Gun legislation turned down by Florida legislature; Dinesh D’Souza mocks students lobbying to get it passed

February 21, 2018 • 9:20 am

Over the past two days, the evening news has featured distraught, angry, and determined Florida students marching on the state legislature, stunned about the 17 students shot by Nikolas Cruz, but bent on ensuring that it won’t happen again. Many of the lobbyists were classmates of the slain students.  I thought to myself, “If anybody can change this country’s attitudes towards guns, it’ll be the young people who were the targets of those guns.” I hoped mightily that Florida, and then the country, would at last begin to respond. Dare I hope that this might be the turning point in the struggle against America’s senseless proliferation of weapons—especially assault weapons?

No chance. As I predicted, we’ll have a brief flurry of anger and calls for new gun laws, and then it’ll be business as usual. Far too many Americans see student lives as collateral damage to the necessary production and ownership of guns. That’s just sick.

Of course Florida turned a deaf ear to those students. As ABC 10 reports, just one day after the students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School went to Tallahassee, Florida to lobby for gun control at the state capitol, the House voted down a motion to ban assault weapons like the AR-15 used by Cruz. The vote wasn’t even close: 36-71.  And it’s ASSAULT WEAPONS!  There is no reason to allow these even if you think that the Second Amendment should permit personal possession of weapons for self defense.

The students were devastated, as they should be, watching a bunch of Republicans vote down sensible restrictions on the very gun that had shattered the bodies of their friends. They watched and wept:

And Dinesh D’Souza, odious human being that he is (he’s supposed to be a pious Christian), brutally and cruelly mocked these students on Twitter:

How lame a human being must you be to say things like this? Reader Pliny the in Between adds a comment:


h/t: Grania, Hempenstein

161 thoughts on “Gun legislation turned down by Florida legislature; Dinesh D’Souza mocks students lobbying to get it passed

    1. It’s true that D’Souza’s comment was heartless and stupid. It’s also true that the law the kids were demonstrating for was a stupid and useless one, and deserved to be voted down. The feelings of traumatized kids should be respected, but they’re not a good basis for passing laws.

      I’m more interested in another law proposed in the FL legislature which would not only allow but encourage teachers — and in fact all public school employees — to get firearms, take intensive training with them, obtain Concealed Carry permits, and carry them while on school grounds. I’ve heard that a lot of other states are considering similar laws. Personally, I’d *require* that every employee of a public school take the training and get the CCW permits, whether they intend to get a gun and carry it or not.

      I’d also require little things like metal detectors at the exterior doors, security cameras in the hallways, bullet-proof whiteboards and desks and windows in the interior doors. I’d also require a simple protocol: that classroom doors be *locked* as soon as the students are inside, so that no lunatic with a gun — or anything else — can just stroll into an occupied classroom and blast away.

      Laws like those would make a real difference.

      1. Just how would a law banning assault weapons be ‘stupid’? And the ‘traumatized kids’ you insult are, rather, young adults trying to influence the political process to help prevent another grievous wrong. This is good citizenship, much more of which is needed, now as always, to keep a democracy healthy.

        1. Agreed. Instead of wallowing in grief, the kids immediately took action that, they hoped, would work. Perhaps they were native, but they work doing the only possible thing that could change America’s sick fascination with guns.

          1. Naive? Hate those spellcheckers too.
            Leslie, your proposal (arming and training teachers) would probably be counterproductive. There is a good correlation between the number of guns in circulation and the number of gun deaths, and it appears obviously causal too. Your proposal would even put more guns in circulation. BTW, are teachers immune to running amok?
            I think those students’ proposal is very sensible. As,(if I’m not mistaken) a majority of US-ians do.

        1. No doubt the Republican approach to the cost problem will be to take the training out of teacher salaries. Those damn wealthy fat cat public school teachers can pay for their training themselves!

      2. After teachers arm themselves, how long would it be until there’s an incident in which a teacher mistakes a kid’s thermos for a bazooka and kills a bunch of innocent kids?

      3. Honestly, it is opinions like this that makes the rest of the World shake their heads in despair at the stupidity of the American gun debate.

        Teachers join the profession to teach, not to get involved in firefights with crazed gunmen. The people who are happy to do that join late enforcement or the army.

        In developed Western societies the gun laws are such that you do not need to arm the teachers.

      4. If I recall, evidence for effectiveness of CCW is based on a flawed study where decreasing gun violence rates attributed to CCW states were confounded with the overall trend of decreasing violence at the time. More recent studies have suggested that CCW increases gun violence rates.

      5. You’re entitled to your opinion, but speaking for myself, I find your comments, dare I say, deplorable. and I agree with all of the previous responses to yours.

        Unfortunately, I can’t find a reference right now, but a couple of days ago, I heard someone on the radio stating that the NRA had been pushing for laws implementing gun safety in schools — NRA-approved and implemented training, of course. I don’t know if these classes were for school personnel or students or both, but I find that prospect of the NRA inserting its odious propaganda directly into schools by fiat so appalling that part of me wants to get a gun and blow them away. And go report me as making a terrorist threat against the NRA for saying that. I don’t give a damn. I got my assault water gun locked and loaded. In my callow youth, used to be something of a gun-addled person myself, caught up in the shoot-em-up mystique of the Wild West and so forth; and after a couple of violent assaults (including being kidnapped at gunpoint), for a while I carried concealed weapons illegally (pistols and switchblades, brass knuckles) — to be ready for any eventuality because if I was going to go out, I was determined to take my assailants with me. But my feelings have since changed and now I don’t like guns. I don’t want all firearms banned; not by any means, but nobody needs assault weapons (well, maybe Sarah Palin needs them to shoot wolves from a helicopter, such a good shot she) and the thought of the NRA conducting gun safety classes in schools is the Mother of all oxymorons.

      6. I don’t see how a law restricting assault weapons would be “stupid and useless”. I’m far from an expert in the area, but comparing the USA’s rates of gun deaths with those of other developed countries suggests we are much worse at regulating dangerous weapons than other countries;

        In addition, a quick google scholar search revealed an article (free with unpaywall) published this year finding a negative correlation between the strictness of gun laws, and the number of per capita gun deaths, suggesting these laws can reduce gun violence:

        Agree with everyone that D’Souza’s comment was appallingly heartless.

      7. I just responded to a similar suggestion on Facebook, so I’ll post a similar response here.

        As others have noted, there is a strong link between the number of firearms and the rate of shootings, particularly mass shootings.

        Firearms training would have to be combined with a variety of other courses to effectively prepare one, as much as possible, for these situations. We would have to effectively turn teachers into police officers.

        Public school teachers already have a variety of demands and responsibilities distracting them from the act of teaching. Proper training would, for reasons I discuss above, add to this problem.

        Finally, it’s tragically ironic that gun rights advocates invoke the concept of the right of individuals to own firearms while blithely ignoring the effect of gun violence and prevention measures on children.

        1. “Public school teachers already have a variety of demands and responsibilities distracting them from the act of teaching.”

          Thanks to the “in loco parentis” legal responsibility and liability imposed on them by omniscient state legislators who themselves do not bear the burden of in loco parentis responsibility.

      8. Given recent revelations about Russian troll farms, it’s hard to know if Leslie Fish is a real person, but it’s likely that a sizable minority of U.S. citizens agree with her. Which is a tragedy. I’m a teacher. The suggestion that armed teachers would prevent a massacre has been disproven by simulations that replay such a scenario. The likely outcome is mass confusion and chaos.

        The fact remains that allowing anyone to own assault rifles will inevitably lead to massacres on a regular and recurring basis. Outside of the entire citizenry living as if in military combat zones, with all public spaces converted to military installations, there will be no preventing the ongoing slaughter.

        1. I have substitute taught full-time for over ten years. Current circumstances are a real “carrot” to motivate one to enter the teaching profession, eh?

      9. Learning how to shoot a gun does not prepare one to act coolly and judiciously under active shooter circumstances. Arming teachers is a recipe for friendly fire tragedies.

        1. Even being able to remain calm and steady doesn’t equal perfect identification of the true assailant or perfect aim.

          As Trevor Noah pointed out, how many times in your HS classes did a teacher yell at the kid next to the kid who was talking? Or throw an eraser and hit a non-troublemaker? These are the people you want determining which young person is the right one to shoot?

          1. I wonder if Trevor Noah gave his teachers any problems and, if so, did he go back and apologize to them several years later? Dealing with oppositional defiance is not a “carrot” to motivate someone to become a teacher. It’s no less reasonable to ask whether one could trust Trevor Noah as a teacher packing a firearm?

            1. I struggle to see the point you are making here. The question of whether one could trust Trevor Noah as a teacher packing a firearm is relevant to nothing at all. His point was not to criticize teachers for throwing the eraser at the wrong student but to point out that in a classroom it is all too easy for anyone to make a mistake over who is the trouble maker (or armed killer). Throwing an eraser at the wrong student just creates a short-lived sense of injustice; firing a handgun at the wrong student ends a life.

      10. oh Jesus! train the aberrant murderous student how to be more effective in killing.
        Followed by a shootout with over confidant gun trained stressed confused students firing rounds at anything that moves with a heavy looking book.
        Then have a standoff with a student welding an assault rifle holding hostages in a bullet proof cage, or worse.
        This is getting crazy, getting more complex and dumber when the simple but partial answer is:
        BAN the assault rifles.

      11. I wrote out a long reply to your comment, and then just hit backspace until it was gone, because all I want to do is call you a name.

        When a response to a school massacre that leaves 17 teenagers dead and dozens more injured is to arm the teachers, I’m just going to keep crying until my eyes pop out.

      12. I’m more interested in another law proposed in the FL legislature which would not only allow but encourage teachers — and in fact all public school employees — to get firearms,

        How horrific.

        There’s a slaughter of students in a school, by a person using an assault rifle.

        Liberal response: “how about we prevent people having assault rifles, so it never happens?”

        Conservative response: “how about we have a shootout with the gunman in the crowded school area, so that we can shoot the guy after it starts happening?”

      13. This is a horrible idea and I’m a life long gun owner and hunter. The last thing that schools need is armed teachers, “trained” or not. Police and Swat train extensively for active shooter situations including when it’s safe to take a shot, situational awareness, etc. And what happens when an armed, well-meaning teacher, trying to protect his or her students, fires back at a shooter and accidently kills a student? This is why I despise concealed-carry laws: because I don’t trust the average citizen to have anywhere near the required judgment to start shooting in public. Protect your home if you wish but the right to bear arms in public? Craziness. Further, what are the police to do when entering an active shooter situation and several teachers are armed and risk being shot. A better solution is to station 1-2 trained, armed professionals at every school paid for by a tax under a new “protect our children” law.

      14. Talking about useless and stupid proposals…
        Reason, logic, statistical data, international experience, History, democratic quality, decency, sanity, common sense, are against your personal feelings-based conservatism. An antisocial -and terrible for the individual liberty of others than you- type of conservatism.

      1. D’Souza is soon if not already turning 57 years old. Couldn’t he already know 24 hours earlier what occurred to him 24 hours later?

        Has he a problem with impulse control? Surely he’s finally learned that he doesn’t have to say out loud everything he thinks. He must be sincere about his apology.

        A certain percentage of a Trumpian world view/mindset are resolved to never apologize. I’ll give him credit for apologizing.

        1. He’s just an asshole who got caught and is trying to weasel his way out of it. He’s as subtle, and as deep, as a 4 year old.

  1. I’m gobsmacked! I’m appalled! Just what kind of monster is D’Souza! His crap is absolutely outrageous! Are D’Souza and Trump in some sort of competition to see who can be the most thuggish and gross and awful??

    1. What makes you think he doesn’t?
      It’s probably what enables him to keep an upright posture.
      I’d bet dollars to donuts that it’s even equipped with a bump stock.

    2. Perhaps if the barrel were well-oiled and employed by a master of the art and science of frottage.

      But I recommend refraining from that, to give him more consideration than he is apparently willing to give students who have had dear friends cruelly wrenched from their lives.

      Sackcloth and ashes, anyone?

  2. The latest Quinnipiac college poll says that 97% of those polled want background checks. That is a higher percentage than those who think water is wet.

  3. James Fallows at the Atlantic site has posted the cycle of the response to mass shootings:


    • As news of the killing comes in, cable channels give it wall-to-wall coverage.
    • The NRA ducks its head down and goes dark for hours or days, in its Twitter and other social-media outlets.
    • Politicians who have done everything possible to oppose changes in gun laws, and who often are major recipients of NRA contributions, offer “thoughts and prayers” to the victims, say they are “deeply saddened,” praise the heroes of law enforcement and of medical treatment who have tried to limit the damage, and lament the mental-health or cultural problems that have expressed themselves via an AR-15.
    “Thoughts and prayers” are of course admirable. But after an airline crash, politicians don’t stop with “thoughts and prayers” for the victims; they want to get to the bottom of the cause. After a fatal fire, after a botched response to a hurricane, after a food-poisoning or product-safety failure or a nursing-home abuse scandal, “thoughts and prayers” are the beginning of the public response but not the end. After a shooting they are both.
    • These same politicians say that the aftermath of a shooting is “not the right time” to “politicize” the tragedy by talking about gun laws or asking why only in America do massacres happen week after week after week.
    The right time to discuss these policies is “never.”
    • The news moves on; everyone forgets except the families and communities that are forever changed.
    • The next shooting comes, “thoughts and prayers” are offered, and the cycle resumes.

    If this summary sounds too cynical, think back to what has happened since a gunman killed or wounded more than 900 people in Las Vegas less than five months ago.

    Every mass shooting is a “rerun,” which the public quickly gets tired of. There is no possibility of anything substantive happening regarding gun control until the Republicans are voted out of national and state office. Even with the Democrats in charge, only mild reforms will be instituted. Such is the power of the NRA.

    1. This whole issue makes me spitting mad. There is no hope whatsoever of a resolution and we will just keep on burying children. So angry…..I’ll only say this…..

      I differ in one regard to Fallows. When a politician offers “thoughts and prayers” after a shooting like this, is is NOT admirable – it is ABDICATION of their responsibilities.

      1. For once I can agree with Mr Rubio: [calling the students actors] is “the work of a disgusting group of idiots with no sense of decency”.

    2. I agree that we need to vote Republicans out of office and make sure we run Democrats who support progressive ideas.

      As to what happened after the Las Vegas shootings, I can’t recall that anything happened in Nevada. Should anyone wish to ask, here is contact information for Gov. Sandoval. He has served two terms; he can’t run for reelection, so has little motivation to act. Still, I would encourage people to write him and ask, “What is your plan for ending gun violence in Nevada?” Most likely he will not bother answering.
      Carson City
      State Capitol Building
      101 N. Carson Street
      Carson City, NV 89701
      Phone: (775) 684-5670
      Fax: (775) 684-5683

      We have also had school shootings in Nevada, and a mass murder in an IHOP among other incidents. In the last legislative session laws requiring background checks were passed. The current attorney general, Adam Laxalt, has refused to enforce these laws, He is running for Governor.

      1. “The current attorney general, Adam Laxalt, has refused to enforce these laws, He is running for Governor.”

        I gather that it was his father, Paul Laxalt, who in an earlier time was a senator for Nevada.

    3. I don’t recall mass walkouts and students petitioning the White House before. I also don’t recall feeling such an edge of “when we vote, we’re coming for you” before.

      So I’m somewhat optimistic this may represent a break in the pattern. If not in 2018, then maybe in the 2020s.

  4. How long till the Donald himself starts a twitter war with these kids? He did it with gold-star parents, so why not?

    Trump did make a big, sanctimonious pronouncement yesterday that he’d signed an order directing AG Sessions to start thinking about maybe doing something about bump stocks (a change his own Justice Dept. has determined must be done by congress, rather than by executive fiat). So let’s all celebrate that.

    1. Of course, the NRA has already endorsed removing the sale of bump stocks. Trump is in his usual butt kissing NRA mode.

  5. He’s not lame, he’s a f*cking monster. Mocking victims of a mass shooting for daring to try to protect others from the same situation is vile and disgusting.

  6. Just as the day will come for Trump, for the republicans or what is left of them but also for the gun manufacturers and NRA. This next generation will grow up and vote. The removal of the republicans from office has already started around the country and it will continue.

    I predict the democrats will take over the house and senate in the fall and first on the agenda will be the removal of Trump.

    But aside from that, the assault weapons must go, followed by hand guns, which are by the way, the most dangerous weapons a human can own.

    1. I certainly hope you’re right and the Dems can regain control of at least one branch of congress. They look to gain seats in both, but this is a party that is more than capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

      In any event, on the issue of guns there is no hope. The Dems will not be the vehicle for change there. They could stem the bleeding on a few of the other fronts, but they are in the pocket of the NRA too. They controlled the Senate after Sandy Hook. Got a lot done on gun control, didn’t they?

      1. First you remove the most odious and soon the others will follow. To say there is no hope just means you have left the conversation.

        1. There is hope, but it is rather slim, especially in the near future, ne? I think you two see more or less eye to eye here.

          1. The real problem is not that there aren’t good Democrats in the party, the problem is that for the Dems to win Republican seats they have to be like the Republicans on certain issues but most importantly on these stupid fucking guns.

            So while they will likely be competitive in many Republican districts this election, the Democrats that are successful will mostly be the ones who are pro-gun.

          2. +1, Randall

            I think there is a chance of getting something done. The kids are not going to give up yet, and their already massive support will continue. I think many adults will be joining the March for our Lives scheduled for March 24 and April 20. There is a GoFundMe initiative set up by Cameron Kasky that has already raised 1.38 million, with a goal of 2 million. I was happy to make a small contribution, and wish I could donate a LOT more. If we can keep the pressure on, it could have quite a large effect on the 2018 elections.

            1. The only way anything gets done is for people to do it. Right now they happen to be the kids so I will be backing the kids. There will be others. To lose hope and think nothing can be done is never the right answer and these kids at least know that.

  7. I hadn’t heard about D’Souza’s comments but my news feed filters out commentary by convicted criminals.

  8. D’Souza should give his body the same treatment he’s given his personality and get stuffed head-first into a wood chipper.

    1. Huh, head-first?
      I always thought the other way around was more fun. Especially with those extremely slow running wood chippers 😈

  9. I read* that some people use conspiracy theories to discredit these students (they would be actors or “professional” activists). Such people are too “bright” for their own reasoning capacities.

    * “Florida lawmaker’s aide fired after saying outspoken Parkland students are actors” Tampa Bay Times.

    1. That’s not an apology, it’s a fucking lie from a pathetic little nobody too in love with himself to admit he fucked up.
      The ‘apology’;

      While it aimed at media manipulation, my tweet was insensitive to students who lost friends in a terrible tragedy. I’m truly sorry

      How in Hell were those tweets aimed at media manipulation? They were aimed four-square at the soft targets, just as the bullets were.

  10. I am so proud of these young people for standing up (or lying down)to let their state government know they want gun law change now. I hope they will not give up after seeing the disgusting response. Assault weapons should be banned. (I don’t even want police departments to have assault weapons and other military castoffs. There should be no weapons of any kind allowed in schools. Why are we not doing more to protect our precious young people?

  11. Republicans wouldn’t lift a finger on assault weapons after one of their own took a bullet from one during congressional softball practice. You think they really give a shit about some kids who’re nobody that nobody knows down in Florida?

  12. It is quite possible to express the opinion that the bill was rushed, or flawed, or what have you, without being a monster.

    And then there’s Dinesh.

  13. An FB friend reminded me that after the Virginia Tech shootings in 2007 D’Souza wrote this:

    Notice something interesting about the aftermath of the Virginia Tech shootings? Atheists are nowhere to be found. Every time there is a public gathering there is talk of God and divine mercy and spiritual healing. Even secular people like the poet Nikki Giovanni use language that is heavily drenched with religious symbolism and meaning.

    The atheist writer Richard Dawkins has observed that according to the findings of modern science, the universe has all the properties of a system that is utterly devoid of meaning. The main characteristic of the universe is pitiless indifference. Dawkins further argues that we human beings are simply agglomerations of molecules, assembled into functional units over millennia of natural selection, and as for the soul–well, that’s an illusion!

    To no one’s surprise, Dawkins has not been invited to speak to the grieving Virginia Tech community. What this tells me is that if it’s difficult to know where God is when bad things happen, it is even more difficult for atheism to deal with the problem of evil. The reason is that in a purely materialist universe, immaterial things like good and evil and souls simply do not exist. For scientific atheists like Dawkins, Cho’s shooting of all those people can be understood in this way–molecules acting upon molecules.

    If this is the best that modern science has to offer us, I think we need something more than modern science.


    He thinks we mean nothing if we don’t have souls, yet despite his belief in souls he still behaves despicably to innocent victims of a mass shooting. He is an appalling advertisement for Christian charity. I’d rather have atheistic solace to D’Souza’s ‘solace’ any time.

    1. “To no one’s surprise, Dawkins has not been invited to speak to the grieving Virginia Tech community.”

      Did D’Souza himself get invited to speak? What bloody words of solace would he have presumed to offer?

    1. What this is for sure is good reason not to live ON LINE as they say. Get your reporting from reputable, real journalist and stay away from the crap on the internet. Surely the Russians have taught us something??

        1. Did you click (look) at what T.Martin put up with his comment? That is what my comment was about, so I have no idea why you are putting up what you did?

            1. I simply said stay away from the crap on the internet. And if you look at the stuff in the above offering by T.Martin, that is exactly what it is. My understanding is lots of people are getting their news, their information from places like facebook and twitter. I would not recommend it and also know the Russians will love you for it.

              1. I am not, and was not, naive about the nature of Russian trolling or social media nonsense. But you didn’t really qualify your comment. It reads (to me at least) as a general condemnation of Internet use and content. Perhaps I over-reacted but it reads like an attack on the medium itself.

  14. I never understood why Hitch bothered to waste time talking to Dinesh. Dinesh has already proven his lack of moral quality many times, including when arguing (unsuccessfully) that he should not be convicted of breaking the law. The judge at the time said that Dinesh was long-winded, self-important and made weird and bizarre arguments. In other words, nothing much has changed in the last 10 years with this guy.

  15. By the way, CNN is having one of their town hall meetings tonight on the Florida incident and gun control. The interesting thing is that the NRA have been invited to participate and have accepted! It’s on at 9 pm ET.

    1. The complaint I have about these things is it is more like amateur hour because it is generally joe public against joe public. I see no value in hearing the bull from the NRA. We have heard it all before. I would much prefer hearing from actual gun or hunting experts who know what guns were once for – not entertainment objects for urban america.

      After all, there is no logical reason for assault weapons anywhere. The second amendment is not an excuse not to regulate guns. You know, some kind of conversation with some reality in it. I am just sick of the same old, same old.

  16. While I certainly agree that this Dinesh fellow seems to have some moral problems, I don’t see how we can expect the Florida lawmakers to ban assault weapons. The term “assault weapon” is a construction of news media and doesn’t actually have a definition. There is such a thing as an assault *rifle*, but those are heavily restricted, and not something you can just walk into a gun store and buy. What should lawmakers ban? Semi-auto rifles? Rifles with stocks other than wood? Rifles with folding stocks? Rifles with a forward pistol grip? Rifles that have a carrying handle? Rifles with attachment gizmos for flashlights and such? You get the picture.

    1. Ok, how about “guns that are designed to kill a lot of people quickly”? We can work out the details later.

      Perhaps this is like pornography. Hard to define but we know it when we see it.

    2. When you put it that way, yes, all of the above. Let’s start there and when there’s complaints we will send thoughts and prayers.

    3. You are, of course, correct about “assault rifle” in relation to the civilian semi-automatic AR-15. But the rest of your post leaves me with the impression that you think banning [some definition or other goes here] weapons is therefore a non-starter.

      Why not reply to me with what you consider should go in the bolded brackets above? Or perhaps you think nothing should?

      1. That’s a good question. Most of the bad feelings people have about “assault weapons” seem to be based on appearances rather than function. Clinton’s 1994 AWB Act was like that, and wound up with so many exceptions that it wound up not doing a whole lot (besides driving up prices on grandfathered pre-ban items).

        I don’t think that banning anything is going to help much, unless it’s all firearms everywhere period. I think the answer is in licensure, involving training in self-defense law and operational safety, with periodic renewals. States that offer concealed carry permits require that sort of thing, so there’s already some groundwork laid. How that would be handled Constitutionally, I have no idea. The Heller decision seemed to leave plenty of room for restrictions as long as there wasn’t a blanket ban, but who knows what the current crop would think.

    4. Your problem is that you want to nik pik the semantics and play with the people who you think know less than you. You get the picture.

      Everything that looks like an assault rifle is just that. And that is semi automatic. The full automatic is already illegal so we don’t need to discuss that do we? It is really pretty simple. We get rid of any magazines more than 5 bullets per and all rifle less than 30 inches. You know these AR-15 type weapons are not used by hunters for any kind of actual hunting so why do we have them?

      1. I would be in favor of allowing muskets and handguns that carry less than seven bullets. That would be far more than what they had when the constitution’s second amendment was written.

        1. I think that would be fair. At that time there was no such thing as a bullet. There were only balls and everything was single shot. Not 2, not seven. Just one. And honestly, the 2nd amendment was only about the militia and their need for guns. We have no militia today so there you have it.

          1. Oh, yes we do have militias now. There are legitimate ones like the National Guard run by states and then there is the right wing terrorist ones who hide in the woods and train, which are the ones who need to have the guns taken away.

            1. The national guard is called the national guard because they are not militia. If you would go down to your local national guard you would find they have guns for them locked up at the armory. They do not have them at home. They all went through basic training just like regular army personnel. They do training on the weekend once a month. Those other guys out in the woods are just idiots.

      2. Full-auto isn’t illegal. Prospective owners submit their info to the ATF for a background check, pay $200 for a tax stamp, and wait a few months for things to clear. Prices are high, though, because nothing from after 1984 can be sold, so there’s a limited pool available.

        If I seemed like I was game-playing, I apologize for my clumsiness. I genuinely have no idea how you’d define what to ban. There are plenty of rifles that do the same things an AR-15 does, and all of them are indeed used by hunters– for deer, feral hogs, that sort of thing.

        1. All of the junk the feds make those guys who seem to want the thrill of shooting a full auto weapon are good to have. Why they allow it at all is beyond me to understand. The guns that look like AR-15s are what I said – AR-15 type guns. I know lots of hunters and have even done some hunting in my lifetime. I know none who ever had guns like these. And just for your information, in many states you cannot use a rifle of any kind to hunt deer. It is illegal in Iowa and has been for many, many years. In states where rifles are used the standard would be a hunting rifle with a longer barrel and generally holding around 5 rounds. Any hunter who needed one of these AR-15 type weapons is either a poor shot or just a very poor hunter. I would not want to be in the same field with him.

        2. “I genuinely have no idea how you’d define what to ban.”

          We’ll be well served to assign the job to someone else then.

    5. I disagree that the tern assault rifle is a media construct. The term originally was used to describe weapons like the German WWII StG43 and 44 (the grand daddies of them all). A selective fire weapon firing an intermediate charge using a detachable magazine. It’s a military design intended for 2-legged game. Modern sellers get around many restrictions by limiting the weapon to a semi-automatic mode though modifying most to selective fire is pretty straight forward in most cases. They all still fire a round that was designed to maximize injury to humans, not elk, bears, deer, etc.

      There are classic military rifles that can double as hunting weapons (Lee-Enfield, a Mauser or even a Garand for example) but AR-15s and all the various iterations aren’t reasonable hunting firearms.

          1. You’re right, I stand corrected. It is nevertheless a semi-auto version of the M16, which is of course a weapon of war.

            It is interesting the the M16/2 issued to our troops has a 3-shot limiter per trigger pull. Apparently even the military doesn’t trust their troops with fully automatic fire.

            1. These limits on rate of fire for this class of weapon reflects the loss of accuracy that’s associated with automatic fire. Since the military is usually interested in aimed fire (as opposed to indiscriminate bullet spray into a crowd of concert goers) full auto with more powerful cartridges just wastes ammo. Submachine guns which are intended for use in full auto mode generally use pistol caliber ammunition that doesn’t have as much recoil.

  17. As has been pointed out elsewhere, this might by the first time social media has done some real, demonstrable good. These kids are the right age, they’re tech-savvy, and they’re not taking anyone’s BS. And it’s hard for anyone to point a finger at them and say “you kids don’t know what you’re talking about” without looking like the world’s biggest asshole. (Well okay, you have to go a bit further than that to match Dinesh, but you’d still be in the running.)

    I’m sorry these kids have to carry this burden but I have to hope they continue on with the same courage they’ve shown so far, and I hope every decent adult supports them.

  18. One of the most notable things about D’Souza’s career is that he did exactly what he falsely accused Obama of doing in his execrable 2012 documentary and book on the latter.
    To wit, he masked himself as a moderate, concealing how radical his agenda was until he gained some street cred. (In DD’s case radically right-wing)

    Insiders tell me D’Souza was forced to resign from Stanford’s somewhat conservative Hoover Institute (an anti-Communist think tank)- other people there were increasingly finding him an embarrassment.

    DD got his street cred by breaking the ice in discussing excessive political correctness in universities. However, his book on same “Illiberal Education” is wildly distorted on several counts. A few years later, FIRE founders Kors and Silvergate wrote a far superior book on the subject, “The Shadow University”.

    I frankly think the weirdest thing Christopher Hitchens ever said was that Dinesh D’Souza was one of his best debators (an accolade I would give to Alister McGrath. Al Sharpton did better than DD against Hitchens!!) What were you thinking, Hitch??

    1. Maybe Hitch was trying to be civil. On the other hand, one can find him online saying, “Civility is overrated.”

    2. Remember,
      1) While Hitchens was in debate shoulder to shoulder with Dennett and Harris, D’Sousa was on a team with noted piffle merchants like Shmuley Boteach, Nassim Taleb and Deepak Chopra. Of course he’s going to stand out as rational in that mob. Trump wouldnt even come in last place in that crowd.
      2) Hitchens saw debate as like boxing. Respecting your opponent’s skills is utterly orthogonal to liking them as a person.

  19. Recalling the famous caption (and crimony, has it really been 8.5yrs ago?), if it’s possible to renounce a handshake, it might be time.

  20. Here is a stat that makes things clear. The general trend is the regression line. Deviations such as Argentina, Barbados, Canada and indeed the USA, might be due to other circumstances than number of guns alone. Some added cultural trigger-happiness?
    I was also shocked to learn that 50% of all guns in the USA are owned by 3% of the population (that is about 9 million people) I also noted that more that 2/3ds of all gun deaths are due to hand guns, not semi-automatic rifles (but then, I guess there are many more hand guns in circulation).

  21. As some others have expressed, I’m proud of these young people for taking things into their own hands.

    The rational side of me remembers that the mere fact some of these folks were involved in the tragedy themselves, and others a near enough to the tragedy to be similarly energized, doesn’t entail that a good policy will flow from that anger.

    But still, something has to happen, some groundswell of people who won’t take no for an answer.

    And it’s despairing to see just what they are up against. It’s not only the institutionalized worship of the gun in America, the NRA etc, but even just seeing the attitude of lots of gun owners.

    On another forum in which I see subjects like gun control discussed, people – inevitably the Americans – who seem entirely normal and rational seem to flip a switch when it comes to their rights to guns, like talking about someone’s religion. I’ve actually seen gun owners state unequivocally hat every child in the country could get shot and it would not make them feel obligated to give up their guns, because of their bogey-man fear of “collectivism.” And that literally nothing could make them support a ban on semi-automatic rifles.

    It’s skin crawling.

    1. This is an interesting angle. Why is there virtual silence from the powerful religious right on the clear and present sinfulness of gun rights? The outline of what is the moral position here could not be more clear and simple.

      1. Without guns, how could the pious demonstrate their free will to avoid murderous temptation and the whole slew of other gun-related sins? Not to mention keeping the world safe for democracy…

  22. The bill (HB 219), which has been stuck in a House subcommittee for months, wasn’t voted down, the motion to simply debate the bill was voted down. The bill would ban the sale and possession of semiautomatic weapons and high-capacity magazines like the kind used by Cruz, but the legislature deemed that not worth even talking about.

  23. Looks like CPAC has no-platformed D’Souza over this, which is pretty amazing, given its high tolerance for all manner of right-wing extremist nonsense.

    Yes, Virginia, there are still some third-rails one may not touch. Given the disinvitation of Milo from CPAC last year and of Double-D this year, it seems boning alter-boys and mocking the victims of school shootings are two of ’em.

  24. Some claim that Republicans are not doing anything on gun control laws. As we can see from a few examples, that’s simply not true. In Arizona, for instance, ten gun control measures have been bottled up in Committee this year. None have received a hearing. The one measure that has received a hearing, and advanced out of committee, would loosen gun safety rules in foster homes. That bill would end gun safety requirements in homes of foster parents.

    In Wisconsin, where Democrats tried to force a vote on a measure requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases, Republicans rewrote the bill to eliminate the background checks section and added a grant to fund armed guards in schools

    In South Carolina, Republican leaders buried a Democratic proposal to ban sales of AR-15 rifles to those under the age of 20. The majority leader said it is unlikely Republicans will consider gun restrictions. He explained, “Restricting more rights of law-abiding citizens is not going to be the answer to the problem.”

    In other states around the country, Republican leaders are doing their best to loosen gun safety laws. They’re not doing enough, according to the NRA, but they’re doing their best.

    1. You prove the point that republicans are the first big obstacle so they need to go. It also tells us that screwing around at state level is a waste of time and effort unless you are already in a very blue state. Federal laws must be had to remove the assault like weapons because they are useless hunting guns and serve no purpose except mass murder. Any real hunter will tell you if you need more than a couple of rounds you are not a hunter anyway.

      People who are ignorant of guns and hunting will tell you every line of BS because unless you know something about it, what will you say. States all over the country have all kinds of hunting rules and regulations and you don’t hear anyone complaining about that. This is because the rules make sense and make for a much more safe place to live. The NRA would not dare complain about this, first because they do not care and second their job is representing the manufacturers. I can speak more directly to Iowa laws because that is where I grew up.

      You cannot go hunting by simply loading your gun and get in the car and go. A gun cannot be loaded in a vehicle. The gun must be broken down or in a case. You cannot shoot from on a road. You cannot shoot over a road. These are the rules. If you are duck hunting you cannot have more than 3 shells in your shot gun and if your gun holds more than 3 shells you better have a plug in it. These are the rules. If you are hunting in groups you better be carrying shotguns. Rifles are not for this type hunting and it is dangerous as hell. Handguns are not for hunting of any kind and they are the most dangerous thing a person can have. More people shoot others and themselves with handguns than anything else. At any distance you cannot hit anything with a hand gun. If you want to protect your family as they like to say, get a shotgun. Someone comes into your house at night — I’ll take a shotgun anytime.

      When I was a kid many years ago I hunted with adults and the only reason I was allowed to go was I followed the rules and was always safe. If I had not been they would have told me to stay home. No one ever had a rifle, it was shotguns only. And it was only certain types of shells, no double 00 buck or any of that stuff. Too dangerous. Anyone who handled their gun carelessly was not asked back to hunt.

      I only go through some of this because I know many people here know very little about guns or about hunting and that is fine. But before you do too much talking about an issue you should learn about it or listen to the people who do know about it. Not a bunch of urban magazine readers.

    2. “Restricting the rights of other law-abiding citizens wont help”. I’d love to see that argument used on the huge numbers of peaceful marijuana smokers and ecstasy-takers. I cant recall a time any of those guys picked a fight with anyone

  25. Talking about useless and stupid proposals…
    Reason, logic, statistical data, international experience, History, democratic quality, decency, sanity, common sense, are against your personal feelings-based conservatism. An antisocial -and terrible for the individual liberty of others than you- type of conservatism.

  26. We have gun control and the effectiveness is poor because of many factors, most of which are undiscussed. See

    The recent shooting in Florida was likely a substantial ignoring of multiple felonies (active threats, visits to the property, etc.) by the perpetrator prior to the final event. It’s interesting to see the debate explode in the middle of (at the least) ambiguous circumstances, and to have a variety of specious terminology (“gun shooting survivors” rather than kids that attended the school during the shooting — if that is even true), not to mention making policy based on the feelings of traumatized children — the absolute worst time to institute policy.

    The 2nd Amendment is a right “of the people” which is an individual right, as it is also specified in other Amendments. For review:

    Article [I] (Amendment 1 – Freedom of expression and religion) 13
    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right OF THE PEOPLE peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

    — Is this an individual right?

    Article [IV] (Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure)
    The right OF THE PEOPLE to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    — Is this an individual right?

    Article [II] (Amendment 2 – Bearing Arms)
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right OF THE PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    — If the above are individual rights, so is the 2nd Amendment.

    The militia is not a restrictive right (i.e. it is incorrect to say you get a gun only for the purpose of joining a militia), it is an expansive right: the militia was a volunteer army made of people that had the individual right to keep and bear arms that were chosen by the people to lead the people.

    The purpose of the 2nd Amendment, and it’s special position in juxtaposition to the 1st, was made clear by the expressed intent, environment, and careful language of the writers, down to the exact punctuation. And “well regulated” does not mean “government laws”, it means “well trained”.

    Since everyone at the time of the writing of the Amendments owned a gun and hunted and defended their property and land, it is impossible to argue that the writers of the Constitution intended for anything but an individual right which is made clear by context and language.

    It is a tragedy we have deaths by homicide using a firearms. A great deal of this is caused by the massive percentage of broken families in the inner cities and gang membership. Children have lost the protective factor of their Father. We pay a heavy price for subsidizing the behavior and we should think carefully how to help without doing more harm.

    Despite America’s more recent horrible missteps and movement to unfree policy, perpetrated by both the political right and left, America likely still does keep the world more free than would other countries, had they the upper hand (or if there was anarchy, which would be terrible in a world of nuclear weapons). The 2nd Amendment is a backstop against tyranny, and it is a substantial backstop (ask a Seal Team member what a few well-trained individuals can do). Let us hope that the balance of power makes it such that the situation never come to that (which is why most everyone should own a gun as the ability and training to commit violence promotes understanding and the ability and foresight to prevent it).

    Leftists would be shocked, if, ten years ago, a futurist said “in ten years, university professors will have propagandized students to such a degree, that students and many professors will intentionally restrict free speech in favor of Marxist thought (such as Critical Theory from the Frankfurt school), will disenfranchise 50% of the American population (identified now as the deplorables), and be actively hostile to students and citizens that disagree with them to the point of persecution, and many to the point of supporting violence” — yet here we are: you can now “punch a Nazi” and oh yeah, all conservatives are “Nazis” donchu know?

    In addition, those who you DON’T hear from, and those you hear from only in the negative, shows how fundamentally dishonest, deceptive, and morally bankrupt the debate has become.

    You never heard from Iraqi families during the Iraq war on the nightly news, and you never hear from the 12 year old girl that successfully defended herself against 2 rapists intent on having their way with her then killing and robbing her when she is home alone, or the **hundreds of thousands of people** that defend themselves.

    We have our own “police force” and our own “standing army” in the U.S. There are many loud and stupid voices, while many good people don’t tend to get involved in the debate. No one is going to invade the US using using conventional arms at the present state of technology without a heavy cost and tremendous armed resistance from the interior. Examples in history abound: even recent examples such as ISIS. Nor is the US government going to easily politically destroy the middle states (the genius of our representative government and the continued ownership of arms) even if it came to force. The point is, you are being aggressively lied to by many voices, especially those “against guns”.

    “Almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million…” — A study by the DHHS and CDC commissioned by Obama. See

    Not only do you not hear from certain groups, you do not hear it advertised that leftism has cost 150-200 million lives in the 20th century (Lenin, Stalin, Mao, etc), nor that Hitlerism or Naziism, a strange combination of racism and leftism, is a contraction of the German words for “National Socialism” and that Hitler’s government had strong and enduring Socialistic tendencies. It’s incredible to see people argue for socialism, unaware (apparently) of the Misesian “calculation debate” which, as sure as mathematics, proved absolutely that socialism cannot be successful, and that the aggressive expansion of socialism via university -> public thought -> government is a massive danger to freedom and economic prosperity (take a look at Venezuela, which is socialism “set free” and it still cannot work even with the largest oil reserves in the area)

    “Mises in effect said: All right, suppose that the socialists have been able to create a mighty army of citizens all eager to do the bidding of their masters, the socialist planners. What exactly would those planners tell this army to do? How would they know what products to order their eager slaves to produce, at what stage of production, how much of the product at each stage, what techniques or raw materials to use in that production and how much of each, and where specifically to locate all this production? How would they know their costs, or what process of production is or is not efficient?

    Mises demonstrated that, in any economy more complex than the Crusoe or primitive family level, the socialist planning board would simply not know what to do, or how to answer any of these vital questions. Developing the momentous concept of calculation, Mises pointed out that the planning board could not answer these questions because socialism would lack the indispensable tool that private entrepreneurs use to appraise and calculate: the existence of a market in the means of production, a market that brings about money prices based on genuine profit-seeking exchanges by private owners of these means of production. Since the very essence of socialism is collective ownership of the means of production, the planning board would not be able to plan, or to make any sort of rational economic decisions. Its decisions would necessarily be completely arbitrary and chaotic, and therefore the existence of a socialist planned economy is literally “impossible” (to use a term long ridiculed by Mises’s critics).” —

    Communism, Socialism, Naziism, Fascism, Islamism, Totalitarianism: all share common traits which the US is trending strongly toward. Many do not understand what is at stake (being educated by the state, with information intentionally withheld) and also people have a tendency to believe more in what they experience than the collective wisdom of centuries (of which Western Civilization is an example). The dangers of the increased power in a centralized state is a massive threat. You can lay large odds that federal control of education will continue this trend.

    Thus, a great deal of this debate is centered (as it must be) on the youth who do not have the proper context (or time and learning) to explore the issues. Frankly, I think it’s a good idea for almost everyone to go out, get trained, and own a firearm (**especially** those that are repulsed by it – you might learn something important): we need good and balanced people that enforce their own rights and keep rationality in our country, made more important with the latest president, which certainly would have also been true with the contender.

    1. ” Frankly, I think it’s a good idea for almost everyone to go out, get trained, and own a firearm”

      I think it’s probably the worst idea I’ve ever heard of.

      1. Okay. You might be right. But what’s the reasoning? 150 years ago, owning a weapon and knowing how to use it, was the norm (and still is in Switzerland, unless I am mistaken, albeit with more lawful controls than we have in the U.S.).

        While circumstances (population density, technology, lethality) are much different now, the political danger is that the citizenry is left defenseless against an aggressor, from whatever source. In a sense, the state being the “protector” means that it can also use aggressors to target undesirables, simply by not acting … or to enforce policy by the same.

        Also, I’m convinced there are worse ideas … such as invading a country (Libya) or promoting nuclear proliferation, or perhaps endorsing Marxism (already mentioned above). We are talking orders of magnitude more dangerous than your claim of the “worst idea”. But again, perhaps you are right.

Leave a Reply