Massachusetts Daily Collegian

How a UMass student bought a gun without I.D.

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Editor’s Note: Daniel Entrikin is a University of Massachusetts student working on a documentary about firearm legislation. He submitted this feature story, based on his own independent research, to The Collegian for publication. Both Entrikin and The Collegian welcome opposing viewpoints.

I bought a gun in October. I paid cash for it. I didn’t show any identification. I told the guy my first name, and we shook hands. I put it in my trunk and drove off. I’ve been thinking about that day, especially in light of multiple firearms arrests recently on the
University of Massachusetts campus.

On December 3, a UMass student from Virginia was arrested on campus with a loaded, unlicensed handgun, as well as drugs and an electronic scale, according to police.

And less than two weeks ago, a man was arrested on campus with a loaded, unlicensed handgun, police said. The suspect also allegedly possessed drugs. The serial number on the firearm was filed off, making it untraceable, officials said.

I am a senior communication major at UMass, and am working on a film about gun laws. Those fliers around campus highlighting these incidents? Those are mine. I’m taking a stance on this issue, but I’ve been doing my homework. Here’s what I’ve found:

Mass shootings are a far too common occurrence in the United States. In March and April of 2009 alone, such shootings claimed 53 lives, according to the Associated Press. It seems as if every other week the details of another terrible shooting emerge. After the Columbine tragedy, Americans have unfortunately become desensitized to the horrors of these events.

We are the most heavily armed nation in the world, with 90 guns for every 100 people, according to Reuters. The U.S. Department of Justice figures show that in 2005, 11,346 Americans died from gun violence.

Guns have a distinct role in our society, as they should. The Second Amendment protects the rights of citizens to keep and bear arms.

Watch | An excerpt from Entrikin’s film “Loophole.”

However, these rights are not absolute, and some citizens lose them. Persons convicted of a felony or involuntarily committed to a mental institution are among those that cannot legally own guns. Through the existing National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), as well as mental health databases, licensed gun dealers legally must screen every buyer for prohibited status.

There is another way to buy guns legally. Private sellers, found in large concentrations at public gun shows, are not required by law to run background checks. They have no license or qualifications. Any legal gun owner can be a private seller. They need proof that you live in-state, and are of age to own a gun. That is all.

Consider a hypothetical scenario: I am an escaped mental patient. I want a gun. I cannot find a way to obtain a gun on the black market. A gang member would never trust me; my appearance is too suspicious. I know a visit to a gun store will uncover my mental health history and alert authorities. Instead, I visit a gun show in my home state, and with an ID, purchase a gun in a private sale. The same sale that is illegal at a gun store is completed easily and legally at a gun show.

You may be asking “Why should I believe you? This seems far fetched.”

To answer this question, I visited two New Hampshire gun shows last year. I bought a double-barreled shotgun from another attendee for cash only. When he neglected to check my ID, he committed a federal felony. More undercover presence from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) at shows would make private sellers less likely to violate the law like this. The laws are often broken by private sellers, but a background check is still not required in such a sale, demonstrated in the majority of U.S. states.

I could have been a crack dealer with a felony murder conviction. I could have been schizophrenic. I could be a wanted terrorist on the national do-not-fly list. But, the seller didn’t know, because he was not required to check.

A caveat: Do not think of imitating what I did. ATF agents are already undercover and felony firearms offenses carry serious prison sentences. I sought legal counsel long before I conducted this investigation. If I came into Massachusetts with that firearm, I would have committed a felony, and I could be in jail right now.

Suppose the December 3 campus suspect is convicted of felony gun possession. In his home state, he could buy the same handgun from a gun show with his prohibitive criminal record left unexamined.

The NICS system is as simple as a phone call. While not perfect, cross-database inquiries detect most serious issues that stop sales. Most of the failures of background checks are due to poor information sharing between agencies.

The Virginia Tech shooter bought a gun from a store and passed a background check because of a database failure, which the state of Virginia has since fixed. Though, privacy need not be an issue as the check can be issued on a pass/fail basis with no unnecessary details about the buyer revealed to the seller.

The background check system can easily accommodate private sellers. All they need to do is use it.

In the House of Representatives, The Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2009 (H.R. 2324) would require background checks for all sales at shows nationwide. Though, the legislation still awaits a vote. If the Act passes, an escaped mental patient would be red-flagged, referred to authorities and taken back into custody. Until it passes, that person can walk out of a show with a gun just as easily as an avid hunter with a clean record, or as I did.  It is important to alert your Representatives of the importance of the Act being passed.

Mandatory background checks would present an inconvenience to law-abiding citizens that would save lives.

Support for the Act divides simply – anyone that can pass a background check should support this bill. If you can’t pass a background check, or make money selling guns to people that can’t, you should oppose it.

I have been researching this topic for some time now, for coursework and out of my own concern. My upcoming documentary “Loophole” will engage this important public safety issue in more depth.

In December, and again in February, the lax laws of other states put our campus in danger. Massachusetts has strict gun laws, and has essentially closed the loophole. However, that is severely undermined when easy access to guns is but a short drive away. According to the Boston Globe, firearms from New Hampshire gun shows are in high demand among gang members on the streets of Boston. Action on the federal level is crucial for abrupt change. Even in a bitterly divided political climate, selling guns to criminals and the dangerously mentally ill is something we can all agree is morally wrong.

I turned my weapon in to local police. I committed no crime. I chose to expose the loophole, rather than take predatory advantage of it. Unfortunately, I fear that not everyone makes the same choice.


92 Responses to “How a UMass student bought a gun without I.D.”

  1. Ed on February 16th, 2010 6:12 am

    There are three serious issues of concern here.

    First, yes, you DID commit a crime and the fact that the police elected not to prosecute you for it does not negate the fact that you committed a crime. I am anti-drug (see enough people die of Heroin, you tend to get that way) — lets say I went around campus purchasing all the drugs I could, put them into a laundry basket and went into Whitmore and dropped them on JoAnne’s desk. I am doing the exact same thing here – does anyone believe that I wouldn’t be prosecuted?

    I could argue the reality of drug dealers with guns – that there are a thousand different way to obtain illegal firearms right on down to corrupt police officers (yes, Virginia, there are such things) but will instead ask one simple question: Where are the drug dealers getting their drugs from? Seriously – we have spent the past century banning drugs and there are far more people addicted to opiates (alone) now than there were then! Heroin (which is outright illegal everywhere) is cheaper than a 6 pack of beer – we seem to have a massive glut of something that the government is trying very hard to ban.

    Second, I somehow don’t think that this research made it past the UMass IRB (Human Subjects Institutional Reseach Board). I don’t care if it is undergraduate research or not, if I have to get my research approved by the IRB, then why is this kid exempt from IRB approval requirements? Talk about loopholes…..

    Seriously – there is no way that the IRB would approve research that involved entrapping the research subjects into the commission of a felony. I really REALLY don’t think they would approve this…

    Third, the mental health issue is an incredibly slippery slope in three dimensions. First, anyone placed in “protective custody” – a statute identical to ones ruled unConstitutional in other states – technically is involuntarially committed to a mental health institution. Seriously – read the statute, ask the police what their protocols are. (They technically attempt to get you admitted to a hospital in Holyoke, they call the hospital “to cover ourselves” and there are no vacancies so they hold you in the jail cell. At least this is what the cops tell me they do, I can’t say from personal experience….)

    Secondly, unlike abortion, gun ownership is a Constitutional right that is explicitly stated in the Constitution. This is a very slippery slope and what will prevent a conservative legislature (like the US Congress after November’s election) from passing a law that no woman who had ever been committed could have an abortion? If she can loose the right to own a gun, why not the right to an abortion – if she is mentally unstable then she isn’t responsible enough to make such an important decision.

    A lot of people would argue that such a law would be a “back door” approach to banning abortion, and hence I argue the same here.

    And third, some things are best not pushed. We don’t want crazy people with guns but if you push things too far, people will push back. Before your Constitutional rights can be taken from you – and your right to vote and right to liberty also are taken when you are convicted of a felony – you have some serious protections offered to you. Right to jury trial, right to counsel paid for by the government, right to conviction on beyond reasonable doubt standard, right to appeal. None of this exists with a psych committment – all it takes is just one doctor saying he thinks you are crazy. Just one.

    We don’t trust police officers with this kind of power – why should we trust doctors with it? It only is a matter of time until someone challenges this – at which point other needed things will disappear. We lost Northampton State (which was needed) this way, and we likely will loose acute care too if it is challenged.

    But I still say this kid should be expelled.

  2. James Mullen on February 16th, 2010 6:53 am

    Regarding the side by side shotgun purchased by the author, what is the age of the gun? Side by side shotguns are not your typical type of shotgun and most secondhand side by sides are usually very old guns. If the gun was made prior to 1895 then it is by law an antique and therefore not subject to current firearms laws and restrictions.

    The author also suggests that he could have been a drug dealer, a terrorist, etc. when he purchased that gun. I’ve yet to see these types of criminals buying up side by side shotguns. Criminals and terrorists prefer more modern designs such as semi-automatic handguns. Also, the FBI and Bureau of Justice Statistics has stated more than once that most criminals obtain their firearms through family members and friends via staw purchases. Gun shows account for less than one percent of guns misused in crimes.

    If New Hampshire’s supposed lax gun laws pose such a danger then why does New Hampshire have one of the nation’s lowest murder rates? A quick check of the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows New Hampshire’s murder rate at 1.0 per 100,000 people. Only North Dakota, which also has “lax gun laws”, has a lower murder rate at 0.5 per 100,000 people. How is this possible? See link below.

    If easy access to guns fuels crime as the author suggests, then how is New Hampshire’s low murder rate possible? Perhaps Massachusetts should ask the tough question of what is New Hampshire doing correctly in regards to crime, and what are they doing wrong instead of blaming other states for their own failed policies. There is not one single independent academic study showing that any gun control law has had a positive impact at reducing crime.

    Perhaps the author should learn to approach topics with an academic objective attitude rather than trying to validate his own personal opinions.

  3. Doug on February 16th, 2010 7:01 am

    Sorry Kid,

    1: The person who sold you the gun on your home state without checking ID did not commit a felony. It would have been a felony had you been a resident of another state. The seller was simply careless, and lucky that time.

    2: You gave it to the police after buying it, I presume it cost very little. Did it even work?

    3: Mandatory background checks would only work if everyone obeyed the law. They are available through any gun shop or licensed firearms dealer already. Many people intentionally choose not to use them for many reasons. Many because they know they have a criminal record. This is already a crime, and passing another law they won’t obey either seems kind of stupid. Laws do not prevent crimes, they create them. Crimes are simply breaking a law, nothing more. Preventing bad people from doing bad things takes more work than politicians or cops want to do. Posturing and making speeches blaming the law is much easier than (honest) investigating and prosecuting.

    4: Selling guns to criminals and the dangerously mentally ill is already illegal. Having 27 unenforced laws saying that something is illegal will not stop it from happening, it just makes the posers feel good about themselves, makes life for those not causing problems more difficult, and makes the nanny-states law books even heavier. Bureaucracy only improves life for the bureaucrats.


  4. DanH on February 16th, 2010 8:07 am

    When you bought the shotgun from out of state, the seller did not commit a federal felony. The seller did not commit a crime at all. You did. You committed a federal felony by purchasing a firearm and taking possession of it from an out of state person who was not an FFL.

    I would have hoped you might do at least a minimum of reference checking on laws before you demonstrated to the world how ignorant of the topic you are while trying to show anything at all.

    It would really be a shame if that poor research were acceptable for any paper at all at the college level.

  5. gwalchami munn on February 16th, 2010 9:39 am

    Mr. Entriken went from Mass to New Hampshire with the express purpose of purchasing a firearm out-of-state without informing the seller that he was not a NH resident. That is a felony, and Mr. Entriken should be charged, along with any of his conspirators.

  6. Sebastian on February 16th, 2010 12:52 pm

    My advise would be to go retain an attorney, right now. You have committed a federal felony and have openly admitted to it here. I’d feel sorry for you, but if you’re going to make a documentary about weak gun laws, it would be advisable to actually study those gun laws first before you do something that will get you in trouble.

    If you’re exceedingly lucky, perhaps the US Attorney for Massachusetts will take pity on you, and allow you to cut a deal to avoid jail time.

  7. Some Adult on February 16th, 2010 12:53 pm

    Entriken’s immaturity is not really surprising for a college kid. He’s a kid, and it’s a given that kids do stupid things. However, it’s telling that the University of Massachusetts is willing to condone its students committing Federal crimes for class credit. How many “adults” signed off on Entriken crossing state lines with the explicit intent to commit a felony? How many administrators are looking the other way, right now, simply because they agree with the author’s political point of view? Would these same administrators be howling for blood if they learned one of their less enlightened students did the same thing?

    Mark down University of Massachusetts as another school I will never hire from.

  8. Sebastian on February 16th, 2010 12:55 pm

    And before you get all judgmental about our gun laws, consider you’re about to have your life ruined by those very laws you think are weak. Would it be any more just if this happened to some other poor unsuspecting gun owner who didn’t know the law? Think about how difficult it’s going to be getting a job with a felony conviction on your record.

    Still think the laws are just an appropriate? What other consumer product can you think of where you’re an instant felon for buying it in the wrong place?

  9. Carl from Chicago on February 16th, 2010 12:59 pm

    I think that several screen-grabs have been made of this, Daniel.

    By taking possession of a firearm from across state lines and not through a Federal Firearms Dealer, you committed a federal felony.

    What are you trying to prove … that people can break the law if they chose to? You must be getting a good education there at UMass.

    I recommend you dispose of those illegal firearms. You are not immune to federal prosecution just because you feel your actions are justified.

  10. Spartywrx on February 16th, 2010 1:39 pm

    Next time research the gun laws before you break them. Or get a better lawyer. You just broke Federal law, not the seller.

    Nice work Sherlock. You’re about to endure the wrath of the ATF.

  11. mike w. on February 16th, 2010 1:48 pm

    If Mr. Entrikin is NOT a NH resident then he committed a felony by purchasing a gun from out of state without having it transferred to a FFL in his state of residence.

    The article doesn’t say what Mr. Entrikin’s state of residence is, only that he’s a UMass student.

    He should also note that NH’s violent crime rates are far lower than MA’s, despite MA having far more gun control.

    Per 2008 FBI Uniform Crime Report data

    NH has a violent crime rate of 157.2 per 100K residents
    MA has a violent crime rate of 449.0 per 100K residents.

    So you’re 3 times more likely to be the victim of a violent crime in MA, with all of it’s strict gun control than you would be in NH.

  12. mike w. on February 16th, 2010 1:51 pm

    I recommend you dispose of those illegal firearms. You are not immune to federal prosecution just because you feel your actions are justified.

    The article says he turned them over to police, however that does not grant him immunity from federal prosecution.

  13. Justin Buist on February 16th, 2010 2:53 pm

    “I sought legal counsel long before I conducted this investigation.”

    From an actual attorney?! I’d like to hear what their take on the matter is. Not that it would be prudent to discuss why the advised a client to violate federal law.

  14. Patrick on February 16th, 2010 3:08 pm

    Assuming he’s the Dean’s List student listed on this page (, then he’s not a NH resident. So if the gun’s not an antique, he has committed a felony.

  15. BC on February 16th, 2010 3:44 pm

    You ought to consider filing a complaint with the bar association that licenses your legal counsel, because you got some really terrible legal advice.

    While the person who sold you the bird gun may — MAY — have been in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(5), you’ve admitted to violating 18 U.S.C. § 922(a)(3) by merely bringing the firearm back from the New Hampshire gun show into Massachusetts where you turned it in to your local police.

    You’re about to have your life ruined by the very laws you’re complaining are too lax. Epic fail.

  16. Daniel Entrikin on February 16th, 2010 3:48 pm

    I turned in the gun to local police that day. They notified the ATF. I’ve notified the ATF myself. I did not cross state lines with it. I’ve met with police extensively. At no point has anyone with legal training told me that this was any sort of crime. In fact, that is the point. Omar Samaha, Colin Goddard, and federal investigators have all replicated this exact purchase.

    The onus is on the seller to check ID. I didn’t refuse to show it. He just didn’t ask. If an FFL doesn’t perform a background check, they are liable. The buyer is not responsible for the seller violating the correct procedure of private sales.

  17. Patrick on February 16th, 2010 3:55 pm

    So basically your research has only proven that criminals can commit crimes and get away with it because of our soft law enforcement. Or better yet, how about entitling your work as “How more gun laws won’t work since the current one’s aren’t enforced”.

  18. Mike on February 16th, 2010 5:40 pm

    You’ve just made yourself a felon with those “weak” gun laws. I bet you’re hoping they don’t get enforced now.

  19. Chuckles on February 16th, 2010 5:45 pm

    It’s not clear from the article where he turned the gun in.
    If brought the gun into Massachusetts, he definitely committed a felony. If by “local” police he means NH police, then he didn’t cross state lines and therefore didn’t commit a felony.

  20. Sebastian on February 16th, 2010 6:05 pm

    Actually, the video says he turned them over to police in New Hampshire, which gets him out of trouble with 18USC922(a)(3), but ironically turning them into the police may be a crime under 18USC922(a)(5). Nonetheless, I doubt the US Attorney is going to prosecute on that kind of hyper-technicality.

    Of course, this guy wants to argue that firearms aren’t regulated enough, when it takes a fair amount of legal research to find out what’s actually lawful or unlawful. Remember Mr. Entrinkin, ordinary gun owners who are not attorneys are expected to know and follow these hyper-technical law, and the penalty for getting it wrong is a felony rap and five years in club fed. You still want to argue these laws are just?

  21. JMG on February 16th, 2010 6:08 pm

    Reading Comp fail. “I turned my weapon in to local police.”

    He didn’t cross state lines with the gun. Hence, no federal charge.

  22. Adam on February 16th, 2010 7:19 pm

    Good job champ. You violated federal firearms laws and then published a confession. I couldn’t find the penalty for violating 18 U.S.C. § 922, but you may want to look into it. Whether you believe it or not, a lot of people view your study’s recommendations as an attack on their Constitutional freedoms so I wouldn’t be surprised if screen captures of this article have already been forwarded to the Attorney General’s office. If you want to make out like gun laws in the US are so lax, then you should have studied them first because now you are about to get a first hand lesson on just exactly how not lax they are. You’ll get a simultaneous lesson on the perils of the over-federalization of crime when you have to defend yourself against an aggressive USAG with virtually unlimited resources to bring to bear upon you.

  23. Michael on February 16th, 2010 7:50 pm

    You already pointed out that a crime was committed in the failure to check your ID, so… what is another law to add another crime to that transaction going to do? Also, as has been mentioned, gun shows aren’t responsible for almost any of the illegal firearms trade.

    If you want to tackle a gun issue, how about making a case for enforcing and making stricter laws and penalties that involve the use of illegally obtained firearms, as well as the trafficking of illegal firearms, rather than putting fourth all this effort to throw a background check in as a requirement for gun purchase? Whether this guy intended to allow you to avoid the ID check, or made an honest mistake, that wouldn’t change if in the books he was supposed to make a phone call to get a background check done.


  24. Matt on February 16th, 2010 9:06 pm

    The author did not commit any felonies or break any law by buying a long gun in NH. ONLY if he crossed a state line with that rifle would it have been a crime. Although the author did knowingly allow the seller of that gun to break the law by selling to a non-resident.

    All you have proven is that it is possible for prohibited persons to get their hands on a gun from a private party if that private party breaks laws. I’m sure you will try to argue that YOU didn’t break laws by acquiring the gun, however the fact of the matter is that you would not have been able to get that rifle if EVERYONE involved followed the laws as they are written now.

  25. Turbo on February 16th, 2010 10:17 pm

    The author shouldn’t expect any credibility when the sources he sites include “”. Bloomberg is about as biased as it comes. If anyone actually thinks Bloomberg and his associates conduct fair studies, there is nothing anyone can say to correct them, and they will continue to believe the most convenient opinion presented to them.

  26. Tyler on February 17th, 2010 12:11 am

    I love how all you gun-lovers get so defensive against pro gun-control people. The kid did nothing wrong. Re-read the article, watch the video. This time pay attention.

    And just for curiosity’s sake, WHY should we be allowed to have guns (specifically handguns)? Don’t even dare say “2nd amendment”. Give me a philosophical, rational, intellectual argument. They’re made to do one thing and one thing only – kill. Seriously, buy a tazer, bean-bag gun, knife, baseball bat, slingshot. There is NO valid, rational reason why a non-military citizen needs to own a handgun. None.

  27. Rob on February 17th, 2010 1:30 am

    To Tyler: We need guns for defense. It would be wonderful if nobody with cruel intentions had a firearm, or any other weapon for that matter, but they do. And, rare as it may be, I’ve read stories about using guns to defend people that greatly outnumber the stories about a legal firearm falling into the wrong (read: a child’s or dangerous relative’s) hands. My very unspecified opinion on this is that there should be gun control, but not gun restriction.

    To everyone else: Christ. The first 3 got their point across, I seriously think I might have read the same exact thing twice, with just different punctuation. Read the article as close as you did looking up gun laws on google, watch the video, make yourself look better.

    I’ve read it and I’m sure this guy isn’t implying that we need more laws. He’s saying tighten the laws we have, fix the loophole he found, and make the laws that exist work. A ton of discussion has been put into these laws spanning decades, and in my opinion they’re fair, but they need to be enforced better. And he has offered a couple broad solutions, for someone more able to pick up and run with.

  28. Ken Masters on February 17th, 2010 2:10 am

    ^ By that logic, martial arts should be illegal as well.

    After all, they are used for one thing and one purpose only: to inflict grievous bodily harm on other people.

    Don’t even dare say “spirituality” or “physical fitness” or any of that crap! I’ve seen that “UFC” on TV and the terrible things these techniques do to human beings!

  29. Edward on February 17th, 2010 4:22 am

    OK, just a hypothetical then. Why do I think I should be allowed guns?

    1. “Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not.” ~Thomas Jefferson
    2. Those who trade liberty for security have neither. ~John Adams
    3. Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
    4. An armed man is a citizen. An unarmed man is a subject.
    5. Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to control them.
    6. Gun control is not about guns; it’s about control.
    7. You don’t shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
    8. Assault is a behavior, not a device.
    9. 64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
    10. The United States Constitution (c) 1791. All Rights Reserved.
    11. The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.

    Why should I be allowed a handgun? Because a gun’s a gun’s a gun. Many anti-gunners profess the desire to stop violence with small arms. But if I was demented, and wanted to go on a rampage, I would actually buy a long-gun like a shotgun or semi-automatic rifle because of their superior firepower, not a weak and limited role handgun. Just my 2 cents. I should also add that the average time it takes police to respond is about 8 minutes, and I would rather kill an ill-intentioned perp than be killed myself -let’s just say it would augment my pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

  30. Not Tyler on February 17th, 2010 5:39 am

    Well, Tyler, you are allowed to have guns. Not because of the Second Amendment but because the right to self defense is just that, a Right, not a privilege. The 2nd Amendment doesn’t allow you or I to do anything. What it DOES do, however, is prevent the government from infringing on your preexisting right to defend yourself. A tazer, bean bag gun, knife, baseball bat, and slingshot are all great weapons…UNLESS the other guy, the criminal who doesn’t give a hoot about your personal beliefs, has a gun. Would you feel safe having a sling shot to defend yourself against a criminal with a gun?

    As for a reason why I might choose to own a handgun well, it really doesn’t matter. It’s not about needing a reason for owning a handgun, it’s about the right to do so. You don’t need to justify your reason to own a computer to post your opinion on the internet…you have the right to. Reasons are requirements to exercise privileges, not rights. One doesn’t need a reason to exercise a right.

  31. BC on February 17th, 2010 7:03 am

    And just for curiosity’s sake, WHY should we be allowed to have guns (specifically handguns)?

    Because guns, specifically handguns, neutralize any physical advantage possessed by an attacker far more effectively than tasers, bean-bag guns, knives, baseball bats, and slingshots.

    And because we don’t ration freedom based on what hoplophobic children like you think the rest of us “need”.

  32. Orygunner on February 17th, 2010 9:18 am

    Tyler, here’s your answer.

    First of all, the Second Amendment doesn’t give us any rights to own guns. The Bill of Rights isn’t a list of what we CAN do, it’s a list of what the government CAN’T.

    The reason for my stating that first, is that EVERY PERSON has the right to keep and bear arms for defense of life and liberty. The framers of the Constitution recognized that the right to keep and bear arms exists among the rest of our inalienable rights, and enumerated it in the Bill of Rights as a limit on government interference with that right. Even in other countries where they have no such protection, the right just exists, it’s just squashed by governments that don’t respect the rights of the people.

    You are SO far wrong with your statement that guns are “made to do one thing and one thing only – kill.” You have no substantial proof of that statement. If that were truly the case, then why is it in the US we shoot BILLIONS of rounds of ammunition every year (the vast majority of it for target shooting), and only about 30,000 people die? A tragic number, but relatively small to the amount of ammunition we fire. if guns are only meant to kill, why don’t we have BILLIONS of dead people in the US?

    Why is it that out of the hundreds of thousands (at least, possibly millions) of times every year that people in the US use firearms for self defense, we only have a couple of hundred justifiable homicides where the attacker is shot and killed? If guns are only used to kill, shouldn’t we have hundreds of thousands of dead criminals (and a much lower crime rate because of it)?

    The fact is, a gun is just a tool. The PURPOSE the tool is used for is up to the person using the tool. If the purpose is to stop a criminal attack, a gun can be used to do that without even firing a shot – when the bad guy runs away, which is what happens over 90% of the time a firearm is used in self defense. The absolute fact is, people use guns to try and kill someone far less than any other purpose.

    A firearm IS extremely effective at stopping a criminal attack, and the “less than lethal” alternatives you suggest all have some major disadvantages compared to a firearm for self defense. If you have a problem with possibly killing a vicious criminal attacker, then YOU go ahead and use those other things and see how they work for you. I choose the best tool for the job.

  33. Orygunner on February 17th, 2010 9:20 am

    “Even in other countries where they have no such protection, the right STILL exists, it’s just squashed by governments that don’t respect the rights of the people.”

  34. BambiB on February 17th, 2010 10:45 am

    The author regards sales without a background check as a “loophole” in the system. Given that the “right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”, most of the 22,000+ laws regarding firearms are INFRINGEMENTS on the right to keep and bear arms.

    This casts matters in a very different light. The “gun show loophole” is not a loophole, but a tiny remaining shred of freedom which Americans still enjoy, and the author is trying to justify stamping it out. Not so long ago, one could mail-order machineguns and 20mm cannon in America. But now there are so many legal traps laid by the government, that even simply firearms purchases are fraught with peril.

    It is far past time to roll back the firearms laws, beginning with the NFA 1934 and GCA 1968.

    The one thing we know for certain is that gun laws don’t make people safer. The fedgov’s own study documents that.

    But beyond that, the REAL causes of gun-related murders would make an interesting study. I suspect that well over half of all shootouts are over illegal drugs. These conflicts arise because there is so much profit in drugs – profit created by the state. The cost of producing an ounce of pure cocaine is a few dollars. The same drug, diluted and sold on the street is worth thousands. The stricter enforcement is, the higher the price. All the profits go to criminals. Legalize the drugs, and the price will drop to a price that does not justify armed conflict. At the same time, other crimes, committed to pay the high price for illegal drugs, would cease.

    When was the last time you heard of someone engaged in a drive-by shooting over alcohol? And yet, that was not uncommon in the day when alcohol was proscribed by government.

    Government has created the problem through its laws. Passing laws that further infringe fundamental Constitutional rights is not a solution.

    Legalize drugs and you will likely eliminate more than half of all violent and property crime. Remove the ridiculous restrictions on gun ownership, and restore the Constitutional right to bear arms.

    Of course, police would not be happy with this. The need for cops would probably decrease by half (or more), and the BATF would simply become BAT.

    The brief mention you made of mass shootings is a call for you to do more homework. How many of those shootings took place in locations where citizens were permitted their Constitutional right to bear arms? (Not Columbine. Not V. Tech. And my bet is that University of Alabama doesn’t permit professors to carry guns for self-defense either.) And since you’re in Massachusetts, you can start close to home with the case of Michael McDermott – where the laws against carrying firearms cost lives.

    Guns at work? Yep. I recently worked for a small company (about 50 employees) where about 10% of employees carried firearms to work (most taking them inside with them) on a daily basis. We never worried about a “Michael McDermott”.

  35. Tyler on February 17th, 2010 11:30 am

    I have the “right” to earn and amass a huge fortune of money. Then I’m going to just sit on it. Not spend it, not give it away. Is that legal? Of course. Is that ethical? Of course not. Why on earth does a human being need 100 billion dollars? They could found 20 schools, 10 hospitals, etc etc with that kind of money and still have enough left to live comfortably.

    Just because you call it a “right” doesn’t make it RIGHT (as in correct action).

    No one has provided me with a philosophical and ethical argument yet.

    (Most) martial arts aren’t meant to kill. You also need to be within 3 feet of a person to subdue them. It also takes years and years of training. There aren’t billions of deaths from guns despite billions of rounds of ammo sold because some people hunt or target shoot. My question is – why would you target shoot with a handgun except for the purpose of making your aim better for “the real thing”? Do you think it’s fun? Lots of things that could be considered “fun” are outlawed or restricted. Why are guns different? You don’t need guns for defense, you need bulletproof. I’d feel infinitely safer wearing a bulletproof suit than with a handgun at my waist. Guns = offense, bulletproof = defense. And guns were invented for one purpose – to kill human beings in war. Look it up sometime.

    All of your arguments are wrong. Stop calling people who disagree with you children.

    Poll: How many of you gun-carriers have ever used your gun to shoot a criminal? (you don’t count if you’re a cop or front lines military) Anyone? I propose that YOU are the paranoid ones, so xenophobic of the rest of the world that you’re willing to kill another human being rather than even stop to consider the multitude of less-than-lethal defense mechanisms. BUY BULLETPROOF AND A BIG KNIFE.

    Next time you use the word “Rights” in a philosophical/legal sense, please provide me with your definition. I’m willing to bet it’s not the same as mine. Rights aren’t God-given, they’re not 100% absolute, they’re not 100% universal, and they’re not always static. There is nothing inalienable about the right to own a gun. It is not a philosophical Right, it is an issue of legality and law. The Right to protect oneself IS a philosophical Right, the “Right” to use a handgun to do so? Not so much.

    Once again, please use a VALID, ETHICAL, PHILOSOPHICAL argument when trying to make a point. Otherwise, you lose every time.

  36. Michael on February 17th, 2010 11:38 am

    Reason for guns? Putting aside the reasons of self defense against intruders in your own home, or defense against thugs in the street, the predominant “point” to allowing gun ownership to the population is for defense against their government. The second amendment wasn’t designed to protect people against street gangs, it was put in place to allow people to be protected from being overpowered and bullied by their government. For the record I am not advocating that there is any need for a coup in the United States, but I recognize the importance of making sure the people (us) maintain an ability to protect ourselves from our government.

    The response I keep seeing from the anti-gun movement in regard to 2A is that the population is no match for our government, so guns won’t do anything against them so we may as well get rid of them to make the country a safer place. Besides this being wrong, this is the most pathetic defeatist thing I have ever seen. Give up before anything could forseeably even happen. Wow.

    I and most other gun owners are more upset with gun violence than those who don’t own guns. Not only does it reflect badly on us (despite the majority of it being those not qualified by law to own guns anyway) but it makes the population see that much more of an argument against a liberty that is so important.


  37. Tyler on February 17th, 2010 11:48 am

    “In 2005, 75% of the 10,100 homicides committed using firearms in the United States were committed using handguns, compared to 4% with rifles, 5% with shotguns, and the rest with a type of firearm not specified.”

    There you go folks. THAT is why I don’t like handguns. For those of you who like to say, “but they’re still less lethal than drunk driving”: There were 16,885 alcohol-related fatalities in 2005. So you’re right. However, drunk driving is illegal, you do it more than a few times and you get your license revoked, and if we’re all lucky enough the drunk driver is the single fatality in the crash. Cars aren’t MEANT to kill, it’s an unfortunate side effect with rules in place to prevent it. Guns ARE meant to kill. No two ways about it.

  38. Dave on February 17th, 2010 11:52 am

    “A caveat: Do not think of imitating what I did. ATF agents are already undercover and felony firearms offenses carry serious prison sentences.”

    So, the ATF is monitoring and there are already laws against what you state is a problem.

    Congratulations, you are able to point out what most people already know…criminals don’t obey the law.

  39. Tyler on February 17th, 2010 2:31 pm

    And one last thing for the record: I own 5 guns. 20 gauge shotgun, 12 gauge shotgun, 8 gauge antique shotgun family heirloom, .22 rifle, and a 30-06 rifle. No handguns. Also have a lifetime sportsman’s hunting license in NY state. So I know how to, and do, use guns. Would I cry if the gov’t told me I had to give them all up? Nope, as long as I could keep the 8 gauge and permanently disable it somehow. There are other ways than guns to hunt, other ways of home protection / self defense, and other ways to stage a revolution against a tyrannical gov’t. Anyway, that’s my story. I won’t be checking back up on responses because the internet is no place for serious debate with anonymous strangers. Enjoy your guns while you have them boys, they won’t be around forever (which is a good thing).

  40. Tyler on February 17th, 2010 3:00 pm

    Oops, forgot one very important point!

    800,000 law enforcement officers in the US
    1.4 million people on active military duty
    850,000 people in reserve
    That’s a total of 3,050,000 people who take governmental orders that have guns.

    Total population of the US – 309 million

    That means that just under 1% of the entire population of the United States is armed and takes orders from the government.

    Now throw bombs, fighter jets, nukes, submarines, aircraft carriers, and tanks into the mix. Suddenly guns don’t matter anymore.

    Do you even realize how idiotic your arguments sound? If it was ONLY soldiers with guns, yes, a fully armed citizenry could overtake them. 99 vs 1, I’ll take those odds. But 99 people with shotguns vs a heavily armed tank? No way. You need armor piercing depleted uranium (which I don’t think the public is allowed to get their hands on).

    People, if we actually get to a point where it comes to using physical force to overthrow a corrupt government – we’re not going to be following their laws anymore. They say, “We’re taking away your guns.” You say, “Nope, I’m going to shoot you if you try.” They say, “You’re breaking the law. Troops, open fire.”

    So, long story short – take a look at the military and law enforcement numbers as well as the vehicles, heavy artillery, and other fun gadgets they have at their disposal. No way the rest of us can take that on with legally acquired hunting rifles, shotguns, and yes, even handguns. So what’s the point in having them in the first place. IEDs seem to be doing a much better job of causing troop fatalities in the mid-east than AK-47s. Your arguments fail at the most basic level. Just saying.

  41. Stephen on February 17th, 2010 3:01 pm

    I just want to remind people what this article was about and what this author is actually advocating:

    1. The ability for people in NH to sell guns without a background check to “known persons” undermines the legitimate sale of guns by FFL sellers. That phrase is not defined and could be construed to mean just about anyone.

    In my opinion, the only real way to have an effective gun control regime that still maintained all the rights of responsible (non-felon) gun owners would be to require each and every gun to be registered to an individual. Even if the known person clause were removed, it be would be easy to simply buy guns legally at a gunshow and then sell them to a felon privately. While the seller here would be committing a crime, it would be an uncatchable crime. Requiring registration would remove this “loophole” and keep better track of guns state-wide.

    As an aside for those of you who have been actively defending the 2nd Amendment (and especially those of you who have touted it as a universal right) on here — how do you feel about the universality of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th amendments? By all means, correct me if I’m wrong, but I suspect that many of you have different standards for these different amendments.

    Gun ownership is a right, but it carries responsibilities. The only real way to

  42. Dan on February 17th, 2010 3:12 pm

    There’s a lot of fear-mongering going on here.

    The constitution was drafted in a time where we had recently been subject to oppressive, monarchial rule. Times have changed. The need to protect youself against the government with weapons is over. Voting and petitioning members of congress is how our government works. Political activism is the machinery with which our government should work, not threats of violence.

    Work within the system to demand the change you want. Call and write members of congress. Vote according to your values. With an educated, active electorate, our country will continue to flourish in exactly the way our founding fathers intended.

    Demand the country you want through positive political action, not negative fear-mongering and scare tactics against student journalists.

  43. Orygunner on February 17th, 2010 3:20 pm


    It’s impossible to argue against opinions. If you simply don’t believe we have an inalienable right to defend our life and liberty, then the right to keep and bear arms is going to be completely over your head.

    You wrote:
    “There aren’t billions of deaths from guns despite billions of rounds of ammo sold because some people hunt or target shoot.”

    At least you recognize that the purpose a gun is used for is really up to the person using the firearm. But you still cling to the idea that guns are meant to kill. Good luck proving that logically (your bias is showing!).

    Your idea of what liberty and freedom is about seems really strange to me. The point of liberty (as I believe the founders of this country envisioned) is that an individual can do whatever the hell they want to do, as long as it does not interfere with the rights of another person. If I want to target shoot with a handgun, or a rifle, or a machine gun, there isn’t supposed to be anyone else that has any right or power to stop me, as long as my actions aren’t endangering or threatening another person’s life, safety, or property. “Right” or “Wrong” has absolutely nothing to do with it. the government shouldn’t be legislating morality, it should be protecting individual rights.

    If someone else chooses to ABUSE a right, that person should be held accountable and their actions should have absolutely ZERO effect on anyone else’s ability to exercise their rights responsibly. If there’s 10,000, or even 100,000 deaths caused by people using handguns, it’s not MY responsibility to give up MY right in an attempt to curb that problem. Especially for completely useless laws that don’t even address the cause of the problem.

    Einstein defined insanity as trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results… There’s gun control for you. The reason that gun control laws have never been proven to work is very simple: GUNS don’t CAUSE crime! So with the non-existent record for gun control to work to control crime, why are we still trying it?

    I’m going to carry my gun. I’ve never needed it a day in my life, but I have two relatives and a couple of friends who HAVE used a firearm successfully to prevent being victims of a crime (and none of them had to fire a shot: the bad guys ran away at the sight of the firearm). To me, it’s not even a big deal. I have my keys in one pocket, my wallet in another, my swiss army knife and change in another pocket, and my gun in a pocket holster. It’s no different to me than any other tool.

    If you don’t like the fact that people choose to carry guns, you have the right to complain, that’s about it. Thankfully, there’s much fewer of you (anti-rights people) than there are of us (peaceably armed citizens) and it’s starting to become evident from the gun control that’s slowly rolling BACK in the direction of individual rights and freedoms. “Shall not be infringed” is where we’re headed, get used to it.

  44. Dan on February 17th, 2010 3:42 pm

    I’d imagine that anyone who fights for the right to bear arms also fights for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Am I correct?

  45. BC on February 17th, 2010 4:20 pm

    The need to protect youself against the government with weapons is over.

    Tell that to Randy Weaver.

    I’d imagine that anyone who fights for the right to bear arms also fights for marriage equality for same-sex couples. Am I correct?

    People pick their battles and engage in the activism that’s most important to them, but you’d probably be surprised at how libertarian the gun-rights community is.

  46. BC on February 17th, 2010 4:44 pm

    No one has provided me with a philosophical and ethical argument yet.

    Sure we have. You just refuse to acknowledge them, and instead commit the Internet equivalent of jamming your fingers in your ears and screaming LA-LA-LA-LA-LA. Hence why you’ve been (quite accurately) described as a hoplophobic child.

    To reiterate: guns, specifically handguns, are significantly more effective than alternatives at negating any physical advantage possessed by an attacker. (Despite your precious faith in less-lethal armaments, they’re quite unreliable, which is why police still carry sidearms.) Notwithstanding the potential for negligent or criminal misuse of firearms, it’s morally contemptible to favor a state of affairs where people are restricted from possessing and carrying the most effective means of terminating a lethal attack: it leaves the old and the weak at the mercy of the young and the strong.

    But it’s not news that gun controllers are nihilistic moral cripples. They’re, after all, the ideological descendants of the white racists in the Reconstruction South who disarmed free blacks so as to make hood-wearing lynch mobs’ work easier. The racial bigotry’s subsided, but the cultural bigotry’s every bit as toxic.

  47. Orygunner on February 17th, 2010 4:48 pm


    I’m for equality for any couples. As far as calling it Marriage, that is a religious term that’s been carried over into state control. I’m surprised that so many people calling for “separation of church and state” aren’t suggesting that “marriage” is stripped from the legal terminology, and instead call it a “domestic contract.” That would make more sense. If you want legal benefits (ability to add someone to your insurance, file taxes together, visit in the hospital), get a domestic contract. If you want to get Married, go to a church. That way, everyone’s equal with all equal legal rights and if people don’t like same-sex marriage, too bad, they can’t stop it.

  48. Tyler on February 17th, 2010 5:48 pm

    Let me take a moment to educate everyone on what the terms “freedom”, “rights”, and “liberty” mean.

    State of nature is a term in political philosophy used in social contract theories to describe the hypothetical condition of humanity before the state’s foundation. In a broader sense, the state of nature is the condition before the rule of positive law comes into being, thus being a synonym of anarchy. This means that anything goes, nothing is legally “right” or “wrong” since there is no enforcement to punish transgressors. This is not a pleasant state of being. It is very Darwinian and is short and brutal. This is not a good thing.

    From the state of nature arises a “social contract”. Social contract describes a broad class of theories that try to explain the ways in which people form states to maintain social order. The notion of the social contract implies that the people give up sovereignty to a government or other authority in order to receive or maintain social order through the rule of law. It can also be thought of as an agreement by the governed on a set of rules by which they are governed. The exact terms of the social contract will vary from culture to culture, but the core is always the same.

    Now we are on to “liberty”. Since there must be rules in order for society to exist, we must then decide what these rules are. Positive liberty refers to having the power and resources to act to fulfill one’s own potential, as opposed to negative liberty, which refers to freedom from restraint. Positive liberty is making laws and enforcing them for the benefit of society, negative liberty is lack of any laws except the most basic (those which are mostly the same from culture to culture). The Libertarian Party mainly cites negative liberty as their platform on many issues, for example. (Freedom from government intervention).

    Now, of course you can’t completely separate the two sides of liberty completely, but it is handy to know that there IS a difference.

    On to “rights”. Rights are the end result of a social contract system – or in other words, a government. Most of the rights in the Bill of Rights are negative rights. Freedom FROM something. I have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness because you are not allowed to unlawfully imprison me. I have the right to free speech because you cannot unjustly censor me. Etc etc. These things are not God-given, they are a creation of man. There are only a very few “Rights” that are universal – and even then, they aren’t applicable 100% of the time. These include: the right to life, freedom from being violently assaulted, freedom from unlawful theft, freedom of thought and speech, freedom of movement. Now some of these have qualifiers – such as going from one country to another hinders your movement. And some of these rights can even be waived – such as the death penalty contradicts the right to life.

    So now let’s take a negative liberty approach to the gun control issue (because that’s what most of you are supporting). The second amendment states that you have the right to bear arms – or in other words, the right of someone else not being allowed to take your guns away. As I stated before, self defense is one of those universal rights. You can’t ask a person who is being mistreated to simply endure it and hope things change. No, that person has a genuine, certified, 100% legitimate reason to fight back and forcibly make the other person stop doing whatever it is they are doing.

    From here on out though, things tend to get a bit sticky. Does defense include committing an offensive act (killing another person)? Or does it mean you can only subdue them, possibly hurt them, but otherwise have little or no risk to life? You may argue that they were already breaking rule #1 – thou shall not kill, therefore you get to break the rule and kill them back. This approach leads to a downward spiral back to the state of nature. The whole purpose of having a civilization is to act civilized. Shooting someone is not civilized behavior. Other non-lethal responses are civilized. So the self defense argument is out the window. Select humans have proven that we as a species are still willing to murder each other. The easiest way to prevent this – and thus maintain rule #1 – is to ban easily purchased, easy to use, easy to kill weapons. This means handguns. It is A LOT harder to kill someone with a baseball bat than a gun. Handguns work from across the road – hell, if you’re a good shot they work from across the block. You actually have to chase someone down with a baseball bat if you want to bash their head in. And you can only do one at a time. Handguns can carry 12+ rounds with easily replaceable clips. That means I can shoot 12 people from across the street in the time it takes a guy to tackle one dude and hit him upside the head with a bat. Does this sound “civilized” to you? Does it sound ethical to allow human beings access to this kind of killing ability? Now you say “What about other firearms? Rifles, shotguns?” Those have a legitimate hunting purpose and while I would favor not being allowed to have them over being allowed to have them, I have admitted that I do own some. I’m talking specifics and making a very pointed case at handguns.

    Since they have such a destructive capability to kill multiple people from far away in a short amount of time, I advocate that THAT is their intention, and the only REAL use they are made for. Now why does Joe Average Citizen Blow get to have that power – a power that is easily concealed from unsuspecting bystanders? I’m NOT saying that ALL handgun owners have and carry a handgun so that they can kill other people. In fact that MAJORITY of owners have never even drawn their weapon in public. But the fact still remains that the power is there, latent in the weapon, just waiting for any finger to pull the trigger.

    Negative liberty supporters say that the government can’t “take away” your right to own a handgun for self protection. Positive liberty supporters say that by outlawing handguns we protect more lives by eliminating the possibility of someone having a handgun in the first place. What about criminals? Of course criminals will find a way to get their hands on handguns. But this can be drastically reduced by stricter policies and stricter enforcement of those policies.

    Just a thought – did the “Right” to own a handgun exist before handguns were invented? No. It is an INVENTION of society. The rules of the social contract. This contract can be modified as we go in order to make it better. Like the abolition of slavery. Like women getting the right to vote. Like completely banning handguns (and then actively enforcing it) in order to help prevent violent crime.

    Freedom is about the ability to go your own way, do your own thing as long as it doesn’t harm others. I make the case that handguns specifically are too dangerous to be included in this. The same way that drunk driving is against the law. Sure, if you live in the middle of nowhere, chances are that the only person you’ll hurt is yourself – but the fact remains that it IS dangerous. A lawful handgun owner with a permit IS lawful – until they point it at another person and pull the trigger. This happens hundreds of times a year. I propose eliminating the option in the first place.

    I’m not pro big-government, I think a vast majority of the laws in place now are either unjust or unneeded, but what is the ideal state of law? Law should be a system of ethics that is then enforced. Why can’t you murder? Because it is unethical. Why can’t you lie on the witness stand? Because it is unethical. This is what laws need to be based on – ethics. The right to self defense is undeniable, but when there are so many other alternatives, why must we as a society, a civilized people, resort to shooting someone (and probably killing them) as a defense? Don’t like your other non-lethal weapon alternatives? Encourage development of better methods. Wear bulletproof. Encourage rehabilitation and re-socialization of prior criminals. That’s all I’m saying. No one NEEDS a handgun. Just like no one NEEDS to make 100 billion dollars. It’s unethical. Maybe I just have a high ethical standard, I don’t know. But I’d rather it be too high than too low.

  49. Dan on February 17th, 2010 6:07 pm

    Randy Weaver is a poor role model, and Ruby Ridge is a poor argument for gun posession. By wielding weapons, the Weavers escalated the conflict to the point where shots were fired. If they were not armed, the conflict may have been resolved peacefully.

    The court system exists for a reason. Weaver acted as if he was above the law, creating the entire scenario. Laws exist for a reason. They have been put in place by officials elected by a majority of Americans. If an individual does not agree with the laws, they can petition to change them using their votes and voices.

    Being mixed up with white supremacists does not help Weaver’s arguments. This is not a legally binding argument, but this shows a lack of rational thinking and discredits his arguments.

  50. Michael on February 17th, 2010 8:46 pm

    First off, a HUGE portion of the pro-gun community is libertarian. IE, if gays want to get married, let em, patriot act, a gross violation of the 4th amendment.

    Tyler, you proved my point I had made only a few posts above yours about the defeatist attitude of many now a days. “Guns wouldn’t be effective tools against this overwhelmingly strong government and military, so lets just give up all hope.” I recommend you look up what an insurgency is. Pay a little bit of attention to the types of urban warfare that have occurred in various conflicts through our past up to what was just occurring in Iraq.

    Also, bear in mind, the military obeys LAWFUL orders and bears allegiance to the constitution. Many in the military take that very seriously, and would not execute illegal orders, especially domestically.

    I agree that diplomatic measures are all that will be needed in the foreseeable future, and would never advocate violence in place of them. HOWEVER, because of what our forefathers experienced, they gave rights to the people for our own protection, to insure that even in a worst case scenario, we could not be beaten down and become freedom-less slaves to a government run rampant. While I don’t expect to ever see anything like this occur in my lifetime, who am I to say it never ever will. It certainly has in other countries, and it started with the government taking the rights to protection from the countries people (Yes, Germany confiscated its citizens guns before the latest of their many attempts to take over the world)


  51. me on February 17th, 2010 11:21 pm

    Where was this video recorded?

  52. me on February 17th, 2010 11:29 pm

    Also, were you asked anything when you purchased the shotgun? Name, residence, age, etc?

  53. Chuckles on February 18th, 2010 12:13 am

    Wow Tyler, are you serious or just a troll?

    A bullet proof vest and a big knife? Yeah, that’s going to be real effective so long an armed assailant shoots you exactly in the chest. What about an armed assailant with a bat or a knife as well? Would you really rather have a knife when attacked with a knife or would you rather have a gun?
    It’s fine if you truly believe that guns aren’t necessary for self-defense, but practice that yourself and don’t try to apply it to other people.

    “The whole purpose of having a civilization is to act civilized. Shooting someone is not civilized behavior. Other non-lethal responses are civilized. So the self defense argument is out the window.”
    I think allowing private citizens to protect their lives and the lives of those around them via force or a threat thereof is very civilized. It would be uncivilized to disarm the citizenry and leave them at the mercy of armed criminals. Defensive gun uses also aren’t usually lethal. Studies have shown that anywhere from 500,000 – 2 million times per year a gun is used in self-defense and the vast majority of those occurances being a mere brandishing of a weapon. Criminals are usually cowards who prey on the weak and when they break down a door and find themselves looking down the barrel of a shotgun they aren’t going to risk their life for a TV, they’re going to run. The self-defense argument is certanly not “out the window”. People have the right to self defense, like it or not. Many states have recognized this with Castle Doctrine laws and “Stand your Ground” laws.

    “Handguns can carry 12+ rounds with easily replaceable clips. That means I can shoot 12 people from across the street in the time it takes a guy to tackle one dude and hit him upside the head with a bat. Does this sound “civilized” to you? Does it sound ethical to allow human beings access to this kind of killing ability?”
    So why do you only seem to want to take handguns away from private citizens? In Massachusetts private citizens aren’t allowed to have handgun magazines that hold more than 10 rounds (with some exceptions), and yet the police walk around with 3+ magazines that hold 15-17 rounds.

    “Since they have such a destructive capability to kill multiple people from far away in a short amount of time, I advocate that THAT is their intention, and the only REAL use they are made for”
    So in your view police are killing-machines who intend to kill 40+ people on any given moment?
    Or do cops have guns to defend themselves and others when faced with a lethal threat? Kind of like a private citizen should have.

    “Freedom is about the ability to go your own way, do your own thing as long as it doesn’t harm others. I make the case that handguns specifically are too dangerous to be included in this”
    So I should have the freedom to own my guns as long as I don’t harm others. Agreed! If I choose to abuse that freedom and use a handgun maliciously, the government will take away my freedom and put my in the clink. Sounds logical.
    Handguns are not latently dangerous. If they were gun shows would be the deadlist places on earth.
    Not only that but most handgun murders happen in areas with very very low rates of handgun ownership. Hmmm.

    “Like completely banning handguns (and then actively enforcing it) in order to help prevent violent crime.”
    Yeah, banning handguns did wonders for the DC crime rate.

    Also how is a handgun more dangerous in your mind than, say, a .308 rifle. The rifle is much much more powerful, accurate, and long ranged. Of course you want to ban them all, but I’m just saying.

    “Do you even realize how idiotic your arguments sound? If it was ONLY soldiers with guns, yes, a fully armed citizenry could overtake them. 99 vs 1, I’ll take those odds. But 99 people with shotguns vs a heavily armed tank? No way. You need armor piercing depleted uranium (which I don’t think the public is allowed to get their hands on).”
    Yeeeeah….. guerilla warfare has never proven effective….
    You seem totally ignorant of asymmetrical warfare.

  54. Warthog on February 18th, 2010 1:36 am

    You left out one important fact in your story. The mass shootings you mentioned? Those all took place in gun free zones. One more law is not going to stop these things from happening. Making something that is already illegal even more illegal isn’t going to stop these things from happening. There are bad people with bad intentions out there and restricting the ability of law abiding citizens to defend themselves only creates a bigger victim pool for the bad people.

  55. E. Zach Lee-Wright on February 18th, 2010 2:08 am

    Question: What is the minimum age for legally purchasing a handgun under federal law?

    Answer: And this will surprise most of you, the age is eighteen. Yeah, I know you thought it was 21 but that is the requirement for handguns sold by licensed dealers. Non-dealer private sales don’t come under this law. State laws vary and a few restrict the age to 21 but most do not.

    Can’t go along with this? My source is US Attorney/prosecutor Ed Yarbrough, Nashville, TN. He was asked by a reporter if the girl who shot Steve McNair violated the law by purchasing a handgun while she was twenty years old. “No, minimum age for the purchase was eighteen”.

  56. Jim in Houston on February 18th, 2010 8:55 am

    The seller did NOT commit a crime. He is NOT obligated to check ID, regardless of what the cop said. However, it is a felony to transfer a gun to a person who he knows (or has reason to know) is a prohibited person. If he doesn’t know, then the sale is legal.

    That being said, I would never sell a firearm to anybody without a copy of their driver’s license and a signed affidavit averring that they were not a prohibited person.

  57. Orygunner on February 18th, 2010 9:29 am

    Tyler wrote:
    “Let me take a moment to educate everyone on what the terms “freedom”, “rights”, and “liberty” mean.”

    Tyler then lists a lot of BS “progressive” opinions, none of which I’ve ever seen in the writings of the framers of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence.

    Frankly, Tyler, your total anti-gun bias is showing. You simply don’t like guns, so instead of examining the issue logically, you “cherry pick” whatever facts and beliefs you want to back up that guns are bad, evil little things that nobody should have.

    That’s OK, we get it. You think our inalienable rights come from man, so man can just take them away again. That opinion isn’t backed up by any of the writings of the founding fathers of this country, OR any Supreme Court decision that I’ve ever read. If you’ve got some evidence besides “progressive” definitions of rights and liberty that our right to keep and bear arms is invented by man, please provide it.

    To claim that because handguns were invented by man then the right to have them never existed before that is silly. That makes as much sense as trying to claim that a computer and a printer isn’t protected under freedom of the press because they weren’t invented yet. There’s no right to own handguns specifically, it’s a right to own ARMS, which includes handguns. Why don’t you look up the definition.

    Tyler wrote:
    “Freedom is about the ability to go your own way, do your own thing as long as it doesn’t harm others. I make the case that handguns specifically are too dangerous to be included in this. The same way that drunk driving is against the law. Sure, if you live in the middle of nowhere, chances are that the only person you’ll hurt is yourself – but the fact remains that it IS dangerous. A lawful handgun owner with a permit IS lawful – until they point it at another person and pull the trigger. This happens hundreds of times a year. I propose eliminating the option in the first place.”

    What an astounding lack of logic! You don’t actually make any case at all that handguns are “too dangerous” because you fail to be objective and compare any positive benefits with your perceived negative ones. You fail to consider how the “hundreds of times a year” that otherwise good people screw up compares to the 80 MILLION gun owners who don’t. You fail to understand that the REST of violent firearm related crime is perpetrated by repeat offenders who’ve already shown their disrespect for the law – if they’re willing to break the law and hurt other people, they sure aren’t going to bother obeying your handgun ban either. All a ban would do is deprive good people from the most effective means of self defense.

    By the way the drunk driving comparison is very poor. It’s perfectly legal to drive drunk on your own property. it’s public roads you’re not allowed on, because driving on them is a PRIVILEGE, not a right.

    Thankfully, there’s FEWER people that believe as you do, as the truth is slowly getting out there. Gun control laws are being rolled back all over the country, and the rights of gun owners is working its way back to “shall not be infringed.” Get used to it.

  58. Adam on February 18th, 2010 4:00 pm

    Tyler, you talk a lot. You said a lot of good things, but you also said some pretty dumb things. Sure keeping handguns away from criminals would be a great thing, but you can’t do it. You can’t stop all the people all the time from doing any given thing. It’s never worked; banning alcohol, drugs and guns have always failed at achieving even their nominal goals, and certainly never achieved their ultimate goals. Banning murder, rape, fraud, stealing or anything else never worked either. Pick up a newspaper if you don’t believe me. However, let’s look at your specific claim.

    You advocate “completely banning handguns (and then actively enforcing it) in order to help prevent violent crime.” In England, they did just that. They even went a step further and banned the ownership of long guns as well for the vast majority of cases (read the very well connected can still go duck hunting). The Firearms Act of 1997 and its subsequent amendment banned the possession of handguns. The intentional homicide rate (we trying to stop people from killing each other, right) in England and Wales was 1.24 per 100,000 in 1997. In 1998, the first year the ban was in effect the intentional homicide rate was 1.43 per 100,000, an increase of 15%. Since then the intentional homicide rate has ranged from 1.37 to 1.62 per 100,000 as of 2006, an increase over 1997 of between 10% and 30%. Prior to the ban from 1990 to 1997, the intentional homicide rate ranged from 1.09 to 1.28 per 100,000 so 1997 wasn’t an unusually low year. All these numbers are available in Wikipedia and I checked the sources for accuracy so these are numbers are valid and readily available. The moral of the story: at best banning handguns had no positive effect on how many people were killed and at worst it increased the number of people that were killed. How’s that for philosophical? The reality is that banning handguns doesn’t represent a safeguard for society and may even pose a danger therefore banning handguns is immoral. It’s been tried. It is still being tried. It hasn’t worked.

    Maybe fewer people were killed with firearms. I’m not going to invest even more time to find that breakdown, but what matters is that more people were intentionally killed by their fellow human beings after the handgun ban than before by a significant amount. If the fact that a larger proportion of them were stabbed or beaten to death instead of shot amounts to a victory for you, you are sick.

    There simply is no substitute for the handgun for self defense at this time. It allows one to defend oneself against many and the weak or infirm to defend against the physically stronger. All of the closest current less-lethal alternatives are either insufficient or unavailable to the common civilian. For example, the projectile tasers that police use are a possible alternative. They allow you to engage your attacker without letting him get within arms length. However, those are pretty well universally unavailable to civilians. They’re only for police (which are civilians too but somehow still get special rights and privileges, but that is a topic for another time). Sure you can have the handheld type where you have to touch it to your attacker, but how does that help a 60 year old woman when her 20 year old attacker avoids it and overpowers her anyway, or how does it help an athletic 20 year old male when assaulted by multiple likewise physically capable males? It doesn’t. Even the projectile police style tasers don’t help in the case of multiple attackers or if you miss. One shot and that’s it. Technically there is a 3 shot version now, but 3 shots still doesn’t compare to a 6 – 19 shot capacity and you can’t just reload a taser on the spot. There simply is no currently available (I can’t comment on or utilize phasers and light sabers that may or may not become available in the future) suitable, less-lethal alternatives to the handgun.

    If that doesn’t convince you of the validity of civilian ownership of handguns, then I don’t know what to say to you. If you find the idea of killing another person in defense of yourself or others to be morally reprehensible in all circumstances there is really nothing I can say that will change your mind. Once you’ve decided that a 110lb woman raped, strangled and dumped in an alley is morally superior to the 110lb woman telling police about why she had to shoot the 200lb man that tried to stuff her into a van, you are a lost cause. You just can’t reason with that kind deranged logic.

  59. Dave on February 20th, 2010 2:34 am

    “Mass shootings are a far too common occurrence in the United States. In March and April of 2009 alone, such shootings claimed 53 lives, according to the Associated Press.”

    Since you are researching this subject, please include details as to how many of the mass shootings occurred in places where guns were disallowed. Also include how many of the firearms were purchased from private sellers at gun shows.

    I expect the answers to be essentially 100% and 0% respectively. If this is the case, then you shouldn’t be using the mass shootings as a lead-in to your gun show “loophole” arguments.

  60. Mike on February 21st, 2010 1:18 am

    I was just thinking.. I wonder if the Gun Free School Zones Act applies – if he drove that shotgun around in a locked container, or if he made sure to stay 1000 feet away from any schools. If not, then he found another way to become an insta-felon.

    The problem isn’t not enough gun laws. The problem is throwing more and more useless gun laws on, without enforcing any of the ones already there.

  61. Matt on February 22nd, 2010 3:23 pm

    Well Tyler, I like your attempted argument that I could just buy a taser to protect myself. I’d actually rather do that than shoot someone for trying to rob me at knife-point. However, our great state of Massachusetts has decided that tasers are more dangerous than handguns; possession of a taser by citizens is a felony. Permits are required to even have pepper spray/mace.

    Do some research before you start trying to take away my handguns. And if someone is trying to rob you with a gun or a knife, I hate to break it to you Tyler but a slingshot isn’t going to help you.

  62. BK on February 24th, 2010 1:19 pm

    Wow Orygunner do you where do you think the right to own a gun comes from? You do realize that if the second amendment was not written in the constitution we wouldn’t be having this discussion. The MEN who wrote the constitution put the second amendment gave you the right to own a gun. And guess what the only reason that its a privilege to drive on public roads and not a right is because our government says so. Man can give and take away rights. What do you think prohibition was? I know that prohibition failed but that just shows even more how rights can be given and taken away.

  63. woof* on February 26th, 2010 1:50 pm

    Fail BK,
    The Founding Fathers stated our rights are God given.
    You seem like a bright young man, it saddens me and makes me wonder what went wrong with your upbringing and education. I see you put all that research and energy into the subject, but you have lost the plot somehow.
    I suggest you read our Constitution,Bill of Rights and the Federalist Papers.These documents will get you started in the right direction.

  64. Tyler on February 27th, 2010 2:14 pm

    I don’t believe in God, therefore in my world, “Rights” are not God given, regardless of what the founding fathers wrote.

    I also don’t have a blind sense of patriotism. I have a sense of humanism. And since our government is made of humans – and humans can and do, fail – I understand that the legal system isn’t divine and without flaws.

    Laws change.

    In pre-history there was NO source of government.
    In medieval times the government was “divine rule” of kings and queens. (They thought God was on their side too, but we know better now)
    It used to be legal to own slaves – and work them to death.
    Women never used to be able to vote.
    Alcohol was outlawed, then re-allowed.
    Marijuana is currently outlawed, but there is a huge movement to allow it. Why if it’s currently illegal? Because opinions change.

    I can go on and on. I really hope you get the point. Humans make laws, not God. Since the opinions within a society change, the laws then change.

    If you notice however, the vast majority of these changes have been “good” like outlawing slavery of other humans. I’d like to think this means we’re getting smarter as we go. So I’m hoping that when the majority of you fact-twisting, ignorant, intolerant, gun-loving peanut gallery reach a sufficient stage of intellectual evolution. you’ll recognize that handguns don’t make for a better, safer, higher quality of life.

  65. Tyler on February 27th, 2010 2:22 pm


    If merely “brandishing your weapon” prevents the vast majority of attacks, as most of you claim – THEN BUY A WELL-MADE REPLICA.

  66. Tyler on February 27th, 2010 2:39 pm

    I can see I’ve made no impact on any of you, and likely never will. I’m through legitimizing your comments by merely responding to them. So far I haven’t read a single response that I would describe as genuinely intelligent.

    Seeya later, I’m through wasting my life on this discussion.

  67. Tyler on February 27th, 2010 5:35 pm

    I wasn’t going to post again – I really wasn’t. Except some of your comments really struck a chord with me.

    You claim that the “Right” to own a gun is God-given Right.

    Please point me to the correct Bible verse condoning handgun use against another person, regardless of whether it is self defense or not. No? Can’t find it? Bummer.

    Oh, but you say it’s in the Bill of Rights and the writers said it’s granted by God? Really? They spoke with the big guy? He said, “Go ye forth and shoot thy mugger?” Oh, that’s right! Most of the “Founding Fathers” weren’t even religious at all!

    But it’s for self defense! Surely God doesn’t want us to just lay down and take the abuse! Umm, actually he does. Turn the other cheek? I seem to remember that from somewhere. But let’s throw that part away. Well I want to defend myself, like, totally super awesomely. So why can’t I have a rocket launcher? It’s included in the “arms” category. No, it’s not a small armament, but the exact wording simply says “arms”. For that matter, why are fully automatic rifles illegal? Why can’t I own a tank? Or hand grenades? Do you see the problem here? MAN, not God, is creating the law.

    And what about separation of Church and State? By your argument it is a REQUIREMENT that I believe in God – and not just any God, YOUR God – if I’m to take any legal document seriously. How is that separate in any way, shape, or form? Oh, right, it’s not.

    And what about other countries? Because their laws are different than ours, and our laws are defined by God, are they all sinners? Is England a sinful country for banning firearms? Is every English citizen going to Hell, or just the politicians who wrote that law?

    I can’t believe that you think you’re making an intellectually superior argument. I can’t even believe that you actually take yourself seriously. What you wrote = God says we have the Divine Right to own a handgun, correct? That’s not a rational thought pattern. That’s insanity.

    Stop. Being. Ignorant. It pisses the rest of us off.

  68. Mr Data on March 6th, 2010 5:55 am

    Tyler + banning handguns = a defensless society where you are praying the cops get there in time or else………………

  69. Mr Data on March 6th, 2010 5:55 am

    (bold text fail)

  70. Mr Data on March 6th, 2010 5:56 am

    You don’t have to believe in God to defeand fireamrs but respect otherpeople’s rights to believe in God to defend firearms.

    We cannot control your personal problems resulting in you free-will of (choosing) to not believe in God as a result of your limited 3rd dimension experiences.

  71. Tyler on March 6th, 2010 1:48 pm

    Mr Data says:
    March 6, 2010 at 5:56 am

    You don’t have to believe in God to defeand fireamrs but respect otherpeople’s rights to believe in God to defend firearms.

    We cannot control your personal problems resulting in you free-will of (choosing) to not believe in God as a result of your limited 3rd dimension experiences.

    Urgggh? Tarzan not understand.

    #1 Typo city
    #2 There are 4 dimensions – time gets included
    #3 Law is separate from religion. The end. No ifs, ands, or buts.
    #4 I’m done with this thread. People like you literally make me feel like I’m going to vomit.

  72. The Bullet on March 8th, 2010 2:49 am

    Switzerland has so little gun crime that its government doesn’t bother recording gun crime statistics, yet it has about the same gun ownership as the US (though a US gun owner is bound to own more guns then their swiss counterpart). Why is this?

  73. Daniel Entrikin on April 6th, 2010 2:45 pm

    @Dave- The pentagon shooter that injured two police officers recently purchased his gun at a Las Vegas gun show. He was adjudicated mentally ill. A background check would have exposed that and stopped the sale. None was required.

    Firearms traffickers Michael Fowler and Stanley Jenkins were able to purchase guns without a background check in NH and ME and sell them illegally on the streets of Boston. The current system of private sales is easy for firearms traffickers to abuse. In fact, most crime guns in Massachusetts are trafficked from Maine.

    Hopefully HR 2324 would treat Uncle Henry’s similarly to a gun show, and require background checks on every private sale there as well.

    @The Bullet- I don’t think Switzerland and the U.S. can be compared easily because of differences in overall crime, gang violence, and the drug trade.

  74. Chuckles on April 7th, 2010 11:07 pm


    You’re a walking cliché of the self-righteous ‘know-nothing know-it-all’ who doesn’t let his total ignorance of a topic stop him from espousing his beliefs on it.
    It would be funnier if you weren’t a college student – it makes me a little ashamed to go here.
    I can only hope you’re not poli-sci or pre-law, because then we might be in trouble.
    You’re really just parroting the same-old illogical anti-gun talking points that have been paraded around since the 1980’s, and that didn’t stand up to scrutiny then and don’t now.

    If you read this, I look forward to a response from you regarding my earlier post (Feb 18th). I have popcorn standing by.

    Or don’t; I really don’t care. You’ve made a big enough fool out of yourself to any observer with a grasp of logic and reasoning skills.

  75. Jessica on April 9th, 2010 1:47 am

    Daniel, I found your article interesting. I have no clear understanding of these weapons loopholes, but I have been put in a situation of needing to learn more about them because of a person in my life who bought guns at a gun show, had no firearms license at all, and then tried to kill some people. Yes, he will probably do some prison time, but then he will get out and he will get more guns. He also has an enabler who will not only get him out on parole as soon as possible, but will finance this. I can see by what your research says that he will most certainly be able to do this even with a felony conviction, I think.

    Would it be true that if he went to a NH gun show, showed id from NH, and bought guns, that his criminal record will not be checked? Would that be because some dealers are breaking the law and not checking id or because they literally have no requirement at all at these gun shows to check criminal history?

    He also has a negative mental health background. That will not be checked either?

    I’m sorry if I didn’t follow the information you presented.

    I am also very sorry to note that this individual spouts the same raving insanity as Chuckles and the others (minus any Bible or religious commentary) because this individual thinks he has the “right” to control people, intimidate people, threaten people with his guns and kill people.

    Unfortunately I feel that I am looking into the future and I can already feel the disaster that is coming, and has only been narrowly averted this time.

  76. Jessica on April 9th, 2010 1:49 am

    I also realize after reading your article that I am sure that this individual intends to become a private seller.

  77. Manwise Bill on April 9th, 2010 10:41 am

    I don’t think self defense with a gun is so simple. Yes, there may be some specific instances where it is useful, like a home invasion that you have the wherewithal to respond to.
    But how many times will it be useful in other situations? Even when the other person doesn’t have a gun. If somebody is going to mug you on the street, you think that while they’re holding you up, you’re going to whip out your concealed weapon and fight them off?
    Imagine you’re being held at knifepoint or gunpoint, the heroics involved with pulling out a gun or something at that moment require training and preparation that the vast majority of people just don’t have, and involve risk even for those who are highly trained.
    Even in a home invasion, you’re going to wake up, get your gun, and go confront the person stealing your tv? Who you hope doesn’t have a gun and shoot you first? Yes, that outcome is possible, but I think at least as possible is that it turns out badly.
    I don’t know if outlawing guns outright is a good answer, I’m not saying that it is. I just wanted to point out that the “I have a gun, so now I can protect myself and be safe” argument is not as simple as it sounds.
    People who wish to inflict crime and harm on other people are not so courteous as to say “Hi, I’m going to commit a crime, so if you have a gun, get it ready to deter me.”

    There are people trained to stop and respond to crime, and they by and large do a good job. I do think in situations of a home invasion or a stick up, it is better to call the police. The risk of responding by attacking the perpetrator seems, to me, to outweigh the possible benefit in the vast majority of cases.

    It is unsettling to think that any of us could be victimized at any time, but the truth is, if someone is intent on attacking or stealing from us, they can find a way to do it, and owning a gun doesn’t change that, no matter how secure it makes us feel.

  78. Daniel Entrikin on April 12th, 2010 5:58 pm

    Jessica- Thanks for your comment, and I’m very sorry for your situation. I find your post very alarming.

    When I purchased a gun, the seller committed a crime by not checking that I was 21 and a NH resident. He was not required to run a background check, being a private seller. This video summarizes the ‘loophole’ well.

    I hope this person can be rehabilitated and leave behind a life of violence. Until background checks are required on all guns sold at shows, there isn’t an easy solution to your problem. Certainly, do not tell this person anything about gun shows or private sales. Please contact the ATF or police if you have any questions or useful information for them.

    It would be helpful for you to call your representative in support of HR 2324- “The gunshow loophole closing act of 2009”, seeing as you have a very compelling story.

  79. Mike on April 13th, 2010 3:58 am

    >> “There’s no right to own handguns specifically, it’s a right to own ARMS, which includes handguns. Why don’t you look up the definition.”

    Oh, cool. Can I buy an inter-continental ballistic missile, then? And some heavy artillery would be nice, too. I just don’t feel safe without it.

    I mean, think about it: if criminals knew that their victims could retaliate by pounding their entire neighborhood into dust or hitting their family with a tactical nuclear weapon, the crime rate would be REALLY low! Right?

  80. Nikolaj on April 20th, 2010 3:04 am

    I Believe as a European or rather, a Dane writing an essay on American guncontrol. that not having guns does not equal a defenseless soceity, rather. Here in little Denmark in a city with about ten thousand we have about one or two gunmurders per year? But in USA that number could just aswell be about fifthy or in some cases. A Hundred. Sure, its just mugger’s and people without gun’s goin’? Thats all fine and dandy isnt it? Personally i believe that even muggers are human and can become well working citizens again. The reason that USA has so many filled prisons and so many Gunshootings isnt because lack of guns. Its because they have about 97 guns for each 100 citizen.

  81. Chuckles on April 23rd, 2010 4:03 am

    Thanks for the made-up story!

    Wow, really compelling use of sarcasm.
    It would be so much better if you actually had a point.

  82. Ce7en on April 24th, 2010 7:11 pm

    Tyler, I’d like to say I respect the points you are trying to make. I personally do not own a gun but, I fully and whole heartedly support the rights of people to own them. I tell you this not because I am going to argue for owning firearms because, that is a pointless argument both sides have their beliefs deeply ingrained and nothing either will say to the other will change anything. There are certain views that one will stick to regardless of how compelling a statement that is made by a person of the opposing viewpoint is: Abortion, Religion and Gun Control are a few. A change in viewpoint has to come from oneself in those matters and for me to sit here telling you the reasons guns have a place in society or to tell the other side why they do not would be futile. Now on to the real reply I wished to make.

    While I was reading through I felt the need to comment on the ‘God given rights’ argument being made by others and your rebuttals, both sides are missing the point.

    Tyler, you correctly point out that most of the founding fathers were atheist or at least atheist leaning agnostic. That particular statement in the constitution and bill of rights is not the important part, its the intent of the wording. The statement that these rights are given by “God” really translates to the fact that they are innate rights that all men and women are born with. We are talking about a document written in the 1790’s and to make it understood by the common individual saying the rights were God given was a very easy way to say they are innate rights. Regardless of ones social position, race, age etc. one could understand that. Merriam-Webster defines Innate as “existing in, belonging to, or determined by factors present in an individual from birth” an uneducated farmer would not know the definition of innate, to make the Constitution accessible to all people it is said the rights are “God given”. Dwelling on the usage of “God” is a moot point, both sides of are focusing on the individual words and not the statement and the idea behind it.

    I to am an Athiest as well but, I am aware enough about the history of society and open minded enough to see the true intent of the statements made in the constitution. The usage of the word God is not inflammatory to me, to a person of faith it literally means God given, to an atheist it translates to innate.

  83. Dan on May 10th, 2010 10:52 pm

    What it all boils down to people is if guns didnt excist people would just be killing other people with something else,they always have and they always will.I am pro gun and i will always be pro gun.I feel very sorry for these anti gun fools.I would much rather have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.Go ahead and and get yourself a nice replica of a real gun,let me know how it turns out when a drugged out lunatic starts coming at you with a knife because he sure the hell wont care what your holding(you better care).It wont be pretty when your on the losing end of it that much i promise.Do me a favor leave me in your will.WAKE UP.

  84. charleton on May 11th, 2010 9:21 pm

    I just want to clear some things up: Here is the law

    A person may sell a firearm to an unlicensed resident of his State, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may loan or rent a firearm to a resident of any State for temporary use for lawful sporting purposes, if he does not know or have reasonable cause to believe the person is prohibited from receiving or possessing firearms under Federal law. A person may sell or transfer a firearm to a licensee in any State. However, a firearm other than a curio or relic may not be transferred interstate to a licensed collector.

    [18 U.S.C. 922(a)(3) and (5), 922(d), 27 CFR 478.29 and 478.30]

    There is nothing special about a gunshow other than the fact that it is a place where people who sell guns congregate to meet with people who buy them. If you buy a gun from a gun show, from one of the dealers, they do the NICS check right there. I know this because I bought two guns 3 weeks ago at a gun show. There is no loophole. The OP should be talking about private sales, also called face to face transfers, where no NICS check is required. He should have done better research.

  85. Daniel Entrikin on June 9th, 2010 5:58 pm

    @ Charleton—I did mention private sales in the article. I bought my gun in a private sale, which did not require a background check. That is what the term “loophole” refers to- a sale from any FFL requires a NCIS criminal background check. Note that I titled my film “Loophole” rather than “Gun Show Loophole”, and I acknowledge that private sales can take place in locations other than gun shows. Online classifieds such as Uncle Henry’s in Maine are another way of arranging private sales, one which convicted gun traffickers like Stanley Jenkins and Michael Fowler took advantage of.

  86. Zach on July 21st, 2010 1:04 pm

    The seller did not commit a federal felony by not asking for your ID.

    It might be wise to verify you’re a state resident, and over 18 but he isn’t required too.

    If you disagree, please cite the law. You won’t because there is none.

    You however DID commit a federal felony by purchasing a firearm out of state, from a private seller.

  87. jonathan on September 29th, 2010 11:29 am

    I see a lot of disinformation in this thread on both sides. First of all there is no such thing as a gunshow loophole. When people say this they are referring to the private sale of firearms between citizens that do not hold a federal firearms license. Yes, while at the gun show the man should have checked his id because both must reside in the same state. Background checks are only done by federal firearms license holders. In my state of connecticut, a state similar to mass with restrictive gun laws you must have a pistol permit to buy a handgun. Private sales of handguns must be between two pistol permit holders and they must call the department of public safety to get an authorization number. That is for handguns only. Rifles can be bought or sold privately with no paperwork. If you have reason to believe the person shouldn’t own guns then you shouldn’t sell it to him.

    I see nothing wrong with what the author did and it doesn’t worry me in the slightest bit that he bought a shotgun at a gunshow lol. I own 7 rifles, 2 handguns and one gun regulated by the national firearms act. None of my guns have killed anyone by accident or on purpose. I don’t see that ever happening unless someone threatens my life or the lives of my family/friends. I do carry my pistol with me at all times. Why not consider the lives saved by private citizen gun ownership.

    How many medicated soccer moms in suvs have killed people by hitting their small compact cars. I don’t think suvs are needed either. Im also not on the warpath to ban suvs. Who are you to say what we can and cannot own?

  88. Miki Mcgraph on October 31st, 2010 3:07 am

    @admin: I just have to say your site is the first I’ve come across this morning that doesn’t have spelling errors every other line. Thanks for taking the time to write something that doesn’t look like a 6th grader put together. I apologize, just had to vent.

  89. Gina on November 2nd, 2010 12:23 pm

    Interesting article. As a survivor of domestic violence I honestly believe that I wouldn’t be here today if my perpetrator had had easy access to a firearm. Sure, some people keep guns responsibly and some don’t (there are more than 50,000 fire-arm related injuries and deaths every year in the U.S.). But your article highlights some really critical issues. I would just like to know why people who are anti-gun control want even fewer limitations to purchasing weapons. Why should every person, regardless of his or her criminal history or history of instiutionalization be permitted access to one of the most effective and dangerous tools there are?

  90. Johnathan on November 18th, 2010 12:13 am

    @Gina: I’m glad that you are a survivor of domestic violence, but what stopped your assailant from using a knife, or a baseball bat? Is a firearm the only weapon that could have been used against you? A knife is just as effective at killing a person as a gun. In fact its more effective because its silent.

    I honestly believe that you would still be here today if your assailant had easy access to a firearm. If he wanted to cause you harm there are much easier ways than using a firearm.

    This may be a surprise to you, but criminals do not follow laws. Laws take away freedoms from the law abiding citizens.

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  92. BobTheTomatoe on March 21st, 2013 1:05 pm

    If you bought a gun without showing ID I believe you committed a felony.

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