Semiautomatic Madness

January 6, 2009 | 133 comments
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“Gun sales in the waning months of 2008 saw a dramatic spike in Utah, a trend gunowners say is propelled by the election of Barack Obama and a faltering economy . . . At Kearns’ Impact Guns, assault weapons, such as AR-15s and AK-47s are out-of-stock after a post-election rush.”

Will someone please explain to me why any civilian would want or need an AK-47?

I mean, really. What are you going to do with it? Mow down the dozens of thugs trying to steal your car CD player? (Or, if you’re Mormon, your years’ supply of hard white winter wheat?)

Obviously firearms are big among Mormons, and not just the huntin’ types. I’ve never owned one, and I don’t think I ever will, but I don’t begrudge others their weaponry. Under certain conditions, that is. If you want a shotgun to kill yerself an elk, great–just make sure you eat the stinking beast. If you need a handgun in your home to feel safe, fine–robberies do happen. Although if you have kids, by the time you get your piece and your ammo from their separate locked-up locations your plasma is gonna be gone. And if the robber perceives a threat, you’re gonna be gone too.

But an assault rifle? Please.

Gun Sales in Utah

October 2007: 9,841

October 2008: 11,117

November 2007: 11,912

November 2008: 20,908

These aren’t all assault rifle sales, of course. But clearly they’re flying off the shelves, into the hands of citizens who have no good use for them other than re-enacting scenes from Die Hard in their backyards.

Two members of the board of directors of the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah are on record accusing gun dealers of fueling the scare. (Duh.) Some guy from the Utah Shooting Sports Council says the fear isn’t due to hype, but to the fact that there are senators in office who would like to ban all handguns. (As if.)

But the weirdest part of the article isn’t the sales numbers, or the crazy fears spurring them. It’s the names of these two director guys:

Gary Sackett and Steve Gunn.

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133 Responses to Semiautomatic Madness

  1. TStevens on January 6, 2009 at 10:00 am

    When the Zombies attack you will change your tune.

  2. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I’m afraid this is yet another area where our nation has become paralyzed by the extreme polarization on an issue. Both sides are so sure that they are right (saying that we should either get rid of nearly all guns, or saying that we should allow almost all guns) that any compromise is seen as weakening their side’s position.

    Gun control, abortion, immigration, etc., etc., etc., everyone is so sure that they are right that nothing can change, and every polarizing issue becomes a litmus test for who can be elected.

    its enough to make you want to elect a professional mediator or give all the power to mindless bureaucrats who couldn’t care what happens either way — we might actually stumble on an acceptable solution that way, where we never will if we keep up the arguments.

    ARRRRGH!!

  3. Sheldon on January 6, 2009 at 10:49 am

    Dear TStevens,

    Although assault weapons might be useful for a limited scale zombie attack, weapons such as the AK47 would not be particularly useful in the event of a global zompocalypse. It would be difficult to sustain a full-scale offense against a global zombie pandemic with assault weapons.

    Remember, the objective is to sever the zombie brain from the rest of the zombie body – semiautomatic weapons aren’t very useful for that, for most people. Also, if you are relying on guns, you would need to maintain the capability to manufacturer an unreasonable supply of ammunition. Sometimes simple is better – zombies are slow-moving creatures, after all, so you can rely on weapons that don’t require as much manufacturing capacity as guns do, but that could do the dirty job of severing brain from body. I’m talking about machetes, axes, etc.

    I suggest that, in the event of the zompocalypse, we heed Dieter Uchtdorf’s advice and “stand close together and lift where you stand.” Per zombologist Max Brooks, tight columns of individuals wielding axes, conducting slow sweeps across the country/continent, would probably be the most effective strategy.

  4. Marc on January 6, 2009 at 10:53 am

    According to my relatives, to shoot up old cars in the desert.

  5. E on January 6, 2009 at 10:54 am

    Oh great. Now there will be a huge spike in machete sales.

  6. Mark N. on January 6, 2009 at 11:01 am

    To say nothing of people dumping their old cars in the desert.

  7. bbell on January 6, 2009 at 11:08 am

    1. The constitution
    2. Self defense
    3. Fun
    4. There will not be an increase in crime due to these increased sales.

    Obama has a very clear anti-gun record in Illinois and to be honest this is the reality that gun owners see and why they are buying weapons. Before another assault weapons ban gets enacted. Its the free-market working. A similar thing happened in 1992-1993 when Clinton came into office and the fears for Gun Owners were justified by legislation that he signed.

    Shotguns are not used to hunt elk. Hi-powered hunting rifles are. 30-06, .270′s etc. Shotguns are used for target shooting and bird hunting. They are not powerful enough for Elk hunting. Usually its best to post about things you are familiar with.

  8. bbell on January 6, 2009 at 11:09 am

    before I forget. its also illegal to hunt elk with shotguns

  9. gary on January 6, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Yeah Kathryn. How can somebody who doesn’t know that you hunt elk with rifles, not shotguns, possibly have the gall to question why regular civilians would ever need AK 47′s. I mean really now. Until you have experienced the futility of trying to kill an elk with a shotgun, your brain simply cannot comprehend the enormous importance of assault rifles, so hang your head in shame, retreat into the corner reserved for the ignorant, and leave this issue to the experienced hunters..

  10. sa on January 6, 2009 at 11:29 am

    “Will someone please explain to me why any civilian would want or need an AK-47?”

    Bbell, you (channeling Adam?) answered that question with:
    “1. The constitution
    2. Self defense
    3. Fun.”

    I can imagine the fun part, but can you spell out the logic behind your other two answers? For example, a Kalashnikov would be good for self-defense (as opposed to a non-assault rifle) against…..whom? And the Constitution would make we want or need an assault rifle (as opposed to a .22, .270, pistol, etc.) because…..?

  11. Yet Another John on January 6, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I just wish people would get as upset about accidental alcohol-related deaths as they do accidental gun-related deaths. And yes, guns are used in the commission of crimes, often by someone with alcohol-impared judgement.

  12. Frank McIntyre on January 6, 2009 at 11:33 am

    “And if the robber perceives a threat, you’re gonna be gone too.”

    I think usually if the robber perceives a threat, he’s gonna never go in the house.

    I think Sheldon has a good point. We definitely need a modified AK-47 that shoots machetes. I feel a film coming on.

    As for AK-47 sales, you may not want one today, but if you think they are about to be banned some people are asking “will I want one anytime for the rest of my life”? Also, I heard a radio ad that was built exactly around the premise that people needed to buy guns before the “change in government” did something horrible.

  13. Nai on January 6, 2009 at 11:51 am

    My first grader brought home the school newspaper yesterday. In an article descibing the election, the 5th grade author says everyone voted, Obama and McCain both gave speeches, and then states “I’ve heard that Barrack (sic) Obama wants to take away guns even though the founding fathers wanted the guns.” I’m in southern Utah.

  14. Keith S. on January 6, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I was home to UT for the holidays and a brother in law showed me the AR-15 assault rifle that his best friend bought recently and some video of the two of them shooting the weapon (and an uzi) in the mountains for fun. It was a somewhat weird experience. I really like this bro-in-law, though we have fairly different views politically. I think he’s of the 2nd amendment, protect your property ilk. He did say, though, that his friend bought the guy more as an investment—the street value (ebay) of the thing has already doubled, mostly because of the worry that Obama and the Dems will institute new legislation that will limit assault rifles somehow.

    I also recently had a weird and somewhat troubling discussion with a good friend whom I respect very much (he’s a high level financial analyst for a major financial institution) who was talking about his concerns that we’re heading toward a US financial meltdown of epic proportions—inflation like that seen in the Weimar Republic, etc. He was saying things like “your food storage wont do you any good when things get really rough unless you have an assault rifle in your home to keep people from stealing your stuff.” I think this is extreme pessimism (to put it mildly) and just the opposite end of the “irrational exuberance” that we’ve seen in years past. But still, it made me wonder for a minute—not about buying a hand gun, but about leaving the northeast and moving to a compound in Idaho where I can live off the land far away from marauding bands of evil-doers (and zombies).

  15. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Check your chromosones, muchacha.

  16. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Remember, an “assault weapon” is essentially defined as a gun that looks scary. Most rifles are semi-auto, not just “assault weapons.” The AK-47s that people are buying are only semi-automatics, they don’t go to full rock’n’roll.

    I hear that back east you sometimes have to hunt deer with shotguns, using slugs, because the areas are populated enough that you want the limited range. Otherwise, no, shotguns are for small game, entertainment, and home defense.

    People who buy these sorts of weapons are people who think of themselves as citizens, not subjects, possessed of the attributes of sovereignty, including, in the last analysis, the right to wield deadly force.

  17. Rameumptom on January 6, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    What? None of you use AR-15s or AK47s for hunting? :D

    Personally, I enjoy weapons, but currently do not own any. If I did, I would purchase smaller weapons (22 cal) and shotguns, for hunting small animals. Why? Because if things do get so bad that zombies are walking around everywhere, only the squirrels and rabbits will be safe to eat.

    And a shotgun will protect my food storage better than a semi-auto, anyway.

  18. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    What does owning an assault rifle have to do with sovereignty? And where and how does a citizen’s sovereignty mesh with the common good and the general citizenry?

    I can understand the gun ownership of several of the men I met in Kanab as an extension of the means to provide for their families, get rid of critters attacking their livestock and perhaps self-defense, but it seems that modern era gun ownership is more of a fetish for violence and toys and technology than any sort of connection to land, family, citizenship or sovereignty.

    Which isn’t to say that I support all gun control laws. I don’t. But I agree with Kent in #2.

  19. Bryan H. on January 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I’ve found that there are two kinds of people that have problems with guns: 1) People who don’t know anything about guns. 2) People who think they know everything about guns. For those in the first group, let’s help you out.

    “Assault rifles” and hunting rifles are functionally identical. The only difference is that my AR-15 looks really scary.

    Obama egregiously flip-flopped on the D.C. gun ban during the campaign. The questionaire filled out by those in his new administration asks if you or your family has ever owned guns. This makes some people nervous, because during Clinton’s assault weapons ban, the price of AR-15′s and AK-47′s and their parts went up 500% in some cases because they were illegal to manufacture during that time. Supply and demand. I have noticed that prices or AR-15 parts have doubled in the past few months, with retailers out of stock and orders backlogged to the manufacturer.

    I like my AR-15 because I can swap out parts and shoot different calibers of bullets, I can use different combinations of scopes and sights, stocks, etc. etc. It’s easy to customize and usually cheap to do so except when some government bureaucrat who’s never touched one in his life goes around making all the parts for it illegal.

  20. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Wm. Morris,
    I’m not trying to force you to own weaponry. Why try to force your unarmed understanding of citizenship on me?

  21. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Ah, well if guns were actually something that had to do with the living…

  22. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Of course, my solution is for all citizens to do 18 months of military service followed by reserve status and the formation of local militias with local armories. All toy guns could be kept at gun clubs for fun. Hunting guns could be kept in the home but would require whichever locking mechanisms work best. And permits for concealed handguns would be easy to get for citizens in good standing, but would be more difficult to buy (e.g. would require a permit and sold by authorized dealers — not at gun shows).

  23. bbell on January 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    AK’s and AK’s are pretty commonly used for Wild Pig hunting here in TX.

  24. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Will someone please explain to me why any civilian would want or need an AK-47?

    Will someone please explain to me why you would care? The odds that your post here is going to save you from being threatened with a weapon are at least as low as the odds that having an AK-47 will make the difference in protecting someone’s food storage. You claim that there’s no practical reason for owning “assault weapons.” But its just as true that there’s no practical reason for you to worry about this at all.

    So your opposition to gun ownership comes down to emotional or psychology or symbolism. Why should your emotions or your psychology or your taste in symbolism trump that of gun owners?

  25. Tom Rod on January 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Napalm is a more efficient zombie deterrent and clearing mechanism. Using an assault rifle or machete would spread the virus (this of the horrors if you had a paper cut!!). However, zombies and their ilk are typically fairly dried out, so turning them back into dust of the earth is feasible. Unless the virus is heat resistant and airborne, in the which case we’re all doomed.

  26. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Also: I’m not against owning weaponry. If I were in an economic position to do so, I would go skeet shooting on a fairly regular basis. I’m also not against hunting, although I’d be more likely to raise and butcher animals than hunt.

  27. Kathryn Lynard Soper on January 6, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    gary, put down the gun! I stand corrected on the rifle/shotgun error.

    I assume your last name isn’t Sackett?

  28. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Wm. Morris,

    I could get onboard with your #22. I don’t think there’s any real point to having locking mechanisms on hunting rifles (its probably dangerous for people who live in rural areas, in fact,) and there’s especially no point to taking toy guns away from kids and putting them in gun clubs (I don’t get the point of this proposal at all). But I understand that people are often irrational about weapons. If that would be the price for bringing back the militia, I’d probably go for it

  29. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I suppose the question is whether or not a decrease in gun availability would affect the incidents of accidents, suicides and use by criminals. From what I understand that data is mixed. In addition, I’d be careful to extrapolate from the culture of other countries since America just might (or might not) be a bit unique because of its size, diversity, development and culture(s).

  30. Sue on January 6, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Half the people in my neighborhood are stockpiling weapons. I know this because my husband was a cop, and people ask his opinion about different guns. They don’t want a pistol and a shotgun, they want major artillery, and it’s ALL about defending the homestead in case their worst apocalyptic fantasies come true. These are highly educated, well-to-do, very conservative folks who are all fueling each others’ worst fears about the end of the world – they see the economy tanking, a man they did not support in office, and they’re reading the tea leaves the way they want to – inventing other warning signs of impending doom. These are people I love and respect, but I’m really troubled by their paranoia.

  31. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    By toy guns, I mean guns that are fun to shoot, but don’t have great utility for self-defense or hunting. Uzis, for example.

  32. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    Toy guns. Gotcha.

    You’re right that the data are mixed in general, but I don’t think any show that putting trigger locks on hunting rifles is all that helpful to anything. Am I wrong? Accidental deaths from guns are pretty rare anyway. Accidental deaths with hunting rifles usually happen in circumstances when there wouldn’t be at trigger lock. Hunting, for example.

  33. Bruce in Montana on January 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    If an apocalypse does occur, like has been prophesied, there could be some very scary scenarios. No power, no law enforcement, no gasoline, no food for sale, no money to buy it if it were, etc. I know it sounds like a bad movie but it could/may happen.
    If that never happens….great….but we have been warned.
    I feel it would be irresponsible to not prepare to protect my family in case of riots, etc.
    If it comes to a wilderness dwelling/survival situation, I will be very glad to have some semi-auto rifles.

    My 2 cents….

  34. Tom Rod on January 6, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    More important and valuable to be a strong man, as with the fall of Rome.

    If that means you have only guns, sad day. If that means you can single-handedly replant the entire wheat crop of Kansas in a single season, better have ways to protect it.

    Protection isn’t only through arms. Diplomacy is a great tactic too.

    Don’t y’all ever play Risk?

  35. Steve Evans on January 6, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Come back and repost after you go to the range and fire your Kalashnikov on full auto.

  36. Jay S on January 6, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    I am coming from a position as a long time supporter of gun laws. But recently I have gotten into target shooting through a friend. I will be getting my very first firearm in the next few days (darn that three day waiting period j/k). My wife, despite coming from Idaho, is very nervous about this, and I have reassured her I will take the necessary precautions (gun and ammo stored separately, educating the kids, and keeping it locked).

    I don’t plan on using this for home defense. The gun is likely to be turned on the owner (especially if I am not home), and cause a worse situation. If they want my computer and huge tv (heavy old school one) – they can have it. I prefer good locks, lights and other deterrents.

    I think what Wm Morris said was pretty accurate “Modern era gun ownership is more of a fetish for violence and toys and technology”. I would de-emphasize the violence portion for some, or at least say that the motivating factors are not necessarily linked. I abhor violence, but certainly do look at the fire-arm purchase as a toy.

    that said, I am more in favor of open disclosure requirements that out and out banning. Such as required registration for gun ownership, mandatory background checks and waiting periods, licensing requirements, etc, and enhanced criminal penalties for gun usage.

  37. Dead Seriously on January 6, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    According to the economics blog Marginal Revolution (http://tiny.cc/ccfHe), guns are not the only “Countercyclical Assets” on the market. Among others:

    Soup, Whores, Tasers
    Mud, Cocoa/Chocolate futures
    Chinchillas, Worm farms, Super-Rabbits
    Emus, Alpacas
    Second Life (apparently computer-types get laid off the most?)

  38. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    “Fetish” is a particularly unhelpful way of having this conversation, assuming y’all are interested in having a conversation.

  39. queuno on January 6, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    You mean protecting my food storage isn’t a valid reason?

  40. Ray on January 6, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    “Soup, WHORES, Tasers” – Is that a typo – or are whores really considered a counter-cyclical asset? If so, should I be stocking up on them?

  41. Ray on January 6, 2009 at 2:30 pm

    Leave gun control at the state level, where it makes sense – since different states have different gun-related needs. The states are more likely, also, to allow for varying gun laws in varying demographic areas – which, I believe, is the heart of the concern for nearly all gun owners in rural areas, especially. (“How dare those arrogant, city-dwelling idiots who have no idea what life is like out here in the country tell me what I can and can’t shoot!”)

  42. Trevor on January 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Every American household should have:

    12-gauge shotgun
    .22 Rifle
    Mid caliber rifle .223 or 7.62 (examples AR-15 or AK-47 respectively, available in all kinds of actions and rifle types not just these two rifles)
    Large caliber rifle (30-06 being most common, with 30-30, .30, and .308 also acceptable)
    9mm or larger caliber pistol (9mm, .357, .40, .45)

    With those should also have minimum 1000 rounds of the rifle and pistol ammo. 5000 rounds of .22 ammo (it’s cheap). For shotgun 1000 rounds buckshot in different flavors and 500 slug/00 buckshot.

    This should be included in emergency preparedness, regardless of how you feel about guns or the “scary” looking AK-47 and AR-15.

    Notice what I call “super caliber” is missing. (.408, .50, etc). Those the standard household does not need, though I’m not ever going to say they can’t have, nor am I going to ask why anyone would think they need it. Why would anyone need a 48″ flat screen plasma TV? I know plenty of people that have .50 BMGs that shoot in competition regularly and they haven’t shot down any airliners (though that’s what the politicians over in Hawaii and New Jersey think that’s all they are used for).

    Each weapon and caliber serves a different purpose and is a different tool for different jobs. Just like having different sized wrenches in a tool box. Having these five weapons covers everything from hunting to self-defense to civilian defense (remember the Korean shop keepers on their roofs with AK47, SKS, and regular hunting rifles during the LA Rodney King riots…and remember whose shops didn’t get looted).

    Calibers are the most important, followed my mechanism. If you want a bolt action .223 instead of a semi-auto .223 that is fine, but it’s the caliber of the round, not the type of gun. And definitely should not be telling people that they can’t have a semi-automatic because you think they are scary looking.

    Pro-tip a bolt action .223 is usually more accurate over a course of fire and therefor more deadly than a semi-automatic.

    Notice also that the .223 (AR-15) is a mid caliber weapon. I would much rather be shot with one of them then a 30-06 which strangely doesn’t get as much press about its high powered ammo and dangerousness. It’s all about the looks of typical .223 and 7.62 that freak people and politicians out.

    And yes I do use my AR-15 to hunt yotes.

  43. queuno on January 6, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Ray, you’re too sensible and should be banned from the Bloggernacle. :)

  44. dbeacon on January 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    First, in #38, the assertion is made that a gun is likely to be turned on the owner. If you are referring to what Kellerman said about guns being 43 times more likely to be used against the owner, then you should realize his numbers were arrived at using flawed means and incomplete data. One of many sites talking about this:

    http://www.guncite.com/gun_control_gcdgaga.html

    The bottom line of most gun control discussions has little to do with guns. Gun control advocates assert that law abiding citizens like me don’t need, and therefore should not have guns, or that they are protecting us all collectively by keeping law abiding citizens from having them.

    On the first assertion, nobody needs fast cars, or big houses, or many nice things we all enjoy, but that’s not a valid reason to ban, or restrict them. Related to that is that many who advocate registration, restrictions, or outright bans do not realize that while we joke about the zombie apocalypse, that’s not what we’re really talking about. Not all gun owners feel as I do, and I don’t want to put them all into a single “bucket”. But I, and many others, own and carry handguns, we own shotguns and semi-automatic rifles because I recognize that our lifestyles are far more fragile than we like to think. Around the world there are countries who have had economic downturns that amounted to collapses. Those with a means to protect their homes and families are potentially better off. Those who choose to negotiate with someone intent on harming them and their families are welcome to do so. If it ever came to that, and I pray that it doesn’t, I would chose to exercise the same rights the Nephites did in the BoM when their enemies came upon them.

    One the second assertion that we are being protected by disarming the law abiding citizens… just look at how well the war on drugs is going. Those who don’t abide by the laws can get their favourite drug just about any where, regardless of it being illegal. I don’t know how someone can expect that a ban on guns would go any better against those who don’t obey the laws. The law abiding citizens are not the ones to worry about.

    So, back on the original topic…. this isn’t about “evil” semi-automatic guns… this is about you either thinking that because you don’t see a need for many of us to have a gun I enjoy owning that I shouldn’t have it, or that you think my gun is a threat to you. I assure you that neither is the case, and that you won’t be any better off with a new round of a “Assault Weapons Ban”. Bolt actions, flintlocks, knives and fists are just as much of a threat as the AR with it’s efficient beauty. People are the problem… not the weapons.

  45. Ryan S. on January 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    He was saying things like “your food storage wont do you any good when things get really rough unless you have an assault rifle in your home to keep people from stealing your stuff.”

    I hear this comment in my EQ/Priesthood opening exercises on a regular basis. The discussion usually starts off with the weekly ranting about food storage, turns into emergency preparedness, and then to guns. Then someone will make the comment that all the food storage in the world doesn’t mean anything unless you have the weapons to protect it. Then of course, someone else will point out that all the weapons in the world will not do you any good unless you have the necessary amount of ammo. And then yet another person will point out that you don’t just need a lot of ammo, just more than the next guy.

    This type of discussion has not intensified with Mr. Obama’s election, but the excitement over the pending end of days battle has gotten to be a little much. I should mention that I live in Toquerville, Utah. (No, that’s not the town that voted itself out of the UN- that is LaVerkin 3 miles down the road).

    Why any civilian would want or need an AK-47? Because your neighbors have one, and they may want your year supply of wet pack.

  46. Ray on January 6, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    queuno, for writing #42 or #43?

    ‘Cause if you mean #42 is sensible . . . I might want to contact your Bishop. *grin*

  47. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Adam:

    Would you prefer false idol? ;-P

  48. Hunter on January 6, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Why would anyone want to own an AK-47? Don’t forget that there are lots of folks who collect guns, even if they never shoot any of them. Gun collecting is a huge hobby. And with the perception of eventual changes to gun laws, supply and demand concerns heat up, and voila, a hot market.

    Now, I’m headed up to the hills to go and try and kill me an elk with my shotgun. (Sorry, Kathryn. Just had to get in another jab.) [wink]

  49. dbeacon on January 6, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    That last line in #46 should have read “bad people are the problem… not the weapons”.

  50. Matt W. on January 6, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Crap! THe only CounterCyclical Asset I have is soup!

    But I can throw full cans to smash zombie heads, or use the cut of lids as throwing stars and ninja and boil the soup extra hot to repel pirates from scaling my walls.

    Ah, it’s good to be prepared.

  51. Ray on January 6, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Btw, Kathryn, the names at the end of the post really are funny. Thanks for that laugh.

  52. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    “People are the problem… not the weapons.”

    I agree. And yet one has to be licensed to use all sorts of potentially dangerous tools here in the U.S.

    I’m not real interested or invested in the gun control debate as I think both sides tend to recycle the same arguments and I have yet to find any that are incredibly compelling.

    What I do know is this: what I support most is guns in the hands of humble, trained, craftmanship-loving, community-oriented, law-abiding men and women.

    And I’d be willing to support laws, cultural products, religions, non-profits and communities that facilitate that.

    But just as a knee-jerk liberal response to guns are evil and I don’t like them isn’t a strong basis for law neither is guns are cool and I need to use one to defend myself against possible, statistically unlikely attacks.

  53. Trevor on January 6, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    #7 Shotguns are not used to hunt elk….They are not powerful enough for Elk hunting.

    Yea actually they are. Can’t use bird shot of course (not only inhumane, but in some cases won’t even injure an elk), but slugs are used quite frequently in populated areas that restrict by range meaning you can’t use a rifle.

  54. Timj on January 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    A neighbor of mine kept a handgun in his car. Loaded. Another neighbor was over at this guy’s house, along with her kid and her kid’s friend. They found the handgun, and do what 12-year-old boys do with handguns–they played around with it. The gun went off, and shot one of the boys in the head. He died several hours later.
    If this had been an alcohol-related death, this mostly LDS neighborhood would have been furious at whoever supplied the alcohol.
    But the idiot who left an unregistered loaded handgun in his unlocked car didn’t get any blame.
    Right now I go to graduate school, and I don’t go near school at night. Too many teenagers with handguns. These criminal teenagers should not have easy access to guns, especially not handguns, which are easy to hide. It’s a lot harder to hold someone up with a rifle, and get away with it, especially with police nearby. Big guns don’t worry me. Little ones do.
    I don’t have a big problem with guns. I have a problem with people who don’t respect guns, who leave them loaded, or who allow criminals to get to them.

  55. Jay S on January 6, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Adam

    Lets swap fetish for a similar word without the negative connotations – desire, craze, leaning, mania, partiality, penchant, predilection, preoccupation, proclivity, propensity, stimulant? I think desire would be the best word.

    One of the items I have been looking at purchasing is an inexpensive .22 for plinking and target shooting. I don’t want to drop a grand on expensive bolt action rifle with an unobtainium barrel. One of the models at the top of my list is the Ruger 10/22, which I understand is a very common model that starts at about $200. In researching reviews and such I have found numerous modifications, for folding stocks, AR (which I assume is short for Assault rifle) stocks, compensators, rail systems etc. Many of which do nothing but alter the looks of the firearm (ie no modifications to barrel or reciever). I have also seen modifications that turn this rifle into a gatling look alike (only the one barrel, but a crank style bump trigger). I can’t think of any practical application of these, for hunting, home defense etc. It is a toy. Not that there is anything wrong with that. It is much cheaper, and potentially less harmful than my neighbors toy atv.

    That said – I don’t think guns are inherently bad. They are much less dangerous in today’s society than automobiles.

    I don’t know that there has to be a justified reason for wanting to do something not to make it illegal. Do we need to justify every use of an automobile? Does anyone really need a 550 hp engine in a passenger car?

    We have attempted a balancing act in automobiles, and should do so in guns. If people want to own a mean looking black rifle, fine. But the minute you carry that in the attempt of a crime – lets tack on an automatic prison sentence. You want to carry a Bersa Thunder .380 as a concealed carry item – fine – put your fingerprints on file – submit to licensing and registration and a mandatory safety course.

  56. Dead Seriously on January 6, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    @ 42.

    The story on prostitutes being a countercyclical asset is here http://www.slate.com/id/2200640/

    The important thing to note, however, is that the theory only fits the data with “high end” prostitutes–those who cater to typically high-wealth businessmen who are in danger of losing jobs and in need of, uh, comfort during a recession.

  57. liberty on January 6, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    It is interesting to note that with a few obvious exceptioins, the last time most in the bloggernacle used a firearm was earning their rifle and shotgun merit badge at scout camp.

  58. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Excellent post, Jay.

  59. Dead Seriously on January 6, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    @ 59.

    Scout camp is also the last time I threw an axe at a block of wood. Why did we have to do that?

  60. Ray on January 6, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    #61 – so my grandmother could kill one of their cows. Cherished family story, that one.

  61. bbell on January 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    I repeat that Shotguns even with slugs lack the downrange power to hunt Elk. Its not outside the realm of possibilities to kill an Elk with a shotgun but I challenge you to find a hunter who has done so or advocate doing so. That is why they are not used and are illegal. Most states prohibit by law hunting elk with firearms smaller then a .25 caliber centerfire rifle. Shotguns are powerful enough at close range with slugs (usually around 25-75 yards) to hunt Deer. Elk are normally shot at much longer ranges far outside the range of a shotgun loaded with Slugs

  62. Starfoxy on January 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Ahem, Red Dawn.

  63. gst on January 6, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Wm. Morris said in #54:

    “But just as a knee-jerk liberal response to guns are evil and I don’t like them isn’t a strong basis for law neither is guns are cool and I need to use one to defend myself against possible, statistically unlikely attacks.”

    and Jay S. said in #57:

    “I don’t know that there has to be a justified reason for wanting to do something not to make it illegal. Do we need to justify every use of an automobile? Does anyone really need a 550 hp engine in a passenger car? We have attempted a balancing act in automobiles, and should do so in guns.”

    Both statements ignore the fact that we have a constitutional presumption (at the very least) against regulation of the ownership of guns. Wm. Morris, the heavy burden should be on the would-be regulators.

  64. MarkP on January 6, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Wow. Stunning anti-gunnery. Every civilian should be allowed to own whatever the common infantry weapon is. That means a rifle comparable to whatever is in the miliary (civilian units are semi-auto, one trigger-pull for one bullet) and a sidearm. The purpose is to be able to be part of the militia if necessary, or to have power to take back the government that becomes tyrannical.

    And the problem with an AK-47 for zombies is that they’re not as accurate as a more modern rifle like the AR-15. However, the larger round (7.62 mm vs 5.62 mm) has a higher chance of destroying the brain.

  65. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Also, are elk really all that common in populated areas?

  66. gst on January 6, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Account Payable in my office is staffed almost totally with elk.

  67. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 4:13 pm

    Flamethrowers take down zombies like nothing else. But they weigh a lot and run out of fuel easy.

    Machetes are a great for lppping rotting heads. And they never run out of ammo! But they take a lot of arm strength and let the zombies get in close.

    Shotguns and large caliber rifles are good for incapacitating zombies at a distance. They take ammo, but the ammo won’t run out as fast as flamethrower fuel.

    Pikes with crossbars are also good for keeping zombies at a distance, though they are unwieldy and work best in groups of trained pikesmen.

    Obviously, zombie-hunting squads should use a variety of these weapons in a combined arms technique. Squads of pikesmen protect riflemen who take down the zombies. Once the zombies in an area are all shot down, the pike/rifle squads protect the perimeter while flamethrowermen finish the zombies off. Logistics specialists keep everyone else supplied. All are armed with machetes as a last-ditch defense.

    Remember, in the war against zombies, diversity is our strength.

  68. bbell on January 6, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    Adam,

    There is a prequel coming out for Will Smith’s I am Legend. We will see in the movie what weapons work best. But we all know in the end Will Smith is pretty much the last man standing against the Zombie hordes.

  69. Tatiana on January 6, 2009 at 4:18 pm

    I see the gun control debate falling almost exactly along urban/rural lines. Rural people want and need guns and urban people often think of them as horrible things that shouldn’t even exist. As an urban person who lives close enough to the wilderness to count as rural in this context, I definitely see a need for guns. I have a shotgun and a rifle myself. There was one time when a guy who did yardwork for me got overly aggressive. There are some guys who have very little respect for an angry girl who nevertheless have a great deal of respect for an angry girl with a shotgun. Once a rabid fox showed up in our yard, which is next to a largish patch of woods (half a mile wide and several miles long), and hung around all day.

    Gun safety should be taught to every person. It boils down to this: never point a gun, whether it be loaded or unloaded, at anything you wouldn’t want to shoot. Always assume a gun is loaded. Learn how to safely shoot and clean your weapons, and go shoot them at targets from time to time, so you’ve done it and know how.

    Once a friend of mine at Oxford University, Balliol College, and her fellow students, found a bullet somewhere and thought “Hey, let’s put this in the fire and see what happens!” This is why all people, even supposedly brilliant university students, need gun safety training. There would not be this novelty, this whimsy, about the whole thing if they had actually had any experience with firearms. It would be more transparent to them what they were doing. Luckily the bullet when it went off only grazed one girl’s neck and made her bleed a little. Luckily nobody died from that ignorance.

    One reason an alcohol ban would never work is that alcohol is pretty easy to make yourself at home with common tools like copper tubing. The same is true of guns. Anyone with a lathe can make a nice gun at home following simple patterns. Lathes are everywhere. There’s no way to control gun manufacture, so they can’t really be outlawed effectively.

    For many reasons, gun control is a bad idea. To city people terrified of guns, I recommend you learn about them, go to a shooting range and shoot them sometimes, and get one of your own. The terror will turn to understanding and mastery.

  70. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    The herds of zombie elk roam the wastelands of the dusty West. No man can stand against them, no weapon can take them down.

    Till now.

    Introducing . . . the Amazing Adventures of Warrant Johnny Oakstrong, Helicopter Gunship Pilot!

    Episode 1: Hovering at Hell Creek Gulch

  71. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    “Both statements ignore the fact that we have a constitutional presumption (at the very least) against regulation of the ownership of guns.”

    No, we have a constitutional presumption against the regulation of arms because of the need for well regulated militias — do we have well-regulated militias? How useful would they be in the case of civil unrest and/or fascism and tyranny and the upper levels of government?

    Look, as I said, I’m not very interested in the debates on either side. Goodness knows we’ve all heard them time and time again. And as I have tried to make clear, I’m much less interested in the regulations of guns and much more interested in the revival of a culture of local responsibility, including the ownership of guns. The sad reality is that people are affected every year because of gun violence. Of course there are many sad realities — I would bet that we could do a lot more to make this country safer and more sovereign if the political debate around gun control wasn’t so tired or polarized. But one could say the same thing about a lot of issues. Should we do drug policy next? Or health care?

    I do think that this has been a valuable discussion, however, in its emphasis on localism and the clarifications about assault rifles. And zombies.

    I would, however, be highly interested in any forms of regulation or de-regulation and education (mandatory or not) that pro-gun folks think would maximize sovereignty and minimize criminal behavior and gun accidents.

  72. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 4:30 pm

    Tatiana:

    In general there isn’t terror on the part of urban folks, but deep sadness over what has happened to their communities. Yes, people kill people — not guns. But

    Also: I would wholeheartedly support firearms training for all citizens. In fact, I think that all 18 years olds should take a class on financial management, basic computing, firearms training, basic first aid and nutrition.

  73. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Oops — forgot to finish my thought, but basically, just as the urban shouldn’t discount the experience of the rural, the rural can’t discount the experience of the urban.

    —-

    “There’s no way to control gun manufacturer, so they can’t really be outlawed effectively.”

    Guns as a mass market commodity is very different from guns as something that can be crafted with the right tools. Surely there’s got to be some manufacturing controls/parameters that make sense. I don’t know enough about gun manufacturing to know what.

  74. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    Wm. Morris–the clause explaining the purpose of the right doesn’t limit the right.

    Gun deaths rarely happen accidentally (swimming pools are greater dangers to kids than guns are; automobiles kill more people than even *intentional* gun violence, let alone accidents; probably getting rid of cellphones would prevent more accidents then getting rid of guns). So what to do about violent crime? Maybe some kind of gun regulation would be helpful, dunno, but they aren’t the root problem.

    Gun rights people might propose deregulating gun ownership in violence-ridden areas, mandatory militia service, or universal firearms training for the young, but these are all utopian measures. Can’t happen, won’t happen.

    I’d suggest something like removing all federal regulation and federally funding detailed state-by-state, or even county-by-county, statistics on gun ownership and gun deaths or injuries attributable to suicide, accident, or criminal violence. This wouldn’t solve anything directly. It would give us better information. But even that’s probably utopian.

  75. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 4:40 pm

    You can purchase a firearm with government help here:

    http://www.thecmp.org/

  76. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I would wholeheartedly support firearms training for all citizens. In fact, I think that all 18 years olds should take a class on financial management, basic computing, firearms training, basic first aid and nutrition.

    Yep. Maybe not 18, but at some point.

  77. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    #74

    it doesn’t limit the right, but it suggests that maybe we have gone about this wrongly with a focus on individual rights without commensurate community responsibilities.

    But yeah, all of what I’d like to see happen is rather utopian. I do think that it would help for guns to be demystified for more of the populace. At the same time, I find the marketing of guns and much of the discourse around it to be lacking respect and charity. I also worry about the, perhaps, too apocalyptic bent of some of the saints. Not that I don’t think that we shouldn’t be prepared, but that so much of the discourse is solo rather than community. Our neighbors as enemies.

    #75 Very cool. Thanks, Adam.

  78. Kent G. Budge on January 6, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Kathryn,

    I really don’t get the point of knitting. What person in their right mind would enjoy it?

    And yet, there are otherwise sensible people who greatly enjoy knitting.

    Why is it so surprising that some otherwise sensible people would enjoy firing a semiautomatic weapon? Developing the not inconsiderable skill required to repeatedly hit a small target a hundred or more yards away within a short time span is the kind of challenge a lot of people find appealing. Kind of like golf, where you try to hit a small ball into a small hole using instruments wholly unsuitable for the task (Winston Churchill).

    Of course, I don’t like golf, either.

    Curiously, I do like firing a semiautomatic rifle. Though I haven’t had the opportunity in some years, since my wife made me sell most of my guns after we got married. I think she thinks like you.

    I am so whipped.

  79. NOYDMB on January 6, 2009 at 5:14 pm

    How come it’s the same liberals who advocate the legalization of known harms (like drugs, alcohol, and pot) yet want to limit the legality of something that is only dangerous when used in a dangerous manner?

  80. Ben H on January 6, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    In Iraq, I hear someone tried to impose a limit of one AK-47 per household a little while back. People were very upset; they said, “But then what will we do when we go out? We need one for the people who stay home and one for the ones going out.” Given the level of chaos that has prevailed there over the past few years, it is hard to blame them. There are places where the law and order that we tend to take for granted does not prevail. What is the difference between those places and this one? Can you explain to me why civil war and anarchy breaks out there and not here? Can you do this with a confidence greater than the confidence we had in our glorious economy that we thought was the engine of the world economy? If not, then I think you have to understand that some people don’t have your confidence that someone else with a gun (someone with a badge and a gun) will always be there to protect them. I don’t have a gun. But I think we have taken for granted the grounds of social cohesion for a long time, and I’m not sure whether we have been maintaining them well enough to prevent a breakdown.

  81. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    How come it’s the same liberals who advocate the legalization of known harms (like drugs, alcohol, and pot) yet want to limit the legality of something that is only dangerous when used in a dangerous manner?

    Could you point me to the specific people in this thread who have called for gun controls and legal drugs? Thanks.

  82. gst on January 6, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    “it suggests that maybe we have gone about this wrongly with a focus on individual rights”

    Yeah, for those of us that don’t like individual rights, the entire Bill of Rights is a real bitch.

  83. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    #79: Well, I’m not a liberal, but I think that legalization and then heavy regulation of drugs might be a good idea. My preference would be for complete prohibition (including alcohol) but that’s, as Adam puts it, is much too utopian, so in most cases my default is a combination of pragmatics and soft libertarianism.

    #80: If social cohesion really does break down, I don’t know that individual or family oriented gun ownership is going to help all that much. This is a geographically large, populous country. Which is why I support community militias.

    Of course, I live in the suburbs so my crunchy con credentials are suspect at best.

  84. Wm Morris on January 6, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    gst:

    I love individual rights. I don’t like the way secularism on the left and corporatism on the right has torn down communities and how identity politics on both sides has places rights above responsibility.

  85. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Adam (24): Will someone please explain to me why any civilian would want or need an AK-47?

    Will someone please explain to me why you would care?

    Fear that my neighbor would actually use the weapon and kill someone by accident.

  86. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    That’s no more likely to happen to you than it is likely that your neighbor will fend off the ravening hordes using his AK-47. You and your neighbor, your fears are irrational.

  87. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Trevor (42):

    Over my dead body will a gun come into my home with my knowledge.

    I don’t hunt, I keep a low profile, and I have a hard time imagining why ANY of the paranoid scenarios dreamed up to justify keeping a home arsenal wouldn’t work out just as well if I don’t have weapons.

    Protecting my home food storage, while possible in a disaster, seems just to bring up moral dilemmas I find quite troubling. Am I really going to kill others so that my family can eat? Am I really so selfish that in a disaster I won’t share what I have? If things are so bad that people are willing to kill for my food storage, then I suspect it doesn’t really matter and we will all die of starvation soon enough. So why kill someone just to prolong the suffering of my family?

    I suspect the best protection in an apocalyptic scenario is morality.

  88. Jay S on January 6, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    not to be too flippant adam, but the people who I have heard discussing a desire for an ak-47 are probably the last people you would want to have them.

    The people who could handle them are people like my neighbor, who grew up a hunter, has taken several gun safety courses, has a gun safe, and has registered to own several restricted weapons, but hasn’t bought a new gun in 5 years because of his family responsibilities.

    As to the restricting the right to own a gun, if the purpose of the 2nd amendment is to protect our rights against the tyranny of government, shouldn’t we be able to own all of the advanced weaponry now available? Now I just need to find the $4.35 million to purchase an M1A2 Abrams with the pgraded 3rd generation depleted uranium encased armor with graphite coating, integrated management system and TUSK adaption.

  89. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 6:30 pm

    gst (66) wrote: Account Payable in my office is staffed almost totally with elk.

    I understand that postal workers have this impression of their co-workers also — explains a lot, doesn’t it!

  90. Aaron Brown on January 6, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    If guns are outlawed, how will we shoot the liberal Mormons?

    AB

  91. Kathryn Lynard Soper on January 6, 2009 at 6:41 pm

    Adam, I care about semiautomatic weapon sales because I’m troubled by the possible implications. Maybe it will be true sooner rather than later that he who will not take up an Uzi against his neighbor must flee unto Zion for safety.

    But as antagonistic as my post might seem, for the most part I’m simply curious as to why people feel the need to own one. And Kent (#78) “fun” is an answer I can accept. There are plenty of days I wish I could cut loose with something heftier than my son’s air-soft assault rifle.

  92. Trevor on January 6, 2009 at 6:48 pm

    “I challenge you to find a hunter who has done so or advocate doing so. ”

    I know lots that do, and have myself. I would never advocate using bird shot on elk, but slugs go for it. Same with you don’t use a 7-1/2 (Quail) to take Turkey (4), sure it can be done but I don’t recommend it. Bring the right load for the right game. For elk a specific example is the 12g SST slug from Hornady. It’s been used to take deer, black bear, and *gasp* elk.

    Some people taught the old standby of a 30-30 as a “brush gun” because the bullet doesn’t get deflected as much flying through brush. Guess what? The shotgun slug outperforms the 30-30 in this aspect (and before you say it yes the 30-30 is used to take elk).

    That’s the nice thing about shotguns is nothing beats it for utility. With the right load there is nothing in North America that a shotgun won’t take (elephants at the zoo don’t count). Which is why in my first post the 12-gauge shotgun was listed first. Nothing beats in utility and usefulness.

    “That is why they are not used and are illegal”

    If I were to hunt the unit I hunted last year with a rifle I would have been breaking the law if I assumed it was illegal to use a shotgun.

    Just because you think it’s illegal and not used doesn’t mean it is. Yes in some States it is illegal to use a shotgun, but not all of them, and don’t assume that just because yours might be that all others are the same. A blanket statement of “it’s illegal” is just plain false. (PSA Always check your State and unit regulations, even unit by unit regulations can change).

    In several States you can use a shotgun, but must be slug loaded. In some States it has to be larger than 00 buckshot (though slug is better of course not sure I’d even use 00 on elk unless I happened to be standing right on it). Some States is by velocity or force at a certain range which if loaded right a shotgun can still handle. Some hunt areas in my State (and other States) it’s illegal to use a *rifle* for big game hunting (including elk) because of it’s long range (and yes there are elk in those areas).

    People bow hunt elk all the time. If you can get close enough to shoot an elk with a bow you can do it with a shotgun. The only difference is that instead of taking that shot at 200 to 300 yards that you can with a rifle, you’re only taking it at 50 to 75 yards (which incidentally my longest rifle shot on an elk has been less than 100 yards).

    It’s easier to make that 250 yard shot (or longer) then it is to work to get that 50 yard shot. That’s why people use prefer to use a rifle over a shotgun, not because a shotgun won’t take an elk or deer. The average schmuck hunter isn’t going to go through the time or the effort to get that 50 yard shot either and the State wildlife management knows it, that’s why in some States it is illegal to use a shotgun.

  93. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Adam wrote: “Gun rights people might propose deregulating gun ownership in violence-ridden areas.”

    I would love such a proposal. BUT, I would also be remiss if I didn’t point out that most firearms used in crimes here in New York City are illegally imported — as I understand it, usually from Virginia.

    So, for whatever light gun regulation you may be proposing, there needs to be an element that effectively reduces these illegal imports.

    I like William’s comments on this post. Despite some of my statements here, I generally have no problem with those that have an interest in doing so owning some guns.

    I just want a way to effectively reduce the use of handguns in crime, and change the current violent gun-obsessed urban and suburban culture to something less violence-obsessed.

    But, I can’t resist suggesting a couple of my favorite anti-gun songs, from folk artist Cheryl Wheeler:

    * If it were up to me sample, lyrics

    * Don’t forget the guns sample, lyrics

    The second is particularly fun, and even gun fans might like it if you ignore the intended sarcasm. I love the chorus:

    Now don’t forget the guns you know exactly what I mean
    Bring the pistols, bring the uzi and the old AR-15
    We don’t look for trouble but by golly if we’re in it
    It’s nice to know we’re free to blow nine hundred rounds a minute

  94. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 7:30 pm

    Adam, I care about semiautomatic weapon sales because I’m troubled by the possible implications.

    And, as you point out, people who want to buy AK-47s are also troubled. You just don’t find what they’re troubled about very realistic. Why is your concern–which appears to be that gun sales will lead to Mad Max breakdown of order, unless you flee to Zion–more realistic than theirs?

  95. DavidH on January 6, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    “Could you point me to the specific people in this thread who have called for gun controls and legal drugs?”

    I cannot point you to anyone in that category in the bloggernacle, but I can point out that our wise Arizona legislature passed a law (vetoed by our governor) to permit patrons to bring guns into bars. http://articles.latimes.com/2005/apr/26/nation/na-guns26 I cannot think of anything more fun (hypothetically speaking) than drinking and shooting! That will teach the bar tender to try to cut off a customer!

    I should add that the only times I have ever shot a semi-automatic (or shot anything for that matter) have been on Church outings. If God did not intend for semi-automatics to be legal, he would not inspire priesthood (and boy scout) leaders to have such activities. I will say that it is fun to shoot a semi-automatic (but I cannot say how much more fun it would be to do so in an inebriated state).

    Finally, I like many, am greatly concerned about the laws against nuclear prolifieration. If N-bombs are outlawed, than only outlaws will have N-bombs. (How can I protect my food storage if an outlaw has an illegal N-bomb, and I do not?) More importantly, I think an N-bomb can protect against a zombie better than a gun or a machete.

  96. Adam Greenwood on January 6, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Atom bombs just make the zombies radioactive. Radioactive mutant zombies are bad.

  97. Kent G. Budge on January 6, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    “Over my dead body will a gun come into my home with my knowledge.”

    That does seem the likely outcome.

  98. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    Kent (97):

    I meant to make that same observation.

  99. Yet Another John on January 6, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Best thread of the day.

  100. bbell on January 6, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Heck,

    Me and half my EQ given the opportunity would buy another AK or AR in a heart beat. This idea that somehow people interested in guns are sick or dangerous is to me simply laughable

  101. John C. on January 6, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    bbell et al,
    If we aren’t to understand people with guns as dangerous, whence the potential deterrent effect on crime or tyranny (admittedly, zombies don’t care)?

  102. Karl K. on January 6, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    Because I do not already have one!

  103. kik on January 6, 2009 at 9:03 pm

    Anybody (Kent–87) see what happened after Katrina?

    It’s not that I wouldn’t want to share, it’s that others would hurt or kill me for sport or to take what I have. When there was no order inforced by law officials, there were ‘people’ out raping, killing, stealing from others.

    It wasn’t the end of the world. Help would arrive soon, conditions would return to normal eventually, yet in the meantime evil people were raping and taking.

    I hope someone with a gun would stop another from harming me or my child. I know my husband will. He’ll try to protect you too.

  104. Jay S on January 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm

    Kik

    You want to know the best way to avoid a katrina type lawless situation? leave when told to by the civil authorities.

    You can’t really apply what happened in NO to the rest of the country. It has always been a different country.

  105. Geoff B on January 6, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Kathryn, FWIW, count me among those who, like Trevor, believes every household should have a variety of different types of guns. Personally, I don’t have guns in all five of those categories, but I would like to.

    Your fear of semi-automatic AKs is somewhat misplaced. A shotgun or a 30.06 can do more damage.

    As for why, I guess I would consider it part of my civic and familial duty. Who knows when being part of a militia may be necessary again. Who knows when I may be called upon to hunt to provide food for my family (as others have pointed out, if you’re going to hunt you need at least three types of guns — the small caliber for rabbits and other small prey, the mid-caliber (which includes the AK-47s) and the large caliber to bring down elk). And who knows when it may be necessary to use a gun to protect my family. I pray none of these scenarios take place during my lifetime, but I will be prepared if they do.

  106. Kent Larsen on January 6, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Kik, I disagree with Jay S. NO is a great place. I’d certainly live there before choosing Provo or Salt Lake. Of course, I already live in Zion (NYC), so NO would be a step down for me. [GRIN]

    BUT, as for Katrina, I’m not really sure that a gun would make that much difference, especially in my hands (I’m essentially untrained at using guns, and haven’t fired one in at least 20 years).

    I can kind of see worrying about others “killing for sport” (does anyone know if such a think actually happened?), but not over “taking what I have.” To be honest, I can’t imagine that much I have that anyone would want would be worth keeping after a Katrina-type disaster. If they want it, they are welcome to it.

    And, as you hint at, for most healthy people, Katrina didn’t last long enough for them to be at risk of starvation.

    Raping and physical abuse could also be a concern. But in that situation, wouldn’t the best defense be running away, not confronting them with a gun. I’m confrontational enough (just ask my wife) without being armed. I suspect with a gun I’d be quite stupid–failing to be cautious enough.

    As I understand it, guns sometimes do that–give you a false sense of safety and bravado.

    So, what I’m saying is that I am NOT convinced that having a gun would have helped much of anyone during Katrina.

  107. kik on January 6, 2009 at 10:36 pm

    Yes! Running away. Why haven’t rape victims thought of that brilliant stategy? (I am sorry to sound so rude, but come on!)

    There were people shooting at the National Guard members who were trying to save people, I call that killing for sport…

    Katrina is just an example of how you don’t always have the choice to share or hope for kindness/order from others. There could be short termed disasters where you aren’t forewarned to leave, yet would like to hold on to the water you stored or your family’s safety until order is restored.

    A gun is a tool.

  108. MikeInWeHo on January 6, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    re: 100

    Of course you’re right bbell, but keep in mind that things look very differently in a community like yours than in a densely populated urban area like mine. I grew up out in the country, and really get it. Heck, I got a .22 for my 13th birthday and still keep it at my parents’ house. But if I were to announce to my condo board here in West Hollywood that I had acquired any kind of firearm, the response would be worse than just being deemed crazy. (I suspect the lesbians on the other side of the pool are packin’ heat, but they keep to themselves and I’m fine with that….)

  109. Sarah on January 6, 2009 at 11:50 pm

    What is is Glenn Reynolds says? “Personally, I’d be delighted to live in a country where happily married gay couples had closets full of assault weapons?”

    I’ll just lead my one-woman libertarian Mormon brigade right back out of the room now…

  110. Left Field on January 6, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Speaking as one, who for a time, didn’t know if we owned a single thing besides a Corolla, its contents, and perhaps an empty slab of concrete in Louisiana, I can state that I don’t own a single thing worth shooting someone over. And there was never a moment after Katrina when I thought it would be a good thing to have a gun. I’m just making this statistic up, but 99.9999999% of the losses of lives and property in Katrina were the result of the storm, rather than looting and lawlessness. If you’ve got a firearm that can scare away a category 5 storm, then maybe I’ll feel safer having it. As far as protection from lawlessness, I’ll take a good lock and Kent’s low profile over a firearm any day.

    Most of the reports of rapes in the early days after Katrina turned out to be nothing more than rumors.

  111. Bookslinger on January 7, 2009 at 1:34 am

    What the media are calling “AK-47′s” are not. AK-47′s are fully automatic (like a machine gun). They’re really semi-automatic MAK-90′s, semi-automatic SKS’s and other variants.

    Full automatic = the weapon keeps firing as long as the trigger is pulled. These weapons are difficult to obtain, require a federal permit costing hundreds of dollars per weapon, a federal background check, and cost thousands of dollars each. New manufacture of full-automatic weapons for civilian use was banned in the 1980′s, and pre-existing ones in civilian hands were grand-fathered, so they are now relatively rare and expensive. They went from $800 to $2,500 (minimum) over night back in the 1980′s, during Reagan’s administration.

    Semi-automatic = one shot per pull of the trigger. These are not assault rifles, but they get erroneously labeled as assault rifles by stupid reporters, and by some people who intentionally lie, usually in order to further some gun-banning agenda by whipping up hysteria. KLS’s OP question is evidence that the misinformation campaign against “assault weapons” has had an effect.

    There is nothing wrong or evil with semi-automatic rifles, shotguns, or handguns. They’ve been around since about 1913.

    One of the most famous inventors of true and FULL automatic as well as semi-auotmatic firearms, (including handguns and long-guns) was John Moses Browning (blessed be his name), native of Utah, and member of the LDS church. He designed the M1911 Colt 45 semi-auto handgun, and the Browning Automatic Rifle, two legendary firearms of WWII.

    The M1911 Colt 45 was, and perhaps still is, the uber-macho of all handguns, as made popular by Vic Morrow in the 1960′s TV series “Combat”, Tom Selleck in “Magnum P.I.” and Humphrey Bogart in hard-boiled detective movies. The Colt 45 is out-powered (in terms of energy of the projectile) by many more modern firearms, including the .44 Magnum as popularized by Clint Eastwood in the “Dirty Harry” movies, but I don’t believe any modern handgun surpasses it in the machismo category.

    James Bond may have been suave and sophisticated with his Walther PPK, but nothing screamed macho quite like Vic Morrow, Tom Selleck, Humphrey Bogart (and maybe Chuck Norris in a few movies) firmly seating a loaded magazine into the grip of a Colt 45 with the heel of the palm, and creating that distinct click of American-made steel.

    KLS: If your mother taught you well before your marriage, you already know what to do and say if your husband brings home a new firearm (for whatever reason). Caress it, then look him in the eye, and say:

    “Ooooh, honey, it’s so biiiiiiiiiig.”

  112. woodboy on January 7, 2009 at 2:07 am

    It’s a little difficult to extrapolate a significant trend from the four data points listed in the original post, and in the article. For instance, guns in Nov 2007 apparently outsold guns in Oct 2008.

  113. msg on January 7, 2009 at 2:41 am

    Mmmm…maybe we should arm our missionaries?! My friend’s son is serving in Arizona where he
    and his companion have had 3 guns pointed at them in 4 months–one an AK 47.
    That’s really scary.

  114. Jeremiah J. on January 7, 2009 at 2:58 am

    “Atom bombs just make the zombies radioactive. Radioactive mutant zombies are bad.”

    Yes! Shotguns are the only effective firearms against zombies. AK-47s will not work, nor will any other long range weapon. Shovels and baseball bats will only make them more mad. I could go into chainsaws, but that’s a lesson for another day.

    All that said, the recent uptick in sales of certain weapons is probably a really big non-story. Something you might like to buy at some point down the road might not be on the shelves anymore. So you decide to buy it now rather than later. Yawn. Whatever the people wanted it for, it was probably the same reason they wanted it for 2 years ago or 6 months ago. The standard reasons, which have been well-covered in this thread, don’t seem bad to me and aren’t for the most part evidence of a violence-loving or paranoid mind..

  115. Kent Larsen on January 7, 2009 at 7:02 am

    Kik (107):

    I won’t claim that running away is the best strategy in the case of rape (I’m certain it doesn’t work too often, its an obvious strategy that, I assume, most rape victims try), but you’ve dodged my question, which is:

    How would guns help in these situations? Would they really?

    The National Guard you talked about were armed, weren’t they? And, according to you, they still got shot at, so having a gun wasn’t much of a deterrent. AND, I wonder what happens when you, with your gun, open fire on those who are “killing for sport.” Doesn’t the fact that you fired back make you more of a target than you would be otherwise? I mean its now more of a challenge to get you.

    I suspect that having a gun when a rapist attacks is only good when your rapist isn’t armed, sees that you are armed and is afraid you can get him. I assume the most common defensive weapon against rapists (a can of mace) is in the victim’s purse, so the rapist doesn’t know its there. How many times does the rapist get control BEFORE the victim can get the weapon out of the purse? How much of the time are they already struggling when the victim first tries for her purse? AND, how much of the time does the rapist get control of the weapon in the struggle?

    The nice thing about mace is that it isn’t all that likely that the rapist will use it on the victim. A gun, I’m not so sure.

  116. Kathryn Lynard Soper on January 7, 2009 at 9:27 am

    Adam: My fears may not be more realistic than the fears of those I’m criticizing, but mine can’t come to pass unless they indulge theirs first. Thus the anxiety.

    For those criticizing me for not knowing my weapons: Guilty as charged. Never claimed otherwise.

    An enlightening thread for me. Almost time to close up shop. Final comments now being taken.

  117. Mark B. on January 7, 2009 at 9:35 am

    They’re all “arm[s] of flesh.” Go ahead and put your trust in them.

  118. Kent G. Budge on January 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

    “They’re all “arm[s] of flesh.” Go ahead and put your trust in them.”

    After all, we wouldn’t want to follow the bad example of the wicked Captain Moroni, who was busy building fortifications and arming his people when he should have been preaching and praying. ;)

  119. bbell on January 7, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Mike,

    This may surprise you but I live in a suburban ward with little open space anywhere. The guys in my ward that like guns live in suburban homes and work for large companies like Fidelity and Bell Helicopter. Its not everybody but its a good percentage. Every chance at a party or activity gun talk comes up all over the place. Our bishop commonly takes the priests quorum out shooting all types of weapons including AK’s out west of Fort Worth. Every member of the Stake YM presidency I serve in has at least one gun at home. Gun ownership and shooting is a lot like other hobbies like golf or fishing for most of us. So the hysterics simply do not seem rational to me.

    It reminds me of a conversation I had with a immigrant Dutch neighbor. She asked me why her home owners insurance policy covered Firearms and how scary and strange this was. I informed her that most of her neighbors me included had numerous weapons in the neighborhood and that guns were valuable hence the coverage. She was in shock. She asked me if she could move anywhere in the suburban Dallas area that did not have guns in the neighborhood. I said nope.

    The lesson here is that all of the posters that seem afraid of guns have lived for the most part around people like me and my church buddies who own guns their whole lives. There is nothing to be really scared about. I am though really afraid of neighbors with pools. The data for young kids and accidental drownings is so much worse then guns.

  120. Adam Greenwood on January 7, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I’m just making this statistic up

    Welcome to the bloggernacle.

  121. Chad Too on January 7, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    I’m not taking a stand either way on gun ownership, but just to offer a data point: my grandparents were both murdered in their suburban SLC home when a neighborhood argument ended up getting settled by someone going home to get his gun. It does happen.

  122. jay s on January 7, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Kent you said:
    “Kik, I disagree with Jay S. NO is a great place. I’d certainly live there before choosing Provo or Salt Lake. Of course, I already live in Zion (NYC), so NO would be a step down for me.”

    Kent – I don’t disagree that NO is a great place. Having some ties to the place myself, I am quite fond of it. I go back every few years, and celebrate Mardi gras with a big party (anyone free on Feb 21 for a snacker?) I don’t think I was implying that different is bad universally.

    Louisiana has a different culture. Different history. Different laws.

    I think my tongue in cheek comment was perhaps too flippant though.

  123. Jonovitch on January 7, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    I read the post and started laughing out loud. My wife asked what an AK-47 is. (Ironically, she’s from eastern Germany.) I quickly Googled an image, which didn’t quite clarify things for her. I told her point-blank, laughing, “They’re for killing people.”

    “So they’re not for hunting?” she asked. She said some people might have hunting knives or guns as part of their food storage.

    “Um, no, it’s a Russian automatic weapon — to kill,” I reiterated.

    “Cannibalism?” she offered with a smirk. “I don’t get it,” she said. “Why would anyone want one?” (Exactly the point!)

    “End of the world stuff,” I said. “Obama, economy,” blah, blah, blah.

    “Are they afraid of black people?” she asked, half-jokingly.

    LOL.

    Jon

  124. Adam Greenwood on January 7, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    The AK-47 is widely used on the African continent, by Africans, so I guess it wouldn’t be far wrong to say that many AK-47s are owned for fear of, or for use on, black people.

    It would also not be far wrong to say that accusing gun buyers of racism is on par with many of the anti-gun arguments in this thread. I say this half-jokingly.

  125. Jonovitch on January 7, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    My wife wanted me to clarify that she knows what an AK-47 is. It’s just that in East Germany they called it simply “Kalashnikov.” (She explained it’s like “401k” and other common American acronyms/numbers that she didn’t understand when she came over.)

    Now I’m going to go back and actually skim through the freakin’ 120+ comments. Yikes.

    Jon

  126. Jonovitch on January 7, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    As I suspected, nothing much of consequence to read, other than the occasional stroke of brilliant moderation between Adam Greenwood and Wm Morris. The answer’s in the middle, folks. Isn’t that always the case?

    Jon

  127. MarkP on January 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    “Protecting my home food storage, while possible in a disaster, seems just to bring up moral dilemmas I find quite troubling. Am I really going to kill others so that my family can eat? Am I really so selfish that in a disaster I won’t share what I have? If things are so bad that people are willing to kill for my food storage, then I suspect it doesn’t really matter and we will all die of starvation soon enough. So why kill someone just to prolong the suffering of my family?”

    Wow. Okay, when someone evil just wants to take your food so they can have power, you’ll let your kids starve? Okay for you, but I would kill to defend my family. I can’t understand anyone who wouldn’t.

  128. bbell on January 7, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    Adam,

    I thin k it would please you to kow that while on my mission in Africa I was shot at by an AK-47 held by a Xhosa. So apparently they are used in Africa to shoot white dudes on bikes

  129. MikeInWeHo on January 7, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    re: 119

    It’s odd how often I agree with you, bbell. Of course you’re right that in a suburb like yours, swimming pools and drunk drivers are a much greater risk to your family. I’m completely comfortable with firearms in that context.

    My point was just that people see things from a very different perspective depending on where they live. The land around you might be fully developed, but the population density is nowhere near where I live. Similarly, your community is probably much more homogenous. Here we have enormous economic disparity, plenty of homeless mentally ill, occasional muggings, dozens of late-night bars….and this is considered one of the best parts of L.A. At least we don’t have gangs right around here.

    As you can imagine, in this environment people recoil at the idea of adding more firearms to the mix. It’s not necessarily “hysterical” or even irrational.

  130. CS Eric on January 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    This has been an interesting thread. We did not have guns in our house when I was growing up, mostly because my Dad said he’d had his fill of the things when he was in the Army during the Korean War (his unit had the dubious distinction of being shot at by both sides at the same time). We don’t have guns in our house now because one of my wife’s friends blew his head off with a shotgun when she was in high school.

    But I have to admit they are fun. The first (and only) time I have ever shot was when I was qualifying while I was on active duty. I was an officer for the Air Force, and at the time they normally didn’t trust officers with the fun ones. However, my orders only said that I needed “small arms training,” which normally means M-16. So there I was, the only officer in the group being trained on the M-16. That was probably my salvation when, in my inexperience, somehow I accidentally flipped the switch, changing it from the semi-automatic setting to fully automatic. As has been explained above, semi-automatic means one bullet per trigger squeeze, and automatic means the bullets keep coming as long as you are pulling the trigger. I’m not sure who was more surprised when I pulled the trigger on that M-16 for the first time, me or the instructor. If I hadn’t outranked the poor guy, I’m sure I would have gotten the worst chewing out in my life. I barely qualified, since I wasted so many bullets on that single squeeze of the trigger.

    Anyway, that’s how I learned that firing fully automatic weapons is incredibly fun.

  131. NoCoolName_Tom on January 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    127,
    I’d agree that I’d kill to defend my family, but I’m not certain how the situation you describe would occur. It seems likely to me that in such a breakdown of social order the stake or ward would step in, pool resources, and work through issues in a communal fashion (at least in the Mormon corridor; outside the stake/ward would probably try to work with whatever local leadership arises). Perhaps if you lived in a branch you might have to deal with just such a hypothetical, but even then the situation you describe seems like a long shot of long shots.

  132. Adam Greenwood on January 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm

    Jonovitch,
    all the brilliance and all the moderation was from Wm. Morris. My contribution to this thread was common sense on the zombie menace.

    NCN_Tom,
    its perhaps just as likely that civilian gun owners would be able to help local leadership maintain order.

  133. Wm Morris on January 7, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I wouldn’t say brilliance, but moderation — maybe. Although we’ll see how moderate I am when civil society breaks down and gun totin’ clans try to take my (currently non-existent) food storage, and I unleash the deadly nanobots. And the fullerene sling shot.