifle purchases.

            When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

            by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:05:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely the same in my case. (6+ / 0-)

      Ambivalence has given way to deep concern, along with being perplexed by the complete refusal to even entertain simple safety measures by most of the gun enthusiasts that I know.  They simply refuse to acknowledge any problems associated with gun safety or their responsibility to be part of the discussion.  

      I keep telling them they're not going to like what happens unless they buy into being part of the solutions that will be coming.  

      Metaphors be with you.

      by koosah on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:46:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Re: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DJ Rix

      I didn't own a gun until my thirties.  Remember that the fence has two sides, and we're competing for the people still on it (and occasionally, on the other side).

      When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

      by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:28:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Many are a lost cause. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Patrick Costighan, koosah

        My step-brother, working class guy, refused to admit that he didn't really like Mitt Romney, was convinced   President Obama was so unpopular that Romney had to win. He cannot see outside of his bubble; he can't even see the bubble he's in.  It's all paranoia & "they're coming for my guns" from him now, although he's never been much into guns - he fishes.

        "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

        by DJ Rix on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:08:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  It's going to take some time (5+ / 0-)

    to change the culture. Nothing good comes easily or quickly in America.  But once we decide it is time for change, we can keep at it until the change  comes.

    "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

    by DJ Rix on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:48:49 PM PDT

  •  bike helmets (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, LilithGardener

    I always wear a bike helmet, heck I always wear gloves after scraping up my hands once too many.  Like a seat belt, once you are used to it you barely notice it, and it is weird to ride without one.

    But it is perhaps not the best analogy.  As far as I can tell, no states require bike helmets for adults, and most states still don't require helmets for adult motorcyclists.

    •  seat belts are a better one (6+ / 0-)

      bike and motorcyle helmets are a work in progress

      but in honor of team 26, i snuck it in.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:14:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My daughter always says - know what they (6+ / 0-)

      call a motorcycle rider without a helmet?

      An organ donor.

      guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

      by 88kathy on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:14:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  bike helmets are questionable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Old Man from Scene 24

      What causes brain damage is the jarring and twisting of the skull. Bike helmets often create more rotation on impact, and in more moderate (that is, less than skull crushing) impacts are poorer at cushioning the blow than the skull itself. Research comparing countries where bike helmets are commonly worn (e.g. the US) and those where nobody wears them (e.g. the Netherlands) show that you are, on average, as safe or safer without them.

      This does not apply with motorcycles (more likely to impart skull crushing velocities). But for bikes, helmets are a tough call. We have our kid wear one. But I never will. The statistics don't call for it.

      •  wow (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WakeUpNeo, SoCalSal

        you sound like the guy arguing against seat belts who showed up to prove my point.

        Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

        How well do helmets work?

        Very well indeed, as long as they are fitted securely and buckled when you crash. They can prevent up to 88 per cent of cyclists' brain injuries. Ask any club cyclist, whose shared experience with other cyclists has shown them the pattern clearly. The down side is that many helmet users are not securing their helmets level on the head and adjusting the straps carefully. Those cute kids with helmets tilted back have their big, bare foreheads right out there ready to crack. A helmet has to be fitted carefully to do its work.

        here are some stats.

        But there is controversy, always. A summary including links to opposing views:

        Our own belief, of course, is that a cyclist should wear a bike helmet. We are helmet advocates, after all.

        In 2010 we saw an increase in blog posts from cyclists who do not believe you should wear a helmet. They challenged the conventional wisdom that helmets are necessary to reduce brain injures. That has continued now for the intervening years. The positive experience with shared bicycle programs has raised basic questions about the need for helmets, and some riders are reconsidering.

        First, for views opposing ours

        The Bicycle Helmet Research Foundation. Their Policy Statement page explains where they are coming from.
        Mikael Colville Andersen's presentation to TEDx, disparaging helmets and helmet promoters. He says car manufacturers are pushing helmets because they fear that bicycles will take over the cities. We have a response to his presentation.
        Questions you may want to ask

        Is there evidence that helmets protect brains and heads? We have a statistics page that may help you research that. Don't miss the recent New York City data showing that 97% of their dead cyclists had no helmet.
        Do cyclists crash? Do bare-headed cyclists injure their brains more often? Again our stats page may help.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:52:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  also from CDC, corroborating stats (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WakeUpNeo, SoCalSal, grover
        Can It Be Prevented?
        Yes. Wearing a bike helmet reduces the risk of brain injury by 88% and reduces the risk of injury to the face by 65%.
        http://www.cdc.gov/...

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:57:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is an extraordinary claim. Evidence? n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Please look at the data (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patrick Costighan, cocinero

    and I think you will see that handguns pose a much larger threat than assault rifles.

    "Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever.", Mohandas Gandhi

    by Bubbatoby on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 04:52:03 PM PDT

    •  on the whole they do (8+ / 0-)

      something like 6000 people a year.

      Which doesn't change what I wrote or what needs to be done. That's like saying you can't address cancer because heart disease kills more people. Address both. Address them differently if needed, but address them both.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:03:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you familiar with Australia's turn around? (0+ / 0-)

        "Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever.", Mohandas Gandhi

        by Bubbatoby on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:23:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  which part? Port Arthur after 1996? n/t (0+ / 0-)

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:34:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            SoCalSal

            I think the Aussie laws were successful because:

            1. They have an outright ban on handguns.

            2. You must be an active member of a gun club to own a rifle or actually be a farmer with a pest control problem.

            Impossible in the US? Your article gives me hope. And I thank you. But I must caution Kos readers that the hysteria over assault weapons is due to emotion and not reason. Handguns kill around 8,000/yr. Assault rifles kill 900. No one needs a handgun or an assault rifle. Banning both would be great. But I would be dismayed if we only banned assault weapons and left handgun restrictions where they are now and then celebrated like it was a big success.

            "Live as if you will die tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever.", Mohandas Gandhi

            by Bubbatoby on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:00:24 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  well, the long view is one thing (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SoCalSal

              short term accomplishment is something else.

              No one should think an AWB by itself, even if achieved, does everything, but if it helps prevent school massacres like in my town (I'm a Newtown resident), it's worth the effort.

              Handguns are another story, but banning them is not on the current agenda. There has to be a national effort, however, to include the higher mortality with handguns compared to long guns; solid laws in Chicago or DC don't work if guns are available in VA or MO.

              Do laws work? Apparently they do.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 07:08:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  PS there's a Baltimore rally (4+ / 0-)

      for team 26 tomorrow at 3:30 to address hand guns

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:11:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  So that doesn't make assault rifles innocent. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, Miggles, WakeUpNeo

      For the love of God, these things are killing people.  People who neither chose to own a gun or to shoot a gun.

      guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

      by 88kathy on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:15:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And now everyone's liberty is infringed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    drmah, Patrick Costighan

    What stuck me, is in the midst of all the 2010 hysteria over freedoms and civil liberties and excessive taxes, the Texas Lege passed a law that infringed on the rights on every adult in Texas.  It became mandatory for everyone in a car in Texas to wear a seat belt.

    As is stated, this required the lege to forsake the tradition 'we value liberty over safety'.  This is a state, for all practical intents and purposes, has no motorcycle helment law.

    However I do not believe that this is the case, and that seatbelts do not provide any guidance for gun control.  One reason everyone is forced to wear a seatbelt in Texas is, I believe, it gives easy grounds for police to stop a car.  Once a car is stopped the drivers can be harassed at will.  The seatbelt law, and I have no doubt this is nationwide, may be a tool of profiling rather than safety.

    What does provide a blueprint, however, is motorcycle helmet laws.  In texas police cannot stop a motorcyclist for not wearing a helmet, but the rider must still have proper insurance if the helmet is not present.

    Insurance does work in conservative states because it focuses on personal responsibility.  Therefore, one way to control guns is to make sure everyone has insurance.  The larger the gun, the larger the magazine, the more insurance is needed.  The financial industry will manage the risk.  No one can say criminalize guns and only criminals will have guns because there is no law.  What will they say against it?  Force personal responsibility and only those irresponsible will have guns?

    •  Re (0+ / 0-)

      Tipped for the general idea, but the actuaries will come up with their own means of assessing risk.  And I'll tell you right now, liability insurers that cover firearms do not distinguish between make, model, action or accessories.  It's pretty much a flat rate for everything.  

      When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

      by Patrick Costighan on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:43:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  class action from school of kids (0+ / 0-)

        You don't imagine that facing the risk of class action from the parents of school full of kids or a theater full of victims would not increase the premiums?  I am not talking about theft I am talking about liability.

        •  Re (0+ / 0-)

          Let me explain it again since you apparently missed it.  Liability insurance for gun owners currently exists.  Premiums do not vary from make and model of or accessory to firearm.  These are facts.  Deal with them.

          When God gives you lemons, you find a new god.

          by Patrick Costighan on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:58:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  In about 40 years automobile deaths have dropped (9+ / 0-)

    about 40-45% in spite of the fact that the number of drivers/cars have more than doubled.  This clearly shows that regulations work.

    When we have an American getting shot every 5 minutes it certainly is a crisis that needs action.

    Then they came for me - and by that time there was nobody left to speak up.

    by DefendOurConstitution on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:06:51 PM PDT

    •  The way we make cars has also changed and this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DefendOurConstitution, koosah

      has made cars safer.

      I'm a huge fan of airbags and seatbelts. I have literally never driven a car without every passenger in my car being seatbelt. I won't start the car until everyone is belted up.

      But cars are now built not to withstand accidents without getting damages but to protect the passengers. That's why a car will look like a smashed tuna can, and the passengers can walk away.

      Those huge "steel tank" cars from the 60s and earlier are not the safest cars to ride in.  

      Maybe it's time someone started to rethink the whole way guns are engineered, so if you're going to use one for sport or hunting, it can't be used to harm humans. Technology has totally changed the automobile so that lives have been saved at numbers we never could have imagined, why not the gun?

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 10:35:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  point being it started with seat belts (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        a2nite

        and then led to a revolution/evolution of how cars are made. Air bags, infant seats, side protection from hits, etc.

        For a while foreign cars were just made better, US now catching/caught up.

        "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

        by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 04:23:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  If protection of human rights got half the care (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, Miggles, foresterbob, a2nite

    and attention protection of gun rights gets, there would be no problem.

    guns are fun v. hey buddy, watch what you are doing -- which side are you on?

    by 88kathy on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 05:22:40 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this concept diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, SoCalSal

    I did not know that seat-belt introduction took so long to introduce and that it was eventually up to some states to go from requiring that seat-belts be available to requiring that seat belts to be used.

    Knowing that history gives me hope that common sense will eventually prevail.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:15:26 PM PDT

  •  The NRA spreads the myth (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, a2nite

    that guns make you safer, and they're needed for self defense.

    That's exactly the kind of gun that is most dangerous. To be useful for self defense, it needs to be loaded and quickly available. That's the kind of gun that can be grabbed by a child,  an angry spouse in an argument, or a suicidal teen.

    There needs to be public health messages to dispel that myth.

    (The even crazier myth is that you need to have a bunch of guns for protection against government tyranny.)

    A hunting rifle or shotgun locked in a secure gun safe with ammunition in another secure location is not a big threat to public health and safety. And I'm glad that hunters are willing to help keep the deer population in check.

  •  What about separating alcohol and firearms? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover

    Have you seen this paper? It's a collaboration between physicians, epidemiologists, law professors, and others at the University of Pennsylvania - published in 2010.

    A Review of Legislation Restricting the Intersection of Firearms and Alcohol in the U.S.

    Injury is the leading cause of alcohol-related death in the United States, and alcohol is the leading risk factor for injury.1,2 Owing to the considerable presence of alcohol in injury events of all types, alcohol's relationship to injury has been the subject of modern scientific investigation for an entire century.3–7 Roughly one-quarter of the alcohol-related injury deaths in the U.S. each year are due to motor vehicle crashes.8 As a result, the great majority of the research dedicated to understanding alcohol's relationship to injury has focused on drunk driving. This work has effectively decreased the number of traffic fatalities involving alcohol,9 and the prevention of drinking and driving has been hailed as one of the top 10 U.S. public health achievements of the 20th century by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).10,11 A nearly equal one-fifth of alcohol-related injury deaths are the result of firearm injuries;8 however, little research has focused on alcohol use and shootings.
    The paper elaborates on how separating lawful alcohol use from lawful driving has been one of the great public health successes of the 20th century.

    As far as I can tell, ONLY about half the states prohibit sale of a firearm to someone who is intoxicated (as of 2010). State and local laws have certainly changed since 2012, and I don't know to what extent they may have regulated alcohol use with respect to firearm use. I think this is an area where research is needed and common sense laws that separate lawful alcohol consumption from lawful firearm use may really make a difference, especially over the long haul.

    "They did not succeed in taking away our voice" - Angelique Kidjo - Opening the Lightning In a Bottle concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City - 2003

    by LilithGardener on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:32:41 PM PDT

    •  great topic to study (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener

      but seems to me less of a 1:1 immediacy re driving a car vs gun/ammo purchase (use is impossible to regulate, but fines/punishment might go up). IOW, you can buy drunk but not use, you can buy sober and shoot drunk, etc...

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 06:44:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Fast forward to the end of this excellent post, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WakeUpNeo

    just one mention of the neglect to mention child safety seat regulation.  A newborn child can no longer be released from a hospital without the proper safety seat to ride home.  Nor can any child legally ride in a car without an age, weight, height, proper safety seat.

    These sensible laws have saved many children's lives just as seat belt laws have saved the lives of adults.  Similar gun control laws could also save lives.  It is high time we implement them.

    Oh, and if you are one of those free two wheeling persons who want to ride your Harley on the highways without a helmet?  Please do keep your ass off the roads that we taxpayers pay to maintain.  I don't want to see your bloody self splattered all over it, just so you can say you are riding free.  It ain't cool.  If you must do it, take it to your own property, not mine so you spare the rest of us your stupidity.  Believe me.  No one wants to clean up your mess.

    •  yes, indeed (0+ / 0-)

      I didn't specify simply because there's not much objection to infant and child car seats in terms of freedom (now, whether they come with !@@#$% simple to install instructions is another thing altogether).

      It's a great example of added safety value once safety became a prime consideration, and thanks for bringing it up.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 08:42:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I never needed a special law (0+ / 0-)

    to make me wear a seat belt, because I have common sense and a will to live.
    I am opposed to seat belt violations being a primary offense, where a policeman can pull you over.  It just gives the police more power to harass people, especially innocent minorities.

    •  why should responsible gun owners accept (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koosah, a2nite

      sensible changes in gun laws? Same reason you have to wear a seat belt and use children's car seats.

      it saves lives. Repeat: it saves lives. Many compromises on individual freedom are done for that reason.

      PS Hire more minority cops. But that's a different problem.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 04:17:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What if we could (0+ / 0-)

    put a compterized safety lock on the handle of a gun, where you had to key in your 4 digit passcode before you could arm the weapon? Something small and simple, you could key it in with one thumb.

    It would prevent kids from getting hold of the gun and firing it. I might require the owner to be sober enough to read the keypad before unlocking it.

    I don't know if it is technically feasible, of course.

     

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Sun Mar 10, 2013 at 09:16:17 PM PDT

    •  smart guns have been discussed with smart (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reepicheep

      people . They are more expensive, possibly might change how well the gun shoots*,  and might not be quite ready for prime time. More acceptance (like seat belts, offer as optional and then collect data) might be forthcoming depending on how it's introduced.

      * not accuracy, but this: the default on a battery failure, e.g., is "not shooting" but if you have a gun primarily for defense and not sport shooting, that won't satisfy you.

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 04:21:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Not The Government's Job to protect me from myself (0+ / 0-)

    As a grown adult, I should have the right not to wear a seatbelt and to ride a bicycle without a helmet.

    And this is coming from someone who always wears his seatbelt.  I think you are stupid if you don't wear your seatbelt, but it is your right to be stupid.

    Seatbelt laws and bicycle helmet laws do make you less free.

    •  and the part about the taxpayers paying for your (0+ / 0-)

      organ donations because you're a moron (not you personally, you wear one and agree those that don't are stupid)?

      I get that Darwin was right, but that's no reason to let you not only kill yourself but bankrupt your family.

      Motorcycle Helmet Law, ex-Protestor
      2011 Darwin Award Nominee
      Confirmed True by Darwin

      (July 2011, New York) Protesting motorcycle helmet laws, an Onondaga, NY man was participating in a bare-noggin protest ride when he was killed via flipping over the handlebars. The motorcycle accident injured the noggin of Mr. Contos, 55, fatally damaging a brain that was unable to determine the physics of the situation. Moreover, he'd do it again if he could, according to his elder brother. "He would have wanted it that way."

      Certain laws have physics on their side, obviously, and the laws say one's body cannot walk away from a high-speed physical impact. Laws not subject to repeal. Unprotected--you squash like a bug. Protected--you eat squash for dinner.

      Since properly padded and protected men can walk away from a 90-mph crash, protection is prudent when you increase {mass x speed} above a critical threshhold.

      Prudent, but sould protection be mandatory? Robert Frost says, "I hold it to be the inalienable right of anybody to go to hell in his own way."

      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

      by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 04:27:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  I don't care that you have to wear a seat belt (0+ / 0-)

          guess we're even, huh? ;-)

          Difference is that my opinion saves lives.

          I win on balance.

          I gather you're a libertarian at heart (which I can respect). But that's why you guys generally lose elections. You don't know when to compromise and the public generally rejects your POV.

          That's cool. keep pushing because you keep us honest! You do us a great service. Seriously.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 05:06:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not a True Libertarian (0+ / 0-)

            but I have A LOT of Libertarian streaks in me.

            Also, you have to look at unintended consequences.

            Make everyone wear bike helmets - therefore everyone will be safe and will save lives.  On Paper.  What really happened is that kids decided that wearing a helmet while riding a bike wasn't "cool" so they stopped riding bikes and decided to sit inside all day playing video games and caused obesity rates to spike.  

            •  cute story except all speculation (0+ / 0-)

              and likely wrong. The real statistics and data show that 88% less injuries occur with a helmet. Obesity problems have a lot less to do with bike helmets and a lot more to do with the food industry and American eating habits. Absolutely exercise is part of the solution but the idea that helmets make people fat is simplistic and wrong.

              But that's why data is so important. We collect if for other things, we need to collect it for gun injuries.

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Mon Mar 11, 2013 at 06:08:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

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