Guns: how much longer will it take ....

Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 28 Jun, 2023 10:35 am
More Americans see gun violence as major problem, poll finds
A growing number of Americans, including Democrats and Republicans, view gun violence as a major problem, and a majority expect it to get worse over the next five years, according to a new poll from Pew Research.

While the poll, which was released Wednesday, found that twice as many Democrats as Republicans say that gun violence is a “very big” problem in the nation — 81 percent of Democrats compared to 38 percent of Republicans — Pew noted that, over the last year, the number of people in both parties who believe gun violence is a “very big” problem has increased 11 percent.

The growing concern about gun violence comes amid an increase in mass shootings. According to a database maintained by USA Today and Northeastern University, the number of mass shootings in the country in 2022 was the second-highest since the two organizations began tracking these incidents in 2006. So far this year, 28 mass killings have occurred, according to the database, all involving guns.

Mass killings in Columbine, Colo.; Newtown, Conn.; Las Vegas and Orlando indelibly marked the nation in the past quarter-century. This year, gun violence in Allen, Tex.; Nashville and Michigan State University put 2023 on pace to set a modern record.

Per the Pew poll, 60 percent of Americans believe that gun violence is a “very big problem” in the country today, while 23 percent believe it is a “moderately big problem.” Thirteen percent say it is “a small problem,” while only 4 percent believe gun violence is “not a problem at all.”

The poll also found that 62 percent of Americans believe that the level of gun violence will increase over the next five years — twice as many as those who believe it will stay at around the same level.

Pew also found that, since 2021, the share of Americans who believe that violent crime is a major problem has increased from 52 percent to 64 percent among Republicans, and from 44 percent to 52 percent among Democrats.

Still, members of both parties remain split over gun ownership. Pew found that 79 percent of Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP believe that gun ownership increases safety, while 78 percent of Democrats and those independents who lean Democratic believe it decreases safety.

Last summer, President Biden signed into law a bipartisan gun-control bill — the most significant legislative action taken on gun control in three decades — that was the result of negotiations by a handful of Republican and Democratic senators, led by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and John Cornyn (R-Tex.), in the wake of mass shootings in Uvalde, Tex., and Buffalo.

While members of both parties celebrated the measure, Democrats, including Biden, conceded that it did not go as far as they or gun-control advocates wanted.

In addition to providing funding for mental health services and school security initiatives, the legislation expands criminal background checks for some gun buyers, bars a larger group of domestic-violence offenders from purchasing firearms, and funds programs that would allow authorities to seize guns from troubled individuals.

According to the Pew poll, the share of Americans who believe gun laws should be stricter has shifted only slightly, from 53 percent in 2021 to 58 percent today. While a majority of women — 64 percent — believe gun laws should be strengthened, only 51 percent of men believe the same.

Notably, 77 percent of Black Americans believe gun laws should be stricter, alongside 74 percent of Asian Americans and 68 percent of Hispanic Americans. Among White Americans, 51 percent believe the same.

Research released in April from KFF found that 42 percent of Black Americans have personally experienced being threatened by a gun, seeing someone injured with a gun or having a family member killed by a gun, including by suicide. Nearly six in 10 Black Americans say that a family member has experienced one of those things. For Hispanic Americans, the figure is 54 percent. Fewer than half of White Americans report having family members come that close to gun violence, and only about a quarter of Whites have personally experienced any such threats or violence.
0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Sat 1 Jul, 2023 09:04 am
Grand jury indictment means Texas could seek death penalty against accused killer of 5

Francisco Oropesa, 38, was charged in May for the killings in the town of Cleveland in April. Police said he shot the people in the
neighboring home after they asked him to stop firing his gun so close to their property because it was waking a baby...
Reply Sat 1 Jul, 2023 07:35 pm
@Region Philbis,
This is why I am not totally a against the death penalty.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 1 Jul, 2023 08:08 pm
Gun violence is not a problem.

Stupid people are a problem.

Your shooting your gun off and then murder people because they complain about the noise level. Why bother own a gun if you can not respect your neighbor.
Reply Sun 2 Jul, 2023 01:03 am
Sounds like you get off on school shootings.

A child's life is more important than your pathetic inadequacies.

We protect our children from NRA paedophile scum.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 2 Jul, 2023 08:50 pm
Apparently, there was another mass shooting in the US yesterday. In other startling news, scientists discover that water is wet.
0 Replies
Reply Tue 18 Jul, 2023 06:42 am
Three-year-old shoots and kills baby sister in California

Reply Tue 18 Jul, 2023 12:04 pm
What the hell are all these parents doing leaving loaded guns in reach of toddlers?? Are they stupid? Careless? Incompetent? All of these are needless!
Reply Thu 20 Jul, 2023 03:01 pm
I rather think they are indoctrinated, true believers, upholders of the faith, ideological defenders of freedom, etc.
Reply Thu 20 Jul, 2023 06:03 pm
Stupid, stupid, stupid!
0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Sun 23 Jul, 2023 06:52 am

0 Replies
Reply Thu 3 Aug, 2023 11:17 am
Electrocution Isn’t the Main Thing Killing Birds Along Power Lines

A survey of power lines in four Western states found bullet fragments and shotgun pellets in most of the dead birds that were collected.

Birds get electrocuted on power lines. But people shooting at birds perched on power poles may be even more of a problem. In a survey of five sites in the western United States, two-thirds of birds found dead beneath power lines had been shot.

Avians found dead along power lines are often assumed to have died from electrocution, especially if their bodies show burns or singeing, said Eve Thomason, a wildlife biologist at Boise State University in Idaho. But the animal may have been injured or killed before getting zapped.

“We really need X-rays to understand fully what may have happened,” said Ms. Thomason, who used to work for a utility surveying power lines to assess the risk they posed to birds.

In the new study, published Tuesday in the journal iScience, Ms. Thomason and her colleagues walked along 122 miles of power lines in Idaho, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, collecting 410 bird carcasses. Back in the lab, the researchers X-rayed the birds, looking for evidence of gunshot wounds or other trauma.

“Most of them were coming back with bullet fragments in them or shotgun pellets,” Ms. Thomason said. Of the 175 birds for which they determined a cause of death, 66 percent had been shot, the scientists reported.

There have been anecdotal reports of such shootings. But “this is the first time somebody has done a large-scale study at multiple sites to figure out if this is a problem,” said Todd Katzner, a research wildlife biologist at the United States Geological Survey in Boise and one of the study’s authors. “This is way more prevalent than we had previously understood,” he said.

The sites vary in proportion of birds shot, said Libby Mojica, a wildlife biologist and ornithologist at the engineering firm EDM International who was not part of the study. At two sites, all deaths were attributed to gunshots. But at another, shootings accounted for 39 percent of deaths and a similar percentage of deaths were from electrocution. It’s not clear how widely applicable the findings are, but even the lowest percentage makes for a large number of birds, she said.

The dead birds were mostly ravens and raptors, the group that includes eagles, hawks and falcons. Killing these animals is illegal under several U.S. laws. And shootings, including those at power lines, may be placing populations of some birds, such as golden eagles, in danger.

Illegal shootings are “an overriding issue that just perplexes the heck out of me,” said Brian Millsap, an ornithologist at New Mexico State University. Dr. Millsap wasn’t part of this study, but he has collaborated with Dr. Katzner. “There’s just been a ton of work done to get the word out that raptors aren’t the vermin that they were thought to be,” he said.

With all the effort that state fish and wildlife agencies, nongovernmental organizations and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service have put into educational campaigns, researchers had assumed that shootings had declined.

Electrical utilities that own the power poles are liable for bird deaths from their infrastructure, Ms. Mojica said. Some large electrical utilities spend hundreds of thousands of dollars per year to reduce the risk of avian electrocutions. But if birds are dying because of crimes, that shifts the blame away from power companies and may mean different conservation actions are needed, she said.

Still, electrocutions remain a problem at power poles in some places, Dr. Millsap noted. Recent work that he and his colleagues have yet to publish found that, in parts of Texas and New Mexico, some 34 percent of golden eagles that survive to leave their nests are electrocuted within their first year of life, he said. That is occurring in places where utilities haven’t prioritized retrofitting poles to make them raptor safe.

The researchers are extending their study into Nevada and working to understand what motivates people to shoot at protected birds. But preventing illegal kills is challenging, Dr. Millsap said. Enforcement and prosecution takes time, and the strategy can be undercut by judges who issue low fines.

Nonetheless, Pete Marra, an ornithologist at Georgetown University who has studied the decline of North American bird populations but wasn’t a part of this study, said the work was important in fighting bird extinctions. “What’s essential in order to stop the declines of birds is to understand what’s causing the declines of birds,” he said.


Because, you know, freedom...
0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Tue 8 Aug, 2023 11:24 am
Supreme Court revives federal ghost gun restrictions

The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to freeze a lower court order that bars the
government from regulating so-called ghost guns – untraceable homemade weapons -
as firearms under federal law.

The brief order grants the Biden administration’s request to allow the regulations to
remain in effect while legal challenges play out.

The vote was 5-4. Roberts and fellow conservative Barrett joined with the court’s
three liberals to allow the rule to take effect.

Thomas, Alito, Gorsuch and Kavanaugh would have denied the application...

it truly sickens me that it was not a unanimous decision...

0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Fri 11 Aug, 2023 09:12 am

Illinois Supreme Court upholds state’s assault-style weapons ban


0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 14 Sep, 2023 10:08 am
US school shootings double in a year to reach historic high
Figures for 2021-22 covering elementary and secondary schools show a total of 327 shootings, 188 of which ended with casualties

Schools in the United States are suffering an alarming rise in shootings, according to new federal data that shows the number of incidents reaching a historic peak for the second year running.

Data compiled by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) records that in 2021-22 public and private schools, spanning both elementary and secondary levels, incurred a total of 327 shootings – a record high. The incidents involved a gun being brandished and fired or a bullet hitting school property.

Of the 327 events, chronicled by NCES as part of its annual crime and safety report, 188 ended with casualties, and of those some 57 caused deaths.

The rash of shootings amounts to a doubling of incidents on the year before, which was itself higher than any year since records began 25 years ago. In 2020-21, covering the start of the pandemic, there were a total of 146 school shootings, 93 of which caused casualties (including 43 with deaths).

The number of shootings that led to no deaths or injuries also showed a startling increase. In 2021-22, there were 139 shootings without casualties, more than double the 53 registered the year before.

The rise in recorded shootings is so dramatic between the two most recent years for which figures have been compiled that the NCES warns that the data should be interpreted “with caution”. Yet the data is likely to heighten concern about the safety of American schools, and intensify calls for more rigorous gun controls.

The NCES report shows that public schools across the country have already ramped up extraordinary security measures over the past decade. Some 97% of schools now control access to their premises, 91% use security cameras, and 65% have security staff present at least one day a week.

The proportion of schools that provide mental health assessments to evaluate students for mental health disorders has also risen to more than half.

Sarah Burd-Sharps, of the gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety, said in a statement that the new figures were distressing. “The threat of gun violence at our schools and in our communities has become a constant in our children’s lives, yet school shootings are not inevitable – they are the result of years of policy inaction.”

The new federal report stops short of providing figures for 2022-23, the year in which the mass shooting in the Robb elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, left 19 students and two teachers dead. Though the latest incidents have yet to be processed by the federal agency, shootings continue to occur in schools with troubling frequency.

On Tuesday, a student was killed and two others injured at St Helena high school in Greensburg, Louisiana, after an active shooter opened fire.

The report gives granular detail on the type of shooters involved and the situations in which the incidents occur. Almost all shooters were male, and by far the largest proportion of them were minors – more than 70% of active shooters were aged 12 to 18.

The most common scenario was an escalation of a dispute, accounting for 28% of the shootings lodged in 2021-22. Drive-by shootings amounted to 12%, illegal activity 9%, accidental firing of a weapon 5%, and intentional property damage also 5%.

0 Replies
Reply Fri 29 Sep, 2023 10:01 am
How the AR-15 Became an American Brand

The rifle is a consumer product to which advertisers successfully attached an identity—one that has translated to a particularly intractable politics.

Last summer, when the release of the video for “Try That in a Small Town,” a single by the country-music star Jason Aldean, generated a small storm of controversy, it was mentioned, often as an aside, that Aldean had been onstage on October 1, 2017, at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, in Las Vegas. That night, as Aldean performed a song called “When She Says Baby,” a man named Stephen Paddock began firing from the thirty-second floor of Mandalay Bay, a nearby resort and casino, into the crowd below. In the span of about ten minutes, Paddock shot more than a thousand bullets, killing fifty-eight people and wounding more than four hundred others before killing himself. In video recorded as the first bursts of gunfire sounded, Aldean stops singing, then flees the stage.

It was a coincidence that put Aldean in Vegas on that particular night, but releasing “Try That in a Small Town,” a song extolling vigilante justice, six years later was a choice. The music video splices together footage from anti-police protests and convenience-store robberies to form an impression of national disarray; its lyrics include the lines “Got a gun that my granddad gave me / They say one day they’re gonna round up.” Aldean left the Las Vegas massacre out of his sizzle reel of American disorder, instead projecting a fantasy of control. Watching the video last summer, I couldn’t help recalling, given Aldean’s association with a mass shooting, that one thing that was tried in a small town in recent American history was the massacre that killed nineteen children in Uvalde, Texas, last year; that law enforcement in that small town waited in the halls for an hour without confronting the shooter; that the small town’s only pediatrician later testified to Congress about identifying the dead by the cartoons on their clothes because their bodies were too damaged. Considered in this light, “Try That in a Small Town” becomes an allegory about posturing over perceived threats to national integrity while ignoring the lived reality of a horror too disturbing to mediate.

Much of the controversy over the video focussed on a shot of Aldean singing with a band in front of a courthouse in Tennessee where a Black man was lynched by a white mob in 1927. Equally remarkable, though less discussed, was the way in which the video enacted the psychological splitting of a certain kind of American gun enthusiast: his unique combination of hubris and cowardice, bravado and nihilism; his peacocking; his racism; his belief in the mythology of law and order over empirical proof of its corruption.

The shooting at the Route 91 concert in Las Vegas was the deadliest mass shooting carried out by one person in American history. As Cameron McWhirter and Zusha Elinson, the authors of “American Gun: The True Story of the AR-15,” a new history of the rifle, observe, more Americans were killed that night than in any single battle in twenty years of war in Afghanistan. In the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Uvalde; in the mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, ten days before Uvalde; and in the mass shooting less than two months after, at a Fourth of July parade in Highland Park, Illinois, the perpetrators used the same kind of gun, the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. (In Vegas, to be more precise, Paddock had fourteen AR-15s, which he loaded and lined up in a row in his hotel room, and he modified the guns with bump stocks to make them mimic automatic fire.) There are many makes and models of AR-15s, and in McWhirter and Elinson’s usage the term refers to a style of rifle rather than the original ArmaLite brand from which it gets its name. Extremely deadly and easily obtainable, the AR-15 has become a political symbol, both among people who believe that such weapons should have no part in civilian life and those who consider owning one a constitutional right. Its sale in the United States is minimally restricted. Stephen Paddock bought thirty-one of them in a year.

McWhirter and Elinson are business reporters, and “American Gun” is, in part, a book about how an industry strategized to market a gun to a type of person—usually a man—whom it could convince that AR-15s were an integral part of his identity. To do this, mainstream gunmakers began courting a very particular demographic. The AR-15 looked tough, but it was light and easy to shoot. Marketers played on what one executive called the “wannabe factor” of weekend warriors whom prior generations had mocked as “couch commandos.” A survey of AR-15 owners in 2010 found that ninety-nine per cent of them were male, seventy-three per cent were married, and fifty-six per cent had no military or law-enforcement background. “In many ways,” the authors write, “the AR-15 was the ideal firearm for the modern American man: it looked macho, but he didn’t have to put much effort into shooting it.” “American Gun” examines the phenomenon of the mass shooter armed with a semi-automatic rifle, and our continued inability to generate the political will to prevent such shootings from happening, as an ordinary business story: the AR-15 is a consumer product to which advertisers successfully attached an identity—one that has translated to a politics so intractable that in some circles it seems to have more power than the fear of death.

The history of the AR-15 begins not with the couch commando but with another masculine archetype: the postwar garage tinkerer who believed in the promise of Popular Mechanics magazine, that hobbyist inventors “could move the country forward with the power of their ingenuity—and strike it rich in the process,” as the authors write. Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the AR-15, would later be recalled for his utter disinterest in the moral implications of his invention. He preferred to discuss the technical aspects of the gun rather than its intended purpose of killing people. “It was kind of a hobby that got out of hand,” Stoner would later say about his career inventing firearms.

Stoner was born in 1922 in a small town in Indiana, but grew up in the Coachella Valley of Southern California. A fascination with “launching projectiles of all kinds” manifested early in childhood. He set off his first pipe bomb at the age of six, built his own cannon at seven, and at ten fired a rocket into his parents’ house. In 1944, he enlisted in the Marines, where he worked in aviation ordnance, but Stoner’s interests were not in aircraft but in guns. He loved them, and was interested in improving the M1 Garand, the rifle he had been issued as a marine. (He never saw combat.) As the Korean War began, the M1, which was made of wood and steel and weighed almost ten pounds, was proving to be an insufficient weapon for modern warfare, heavy and cumbersome and with a shoulder-knocking recoil.

In the arms race for a lighter military rifle, the United States had fallen behind. The term “assault rifle” is a translation of the Nazi Sturmgewehr, the “storm rifle” developed by the gunmaker Hugo Schmeisser at the end of the Second World War—a lighter, rapid-firing rifle that was better used at close range than from long distances. A Russian gun designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov, studied the Nazi gun as he developed what would become the AK-47. By the mid-nineteen-fifties, the Soviet Union and its Communist allies had made millions of AK-47s, which were reliable, durable, and easy to carry. As the decade progressed, the need for an American counterpart to the AK-47 was becoming more evident.

After the war ended, Stoner left the Marines and eventually became a partner in an engineering firm that designed parts for aircraft. “He found success in spite of his lack of formal education, teaching himself the principles of engineering, physics, and materials science,” the authors write. In his free time, Stoner researched new aluminum alloys and compulsively scribbled designs on tablecloths with a pen when he went out to dinner. His wife and children would remember him always carrying a drawing board or a pad of paper in case inspiration struck. He used the machines at his job to make the gun parts that he would assemble and test in his garage at night. His experimentation led to an innovation (which he patented) that better channelled the energy released when a gun was fired by using it to reload the weapon. He compensated for the effects of his system on aim and recoil by raising the sight above the rifle, adding the Sturmgewehr’s pistol grip, and eliminating the angle of the M1’s rifle stock. The prototype he perfected in 1954, which today sits in a museum in Florida, would later be considered a work of genius. “Historians of gun design liken Stoner’s innovations to a symphony by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,” the authors write. “Stoner was both a synthesizer and a creator.”

Stoner’s invention coincided with the opening up of arms procurement to private contractors, the birth of the so-called military-industrial complex under the Eisenhower Administration. Stoner was soon hired by ArmaLite, a firearms subsidiary of the Fairchild Engine and Airplane Corporation, which was seeking to get into the game. The intention to build lighter firearms using new materials was evident in ArmaLite’s name. McWhirter and Elinson compare the lab’s mandate to the moon-shot research companies of Silicon Valley today. Its offices were in Hollywood.

The AR-15 was the fifteenth weapon developed by ArmaLite. (Contrary to some misconception, the AR of the AR-15’s model refers either to the first two letters of the company’s name or to ArmaLite Research—not to “assault rifle.”) Stoner’s new rifles were made of aluminum, fibreglass, and plastic. They weighed less than seven pounds and required no particular expertise to shoot or physical strength to carry. They were also deadlier than the rifles that had come before them, which used relatively large bullets that made a straight passage through the body on impact. Stoner’s invention used small-calibre bullets fired at fast speeds. “A bullet fired from the AR-15 flew nose first through the air,” the authors write. “But when it hit the body it became unstable. Once unstable, the bullet tore through the body like a tornado, spiraling and tipping as it obliterated organs, blood vessels, and bones.”

ArmaLite set about trying to sell its newest design to the U.S. Army, a process stymied by the morass of “lobbyists, corporate executives, military bureaucrats and members of congress” who squabbled over arms procurement. In 1959, ArmaLite gave up and sold the gun’s design to Colt, but in 1960, after Curtis LeMay, the United States Air Force general who was responsible for the firebombing of Tokyo at the end of the Second World War, tried out the weapon on a watermelon at a Fourth of July party, it was finally recommended for military testing and purchase.

The gun was first auditioned with South Vietnamese soldiers in 1962. “Vietnamese officers and U.S. advisers gave gory, glowing accounts of the guns in early, limited use in battle,” the authors write. Soon, the M16, as the fully automatic military version of the rifle was known, was the standard-issue rifle of the United States military.

Early M16s became known for jamming, a consequence of the rush to mass production, and there were horrifying consequences for troops in the first years of the Vietnam War. “We felt like guinea pigs,” one Vietnam vet tells the authors. By 1970, the issue had been fixed, and, in the mythologizing of the war in the years that followed, the M16 became an iconic weapon, the gun of “Apocalypse Now,” “The Deer Hunter,” and the Rambo movies. McWhirter and Elinson quote a description from “Dispatches,” Michael Herr’s journalistic account of the war: “Every round was like a tiny concentration of high-velocity wind, making the bodies wince and shiver.”

A civilian version of the AR-15 was slow to catch on in popularity, however. From 1964 to 1973, Colt never made more than five thousand AR-15s a year (in a country whose population in 1968 owned some ninety million firearms). At the time, rifles were used largely by hunters, and hunters did not want a rapid-fire gun. After 1977, when the patent on the AR-15 expired, other companies saw opportunities where Colt had not. The gun started to grow in popularity among people who thought they would need a military-grade weapon—a gun that “could be used in combat if society collapsed.” This was, in those years, a relatively niche market.

It was not until the two-thousands that the AR-15 became the highest-selling rifle in the country. The gun had been included in the ten-year ban on “assault weapons” passed by Congress in 1994, part of an attempt by government and law enforcement to keep semi-automatic rifles from falling into what they felt were the wrong hands. The push for such a ban had started in 1989, after a gunman armed with an AK-47 attacked an elementary school in Stockton, California. One of its most prominent advocates was Daryl Gates, the notoriously racist police chief of Los Angeles in the nineteen-eighties and early nineties. Gates was tired of seeing police officers outgunned and killed in conflict with street gangs armed with AR-15s, Uzis, and AK-47s, weapons he believed had no place in what he called “complex urban society.”

The law proved politically unpopular, hurting some of its backers in the next election cycle. It was also ineffective. Instead of outlawing semi-automatic rifles as a class, its legal language defined the weapons according to their “military features,” which meant they could be easily modified to comply with the new rules. The result was the creation of a market for ban-compliant semi-automatic rifles, fuelled by buyers eager to own guns that the government had told them were forbidden. In the aftermath of the ban, a certain kind of gunmaker came to be associated with the AR-15. There was DPMS Panther Arms, with its snarling black panther as a logo; and Bushmaster, which had a snake with its fangs bared. These gunmakers were initially at odds with the sporting crowd at gun shows, attracting a tactical audience who were stigmatized as outsiders. They marketed ban-compliant AR-15s to prepper types, benefitting from the fear of potential catastrophes like the Y2K computer malfunction.

The terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, transformed what had been a niche market into a mass market. Production of the AR-15 rose ninety-seven per cent from 2001 to 2003, shoring up demand for guns after an era when falling crime had dampened handgun sales and hunting was declining in popularity. In these years, the AR-15 came to be seen as the industry’s financial savior. When the assault-weapons ban expired, in 2004, followed by the passage of a new law that shielded gunmakers from liability, the industry went all in on the rifle, and even legacy gunmakers like Smith & Wesson, a publicly traded company, began banking their fortunes on its sales.

One protagonist in the AR-15’s increasing popularity in the new millennium was Stephen Feinberg, a “military enthusiast” (the friendlier term for couch commando adopted by the gun industry) and the billionaire head of a Wall Street hedge fund called Cerberus Capital. Feinberg was a gun collector and trophy hunter whose affectations of being a patriotic everyman included driving pickup trucks, drinking Budweiser, and hiring a former marine sniper to teach him long-distance shooting. In the mid-two-thousands, Cerberus began buying up gun companies, consolidating production of what had been a fractured industry and bringing down costs through scale. His gun-company shopping spree was so noticeable that conspiracy theorists began suspecting George Soros was behind it. (The N.R.A. stepped in to dispel the rumors.)

The buy-up coincided with the so-called Barack Boom in gun sales. In the 2008 Presidential race, Barack Obama had taken a moderate stance on gun control, but that did not matter to the industry, which used him to evoke the threat of prohibition and run up sales. Freedom Group, as Feinberg’s gun conglomerate was named, bought DPMS Panther Arms, Bushmaster, and some older brands, including Remington. They got AR-15s onto the shelves of Walmart (for a time—Walmart stopped selling AR-15s in 2015, claiming that its decision was not in response to their repeated use in mass shootings but because of a decline in sales). The marketers used the gun to play on a perceived crisis of masculinity, running ads in Maxim magazine that showed Bushmaster’s AR-15 model alongside the words “Consider your man card reissued.” Video games were a useful channel to reach this aspirational demographic. “With increasing urbanization and access to shooting/hunting areas in decline, a primary means for young potential shooters to come into contact with firearms and ammunition is through virtual gaming scenarios,” one internal marketing memo for Freedom Group read. The industry started to avoid the term “assault rifle,” instead using “modern sporting rifles.”

One of the most unexpected questions raised by “American Gun” is the following: What if the edgelord identity embraced by many homicidal mass shooters is not the result of alienation or mental illness but instead speaks to the success of a marketing push by a rapacious private-equity firm doing business as usual? Correlation is not cause, but the rise of the AR-15 as the weapon of the post-millennial mass-shooting phenomenon happened in tandem with this sales pitch.

The book suggests mass shootings stoked fears of weapons bans that led to greater gun sales. In 2013, the authors write, the year after twenty schoolchildren were killed with an AR-15 at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in Newtown, Connecticut, AR-15s generated at least seven hundred and eighty million dollars in revenue for gunmakers, compared with only ninety-three million dollars in 2004. McWhirter and Elinson recount a Freedom Group earnings call a week after the Sandy Hook shooting where an executive discussed an acquisition that would increase its margins on the gun. “We were in the business of legally making guns to legally sell to legal gun owners,” an executive would later state in a court deposition. “So there is no other thing to do than wake up and make guns on Monday morning.”

McWhirter and Elinson are agnostic on a ban on semi-automatic rifles. They suggest that, even if such a ban were politically viable and supported by the courts, it would not be the only option. In a chapter called “Beyond the Talking Points,” they offer other ways to prevent mass shootings with AR-15s. They cite the example of a sheriff in Florida who used the state’s red-flag laws, which were passed in the aftermath of the school shooting in Parkland, in 2018, more than eight hundred times to remove guns from individuals in Polk County. Another effective policy is requiring a license to buy a gun, as is necessary in Massachusetts, New York, and other states. “Mass shootings had sixty percent lower odds of occurring in states that require permits to purchase guns than in those that didn’t,” they observe. They report research that finds that restricting large-capacity magazines does not reduce the number of mass shootings but does reduce the number of people who are killed in them. They suggest that the country’s background-check system, which scans for things like criminal records and restraining orders, is antiquated, missing open threats made in Internet chat rooms or the impressions of family members or classmates.

“American Gun” has an epigraph from J. Robert Oppenheimer: “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success.” The authors find that Eugene Stoner, the inventor of the AR-15, had little of Oppenheimer’s moral angst. He did not live to see what happened in Newtown, or in Parkland, or in Las Vegas. Before he died in 1997, of cancer that his family believed he’d developed from working with toxic solvents, he wrote a letter to the U.S. Marines, asking to be buried at Quantico with full military honors in consideration of his contribution to the nation. Instead of the usual twenty-one-shot salute, he requested that the Marines salute him with the M16 on its fully automatic setting. “Each burst could be considered a salvo,” he wrote. “I would like three salvos, thus maintaining the Roman Legion’s tradition of striking their shields three times to honor fallen comrades.” That was how he wished to be memorialized: with an outburst of automatic rifle fire. His wishes were honored.

0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Thu 5 Oct, 2023 04:07 am

0 Replies
Region Philbis
Reply Fri 6 Oct, 2023 05:39 am

AR-15 style weapons to be banned under new Massachusetts House bill
(boston herald)


0 Replies
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2023 03:54 am
Zardoz wrote:
According to an article in Newsweek millions of republican gun nuts are organizing themselves on the internet to overthrow the US government if Trump is not installed as president. It does not matter whether Trump wins the election. A court decision in the New Yor Rifle Association vs Bruen established the right to carry anywhere in country will allow and armed mob to march on the capitol. These gun nuts have been stockpiling guns for years. It has often been said that you control the situation, or the situation will control you. Now we are going to find out why all these gun nuts had to have guns of mass destruction, to kill lightning bugs no doubt.

The article is titled “Millions of Angry Armed Americans Stand Ready Seize Power If Trump Loses Election In 2024.” We have watched as thousands of Americans were slaughtered with weapons of war but that won’t be a grain of sand in hourglass to what is about to happen. It would be nice to just ignore it and hope it will not happen, but the gun problem has been ignored way too long. In 2021 17 million Americans bought 40 million guns. If you don’t think these people are serious you better think again. They are on social media all the time trying to gather support. When you start advocating the overthrow of US government if your candidate doesn’t get elected you should be arrested.

West Ohio Minutemen, an armed militia, stand guard near Public Square during the second day of the 2016 Republican National
Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 19, 2016.
0 Replies
Reply Thu 26 Oct, 2023 04:48 am
Another mass shooting in Maine. We're the most violent nation in the world. Something needs to be done with these right wing gun nuts and their precious 2nd. amendment.

At least 16 people dead, sources say, as a ‘person of interest’ is being sought in two shootings in Lewiston, Maine


At least 16 people are dead and dozens are injured following two shootings Wednesday night at a bowling alley and a restaurant in Lewiston, Maine, sources say, and an intensive manhunt is underway for a person of interest.

Robert Card, 40, of Bowdoin, is a person of interest and should be considered armed and dangerous, Maine Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mike Sauschuck said.

Law enforcement officials in Maine tell CNN that Card is a certified firearms instructor and a member of the US Army Reserve. Card had recently made threats to carry out a shooting at a National Guard facility in Saco, Maine, and also reported mental health issues, including hearing voices, the officials said.


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